ROMAN: Fury of Her King (Kings of the Blood Book 2) (9 page)

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“Okay, more for me,” her best friend chirped as she jumped out of
the car, grabbed Cyn’s red duffle and her own overnight bag, and headed for the
elevator, adding over her shoulder, “Oh, and I have your keys so if you don’t
hurry up, you’re gonna be locked out.”

“I’m coming, dammit.” She all but crawled out of the car, slammed
the door shut, and had to hold onto the roof of Adele’s car until the world
stopped spinning.

I’m more tired than I thought…

Making it to the elevator at the same time the doors opened, Cyn
stood with her back against the wall and her eyes closed until the bell dinged
that they were on her floor. Barely picking her feet up off the floor, she
shuffled her flip-flops along the carpeted hall and thanked God that Adele had
the door open by the time she got there. The more time that passed, the more exhausted
she became, as the adrenalin from all she’d been through left her body.

After her shower, she slipped into her favorite fuzzy nightshirt,
fell into bed, and was asleep within seconds. She was as tired as she’d ever
been but as luck would have it, her thoughts were chaotic and her sleep fitful.

Waking with the sun, Cyn groaned as she rolled over and threw her
comforter over her head. “Why? Why am I awake?” she grumbled.

“Maybe because you talked in your sleep all night long,” Adele
answered, scaring Cyn so badly she sat straight up and screamed.

Taking a deep breath to calm her racing heart, she breathed,
“Damn, forgot you were here.”

“Yeah, well, I am and you kept me up all night. Hope those dreams
were worth it.” Turning, the short, curvy, redhead asked, “Want some coffee? I
need a gallon.”

“Yeah, thanks,” Cyn answered, flopping back on her pillows and
thinking about her dreams.

In her sleep, the last two years had played like a highlight reel
of her life, all centered around the man who excited, infuriated, and now
scared the living crap out of her. It didn’t help matters one iota that he was
absolutely the most gorgeous man who’d ever walked the planet. She had wondered
what it would be like to walk alongside him because his long legs had always eaten
up the distance between them in record time and he stood above most with an
ease that said he was comfortable in his own skin and that others’ opinions
mattered little.

He had a devil-may-care vibe that told her Roman Marinos knew how
to have fun. But it was his hypnotic hazel eyes that stopped her heart every
time. To say they were a work of art was a gross understatement. The smooth
golden shimmer that swirled around his pupils spread to an almost green before
turning brown at the edge. Mesmerizing was the only way to describe them. Every
time Cyn looked into them, she felt as if she were flying. All he had to do was
speak with his low rumbling accent and all bets were off. To say Roman Marinos
was good-looking was like calling the Grand Canyon a hole in the ground. But
just like every other man she’d ever met, he had secrets. Things he’d neglected
to tell her. Things she didn’t understand. The only difference was, the
mysteries surrounding 
this man
scared the hell out of her and could
make her dead in a hurry.

Her walk down Memory Lane started back at the coffee shop where
she’d first ‘bumped into’ Roman. Cyn had always thought of it as destiny; kind
of like their ‘meet cute’, a story they could tell their grandkids when they
were grey-haired and in their rocking chairs. But now she wondered how much of
it had been destiny and how much had all been part of 
his
 plan.
And what pissed her off the most was that she wasn’t sure if it really mattered
in the scheme of things. There was no denying their chemistry or what she felt
at the mere mention of his name. Just to hear his voice made her heart race,
her body warm, and her day better. None of it made sense and she truly wanted
to think about anything else in the world, but apparently her subconscious was
hell bent on making her relive every second of her time with 
him
.

Next had come the month long debate over the coat he’d sent to
replace the one ruined at the coffee shop and the dark brown leather gloves
he’d somehow known she’d been eyeing for weeks. Each time she’d sent them back
to him, he’d returned them with flowers, or candies, or her favorite cookies
from the little family owned bakery on the far side of town. It had seemed
sweet, thoughtful even. Now, she questioned his motives and 
how
 he
knew all her favorite things

There had been hundreds of phone calls and ‘chance meetings’.
Times he’d just appeared at a conference or happened to be in the same building
where she was making a business call. Every single time he’d been charming and
polite, every bit the gentleman she’d come to know him to be, and Cyn always
walked away feeling like the luckiest woman in the world to have the attention
of such a great guy. Could that all have been an act? A way to what, to get her
blood?

