I awoke to the feel of Eric’s arms sliding around me. “Mmmmm,” I murmured. “You’re home.” He loved it that I was already calling his place home. I could feel his joy as I said it. I turned in his arms and met his mouth for a burning kiss.
“How was your trip?” I asked when I caught my breath.
“It was fine.” He stretched out behind me on the bed and held me. “Chan wants to buy out Cardona to own his own cleaners again. Bill is annoying. I appointed a new Sheriff and imprisoned a few zealots.”
“Um, Okay. That was the short version, wasn’t it?”
He laughed into my ear. “Yes. It all went well and we were able to confine the leader of the group that followed Victor, along with several of his supporters.”
“Why did he get behind Victor? What was wrong with having Felipe as king?”
“Well,” he sighed. “They didn’t believe they should be ruled from across the country. I’m sure Victor convinced him that if Louisiana was ruled by Florida there would be a place for them in local leadership.”
“Where are they now?”
“Confined in chambers inside Victor’s compound.”
He did not elaborate on the fact they were chained by silver and allowed only a few feet of movement within the cells. He also didn’t mention they would not be allowed to feed until the trial, those things I found out from Pam later.
“Lover, let us speak of more pleasant things. What did you do while I was gone?”
I smiled a little as he kissed the back of my neck. “Hmm…I beat Barry at Cooking Mama on Wii a lot. I think it’s all of the years I spent prepping food at the bar. Barry just couldn’t get the hang of it. Let’s see… I called Ellsey just to talk, but I just got her voice-mail, so I drove down to see Amelia and get a few more things from the house. I grabbed a couple of my favorite things from the kitchen, you know, stuff that was Gran’s that I would use here.” He rubbed my arm, knowing it was still hard to think about my Gran being gone. “I didn’t go to Merlotte’s or anything. I knew you would be worried. I made sure to check in with Barry, when I left, when I got there, all of that.”
He gave me a squeeze. “Lover, you should still visit your friends. All of the things Niall said, I think we have time before it becomes a problem. But I am glad you are being safe.”
I rolled over and faced him. “I know, Eric. I have lifetimes to spend with you. I just don’t want anything to cut it short.” I took his face in my hands and kissed him sweetly. His eyes were getting heavy, and I realized it must be close to dawn. It was easy to lose track of time in his dark safe room. I closed my eyes and gave in to sleep as well, knowing I would be awake in a few hours to face another day while he slept.
After a day of pampering myself in the tub, super conditioning my hair and giving myself a mani/pedi, I climbed back in bed to wait for Eric to wake-up. His cheek was twitching, and he began to blink a little as I snuggled into his chest.
“You smell beautiful, Lover. Did you have a good day?”
“Yeah, I just pampered myself,” I said, wiggling my toes and fingers at him. He grinned and took two of my fingers into his mouth. I just laughed and pulled them out. “What’s the plan tonight, Viking?”
He rolled to his back. “I must go to Fangtasia tonight, Lover. I have to sit in throne for the followers to worship.” He was looking at the ceiling, and then he turned to me. “Will you join me?”
I rolled over and sat up on my elbows. “I will go anywhere with you, Eric.” He smiled and tucked some hair behind my ears. I knew if I didn’t go in another room I’d be in the shower with him. So I sighed. “You get ready and I’ll grab some dinner.”
As I stood and went to the kitchen he was thinking I was a coward and laughing at me. I thought back, Yeah, I live with a 1,000 year old vampire; I’m such a coward.
We walked into Fangtasia around 9 p.m. and, after checking his messages, Eric went out to sit on his throne in the bar. I went to talk to Pam and Felicia and had a gin and tonic. The girls were telling me about a new hunky bartender that started while Eric was in New Orleans. Felicia seemed to think Eric would be jealous of David. Yes, David like the statue, Pam rolled her eyes at me when I asked with a giggle. She thought Eric would appreciate that the attractive bartender was good for business.
