rosemary laurey

LOVE ME FOREVER

LOVE ME FOREVER
ISBN 13: 978-1-4201-1495-9
ISBN 10: 1420114956

Kindle
Amazon.co.uk
NOOK
The Book Depository

The second book in my vampire series, Love Me Forever is set in German Village in Columbus Ohio and is the story of physician/vampire Justin Corvus and a blue–collar single mother named Stella. Neither Justin nor Stella expected the attraction between them, nor could they anticipate the act of violence that puts Justin afoul of the vampire code he helped establish.


excerpt

Justin unlocked Dixie’s car, and realized he’d opened the wrong door. Would he ever get used to this? He placed the box on the passenger seat and walked round the bonnet and unlocked the driver’s side. By the time he finished readjusting the seat and fiddling with the rear view mirror, he could have walked there! But Dixie’s caution worried him. She was most definitely not a woman to get overly nervous and if she thought an area risky.

He’d soon find out.

Her directions were easy to follow and precise and her warnings about the area were spot on. As he turned left on to Lubeck, he couldn’t miss the boarded up, dilapidated house on the corner. Now that really did look like a place for Hollywood vampires or ghouls to lurk! The house next to it wasn’t much better but it was inhabited. Two shaven-headed young men lurked on the sagging porch.

Justin checked house numbers. At least Stella’s was a distance down the road. Two blocks down. Heck, he was thinking in the lingo. He pulled the car into the kerb and looked around. Her house was a shabby but tidy-looking house. She had no sagging sofas in the front garden, nor did she have a rusty, disused water heater decorating her front porch like one of her neighbors. Stella’s front steps were flanked with a pair of pumpkins and a cardboard cut out of a green-faced witch hung on the front door. Obviously a witch didn’t mean the same to her that it did to Kit and Dixie. Stella was fortunate.

He took the steps two at a time and rang the bell. And waited. And waited. He sensed a heartbeat behind the locked door. “Who’s there?” Stella asked.

“Justin Corvus, Mrs. Schwartz.” As if she’d remember! “From the Vampire Emporium.” Only Dixie could come up with that name for a shop the size of a shoe box. “Dixie sent something she thought Sam might use.”

He heard a bolt slide back and a lock turn. The door opened a few inches and Stella peered out before releasing the chain lock. “Come in,” she said opening the door wide.

At her invitation, he stepped over the threshold right into a tidy but shabby sitting-room. He held out the box. “Dixie hopes this fits Sam.”

Stella looked doubtful but took the box. “Thanks.”

"Have a look. See what you think.”

She slipped the lid off and reached into tissue, putting the box on a chair as she shook out the cape. Her lips parted as she stared at the velvet hanging in rich folds. She should be wearing velvet like this. Velvet and the finest satin and lace not blue jeans and a worn sweatshirt. “It’s beautiful,” she said, “but...”

Her skin would surely taste like new cream on honey cake. He smiled. “You don’t think Sam will like it?”

She laughed. “He’d love it but I really think...”

He could feel the tug between her longing and her anxiety. “Look, Stella.” She hadn’t balked at his use of her given name, so he went on. “See if it fits him. If so why not keep it?”

She looked up at. “Because it’s more than I can afford!” Her face flushed red with mortification at her admission. He could hear the rush of blood to her face. Abel, help him! He had to will his fangs to stay retracted. He hadn’t realized how much he needed to feed.

“We haven’t even talked price.”

She fixed him with an exasperated look. “I know what things cost and this was custom made.”

Yes, for Sam! She started folding the cape. She really was going to refuse It would be so easy to will her to agree, she was half-way there, all it would take was a little nudge of her mind and she’d agree to what her heart wanted to accept. He resisted the temptation. Somehow it seemed important that she accept freely. “It was a special order.” By him. “But there’s limited market for children’s outfits.” That much was true. “Yesterday evening it was siting up there in Dixie’s workroom, no use to anybody.” Because it was still on the bolt. “If it fits Sam, at least someone is getting use out of it and it won’t go to waste.”

That last line was a touch of genius. He bet thrifty was her middle name. She nodded. “Thanks,” she paused. “I didn’t mean to sound ungracious.”

