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Authors: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Tags: #Paranormal Romance

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BOOK: Accidentally Married To...A Vampire?
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His interest piqued. “You mean to say…she is beautiful?”

Cimil smiled. “Irresistible. Sharp as a whip. Sexy. Perfect for you in every way.”

Niccolo felt his insides twist with anticipation. She would be his? All his?
Hmmm.

“Go on.”

She raised her brows. “Before you get all excited, Mr. Stud-tastic, there are rules. First, you must continue to uphold the Pact. No ifs, ands, or buts. That means you must keep that”—she pointed to his penis—“in your pants…when you find some, obviously. And those”—she pointed to his fangs—“in your mouth.”

The Pact had many parts to it, and he knew them all since he’d spent the last thousand years upholding its laws. It was central to maintaining the vampires’ existence; as long as they followed the commandments, they would be left alone by the gods to live. Rule one: Vampires could not kill innocent humans—Forbiddens—although the queen’s compliance to this law was highly questionable. In any case, even the most honorable of vampires were known to lose control in the throes of feeding or passion. Therefore, those activities with Forbiddens were strictly off limits, too. The only exception was for those mated to a Forbidden—practically unheard of—in which case, a careful, consensual nip here or there was allowed, but nothing more.

“Done,” he said. “I will refrain from biting without her permission. Nor will I sleep with her until she has been turned.”

“Not so fast, Tomcat,” she added. “No biting, even if she begs. And she
must
be turned
with
her permission on the anniversary of your third month together. That very same day. Understand?”

“Why three months?” he questioned.

“Hey buddy, my gig is prophecies and hunting for garage sales. I don’t make the signs, I just follow them.” She shrugged. “Any whooo, the rest is up to you.” She turned and continued marching forward, quickening her pace. “So. You in?”

Niccolo looked from side to side. “In? In what?”

“Yes.
In.
Are you onboard? Ready to throw down. Roll the dice. Ride that crazy cow called life and make her your bitch?”

Niccolo frowned. Her colloquialisms were simply offensive. And this coming from a ruthless vampire. “You are asking if I am committed.

?”


Siii
.” She rolled her eyes.

What other choice did he have? Besides, he did not believe in this ridiculous mate business. He had known tens of thousands of vampires over his existence, but only a dozen or so claimed to have found their true mate. It was extremely rare. And for those few, he saw no evidence they were anything more than contented couples who’d beaten the odds. There was no cosmic force at play.

As for his “mate” being human, he could find a way to cope temporarily. Sure, humans were only a step up from a cow or goat one would eat or perhaps keep as a favorite farm-pet; however, he wouldn’t be the first immortal to bear the shame of coupling with a human. It was manageable. Especially if she happened to be beautiful.

Whoever she was, he would woo her, set her up with only the finest of things, and after the three months were up, he’d have her begging to be turned. Once he was free from the queen, he had ample resources to provide his mate with a comfortable, separate life for eternity. Everyone would win. Everyone would be happy.

How doing all this could possibly free him from being that festering bunion of a queen’s general, he had no clue. He’d been warned that Cimil’s instructions were cruel at best, fatal at worst, and required an extreme leap of faith. But at this point, anything was worth trying. Hell, if he failed, there was always death. He hoped. The queen’s dungeons were notoriously hellish.

But he wouldn’t fail. He was the strongest warrior the vampire world had ever known. He had fought and won thousands of battles, upheld the Pact, and maintained the peace between the gods and vampires for a thousand years. This would be a stroll through the park...or jungle. Whatever.

“It’s much better than I’d hoped for,” he stated coolly.

Cimil’s eyes lit up. “All right then. Oh, and there’s one more thing…”

 

 

***

 

 

Cimil waved her hands and watched the vampire collapse to the ground. She poked him several times in the chest, checking to make sure he was out cold.


Buon
, Niccolo DiConti,” she said, perfectly imitating his deep voice. “Your mate will not be born for, oh, say, about three hundred years, and I have to entomb you in the meantime. Otherwise, you won’t live to see another full moon. Did you know your paranoid, sorry excuse of a queen fears your strength and plans to kill you? Crazy shrew. I wish I could take her out myself. But nooo.” She shook her head.

The beautiful naked vampire lay completely oblivious over a bed of leaves.

Cimil sighed. “You are such a scrumptious man-treat. How could anyone think of killing you? But I guarantee, after three hundred years, your queen will only be a teensy bit peeved by your absence, and she will have reconsidered her plot to murder you. You can thank me later.”

She leaned down and pressed her mouth to his full lips and then ran her finger along his chiseled jaw.

“Come, my handsome vampire. I have a few things I must do to prepare you. Then I’ll put you somewhere safe to await your bride. Oh—I know!” She clapped excitedly. “You can stay inside my piggy bank! And I’ll create a drama-tastic jungle intro to your lady! How about
Romancing the Stone
meets
Apocalypto?

She flung the naked giant over her shoulder and gave him a loving pat on his bottom. “Watching you two will be so much fun! I might have to charge the other gods admission to
this
show when the time comes.”

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Present Day. México.

 

Arms pumping, Helena Strauss chased the smoke-spewing bus down a narrow dirt road through the jungle. “Wait! I’m here! Wait!”

She suddenly sucked in a mouthful of gnats and then gagged and stumbled. She hacked violently, almost losing the remnants of her meager lunch: crackers and apple juice. She doubled over to catch her breath, cursing with every exhale as her ride evaporated right before her watering eyes.

