Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
NSFW right out of the gate! Brace yourselves. Thank you for the love for my original work being published. I think you guys are great!! You know who else is great? Meridian. Yep. She’s a wonderful editor and stuff. 🙂
Since I didn’t get a spoiler posted for YvonnA today, I thought I’d post at the stroke of midnight (MST) to give you all the chapter a little early. It’s technically Friday, right? I hope you enjoy it!
Eric came hard with the first swallow of Sookie’s transcendent blood. Her screams of yes still filled his ears as her life force circulated through him, warming him from the inside out. He deepened the bite, holding her close as he drank. Her pussy fluttered around his cock, milking another orgasm out of him.
He listened to her breathing and heart slow and reluctantly pulled away from her, licking the puncture wounds before kissing her ruddy skin. “That was…” He admired his mark on her, knowing she wouldn’t let him leave it there.
“Amazing.” Her eyes fluttered opened. “Heal me?”
He punctured his thumb, rubbing it against the bite and then licking it clean. “Yes. Amazing.” He tried to kiss her neck again, but she pulled away. To his great disappointment she stood, leaving him wanting her heat and softness more than ever, despite the pleasure they had just shared.
She laughed. “We made a mess!”
Eric shrugged, trying to mask his frustration. He sat up and stretched his arms out around the side of the tub. “That’s what maids are for.”
“I’ll take care of it.” Sookie pulled a pile of neatly folded towels off the rack and placed them around the edge of the tub. Her legs wobbled every time she moved.
He grinned as he got a view of her swollen sex when she bent over. “We still haven’t made it to a bed,” he stated.
“Beds are overrated.”
“Maybe next time?” he offered.
“Maybe.” Her smile grew and then drooped. “Will I see you tonight after the ceremony? Or are you going to be busy?” She leaned against the edge of the tub, her breasts inches from his face.
He cupped her ass and pulled her closer. “The only thing I’ll be busy doing is fucking you,” he said, suckling on her breasts.
“Mm.” She reached into the water and gripped his cock, tugging on it lightly with each swirl of his tongue.
He groaned against her skin while his fingers probed between her legs, bypassing her slippery lips and finding her clit. He rubbed the engorged flesh slowly at first, watching her face morph as lust consumed her. Her cheeks turned pink and her mouth fell slack. Her breasts heaved and her hand pumped him hard and fast. A soft keening sound spilled out of her throat and her pliable body twitched against him. He would never tire of that noise or the sensation of her body against his. He came again, filling her palm and the water around him.
When her eyes opened, they searched his face. She leaned close enough to kiss him, but straightened her back at the last moment. She smiled and yawned. “I’m tired. Will you walk me to my room? I told Rasul you would keep me safe tonight.”
He frowned, but before he could ask any questions, she went on.
“I think someone from Arkansas is going to come after me. The queen assigned Rasul to watch me at night, and Jake guards me during the day. Sophie-Anne hired Jake from Extremely Elegant Events. I was hesitant to trust him at first, since he works for that douche Quinn, but he’s a nice guy. They’ve been with me since I witnessed the attack.”
“Except when you slipped away and met me in the Ritual Room,” he said, interrupting her with a wiggle of his eyebrows.
“Yes.” She smiled. “That’s why Rasul was with me in the elevator tonight.”
“He wants you,” he stated.
Sookie pushed away from the tub, pulling out of his grasp. She turned her back on him and dried off with a bright white towel, adding it to the ones on the floor at her feet. “He’s jealous of you.”
“He threatened to kill me.”
She turned to face him, one delicate eyebrow arched. “When?”
“Earlier. After your recess.”
She chewed on the edge of her lip for a second. “Do you think he’ll do it?”
“He said he’d kill me if I hurt you.” He drained the tub and stepped onto the pile of towels. “He has feelings for you,” he said, wanting to gauge her reaction.
“I know.” She sighed. “That’s why I don’t date vamps. Why does it always have to be so complicated?” She shook her head and left him standing in the bathroom alone. “Now I’ve put you in harms way and hurt his feelings.”
“I’m older and stronger than Rasul. There’s no way he could defeat me.”
She glared at him as she buttoned her blouse. “That’s the kind of thinking that will get you killed. You’re not untouchable.”
He tried to gather her in his arms, but she kept distance between them. “Please don’t be angry.”
Her glare softened. “I didn’t mean to get you involved in all this. Maybe it’s best if we don’t—”
He touched her lips with his finger to stop her from finishing her thought. “Shh.” He closed his eyes and leaned in to kiss her, but she squirmed out of his grasp and pulled her skirt on.
