Twenty minutes later, I was finally in the bathroom of my apartment on the tenth sublevel floor of HQ. Letting out a sharp breath, I ripped off my bloody shirt and glared at it. The rest of my clothes followed a second later, and I let out a relieved sigh as I stood in front of the sink. Pulling out a plastic bag from the cabinet, I shoved my clothes into it and tied it shut. I glanced at my weapons on the counter and frowned as I set the bag on top of them. At the moment, I seriously wasn’t in a mood to clean them. Leaving them where they were, I stepped into the shower and turned it on. As the cold water hit me, I gasped, cursing as I shuddered violently for the briefest of seconds. I quickly washed myself, and when I was done, I stood under the hot water, not yet ready to get out. I closed my eyes and sighed, letting my forehead hit the wall with a thump. I didn’t know how long I stood there, but the next thing I knew, the water was getting cold, and someone was in the bathroom with me. I did not have to look around to know who that someone was. “How long have you been here?” I asked grumpily.
“About five minutes,” Tristan growled.
I blinked and straightened, shutting off the shower. “Damn,” I mumbled as I stepped out. Grabbing a towel, I wrapped it around myself and stared at the sink counter with annoyance. Tristan, no longer covered in blood, straightened from the door he was leaning against and opened it. Turning, I walked from the bathroom, into the living room, and into my bedroom. Stopping in front of the closet door, I opened it and dropped the towel. Tristan came to a stop several feet behind me, and the breath he took in to say something cut off abruptly, as if I had turned and choked him. I paused in reaching for a shirt and slowly turned. His eyes flicked down to my breasts, and I crossed my arms as the charge in the room became even more charged. His gaze lowered, and I scowled at him. “I’m surprised you didn’t attack me in the shower,” I drawled.
“I was too busy staring at the back of your head,” he growled as his eyes moved back up my body, and he glared at me.
“Ah,” I said and smirked. I looked him up and down, and when I got to his very obvious erection, I chuckled. “Were you going to tell me something?” I asked and bent to pick the towel back up. I tossed it onto the nightstand and walked over to him. When I reached him, I rested my hand on the side of his neck and fingered the chain that tingled at my touch.
“I was going to ask if you were up for patrolling the border,” he said through gritted teeth as his cool fingers stroked down my arm.
“Border?” I asked and grunted as he jerked me up against his fully clothed body.
“Yes,” he hissed in my ear and nuzzled my still wet hair, inhaling deeply.
“I didn’t know we had an actual border,” I said and slipped my hand under his shirt. He tensed under my fingers, his own hands going to my back and moving down until he cupped my ass.
I pulled back slightly and blinked. “Magical?”
“Yes,” he said, as his clothes along with his weapons disappeared. I looked around, spotting them in the corner of the room. “Freya set up the ward a couple of nights ago.” His hand went to the back of my neck, and he hissed as I cupped him. “It’s your turn to meet with her,” he growled, and I let out a startled yelp as he threw me across the room. My back hit the wall, and I moved as he lunged for me. He changed direction as I continued to flash around the room. A dangerous glint entered his eyes, and the red that was slowly fading, vanished completely. I shuddered as hot pleasure course through me and settled low in my stomach. Still moving, I glared at him.
“You know,” I said. “I’m still mad at you.” He gave me an exasperated look, and I dodged, jumping away before he could grab me.
“You’re not going to let this go, are you?”
“No!” I exclaimed. “You almost died!” I launched myself at him, knocking him to the floor. His arms came around me, and everything went dark. Blinking stupidly, I stared at him as he rolled me over and got to his feet. I glanced around and realized that we were in the sparring room. “The hell are we doing here?” I asked and slowly got up.
“Get it out of your system,” he growled.
“Oh,” I spluttered. “Very well then,” I said and attacked. I punched. I kicked, cursing at him as he grunted. I drove my fist into his stomach, doubling him over. Shoving him onto the mat, I continued to pummel him. Hell, it felt pretty good to hit someone. The best part of it all? He didn’t bother to defend himself. I took in a deep breath and gave him one good final hard punch. He groaned as I straightened and turned from him. The air stirred behind me, but this time, I wasn’t fast enough. Tristan’s cold hands grabbed both my wrists, pinning them behind my back as everything once again went dark. I tried to pull away from him, but I couldn’t because there was a fucking wall directly in front of me. Pushing back against him, I growled. His hold loosened, and a low growl sounded at the back of his throat. Turning me to face him, he glared at me. I opened my mouth to throw something else at him, but I sucked in a sharp breath as he yanked me to him. Grabbing a handful of my hair, he pulled my head back and bared his fangs.
