*THREE THOUSAND YEARS AGO*
“Dalibor, think carefully about what you’re about to do,” Aurel pleaded. Alas, his plea fell upon angry ears.
Dalibor raised the Sceptru, The Staff of Justice. “Aurel Jankovic, you are found guilty of treason against the Light Vampyre Kingdom. From this day forth, you and your kind are banished to Trachba, the land of pure darkness.”
Everyone who was around gasped in disbelief.
“Your Highness, you’re banishing the entire Dark Vampyre kind?” Omar, Dalibor’s right hand man asked unsurely.
“No Dark Vampyre shall ever set foot here ever again, and if they do, it shall immediately be seen as an act of war against our kind,” Dalibor said. The power in his words was felt in the entire room.
“Love, are you sure about this?” Marika asked her husband. He only sent her a glare for daring to question him before his subjects.
“You cannot do this! This is an injustice and you know it!” Aurel spat.
Dalibor scoffed. “Last I checked, I was the one in possession of the Sceptru.”
“And we all know why that is,” Aurel said with narrowed eyes, daring his foe to challenge him.
“TAKE HIM AWAY! TAKE THEM ALL AWAY!” Dalibor roared.
For the next ten years, the Sanguis Regnum, otherwise known as the Blood Kingdom, was cleared of all Dark Vampyres. They were all banished to the dark world, their new home, and it has been so for the past three thousand years.
“Don’t go in there! Don’t go in there!” the girls screamed as they held hands.
Miguel chuckled. “You guys do know that this is a movie, and she can’t hear you right?”
“That’s beside the point. The stupid girl is going to go in there and then the vampire is going to get her,” Xaria whined.
“Why are we even watching this? It’s stupid,” Jaime asked. His wife Angela threw a cushion at him.
“It’s not stupid,” she said with an icy glare.
“Whatever! I’m going outside,” he announced before heading that way.
“What’s with him?” Cara asked.
“He’s sexually frustrated because Angie isn’t giving him any,” Xaria teased her sister.
“Take that back!” Angela demanded.
Xaria laughed. “Even if I did, it wouldn’t change the truth.”
“I’m not depriving him. I’m just not in the mood,” Angela mumbled.
“Hasn’t it been like three weeks?” Miguel asked.
“Am I seriously the only one who wasn’t aware of this?” Cara asked in confusion.
“I am not discussing my sex life with you people,” Angela huffed before going after her husband.
“Those two are just weird,” Xaria commented as she cuddled into Miguel’s side.
Cara sighed. “And I’m still the single one between us.”
“You’re so damn picky,” Miguel teased his little sister.
She rolled her eyes. “Oh screw you.”
“Anyway, I think I’m going to call it a night. I have a really busy day tomorrow,” Xaria said as she got up.
“Because a bakery can have a busy day,” Miguel taunted.
“Says the ‘self-employed’ software developer,” she shot back, earning herself a mock glare.
“I make a reasonable income, thank you very much,” he defended. She giggled before kissing him.
“I know you do baby,” she said with a smile.
“I know the two of you aren’t about to make me give you the whole ‘that’s my brother, and that’s my best friend’ speech. Cut that shit out,” Cara said, deadpan.
“If only this wasn’t my apartment, and I wasn’t kissing my girlfriend. Oh wait, it is my apartment, and she is my girlfriend,” Miguel mocked.
“Fuck you Miguel,” Cara swore at her brother.
“Xaria would be more than happy to,” he retorted as his girlfriend blushed.
“Ag! You just gave me the strength to head on home. Thanks a lot asshole!” Cara huffed before leaving.
“You really shouldn’t be like that with her,” Xaria scolded.
“She secretly loves it. Just like you, she wouldn’t have me any other way,” he said confidently.
“Nah! I would trade you in for a Gabriel Jankovic any day,” she said, not realizing how dreamily it had sounded.
Angela beat Miguel to commenting. “Yes girl! That man is absolute sex on legs!”
“The CEO of Vamp Inc?” Jaime asked, walking in after his wife.
“The very one,” the sisters confirmed.
“I don’t see what’s so appealing about him. From what I’ve heard, he’s a Grinch,” Miguel commented.
“Are you still mad that he didn’t want to see your software system?” Jaime teased.
“It’s a brilliant system and the asshole didn’t even give me the time of day. He listened to me for twenty seconds before telling me to get out of his office,” Miguel complained.
“Aaaaw my baby is scarred for life,” Xaria said in a baby voice, making her sister and brother in law laugh.
“Thanks for the support babe,” he murmured.
“You know I support you through everything, and I would never leave you for a meanie like Gabriel Jankovic,” she comforted.
“Whatever,” Miguel huffed before heading to his room.
Jaime laughed lightly. “Well this doesn’t happen often.”
“What?” Angela asked.
