Authors: Cc MacKenzie
Tags: #Romance, #Paranormal, #Vampires, #Witches & Wizards
"Ezekiel," The Maker began, his voice utterly impassive in the way of an immortal as he watched the only flat screen lit upon the wall. His hand hovered over a remote control. He scrolled through the recorded scene unfolding in the office of his nemesis, Daniel Gillespie. For a moment his eyes narrowed on the vampyre prince before continuing, "has begun to outthink and overreach himself, yet again. He is coming perilously close to questioning my dominion over
"Ezekiel has never had regard for his own life," said Eleanor, risking retribution for daring to comment.
"Nevertheless, he lusts still for your sister. You failed me there." She couldn't see them, but she felt the power of The Maker's eyes of nonhuman red-gold remain on her face a heartbeat too long. Long enough to have perspiration bead on her top lip. "After two hundred years, still she twists Ezekiel's heart."
"You wish me to send my sister unto The Fade, my Lord?"
His tsk tsk, was the sound of a rattle snake.
She lifted her head and readied herself to meet the power of his gaze.
The Maker looked down upon her and gave her a mysterious smile.
"Not yet," he said, withholding consent, no mercy in blood-gold eyes filled with death, "Saira's conniving, her intrigues, fascinate me. I do not want her dead, yet. She may have her uses, at a later date."
Refusing to feel humiliated by her nakedness, the emotion would be a total waste of energy, energy she knew she must conserve to stay alive, Eleanor tried to breathe through the way the room spun. She hadn't fed in three days. If she complained of hunger, God knew what he'd make her drink this time. Last time she'd been forced to feed from one of his hell-hounds. She'd been violently sick for two long weeks. Never again. Though weak, she contented herself with the knowledge hunger was nothing. She was very lucky to be alive.
Eleanor knew herself to be a cold-blooded killer, was proud of it even. However, she was not a woman to cross. For one hundred years, she'd nurtured a deeply bitter hatred and held it close; a hatred that burned bright in her heart. Never would she forgive or forget the public humiliation and betrayal by the man who had promised to love her. Once upon a time, she'd had James Gillespie on his knees before her. Then one, just one
misunderstanding had made him turn against and denounce her in front of her powerful father; a father whose idea of discipline and a punishment that fitted her perceived crime was to leave her to the tender care of a deranged mother; a mother who had turned berserker and tortured her heartbroken daughter in every conceivable way for ten long years. Something had broken in Eleanor's mind the day she'd committed matricide. Of course, she hadn't been blamed for it. Another, a young maid, had been found guilty, in spite of her death screams protesting her innocence.
"I hear your thoughts, vampyre," whispered The Maker. Eleanor readied herself to receive punishment. "Perhaps it is time, after years of devout service to me, for you to receive your just reward. Bring me James Gillespie. The death of his wife should satisfy your bloodthirsty need for vengeance. But be aware, her death might break him. What would you do with a broken vampyre, Eleanor?"
Joy rising in her, Eleanor's head snapped up, her eyes abruptly ensnared in the power of his. There was no thought of running. What would be the point? The being that held her trapped in his thrall might be inhumanely beautiful, but she could perceive no conscience, no emotion, no feeling. The pain in her head was excruciating and under his scrutiny another part of her mind fractured.
," said Eleanor.
She had no idea her eyes were now the color of his.
Red-gold, furtive, conniving and half-crazed.
Charlotte Gillespie swung her black SUV through the electronic gates of her home in Presidio Heights, San Francisco.
The sensor beeped as the garage doors rolled up.
She drove in, parked, switched off the engine and executed a little shoulder boogie.
Then her palms went damp again as a horrible wave of nausea rolled over her.
She’d been feeling a little
So much so, she’d actually done a couple of pregnancy tests which were disappointingly negative. She slicked her hands over her short skirt the color of sand, the fabric a stretchy mix of cotton and lycra. The hectic beat of her heart sounded too loud in her ears and she blew out a shaky breath. Her skin felt itchy as if pulled too tight, probably excitement because she’d actually done it!
Jumping out of the car, she slung her purse over her shoulder, popped the trunk and picked up groceries and the reason for all her excitement – a red shiny paper bag with black cord handles with the logo DLS emblazoned in black velvet on the front.
