Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
This is the second to last chapter. Are you ready? Thanks to GabbieAnnie for the help and love along the way. Thanks also for all the wonderful reviews. I love each and every one. NSFW.
On a side note, I’ve been weeping happy tears this morning over the Supreme Court ruling of marriage equality. I just love when love wins. 🙂
Eric inhaled the moment before their lips met. The sweet summer air still clung to her skin, only adding to his anticipation. And then all thoughts left him. Leaving Sookie. Only Sookie. Her soft lips, her heat, her impatient tongue. Her warm arms wrapping around his neck and her luscious body hovering above his cock.
His hands roved down her spine and then he gripped her ass, kneading her as he deepened the kiss.
She moaned into his mouth and shifted her feet, her sex crushing against him. She removed her mouth, gasped, and arched her back, offering her neck to him.
He rolled his hips, lifting into her, trying to satisfy the ache inside him. He kissed down her delicate jaw, scraping her with his fangs. She responded by writhing on top of him, each movement followed by the most delicious sounds.
Her pulse thundered against his lips, her blood calling to him as he made a path down her throat. He left a hundred kisses along the way. He couldn’t decide what was better, the pleasure coiling inside him or his eagerness to taste her.
He wanted to lick every inch of her body, savor her honeyed skin, but hunger brought his mind to sharp focus. She gyrated slowly at first, but as her grip tightened, her pace became frantic. Her breasts heaved with each shallow breath, and her moans dissolved into a desperate keening sound. He knew she was close. The scent of her arousal accosted him, spurring him on.
He opened his mouth and hesitated. It was only for a moment, but long enough to push away all thoughts about what was allowed and what wasn’t. He decided in that instant he didn’t care what Sophie-Anne had to say about him feeding from Sookie. Sookie offered, and I accepted because I need it. Without another thought, he sank his fangs into her flesh.
She gasped and then her entire body went rigid, her cries turned into a scream of yes. Yes! She cradled his head and held it to her neck, moaning as her legs spasmed next to his. Her hot blood, no longer overpowered by Compton’s, spurted into his mouth, forced out of the wound with each pulse of her orgasm. His entire body hummed and then he growled as his cock swelled under her.
They clung to each other, riding out the waves of pleasure as he lapped at her neck with a languid tongue. Eventually, he removed his fangs and healed her, pulling her body against his as he leaned backward. He ran his hands up and down her spine as she snuggled her face against his shoulder.
He wrapped a strand of her silky hair around his finger and kissed her neck. “Thank you,” he murmured against her skin.
Sookie didn’t respond with words, instead she wiggled closer, and sighed. Within a few minutes, her breathing evened out and slowed down. Her arms relaxed and slid down his body.
He held her while she slept. Never, in all the centuries of his existence, had he enjoyed holding a human so much, and never had he been so satisfied.
When the sun approached, he carried Sookie to her bed and put her down as carefully as possible so as not to rouse her. His arms longed to hold her again. He touched the handcuff dangling near her head, pushing it out of the way. His phone chimed and buzzed in his pocket, but he pressed the button to silence it. She stirred slightly, putting one hand on her breast and the other between her legs. His dick stirred in its sticky cage, but he didn’t have time to linger. He hated the sun and the rules that would keep him from her all day.
He made it to his coffin just in time and filled his mind with Sookie before the day made him still.
* * * *
Her name was still on his lips when Eric woke that evening. He knocked on her door and opened it a few seconds later when she didn’t respond. Her bed was empty. So were the bathroom, kitchen, and front room. Panic gripped him. “Sookie?” he called to the empty house. She said she wasn’t going to leave, I trusted her, and now… “Sookie?” he repeated, louder.
She responded, her voice coming through the broken front window.
He rushed outside and found her on the bench, her feet brushing against the unruly carpet of grass and flowers.
She smiled. “You just missed the most spectacular sunset.” She wore shorts and a sleeveless blouse, which hung open in the center, showing off her ample cleavage.
He chuckled. “I always do. Tell me about it,” he said, sitting next to her.
She held her hand up and made an arc in the sky. “See those clouds? They were all pink. And the sky around them was orangey-yellow.”
He gathered her arm in his hands and inhaled deeply.
“Can you still smell it?”
“Yes.” He kissed her warm skin, tasting the sunshine on his lips.
“Thank you for carrying me to bed last night. I was really wiped out.”
He could feel the heat from her blush. “Thank you for feeding me.”
“You’re welcome. Thank you for making it such a pleasant experience.” She sucked on her lip and then cleared her throat. “When will Octavia get here?”
