Authors: Katriena Knights
Tags: #book 2;sequel;Ménage & Multiples;Vampires
Caught between a stone and a hard placeâ¦
Nim and Colin can't bring themselves to be happy they saved the world from the vampire-zombie apocalypse. Not with the death of Sebastian, the third in their trio, weighing heavily on their hearts.
As they turn to each other in their grief, they make an amazing discovery. They can still communicate with their belovedâbut only while deep in the throes of passion. Yet they want more. They want Sebastian back in their arms for real.
Their mission to return Sebastian to corporeal form becomes urgent when they realize he is being used as a pawn in a game of vampiric proportions. The trail leads to an even more explosive mystery in the wilds of Siberia, where their quest becomes a race against time.
If they can't put all the pieces together before other vampires succeed in using what's left of Sebastian for an evil plan, all trace of their lover could disappear. Forever.
Warning: Contains two lovers who draw up a skin-tingling plan to bring their third back from the dead, the truth behind an ancient mystery (hey, it could have happened that way!), and hot sexytimes in a frozen wilderness.
For Mom and Dad, who aren't allowed to read this book because of all the naked. Thanks for everything.
Thanks also to Linda Ingmanson, for taking me back.
e hype regarding the vampire's sexual prowess is largely invented by vampires themselves. They are monsters. Young ladies, don't fall into this demonic trap. Sex with a vampire nearly always leads to death.”
âPSA, American Society to Preserve the Human Family
woke in bed with a dead guy. Which might have been a very bad way to wake up, except he was only going to be dead for about another hour. Then the sun would go down, and he'd want breakfast.
First, though, he'd want sex. And, sadly, not just because I'm a hot piece of ass. Although I am. No, he'd want sex so we could dial in on our mutual lover, Sebastian, who was a bit deader than Colin was. He'd sacrificed himself a few months ago to save the world from the vampire zombie apocalypse. Now he was kind of haunting us, except he seemed to appear only when Colin and I were heavily involved in making the proverbial beast with two backs.
When Sebastian had been around on a more permanent schedule, we'd made the beast with three backs on several occasions. That doesn't really explain why he could only appear during sexual escapades. It's just a data point. When he did show up, it was like a high school reunion. But with fewer people. And naked. Okay, maybe nothing like a high school reunion.
In any case, sunset was rapidly approaching, and Colin was going to want to get jiggy, so it would behoove me to go pee at the very least. And maybe brush my hair. And my teeth. Sexy nightie? Maybe. Although I was pretty sure they were all in the wash, since we'd been getting jiggy a lot lately. Naked, then. Naked was good. Colin liked naked.
Twilight was just getting itself seriously underway when I slid back into bed, freshly showered and with minty-fresh breath. Colin wasn't awake yet, but he'd shifted position a little, which meant he was on the way. I picked up the notepad next to the bed and started to jot down questions we needed to ask Sebastian.
Yes, this was what my sex life had come toâpreparing interview questions for the more dead of my two lovers. The rest of my life, to be honest, wasn't a whole lot less surreal these days.
Ever since we'd lost Sebastian, everything had centered on getting him back. Aside from the sex-summoning thing, I spent most of my workday now poring over scans and rubbings and detailed digital pictures of clay tablets decorated with prickly engravings much like cuneiform. The vampires called it Linear V, and there were only about three people in the world who knew how to read it. I was rapidly becoming number four. So instead of knocking on doors and telling vampires they needed to pay for their large appliances, I puzzled out syllables, words, and eventually phrases and paragraphs, trying to find the bits I needed to bring Sebastian back from the limbo where he currently resided. Unless one of the other collections agents needed helpâthen I took my tiny self out and kicked some ass. Sadly, I didn't get to do it that often anymore. Although sometimes I took a run just to clear my head.
Colin was starting to stir, his toes moving under the blankets to find a sensitive spot behind my knee. The contact made it hard to concentrate. I quickly scrawled the last of my questions for Sebastian in the little notebook and set it back on the nightstand.
I rolled back toward Colin, who rolled toward me. We met in the middle, and he put his arms around me, pulling me against his wide chest.
“Good morning,” he said.
“Good evening, more like.”
He shrugged. The movement sent a slab of muscled shoulder sliding past my face. “Six of one. Whatever.” His nose poked the top of my head. “You smell good.”
“Thanks. You don't, particularly.” I'm a firm believer in honesty in a relationship.
He just chuckled. “Then pardon me while I shower.”
