I sat straight up when the door blew open, and Lennox’s black eyes met mine. His eyes roamed over me as I held the sheets in place. His gaze stopped at my neck, where I could feel blood from where Philip had just drunk. He turned his head to see Philip, half naked and pants unbuttoned.
A female banshee is pretty damn scary. A male pissed-off banshee is absolutely terrifying. Lennox transformed from a beautiful but terrifying man into a creature that has been in horror stories for thousands of years. Being a vampire and a knight that used to kill banshees, Philip could definitely defend himself against Lennox. And if Lennox was angered by what he saw, Philip was just as angry at this man for barging into his brides room.
Lennox wrapped his hands around Philip’s throat as Philip took his arms underneath Lennox, breaking free from his grasp. He took Lennox’s head in his hands, head-butting him so hard I heard a skull crack. Lennox stumbled back but gained his balance again quickly.
Philip’s eyes went black as his fangs came down, but now Lennox was full Banshee. “What the hell do you think you’re doing here, banshee?” Philip growled.
Lennox’s black claws were out and ready for blood. “I could ask the same thing of you, vampire,” he spat.
They both stood there for a moment, like the calm before the storm. And then the air changed, and they were at each other with such ferocity I had to stand back or get caught in the middle of it.
I screamed as Lennox had Philip on the floor, trying to rip his throat out. “Stop it, you two!” I yelled, but they didn’t listen and kept fighting.
I was looking for the best opportunity to get between them. Lennox was in such a rage that anything I said was lost on him. An ear-piercing scream came from him and I threw my hands over my ears, trying to block out the noise.
The scream didn’t have the effect on Philip that Lennox had wanted; he stood his ground but the noise did seem to muddle him a bit. When Lennox came after him again he moved like a wisp of smoke in the air, hitting Philip over and over again. Lennox’s ghostlike form moved quickly as Philip tried to grab hold of him, but was struck to the ground. Lennox materialized on top of the vampire, looking crazed and out of control.
I was going to get in between them when Philip punched Lennox in the gut, causing him to hunch over; then he grabbed his head with both hands, making the ghostly outline of Lennox become solid from his touch.
Lennox looked down at his body, seeming perplexed by what was happening to him. The anger broke through again as he realized what Philip had done to him. “You son of a bitch!” he raged, and charged towards Philip.
With lightning speed Philip was pummeling him just as Lennox had done to him a moment before. The two were throwing punches, looking to kill each other, when Lennox took his claw and got Philip in the side. In that moment of weakness he had Philip pinned to the ground, and he looked beyond reason.
I jumped in between them on the floor, leaning over Philip’s face and upper chest to block him from Lennox’s wrath. As I wrapped my arms over Philip in a protective manner, I looked up at Lennox to see the look of confusion on his terrifying face.
“Stop it, Lennox, you need to stop! He’s mine, I’ve marked him!” When I was sure he was listening to me, I moved out of the way so I could show him my mating mark on Philip’s neck.
After that, he quickly stood and Philip grabbed me up putting me behind him, protecting me from what he thought was a threat. He looked down at me in his arms, seeing that the towel I’d wrapped around me was now barely covering me. He quickly reached over and grabbed the sheet off the bed, wrapping it around my body.
Lennox looked shocked and hurt. I started to move towards him, but Philip wouldn’t loosen his grip on me, keeping me in a tight embrace. I squirmed trying to break loose “Lennox, what are you doing here? How did you find me?” I asked.
“Ryuuji called me. Told me that his love had gone missing and he was going after her.” His eyes moved to Philip with total hatred. “He called me last night and told me that he couldn’t get hold of you and that worried him, because you yourself had run into some trouble in London,” he growled.
He walked closer to us, and Philip started to pull me around to his back. “Philip, stop, Lennox would never hurt me. There’s been a big misunderstanding here.” Taking Philip’s hand I started to pull loose from his reluctant grip. He looked down at me with worry in his eyes. “Lennox, please just tell him you won’t hurt me.”
That seemed to anger Lennox even further but he remained calm as he answered, glaring at Philip. “I would never hurt her. But I will kill anybody that even attempts to cause her any pain.”
I could feel Philip stiffen at his threat. I took his hand in mine and looked up at him. “I need to talk to him. Why don’t you go clean up and check that scratch, we have a lot to do today.” He looked down at the blood on his side but didn’t seem convinced to leave me with Lennox. I let out a long sigh. “Look, I’ve know this man for sixty-some odd years. Believe me when I tell you I’m fine with him.”
