A vampire who walks away from commitment must protect his unruly queen from her enemies.
From USA Today Bestselling author Karen Kelley, comes the third book in the Forbidden Series, Forbidden Nights!
When the Queen of the vampires, Gwynne Dantes, descends upon New Orleans, Sandale must protect her from her enemies, and New Orleans from her. Once she learns Dominique’s blood can give her the gift of walking in the sunlight and eating real food a new world opens for her. How can she keep a low profile and act queenly when there is chocolate and ice cream and all manner of new things to try?
Sandale did not run to the front of the line when Gwynne decided she needed a protector. Sharing her bed is one thing because she's sexy and oh so tempting, but babysitting this haughty queen is another . Until two Elders arrive, and he doesn’t trust either one of them. Gwynne might be the most infuriating female he's ever encountered, but he can’t throw her to the wolves. No matter how much of a queen she is, Sandale sees her vulnerability and the danger around her.
As other vampires hear rumors of this miracle, they demand some of the magical elixir. Sandale and Gwynne are suddenly surrounded by people they cannot trust and it becomes more difficult to protect her.
As secrets long buried come to light, and choices have to be made, even Sandale wonders if he can protect Gwynne.
Gwynne scooted up in the bed, then stated, with an imperious tone, “I’ve decided to stay in New Orleans for a while.”
Sandale laughed, then laughed harder when she frowned. The queen of the vampires could get into quite a snit. He sobered. “And what exactly do you plan to accomplish while you’re here?”
She threw back the cover, hitting him square in the face, then flounced out of his bed. He pushed the cover away and felt himself growing hard as her cute little fanny was in full view of his eager eyes. Gwynne was all soft curves and feminine beauty with the softest blonde hair he’d ever felt and blue eyes that sparkled with a life of their own. For the first time in a very long time, Sandale was finding it difficult to get enough of a woman.
“Dominique’s blood is magical. She’s opened a whole new world for me, and you. Do you realize what this means? I don’t have to live in the dark. I can eat and drink as if I was human again.”
When she turned and faced him, he almost lost it. She was Venus come to life. She was every dream he’d had when he’d chased around the countryside in pursuit of eligible females in his youth.
“It’s been so long since I’ve felt the warmth of the sun,” she mused. “Dominique is our miracle.”
Yes, she was that. When Dagan had practically drained the blood from Makala, Dominique had cut her wrist so that Makala could drink her blood. No one had known just how powerful Dominique’s blood was until Makala revived, then later, discovered she could drink wine. When it didn’t send her body into spasms of pain, she had taken a bite of food, and then the next morning, she’d tested fate once more and walked into the sunlight. So yes, Dominique had become their miracle, in more ways than one.
Dominique was part witch, part vampire. Because her witch father had a vision, he joined with his vampire bride and through magic, Dominique was conceived. They knew Dominique was special when she defeated the demons, saving both the witches and the vampires from destruction. They didn’t know just how extraordinary she was until Makala drank her blood.
Sandale had to admit that he was excited as well. He and Gwynne had taken some of Dominique’s blood last night that his twin, Blaine, had brought to them in a vial. He planned to test the boundaries that had been imposed when he was turned.
“I want to walk in the daylight. You will escort me into town, of course,” Gwynne continued, drawing Sandale back to the present.
He sat up in bed. No, no, escorting Gwynne around town was not the way he planned to spend his day. Besides, she had Nuri and bodyguards and all kinds of servants that she’d dragged with her. Why should he have to be the one to babysit?
His gaze roamed over her and he visualized her without the robe. Okay, baby wasn’t exactly what came to mind when he thought of her. But her sexy body did not enter into his plans for how he would spend his first day out in the sunlight.
She continued, apparently not noticing his silence. “Romania has become quite boring over the centuries.” She paused, as if thinking. “Besides, I rarely left my castle. Parthena and Florian thought it best to protect me from the outside world.” She donned a long blue robe with golden threads woven throughout intricate patterns of birds and vines. “I want to blend in.” She faced him, her clear blue eyes sparkling with suppressed excitement.