“I’m not sure.” He hadn’t checked his messages. “Hang on a minute.” He retrieved his phone and sure enough, Sophie-Anne had left a message that morning. He listened to her instructions and then snapped his phone shut. “She should be here any time.”
Sookie sighed and laced her fingers through his. “So much has changed in the last few days. At first, I didn’t want to be here, but now…”
“Now?” He hung onto the silence between them.
“I don’t want to leave,” she said, looking him straight in the eye. “I guess all good things must come to an end.”
He wanted to tell her that it didn’t have to end. That he wanted to be with her. That leaving her would be the hardest thing he would ever have to do. But Octavia chose that moment to interrupt.
Her old beat up van bounced down the long driveway, kicking up a dust storm that swallowed the rear end of the vehicle. It squeaked to a stop beside Eric’s car.
Sookie squeezed his hand and then let it go.
“You would not believe what I had to go through,” Octavia said as she hauled her giant bag out of the front seat of her van. “I got stopped at customs. Twice.” She walked over to them and paused, looking from Eric to Sookie. “Don’t you two look cozy?”
“We were waiting for you,” Sookie said, standing. “Can we get this over with?”
“That’s what I came for,” Octavia replied, motioning toward the house.
Eric followed them inside and stood back while Octavia set up her bottles and vials. Sookie sat at the table, patiently waiting for what came next.
“They managed to confiscate some of my samples, but not this one,” Octavia said as she held up a baggie with a succulent green root in it. “There are ways to hide contraband,” she added.
Sookie grimaced. “So that’s from the sun orchid?”
“It sure is.” Octavia beamed she placed the bag on the table and then pulled out a huge stone mortar and pestle. She added bits and pieces of herbs from her bottles, finally putting a section of orchid root on top. “I need a fresh sample of blood from you. Well, I don’t need it, but it would be better for the spell.”
Sookie shrugged. “I don’t mind.” She held her hand open and accepted Octavia’s knife. Eric leaned toward her and watched the knife slide into the tip of her finger. Sookie winced. “Where do you want it?”
Octavia scooted the stone bowl closer to her. “Right in here. I need six drops.”
Sookie milked the blood out of her finger and counted six drops, absentmindedly offering the wound to Eric. She closed her eyes and relaxed the second his tongue made contact. He sucked for longer than he needed to, but since they both seemed to be enjoying it so much, he didn’t want to stop. Octavia cleared her throat, but said nothing. At that, Eric pulled away and Sookie thanked him, her eyes heavy and her skin flushed. He clenched his jaw and focused on getting his inner beast under control.
Octavia picked up the pestle and began crushing the contents of the mortar. “Of course you’re a sky fairy,” she said pushing hard against the orchid root. “You couldn’t be a water fairy, that would be too easy. You know what that spell would require? Black mangrove.” She shook her head. “I could’ve gotten that by driving south a few hours. But no.”
“I’m sorry,” Sookie whispered.
Octavia continued to macerate the ingredients until it was a pulpy brown mess. “It’s done. Now I need his blood.” She put down the pestle and opened a steel vessel containing a tiny vial.
“Will it work without fresh blood from him?” Sookie asked.
“This is fresh,” Octavia replied.
“Oh.” That time, she didn’t ask about him.
“This is going to hurt. You might want to hold onto something.”
Sookie braced herself in her chair, her hands clamping down on the seat on either side of her legs. She closed her eyes and nodded. “I’m ready.”
Octavia unscrewed the vial and began chanting. “Exsolvo.” One drop fell from the vial.
Sookie leaned back in the chair, the muscles in her arms and neck taut.
“Exsolvo.” Octavia added a second drop and Sookie whimpered. “Exsolvo.” That time, Sookie held her breath and then started panting. “Exsolvo,” Octavia said, watching Sookie’s face carefully. Tears rolled down Sookie’s cheeks, but she didn’t cry out.
Eric slid off his perch and stood behind Sookie’s chair. He put his hands on her shoulders. Her eyes opened for a moment, expressing gratitude before Octavia added another drop of blood. “Exsolvo.” A jolt of energy shot through Sookie’s body, making her muscles twitch and her skin hotter than usual.
“Exsolvo!” Octavia shouted, dropping the last bit of blood into the stone bowl.
A cry escaped Sookie’s lips as a contraction gripped every inch of her body, pulling her hips up and her head back, forming a perfect, painful arch in the unforgiving chair.
He ran his hands down her arms, massaging the tight muscles, cradling her falling hips as the spell released her.
