*Warning: This scene contains spoilers for Bloodscourge the original version, so read at your own risk!
Elisabeta pulled the hood of her cloak over her long red tresses and tightened the grip on her sleeping child in her arms. Panic, fear, and trepidation raced through her heart as she stopped on a hill overlooking the enormous vampire city. Shadows danced around her as leafy trees shifted in the breeze, obscuring her from view.
A breath shuddered from her lungs as she stumbled backward until her back rested against the rough bark of a nearby tree. She could still turn back. She could still find another way.
She squeezed her eyes shut, and when she opened them, she steeled her resolve. There was no other way. They had no food, no money, and no shelter. They needed a new home.
And Dracula deserved to learn about his son.
Alucard whimpered in her arms, further steeling her resolve. A chilly breeze raked across her skin, and the shivers once again started in earnest. Unbearable heat climbed her body and settled in her face. Each inhale of breath pained her, and each anxious swallow resembled pricks of pins and needles.
The world tipped, and she swayed on her feet. But somehow, she remained standing. Yes, she was sick. Extremely sick. But surely she would recover.
But a part of her whispered it was the end. She’d contracted the sickness on her deceased brother Miles’ ship nearly two years ago while she was still with child. And since then, her symptoms had come and gone like the wax and wane of the ocean. However, this time, the symptoms refused to wane.
And she was tired. So very tired.
The desperate need for a warm place to lay her head spurred her onward down the hill and toward the towering black castle with dark clouds swirling overhead to protect vampires from sunlight. She tried her best to keep to the shadows of the trees and buildings, but soon enough, she found herself out in the open and far too exposed, even in the darkness.
Several vampires laughed boisterously in front of a tavern, their silhouettes prominent against the lantern-lit windows. Someone opened the door to the tavern and joined them, which momentarily expelled the music coming from within.
All at once, an eerie silence hushed their laughter, and each head swiveled in her direction. Their nostrils flared. One of them bared his fangs and released a growl deep in his throat.
Her heart pounded harder, faster, as she took a chance. She lifted her hand to display the beautiful kumari ring Dracula had given her nearly two years ago and held her breath. Hoping. Pleading.
More than one pair of eyes widened. Half of the vampires dropped to one knee in a gesture of fealty. The other half bowed at the waist. No one attacked. No one tried to kill her nor drink her human blood.
She continued to hold her breath until she turned the corner, and only when she moved out of sight did she release her breath and stumble to stand beneath a tree near the majestic castle. Her breaths came in shallow gasps of anxiety and fear, and the sickness inside her caused her to sway on her feet.
The thought of climbing the innumerable stairs leading into the castle overwhelmed her. Although she was almost there, she wasn’t sure she could make it.
“Just a little rest,” she whispered to herself as she sat on the ground with her back against the tree. But even keeping her body upright proved too much for her. She slumped onto her side with her sleeping boy tucked beneath her arm.
The wind chilled her, yet her body refused to move. The fever burned hotter, hotter, hotter until it consumed every inch of her. She wanted to give up, yet she couldn’t because she feared for Alucard’s health and safety.
Someone will find him, she reassured herself as she felt herself slipping further into the darkness. Dawn will approach soon, and someone will find him.
A heavy weight pulled her down, down, down until a pool of darkness stared back at her, and all she needed to do was wade in. She stuck one toe inside the darkness, followed by her foot. But when she waded knee-deep into the substance, she heard someone calling her name through a long, winding tunnel of fog.
“Blazing hills,” a familiar voice muttered, followed by gentle hands touching her face, her neck, her shoulders. “She’s still alive. Fetch a physician. Now!”
“And what about Dracula, Your Grace?”
“He’s coming home today. He will learn of her arrival then.”
She felt her body leaving the ground, disconnected from her soul as if she floated through a stream. Heat scalded her, her mind dizzy and disoriented. Movements pulsed around her through the thick wall of fog. A touch here. A sound there. Something soft and warm hugged her body, followed by a cooling sensation across her forehead. Awareness tugged on her occasionally. Soft whispers. Careful touches. Burning heat. Frigid cold.
And then crying.
“My baby,” she murmured, eyelids too heavy to lift. She reached out for her child but only met long, soft fingers. Her heart raced with panic, yet her body was too fatigued to do anything but weakly latch onto those fingers.
