Authors: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff


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“Yeah. So?”

Tommaso was the sort of man who excelled at the art of manipulation—not a warrior like himself. More like a pretty boy who favored fine suits and stylish hair. Nevertheless, they had grown to be friends over the past year or so, for one simple reason: they’d both been branded traitors. Of course, they also had their reasons for the things they’d done, which was why they were allowed to live and pay their dues. But they would forever be branded as bad boys of the immortal community. Given the community was made up of some fairly vicious vampires, the gods’ human army (known as Uchben), a variety of dangerous and predatory immortals, and fourteen of the most insane, dysfunctional, fucked-up deities that made circus folk look like preppies, it said a lot that he and Tommaso had been deemed the “messed up” ones.

“So why are you there?” Andrus asked.

“I, uh…”

“You’re having Cimil and Zac set you up, aren’t you?” Andrus asked.

“No. They’re setting
up. Zac and Cimil just called and asked if I could get you on board since we all know you’re a little…”

“A little what?” he snarled.

“Stubborn, uncivilized, ruthless, and cold. Then there’s the fact you like killing things and carry around a blood-crusted sword and you look like you might tear off anyone’s head if they so much as look at you the wrong way and—”

“I always clean my sword after I kill something, and I’m not going on a fucking date.” A) other than a one-night fuck here and there, he didn’t want anything to do with women. And, B) he didn’t want anything to do with Cimil.

“Drus, come on. It’s one date. That’s all.”

“How the hell did Zac and Cimil get you in on this? What do you get out of it?” Andrus asked.


“Fine. I’m hanging up now,” Andrus grumbled.

“Cimil said she knows who my mate is. She’ll introduce us at some big party they’re throwing if I get you out to L.A. and convince you to go on a date.”

Andrus growled. He didn’t have time for this shit. Okay. He did. But he wasn’t in the mood for one of Cimil’s goddamned shenanigans that always led to something bad. After all, she was insane.

“Regrettably, Tommaso,” Andrus replied, “I cannot right now. I have some things to figure out.” Like how to get over losing Matty and Helena from his life.

“I know Helena kicked you out,” Tommaso said.

“How the hell do you know that?”
It happened…what? Two minutes ago?

“How do you think?”

She and her goddamned dead. Everyone used to think she saw the future, but really, she just spoke to the dead who lived in some other plane where time didn’t exist. People who had not been born were already there because some time in the future, they would die. It was extremely fucking confusing.

“Tell Cimil and her garrulous deceased to stay out of my life,” Andrus growled.

“Sorry, man; we’re talking Cimil here. That’s impossible. But she says the woman is really hot.”

“What’s the point? I had a mate once. She died. Do you not recall?”
Then I met Helena, and she’ll never be mine.

“That’s why you need to come to L.A.,” Tommaso said. “She said the Universe has granted you another chance.”

The Universe didn’t do that. It was one mate per immortal. Cimil was probably up to something. Something no one could anticipate because she was too insane to follow any logical motives.

“Sounds like a hoax,” Andrus grumbled.

“There’s only one way to find out: meet the woman. You’ll know the second you set eyes on her.”

Andrus’s heart started to pound in his chest. He’d not been lucky in the love department, and he specifically referred to his now deceased mate, Reyna, the evil vampire queen who’d hijacked his life over three hundred years ago. The deceitful, mad shrew had allowed the evil vampire population to explode, which angered the gods. When they threatened to kill her, she traded his life along with some of her best warriors in exchange for her own. But before she handed them over to be infused with the light of the gods, she made him like the rest of her men—a vampire. They would then become known as the Demilords—a new species of warrior that was stronger, faster, unaffected by the sun, and did not require blood for sustenance. The ultimate killing machines. But as long as evil vampires roamed the earth, they would be under the command of the gods.

The men would eventually declare him their leader when he vowed to free them all, but it took three long centuries before they’d see the end to their servitude and have their vampire ties severed with the death of Reyna.

A giant cluster fuck, to be sure.
The moral of the story, however, was that freedom was a good thing, and love—the true kind—had evaded him his entire life.