Sookie slumped into the chair and gasped for breath. Her arms shook.
“Almost done,” Octavia said, starting a new chant.
Eric crouched next to the chair and touched Sookie’s forehead, trying to ease the crease of pain out if it. Her eyes squeezed shut and a stream of tears fell.
Octavia let out a long, shaky breath. “I’m done.” She wiped her forehead and leaned heavily on the table. “You should take her somewhere more comfortable,” she said.
Eric nodded and scooped Sookie’s frail body into his arms. He sat on the edge of her bed and rocked her back and forth.
“Thank you,” she whispered.
He tucked her hair behind her ears and smiled. “You’re welcome.”
“Don’t go,” she begged.
“I need to talk to Octavia. Rest. I’ll be back.”
She nodded, her eyes closing each time her head moved. He set her down gently and kissed her forehead before ducking out of her room.
“Is she okay?” Octavia asked. She seemed exhausted too.
“Yes, I think she will be. She’s tired.”
Octavia nodded. “It would’ve been much more difficult if they had been bonded. One exchange was hard enough to get out of her system.”
“By difficult, you mean painful?” he asked, his anger building toward this woman who had hurt his… What is she? My what? She not my captive anymore.
“Yes. Much more painful. Their exchange was recent, which made it deeper. But she’s very strong.” She finally started collecting her things, storing them in her large bag. When she stood, she moved slowly toward the door. “Make sure she has plenty of water and something to eat. She’ll need to sleep. A lot.”
“How long?” he asked.
“A day? Two?” She shrugged. “It depends. Stay with her as much as you can. She’ll need help.”
As soon as Octavia’s van pulled away, Eric opened his phone and dialed the queen. “It’s done,” he said as soon as she answered.
“Excellent. When can you bring her?”
He frowned. He didn’t want to take her anywhere. “In three nights. The spell was painful. Octavia said she would sleep for two days.”
“Thank you for taking care of this. I feel better knowing she’s untouched.”
“Untouched,” he repeated, hating the word as it left his mouth and hung in the air.
“Yes, no longer under a vampire’s influence.”
He blinked. That wasn’t the definition he had expected. A smile spread across his face. “She’s not influenced by anyone.”
“Excellent,” she said again. “I look forward to meeting her in three nights.”
His news, which filled him with happiness, would have to wait to be shared until Sookie felt better. For now, he needed to take care of her and himself. He opened his phone and called Pam.
“Hello Eric,” Pam said. Soft music filtered around her voice.
“Hello, Pam. I need another favor,” he said.
“I need more synthetic blood and strawberries. We’re going to be here a few more days.”
The background noise changed and then a car dinged before coming to life. “I’m on my way.”
* * * *
Eric sat with Sookie, holding her hand and caressing her bare arms. Heat poured out of her, sweat saturated the collar of her blouse. Her breath was shallow and ragged and when she moved, her muscles jerked.
He could feel Pam coming before she knocked on the door. “Thank you for coming so quickly.”
“One of the perks of being the boss, no one argues when I tell them to work for me.” She smiled. “How’s it been going?” She inhaled and narrowed her eyes. “You smell like sex.”
“Not exactly.” He had been painfully aware of the crusty condition of his jeans since he woke, which he hadn’t had time to change out of the previous morning. “I ran out of blood, so Sookie fed me.”
Pam nodded. “I see.” She held up a six-pack of True Blood. “Do you want me to hide these?”
Eric chuckled and then sighed. “No. She’s in no shape to feed me again. If I had known how much the spell was going to take out of her, I would’ve refused.”
She frowned. “Is she okay?”
“She will be. She’s got a fever and is sleeping. I think it worked.”
“Good. The queen has taken Bill. Sabine wasn’t happy about it.”
“Where is he?” he asked.
“I didn’t ask. I don’t care. I’ve never liked him.”
“After what he’s put Sookie through, he better hope he never sees me, or I’ll end his sorry life.”
Pam arched her eyebrow and smiled. “Getting attached, are we?”
“Something like that,” he replied. Sookie murmured from her room. “I need to be with her.”
Pam’s smile grew. “I’ll leave you two alone.”
“Thank you again, for everything.”
Pam hugged him before leaving.
When he returned to Sookie’s bed, she pulled at the collar of her shirt. “It’s too tight,” she said. “I need my pajamas.”
Eric retrieved them from the side table and put them on the bed next to her.
“Help me, please,” she whispered, her fingers fumbling against the tiny buttons holding her blouse closed.
