I wasn’t about to address the snafu that Eric just committed by growling at his Maker, so I decided to studiously ignore it. Besides, the smell of blood in the air was fucking with the little bit of control I had managed to hold onto.
So, before the situation could fall apart, I took the wine glass filled with our mixed blood from Godric and I quickly drank half of it.
It was divine.
I moaned shamelessly, and closed my eyes as I licked my lips. However, no sooner than I had swallowed our blood than I was hit with a wave of longing, lust, and need that was not my own. My eyes popped open as I realized I could feel Eric’s emotions.
HA! This would be interesting.
I knew it was a possibility since I was part vampire, but actually knowing I had an insight into Eric’s emotions was a power trip. I thought I would probably have to wait until we had a full bond, since I hadn’t been able to feel him after he had a drop of my blood last night.
Oh, he was going to be so pissed!
Before I could say anything, Eric took the glass from my hand and downed the rest of its contents.
He couldn’t hold back his moan either and I wasn’t surprised. We tasted good together.
A giggle suddenly escaped my lips before I could stop it.
“It’s not unusual to be a little high after having vampire blood.” Godric stated flatly.
I giggled a little more.
“She’s not high.” Eric answered through narrowed eyes. “She’s feeling smug about something.”
“And you are irritated.” I blurted out.
As I expected, that comment earned me a growl from Eric, but Godric interceded on my behalf.
“You had to consider this as a possibility.” He stated calmly. “She is part vampire and you had her blood. Twice. And she has had yours.”
Eric took an unneeded breath and closed his eyes for a moment as he reigned in his emotions.
“WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS!”
I would know that voice and tone of anger anywhere.
Grandpa had arrived.
“My Prince.” I stated with a slight bow as I tried to appear contrite.
“What have you done?” Niall’s voice demanded an answer, as he obviously smelled the evidence of our blood exchange that would still be lingering in the air.
“I have secured our alliance.”
“By starting a bond without a contract.” He said condescendingly in order to show his disapproval of my actions. “You have acted foolishly.”
I straightened at the insult and my temper started to flair. However, I did not have a chance to respond before Niall was speaking again.
“And you.” Niall sneered towards Eric. “You have taken advantage of my granddaughter.”
Eric growled in response and I felt his anger at the insult to his honor but it was Godric that spoke first.
“Prince, no one has been deceived.” He said calmly. “My child agreed to sign your contract, as negotiated with you, if Sookie would exchange blood so we would be assured of her honest intentions.”
“And what if I have rethought the alliance?” The Prince spoke angrily.
“What?” I asked in disbelief.
My Grandfather and I had been discussing this alliance non-stop for the last week and he was changing his mind now!
Niall settled his eyes back on me with obvious disapproval. “I have found a better match for you. We are done here.”
With those words, Niall started to pop away, but I wasn’t done.
“No.” I stated sternly.
I didn’t yell. I didn’t sound angry. I simply stated a fact. I wouldn’t be leaving.
“No?” He sneered.
“I have given my word.” I explained and I knew he would have to listen now. Fairies didn’t lie. We misled . . . but never lied.
“What exactly did you agree to?”
“We agreed that I would sign the alliance as long as she didn’t show any signs of deceit through the bond.” Eric explained coolly.
“Then Sookie did not agree that she would sign.” Niall said with a smirk before turning to me. “You have not given your word to this vampire.”
“What of your word, Grandfather?” I couldn’t keep the accusation out of my voice.
“You will watch your tone, child.” He ordered as he stepped towards me.
“I am no longer a child, My Prince.” I answered as I took a step towards him. “We agreed that I would choose the vampire and you would approve before we approached him. You approved of the Viking and we have started the alliance. I will not allow you to . . . “
“NOT ALLOW ME?” He roared. “I am your Prince and patriarch. You will do as you are told.”
I immediately masked myself and popped to a place directly behind my grandfather. I summoned my katana and unmasked myself when my sword was at his neck.
I leaned in to speak into his ear. “You taught me well grandfather. I understand the difference between family, politics, and survival.”
“You….” He started but I pressed my sword into his throat slightly.
“I will not be a toy in your political game. You have already given your word to me and approved of the Viking. You will not try to sell me off to another now that you’ve found a higher bidder. If you want an alliance through me, then it will be completed here and now. Otherwise, you are on your own.”
I released my grandfather and popped back across the room to stand between Eric and Godric.