“Not this time,” he snarled and kissed me. It was not a gentle kiss as he all but plundered my mouth. The heat between my legs grew more heated, and I moaned. Putting my hands on his chest, I broke the kiss and shoved, until he hit my bed and fell onto it. I eyed his erection thoughtfully, and I smirked as he grew harder. “Ari,” he growled in warning when I just stood there. “If you do not come here…” His eyes flashed, and I knew he wasn’t going to let me out of the room until he had his way with me. I moved between his legs and stroked his hot, hard length from base to tip. His head fell back, and he groaned.
“Happy now?” I asked.
“No,” he growled, and then cursed as I leaned down and slowly licked him. Before he got the bright idea to grab me, I quickly retracted my fangs and took him into my mouth. He arched, snarling as I sucked and licked him. He sat up—moving off the bed and forcing me back slightly as he put a hand on the back of my head. Down on my knees, I took him in deeper. My throat closed around him as I squeezed and stroked the rest of him. With a hand on my shoulder, he cursed me to hell and back as he moved in and out of my mouth. Pleasure continued to spike higher and hotter within me, but I kept at it, working him. With one last thrust, he stiffened and groaned as he pulsed, spilling himself down my throat. My fangs descended, and his groaned turned into a feral snarl as I swallowed him. My vision dimmed as the pleasure built, and I moaned as he came for a second time. Retracting my fangs, he pulled out of me and yanked me to my feet. My world blurred as he tossed me onto the bed. I let out a half grown, half laugh as he fell on me. Fangs bared, he gripped my thighs and pulled them apart. I gasped and moaned as his tongue slipped between my folds, thrusting in and out of me with a growl. Still gasping, I grabbed hold of his shoulders and arched against him as he tugged and sucked hard on my clit. I cried out as he slipped two fingers inside, moving in and out as he continued to suck me. Clenching around his fingers, I screamed as I came, my hands moving to his neck as my nails raked him. He groaned as his hot blood slowly ran down my hands, and with a snarl, he moved between my legs, thrusting into me hard.
“Ah, fuck,” I moaned and arched into him as he stilled inside me. Groaning, his hands went to my breasts, rolling, flicking, and pinching my nipples. Panting and gasping, I dug my fingers into his arms, digging until they bled. Blood dripped onto my fingers as I tried to get him deeper. “Is this payback?” I gasped when he didn’t move.
“Yes,” he snarled as his hands moved to my hips and held me still. “I should leave you like this,” he hissed. “It’s only fair.”
“Don’t you dare!” I snarled and wrapped my legs around him. His mouth fell on mine, and I kissed him fiercely as he pulled out and thrust back inside. Lifting me slightly, he thrust in deeper, faster, and harder. Whimpering, I dug my nails into his back, raking them downward until I was gripping his ass. Snarling, he broke the kiss and moved faster in and out of me. Meeting him thrust for thrust, I tightened myself around him and flipped us so that I was on top. Tristan eyes flashed as I rode him fast and hard. My hands on his chest, I leaned forward and sank my fangs into his neck. He let out an animalistic snarl, and I cried out as I came. He jerked and pulsed, shooting hot jets into me. Gasping, I withdrew my fangs and licked it close. My vision blurred as Tristan flipped us and pulled out of me. Breathing harshly, he flipped me onto my stomach and lifted me until I was on my hands and knees. I felt his hot length at my entrance, and I moaned. As he thrust into me from behind, he bit into the back of my neck hard. His fingers found my clit, and he rubbed at it as he continued to pound into me. My moans turned into a scream as I clenched around him and came apart. With one last thrust, he exploded into me as I violently scratched his arm with bloody fingers and drew more blood as I dug in deep. With a growl, he withdrew his fangs and slowly pulled himself out of me. I released his arm and collapsed on the bed, gasping. Tristan rested a now cool hand on my back, and I shivered as I felt his tongue licking close the wound.