“Yes,” he replied, putting his hands on top of hers. Despite the fact that he had seen her undress already, his hands trembled as he worked his way down her shirt. She sighed when it fell open. Her chest and stomach matched her face: feverish red.
“Will you help me sit up?”
He cupped the back of her neck and pulled her upright, the shirt remained on the bed. He put her pajama top over her head, but she stopped him.
“I need to take off my bra,” she said, embarrassment turning her an even deeper shade of red.
“I won’t look,” he promised, turning his face away from her and reaching blindly to unhook her bra. He fought to keep his word while she struggled to get her clothes in place.
She sighed and closed her eyes, exhausted from the ordeal of changing. He helped her ease back onto the bed, giving her a minute to catch her breath.
“Now the shorts,” she said. “I can’t…”
“It’s okay. I’ve got you.” He steadied his hands as he unzipped her shorts and tugged them off her body. Heat splotches covered most of her legs, which he covered as he pulled her pajama pants on. “Are you thirsty?”
Eric rocketed into the kitchen and filled a glass, returning so fast that it sloshed over the side and onto his hand. He helped her sit up to drink.
“Thank you. Can you get a wet washcloth for my forehead? My gran always does that when I get sick. It feels nice.”
He laid her back down and complied with her request, bending over her to dab at her heated skin. She pulled his hand to her cheek and sighed.
“You’re better than a washcloth. Hold me?”
He removed his shirt and stretched out next to her. He tucked an arm under her and pulled her onto his chest. She spread her hands out across his ribs, and draped a leg across his. She sighed and went to sleep.
He spent the next few hours attending to her needs and holding her. She tossed and turned and murmured in her sleep, but didn’t wake again until dawn approached.
“Good morning,” he said, smiling down at her.
“Hi,” she replied, closing her eyes again.
“I think your fever finally broke.”
She nodded, rubbing her cheek against his chest. “I’m hungry.”
“Pam brought more strawberries, would you like me to get them for you?”
“Yes please,” she yawned, distorting her words.
He had to lift her off him and onto the bed, her familiar heat dissipating quickly from his skin. He filled up her water cup and brought a bowl of strawberries. With his help, she sat up to drink, but ate lying down. Even though the fever had gone, her strength hadn’t returned. He helped her into the bathroom and waited right outside the door for her call so he could carry her back to bed.
She yawned again and closed her eyes. “I don’t know why I’m so tired. I’ve been sleeping so long.”
“Sleep as much as you need.” He wanted to crawl into bed with her again, but he knew he couldn’t. The sky began to lighten. “I need to sleep too. I’ll see you tonight, okay?”
She nodded slightly, her breathing already starting to slow.
He kissed her forehead and left her for the day.
* * * *
When Eric woke that night, Sookie was still in her bed, in the same position he’d left her in hours before. He slipped into the shower, cleaned up, and got changed. She still hadn’t moved.
While he waited for her to wake, he sipped a bottle of blood and stretched out in the chair in her room. The same one he’d sat in the night they met. Waiting for the same thing, but this time, he knew what to expect.
He smiled when she stirred.
“Hi again,” she said in her sleepy voice. She stretched and her shirt rose, revealing the dip of her hips. She rubbed her head and made a face. “My hair is gross.” She sat up carefully, holding her hand up to decline Eric’s help. “My clothes are stuck to my skin and my hair is matted. I’ve never had a fever like that before.”
“You were hot. I was worried,” he said.
“Thank you for taking care of me.” She smacked her lips. “I need to shower and brush my teeth.”
He got to his feet and stood in front of her, offering a hand to pull her to her feet, but she shook her head.
“I can do it. I’m strong enough now.” She smiled. “Be right back.”
“You barely ate yesterday, you must be starving.”
She nodded. “I’ll make something when I’m done. Could you get some stuff out for me?”
He agreed and listened to the list of ingredients she would need, and set to work while she showered and dressed. He had almost finished finding everything when she strolled into the kitchen. Her black, high-heeled shoes clacked on the worn floor, announcing her arrival.
She spun once, the skirt of her sundress lifting. She had twisted her hair into a bun on the top of her head, and the stray pieces that had escaped floated around her face and the back of her neck. “What do you think? The shoes are a bit much, but I think Pam would want me to wear them.”
The dress clung to her breasts and waist and then flared at her hips, giving way to a full skirt. His mouth went dry and his brain failed to engage.
She walked toward him and spun again, her skirt brushing against his jeans. “Well?”
“You’re stunning,” he said, and then she kissed him.
I wonder what will happen next…find out now in Detox: Chapter 10