ROMAN: Fury of Her King (Kings of the Blood Book 2) (4 page)

BOOK: ROMAN: Fury of Her King (Kings of the Blood Book 2)
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Watching Viktoras stand, Romanus followed suit. “Walk with me.” He
opened the flap on their shelter and motioned with his free hand for the
General to exit. Securing the tent, the Commander joined him and they began to
walk across the cooling sand as the sun exited the sky.  “What we are
about to discuss will, at first, be difficult for you to accept. It goes
against all you were taught by the priests and their attendants in the temples,
but it is essential to what you have become and how you will live.”

After almost a hundred yards of silence, Viktoras began again,
“The best explanation I can give you is the one I received from Zeus himself.
Our world is not simple. Everything, even gifts such as ours from the gods,
have a price. Ours is twofold. We died. Our hearts ceased to beat. Our lungs no
longer drew breath. We were buried beneath the earth for thirty days and rose
as the sun touched the horizon on the night of the thirty-first day, reborn and
functioning just as we had prior to our demise…with one vital difference. By
the power of Zeus that now runs through our veins, we were made immortal.”

Stopping, the Commander turned towards Romanus and once again
looked at him with the intensity of battle. “Listen to me carefully and hold
your tongue until I have finished,” Viktoras commanded. “Although you will live
life as you always have, you will now also need to consume life’s essence once
every new moon.” The General opened his mouth to speak, despite the orders he
had received, to which his Commander held up his hand and continued to speak.
“This is the darkest night of the month at the darkest time of the night and
that is when you shall feed. It should be given willingly and accepted
gratefully. You will take only the smallest amount you need to replenish the powers
bestowed upon you and then, and this is very important, Romanus, you will leave
your donor unblemished.”

Dropping his hand, Viktoras asked, “Do you understand?”

Romanus nodded, then asked, “I must drink blood to survive?”

“Yes, and you must not kill to do it. If you do, your life will be
forfeit. Zeus’ great lightning shall strike you down where you stand and the
ash of your remains be blown to the four winds.”

“It is not that,” the General paused, unsure how to ask his next
question without causing offense, then simply blurted out, “how are we not kin
of those of the Underworld?”

“Your confusion is understandable but unfounded. Have you not
listened to what I have said? Your existence and mine are blessed by Zeus, the
God of the Sky and Ruler of the Olympian gods, and only he has the ability to
take it from us. Our mission is just, our lives a gift. Nothing nefarious will
come from us or of us. Do you understand, Romanus…truly comprehend?”

The General thought for several moments. He looked inside himself and
found nothing evil; no demon or specter threatening his mind or heart. It was
as it had always been but with the addition of a growing strength and a feeling
of purpose that outweighed the convictions of his past.

Looking back to Viktoras, he smiled and nodded, “Yes, Commander. I
understand.”

Patting him on the shoulder, Viktoras turned back towards their
tent and went on, “It is paramount that you know that the only way your life
may become forfeit is if you allow someone to take your head or are stuck down
by Zeus’ lightning.”

Romanus nodded, raising his hand to brow at the Commander’s
warning then chuckling when he thought that not even those who had betrayed him
had been able to remove his head. “I understand,” he murmured.

 Viktoras continued, “Lastly, you will have a mate, your
fýlakas tis kardiás mou, the keeper of your heart. The one woman in all the
world who can save your doomed soul and breathe life into your dead heart. She
will be the perfect complement to your darkness, a light that shines so
brightly there are no shadows for you to use as cover. She will know your every
weakness, share your every secret, and accept you for all that you are. This
gift from the gods will be your only nourishment from the moment that she
recognizes you as her one true mate.”

“You will know the moment of her birth. There will be an awakening
in the depths of your soul and you will feel the need to go to her, but you
must wait. When the time is right and the gods deem that she is ready to accept
you for who and what you are, she will come to you. You must indoctrinate her
into our world and complete the mating ritual before nightfall of your three
thousandth year or you will cease to exist. Without her and your commitment to
one another, you will return to the ether from whence you came, ashes to ashes
and dust to dust. You will enter the Elysian Fields and live a hero’s
afterlife.”

A knock at the library door drew Roman from his thoughts. Turning,
he saw his long-time companion and assistant, Gregorio, who announced, “Dinner
preparations are underway. Your clothes are laid out in your room and Laurent
has pulled the car to the front in preparations to pick up Miss St. James.”

