Authors: D.C. Gambel
Cover image by
Photos by Donna
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
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The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction: Twilight, Playboy, Facebook, Starbucks, iPhone, True Blood,
Keurig, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Blade
Table of Contents
Persephone slid into a booth at an all night dinner. It wasn’t her favorite spot, but its hours of business met the only criteria that mattered. The crowd was thin around this hour. Only people heading to or from work were scattered throughout the room. Across from her sat the man she loved and the father of her unborn child. Just the thought of the baby growing inside her had her resting her hands protectively over the basketball-sized bump under her stretched blouse.
“It’s getting close,” he said, noticing her hands and attention were yet again on her ever-growing bump.
“You have not changed your mind, have you?” she asked, knowing better than to get her hopes up. Nothing she had done since they found out she was with child had changed his mind.
“You know I have not.” He looked at her with sadness filling his eyes. He was obviously struggling with his decision, but he had the strongest willpower of anyone she had ever known. It matched his perpetual physical strength perfectly. “I will stay with you until the child is born. I at least want to hold her once, but it won’t be safe for either of you with me. You know this.”
She did. As much of a blessing as the child was, it was forcing her away from the man she loved. When it was just the two of them, she was more than willing to risk her life to be with him, not that it had ever come to it. The man had enemies. You couldn’t live for thousands of years and not develop some along the way. That is what happened when you were the oldest of your kind. One of the enemies included her sire, Anton. But with a child on the way, neither of them was willing to risk their daughter’s life.
“You know they will hunt her down just to get to me. Her true lineage must be kept a secret, even from her.”
Persephone nodded. She knew what he said was true, but it didn’t make her dislike it any less.
“When you return to Manhattan, tell Anton she is part-human. That should explain any extra,” he paused thinking of the correct noun, “talents, she may possess due to my part.”
Breeding with humans was almost impossible, but when it did happen, the child always had a few extra quirks that the human blood contributed.
They had no idea what to expect from their child. She was the first ever fathered by the man who sat across from Persephone, at least in the mating aspect. With the talents he himself possessed, there was no guessing what gift their child would have.
Persephone hated the idea of returning to Anton, but he was the only one strong enough to protect her child, as long as he never found out who her real father was. If he did, Persephone knew she was no match for him. If surrendering to his will meant her child would be kept from harm’s way, then that was a sacrifice she was more than willing to make.
She would sell the lie that her child was fathered by a human, even though human breeding was extremely frowned upon. Better that than the nest knowing the true father was the vampire who sat across from her. On her life, Persephone would keep her daughter safe.
“My Gabriella,” he whispered, reaching across the table, placing his hand over Persephone’s expanding belly.
Where was he? Shawn was running late
. I knew it shouldn’t surprise me. He liked to be fabulous and make an entrance. I still had hope that he’d learn to be more punctual, but yet again he had disappointed me.
I scrambled through my clutch searching for my phone. I was going to send him a quick text asking where the hell he was. We were wasting daylight. Quite literally. At dusk, the vampires would rise and my butt had better be home. My over protective mother would remember this was my day off since I had to work Saturday.
She was still a little upset with me for taking the job in the first place, even though I had been at it for over a year. Time worked differently for vampires. My mother might get over it sometime in the next five years. We didn’t need the money. The nest would provide for us, more than comfortably, especially as long as Anton ran things. He had sired my mother and now he had the hots for me, which was a bit creepy. He was like my grandfather in a weird vampiric way.
Digging into my clutch, my fingers grasped my cell phone and pulled it from its confines. I was just swiping my finger to unlock the screen when, out of nowhere, I slammed into a complete stranger and my phone went flying from my hand crashing against the concrete. That was
something that normally happened to me. My senses were more enhanced than a human’s.
“Oh my God! I am so sorry,” I exclaimed to the stranger.
He was crouched down reaching for his dropped phone as well as mine. “No, it’s alright. It’s completely my fault. I was an idiot and was looking down at my phone instead of where I was walking.” He stood clutching both phones in his palm.
