By what name may I address you by? Well now, isn’t he just so sophisticated, educated, and everything I’m not.
“Blade. My name is Blade.”
Sweat dripped down my face, the tickling sensation making me itch. Damn, that was annoying, as was my soaked shirt, stuck tight to my skin. That mind-numbing run down dark alleyways, knowing those things were hot on my heels, had led me here—to the inner most bowels of the city.
At first, I’d had the impression they were truly hunting me. Snarls and growls still lingered in my ears; they’d played with me like a cat does a mouse. As I ran, I searched for some place suitable for making a stand. If they were going to take me, I wasn’t going to make it easy on them.
“Ah. Okay. Do you happen to have a last name, Blade?”
Then, abruptly, things changed. Instead of taunting me, they stopped talking. Instead of stalking me, they seemed to be herding me. Only these two followed me too. I’d assumed, like most large predators, the Derkelyng hunted in groups.
I stared at the one who appeared to be in charge. “Just Blade.”
It seemed I was wrong. Next thing I knew, I was in this park-type place, my gun had been taken, and suddenly there was this tall guy telling me I was protected and asking my name. And that smell! It was sweet, clean, and… Well hell, it just smelled good. I didn’t get a chance to smell things that smelled good often. The scent made me ache.
“May I ask how you came by such a unique name?”
I shrugged at the one who called himself Lander. “I like knives.”
Those pale lips twitched. “I see. Something to keep in mind, I believe.” A hand was held out, the fingers long and slim. “Please come with me.”
“Your name is Lander, right?” I fingered the knife I still held, surprised it hadn’t been taken from me. “Tell me, why would I want to do that?
“Because I asked you to. You have my word no one will harm you. Please, will you come?”
I snorted. This had to be the weirdest conversation I’d ever had. Not only were they not ripping me limb from limb, fighting over my blood… They were acting like they had manners, and brains that could think rational thoughts, and… shit, feelings. That tall one, Lander, seemed the most concerned about me.
And holy God, what was that smell? A tingle raced through my body as I breathed deeply. My cock twitched. Now, if that wasn’t an inappropriate reaction, I didn’t know what was. I blew my bangs out of my eyes and notice Lander grinning at me. Huh. He’s really not bad looking. Tall, dark hair, lean build… and shit, two sets of fangs and blood red eyes. Okay, I’ve lost my fucking mind.
“Where are we going? And how?” I asked.
Lander stepped closer, his hand still out. “Back to my private unit, and we will walk. No one will bother you, I promise.”
“I’m not dinner?”
Lander threw his head back and laughter roared out of him. When it died down, he wiped his eyes with the hand he’d held out to me. “You, my lovely human, are not dinner. Blade, you are far too important to me to be slaughtered.”
I noticed the teardrop of blood on his finger and crossed my arms over my chest. “Before I go anywhere with you, tell me why I’m important.”
Lander held out his hand again. “Take my hand and you will see.”
“This isn’t a trick?”
Why I trusted him, I had no idea. But my gut said I could and my gut was never wrong. I uncrossed my arms, holstered my knife, and gingerly laid my hand in his… and felt like a bull elephant just rammed me in the chest. My lungs froze, my head spun, and my cock stood up.
I had to close my eyes. Everything was suddenly too… just too much, too huge. Desire flashed through my body, spiraling out of control, and a firestorm of need burned through my head. I needed, oh God, I needed… had to have… My fingers clutched, tightening against his… Oh fuck, I wanted him to throw me down, rip my clothes off and—
“What the fuck is that smell?”
“Blade.” Lander took a deep breath. “I can smell your arousal. And while I’m enjoying that very much, you should know any Derkelyng within fifty feet of you can smell your desire too. You are unmarked as of yet, and… Hell, I’d really hate to kill someone this soon in our relationship.”
My head whirled, and I took a deep breath, then another, then another yet again. The scent filled me. All there was around me was that smell. It was the only thing that mattered to me, the only thing that… I wanted to roll around in that—
My eyes snapped open. “Wait, what the fuck do you mean ‘relationship’?”
Lander kissed my knuckles. “You are my mate. Surely you must know that? That scent you smell is me, just as I can scent you. It’s how we know we’ve found our mate. You, my knife-wielding human, are the one who will belong to me, as I will belong to you. Already the ties that bind us have started.”
For a whole minute, I stared at Lander. That seemed to be the name of the game tonight… staring. Nothing moved, not even a breeze. Even the small animals around us had gone silent. Nothing registered in my brain—no sound, no meaning, just nothing. When higher functioning kicked in, I pivoted on my heel and… ran. I had no idea where I was or where I was going. I was deep in their—his—territory. There was no place for me to run, nowhere to hide.