“Have a snack too, while you're at it.” He'd tried one too many times to make me his breakfast for me to quite trust him first thing in the morning. Not that I was afraid he'd drink me to death or anything. I just didn't like being perpetually anemic. People kept telling me green leafies would make it better, but, surprise, surprise, I'm not big into kale.
He kissed the top of my head, then moved out of the bed and walked toward the bathroom. I watched, taking in the sight of his big, big shoulders and his tight, tight ass. It was a nice ass. Biteable. I knew because I'd bitten it.
While he was rinsing himself, I looked over my list of questions again, then leaned back on the pillows and relaxed. There was no point getting tense or anxious about what might happen. Sebastian would come if he could, and it was more likely we'd see him if Colin and I weren't stressed.
Not that it was easy to relax these days. At first, it had been fairly simple. I just fell into the sex, went wet-noodly and melted, and let things go as they would. But as time stretched on, it became more imperative that we be able to talk to Sebastian on a regular basis. So the tension rose, and there was no real way to hold it back.
I blew out a breath, feeling almost like I was getting ready for a marathon. “You can do it, Nim,” I muttered, then, “You can do it too, Bastian. You hear me?”
He didn't answer. Of course he didn't answer. I crossed my fingers that he would answer in the next hour or so.
Colin eventually meandered back into the bedroom, smelling clean and with a slightly pinker tone to his skin that indicated he'd gotten into the fridge for a bag o' blood. That was fine with me. As he slid back under the blankets like some kind of big, sleek cat, I caught a whiff of wintergreen. He knew I didn't care for blood breath. One thing about the frequent sexâwell, aside from the fact that it was a lot of sex and therefore awesomeâwe'd learned a hell of a lot about each other's preferences in a short time. Hell, some of the preferences Colin had learned about me I hadn't even known I had.
Per my preferencesâand I'd known about this one for a long timeâColin had his head between my legs and was starting things off in a most satisfactory fashion when I felt the odd, hair-on-the-back-of-my-neck, chilly sensation that meant Sebastian had joined us.
I opened my eyes to see him hovering near my left thigh, watching Colin intently, almost as if he were taking notes for future reference.
“Creepy much?” I asked him.
His gaze jerked to mine in a startled fashion, almost as if he'd forgotten I was there. Which was strange to me because he was staring right at myâ¦ Well, at me.
But when our eyes met, I saw something like discomfort there, or anxiety. Maybe even fear. “Hey,” I added in a gentler tone.
Colin, who was swirling his tongue across me in a wet, slurpy fashion that made my toes curl, looked up at me as well. The expression on his face was more of a question. I waved at him to keep going. What he was doing was leading all places good, and besides, Sebastian only seemed to be able to hang on to his strange, not really ghostly but not really corporeal form if Colin and I were riding a slippery slope to orgasm. Weird, I know, but what can you do?
Colin obediently closed his eyes and got back to business. “Are you okay?” I asked Sebastian, who had yet to contribute to the conversation. Maybe he couldn't quite yet.
“Shhhh,” I told him. “Take your time.”
Colin picked up his speed. I let out a hissing breath, involuntarily but heartfelt. I could tell Colin's ears were perked. As much as I enjoyed these interludes, sometimes I felt like he was using my clit as a radio dial to tune in Sebastian. Not that that was a bad thing, per seâ¦
“Iâ¦” Sebastian tried again, then his image shimmered, contracted, then expanded so he looked like someone had pancaked him with an anvil in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. He sproinged back to his normal shape, but he was fainter, grayer. “Something's wrong,” he managed and disappeared.
“Shit,” I muttered.
Colin opened his eyes, his gaze meeting mine for a moment. I just nodded back at him, combed my hand into his hair and settled in for the rest of the ride.
Sebastian wasn't gone long, though. He resurfaced a few seconds later, just as Colin and I got really into the groove. He seemed a bit more corporeal this time.
“Sorry,” he said.
“You okay?” I asked him again.
“It's hard to hang on.” I didn't ask him what he was hanging on toâI doubted he could explain it. He'd tried once, but it seemed he didn't know any more about his condition, how it worked, or why he was there than we did. “Have you made any more progress?” he went on.
I wanted to tell him we had, that we'd gotten one step closer to figuring out his current state, how the vampire stone had put him there, and how we were going to restore him to a normal state. But I cared too much about him to lie. “A little,” I said. “It's slow going.”