“He’s safe, warm, and fed,” a man reassured. And through the murky haze of her mind, she recognized who the voice belonged to.
“Tell me his name.” Nicolae said, soothingly stroking her hair and giving her the comfort of a good friend.
Although not quite an infant anymore at just over one year old, he would always be her baby. She winced at the pain of speaking, “Alucard.”
The vampire’s breath hitched, followed by several long moments of silence. Finally, he spoke in a hushed tone, almost as if talking to himself. “Then he is Dracula’s child. I suspected as much. But…”
Twin tears fell from the corners of her eyes, but try as she might, she couldn’t move her neck enough to nod her head. Everything ached. Everything burned. “Dracula will be so angry. He will never forgive me for leaving.”
“You broke his heart.”
Two more tears. “I broke mine as well.”
“Your Grace,” someone interrupted on the opposite side of the room, “Dracula has arrived.”
Shivers raced down her spine at the thought of the inevitable confrontation, the breakout of a silent war and a battle of wills. But worst of all, she feared the look of betrayal and heartbreak sure to stare back at her in his eyes.
“I’m not ready,” she breathed, but winced again at the agony in her lungs.
Nicolae didn’t reply as if he also anticipated an inevitable explosion of anger.
She barely managed to peek her eyes open to find the vampire strolling across the room to speak quietly to another vampire, one she didn’t recognize, who stood in the doorway with uncertainty written across her face.
“Your discretion, please,” Nicolae murmured, though she heard each word. “This is an incredibly…delicate matter.”
“Then you wish me to only tell him about his mate’s return.”
Nicolae’s grimace pulled on his delicate features. “The moment he steps into the castle, he will catch her scent. Believe me, he already knows.”
Elisabeta pulled her attention away from Nicolae with his long, blond hair dripping down his back and centered it on Alucard, who sat on the floor with fangs bared, chewing mercilessly on a wooden rattle. The boy’s dark brown locks resembled his father’s, as well his beautiful dark brown eyes. He was her handsome, precious little vampire baby.
She watched as he crawled across the room in his exploration, still unable to walk on his own. A soft smile pulled on her lips, at least until her lungs seized and a hacking cough pricked her with a hundred deadly needles. Nicolae rushed to her side and helped her sit back against the pillows of the bed, pressing a cup of water to her lips. The cool liquid helped dispel the stinging burn, but her lungs still ached something fierce.
“Promise me,” she wheezed, eyes frantic. “If he rejects his son, take care of him like your own kin.”
A deep frown settled on Nicolae’s face as he looked her over with a sharp gaze missing nothing. “You won’t die—”
“I know my limits.” She coughed again, eyes watering against the burn in her head, her face, her neck. “I did not come here for myself. I came to give my boy a chance at a good life.” She gripped his hand, her expression pleading. “Promise me.”
He paused, lips pressed together, before he managed a nearly imperceptible nod. Moments later, a boom of doors slamming open sounded in the hallway, followed by a crash. Shatter! The piece of pottery in the hallway likely broke across the floor.
“Where is she?!” Dracula snarled, followed by another crash.
Perspiration clung to Elisabeta’s hands not associated with the fever. She stared at the door with wide eyes. Watching. Waiting. The only solace she received was knowing vampires couldn’t enter a room without permission.
A fist slammed against the bedroom door again and again, rattling the walls, the sconces, and knocking a painting to the ground. The wooden frame broke in two places. And across the room, Alucard’s chin wobbled. If she did nothing, he would soon cry and give his existence away long before she could gently deliver the news to the vampire she still loved with her entire heart.
“I know you’re in there!” he shouted, his fist thundering against the door once more. “Come out and face me. Or are you too much of a coward?”
He sounded furious. And rightly so. After she’d chosen to steal the petrified dragon egg over staying in Ichor Knell as his mate, she deserved his disdain. Stealing the egg had cost her greatly, resulting in her losing her twin brother Miles as well as Dracula. She regretted the decision so very much.
With a wince, she shifted in the bed until her legs dangled over the side, her feet touching the cold floor. For a moment, her surroundings swayed, and she closed her eyes to adjust to the dizziness clutching her head.
Nicolae stopped her progress with a cautioning hand to her elbow. “Elisabeta, you must rest.”
“I cannot meet him half dead on a cot. I must stand on my own two feet.”
