TT the 14th + HNT

I’ve been pondering things lately. In my life, blogs, forums, websites, boards, work… just everywhere. Part of my pondering had to do with the things I post. I don’t really like to be predictable, which is why things like TT and HNT aren’t exactly my thing. I know they tend to draw traffic to your blog, but the reality here is… do you see any ads? Do I look like I’m whoring for traffic? Hee hee.

Now, if you have ads on your blog, don’t get all offended. That was a rather tongue in cheek remark and not meant to infer that those of you with ads on your blogs are whoring for traffic. I guess if I thought I could make enough to pay at least one bill, I’d do ads. But I sincerely think that not enough people come here to read my bullshit for it to be worth the inconvenience and disruption of my theme’s symmetry.

Anyway, I decided to do both Half Nekkid Thursday and Thursday Thirteen today. Probably because I already have a pic to use for HNT and I came up with a weird idea for TT. (If there was a theme or prompt this week – oh, well. I never follow prompts. I don’t like to be hemmed in!) At first, I was thinking of making my TT a list of all the people I thought would read my Pink Chair Diaries submission and comment. But that list bothered me. So here’s my offering for today. Enjoy!


Hey, if Fab can show his toes, and Avitable can get a purple pedicure… so can I! Personally, I think my feet look like Flintstones feet, but at least I don’t have bunions or anything gross like that.

Now, for my 14th Thursday the Thirteenth I give you, thirteen ways I can attend my company’s annual picnic without going solo.

1. I can have my kid bring two friends. One as her guest and one as mine. Oh, yeah. A teenage date at a function where I’m the chairman of the event committee. That will look good on a resume.

2. Invite a local blogger. Umn, this leaves me only a few choices really. Hilly, Jason X, Kaige… those are the only people I can think of who are fairly local for me. I wouldn’t mind taking any of them since I like them all a lot. However, I don’t know if I would have enough courage to screw up to ask. I screw up a lot of crap, but courage ain’t usually one of em.

3. Pay for Shinygal to fly out for the weekend. This one is really problematic. First, there’s the money issue and second, there’s the issue of her house closing escrow this week. However, if I knew that Avenged Sevenfold was gonna be around, hanging in some local HB club that weekend, I bet she would hock her grandma to come out here.

4. Invite the entire blogosphere via Twitter and hope that whoever has the money and inclination to take me up on my offer isn’t some really strange and fucked up person like a midget who works for the slaughterhouse or something.

5. Ask my brother to stay an extra week so he can attend. Meh. So not a good idea. I’d really rather NOT take any of my family members to this event. Not him, not any of my nieces or nephews… just no family. They know too many things about me … like my childhood nickname. It would totally undermine my position as the computer nazi in the office if that nickname got out.

6. Take my “mother-in-law” aka Rott’s mom. She’s a nice lady. She’s pretty good to me too. Slips me moohlah sometimes. I actually wouldn’t mind if she went cause she’d like playing bingo probably and she’s not colorful at all, so probably no one would remember her come Monday. However, she’s not a good driver so I wouldn’t really like to ask her to drive the 20 miles to the park from her house. And at the current price of gas, I’m so not driving to get her.

7. I could place an ad on Craigslist for a date. I’d probably get some pretty interesting takers, wouldn’t you think? “Woman needs date to cemetery company picnic.” Whoever answers the ad would probably look like Dave did in his Goth video, only scarier.

8. Place an ad on eHarmony or one of those dating sites. I really think I wouldn’t get anything but some con artist from Africa who would expect me to wire him all kinds of money to come. Then he’d just take the money and never show. Those dating sites are filled with con men. It’s really pathetic how they try to prey on women who just want a relationship. You’d think that nice looking old man who hawks eHarmony on TV would screen these fuckers better. Or maybe he’s getting a cut of the scam money…

9. Place an ad on one of the “adult” sites. I’d get the best offers here, I think. I’ve been a member of one of those sites before. Got a boyfriend from adult friendfinder years ago. Austin was hot. A little flaky, but hot. And he wasn’t bullshitting me about liking me either. Yeah, it could be interesting to show up with some hot young thing who was all over me. Heh. The only problem would be everyone wondering what happened to Rott. (Who is away, and won’t be back in time to go. Not that he ever did go to the picnic. Not his thing.)

10. Hire an escort. This one could spell lots of fun. Other than the money issue, I’d probably find this to be an excellent solution. These guys always know how to handle themselves at an event like this. The only question would be… would he expect me to handle him?

11. Pick up some random dude off the street. This was my kid’s idea. You’re shaking your head, aren’t you? My reasons for not liking this idea are directed at Motley, not the rest of you. Are you out of your fricking mind? I’d end up with some scumbag meth-head who would pick my pocket and rifle my purse! Not to mention what damage he could do at the picnic. Geez.

12. Put an ad in the local paper. Meh. All the single guys who would be looking at those ads in Orange County are either looking for a sugar mama or are rejects from Revenge of the Nerds VI or something.

13. Bring the guy who just got fired. I like him. He’s a lot of fun. I was sad to hear he got fired. Boy, would it stir the shit pot. LOL Of course, it would be a bad move on my part if I ever wanna entertain any idea of moving up the promotion ladder. God, it would be funny though.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Happy TT, HNT, and just plain ole Thursday to all of youse guys!

TT the 13th

This Thursday Thirteen is about cemeteries again. This time it’s 13 random things about cemeteries, graves, related websites and tours, famous deaths, etc. Just a collection of odd bits that you might find fascinating or gruesome. My personal favorite: #1. I could spend hours touring that cemetery using the virtual tour!

1. Pere Lachaise Cemetery – This is one of the most famous cemeteries in Paris. Lots of famous people buried there including Jim Morrison. The thing I like about it, is that it has this virtual tour on it’s website… it’s just like walking through it but not as tiring. Awesome!

2. Batesville Casket Company is one of the largest casket companies in the world. It’s headquartered in Batesville, IN.

3. Here’s a video on how caskets are made:

4. Tyler Cassity of Hollywood Forever Cemetery is a pretty hot looking guy. His cemetery is really cool too. Lots of famous people buried there.

5. Ave Maria is a popular choice of music for funeral services. It’s typically sung in Latin by choirs. Here’s a version of the classical song done in English by the rock band Soundgarden.

6. Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is the probably the most famous cemetery in the U.S. I’ve been there and it was a visit that was a stand out among the many places I’ve seen in this country. The Eternal Flame on JFK’s grave is strangely moving. Even more moving is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The sentinels are awe inspiring. If you’ve never heard the story of these sentinels, click this link and check it out. Also, the cemetery’s website has a page on the training the sentinels go through. It’s a really fascinating read.

7. The most famous of the English are buried, not in a cemetery, but at a church. The monarchs of England are buried at Westminster Abbey.

8. Looking for a famous grave? Check out Find A Grave. There’s a ton of info here. I can’t tell you if it is completely accurate though.

9. When you’re done looking for graves, head on over to Find A Death and check out all the “deliciously sordid” stories of the deaths of famous people.

10. Speaking of Find A Death , they have some pretty interesting (or gruesome depending upon your take on this stuff) “memorabilia”. Here’s a link to Diana, Princess of Wales’ death certificate. Doesn’t mean a whole lot unless you read French.

11. Here’s another site that has info on celebrity grave sites This guy calls himself the Grave Hunter.

12. Going back to Hollywood Forever Cemetery, here’s a link to their virtual tour of their celebrity graves.

13. With Memorial Day drawing near, I thought I’d end with this video and a poem that I love that is quite fitting with the vid.

In Flanders Fields

by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD

(1872-1918) Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Happy TT!

Thursday Thirteen the Twelfth

This hasn’t been the best of weeks for me. Those of you who came by last week will notice that my last TT is missing from this blog. I removed it. On purpose. Just because someone might misconstrue it. If you really wanna know where it is now, email me. I’ll let you in.