“Thank you, Gregorio. Please tell Laurent to be sure to have the
flowers in hand when he knocks on her door and that he is to leave in exactly
twenty minutes.”

“As you wish, sir. Anything else?”

“Not right now. Thank you again, Gregorio”

Following his assistant out of the study, Roman took the back
stairs to his room to prepare for the most important date of his very long
life. The warm water of the shower rushed over his skin as thoughts of Cynthia
flooded his mind. Unable and unwilling to stop the smile that crossed his face,
the king hummed a popular tune as he rinsed the shampoo from his hair. The
words floated through his mind as an accompaniment to the images of the
beautiful woman whom he would spend eternity loving…

When your soul finds the soul it was waiting for. When someone
walks into your heart through an open door. When your hand finds the hand it
was meant it hold, don’t let go.

“And now, that I have you, I have no intention of letting go.
Cynthia St. James, you are mine, now and forever…

 

Chapter Three

 

“Good Lordy, woman, isn’t your closet empty yet?” Adele chuckled
loudly from the living room as Cynthia stood before her full length mirror in
the umpteenth outfit she’s tried on, still not happy with how she looked.

Throwing her hands in the air, she sighed. “Oh, what the hell
ever. This is as good as it gets. God knows there’s no bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
going on around here tonight and I’m sure as hell not Cinderella.”

“But you’re a close second,” Adele teased as she walked into the
room and handed Cyn a glass of wine. “You look beautiful.”

Cyn opened her mouth to argue but Adele held up her free hand and
raised an eyebrow. “Stop right there. Face the facts. The man is gah-gah over
you. You could show up in a gunny sack and he’d be salivatin’ like a dog with a
bone.” She winked. “And, girlie, you look a damn sight better than a bone.”

Looking back at her reflection as she took a sip of wine, Cyn had
to admit she did look pretty good. Not super model good, but damn fine for
judgement day, as her daddy used to say. Turning back to her friend, she
laughed out loud as Adele snapped a picture with her cellphone and said,
“Gotcha!”

Shooing her from the room, Cyn was still chuckling when she said,
“Okay, but no more pictures. You know I hate that. Now, I have to check my face
and hair one more time. Make yourself useful and see if you can find my little
black clutch in the hall closet, please.”

“You got it,” Adele called over her shoulder as Cyn shut the door
to her bedroom and took a deep breath.

Looking out the window across the room, the half-moon shining
brightly in a cloudless star-filled sky made her smile. It reminded her of her
grandpa, a small town farmer and one of Cyn’s favorite people in the whole
world. He had a saying for everything and even though they usually sounded like
something he’d made up, they always ended up foretelling the future or
uncovering a mystery of some sort.

Of course, growing up smack in the middle of nowhere led to a lot
of star gazing, so she’d paid special attention to all the ‘grandpaisms’
concerning the moon and stars. She fondly remembered their conversation about
the half-moon.

“Whatcha doing out here in the hayloft all by yourself, Cyndi
girl? Mimi was alookin’ for ya’.”

She quickly closed her journal and slid it under her leg as she
heard the sole of grandpa Jim’s boots scrape against the rungs of the wooden
ladder leading to the loft and the place she came to write down her thoughts
and dream of the future. She knew it was him, more than their housekeeper, who
wondered where she was.

“Oh nuthin’ much. Just countin’ stars.”

The long, lean man with his dirty John Deere hat, overalls, and
ready smile, appeared over the stack of hay Cyn was leaning against and pulled
up his own bale to sit on. Taking the toothpick from between his lips, he used
it like a pointer and said, “You see that half-moon right there?” He looked
over his shoulder at her and winked. “That moon means it’s time to shuffle the
deck.”

Putting the toothpick back in his mouth, Grandpa Jim looked back
at the sky and continued, “That means this week we work with what we got. Clean
things up, make them even better before the crescent of the waning moon and the
darkest night of the month comes. You want to be able to enjoy the calm of the
ending of one cycle and be refreshed for the beginning of another.” He adjusted
the hat on his head until the bill almost completely covered his eyes, then
leaned back against the pile of hay bales and grinned. “Your Great Grandma
Cleo, my momma, always said to be ready for new beginnings cause they were fun
but a lotta work.”

