Authors: Caris Roane
Tags: #amulet series, #short story, #vampire romance, #vampirerotica, #amulet, #erotic romance, #fae romance, #novella, #paranormal romance
“Did I hurt you badly?”
“Not too badly and the enthrallment was wonderful. What did you do back there?” She reached up and touched the skin.
“The scars have already formed the mark. My initial, as it happens. You will be safe from the attentions of other vampires.”
“Good,” she murmured.
After a long moment just savoring her, he finally leaned close and kissed the back of her neck. “Shall we secure the amulet from Chalice?”
“Yes.” She sighed deeply.
Reluctantly, he withdrew from her.
She sighed once more and turned over to look up at him.
He stared down at her. “You look so beautiful.” Her cheeks were flushed, her lips swollen. And he could sense the power emanating from the mark so that his chest swelled.
She belonged to him
, that was what he thought, a very dangerous concept. If he continued in this way, would he soon succumb to his need to bind her?
*** *** ***
Gabriel held Thea in his arms, her head pressed against his neck as he flew in a northerly direction. He never stopped watching the shadows of the forest, hunting for sign of the Mage vampires. They traveled in packs and often attacked as a group, but had not been active in either Chalice’s or Eligio’s shires in over a year.
The Mage were marauders who made use of the binding tendrils, usually during a terrible rape, to increase their power. But afterwards the vampire would slay his bound mate. A terrible crime, without conscience.
But Eligio had said the roads had been clear for a long time and Chalice’s secretary had been completely reassuring.
As he drew near Chalice’s compound, he sighted the unique rotundas that formed the above-ground portion of his communal world. The white plaster coated surfaces were topped with caps of slate in swirls to the pinnacle of each dome. Each of the interconnected edifices had a spiral staircase leading deep into the earth where the vampire tribe resided.
Gabriel slowed on approach, calling out, “Master Gabriel for Master Chalice.” But no answering greeting returned to him and the gates of the property hung wide open.
He touched down and let Thea unfold from his arms. But he did not move forward. The guards should have been present, whether prepared for him or not.
“I think we should leave, Thea. None of this feels right to me. And I hear no noise from within the compound.”
He opened his arms to her but the next moment, movement rushed to them from all sides and from high in the air.
Before Gabriel could do anything, he and Thea were surrounded by a dozen powerful Mage.
Gabriel knew the master vampire in charge of the brigands and addressed him. “Drachyn. Up to your old tricks I see. Where is Chalice and his tribe?”
“Chalice, the coward that he is, escaped early with many of his followers. He refused to stand and fight. But we were able to eliminate a score of his tribes-people. He smiled. “And now I have the great Gabriel of Reavenshire in my power.” His gaze slid to Thea. “A celebration is in order and of course you’ve brought someone for me to enjoy as well. How kind of you.”
Thea drew close to Gabriel. He slid his arm around her waist and pulled her against him. He was angry beyond words, as much with himself as with Drachyn. He had put his woman in danger.
With so many Mage around, he could not battle them all.
Drachyn stood well over six-feet-tall. His black hair hung in dreadlocks to his shoulders. His gray eyes glittered, no doubt with a sense of triumph.
He drew a red velvet pouch from an inner vest pocket. “Chalice’s secretary said you were coming for this.”
Thea gasped. “I can feel the healing power,” she said. “It’s the amulet I need.” The fae part of her, while not dominant, would have sensed the nature of the amulet.
Drachyn returned the pouch to his inner vest pocket. “I’ve waited for this day for decades, Gabriel, to have you bowing to my will. And now, we’ll return to my feasting hall where you’ll both be my guests of honor.” He gestured to several of his tribe. “Take the woman from Master Gabriel.”
But when several of the Mage tried to draw near Thea, each felt compelled to back up.
The Mage leader hissed. “You have marked her. Very clever. But I sense she is not bound to you and I have sufficient power to take her myself, despite the mark.”
Drachyn approached Thea, but Gabriel could see he struggled. However the Mage leader had great power, and just as something hit Gabriel from behind, Drachyn took hold of Thea, laughing all the while.
Gabriel murmured her name, then he was falling into a deep bottomless pit.
Thea knew she would die. She stood in the center of a banquet room where the tables were joined in a u-shape and she was the star attraction.
She was naked, humiliated, and frightened. But she held her head high as one by one the vampires tried to get close to her, to touch her, yet unable to succeed because of Gabriel’s mark. Drachyn thought it great fun to watch them try and fail.
The Mage were vile creatures, not worthy of the name vampire. She worked hard to ignore the horror all around her.
Human females made up the feast, each vein sucked on until all the blood left the body and the woman died. Rape of course occurred at the same time and she thought she would never forget the screams.
She couldn’t believe that her search for the healing amulet had led here, to a Mage hall. The wood and stone structure rose to a tall vaulted ceiling. There were no windows to break up the white plaster walls and the only adornments were a few swords and maces from older times.
Though she wasn’t certain why, she could actually feel Gabriel nearby, perhaps only separated by a wall.
She tried to determine the hour, but the lack of windows told her nothing. Her fatigue spoke for her, however. She’d become exhausted, having stood in this position for hours.
Another hour passed. She flexed her hands and bent her knees slightly, the only movements that didn’t cause Drachyn to throw something hard at her like a wood bowl or a goblet.
When the first few vampires left the room, she knew dawn approached. Drachyn had been staring at her off and on the entire time, in between raping and draining at least two women. Even now, as she listed on her feet, lust filled his eyes.