So I don’t have a TT prepared. I’m winging it with some help from the Bar.

Thirteen Mysterious Characters from the Bar Story
1. Macaire – Macaire is a Fallen Angel. The FAs are very powerful. Marius the Archangel “creates” the angels from children who died. The FAs are supposed to be good, but Macaire is extraordinary. He’s stalking Nyx McClaren and already threatened her and her mate Valerian Kronos. He hasn’t done anything against them yet, but he keeps hinting that he will.

2. Damaris Fontaine, the Blood Mistress – Damaris is the keeper of the vampire annals (the history of all vampires) and the vampire bloodlines and lineage. She’s the daughter of the vampire deity, which makes her a demi-goddess I suppose. So far she’s shown herself to be good, but who knows what could happen? She’s just mysterious and powerful enough that you just aren’t sure whether she’s good or evil.

3. Mr. Fabulous – The only thing we know about him is that the Blood Mistress is afraid of him. That means, he must be more powerful than her. No indication yet whether he is good or evil, but he may be a vampire and may have some sort of ties to the demon realm. He may also have ties to the vampire deity.

4. Darrien Ellsworth – Darrien is a vampire. Someone in the story is his father. So far his father hasn’t been revealed. Dad doesn’t know he has a son. Darrien’s gonna tell him in a not so nice way. We don’t know yet if Darrien is good or evil, but he and his brother Sebastian are hanging out stalking Darrien’s dad.

5. Kendall Reed – The vampire musician shares a past with rock star Rune. Not a carnal past, but a past that has to do with their childhood, music, and secrets. She has Rune by the balls over a song he stole from her. It’s not known yet whether she will twist them or forgive him.

6. Bram Steele – Bram is a former junkie. He lost almost everything to drugs, which seems odd for a vampire, but it’s true in Bram’s case. Now, he’s rebuilt his life and his music career. He’s just made up with old friend Dominic Solent. It seems pretty obvious that Bram is a good guy, but who knows what’s in his past waiting to come out.

7. Garren Fairfax – Garren is a mage who inherited a strange magical house. In the house is a huge golden cage that encircles Garren’s current captive. The cage moves when the captive moves. So basically, the captive has free run of the house. There’s magic in the house that allows it to not be seen except by certain persons. Garren first looked like a bad guy who was holding someone hostage. Now that he’s taken in Khatira the djinn’s bottle (her brother put the golden cuffs on her making her a genie), he seems more of a good guy.

8. Seth Chrysaor – Seth is a legendary creature. The chrysaor is the son of a god and a Gorgon. He has strange powers, and a mouth full of sharp pointed teeth when he’s in battle mode. He has already shown that he’s a good guy when he helped kill the demon who was possessing Rune and helped kill the Black Widow, Rachel Sullivan.

9. Christian De Ambrose – Christian, yet another vampire, is the former lover of rock star Carlisle Ross. He broke up with her, and left to pursue a career as a writer. Now he’s in Paris, stalking Carlisle, and digging up dirt on her fiance’s family. He has not yet shown whether he’s a good guy or a baddie.

10. Devlin Von Karman – Devlin is some kind of ancient shape shifter. He appears to be a good guy so far, because he’s helped out Aneira Rudolph the white werewolf, for whom he has a little crush. However, there is something else lurking beneath the surface. His friendship with vampire Veronica Pierce, for one.

11. Eden Wellesley – Eden is human and is the bloodmate of a vampire. So far, Eden has resisted his attempts to bond with her. For some odd reason, she does not want to live forever. An ex-CIA agent, Eden has already shown herself to be one of the good guys, but why are there strange “relatives” from her past, who have connections to mages, showing up on her doorstep?

12. Elysia Grenville – The head of the Fallen Angels is strict and upright. She shows no emotion to either the people who work for her or her younger sisters. She’s a good guy, but she’s not very likable yet. Maybe there are secrets in her past… Certainly, she’s bound to show more of her hand when her youngest sister asks to be released from the FAs to go to the Afterlife.

13. Drey Wulf – Drey is a werewolf. He’s shown both good and bad sides to the readers by attacking Aneira, by having sex with her mom Jensen, who is in love with his brother, by teasing a wildling and a host of other things. Drey is a bad boy whom everyone loves because he just tells it like it is. He’s rough around the edges and manipulative, but he’s really just young and hotheaded rather than evil.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Hope you enjoyed another peek at the Bar characters. Have a great Thursday!

Thursday Thirteen the Tenth

Kiss me. People don’t say those words any longer. They just do it. Sometimes I wonder where the romance in a simple kiss has gone. Everyone thinks it’s so much more romantic to shove your hand down someone’s pants. Okay, maybe I do like the latter, but I like the former as well. Therefore, I give you, 13 kisses from the Bar Story.

Thirteen Kisses from the Bar Story

1. Alaric and Alexandria’s first kiss:

I found myself staring at Alaric while Carlisle’s beautiful voice sang to Stein. Suddenly, I wished with all my heart that Alaric would love me. That he would feel, say, and do everything that had happened in my dreams. I knew instinctively that if he loved me he would treat me as Stein treated Carlisle, as Alaric himself treated me in the dreams, the way my heart yearned for. He was a Kohl, but he wasn’t Johann… and he was a stranger to me except for what I knew of him from my dreams… what my heart knew.Carlisle stopped singing, and I blinked back a rush of tears, as Alaric turned away from my gaze. He stepped toward the door, and I sidestepped to the left to let him out. He stepped to his right, leaving us blocking each other again. He moved again, but this time I didn’t, and he knocked into me, almost knocking me to the floor. Anger, at my helplessness to have any control over my life, flooded me. “Bloody hell, Kohl! You’re freaking everywhere! I can’t get away from you. You even invade my fucking dreams!” My voice was hoarse and overflowing with emotion. I jerked away from the doorway.

His arms snapped out, dropping the suitcase on the floor as he grabbed me by the shoulders, growling, “What did you say? Did you say dreams? Cause I’m so tired of waking up hard, after spending my dreams being with you.”

I stared at him stunned, my lips parted in shock. “What the hell?” I whispered. He had the dreams too! What the hell was happening to us?

“Ah, fuck me,” Alaric muttered. He jerked me toward him, his head coming down as his mouth found mine. Electricity crackled between us as our lips met. The most exquisite pleasure I had ever felt seared its way through my body. Alaric must have been feeling something profound too, because he moaned against my lips and ran his hands down my back to grab my ass, lifting me off the ground as his tongue swept into my mouth.

The touch of his wet tongue to mine was like a match to dry brush. I went up in flames as my dreams came to life. I wrapped my arms around his neck and thrust my fingers into his dark silky hair. He kissed me so deeply that if I’d had a soul he would have touched it. I was drowning in sensation and then…I was on my own two feet staring wide eyed at Alaric whose chest was rising and falling rapidly with his jackhammer breathing.

“We need to talk,” he said breathlessly, his electric blue eyes boring into mine. “Not right now, but later. I want to know if your dreams are exactly like mine.”

“What does it mean?” I whispered, suddenly frightened.

He must have known what I was feeling, because he reached out a hand and tucked my hair behind my ear. “Don’t be afraid, Alexandria. We’ll figure it out,” he said softly in that honey over gravel voice. Then he turned and picked up his case, leaving the room with the soft click of the door closing behind him.

2. Rune and Gracie’s first kiss:

She didn’t speak to me or look at me during the elevator ride and once we got to the suite, she bolted for the bedrooms, looking for Spyder’s I figured. I went to the bar and poured myself a Jack and Coke. A weak one. I needed a shot to help steady my fractured emotions, but I wasn’t about to drown myself in case something went down. Two swallows into my drink, Gracie came storming into the room.“Where the fuck is my brother? All his stuff is here, but he isn’t. You said he was meeting us here,” she demanded, her foot tapping angrily on the carpet.

