The lady is a vamp, p.11
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       The Lady is a Vamp, p.11

         Part #17 of Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands
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Chapter Eleven

 

  "What shall we do now?"

  Jeanne Louise smiled at Paul's question as they wandered out of the antiques section. But before she could respond, Livy shrieked, "Ice cream!"

  She glanced at the girl, chuckling at the way the child was hopping about and clapping her hands.

  They had headed to Grand Bend first thing that morning. Or first thing on Livy waking them, she acknowledged with a wry smile. Certainly Jeanne Louise hadn't been ready to wake yet, and doubted Paul had been either after the two of them had spent most of the night getting acquainted with each other's bodies, passing out and getting reacquainted again. They'd been like a couple of junkies, jonesing on each other and reaching repeatedly for that next fix the moment they woke up after each session.

  After taking turns in the shower, they'd piled Livy in the car and had headed to Grand Bend and the Pinery Antique Market. Paul had read about it in a stack of brochures and fliers left on the table by the cottage owner. In the market one could find a Sunday breakfast, live entertainment, and ice cream made from real cream, along with antiques and various other things one wouldn't expect.

  They'd had breakfast first, then toured the vendors, and the entire time Livy had been on about the ice cream Paul had promised she would get on this outing. It didn't matter that she'd just had a large breakfast, she'd wanted ice cream from the minute they'd arrived. The girl's appetite was definitely benefiting from the lack of pain and the fact that Jeanne Louise ensured Livy thought she enjoyed what she ate.

  "All right, all right," Paul said with amusement. "Ice cream it is. And then we should probably head back to the cottage for some swimming. "

  "Ohhh," Livy's eyes were wide and happy. "Swimming. "

  "Yes, and probably playing," he added. "The people in the cottage next to ours have a little girl close to your age. Her name's Kirsten. So you might have someone to play with while we're here if the two of you like each other. "

  "Yay!" Livy squealed and danced in circles.

  Paul shook his head at her excitement and then caught her hand in his, slipped his other hand around Jeanne Louise's waist and herded them both to the ice cream stand. Jeanne Louise ordered a combo cone with a scoop of rocky road and black cherry. Livy immediately asked for the same and Paul ordered pistachio. Once their cones were in hand, they walked slowly back toward the parking lot, licking madly at the quickly melting ice cream.

  It was nearly noon and extremely hot. Jeanne Louise was very aware of the sun beating down, but didn't want to spoil the moment by reminding Paul that she shouldn't be out in it. It was as if he'd completely forgotten that she was immortal, like they were a typical mortal family, enjoying a sunny Sunday outing . . . and she liked it. Jeanne Louise had never really thought she envied mortals being able to enjoy simple pleasures like this, but in that moment she did. She was happy, relaxed and sated from their night together.

  Not that Jeanne Louise didn't still want the man presently walking along beside her listening to his daughter's happy chatter. She would have happily lured him into the nearest public washroom, the backseat of the car, or any private spot they could find if they didn't have to keep an eye on Livy. She definitely wanted the man still and was eager for the day to end and night to descend so they could put Livy to bed and enjoy each other again. But, in the meantime, she felt content.

  "Jeanie?"

  Paul's tense voice made it through her thoughts and drew her attention. Seeing the tension in his expression, she followed his gaze to a dark SUV parked a row over from Paul's car. Her eyes narrowed and she moved to the side to get a look at the license plate and felt her heart drop. It was an Argeneau SUV. They all had specialty license plates and this one was no exception. Her eyes shot to the windows, but the vehicle was empty.

  "Get to the car," she said grimly, dropping her cone to the ground to leave her hands free.

  Paul immediately scooped up Livy and hurried toward the car. Jeanne Louise didn't follow at once, but instead turned in a slow circle, looking for the driver of the vehicle. When a full turn and scan didn't reveal anyone to her, she hurried after Paul and Livy. He was buckling the little girl into the back when she arrived at the car. Jeanne Louise opened the front passenger door, but didn't immediately get in. She took the opportunity to scan their surroundings again, checking eyes and faces of anyone she saw. Again, though, she didn't spot an immortal anywhere. Not that she knew every hunter working for her uncle, but the eyes tended to be a giveaway, as did their pale skin at this time of year. And most immortals would be wearing long sleeves and slacks rather than shorts to protect them from the sun as much as possible. But everyone she saw was in shorts and T-shirts or some other short-sleeved or completely sleeveless top.