He sighed, having a feeling no matter what he said, she would still insist he escort her. “You’ll never blend in. You’re a queen. It would be impossible for you to look like anything other than royalty.”
“That’s why I have you to show me. Today, we shall venture into town. As humans, not immortals. At least, that’s what people will think.”
It was unfortunate for him that if Gwynne wanted something, she always got her way. If she didn’t, all she had to do was turn her heated gaze on a person until they turned to ashes. From the look on her face right now, Sandale was pretty sure she’d fry his ass if he didn’t comply with her demands. The sooner she went back to her castle in Romania the better. Although he had to admit, he would miss her just a little. For the first time in a long time, he wasn’t bored.
“You will get up and dress now,” she stated.
“If nothing else, I’m obliging.” He threw off the covers and got out of bed. He didn’t have on any clothes, and he could feel her gaze watching every move he made as he strolled to his wardrobe. He casually pulled on briefs, black jeans and a white button-down shirt. She was still staring when he turned to face her. “You did say today, right?” Knowing she was contemplating dragging him back to bed.
“Once, when I was still a young vampire, I left the castle to see the world. I made it as far as the nearest port. There was a young pirate and we made love every night for weeks.” Her words were so soft and sultry they were like a gentle caress. “You remind me of him somewhat. He was very dashing with coal black hair and deep blue eyes. Your eyes are green with flecks of gold. That’s the only difference, though.” She sighed.
“What happened to him?”
“I discovered he was making love to many women during the daytime when I was sleeping. He was a great lover.”
Now he was curious. “And…?”
She smiled sweetly. “Let’s just say, he didn’t live a long and glorious life.”
Her eyes changed to deep red and he could feel the heat spreading over him. Rather than run from her warning, he walked nearer, then took her into his arms and lowered his mouth to hers. She tasted sweet, and yes, hot. He sparred with her tongue as his hand slid inside her robe and teased one taut nipple. When he ended the kiss and stepped back, she was panting. “Your pirate was a fool,” he told her. “Take off your robe.”
When she hastily began to disrobe, he walked to the door. “You’ll never blend in wearing those clothes. You’re about Dominique’s size. She has an apartment here. I’ll borrow something of hers for you to wear.” As he closed the bedroom door, he heard something close to a tiny growl of frustration come from her.
He was still smiling when he opened the outer door, but that quickly changed when he spotted the two bodyguards standing watch. It would drive him crazy to have so little privacy. He didn’t speak to them, just walked past. He continued down the hall and went inside Dominique’s apartment. He didn’t bother knocking, knowing she and Blaine were at the plantation in the country. He paused, looking around. It had been a while since he’d been inside her and Blaine’s apartment. They didn’t use it that often, preferring the plantation.
Blaine had used the apartment quite a lot before he married. Strictly the bare essentials. Now that he was with Dominique, it was hers as well. He could see feminine touches here and there. A shawl and a book next to a comfy chair. Pictures on the wall. She’d made the apartment into a home. His own was stark in comparison. He frowned. Functional. He opened the bedroom door and went inside. Even here she had added a lace canopy to a bed piled high with fluffy pillows.
It still didn’t change the fact the castle walls were cold stone and the castle was beneath the oldest graveyard in New Orleans. It wasn’t a home and never would be. It was a tomb that housed vampires if they chose to stay, rather than having their own property. The place was dark and dreary. He hated it here. Hell, he hated what he was.
He grabbed pale blue panties and a matching bra from a dresser. In her closet, he found white slacks, yellow shirt, and sandals. That should do for the queen. Not that he thought she would be appreciative. She did have an attitude problem and thought the world was her oyster. He supposed if you had the ability to destroy anyone who displeased you with just one look, it would give you an air of superiority.
He shook his head. Not that he was going to play her games even if she did fry his ass. She was in dire need of an attitude adjustment, and he might just decide to give her one, even if it killed him, which it very well might.
He left Dominique’s apartment and went back to his own. The queen was sitting on the bed with her legs crossed and looking quite delectable wearing nothing at all.
“You were gone a very long time,” she complained.
