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Authors: Dana Marie Bell

Noble Blood (9 page)

BOOK: Noble Blood
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Charles shook his head. “Duncan. You
know
who I mean.”

His eyes narrowed. “The point is moot. The marriage contract has already been fulfilled. I am married to Moira Dunne.”

“She is unsuitable.”

Duncan took a deep breath, the rage building deep within him. How
dare
he malign Duncan’s chosen? “She is
mine.

“What about the debt owed by the Dunnes?”

Duncan rolled his eyes. He was done with this topic. “Get it through your thick skull. We damaged the Dunnes. Got it?
We
owe
them
.”

Charles merely shrugged. “And the vampire?”

In an instant, his fists were curled in Charles’s pristine black lapels. For the first time in at least four hundred years he lost his temper in front of a rival. “Jaden is
mine.
” Charles was a threat to Duncan’s chosen family, and he would see to it that he never came near either Moira or Jaden again.

Charles carefully pulled free of his grasp. “I see. You understand the clan will have something to say about this?”

His lips curled in a feral smile. “Bring it on.”

“Very well then.” His uncle straightened his jacket and stalked back toward the limo. “Duncan?”

“Yes?”

“I will miss you.” Charles got back into the limo with a small wave, shutting the door behind him.

Duncan watched the limousine pull away. What else could go wrong today? He’d have to figure out a way to get Moira and Jaden to return to New York with him, because his worst fears were now confirmed. The clan wanted to replace him as their lord. It was becoming obvious who the rest of the clan wanted as his replacement.

He ground his teeth in fury. Charles Malmayne was his father’s younger brother, born fifty years after Duncan. He had the bloodline to lay claim to the clan if Duncan should falter. The others would accept him without hesitation. He had two daughters, each one willing to take Kaitlynn’s place on Leo Dunne’s arm. Once they discovered he was mated to Jaden they’d have the backing of the White Queen, Glorianna. Her hatred for vampires was legendary in the White Court, which was why most non-Black vampires joined the Gray Court, even the ones with good hearts like Jaden. Where that hatred sprang from Duncan had no clue, but the Queen could be rabid on the subject. If she backed them up all the way he’d find himself under Charles’s thumb before he could blink.

But first he needed to know why the fulfillment of the Malmayne-Joloun marriage contract was so important to his clan. He had to find out before Charles made his move or he would be forced to bow to his uncle’s rule. Charles, elitist bigot that he was, would never tolerate a vampire in the clan. Jaden would be put to death on his orders, and there would be nothing Duncan could do about it. Not without…

He frowned. No. That option was a possibility but not something he dared contemplate, not until there were no other options left to them. He’d have to think of something else.

He turned to enter the house, the argument with Charles fresh in his mind. He knew what Moira had been up to in the office, knew she’d begun to lay her Claim to Jaden. Duncan’s eyes narrowed. Maybe that was the way to save them both. Claim them, Bind them, make them his in such a way that not even Charles could object. Once the true bond was in place it would take an act of the Gods to separate them no matter what Charles thought. Glorianna would be pissed, but since Jaden was Gray Court there would be nothing she could do about it. Duncan might be able to win the rest of the Clan over, given enough time. He would have to if he wished to remain their lord.

He would need to convince Jaden that bonding him in the Sidhe way was the best course of action. Jaden seemed reluctant to even consider that Duncan might want him, and while Duncan was hurt by that he could understand it. He’d fought his occasional bouts of attraction for the vampire for a century, unwilling to take advantage of his bond brother. Duncan shook his head, disgusted with himself. All of the current anguish could have been avoided if he’d just listened to what his heart was telling him. How could he have been so blind? He’d had no desire for another man after his bonding with Jaden, the need completely veiled though he’d more than slated his lust with women. He hadn’t questioned the fact that his desire for other men had gone away for decades.

Maybe he wasn’t fit to run the clan after all if he could completely miss the signs of his true bond.

“So? What did Charlie boy want?”

He turned, startled. He hadn’t heard Jaden come to the front door. Duncan paused, staring at his bondmate. Something about the way Jaden stood had him concerned. His stance was nonchalant, but Duncan could see the tense set of his shoulders. It could have been the result of Moira’s seduction attempt or the knowledge that Charles had been the unexpected, insistent visitor, but Duncan wasn’t certain and Jaden was still partially blocking him from his mind. “He wants to take over the clan and have either Constance or Cecelia marry Leo.”