Her hands trembled as she painstakingly tugged her braid out until her long red locks loosened and fell around her shoulders. She knew it wasn’t enough to detract from her flushed skin, the shadows around her eyes, nor the pale tint to her lips. Despite his anger toward her, she wanted to feel attractive in his presence.
Her efforts were a lost cause.
A louder bang than before crashed into the door and splintered the edges of the door. But it remained shut. Alucard’s lower lip jutted out, his eyes wide as he stared at the door. She could not meet Dracula and console her child at the same time, trusting Nicolae to comfort him when the inevitable happened.
She took a deep breath and stood on wobbly feet. The dreaded meeting could not come at a worse time.
Elisabeta’s intoxicating scent of wildflowers filled Dracula’s nostrils with sweet rapture, hurt, and absolute betrayal. It suffocated him, yet he was desperate for it even knowing it would kill him. He needed it. He needed her. And he hated himself for it.
Anger burst through him like an explosion of fireworks as he pounded on the door with his fist. Another satisfying crack split into the wood. The intense burn of the barrier preventing him from entering pulsed through his hand. But he didn’t care. It could burn him to a crisp for all he cared. But this door was done for.
But as he raised his fist to finish the task, a baby’s cry from within the room halted him in his tracks. He stopped, his hand poised mid-strike. Ice crawled up his legs and froze him to the spot. A baby. But not Nicolae’s two-year old girl. The cry was different.
He stumbled backward as a new weight crashed into his chest. The heaviness of devastation pushed on his shoulders until his legs wobbled with the burden of carrying it. His heart ached at the thought of her taking another male as her mate. As he was a vampire, he could only take one mate for the rest of his life. But Elisabeta was human. The same rules didn’t apply to her race.
The child’s wailing eased into whimpering and then sniffling, but it did nothing to erase the pain festering in his heart like stubborn, overgrown weeds.
Someone on the other end of the door gave it a firm tug. It remained stuck to the door frame, thoroughly jammed after his destructive escapade. A part of him almost stepped forward to help, but his body refused to move and instead hugged the opposite wall with a growing ache and fear in his gut. At last, the door broke free, and a slender woman with long red hair slipped into the dim hallway and attempted to close the door behind her. It refused to cooperate, and instead hung ajar on broken hinges.
Dracula’s lips parted in shock at finding himself face to face with his mate after two eternally long years. She was different, yet the same. Instead of loose trousers and shirt, she wore a dress that hugged a much more feminine figure than he remembered. Her red locks reached her lower back rather than her shoulders and draped downward in elegant waves. But her eyes. The beautiful green stared back at him with the same fiery spirit she’d possessed during their short courtship and even shorter matehood.
Daggers, he loved this woman. And he hated her for it.
Instantly, his defenses rose like the hackles on a threatened wolf. “I told you to never return to Ichor Knell again,” he spat. He stepped closer, towering above her. “I want you gone.”
She swallowed, then swallowed again. A hot, breathy exhale left her mouth before she leaned more heavily on the doorframe. “I’m sorry,” she whispered as if speaking taxed her. “I chose the dragon egg, and it was a mistake that cost me dearly.” A shimmer rested in her eyes, and she lowered her eyelids as if to try to hide it. “I realized my mistake not even ten minutes after our parting. I fought Miles for the egg, to bring it back to you, but he was stronger than me. He dragged me onto that blasted ship.” Candlelight reflected on the moisture running down her face. “I could not return because he refused to dock the ship. And then we were attacked…” Another swallow. “Miles is dead. I wasn’t sure what to do next.”
Her apology and confession startled him, and he stepped away from her until his back rested against the wall once more. A small part of the agonizing ache settled. At least until the child whimpered again inside the room.
His defenses shot upward once more. The betrayal stung worse than anything he’d ever experienced before. It curdled his blood. It churned his stomach. “Where is the child’s father?” he asked in an accusing tone. “Did he die in the attack, too?”
His mate closed her eyes and released a long breath before she slowly opened the door to reveal Nicolae bouncing a young child in his arms. The breath halted in his lungs, his body freezing over as he stared back into dark brown eyes, as his gaze roamed over dark brown hair and fangs barely protruding from beneath his lips.
“That’s…that’s…” Yet, as he attempted to speak, his words failed him. My child.
The resemblance was unmistakable.
“If you think I would lie with another after you,” she said in a hoarse whisper, “then you are a fool for not knowing just how much I loved you. How much I still do.”