  Paul slammed the back door, and she glanced his way as he rushed around to the driver's side. Jeanne Louise gave up scanning people and folded herself into the front seat as he got in. But she continued to scan anyone and everyone she saw as he started the engine and began to back out of the parking spot. She didn't relax until they were on the road and had put some distance between their vehicle and the market.

  "I don't think we were followed," Paul said quietly as she shifted to face forward in her seat.

  "No," Jeanne Louise agreed on a sigh. "I guess we got lucky. Although I don't know how they missed recognizing your car and license," she added with bewilderment. "We really should have dumped the car. And I should have thought of that. "

  "Oh . . . er . . . no need for that," he said, looking suddenly uncomfortable.

  She peered at him curiously. "Oh?"

  Paul nodded, cleared his throat and then admitted, "I bought a black magic marker while we were in town yesterday, and when I was unloading the car, I used it to change the two sixes on my license to eights. "

  Jeanne Louise's eyes widened. "Really?"

  He nodded wryly, and shrugged. "It seemed a good idea. I didn't think they'd search out this far from London, but there was a slight possibility, so I just thought . . . " Paul shrugged helplessly.

  Jeanne Louise relaxed a little more at this disclosure, but she was looking at him with admiration and murmured, "Aren't you clever. "

  "I'm not just another pretty face, you know," he said with a grin.

  "No, you certainly aren't," she agreed solemnly.

  Paul glanced at her sharply, and then reached over with one hand to squeeze hers. It made Jeanne Louise realize that his hands were as empty as hers.

  "Where did your ice cream go?"

  "I dropped it in the parking lot," he admitted and then added, "Like you did. " He shrugged and added, "It seemed sensible to have my hands free. "

  "Yes," she said and squeezed his fingers with her own as she glanced in the backseat. Livy was the only one still with a cone, which explained the silence. The girl was still madly licking at her cone . . . and without being controlled and made to think it was good, Jeanne realized, eyes widening. She'd given up making the girl think it tasted good as she'd concentrated on looking for any immortals in the area. But the girl certainly seemed to be enjoying it anyway.

  "Damn shame though," Paul said suddenly, regret in his voice. "That was good ice cream. "

  Jeanne Louise chuckled at the words as she settled back in her seat. But he was right. It had been darned good ice cream, she acknowledged and then suggested, "Maybe we should stop at a store and pick up some Haagen-Dazs or Ben and Jerry's. "

  "Definitely," he agreed. "We can celebrate our lucky escape with it. "

  "It was lucky," Jeanne Louise said solemnly. "I didn't expect them to check this far from London. "

  "Neither did I," Paul admitted, his smile fading. "Maybe we should stick close to the cottage for the next day or two. It's rented under the name Williams and the license has been changed, so as long as we aren't seen we should be good. "

  "Yes," Jeanne Louise agreed. It just seemed the sensible thing to do. They'd got lucky this time
, but it didn't mean they would again.

  In the end, they decided to bypass the stop for ice cream. If Enforcers were searching the area, it just seemed a better idea to get back to the cottage and not risk running into one of them.

  While Cecily Jackson and Sharon Corby were still on their shopping excursion with Kirsten, their husbands and sons were back from their fishing and descended on them as they got out of the car. Paul was forced to feign enthusiasm as they were shown the morning's catch and regaled with tales of how this one was a fighter, and that one was an even harder fighter, and the other was the biggest fish ever.

  Jeanne Louise stood beside him with what he suspected was silent amusement as he tried not to grimace at the smelly fish that were dangled before him. Livy on the other hand was free to say "gross" and "p-ewww" and then rush off to let Boomer out. Paul envied her that. He would have liked to echo her comments and flee the stench, but knew it would be considered terribly unmanly of him. Instead, he spent several minutes offering congratulations to the men before their wives' return distracted them. The triumphant fishermen then rushed off to regale the womenfolk with their stories of success, assuring Paul and Jeanne Louise that they'd hit the beach right after lunch as they went.

  Relieved to be free of the chore of admiring the scaly vertebrates, Paul whistled for Boomer and ushered Jeanne Louise and Livy into the cottage. He groaned when Jeanne Louise said she'd make lunch. Having dead fish shoved under his nose had rather stolen his appetite. But Livy responded eagerly enough. The child seemed to be hungry all the time now and he wasn't sure if that was Jeanne Louise or the girl's natural appetite returning now that she was no longer in constant pain.