I took another swallow of my drink. “He went to see Bianca. He said he would meet us here. He didn’t exactly say when,” I said coolly, waiting for the explosion. It wasn’t long in coming.

“You bastard! You lied to me!” she fumed. “If my brother went to see his bloodmate, he won’t be back here until sunset. Which means, I’m outta here!”

She swung her backpack over her shoulder and headed for the door. I caught up with her in two long strides. “No, you’re not, Grace,” I growled, grabbing her arm and swinging her around. “Your brother gave me strict orders not to leave you alone today. I love Spyder like a brother, so I’m not about to go against his wishes. Added to that, it goes against everything I am to let you walk out of that door and into danger.”

She pulled against me, trying to free her arm from my grip, but couldn’t. That infuriated her. “Let go of me, you fuck! Everything you are is a big fat nothing! You’re just a poor fucking slob from Wales who got lucky with a guitar!” she yelled, struggling to free herself.

Her words cut my heart to ribbons, but I didn’t let go of her. “You can curse me all you want, Gracie, but you are not leaving this suite! If I have to handcuff you to the bed, I will!” I yelled back at her, fear and pain twisting inside me.

Her lips curled in derision. “You would. It’s probably the only way you really get girls,” she spat cruelly. “I’ve seen the tabloids. They all say you’re a closet fag! You probably are, which is why no one ever sees you with women. It’s not because you were deathlessly in love with Lex Valentine, it’s because you fuck men!”

The venom in her words cut me so deep that my masculine ego couldn’t take anymore. I jerked her against me, and held her immobile with one arm. The iron band of my arm around her made her eyes widen in shock and alarm. “You don’t really think that, Gracie,” I said in a low, menacing tone. “Half the reason you’re such a bitch to me is because you’re attracted to me. If you don’t believe my words, maybe you’ll believe this!”

She tried to turn her head away, knowing what was coming, but she couldn’t get away. My mouth found hers and for a split second her lips were clamped tightly together. When she discovered that my kiss wasn’t hard and angry, they suddenly gave way. Startled, my tongue stroked her bottom lip and the kiss turned hot and hungry. I could have sworn she was as caught off guard by the passion as I was, but then decided that I could have been wrong. Gracie effectively ended my internal debate when she kneed me.

As pain exploded in my groin, she shoved me onto the sofa and stalked off to Spyder’s bedroom saying over her shoulder, “I hope your dreams are sexual just to make it hurt worse! I’ll be in Spyder’s room. Don’t even fucking think of coming in!”

3. Spyder and Bianca’s first kiss after being separated by misunderstandings:

Pushing myself out of the chair, I stalked past Spyder and down the steps of the VIP area, heading across the dance floor toward the bathrooms. Several men whistled at me and tried to catch my attention, but I was angry and not in any mood to acknowledge them. However, behind me I did hear a few remarks like “Hey, what gives?” and “What the fuck?”. I ignored the surprised exclamations until, as I stepped into the dimly lit hallway where the bathrooms were, a hand grabbed my elbow, spun me around, and shoved me bodily up against the wall.A hard male body pressed into mine and warm breath teased my ear as Spyder hissed, “What the fuck are you wearing and where did you get it?”

I glared up at him, anger and pain ripping through me like giant claws. “I’m wearing clothes. Clothes I purchased with my own money,” I gritted out, trying to free my wrists from his iron hold.

Spyder’s jean clad hips ground into mine, holding me pinned as his hands pushed my wrists up until they pressing into the wall on either side of my head. “You don’t dress like this, Bianca. Whose clothes are they?” he asked angrily.

“Mine!” I spat, furious that he wouldn’t believe me. “I do dress this way! This is who I am now! Who you’ve made me into! I’m a woman who sleeps with any handsome man who comes along and lies to her!”

“Damn you,” he said hoarsely, his eyes filled with anguish and rage.

Spyder let go of my wrists and sank his long fingers into my hair, cupping my skull. My breath caught as I realized what he was going to do, but I had no time to escape before his mouth came down on mine. His lips were hard and firm, but the kiss itself wasn’t painful or angry. It was as if he couldn’t bring himself to touch me in such a manner. I opened my mouth on a silent sigh and his tongue slid against mine.

Every fiber of my being came alive. I didn’t know how I’d never recognized the signs. My body cleaved to his, my skin rippling with awareness, my breathing taking on a completely different tenor. He was my mate. I had given him everything there was of me to give. By the laws of my kind, I had mated him. And I was dying without him.

My heart swelled with an ache that sent gooseflesh over every inch of my body. I slid my arms beneath his duster and beneath his sweater, my fingers stretching out to touch his skin. An electric shock rolled though me as I touched him. I could feel how my body soaked up energy from being close to him, my power was so close I could taste it, but I knew there was only one thing that would give it back to me, and that was to bond with Spyder. If I didn’t mate him by the laws of his kind, I would remain powerless. If I remained apart from him as I was now, I would die. It was that simple. The die was cast and I could do nothing to change it. My very life was poised at a crossroads. The divergent paths were literally life and death.

Spyder tore his mouth from mine as I stroked my hands up his hard spine. “Are you staying here in Paris, Bianca?” he rasped, his breathing rough and rapid. “Because if you are, you might as well stake me now. Seeing you and not being with you, is killing me slowly. So tell me now, are you staying? Cause if so, you can have the city to yourself. I… I can’t be here with you and not have you. And since you don’t want me, I’ll leave.”

I stared at him, shock and pain widening my eyes. His face was ravaged, and he looked like someone had run over his puppy. I licked my lips and his eyes darkened. “I never said I didn’t want you, Samuel,” I croaked, my voice a bare thread of sound. My heart was thundering in my throat and I didn’t know what to say to him, what to do to unravel what was wrong between us.

4. Tarren and Helios’ first kiss:

I got up and unlocked the door. Ten I sat down on the chaise, setting Doro beside me and pulling my legs up to my chest so I could wrap my arms around them. I turned my head when I heard the door open. Helios slipped in dressed in jeans and a white tank top. That’s when I realized I was in my underwear and I grabbed the small lap blanket, wrapping it around my lower body. Doro scampered to the end of the chaise, staring at us with wide blue eyes. Helios looked at me and his eyes darkened, then he deliberately locked the door. I turned away from him staring at Doro who was now washing his face. Helios sat down beside me and reached out to take my hand in his. His thumb stroked my palm in a caress that sent shivers down my spine.“Can’t you look at me?” he whispered.

I turned my head back toward him, noticing how close he was. He sat on the other chaise and his knees were right up against the one I sat on. He was leaning forward so that he was actually only inches from me. Our eyes met and my heart began to race. I swallowed hard. His free hand came up and slid into my hair testing the texture. Then his fingers cupped the back of my head and he pulled me toward him. His mouth touched mine briefly, hesitantly. Electricity crackled through my body lighting every nerve ending. When I didn’t pull away, he kissed me again, this time more urgently, his tongue parting my lips, then sliding against my tongue.

I sat there not really kissing him back, but not putting up any resistance either. Everything I’d begun to feel for him since the moment he’d walked into Blackthorne Castle rushed to the surface as he kissed me. I felt as if I was coming alive. I tingled as if with an electric shock, and my skin burned with heat. I could feel Helios’ emotions flooding his thoughts and by extension, my own thoughts. He pulled away, his thumb coming up to stroke my bottom lip as we looked at each other, trying to figure this thing out.

“I can’t believe I didn’t know,” he murmured, his eyes never leaving me, never wavering. “The moment I touched you just now…I could feel it. I can feel the pull, the knowing, the feeling that this is what is right, what’s meant to be. You can hear my thoughts, you know the truth of what I’m feeling. Tarren, I…” He shook his head almost dazedly. “I want you. That kiss just told me that. And you want me too.”