He was a vampire, and although she’d done his background checks, no one really knew much about his past. He had tended bar in several major cities and always left with great recommendations. I was intrigued, but when he walked in I did a double take. Even by my standards, which compare everyone to a Viking, this guy was hot. He wouldn’t even have to glamour people, I bet they’d just let him feed. Eric chose that moment to listen to my brain and started to growl.
I walked over and sat on his lap to reassure him, and whispered in his ear, “Viking, there would be something wrong with me if I didn’t appreciate the looks of that vamp.” I gave his earlobe a little suck. “But all I did was look, no other man will ever touch me.” I grabbed his face and looked into his eyes. “I am yours.”
He growled again and began kissing me hard. I could feel his erection against my leg and had to chuckle, nothing was going to happen here on the dance floor and the bar had begun to get full. As he devoured my mouth, I heard the fangbangers thoughts whining and cursing me in my head.
He eventually pulled back and grinned at me. “Well played, Lover.”
I smiled and teased him, “Do I have your permission to help behind the bar?”
He rolled his eyes and snorted a little, I’m not sure if it was at my request or because of it.
“This is only his second shift, and you’re about to get slammed.” I couldn’t just forget about my years working at Merlotte’s; when a bar was that busy, I felt the need to pitch in.
Eric looked at David and then leaned forward to rub his face along both sides of my neck, clearly marking me with his scent. He knew what I was thinking and gave me a nod, asking me to take the section near the waitress station to be safe. I think he knew I was much more comfortable behind the bar than sitting next to his throne, but whatever his reason, I gave him a quick kiss and went to help the bar staff.
The night was really uneventful, not counting the bras and underwear that were collecting around the bar as women, vampire and human, tossed them at David. We were selling out of thongs in the gift shop and nothing Felicia or I could do would keep David kept up on the line for drinks at his station. Some women simply didn’t want us to get them a drink. As things began to slow down, Ellsey came in and waved hello. I knew the vamps could handle the bar without me, so I grabbed a gin and tonic and slid out to get a table with her.
She commented on David’s beauty and actually turned her chair so he wouldn’t distract her. We made small talk for a bit, and she asked about Eric’s trip to New Orleans. I was kind of glad she asked, because I had questions I wasn’t sure Eric would answer. I explained about Booker’s imprisonment and the new Sheriff. I told her Eric didn’t think we needed to go back until the trial. She nodded and said she was glad they would be cleaning up the city. I leaned forward a little bit, I don’t know why, she had vamp hearing, but anyway, I asked her about the trial. What did it really mean? Where would it be and would we be safe?
She smiled. “Safe is relative, Sookie. You have been around vamps long enough to know that no place is completely safe.” She drank some AB TrueBlood and looked around like she was about to tell me a secret. “I have not been a part of a trial like this before, but I have heard about them. It will be very serious. Most likely it will be held in a warehouse or parking structure, somewhere that many people will fit into. It will have a huge audience. You’ve heard about public hangings in American history? It will rival that.”
I shivered a little at the thought and raised my lip in disgust.
She laughed a little and continued, “Even with the strange location, it will be very formal. There will be witnesses called and evidence presented. What you may not understand is that the accused will really have no chance to defend themselves. They will not have a lawyer or any representation. No one will be called in their defense.”
“I don’t understand; why not just execute them if they can’t even defend themselves?”
“It is a demonstration of power. They can’t just execute anyone without a reason, so they use the trial to prove they should and then the king exacts his punishment, which is not always death, but in this case, I’m sure it will be.”
“And will it be dangerous for us?”
“As I said before, every place is dangerous, even here. But the trial will be a spectacle. There will be plenty of vamps from here and Florida, and I’ll bet some Texans come over. You run the risk of someone starting a fight in the crowd that gets out of control, or some of Booker’s followers starting an uprising.” She shook her head. “If you’re going, I would stay as close to Eric as possible.”
A short six weeks later, we were headed to New Orleans for the trial. I had been working a couple of days a week at Ellsey’s store and helping out around Fangtasia when I could. Eric and I were closer than ever, and I still wasn’t sure how much of it was the bond and how much of it was us or the time we were spending together. Eric was making an effort to learn about some of the foods l liked and had even tried to make me coffee a couple of times before he slept. I was still getting used to waking up next to a sleeping vampire every day, but it was so much better than waking up alone.
