Him

Book Three of the Earthen Witch World Shorts

Presented in installments.
Will be published upon completion.

Tessa Roché is vacationing in France when she takes a risk she never thought she’d do. She hires a male escort to fulfill a fantasy she’s held since she was a teenager — a night with a vampire.

She quickly discovers that he is more than just a man. Michael Demille is everything she ever dreamed of, and he’s not pretending to be a vampire. But Tessa has a secret of her own.

When danger interrupts their night, they are forced to fight for their lives and each other, while also discovering that someone else wants Tessa for himself. Michael vows to protect her and they flee with their lives, but how long will their reprieve last? And what will happen when they’re found?

To read each part individually: part 1part 2, part 3part 4part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11, part 12, part 13, part 14, part 15part 16, part 17, part 18, part 19, and part 20.

Copyright 2016-2017 Sarah Doughty
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One

I didn’t know the man standing in front of me, but I couldn’t look away. Seeing him turned me into a live wire. Everything felt electrified and amplified. Like every nerve ending screamed for him.

There was something about the way he was looking at me. With those infinite blue depths, it reminded me of the ocean. Not like the tropical islands near the equator, but more like the stormy, winter seas near the Arctics.

It felt like he could see me. All of me.

And I wanted nothing more in that moment than to taste those perfectly rounded lips, upturned into a faint smile that I knew was meant only for me. I wanted to feel the smoothness of his hair. Breathe him in, and revel in the feel of his skin against mine.

All while losing myself in his eyes.

It was illogical. Crazy even. Because I didn’t know who he was.

But I still wanted it. All of it.

Forever.

 

Two

Though his eyes were a deep, grayish blue that captivated me and his dark blond hair flopped into his eyes, darkening them with mystery, it was everything else about him that heated the blood pumping through my veins.

The beginnings of a beard darkened his strong jaw that looked like it was chiseled from stone. Those perfect lips looked like they tasted better than anything I could imagine, and as I let my eyes travel down, the blood coursing through me heated several more degrees.

He was taller than me by nearly a foot and even through his shirt, I could see a peppering of hair disappearing into the neckline. See the the muscles beneath. I could tell how strong he was without seeing his flesh.

I wanted to see all of him. Every last inch of him, unhindered by the clothing that clung to him like a second skin.

And at the same time, I wanted to taste every inch of him. Feel every bit of what he could do to me.

My mouth watered from the mere thought of running my tongue over him. Then that tiny smile lifted a fraction before his eyes dropped to my lips as I licked them reflexively.

His eyes darkened moments before slowly lifting back up to meet mine.

“Hi, there,” he drawled.

I was amazed my legs didn’t collapse beneath me at the sound of his voice traveling down my body like a caress.

 

Three

His eyes watched my every movement, and those perfect lips turned up into a sly smile and in that moment, I knew he was aware of what he was doing to me.

Coherent thoughts escaped me as my palms started to sweat and tingle with the undeniable urge to reach out to him and pull him closer.

I wanted to feel his body against mine like our lives depended on it. Feel the heat pulsating from him like a raging fire and smell that intoxicating scent of brown sugar that wafted off him.

“Hi,” I breathed and immediately chided myself for such an idiotic response.

His eyes stayed locked on me and caught my unease. They were practically shimmering with suppressed laughter, but he didn’t move. He didn’t even breathe. “I take it you’ve never done this before?” he asked like we were discussing the weather.

No. I never thought I would reach that level of desperation in my entire life. But there I was, standing in front of a man that defined the word sexy, fumbling around like a lost cause.

Because I was. “Is it that obvious?” I feigned a smile and gulped, faintly noticing that he still wasn’t breathing.

A genuine smile slowly spread across his mouth and I nearly forgot what I was so nervous about. “Relax. I promise I won’t bite.”

Somehow I knew, the feel of his teeth against my flesh would be the most intense and invigorating feeling of my mundane life. And though I believed the words he spoke, in that moment, I knew I wanted him to break that promise.

 

Four

My gaze lingered on his lips as I pondered the thought of his teeth on me. Shivers traveled across my body with anxious anticipation.

It wasn’t just a blind date, but it was my first everything. I was twenty-five years old and by god, it was time I finally found someone that could be my first everything.

And I really wanted everything with him.

That first kiss that would make my stomach flip, the first caress that would feel like it lasted a lifetime and yet only a moment at the same time. I wasn’t naive enough to think the god-like creature in front of me could offer me anything more than the most intense night of my life.

After all, that was what I was paying for. One night. One insane fantasy that I would remember for the rest of my days.

But somewhere, deep down, I knew it wouldn’t be a happy memory. I knew I would end up wanting more from him. Things I knew he couldn’t offer me.

Everything about that night was carefully planned, and there I was, blubbering around like an idiot. Because he was so much more than I imagined.

Nothing about the man standing in front of me made me feel like anything but a queen, a goddess, and that just made me want him that much more.

The longer I watched him, the more I realized that he wasn’t breathing. Then I started to wonder. Was it really possible?

