Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
All your questions will be answered shortly. Thanks, Meridian for sharing your editing skills. This chapter is so very NSFW!
Sookie held her hand to her mouth, her lips hot against her fingers. He kissed me. I kissed him! What the fuck was I thinking? Now what am I supposed to do? I practically just admitted that I’m falling in love with him! Her shoulder grazed against someone’s arm as she pushed through the crowd. “Sorry,” she mumbled.
“Sookie?” Eric’s voice called out, her name rattling around her foggy brain.
She couldn’t go back to him … it wasn’t safe. Things never ended well when she got attached to someone. She shook her head and kept moving. Where am I going? She blinked. Away. Away from him and whatever these feelings are. I’m getting too close to him. This is supposed to be fun. Casual. This isn’t what I signed up for.
“Sookie,” he called out, closer, more insistent, his voice higher and tighter than before, and then he touched her shoulder.
“Eric, I—” She stopped abruptly when she faced not Eric but Becky, the Arkansas vamp who had been missing since the night Jennifer attacked the queen.
“This is for Peter!” she snarled before opening her mouth wide and lunging for Sookie’s neck.
Sookie screamed and pain shot through her. First, in the crook of her neck where Peter’s minion had latched on, and then the back of her head, which connected squarely with the smooth, polished floor. Reality came rushing back to her as adrenaline pumped through her body. She tried to cry out again, but nothing happened. Between the baby vamp crushing her windpipe and the brutal contact with the floor, she couldn’t make a sound. More importantly, she couldn’t breathe. She blinked and bright stars pricked her eyelids. She forced them open and saw a commotion around her. Nothing made sense. People were moving away from her. Why isn’t anyone helping me? I’m going to die.
She struggled to keep her eyes open and then a cool breeze fluttered the stray hairs around her face. She smiled, imagining an angel floating down from heaven to save her. With all her might, she focused her eyes on the angel.
No. Not an angel. Eric.
Consciousness slipped away from her.
* * * *
She heard her name, but her eyes wouldn’t open. She took a deep breath and the world came crashing in around her. Murmurs surrounded her and someone touched her face and neck. A strange buzzing sound filled her head accompanying every sound, every word. The ground under her was lumpy and cool and oddly comforting.
“Sookie, come back.”
She frowned. Come back from where? Did I go somewhere? With every bit of strength she could muster, she forced her eyes open.
Eric hovered over her, concern creasing his beautiful forehead. He cradled her in his lap. Blood coated his mouth.
“You’re bleeding,” she whispered.
His shoulders relaxed. “No, you were.”
She put her hand up to the wound on her neck, finding smooth, clean skin. She frowned. “She attacked me. She really was a bitch,” she added, remembering some conversation she had overheard. No not a conversation, something else I can’t put my finger on. Why won’t my brain work?
“I had to heal and clean you. You smell delicious and you’re in a room full of vampires,” he whispered, shielding their conversation with a curtain of blond hair.
“Where is she?” Sookie asked in a dreamy voice.
Eric shifted his arm under her neck, helping her sit up. Rasul stood near Sookie’s feet with Eric’s ceremonial knife in his hand, which, like everything else – including her dress – was covered in gooey blood.
She frowned. My new dress! Those vampire remains will never come out!
“Gone,” Eric answered.
“Are you okay?” Rasul asked, squatting in front of Sookie’s face. He frowned. “I should’ve been watching you. I should’ve been closer.”
“We both let her out of our sights,” Eric said, his grip tightening around her.
“It was my job,” Rasul said.
“And I swore to protect her,” Eric countered.
“Shut up! You both saved me.” She sighed and let her head fall back, suddenly exhausted. Her blood pounded an angry rhythm against her skull.
“The queen is summoning us,” Rasul said, standing and looking across the room.
Without any apparent effort, Eric stood with Sookie in his arms as if she didn’t weigh anything. They followed the queen’s party out of the Ballroom, and rode in the elevator to the queen’s suite. Sookie slipped in and out of a light, restless sleep during the journey, but when Rasul started talking, it forced her awake.
“I’m so sorry, my queen, that I failed at the task you assigned me,” he said, bending on one knee at her feet.
Eric’s words came quickly after his, as if they were a continuation of the same sentence, “I am to blame.”
The queen shook her head. “I don’t blame either of you. I have already filed a full complaint with the hotel’s security team. Where did she get a badge? They should’ve all been kicked out!” She scoffed. “It’s a wonder there haven’t been other incidences. If not for you, that Arkansas whore would’ve killed Sookie.” She looked from Rasul to Eric.