“Xaria being in the dog box,” he replied.
“I am, aren’t I?” Xaria whined.
“Yep! You’re going to have to make it up to him big time,” Jaime pointed out.
“I guess I’ll pass by the bakery and hope that I still have some pumpkin pie left,” Xaria sighed.
“Good luck with that sis. We’re going to head out,” Angela informed, preparing to leave.
Xaria smirked. “Finally giving in huh?”
Her sister’s ears went red before she dashed out of the apartment, leaving Jaime in tears from laughing. “Your sister just knows how to make my day.”
“She’s cool like that, but for real though. Is she finally giving in?” Xaria asked.
He shrugged. “I don’t know. We’ll see when we get home.”
“Alright! I hope the cosmos are in your favour,” Xaria said with a wink.
“And I hope they are in yours too. I hear the dog box can be quite cold,” he joked, ruffling her hair.
“Don’t remind me,” she mumbled.
They went their separate ways as Xaria headed to her beat up Toyota. Her car was the only one she could afford since she’d invested most of her money into her bakery. Her bakery was her pride and joy, and for the first time since she opened it up, she’d received a huge offer.
It had come in the form of a woman by the name of Olga Saunders. The brunette woman fell in love with the baked goods at her bakery and requested that she supply over five hundred cupcakes and all other requested baked goods for her wedding. Apparently the wedding would be a huge spectacle, and Xaria could tell that Olga was one excited bride.
It just didn’t sound like she was excited about the groom though.
Xaria couldn’t help her trail of thought. The woman had gone on and on about how the wedding would be a spectacle, and how she would finally get the recognition and respect she deserves, but she didn’t gush about her future husband to be.
Something Xaria found strange.
Nonetheless, Xaria agreed to the woman’s request, despite it being the biggest that she’d ever received. She would just enlist her sister and best friend’s help closer to the day. They’ve always helped her in the past, and she was sure they wouldn’t mind this time either.
As she’d planned, she drove to the bakery to check if she had any pumpkin pie left, and to make sure that everything was ready for the high tea that would be hosted there the following day. Her bakery is conveniently located next to the park, which makes it the perfect location to get treats since Cara suggested that they sell ice-cream too.
The shop was dark when she arrived. It was only seven in the evening. She hadn’t opened because she hadn’t been feeling well, and both Cara and Angela were too busy to help out with the place. She switched on the lights and everything was as she’d left it.
Her OCD side couldn’t help but rearrange everything to ensure that it was perfect for the high tea event. She didn’t have any pumpkin pie left, so she’d have to make it up to Miguel in another way. She was wiping the counter and jumped when the bell sounded.
“We’re clo-” her words caught in her throat when she saw who had just entered her shop.
He stood tall and confident in a well fitted suit. He emanated power and she could feel it overtaking every part of the room. His jade and cold calculating eyes were looking at her intently. In fact, it looked like he was trying to decipher her, but couldn’t.
All she knew was that she’d never been looked at in that way before.
She finally found her voice. “Gabriel Jankovic.”
She didn’t expect the look in his eyes to intensify. She was shocked to watch his eyes get darker until they were almost onyx. He took a step closer to her, and she unconsciously took a step back, knocking into the counter. A sound rumbled through his chest, one that had her unexpectedly tingling.
“You know who I am.”
It wasn’t a question, but her brain was too frazzled to process that. It was stuck on the melodious sound of his voice and what it was doing to her heart rate. She realized then that she’d seen the man in the media a number of times, and had even admitted to herself that there was just something about him that drew her attention, but she’d never heard him actually speak.
“I do,” she managed a whisper.
“And what might your name be?” he asked.
She was too afraid to register the fact that he’d moved at an impossible speed and was now standing right before her, trapping her between him and the counter. She was sure he could feel her heartbeat with how close he was to her.
Everyone cleared the path when they saw him come up the stairs. He looked exceptionally angry, if his battle gear was anything to go by. He stormed through the place, a trail of blood following him since he was holding his battle prize.
“Oh come on Gabe! I just bought this carpet last week,” Danica complained.
“And I just defeated a whole pack of mutts who were out to threaten our kingdom. You’re welcome,” Gabriel said sarcastically.
“What has you on edge? I mean, I know you’re ruthless and all, but even this is a little too much for you,” she commented.
“When you find out, be sure to tell me. Where’s father?” he asked.
She rolled her eyes. “Where else could he be?”
“I don’t need your rudeness Niki,” he warned.
“And I don’t need you pulling the rank card on me little brother,” she retorted.
“Get someone to put this up for me,” he requested, putting the werewolf’s head on the table.
“Seriously Gabe! It wouldn’t kill you to say please, and neither would it kill you to remember that we have dinner on this table. You can’t keep putting your shit on it,” she said irritably.