I never once thought that fantasy was literally what I was paying for. Maybe it was a trick of the light. Maybe it was just my imagination.

“Are you really a vampire?” I blurted, instantly regretting it.

I forgot what I was worried about as he chuckled and took my hand. His flesh was cool to the touch and energy zinged up my arm. It was so intense, it took my breath away. Then he started to lead me toward the exit.

That was when I realized that the heat I felt from him wasn’t his. It was mine, reflected back at me.

He bent toward me and his breath tickled against my ear and the sensitive curve of my neck, sending heat down my body like a flash burn and he whispered, “Why don’t we go find out?”

 

Five

“My name is Michael,” he said as we walked. He was still holding my hand and his cool skin against mine set my nerve endings on fire.

Thoughts escaped me as I tried to form a sentence. “I-I’m Tessa,” I stammered, and then my mind went blank as I looked up at him.

Michael’s blue eyes flashed against the light and I did a double take. I only ever saw something like that on a cat before. Never a human.

But then I noticed he still wasn’t breathing.

Instead of that same nervous anticipation I felt since the first moment I saw him, the first wave of fear washed over me so suddenly, it took my breath away.

His nostrils flared and his blue eyes met mine as his lips lifted into a small smile. “I promise you, Tessa,” he said, and the sound of his baritone voice slid over me like a caress, “you will come to no harm while in my presence.”

Deep down, I wanted to believe him. I felt safer with him — that strange man I only met a few moments ago — than I ever felt with anyone in my life.

I couldn’t fathom why. Trust was something that was earned over time, but yet, every cell in my body screamed that he was telling me the truth. That he would keep me from harm.

The longer I was in his presence, the more my body vibrated with the vehemence of my desire for him. But it was more than that. Somehow, I could sense that he wasn’t a normal man.

Perhaps he wasn’t a vampire, vampires didn’t exist — right? But he was special. I could feel it. Judging by the muscles I could see through the material of his clothes alone, I knew he could keep his word if I was in any danger.

He looked to me like a skilled fighter, not so much a skilled lover, but then I thought, maybe, those went hand in hand, and I trembled.

Michael’s grip on my hand tightened a fraction as if he read my mind. Or, at least he picked up on my unease.

Why would I would be in danger at all, whether it was with him, or some other unknown threat?

He stopped walking and faced me, but didn’t let me go. The cool flesh of his other hand reached up and touched my cheek with a gentle, almost reverent touch and my toes curled in response as I tried to remember the simple fundamentals of breathing.

But then I forgot how to breathe completely as he closed the short distance between us and kissed me.

 

Six

Kissing Michael was unlike anything I ever imagined my first kiss would be like. Not only did his taste explode across my tongue like ambrosia, sending shockwaves down my body, but the way he was in complete control let me forget I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

And it made me appreciate him that much more.

But when he opened his mouth to deepen that kiss, it felt like he was massaging my tongue with impeccable timing that matched the pounding of my heart. My knees wobbled, and my legs threatened to collapse from the overwhelming sensations I felt from Michael’s kiss alone.

Before I realized what I was doing, I was holding the material of his shirt in a vice grip and, when that offered no relief, I started clawing at his chest, silently begging for more.

The rippling of his muscles and pure strength of them was enough to make me feel like the luckiest woman alive.

It didn’t matter that I didn’t feel any body heat from him, except for my own. Even his tongue and mouth wasn’t warm as he kissed me like his life depended on it. I just couldn’t bring myself to care.

Either Michael really was a vampire, or he was taking great care to make me believe he was. But then I lost all ability to think as he bit my tongue just enough that I felt the pressure of his teeth.

I cried out into his mouth, oblivious to the fact that we were still standing outside in the street and a groan, low and throaty vibrated in his chest in response.

When he finally pulled back to look at me, I felt the heat in his gaze and it did nothing but push me higher.

“Please,” I begged with a breathy sigh, surprised I was capable of saying anything coherent at all.

Michael’s blue eyes flashed against the late afternoon light and he grinned before he took my hand and started walking again.

I was amazed I remembered to put one foot in front of the other as I followed after him.

 

Seven

I followed mindlessly behind Michael as he pulled me toward the oldest and, in my opinion, most beautiful hotels in Paris. The architecture alone would have made me pause to bask in its glory if he wasn’t with me.

But I barely glanced at it, catching the briefest glimpse at the gargoyles that guarded its exterior near the top of the tall building. When we stepped inside, I was equally as enthralled. From the marble floors, to the old world lighting that only amplified its romantic appearance as it glimmered off the floors and the hand carved walls.

To my surprise, the ceiling in the massive lobby was painted in a similar fashion to the Sistine Chapel, but again, Michael didn’t slow down as he stepped inside the open elevator and pressed the button at the top.

Even the elevator was extravagant in its beauty. Its walls were made of etched glass and the buttons were black knobs against a brass panel.

That was when I noticed the man, who still held my hand with a cool, firm grip, was looking down at me with those blue eyes.

And I forgot about the building, the exterior, the interior, even the elevator we stood in. Nothing else captured my attention like his eyes. They were like the stormiest of the cold, wintry seas of the Northern Atlantic, and I never wanted to look away.