“Told you so,” Sookie added feebly before giving in to the heaviness of her eyelids. “My head hurts.”
“She needs blood,” Sophie-Anne said.
Andre offered, “She may have mine.”
Eric’s fingers dug into her shoulder and thigh as he held her possessively.
“For that matter, I could heal her,” the queen said.
“Any of us could,” Rasul said.
Hadley piped up with, “I’m her family. She should have mine!”
“I can hear you,” Sookie said, prying her eyelids open. Eric hadn’t offered, but she felt safe with him. It was more than that, if she were being honest, but honesty hurt her brain a little too much at that moment. “If I need to have vampire blood, I choose Eric.”
He let out a quick breath, as if he were surprised.
“Of course you do,” Rasul muttered.
“Eric, are you willing?” Sophie-Anne asked.
“Yes,” he replied.
“Please attend to her needs.” The queen looked right into Sookie’s face, smiling gently. “I’m glad you’re safe.”
Sookie returned the smile. “Me too.” Her eyes closed again and the next time she opened them, the noisy room had been replaced with a much more peaceful one … Eric’s to be exact.
“Can you stand?” Eric asked, sitting her on the edge of the bathroom counter.
“I don’t know.”
“There’s blood in your hair.”
“And all over my dress,” she added with a pout.
He opened the shower door and turned the water on. “I’m going to undress you and help you bathe.”
Lacking the energy to come up with a snappy comeback, she slumped against his arms and sighed when he unzipped her dress and tugged it off her body. Her bra and panties followed, joining the pile of clothing on the floor, and then her shoes clacked against the tile.
He hissed as he touched the back of her head. “You’re still bleeding.” Without further ado, he brought his finger to his mouth and then touched the sore spot. Within seconds, the throbbing subsided.
“That feels better,” she said.
While holding her with one hand, he undressed quickly and hoisted her back into his arms. “Is the water temperature okay?”
She reached out to touch the spray of warm water and nodded. She wrapped her weak arms around his neck and closed her eyes, letting the shower soothe and relax her. Eric shifted her until her entire body was rinsed clean. She struggled even more to remain awake, and was vaguely aware of Eric carrying her out of the bathroom.
He put her down and wrapped her in a fluffy white towel like a protective cocoon.
She opened her eyes and smiled. “We finally made it to a bed. I’m so sleepy.”
“I think you have a concussion. You need blood. Now.” He brought his wrist to his mouth and waited.
“Will I be able to feel you?” she asked. Hearing about a blood exchange and actually participating in one were two different things.
“It takes three exchanges to connect, right?” She struggled to keep her words coherent.
He nodded. “Bonding happens after the third exchange.”
“Bond. I knew I got that word wrong.” Her eyes closed and sleep pulled at her.
“Sookie, stay awake and drink.” He opened his mouth and bit into his flesh, thrusting the bleeding wound toward her.
She licked at his wrist tentatively, and then swallowed, making most of the pain evaporate. She opened her eyes easily, held onto his arm, and latched her mouth over the wound, drawing deeply and swallowing, again and again. The aches and the strange buzzing sound that had filled her head all went away and were replaced with something far better.
When she focused on his face, she found pure bliss contorting his features. Her eyes trailed along his neck and chest, following the blond trail of hair down. He hadn’t wrapped himself in a towel. With more strength than she normally possessed, she pushed herself up, leaving her cocoon behind. Her mouth moved against his wrist, sucking and swallowing as much as she could before he healed. She grunted in frustration when his skin smoothed against her tongue. She bit him playfully.
His eyes snapped open and he smiled. “Feeling better?”
“Yes.” Heat crept up to her cheeks when she glanced at his cock, ready and waiting for her. His blood infused her with desire and something warm and cozy.
“You missed a little,” he said, wiping her bottom lip with his thumb and then sucking it clean.
“Thank you for saving me,” she whispered as she inched closer to him.
“She hurt you. I should’ve—”
“It’s not your fault, I… I…” She didn’t want to explain her weird hang-ups about dating and kissing and commitment, which didn’t seem to be all that important anymore. All she wanted was to kiss him again. So she did.
He moaned into her mouth and pulled her onto his lap. His lips moved slowly, deliberately and then his tongue pushed past hers. She wrapped her arms around his neck and breathed in the scent of him: his skin, his hair, and his mouth. Her nipples scraped against his chest, making her shudder.
He lifted his hips slightly, his cock rubbing against her sex. Another shiver of pleasure worked its way through her and the anticipation of what was about to happen made her head spin … but he waited.