He smirked before pulling her in for a hug, staining her dress with blood. “But you still love me.”
“I am going to castrate you in your sleep Gabriel,” she growled, her hair catching fire. Being a hybrid means she’s got unpredictable powers that they’re yet to figure out.
“I’ll be waiting for that day,” he said before kissing her forehead and leaving the room.
He headed to his room to take a shower. He would be leaving back for the mortal world. In the supernatural realm, he is the Dark Prince, tasked with the responsibility of defending his kind, while in the mortal world he is a worshipped bachelor CEO.
When he looked presentable, he headed to his father’s chambers. As expected, his stepmother was at his side, changing the cloth on his forehead. He walked in and sat on the other side of the bed just as his father’s eyes slowly opened.
“Gabriel, my son,” Aurel said softly.
“Father, I am back from my mission. I defeated the Tuskels. I even brought back their leader’s head,” Gabriel informed.
“That’s wonderful. Did you find your mate?” Tonya asked.
“Tonya,” Aurel scolded.
“What? He’s over a thousand years old Aurel. The kingdom needs him to take over, but we all know that he cannot do that without a mate,” Tonya pointed out.
“I don’t need the reminder,” Gabriel hissed.
“Son, as persistent as she is, she’s right. I’m dying, and you know the kingdom will be a mess if you don’t get married and take over before I do,” Aurel argued.
Gabriel’s mood darkened. “No one will dare to go against me.”
“I understand that son. However, we still need a solution,” Aurel countered.
“I already came up with one,” Tonya piped in.
The father and son duo looked to her in confusion. “You did?”
“Yes, and everything is already in motion. You will be married within the next month,” Tonya said excitedly.
“To who?” Aurel asked since Gabriel was too enraged to speak.
“Olga of course. She’s the perfect candidate for queen. She already comes from a respectable family, and she was more than thrilled to find out that she’ll be the next queen,” Tonya explained.
“You went through with it?” Aurel asked.
“You mean you knew?” Gabriel asked his father in disbelief.
“We had been talking about it for a while. She truly is the perfect candidate for you son,” Aurel sighed.
“I can’t believe you,” Gabriel whispered before leaving the room.
He was angrier than he was when he left to fight the enemy. He needed to release his anger on something, but the opportunity just wasn’t presenting itself. The more he stayed in the supernatural realm, the more annoyed he got, so he headed back to the mortal world.
“Sir? I thought you said you’d be back tomorrow,” Leith, his assistant at Vamp Inc jumped up at the sight of him.
“Change of plans,” he stated irritably.
There were many things Gabriel hated about the mortal world, with mortals themselves being at the very top of the list. However, he had taken a liking to his assistant, choosing to not only spare his life, but expose him to his true self as well.
“Well Sir, I should warn you that you have a guest in your office. I tried stopping her, until she mentioned that she’s your fiancée. I guess congratulations are in order,” Leith rushed out.
Gabriel felt himself truly twitch from anger. “She’s in my office?”
“I’m sensing more anger than usual,” Leith commented.
“Let’s just say I don’t want to be married to begin with,” Gabriel managed to say through gritted teeth.
Leith couldn’t get another word in since Gabriel stormed into his office. The first thing that met him were the long legs clad in a pair of red heels. He followed the shoes to the rest of their owner as she laughed away on his office phone.
It was taking everything in him to not throttle her.
“Get your legs off of my table,” he said lowly, but he knew she’d heard him.
“I’ll call you later girl,” she said before hanging up.
She turned to him with her scarlet lips. “Hello lover, or should I say fiancé. Everything is looking up for our nuptials.”
“We’re not getting married. Not if I have anything to do with it,” he spat.
“Good thing you don’t. So listen hon, I was at this cute bakery yesterday and I got the pretty little thing to cater the baked goods for us. I need you to go in and sample her chocolate cake. I know how much you love chocolate, and trust me when I say that she makes the best chocolate cake,” she carried on.
Gabriel scowled. “Are you not listening to me woman?”
“The name of the bakery is Xaria’s Treats, so be sure to head on there. I’ll pop by tonight,” she said as she got up.
“I don’t want you anywhere near my house Olga,” Gabriel warned.
“And you’re cute thinking you can keep me away. Be sure to go to the bakery ok? Love you snookums,” she said before kissing him on the lips and leaving.
Gabriel could only berate himself when she’d left. It annoys him to no end the power that the woman thinks she has over him. They have a history, but she tarnished whatever chance they had of being together again, when she cheated on him by drugging his best friend and sleeping with him, just to prove a point.
“I’m guessing I shouldn’t bother scheduling anything for today?” Leith asked. Gabriel was always fascinated by how the human wasn’t scared of him, despite knowing everything about him.
“I want to kill something,” Gabriel replied.
