“Gabriel Jankovic,” Cara whispered.
“Sir, you’re supposed to be meeting Mr Danvers right now,” Leith pointed out.
“Ivan called to reschedule the meeting, so I have an opening in my day after all. The meeting has been moved to next week, so you’ll just let him know when I’m free next,” Gabriel told him. Leith nodded.
“Wait, wait, wait! Leith you work for Gabriel Jankovic?” Cara asked.
“Yes Carabear, I work for Gabriel Jankovic,” Leith told her.
She glared at him. “I hate that name.”
“And I’m enthusiastic about Leilei?” he countered, making Xaria laugh.
“You’re spending your free time here? Why?” Xaria asked Gabriel.
“Word on the street is that this bakery has some delicious treats. I was curious,” he replied.
“Mhmm. What do you want?” she asked.
He laughed. “I don’t know. Surprise me.”
“I might just give you one of everything just to make some money off of you,” she joked.
“Done! Give me ten of everything so that I can go and share with everyone in the office,” he told Cara.
Cara’s eyes widened. “Are you serious?”
“He is,” Xaria and Leith said simultaneously. They both knew better.
“Uhm ok. Let me just box everything up for you,” Cara said before going to grab the boxes.
“Sir, I’ll see you at the office. I still need to pick up that package of yours,” Leith told his boss, to which Gabriel nodded.
“Xar, I’ll call you later and we’ll talk. Hug that moron for me,” he said before hugging her.
“I HEARD THAT!” Cara shouted from the kitchen.
“YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO!” Leith shouted back.
“Would the two of you not act like children in my bakery?” Xaria scolded.
“Sorry,” they both said before Leith left.
“You scared my best friend,” Xaria told Gabriel.
“I didn’t even know he was your best friend until this morning. Leith is such a private human. I didn’t even know that he has friends,” Gabriel confessed.
“You’re a terrible boss, just by the way. The amount of times he’s ditched us because of you is too many to count,” she told him.
Gabriel shrugged. “I won’t apologize. I’m a busy man and I need someone who can keep up with me. He enjoys his job anyway.”
“That’s sadly true. You didn’t have to buy so many things by the way,” she told him.
“I know, but you truly do have a talent, which is how I know the high tea will go well. What I’m curious about is why this one is stressing you out so much. Is it your first ever high tea?” he asked.
“No, it’s my biggest. Also, these are some high society ladies and if I impress them, it will bring in business for me. Speaking of...” she trailed off as she watched them enter.
They all looked surprised to see Gabriel there, and they didn’t hide the fact that they were checking him out. “I know all of them and they all want a piece of me.”
“Well, aren’t you conceited?” she teased.
He chuckled. “You owe me for this.”
She was wondering what he was talking about, until he walked over to the women. “Good afternoon ladies. I believe you’re here for your high tea?”
“Yes we are. What are you doing here?” one of the ladies asked.
“Follow me please. This is where you’ll be seated. You see that nervous woman over there?” he asked, to which they nodded.
“She’s been nervous as hell waiting for you to get here. She’s put her everything into your high tea, and I guarantee that you’ll enjoy it and everything she serves. I vouch for her,” he said before walking back to Xaria.
The women were giggling and fanning themselves while they ogled him. They were suddenly over excited for their high tea, and they couldn’t wait to taste everything that Xaria had made. If Gabriel Jankovic likes it, they were sure they would too.
“You didn’t have to do that,” Xaria told him, blushing.
“In that case, can I call in a favour for it?” he asked.
She narrowed her eyes at him. “Go on.”
“Have dinner with me,” he requested.
“Yeah, that’s not happening. Miguel would hate me for sure,” she replied.
“Then bring him with. Leith tells me that you have a sister and she’s married. She can bring her husband, and you can bring the insecure man and Cara. I’ll invite Leith back at the office,” he offered.
“What’s in it for you?” she asked, confused.
“Your boyfriend is insecure, and if I have to be in his presence in order to spend time with you, then so be it,” he replied.
“My brother isn’t insecure,” Cara lied as she walked back to the till.
“Do you feel better now that you’ve gotten that lie off of your chest?” Gabe asked amusedly.
Cara smiled slowly. “I like you.”
“Please don’t encourage him,” Xaria said as she took out the platters for the high tea.
“What? I like anyone who tells it like it is,” Cara defended.
Xaria sighed, turning to Gabriel. “Behave.”
“Me? Always,” he said with an innocent smile. She rolled her eyes before leaving to attend to the ladies.
“So, what dirty secret can you tell me about Xaria?” Gabe asked Cara.
She raised an eyebrow. “I don’t even know who you are to her, and yet you want me to spill such information?”
“We’re, friends,” Gabe said unconvincingly.