At least, until she opened her mouth. “Your clothes, your highness. I was gone only long enough to gather something for you to wear. A simple thank you would suffice.” He set everything on the bed.
She raised an imperious eyebrow, then fingered the panties and bra. “I don’t wear these kinds of clothes, and queens never say thank you. We don’t have to.”
“It’s called manners. And I’ve already figured out you don’t wear underclothes. It was quite pleasant to discover you didn’t wear them our first night together.” His gaze slowly roamed over her.
Her eyes grew warm with passion, but she quickly dismissed the heat he‘d created inside her. “No, we will go to town first,” she spoke as if confirming what she was thinking. She put on the panties, then stood and slid them up. “They’re quite restricting.”
“But they can be exciting as well.” He ran his fingers over the silky fabric, at the juncture of her legs.
She drew in a deep breath, nudging nearer. “You’re quite right.”
“You did say you wanted to go to town?”
Her eyes narrowed. He kept his look innocent. She flounced around, presenting him with her back. It was a very sexy back. His gaze lowered to her saucy little bottom, now covered with pale blue silk. A shame women had to wear underclothes. It would take him longer to get her naked now.
She held up the bra and turned to face him. Damn, she had the most beautiful breasts. They were high with taut rosy-colored nipples. He loved sucking on them, drawing the tight buds into his mouth, hearing her cries of pleasure as he took her higher and higher.
“I don’t think you heard a word I said,” she groused. “How do I wear this instrument of torture?”
He sighed and helped her put the bra on. It was a shame to cover up such perfection.
“I was right. Why would women wear these things when their breasts could be free?”
“Your guess is as good as mine,” he grumbled.
He assisted her with the shirt and slacks, then helped her slip on the sandals. He stood back and studied her for a moment. She needed something else. He turned her around and pulled her golden-blonde, waist-length hair back before slipping a ponytail holder over it that one of his former lovers had left behind. One of the few humans who lived at the underground castle in the hopes a vampire would someday turn them.
“Now I will blend in,” Gwynne pronounced.
He doubted she would ever blend in, but she was at least more human looking. They left his apartment. She paused only long enough to tell the two bodyguards she wouldn’t be needing them today before going down the winding steps to the main room of the castle.
Gwynne had actually designed the castle to resemble her childhood home. That was before his time. The only thing that was different were the lack of windows and, of course, that it was below ground. Nowadays, most of the vampires had their own places in town, blending with humans and other immortals, yet keeping their true identities a secret.
Nuri, Gwynne’s protector looked up from the straight-backed chair where she sat beside the staircase, then hastily came to her feet. Sandale had to wonder if the woman ever slept. Since Gwynne had arrived, Nuri had always been nearby, ready to assist Gwynne in whatever she should desire. Nuri wasn’t vampire, but she was immortal. She was cursed to protect her queen. If anything should befall Gwynne, Nuri would also die. Kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
Nuri was also a gypsy. Dark hair with generous streaks of gray was pulled back with a deep red scarf. The gold hoops in her ears bounced as she bowed slightly toward her mistress. Her skirt was swirls of bright yellows, greens, and blues, in direct contrast to her skin which was leathery from years spent in the sun that she rarely saw anymore, preferring to sleep near Gwynne so that she could watch over her queen. Sandale was pretty sure she was right outside their door last night when they’d made love, but she’d shown no signs that it bothered her that her mistress had lain with him.
“We’re going out,” Gwynne told her. “I won’t be needing you today. I’ve also dismissed my guards for now. Sandale will protect me.”
A look of fear crossed Nuri’s face as she looked back and forth between them. “My Queen…”
Gwynne walked closer, her expression softening. “In all these years, you have never done anything for yourself. Enjoy your day. I will be okay. He will take care of me.”
“But the sun?” Tears formed in her eyes.
“It will not harm me.”
Nuri’s eyes narrowed with suspicion. Sandale could almost read her thoughts and they weren’t pleasant. He wanted to tell her this wasn’t his idea, but he was pretty sure she would find some way to lay the blame at his feet.