Jaden’s eyebrows shot up. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”

“Nope.” He continued up the stairs, his gaze locked on Jaden’s tempting mouth. Sooner or later he’d have to kiss the man, taste him, and begin the process of Claiming him.

He couldn’t wait.

“Charles is an idiot.” Jaden’s eyes were narrowed on the retreating limousine, the tail lights a blur in the distance. “I’ll need to investigate him.”

“I want you to be careful.” He stopped next to Jaden and turned, following his bondmate’s gaze. “If Charles is the one behind all of this, we’ve got more problems than I thought.” He didn’t need to go into too many details, not with Jaden. They might have to explain it to Moira, but Jaden had been with him long enough to understand the Malmayne family dynamics.

“Think the others will fall into line like good little lemmings?”

Duncan snorted. He shouldn’t be amused, but he was. “Right off the cliff and into the Black.” He shifted closer to Jaden, hoping his future lover wouldn’t notice how their shoulders were almost touching. “Have you tried going to Queen Glorianna?” Jaden shot him a disbelieving look and he winced. “Sorry.” The only vampires that served the White Court Sidhe were members of the Gray, like Jaden. Those vampires were barely tolerated and stayed far, far away from Glorianna and her official Court. Suggesting Jaden talk to the White Queen was beyond stupid. He could only blame it on the scent of his bondmate and the desire that he finally allowed to course freely through his veins.

“I’m going to head out for a while.” Jaden grinned. “I’m hungry.”

Duncan was aware of what Jaden needed and, in the past, had shown himself willing to provide. Maybe it would be the first step in showing Jaden he was wanted by both Moira and himself. “You can eat here.”

Jaden laughed, the sound sending shivers of lust down Duncan’s spine. Damn, Duncan was definitely an idiot. “I’m not hungry for food.”

“Blood, then.” He turned to Jaden, unsure if he’d accept all Duncan was prepared to offer.

“Not blood, either.” He clapped Duncan on the arm. “Three’s a crowd, remember?”

Duncan smiled. Today had been a very long day, and he knew just how he wanted it to end. “I don’t think so.” Without batting an eye he dove into Jaden’s fantasies and began weaving a dream for the man he now realized he loved with all of his soul. If Jaden thought he was going to go off into the night and fuck some random stranger when his bondmates were right here then he had another think coming.

“Duncan?”

He smiled, feeling whole again. He’d known she’d come out. She had to. The fantasy wasn’t complete without her. “Moira. Help me get him inside, will you?”

She took one of Jaden’s arms, grinning like a loon. “What did you do to him?” Jaden’s eyes were glazed as he lived the fantasy Duncan had wrapped around him.

“I’ll need your help.” Getting them both inside was top priority. He was seeing both his internal vision and his real surroundings, and it was beginning to give him a headache. It had been a while since he’d been forced to weave a fantasy yet keep most of his own senses in the real world. He had to trust Moira to get them to the bedroom without breaking all their necks.

The biggest surprise was finding out what Jaden’s deepest fantasy was. The stench of that alleyway was not something he’d ever expected to visit ever again. Now he’d be forced to inflict it on Moira. He hoped she’d stay in character. If she gave even a hint that she didn’t belong Jaden might fight them, and that was the last thing he wanted.

Once they reached the bedroom he had every intention of pulling both his lovers into the fantasy so deeply they might not even realize it wasn’t real. He smiled, knowing that if any of his clan got a look at his face just then they’d run for the hills in fear. Nothing,
nothing
was going to stop him from finishing his Vows tonight.

Jaden stumbled and Duncan righted him, holding up his love, helping him the best way he could. Moira adjusted, carrying Jaden’s weight with a grunt and a small smile.

Just the way it should be.

They got Jaden naked before they put him in the bed. It would be easier that way on all of them. They were about to hit the point where Duncan interrupted Jaden from feeding on Jezebel, and he’d need Moira to back him up. He slipped out of his own clothes, trying desperately to hold to both Jaden’s strong mind and enough of reality to climb into bed before pulling Moira into the fantasy with them.