“Mmm,” he growled. “Freya is waiting for you.” I groaned, and he chuckled as he settled down beside me and pulled me into his arms. I snuggled into him and sighed.
“What a mood killer, you are,” I muttered.
“That is the whole point,” he said as he tightened his hold on me. “We’ll never leave this room otherwise,” he growled, and I laughed as I felt him hardening and growing against my hip.
“I see,” I said slowly and grumbled. Chuckling, I nudged him. “Go.” With much reluctance, he pulled away from me and slipped out of bed. I rolled onto my back and pouted up at him. Looking anywhere but at me, he went over to his clothes and picked them up. Sighing, I watched as he exited the room. Covering my eyes with an arm, I let out another groan. After a minute I reluctantly sat up and got to my feet. Grabbing the towel off the nightstand, I flashed out of the room and into the bathroom. I quickly cleaned myself and teleported back to my room. Stepping into the closet, I grabbed my clothes and dressed as Tristan reentered with my weapons in his hands. They weren’t clean per say, but they were freed of blood. Walking over, I put my arms around him and sighed, resting my chin on his shoulder as he shoved my handcuffs into my pockets along with my folded blades. Grumbling, I took a step back so that he could strap the rest of my weapons on. When he was done, he pulled me into his arms and nuzzled me.
“I’ll see you soon,” he growled in my ear. I nodded as everything went dark.
The cold air slapped my face as I appeared on Freya’s doorstep. After a brief hesitation, I reached out and knocked. A moment later, the door opened, and I blinked at the imp standing in front of me. With dark, dark red scales that might as well be black, the imp stared up at me with glowing green eyes. At her back, her black leathery wings shot through with blue fluttered nervously as she clicked her silver-tipped claws together. I resisted the urge to pat her on the head between her pointy ears where the white tufts of hair was. “Rozalia,” I said in greetings.
“Ari,” she squeaked and stepped back for me to enter. “Come in!” she exclaimed. “Come in, come in!” Amused, I stepped inside and looked around for Freya. Not seeing her, I frowned down at the imp. Before I could ask, Freya’s creepy aura washed over me as she approached us from down the hall. She came to a stop at my side and stared impassively down at the imp.
“Leave us,” Freya said quietly. “And do not return this night.”
“Go, Rozalia. I mean it.” Grumbling something under her breath, Rozalia scuttled out the front door. It slammed shut behind her, and my ears popped as the wards went up. “This way,” Freya said to me and walked into her living room. I followed her as she led me to the back of the house. She stopped before a partially opened door and nodded to it. “This is my lab,” she said and held out her hand to me. “May I?”
“What?” I asked, hesitating.
“I need a few drops of your blood,” she said in amusement. “You are the first I am allowing entrance into this room.” When I still didn’t take her hand, she smiled. “Come now, Ari, do you not trust me?”
“It’s not that I don’t trust you,” I said and scowled at her. “I can feel your hunger hammering at me.” Something flickered in her eyes, and I suppressed a shudder that came over me.
“I will not harm you,” she said quietly.
“If you say so,” I said uncertainly and let her take my hand. Her ice cold fingers wrapped around mine, as she picked up a plastic shot glass-sized cup from the table beside the door and positioned it under my wrist.
“This will hurt for only a moment,” she said and I nodded.
“Understandable,” I said and grunted as what felt like invisible blade pressing slowly into my wrist. My hand felt hot, and the wound pulsed as blood dripped into the cup. After three drops, she released me, and I quickly brought my bleeding wound to my mouth and licked at it.
“You will need to spill blood when we walk the border, but I will leave that up to you on how you think it should be done.” I nodded, watching as she poured my blood over the threshold where it sizzled before disappearing altogether. She stepped into her lab and nodded to me. “You may enter.” I stared at the floor for a second longer, and then enter the room, blinking at the mess on the tables lining up two walls as I took the twenty or so steps down. Freya smirked as she rifled through a drawer. Her lab was a forty-by-forty square room and probably took up most of the back portion of the house. The walls, floor and ceiling were a pristine white, and a counter with a sink took up the wall to my left. Freya dropped something into a small bowl and set it in the sink. She filled this up with water and walked over to the small stove that was to the right of the counter.