“Dammit. God-effing dammit! Worst vacation, ever!”

She’d left her backpack on that bus—wallet, cellphone, water and all—with the nice retired Tucson woman with the straw hat and orange muumuu. Helena had clearly told the driver she’d only be “
un minuto
” before she hopped off at the last second; she needed to use the facilities one more time before the three-hour drive back to her hotel south of Cancun. With the sweltering heat and gallons of water she’d downed to keep cool, Helena had spent more time seeing the restroom than the ruins. Muumuu woman even asked when Helena was expecting.

Seriously?

Okay, she did look a little plumper these days—comfort food and lots of it—despite all the exercise. But pregnancy was last on her worry-list
. I’d need to have a boyfriend, or at the very least, have had sex. Once.

Well, today, that was the least of her problems. Now she’d been left behind without pesos or bug spray, and that rotten bus had been the last tour of the day.

Helena looked up. The sun was already seated behind the thick tree line, and the sky was a deep-burnt orange, veined with shades of purple and gray.
Oh, hell! Almost night.

She doubled over again, her head spinning and waves of nausea washing over her. She’d been feeling odd and unable to think straight ever since she’d arrived at the remote ruins.

Montezuma, perhaps?

Everyone kept warning her last night not to have the Mega-Margarita with lots of crushed ice, but she figured the tequila would kill any micro-critters in the water.

Not the mighty amoeba
, she reminded herself.
You studied evolutionary biology. You should know better.

But last night, she’d already had a few—okay, four—beers before the Big Gulp sized margarita came calling and she began howling to the bar crowd, “Who the heeell is this Montezuma bonehead,
anyway!
? If he wants revenge, bring it on!” The crowd cheered as she pounded down her drink and proceeded to get an apocalyptic brain-freeze.

Helena shook her head.
If Darwin were alive, what would he say?

“Between last night and leaving your backpack on the bus,” she mumbled to no one, “you may actually be too stupid to live.”

Well, hopefully it was the heat making her woozy and lose her wits, not some Aztec gastric-curse.

After a moment, her blurry vision cleared. She slowly stood and then pivoted on her heel several times, turning her head from side to side. The road, encased by two walls of thick vegetation, looked the same in either direction.

Jungle. Jungle. More jungle. But, which way is the…? Oh, hell. This can’t be happening.
How could she lose her bearings down a single-lane dirt road? The nausea had her completely disoriented.

“This way. The ruins and trinket shack are back this way.” She nodded toward the long stretch of road to her right and began walking. Intermittent waves of blurriness struck her as she trudged along the darkening road, twisting her ankle in an obscured pothole every few steps.

She stopped, scratching her sweaty neck with one hand while swatting the unrelenting mosquitoes with the other. “This can’t be happening. I think I’m going the wrong frigging way.”

Don’t panic, Helena. Just go back.

But something wasn’t right. She couldn’t think straight. And now she
was
panicking. She’d seen all the Indiana Jones movies, and only bad things happened when he went near jungles and ruins: voodoo priests, giant spiders…Germans—all sorts of scary things.

As darkness descended, fear continued hammering on the cracks of her rational mind. Even the critters had decided to ratchet up the volume.
Great. A creepy nature soundtrack for my own personal nightmare.

“How about some Tomb Raider music, people!” she barked at the clicking bugs and hidden squawking animals. But only the shadows answered, suddenly taking on a life of their own— engulfing the trees, erasing any distinguishable textures and shapes. Leaves became blackness. Branches became blackness. The length of road disintegrated in front of her. The ominous night swallowed everything but her frantic breaths and the nose on her face.

She ran her hands through her damp sticky curls.

It could be hours before anyone noticed the missing, slightly overweight, twenty-four-year-old from Santa Cruz, California, who was sightseeing alone because her hung over best friends, Ann and Jess, had decided to stay beachside and gape at the Italian water-polo team in town for some tournament.

Why did I come on this stupid tour?
Because she didn’t save her money for two whole years just to get a hangover in Mexico. She wanted to see the remnants of one of the greatest civilizations ever. That’s why.

Just then, Helena spotted a glowing light through the dense brush. Was there another road in that direction? Was that a car?

No. Too slow
.

She suddenly remembered that the tour guides, mostly locals from a nearby village, had been carrying large flashlights to point out glyphs inside the temples.

Could it be…?

“Hey! Over here!
Aquí!
” The moving light was fading fast. “No, no!
Wait!”
Helena swallowed her fear and pushed through wall after wall of stubborn vegetation, determined to find salvation. “Wait!
Espera!
” she screamed as the light faded to a minuscule flicker.

Helena kicked it into high gear for all of ten steps before she stumbled and performed a belly flop, landing with a
thump!
Pain ripped through her knee. She rolled over and sat up, wincing as she bent her leg. No structural damage, but a warm trickle of blood slid down to her ankle. Sadly, she’d only worn cargo shorts and her favorite white tank with built-in-bra. Otherwise, she’d tear off her shirt and apply pressure.

She waited for the initial sting to subside before she stood up. The light, and whoever had been toting it, was long gone. Now, she was truly screwed.


Come to me
,” she heard a deep male voice suddenly whisper.

Helena froze and swallowed her scream. “Wh-who’s there?” She held her breath, praying her imagination had conjured the dark smooth voice. “Who’s there?” she repeated loudly.
Crap, I sound like a lame knock-knock joke
.

BOOK: Accidentally Married To...A Vampire?
11.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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