  By the time lunch was ready, however, Paul found himself hungry and enjoyed the bacon, lettuce, and tomato wraps she served up. They then gathered what they would need together and headed down to the beach.

  Paul had been worried about Jeanne Louise's need to stay out of the sun, but both Cecily and Sharon were seated in the shade when they went out to join everyone on the beach. Jeanne Louise settled happily with them while Paul and Livy headed straight for the water with Boomer charging ahead and straight into the waves.

  Russell waited at the water's edge with Kirsten. They introduced the two girls who played shy for all of five minutes before wading into the water together, splashing each other and giggling as little girls do. Paul watched with a smile, his heart actually aching a little to see his daughter so happy. It was a vast difference from the pale, thin, sickly girl who had been sleeping in Livy's pretty pink room the last couple of weeks. It was like night and day, and he knew he owed it all to Jeanne Louise.

  The woman hadn't turned his child yet, but she'd taken away her pain and that had given Livy the chance to be a normal little girl again.

  They spent the afternoon with their neighbors, and then had a communal barbecue with everyone contributing food. The men congregated around the large gas barbecue that belonged to Paul and Jeanne Louise's cottage while the women moved between the cottages making potato salad and macaroni salad and gathering chips and drinks.

  Once they'd eaten and cleared away the remains of the meal, the children rushed off with Boomer to play while the adults all settled around another bonfire to talk and keep an eye on them. It was nice. Paul hadn't enjoyed evenings like this since Jerri's death. He'd been invited to join neighborhood barbecues and such, but had felt like a fifth wheel and refused. He didn't feel like a fifth wheel with Jeanne Louise at his side.

  "Those look like rain clouds. "

  Paul followed John Corby's glance toward a grouping of large, dark clouds in the distance and nodded, solemnly. They were almost black against the dimming sky as the sun headed for the horizon. Grimacing, he said, "Looks like we're in for one heck of a storm. "

  "Hmmm," Russell commented. "And they're moving pretty quick. "

  "Well they did say that we were in for a doozy of a storm tonight," Sharon said with amusement. "High winds, buckets of rain. The whole works. "

  "Did they?" John Corby asked his wife with surprise.

  "Yeah, Cecily and I heard it on the radio on the way back from London this morning," Sharon said and then shook her head with exasperation. "I told you that when we got back from shopping. "

  "I didn't hear you," John said with a frown, his gaze sliding to their dock and cottage with concern.

  "You never hear me," Sharon said dryly.

  "Well, you need to speak up, woman," he teased absently, and then sighed and got up. "If we're in for a storm, I guess I'd best make sure the boat's secured and have the boys help me gather up anything we don't want blowing away. "

  "Sounds like a plan," Russell commented, getting up as well and taking his wife's hand to tug her out of her chair. "Thanks for the fire, Paul. Jeanie. A pleasure. We'll do it again tomorrow if you're up to it. "

  "We'd like that," Paul said easily, glancing to Jeanne Louise as she stood and folded her lawn chair in preparation of taking it up to the cottage. He got up, put out the fire, and then helped her gather the chairs as the other two couples took their things and headed away. They stowed the chairs in their usual spot, and then picked up their own bits strewn about that they didn't want blown away, towels that had been hung on the line to dry, Livy's sand pail and shovel, the raft and her water wings . . .

  After one last look over the yard to be sure they hadn't missed anything, Paul whistled for Boomer, who was romping on the shoreline. He then glanced up the side of the cottage to where Livy and Kirsten stood hunched over, poking at something with a stick in the front yard. "I guess its bath and bedtime for small fry. "

  "I'll take Boomer in, feed him, and run the bath while you get her if you like," Jeanne Louise offered, smiling as she peered toward the two girls.

  "Thanks. " Paul nodded and squinted his eyes. "What the hell are they poking at?"

  "A dead bird," Jeanne Louise answered, narrowing her eyes. "They're prodding, not poking. They're sure it's sleeping and are trying to wake it up. "

  "Oh God," Paul muttered and started toward the pair, Jeanne Louise's soft laughter behind him. He stepped around the cottage just as Cecily appeared in the yard next door and knew she had come in search of her daughter as well. He smiled her way, then glanced back to the two girls and called, "Livy, honey, leave that poor bird alone and say good night to Kirsten. It's time for a bath and bed. "

  Livy turned startled eyes his way, then glanced around and frowned. "But it's still light out. "

  "I know, but it's late, muffin. Besides it looks like it's going to rain," Paul said patiently. "Come on. A bath and bed. "

  "You too, Kirsten," Cecily called. "Say good night to Livy. "

  "Okay," Kirsten said with a put-upon sigh. She then turned to Livy and hugged her. "We'll play again tomorrow. Okay?"