“You can follow us above ground if it will make you feel better,” Gwynne finally told her when Nuri seemed to be getting more agitated by the minute. The gypsy finally nodded.
Gwynne turned around and looked at Sandale, apparently seeing his surprised expression. “What?”
He shook his head. “I didn’t think you had it in you.”
She raised her chin. “I can be nice when it suits me if that’s what you’re referring to.” She walked past him, then stopped in front of the great door, waiting for him to open it. Nuri was right on her heels.
Sandale watched Gwynne walk away. He wasn’t sure how she’d managed to do it, but the clothes she wore looked damned sexy on her. It was hard to resist scooping her up in his arms and carrying her back to his bed. She hadn’t been quite so uppity when he’d made sweet love to her.
When he didn’t appear to open the door, she turned. “You will open the door so we can leave.”
He stopped himself from grinning. Yeah, no one would take her for anything other than what she was, royalty. He didn’t get in any hurry to open the door which seemed to irritate her more.
“You will remember your place, and who I am,” she warned as she marched past.
As soon as she walked through the open doorway, he pulled her into his arms and lowered his mouth to hers. They were both breathing hard when he released her. “Remember, if you want to blend in, you’ll have to get rid of your superior attitude.”
Nuri bowed her head, keeping her distance. Knowing her place in life, she didn’t say anything about her Queen's odd behavior.
Gwynne’s anger washed over him, but as quickly as it came, it was gone. “Why did you kiss me just now?”
“Because you’re too sexy for your own good. Every time I look at you all I can think about is taking you back to bed and making love to you.”
Her pupils dilated. “I…I…” She cleared her throat. “Keep your amorous advances to yourself,” she replied in short, terse tones. She went through the tunnel and up the stairs. At the secret entrance that led out to the old graveyard, she hesitated.
Sandale sensed her nervousness. If Blaine hadn’t sworn to him that he would be able to walk in the sunlight, that he would be able to eat and drink like any mortal man, he would not have believed it possible. He trusted his twin, though.
He made sure there were no tourists around, then tentatively reached his hand into the sunlight. When he felt no burning sensation, he stepped out a little farther. Still nothing but warmth. He stepped the rest of the way out. He closed his eyes and let the warmth of the sun wash over him. He thought he would never feel warm again, or walk in the sunlight, but here he was. If only…
He shook off the cobwebs that clouded his mind. Old memories that were never very far away, but lay in wait to torment him. He faced the old tombstone that was crumpled with age, with indiscernible lettering that would not interest a curious tourist, and held out his hand.
Gwynne tentatively took what he offered and slowly stepped into the sunlight. “It does not burn,” she marveled. She stared up at the sun for a moment, then jerked away from him. “I am blind! There are spots before my eyes. What is this trickery? Dominique is trying to destroy me!”
“Mistress!” Nuri quickly stepped forward and tried to shield Gwynne.
Sandale laughed. “That usually happens when you stare at the sun very long. Give it a moment and the spots will go away.”
“He is right,” Nuri marveled. “Your flesh does not burn.”
Gwynne’s lips turned down as she rubbed her hands over her arms, and blinked several times. “You’re correct. My vision is restored as well.”
“How is this possible?” Nuri asked. “Are you still a vampire?”
“Of course.” Gwynne hesitated. “I have discovered a…a serum. Sandale and I are testing its powers. You must not tell anyone, though.”
“Of course not,” Nuri said, shaking her head, earrings swinging from side to side.
Sandale glanced around. The old graveyard appeared forbidding at night. The faded white tombs standing sentinel over the night. Someone long ago had nicknamed the graveyards Cities of the Dead. It was appropriate. Except right now he felt alive, something that had been denied him for so long.
He looked around as if seeing everything for the first time, much like when he’d looked at the world through his vampire eyes. The darkness had opened up to him, showing him sights and sounds that only an immortal would see, but it was a world of darkness and death. Sandale felt as if he was once again washed with the light of day. Blaine had called it a miracle, but to him it was so much more.
Let’s leave this place of death.” Gwynne shuddered. “I hate graveyards.”
