Home > Blood Lust (Fated Mates #1)(4)

Blood Lust (Fated Mates #1)(4)
Author: Kitty Thomas

He muttered something in Latin with his arm outstretched, and for a moment Greta thought she was about to die. Instead, the cordless phone floated from behind him to his waiting hand. His eyes remained trained on her as he punched the numbers into the phone.

“Clarissa, I’m sorry to wake you, love, but I was wondering if you might be persuaded to set aside a pint of werecat blood for me. I need it by the full moon.”

“Mr. Wickham, um hi,” a sleepy voice on the other end answered. “No, it’s okay. You’re our best customer. We actually don’t have any therian cat blood in stock. We can get some, but it’ll take six weeks; our supplier’s backed up. You could try a local therian.”

“Meow,” Greta said, still in human form.

“I see. Well, thank you anyway.” Dayne clicked off the phone and glared at Greta, as if she’d somehow personally gummed up the works.

“So, then I can stay?”

“I’ll have to erect stronger wards. Please keep in mind, you are here for my convenience due to inventory troubles. I’m not your knight in shining armor. I don’t care about your personal problems. And if you wander from the protection of this house, I will not be lured into the trap to save you. I don’t get involved with Weres.”

“Therians,” Greta said, returning his glare.

“If I were you, I would remember that although I would like to do my ritual this full moon, there are infinite full moons available to me. You might not be so lucky. I’ll be in my study gathering supplies for the wards.”

His footsteps receded down the hallway, and Greta made a face. She spun in a slow circle taking in her surroundings.

She’d expected a medieval-looking castle equipped with a full dungeon, or some austere mansion. His home was neither. It was . . . cozy, though larger than the average cottage. The fireplace crackled with dying embers that had recently warmed something in a small iron cauldron.

The main room was lined with dark oak bookshelves and rows upon rows of books. The walls were stone but emitted a sense of warmth, the direct opposite of Dayne.

Maybe it was a timeshare.

Greta suppressed a giggle as she tried to imagine Dayne Wickham, the hapless victim of a timeshare scheme. It would explain his sour demeanor.

Two windows on either side of the fireplace were open with long, lightweight crimson drapes hanging in front of them. A storm was brewing. As the wind howled outside, the curtains were sucked into the screen, then puffed back out as if the wall were breathing. She was still staring at the windows, mesmerized by the sensation of the house breathing, when Dayne returned.

“Come with me. I’ll need some of your blood, since you seem to be in a donating mood.”

Her eyes drifted back to the knife on the table.

“If I were going to harm you, I would have already done so. I grow very quickly bored with the practice of building trust in others only to crush it at the last possible moment. Unlike some species.”

Greta flinched at the look he gave her. But when he turned, she followed. The dwelling went deeper than it appeared from the outside, and it occurred to her that the floor was sloping downward as they worked their way to an underground part of the house.

The hairs on the back of her arm stood at attention as the passageway narrowed until it was only big enough for two people. Then it began to spiral more steeply down, and the smooth slope became stairs. It was such a gradual transition, she wasn’t sure if it was the architecture itself, or magic.

At the bottom of the stairs was a large stone room with shelves of books lining the walls, as well as potions, pots, wands, and grisly items in cloudy jars. Cobwebs had grown over much of the area.

There were a couple of unlit torches on the wall, though the room’s illumination came from a dome light in the ceiling. A steel cage stood in the back, its purpose most likely not on the up-and-up. Greta shivered. So much for Dayne not having a dungeon.

 

 

3

 

 

He had to admit, she was a good little actress. Almost as good as Jaden had been. The werecat stood at the bottom of the stairs barely inside the cavernous room where Dayne performed his more complicated rituals. Her arms were wrapped tightly around her, a protective barrier against him, no doubt.

He didn’t want to be paranoid, but he wondered if the tribe had been responsible for his were-blood supply being cut off. The timing was too coincidental for his liking. There had been rumblings that the tribe leader was getting more powerful these days. Could Simon know Dayne planned to act against him on the next full moon?

It had been thirty years since his last encounter with Cary Town’s werecat tribe. Dayne had nearly died thinking he was saving Jaden’s life, only to be led into a trap. If he hadn’t fortified himself with so much magic, he would’ve been killed.

He’d gotten lucky. Shapeshifters, though made of magic, didn’t know how to wield it. He’d taken out most of the tribe and managed to escape, sustaining several injuries, including a few to his pride.

Now they were sending this little number to lure him away. Didn’t they have any new material? His eyes drifted to the cage in the back corner. One never knew when one might need such a contraption.

He ran his hand idly over the bit of stubble growing on his chin as he contemplated the cage. He should lock her up until the ritual, use her blood, then throw her out.

If anything, such an act would send a message to the tribe that Dayne Wickham was not to be fucked with. He was suddenly glad he was acting against Simon now, rather than later. He’d put it off far too long.

For whatever inane reason, Jaden loved Simon. It had taken years for Dayne’s love for her to diminish to the point that he could dispatch her lover without guilt.

He considered taking the Were’s blood now and getting rid of her. Except, even he wouldn’t stoop to that level of dishonor. It had nothing to do with anything the tribe might plan to do to the girl.

“Are you cold?” he asked. Dammit.

She shook her head.

Eventually, a pouty-lipped woman, like this one, was going to get him killed. Prudence would dictate he wait for another full moon, but the effects of the spell wouldn’t be nearly so strong at any other time. Simon was ready to end this now, and Dayne might not get another chance.

“Sit.” He motioned to a painted white circle in the middle of the floor.

She bit her bottom lip and slowly moved into the center of the circle.

“Are you having second thoughts about being here?”

She nodded.

“Good.”

Dayne crossed to the far wall and selected a large and well-worn book from the uppermost shelf. He took a small needle from the desk drawer nearest the bookcase and opened the book to the correct page.

He pricked her finger, ignoring her indignant cry, and squeezed several drops of blood into the center of the circle. When he released her hand to say the incantation, she sucked on her finger. It took every ounce of willpower for his eyes not to linger on her pretty little mouth.

He focused more intently on chanting.

When he closed the book, the werecat stood and placed her hands on her hips. “I didn’t want to come to you for help. You were my only choice. You’re the strongest magic user in the city, and we dislike the same people. I don’t know what your problem is, but I don’t want to die. My moth . . . Jaden gave me your address. I was in cat form so I couldn’t exactly ask questions but . . . ”

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