Eternity Embraced

Page 7

Granted, Tayla was half-demon herself, and no doubt rumors were already spreading since she'd revealed the fact to some Aegis bigwigs in Egypt last month, but she was also a Guardian, and she was fully prepared to take on Andrea if this was some sort of trick.

Or assassination attempt.

So yes, she'd agreed to meet Andrea while Eidolon was at work.

Not that he couldn't defend himself -- he was a powerful fighter.

But Tayla wasn't taking any chances.

Funny how protective she'd gotten.

When they'd first met, she'd tried to kill him.

Now she was walking down the hallway of the expensive Manhattan apartment they shared, her fingers flexing over the stang at her hip.

The double-bladed S-shaped weapon was an Aegis special, the first weapon she'd been trained on, and she wanted it at hand if there was trouble.

Because she suddenly had a hinky feeling, and she sensed that behind the door was more than just a woman wanting to transfer from the City of Roses to the Big Apple.

She opened the door, and her hand flew to the stang at the sight of a black-haired woman Tay assumed was Andrea...and a blond male who Tayla had no doubt was a vampire.

Neither Andrea nor the vamp missed Tay's hand action, and though they stiffened, they didn't make any aggressive or defensive moves.

Wise, since Tayla also had a wooden stake at her ankle, and the ability to turn into an unstoppable monster if the situation called for it.

Which she hoped didn't happen.

Shifting into her Soulshredder form, with her veiny black wings and six-inch claws, stung like hell and made her cranky for hours afterward.

"I'm Andrea."

The female, dressed in jeans and a bulky sweatshirt that no doubt concealed a buttload of weapons, took the vamp's hand, and he tugged her protectively against him.

"And this is Kaden."

Suddenly, Tayla got what was going on.

A slayer had fallen for a vampire.

How very Buffy.

As if Tayla had room to talk, given that she'd slept with Eidolon before she'd learned that she was also a demon.

"So," Tayla said, "I'm guessing that you know about me and my situation, and you're hoping that by coming to me, you'll find a cell sympathetic to your situation."

"It's a little more complicated than that," Kaden said, his voice as dark as his leather pants and jacket.

Still wary, Tayla gestured for the couple to enter, and then she followed them to Eidolon's study, where they took seats on the leather couch.

Kaden sat stiffly, his body language making clear that he was ready to throw down if Tayla made a move against Andrea.

Having an overprotective mate herself, Tayla understood his precaution.

Having dealt with prejudice inside The Aegis on a daily basis, she also got his paranoia, so she'd give him a break.

She wasn't however, stupid, and she took a casual stance near the door.

"Okay," she began.

"So how is your situation more complicated?"

"I'd like to know the answer to that, as well." Eidolon's deep voice made Tayla jump, and she whirled around to see him moving toward her in that smooth, confident gait that always made her hot.

"What, you think I didn't know you were hiding something from me?

We're bonded, remember?"

She sighed.

Yeah, they were bonded.

Linked by a blood ritual and the matching glyphs on their arms.

They could sense each others' emotions and needs...especially the sexual needs, given that he was an incubus.

"Look," Kaden said, coming to his feet.

"We didn't mean to cause trouble.

But we couldn't go to Tayla's Aegis headquarters because I can't enter, and even if I could, I'd be slaughtered before I made it past the threshold."

Tayla folded her arms over her chest.

"So explain what you two need."

"Kaden's not just a vampire," Andrea said, coming to stand beside said vamp.

"He's a Guardian."


Okay, Tayla hadn't expected that.

"You were turned while you were an active Aegi?"

"My little accident happened while on the job, in fact," he said wryly.

"Crazily, The Aegis has no workman's comp program for people who get turned into vampires during work hours."

So the guy had a sense of humor.

Tayla had to offer up thanks for that.

There was nothing worse than a broody freaking vampire.

"How long ago?"

"A couple of weeks," Kaden said.

"I'm a newbie vamp."

Cocking her head, Tayla studied the couple.

"I'm guessing you were together before this happened?"

At their mutual nods, Tayla whistled, long and low.

It couldn't have been an easy thing for them to go through, but they seemed solid and happy.

