Home > Hunted (Vampires in America #6.5)

Hunted (Vampires in America #6.5)
Author: D. B. Reynolds



Vampires in America series by D.B. Reynolds
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Chapter One

 

 

Malibu, California

 

Cyn lowered the twenty pound weight to the exercise mat—okay, so it was only a five pound weight, but it felt like twenty pounds when combined with thirty plank press reps, an exercise that was surely designed by a madman or a sadist. Or both.

Every muscle in her body was whining at her to stop, so she surrendered, collapsing to the mat and rolling onto her back. Eyes closed, she pressed her spine flat to the floor a few times, then starting with her toes and working upward, she consciously relaxed each muscle in turn, focusing on every even breath, in and out, the steady beat of her heart—

“Yo, Cyn.”

Cyn’s Zen state collapsed. She kept her eyes determinedly closed and snapped out an irritated, “What?”

Her workout partner cum sadistic trainer Elke laughed. “I wanted to be sure you were still breathing.”

“I was relaxing. It’s good for me.”

“It’s good for all of us, but it’s nearly midnight.”

“And?”

Elke gave an unladylike snort. “Pretending ignorance won’t get you out of it.”

Cyn sat up and cast a scowling glance at the vampire who’d become a friend. Surprising, since she and Elke hadn’t exactly started on the best of terms.

“Hey, don’t blame me,” the ice-blond vampire said now. “You’re the one who wanted to be more involved. Be careful what you wish for and all that.”

“I wanted to be more involved in security issues, things to do with Raphael’s safety. Not every goddamned business meeting. I hate business meetings. I don’t even go to my own. Besides, how do you know what I wanted? I never told anyone but Raphael.”

Elke rolled her eyes. “Right. Like every single vampire in the compound didn’t know you were pissed about that business at the fund raiser in March.”

Cyn grabbed a bottle of water, tipped her head back, and drained half of it, instead of responding. She wasn’t comfortable discussing her personal affairs with anyone, and there was nothing more personal than her relationship with Raphae . . . and especially what had happened between them at the end of March. She’d been furious about his decision to put himself at risk, essentially offering himself as bait to draw in the same man who’d already tried to kill him once. That had been bad enough, but his real offense had been keeping her in the dark precisely because he’d known she’d fight him on it. So rather than talk to her, try to reason with her, and maybe, just maybe, listen to her objections, he’d simply not told her. Until he was shot and she’d figured it out for herself.

She’d almost left him that night. Had come closer to walking out the door than at any time in their relationship, including the earliest days when she’d still been coming to terms with the fact that she was falling in love with a bossy, fucking vampire lord who was alpha to the extreme. But, in the end, she couldn’t do it. She loved him in a way she’d never loved anyone in her entire life.

Elke was right, though. She’d insisted Raphael keep her in the loop going forward. She didn’t like to call it an ultimatum, though that’s what it had been. She had told him if he ever lied to her like that again, she’d leave and he’d never find her. Raphael had contacts and money, but then, so did she. Of course, they had a blood bond which would make it easy for him to locate her, at least for a while. But, on the other hand, he was hampered by vampire politics, which would make it difficult for him to come after her overseas.

But now Raphael was trying to make it up to her by including her in every little thing, and she didn’t have the heart to tell him it was too much. She’d already hurt him enough. Well, that and she didn’t want to sound like an ungrateful bitch who just couldn’t be satisfied.

Cyn sighed and pushed up off the floor.

“I’d better shower and change,” she told Elke. “Don’t want Raphael’s business buddies to think he mated a stinky human.”

* * * *

Cyn stepped out of the shower, feeling well and thoroughly pummeled. Their shower was big and decadent, its multiple showerheads like a terrific massage rather than a shower. She wrapped herself in a towel, then grabbed another and rubbed it over her wet hair as she walked over and opened the door. Cool air rushed into the steamy room, and she started to turn back, but then smiled at the sight of Raphael sitting in his big chair, reading something on an iPad. He looked all serious and handsome in a brilliant white shirt and perfectly creased charcoal slacks, a dark blue silk tie with a tiny silver design providing a nice touch of color. The matching suit jacket was lying across the bed, as if he’d tossed it there. But Cyn knew that was only for show. Raphael was far too vain to risk marring the perfect cut of his suit. He’d have laid it down just so. She grinned crookedly. He was such a control freak.

“I don’t trust that grin,” he commented without looking up.

“It’s Pirozzi you shouldn’t trust,” she said, deliberately offhand as she strolled across the room toward him. “That vampire’s a pig. No, wait. Pigs are too smart. He’s a toad. A big, fat, bloated toad.” She stood directly in front of him and nudged his leg with her bare foot teasingly, waiting for a response.

Raphael smiled slightly and set down his iPad, still without looking up. And then before she could react, he grabbed her around the waist and tumbled her laughing into his lap.

“Insulting our guest won’t get you out of the meeting,” he murmured, slipping one long-fingered hand beneath the towel and caressing her naked hip.

Cyn tightened her lips in irritation, then turned and stuck her tongue out at him.

He only laughed and said, “Neither will that. I’ve better uses for your tongue.”

“Do you?” she murmured, and bracing herself against his shoulders, she rose up and twisted around until she was straddling his lap. She began loosening his tie. “We’ll be late for your meeting,” she commented, sliding the tie off and tossing it aside.

Raphael tugged her towel completely away and dropped it to the floor. “There is no meeting without me,” he growled and cupped both of her breasts in his hands, strumming the nipples with his thumbs. His eyes lifted to meet hers, their black depths flickering with silver starlight.

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