I met his gaze and that’s when I noticed he was exquisitely handsome. His face was chiseled like it was carved from marble. He had full lips, a sharp nose and killer cheek bones with smoky gray eyes that you could get lost in. My pulse lept and my stomach filled with nervous flutters. His body was muscular and filled out his gray business suit which happened to match the color of his eyes perfectly. For the first time in my life, I had the desire to touch a complete stranger; to run my finger across his features, over his body. I stood there gaping at him for a moment overwhelmed by his sensual masculinity. He quirked his eyebrow questionably at me and I realized he had been trying to give me back my iPhone. I took a deep breath trying to calm my nerves, which only made my nerves worse as I inhaled his scent. It was divine. It wasn’t cologne or shampoo. It was a scent that was entirely his own. My mouth watered for two completely different reasons. My fangs ached with longing, wanting to sink into his skin and taste the blood flowing in his veins. Between my thighs became damp, as I wondered how skilled his incredibly handsome body really was. That was out of the ordinary for me. I had never had thoughts about a man like that.
I shook my head, clearing it, then mumbled, “Thank you. Mr...?”
The corner of his lips pulled into a sexy grin. “Alexander. Grayson Alexander.” Even his voice was delicious, rich and velvety, like it was coated in honey to give it a little extra sweetness, which almost distracted me from his name. Grayson Alexander. Why did it sound so familiar to me?
“And you?” he asked as I finally took my phone.
My fingers tips grazed his skin sending electric currents pulsing up my arm. “I’m, um, Gabriella Carmichael,” I said, trying to steady my voice.
“Well Gabriella, it was nice running into you,” he chuckled as if finding humor in our situation.
“The pleasure’s mine,” I whispered.
“You have a good day.” He tilted his head to me. I nodded as he turned to continue on his way. I watched him as he walked away. His body moved with a grace that I didn’t expect from a man of his stature. After a few feet, he turned around grinning in my direction before making his way through the herd of New Yorkers.
All too quickly he was gone.
I was irritated with myself. I couldn’t believe how awkward I had become when faced with a deliciously handsome man and how it transformed me from a confident woman into a blubbering teenage girl, although I had never really been a blubbering teenage girl. I guess I was making up for lost time. I was also annoyed at the fact that I would never see him again. Kicking myself for not trying to get his number, I clutched my phone in my hand, getting ready to call Shawn.
“Hey baby girl. What’s going down?”
I spun, seeing that Shawn had
made his grand appearance and not a minute to soon. Smiling, I threw my phone back in my clutch. Shawn was dark; dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin. His parents were Hispanic but Shawn was the whitest Hispanic I’d ever seen and I didn’t mean appearance wise.
I threw my arms around his neck, in a brief friendly hug. He was dressed in his usual baggy jeans that hugged his hips and a cute gray button up shirt. Gray like the gorgeous eyes of Mr. Grayson Alexander. Geez! He wasn’t even out of my sight for ten minutes and I was already being reminded of him. I needed to put him out of my mind. It wasn’t like I’d ever see him again. At least that’s what I told myself.
It was still early for lunch, but Shawn and I would sit and talk for a while and that would eat up the time before we ate. We might as well find a spot and beat the lunchtime rush. We made our way to one of our favorite restaurants with a beautiful outdoor patio.
“You’re working that outfit, Gaby,” he said as we took our seats outside. The sun was not yet high in the sky, but when it was we would have a nice umbrella covering us. Not that the UV rays particularly affected either of us. I was part human so the sun didn’t fry me like a fritter like your average vampire. And thanks to my vampire DNA, not much could harm me. Shawn, well, unless it was silver, it wasn’t hurting him. We sat in the corner surrounded by other small, round, black marble tables similar to ours. Chairs varied in quantity from two to three, but in each seat rested a black cushion that matched the tables.
“You’re just now noticing?” I laughed snobbishly looking at my menu. I was wearing a killer dress, since I didn’t have to wear my usual business attire. The dress was short and dark, cutting off just above mid-thigh. It had a layer of black lace over midnight blue satin, close to the same shade as my eyes, which was why I liked this dress so much, with black heels to match. My black hair was down, straightened to make it look sleek and long.
“You know I don’t look at girls. If you were a guy, I woulda definitely noticed.”
I shook my head, “Yeah, I don’t think you’d be the only one noticing if it was a guy dressed in my outfit.”