The road flew past us and I closed my eyes so I didn’t have to watch. Eric drove like a bat out of hell with little concern for anyone on the road. When I opened my eyes I discovered we were in an underground parking garage.
I shook my head a little and looked at Eric. “I fell asleep?”
He just smirked. “For several hours, Lover.”
A man dressed in black from head to toe opened my door and helped me out of the car. I swiveled my legs out first just like Pam and Ellsey had taught me, so I didn’t flash anyone like Lindsay Lohan, and stepped carefully in my new stiletto heals. Eric had been busy at the bar for the last week preparing for our absence and dealing with the New Orleans vamps to get ready for Felipe’s arrival. Pam and Ellsey had acted as my personal wardrobe consultants and had sent me on shopping trips during the day so they could critique my purchases each night. It was like my own personal episode of “What Not to Wear,” hosted by a soccer mom/latex queen and a lingerie store owner. Eric had been quite impressed with their make-over on me, and I was a little afraid we wouldn’t make it out of the house when I stepped into the living room in these heels.
We entered the hotel lobby, and I hung back a little while he went to register us at the front desk. As I waited, I took in the goth décor and the array of people waiting in the lobby -supes, vampires, humans and a few people who must have been the same type of being as Dr. Ludwig, although I still wasn’t sure what that was. I didn’t see anyone I knew, even though Bill, Chan, Ellsey and several other vamps I knew were planning to come over for the events. Suddenly, I realized someone was watching me, I knew it was a vamp because I couldn’t hear a thing, but I felt their eyes boring into me.
Eric was still charming the girl at the front desk when I realized that a tall vamp dressed in a very expensive suit was mesmerized and beginning to walk across the lobby towards me. I was nervous but didn’t want to cause a scene, so I tried to pretend I didn’t see him coming. When he stood directly in front of me, he cocked his head and took a huge sniff of the air around us, sighing as he exhaled. Oh shit.
Eric arrived just as the man reached to take my hand. He quickly stepped in between us and then glanced at the man and laughed. “Seamus. I see you’ve sniffed out Sookie.”
The man seemed to snap out of it and looked over at Eric. He made a huffing noise and turned to me again for a second and then shook his head at Eric. “I should have known.” He purposefully took my hand and kissed the back of it. “You and I will need to speak later.” He winked at me and walked away.
“Ah, what just happened?”
“That was Seamus, he’s….it’s a long story. But he is right, you will want to speak to him this weekend.”
“Okay, strange. He smelled me though, so am I sending off a scent to attract all of the vampires? And why aren’t you pissed? You’re not telling me something.”
“No, I think you smell the same. Seamus is a special case. You and I have been exchanging blood regularly, so hopefully you mostly smell like me.” He glanced around. “Come, Lover, let’s go to our rooms. They are bringing our bags up.”
“Eric, what aren’t you telling me?”
“I should really let him explain. Just know that I trust him.”
I sighed, and we walked to the elevator. I heard Eric start thinking about the elevator in Vegas. I started to breathe a little quicker and felt myself getting hot and wet. We stepped through the door and both realized there was an elevator operator inside that would be riding with us. Damn. Eric chuckled at my reaction. He stood behind me, and I could feel his arousal. I was licking my lips and already imagining the feel of him inside of me.
We made it into the room before Eric got his pants open. He pushed me against the door, pressing my back against the emergency exit instructions. It would have been funny if I hadn’t wanted him so badly. Pressed against the door like that there was not much I could do but let him have his way with me. My skirt was around my waist and my underwear flying across the room in an instant. I heard a rumble in his chest as he leaned forward, kissing my neck and nipping at my collar bone. I whimpered and he spread my legs and speared into me. One hand came up under my shirt and he was assaulting my nipples and breasts as he pounded into me while the other cupped my ass, holding me off the ground.