“Nice,” I said and really, it was. Apart for the library, for her, this was like where she spent most of her time concocting deadly spells and things I didn’t want to know about.
“Thank you,” she said as she clicked on the stove to high and poured the black thick liquid into the small pot. “This will only take a mere second,” she said as more flames whooshed to life. “Then we will be on our way.” I nodded and leaned casually against the wall, watching in interest as she did her magical mojo. Her hand glowed blue as she reached inside and grabbed a handful of something and rolled it. She clicked off the stove as I felt the chill of the spell along with the scent of fresh winter mint. She walked over to one of the tables and dropped what looked like a plastic ball of something into a container.
“Do I want to know what that is?” I asked as she nodded and came over to me.
“Would you like to pop it?” she asked, and I straightened, shaking my head. “Are you sure? I was told it tastes like mint and burnt plastic.”
“That is a definite no then,” I said as she led me back upstairs.
“I assure you that it will not kill you.”
“Freya,” I said dryly.
“Yes?” she asked as she stopped before the front door and opened it.
“I don’t know you well, but given the stories I’ve heard, something tasting like mint and coming from you can’t be good.” I followed her out into the night, and the smile she gave me was cold.
“You are right to tread on the side of caution.” Her aura amped up a notch, and it took all I had in me not to shudder or rub my arms to rid the blanket of the tingle that came over me. “But in all truthfulness, if I had wanted to harm you, I would have done so with you being none the wiser.”
“Thanks,” I muttered.
She turned to me, and I resisted the urge to take a step back as her cold hand cupped my chin. “Ariella Stanton,” she said slowly. “If there is one thing you should know about me. Know that I do not kill those I consider friend or family.” Her hands came down on my shoulders, and hunger burned within those eyes. I nodded as she studied me intently. “You must feed before we begin,” she said softly.
I arched an eyebrow. “Is it that obvious?”
She gave me an exasperated look and dropped her hands, stepping back. “Shall I point out the facts?” she asked as I reached out and touched her lightly on the arm. “One, I can feel your hunger as you can feel mine. And two, I can smell Tristan all over you.” I nearly swallowed my own tongue as she eyed me, clear amusement in her knowing gaze. Yeah, it was super fucking hard to keep things secret around another vampire, no matter how bad you wanted to. “Am I leaving anything out?” she asked dryly.
“No,” I spluttered and gave into the urge to slap her. Freya’s eyes flashed, and though the beast within her surged to the surface in retaliation, she didn’t go for the attack. Rubbing the arm where I slapped her, she hunched into herself, grunting as she fought with herself. “You need to feed more than I do,” I said and frowned. After a moment of growling and snarling, she straightened and held out her hand. I took it and teleported to HQ. We both looked down at the sound of a startled yelp to find a werepup standing just yards away from us. Amaris’s silver eyes were on Freya as the vampire struggled between picking up the wolf and biting her, or picking her up and petting her… or all of the above. “Border?” I whispered into her ear. “Not puppy chow?” Freya blinked and tore her eyes from Amaris. Without a word, she walked into the trees. Bending down, I gave Amaris a pat on the head before following the retreating vampire.
Damn, I thought as Freya led me to the stream and stopped, staring into the water like it could somehow help quenched her thirst. “We will start and end here,” she said without turning to look at me. Taking in several deep breaths in and out, I unsheathed a blade as I stopped beside her. My eyes never leaving her, I put the blade to my wrist and stabbed the tip in deep before slashing it open. Freya stiffened as a whimper escaped her, and my stomach clenched painfully. As my blood hit the ground, she squeezed her eyes shut, and her magic rose sharply, biting into me like a whip. I followed her as she walked on, continuously slashing my wrist open as we made the round. It felt like an eternity later when we were back at the stream. As I spilled blood for the final time, there was a brilliant flash of bluish white light, and I yelped as I brought up a hand to shield my eyes. The flare was only for a second, but it still left white spots in my vision. Blinking furiously and rubbing the sting from my eyes, I looked to Freya, her ice-blond hair gleaming under the light of the full moon. Her magic still swirled in the air, but something told me that she was no longer casting any kind of spells. Knowing full well that she would be on me faster than I could blink if I made any move or sound now that the spell was complete, I teleported.