Entering the house, she kicked off her flat suede pumps, and tossed her matching purse the color of bitter chocolate on a chair. She padded through the boot room, laundry room and entered a cavernous kitchen with cream glossy cupboards and black counter tops of sparkly granite. Quickly storing perishables in the refrigerator, she sped into the wide entrance hall and stopped dead.
A large suitcase, laptop bag and holdall were dumped at the front door along with a man’s lightweight raincoat.
Her heart leapt to her throat.
James had arrived home from China?
She hadn’t seen him for ten endless days and eleven endless nights. Six months after their fabulous wedding she still couldn’t believe he’d married her, little Charlotte Bailey from the wrong side of the tracks.
They’d met when James had been brought into the ER with a suspected concussion after an over competitive game of football with his brothers and another law practice. As a senior nurse practitioner, Charlotte had seen plenty of memorable sights. But to see all four of the raven haired Gillespie brothers, James, Marcus, Daniel and Adam, each one a six foot four inch walking ad for GQ, meant every woman with a pulse had descended on her department just to rubber neck.
At five foot six Charlotte was hardly vertically challenged herself, but she’d had to tip back her head to stare in awe and wonder at the men with the slashing cheekbones of fierce Celtic warriors. However, professionalism overcame the fact her brain cells had packed up their bags and gone on an extended trip to Pluto. With hands fisted on her hips and a jerk of her small chin, she’d ordered them out of her ER in a tone that meant they’d complied without a murmur – her colleagues didn’t call her ‘the boss’ for nothing.
She’d turned to eye the giant of a man lying on the gurney who had a peculiar dazed expression in his vivid eyes behind his glasses. An expression she’d initially put down to the knot the size of a baseball on his temple.
He’d said, "Christ, are you real?" in a deep rumbling voice with a toe curling Scottish accent.
Her burning cheeks had made her frown as she’d taken off his glasses, lifted his eyelids and shone a pen light into those baby blues to check his pupil dilation. A large hand grabbed her slim wrist. The pad of his thumb circling the now hectic pulse as those amazing eyes lasered into hers.
Then he’d smiled, transforming his implacable features into something that caught her breath and her heart had done a shaky boom boom boom against her ribs for the very first time.
Her gaze flicked to the hand gripping her wrist and she’d given him big eyes. "No touching the medical staff, it’s strictly against hospital policy. I have a security team much bigger and badder than you or your brothers."
He’d let her go and heaved out a big happy sigh.
"Darlin, I’m gonna be do'in a lot more than just touching you."
Used to being hit on by doctors and patients alike, Charlotte had taken his words at face value and shrugged them off. All the time fighting the way the rumbling voice stirred her blood and her libido.
Of course she’d been flattered when he’d shown an interest in her. After all, she was only human, but Charlotte was a rational woman and had understood that the Gillespie family lifestyle and how they lived were a world apart from her own humble beginnings.
She’d refused invitations to dinner, lunch or breakfast. But James Gillespie, senior partner along with his brothers of the corporate monolith Gillespie, Pattullo and Hindmarch, had laid siege to her body and to her heart.
Over the next few weeks she’d learned the Gillespie family were indeed true blue bloods. Their line went all the way back to the twelfth century in Scotland. During their formative years the men in the family had been educated at one of the top public schools in the Highlands which accounted for the Scottish burr in their deep voices.
In spite of her deep and secret reservations that as a couple they may not be well suited for the long term, James had marched her down the aisle less than four months later.
And since then married life with James Gillespie had been one big roller coaster ride. He’d wanted her to give up work and she’d refused even though her grandmother and work colleagues thought she was crazy. But finding a happy medium was key in any relationship and therefore she worked part-time, which meant she continued to enjoy a career that gave her purpose in life without the constant companion of exhaustion.
For Charlotte the hard part of their relationship, and her marriage, was the amount of socialising they had to do with the other partners in the firm. The men were universally pleasant and polite, but something within her seemed to shrink from them.
