Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
I’m sorry for making you wait! I started my third book last week and getting the beginning right has been very time consuming. I was also distracted by the exhilarating moments where I read really great reviews of my first book, Orchids for Lila. Visit my other blog to read them. I am so grateful for the loving and supportive community I have found here. I can’t thank you all enough. 🙂 In addition to following my SeptemberRoberts blog, you should also follow me here, so you can be notified when I post spoilers.
Thank you SeriousCrush for your edits, love, and encouragement. Help me wish her a Happy Birthday and show her some of the love she gives me!
Thanks to honulvr for reminding me about a part of the canon, so I would be sure to get the details right. Thanks for all the lovely reviews for the Kilt. I’m glad you are all enjoying it so far. 🙂 Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day.
The Tilted Kilt Chapter 10
The table leg fell to the floor and landed in the bloody pile of clothes as Eric scooped Sookie into his arms. Based on the last time she blacked out, Eric estimated that Sookie would be unconscious for at least an hour. He needed to clean up the mess before she came to. He carried her to the sink, and cleaned her face. The last thing he wanted was for her to ingest some of Long Shadow’s blood. He checked her mouth and was relieved to find it free of any trace of blood. Her clothes, on the other hand, were saturated with blood and he struggled to determine the best thing to do next. If he undressed her without her permission, she might be angry with him, but if he left her in bloody clothes, she might pass out again at the sight. While he debated, he placed her gently on the couch against the far wall and turned his attention to Allison, who was beginning to wake. As he reached down to pick her up, something caught his eye. It was one of Long Shadow’s necklaces. It was a lightening bolt. Eric growled as he picked it up. With the necklace clutched safely in his hand, he picked up Allison and called for Felicia, who came running from the front desk.
Felicia was twisting her dark hair around her finger as she came into the room, and stopped short when she saw the mess on the floor.
“Dismiss the other employees and lock the door behind them.”
“You are not to leave.” Eric’s jaw clenched.
Her eyes widened. “I’m not going anywhere.” True to her word, she reappeared a few minutes later. Before she could speak, Eric thrust Allison into her arms. Allison moaned.
“She needs help. She cannot know what happened.”
Felicia blinked and held Allison close to her body. “Of course. All the workers here have a change of clothing. When she wakes, I’ll send her to the shower downstairs and have her change. Her clothes have obviously been contaminated.” She looked at the bloody lab coat on the floor.
“Aren’t you interested in what happened?” Eric narrowed his eyes.
Felicia wouldn’t look at him.
She frowned and shook her head. “I was never opposed like he was,” she nodded to the pile of goo on the floor. “I’m just a loyal subject.”
Eric opened his hand. “Who is behind this?”
“My Queen, Freyda. Queen of Oklahoma.” Felicia cringed as she forced the words out of her mouth.
He shook his head. Queen Sophie-Anne wouldn’t be happy about that. “I need to take care of Ms. Stackhouse. Get Allison out of here as quickly as possible.”
“Of course.” Felicia nodded and rushed out of the room carrying Allison.
As soon as she was gone, Eric pulled out his phone. “Queen Sohpie-Anne, I’m in Alexandria. We have a problem.”
Eric explained the events of the evening, carefully avoiding mentioning Sookie. The Queen was a ruthless businesswoman and if she discovered Sookie’s talents, she would want her for herself. Eric couldn’t risk losing Sookie. She assured him she would take care of Freyda and gave him orders for how to deal with Felicia. He knew he would need to clean up Long Shadow, so while he waited for Felicia to return, he scraped up as much as he could, filling the garbage in the corner of the room.
Felicia cleared her throat. “Allison has been taken care of. She’s on her way home.” She played with her hands and avoided looking at Eric.
“I need you to finish cleaning up this room.”
Felicia moved to the sink and pulled out a bucket of cleaning supplies.
“Queen Sophie-Anne is allowing you to live, on one condition.” He waited for Felicia to look at him. “You need to deliver this to Queen Freyda. Tell her the fight is over.” He opened his hand and offered the bloody lightening bolt necklace.
“Thank you.” Felicia bowed and took the necklace.
“I will leave you to clean.” With that, Eric cradled Sookie against his body and went downstairs.
He had only been in the basement once before. The first time he toured the lab he was surprised to find a shower and recovery room down there. It was built in as a safety feature, just in case of chemical contamination. Just outside the shower, towels and clean lab coats hung from hooks.
