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Authors: Theresa Meyers

A Vampire’s Mistress

BOOK: A Vampire’s Mistress
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A Vampire’s Mistress

Theresa Meyers

Six years ago Gabriel Forrester gave his life—literally—for Marina DeMornay, choosing to become a vampire to be with her. Then Marina was compelled to become mistress to a vampire prince…and Gabriel disappeared when she needed him the most.

But when Marina’s consort is killed and she’s captured, Gabriel is sent by the Vampire High Council to rescue her…and they become bound together even more strongly than before. With their enemies still on the loose, can Marina and Gabriel put the past behind them long enough to save both vampires and humanity from their enemies
and
reclaim the passion they once shared?

Contents

Chapter One   

Chapter Two   

Chapter Three   

Chapter Four   

Chapter Five   

Chapter Six   

Chapter One

Get in. Get out. Easy enough.

But then Gabriel Forrester should have known from personal experience that anything involving Marina DeMornay was
never
easy.

The guards pulled the black cloth sack off his head and removed the silver cuffs from his wrists. All the way down he’d played up his weakened state intentionally so they wouldn’t use an additional dose of dead man’s blood on him. He’d listened intently to the changes in the sound of their footing as they walked: the silent shush from the smooth marble floors of the church, to echoing on the stone staircases, then rasping on wood-timbered floors one level above the cells. He’d also concentrated on the scents, and smelled something old, dusty, mortal.

He allowed the guards to toss him to the slimy foul-smelling stone floor, worn smooth by the countless centuries of prisoners who’d been held in the bowels of the medieval Sicilian church. No one but vampire hunters and underworld criminals knew about it now. He sincerely doubted the Capuchin monks who’d built their monastery upon the ruins of the church would have approved of what was going on several stories beneath their feet.

“That should hold him.” The thickset guards, hired by vampire hunters, grunted with satisfaction.

Yeah. And if you believe that, I’ve got a body bag with your name on it.
Gabriel tried not to inhale the stench of body odor, a blend of stale sweat and old cheese, coming off of the guards as he lifted up from the floor and glared at them.
 

He waited until he could no longer see the yellow orbs of sallow light from their flashlights bobbing against the thick stone walls. Closing his eyes he focused his acute hearing past the rasp of their conversation, past the constant dripping of water down the walls, past the rumble of traffic from the city above filtering through the earth.

A distinctly female groan, soft and laced with pain, snapped his eyes open.

There! A sigh. A murmured echo of her voice was all he needed to pinpoint Marina’s location in the vast labyrinth of ancient cells beneath the city of Palermo. He concentrated on turning his power inward so he could flux, shifting the structure of his body to become invisible, then phased himself through the thick walls of stone, toward her.

Down another hall, through six more cells he passed unnoticed except by the rats that shifted their beady dark eyes in his direction, their noses twitching. He followed the sound of her breathing, then caught the sweet heady fragrance of orange blossoms blooming under a midnight sky. A scent that was distinctly Marina’s and seared into his memory like none other. She was damn close.

Gabriel phased through the stone wall, letting it slip around him like thick-set gelatin. His chest tightened uncomfortably at the sight of her. Her dark hair, once chocolate-colored silk he’d fantasized about, covered her face in dull matted snarls as she lay on the stained army cot wedged in the corner of her cell. At one time he’d lived and breathed for this woman, only to have her choose to become the mistress of a vampire royal over him. It did not help that the royal, Niccolo Venciezio, had been his best friend, or that Gabriel had literally given his life, and chosen to become a vampire for her only to have it thrown back in his face.

He knelt beside the cot, brushing the strands of limp hair away from her face. The familiar sweep of her dark brows and the curve of her cheek greeted him. A fist grabbed around his heart and squeezed hard. While her features were seared into his mind, the waxen pallor of her skin was far different from how she looked at Niccolo’s funeral—the last time he’d seen her. Then she’d been grief stricken and with dark smudges beneath her eyes, but this was far worse. She was thinner, the darkness beneath her eyes almost bruiselike. Totally uncharacteristic for the strong vampiress he’d known and lov— Gabe shook his head to dislodge the thought. He needed to focus on getting her out of here.

The cracks in her pale pink lips were dark. Gabriel sniffed the air. Dead man’s blood. That’s why she was barely conscious. The stuff was a potent poison that could render a vampire immobile for hours, and he had no idea how much they’d given her to keep her in this state. No wonder the High Council was concerned. With enough dead man’s blood in her system she could easily be hemorrhaging information to her mortal captors.

He brushed a thumb over her cheek and she gasped at the contact. Her cobalt-blue eyes opened slowly, glassy with pain.

“Gabriel?” her voice was faint, cracking with disbelief.

Gabriel lifted her, slowly, gently, into his arms. She felt fragile, pliable and soft and certainly not able to fend off the hunters who’d been keeping her drugged up and drained of her ichor.

“I’m here to get you out.”

She struggled to lift her hand to touch his face, but it fell back weakly against his chest. “Only a dream— Go ‘way, Gabe.” Her long dark lashes fluttered as she struggled to keep her eyes open. “L-last person want to see now. Go—” She blacked out, slumping against his chest.