Laughing out loud at her crazy thoughts, she snorted, “Yeah, cause
B positive from a farm girl has an elegant bouquet that all the refined
vampires are drinking this year.” Then shaking her head, “Did I really just say
vampire?”

Staring at the ceiling, all her memories culminated with the vivid
recollection of their kiss. It had been the best of her life. Not that she’d
kissed a lot of men. In all honesty, she’d never kissed 
anyone 
like
Roman. It had been life changing. She’d felt it in every cell of her body. Cyn
felt claimed by the man she knew without a shadow of a doubt she wanted to
spend the rest of her life with. She had been floating on air with the
anticipation of spending more time with him. Never in her wildest dreams could
she have imagined how getting drugged and kidnapped, a two-minute cell phone
video, and an old photo album could turn her world upside down and change the
way she felt.

But that’s the problem…I don’t know what I feel anymore…

Reaching under her pillow, she took out the pictures she’d taken
from that damned book. The tip of her fingers automatically touched Roman’s
likeness. A sadness filled her heart as a single tear rolled down her cheek.
Could she have really been so wrong? Was he really some monster from a fairy
tale? Nothing made sense and to make matters worse, her head was pounding and
her stomach felt like something was trying to eat its way out of her.

She threw her feet over the side of the bed at the same time that
Adele hollered, “Coffee’s ready. Cinnamon rolls in the oven. You want eggs?”

Cyn sighed then answered, “No. Coffee and rolls is good. Thanks.”

She could hear her best friend humming as she walked to the
bathroom. Looking in the mirror as she brushed her teeth, Cyn noted her pale
complexion and the dark circles under her eyes. After rinsing out her mouth,
she leaned closer to her reflection and shook her head. “Dadgummit, I need a
vacation.” Sighing, she left the bathroom and added in a mumble to herself,
“And a lobotomy to remove all traces of Roman Marinos from my brain.”

 

 

Chapter Seven

 

Walking away from that diner…from his Cynthia, had been the
hardest thing he’d had to do in his very long life. He wanted to rip the door
from the hinges, charge into that miserable bathroom, throw her over his
shoulder, and bring her to his home where she belonged. Every one of his
instincts screamed that she was his and he needed to claim her, but the rules
were clear…she had to come to him. It had been nearly five days and there was
still no word. When would this madness end?

Grabbing the receiver of his desk phone as it beeped for the
hundredth time, he snarled, “Marinos.”

“Mr. M-M-Marinos, s-s-sir, I was t-t-told to c-c-call with your
hourly update,” the stammering voice of the young man on the other end of the
phone sounded as if he might shake apart.

“Yes, and…” he growled through gritted teeth.

“W-W-Well, sir, it’s just th-th-that, well…”

Counting to ten as the man from Marinos Security spit and
sputtered, Roman was just about to scream when the young man finally was able
to stammer, “W-W-We’ve still been unable to locate either of the suspects.”

Seething, the King bellowed, “What do you 
mean
 you
cannot locate them? You are the most highly trained, highly paid, most
technologically advanced security force in the world and you cannot perform the
simple task of finding two people?” The windows behind him rattled as he
continued, “They have trackers for gods’ sake. How fucking hard can it be?”

“W-W-Well, Mr. M-M- M…”

“I have no time for your petty excuses.” Cutting off the man on
the phone as he pounded his clenched fist on the desk, ignoring the sound of
cracking wood, he roared, “You have twenty-four hours. Find them or you’re
fired.”

Slamming the receiver on the cradle, he actually reveled in the
sound of shattering plastic and the debris that flew through the air as his
desk phone was reduced to rubble. It resembled his heart as it continued to
crack and crumble with every passing minute he was separated from his 
fýlakas
tis kardiás mou.

Spinning on his heels at the sound of the door opening behind him,
Roman shouted

“I said no visitors.”