With a ding, the elevator door opened revealing a set of massive oak French doors ahead of us. The penthouse. I gulped and followed Michael’s lead as he unlocked and opened the door.

Then he released me.

What I saw inside took my breath away and my feet moved further into the luxurious space as I took it all in. The tall, expansive windows looked out toward the Eiffel Tower. The last of the day’s light was disappearing, but still reflecting off the metal’s surface and it reminded me of shooting stars as Michael’s arms wrapped around me from behind.

I didn’t even hear him close the door, let alone walk up behind me.

But I didn’t care. I melted against him and gripped his strong forearms that were crossed in front of me.

He dipped his head toward the curve of my neck and I trembled as his cool breath hit my flesh. Though I was still looking at the tower in the distance, my mind was on him.

“The view, isn’t nearly as beautiful as you,” he breathed and I nearly collapsed under the air that traveled over my ear like a caress. His words traveled down my spine and I turned in his arms without thinking.

I no longer cared that he was cool to the touch and lacked body heat.

Those blue eyes met mine, searching before his gaze dropped to my mouth and I reached up to touch his face. I could feel the shadow that was beginning to darken his jaw as it scratched against my palms. Then I let my fingers slide back into his dark blond hair, which felt better than silk against my skin.

Then I pulled him down and kissed him, hard.

 

Eight

Michael’s taste exploded across my tongue like I was just electrocuted with ambrosia. A groan, low and throaty escaped from him, erupting from his chest in response to my sudden move to kiss him.

Cool hands moved to my face and his mouth opened wider, inviting me to deepen that insatiable kiss. I responded without hesitation and the feel of his chilled tongue moving with impeccable skill against mine was like nothing I ever imagined.

Too soon, Michael pulled back with a slight grin. A whimper escaped from me before I realized I made a sound, and that grin widened with a devilish glint in his eyes.

In that moment, I caught sight of his fangs and a shiver traveled down my spine. But it wasn’t fear that he might hurt me.

Fire traveled through my veins and I wanted nothing more than to feel his bare, cool flesh against mine and his teeth grazing against my sensitive flesh. I didn’t know if he was a real vampire or just doing an exceptional service, but I couldn’t bring myself to care.

“Please,” I begged, yet I wasn’t certain what I was begging for.

Michael stepped back and held out his hand to me as the grin faded from his perfect, rounded lips. He reminded me of royalty — the kind from centuries before in old movies and literature — in the way he extended his pale hand to me. I took it without thinking and realized I was grinning up at him.

“Come, Tessa,” he crooned.

Then he led me toward the bedroom.

 

Nine

The echoes of Michael’s moan reverberated through me like a tuned cello, forcing my cells to vibrate to the tune he carried. I barely registered the opulence of the bedroom before he closed the door behind me and moved in a blur, faster than my eyes could follow.

Before I realized what happened, my body was pinned against the solid oak door by his long, muscled body and my toes curled with anticipation as his mouth claimed mine once more.

A moan escaped me, but Michael devoured it like a predator and he growled his appreciation, which did nothing but drive me higher. My chest heaved as my body forgot what it meant to breathe, and it increased the friction against Michael’s heavily muscled chest.

Throbs wracked through me as my nipples ached for his touch. But he still wasn’t touching me. He was only kissing me.

That was when I realized I held his expensive suit jacket in my hands like it was a lifeline. Because it was.

I needed more.

So much more.

And he was driving me crazy with nothing but his mouth.

I cried out in frustration, and I felt him smile against me before the pressure of his body lessened. At first I thought he would step away from me and a breathless whimper escaped me.

But then his cool fingers traveled up my bare arms — when did I take off my coat? — and I shivered. By the time he reached the hem of my blouse, I was clawing at the back of his neck, desperate for more.

Before I could react, he pushed up the thin material and captured my breasts in his hands. The sting of his cool hands against my heated flesh forced me to hiss, but it only drove me higher.

I felt like I was about to combust and his skin was the only thing keeping me from exploding into flames. Before I realized he moved, the door behind me was gone and it was replaced by what felt like a cloud.

Soft, warm sheets enveloped me and Michael pressed against me. His hand traveled to my hip and held me still as he ground his hips tight against mine, letting me feel the long, hard length of him in exactly the right spot.

I cried out into his mouth, still ravaging mine and I barely managed to keep myself from crashing over the edge.

That was when I realized, he was only just beginning.

 

Ten

I was lost. Hovering somewhere in the oblivion of sensation, not caring about anything else than the man that held me trapped beneath him.

In some deep part of my mind, I didn’t want to find myself again. I wanted to stay lost in those moments, kissing him. I wanted to be closer, skin to skin, and feel every bit of pleasure I could.

A growl escaped him when I moaned again, but then he froze an instant before an explosion of wood sounded from outside the bedroom door. I heard pieces of solid wood flying into the living space and a new wave of adrenaline washed over me.

