Authors: D.B. Reynolds,
& Raphael Novella
D. B. Reynolds
As always, I first must acknowledge Linda Kichline, my editor and publisher, who makes every word I write better. My thanks to Patricia Lazarus for my beautiful sunset
and to all of my fellow writers of the OWG—Rebels Rule! Very special thanks to fellow writers Michelle Muto and Steve McHugh, who are always there to do a quick read, to share the triumphs and kick-start the writer’s block. And to my husband, Roman, and my entire huge family, who think I’m weird, but love me anyway.
Other Books by D. B. Reynolds
Vampires in America Series
& Raphael Novellas
Kindle ISBN; 978-1-61026-136-4
EPUB ISBN: 978-1-61026-137-1
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
& Raphael Novella 2013 by Donna Beltz.
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lowered the twenty pound weight to the exercise mat—okay, so it was only a five pound weight, but it
like twenty pounds when combined with thirty plank press reps, an exercise that was surely designed by a madman or a sadist.
Every muscle in her body was whining at her to stop, so she surrendered, collapsing to the mat and rolling onto her back. Eyes closed, she pressed her spine flat to the floor a few times, then starting with her toes and working upward, she consciously relaxed each muscle in turn, focusing on every even breath, in and out, the steady beat of her heart—
Zen state collapsed. She kept her eyes determinedly closed and snapped out an irritated, “What?”
Her workout partner cum sadistic trainer
laughed. “I wanted to be sure you were still breathing.”
. It’s good for me.”
“It’s good for all of us, but it’s nearly midnight.”
gave an unladylike snort. “Pretending ignorance won’t get you out of it.”
sat up and cast a scowling glance at the vampire who’d become a friend.
Surprising, since she and
hadn’t exactly started on the best of terms.
“Hey, don’t blame me,” the ice-blond vampire said now. “You’re the one who wanted to be more involved. Be careful what you wish for and all that.”
“I wanted to be more involved in
issues, things to do with Raphael’s safety. Not every goddamned business meeting. I hate business meetings. I don’t even go to my own. Besides, how do
know what I wanted? I never told anyone but Raphael.”
rolled her eyes.
Like every single vampire in the compound didn’t know you were pissed about that business at the fund raiser in March.”
grabbed a bottle of water, tipped her head back, and drained half of it, instead of responding. She wasn’t comfortable discussing her personal affairs with anyone, and there was nothing more personal than her relationship with
. . and especially what had happened between them at the end of March. She’d been furious about his decision to put himself at risk, essentially offering himself as bait to draw in the same man who’d already tried to kill him once. That had been bad enough, but his real offense had been keeping her in the dark precisely because he’d
she’d fight him on it. So rather than talk to her, try to reason with her, and maybe, just
, listen to her objections, he’d simply not told her. Until he was shot and she’d figured it out for
She’d almost left him that night. Had come closer to walking out the door than at any time in their relationship, including the earliest days when she’d still been coming to terms with the fact that she was falling in love with a bossy, fucking
who was alpha to the extreme. But, in the end, she couldn’t do it. She loved him in a way she’d never loved anyone in her entire life.
was right, though. She’d insisted Raphael keep her in the loop going forward. She didn’t like to call it an ultimatum, though that’s what it had been. She
told him if he ever lied to her like that again, she’d leave and he’d never find her. Raphael had contacts and money, but then, so did
Of course, they had a blood bond which would make it easy for him to locate her, at least for a while. But, on the other hand, he was hampered by vampire politics, which would make it difficult for him to come after her overseas.
But now Raphael was trying to make it up to her by including her in every little thing, and she didn’t have the heart to tell him it was too much. She’d already hurt him enough. Well, that and she didn’t want to sound like an ungrateful bitch who just couldn’t be satisfied.
sighed and pushed up off the floor.
“I’d better shower and change,” she told
. “Don’t want Raphael’s business buddies to think he mated a stinky human.”
* * * *
stepped out of the shower, feeling well and thoroughly pummeled. Their shower was big and decadent, its multiple showerheads like a terrific massage rather than a shower. She wrapped herself in a towel, then grabbed another and rubbed it over her wet hair as she walked over and opened the door. Cool air rushed into the steamy room, and she started to turn back, but then smiled at the sight of Raphael sitting in his big chair, reading something on an
. He looked all serious and handsome in a brilliant white shirt and perfectly creased charcoal slacks, a dark blue silk tie with a tiny silver design providing a nice touch of color. The matching suit jacket was lying across the bed, as if he’d tossed it there. But
knew that was only for show. Raphael was far too vain to risk marring the perfect cut of his suit. He’d have laid it down just so. She grinned crookedly. He was such a control freak.
“I don’t trust that grin,” he commented without looking up.
“It’s Pirozzi you shouldn’t trust,” she said, deliberately offhand as she strolled across the room toward him. “That vampire’s a pig. No, wait. Pigs are too smart. He’s a toad.
A big, fat, bloated toad.”
She stood directly in front of him and nudged his leg with her bare foot teasingly, waiting for a response.
Raphael smiled slightly and set down his
, still without looking up. And then before she could react, he grabbed her around the waist and tumbled her laughing into his lap.
“Insulting our guest won’t get you out of the meeting,” he murmured, slipping one long-fingered hand beneath the towel and caressing her naked hip.
tightened her lips in irritation, then turned and stuck her tongue out at him.
He only laughed and said, “Neither will that. I’ve better uses for your tongue.”
“Do you?” she murmured, and bracing herself against his shoulders, she rose up and twisted around until she was straddling his lap. She began loosening his tie. “We’ll be late for your meeting,” she commented, sliding the tie off and tossing it aside.