They were all around me as I ran pell-mell down the street, those red eyes tracking me, fangs gleaming in the moonlight. Not one of them stalked me, though. Whispers followed me as I ran, but not one of them tried to stop me.
Suddenly I was picked up off my feet, my body floating off the ground, my back to his chest. My balance was thrown off and my stomach lurched. Right before he lifted me, I felt him brush against my mind. Just a second or two. I had to wonder if that was the tie he’d spoken of earlier.
I also knew why none of the others had interfered. Lander had me well in hand, apparently. I fingered the knife on my hip, wondering how much he thought he had me under control. Maybe if I stabbed him, I could… Dammit. I couldn’t. My fingers refused to grab the knife, my arm refused to lift… I could not hurt him. What the hell? What exactly was this bond between us?
“Easy there.” Lander held me close as we hovered above the ground. “I take it my news comes as a shock. I am sorry for that, but how can you not know this? I thought—”
I shivered in his arms. “Humans don’t know that much about your kind. We hate you, you kill us.”
Lander sighed heavily, his breath ruffling my hair. “Maybe your tribe of humans’ feels that way. Not all do. Have you not noticed the humans here in the city?”
“Right, humans as pets. You know, I’d think more clearly if my feet were on the ground.”
Lander’s soft laugh wrapped around me as he lowered us to the ground. “One day we will soar over the city because you have asked. Now, those you see are not all pets. Actually, most are mates.”
Once my feet were back on Earth, I pulled out of his arms and faced Lander. “Thanks, that’s better. Okay, we just assumed you mated with your own kind and used us as… entertainment.”
Lander ran his hand over my hair. “Some do, some don’t. Can’t the same be said of humans? Blade, we are more similar than you think. Like your species, my kind has good and bad in their midst. I do have to admit I have as much to learn about you as you do about me.”
I gaped at Lander.
“I’m not worried about others, Blade. It’s you that matters to me.”
“But, I don’t want to be a killer.” Even as the words left my mouth, I cringed. I had killed, though. Maybe it wasn’t in cold blood, but I’d taken several lives through the years. I’d had to—it was either them or me, and I had no problem with that.
Lander nudged Blade’s chin up. “Killing because you have to and killing because you like to are two totally different things. I think you know that. You have killed because you’ve had to, yes?”
“Then I don’t think you’ll suddenly turn into a monster that thirsts for blood. You do know we can feed without killing?”
“No, that wasn’t in the pamphlet sent out by the local chapter.”
Lander shook his head, a smile once more playing around his mouth. He reached out and touched his human’s lips. So soft and warm. “I think I’m going to enjoy your sense of humor. Few rarely dare speak their mind to me.”
Lander moved closer. “Because I hold a position of power. I tend to intimidate others.” Lander ran his thumb over Blade’s bottom lip. “But, I don’t think I intimidate you.”
Blade’s mouth parted. “I-I-I… You could break me in half.”
Lander stepped closer, their lower bodies touching. “Why would I want to do that when bending you over the nearest surface is much more satisfying?”
“Mother of God.”
Lander heard the whispered words right before he sealed his lips over Blade’s. The warmth hit him first, followed by the softness. Lander buried one hand in Blade’s hair. His other hand grasped Blade’s hip, pulling them tightly together. Blade moaned, and the sound cut through Lander. So sweet, so… needy. That need would be his and only his.
“Open,” Lander breathed against Blade’s lips.
A brief hesitation, then Lander felt the tremble that raced through Blade. Slowly those lips opened and Lander swept inside, trembling himself at the first taste of Blade. Oh yes, the male tasted as good as he thought he would. Their tongues dueled, caressing and rubbing against each other. Lander tightened his hand in Blade’s hair, tilting his head back a bit more.
“So sweet.” Lander nibbled at Blade’s lips, then moved to his jaw.
“What… what…?” Blade shivered again.
“Shhh. All I’m doing is kissing you. Nothing more.”
“No, sweet, no biting.”
Lander did nip Blade’s throat, a small little sting that didn’t even break the skin. Of course he wasn’t going to bite Blade out there in the middle of the street with other Derkelyng not far away. He’d be buried deep in Blade’s ass first. Blade wasn’t ready, either. They still had many things to talk through.
And, frankly, Lander didn’t relish the idea of Blade taking a knife to him. Although, he might not mind a little blood play, as long as Blade knew it was play. He wouldn’t convert Blade until Blade asked for it. When Blade thrust against him, Lander came back to exactly where they were.
He brought the kiss to an end, his thumb tracing over Blade’s wet lips. “Will you come with me to my apartment?”