Before I realized he moved, Michael was standing, looking toward the door that led to the rest of the suite — and the danger. Then I caught that same refraction of his eyes that reminded me of a cat.

I froze as I saw the rest.

A hiss escaped from his lips and I saw twin, needle sharp fangs gleaming white against the low light in the room.

Michael’s posture was different, leaning forward with his arms loose, ready to fight. I was still breathless on the bed, trying to figure out how he moved so fast.

But then I forgot my line of thought as the door to the bedroom exploded inward and someone stepped into view where I stood only minutes before.

He was dressed in black, and his exposed skin was just as dark. He looked like he was a few inches shy of six and a half feet, about the same height as Michael.

Ice slid down my spine as I saw the stark contrast of his white teeth, bared. Sharp fangs jutted into his lower lip as he hissed back. Then his eyes flashed, just as Michael’s did.

“She’s must come with me,” the intruder hissed.

Michael responded, “You cannot have her, Henry. She is under my protection.”

The two men stared at each other for a few more long moments at an impasse. Then Henry muttered, “Master will not be pleased. She was to be his.”

Anger washed over me and I stood, stepping in front of Michael. For emphasis, I pointed my finger at the man that interrupted us. “You listen to me, buddy. I am no one’s property, and I sure as hell am not going anywhere with you.”

A small smile spread on his lips, but he didn’t respond.

“Tessa,” Michael warned in a low voice, but I ignored him. I didn’t know if they were really vampires, but I wasn’t going to be some trembling little waif, waiting for someone to rescue her.

“You think you are safe here?” Henry nodded his head toward the man standing behind me. The same man I was kissing with abandon only moments before. The man that showed signs of being an actual vampire. But I knew he was talking to me. “He will kill you.”

Though I knew Michael for only a short time, I still felt safe with him. There was something about him that called to me, told me that he wouldn’t hurt me. I needed to trust that instinct. “No, he won’t,” I replied with more bravado in my voice than I thought possible.

But either way, I knew how to protect myself.

Answer flashed into Henry’s features before he flashed forward so fast, that if I had normal human vision, I wouldn’t have noticed he moved before he reached me.

Michael moved into my peripheral vision and blocked a punch the intruder aimed at my face with his forearm.

Then all hell broke loose.

 

Eleven

While Michael and Henry fought with immense speed, my eyes followed their movements. Fists were thrown and kicks were swung, but I couldn’t tell which of them held the upper hand.

Growing up in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans until I was eighteen was a far cry from Paris, but I was raised by my grandmother. She was one of those women that was full of stories about all the different things that went bump in the night.

She believed in vampires. Until just a few moments before, I never took much stock in those tales she told me of others. I regretted not listening to her more.

But as much as my mind was trying to find a rational explanation for the two men fighting, I knew what they were. They moved in speeds which humans were incapable. Combined with those flashes of their eyes,. Michael’s cool, pale skin, and those fangs. She was right all along.

Vampires were real.

My fantasies of finding a perfect man with those attributes were supposed to be just that.

A fantasy.

I repeated it in my mind. What I was seeing was real.

A grunt came from Michael as he fell to his knees and blood spurted out of his mouth. I knew I was out of time. Henry was going to kill him if I didn’t do something.

Instead of finishing Michael, Henry’s gaze settled on me and he grinned with his fangs in full view.

That was when I realized that Henry came for me. She was to be his, he said.

Well, that’s just too damn bad.

My grandmother might have been a Voodoo Priestess, but I wasn’t like her. I wasn’t like any of them. And Henry was messing with the wrong girl.

A scream erupted from my chest with so much force, all the glass in the suite ruptured and both men clutched their ears as blood seeped from them.

I stepped forward, pushing Michael behind me so he wasn’t taking the full brunt of my voice, and I glared at Henry, the man that barged in on us.

The vampire that meant to kidnap me.

I bent down, screaming into his face as he fell to his knees and opened his mouth in a pained howl I couldn’t hear.

But I didn’t stop. I kept on screaming until Henry’s lifeless body collapsed to the floor.

As my wail faded away I heard Michael croak, “Tessa, we must leave. It is not safe here.”

I spun around and faced the man that set my nerve endings on fire and saw the look of fear in his eyes from his position on the floor.

But he wasn’t afraid of me. He was afraid for me.

He grinned up at me as I held out my hand. Though I knew he didn’t need the assistance, he still took it, and his cool flesh met mine, sending a shiver down my spine.

Then Michael picked me up and instead of moving toward the entrance of our suite, he ran at his full speed toward the broken balcony doors that overlooked the Eiffel Tower. Then he leapt over the railing.

We were on the tenth floor. In that moment, I knew I was about to die.

And I screamed the whole way down.

 

Twelve

We hit the ground with a lurch, and to my utter surprise it wasn’t a splat. I was certain that we would die, or be so injured we wouldn’t be able to move and flee from Henry.

Before I could turn to Michael and ask what the hell was going on, he picked me up and ran headlong for the alleyways between Paris’s buildings.

After about thirty seconds of regaining my bearings, I shot a string of questions at him without giving him time to respond.