Raphael tugged her towel completely away and dropped it to the floor. “There
no meeting without me,” he growled and cupped both of her breasts in his hands, strumming the nipples with his thumbs. His eyes lifted to meet hers, their black depths flickering with silver starlight.
breath caught in her throat as a familiar thrill shivered along her nerves. She loved the way he desired her, the heat that still filled his eyes whenever he looked at her. No matter how long they’d been together or how much they argued—and they did argue—he still
her. This beautiful, powerful creature who could turn heads just by walking into a room wanted
Her heart swelled as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “I love you,” she whispered.
Raphael gripped her more tightly, one hand on the nape of her neck, the other low on her back, holding her still as he crushed his mouth against hers in a hungry, demanding kiss. His tongue swept between her lips, caressing every inch of her mouth, tangling around her tongue in a battle for dominance that neither one of them cared about winning.
“I love you, my
,” he whispered against her lips. “Remember that.”
“I don’t have to remember,” she said fervently. “You’ll always be here to tell me.”
He kissed her again, yanking her closer until his growing arousal was nestled right between her thighs. She rocked forward, eyes closed, pleasuring herself against the rigid bulge of his cock as he switched his kisses to her breasts, taking one nipple between his lips and sucking hard, his tongue tormenting the stiff peak until his teeth closed on it gently, and she hissed in pleasure. She loved it when he did that, when the initial sting of his bite became a jolt of lust that sizzled right down through her belly to spear her pussy. She felt the resulting gush of wet heat and ground herself on his cock where it was straining against the confines of his zipper.
“Oh, dear,” she said breathlessly, “I’ve gotten your pants all wet and sticky.”
Raphael’s strong fingers dug into her ass. “I have other pants,” he hissed, his breath hot on her neck as he teased her with small bites, never breaking the skin, only tantalizing her with the scrape of his fangs and the soothing touch of his tongue.
“Raphael,” she groaned.
He lowered his head further, his teeth closing around the fragile arch of her clavicle, barely breaking the skin before pulling away and licking the small taste of her blood.
,” he murmured, and she could feel his smile against the curve of her shoulder.
She made a wordless noise of frustration, grabbing both sides of his fine shirt and tearing it open, sending buttons flying. She sighed with satisfaction at the sight of his naked chest, running her fingers lovingly over his firm
, pushing the shirt over his shoulders and squeezing the thick pads of muscle there, then smoothing her hands down to his waist and scraping her nails over the hard ridges of his abdomen.
“Gorgeous,” she whispered, her fingers already busy unbuckling his belt. She glanced up and found him leaning back and watching her with bemusement. Giving him a quick grin, she
unzipped his pants, humming with satisfaction when his beautiful, hard cock sprang into her fingers, bucking as if eager for her touch.
stroked up and down—once, twice—loving the glide of hot skin over the hard steel of his erection, the clench of his abdominal muscles as he hardened even further in her grasp.
“Mine,” she said, then rose up onto her knees, just enough that she could slip him between the swollen lips of her sex, into the slick, wet ache between her thighs. She lowered herself slowly, taking him into her body, feeling her sensitive tissues stretch to accommodate his thickness. A sigh of pleasure escaped her lips, and she closed her eyes as she began rocking slowly back and forth.
Raphael growled abruptly, a deep rumbling sound that had
eyes flashing open to see his eyes burning with hunger. His arms came around her and his hands stroked down her back to curl over her hips and grip her tightly.
She sucked in a breath as his fingers dug in and he buried his cock more deeply inside her.
threw her head back and closed her eyes, savoring the exquisite sensation as he began thrusting up against her, his big hands gripping her hips, holding her close as he asserted his dominance. Leaning forward, she lowered her mouth to his shoulder and bit down hard, satisfaction zinging through her at his hiss of lust. Anticipation shivered over her skin when she felt his moist breath against her neck, when his tongue scraped roughly over her jugular. She groaned at the press of his fangs and wanted to call his name, to demand that he take her now. But her throat couldn’t produce the sounds, her breath panting out of her chest, her lungs squeezed by the pounding of her heart. She cried out, begging for release, trying to move, to flex her hips against his thrusting, anything to relieve the terrible need building to a crest so high it threatened to crush her.
* * * *
Raphael watched with hooded eyes as
writhed in his grip, a study in pure sensuality. Her lovely skin was flushed with color, sweat gleaming along the swell of her breasts as they swayed against him, her nipples rosy pearls that rubbed against his chest with every thrust of his cock into her sweet body. Her nails scraped the back of his neck, and he felt the warm brush of her breath against his skin a moment before she bit his shoulder, her blunt human teeth drawing blood. He hissed with pleasure when her lips closed over the wound, when her tongue lapped out and she swallowed, drinking his blood. Fisting his hand in her silky hair, he bared her neck and lowered his mouth to the gentle curve of her jaw, nibbling, teasing,
her pleading gasps as he finally brought his mouth to the enticing blue line of her jugular. His tongue rasped along its length, plumping it until it was a juicy swell of blood. Baring his fangs, he sliced easily through the velvet warmth of her skin, puncturing the thin membrane of her vein and releasing the honey sweet flow of her blood. He drew deeply, like a man starved, her blood filling his mouth and sliding down his throat, giving him warmth, granting him life.
scream of climax vibrated against his bones as she trembled in his arms, every muscle clenching, holding onto him as if she couldn’t let go, her knees digging into his hips as her hot, wet pussy squeezed his cock like a vise and she shivered in his arms. He gripped her hips more tightly and thrust upward, her sheath pulsing along his length, demanding his climax, urging him to join her, to spend himself inside her.