“You didn’t. Just careful. No one wants to run up obligations they can’t meet. Dixie said to pay her whatever you’d have spent on another costume.”

He should have stopped when he was winning. Stella looked at him. “That would hardly meet the cost of the fabric.”

"No.” She frowned. “But it’s more than she’ll get with it sitting in a box in her storeroom and this way someone gets to use it other than the moths.” Now he was tempted to push her will just a little. “And it you promise to bring Sam by the shop, it will be a great advertisement for us.”

He sensed her acceptance a second before she spoke. “Thanks.” She had a smile that could fell a strong man. How any mortal man had ever resisted her, he’d never know. It made this vampire want to... “Would you like a cup of coffee?”

He wanted her blood, rich and warm and flowing over his tongue. He needed her skin against his lips. “Coffee would be brilliant.”

She brought the box with her as she led the way into the kitchen, a bright room with a tall bay window. Justin sat in the chair she offered, glanced out of the window at a sand pit and swing and a dilapidated garage at the end of the garden and then gave his full attention to the object of his lust. A lust he’d better damn well keep in rein.

Stella filled a kettle and put it to boil. She reached for two mugs from a row on hooks under the cabinets. “Instant okay?” she asked as she measured out spoonfuls from a large jar

“By all means.” Fluids would slow his metabolism down. And about time too. Of course walking out of here would work even better.

She busied herself, bending down to get milk from the fridge, reaching for sugar from a cabinet and finally taking the boiling kettle from the stove. “Here.” She placed the steaming mug in front of him. The aroma rose strong and fresh but masked by the scent of warm-blooded woman. He took a long swig from the mug.

Miscalculation that. She was staring at him. “You must have a throat made of asbestos.”

"Hot drinks don’t bother me.” Anymore than heat or cold or bullets. Fire could be fatal but... “It’s good coffee.” He remembered to drink the rest of it at a more mortal pace. “There’s also a pair of trousers in the box,” he went on when she’d relaxed a little. “Dixie thought they might do.” Stella was giving him her don’t-patronise-me look again. “They’re an odd size she wasn’t able to sell.” Because they’d never been for sale. “They’re bound to be too big but Dixie can take them in if you like.”

“I’ll fix them.” Stella replied. “Or I’ll end up owing for alterations as well as the costume.”

That was her acceptance as well as her bid for independence and Justin acknowledged it with a smile. “Think they’ll fit him?” Dixie had assured him they were far too big, but wearable under the cape and the mismatched sizes would reinforce their fable of stray garments just hanging around the place.

Stella fetched the box. Putting the cape over the back of a spare chair, she pulled out the trousers. “Yes, they are a bit big,” she said holding them up, “but that’s soon taken care off. The waist’s elastic and I can turn them up.” She folded them away and then picked up the cape, her hands stoking the velvet as she folded it carefully. “They really are beautiful,” she said. “Sam will be thrilled. Thanks.” She smiled.

It was the sort of smile to shatter a man’s mind or exalt his soul or send a vampire’s thoughts down forbidden avenues. She was prospective sustenance not solace. “You’ll come by the shop on Beggars’ Night?”

“You bet!” She glanced at his now-empty mug. “Want another coffee?”

"No thank you. I...” A great crash from outside stopped him.

“What’s that?” It sounded like a small explosion but surely not...

Stella had jumped up and now frowned out of the window.“It’s those no-good, Day boys!”

Children were doing this? “What did they do?”

"Throwing bottles and trash at my garage.” She shook her head. “Do it all the time. They...” She was interrupted by a great shout from behind her house and another smash.

“Not any more they won’t!” Justin said, racing out the back door and down the garden. Without pausing to think, he vaulted the sagging chain fence. He landed just feet from one youth and inches from another.

The shorter scowled at Justin, the taller, presumably older one, drew his arm back, a glass jar clutched in his fist. A mass of broken glass and stones decorated the ground. “Stop that!” Justin said.

The younger one laughed and bent to pick up a bottle from the bag at his feet. “You gonna stop me, white man?”