When he stayed silent, I sagged against him in frustration before more words rushed out of me. “Fine, don’t tell me anything. But if I so much as think you’re going to try to kill me, I’ll scream until your head explodes. I might not know much about vampires, but I know not many creatures can survive without their head.”

“And what do you know about vampires, Tessa? What was it that convinced you I am one of them?”

He was speaking with ease, as if we were still making small talk in the café where we met not long before and not running so fast it was making me nauseous.

The bastard wasn’t even winded.

Before I realized what was going on, I snorted and tried to stop myself from laughing, but failed.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Michael smile. Even with all the chaos, dangers, and the questions, I couldn’t help but stop and appreciate his beauty.

That was when I knew I was doomed.

 

Thirteen

We ran through the maze in Paris’s alleyways so fast, I couldn’t tell where we were or where we were going. But Michael didn’t hesitate.

He was weaving in and out of alleys, side streets, and a bustling art market that I wanted to visit before my impromptu vacation was over. Thinking back, it was probably a bad idea to hire a male escort to role play as a vampire and take my virginity, but I didn’t regret my decision.

Even though I paid for a fantasy that was now my reality, I wanted to be in that suite, having the time of my life with Michael — vampire or not. We barely made it to second base.

I sighed in frustration and gave up my futile attempt at figuring out where we were as the last of the day’s light faded from the orange sky.

But then Michael stopped and lowered me to the ground, steadying me on my feet and releasing me before I was ready.

The sudden movement left me dizzy and I closed my eyes, catching Michael’s strong arms to keep myself from falling over.

I froze.

Damn, he feels divine.

Taking my time, I opened my eyes and let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding. Then I forced my hands to release their grip on him.

The vampire grinned, showing twin, needle sharp fangs, and then his blue eyes flashed against the light above the door before he opened it, leading into a very inconspicuous building made of red brick.

Ushering me inside, I caught the scent of fresh bread, coffee, and that brown sugar I knew belonged to him. My mouth started to water. But not because I was hungry.

Not for food.

“We should be safe here,” Michael said, closing the solid metal door behind him. Then he secured the locks. But I wasn’t paying attention.

My focus was on the interior of the building. It looked like it was once a warehouse or perhaps a firehouse, with the high ceilings, large windows, exposed brick and piping. And the fact that there were hardly any interior walls.

In the back corner, where morning sunbeams would shoot streams of light onto the floor, there was a painting station, complete with an easel and more paint brushes and paints than I could count.

It was amazing.

“Do you like it?” Michael’s voice was low, almost a whisper and I felt my hair move at the back of my head from his cool breath, letting me know he was right behind me.

Words escaped me and all I could do was nod. I was having enough trouble staying on my feet as it was from his close proximity.

Then he said, low, “Now, where were we?”

Before the shivers could travel down my body, I felt his cool breath on the side of my neck.

 

Fourteen

Somehow, I could feel Michael’s proximity behind me. If he was a normal person, I would’ve felt his body heat warming my back, but all I could feel was my own warmth reflected back at me and his coolness beneath.

I was frozen in place, concentrating on my breathing with butterflies in my stomach going haywire, and time passed like that for several long moments. It was a heated, delicious anticipation that ran through my veins instead of blood.

The only problem was that I didn’t know what to do. It felt like the man standing behind me close enough to touch me was waiting for something, but I didn’t know what that was.

“Stay still,” Michael said, low, and I felt his cool breath on my neck again. A combination of a shiver and heat rushed through my body like wildfire and I sucked in a breath.

Cool fingertips touched the bare skin at the base of my neck and I flinched from the shock as my breathing increased.

“Relax,” he whispered. Then he bent his head down and kissed the curve of my shoulder.

A breathless moan escaped me and I bit my lip, forcing my knees to hold steady.

Goose bumps erupted across my skin as I heard a low groan rumbling from his chest. It vibrated against my back and through his mouth and my eyes slid closed in response.

I reveled in the sensation of his cool lips against my skin.

My neck.

I never knew how intoxicating that would be. It was a rush, so palpable, it felt like the whole space was crackling with unspent energy.

That was when I realized it was coming from us.

The thrum of our bodies, barely touching, was like a harmony of chords in an orchestra.

Michael’s mouth lifted from my neck and turned toward my ear. “You smell amazing, Tessa.”

“Is that my blood you’re referring to?” I blurted before I realized I wanted to speak and my eyes flashed open.

That vibration that passed between us stopped and he moved around to look at me. His eyes met mine and I forgot what I was thinking. “Why would you think that?”

“Isn’t that what you want from me?”

I didn’t understand why I was asking those questions. No matter what words escaped me, deep down, I knew it didn’t matter.

It didn’t matter if Michael was a real, flesh and blood vampire. It didn’t matter if he wanted to drink my blood. Everything about him — even his cool skin, his stormy blue eyes, and those fangs I noticed before — turned me on in a way I never felt before in my life.

And I liked that.

After a few more long moments, his cool, strong hands lifted and ran up my arms in a slow, agonizing caress. I shivered, realizing he carried me through Paris in the middle of winter without my coat, and I didn’t notice we left it behind.