  "Okay," Livy said with a smile, hugging her back. The pair then parted to rush toward their respective parents.

  Paul held out his hand, smiling when Livy grabbed it. She skipped along at his side as he led her back around the cottage to the kitchen door. As promised, Jeanne Louise had a bath ready and waiting and agreed easily when Livy announced she wanted her to give her her bath that night.

  Paul felt a pinch of hurt that she'd choose Jeanne Louise over him, but he was also glad. His daughter liked Jeanie, and it was obvious the immortal liked her too. He thought that could only be a good thing, and as he leaned in the door watching the two females laugh and splash water, Paul allowed himself a brief fantasy of their being a family . . . of Jeanne Louise staying with them, and Livy getting better and growing up . . . of a future. It was a beautiful daydream that had him smiling widely.

  Paul and Jeanne Louise both put Livy to bed after her bath, tucking her in, and each of them kissing and hugging her good night . . . which just seemed to further his fantasy. Paul felt warm and safe and content as he caught Jeanne Louise's hand to lead her from the room. Once in the living room, he paused and turn
ed to her, then cupped her cheeks in his hands and simply stared at her face. She was so precious, this woman. Somehow she had become as important to him as Livy. He'd give his life for her, just as he would Livy. Each of the two females possessed a piece of his soul.

  Paul wanted to express all that, to tell Jeanne Louise how he felt, but he didn't have a clue how to say it, and in the end simply bent and pressed a kiss to her forehead, each eyelid, her nose and then finally her lips.

  When he lifted his head, Jeanne Louise opened the eyes she'd closed as he'd kissed them. They were glowing softly in the dim light, a vibrant silver blue. She smiled softly and said, "I love you too. "

  "I do love you," Paul said at once, relief sliding through him as he acknowledged what he was feeling, what all his feelings meant. He hadn't known what to say, but in the end it was so simple. He loved her. She'd understood that and she loved him too. Thank God, Paul thought, and then he kissed her again, but this time it was no gentle caress, it was hot, and passionate and demanding. He wanted all of her, body, heart, and soul.

  Jeanne Louise moaned and arched against him as they kissed, her hands clasping his shoulders. But when he tore his mouth from hers to seek other pastures, she whispered, "Not here. "

  Pausing, Paul raised his head to peer at her in question, and then glanced to the side when Jeanne Louise nodded that way with her head. He found himself looking out the picture window along the side of the living room and straight into the Jacksons' kitchen. Russell, Cecily, and their oldest son sat at the kitchen table playing some sort of board game. Even as he looked, Russell glanced over, spotted them and smiled and waved.

  Paul automatically smiled and waved back, then caught Jeanne Louise's hand and turned to lead her to the stairs to the lower level. They could have just gone to the master bedroom, but he was mindful of having woken Livy the night before with their cries the first time. They'd tried to be quiet the subsequent times after that, using pillows, the blankets, and even each other's bodies to muffle the sounds of their pleasure, but suspected this time even that wouldn't help. He felt full to bursting with emotion, and he was ravenous for Jeanne Louise. Paul was hoping that the bit of distance combined with the flooring would help muffle whatever sounds they made.

  Jeanne Louise was silent as Paul led her downstairs. She knew he would soon ask her to turn Livy and that the time had come for her to tell him about life mates and her having only one turn. But after. Admitting the feelings that had grown so quickly in her over the past several days, and hearing him speak his own aloud made her want to hold him, be held by him and welcome him into her body. She wanted to make love with him and knew it would be all the sweeter because she now knew his feelings for her.

  Paul led her through the small TV room at the foot of the stairs, past the first bedroom and on to the last one. The one farthest from Livy's room, she noted and thought that could only be a good thing. He led her straight to the bed before stopping and then turned and began to remove her clothes, brushing her hands away when she tried to touch him or his own clothes.

  Jeanne Louise let him have his way, standing still as he removed her clothes one item at a time, his hands sliding over her body as he worked, offering brief, teasing caresses. When Paul had her naked, he urged her onto the bed, then turned his attention to his own clothes, stripping them away much more swiftly and with less care as he stared at her where she reclined on the bed. His shirt went first, muscles rippling as he pulled it off over his head, and then he removed his jeans and boxers together.