Still, he could see she was taking in this wonder as well. Maybe that’s why he couldn’t help jabbing her just a little. “No apology for accusing Dominique?”
She looked confused. “I’m a queen. Queens are not bound by the same rules as other immortals.” She apparently remembered Nuri was there. “Enjoy your day.”
Nuri bowed before her.
“That’s right. I’d forgotten, you’re special, so of course you wouldn’t feel the need to apologize,” he said with more than a touch of sarcasm.
“Exactly.” She turned, walking toward the entrance of the graveyard. She didn’t wait to see if he followed, just automatically expected him to do so.
Sandale shook his head because that was exactly what he did—followed behind her. “Do you even know where you’re going?”
A group of tourists passed them as they went inside the graveyard with their guide. “You’ll notice the tombs are above ground,” the guide was telling them.
“I’m hungry, but not for blood. I want to eat real food,” Gwynne said, staring at the group.
A tourist nervously looked over her shoulder, then pressed closer to her husband. Sandale heard him say, “I’m sure she was joking. They probably work for the tour company. You know, make things scary. Seeing a vampire is only wishful thinking.” He smiled at Gwynne.
“If you say so, dear.” She looked nervously over her shoulder.
When Gwynne smiled back, Sandale knew she was about to show her fangs. He quickly hurried to her side and ushered her toward the private garage where he kept his car.
“Why did you do that? The man clearly wanted to see a real vampire. I was only going to give him what he desired.”
“I doubt he wanted to see a real vampire. You’re also supposed to be keeping a low profile. Remember the witch hunts of the 1600s? We don’t want to incite a mob who would attempt to eradicate our race.”
“They couldn’t, but I understand your fears and will attempt to do as you ask.”
He breathed a sigh of relief as they went into the garage where he kept his car. He opened her door and she got in.
When he was on the driver’s side, she turned to him. “Now you will find me real food.”
Sandale had to admit, he was hungry as well. It had been a long time since he’d eaten. He vaguely remembered what real food tasted like. He did seem to recollect the cook making the best pancakes that were then covered in thick molasses. His mouth began to water.
As he drove through the French Quarter it felt as if he was seeing everything for the first time. The tall church spires in the distance, the pastel painted buildings, the iron work on the balconies. It was all familiar and yet new. He wanted to drink it all in, but like Gwynne, he wanted to see if he could actually eat and drink. This new world he’d entered didn’t seem real. Hell, maybe it was a dream and he would wake up to lonely nights living a life he’d never asked for. If he’d had a choice, he would’ve said no, but that right was taken away from him.
He found a restaurant nearby and after parking, they went inside. The aroma of fresh biscuits and bacon wafted up to his nose and for the first time in a long time, his stomach rumbled as if it knew it was finally going to feel full once more.
A middle-aged woman with sandy brown hair stopped in front of them. She wore a starched black skirt and a crisp white blouse and carried a tray of drinks. “We’ll have a table ready in about fifteen minutes,” the waitress said, looking as if she wouldn’t be slowing down anytime soon and hurried off.
Gwynne raised an imperious eyebrow. Before she could turn her heated look on the poor woman and fry her, Sandale grabbed Gwynne’s arm. “We’ll wait at the bar.”
“She was insolent and needed to be taught a lesson,” Gwynne told him, pursing her lips.
“Low profile, remember?”
“I don’t think complying with your request will be simple at all. Why is it even necessary? If anyone bothers me, I can burn them all to a pile of ashes.”
“But then there would be no people to serve us, and we do still need to feed.”
She was thoughtful. “You’re correct, I suppose,” she said with a sigh.
He ushered her to the bar. Differently shaped glasses hung from slots in a wooden rack above the bartenders head. Everything from a wine glass to one that might hold an exotic cocktail and on the wall was an array of every liquor imaginable. Odd how he’d never really paid attention to these things before, but now everything he looked at seemed to take on a totally different meaning. If Blaine was correct, then he could actually have a glass of wine or a fine brandy.