I forgot what I was thinking as his fingers kept moving until they held my face. It felt like ice against my flushed skin, and I sucked in a breath.

“I might be a vampire, but I was referring to you. You are beautiful, intelligent, capable of protecting yourself, and unlike any other woman I’ve ever met. It is you, Tessa. All of you. I don’t know what you are, but your blood is the last thing on my mind.”

I forgot how to breathe.

Did he really just say all those things?

He was even more perfect than I thought.

Without thinking, my hands lifted to his face and pulled him toward me.

Then I kissed him, hard.

 

Fifteen

The material of Michael’s shirt was bunched up in my grip with white knuckles. I wasn’t sure if I was holding on so tight because I was afraid he would disappear or because I would wake from one of the most exhilarating dreams I ever had.

But whatever the reason, I couldn’t let go.

Somewhere along the line, my hands went from his face, to his shirt, yet I didn’t recall when I moved them, or when he removed his suit jacket. I couldn’t bring myself to care.

It felt like our lives depended on him being closer to me. I wanted to feel his cool flesh against my fevered skin. But I was too busy kissing him.

His taste overwhelmed me, like ambrosia exploded in my mouth and continued to grow in intensity. But it wasn’t rich, where only small amounts could be enjoyed. If his taste was food, I’d never want to stop indulging in it.

A groan, low in his chest rumbled against my aching breasts and I responded with a moan of my own. His mouth devoured it and my reaction only seemed to entice him more.

Suddenly, without warning, he pulled away from my mouth and I gasped, not realizing I was in need of air. But his mouth trailed down my jaw toward my neck and once again, I forgot what it meant to breathe.

All I could feel was his lips and that cool tongue that set my nerve endings on fire. It was like every cell in my body whispered his name. Pleaded for more.

“Oh god,” I breathed, and barely registered that my hands were pushing through his dark blond hair at the back of his head, silently urging him on.

As his mouth found that sensitive spot at the curve of my neck, I felt his teeth. Those two needle sharp fangs grazed my skin, not enough to break through, but enough that I could feel it.

I gasped again, and fisted his smooth hair in my hands and once again caught that whiff of brown sugar and my mouth watered.

Without realizing we were moving, one second I was pulling his face back to my mouth, and the next, I was pressed against the unforgiving, cold metal door behind me.

I was pinned against it by Michael’s long, hard body and I gasped as his kiss increased in intensity.

His hands found my hips and I responded to his wordless gesture. Lifting my legs up, I wrapped them around Michael’s waist and he pressed harder against me, right in the perfect spot and I cried out into his mouth.

I was already so close to the edge, I felt like exploding right then and there, but I forced myself to breathe.

Then he ground against me once more and the blood pumping through my veins exploded.

 

Sixteen

I didn’t come.

But god, how I wanted to.

His kiss was beyond anything I ever imagined and he kept kissing me, driving me higher with that sweet taste.

I whimpered when he leaned back to pull off his shirt and I let my gaze travel over his pale skin. Then I froze. There were raised white scars all over his toned flesh. And it was otherwise so smooth, it would have shimmered against the moonlight.

Without thinking, I reached out and ran my fingers over his skin. I sucked in a breath as my heated fingertips met his cool flesh. He felt even better that I imagined.

“What happened to you?” I breathed before I realized I even wanted to speak.

A small smile spread across Michael’s lips and my eyes flickered up to watch. They were wet and slightly swollen after kissing and for an instant, I forgot what I was thinking. “I’ve lived a long time. These happened before…,” he trailed off.

“Before you became a vampire?”

He nodded, watching me with those stormy blue eyes, assessing my reaction.

I didn’t doubt his words. I knew he wasn’t lying to me. I saw enough that day to know that everything my grandmother ever told me was true.

And the more that I thought about it, the more it made sense that I was a complete virgin.

It was because I never met a vampire before that day. I didn’t need my fortune read by my grandmother and her trusty Tarot deck to know that Michael was the one I was searching for my entire life.

The whole concept of love at first sight was foreign to me, and my mind kept flickering to small denials that it was insane to think I could love so fast. Be captivated so completely.

It was mind blowing.

But the more I thought about it, the more I could feel it in my bones.

Michael was much more than a man. More than a vampire. Even though I never met him before that day, somehow, he felt like he was mine.

The concept of ownership was foreign to me, but yet when I thought the words, they felt right. Completely right.

I didn’t understand it, I couldn’t explain it. But I knew in that moment I would never be the same again.

“You must have lived a very dangerous life before you turned.” I tilted my head to the side, “Is that even the right term for it…?” I trailed off as I caught the glimmer of humor in his eyes.

His smile widened at my reaction and he chuckled. “Something like that.”

My gaze dropped to his mouth again and all the humor fell away from his features. In the next instant, if I would have blinked, I would have missed his movement.

The distance between us closed so fast, I gasped when his mouth claimed mine once more and he picked me up, moving with the same intense speed, until I felt like I was lying on a cloud with him on top of me, still kissing me like there was no tomorrow.