The shock on their faces was almost comical, but I only spared them a glance because I was staring down my grandfather.
I knew he was plotting and rethinking strategies. It was his way.
Just as I knew that he would cut me loose and walk away if he thought it was best for him and for Faery. It was how he had raised me so I knew better than to expect any different from him just because I was his kin.
I had learned the difficult lesson early on in my life that fairies love differently than humans. Fairies love themselves above all others. Altruism does not exist in Faery. You only save another if their life is important to your own survival or the survival of the race.
That was what I was counting on now.
Niall needed an alliance with a strong vampire in order to defeat Breandon. His brother’s army was growing and Niall’s hold on power was getting weaker. I knew this was why he chose to agree to an alliance to protect me rather than kill me.
I was under no illusions that he made any decisions out of love. If he didn’t need this alliance, then he probably would have killed me himself for being an abomination.
I softened my tone and decided it was time to be my diplomatic self.
“Grandfather.” I said sweetly and without derision. “Faery needs this alliance much more than I do. I could disappear and hide in the shadows if I needed to do so, but you will not have another opportunity to form a marriage alliance with a vampire. As much as I want to protect Faery, however, I will not back down from my word. An alliance with the Viking is the only one I will agree to and it must be now.”
“You would turn your back on us?” Niall asked pointedly.
“I’m turning my back on no one.” I answered simply. “I am using the knowledge, skill, and survival tactics that you taught me.”
We stared at each other silently for several moments before he huffed, “I suppose I should be proud of you for how well you learned your lessons.”
Internally I sighed in relief. Outwardly, I remained confident and pleasant as I nodded my head deeply. “You were a great teacher, Grandfather.”
Rather than address my veiled compliment, Niall turned his attention back to the vampires. “If we are agreed on the alliance, then I will summon the daemon lawyer to finalize the signatures.”
“Two questions.” Eric spoke up as he glanced at me then back to the Prince.
“Yes.” Niall said with some impatience.
“Who was the other vampire and did you already tell him about Sookie?”
Ah. Good questions.
“The only other vampire on this continent stronger than the two of you and he knows only that she is part Fae.”
“Edgington.” My jaw dropped open. “You went to him knowing what we know.”
“Silence.” Niall snapped at me. “It is over now, and it was for political reasons.”
I simply stared at him. I said I knew the ways of Fairies and our politics, but to try to marry me off to Russell Edgington was insane. He was insane.
And Eric’s enemy.
Even if he didn’t know it yet.
“If he knows she is part-Fae, then he will still try to take her even if he doesn’t know she’s part vampire.” Godric stated coolly. “He wouldn’t care that she was Eric’s bonded or wife.”
“Then you will have to kill him.” Niall stated with a shrug.
Eric laughed at him. “Oh really? And what if I don’t want to take that risk?”
“You’ll be doing it anyway.” I interjected.
“Sookie, you will stay silent until the alliance is finalized.” Niall snapped at me.
“My Prince, you have told him of a new threat and implied I am to blame. Why would he agree to an alliance against such a powerful enemy? Or is that why you told him? Are you still hoping to discourage the alliance and marry me off to a mad man?” I sneered at him.
Before Niall could respond, Godric asked the perfect question. “Princess, what did you mean when you said the Prince ‘implied you are to blame’?”
I didn’t give Niall a chance to silence me. “Russell was one of the enemies you were warned about from another state. He plans to take over Louisiana. I will explain everything once the alliance is signed.”
“Grandfather.” I said sternly, since I was getting tired of this argument. “We are signing the alliance with the Viking tonight. I will not agree to marry Russell and the Viking has already given his word. Now, call the lawyer here.”
Vampires do not normally look surprised, but I could feel Eric’s astonishment at my interaction with my Grandfather and Godric’s normally cool façade looked slightly less stoic.
It was true that I was pushing my Prince and making demands of a very powerful Fairy, but I was also very powerful and I had the upper hand, for the moment.
In Faery politics, if you have the upper hand, you use it before it’s gone.
I knew I would lose the advantage the moment our bond and marriage were finalized; Niall would have his ally, and he wouldn’t need me.
Unless he needed an assassin.
I was brought out of my musings by Niall’s voice.
“Cataliades.” He spoke into his phone. “Meet us in the Viking’s office.”
A few moments later, there was a knock on the office door and Mr. C, as I liked to call him, was led into the office by Pam.
“Mind if I join the party?” She asked.