When she cuddled to Jaden’s front with a nod and a smile, he sighed and let go of reality, pulling her along with him.

 

Moira heard the sound off to her left, the stench from the alley causing her to wrinkle her nose. “Duncan?”

His gaze was glued to something in the dark. “He’s in there. Waiting.”

She sniffed, and then desperately wished she hadn’t. “
This
is his fantasy?”

“This is where I found him and set him free.”

“Oh.” She brushed her hand down the front of her pinstriped coat. The collar was so high and so starched the skin on her neck crawled. Her feet were encased in boots that had never been designed by Reebok, some kind of torture device was forcing her back straight and her tits out, and she had the kind of hat on her head that she’d vaguely heard referred to as a “vagina hat”, all curled up at the sides and so full of feathers at least three ostriches must have given their lives for it. Her skirts, plural mind you, brushed the tops of her so-called boots, and her hands were stuck inside a dead animal.

“It’s called a muff.”

She looked at him, brows raised.

Duncan coughed, his lips twitching. “Get your mind out of the gutter, Moira.”

She looked around. “I thought that’s exactly where it was supposed to be.”

He bit his lip. “Are you ready?”

If her back wasn’t already held straight by the wooden plank she was currently strapped to she would have stiffened her spine. As it was, she was afraid she’d snap something off if she did. “Whenever you are.”

He nodded and stepped into the mouth of the alleyway. She followed at a much more cautious distance, one eye on Duncan and the other on the slimy stuff that littered the ground. What the hell was
wrong
with these people? Hadn’t they ever heard of a trash can? She dodged a particularly noxious pile of…ew. Or a toilet?

“Here, kitty kitty.” Moira blinked as Duncan called to a small, battered cat at the end of the alley. “It’s all right, little one. I won’t hurt you.”

“Go away. Please go away.”

Her gloved hand went to her mouth. Jaden sounded scared, desperate. Desolate.

Young. Gods above, how old had he been when he’d been changed?

“Who is there?” Wariness had entered Duncan’s voice, but it was an act, part of the illusion Duncan wove for the vampire. It might have been real all those years ago, but now Duncan trusted Jaden with his life.

“Nightmares. Go away.”

“Come out where I can see you.”

“No.”

“I will not hurt you.”

At that Jaden laughed. “No. But I might hurt you, and I do not want to do that.”

“I doubt you could hurt me, little one.”

“I am not a little one.”

“No, I can see that.”

Jaden gasped, his head rapping against the brick wall. Duncan’s fingers had reached out and tipped up Jaden’s chin, but the vampire ripped his face away, hiding his fangs behind his arm. “Get away.”

“No.”

“Go!”

Duncan shook his head. “No. You need help.”

“I don’t need help.”

Moira was astonished. If this was the way it had originally happened, Jaden had fought every instinct he had to save Duncan’s life. Even she could see how much pain he was in, how hungry he was. Duncan had seen that inner strength, that shining nobility, and taken him in, given him a life that wasn’t about pain and degradation. No wonder Jaden loved him so.

Duncan reached out and cupped Jaden’s cheek. “Yes, you do.” He smiled, slow and sensual. “I know exactly what you need.”

Jaden frowned, looking confused before the hopeless defeat took over once more. “Go
away.”
His eyes closed, his head banging once more against the filthy bricks.

“No. Jaden, I won’t leave you.”

The confused frown returned at Duncan’s declaration. “What?”

Duncan smiled. “Moira?”

She stepped forward, avoiding a rather large, angry-looking rat. If she hadn’t known this was a Sidhe fantasy she would have been shrieking and climbing the nearest wall. “Hello, Jaden.”

He shivered. The rags he wore barely covered him. “Who are you?”

She smiled. “Deep down, you know who I am.” She reached his side and took his hand. “We belong to you, and you belong to us.” Her free hand reached for his cheek. Even through the glove she could feel how cold he was. “We’ve needed you.”

His eyes closed again. “No. I’m a monster.” His eyes opened, those dark, Vampiric eyes, red flames dancing deep within their depths. “You have to leave.”

“Jaden.” Duncan placed his hand on the back of Jaden’s head. “I told you I know what you need.” He gently pulled the vampire forward, tilting his head and exposing his throat. “Drink, and bond with me.”

BOOK: Noble Blood
8.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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