Cara laughed. “Try again.”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” he offered.
“Try me,” she dared.
He looked back to see Xaria talking to the women before turning to her best friend. “She’s my soul mate.”
“Soul mate? You’re either a creep or a supernatural, though judging from how unnaturally good looking you are, I’m going to go with the latter. Based on how quickly you could tell that I was lying about my brother, I’m going to guess that you have super enhanced hearing, which leaves either a werewolf or a vampyre. However, werewolves generally like to be casual, while vampyres are all for class and style, so you’re a vampyre. Given the fact that you’re the CEO of a multibillionaire empire, I’m going to guess you’re high up even – either a clan leader or a royal,” she analyzed.
It’s not very often that Gabriel is surprised by anything, let alone mortals, so to have her break him down so accurately had him both shocked and impressed with her. He wasn’t even sure what to say, and she looked pretty satisfied with knowing she had him.
“What did you do to him?” Xaria asked when she returned.
“I told him your deepest, darkest secret and it’s clearly got him freaked out,” Cara said with a straight face.
Xaria’s eyes widened. “You did what?”
Both Gabriel and Cara laughed. “Calm down. I just figured out that he’s not human.”
“How?” Xaria asked her while Gabriel sent her a panicked look.
“Oh, so you’re aware then?” Cara asked her best friend.
“I figured it out from how much he was talking about the possible existence of supernatural beings,” Xaria explained.
“Oh. I just took a guess,” Cara said.
Xaria didn’t believe one second of it. “You just guessed? You don’t guess such things.”
“What? Are you jealous that I didn’t need any hints?” Cara taunted.
“You know what? I don’t have time for this,” Xaria said before heading to the back.
“Why would you cover for me?” Gabriel asked curiously.
“You strike me as a man who’s never had a crush before, so this is purely for my entertainment,” she said honestly.
He chuckled.” Such deviousness is always refreshing to see from a mortal.”
“Have you told her?” she asked.
“Where would I even start that conversation? Besides, aren’t you supposed to be on your brother’s side?” he asked inquisitively.
She shrugged. “Miguel hasn’t been in my life all that long, so my priority will always be Xaria.”
“I feel like there’s something more to your statement,” he noted.
“Of course there is. I’m her Guardian,” she said smiling before heading towards the kitchen.
Gabriel headed after her, but she’d disappeared. Xaria shot him a curious glance when she found him looking around the kitchen. “Yes?”
“Where did she go?” he asked.
“Where did who go?” she countered.
“Cara,” he replied.
“Isn’t she that side with you?” she asked in confusion.
“She was, but she came this side,” he responded.
“You’re the only person to come through that door Gabriel,” she said, a little worried.
Gabriel frowned, turning back to look out at the till. Cara was nowhere in sight, and with what she’d said, he knew that she knew a lot more than she let on. She’s also clearly a supernatural being with the answers he needs pertaining his mate.
“Gabe,” Xaria said softly, startling him. He hadn’t even heard her come closer.
“Gabe,” she said again, just as softly, this time cupping his cheek.
“I’m fine,” he said lowly, even if he didn’t believe his own words.
“She probably left using the side door and I didn’t see her,” she offered.
But he knew better.
“I need to go,” he stated.
She nodded. “Thanks for the flowers.”
“You’re most welcome Miss McLeod. I’ll contact you about that dinner later today,” he said before kissing her cheek.
She was about to say something but he smirked, stopping her. “I’ll behave and I’ll stay out of trouble.”
She laughed. “You’re learning.”
“How can I not when my mother reminds me at every turn?” he taunted.
“You’ll remember me for it once I’m dead,” she joked.
Except he didn’t take it as a joke.
His primal side freaked at the sound of her words, and a growl emitted from his chest. She watched, wide-eyed as his eyes turned a deep blood red, his canines revealing themselves. She wasn’t afraid though. If anything, she was intrigued and slightly turned on.
Gabriel, partially lost to his primal side, caught a whiff of her arousal, and it was almost enough to make him lose complete control. He grabbed her by the waist, and she gasped, her red lips slightly parted.
He groaned at the sound of her blood rushing through her veins. Her pulse was in his sights as she unconsciously tilted her head aside. He leaned down and inhaled her scent, skimming his canines across her pulse.
Xaria was on a high.
The contrasting temperatures between them felt remarkable. She was lost to his scent, which she only realized then was his cologne mixed with something she couldn’t quite identify. Without him, she knew her knees would’ve already given in from the contact of his canines on her neck.
Gabriel’s struggle only multiplied then. He knew that she didn’t know what she was asking him to do, but he was also unsure of what would happen if he did. He wouldn’t want to kill his mate, but her words had him losing even more control to his primal side.