“The more the merrier.” I shrugged and she took up her place standing in front of the door. I assumed it was to ensure we were not disturbed.
Mr. C greeted everyone appropriately, and promptly got down to business. He handed the contract to Niall to inspect first, then Eric, and then to me. Each item, as negotiated by Niall – the marriage, the alliance, and the blood bond – was accounted for in detail.
I was a little surprised to see the clause about fidelity. It seemed my Grandfather had gotten the Viking to agree to fidelity as long as we didn’t mutually agree to dissolve that clause.
HA! Wouldn’t he be surprised when he found out that I would never release him from that clause?
Obviously sensing my amusement through our fledgling bond, Eric asked, “What do you find humorous, Princess?”
“I’ll tell you later.” I winked at him, as I took the contractual pen lying on the desk. The pen was specially made to puncture the finger of the person holding it so there blood would flow as ink. I gripped the pen and signed my name on the dotted line.
I turned and handed the pen to Eric and, for a moment, I thought he might change his mind. However, he quickly took the pen and signed his name before turning to hand it over to Niall.
Begrudgingly, Niall signed his name and the contract flashed with a bright light, only for a moment, as it was magically ratified by Mr. C’s signature.
“We already sealed the alliance with the accidental blood oath Eric inherited when he took my blood last night. So,” I clapped my hands happily and announced, “let’s do the second exchange.”
Eric smirked. “Eager, princess?”
“I’m thirsty.” I said with my sexiest pout.
Pam laughed at me whilst my Grandfather continued to glare, but Godric was the one to get right back down to business. He swiftly extended his arm with the wine glass in it once again. Eric quickly bit his wrist and allowed his blood to drip into the glass.
My fangs were throbbing. He smelled so good.
When he licked his wrist, I paused for a moment to look at Pam. “Will she be okay if she stays?”
“I’ll be more than okay, Princess.” She snarked, obviously offended by my question.
“Suit yourself.” I said as I summoned my knife again, and sliced my wrist.
This time there were three clicks of fangs and Pam was the one to groan. “You could have warned me.”
“I’m part Fae, Pam. What did you expect?” I said with a small smile, as my wrist bled into the wine glass.
When the glass was nearly full, I started to pull my hand away to clean my wrist. However, Eric had other ideas.
Before I could comprehend what was happening, he had gently grabbed my wrist and lifted it to his mouth. He sensuously licked my wrist clean, whilst he fought to control himself.
And feeling his fight for control wasn’t helping me control myself. My insides were becoming jell-o as lust, need, thirst, and desire overwhelmed me. I wanted nothing more than to push him back on his desk and crawl up onto his lap and . . .
“Would you like to go first again?” Eric’s voice interrupted my dreamy state.
He smirked. “I thought you were thirsty?”
“Oh.” I said and blushed slightly – yes, I can still blush. “Sure. I’ll go first.”
I took the glass from Godric and took my second taste of our blood.
Damn it. Why did we have to taste so good together?
I closed my eyes to revel in how satisfying our blood was mingled together whilst I also fought against the sexual desires that were practically past their boiling point. I inhaled deeply and sighed as I opened my eyes and handed over the glass to Eric.
A vampire fiancé. Somehow those two words just didn’t fit together and that struck me as funny.
Plus, I had won. I was getting the vampire I wanted and the protection I needed.
I had the right to be a little happy.
However, when our blood touched Eric’s lips and his desire spiked again in my veins, happy went out the window and pure, unstoppable lust took its place as our emotions mingled together, and intensified what I was already feeling.
The moment the glass was drained and away from his lips, I claimed them.
I didn’t give a damn about who was in the room. I wanted to taste my Viking.
And he responded with gusto.
His tongue caressed mine as we tasted each other’s mouth and reveled in the residual taste of blood lingering there. I got bold and lifted myself slightly by placing my hands on his shoulders, so I could wrap my legs around him. He must have been as lost in lust as I was because he sliced his tongue on his fangs, and I did the same, to get more of the taste we craved.
“I suppose we no longer have to wait until the wedding for the third exchange.” Godric said with a little bit of humor leaking into his voice.
Eric and I both froze with his words, and I pulled back slightly to look into Eric’s eyes. They were still blazing with desire and my lower abdomen clinched in response.
“I guess not.” I responded to Godric’s words with a shrug. “Oops.”
Eric laughed. “You are going to be a handful.”
I winked. “Always.”