5. Rhiannon’s first kiss ever, with Tobias, who turns out to be her mate:

“Hey!” the silver dragon said as the refrigerator door closed. “What about me? I could use a drink.”I turned back to the refrigerator and yanked out a carton of milk. I slapped it down on the counter beside him and reached for a clean glass from the cupboard beside his head. My bare midriff lightly touched his hand where it was now gripping the edge of the counter. I barely kept myself from sucking in a breath. His skin was very, very warm, and he smelled deliciously of exotic spices.

“Oh, yeah. Toby meet Rhiannon Blackthorne, daughter of the real black wyvern, Tristan. Rhi, this is Tobias Kronos, brother to Dare and Helios.” Vanora waved her fork in the air as she made the introductions. “Toby’s gonna be your bodyguard.”

I kept myself from showing any reaction to the small skin on skin touch and poured Tobias a glass of milk, turning away to put the carton back in the refrigerator. The microwave dinged, and I yanked Vinicio’s plate out without bothering to grab a pot holder. I felt the hot ceramic searing into my hand, but ignored it. I set the plate in front of Vinicio, who thanked me, and then bit back a swear word when he touched the hot plate. He stared at me in astonishment. “How did you touch that? It’s very hot!”

I shrugged and placed the bowl of cranberries on the table. I could feel my fingers blistering and muttered a short healing spell. The blisters began to recede. Just then Tobias grabbed my hand and looked at the fading red mark and blisters. “How the hell did you do that?” he asked. “And why the hell did you give me a glass of milk instead of a glass of wine like Vanora and Vinicio?” He looked down at me with a frown between his dark blonde eyebrows.

I jerked my hand away from him. “I have some ability with magic. I’m Welsh after all. As for the milk,” I spun away and pulled some rolls out of the breadbox, setting them in front of Vanora. “You’re working. No alcohol. I don’t want to have to save the sorry ass of my own bodyguard because his reaction time was slowed down by booze.”

“My reaction time is a lot quicker than yours, little girl,” Tobias snorted, but he drank down the milk anyway.

My eyes met Vanora’s, and the two of us exchanged a very female look. “I’m not so little, Tobias,” I told him in a matter of fact voice, ignoring the little shiver I got speaking his name for the first time and equally ignoring the fact that his name on my lips caused his hand to jerk as he set down the empty glass. “I’m almost as tall as you and my reactions should be far better than yours because I’m not corrupting my body with booze or staying out to all hours of the night draining my powers with sex.”

Tobias made a rude face. “Oh. A virgin. I should have known. Geez, Vanora, why couldn’t you have asked me to help out with someone a little closer to me in age? Someone who likes to have fun.”

Vanora pinned Tobias with her blue eyes. “She is close to you in age, Toby. Just because she’s a virgin doesn’t mean she’s not of age. And I know for a fact she likes to have fun. I seem to recall her doing a very sexy little dance while singing Miss Murder with Dominic Solent at the S&M.”

I hissed in a breath. Trust Vanora to defend me and let slip something that would have been better not said. Tobias gave me a thoughtful look and his silver eyes gleamed. “Wyvern’s daughter, huh?” he murmured. I thrust my chin in the air and stared him down with a look I copied from my father.

“I know the value of my place in this universe and I know how bad things are in the dragon community at the moment. I’m not about to put myself in jeopardy just because I don’t like your tone of voice,” I said, imitating my dad’s tone. “But I don’t have to like you one lick to appreciate or accept necessary extra protection.”

“How about a few licks, baby?” Tobias purred.

I drew myself up to my full height and my breasts strained at the old t-shirt. I shot him a look from my golden eyes that should have seared the scales from his hide. “You’re an arrogant ass,” I ground out.

“And you’ve got the nicest tits I’ve seen in a long time,” he grinned and reached out with a lightning fast hand to grab my wrist. “Let’s go outside and have a little chat. Maybe we can work out our differences so that we can manage to keep you safe without you blistering me with those golden flames you call eyes.”

Tobias pulled me out the kitchen door and over to the driveway where a beautiful Italian motorcycle sat. He leaned on the leather seat and eyed me thoughtfully in the moonlight. “I’ve never known a wyvern’s daughter,” he murmured. “You’re not really what I expected.”

“What did you expect?” I asked, thrusting my hands into the tight pockets of my jeans. “A prissy little princess?”

“Yeah, I guess so,” he smiled wickedly. “Certainly not a girl like you.”

“I suppose you want me to ask you what kind of girl you think I am?” I raised one eyebrow at him.

To my surprise Tobias shook his dark blonde head. “Nah. I’ll just tell you. You’re definitely proud. And you’ve got a touch of that arrogance you accused me of. You’re obviously very intelligent although I could question that since you didn’t fall right into my hands like a ripe peach.” Tobias grinned at me. “You’re certainly not little. You’re almost as tall as me. And there isn’t a thing about you that’s prissy from that ear full of holes to the hole in your nose and the streaks in your hair.”

“I have a tattoo on my ass too,” I murmured with a reluctant grin. “But my parents don’t know about it.”

Tobias’ eyes flashed at me and suddenly the air was charged with awareness. “Careful princess, I’m not a schoolboy,” he said softly.

I stared at him solemnly. “I know that. But I’m not your average dragon girl and by that I don’t mean the whole princess bullshit,” I told him plainly. “My family has been in hiding my entire life. Our lives are in danger every day. My father is half Moravian and my mother is a Siren. I have the blood of Welsh witches in my veins. I see things and dream things and know things that go far beyond what you can imagine. I have a responsibility to my family and my sept, once we return to it. I’m not a frivolous person going from one fun thing to another like you. My life isn’t about a good time.”

I stopped and drew a deep breath not thinking about how it would stretch that little t-shirt over my breasts. Tobias noticed, but didn’t react. Instead, he did something I never expected. He told me the truth. “My brothers have always been the responsible ones. There was never anything for me to do but have fun. They’re older, wiser, smarter, and better than me at everything,” he said with a grimace that wrenched at me. “The only thing I’ve ever been able to best them at is partying.”

He looked at me with such sincere eyes. I wanted to say something to make him feel better, and then realized I had the answer. “Tobias, obviously they aren’t better than you at everything,” I said in a low tone. “If they were, they would be here protecting me. Vanora isn’t a stupid woman. She wouldn’t have asked you to protect me if there was someone better.”

He laughed softly. “You sure Van wasn’t just trying to hook us up?”

I shook my head. “No. I doubt she thought a guy like you would even look twice at a girl like me. I’m not beautiful, and I’m way too tall to attract men. And you yourself said it…I’m a virgin.” I shrugged in a careless manner, hiding the fact that the conversation was suddenly severely depressing me. “Guys don’t like girls who don’t ‘do it’ and certainly no guy wants to be the one to risk the wrath of the black wyvern by kissing his daughter.”

I looked over my shoulder at the house with its golden light spilling from every window. When I turned my head back, Tobias had moved closer to me, his tall lean body only a few inches from mine. “Who the hell ever told you that you weren’t beautiful?” he said in a low tone. “You’re like a wild rose, all thorny and different, but with a beauty unlike any other rose. So beautiful, in fact, that I think I’ll risk the wrath of the black wyvern just to be the first one to taste those lips…”

His dark gold head leaned down and his hands settled on my shoulders. Then I felt the briefest of pressure on my closed lips. I stared up into Tobias’ eyes which were as open as my own. His breath was warm on my face then as his lips parted mine and clung damply. He kissed me softly several times. Then I felt the tiniest touch of the tip of his tongue in the center of my bottom lip, and I gasped.

