Eternal kiss, p.34
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       Eternal Kiss, p.34

         Part #2 of Mark of the Vampire series by Laura Wright
Chapter 34


  Mondrar was no home.

  And Kate was no criminal.

  But there she sat, once again, in the freezing five-by-five cell, no wal s, just bars on every side so that her fel ow inmates could observe her. It was proper humiliation in the most disgusting, despicable, and most demoralizing of settings. Typical Order.

  By now, Nicholas had to know she was gone. What did he think? she wondered. Did he believe she'd run away?

  Did he believe she felt nothing for him, had never felt anything for him but the built-in sexual lust of a true mate?

  Or did he think her freedom had meant more to her than him . . . or Ladd.

  And maybe he'd be right. Maybe not . . .

  Didn't matter now, she told herself, forcing a hardness into her soul that she knew she would need if she was going to survive in this place again. Nicholas would find out soon enough, and at the very least, her capture would mean that Lucian would be safe.

  The veana in the cel next to hers banged on the bars with the head of her bed. "Who are you, pretty bitch?"

  Kate sat down on the edge of her metal bed and put her head in her hands. "Prisoner 626. "

  She was out of fight.

  As night overtook the mountain, and the moon's glow became the only source of light, Lucian stood near the cave's mouth and stared at the paven before him-the Breeding Male.

  His father.

  Lucian wasn't at al sure how to feel about this choice piece of news. In one respect, he wanted to wrap his hands around the paven's neck and squeeze very slowly until his eyebal s popped. Hell, did a Breeding Male who had taken countless veana against their will, left them alone and terrified and fil ed with hatred for the balas they carried deserve anything less?

  Lucian thought no.

  And yet he had questions. So many questions. Was it possible to ask them and get the answers before he lost his mind and attacked?

  "It is good to see you, my son," the paven began, his voice a low, dark mystery.

  Growling, Lucian moved nearer. "Don't cal me that. "

  "Very well. " He inclined his head. "Lucian. "

  "What is your name?"

  "Order 10. "

  "Your real name. "

  "Titus Evictus. "

  "Am I a Breeding Male, Titus?"

  The paven nodded, and around him the wind picked up, scattering leaves on the hard ground. "The moment you gave your blood to the veana, the change began. "

  Lucian stared at the paven, no rush of cataclysmic shock barreling through him. For years, maybe forever, he had felt a self-imposed don't-even-go-there-dickhead sign when it came to feeding females of any species. And yet, faced with Bronwyn's hunger, he hadn't been able to control himself-hell, he hadn't even paused to consider it.

  "So it's done," Lucian said tightly. "I fed the veana and now I wil become a rutting animal with no feeling, no care, and no conscience. "

  Titus shook his head. "The change has only begun, it hasn't taken hold. Not yet. "

  "Are you saying there's a way to stop it?"

  "If your brother fails at kil ing Dare, the Order wil morph you early regardless, and you wil become a Breeding Male. If not, there is a way to prolong the change until the time of your true morph one hundred and seventy-five years from now. "


  "You cannot breed with the one who holds your blood,"

  Titus explained, his eyes heavy with significance. "If you mate with this veana, the gene will take hold and you wil be changed quickly. It is not a road you would appreciate. For the rest of your existence, you wil feel the undeniable pul to breed with every female around you. And you wil take them whether they accept you or not. "

  In other words, if he didn't steer clear of Bronwyn Kettler he would become a piece-of-shit raping monster way ahead of schedule. Real y fucking fabulous. Lucian eyed the paven. "You stil feel this, even now?"

  "No," Titus said, the blatant look of relief unmasked. "It is why I gave up my existence for the Order. Al urges, controlled or not, have been stripped from me. "

  "By who?" Hell, he might need that information someday.

  But Titus only shook his head. "That matters not. What matters is that I am only a justice now. "

  Lucian snorted. Whatever else his "pops" was spewing today, the innocent, justice-for-al Order rap wasn't getting past Lucian's bul shit detector. He knew better.

  Inhaling slowly, eyes closing, Titus grew silent for a moment. Then, like a switch being turned on, he flipped open his lids and announced, "I must go. "

  Lucian raised a pale eyebrow at the paven. "Tel me something first, Dad. Is this justice? What you're doing for me now?"

  Titus didn't answer. Instead he replaced his hood on his head and flashed from the cave.

  Inside the Hudson River compound, Ethan stood beside the long dining table and watched the balas as he flicked seeds and fruit around his plate. An hour ago, he'd taken blood from several of the Pureblood veanas, and although it hadn't offered the Supreme One's sudden onslaught of power, it had given him a welcome rush of clarity and strength.

  Two vital skil s he would need for the battle ahead.

  "Eat, boy," Ethan muttered as the child continued to pick at his plate. He wasn't about to have the child die before he could be used.

  "I want to go home," the boy whined.

  Ethan chuckled. "Do you even know where that is anymore?"

  Ladd's lip trembled. "My family wil come for me. " "Are you speaking of the Romans? Because if you are, then I hope so. I would love to make them al bleed, just as I made your mother bleed. "

  A loud gasp escaped Ladd's throat and for a moment he looked sick to his stomach. But the look quickly faded, and changed into something strong and resolute. "I am a descendant of the Breeding Male," he said, inching up his chin. "The most powerful of al vampires. "

  "For now," Ethan replied, then spotted his female and the son nearly grown inside her bel y, and left the balas with his recruits.

  Lucian snapped back into consciousness. He was in his rooms. Bronwyn sat before him on the bed, concern in her eyes and on her expression.

  "Where did you go?" she asked.

  "What do you mean?" He tried to appear casual, but he real y didn't know what the hel had just happened to him-

  where he'd gone or how.

  "You just looked like you were lost in thought there for a second. "

  A second? Lucian's gut clenched. This wasn't right. It wasn't how things worked, had ever worked. The Order couldn't pul a paven from a protected home. Their power didn't stretch that far. He would've had to have been outside, and even then his body would've been taken-not just his mind.

  Firecrackers were being lit up inside of him. Kabam.

  Pow. Daddy dearest and al that shit.

  Maybe it was Titus. Something in their blood connection. . .

  He eyed Bronwyn.

  She didn't need to know about any of it. He shrugged roguishly. "Maybe I passed out. You nearly drained me dry, princess. "

  She smiled, sat up a little straighter against his pil ows.

  She looked beautiful in his bed. She looked like she belonged there-belonged to him.

  She needed to go.

  His life and the lives of many depended upon his never seeing her again.

  "No one could drain you dry, Lucian Roman," she said.

  "You may be a pain in the ass, but you're invincible. "

  And she needed to stop looking at him like that-like he was a fucking hero when al he wanted to do was tie those purity cloths at her wrists to the bedposts and screw her until she was as weak as when she'd first come into his room.

  "Lucian. " She went serious for a moment. "I want to thank you for what you did. "

  "It was just a little blood, princess. Let's not make it into a big thing. "

  "You didn't have to, is al I'm saying. "

sp; He stood. "I have an Impure to hunt, and you should probably return to your credenti. "

  For a moment, she didn't move; then, like a cat, she crawled off the bed and stood beside him. "Listen, I never got to tel you, never got to finish what I was saying before.

  The reason I came here in the first place . . . "

  "What are you talking about?"

  ". . . and Alexander hung up on me before I could explain further. "

  "Is this about the balas?"

  She looked up, nodded. "His DNA. "

  "What are you talking about?" he said impatiently. "Is he Nicholas's relation or not?"

  "Yes. They share blood. " Her tongue swiped at her upper lip as though there was stil a trace of him left on her to enjoy. "But the balas is not his son. "
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