Philip glared at Lennox as he let go of me. But before he left me he took me in his arms and kissed me thoroughly, leaving me a little light headed when he let go. He smirked at Lennox as he walked into the bathroom, putting the phone to his ear again to make another phone call.
Lennox moved swiftly to me, wrapping an arm around my waist, helping me balance myself. “Lennox, I’m fine. I’m not some weak-kneed innocent,” I sighed.
He sat me on the bed and kneeled in front of me, taking my hands in his. His eyes glanced at the bed and then back at me. “Why don’t you tell me what happened. And then I’ll decide if that vampire gets to live or not,”
So I did. I told him everything that had happened: How I met my makers, how Philip and I found the facilities, and most importantly about the male mixers and…Tipton. He shook his head as I told him the whole story, and when I came to the end he put his head on our entwined hands. “So I was right. This is the end for us,” he murmured.
I looked down at Lennox as his black and white hair flowed over my legs knowing that he meant so much more to me then I always let on. “Don’t say that. I don’t know what I’d do with out you in my life but, I’m so confused. You know me; I’ve always kept my distance from men. Never really getting attached, and now I have two that are mine,” I whispered as I ran my fingers through his long hair.
But if I was being honest, it hurt to say that to him. He shook his head in understanding. “Then there’ll never be a chance for us now,” he said in a dead voice. He looked up at me and I touched his cheek to comfort him.
I was about to answer when we heard the door to the bathroom open. When I looked over at Philip he looked like he was going to rip Lennox apart. But Lennox got to his feet, still holding my hands in his. “I love you, Molly. I loved you even when I have to share you, and I always will.” He confessed, then bent down and kissed me softly.
He went to leave, but stopped. “I just want you and your friends to know that I will never give up on making her mine. So I’ll tell you right now: don’t screw up, because if you do and she ever needs me for anything, I’ll be there for her. And I’ll take her from you gladly,” he warned him, and left.
I was sitting on the bed looking at the door Lennox had just walked through, when Philip came over to me. He took my hand in his and sighed. “Do you love that man?” he asked.
“He was someone I respected and feared at the same time when I first woke. But yes, I can say that I love him. I’ve loved him for a very long time, but I never gave myself permission to love anybody, because of my situation. It was always better to keep them at a distance; that way I never become attached.” I confessed.
“I see.” He nodded.
“We’ve both had others in our lives, haven’t we? I’ve known that man for a very long time. He was always someone I knew I could trust under any circumstances. But he was more than that, he was someone I could always depend on. No matter what black mood I fell under, he would put up with me. He help me control what I am.“”
Philip got up from the bed and walked towards the bar. “I guess we have put you through much turmoil, but the thought of you loving another man had never occurred to me. You were ours. End of the story, as you Americans would say.”
With a sad smile he made himself a drink seeming lost in is thoughts. “But I should have known that others would try to get you to love them as well. What I didn’t know is that we would not find you for such a long time.
He didn’t talk after I told him that I did love Lennox; in fact he was rather quiet. So I went into the bathroom to get dressed, cleaned up my face, and put my hair in a loose French braid.
I came out to see him sitting on the edge of the bed. His t-shirt was wrinkled but other than that, his appearance was put together and he looked beautiful. Too bad his mood was so downcast. I shut the bathroom door and he came to me, gently kissed my lips and gave me a small smile.
“They’re here,” he said, then opened the door.
Two men outside waiting to enter. Nicolas’s beautiful face and clear blue eyes looked at me as he came in with Ryklin. He made his way directly to me and took me up into his arms. “Hello, love. I’ve heard you’ve found some very interesting information for us,” he grinned, kissing my check.
“He didn’t come?” Philip asked shutting the door. Ryklin seemed more annoyed then ever as he looked over at Philip.
“No, he came. He’s just outside collecting himself before he sees you.” He answered shaking his head.
The door opened to reveal Marcus who glared at Philip, then turned his attention to me. “You work awful quickly, don’t you, dearest?” he chuckled.
“That was unnecessary, Marcus, move on,” Nickolas growled.
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist.” Marcus chuckled, lighting up a cigarette.
As I watched him lament over my actions, there was something about that man that just scared the hell out of me. With a shudder, my eyes slid to Philip, Nicolas, and Ryklin who were watching me.
“So, why is everybody here? This can’t be because of Philip and me, can it?” I asked. Marcus chuckled, shaking his head, but not looking at me.
“No, chérie, I called them. With Eloise posing as an imposter in your cluster and everything that happened yesterday, we need to get to the bottom of this now.”