“Can’t let you do that. I can however arrange a shitload of blood for you? Maybe even a buck to tear apart?” Leith offered.
“Anything Leith. I have never been this angry in my life,” Gabriel admitted.
“Angry enough to kill me?” Leith joked, but quickly swallowed his words when his boss nodded.
“I’ll get right on it,” he rushed out before leaving the room.
Gabriel could only sit and stare at the view of New York that his office was offering him. He knew that the repercussions of letting his Vampyre side take over in the mortal world would be too great, and surprisingly found that he couldn’t risk putting his assistant’s life in danger like that.
Still, his anger was making him physically hot. He was fighting his primal side, something that had been happening more and more in the past two weeks. He’d only heard of something like this happening to a man who was one hundred and twenty years old, who was days from finding his mate. It was reported that after he found his mate, his primal side was soothed.
The thought of Gabriel finding his mate was not one that excited him. While many people of his kind dream of finding their mates, he couldn’t help but think that mates are a waste of time and that they tie you down. He had seen firsthand what the effects of having a mate are, and he was not willing to tie himself down to one person like that.
He knew though that he had to get married. What he wished was that he could’ve had a choice in the matter of who he gets married to. Granted he had no particular woman in mind, he’d rather marry anyone else but Olga Saunders.
“Sir, I’m heading out,” Leith said from the door. Gabriel was surprised to look up to be faced by the city lights.
He scowled, looking to his assistant. “I’ve been in my thoughts for so long.”
“I know Sir. I didn’t think you’d want me to interrupt you, so I didn’t. I’ve arranged a hotel room for you if you don’t want to stay at your apartment. I know your house is not an option after what I heard,” Leith informed.
“Thank you Leith,” he said.
“It’s a pleasure Sir. Have a good night,” his assistant said before leaving.
He didn’t see a reason to still be in his office, so he followed soon after. As he drove to the hotel, he passed by a bright neon sign that he hadn’t taken note of before. When he read the words ‘Xaria’s Treats’, something about the place drew him to it.
He parked his car and stepped out, only to be met by the sweetest aroma he’d ever had the pleasure of smelling. Wrapped around his senses was the sweet scent of cookie dough, blackcurrant and chocolate, a combination he was sure would drive his primal side to the edge.
There was just something about it.
And that’s when he saw her.
Her perfectly shaped behind moved as she wiped the counter. She was dressed in what he could only categorize as a minuscule skirt and tight top. Her fiery locks were bound in a loose ponytail, and the urge to run his hands through them overwhelmed him.
He had to go inside.
The bell sounded as he entered. “We’re clo-”
Emerald orbs widened as she took him in. He wasn’t sure why, but he pinned it down to recognition. There was something about her, something that he didn’t understand. She was a human, but he’d never reacted in this way to a human before.
He had never before heard his name sound so majestic, so sexy. The part that got to his primal side even more was the fact that she wasn’t even trying. She had simply said his name, and yet he was ready to ravish her against the very counter she stood before.
He took a step closer to her, and growled in annoyance when she took a step back. “You know who I am.”
He could hear her heartbeat frantically changing rates. Her scarlet feathered cheeks were only drawing his attention to the sound of her blood rushing through her veins. He thought he would convulse just at the sight of her pulse.
Her whisper brought his attention to her plump mouth. There were so many impure thoughts running through his mind, and for the first time in his life, he wanted to act on every single one of them. Not even Olga had ever made him feel like this before.
And he hadn’t even touched the woman before him.
Without giving her a chance to escape him once more, he used his speed and rushed to her, trapping her between the counter and himself. “And what might your name be?”
She took a while before she answered. “Xaria.”
“That’s a beautiful name,” he carried on as though their position was of normality.
Xaria put her hands on his chest to push him back, only to be met by a hard and cold chest. “You’re so cold.”
“It’s in my nature to be,” Gabriel unconsciously replied.
“Your nature?” she asked in confusion, her hands still on his chest. He took them and placed them at her sides before stepping away from her.
“I hear you have the best chocolate cake in town,” he commented.
“Unfortunately we’re all out, and plus we’re closed,” she lied.
“You’re a terrible liar Xaria. I’m inside the bakery and the cake is behind you,” he pointed out.
She cursed herself for not being smarter about her approach. “We’re still not open though.”
Gabriel raised an eyebrow. “Is your name not Xaria?”
“I just told you it is,” she said with a scowl.
“And is your name not on the neon sign outside?” he further questioned.
“What does that have to do with anything?” she attacked.
“As the boss, I have a feeling you want to give me some cake,” he replied.
“No I don’t,” she refused. She gasped when cold fingers grasped her chin, making her look up at his tall frame, deep into his eyes.
“You want to get me some chocolate cake,” he compelled.
“I think I’ll get you that cake,” she said, despite the tingly feeling in her brain.