“What have you got to lose, Andrus?” Tommaso urged.

My freedom. My sanity.

A moment of silence passed. “Andrus, Helena will never love you. Not the way you want and need her to. And I know you still have hang-ups about Reyna.”

No. Really?
“What is your point, Tommaso?”

“That you’re talented at many things—mostly killing—but moving on isn’t one of your strengths. And if you don’t change that, you’ll stay stuck exactly where you are.”

“The way I see it, that’s my problem. No one else’s.”

“Really? Because the way I see it, you’ve made it Helena and Matty’s too. You should’ve left months ago once Niccolo got back.”

“They asked me to stay,” Andrus argued.

“To be polite, man. Helena didn’t want to run you off like that; she cares about you. But you and I both know you should’ve left—two alphas can’t share the same house, especially when they’re both in love with the same woman and one of them is not the husband.”

Tommaso’s cruel words felt like an arrow right through the heart. Mostly because they were all true, right down to the fact that he and Niccolo had just gone at it. Of course, it was all a misunderstanding on Niccolo’s arrogant part, but still.

Tommaso went on, “Come to L.A., Andrus. Do it before you find yourself hovering outside her building, fighting the urge to be near them and protect them.”

Andrus blinked, turned, and looked straight up at the tall building.
Sonofabitch. I’m standing guard outside.
Tommaso was right. He couldn’t keep hanging on to his hope that Helena would want him. It was time to start trying to let go of his past. The only issue was, without those two things, he didn’t quite know who he was anymore.

You’re a lethal assassin. A demigod. What else is there to know?

“Fine,” Andrus replied. “See you tomorrow. Text me the address.”





As the last slice of sun sank into the waves, Andrus pulled up in his black Hummer—an airport rental, but still his usual ride—to the small seafood restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He flipped down the vanity mirror and ran his hands through his short spiky dark hair, questioning if he should have shaved. Or showered. Or bothered to change his clothes.

If this woman was truly his mate, she would be instantly turned on. And not like he smelled bad. Not really. Although, he did wear his lucky leather pants, but those smelled of victory. He had killed at least seven hundred evil vampires while wearing them.

All right. I probably should’ve worn the pants without the bloodstains.
At least he’d brushed his teeth at the airport. All right, he’d gargled with whisky. So what? Matty loved his whisky breath. Of course, she was a toddler and enjoyed drinking blood, so her definition of good breath probably wasn’t the same as most.

He exited the vehicle, swiping his leather duster from the backseat and then slipped a blade sheathed in leather down the back of his pants. One could never be too prepared for danger.

He strolled into the upscale restaurant—the sort foolish mortals dine at when they wished to impress others—with white tablecloths, water sculpture in the lobby, and modern art on the walls. A young woman in black slacks and a crisp white blouse immediately moved to greet him then froze with a gaping mouth.

What is the matter? Never laid eyes on a lethal immortal assassin before?

“I’m meeting someone,” he said. “She goes by the name of—” He slipped his phone from his pants pocket and toggled to Tommaso’s text. It read:
Sorry, man. Something came up. Meet Samantha at eight o’clock at the Langosta Caliente.

When he’d checked the address and found it was a restaurant in Santa Monica, he decided to get a room at the Beverly Hills—the presidential suite—so they would have easy access to a place to fuck. No, he did not believe for a moment that this Samantha was his mate; however, that did not signify he wouldn’t permit her to suck his cock. Or sleep with him.
Maybe both.
Hell, if she bothered to go on a date with him, he owed her that much, didn’t he? After all, he was a gentleman.

He looked at the terrified human hostess waiting for him to speak.

“Her name is Samantha,” he said.

The female bobbed her head. “Oh. Yes. Uh…right this way, sir.” The woman stumbled as she turned for the dining room.

Slow the hell down, woman
. The hostess practically sprinted through the candlelit restaurant filled with well-dressed mortals oblivious to the fact that many still lived thanks to men like himself.