“Well, not that I’m not glad to see everyone, well, maybe not everyone. But I think the more of you that are here with me, the more it’s going to draw attention. Things haven’t gotten so out of control that Philip and I can’t manage.” I offered.
“When a banshee barges into your room trying to kill Philip, women in your acquaintance have gone missing, and Eloise is involved? Oh no, my dear, I would say things are most assuredly spiraling wildly out of control,” he said sarcastically taking a drag of his cigarette.
“Now look who’s being a drama queen. Lennox wasn’t going to kill Philip. Anyways, Nicolas told me you all know Eloise, but what is she to you, Marcus? Did you all pass her around as well? Is that why she wants to destroy Philip so badly?” I scoffed.
“Oh lord, she is most definitely a female! After all the things of importance that I just addressed, you bring up my knowing Eloise? Bloody hell, woman! None of us would’ve touched her besides Philip. She was barmy back then!” Marcus growled, as his hand rubbed his temple in irritation.
“You all seem really spooked by her. I’ve known Eva for over sixty years, I know how her mind works. And I’m beyond outrage with what she has done. But now I will hunt her down and bring her in for interrogation,” I shrugged.
Marcus snubbed out his smoke. “You think it will be that simple?” he asked. I shrugged and a deep chuckle came from his chest. “The five of us have been looking for her for many years now. She is very adept at hiding. Let me put it this way. Yes, bird, I know her, and she scares the bloody hell out of me. When she wants something she is devilishly ruthless. For her to be in Paris means something rather disastrous is going on here.”
“So what’s the big deal about her being in Paris?”
“Didn’t you tell her anything?” Marcus asked Philip.
“Of course I did. How does one explain a walking nightmare?” He hissed getting up from the bed and stare out the window.
Nicolas crouched down in front of me. “You need to understand how this began. You see, Eloise was just turned when Philip found her on the streets of Paris, dirty and savage. He was fascinated by this American beauty with a crazed side. Eloise told us that her maker had deserted her. And that is something a maker just doesn’t do. Which leads all of us to believe that even then she was unstable.
“She was instantly dazzled by Philip, and it didn’t take long before she fell madly in love with him. But for Philip it was a fun attraction, a shiny new toy in a world that had gotten dull. It was Marcus who saw just how unstable she really was, and how losing Philip’s attention might be bad for all of us.
“We all thought that she should be destroyed. Having an unstable vampire live has always had deadly consequences for both human and creature alike.
“Philip couldn’t bring himself to destroy her, even though his allure for her was smoldering. He told us she could be a benefit in the vampire circles. That before he left her, he would sit down and have a talk with her, and everything would be brilliant.
“Not long after this cock-up, Philip started roaming again, continuing his…bachelor ways. He completely forgot about the heartsick Eloise. He was out charming all the ladies out of their panties, but never said no to Eloise when she came to him offering him her love.” I looked over at Philip, who stopped pacing to look at me.
“But Eloise didn’t see it as Philip not wanting to be exclusive, she wore rose-colored glasses when it came to him. She believed these women seduced what belonged to her and she needed to make them pay for their whorish ways.
“Philip came to England to get away from Eloise, who was becoming more persistent in her pursuit of him. Around this time, England was facing a serial killer named Jack the Ripper. He was killing prostitutes in the Whitechapel district. Four of those five found murdered were Philip’s lovers…” he trailed off.
“Wait, so you’re telling me, you think Eloise is Jack the Ripper? But that doesn’t make any sense, Jack the Ripper was a man,” I said.
Nicolas took my face in his hands, trying to convey some point he thought I was missing. “No, Molly, what I’m telling you is, she is Jack the Ripper. Remember what you’ve been told about her being able to blend, and her ability to hide. Do you really think she couldn’t dress as a man and seduce women, and then kill them?”
Ryklin leaned forward from where he sat. “I’m going to wrap this up very neatly for you. It took us many years to fully understand all the things she’d done to us, and those we cared for. So when you ask us if we know her, the answer is, yes. The five of us know her depravity extremely well. This is why your wellbeing has been called into question, now that we know where she is.”
The information they had just given me was overwhelming; I was trying to absorb everything. “Do you think she’s the mastermind behind the male mixers?” I asked them. They seemed too quiet for comfort.
“Most likely. She was the one hell-bent on making them. Hell, she was one of the leaders of the program that was started to focus on making them,” Marcus explained as his phone rang. He put his cell to his ear and headed out of the room.