“Oh God, Eric. Yes, ohmygod. Oh, yes, oh…”
His hand moved from my breast to press against my clit and I came in spasms. If I thought he was pounding into me before, my orgasm seemed to send him into another gear. After a minute or so I could feel the heat building again, and he leaned forward to bite my neck and we both came.
I was still breathing hard when he carried me to the bed. He pulled my skirt off and moved to take his pants the rest of the way off. I got my shirt and bra off and went to remove my shoes when he growled, “Leave them. Get on the bed. Now.”
I did as I was told. I didn’t usually like to be ordered around, but he knew I was more inclined to let it slide when sex with him was involved. He stood over me and ran a hand down the length of my side as if contemplating what he was going to do to me. His fangs were still down, and his eyes were glazed over with desire. He grabbed the sheet and tore two long strips from it. Before I knew it, one arm was tied to the bedpost and he was working on the other one. I was a little nervous, but I knew deep down he wouldn’t do anything to hurt me. As soon as he was finished with the second knot I was aware of how vulnerable I felt. I was in nothing but black stiletto heels, laid out like a buffet for him. He must have heard that thought, because the next thing I knew he was between my legs, lifting my hips and leaning forward to rub his face across my stomach and down to my very center.
I could not have imagined the power of the desire I had to put my hands in his hair. With my hands tied I was overcome with thoughts of everything I wanted to use my hands for. I arched my back and spread my legs to give him more access. He paused what he was doing and looked me in the eye.
Sternly he said, “Do not move.” I moaned a little and he continued to look at me, placing a hand on my stomach, “If you move, I am finished. Do you hear me?”
I almost nodded my head, but caught myself. “Yes,” I managed to say, shocked at how turned on I was by his instructions.
He held my eyes for a moment and then returned his attentions to my wet heat. He moved with vampire speed, using his tongue to lap up my wetness and his fingers to flick across my clit while occasionally plunging his tongue into me, making me gasp. I was mumbling incoherently and tossing my head from side to side. I wished that he had tied my legs as well because I was having a hard time concentrating on not moving them. Eric laughed at that thought and asked if I wanted him to stop.
“If you stop, I will kill you,” I managed to say through my heaving breaths.
Of course, that backfired on me and made him stop. He pulled himself slowly up my body, rubbing himself against me the whole way. He moved to kiss me and then simply licked across my lips. He began kissing my neck and licking my breasts. His shaft was teasing my thigh and I thought I was going to burst into flames.
“You can move now, Lover, but I won’t be untying you for a while.” I arched my back and used my stilettos to brace against the bed, and he laughed as I moved my hips against him, pushing myself closer to the edge. He started to slide into me, meeting my eyes before he thrust completely in. His lips found mine and he kissed me, moving his tongue to the same hard and fast pace of his hips, and it didn’t take long before I was ready to come. As I arched my back as far as I could, and Eric slowed himself to an agonizing pace and strung me along. I began moving my hips again, forcing myself up to meet him trying to speed things up again.
“Lover, do you want me to go faster? What do you want?” he said, enjoying torturing me.
“Faster yes, oh god, faster please.”
And because he could, he began moving at a pace no human man could even dream of. Within seconds, I was having the most amazing orgasm. I could feel my muscles clenching and drawing him into me. It went on for what seemed like forever, and he was growling and staring into my eyes before he leaned down and bit my breast.
He was making a roaring sound in my ear, and I felt him coming, shooting straight to my core. I either came again, or the first orgasm caught a second wave, and I screamed. When my mind cleared and I realized what was going on, he had already licked the wounds clean on my breast and was reaching up to untie my wrists.
I cleared my throat and tried to stretch a little. “You didn’t kill me, did you?” He looked at me strangely and I continued, “Because I can’t feel most of my body.”
He smiled and untied my other wrist. I managed to put my arms around him, but it was quite clumsy. He began rubbing my arms. “No, Lover, you’re not dead, you’re not even undead.”
“That’s good,” I murmured, my eyes beginning to close, as he chuckled and rubbed my back.