That was when I realized that somewhere along the way from the door to the bed, my shirt was gone and I felt the clasp of my bra open from behind me.

But then Michael froze and pulled back enough to look down at me.

I clawed with mindless abandon at his back, not realizing what he was doing, and then I caught the flash in his eyes and stopped.

“Are you sure, Tessa?” he asked, low.

The concern in his features took my breath away and I reached for his face, feeling the tiniest hint of stubble and kept my eyes locked with his.

I breathed, “I’ve never been more sure in my life.”

 

Seventeen

My bra disappeared from sight, exposing my aching flesh to the vampire that hovered over me. And then his cool mouth claimed mine with so much ferocity, it took my breath away.

I gasped and then moaned as his fingers found my nipples and teased them in perfect harmony with his tongue. His strong hands massaged them and I arched my back toward him, practically levitating off the bed just feel more of his skin against mine.

He groaned, low and throaty in satisfaction at my involuntary motion as my mind escaped me from the onslaught of sensations around me.

Everything was heightened in his presence, and the feel of him on top of me, with nothing more than his mouth and hands on my skin made me mindless with need.

I whimpered in frustration and then realized I was clawing at his back, silently begging him for more, because my mouth was otherwise occupied.

With Michael, I didn’t need to breathe. I didn’t need anything but to feel his body, skin to skin. And the mere thought of having him inside me did nothing but push me higher off the bed.

I dropped to the soft duvet beneath me and gasped, “Please, Michael,” but I couldn’t tell if it was a plea or a demand.

Even though I didn’t tell him what I wanted — what I needed, it was as if he read my mind. Those stormy blue eyes flashed and a sly grin spread on his lips.

Just seeing him smile like that was almost enough to make me come, but I forced myself to breathe.

He moved to his knees, letting his cool fingertips slide down my stomach in a caress that left my whole body covered in goose bumps.

I shivered as his fingers reached the button on my pants and just to torture me, he took his time opening the button.

Then the sound of the zipper slowly moving down combined with the slight pressure of his hands, inches from the spot that ached for his touch the most, forced me to lift my hips toward him.

He moved so fast, I was surprised my eyes caught the sight of him pulling the last of my clothes away. I bit my lip and waited as he stood there, taking me in.

“You are the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen,” he breathed.

Without thinking, I sat up, letting my head fall back slightly, elongating my neck as I moved. Then I looked up at him and returned that sly smile.

I was barely aware of what I was doing, and that tiny part of me that was still thinking clearly basked in my boldness. The shyness was gone, and what remained was a confident woman that knew exactly what she wanted.

Him.

Then I reached for the button of his jeans and watched his eyes darken with desire as my fingers moved to release him.

Despite every cell in my body screaming at me to look away from his eyes and down at what waited for me, I wouldn’t do it. It was too empowering in that moment.

I pushed the last of the material to the floor and leaned back, but he caught me before my head reached the bed.

A cry escaped from me as his fingers found my most sensitive spot, but he devoured it with another one of those insatiable kisses.

His fingers continued to move in time with the beating of my heart, and I writhed beneath him, silently begging for more.

At some point, his mouth began making its way from my mouth down my jaw, traveling toward the curve of my neck.

By the time I felt his teeth graze me, I was already lost to the sensation. My breathing increased tenfold as I cried out.

“That’s it,” he breathed, and I felt his cool breath against my ear as his fingers danced faster and faster.

I screamed, arching my back so forcefully that Michael was forced to give me room, but then I felt his teeth again and I lost all sense of myself as I came again, harder than I ever thought possible.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew he was only just beginning.

Eighteen

At some point while I was still hovering in the oblivion of the most intense orgasm I ever felt, Michael entered me and the sensation was unlike anything I ever imagined.

I gasped, which was quite a feat since I was still mindless and my body was writhing around by its own volition. For the first time in my life, I was finally with a man.

But he was so much more than that. He was a vampire, and the sexiest person I ever met. Everything from his scent to the way he felt inside me was perfect. There was nothing that made me feel any less attracted to him.

It just solidified my resolve that I made the right decision to wait for him. To seek out my deepest fantasies and meet a vampire. A flesh and blood vampire.

Rejecting all those men throughout the years felt right, and I was happy that Michael was my first. My first everything.

My thoughts fell away as my orgasm subsided and that feeling of Michael moving in and out with impeccable timing left me losing myself again.

I didn’t know what to expect for my first time, but it was so much better. It was beyond my wildest dreams.

His cool flesh was warming from the contact with mine, and with every sound he made, it drove me higher. Whether or not he wanted me as much as I wanted him, it didn’t detract from the experience. It felt like he was enjoying himself just as much as I was.

Hiring a male escort for a wild night no longer mattered to me. Every choice I made up until that moment was right, because it led me to him.

If I never saw him again after that night, I would grieve his loss and a part of me would love him forever, remember everything we shared. But I would never regret it. With every passing moment it was only branding his name deeper within my soul.

My fantasy was a reality, and I couldn’t have dreamed up a better man if I tried. And the longer I spent in his presence, the more I didn’t want my time with him to end.