“Eloise was shocked to see me with Philip. But I’m sure she doesn’t realize who I am to him, at least not yet. But if she sees him again with my mark, there will be no doubt that I’m the woman he helped make. If she runs into Nicolas, she’ll know it as well. Not that I care if she finds out, but I think keeping her in the dark for as long as possible would be best,” I told them.
Nicolas got up from me and went to stand near Ryklin. “Yes, I see what you’re saying. But there’s nothing that can be done with that now. Ryklin and Alexander are free from your mark, so if she saw them there would be no worries.”
“No, I don’t want to work with Alexander, not just yet. Plus you’re forgetting about Tipton. He has a major role in all this. I think it’s better if we get some new blood in here.” I clapped my hands together, because I had an idea. “If we want to check out anywhere Eloise or Mr. West might be, we’re going to need someone who can fly under the radar. So I think we should call back Lennox, and he can go in the places that we can’t,” I suggested.
Marcus walked back in, looking more troubled than before. “We have a beastly situation going on,” he growled. To see this man, who is the epitome of cool, look so unnerved set the hair on the back of my neck on end. “That was Alexander. The McKesson clan has decided to go to war, and eradicate all the mixers they can manage. Seems killing their brother is going to have a rather nasty effect on everything.”
“Does the game start now, or is this just a proclamation? And how did Alexander come about this information anyway?” Nicolas asked with the calmness only a warrior would have.
Marcus’s smile was sharp-edged. “‘Agatha’ was all he said.”
All the men looked surprised. So I was missing something, apparently. “That’s his wife, right? Did she just find this out, or did she know and just didn’t want to tell him, hoping to finally get rid of me?” I asked .
Marcus, Nicolas, and Ryklin just stood there, but Philip took my hand. “No, chérie. Alexander has been estranged from Agatha since that night you left us.”
“So how did he get the information from her?” They all stiffened at my question. Marcus pulled out another cigarette and was getting ready to light it. “It is of no importance how he came across it, what matters is, he did.”
Then it sank in. He had slept with her to get that information. “Oh,” I said out loud, not meaning to. Why that bothered me, I really didn’t want to think about. I hated that man, but something about him sleeping with that woman just bugged the shit out of me.
Philip jumped in, waking me from my thoughts. “Molly thinks we should get an outsider to help us with Eloise. Someone who doesn't run in our circles. She suggested the banshee,” he told Marcus.
The amazed look on his face was priceless. “Are you suggesting we call the banshee that was trying like hell to kill you?”
Nicolas seemed to have a plan of his own now. “I think she may be right, mate. He might be willing to help us out. Then we can see if that bugger might be any use to us. And you and Ryklin can see what our next move should be.”
Ryklin looked none too pleased that Lennox might be joining us. “Make sure he knows his limits with this woman. I’m in no mood to deal with another man who thinks he has a claim on her,” he said evenly.
“That I bloody well can do for you, mate.” Nicolas nodded grabbed hold of Philip’s shirt and they were gone.
“What is with you guys? You act like possessive beasts! We have one group of crazies trying to breed mixers to destroy all of mankind, and then you have fanatics who want to erase us off the face of the earth. And you want to make sure Lennox knows he can’t get into my pants?” I hissed jumping from the bed.
“Of course,” Marcus answered.
“Just who in the hell do you think you are?” I snapped, my hands balling into fists.
He was in front of me so quickly I started to fall back, when he grabbed me tightly by the arms, holding me to him. “Who am I? I’m the one who made your whole blasted race! I’m the one who designed what you are!” he snarled.
“And that gives you the right to dictate your will on me? Because you created us. What do you want from me, Marcus? You want me on my knees, singing your praises for this screwed up life?” I scoffed.
“Oh bird, I do want you on your knees, with that beautiful mouth of yours wrapped around my cock.” His voice was deep and it vibrated through me.
His grip became tighter, hurting my arms as he pulled me even closer to him. “I made you! Not for some other man to touch, but for my own personal pleasure. And I want the respect due to me as the creator of your species!”
I tried to get out of his grip, but Marcus was simmering with an anger that had been building for a long time. I could see it in his dark eyes. Ryklin came over to us, wanting to calm the situation. “Marcus, you need to remember why you’re here. You will ruin any chance you have if you frighten her beyond repair,”
Marcus stare was instance, his mouth in a hard line, but after a minute he let go and I stumbled back against the wall. I could smell the anger rolling off him in waves as he tried to gain command of himself. I stared directly up into his eyes so he knew I wasn’t afraid of him.
“Remain calm, old friend. We need to get her out of here. It seems we have some trackers hot on our tail, and if you set her hackles up, then we might have to use a method that won’t bode well for either of us.” Ryklin warned.