“I want to finish what was started here. I need to make love to you—claim you.”
“No biting?” Lander bit his lip, frowning.
“Okay, then. How far is it?”
Lander pulled Blade against his chest. “Just walking? It’s a little bit of a hike. Lean your head on my shoulder and close your eyes. You’ll feel the breeze as I move through the streets. I’m going to be moving at a high rate of speed, but I won’t allow you to get hurt. We’ll be a few inches off the ground, not actually flying. Will you allow this?”
“As long as we’re close to the ground.”
Lander grinned. “One day we will fly.”
Blade grunted, but didn’t say a word as he leaned his head against Lander. Once he had Blade comfortable, Lander lifted off the ground, just a few inches, and moved quickly down the street. Not a word came from his human, but Lander did feel Blade clutching his shirt. So brave. What a mate he will be.
He glanced down. Blade’s eyes were squeezed tightly closed. Lander hummed in pleasure as Blade buried his face deeper in his shirt to avoid the wind. He held Blade closer when he felt that slightly cool nose sniff his skin. Every instinct said to hell with it, bite Blade. All he’d need was a few seconds to sink his fangs in and inject the venom… and that would be it.
Blade wouldn’t be able to move, and Lander could drain him nearly dry, then give Blade his blood. By nightfall of the next night, Blade would be one of them. He’d have all the strengths the Derkelyng had.
And Blade would probably take his head for that too.
“We’re almost there,” Lander whispered and felt Blade nod.
Moments later, Lander set Blade on his feet in front of a huge steel and glass building. “This is mine. My business is here, as is my home. The whole building is mine.”
Blade staggered, his hand reaching for Lander as his knees tried to buckle. “Wow, I didn’t know you guys lived in such nice… I mean, I thought… Shit, never mind.”
“You thought we lived like animals?”
“You thought we live like animals because we are animals, yes?”
Blade defiantly raised his eyes. “If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…”
Lander’s shoulders shook with laughter. “I haven’t heard that in a long time. And that well may be the case, at times. But not always. I also know what else you’re going to say.”
Blade crossed his arms. “What’s that?”
“That you’ve never seen one of my kind act as anything other than a monster.”
“If the shoe fits, buddy.”
Lander’s soft chuckle echoed around them. “I swear, I haven’t laughed this much in ages. Thank you, Blade. Now, will you come with me?”
Lander held the door open, watching as Blade walked past and into his building. His soon-to-be mate had a fine ass. He couldn’t wait to wrap his hands around it. The other Derkelyng that worked in his building respectively lowered their eyes as he escorted Blade to the elevators that would take them to the top floor—his home. He understood humans thought they were nothing more than animals. There was a time that was correct, in the beginning.
The war had destroyed so much, but it had hit the humans especially hard. But now, pure Derkelyngs—like Rider and others—were trying to change that. They were attempting to rebuild, and then, maybe, they could help the humans. But it was going to take time. The humans thought the Derkelyng were animals? Well, way too many Derkelyng thought of humans as… cattle.
Blade’s head was constantly moving as he looked around. “Wow, nice place you’ve got here. I thought most of the building had been destroyed during the war.”
“That’s true. The big cities up north were hit especially hard. The capital of this country was located there. That was where the first wave of attacks was located. By the time the war had gotten down here to the south, the fighting wasn’t as bad and the destruction wasn’t as significant.”
Lander eyed a fish tank in the middle of the walkway. “Shit, you have electricity and running water full time?”
Lander motioned to the elevators. “Indeed. One hundred ten floors is a lot to walk up and I like a hot bath as well as the next guy.”
Blade frowned at the elevator doors. “Are you sure this is safe?”
“As safe as most anything else in this life.” Lander held the elevator door open. “If it helps, I’ve never been trapped in one. And if something did happen, I could get us out.”
Blade blew out a breath and stepped in the elevator. “Right, that whole ‘stronger than a human’ thing.”
Lander followed Blade inside. “It’s going to take time, Blade, but I do think our two peoples can live together in peace.”
“With your species as the dominate ones.”
“Well, humans aren’t at the top of the food chain anymore, I’m afraid to say. So yes, the Derkelyng will probably be the dominant class.”
“And humans will be second-class citizens.”
Lander didn’t say anything as the elevator stopped and then opened. “I don’t know what to say except that both races have a long way to go before we can even think about such things. For right now, let’s just concentrate on us. That, at least, we can do something about.” Lander stepped off the elevator into a spacious apartment. “Won’t you join me, Blade? Welcome to my home.”
TBC. One, maybe two, chapters left. :) I know how I want to end it too. And I'm done with PT until next Tuesday lol. That really knocks me out.