At some point, I started to wonder if I loved him before I met him.

But then my thoughts stopped in their tracks as his speed increased. His perfect hips ground against me with each thrust, and before I realized I was close, I crashed around him, screaming his name.

He nibbled on my ear and said, low, “Oh, I’m not done with you yet, Tessa.”

Nineteen

His voice traveled down my spine in a delicious shiver and I came again, hard and fast.

My mind was gone, lost in him. It didn’t feel like I was nothing more than a woman with no prior experience with men.

I felt my body move in perfect rhythm with his. Though he wasn’t breathing like a normal man, I could feel his urgency and it drove me higher.

My perfect night with a vampire wouldn’t be complete without his bite, but I paused for an instant, wondering if Michael even possessed the control necessary to bite without draining me.

Could vampires feed without killing their victims? Did they even want to bite during sex?

I didn’t know the answers to those questions, but then I forgot what I was thinking as Michael froze and pulled back enough to look at me. His stormy eyes flashed against the low light in the open warehouse he called home.

“What’s wrong?” his fingers traced my cheek as his eyes searched mine.

“Um,” I breathed, not knowing what to say. Then I felt my cheeks flame.

“Just talk to me. You have nothing to feel embarrassed about.”

It took a few moments to muster up the courage to speak. “Do you want to bite me?” I blurted and Michael’s perfect lips lifted into a sly grin, revealing a hint of fang.

“Do you want me to bite you, Tessa?”

The sound of his voice traveled over my skin, leaving that delicious sensation of goose bumps.

Before I could respond, his grin widened as his hips thrust against me with a long, slow grind and I cried out. “My, aren’t you full of surprises.”

In that instant, I wasn’t embarrassed any longer. I wasn’t even sure I cared if Michael would drink every drop of my blood. I just wanted to feel his fangs puncture my skin and his mouth pulling my blood, all while he fucked me until my mind went blank.

And then I wanted him to do it again.

“Remember what I said,” Michael breathed. “You will come to no harm while in my presence.”

“Please,” I begged as I tried to nod.

Before I realized what he was doing, his head dipped to my neck and I prepared myself for the bite. But instead, his cool mouth kissed my flesh and I trembled. Then, while his hips kept up that slow rhythm, his mouth traveled down.

He captured my nipple in his mouth and his tongue swirled around the sensitive tip.

Then he bit me and I exploded.

Twenty

I screamed. But it wasn’t because I was in pain. The intensity of the sensations was just too much and I shattered, arching my back as much as Michael’s body would allow.

At some point, while I was still mindless and writhing around, his cool lips found the curve of my neck and bit me again, and it felt better than I ever thought possible. Even better than biting my nipple.

The warmth of my blood filled Michael’s mouth and the feel of his mouth moving, drawing more of it out made my toes curl. With every beat of my heart, my breast throbbed from where his fang pierced my flesh, and it just amplified what he was doing to me.

A growl, low and throaty escaped from him as he moved harder and faster, still drinking from me. My orgasms came one after the next and I lost all sense of myself, existing only to feel every bit of Michael I could.

Finally, as his speed increased beyond anything a human was capable of, he pulled away from my neck and hissed as he came, and I followed after him.

It was beyond my wildest imagination. Especially for my first time. And as much as I didn’t want to admit it, I knew that one encounter with him wasn’t going to be enough to satisfy that need that grew within me over the last several years. It amplified tenfold just in those last few minutes.

Before that day, I never thought vampires were real, but there I was, gasping for air after having mind-blowing sex with one.

And the thought never occurred to me that he might drain me dry after he bit me. There was something about him that made me trust him. I didn’t know what it was or why, but I did. I knew, deep down, that he would never hurt me.

Though I heard enough stories about vampires over the course of my life, the desire for that bite and in knowing that my blood fueled a vampire was never something I noticed before. And as my mind slowly returned, I knew that was exactly what happened.

My blood is Michael’s fuel. It is a part of him now.

I wasn’t sure why, but that thought excited me. It felt like on some cellular level that I would forever be connected to Michael, the first vampire I ever met.

But before I could continue with that train of thought, he shifted and collapsed to the mattress next to me, taking a deep breath — which was saying something for a vampire — and without hesitation, he lifted his hand to his mouth so fast, I almost missed it.

He held his thumb in front of my face, a tiny bead of blood was there, where he pressed it against his fang an instant before. “Here, this will heal you.”

“But won’t it…,” I trailed off.

“Turn you? No, that’s a much more complicated process. There has to be a blood exchange prior to your death, and then I would have to revive you as a vampire.”

“Oh,” I breathed and lifted my head, taking his thumb into my mouth. The taste of his cool blood was like an explosion of pennies, almost electrifying — and to me, it tasted sweet. Swallowing, I pulled back in a slow movement, letting his thumb slide out of my mouth.
I thought I heard him groan, but I couldn’t be sure, but then I forgot as pain exploded through my neck and my breast.

 

To be continued…


SARAH DOUGHTY   –   © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED