Enjoy the extended epilogue to Beloved of the Vampire…
Ben crouched in the shadows under the trees. The velvety darkness cloaked him from view; only the slight shine of his eyes betrayed his position, but the HUNT guards he was watching were too far away to notice that. Unlike the tree-lined darkness of the hill he was watching from, Brightbrook was bathed in light. The entire facility lit up in the harsh glare of newly installed spotlights. After Lily’s narrow escape, Cleaver was clearly taking no chances. He’d installed the lights first, then a shiny new ten-foot-tall electric fence.
Neither would stop the Shadow vampires when they came for him. But the magical defenses? They were another matter. They would take time to destroy. Time and skills that Ben didn’t have. None of the vampires knew anything about magic. Well, that wasn’t quite true. Ben turned his head a fraction, his sharp sight picking up the barely-there shape of another vampire hidden between the trees. Markus. The first vampire to be mated to a witch.
Ben bared his teeth in a silent grin, and transferred his gaze back to the complex. Cleaver thought he had the upper hand. He thought his magical defenses would protect him. Oh boy, was he wrong.
Silently, Ben crept through the darkness toward Markus. The vampire had barely left his watch post for the past three nights. He’d only disappeared back into the trees when the hunters made their patrols beyond Brightbrook’s perimeter. They didn’t try that anymore. Not after the first time, when Markus had torn into them, full of rage at his brother’s capture. Ten hunters had entered the woods. None had escaped.
A twig snapped behind them, and Ben saw Markus’ shoulders relax the smallest amount. Ben turned to see Sadie picking her way carefully between the trees, as silent as a human could be, perhaps more. After all, Sadie wasn’t just human. She was a witch. And Markus’ soulmate.
Ben nodded to her as she passed him, watched her approach Markus and rest her hand on his shoulder. Markus turned towards her like a flower unfolding before the sun. The expression in his eyes, so nakedly full of love, Ben had to turn away from the strength of it. It felt intimate. Private.
He would leave them to their silent vigil. Perhaps Sadie could persuade Markus to take a break. She was his soulmate. The only one who could get through to him.
It was time for Ben to return to his own soulmate. Silently, moving with supernatural speed, he disappeared into the trees, following the thread of gold that connected him to Lily.
Their presence in Harding, the town nearest to Brightbrook, was a secret. They were just a bunch of normal humans who were renovating this old house. No one knew they were vampires and no one ever would.
Ben glanced through the window as he approached the building from the overgrown backyard. Inside, Lily was sitting curled up on the couch, a laptop balanced on her knees. His heart gave a heavy thump, and his gaze sharpened. Lily’s lips quirked. “I know you’re out there,” she whispered, and his vampire hearing picked up the words as clearly as if she were right beside him. “Creeper.”
Ben snorted in amusement, letting himself in through the back door. The house was warm and bright, welcoming. The safe aura of home enveloped him. Perhaps it was having three soulmate pairs living here. Eden and Talon upstairs, doing something he instantly pulled his hearing away from. No need to invade their privacy. Markus and Sadie out on the hill. And right here. His own soulmate. The person he never thought existed. The love of his life.
“You’re being mushy, aren’t you? I can feel it through the bond,” Lily said, tilting her head up to look at him.
“I’m never mushy,” Ben growled, sinking onto the couch and tugging her up against him.
“Hey, careful!” The laptop toppled, almost fell, then Lily, lithe as a cat, twisted around supernaturally fast and grabbed it an inch from the ground. She glared at him. “If I were a human, that would have smashed,” she said, folding it and sliding it onto the crate they were using as a coffee table.
“If you were a human, I couldn’t do this,” Ben said, flipping them both round with vampire speed, trusting Lily to wrap her arms around him with her own vampire speed, until she was tucked underneath him, her body warm and perfectly fitted to his own. “You drank recently,” he purred.
“Mmm, you haven’t, ” Lily said, her eyes going half lidded as he pressed his weight against her. “You’re cold.”
“I know a way to warm up,” he said, brushing a kiss against her lips.
“I was working…” she protested halfheartedly, her hands already exploring his chest, slipping under the hem of his shirt. Her touch ignited the banked flames of desire inside him. Stoked them hotter with every touch. Every time he was amazed at the way his body responded; the way she could make him tremble just with a look.
“Fuck work,” he growled, burying his head in her neck, mouthing kisses along her throat and jaw. “Fuck me instead,” he said, bringing his hand to her cheek. He stared into her eyes for a moment, then tilted her head back for a deep, hungry kiss.
Lily trembled under Ben’s touch. Her body responded without thought. Like it was made for this. Like she was made for him, and he for her. When Ben was in the room, he was like a magnet to her metal. She couldn’t look at anything else, couldn’t focus on anyone else. All she wanted was him.
Touching her, caressing her. Just like he was now. His hands curved around her hips. He pulled her against him and she felt the thick length of his erection hard against her core.
Her desire for him, always a low, distracting fire, flared white-hot. She needed him like her human self had needed to breathe. Her entire body was alight with it. Arousal sluiced white-hot between her legs, curling down her thighs and up her chest. Her breasts felt full and heavy, her nipples hard. She was already wet. Already desperate. How could one look, one kiss, do this to her?
She pulled together the last shreds of her control. “Not here. Anyone could come in.” Not that there was any real privacy in a house full of vampires. But she was learning to focus her enhanced senses away from the couples when they got hot and heavy, and the other vampires had more practice at it than her.