His canines punctured her neck a little and she gasped, before moaning. He didn’t go further than that, fighting the urge to drink her until she was dry, but he was curious about the taste of her blood. He flicked his tongue out and swirled it around the two holes he’d made, collecting the little bit of blood that had escaped.
They were both euphoric.
She would never be able to put into words what was happening and everything she was feeling from it. He had no words to describe the taste of her blood. It was like nothing he’d ever tasted in his existence.
“What the hell?”
Gabriel growled at the interruption, but Xaria was still too dazed to notice who had arrived. Instead, before she could comprehend what she was doing, she grabbed Gabriel’s face and smashed her lips to his.
He lost complete control then, picking her up and wrapping her legs around his waist. She moaned when he tugged at her bottom lip with his canines, and she allowed him entrance. Everything was passionate and explosive.
The kitchen was suddenly hot, and it had nothing to do with the ovens.
“Uh, guys,” Cara interrupted. Gabriel growled once more, but he was interrupted by the lingering kiss Xaria placed on his lips.
“You have to go,” she said, breathless.
“I have to go,” he agreed, putting her back down.
“Promise me you’ll be safe,” she told him.
He scowled, his eyes returning to normal. “You’re very concerned about my safety.”
“Just promise me Gabe,” she pleaded.
“I promise,” he said before kissing her forehead. He walked out after that without saying a word.
“What the hell was that?” Angela asked her little sister.
“I don’t know,” Xaria admitted, fanning herself.
“I leave you with him for less than ten minutes and the two of you are in here baking goods without using the ovens,” Cara teased. Xaria blushed a deep scarlet colour.
“Are the ladies still out there?” she asked.
“They are, but we are talking about this once they’re gone,” Angela said.
Xaria nodded, knowing that she couldn’t escape even if she tried. She reached out to feel her neck but there was nothing. There was no evidence of what Gabriel had done to her, and she was curious about that, but she knew that she wouldn’t get her answers on her own, so she instead got back to work, trying to stop thinking about the magical kiss she’d shared with the new man in her life.
The moment Leith laid eyes on his boss once he’d returned, he knew that the man was out of it. He accompanied him to all of his meetings, but Gabriel said nothing. People just pinned it down to him being his normal broody self, but Leith knew better.
“What happened?” he asked once they were back in Gabriel’s office. They had time before his third to last meeting of the day.
“What makes you think anything happened?” Gabriel finally spoke, looking out at the city.
“Those are the first words you’ve said since coming back and you look like a man who is deep in his thoughts about something,” Leith explained.
“The boy makes a point Gabe. Even your aura is different,” Zortan commented, announcing his presence.
Gabriel frowned, turning to face him. “I thought you were only coming tonight.”
“Oh, I was, but I felt a strange tug at our bond, so I knew I had to come sooner,” Zortan informed.
“Leith, meet my best friend and right hand man Zortan. Zortan, this is my personal assistant Leith,” Gabriel introduced.
“The first mortal to know about you right?” Zortan questioned, to which Gabriel nodded.
“It’s an honour to meet you,” Leith told him.
“I’m flattered that you feel honoured to meet me, but I will agree that it’s a different experience,” Zortan commented.
He jumped at the sound of her voice. “Xaria?”
“Is there a way you can come back and compel my sister? She won’t shut up,” she whined.
He smiled, laughing in his head. “I’m about to face my best friend as it is. I can’t help.”
“This is your fault you devilishly handsome man,” she complained.
“I’ll take that as a compliment any day,” he replied.
“Yeah, yeah,” she responded before he felt the mind block go up on her side.
He wasn’t even aware that she could do that.
“You’re smiling?” Zortan commented, caught off guard at the sight.
“She kissed me,” Gabriel informed.
“And what did you do for her to kiss you?” Leith and Zortan asked simultaneously, surprising even themselves with their thinking.
“I’m offended that you think I did something to get her to kiss me,” Gabriel replied.
“Ok, so what did you do to her?” Zortan asked, uncaring of his best friend’s offense.
“I did nothing. She made a joke about her dying and that triggered my primal side. She was aroused by it, and before I knew it, I had her in my arms with her pleading with me to bite her. I only punctured her skin a little, but I still got to taste her blood,” Gabriel explained.
“And?” Zortan probed.
“It tastes like nothing I’ve ever tasted,” Gabriel admitted.
“Ok firstly, what? Secondly, she kissed you after all of this?” Leith asked.
“Yes she did. Her sister arrived just after I’d licked the blood off, and my primal side wasn’t happy, which is when she kissed me,” Gabriel elaborated.
“I thought you said she has a boyfriend,” Zortan commented.
Gabriel nodded. “She does.”
“It’s weird to even be talking about this, but did she look like she felt any guilt?” Leith asked him.