As the only Gillespie wife, she had the unnerving sense, each time she entered a room, that the big men looked at her empty womb before sending an unspoken message of disappointment amongst themselves. Their attitude was slowly and consistently chipping away at her fragile self-confidence and had introduced a creeping tension into her marital bed. The Gillespie brothers and the other lawyers in the firm were a close knit group; a group who appeared to have their own language and every single one of the big males intimidated her except for the daughter of one of the founders, Eleanor Pattullo, who was a much nicer half of twin sisters. Something about Saira Pattullo terrified Charlotte to the point where she had palpitations if the woman so much as looked at her with her strange dark eyes.
As for her professional life, only in the ER did the real Charlotte reign supreme and she hung onto the reality of her day job with the demeanour of a woman clutching a lifebelt in a hurricane.
She supposed the timing of their marriage might have been better since Gillespie, Pattullo and Hindmarch were in the middle of a multi-billion deal with the Chinese, which meant brutal hours for James, and too many hours alone for her. If she felt a tiny bit neglected Charlotte reminded herself of how lucky she was. However, no matter how she tried, she couldn’t stop the persistent little voice in the back of her mind that told her to make the most of it. If the harsh lessons in her early life had taught Charlotte anything, they'd taught her that good things never lasted.
Without stopping to think, she still held on to her purchase and let excitement grip her heart as she ran up the sweeping staircase made of white polished Italian marble.
Entering their beautiful bedroom suite the wide smile on Charlotte’s face froze.
Her heart went boom boom boom when she saw her hulking husband, still dressed in one of his signature charcoal bespoke suits, sitting on a low couch with an expression of utter shock on his face.
His hair, jet black and usually immaculately tied back at the neck, was loose and dishevelled. Beneath it, his gorgeous face was too pale. But it was his vivid eyes that stopped her heart. They were the color of a raging blue sea.
Her gaze flew to the little black book he held in his hands and her mouth went bone dry. The book was her own personal sex journal and the gold embossed title on the hard cover said it all.
Dirty Little Secrets.
Those blue eyes, too dark now and too intense, held hers for a never ending moment and Charlotte recognized fleeting emotions cross that incredible face; shock, outrage and a deep hurt which brought a sting to her eyes.
She opened her mouth but James held up his index finger and pointed at her.
"Don’t you say a single word, darlin’."
When James got emotional, be it during sex or when he was angry, like now, his Scottish accent became harsher, deeper.
With a heaving breath, he opened the book and read the first couple of pages.
His tongue ran over his top teeth as he flipped through the little book to the last entry.
Why the hell hadn’t she slipped the journal into its usual hiding place in her pantie drawer?
Her heart was racing too fast in her throat and a horrible ache clutched in her belly. A dark need, an arousal so potent it almost made her gasp aloud unfurled between her damp thighs as the lips of her sex swelled.
A strange cold finger of sweat ran down her back.
With exaggerated care, James placed the book on the couch and sat back, long legs spread wide and bent at the knee.
He simply looked at her.
Those blue eyes burned a path from the high ponytail of her dark brown hair, to her white cotton sleeveless shirt, down over her short skirt which showcased tanned long limbs and back up to her face. The ache between her legs beat in time to her frantic heart as a strange excitement drummed through her blood.
James cleared his throat and tapped the book with his finger.
"According to this, I am married to a deeply unhappy woman. A woman who is not being sexually satisfied."
Charlotte opened her mouth to utterly refute his claim, but his raised finger point froze the voice in her throat.
"According to this, you went out of this house today in that excuse for a skirt wearing no panties. Is that correct?"
Her cheeks burned and her heart made a heroic attempt to escape from her throat as her fingernails dug deep into the palms of her hands.
Why had she listened to all those ideas and little challenges Eleanor had given her to,
'Loosen up her sexual inhibitions,'
and she'd also told Charlotte that all men liked their wives to,
'Act like a filthy whore in the bedroom and a lady in public.'
Looking at the way James was watching her now, Charlotte wasn't sure the advice was wise. And she was also beginning to realize that maybe the strangely rich red wine Eleanor had plied her with every time they met might have loosened her tongue too much and made her indiscreet. She'd no idea how it had happened, but she'd found herself sharing intimate details of their love life. Now she wondered if she'd been wise to do so. What loving wife talked openly to a virtual stranger about her marriage?