Emotion constricted his throat as he pulled his gaze from his son to his mate. The green of her lovely eyes ensnared him, rooting him to the spot. “Elisabeta…” He lifted his hand but his fingers hovered just over her cheek. A part of him wanted to bridge the gap. Another part of him cowered beneath the fear that she might leave him again.
“His name is Alucard,” she said quietly to break the silent tension between them, and his throat constricted again when he realized it was Dracula but backward. She’d named their son after him. “And he’s been waiting a long time to meet his father.” She motioned with her head for him to enter the room. The shimmering barrier flickered out.
Yet, he hesitated as he noticed the concerned, distrustful look the boy gave him. “But I frightened him earlier.”
“Children are forgiving.” She nodded her head a second time. “Go on. Try again.”
Dracula took one step into the room. And then another. His son kicked until Nicolae set him onto the ground. But instead of crawling, he pushed himself into a standing position and once again watched him warily as if waiting for something.
Holding his breath, Dracula knelt to one knee and held out a hand. “Look how big you are already. Come here. Let me see you.”
Although he didn’t know if the child understood him, Alucard began teetering in his direction with one foot in front of the other. When he stumbled and was about to fall, he caught him and lifted him into his arms. Alucard grabbed his nose and then his hair as if learning who he was. The small child’s nostrils flared as he scented him, and as if finding his scent agreeable, he leaned in and rested his small head on his shoulder.
Emotion clogged his throat and burned his eyes. His son. He couldn’t believe it. This was his son.
He turned his head to find Elisabeta smiling softly at them and his heart thumped hard in response. He amended his statement. This was his family. And he loved them with his whole heart.
For a moment, he returned his attention to Alucard, who nuzzled his face into his shoulder as if trying to memorize his scent. But the sound of a thump behind him caused him to spin around. His chest squeezed with horror when he found Elisabeta on the ground, her eyes closed and her body limp. He set his son down and rushed to her side, turning her over only to find her face pale and shadows beneath her eyes. He picked up her hand and held her wrist beneath his nose.
Horror struck him once more at the unmistakable scent of imminent death. He’d been so preoccupied with her return that he hadn’t noticed. He should have noticed!
“Please,” she begged, her hoarse voice hardly audible as her fingers reached out and weakly gripped his shirt. “Just hold me one last time.”
He pulled her closer and wrapped his arms tight around her until no space separated them. He buried his fingers in her hair and rooted out her alluring scent wafting from her neck. His insides trembled with the fear of losing his mate, the love of his life.
“Don’t talk like that,” he soothed.
“She’s sick,” Nicolae said behind him.
Dracula shook his head vehemently. “She’s dying.”
The faint flutter of her pulse losing its luster alarmed him. He stood with her in his arms and set her on top of the bed. With the motion, his hand brushed against her forehead. The burn of a fever scalded him. He glanced from Alucard to Elisabeta, and slowly, his eyes widened. His mate was a human. How was a human supposed to feed a vampire?
Dread fell over him as he reached for her arm and pulled up her sleeve. Small pinprick scars covered her wrist, her arm, and traveled farther beneath her sleeve.
Beside him, Nicolae swore. “She’s lost too much blood over and over again. Her body couldn’t sustain feeding the child.”
“Why didn’t she come to me sooner?” His chest felt like it began to cave in as the reality of the situation struck him. He’d only just got his family back. He couldn’t bear to lose them again. He couldn’t bear to lose his mate.
The backs of his fingers brushed her feverish temple, then her sallow cheek. Raspy breaths escaped her lungs. And as he brushed her neck, he felt her pulse beating slower…slower…slower…
She was dying. Not just dying, but she only had minutes left at best.
In a moment of desperation, he sprouted his fangs with the intent to bite her and turn her into a vampire like them. But as he tried to produce venom, his well came up dry in his state of terror. Panic raced through him as the moments passed, as her pulse slowed even more.
“We need to turn her.” He released his mate to grab Nicolae by the shoulders. “You need to turn her.” He cast an anxious glance toward Elisabeta. “Please. I beg you. I can’t lose her again.”
His friend stared at him, uncertainty pressed between his lips. “This is no light matter, Dracula.” Yet, Nicolae approached the bedside.
“Elisabeta.” Nicolae touched her neck with two of his fingers. No response. “I would like your consent before we attempt to transition you into a vampire. You might not survive the strain on your body, but…”
Again, no answer. Not even a twitch of her eye or quicken of her pulse.
