“What?!?!” he shrieked.
I squirmed. “Well, you see I cut my hand really bad at the bar one night. Leo and I were alone and he insisted on inspecting the damage. It happened so fast, but when all was said and done, he had repaired my wound with his saliva.”
Vance’s jaw tightened. Through clenched teeth he said, “That bastard. I can’t believe he took advantage of you like that.”
“No, it wasn’t like that. How could he have known? He was just trying to help me.”
He scoffed. “Leo Markos does nothing without an ulterior motive.”
“Vance, I really don’t think that’s true in this situation,” I insisted. “I truly think he was just trying to help. Look, I know you guys have issues with each other, but he’s different with me. He’s probably the reason we’re even having this conversation right now. He called me when you were hurt because he knows I have feelings for you. You said it yourself. He was encouraging you to talk to me. What motive could he possibly have for that?”
“I don’t know,” he admitted. “That’s irrelevant at this point. The fact remains that he’s tasted your blood. Did he say anything about your connection to the fairy race?”
“Um, yeah, kinda. But not right away. He told me that night I stayed at his place.”
Vance’s jaw tensed again. In an accusatory tone he asked, “And what exactly were you two doing to bring up that particular conversation?”
“Nothing! We were just talking!” I screamed. Taking a deep breath, I said, “Look, I know what you’re thinking but you’re wrong. I shouldn’t have to explain myself to you, but Leo and I did not have sex. Not then, not ever.”
Seemingly relieved by my confession, he visibly relaxed and softened his tone. “I’m sorry, Karli. I shouldn’t have accused you of anything. You’re right; I have no reason to feel angry about this. Even if something had happened between you two, you don’t have to explain yourself to me. We’re not in a committed relationship. I was just letting my personal demons get the best of me.”
“That’s okay. I can’t say I wouldn’t feel the same if the situation was reversed,” I admitted.
“I think we’re getting off track here,” he said. “I’ve never heard of a vampire resisting the pull of Fae blood before. What exactly did he say to you?”
“He said that he can’t figure out what I am, but he knows I’m not a witch. He told me that he could taste my impending immortality, which doesn’t make sense based on my age. He also said that my blood tastes very different, like nothing he’s ever had before. He picked up on the honey almond thing. Although, I thought that wasn’t supposed to come until after I was immortal? Anyway, he said the contrast was too great for me to deny.”
“The blood scent you are referring to does not come until you become immortal. He was referring to your blood’s taste which is the same from the day you are born. A vampire will be able to scent your blood from beneath your skin once you are an immortal but only in close proximity. They are very sensitive to it because of the history between the two races.”
“So, you’re telling me that as long as I don’t physically get too close to a vampire, I shouldn’t worry about it?” I asked.
“No, I’m not saying that. Your mother’s friend was right to hide your identity. If word spread, a vampire would seek you out.”
“What about you?” I asked. “Can they scent your blood?”
He shook his head. “My blood gives off an entirely different scent since the Fae essence is so diluted.”
“Okay, I hear what you’re saying, but it doesn’t quite make sense. Why was Leo able to control himself then?”
“I don’t know,” he said through gritted teeth. “It’s possible that his feelings for you override his instincts.”
“So you’re saying that it’s possible a vampire wouldn’t lose control?” I asked.
“I think that we’ve already established that, Karli. We just don’t know the reasons behind it. Unless you plan on revealing your identity to Leo and asking him, we’re never going to know.”
“Of course I’m not going to do that!” I said incredulously.
“Well, then you’re just going to have to stay away from him.”
“Vance, I can’t do that.” Oh Christ, there goes his jaw again!
“Why the hell not?” he shouted. “You’re putting yourself in harm’s way every time you go near him.”
“Because I work for him.”
“Yeah, and you don’t think that’s an awfully big coincidence?”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” I asked.
“It means,” he snapped, “that I wouldn’t be surprised if Leo bought the bar so he could be your boss. He probably sensed something was different about you and wanted an opportunity to get closer.”
“That’s ridiculous,” I scoffed. “There are much easier and less expensive ways to get to know someone. Like, oh, I don’t know…ask them on a date?”
“When’s the last time you went on an actual date, Karli?”
I glared at him. “That’s none of your business.”
“See? There’s my point. You’re so closed off when it comes to men. I knew the first minute that I met you that somebody did a number on you. Vampires can sense emotions, Karli. He could have figured it out just as easily as I did.”
I returned his glare. “Whatever. I don’t want to talk about this ridiculous theory of yours anymore.”
He shrugged. “Fine, but we do need to talk about what you’re going to do about him. You need to quit your job.”
“If you’d pull your head out of your ass, you’d know I’m right,” he said.
Okay, now I was getting irritated. “Fuck you, Vance. I refuse to live in fear anymore! I’ve been doing that my whole life. I’m not going to take any unnecessary risks, but Leo has already proven himself to me. In doing so, he’s actually given me some hope that I’m not going to die before I get to actually live my life!”
He narrowed his eyes at me. “Well, I’m glad Leo has been such a great comfort to you, Karli.”
“You’re impossible! You know what? You can leave now. Just go!” I walked over to my door in case he needed a demonstration.
“What? I’m not leaving. We’re not done. We’ve barely even scratched the surface!” he shouted.
“Well, too bad,” I replied. “We can continue this discussion when you’re ready to put your issues with Leo aside and act like an adult. I’m too pissed at you right now to hear anything else you have to say.”
“Well, aren’t you the pot calling the kettle black?”
I placed my hands on my hips. “Oh hell no, did you just call me immature?”
“If the shoe fits….”
I opened the door for him as I gritted my teeth. “Leave. NOW.”
He got up and stormed out the door. When he was halfway down the hall he said, “You’re going to regret this, Karli. Call me when you’re ready to think sensibly.”
“Don’t hold your breath, jackass!” I screamed. Ugh!