"Yes.” It was ludicrously easy. Their minds had the substance of sawdust. The older one lowered his arm to let the bottle dangle. The younger stood up and blinked. They were children. Wrecking havoc. He relaxed his hold on their minds, just a little. “Why aren’t you at school?”

The older one shrugged. “Sid got suspended. I ain’t gonna go if he in’t there to look out for me.”

Familial solidarity was admirable enough but vandalism didn’t seem quite the way to nurture it. “I see.” It was a lie, he didn’t. Any more than he’d ever understood the innumerable acts of vandalism he’d witnessed over the centuries. He’d never had an answer before and didn’t expect one now. He held both boys in his thrall. “You've a free day. Good. You’ll spend it picking up every shard of glass here, and when you’re finished clear the rest of the rubbish from the alley.”

The both nodded mutely and at his signal, repeated his directions. “When you pick up, Justin went one,” Put everything in that bin over there.” He directed their attention to a weelie bin leaning crookedly against the fence. “And you will never bother this house again. Is that understood?”

They nodded “Yes.” The younger one surprised Justin by adding, “Sir.”

“Good.” He left them bending and retrieving what looked like several months worth of smashed bottles and rusted tin cans and turned back towards the house. Stella was standing halfway down the patch of yellowed grass, staring open-mouthed. He was stuck simultaneously by her beauty and his own stupidity. What was wrong with his reasoning? He’d raced out her house and leapt the fence without thinking. He never flaunted his strength before mortals. Well, he had now! “Mrs. Schwartz,” he called. “Don’t worry! They won’t annoy you any more.”

She looked as if she wanted to believe but hesitated. “Those boys are nothing but trouble!”

“Not any more. Do you have any bin liners? They’ve a lot to pick up.”

That distracted her .. a little. “Bin liners?” Her brows creased. “You mean trash bags?” She went back to the house and returned with a couple of heavy green plastic bags. “Think this will do?”

They did beautifully and with Justin giving their sullen brains a nudge the two miscreants accepted then with thanks and offered abject apologies and assurances they’d never offend again. The youngest even added a hesitant “M’am”. Perhaps there was hope for him after all.

Back in the house that Stella turned to Justin. “Who are you? Superman or an Olympic athlete, the way you jumped over that fence?”

Better make her forget. “Stella,” he whispered and pulled her will to his. This was one strong-minded woman! It took power to enter her thoughts. He glimpsed more anxieties and worries more than a woman should bear. He needed to do something about them. Later. He skimmed off the memory of his race down the garden and leap over the gate. “Not to worry,” he said as he released her mind and she blinked up at him. The unexpected vulnerability in her eyes undid him. That and the heady scent of her lifeblood racing thorough her veins. Lust rose like a wild force and without thinking, he threw a full power glamor over her.

She was soft, warm and alive and he pulled her compliant body into his arms. He resisted the urge to caress her breasts and the lush warmth of her woman’s curves. Not now! Not ever! He’d taste her blood and thus slake his need and the raging desire he barely kept in reign. Taste her! No more. He brushed her honey-colored hair off her face and lifted her shoulders so her head hung back, offering her soft white throat. He pulled down the neck of her sweat shirt and gently her lapped her skin, savoring her living taste. When she was utterly relaxed and let out a little whimper of pleasure, he nipped.

Never in all his born or dead days had he tasted such richness. Her sweet thick blood flowed through his lips, warming his mouth and a heart long hurt. He sucked, knowing he should stop soon but needing the solace and comfort of her warmth and life.

He forced his lips off her and slowly licked the wound to seal it. The mark was hidden by her sweatshirt and in a few hours would fade completely. He smoothed her hair forward and sat her in a chair. Only then did he remove the glamor.

“Whee!” Stella shook her head and ran her hands through her hair. She looked around, frowning as it registered she was sitting down. “What...?” she began.

“You got a bit woozy,” Justin lied, despising himself but knowing the truth was impossible. And she probably was woozy after all he’d taken. “The last few minutes were a bit stressful.”

 

available at

Kindle
Amazon.co.uk
NOOK
The Book Depository

Love Me Forever is set in German Village in Columbus Ohio:
www.germanvillage.com/
www.schmidtsfudgehaus.com/village.html