Sookie’s breathing was deep and even as Eric carefully stepped out of his shoes and helped her out of hers. Fully clothed, he stepped into the large tiled shower, still holding her against his chest, and turned the water on.
The warm water washed over his body, rinsing the little blood on his clothes off, but when he turned their bodies, and the water misted her face, Sookie jerked awake.
Her eyes were wide as she looked around the room. When she finally looked up at Eric, she gasped and tried to pull away from him.
“Shh, it’s okay. I’ve got you.”
Sookie shook her head and pushed against his chest.
He gently put her down and put his hands up to prove he wasn’t going to hurt her. She looked down at her clothes and a tiny scream escaped her throat. Eric gripped her shoulders when she wavered and positioned her under the stream of water. He kept a safe distance between them while giving her the support she needed. Eventually, she put her hands out and braced herself against the back wall while the water washed the blood off her clothes. Her body shook and quiet sobs filled the room. Eric moved his hands in tiny circles over her back.
When the water ran clear, Eric turned off the water and wrapped Sookie in a towel. He guided her into the adjoining room and placed a lab coat on the end of the bed. “I’m sorry I don’t have something better for you to change into, but at least this isn’t wet.” He turned to give her some privacy, facing the door.
“Don’t go.” Her voice was tiny and desperate.
The towel hit the floor with a thud and then he could hear her straining to peel her wet shirt off her skin followed by a grunt of frustration.
“My hands are shaking too much. I can’t unbutton these.”
Eric turned around and forced his mouth closed. Sookie had pulled the lab coat on and the top snap was closed. It strained against her breasts, making a gap where her skin could be seen. Her dark pink nipples pressed against the thin white material, and her wet hair clung to her face as she struggled with the button of her jeans. It took two attempts before his mouth worked properly and formed words. “May I help you?”
Sookie furrowed her forehead and thought for a minute. “Sure.”
Eric closed the gap between them and touched her hands. The second he touched her, her pulse quickened and her exposed skin sprouted goose bumps. She pulled her hands away from him while his fingers dipped inside the waistband of her jeans. Her skin was soft and warm and he had to fight everything inside him that was telling him to take her right then and there. The button slid through the hole with little effort, but Eric’s fingers lingered. Slowly, he pushed the zipper down exposing the top of her lacy pink panties. Eric moaned and squeezed his eyes shut.
“Thank you.” Sookie’s hands were on top of his. “Thank you for saving me. Again.” She finally looked him in the eyes.
“I’m so sorry you had to see that, and I’m sorry I put you in danger.”
Sookie touched her neck. “Why do they always have to choke me?”
Eric growled when he noticed the ugly bruises starting to appear on her neck.
Sookie shivered. “I need to get these off. Do you mind…?”
He turned around again, and while he was facing the door, he peeled his own wet shirt off.
“Okay, I’m done.” Sookie had come around him, with a pile of wet clothes in her hands. Her eyes were glued to his chest.
A smiled played in the corner of his mouth as he began removing his jeans.
Sookie swallowed hard and then shook her head. “Sorry, I’ll give you some privacy.”
Eric joined her seconds later with a towel wrapped around his waist. “Give me your clothes. I will have them cleaned. I think it’s time to get you home.”
“Thank you,” she whispered.
The break room was spotless. The only evidence of the disturbance was the missing broken table. Felicia had already left and the building was eerily quiet. She had left her keys on her desk by the entrance.
Eric stuffed their wet clothes in the trunk of his car and opened Sookie’s door for her. The two-hour ride back to her house was quiet, as Sookie spent most of the drive looking out her window.
Once he stopped his car outside her house, he turned to face her. “This is for you.” He handed her an envelope of money. “Although, in light of what happened tonight, I’m not sure it’s enough.”
Sookie thumbed through the stack of bills, her mouth hanging open. “Eric, we never discussed this much money.”
“I said you would be compensated, and I am a man of my word. Don’t argue. You earned it.” He tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear so he could see her face better. “Without your help tonight, who knows how many lives would’ve been lost. I was asked specifically to protect the humans working there if possible. Thanks to you, I was able to accomplish that.”
“But I… Thank you.” Her eyes fell to the envelope again.
“I know it’s a lot to ask, but there will be occasions where I need you like I needed you tonight. Would you be willing to work with me again?”
