Excerpt from Redemption, Book 4 of The Dominion Series:
I wake in the middle of the day in tears, captured in a nightmare vision of someone stalking me, following me though a dark forest, the moonlight casting scary shadows on the forest floor. Bare branches scratch my cheeks as I run through the undergrowth. I can hear footsteps behind me, dry brush cracking under feet. I see a flash of pale hair and I know it’s him.
He’s laughing, and pointing in the distance. Then, a cross appears in front of me. It’s upside down. I go around it and Michel is crucified, a stake through his heart, his naked body pale in the moonlight.
“No…” I moan. “You bastard!” I run to the cross and touch Michel’s cold skin.
“He chose this,” Soren says, his voice gloating. “He died to save you.”
The scream that has been building inside of me finally escapes my lips. “Michel!” I cry out and my voice is so loud, I wake myself up. I sit up in bed, my heart pounding, my body tense, my cheeks wet with tears.
Michel enters the room, closing the door carefully behind him. He’s naked except for a pair of boxer briefs, his body pale in the sunbeam from between the drapes. His dark hair is a mess, long strands falling into his eyes. He sits on the bed and wraps his arms around me, holding me, and I’m a mixture of tears and gasps as I try to recover from the nightmare.
“Michel, oh Michel…” I grab hold of him and run my hands over his naked shoulders to reassure myself he’s real and alive.
“Shh,” he says, stroking my hair, his breath warm on my cheek. “You’re OK. It was just a nightmare.”
I pull back. “I saw you,” I say, wiping my cheeks. “You were crucified, upside down. Soren was there… He said you chose death to save me.”
“It was just a dream.”
I shake my head. “No, it wasn’t just a dream. Tell me the truth – it’s what’s going to happen, isn’t it?”
He looks in my eyes for a moment as if deciding how to respond – whether to tell me the truth or lie.
“It’s one possible future. Not necessarily the one that will come to pass. Soren was trying to scare you into giving up. Torment you. Don’t worry.” He strokes my hair, smiling, but I can tell it’s forced. “We can make a different future.”
“Michel, I don’t want you dying for me. Don’t ever chose death to save me. I couldn’t stand to live if you did.”
Michel shakes his head, smiling softly. “Don’t worry. We’ll all survive this if we do what’s right. Now, relax and go back to sleep. I’ll lie with you for a while if it helps.”
I want to lie with him. I don’t want to let go of him because that was a vision of the future and not a nightmare. Soren showed it to me to scare me.
Michel lies down on top of the coverlet. He pulls me into his arms, and I lie with my head on his chest.
“Don’t choose death,” I say again, squeezing him more tightly. “I know you want to die, but don’t. Please.” I lift my head from his chest and stare into his eyes. “Not because of me.”
He smiles once more and runs his fingers over my cheek.
“I don’t want to die anymore. You’re the only reason I want to live, Eve. I love you.”
Tears spring once more to my eyes at his words. “I love you,” I whisper, our lips meeting in a kiss.
It starts out chaste, just mutual love being expressed, but soon it turns to desperate need and before I’m aware of it, his mouth is moving down my chin to my neck, to the sensitive skin beneath my ear where he – and Julien – marked me, claiming me. He sucks the skin there briefly, and then he pulls my t-shirt off and then his briefs, before lying on top of me.
I welcome the feel of his body against me. It’s comforting and reassuring in its solidity. The feel of his skin against mine is arousing and then our limbs entwine, our mouths joining in a deep kiss that sends jolts of desire through my body.
There are no words spoken between us. The only sounds are when we touch and caress and lick and suck and touch and thrust against each other as we make love. Our senses join, the boundaries between us disappearing so that there’s a blur of mouths and tongues and rigid flesh. Wet sounds and soft moans fill the room as we pleasure each other, each of us crying out as we climax, our skin a pale glow in the dark room.
Afterwards, we lie together recovering, the sheets tangled between us.
“This was Julien’s week,” Michel says, his voice soft. “He’ll be upset if he knows we’ve been together.”
“I know.” I sigh and rub my eyes. “I needed you after that vision. He has to understand…”
“He’ll understand but he won’t like it. I wouldn’t. You were supposed to be his this week. Tonight.”
“I’m not his or yours.” I sit up and look at him as he lies beneath me. “You can’t treat me as a possession. I’m my own person.”
“We’ve been over this before. You’re ours,” Michel says, running his fingers through my hair. “You’re either with us or Soren. He won’t let you be with anyone else.”
“Soren doesn’t want me that way. He’s almost like my genetic father. I have his genes…”
“He’s an angel. The body he took form in is merely a vessel. He doesn’t see it the way humans do. He’d have you if we don’t. You must understand that. You were made for us, to keep us in line. You were made to serve him.”
“I have my own will.”
“You do,” he says and smiles, pulling me down on top of him so that I lie with my face above his. “Don’t I know all about your will, Eve. Taming you has been pretty near impossible, despite all my masculine and vampire wiles.”
There’s a crooked de Cernay grin on his lips and I’m surprised by his rare show of humor. He’s been so somber lately.
“You want me tamed?” I say with mock affront. “You really want me as your pet?”
He strokes my cheek and is serious once more. “It’s not that I want you that way. It’s required. There’s a hierarchy even among vampires. Age gives power and rank. You must obey or be compelled to obey if you won’t of your own free will. Except you – immune to compulsion. You resisted every step of the way.”
“I’m sorry if I’ve been difficult. It’s just the way I am.”
“I know. I love the way you are, even when it’s not in my or your best interest.”
We kiss once more and it’s tender and sweet.
“I better leave,” he says quietly. “I don’t want Julien to wake up and find us together.”
He leaves the bed and I let him go with reluctance, watching as he pulls on his boxer briefs, appreciating his very buff body.
He turns when he’s dressed and leans down to kiss me once more, his hair in his eyes, then he kisses me again as if he can’t get enough.
Finally, he’s gone. I go to the ensuite and after I wash myself in cold water from a pitcher in the bathroom, I lie back down, but I don’t think I can sleep. Despite the endorphin rush from sex, I’m hungry and still slightly unnerved by the events of the previous night and by vision of Michel crucified on an inverted cross.
Like St. Peter.
I lie on my back, staring at the ceiling as the beam of sunlight coming in from between the drapes crawls across the room.
Note: excerpt is a draft and subject to revision in the final draft.