Dracula rocked back on his heels, terror gripping him tightly as he watched the life slowly drain from her. His beautiful mate had only been back in his life for less than ten minutes, and faster than he could blink, she was slipping right through his fingers once more.
Determination drew his eyebrows together, and he clenched his jaw as he decided he refused to lose her again. Especially not to death.
Concern rested in the bridge of Nicolae’s nose. “Are you sure? She could resent you for the rest of your life. Either that, or it could cause her unfathomable pain, only for her to die anyway.”
“The Elisabeta I remember would not have shied away from the opportunity to become a vampire. If she had known this was an option, she would have chosen it. I’m sure.”
After another moment of hesitancy, Nicolae nodded and sprouted his fangs. Dracula tenderly brushed his mate’s red hair away from her neck and kissed her forehead. Fear, hope, terror, and relief mingled together in an unstoppable flood.
The yellowish liquid of Nicolae’s venom dripped from his fangs moments before he lowered his head. In a flash of movement, he sank his fangs into Elisabeta’s neck. Her body bucked as if without her consent. Nicolae bit her first wrist. Her eyes flew open. He bit her second wrist.
The sound alone ripped an Elisabeta-sized hole in his heart, and moments later, Alucard began wailing. He pushed Nicolae aside, eyes wide as he stared down at his mate, her hair splayed out around her as she writhed in pain. Every negative emotion connected with her fled from him. Betrayal. Hurt. Sadness. Heartache. They all disappeared as he knelt beside her. She breathed heavily, her face contorting with agony. Sweat beaded her entire body as if fire burned her from the inside.
Nicolae quickly swept his son out of the room, his wailing reaching his ears far long after they left. As much as he wished to console his own child, his concern for Elisabeta grew with each of her ragged breaths. He took her hand and trailed his fingers through her hair again and again as if that alone could take away her pain. It didn’t.
She screamed again, but this time it didn’t sound quite human. It sounded like a mix between a human scream and a vampire screech. She was already transitioning. And from the looks of it, the transition was winning over her deadly sickness.
“My sweet Elisabeta,” he whispered. “I’m here. You won’t have to go through this alone.”
He hadn’t a clue if she was aware of his presence when she appeared delirious. She thrashed and screeched and wheezed. He watched helplessly. There was nothing he could do to ease the pain of the vampire transition. Although he had never experienced it himself, he had seen firsthand the horrific pain that followed a vampire bite. He wished he could take it away.
Nicolae returned by himself with the cloth and water, and Dracula dipped the cloth into the basin and placed it on Elisabeta’s hot, sweating forehead. Her writhing stopped for a few moments, and he was relieved at least something helped.
He stroked her long red tresses once more. Truthfully, he had missed her beyond imagination. Bond or no bond. He missed their little games. He missed their deep conversations. He missed everything about her, and dare he say it, he almost missed those ugly trousers she used to wear.
He spent long hours beside her during the painful process of transitioning. She writhed. She perspired. She screamed. And it tortured him. He vowed to love her no matter what. He would forget the heartache of the past and love her because her mere presence filled him with joy.
He felt a movement beneath his head, and he hadn’t realized he had fallen asleep until he heard Elisabeta say his name.
His head shot up and relief spread through him when he noticed the lack of perspiration on her skin, the nonexistent writhing and screaming. Her skin looked a shade paler, and he couldn’t tell if her transition caused it or if she looked pale because of the ordeal she just endured. But what took him aback most were her red eyes. She was thirsty.
“Elisabeta,” he whispered. He kissed her hand. Her arm. Her cheek. Her head. “Please forgive me for making you go through this. I didn’t know what else to do.”
She opened her mouth to speak, but her voice came out raspy and indecipherable. “Water,” she finally managed to say. “Please, I’m so thirsty.”
Instead of fetching water, he reached for the goblet of blood Nicolae had brought earlier before he’d left again and held it to her lips. She drank thirstily like a human who had been trapped in the desert for weeks. When she finished, her eyes flashed back to green. The transition created a hollow ache inside of him.
“There is nothing to forgive,” she said, handing the goblet back to him. She hadn’t grimaced over drinking human blood, which brought him a small amount of relief. She also didn’t appear surprised at waking up no longer human. “It is I who needs your forgiveness. I did something to you that was downright cruel.”