He took his time, his eyes carefully scanning the room for any threats—a habit he would never break—before reaching the table next to the window. He took one look at the blonde in the tight red dress who sat staring at him, and he knew; she wasn’t his mate. He felt nothing.

So why had Cimil arranged this date, then? There had to be a reason, and with Cimil it was never straightforward or simple. A bigger plan was always at play.

Regardless, this female is hot.
Pouty lips, big breasts, cute body.
All right. I will still allow her the pleasure of my cock.

He grunted at the hostess, who scurried away as he sat. “You’re Samantha?” he said.

The woman’s jaw sort of hung open while she slowly bobbed her head.

Yes, I know. It’s not every day you see six and half feet of such a fine male specimen sitting across from you.
“I am Andrus.”

She nodded stiffly.

Suddenly, he smelled fear. His head whipped over his shoulder, his eyes searching the room for danger.


When he moved his eyes back to the woman, he realized the smell came from her, and he laughed.

“Wha-what’s so funny?” she said, her voice shaking.

“You. You’re funny.” He leaned in a bit, and she squeaked, shirking away. “No need to be afraid, Samantha. I have already decided to take you back to my hotel room after we dine. And if you’re a good girl and eat your veggies, I’ll make you scream.” He winked. There should always be a reward for eating your greens. It was what the parenting handbook had said. Made sense to apply it to women, yes? They were similar to children.
Except Helena. She is a fearless vampire with the strength and fire of twenty warriors.

Samantha’s dull blue eyes—nowhere near as lovely as Helena’s—widened in shock. She popped from her seat, turned, and ran straight out of the restaurant.

Andrus blinked while the other patrons did their best not to look at him.
he scratched his stubbly jaw—
was it something I said?

He cupped his hand over his mouth and took a whiff of his breath.
Whisky. Smells nice.
He shrugged, glad the date was over and that he could get back to his life of solitude.

He opened the menu sitting atop the table.
Hmm. Ceviche.

Suddenly, he had a feeling deep in his gut. This wasn’t over, was it? No, he felt something coming. Something dark and evil. The strange part was, however, that feeling in his gut was a happy little tingle. Like whatever awaited him was a good thing.

He shook his head.
You’re an idiot.
Nothing good ever awaited him.
Especially when Cimil is involved.




It took Andrus most of the night to finally fall asleep. Something about the big quiet room, decorated with fine, khaki-colored, 1930s-style furniture (still very modern in his opinion), felt awkward. He also hadn’t slept in a bed in a very long time. A) He didn’t require much sleep, and B) he’d spent most nights snoozing with the Count—Matty’s favorite stuffed doll from
Sesame Street
—in the armchair in Matty’s room. The last time he actually recalled sleeping well was with Helena before she’d married Niccolo. Yes, yes, she had been his captive at the time, and no, nothing happened but for a bit of innocent spooning; however, it had been the most luxuriously sound sleep he could ever remember. However, now that he had peace and quiet—no evil vampires, restless baby vampires, or other threats to worry about—he found it difficult to relax.

Finally, after raiding the minibar and jerking off to some strange porn where two women took turns spanking each other, he closed his eyes and drifted off in the early morning only to be awoken by cold, wet liquid poured over his face.

“What the…” He jumped from the bed, swiping his machete from beneath his pillow. When his vision focused, he spotted a tall, large sonofabitch with long black hair and deep brown skin standing on the other side of the bed.


He had straps going every which way over his chest and arms and two prominent cloth sacks tethered to his torso. Chubby little coco-brown arms and legs stuck out from slits in the sacks.

“Very nice. Those the new Boba 4Gs?” Andrus asked, checking out the Cadillac of baby carriers.

“Organic cotton,” Roberto replied, “with adjustable padded straps for both front,” he twisted his large body to reveal two more babies strapped to his back, “or rear facing.”

Excellent choice
. Back support was important.

“So what brings you to my room so early in the morning?” Andrus was careful not to provoke a fight with this man. Not because he was the original vampire and strong as hell, but because Andrus had a no-unnecessary-fights rule when children were present.

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