Blood Bond


CHAPTER 1





JANUARY

I WISH I HAD A CAMERA. THE EXPRESSION ON DANIEL Frey's handsome face when he opens the door and sees me standing on his porch in the middle of the day in the middle of Monument Valley is priceless. It's a combination of surprise, delight, unease, trepidation and just plain confusion. It hikes his eyebrows, furrows his brow and turns a half frown, half grin into something that resembles a gargoyle's grimace.

"Anna. What are you doing-?"

"Is John-John here?"

"No. He's still at school." A glance at his watch. "He won't be home for another three hours."

I push him into the living room, slam and lock the door and shove him down on the couch.

He grins up at me. "I take it you have a reason for surprising me like this?"

"Can you guess what it is?" My hands are busy unbuckling his belt, pulling at the top button of his jeans.

"You missed me?" It comes out in a hoarse whisper, his fingers tugging my blouse free, slipping it off my shoulders.

In another moment, he's got my jeans unzipped and we're both squirming-frantic to have nothing between us except heat and skin.

And then he's inside me and neither of us speaks again for a long time.

* * *

FREY IS STROKING MY HAIR. I HAVE MY HEAD ON HIS chest, listening to the strong, steady beat of his heart.

I nestle closer. "This is right, isn't it?"

His hand stills. He tilts my chin up so that our eyes meet. "For me, it's been right for a long time. Maybe since the first day I saw you walk into that school auditorium with your mother. I'm just sorry it took so long for me to get the courage to tell you how I felt." He pauses. "And when I finally did, you didn't believe me."

I think back to that conversation-could it really have been only a few weeks ago? I shake my head and smile sadly. "John-John had just lost his mother . Staying with him, being a real father for the first time, starting a new life. That's a lot of emotional upheaval in a very short time. I believed you missed me. I believed you wanted me. But I didn't believe you were ready to love me."

"And," he reminds me, "there was Stephen."

I nod. "Yes. There was Stephen." A human I thought I could build a future with because he knew and accepted my true nature. But he was human, after all, and love was no competition for the lure of a public career that I could never, as vampire, be a part of.

I poke his chest with a finger. "And you were right. A match between a human and a vampire is doomed from the start."

"Oh. So, I'm the consolation prize."

I reach up and kiss him, urgently, passionately. When I pull back, we're both breathless. "Does that feel like a consolation prize?"

He puts his arms around me and pulls me closer. "So, tell me, Anna, what really brought you here today?"

I slide my hand down his abdomen. "You mean besides this?"

He laughs. "Besides that."

"Max."

"Max?" He pulls back so he can see my face. "What does Max have to do with us?"

"He told me you were the one."

His voice softens. "Before he died?"

"No. After."

Frey doesn't laugh or express incredulity. In fact, his expression grows thoughtful. He and I have been through so much together-faced witches and skinwalkers and rogue creatures of every denomination. The idea that I may have been visited by a man who was once a lover, who was killed in front of me while saving the life of a young girl, who proved to be as strong and bravehearted as any human I ever knew, all this he accepts with a nod and a tightening of his arms around my shoulders.

"Then I owe Max a debt of gratitude," he says.

"We both do."






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