He frowned, remembering her words to him. “No. If anything, she keeps telling me to behave, stay safe, and stay out of trouble. It’s like she knows that something’s coming, and maybe that it’s coming for me.”
“You think whatever she is gets visions?” Zortan questioned.
“I don’t know honestly. I just know that for a woman who’s only known me for two days, she worries about my safety a lot, especially since we’ve returned from Trachba,” Gabriel responded.
“I can’t say I know what that’s about,” Leith commented, which reminded Gabriel of something.
“You said you’ve been best friends with Cara and Xaria since you were children, correct?” he asked his assistant.
Leith nodded. “Yeah, why?”
“Did you ever notice anything strange about Miss Palmer?” Gabriel questioned.
“Strange how?” Leith asked.
“She said something to me that alludes to her knowing a lot more than she lets on,” Gabriel replied.
“You’re speaking in riddles,” Zortan pointed out.
“She accurately guessed that I’m a vampyre, and she told me that she’s Xaria’s Guardian. I chased after her, but she vanished into thin air, even with my speed,” Gabriel explained.
Both Leith and Zortan looked at him sceptically. “Are you sure of this?”
“What do I benefit from making it up?” Gabriel asked, deadpan.
“I’ve never noticed anything odd about her. I mean, Xar has never been interested in what anyone thinks of her really, but there have been people who have thought of her as a weirdo of sorts. Cara’s always defended her from people and situations like that. She’s been in trouble in the name of Xaria more times than any of us can remember to count, so you may be onto something,” Leith analyzed.
“I thought as much,” Gabriel said.
Before any of them knew what was happening, Gabriel had moved at an unnoticeable speed, and stabbed Leith in the stomach. He’d used a special magic dagger and his assistant stared at him with wide eyes, clutching his bleeding stomach as Gabriel pulled the dagger out.
“Do I even want to know why you just did that?” Zortan asked casually.
“I’m suspicious of something,” Gabriel replied before Leith gasped loudly, the wound in his stomach repairing itself.
“You just stabbed me. I’M HEALING!” Leith shouted.
“Calm down would you? It’s a magical dagger that inflicts pain, but you wouldn’t die from it. It reveals hidden magical creatures, and more often than not, it’s magical creatures who don’t even know that they’re supernatural to begin with,” Zortan explained.
“So I’m a supernatural being?” Leith asked in confusion.
“It would seem so, and I have a feeling Angela isn’t human either. The whole lot of you have been hidden for a reason,” Gabriel commented.
“Wait! If I wasn’t a supernatural being, would that dagger have killed me?” Leith asked.
“Possibly, but we would’ve gotten you medical help before you could die,” Zortan replied.
“You just stabbed me on a hunch?” Leith asked his boss disbelievingly.
“Shouldn’t it count that I helped you discover something about yourself?” Gabriel offered.
“No, it shouldn’t. Was there no other way you could’ve possibly tested your theory?” Leith asked.
Gabriel shrugged. “That would require going back home, and I’m lazy.”
Xaria banged her head on the table, willing her sister to somehow shut up. She’d been going on and on for almost an hour, and Xaria had even lost track of what she was talking about. All she knew was that she was starting to get a headache.
“...and not to forget how your irresponsible tendencies tend to get you into trouble. Are you even listening to me?” Angela asked.
“Not even I’m listening to you,” Cara commented, making Xaria laugh a little.
“Why are you scolding me again?” Xaria bothered asking.
“You kissed another man Xaria, and you don’t seem to feel the least bit guilty about that. Are you and Miguel going through that rough of a patch?” Angela questioned.
“Oh, this has nothing to do with my brother. It’s all got to do with that fine as hell man,” Cara said.
“Who was he?” Angela asked.
Xaria frowned. “You mean you didn’t see him?”
Angela shook her head. “His back was to me and I heard you call him Gabe. He left in too quick a speed for me to catch his face.”
“Girl, that was Gabriel Jankovic,” Cara informed.
“Mr Sex on Legs?” Angela asked disbelievingly.
“The very one,” Cara agreed.
“Wait! Since when do you know Gabriel Jankovic?” Angela asked her sister.
Xaria was about to reply, but Cara beat her to it. “Angie, you might want to sit. It’s time we talk.”
“It’s time?” Angela asked, shocked.
“Why do you look so shocked?” Xaria asked, only to be ignored.
“It’s time. Gabriel’s a vampyre,” Cara informed Angela.
Her eyes widened. “Is she...?”
Cara nodded. “He told me himself, which means we need to figure things out quickly for both their sakes.”
“What are you two going on about? You’re freaking me out a little here,” Xaria pointed out.
“Xar sweety, there’s something you need to know,” Angela told her.
“Well spit it out,” Xaria said impatiently.
“You’re not human.”