“Boy, she was right, Grandpa,” Cyn mused as she made her way to
the bathroom for her final hair and makeup check. For some reason, the feeling
that tonight was going to be the start of big changes had been dogging her
thoughts since Roman had demanded they have dinner.

No sooner had she touched up her lip gloss than she heard a knock
from the living room and Adele’s, “I’ll get it.”

Opening her bedroom door, Cyn was shocked to see a tall, dark man
complete with driving gloves and hat waiting by the front door holding the
biggest bouquet of the most beautiful flowers she’d ever seen. He bowed his
head as she nervously smiled in his direction then returned to imitating a
palace guard by standing at attention and looking at nothing specific just by
her door.

Adele grabbed her by the arm and pushed her back in the bedroom,
kicking the door shut as she went. “Oh my God, did you get a load of that shit
out there? A chauffeur. Your man sent a mother humpin’ chauffeur to pick you
up.” She waved her hands in the air and talked a hundred miles a minute. “Girl,
there is a for real stretch limo parked outside your building. A chauffeur and
a limo, who the hell would’ve ever guessed. I nearly peed myself when I looked
out the window.”

Cyn loved Adele like the sister she never had, but the woman was
literally making her more nervous with every word that came out of her mouth.
Sitting on the chair in the corner and ignoring her best friend’s ramblings,
she took a deep breath, looked back out at that crazy half-moon hanging in the
sky, and thought 
“Wonder what grandpa would do?”

He would get off his butt and keep his commitment.

Standing up and straightening the skirt on her little black dress,
Cyn fluffed the bottom of her hair and snapped her fingers at Adele to get her
attention. “Okay, crazy woman, get yourself together. We have to go back out
there or old Jeeves is gonna think we’re a couple of weirdos.”

With her hand on the doorknob she added, “Oh, and Roman is not ‘my
man’.”

Never one to be outdone, Adele quickly countered, “Ah, I beg to
differ. He so is and Jeeves was the butler, James is always the chauffeur.
You’re gonna be living uptown soon, sweetpea, ya’ gotta get these things
right.”

Holding in her laughter, Cynthia shook her head as she finished,
opened the door, and walked out into the living room. Grabbing her clutch that
Adele had loaded with her essentials, she kissed her best friend on the cheek
before putting her wrap over her shoulders and walking towards the door.

Roman’s chauffeur took off his hat this time, bowed at the waist,
and presented her with the flowers he’d been holding since his arrival. “My
name is Laurent. I will be your driver for the evening. These are from Mr.
Marinos.” His voice was so deep and so heavily accented it took Cyn a minute to
understand what he was saying, but in her usual fake-it-til-you-make-it way,
she smiled and thanked him politely while inhaling the aroma of the beautiful
blooms. She had no idea what kind of flowers they were, but it didn’t matter.
They could’ve been dandelions. They were Roman and his thoughtfulness made her
giddy.

She handed her flowers to Adele, who immediately mock curtsied and
giggled. “I’ll put them in some water, milady. You go have fun.”

Shaking her head, Cynthia almost ran head first into the door
Roman’s chauffeur had opened when she wasn’t looking. As she attempted to laugh
off her embarrassment, she heard Adele snort behind her but noticed Laurent
wasn’t at all affected by her faux pas.

Guess he deals with us middle class Mollies all the time…

Taking the bent arm he offered, Cyn walked down the stairs and out
the door of her building, straight into the waiting stretch limo her bestie had
been so enamored with. Climbing in as gracefully as possible, she jumped with
surprise when Laurent reached in front of her, pressed a button, and out popped
a mini bar complete with chilling champagne.

“A small cocktail for your ride, Miss St. James?”

“Oh,” she squeaked, then after clearing her throat continued.
“Yes, that would be nice. Thank you.”

Watching him expertly pour the bubbly liquid into what she knew
without a doubt was Baccarat crystal, Cyn tried to act cool while the teenager
inside her was squealing with delight. Silently handing her the flute, Laurent
excused himself with a nod of his head and before she’d finished her first
taste of the best champagne she’d ever had, they were on their way.

Slowly sipping one of her favorite drinks and smiling as the
bubbles tickled her nose, Cyn watched the sites change from the busy streets of
the city to the silent, peaceful scenes of the country. She knew Roman’s estate
was almost an hour from her office. Had seen a magazine spread with pictures of
his home, stables, tennis courts, an eight-hole golf course for his private
use, and absolutely breathtaking gardens.