“And I said I am your Commander,” Viktor smiled as an obvious
courtesy since the humor did not reach his eyes. Looking at Roman’s desk, he
observed sarcastically, “I see you have been taking your anger out on inanimate
objects….again.” Shaking his head as he made himself a drink, he continued,
“You know they cannot call you if the phone is broken, yes?”

“Did you come here to chastise me or do you have a purpose?” Roman
turned to the window, trying to think of any place Valentina and Laurent might
be hiding.

“I will let your disrespect slide only because I know how hard it
is to be separated from the keeper of your heart.” He could hear Viktor walking
towards him and wasn’t surprised when his Commander grabbed his shoulder. “But
my patience is wearing thin and none of this is doing either one of you any
good. Finding Valentina and Laurent won’t change what has happened. You need…”

Turning so fast he surprised even Viktor, Roman stepped up to his
Commander and spat, “Would you have just let Bjorn go after what he did to
Katarina? Could you have let him draw breath after daring to lay hands on your
mate?” He shoved Viktor. “Tell me, oh great Supreme Commander, what did you do
when the keeper of 
your
 heart was threatened?”

Viktor speared Roman with a steely gaze and in a low rumble
replied, “Calm yourself, General, and let us speak like men of honor.”

Pushing past the Commander, he scoffed, “Men of honor? Is that
what we are now?” Stopping at the bar, he gripped the railing and hung his
head, growling, “Is that what you were when you separated Bjorn’s head from his
shoulders?”

Viktor’s response was cut off by the opening of the door. Looking
up, Roman sighed as Katarina, the Commander’s mate, entered the room. “Sounds
like you boys need a referee,” she chuckled, stopping next to Roman and patting
his arm. “How you holding up? Anything I can do?”

“Take your mate out of here. I tire of his useless advice,” he
grumbled, reaching for the single malt, pouring two fingers and downing it
before adding, “He does not approve of my way of handling these matters.”

Looking to Viktor then back to Roman, Kat nodded. “It’s not that
he doesn’t approve. I think he just doesn’t want you to make the same mistakes
he has.” She held up her hand to silence his retort. “I’m not saying he’s
right, just telling you what I see.” Patting his forearm again, she asked, “Why
don’t you explain to me how you know it’s Valentina and Laurent who did all of
this?”

Roman saw her nod to Viktor and knew she was doing her best to
mediate. Katarina had been a wonderful addition to their group. It was good to
see his Commander find the one created for him by the almighty Zeus and
settling down to an eternity with the one he loved. The gods knew the old man
needed a woman’s touch and the changes in Viktor had been nothing less than
miraculous. Gone was the brooding businessman who barked orders and demanded
perfection.

Kat was a good woman and a perfect match for the Unum of the Kings
of the Blood. She brought laughter and joy to not only Viktor, but all the
Kings. Even though he was at his wits end at the moment, Roman appreciated her
efforts and respected her enough to give a brief explanation while he tried to
figure out how to ‘kidnap’ Cynthia himself and hold her hostage, just so she
would at least listen to him. All he wanted was to explain, to make her see
reason, but that was difficult to do when she refused to call.

Taking a deep breath and working hard to control his temper, Roman
explained, “I found this album.” He laid his hand on the worn leather bound
volume laying on the bar. “Where Cynthia was being held. There are exactly ten
people who know of the existence of this book.” Pouring more whiskey, he looked
over the rim of his glass as he took a sip. “Myself, my brothers,” he nodded to
Viktor then looked back to Katarina, “
Vasiliás sas
, Gregorio, Valentina,
and Laurent.” He looked at the remaining amber liquid in the bottom of the
glass. “I know beyond all doubt that neither Viktor nor any of the other Kings
would dare to kidnap my mate or reveal my secrets. They have just as much to
lose as I do.”

He looked over her shoulder and out at the sun setting on another
day without his mate. Sighing, he took another sip and went on, “I do not know
if you are aware and I will ask for your utmost discretion but Gregorio cannot
leave the house. Not only is he kept alive by the same magic that flows through
all of Zeus’ warriors, but he also suffers from agoraphobia.”

Turning and pacing towards the fireplace, he ran his hand through
his hair. ‘So, you see, that only leaves Valentina and Laurent.”