Suddenly, Tobias jerked his head up and a growl emerged from deep in his chest. He was looking up at the sky. I tilted my head back to see what he was looking at. Coming toward us swiftly, were six black dragons flying in formation. Tobias hooked one hand around my arm and pushed me ahead of him, as he ran for the house. “Go!” he yelled at me.

“No!” I cried out. “I won’t leave you alone to face them! You’re outnumbered, Tobias!”

“Damn you,” he growled. “Get the hell inside, princess, and let me do my job.”

6. Mace and Sterling’s first kiss, in the cemetery in the middle of a vampire war:

Thinking of Desperians brought Mace to my thoughts. I’d seen him drive up in the Mustang and pull the Hellbound out of the trunk. Something about him sparked my interest. I hid a smile. It wasn’t an innocuous something either. He lit my panties on fire. One look at that bad boy expression and I’d been as wet as if he’d been touching me. All I needed was fifteen minutes alone with him, and I could end this night, and my life, in a way that would make me happy.I peered down the narrow cemetery road looking for vehicles or anyone headed this way. There was nothing. From inside the mausoleum, I heard the Hellbound yelling and laughing in his crazed manner. Then I heard Mace lose it. This was my chance I realized. I stepped silently into the mausoleum. Mace was thumping the Hellbound’s head against the granite side of the building and no one was stopping him. “Where are they, you crazy fuck?” he snarled.

“Turn him loose,” I said, gesturing to the Hellbound with the Glock in my hand. “He’ll lead us to his mistress. He knows nothing except to return to her side. Besides, I’m pretty sure they are below the Larouche mausoleum.”

Mace’s eyes met mine, and I saw instant sexual tension in them. He looked me up and down, and I could swear I saw his groin swell. I stepped away from the mausoleum door and Mace let go of the Hellbound. “Yes ma’am,” he murmured, his eyes telling something other than his words.

The Hellbound streaked out of the mausoleum and I turned to follow. Even without looking I knew that Mace was on my heels. We followed the Hellbound directly to the Larouche mausoleum. He wasn’t smart enough, or sane enough, to hide where he was going. I stepped up to the door and saw him disappear into a panel in the floor. I turned and found Mace looking over my shoulder at the disappearing Hellbound. My body brushed against his as I stepped down onto the dark narrow pathway. I slipped between two tombs and walked a short distance down the path to a shadowed curve where a tree stood next to the dark corner of yet another mausoleum.

I stopped and looked over my shoulder to find that Mace had followed me, as I’d known he would. I slipped between the mausoleum, the tree, and a tall wrought iron fence, my back against the cold marble. Mace stepped close to me, his body brushing mine.

“You’re giving me signals, Blondie,” he said in a low rough whisper as his fingers snaked through my silvery waves.

“You’re giving signals as well, Bad Boy,” I murmured and set my Glock on the ledge next to me. With a flick of my wrist, I popped the buttons on my leather jeans. I heard Mace draw in a hissing breath. Then his mouth was on mine, hard and grinding.

His fangs cut my lower lip, and I tasted blood. He ground his hips against mine, pressing me back against the cold marble wall, as his hands first gripped my shoulders then moved down to slide under the edge of my leather corset top to squeeze my breasts roughly. I thrust my tongue into his mouth fiercely, my hands clutching at his thick neck and muscular shoulders. His hands moved from my aching nipples to slide over my naked buttocks beneath my loosened jeans. The jeans slid to my knees and Mace’s knee wedged between mine, spreading my thighs for the rough caress of his fingers.

He groaned when he discovered my wetness, and I reached between us to unzip his jeans and release his hard cock. The velvety tip was already leaking fluid. I stroked it and his head fell back, a shaft of moonlight showing me the pleasure on his face. He groaned again. Then his head moved and his eyes met mine. “I don’t have a condom,” he gritted.

I shook my head, strands of my hair catching in the dark stubble on his jaw. “You don’t need one. I’m going to die tonight,” I told him, as I nipped at his strong neck.

7. Carlisle and Stein’s first kiss after a separation spanning several centuries:

The water felt soothing and warm. It caressed my skin like a lover. My sleep had been fitful. My emotions were a mess. I knew I was going to have to face Stein tonight. Strangely enough, my first thought was what the hell to wear. I grimaced as I washed my hair. How freakishly female of me to worry about what to have on when he saw me again after centuries.I rinsed my hair and began to sing Stevie Nicks’ Sorcerer. The song always reminded me of Stein. He’d been like a sorcerer to me, mastering my emotions, controlling my heart. I stood with the water cascading over me, when I heard the door open. I frowned. Dom wouldn’t come in while I was showering. I saw a dark shadow on the other side of the frosted glass. A tall, dark, man sized shadow. “Dom? What the hell are you doing in here?”

I heard a growl and my eyes widened. That was not Dominic. I took a step back, away from the glass as the door of the shower opened with enough force to wrench it from its hinges. A very big, very angry, Stein stood there. I gasped, partially because his beautiful hair was gone and partially because he was there in front of me, an angry alpha male, his brown eyes sweeping over my nakedness. A startled scream emerged from my mouth, but was cut off as Stein’s hand wrapped around the back of my neck dragging me to him as his mouth covered mine.

Shock held me still. I’d expected an angry kiss, but it wasn’t. It was hot and filled with longing. I melted like ice in a microwave. His tongue swept over my bottom lip and I moaned. Water spilled over his head as his tongue took possession of my mouth and his hands came up to cup my naked breasts. Suddenly, he pulled away from me and I stood there in the shower with the water spilling over me, gasping.

“Get dressed,” he growled and stalked from the room, leaving me trembling with shock, lust, and pain.

8. Dante and Roman’s first kiss:

She went at him for a good ten minutes, until he knew he couldn’t take anymore. He wondered if her jaw hurt and stroked his fingers over it as he pulled away from her. Her lips were red, swollen, and wet. Just looking at her sexy mouth made him want to come. He pulled her to her feet and ripped the little pink thong from her body. Then he realized he’d never even kissed her! Dear God, she taken possession of his body and he’d lost all his brains with one good suck of her luscious mouth.He speared his hands into her silky hair and tilted her head back. Her ice blue eyes were even paler if that was possible. He bent his head and nibbled at her bottom lip. She moaned, and her hands slid up his rib cage making him shudder. Her touch set him on fire. He’d never been so hot for a woman before. His mouth took hers and a bolt of sheer lust rocked him. Then her tongue touched his and fireworks exploded in his head. She was his. She had to be. No woman had ever made him feel like this. He didn’t want it to end. He wanted to cage her and keep her forever.

He groaned her name and her fingernails raked his back. The pleasure pain rippled through him, so intense he wished she’d clawed his flesh from the bone. His hands were all over her, the feel of her skin against his palms making him break out in a sweat. He was covered in gooseflesh, his nerves completely alive. One hand slipped between her thighs, and he found that she was hairless and soaking wet. Warm sticky fluid coated his fingers as he searched for that one special place… His forefinger grazed her clit. She bit his bottom lip, stifling a scream as her body went rigid. He couldn’t believe she was already orgasming.

Dante’s hips jerked as pleasure washed over her. She felt caught in a rip tide unable to catch her breath or make it to the surface. She was drowning in sensation. Being with Roman was like nothing she’d ever experienced before. Never in her life had she found so much pleasure in sucking a man’s cock. Never had she come so quickly or so hard just from the touch of his fingertip. Panting, still feeling the effects of her orgasm, she climbed his body, forcing him to grab her ass and hold her up. She threw her arms around his neck and clung to him, her mouth grinding against his.

Off balance Roman stumbled, slamming Dante’s back against the wall. He pressed against her, his thick cock sliding easily along her wet swollen flesh. She ripped her mouth from his and clutched his shoulders. “Fuck me,” she panted, her chest pressed tightly to his. “Fuck me hard.”