Relaxing back into the seat, Cyn yawned then shook herself to keep
from doing it again. “Oh wow, guess I should’ve taken a nap instead of playing
dress-up Barbie all afternoon,” she giggled to herself. “Either that or have
eaten more than a cracker or two on the run.” Looking at the glass in her hand,
she went on, “This champagne is good but I better stop at one…and stop talking
to myself.”

It took two tries to get the flute into its holder in the limo
mini bar, which tickled Cyn so much that she jumped when the window separating
her from Laurent went down and he asked, “Everything all right, Miss St.
James.”

“Yes,” she hiccupped, quickly covering her mouth before barely
getting out, “thank you.”

What is wrong with me? I sound drunk. Lightweight…

Shaking her head and patting her cheeks, Cyn took several deep
breaths and sat up straight, but it wasn’t long before she was once again
yawning and snuggling back into the overstuffed leather seats. Looking out the
window, she quickly realized it was hard to focus and the passing scenery
seemed to be underwater.

What the hell?

No sooner had the thought crossed her mind than she felt the car
slowing down. Glancing at her watch but unable to make out the blurry numbers,
Cyn thought back to leaving her condo and knew there was no way they had been
traveling long enough to have reached Roman’s. Also, from the directions she’d
looked up right after he’d asked her to dinner, she knew it was a straight shot
from her front door to his with the only turn being when they reached his front
gate.

Knocking on the window, she called out, “Laurent, is something
wrong?”

The limo coming to a complete stop was the only answer she
received. Grabbing the door handle, she gritted her teeth and growled when her
attempts to open the door were thwarted by the locks. Jumping to the seat
across from her, her adrenalin pushing away the vestiges of sleep that just
seconds ago had fogged her mind, she pounded on both the window at her side and
the one now behind her head while yelling, “What the hell is going on? Laurent?
LAURENT!”

No sooner were the words out of her mouth than the locks on the
doors popped open, the door beside her flung open, and a tall, thin Morticia
Addams lookalike climbed in the seat across from her. Taking in the sight
before her, Cyn wasn’t sure if she was supposed to be scared or amused but was
sure that pissed off had bypassed both.

Opening her mouth to speak, Morticia beat her to the punch with a
question of her own, “So you are who he prefers to me?” Tsking and tapping the
tip of her pointy red nail against her chin, the woman added, “There is just no
accounting for taste.”

Cyn immediately recognized the woman’s accent as being similar to
Laurent’s but much less pronounced. It was obvious they were in on whatever was
going on together, now all she had to do was figure out what that was before
things got out of hand.

Going for the calm, cool, collected approach, although her heart
was wildly trying to escape through her throat, Cyn stuck out her hand, smiled,
and said “I’m sorry, I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure. My name is Cynth…”

Waving her long thin fingers at Cyn’s outstretched hand while
curling her heavily made up nose with disgust ‘Morticia’ pooed, “Cynthia St.
James, yes, yes, I know very well who you are.”

Pulling back her hand and rolling her eyes, Cyn’s mouth engaged
before her brain and she scoffed, “Well, I don’t know you, lady.”

Curling her darkly painted red lips into a sinister smile, the
woman leaned forward and cooed, “Oh, darling, you are so right. You do not know
me. Neither do you know what I am capable of.”

Tired of all the theatrics, Cyn shook her head, scooted to the
edge of the seat, and sighed. “Can we just cut the crap? I’m no one important.”
Motioning all around her, she went on, “This isn’t even my limo. I was on the
way to have dinner and this is my date’s car, so if this is a ransom or
whatever, honey, you are trying to pick the wrong pocket.”

Throwing back her head and cackling like a loon, ‘Morticia’ laid
her hand to her chest and took a long dramatic breath before chuckling. “My dear,
you are far more valuable than you realize for reasons you cannot fathom. Not
only are you part of the catch, but also the bait.”

“Bait?” Cynthia asked a split second before a huge arm came from
the window behind her and wrapped around her neck. Struggling against
confinement, she felt the prick of a needle under her ear as the woman across
from her nodded and said, “Yes, bait for a much bigger, more important fish.”

BOOK: ROMAN: Fury of Her King (Kings of the Blood Book 2)
4.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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