Scarlet Heat (Born to Darkness)(10)

By: Evangeline Anderson

“Temporary husband,” I reminded myself as I retreated from the kitchen and went to look at the rest of the house.

The upstairs rooms were still clearly under construction. They looked like they were going to be some guest bedrooms and maybe a study. Downstairs was almost completely finished. Besides the kitchen there was a breakfast nook and a vast living area filled with a big brown leather sectional and a large flat screen TV.

Probably where he watches the game, I thought, imagining Victor sprawled on the couch, his long, muscular form taking up most of the sectional. He would have the remote in one hand, clicking idly. I would come up behind him and kiss the back of his neck.

“Who’s winning?” I would ask.

He wouldn’t answer—instead he would reach up and pull me into his lap. I would snuggle close and breathe in his rich, masculine scent. The heat of his big body would warm me all the way through. One large hand would slip into my blouse and cup my breast, his thumb sliding gently over my nipple until a sweet, lazy lust filled me, making me hot, making me want him…

God, I was doing it again! I shook myself and took a deep breath, trying to clear my head. What was going on with all the weird fantasies? The feelings I’d been having for ages, but these strange little flashes of what my life would be like with Victor if we were really a couple…not to mention the way they kept getting sexual—well, it was too much.

Keep going, I told myself sternly. Look at the rest of the house. Concentrate on that and stop fantasizing.

Except the next step on my self-guided tour led me straight to the master bedroom.

I stared in dismay at the king sized bed, realizing suddenly that it was the only bed in the house. Was this where I was supposed to sleep? I went to the windows on the far side of the room, noting that they were far enough from the bed not to cast any light on it when the sun was up. But when I got closer, I saw that it wouldn’t have been a problem, even if they had been closer. Victor had covered the glass panes completely in heavy duty aluminum foil and there were thick, navy blue blackout drapes hanging across them that matched the dark blue spread on the bed.

Wow, he really had been preparing the house for me. That was…actually, it was kind of nice. Maybe he was a more thoughtful guy than I’d given him credit for.

I went back and sat on the bed for a minute, testing its firmness. It would be the first time I had slept—really slept—in a real bed in years. I’d had a creaky little cot at Corbin’s club, Under the Fang. And in Celeste’s house I had been given a dark, cobwebby crawlspace beneath the floorboards to sleep in. It had been horrible but I still liked it much better than any of her palatial bedrooms. That was because spending time in bed always meant torture of some kind. Celeste enjoyed hurting others as much as most people enjoy sex—more, actually. And she especially loved to act out her kinky fantasies on me…

I pushed the memory away with a real effort and buried my face in one of the plump, king sized pillows at the head of the bed instead. I breathed deeply, filling my senses with Victor’s scent. Dark spice. Fur and leather and sunlight in the forest… I don’t know why but it calmed me down.

It’s over now, I reminded myself. Roderick is dead and Celeste can’t touch me. I’m safe. I’m safe here.

I only wished I could believe it. Even more, I wished I could exorcise the memories of my personal season in hell. I had told Addison most of it—I would have gone insane if I couldn’t talk to someone. But some things were too awful to express in words. Too horrible to remember yet too dreadful to forget…

I became aware that I was crying and sat up hastily. Since vamps cry blood for tears, it’s important to watch it when you have a breakdown. I looked down anxiously—I didn’t want to stain Victor’s sheets.

There was a small drop of blood on the pillowcase I’d been lying on but it was so tiny as to be unnoticeable, especially against the dark blue pillowcase. I flipped the pillow over just to be sure and went to the bathroom to get some tissue.

After blotting my red-rimmed eyes, I looked around the master bath. It was very nice—all done in dark gray marble with a walk-in shower and a garden tub. There was only one window, high up in the shower stall. Which meant I wouldn’t be taking any showers during the day but then, I would probably be sleeping anyway. Most people think vamps are dead—all the way dead—while the sun is up, but that’s not true. We just sleep very deeply—so deeply we’re almost impossible to wake—which is why it’s so important to be someplace safe and light tight before you finally let yourself collapse.

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