Abruptly, the truth hit her that she'd been incredibly disloyal to the man she loved.
"Yes, but...," she whispered.
Those deep blue eyes went wide now, his voice went low and silky as he interrupted her,
you did it, since it’s all written down right here in black and white. You wanted a little excitement, to get turned on, to see what it felt like to drive in the car, shop in the supermarket, have coffee with friends all the while knowing you were naked under your skirt. But if I find out another man has looked at what is
, Charlie, you’re going to be very, very sorry."
Her gasp of shock and frantic shaking of her head had him narrow his eyes in a way that thrilled her. She’d never seen him like this, dominant and furiously masterful.
Arousal made her voice too high, "No! It wasn’t like that. It was..."
He silenced her with a searing look, picked up her journal and flicked to the first page.
"You know I have a great responsibility to the company my father founded. You knew that when you married me. I am sorry if you've felt... neglected."
She opened her mouth to refute his words that she felt neglected and then realized she'd written her feelings, all her feelings, in the book he now held in his hand. What was the point of lying?
"Just so you know," he continued in that determined tone. "I own your orgasms. Me. No one else. Ever."
Her heart was going crazy in her chest as heat scorched her neck, her cheeks.
"You gonna argue about that?"
"No! No, you don't understand. I don't have anyone else."
"You masturbate, a lot. Don't you?"
Her throat was as dry as the desert.
His brows rose.
She'd written about pleasuring herself hadn't she?
In the little book.
The little book he held in his hand.
"Sometimes," she whispered, mortified.
"And you want to buy sex-toys?"
She blinked, remembering her recent purchase. Battery operated. The purchase she held in her sweaty hand. ‘Satisfaction guaranteed.’
Shitty, shit, shit.
"Well, actually, I've just bought..."
His eyes moved from the fancy paper bag in her hand to her face.
His vividly blue eyes went almost black.
"I own your orgasms. You don't do it by your own hand. And a machine won't do it to you either. Clear?"
She took a deep shuddering breath.
She recognized that ruthless expression on his gorgeous face.
Oh no, he was going into relentless lawyer mode.
James totally ignored his wife's little whimper of desperation.
Yes, his ego had taken a hit.
However, he couldn't blame her for feeling a little bit let down. Their recent sex life hadn't been great.
Hell, he was disappointed in it himself.
But he'd had to work very hard to keep complete control of his vampyre.
Twice the beast had nearly risen to take control.
Now he realized that by not giving his all when they made love, Charlotte had thought he no longer desired her, which was totally insane. But he could hardly blame her, could he?
Some of the things he'd read in her little book had opened his eyes wide to her secret needs.
Who knew his wife wanted it hard and fast and a little rough.
Christ, he was hard as stone just thinking about it. She'd given him a heaven sent opportunity to bring her into his world. And James Gillespie wasn't a man to waste a moment of any opportunity. It cost him, a lot, to keep his face straight.
He let his eyes go hard as he stared at her flushed and mortified face.
His vampyre didn't miss the scent of her arousal either.
What a naughty girl.
"Let’s start at the very beginning shall we? Dirty Little Secret number one: James is too gentle with me. He’s too controlled. I wish he would let go. I dream of him making love to my mouth with his big hard..." Aww, bless her, she'd never been good at using sexually explicit or graphic language. At the heart of her, his baby was shy. Keeping his face straight, his eyes flicked to her. "My big hard what? Can't find the word, Charlie? Or is it you're too ashamed to write it down?" He ignored the way her mouth was opening and closing like a landed fish and continued, "I’m naked and he’s tied my hands behind my back and I’m on my knees in front of him. I dream of swallowing his...”
Violently blue eyes, blazing with what she could see was lust and something darker, more dangerous, pinned hers. "
, Charlie? You want me to dominate you? All you had to do was ask."
Her neck, her cheeks, went nuclear, but she held his gaze and gave a single nod.
The pink tip of his tongue licked his full bottom lip as he studied her through narrowed blue eyes that didn’t miss how her nipples beaded or how she pressed her thighs together.