He motioned for Gwynne to have a seat on one of the barstools. She had some difficulty sitting on it, but as soon as she realized it turned from side to side she began to rotate the seat back and forth. “This is quite entertaining.”
The bartender, an indulgent grandfatherly type, only smiled. “My grandkids love to play on the stools when they visit.”
“She’s from out of town,” Sandale explained. “Can we have two orange juices?”
“Coming right up.” He filled two glasses and set each one in front of them.
Gwynne stared at the bright orange liquid, then looked at him, waiting for him to take the first drink. He did so, then closed his eyes, savoring the taste. Exquisite, absolutely delicious. It was chilled with a sweet, slightly tart taste.
“You don’t feel as if you will die?”
He shook his head and took another drink. God, how he’d missed this part of his human life.
She took a small drink, closed her eyes and took another drink. When she opened her eyes, she was smiling. For a moment, she wasn’t the queen of the vampires. She was just a woman enjoying something new.
“This is wonderful!” she exclaimed.
“I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anyone enjoy orange juice as much as this young lady,” the bartender said as he caught Gwynne’s expression of delight. He wiped a white cloth over the already shiny counter, but now even he was smiling.
“It’s the first time I’ve drunk orange juice,” Gwynne told him.
The bartender stopped wiping his white cloth over the counter and stared at her.
“She’s not from the United States,” Sandale quickly explained.
“Ahhh.” He went back to wiping the counter.
Gwynne opened her mouth, but before she could say anything the waitress let them know their table was ready. Sandale didn’t know what she’d been about to say, maybe blurt out the fact she was the queen of the vampires or something. He was only glad she’d been interrupted.
They followed the waitress to the table. Gwynne stood imperiously beside one of the chairs until he slid it out for her. And the Queen was back. She arranged her own napkin, at least. Maybe there was hope for her yet. She picked up a fork and studied it with a frown before setting it back down.
The waitress handed them each a menu. “I’ll give you a minute to decide,” she said, then walked away.
Gwynne opened the menu but looked at it with confusion. Sandale realized she might not know how to read.
“Would you like me to order for you?”
She glared over the top of the menu at him. “I’m perfectly capable of reading their booklet. As I said, it had gotten quite boring over the centuries. I employed tutors to teach me languages, among other things. I have a very good education. Except in food. My diet when I was human was quite bland.” She frowned. “I’m not sure what the food is. French toast? Waffles? What manner of an animal is a waffle?”
“I believe it’s a bread with syrup.” He had to admit, he was confused about the food as well. He’d watched his lady friends eat with expressions of delight, but he’d never paid that much attention to what exactly they were eating. Things had changed in the years since he’d been turned. “Why don’t we order different things, then we can try each other’s meal?” he suggested.
She was thoughtful before she nodded. “A good suggestion.”
The waitress appeared again. “Ready to order?” She pulled out a pad of paper and a pen, then looked at Gwynne.
Gwynne studied the menu. “The French toast.”
“Bacon or sausage?”
She started to turn toward Sandale, but Gwynne spoke again. “And the blueberry muffin.” She nibbled her bottom lip. “And chocolate ice cream.”
The waitress looked over the top of her glasses. “Is that all?”
“More orange juice.”
She turned to Sandale.
From the look on the waitress’ face, he was pretty sure Gwynne had ordered too many items. “I’ll have the waffles.”
“Sausage or bacon.”
“Muffin? Ice cream?”
He noted a trace of sarcasm in her voice. “That will be all.”
“We did very well,” Gwynne said after the waitress left to fill their order.
He smiled. As much as Gwynne was attempting to act superior, she was like a child in a candy store. Her gaze darted everywhere as she tried to take everything in. Today might not be so bad.
“Everything looks so different in the daylight.”
“Not as dark?”
She glared at him, but just as quickly, she smiled. He could only stare at her. She was stunning, but when she smiled, her face lit up with an inner glow.
“I think you’re only teasing me.”
“I was,” he admitted.
“I enjoy when you tease me.”
Funny how they could be any young couple enjoying an early morning breakfast. He glanced around the crowded restaurant. Were there other Immortals here? He couldn’t be one hundred percent sure, but he didn’t think so.