Yes, it had been downright cruel. But he had never felt more alive than in those weeks of knowing her.
“Was there any point—” He paused as he contemplated his next words. But he was no coward, and he needed to know the answer. “At any point, did you love me? Or was it all just tricks and games?” Of course, she’d said she’d loved him and still did, but he needed more reassurance.
His mate nodded weakly. “I realized I loved you when you kissed me for the first time.”
“In the forest during the Game?”
She smirked, and that alone eased the tension inside of him. He remembered the look well. “Wasn’t it you who told me those weren’t real kisses? Now you finally admit it?”
“I admit nothing,” he replied as he crossed his arms, but his grin bellied his stubborn display.
When she placed her hand on top of his, a deep gratitude filled him just from her mere presence. He had missed her terribly, and now that she was here, he never planned on letting her go again. Not her nor their son.
“I still love you, Dracula,” she said quietly. “You didn’t have to be my mate for me to remain completely loyal to you. I hope you will take me back. But if you want me to leave, then I will.”
He rested his forehead against hers and whispered, “Never again, draga mea. I am yours.”
They remained silent for several minutes, and he hungrily drank in her new scent. No longer did she smell like a human, but she smelled distinctly vampiristic, although she still retained the scent of wildflowers. It was far too rousing for her own good.
Elisabeta pushed him gently away and trailed her fingers along the features of his face before she played with the ends of his hair. “Alucard looks so much like you, Dracula. He has my ears, but that’s all.”
“He’s very handsome then.”
“Very,” she laughed. “He has your very image.”
She reached for the ring on her finger and held it out to him, and he swallowed the emotion that rose with it. The kumari’s ring. She had kept it all this time?
“I believe this is yours. I should have returned it long ago. It was not mine to take.”
“It is absolutely yours to take.” He closed her fist around the ring and kissed her knuckles. “I want you as my kumari. If you will have me.” Her eyes widened in surprise, and he continued, “If you refuse, I will remain on my knees until you yield.”
Her gentle fingers touched his face, and he sighed into her touch. “I am sure that would be breaking one of your many courting rules,” she teased.
“Oh, it definitely is. At least two.”
“When I am Kumari, the first thing I will abolish are your silly rules. I don’t like rules.”
“I’ve noticed.” Still, he smiled joyously. She had agreed to stay with him. For the first time in two years, his future didn’t look so bleak. Quite the opposite, in fact. They could be a family. Throughout this life and the next. Him, Elisabeta, and their dear son they’d created together with their love.
She sobered, and for the first time since her transition, she reached up to her mouth and touched the place where her gums concealed her new fangs. “I don’t know how to be a vampire.”
“Of course you do. You pretended to be one for weeks and no one was the wiser. You even drank blood as a human to keep up your pretense. Besides, Nicolae, Lucian, and I will be here to help.” He grinned wickedly as he caressed her smooth neck. “Now I can finally give you that love bite.”
She returned his grin with a coy look. “I made you promise to never bite me.”
He shrugged. “But now that you are a vampire, the promise is obsolete. Shall we practice?”
He had only been half-serious, which was why it took him by surprise when she wrapped an arm around his neck and pulled him down to kiss him. A spark he hadn’t felt in years came to life inside of him, and he was powerless against it. He gave in all too easily as he returned her kiss, deepening it with the passion growing inside of him. He threaded his fingers through her hair, breathing out fiery passion. It felt bloody good to kiss his mate again.
Running his fingertips up her arms, he pinned them above her head and kissed her neck, her jaw, and then fire smoldered between them as he resumed kissing her lips. He poured every lost moment, every missed day into the kiss. He tangled his fingers into her hair, he pressed his body more firmly against hers.
He yelped as her fangs sprouted from her gums and pierced his lip. He instinctively jerked away and pressed his hand to his bleeding lip.
“I am so sorry,” she gasped. “I didn’t mean to— I didn’t realize—”
He couldn’t stop himself from laughing at her fluster while his small puncture wound started to close up. “Young vampires cannot easily control their fangs nor their venom. It will come with time, I promise.”
“Then you aren’t angry?”
Grinning wickedly, he shook his head and placed feather kisses on her neck. “Though, it isn’t fair that Nicolae got to bite you first. I want a turn as well.”
She returned his grin and whispered in his ear, “Gladly.”