Watched : A Dark Vampire Romance (Stories from the Realm Book 3)
Watched : A Dark Vampire Romance (Stories from the Realm Book 3)
- Fated Mates
- Second Chance
A woman craving some excitement in her life, the man who watches her every move, and an ancient secret waiting to reveal itself...
Ida's mine. She just doesn't know it yet.
For two hundred years, I've watched and waited for her. And now, she's finally within my grasp.
I've rid her of her worthless, cheating husband. Made her wealthy beyond her wildest dreams.
Today I'm claiming what belongs to me. I am the watcher, and she is my mate.
Intro into Chapter One
Intro into Chapter One
The thick smoke of his cigar sent a cloud between us, and I swatted the foggy air away as he pushed the yellow envelope toward me. “At your leisure, of course, Mr. Varon.” Flashing gray eyes like polished steel cut through the vanilla-scented pillar of pollution he puffed from his nose as they narrowed at me. “No need to rush to erase this particular mark.”
My thumb’s edge slid down the center of my tongue, and I dug my fingernail under the package flap to peek at the giant white-haired warlock’s latest vermin in need of extermination.
Like book pages flipping before my eyes, I scanned my gods’ current hit list in my mind for permission. One face among many unfortunate souls to choose from, the man Billy wished to hire my services for, stared back at me. “This should be no problem at all.” I dropped the photograph back inside again and gave him a nod. “The matter will have my immediate attention.”
Every movement I made as I rose from my seat was matched by my enormous old friend until his hand came across his desk to finalize the deal. “I’m looking forward to doing business with you again, Karl.” Spread out over my entire back, his hand urged me away as he escorted me from his office. “Welcome to Savannah, by the way.” That stinking stick of tobacco went between his teeth as his hand swept away to show me everything under his dominion now. “Please, make yourself at home here.”
Fuzzy bits of dust floated in the dim light filtering through the dark curtains in the lobby, shutting out the human world rushing by outside these enchanted walls of the Order. “Yes, I will do that. Thank you.” The door handle disappeared in his fist, and as soon as the heavy slab of wood broke its seal to open, a freight train crashed into my chest.
Though my cold heart beat steadily for centuries now, its rhythm struggled to keep a healthy pace as I gasped for air to calm the flutter.
The wind, perfumed in her delicate jasmine, moved over me. Instantly, I was taken back to my most cherished long-ago memory of the day I first laid eyes on her. My fiery-haired beloved.
All the world stood still as I came to realize who awaited me somewhere in this city, and the little voice in my head screamed out to move.
With a wave of the back of my hand over my shoulder, I stepped over the threshold into the balmy spring evening to hunt down the most beautiful creature to ever breathe. The breeze crossing my face wore her essence and beckoned me to come be at her side, as I was meant to. “When the job is through, I will return. Have no worries.”
Old cobblestone streets lined the path to the aroma of summer flowers growing thicker to choke me. The twitching muscles of my throat spasmed even harder when I tried to swallow away the thumping in my ears. A heat like molten lava surged through my veins when I rounded the street corner until itchy tickles charged through my every nerve, commanding my feet to go no further.
The edge of the cliff where a man realizes his life will change forever is where my toes teetered until fate’s helping hand gave me a push. Whether or not I was ready for her. After all these years of wondering what happened to her, she was just on the other side of the antique wavy bookshop window. “Ida.”
At the little counter across from me, she slid her fingers through her bangs as she flipped to the next page of the book she wasted her time with.
Like the day we were brought together all those years ago, as soon as she caught a whiff of me standing out on the sidewalk, her piercing green eyes landed on me.
A thousand times in my head, I imagined our reunion. Though, not once did I ever picture it like this.
The cast-iron handle clicked as I shoved the latch down with my thumb until the glare from the gold band on her ring finger flickered to stop me in my tracks. From the devastation on her face when she curled her hand around the other to hide her shame, I knew she understood precisely who stood before her.
I would not allow this to be our beginning, though.
The bit of magic flowing through me multiplied with only her scent, stoking the flames of my soul. My fingertips gathered all her power as I pressed them into the glass separating us, and I said goodbye to her for now. “Not yet, meine Liebe.”
Those soft dark eyebrows pulled together to make her forehead wrinkle as that lightbulb in her head dimmed again. A nervous flush rose on her cheeks as she gave me a quick smile and returned to her reading. Heaviness filled my chest again as I backed away and pressed my fingers to my lips. “Soon.”
All the city’s dwellers were a blur on the edges of my vision while I rushed down the street, and I tossed back the Order’s door to find Billy checking over his newest shipment of wine. A too-thick eyebrow arched up at me. “You are an efficient one. Aren’t you?”
My palm covered the ache in my center as my other hand pointed back at the cruel world. “Please, tell me everything about Ida Markle.”
Both his hands glided against each other to shake off the dust from his priceless collection of reds as his eyes squinted at me. “Ida Markle?” The right shoulder of his long, silky white tunic jerked at me as the side of his mouth twitched. “Should that name be familiar to me?”