9. Nyx and Valerian’s kiss after he discovers she didn’t die when she was knocked off the roof of Blackthorne Castle into the North Sea:

Power flowed through me. It was rich and wonderful. I stretched my arms and tumbled effortlessly in its embrace. Cold and wet and salty. My wings floated out from me, and I felt myself at one with the water. I didn’t understand how anyone could mistake me for who I really was. Nessie, my ass. I glowed with joy at being free and felt my essence reaching to the surface of the water, glowing with happiness and power.Then I felt something disturbing the natural balance of the sea’s elements. I swirled in the water testing it, tasting it until I realized that someone’s tears were dripping into the sea. Alarmed, it dawned on me why tears were falling into the ocean. Valerian. He was mourning my death. My death? I wasn’t dead. Part of my body hurt like hell from hitting the bottom of the ocean floor at velocity, but I certainly was not dead. The ocean was my element. I breathed in the salty tang of the water and exhaled the water from my nostrils.

I opened my mind cautiously, not wanting Valerian to freak out. That’s when I knew that he had given up on finding me. I had been in the water too long to survive had I been a mortal or earth bound faerie. As much as I reveled in being in my own world again, where I could draw upon the source of my power and truly be myself, I had to go back. I began to swim for the shore feeling my body become less ethereal and more corporeal as I drew closer to the water’s surface. As I drew myself from the water up onto the rocky shoreline, my wings melted away. I shivered in the cold night air, wrapping my arms around myself. I sat down on a rock, half in and half out of the water, my legs and arms pulled close to my naked body to help keep the heat in.

Since I was still partially in the water I could feel that Valerian’s tears of pain and despair continued to drip into the sea. I took a deep breath and coughed as the last of the sea water was pushed out of my lungs by the air. Then I reached out to my love…

Val? I’m cold.

At first there was silence. A very stunned silence. Then I heard Helios tell his brother, Holy Aminan! Val, she’s alive!

Suddenly, a blast of pure joy enveloped me as Valerian shifted into dragon form and took to the sky looking for me. I tipped my head up and moments later saw him coming toward me, flying swiftly. All you needed was faith, Val. I would never leave you my love. My soul is useless without you, I told him trying to reassure him.

He landed awkwardly on the rocky shore, in a hurry to reach me, his huge body ungainly on the ground. His eyes met mine, as he shifted into human form once more. My eyes traced his beautiful body, every hard contour of his chest and thighs. Mine, I thought possessively as he came toward me.

Yes, Nyx. Yours. Forever yours.

The ground was uneven and rocky, and he was barefoot, but it was only a couple of minutes before Valerian reached the rock I sat on. He scooped me up into his arms and sat down on the rock, beginning to shake violently with reaction, as his mouth slashed down on mine. I wound my arms around him and kissed him back.

Nyx. Oh, Nyx. You scared me so badly. I couldn’t hear you. I couldn’t find you. I was so lost without you…

He continued to kiss me as his hands stroked me and pulled me into the hard warm curve of his body. He was frantic to touch me. I held him close and felt his fear begin to ebb away. As much as I’d loved being in the water again, taking my real form once more, and feeling my fae powers come to life, I could never leave my love behind. I looked into his eyes, those silvery eyes that glowed with love and looked like moonlight…moonlight? I pulled away from Valerian, breaking the kiss.

“The wash of the moon!” I exclaimed, clutching his naked shoulders in my hands. “It’s silver!”

He shook his head dazedly. “What are you talking about? Nyx, I thought you were dead! You disappeared into the water. I didn’t see you anywhere. What the hell happened to you? Caden hit you with his magic, you hit the water, and poof, you were gone!”

“Magic,” I murmured, my mind racing as I thought of how I’d felt when I returned to the water and my powers became fully vested. “The magic of the sea.”

I stared at Valerian’s puzzled and pain ravaged face, and suddenly I knew what was meant to be.

10. Tait and Mace’s first kiss:

A strange expression crossed his handsome face. I saw deep in his eyes that something in his hard won control cracked. With a swiftness of movement that I barely saw, he leaned across the table and took my mouth in a hard kiss. I gasped as his lips touched mine and, as my lips parted, his tongue darted between them, flicking at my tongue. Fire licked through me, and I felt myself launch into full blown arousal. My hands came up to cup his face and his kiss deepened. My eyelids fluttered down, and I gave myself over to the sensations his kiss was rousing in me. His tongue tangled with mine, and I moaned softly into his mouth. I opened my eyes then and saw him looking at me as he kissed me. His nostrils flared as he caught the scent of my instant arousal.I pulled back and dropped my hands from his face. Heat flooded my cheeks with wild pink color. I knew my eyes were deep dark purple, stormy with my emotions and my need to be with him. I knew that he knew how much I wanted us to take that kiss to the next level. His hands reached out and clasped mine on the worn formica table. “Where do you want to take this, Mace?” I asked in a shaky voice as my fingers caressed his.

He shook his head as if to clear it. “I just don’t know, Tait.” He drew a deep breath that expanded his already considerably broad chest. “I’m confused obviously. I’ve been through a lot lately. First I find my bloodmate and she’s killed the same night saving my life. I thought part of me died with her, I hurt that bad.”

“Silver Queen,” I murmured, my voice full of understanding.

He nodded. “Hard on the heels of that loss I discover I’ve already got a new bloodmate,” he sighed heavily and squeezed my hands tightly. “She’s everything I ever wanted, but my past came back to haunt me. Insecurities and torment that were all fed to me by my uncle who hated me. Then he tried to kill me,” Mace growled and I looked at him startled and filled with pain for what he had suffered. “I thought this record deal and having money and a future would make things easier for me and Vanora, but it hasn’t so far. She’s not ready to settle down and have children and that’s what I want right now. So when King Oberon took her, I was angry, but some of that anger is because I’m beginning to feel that maybe she’s not meant for me. There are too many obstacles. How could it be right?”

“I don’t know, Mace. I know Obie and he’s not easy to deal with. I wish I had answers for you, but I don’t. All I can tell you, is that I know how you feel.” I held his hands tightly and stared deeply into his eyes. “The things I want in life have been denied me too. I wonder sometimes why I bother to keep trying.”

A fierce expression settled on Mace’s handsome face. “The moment I heard you sing my song I felt something inside me,” he growled. “It scared me. I felt like I knew you, like I was meant to know you. When you licked that chocolate off my arm, you lit my body on fire for you.”

I gazed at him amazed. “How can you feel that way if you have a bloodmate?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “All I can tell you is what I do know, and that’s pretty fucking simple.” He leaned across the table until his mouth was only a breath away from mine. “I want you.”

I gasped and he swooped in for another short hard kiss. Then he was rising from the booth and throwing some money on the table. He grabbed my hand and pulled me from the booth.

11. Lorenzo and Althea’s first kiss, while Lorenzo is sleeping:

I stared at the beautiful sleeping Lorenzo and decided that I’d kiss him and then figure out if the spark was there. He was certainly handsome enough and charming enough for me to be attracted to. Without the test I would never know though…Sliding over the counterpane, I crept closer to Lorenzo’s warm naked body. Once I was beside him, I reached out and touched the rough silk of his skin where it stretched over the muscle and bone of his shoulder. He sighed in his sleep and smiled lazily. I knew my touch was pleasurable to him. There was no way the touch of a fallen angel wasn’t pleasurable. I stroked my hands over him, and he pushed against me, obviously wanting more. I bent down and kissed him, my lips teasing him. He pulled me into his arms and leaned over me, one thigh coming between mine.

I moaned as he deepened the kiss, his tongue stroking against mine. His body was hot and I realized the spark was more than there. The erection he was pressing against me was huge and hard and told me how much he wanted me. I let my hands stroke over his back as he kissed me. Then, with a sigh, I turned my head away and his face fell into the curve of my neck, his voice murmuring to me. I knew he was still asleep. Since I was in full angel mode, he would think what happened was a dream.