“But why would they work together? She is, after all, your feeder
and about to be set for the rest of her life when you mate Cynthia. She will
have a house, a career, money, I mean come on, why jeopardize that?” Katarina
paused then immediately continued, “And from what I understand, Laurent and his
family have been in your service since you saved one of their distant relatives
hundreds of years ago. They have nothing to gain.”

Shaking his head while smashing a piece of cinder that had escaped
the fireplace grate under the toe of his shoe, Roman admitted, “I have no idea.
Never in all our years has a 
tréfon
 betrayed her King.” His
words trailed off as he felt for the bond he shared with Cynthia. It was the
only reassurance he had that she still existed while he gave her the time she
needed to come to terms with what little she knew of his life.

“Nor have any of those loyal to us,” Viktor added. “They are all
aware that treason is punishable by death and not just of the traitor, but also
their entire family.”

Katarina gasped, “Isn’t that overkill, guys?”

“No,” they immediately answered in unison, with Viktor going on to
explain. “We cannot take the chance another of their line will also betray us,
so any and all that know of our existence must pay the price for one person’s
sin.” He cleared his throat. “It is unfortunately the reality of who and what
we are.”

“So, am I to understand that both Valentina and Laurent’s
families, should those two be found guilty of kidnapping Cynthia, will be
executed?” Roman turned around just as Katarina finished her question to see
that her shocked expression matched the surprise in her voice.

“Thankfully, they are both the last of their families,” was all
the General could say as he finished his drink and set the glass on a nearby
end table. “Now, if you two will excuse me, I need to think of a way to make my
mate forgive me. I have no idea what she knows, what she must think of me…hell,
I do not even know if she is all right after what those two buffoons put her
through.” His anger returned with a vengeance. “I swear if I ever get my hands
on Valentina and Laurent, I will rip them limb from limb.”

Sweeping his hands across his desk as he roared with rage, papers
floated to the ground, a crystal paperweight crashed against the wall, and his
lamp shattered on the floor. Still seething, he spun to punch the wall as the
sound of a slow clap stopped him dead in his tracks and had him glaring at
Katarina.

“Great job. Destroying your home is sure to help Cynthia.” Still
clapping, she walked toward him.

“Katarina…” Viktor gave a warning growl.

“Oh, please, Roman’s not going to hurt me. Are you?” She
challenged.

“No,” he grumbled. “Just leave.” He pointed at the door.

Stopping a few feet in front of him, Katarina finally stopped
clapping and smiled. “I’ll do you one better. I’ll go see your Cynthia.” He
began shaking his head, to which she nodded and held up her index finger for
him to be quiet. “I’ve met her a few times. She and I had a fun conversation
about men at one of those crazy cocktail parties you insisted I accompany
Viktor to.”

She paused and leveled her gaze at him. “Besides, I’ve been where
she is. Well…not quite where she is, but sort of. You get the jest.” She
winked. “Bjorn was crazy. Valentina and Laurent have also obviously lost their
minds. We were both kidnapped just for knowing you guys.” She shrugged. “Seems
like we have a couple of things to talk about. Worst case scenario, she throws
me out on my derrière, but I’m betting she’ll want to hear what I have to say.”

He was just about to list all the reasons why Katarina talking to
Cynthia was a bad idea when the door to his study burst open and in walked Lee
with a huge smile on his face. Striding across the room, he patted Roman on the
shoulder and gushed, “Have I got a surprise for you, 
o aderfós
mou.” 
Then over his shoulder, “Bring ‘em in, boys.”

A loud crash and Bain’s hurried, “Oh shit, sorry, Greg. I’ll clean
that up in a minute,” was all he heard a second before an unconscious Laurent
came flying into the room and landed with a thud on the floor just to the right
of the sofa. Closely followed by a smiling Sal with a bound and gagged
Valentina slung over his shoulder.

“I know it’s not your birthday, but we brought presents,” the
youngest of their group announced as he unceremoniously dumped Roman’s feeder
on the couch and took a bow along with Lee and Bain.

Looking to Katarina, he nodded. “I would be most appreciative if
you would speak with Cynthia. It appears,” he glared at Valentina and Laurent,
“that I have more pressing matters.”

 

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