But with dawn advancing, he finally rose, his gaze fixed on her. With a fine display of levitation and speed, he vaulted the table to stand a few feet in front of her.
She could see that he struggled as well to reach her because of Gabriel’s mark, but he would overcome that as he had done before when he brought her here. He forced one foot forward, then the next, a hard smile on his lips. When he stood in front of her, sweating, he grabbed her arms and held her fast.
“Now, I’ll do what Gabriel refused to do. I will bind you to me, which will break his mark and give me the victory I seek.”
Thea felt Drachyn’s tendrils touch her arms, her neck, her shoulders. Tendrils even wrapped themselves around her thighs and calves. But not one of them entered her.
Drachyn drew back and glared at her. “You are not just human, then?”
“I am part fae, a very small part.”
He cursed. “You must invite me then to complete the binding.”
“Never. Slay me if you must, but I won’t give you what you want.”
He reached into his vest once more and withdrew the pouch. “Not even for this, for the hope of this?”
“Do you think me a fool or that I somehow closed my eyes to the women you killed here tonight? Do you think I believe I will escape?”
He laughed long and loud, bellowing his fetid breath over her face.
She called out from the deepest place of her soul,
Gabriel, you must help me, please. Drachyn will not hold back much longer.
*** *** ***
Gabriel lay on hard stones and his head ached. His mind was very foggy. Somewhere in the distance, he heard Thea calling to him,
Gabriel you must help me.
He could not even help himself, how could he help Thea?
His mind cleared a little more. Had he truly heard her voice within his mind?
But what was he looking at? Was that the night sky above him? His prison rose several stories high, a round ancient stone tower of some kind. Many of the upper blocks had tumbled away, which meant this was a ruin from past centuries. Stars glittered through the treetops of a nearby forest.
Oh, God, no.
His mind cleared completely then he understood what had been done to him. He’d been put in a place that would expose him to sunlight and he would die. He rose to his feet, ignoring the pain in his skull. He tested the wooden door first. Though he had a great deal of physical power, he would never be able to break this massive door down.
He levitated, moving straight up, but halfway to the top his skill weakened and he floated back to earth. He had the ability to fly great distances, but he could not rise very high in the air. Drachyn knew this, of course.
He tried finding toe and finger holds in the quarried stone, but each was chiseled and polished flat enough that he only managed to climb a few feet before dropping back down.
He sensed dawn approaching and no doubt a line of gray rimmed the eastern horizon. The air smelled of morning dew.
He did not desire his death, not when he had found Thea.
His thoughts turned to her.
He had been stubborn in his pursuit, determined to seduce her. Because of her resistance, he had actually come to know her well and to hold her in affection. He knew much about her, how she loved her grown children with a passion and hoped for grandchildren one day. How she had great tolerance for all species and would not allow anyone to speak ill even of vampires.
Thea said she had enjoyed being married and hoped to find another human to love as well.
Could she love a vampire?
He blinked as the truth settled deep into his bones.
, he loved Thea. That is what he realized in this terrible moment. He loved her, the soul of her, the scent of her, the way she laughed and rolled her eyes when he was being arrogant and absurd, that she had resisted him for two years when no human had ever done so before. He loved that she had talked with him on her porch night after night, asking about his tribe, his life, his world, as a friend might, always wanting to know his thoughts, what he found meaningful. No wonder he had returned to her again and again, never losing interest, always drawn back to her home.
The thought that she could die in this early morning hour because the Mage had him trapped, pierced his masculine soul to the quick. He prided himself on his ability to keep his tribe safe, yet here he was confronting death-by-sunlight knowing that his lack of levitation power was all that stood between himself and saving Thea’s life.
He was desperate to save her. No wonder he had dreamed that she called to him for help.
He frowned and a new thought formed. Telepathy was unusual among fae-humans and his own ability was limited to communicating with a handful of powerful vampires. But he had heard her call for help, he was sure of that now. Was it possible she could speak mind-to-mind?
He focused his thoughts very carefully, blocking everything else out.
, he sent from his mind.
Thea, my darling, my lovely fae-human, can you hear me?
He held his thoughts very quiet and open. Then he heard her. He could not be mistaken.
Gabriel, you’ve got to help me. Drachyn is trying to bind me. Your mark worked for a time but it’s beginning to fail.
The solution to his terrible imprisonment came to him in a flash. Yet his means of escape would require a sacrifice on his part, something he had sworn never to do, to bind himself to a woman. But the binding would give him the power he needed to escape. Once freed, he could destroy Drachyn.
Something deep within shifted and his spine straightened as though he had known from the beginning that his path with Thea would require more from him than he had ever given to a woman before.
Yet somehow, with Thea, making this leap felt very right.
He made the decision and once made, joy came to him in a surprising flow of powerful energy that told him he had wanted this all along.
In the same way that he had heard Thea’s voice within his mind, he focused his thoughts clearly once more and mentally said,
Thea, can you hear me?
Yes. Oh, yes, Gabriel. Thank the ancient vampire lords you have heard me. Drachyn is pushing past the power of the mark. His fangs are dripping. It will be but seconds now.
Thea, you must listen. The only way we can escape, for I am trapped in a tower of sorts, is if I bind you to me. Will you permit me to bind you?
Oh, dear God, yes, please. I respect you, Gabriel. You would never hurt me. With all my heart, I accept the binding you offer me.