“Upstairs,” she whispered into Ben’s ear, licking the curve and biting softly at his earlobe just because she could. She buried her nose in his thick black hair and inhaled that sharp, delicious scent. The scent of her soulmate. The thought sent a hot shiver of lust down her spine. Her soulmate. He was hers, all hers. And God, did she want him.
“Hold me,” Ben said, and she gripped his body tight, her legs locking around his waist as he lifted her up and with supernatural speed, carried her through the house to their bedroom. The door slammed behind them and a second later they thumped down onto the bed.
Ben pressed a hot, open-mouthed kiss against her jaw. Tracing his lips up to her mouth. The kiss turned harder, demanding. She let him in, glorying in the feelings he brought out of her. His hands on her body, playing her like a musician with his beloved instrument.
His broad hands smoothed up the sides of her ribcage. He gave her nipple a flick with his thumb, sending a sharp bolt of sensation all the way through her chest. Lily gasped, arched involuntarily. Ben turned his hands to cup her breasts, already feeling full and heavy. The soft, delicate skin was tight with sensation. Ben brushed his fingers over the full curves of her breasts, a tantalizing, arousing glide of skin against skin.
He was teasing her.
Slowly, inch by inch, he pulled her clothes off her; every teasing stroke of his hands was utterly distracting. She wanted more. She wanted all of him, but he set the pace. His masterful movements overwhelmed her defenses, scattering her thoughts. And all the while he stayed between her legs, her knees locked around either side of him. The fullness of him was heavy against her core.
Lily moaned, her hips twitching. She couldn’t hold back. She began to thrust against him, but Ben rocked away with each movement, his massive, hard body moving sinuously, more flexible than Lily realized. Fuck, that turned her on.
Want curled hot and shameless inside her. His fiery kisses had left her mouth, drifted down her delicate neck to her breasts, and he paid careful attention to the sensitive skin there, his lips going where his hands had just been, until she couldn’t bear it, her body alight, her skin so sensitive it almost hurt.
Then, as if he felt her desperation—maybe he did through the bond—he finally pulled away. Stripping off his shirt and shimmying out of his jeans with a wiggle that did terrible things to Lily’s insides. She flexed her thighs, clenched deep in her core and felt wetness between her legs.
“I’m ready,” she whispered. “So ready.”
“Baby, I know,” Ben growled, moving back to where she wanted him, where she needed him. She arched against him, pressing her bare body to his hard, naked chest. His skin was still a little cool despite the exertion, but with blood in her veins, she was hot, she was burning. The feel of his body against hers soothed her and at the same time built the flame of desire hotter between them.
She wanted him, wanted to feel all of him inside her, fuck, she ached for it. And finally, he moved, his erection pressed hard against her slick opening. Stretching her, opening her intimate core. Lily couldn’t contain a moan of pleasure at the feel of it. Her body clenched around him. Ben grunted, his body stilling, almost trembling around her. She felt him through the bond, his control, usually so strong, shaking for a moment at the feel of her.
The bond reverberated, feedback twisting between them, looping their desire into a crescendo.
Feeling wanton, reckless, driven mad with desire, she arched into him, thrusting her hips to meet his, driving him deeper into her. Desire exploded through her body. She couldn’t wait any longer, she needed him moving inside her. The bond flared with light.
“Oh fuck. Lily. You don’t know what you do to me,” Ben growled, rocking into her. She looked at him with lust-darkened eyes, putting all her desire, all her need into her gaze. A desperate request that needed no words. Her want for him resonated through the bond, and she felt Ben shudder, as if his body was out of his own control, responding to her need without command from him. The thought of it was utterly arousing. Her control of her own body began to slip, her new fangs pressing against her gums. The sensation was sharp and delicious. She tried to hold on, hold back the torrent of desire that raged through her. The bond flared gold and bright all around them. Warm and thick and heavy with need.
Lily dragged her eyes open. When had they fallen shut? Ben was staring down at her, his eyes dark and hooded, a glassy sheen of lust coating them. His fangs glinted at his red lips. His gaze flickered, something hot and wild glinting in those depths. Then the bond between them burst wide open, the last shreds of control burning away. She felt the raging torrent of yearning that Ben had kept leashed.
Lily clutched Ben to her, her body riding his forceful thrusts. She felt like she was barely holding on. Almost losing her grip on her own body. She was riding high on a wave of pleasure. She kept forgetting to breathe, her vampire body no longer needing air, her human habit fading as her body came alive under his hands.
More and more, faster and faster they moved, until the wave finally broke. Lily cried out as she came. Delicious feelings stormed through her body and down the bond, drowning them both in light and pleasure. Lily’s body shook, every last drop of sensation wrung out of her, an endless wave of pleasure.
It seemed to last forever. Her sense of where she was disappeared, her awareness of her body fled as well. All she knew was pleasure, all she saw was gold. All she felt was Ben. Right there with her. Loose and free and flying.
She didn’t know how long it took before they both came back to themselves. Sinking languorously into their spent bodies. Lily held Ben tight. Their arms wrapped around each other, until aftershocks of pleasure finally ended, and their bodies were their own once more.
Ben rolled off her, his lean, hard body pressed against her side, and Lily sighed in pleasure, using the last of her energy to turn toward him. She lay there, curled around her soulmate and drifted, sated and lazy. Finally, where she needed to be.
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