A hiss moved through my teeth while the door shut to cover us both in darkness. “Sybil’s daughter.” Possibly this world’s most potent witch stood not ten feet away, but I’d not be kept from what belonged to me one moment longer. The dagger that rested against my back came between us, and I glared at him from the other end of the blade. “Don’t act as if you don’t understand exactly who I mean.”
That mammoth nose on his face flared at me when he sighed. “Are you here to kill her?”
All the breath in my body left me as I growled at this sudden standoffishness and shook my head. “Of course not.” My finger left my knife to wag at him. “But you must tell me all that’s happened since she came here. Every detail.”
Though these witches were the most treacherous sort, I was even deadlier. And when he realized I’d not be leaving without the answers I sought, he tipped his ear toward his office door. “Alright, but you didn’t hear any of this from me.”
The clicks of his stupid cowboy boots got louder until a stack of papers dropped in front of me, but this time I could sense something was different in what lay inside the pages of the dossier. “Maybe you’ll strike gold this time, Voli.”
Both heels came to my desktop as Tucker leaned back in the chair across from me and pushed his ball cap up over his head just enough for his red hair to poke out the bottom. “Is she in there?”
For decades now, I stared at the lists of names and photographs, and I’d nearly given up hope of ever finding her. But when the static moved up through my fingers as they hovered above the stack like the night I claimed her, the first smile to cross my face in ages came to me. “Yes.”
Being reborn exactly the way one left the world was a curious thing for our kind. Still, when I came to the last page and the final contestant, she hadn’t changed at all. Still perfect with her fiery brown hair and the softest green eyes that ever honored me with their gaze.
In the corner of my vision, I caught movement, and I glanced up at my brother as he came through the door. “She’s here.” The pinnacle of man, I’m supposed to be. Yet, here I was with tears dripping from my bushy blonde beard like a child. “She came back to me.”
Both of them leaned over the side of my desk, and Joseph spun the papers around under my fingertips. The edge of the printout curled up from the air that rushed through his nose when he smiled at her and pushed his pale blond hair from his forehead. “Dear gods.” The whiskers on his chin crossed over his shoulder as he yelled out the door. “Amber. Come now.”
The door shut behind her, and when she came face to face with the roster in Joseph’s hand, she froze in place. At the other desk in my office was the rarely used computer for background checks, and she rolled the wheeled chair over. “What’s her name now?”
While her red ponytail swung back and forth across her shoulders, she tapped the keyboard to wake it as Joseph yanked the paper from my grasp. “Rowena Shipton. Beans Cove, Pennsylvania.”
None of those women deserved to breathe the same air as my beloved, and I tore her away from the list. Every corner folded under until all that remained was my queen, and I kissed her face finally after all these years. “Soon, my love.”
“Oh, no.” Pale fingers bent back at us as Amber waved us over. “Look at this.” The tip of her finger underlined each sentence. “Stalked by a former patient. Order of protection. Kidnapped. Stabbed.”
Perhaps the only person who might long to be in her presence as much as I do, Amber’s voice faltered as she sniffed and swatted at her face. “Both parents were killed in a murder-suicide. Brother...” Every fact was more horrible than the last, and her palms came up to the screen when she pushed the seat back from the desk with her boot. “She has no one.”
The picture of her tucked into my chest pocket, and I grabbed the keys from my drawer. “I can’t wait until Autumn. I’m going to fly out tonight.”
With the toe of his shoe, Tucker rocked in his chair and crossed his hands over his belly. “Afraid that’s not going to be possible.”
My chair jerked around toward the wall as I ripped my jacket free from the back of my seat. “Try to stop me.”
The brim of his hat snapped back and forth while he pointed at the phone. “You can call her employer if you want to hear it for yourself. She’s on assignment somewhere, and they won’t give out any other information.” He pulled the rest of the list from my desk and wound it around itself into a neat roll. “They said they’d pass the offer along and that she usually says yes, so we’re just waiting for confirmation that she’s accepted.”
The tips of my fingers shook so much they beat against my skin as I pushed them through my hair. “I can’t let her come here.” My hand wiped my mouth, but it was a desert and I couldn’t even swallow anymore. “I can’t make her run again. She’ll never forgive me.”
To stop me at the door, Joseph’s hand landed on my center. “There are rules.” Both his palms came up between us. “We can’t break the traditions of this territory. The council won’t stand for it. Here, we are no one.” His eyes flicked to the man in the camouflage t-shirt cracking sunflowers seeds between his teeth. “But we’ll make sure that the Sheriff gets to meet her first, right?”
As he shrugged, Tucker tossed up all his fingers. “Sure. You know how we do things. As long as you can keep your hands to yourself, won’t be no problems.”
Both hands surrounded my face, and Joseph brought his forehead to mine and blinked at the photo poking out from my pocket. “All this is almost over.”
The sting overcame my eyes, and I pinched them shut as he pulled me into his shoulder. “Two hundred years, Voli. Another two months is nothing at all.”
Close to my heart as she always ways, I peeked down my chest to find her smiling face staring back at me. But I knew deep in my soul where I kept her safe with me all this time, the waiting would be the easy part.
Because I had a lot of wrongs to answer for as it came to my mate.
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