I really didn’t like the sound of that and Marcus gave a quick nod and stepped back, while Ryklin took my hand. “We need to leave,”
He looked back at Marcus as he slid his hand behind my back to guide me to the door. “Now that we have that sorted out, I think it’s time we head out to the rendezvous spot.”
We walked down the little hall leading to the staircase. Marcus walked in front of me while Ryklin walked behind. When we reached the front of the hotel, Marcus stepped into the little office where I had checked in last night with Philip, while Ryklin guided me to a black Rolls Royce limousine that was waiting out front.
After a minute Marcus came in and sat next to me, giving Ryklin a quick nod of his head. As he settled in, the driver looked into the rearview mirror.
“Where to?” the man croaked.
“Hastings, Kimble,” Marcus said.
When I saw the little man look at me in the mirror, to my surprise I realized that this was no man at all. I felt like I’d just seen a whole new world that I had no idea existed.
“Where is Hastings?” I asked Ryklin.
“It’s on the coast of Britain. It’s an easy in-between for London or Paris.” My head was killing me. And I hadn’t had a good meal in…well, since Justice fed me. I didn’t even know how long I’d been in England at this point. I laid my head back against the soft leather. My eyes closed as I tried to stop the throbbing in my brain, and understand how the hell I get myself into these situations.
The smell of Ryklin was mesmerizing. I’d always loved the scent of the elves. That was one reason I didn’t think I could be with Tipton. But I took a deep breath anyway, letting the wonderful scent hit me, causing me to shiver.
All those years I’d never given in to my bloodlust, and I’d had more than my fair share in the last couple of days. More than I really think is healthy for someone like me. And truth be told, my body liked the way it felt after drinking. The really bad thing was, I was getting thirsty again. And these two men smelled delicious.
For so long I’d resisted the call that the creatures’ blood had on me. At times the beast that lived in me craved it savagely, and trying to fight it was almost unbearable. But I became expert at finding ways around the cravings. Sex, drinking, fighting, cigarettes, I taught myself how to manage this part of myself. But now with all their blood flowing through me… The beast was hungry again, and that scared me.
Maintaining the facade that I was in control of myself was very difficult with an elf sitting next to me. He smelled so exquisite; I turned my head ever so slightly, taking a deep breath of his scent. Such heaven; I wondered what he would taste like.
My eyes flung open when I was pulled sideways in a tight grip. Marcus had me in his lap, my jaw firmly in his grip, staring into my eyes. “You need to learn how to manage yourself, bird.” He glanced over at the driver, then back to me. “Molly, put your fangs away. I will not let you drink here. You’ve had more than your fill, and I would say you’re still intoxicated from it,” he growled.
Ryklin turned to Marcus, raising an eyebrow in question. Apparently I had unintentionally acted on my thought of tasting him, and Marcus caught me before I did.
Marcus gave a hard sigh, shaking his head. “Apparently she was not taught how to control this part of herself. We will have to help her until then.” His eyes were on me again, cocking his head to the side. “What do you smell when we’re with you, Molly?” he asked.
I shook my head, not wanting to answer him. His beautiful mouth gave me a quirk of a smile. “When I’m next to you I smell the scent of warm earthy spices, the crisp autumn air, and chestnuts roasting over a fire,” I said reluctantly.
He pulled my face in closer to his, our lips almost touching. “You are everything that reminds me of the humanity that I once had. When I’m close to you and your scent infiltrates my space, my mouth waters for the taste of your blood upon my lips, my dear. But you don’t see me biting you every time I’m near you, do you?” Still in his tight grip, I gave my head a slight shake.
“You need to take the power you had for not drinking blood, and apply it now to drinking it. Think of blood as dessert; you only need a little bit once in a while--anything more than that is overkill. Now I’m going to let go of you, and you need to remain in control of your faculties. If you thirst, all you need to do is let us know and we will provide it for you.” He offered releasing my face, then next to Ryklin.
“You know, since I drank from Nicolas I really haven’t been all that hungry. I haven’t eaten food in a couple of days, but I am thirsty again. If I want to be really honest, before I left New York my cravings for blood were becoming difficult to contain, along with my stomachache.”
“Should we feed her? Maybe getting some food might quench her thirst,” Ryklin questioned.
Marcus looked at me and shook his head no. “I think we need to get to Hastings, then we can talk.” His eyes moved to the driver, then back to Ryklin. “Controlling her thirst is something she needs to learn now on her own.”