12. Dominic, the rock star, and Avalon, the demi-goddess:

She stood up and her clothes dissolved. I’d seen her naked a couple of times before during some crisis or other, but this time was different. There was no crisis, nothing but the urgency that filled the air between us. As soon as she made her clothes disappear, she slid into the bed beside me, taking the warm spot that I’d just vacated. I reached out and tipped up her chin, leaning in to kiss her lips.“You taste different,” I murmured against her mouth.

“You talk too much, Dom,” she smiled and sank her fingers into my shoulder length hair.

Kissing Avalon was like kissing the first woman you’d ever been with. The excitement was overwhelming, the anticipation rushing through you until it felt like your veins were on fire. Her tongue touched mine, a delicate sinuous movement than made me instantly hard. I pressed against her, letting her feel what she did to me. She wound her arms around my neck and a whimper escaped her mouth.

My hands swept over her body, and I felt how she responded instantly. Foreplay took on a whole new meaning with a woman who fired at your least touch. Her slender thighs shifted restlessly, and she hooked one over my hip, pulling me into the curve of her body. My hips flexed, and I let my thick cock stroke the soft inside of her thigh. Her hands drifted down to my shoulders, her fingertips igniting the nerve endings in my skin. I couldn’t remember ever wanting a woman this much. I was ready to go, aching to be inside her already. Her fingers settled on my hips, pulling me against her.

“You don’t have to wait,” she whispered, her eyes glowing with desire. “I’m ready. I want you. When have we ever danced around each other, Dominic?”

I pressed her thighs apart and my fingers found her slick wetness. Her body arched against me as if she’d been hit by lightning. I teased her swollen flesh, and she cried out. “I like to dance,” I chuckled as my fingers circled her rigid clit.

She twined around me. “Then we’ll cha cha later. For now… I want something more primal,” she insisted, her voice rough with passion. She took hold of my cock in her small hands. I felt it twitch in her grasp, already wanting to be inside her.

She pulled me toward her and I leaned over her, wondering why this was going so fast. Then I kissed her again and all rational thought left my head.

13. Alaric and Alexandria’s kiss when she tells him some very important news:

“Alaric, it’s admirable that you wanted to help and that you wanted to save someone you will always care about,” I told him, my hands coming up to rest on his chest. “I guess I should be more understanding.”“No, Angel. You’ve been more than understanding. I’m the one who needs a lesson in understanding. I need to know how to always put you first no matter what other crisis is going on around us. I’m sorry for this whole fucking mess today.” He bent and kissed me. I melted against him. I loved him so much. “I’ve never felt so helpless as I did today, feeling your tears and knowing that I caused them. Every tear, every sob, tore me apart because it knew it was my fault.” He paused for a moment then said in a voice filled with guilty anguish, “I promised never to break your heart … and then I did it.”

I leaned against his broad chest, feeling so warm and loved. I wrapped my arms around him, loving the feel of his hard body. “It was partly my own fault,” I admitted. “I’d been blocking you out of my head. That’s how you didn’t even know I was there.” I tipped my head back to look into his worried face. “I should never have shut you out. I love you Alaric.”

“Ah, Angel. I love you too. So very much,” he murmured and covered my lips with his.

I felt Alaric’s tongue teasing the inside of my bottom lip and I shivered. He picked me up and carried me to the bed laying me down on the comforter and brushing my hair from my face, his thumbs tracing the tear tracks. “So, are you gonna tell me what you’ve been keeping from me?” he murmured as he stared down into my eyes. Then his eyes widened. “Oh, fuck! You were with St. James! I completely forgot!”

He stared at me, fear flickering in his eyes but I smiled at him and wriggled, feeling a big lump underneath me. I reached under my back to pull out the toy giraffe. Alaric stared at it, puzzled. “You got me another giraffe?”

“No,” I shook my head and set the giraffe on Alaric’s pillow beside me. “It’s not for you.”

Confusion filled his eyes. I smiled at him and reached into my jeans pocket pulling out the pregnancy test stick I’d taken from James before I left his suite. I handed it to my husband. “Look, Alaric,” I said softly, my voice filled with satisfaction. “It changed color.”

All the color drained from Alaric’s face. He took the stick from me and stared at it as if he had no clue what it was. “Mother of All Vampires,” he breathed, his eyes meeting mine. “Does this mean… are you… are we…?” He stopped and swallowed hard as tears of hope and joy filled his blue eyes. “Oh, Angel. Tell me it’s true! You’re pregnant?”

I nodded and saw the most incredible happiness suffuse his face. One of his tears spilled over as he closed his eyes on brief prayer of thankfulness that I wasn’t ill and that the Mother had gifted us with a child. Then he tossed the stick aside and lay down beside me, taking me in his arms and holding me as if I was made of glass. “Alexandria, you have no idea how happy you’ve made me,” he whispered, his voice rough with emotion as he covered my face with feather light kisses.

“Hey! I didn’t do that much,” I teased, stroking my hands over his hard arms. “I had help.”

Alaric’s eyes glowed electric blue just like in all our dreams and my emotions spilled over until my chest ached with them. He held me close and kissed me deeply, his lips and tongue telling me how much he loved me. When he broke the kiss I was breathless and smiling. He pushed me onto my back and jerked up my t-shirt. Then he unbuttoned my 501’s and pushed them down knocking them and my Cons to the floor. He stared at my flat stomach, the hip bones protruding a little where the straps of my bikini panties curved over my hip. He bent and kissed me next to my belly button, his fingers delicately stroking the skin of my stomach. “My son is in there. I’m going to be a father,” he said, his voice shocked and filled with love at the same time.

My Cherished One looked up at me and I saw that his eyes were filled with tears again. Oh, Angel. This is so amazing. It was such a short time ago that I was bitter and unhappy. Now every dream I ever had is coming true. I have the most beautiful, most generous, and loving bloodmate in the world. She’s my wife, and my partner, and now she’s the mother of my son. All our dreams are coming true, Angel. This is the destiny my heart chose when it chose you. My heart is so full it feels like its going to burst.

Ditto. I looked at Alaric and grinned, speaking the word I’d said that first morning in New York City after Alaric had carried me to the bottom of the plane’s steps, the moment when we’d looked at each other and realized our lives had changed the moment we met, whether we wanted to acknowledge it or not.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Whew! Those are some hot kisses. I hope they’ve inspired you to go kiss someone. Go on, go get your mack on! Happy TT!

Thursday Thirteen #9, Not to be Confused with Client #9

This week it’s all about the music. Not 13 songs from my iPod. Don’t own one. Not my 13 favorite songs. Can’t choose. No, these are 13 songs that made a key post even better! They are all posts from the Bar, of course, but the music really has helped shape the stories of certain characters. These are different genres of songs, for different characters, and chosen by different writers. Also, it’s not just a list, it’s 13 linked tunes, just for you! Enjoy! (I had embedded tunes, but the players were locking up browsers when Imeem turned to shit late Wed night.)

Thirteen Songs That Made the Bar Story Better!

1. Never Saw Blue Like That by Shawn Colvin – The post is titled “The Bonding Continues”. It was the third part of the bonding story, after Alaric and Lex are bonded. They’re lying in bed in a penthouse suite in New York City shocked at how different their world is now that they have their souls. This listen to this song and marvel at how the words mirror what they feel. Jen, who writes Alaric, chose this song.

2. Real Life Fairytale by Plumb – Matt and Emmy’s engagement at Matt’s home, DuMordain Palace, behind the veil. The Pixie Prince leaves his love a fairytale dress to wear and tiny lights that are the pixies lead her out to a beautiful garden, where she plucks at the petals of a rose. Her golden man appears, telling her, “He loves you, he loves you, he loves you.” The song was chosen by Jen, who writes Emmy.

