The Dark Ones
To touch a Dark One is death.
To talk to an immortal is suicide.
Yet, I've been marked by both.
And the King of the immortals.
My life is no longer my own.
And now I know the truth, my life was never mine to begin with.
It was theirs.
It's always been theirs.
I didn't open my eyes. "No staying in bed all day?"
"About that…" Ethan sighed. "The good news is it will feel like we've been in bed for days when really it could have been mere hours."
"Hmm?" I perked up. "Well, that's a nice trick."
"I'm full of them." His eyes sparkled. "Care to know more?"
"Yes," I whispered, my mouth finding his.
With a groan, he pushed me back against the mattress and loomed over me, his naked body glorious-looking against the sunlight streaming through the window. "Perhaps we'll stay a bit longer."
"Yes." I nodded my head eagerly. "I'm your mate, after all. Don't you want me to be pleased?"
"You were pleased at least four times last night, possibly five, if we count the time I—"
"Shh." I put my hands over his mouth.
He smirked. "Afraid the dust will hear?"
I rolled my eyes.
"Ethan!" Alex's voice boomed on the other side of the door. "Feed her!"
"Ignore him," Ethan hissed.
The knock got louder. "For the love of God, she's human. Give her food."
"He's a siren. He knows nothing." Ethan continued kissing me.
"Mason will break down the door if he has to." Fighting broke out in the hall. "Ethan, I can smell the sex from here. One immortal to another, feed her before you can't feed from her anymore."
Ethan growled and pulled back from me. "They have no manners."
I was half-tempted to cover my face with my hands. Had they heard us? Of course they'd heard us, and they knew, and they could… Yeah, I wanted to crawl under the bed and hide for a few days. Instead, Ethan pounced from the bed, put on a pair of jeans, and jerked open the door while I tried to hide beneath the covers.
Alex peered over Ethan's shoulder and waved.
I had no choice but to wave back and hope that I wasn't as red as I felt.
"She's alive." Alex held up his hand for a high five. "No? Not funny? Too soon?"
"Horrible joke," Mason said next to him. "I made eggs. She's going to need food. Make her eat everything on the plate and—"
He was still talking when Ethan slammed the door in his face and brought a giant plate of food over to me.
"Forgive them." Ethan scowled. "There aren't typically secrets between us, and they're just concerned for you."
I pointed at the eggs, ten slices of bacon, and toast. "Clearly, they don't want me to starve."
"Wolves." Ethan looked heavenward. "He should be more concerned with his own diet, the ass."
"It does smell good." I moved up the bed so I could lean against the headboard. "Do you eat?"
Ethan's lips curved into a predatory smile. "I ate several times last night. Care for me to refresh your memory?"
My cheeks burned.
"So tempting." He reached for a piece of bacon and held it to his lips, taking a small bite that had my entire body clenching to keep from reaching out and attacking him. "And yes, I can eat. I typically do eat but haven't been because when we drink, we don't need normal food."
"But before me…" I grabbed a piece of toast. "You were eating normal food."
"I like you better." He winked. "But yes, I was."
"Good to know I'm better than bacon."
"Your taste…" His eyes brightened. "…is unlike anything I've ever had."
"Hmm…" I licked my lips.
"Stop it," he hissed and looked away. "Damn, I can't watch you eat. I'm going to shower while you eat your entire plate as per Mason's orders, and then I'll contemplate letting you leave this room so you can go to the bookstore."
"Ah!" I almost knocked over the food. "My job! Am I late? Will I get fired?"
Ethan burst out laughing. "It's eight in the morning. He's expecting you when I drop you off. No sooner, no later. You won't get fired. He wouldn't dream of it, and you really are adorable."
"And hot." I sighed.
"No, I mean hot, as in, it's scorching in here."
Ethan winced. "You may be that way for a few days."
"Too much vampire blood makes you overheat a bit." He shrugged. "It won't turn you— You're very much human, like I've said before, but sometimes the vampire blood causes a type of burn to take over in your bloodstream, not painful, just not exactly pleasant if it's a hundred degrees outside."
"Good thing it's Seattle." I bit into the toast.
"Yes, well, I imagine at this point, raindrops would simply turn to vapor if they landed on your skin."
"Shower." He nodded. "I'm going to turn around now and walk away."
"Apparently, that's what I do when I can think of nothing more than ripping that sheet from your body, slamming you into the nearest wall, and possessing you all over again."
I dropped the toast.
He growled, taking two steps toward me, then swore and turned back around.
"Have a good shower!" I called.
Another growl was his answer, and then his jeans went flying. I wasn't laughing anymore.
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!
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