by Marteeka Karland
Harael. Relaren. Valael. Vampsblood -- creatures of myth. They're predators. Killers. Bigger, badder, and more powerful than even their own legends. So how is it the three biggest, baddest Vampsblood out there have been undone by a mere slip of a girl -- a human at that? They never saw this one coming.
Josette knows what she wants -- and more important she knows what her men need. She's been waiting patiently for over a decade for her mates to see she's no longer a child, to acknowledge her place in their lives -- and in their bed. Now another stands in her way. One who would claim her men -- or take their lives. But if the bitch thinks she can take what Josette knows is hers, she's about to get a life lesson on territory.
No one -- not human, not Vampsblood -- is going to come between Josette and her mates.
They had been together for centuries, exchanging blood as needed, merging their minds at will. It had made for a stronger triad and a nearly invincible stronghold. Together, they could stretch their senses to encompass nearly a mile in any direction.
“I know. We’ll need to hunt soon. And feed.” Valael scanned their surroundings once again, looking for... something. There had been another pack of Vampsblood close to them lately. Not quite in their territory, but close. “They venture closer today. I can’t quite tell where they are -- they are talented at shielding themselves -- but they are close. We need to be at full strength and not distracted by sexual frenzies.”
“I don’t want a male this time, Valael.” Harael mumbled his declaration with a deceptive softness.
Anyone who didn’t know the big man might think he was merely making a statement. Valael knew better. They all were in need of the satisfaction they could only find in a woman. Unfortunately, very few females could tolerate them, human or otherwise. They rarely took their pleasure one at a time and, in all their centuries, they had never met a female who could stand their brand of sex more than once or twice. Particularly since one session could last days. Or weeks. “I know.”
What else could he say? They all needed it. Needed blood. And sex. Blood was the elixir of life, but sex could control the strongest man. Valael tried to choose strong women, but not so strong they couldn’t be controlled. He didn’t trust the Vampsblood women at Shiffley’s bar, or anywhere for that matter. They weren’t true Vampsblood, but they were plenty dangerous just the same. Not so dangerous any one of his triad couldn’t handle them, but he preferred not to have to worry about whether or not he’d have to regenerate his cock afterward. And he’d hate to have to kill a woman.
Valeal let his senses flare around him as he knew Harael and Relaran did. The more time they spent together, the better and stronger their link became. Valael had begun to believe their power was only limited by their ability to believe how much they could do.
“What do you do with the women you hunt?” The high-pitched, feminine voice above them almost caused Valael to raise eyebrow in surprise. Almost. Not because she spoke, but because she was there. Because she had finally managed to sneak up on them. The little scrap of a girl had been trying to do just that for years.
Valael glanced at the others. None of them showed the least bit of surprise, but he felt it. They hadn’t been aware of her presence either. Careful not to look at her, Valael feigned indifference.
“I don’t see how that’s any of your business. What Vampsblood do is of no concern to a human girl.” Relaren stretched in a deceptively lazy manner. In truth, Valael knew him to be hyper aware of their surroundings now. If Josette could sneak up on them, someone else might be able to as well, and considering the nagging presence of the other pack, it was better none of them got too comfortable.
It was a true statement, but Valael would have told her anything she wanted to know. He’d tell her what she wanted to know this time, too, if only to keep truth among the four of them. She was the only person in their entire lives they had been completely truthful with, and he’d hate to ruin that trust now. Why, Valael didn’t know. All he knew was it seemed imperative to be honest with her, child though she was.
She seemed to consider his words.
“Probably not,” she answered. “But how am I supposed to know how to be a Vampsblood if you don’t explain things to me?”
Relaren almost choked on the water he was sipping, but covered it by clearing his throat and shifting his position on the plush chair. Valael had to admit, her declaration was the last thing he’d expected, but he suspected they were in for trouble. Perhaps it was time to sever their relationship with the child.
The second the thought entered his mind he rejected it. She was so entertained with their life there was no way to get her out. Hell, she spent more time with them than she spent with the family who took her in after they'd first found her.
“We’re not making you a Vampsblood, child,” Harlael snarled. “You were injured and we gave you our blood, but the amount wasn’t nearly enough to transform you, and there is no way we’re completing the process.”
Valael sensed more anger from Harael than he’d felt from the other man in a very long time. Harael was obviously very uncomfortable with the subject. Indeed, Valael couldn’t imagine turning the sweet, innocent child into the monster they all were. Never in his life had Valael been more uncomfortable with what he was and, had it been anyone else, he doubted he’d have had such a reaction. But Josette had a way of bringing out a gentler side none of them wanted to acknowledge. They were predators. Killers. But with Josette, they couldn’t seem to hold the image.
“Yes, you will,” she stated simply. “I doubt I can be your mate if you don’t make me a Vampsblood.” She sighed and turned around, obviously headed back down the tunnel she’d found leading from her farm to their den. “I mean, who else would put up with you?”
And she was gone before any of them could find their voice.
“Did she just say...” Relaren looked as stunned as Valael felt. Josette? Their $mate? She was a $child! The thought of doing with her what they all needed to survive was not only appalling , it was nauseating and... not something Valael wanted to think about.
“Ignore her,” Harael snapped. “The child has no idea what she’s suggesting. Give her a couple of days and, like any other kid, she’ll focus on something else. Instead of being all shocked and appalled, we could use the energy to find a woman. I hate to suggest a human, but with the storms outside intensifying, I doubt we’ll find a female of any species away from her farm or den. The farm Josette was assigned to had an abundance of human females. Surely we could find one willing to be seduced for a few nights.”
“I don’t like taking women from that camp,” Valael mused, “but I don’t see another choice. Unless the weather changes drastically, it’s likely to be several weeks before anyone pokes their heads out from under the earth.”
“If we’re going to do this, it needs to be now.” Relaren stood and stretched. His heavily muscled chest and arms rippled with his enormous strength. “We’re all getting restless. If we wait too long, we’re more likely to harm whoever we bring here, man or woman.”
“Not a man,” Harael repeated. “I’m tired of dicks and assholes. I need a woman. $Crave a woman.” Valael didn’t like the tone of Harael’s voice. The other Vampsblood rarely insisted on one gender or another. It had only been in the past couple of years any of them had developed a gender preference. Funny that. So late in life, they'd suddenly decided they preferred women.