  Paul stepped out of them to climb onto the bed beside her and settled on his side next to her. When Jeanne Louise reached for him, he caught her hands and pinned them on either side of her head as he leaned down to kiss her. She could have freed herself easily, but didn't, merely kissing back and arching her body until her breasts rubbed against his chest.

  They both groaned as the contact sent pleasure rippling through them, and were panting when he finally broke the kiss.

  "You need to feed," he whispered, pressing kisses to her cheek and ear.

  Jeanne Louise nodded and smiled slowly. She'd fed again on both Cecily and Sharon while they'd prepared the salads for dinner, but needed more.

  "What's that smile about?" Paul asked with amusement when he lifted his head and caught sight of it.

  "I was just thinking I know exactly which vein I want to tap this time," Jeanne Louise murmured, and his eyes widened.

  "Oh," he asked with interest, nipping at her lip. "And which one would that be?"

  "If you'd care to trade places with me I'll show you," she promised.

  Paul raised his head, peered at her briefly and then chuckled and shook his head. "You do like to be on top, Miss Argeneau. "

  "Do you mind?" she asked, arching an eyebrow.

  Paul grinned. "Not at all. But this time you'll have to wait. I intend to have my way with you first. "

  "Your way with me, huh?" Jeanne Louise said with a husky chuckle that died when he released one of her hands to slide his own over her body, cresting one breast before letting his fingers dance down across her stomach toward the apex of her thighs. By the time his fingers slid between her legs they were both breathing heavily.

  "Why is it when I touch you I feel pleasure?" Paul asked, his voice almost a groan.

  "It's called shared pleasure," Jeanne Louise gasped out, as he began to shift himself down her body, his mouth following the trail his hand had taken just seconds ago. "You feel mine and I feel yo- Oh God," she groaned as he dipped his head between her legs, his fingers and mouth now working together and making her forget what she was saying . . . along with everything else.

  Jeanne Louise was vaguely aware that Paul was groaning along with her as he worked. But it was just a peripheral awareness. Her concentration was on the fire burning in her belly, and the tension building in her body. God, he was good at that, Jeanne Louise thought wildly, digging her heels into the bed and dragging a pillow over to cover her mouth as she became aware that she was starting to get a little noisy. But then he was experiencing her pleasure along with her, was feeling exactly what felt best, and knew right when to increase the pressure or tempo.

  She stopped thinking after that and became nothing but sensation, her body singing to the tune he was playing until the tension finally exploded in a rush of pleasure that had her screaming wildly into the pillow. Jeanne Louise was so caught up in it that she didn't even hear Paul shout out with her. She felt it though, a reverberation against her skin that simply seemed to add to what she was experiencing.

  Paul woke up to find himself lying flat on his back on the bed with Jeanne Louise leaning over him, kissing and nibbling her way down his throat to his chest. When he reached for her, gliding his fingers into her hair, she lifted her head and smiled at him.

  "Time to feed," she whispered with a naughty smile that made the blood rush south. She then brushed his hand away and continued what she'd been doing, now paying attention to first one nipple and then the other before continuing downward. It seemed it was her turn, and Jeanne Louise was going for the vein she'd mentioned earlier.

  Obviously not the neck or arms, Paul thought wryly as she traced a path across his stomach. He moaned and shifted under her teasing, his hands fisting in her hair as she nipped at his skin. But as Jeanne Louise moved lower, he caught her hair up in his fingers so that it no longer curtained her face and he could watch her nibble her way to and along his hip bone.

  By the time she turned her attention to his shaft it was already completely erect with anticipation. When Jeanne Louise caught it in hand and ran her tongue its length from the base up until she could curl it around the tip, Paul groaned and closed his eyes. When she then took him in her warm, wet mouth, he had to release her hair for fear of pulling it out.

  Christ, this wasn't the first time a woman had done that to him, but it had never felt that damned good before, Paul thought. But then no other woman had en
joyed the aid of that shared pleasure business she'd mentioned. He had no doubt it was guiding her just as it had him, that feeling his pleasure with him, Jeanne Louise was able to tell exactly what felt best and where and how to caress him to the best effect.

  Shared pleasure was definitely the bomb, Paul decided, and his last semi-sensible thought was to thank God for it and for whatever scientist had created nanos that allowed for it.
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