Unlike the frantic moments they’d spent fucking over the last few nights, Eric paced himself, rubbing, kissing, and holding her. Coupled with the intoxicating effects of his blood, she held onto sanity by a fine thread. He manipulated his dick, pushing just inside her before pulling out and rubbing against her clit. She gasped for air and rested her forehead against his. The next time he did it, she watched; his velvety head disappearing inside her flushed pussy. Without warning, he thrust inside her.
A deep, throaty cry escaped her lips. Satisfied for the moment, she captured his mouth and sucked on his soft, cool lips. He pumped into her a few times and then went back to teasing her. She whimpered into his mouth and pushed her tongue against his, hoping he might get the hint and give her what she wanted. What she needed. But it was no use. He was taking his time and she couldn’t do a damn thing about it.
“Eric, please,” she begged.
“Kiss me again,” he said.
The moment she put her mouth on his, he drove into her and grunted.
“Yes,” she hissed.
He spread his hands out across her back and ran his fingers up and down her spine. They moved together for a while, each union bringing her closer to release. When she pressed the tip of her tongue against his fang and pushed it inside his mouth, his hips bucked wildly, sending them both careening into ecstasy. His mouth moved in time with his spasming cock. She pulled her face away to breathe and smiled.
“You taste like me,” he said. “I like it.”
She ran her tongue across his lips, leaving a crimson trail, which he quickly erased. “I can feel the wound healing.” She tried to inspect it, making her eyes cross. “Your blood is powerful.”
Eric smiled and flipped their bodies until she was pinned under him. “It’s happy to be inside you.” He drove into her to emphasize the word.
“Yes,” she said, watching his dick reappear a second later. She dug her fingernails into his magnificent ass and pulled him close, willing him to fill her completely. His hips dug into her thighs each time he slammed into her, and then he started kissing her again. When she came, he swallowed her scream and rolled his pelvis, drawing out the orgasm.
She had just gotten her bearings when he started moving again. Within minutes, she screamed again and arched up into him. He always knew just how to get her off, and that time, he went with her.
He trailed kisses along her jaw and down her throat before lying down next to her, their legs twined.
She panted for breath and smiled at him. “I’m going to miss this.” As much as she didn’t want to think about it, their flight in the afternoon loomed over them.
His face darkened. “Me too.” He pushed a strand of wet hair out of her face. “I don’t want to let you go,” he whispered before kissing her.
“We have tonight,” she murmured against his lips.
“It’s not enough,” he said.
She nibbled on his bottom lip and sighed. It wasn’t enough for her either, but she couldn’t give him more. Their lives were in different places, hours apart. How could she expect him to drop everything to be with her? “Hold me,” she said, nuzzling against his chest.
Eric wrapped his arms around her and then, nothing else mattered.
* * * *
Sookie pried herself away from him an hour before sunrise. “You didn’t pack. We leave today,” she said, frowning at the piles of clothes and shoes strewn about the room.
He shrugged. “Bobby takes care of those things.”
She bundled her ruined gown, put her security lanyard around her neck, and sighed. “May I borrow a shirt? I’ll trade you.”
His eyebrow arched in interest. “For?”
“These,” she said, dangling her panties from her finger. “You can add them to your collection.” He gasped in mock objection but didn’t make a case for his innocence. She pressed her lips together, smothering a smile.
He strolled to his luggage and pulled out a crisp, white dress shirt. “Will this do?”
She shook her head. “I want it to smell like you.”
He smiled and sifted through the laundry until he retrieved the cornflower blue shirt he’d worn the second night they’d spent together.
“This is perfect.” She clasped her bra around her ribs and wiggled her arms into the very long sleeves, buttoning the front. The hem brushed against her thighs. “I believe these are yours,” she said, offering her panties.
He took them and tucked them inside his coffin.
She admired the way his muscles rippled when he walked, and smiled when he came back to her. She put her arms around his neck and kissed him. He cupped her naked ass and groaned. “You should probably put some pants on, we don’t have much time and you need to walk me to my room,” she mumbled against his lips.
He muttered as he pulled away to get dressed.
With her dress over her arm, she walked toward the door, her heels sinking into the dense carpet.
“That’s all you’re wearing?” He looked her up and down and swallowed. “Shoes and my shirt?”
“And a bra,” she added, smiling. “There’s no way in hell your pants would fit me, besides I own dresses shorter than this.” She put her hand on the doorknob and he was next to her a moment later, ready to escort her down the hall.
One more chapter. Are you ready? Read on It Happened In Rhodes: Chapter 10