“It’s been a long night.”
“I’ll walk you to your room.” He dressed quickly. They rode the elevator down to her floor alone, and only a few people lingered on the human floor. Based on the information she had given him, anyone could be working with Arkansas, so he shielded her with his body and ushered her to her room.
“Thank you,” she said, slipping out of her shoes. “Would you like to come in?”
“No. You need to rest, and if I come in, you won’t get any.” He smiled.
She laughed softly. “Probably true.”
“I’ll stand watch until the day guard gets here.”
“Be safe,” she said, resting her head against the doorjamb.
“Always.” He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the wall. “Get some sleep. See you tonight.”
“Until tonight.” She smiled and closed the door.
He stood guard for the remaining hours of night. The were who had been there the previous morning appeared right on time. “You again?”
The were swallowed hard and brought a hand to cover his throat, which had bruises in the shape of Eric’s fingers, while he tucked the other hand in his pocket. He nodded.
“You must be Jake,” Eric said.
“I am.” Jake eyed him warily.
“Keep her out of harm’s way.”
Jake pulled out the stake he’d been reaching for. “I will.” He straightened his back and matched Eric’s glare.
Eric nodded his approval and left.
He and Pam arrived at the same time outside their door. “Are you ready for tonight?” she asked.
“Definitely,” he said, grinning.
She laughed. “I meant the wedding ceremony.”
“Oh, that. Yes.”
And he was.
* * * *
Eric prepared for the ceremony as he had for Mississippi and Indiana. Extremely Elegant Events decorated in Louisiana and Texas’ colors while Bobby put together the remaining sachets so they could be distributed to guests at the door.
Bobby walked over to him with a garment inside a dry cleaning bag. “Your robe, master.”
“Thank you, Bobby.” Eric removed his shirt and exchanged it for the velvet robe.
“I saw her today,” Bobby whispered, as staff members finished decorating the room. “Sookie Stackhouse,” he added.
Eric smiled. “Oh?”
“She and a dark-haired man were having dinner together.”
“Barry Bellhop from Texas?” Eric guessed.
“No. Someone new.”
Eric growled and then remembered Jake. “Werewolf?”
Bobby shrugged. “I didn’t ask. I don’t think she likes me.”
He smiled. “You called her a high-class fangbanger.”
“I thought it. I didn’t say it,” he stammered.
“Same thing to a telepath.” He chuckled. “Anything else to report?”
“Back to work,” he said, sending Bobby scurrying to the next task on his checklist. He checked the clock on the wall. Less than an hour until the ceremony.
* * * *
Eric hid backstage as the crowd of wedding guests filled the room. Muted conversations filled his ears as he strained to listen for her voice. Instead, Quinn stomped onto the stage, silencing the audience.
Quinn looked right at Eric, signaling his cue to come to the podium.
Eric pulled the hood over his face, blocking the light from his eyes so he could look into the sea of faces. He searched quickly, just as he’d done at the first ceremony, and just like that time, he stopped when he found Sookie: a vision in her gossamer blue gown. A smile tugged up the corners of his mouth as he gripped the podium and imagined her hot mouth sucking on him.
Sookie licked her lips and returned the smile, making his knees go weak. Hadley stood next to her and whispered something in her ear, stealing her attention away from Eric. Sookie appeared to be consoling her. He couldn’t help but feel a little jealous when Sookie put her arm around her cousin’s shoulder.
Sophie-Anne and Stan joined Eric on the stage, standing hand-in-hand next to him.
“The ceremony begins,” Quinn announced. “Let all be silent and witness this joining.”
Eric pushed his hood off and began, “We are here to witness the joining of a queen and a king.” He went through the script without much thought, mentioning Sophie-Anne and Stan and the covenant they had agreed to, outlining the details of their marriage. “Stan Davis, King of Texas, do you agree to this covenant?”
“I do,” Stan said, smiling at the petite woman next to him.
“Sophie-Anne Leclerq, Queen of Louisiana, do you agree to this covenant?”
“Yes, I do.” She smiled at her husband-to-be.
Quinn held the goblet under their joined wrists while Eric withdrew the blade hidden in the folds of his robe and sliced one and then the other, their blood flowing freely and mingling in the chalice. Sophie-Anne drank first, and Stan finished it before kissing Sophie-Anne sweetly, nothing like the lust-filled exchange between Mississippi and Indiana. They cleaned the wounds in their own wrists and walked to the table holding their marriage contract, signing it in several places before facing the crowd.