3. Until the End by Breaking Benjamin – The post is titled “Sterling and Mace in the Killing Zone”. It’s about Sterling, the CIA agent, and her mate Mace, who’s a vampire. They just had sex in the cemetery and now they’re killing evil Hellbounds vampires beneath a mausoleum. Both of them know that Sterling will die by the time the firefight is over. I chose this song since I write Sterling.

4.Anything by The Calling – The title of the post is “Whatever it takes… I’ll do anything”. Helios has just discovered that Tarren is his mate, but she’s hurt and doesn’t want anything to do with him. He’s begging her to give him chance, that he’ll do anything to win her love. I chose this song because I write Tarren.

5. Afterlife by Avenged Sevenfold – Tait, the Queen of the Fairies, uses all her power to help kill the demon possessed Black Widow, Rachel Sullivan. Then she steps in the middle of a fight between her friend Mace and the man she’s loved her whole life, Robin Goodfellow. She takes a blow from Mace’s fist and a blast of fae power from Rob. Already drained, her life force fades. The purple butterflies begin to weep behind the veil, as they congregate all over the cottage where she lies dying. I chose this song because I write Tait.

6. Fire Woman by The Cult – Rockstar Rune meets a woman dressed in a schoolgirl outfit, her hair whipping around her head, and her high heels leaving scorched footprints in the carpet. Emmy, the fire elemental, and her sister Opal meet up with Rune at a Rob Zombie concert. Rune is hoping to get to know Emmy better, although that doesn’t work out. They end up friends instead. As Rune’s creator, I chose this song.

7. Breathe by Faith Hill – Not long after their first sexual encounter, Alaric and Lex dream about Lex being pregnant. When they awaken, they are faced with problems that seem insurmountable. However, both of them are so enthralled by the dream, what it felt like, and how it made them feel, that it becomes part of a key point in their relationship. Alaric had never thought about having children, but the dream has suddenly made him see what life could offer him if he chose to be with Lex. Since Lex is my alter ego, I chose this song.

8. 3 AM (Piano Acoustic) by Matchbox Twenty – The title of the post is “Full Moon Depression”. Vampire Bram is a musician who’s suffered from heroin addiction and lost all his friends. Now recovered, he’s playing and writing music again and trying to rebuild his life. He’s always had an affinity for the moon, and his friend Weylyn the werewolf teases him that maybe Bram is part were. In this post, Bram is thinking about how depressed and alone he is. He writes this song for a woman he has yet to meet. Since Bram is my character, I chose this song.

9. Drive You Home by Garbage – Thousand year old vampire Dominic Solent has a tryst with his friend Avalon, the Lady of the Isle of Mists. Avalon is a demi-goddess, who is half in love with the tattooed Dominic. She knows he has a mate coming, knows his destiny, but when pain drives Dominic into her arms, she can’t say no to him. Since Dom is my character I chose this song for the post where Dom is on the Isle with Avalon, knowing he has to go back to his world, and his destiny, soon.

10. Alone I Break by Korn – Johann is talking to his best friend Collin about his feelings for Lacey. She’s just left and he’s already missing her. He’s a little torn over caring for her because the last time he had a mate he totally screwed up with her. When she died, he was eaten up with guilt. Shiny chose this because she writes Johann, Collin, and Lacey.

11. Drive To You by Jewel – The post is titled “Your Heart Beats Inside of Me.” Nyx takes Valerian to her castle in Scotland on the eve of some evil doings in the dragon world. The two of them have a discussion about mates and what they mean to each other. Nyx reluctantly admits that maybe she is Valerian’s mate, even though the McClaren isn’t supposed to have a mate. I chose this song because Nyx is my character.

12. Girlfight by Brooke Valentine – Mary chose this song to accompany a fight scene she wrote between my character Tarren, a trained black dragon assassin, and her character Mary, a legendary red dragon warrior and mercenary. The two women are on the same side, but they don’t know that. All Tarren sees is a red dragon. She knows most of them are killers so she doesn’t trust Mary. Mary sees a tall “totem pole” of a black dragon who won’t let her into a dressing room to see her friend Rhiannon. They end up using a very lethal form of combat called Krav Maga against each other. It’s a take no prisoners, win or die form of fighting. Since the men who gather are all too afraid of stepping between the women, the fight is broken up by blue bolts of Rhiannon’s power.

13.Unsuspecting Sunday Afternoon by the Backstreet Boys – This song hasn’t actually been used yet. I found it and it made me think of Johann and his troubles getting together with Lacey. I gave the song to Shiny and, for all she’s a total rock/metal head, she loved it! She totally wants to use it when Johann finally realizes that Lacey is the one he wants forever, whether she’s his mate or not. He’s just not willing to give her up. The song will totally make the post.

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I was going to end this TT with a song called Believing, but then I realized it was another song by The Calling. However, the post it goes with, captured my attention. I’d forgotten exactly how key this post really was. It’s a short post, but I fretted over it, wanting it to be just right. I think it was. Here, as a bonus for you, is the post where Tristan Blackthorne, the rightful black sept wyvern, goes home to Wales to fight his half-brother for the sept.

The beat of the helicopter blades rang in my ears even with the headphones on. I saw the green hills of Wales rolling by beneath us as we approached the coast. The most crucial moment of my life approached too. Everything I was, and everything I was meant to be, was on the line. The fate of my family and my people.

I looked over at Talon sitting with his arm around his mate. He was stoic, as usual, but there was a tension in him that I knew well had to do with the fight we were facing. Even calm, sweet Fayne had a tenseness about her that told of her concerns about coming home. Dai had his battle face on. He sat polishing his sword calmly, something that Gregory used to do before battle. Our return to the place of our births was bittersweet and filled with apprehension. We all felt the weight of this day, but I knew I carried the bulk of it. So much of this mission relied upon me.

The silvers were all business. Valerian looked like an avenging god dressed all in black. Helios was calmer than usual, his face serious. Kyara was like a live wire waiting for the action. Her body was filled with coiled energy, and her eyes were bright and sharp.

Derek looked like he was going to a bar. Dressed in black leather, something noxious smelling coming from one of the many pockets in the jacket, an unlit cigar stump between his teeth, he kept checking all his pockets as if he’d forgotten something. He looked like a Hell’s Angel who couldn’t find the key to his bike. I smiled a little to myself. Derek was never what he seemed, and that air of distraction was sure to throw someone off.

My eyes lit on the one person on the team who was frightening even to me. Nyx McClaren was cold as ice. Her face, her body language, every hair on her beautiful head screamed lethal weapon. No one looked more like a hitman than she did. I had no qualms about her taking out everyone who stood between her and Caden DeCameron. No matter how much Valerian touched her heart, she was like a stone statue, her mind somewhere far from her mate.

Jake began the descent to the field just outside the village where we would be staging from. It was roughly five miles from the castle and was the closest civilization to the fortress. Jake had already briefed me on what information he’d gleaned from his quick trip in and out of Blackthorne Castle. Most notable was the fact that Onyx had both Caden and Ashley there. Jake said Onyx had seemed calm, but he felt the tension in the room. It rippled through every black dragon he passed. They all knew their true wyvern was coming home.

Home. I could see in the distance the black outline of the castle where I’d been born, where Rhiannon should have been born, where, Aminan willing, Galen would be born. I thought of my mother and how her death had put all of these events into motion. It was time for me to avenge that death. Time for me to settle all the scores. The real black wyvern was back, and he was about to bring the fate of the sept full circle. I drew a deep breath and held out my hand palm up. Talon slapped his in it, palm down.

“We’re home, Talon.”

He looked at me with enigmatic black eyes. “That we are, my lord. Long may you reign.”

Long may you all reign… Happy TT!