Colin lifted his head and slid a finger inside me, which effectively gave him freedom to speak and momentarily removed my ability to speak at the same time.
“Are you all right?” he asked Sebastian. I didn't understand at first why he'd askedâI'd asked him the same damn thing, after allâbut the expression on Sebastian's face told me he hadn't been completely honest with me.
“Something's not right,” he said. “It's getting harder to speak with you evenâ¦even like this. I think something isâ¦broken.” His image flicked out for a brief moment, then returned. He grimaced as if in pain. “I don't know how much longer I can keep this up, or how many times I can cross the barrierâ¦”
And he got the answer to his question, because he suddenly flicked out with a finality that was almost audible.
“Sebastian.” My voice was threadyâColin was doing obscene things with his fingers. There was no answer.
After what felt like a long time, Colin lifted himself over me and kissed me. I mourned the loss of his fingers, but not for long, as his cock moved to more than adequately take their place. He let his head fall next to mine, moving slickly inside me. His mouth moved quietly against my ear.
“I want him back.”
“I know,” I said. “So do I.” Not only because I loved him. Not only because he was just as gloriously talented in bed as Colin was. But largely because I hadn't gotten a chance to ask him any of those damn questions.
lin finished me offâhe's very reliable that wayâand the orgasm was slow and intense and rolled from my feet all the way to my scalp. Afterward, we cuddled a bitâColin is much better at cuddling than his generally obnoxious demeanor might indicateâthen it was time for the mad scramble to get to work. Except Colin didn't seem quite as rushed as usual, taking his time swirling his breakfast B-neg in the glass until it was the perfect temperature.
It was no skin off my nose since I couldn't really be considered late for work when I normally rode in with the boss. Today I was meeting my sister for breakfast, thoughâor dinner, or whatever you wanted to call itâso I was driving on my own. But what bugged me about his overly precise behavior this evening was that he seemed a little off. Thinky. He was normally pretty broody, but this was different.
“You okay?” I poured milk into my coffee and took a sip. Another perk of living with Colin was the excellent coffee. He got all the expensive stuffâJamaican Blue Mountain, high-quality Kona, even that stuff that gets shat out by minks or whatever. I had no idea what this blend was, but it made my toes curl almost as much as having Colin's head between my legs. Breakfast date with Gwen or not, there was no way I was skipping my morning coffee-gasm.
He frowned into his mug, then set it back in the microwave for another go-round. “Just thinking.”
“Yeah. He seemed weird to me. Did he seem weird to you?”
I took another sip of coffee. “He's disembodied and, like, dead. That's weird by definition.” Much like every single thing about my life.
“I mean weirder than usual.” It spoke to the level of his concern that his tone wasn't remotely snarky.
I considered. I'd known what he meant. I was just using sarcasm as a delaying tactic so I could give my head a chance to clear. “He seemed weird,” I finally conceded. “And if you're asking me if I'm worried, then yes, I'm worried.”
Colin retrieved his mug from the microwave and stirred it with a glass rod he reserved for that purpose. He said metal utensils made the blood taste too, well, metallic. When I'd mentioned blood naturally tasted metallic, he'd shrugged and continued his delicate, almost prissy stirring. He'd been royalty of some kind when he was human, and sometimes it showed.
The prissiness was abandoned when he licked the glass rod clean. Once, this would have made me wince, but at this point it was just everyday mediocre table manners, like licking the spoon after you stirred your coffee. The blood must have been okay finally, because he actually sipped from the mug this time. I waited on him, since he was obviously thinking something over.
“I think we need to work faster.” He took another sip of the blood, then pulled out another mug for his coffee. “I think he's fading.”
I'd had the same thought, that the longer Sebastian stayed in his current state, the more he would drift toward the dead side of the equation and the harder it would be for us to pull him back. It was just a theory, and one I'd hoped would be proven invalid. Hearing Colin voice the same concerns didn't do anything to help my confidence. I kept hoping we'd find something in the materials we were translating that would confirm or deny the idea, but so far no dice.
“Yeah,” I said. There was no point arguing that I was already working as fast as I could, I wasn't exactly a professional linguist or an experienced translator, that there were only so many hours in a night, or any other perfectly logical arguments against working faster. “You okay with me hitting the books at work again tonight?”
“Of course I am.” He sipped from his mug, leaving a thin sheen of red along his upper lip. Perversely, I wanted to lick it off. Instead I laid a hand on his arm and squeezed gently.