Gabriel ached. He hadn’t anticipated the strength of her will. Jocelyn was still denying them both what was clearly destined. He hadn’t anticipated how tormented he would also be by the images he’d been sending her. It had not occurred to him that he would take her visage and the lingering fragments of the dioramas he had weaved into his slumber with him upon every dawn. While he rested his vivid imagination ran wild with lust and blood the likes of which would have terrified Jocelyn. The effect on Gabriel was intensely opposite. He awoke painfully aroused and starving for blood.
He fed, he must in order to survive, but he only took just enough to sustain and left every ‘volunteer’ with a happy memory of the encounter. But he was not happy; the blood tasted flat. He had no joy; did not experience the fleeting rush or minor thrill even feeding for sustenance should provide. Gabriel wasn’t satisfied. He craved Jocelyn. He desired no one else. His body knew hers already. He didn’t know how much longer he could wait for her to acquiesce.
Only that he must.
Gabriel rose from slumber, not slowly or gently as a human might, but instead became instantly alert. He didn’t lie in a coffin, though he knew of others that did. Gabriel preferred the trappings of comfort the wealth he’d accumulated could and did provide. He spent his hours as a corpse on silk sheets in a king size bed; safely ensconced in the largest panic room ever constructed. He’d then wiped the memories of the men that had built it to his specifications; ensuring his safety. The security monitors were hidden, as was the refrigeration unit stocked with emergency blood should the need ever arise. But beyond practicalities the room was filled with art; books; instruments of pleasure and of pain to suit his whimsy; music filtered in from a hidden sound system and the lighting was kept intentionally dim. It was a space designed for safety yes but filled with the luxurious and the sensual. It was his bedchamber after all. Sleep in the dirt with the bugs, indeed!
He longed to have Jocelyn in his bed, writhing on his sheets, naked and unabashed her porcelain skin awash with his blood. Gabriel felt the twin daggers of desire and hunger stab through him. He knew he’d feed more than once this night. He dressed and saw to his hair. The myth about vampires being unable to see their own visages was bunk. He took great pride in his appearance.
Gabriel coded the lock and opened the vault door. As he stepped out into the hall, he felt them; at least three, perhaps four vampires, in his drawing room.
When he entered the room, his gaze fell dispassionately on the dead women littering his floor and the blood ruining the antique runner. That was most of the evening staff right there. He sighed. “Seriously, gentlemen, my housekeeper? The maid?”
The oldest met his eye.
“Would you have rather it been your woman – Jocelyn?”
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