Andrea ran her hand up and down his back in an affectionate gesture.

"He's been working undercover with vampires to feed us information.

Thanks to him, our cell wiped out a really nasty nest, but now that they're gone..."

"Your cell isn't playing nice," Tay finished.


"I get that," Tayla sighed.

"So what is it you want?

What makes you think my cell is any different from the Portland one."

"We heard..."

Andrea cleared her throat.

"We heard that you are, ah..."

Tayla didn't put the poor girl through more discomfort.

"You heard I'm half demon.

And that I'm mated to one."

"Yes," Kaden said gruffly, shooting Eidolon a wary glance.

"Well, you're right," Tayla said.

"I didn't know about my demon half until I met Eidolon."

She smiled at him, and he returned it.

He was just so cute.

"He's a Seminus demon, a rare species of incubus.

He runs Underworld General Hospital, which you might have heard of."

Kaden nodded.

"The rumor has filtered down through The Aegis, but it's definitely known among underworld beings."

"Okay," Tayla said.

"Here's the thing.

You're Guardians, which means you think all underworld creatures are evil.

Except now that Kaden is a vampire, you have doubts.

I'm here to tell you that underworlders run the gamut from good to evil the same as humans do.

I've got my Aegis cell working with some, because demons can provide awesome intel.

If you join up with us, you'll catch shit, because Guardians don't change their minds easily.

And it also means that you have to have respect for the demons I call friend and family.


Andrea and Kaden exchanged glances and then inclined their heads.

"Good," Tay said brightly.

"Now, want a beer?"

Chapter Nine

Turned out that being a vampire Guardian instead of merely an outside "informant" as Kaden had been in Portland was pretty cool.

He hadn't exactly been welcomed with open arms into the New York City cell, more like with wary looks and a few snide remarks, but once he started working and got into places human Guardians couldn't, he earned a lot of respect in very little time.

And when he got his arm nearly hacked off by an orc-like demon twice his size, Eidolon treated him at Underworld General as if he were part of the family.

Three months after moving to the New York City Aegis cell, he and Andrea married beneath the full moon on the lawn at headquarters, with all their cellmates attending.

Now he and Andrea were spending their first night in their new home, a house they'd bought in the country near the cell's headquarters and had altered to seal out light during the day and to provide an escape tunnel from the basement.

Yeah, Kaden was a little paranoid, but more than one Aegi had been targeted by demons and dragged out of their homes, and Kaden wasn't going to let Andrea become one of those.


Her hand came down on his bare chest as she climbed into bed, where he'd been waiting for her for what seemed like an hour, but was really only about five minutes while she'd washed her face.

"You seem distracted."


He reached for her, snared her around the waist, and dragged her on top of him so she straddled his waist.

His c*ck was already hard, and she was wet, and now they were in perfect position to do what he'd been wanting to do since he'd awakened from his day-sleep.

"Just thinking about how lucky we are."

She rotated her hips, rubbing her slick sex over his shaft as she playfully trailed a finger down his torso.


"Yeah," he said, his voice lower and rougher than it had been a moment before.

A teasing smile lifted one corner of her mouth as she dragged her finger back up his chest, over his neck, and to his mouth.

"Are you hungry?"

Her sultry voice kicked his pulse up a notch.

Yes, vampires still had pulses...according to Eidolon, their stomachs took over the work of their hearts, moving blood through their system.


He only fed from Andrea every three days or so, supplementing between feedings with pig or cow blood from the butcher.

Well, there had been a few humans now and then, scumbags who had been dumb enough to try to rob him on the streets while he'd been hunting demons.

And he'd eaten a shapeshifter or two that had tried to kill him.

Her finger penetrated his lips and began to stroke one of his fangs, which lengthened in response.

He freaking loved it when she did that.

His canines had become erogenous zones, and last week they'd discovered that he could come if she played with them for long enough.

They'd also discovered that as a vampire, he could have multiple orgasms and maintain an erection for as long as Andrea could stand it.

And his wife had a lot of stamina.

So. Damned. Lucky.

"And where," she purred, "would you like to feed from tonight?"

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