He bet he was the last damn person she wanted to see. His jaw tightened. But it didn’t matter. Right now his job was to get her out, to find out if she’d been divulging the secrets of the vampire world to her captors. He’d turn her over to the High Council, the royalty of their world, if she had. After that, she’d never have to see him again.

“Marina. Wake up.”

The top of her head was so close the sweetness of orange blossoms rising from her heated skin swamped his senses, reminding him of how she’d looked the night he’d lost her. The tip of her tongue brushed over her bottom lip, leaving it damp and far too kissable. An unwelcome tension curled low in Gabriel’s belly, making his fangs throb. Damn. After all this time he still couldn’t control his reaction to her.

She moaned and twisted, her grubby lavender button-up shirt gaping as she moved, exposing the top swell of one smooth breast above a ripple of black lace. Beneath his skin his black ichor began to beat faster through his veins. Damn and double damn.

Gabriel closed his eyes and shoved his desire down into the murky recesses where he planned to leave it. He needed to focus on getting her out, on following his orders. This wasn’t about him or her. It couldn’t be. He opened his eyes, this time trying to look at her and the situation objectively.

With this much dead man’s blood in her system she’d be too weak to transport. If they’d had more time he could have waited a few hours for the effect to wear off, but given the malicious gleam in his captors’ eyes, he could tell they planned to come back and tap his veins for vampire ichor sooner rather than later. The guards would find his cell empty and come looking, probably armed with tranquilizer guns filled with dead man’s blood.

Giving her an infusion of his own ichor was the only solution to get her up and moving quickly.

Gabe hesitated. The scent of Niccolo’s mark upon her was faint but still there. His gut rebelled against the idea of feeding her. He didn’t want a bond with her, and sharing ichor was guaranteed to form an attachment with her he’d rather not have to endure. But time was running out.

He growled, pissed off that he had to do this at all. Instead of suppressing the push of his fangs against the soft folds of his gum tissue, Gabriel released them, the telltale
flick
echoing in the room like a switchblade being released.

He lifted his arm, grazing a line across his wrist. A dark line swelled as ichor rose to the surface. He released his hold on her, laying her back on the cot and pressed the line to her parched lips.

Marina gasped. The slivers of ice in her veins, which had been piercing her with needle-like stings with every movement, slowly began to dissolve at the warm tingling heat that trickled through her. The warmth spread, making her numb fingers and toes able to flex again. Everything still hurt like hell, but at least she wasn’t partially paralyzed anymore.

She blinked, her vision tracking into focus. Gabe’s familiar face swam into view. A dark angel. Gabe’s good looks were deceptively handsome packaging on a man capable of killing at least a hundred different ways with just his bare hands. Right now his dark brown eyes were guarded, but she couldn’t mistake the warm woodsy smell of him as a nightmare. It was too real. No one else had that the same wide forehead balanced by an equally strong jaw, or the sinfully sculpted mouth that made her brain muzzy. He shouldn’t look that good and be so deadly.

She coughed and sputtered, the taste of ichor on her tongue. For every vampire the flavor was different, changing to suit one’s most intimate fantasies. To Marina, Gabriel’s ichor tasted like rich strong espresso swirled with cream, with a kick of cinnamon. Unlike espresso, the ichor held a shimmering life power to it that radiated through her system in sparkling waves.

After more than a month of being drained daily by the vampire hunters interested in selling her ichor for illegal profit, she was too weak to turn away from the rich offering flowing from Gabe’s thick forearm.

The problem was she knew better. The act would bind them together. And as much as she had wanted Gabe once upon a time, that time had passed. He’d disappeared and she’d nursed a broken heart. She’d moved on.

“What did you expect?” he muttered under his breath, his voice rough.

Marina gasped and pulled away from his arm, scrutinizing him with her gaze. “I didn’t give you permission to read my thoughts.”

“Well, then, you should not have been thinking so hard while you were drinking. It’s not as though I could help hearing you.” He tugged his sleeve down over his arm, covering the slice that was already starting to heal.

Marina turned away, unable to meet his intense brown eyes any longer. She refused to be lured in again. Refused to think that Gabe was back for any personal reason. “I bet they thought they were being very clever sending
you
to question me, given our past.”

“They didn’t send me to question you. They sent me to get you out.”

Marina whipped back around and narrowed her eyes.
Liar.
Niccolo’s business partners didn’t want to get her out. They’d ordered him to be killed and then handed her over to the vampire hunters involved in their illegal ichor empire. They pimped ichor across the globe as a new miracle cure for everything from baldness to cancer. Surely there was nothing she had to offer that would warrant sending in a
Shyeld
, the most elite of the royal guardsman, to come to her aid. Unless the High Council thought she knew where Nick’s master list of ichor dealers was located.

She narrowed her eyes searching the face she thought she knew so well, to find out she’d not really known him at all. She’d seen only what she wanted to before. Gabriel was loyal to a fault. Unfortunately his loyalty did not belong to her. “Do you want to tell me the real reason you’re here, feeding me your ichor?”

Gabriel leaned back a bit, putting distance between them. He didn’t look any happier to see her than she was to see him. His thick dark brows were drawn together in deep slashes over piercing brown eyes. His hair was darker, shorter, revealing a neck much stronger looking than she remembered.

BOOK: A Vampire’s Mistress
11.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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