"Lift up your skirt," he commanded, his voice hoarse with arousal and his heavy shaft tented his suit trousers.
As slow as she dared, Charlotte did as he asked as liquid heat pooled between her legs.
His shocked gasp and wide eyes as he stared at her sex made her whole body quiver.
Her skin was smooth and naked since she’d recently had her first Brazilian wax.
It was obvious James definitely liked what he saw.
He tossed the little black book on the sofa.
"Well, well, well. Now who has been a very naughty girl?" he growled deep in his throat.
He rose and stalked towards her.
The ferocious look in his eyes for her had her heart stutter in her ribs and made her take a step back.
Big hands grabbed her.
One clamped around the back of her neck, a deliberate move of possession, of ownership, of dominance, that thrilled her as his mouth plundered hers in a bruising kiss that had her sob. His tongue plunged to explore the soft wet heat and then he sucked her tongue into his mouth. His other hand gripped her backside in a rough move pressing her flat belly against an erection of solid rock.
He’d never kissed her like this, as if he couldn’t get enough of her and her sex flooded with a wonderfully exciting arousal and need.
Then his hands gripped the neck of her crisp cotton shirt and ripped it apart.
Tiny pearl buttons flew in every direction to ping against the mirror and window as he tore off her bra. Big hands gripped her breasts, kneading and squeezing, his thumbs roughly flicking nipples that felt too tender and sensitive to cope. She shuddered in arousal, in reaction to what he was doing to her.
A part of her, a curiously foreign darkness that had been developing and growing for weeks cheered in delight that he was losing control and giving her what she'd always wanted, always needed, from him.
His fingers pinched her over-sensitive nipples in a way that made her cry out loud as his vivid blue eyes abruptly changed, went too dark, as they blazed over her naked flesh.
She saw no love in those eyes, no care, just a scorching primal lust.
And his hot, hungry mouth crushed hers in another brutal kiss that made her moan.
With hard hands he pulled her tight skirt higher over her bare bottom and his fingers thrust straight into her core to slick around her swollen flesh. Too hard and too fast he brought her up and over an unrelenting orgasm that had her scream and he swallowed the sound as her legs buckled and she dug her fingernails into his wide shoulders.
Her release ran down the inside of her thighs as she shuddered again and again with aftershocks. But now a part of her went utterly still and asked her what the hell did she think she was doing? That part of her longed for the way James usually kissed her as if she was the beginning and end of his whole world. This was not her James. Not really. She could tell by his aggressive handling of her, the way he was using his tongue, his teeth, as a weapon, that the man who was doing this to her was a man who was beyond angry. He was a man deeply hurt that his wife had written words she knew now she hadn't meant to write, not really.
Now she wished she’d never heard of Eleanor Pattullo’s women only club, Dirty Little Secrets, or her upmarket sex shop. And what had happened to her newest purchase? If this was how he reacted to the innermost secrets of her heart, what on earth was he going to do when he saw the sex toys she’d bought?
James thrust her away from him and stepped back, his wide chest heaving as he caught his breath. Those too blue and too intense eyes narrowed as they stared at her as if seeing her for the very first time.
And Charlotte saw exactly the emotions swirling in his eyes.
She’d upset him.
Charlotte realized her desires written down in black and white had slapped his healthy ego too hard. He was so very angry with her and she’d no idea how to even begin to soothe him. The overwhelming need to cry made her bite down hard on her bottom lip. But another voice in her head snarled and told her to grow-up and be the woman she needed to be and to take what she wanted and damn the consequences.
That voice made her tip up her chin in a challenge that she knew would infuriate her husband even further.
For a split second alarm seared through her system. She was quite certain his eyes now went dark red, the color of coagulated blood. And her excitement reached fever pitch. But before she could think or react, he grabbed her, flipping her on her belly over the arm of the low couch.
The button of her skirt flew as it was dragged down and off her ankles.
"According to your little book," he panted with something like a snarl in her ear, "you want it hard, too hard? Tell me how you want it."
A wave of something that felt like a tsunami of sheer lust hit her so hard, she closed her eyes to cope with the sensation.
She couldn't speak.
She couldn't think.
His heavy body seemed bigger, stronger, as it pressed down on top of her.