Sookie took a deep breath. After what seemed like an hour, she answered him. “Yes. You can count on me.” She let out a dry laugh. “I don’t know how helpful I am when I pass out constantly.”
“It must be frightening from your perspective.”
Sookie nodded. “It is, and passing out was a defense mechanism I had to rely on when I was a kid, so I guess I’m not that surprised. It’s just embarrassing.”
Eric smiled. “If it makes you feel any better, I’ll always be there to catch you.”
Sookie laughed and then pain registered on her face for a moment. “Just try not to explode any more vampires on me.” She shuddered. “That was a lot of blood.”
“How’s your neck?” Eric brushed against the purple skin hidden by her hair.
Sookie winced when he touched her. “It hurts still. Sorry. It’s starting to hurt when I swallow and talk too. I don’t know how I’m going to explain this to Gran.”
“May I heal you?”
“My blood. If you ingest it, it will heal your neck.”
“You want me to drink your blood?”
“It only takes a little.”
Sookie held the sides of her neck while she swallowed, and grimaced. “It will heal me?”
Eric nodded and held his wrist near his mouth, waiting for her to make a decision. Once she nodded, he pierced his skin and offered it to her. “Drink quickly before the wound heals.”
Sookie was hesitant at first. Her tongue barely touched him, and then she moaned and clamped her mouth over his wrist. When she pulled away from him, her eyes danced and she was smiling. “That feels amazing. I feel so alive! And my throat doesn’t hurt at all. Is it bruised still?” She pulled her hair away from her neck and turned so he could inspect it.
“No. It’s not bruised.” Eric struggled to speak. He could see the pulse in her neck and longed to sink his fangs into her warm soft flesh. He cleared his throat. “You should probably get some rest.”
Sookie was staring at his mouth. “I don’t want to rest. I feel like going for a run or something. But more than anything, I want to kiss you, even if you are all fangy.”
Eric had no intention of resisting her, and he wasn’t sure he could’ve stopped her if he had wanted to. Sookie attacked his mouth, twisting in her seat. The only thing keeping her from climbing in his lap was the taut material of the lab coat, which was straining the snaps across her upper thigh as she contorted in her seat to get closer to him. Eric’s hands roved over her hip, pulling her toward him. The scent of her arousal filled the car. She scraped her tongue against his fang and he moaned as her intoxicating blood bloomed in his mouth. His body shook as euphoria washed over him.
Moments later Sookie’s tongue healed. When she pulled away from him, her pupils were dilated and her mouth was smudged with blood. Eric had never seen anything so sexy in all his life.
Her blood pinged through his body, stirring his hunger and rousing his desire all over again. “I think you should go inside.” His throat was tight and he had to force the words out. He was beginning to question his ability to restrain himself.
“But I want more.” Sookie touched his bare chest, leaving a burning handprint on his cool skin.
He was growling now. Control was slipping through his fingers. He had to move quickly before he lost it all together.
Once he opened his door, he took a deep breath and his head cleared a little. The scent of her blood and sex clung to his skin, but he wasn’t overwhelmed by it. He walked around to the passenger side, attempting to hide his straining erection in the folds of the towel still wrapped around his waist.
As Sookie stepped out of the car, the bottom snap finally gave, exposing the inside of her thigh. Eric groaned and looked away. He could feel his resistance fading again. He pretended like he didn’t notice when she rubbed her breasts against his arm. His rational brain was in the process of shutting down with each step toward her house.
“I think you should come inside with me.” Sookie batted her eyelashes and tugged on his hand.
“I don’t think you know what you’re asking. I should’ve mentioned, vampire blood might cause heightened sexual arousal. The effects will wear off eventually, and I have no intention of taking advantage of you.”
Sookie stopped on the step just above him, so her face was level with his. “What if I want you to?” Her words were slurred and her eyes were hooded with lust.
“Goodnight Sookie. Thank you for your help.” Eric’s feet were disobeying his brain, refusing to leave the step. “I need to go before I do something I’ll regret,” he said more to himself than her.
Hurt flashed across her face, settling in her eyes. “Sure, you should go. I mean if you’re not interested.”
“Sookie, you know that’s not…”
“No. I understand.” She straightened her back and climbed another step, putting distance between them. “Goodnight Eric.” She turned and went in the house, never looking back.
Poor Eric! I think he needs a chance to explain himself, don’t you?