John snatched my offending finger and kissed the tip. “You were worried?” A shy smile tugged at his lips. No fair.
I yanked my hand out of his grasp. “Of course I was. It’s not like I have suitors waiting in line.” My excuse for worrying sounded thin but I didn’t want to give John the wrong impression. Caring about my suitors was dangerous and falling in love against the rules. Emotional detachment had to be maintained to protect my fragile heart and to ensure my relationship with Val would work. For an incubus, he was oddly very possessive.
“You could have anyone you wanted. You just don’t—”
“Want to.” I finished the old argument between us.
“So.” He stared at his shoes. “You met my brother.”
“Yeah, I did. He wants to suck my soul out of my body like a juice box.” I set my hands on my hips and gazed out at my parent’s wooded property. Val was wandering out there under the bare branches. Somewhere.
“Sounds like Amel.” He twisted and followed my gaze. “Did he come looking for me here?”
“No, I used the locket you gave me last Winter Solstice.” I scowled and leaned closer so he couldn’t escape my glare. “You didn’t tell me that wasn’t your name.” When pressed the locket would say something and it turned out to be his brother’s name.
His shy smile became a grin. “I didn’t say it was either.” The dumbass’ smile faded. “Wait. You tried to summon me using that name?”
“Yeah.” Instead of my sweet John appearing in the pentagram, his pissed off big bro showed up and let’s just say he wasn’t happy about it.
“The city is still intact. Did your father defeat him?”
My eyebrows shot up. Dad? Beat a Mazzikim demon? “No.” John feared my father like no one else. That he stood on our doorstep showed how much he wanted my forgiveness. But Dad wasn’t a warrior. Zur-Sin, my vampire suitor and co-ruler of Lake City, however was not only a warrior he also practiced black magic.
“How exactly are you still alive?” His whispered question took me by surprise.
“Sin blood bound him.”
The blood drained from John’s face.
Reflexively, I reached out and steadied him. “John, where have you been?”
“Yes, John, where have you been?” Val strolled around the corner of the house, hands in pockets, and looking quite warm in just a suit.
I jumped at his voice, an undeserved wave of guilt crashing over me as I released my hold of John’s elbow. Our people didn’t practice love. They saw the emotion as a weakness and I could see their point. Falling in love with a human had almost killed me a few years ago. Sex equaled food for my people and fidelity couldn’t be part of the equation.
My parents managed to have a beautiful four-way loving relationship. Well, until now, with a fourth wife on the horizon. After being raised in such an environment why wouldn’t I crave to have the same? I smiled at Val and held out my hand.
He was willing to give me everything, even his heart, but unlike me he’d been raised in a cold, sterile traditional succubus household. He wanted to love me, he just didn’t know how.
When our hands touched, I half expected to see sparks of desire dance between our fingers. I met his pale blue stare and my stomach fluttered. Would he ever stop affecting me this way? “John, this is Val, my fiancé.” Valerio Hunan had recently moved to Lake City. After a whirlwind courtship over a few days, I agreed to an engagement. My stomach rolled as I recalled why he’d dragged me here today. He wanted my mothers to force me to pick a date so we could publically announce our families uniting.
We had only been living together for a few weeks. In a hotel room no less. His wives hated me. What was the rush?
“Fiancé? I thought you didn’t want to ever get married, Pia.” John’s gaze traveled from Val to me and back again.
“I’m beginning to believe the same thing.” Val murmured under his breath.
I could kick John where the sun didn’t shine. “Shut up. A lot’s changed since you left me high and dry on my day three. So why don’t you answer my question before I ask Val to drag your scrawny ass to your big brother.”