A couple of older women came into the restaurant and were seated across from them. “Do you think we’ll see any handsome vampires when we take the tour tonight?” One said, then giggled. “I’d let him bite my neck.”
“Amanda, you’re such a silly goose. There are no such things as vampires. Only people with vivid imaginations. Even if there were, would you really want a dead man biting your neck? Can you imagine what a centuries-old dead person’s breath would smell like?”
Gwynne started to turn in her chair to say something to the women but their food arrived and her attention was drawn back to it. Sandale noted the two women wore disdainful expressions, clearly aimed at them because of the amount of food being set on their table. The waitress left the ticket and departed without making a comment. Gwynne was so absorbed in the food that she thankfully didn’t seem to notice the two women.
Gwynne watched a gentleman at another table pour syrup on his pancakes so she followed suit with her French toast. He met her gaze and smiled. When he cut into the pancakes, she did the same, then stabbed a bite and brought it to her mouth. Her expression turned dreamy. “This is so good,” her words came out garbled as she continued to chew.
Sandale noted the older man’s indulgent smile and smiled back. He watched as the man brought out a pad of paper and began to scribble on it. Maybe a professor from the college. He was distinguished looking in a three-piece suit, and there was a touch of gray at his temples. Or he could be a writer. New Orleans seemed to inspire people. Gwynne’s beauty would be enough inspiration for anyone to want to write a book.
Sandale returned his attention to his own food. The first bite of his waffle was pure heaven. He silently prayed that the gift Dominique had given him would not suddenly be taken away, and if it was, then he hoped he was standing in the sun when it happened. He would turn to ashes and never again crave what he couldn’t have.
“Some people do not realize gluttony is a sin,” the other woman across from them said.
“Margaret, you’re so bad,” Amanda said, but then followed her words with a giggle.
Sandale didn’t care what they were saying and paid them no mind. Gwynne seemed absorbed with her food so he didn’t have to worry she would turn them both into a pile of ashes with one look.
She spooned some ice cream into her mouth, then closed her eyes. His food was forgotten as he became absorbed with the expression on her face. It was one of pure ecstasy. When she opened her eyes, she saw he watched her.
“Your expression was just like when we make love. For a moment, all I could think about was scooping you up and carrying you someplace quiet so I could have you all to myself.”
Her smile was slow. “I might just let you. I’m discovering food can have a very erotic effect on the body.”
“They should be thrown out of the restaurant for their vulgarity,” Margaret mumbled, but it was loud enough Sandale heard her. He only hoped Gwynne still wasn’t paying attention to their cattiness.
Gwynne sighed, leaning back in her seat. “I’m quite full. Let’s explore more of your wonderful city.”
Sandale sighed with relief. “I’ll pay the bill and we can be on our way.” He stood.
Gwynne came to her feet, moving next to the two women’s table. She smiled when the two women looked up. “Did you say earlier you’d like to meet a vampire?”
“Gwynne?” He didn’t like the look on her face.
Amanda raised her eyebrows. “You were eavesdropping?”
“It couldn’t be helped. You see, vampires have excellent hearing.” Her eyes began to glow red. Sweat beaded on their faces.”
“Gwynne, we need to keep a low profile,” Sandale murmured and squeezed her arm.
Her eyes changed back to clear blue. “Be careful what you wish for ladies, and who you talk about.”
The two women were still holding hands and praying as Sandale quickly dropped some bills on the counter and hurried Gwynne from the restaurant. “That was not keeping a low profile.” Sandale noted the gentleman who’d written on his pad of paper had also finished his meal and followed them outside. Coincidence? Or had he seen the change in Gwynne? Sandale shook his head. Of course, he hadn’t. He’d finished eating and just happened to be leaving at the same time as they were.
She sighed. “Yes, I know about keeping a low profile, but they deserved it.”
He hurried her to the car. “Yes, they did, but in the future try to control your impulse to burn someone when they irritate you.”
“Of course. I have complete control of my emotions. After all, I didn’t fry them.”
It was going to be a long day.