Eric held his hands up and said, “The marriage is sacred for one hundred years!”
Sophie-Anne and Stan held their joined hands up as cheers rose around them.
Eric congratulated the newlyweds and jumped down from the stage, trying to keep an eye on Sookie. Several people stopped him, separating them with even more space. Before he could break free, she was swept out of the Ritual Room with everyone else. He smiled politely at the Queen of Oklahoma and sidestepped her entourage with excuses. He didn’t care about anyone or anything but her.
In the Ballroom, Rasul stood near Sookie on the edge of the dance floor. She turned away from him slightly, her eyes scanning the faces of the crowd. When she saw Eric, her face lit up.
Rasul snarled. “Northman.”
“Good evening, Miss Stackhouse,” Eric said, ignoring him.
“Wonderful ceremony,” she replied.
“Would you like to dance?” He held his arm out to her.
“She is in my care for the evening,” Rasul said, stepping between them. “Queen’s orders.”
“The queen doesn’t have control over who I dance with,” Sookie said, her voice hard.
Rasul’s cheek twitched. “I’m doing my job.”
“You’re being a dick,” Eric corrected. “If you want a fight, I’ll happily give you one.”
Rasul took a step forward, thrusting his chest out. Eric straightened his back, towering over him. They both bared their fangs and growled.
Sookie gripped both of their shoulders and sighed. “For fuck’s sake, Rasul. It’s dancing. Simmer down. Both of you.” She tugged on Eric. “Dance with me before I storm out of here.”
Rasul opened his mouth to protest but she glared at him.
“I don’t want to hear it. You can have your pissing contest some other time.” She yanked on Eric hard enough to separate the men, leading him to the dance floor. Her movements were forceful and heavy and her brow furrowed as she stepped to the rhythm of the music. Rasul sulked against the wall.
“He’s still fuming, you should see his face,” he whispered, suppressing a laugh.
“Oh shut up!” She dropped her hold on him. “What’s wrong with you? Why can’t we just have a good time?” She huffed and gestured down to her dress. “I didn’t get dressed up to watch you and Rasul fight over me! I’m not a piece of property!”
Eric held his hands up defensively. He didn’t want her to leave and would say anything to stop her. “I know. I’m sorry. I was being a smug asshole. Please dance with me?”
She narrowed her eyes until only a sliver of blue remained as she screwed up her mouth.
“Please? I’m sorry,” he repeated. His heart ached at the thought of losing her.
“Okay,” she said, sighing, “but no more gloating.”
He nodded and opened his arms to her. She put one small hand against his palm and placed the other on his shoulder. He wrapped his fingers around hers and held the swell of her hip. The silky sapphire material of her dress radiated the heat of her body. He bent over her head and inhaled the fragrance of her hair. “You look beautiful,” he murmured.
“I was hoping you would like it.”
A smile spread across his face. “You shopped with me in mind?”
“Maybe,” she said, her voice softening. She leaned her head against his chest and her shoulders relaxed slightly.
He trailed his fingers up her spine, caressing her exposed neck. “You need a necklace. Diamonds would be lovely against your golden skin.”
“I didn’t pack jewelry,” she said, “well, except this.” She motioned to her wrist where she’d wrapped her security lanyard and room key. She laughed absently as he caressed the spot where he’d bitten her.
“I can’t stop thinking about this morning.”
She looked up at him through her eyelashes. “Maybe we could have a repeat performance tonight.” Her breathing sped up and a pink flush warmed her cheeks.
He had never wanted anything so badly in all his life. Tonight couldn’t come fast enough. She was opening up to him, slowly but surely, which only made it easier for him to love her. He lifted her chin as he bent to kiss her, and unlike his previous attempts, she didn’t stop him. When their lips met, a pulse of pleasure shot through him. He explored her soft flesh with his tongue, probing inside her hot mouth. She moaned and leaned against him as her tongue swept past his. The world around them dissolved: the music, the crowd, and the voices. He sucked on her bottom lip, scraping it with his fangs.
She gasped and put a hand over her mouth. A frown etched into her forehead. “Excuse me, I need to…” Her words trailed off as she pulled away from him, leaving the dance floor.
“Sookie?” He ran his tongue over his lips. Her sweetness clung to him like dew on blade of grass.
She shook her head and pushed through the crowd, which seemed to swallow her whole.
He stood there for a long minute trying to figure out what happened. Suddenly a scream cut through the room.
Wait! There’s more! It Happened In Rhodes: Chapter 9