Home > The Bitten (Vampire Huntress Legend #4)(12)

The Bitten (Vampire Huntress Legend #4)(12)
Author: L.A. Banks

"Oh, so you're just gonna leave - just like that?" Both hands were on Damali's shapely hips, and the outrage that glittered in her eyes was like a magnet.

Carlos paused, then shook off the temptation. "I have to." He had to get away from her before he changed his mind.

"Yeah, he does," Marlene agreed, telling Carlos with one look that it was time to go. "He's getting stronger, though... each time we see him - I don't know if that's bad or good."

"Bad sign," Rider said fast. "We were real happy to have you on our side down in Hell, and in the Amazon, but turning our li'l sister was not a part of the dealio."

"You got that right," Jose said, his voice low and dangerous.

"Mar," Carlos warned, ignoring the other guardians. "She was made by a master with council-level lineage. Hear me? From all indications she rolls like a female master, not a second-generation."

"Marlene, what's he talking about?" Jose stood back to allow Carlos an opening to pass.

"All I'm hearing is the part about council-level lineage," Shabazz said slowly.

"Council-levels make masters. Masters make seconds. If he was the one who made her, he just made a topside female master, people. When Nuit bought it, then Damali dusted Vlak, Carlos must have descended - that's the power shift. Brother just moved a level up in the vamp food chain." Marlene shut her eyes. "Oh, Lord..."

Damali weaved and held her temples. "Mar, please... gimme a break!"

"Yeah, Mar. Dead on." Carlos looked at the team and lowered his gaze. "It went down something like that. Open territory. I was next in line. Mar, see if the book says something about a councilman's bite. I'm way more than a master these days, sis."

"Oh, and you couldn't have dropped that little bit of info on us before we let you take her to your lair in Rio! Are you nuts?" Rider was holding his gun so tightly that it shook.

"Get real," Carlos said. "I'm a damned vampire, not a saint."

"As far as us watching her, what does this mean?" Jose asked, his eyes searching Marlene's face.

Carlos brushed past the Guardians at the door, who gave him wide berth, then stopped in the hallway and turned to look at them all hard. But for a split second his concentration fractured. Something strong and distant was calling him. It was a garbled, muffled, indecipherable call that had become muted within the prayer-guarded walls of the compound. He had to get out of there. Now. He could feel it, knew he had to address the 9-1-1 pulse within his territory.

Shaking the distraction, Carlos glimpsed at Jose, knowing that Guardian would be the weak link in the chain. If Damali needed to feed, Jose was dinner. "What I'm telling you all is, her mind lock is beyond the strength you can imagine - I almost couldn't fight it."

"No, you couldn't, could you?" Damali casually leaned against the refrigerator and smiled. "But you are not leaving me here, with them."

Carlos ignored her, and kept talking to the group. "The master vamp powers of seduction are deep, trust me. But don't make me have to come in here and take a body for her - it's in my nature, what can I say? Don't ever forget she's my woman." Although his statement was issued to the entire group, and his eyes scanned each member of it, his gaze lingered longest on Jose.

"Shit..." Rider walked away deeper into the kitchen to get out of Carlos's possible swing range when Marlene bristled.

"No male in this joint is immune," Carlos muttered, still holding Jose's line of vision. "She will do anything to get out of here, and she went into the turn with Neteru strength... whatever she got from me, I don't know."

"You know what I got from you," Damali murmured, the barest hint of fang glistened in the fluorescent kitchen light.

Carlos swallowed hard, but motioned with his head toward her. "I want you all to see this, so we're all clear before I leave. It's in your best interests not to have any illusions."

He walked back into the kitchen, stood before Damali, embraced her, and exposed his jugular to her. Her body fit against him, slid against all the right places so smoothly that he fought not to groan - respect for the family. Her hunger was palpable, just like her desire to be alone with him. She raised herself on her toes, pressing her abdomen against his, belly-to-belly, nearly climbing up him to reach just the right spot. C'mon, baby, get it over with, before I drag you out of here. He could feel his lids go to half mast as he struggled to keep his own incisors from lowering. Her family would be traumatized enough, they didn't need to also witness him feeding from her. But she was mentally coaxing him into a double-plunge. "Uh-uh, not in front of family," he murmured. They had no idea what resisting this urge was like.

"Right. What was I thinking?" she whispered, and then nuzzled his throat. "Later."

"Just do it," he said tensely, then shut his eyes, blocking out the stricken expressions of her family.

When the strike came he closed his lids tighter and mentally blocked out the gasp that rattled the group. He'd vowed to never do this in public, but this was necessary, and it took everything within him to break from Damali's hold without biting her in return. Girlfriend was all pro, had pulled blood from his veins with the intensity of a master, sending pleasure throughout his system to block the pain, a smooth siphon that made sweat form on his brow and caused an involuntary shudder throughout his body. It felt like an eternity as he waited for her to lift her head. He opened his eyes, only to be met by hers and a sexy smile. Her tongue ran over her crimson bottom lip, leaving it moist.

"Want some?"

He ignored the generous invitation. This was not the time or place. Winded from her feed before he'd hunted and fed, he kissed her hard and staggered away from her, fighting the urge to take her to his lair to finish what she had started. He dabbed the corner of his mouth with the back of his fist, his mouth practically watering. Humiliation made his face burn, but he looked at her team, nonetheless. "Now, do you see what I'm talking about?"

Quiet tears streamed down Marlene's face. Dan turned and vomited on the kitchen floor. Rider and J.L. were taking in slow sips of air. Jose's face crumbled and he turned toward the wall. Shabazz and Big Mike stood motionless, their eyes moist, their glares unmoving.

"Fix this shit, Marlene," Shabazz finally grumbled. "Tonight. I don't want to ever see this bastard in our compound again."

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