Severin lost his soul mate ten years ago. Now Nikolaus belongs to another vampire...
The vampire Severin Murnau gave up Nikolaus Mayr because he didn't want to turn the human. Now he finds Emil Meissner, his maker, has control of Nikolaus, holding the human as his pet in his castle in Bavaria.
Severin and his friend Istvan are at the castle for a gathering. There is unfinished business between Severin and Nikolaus. As soon as they set eyes on each other, their passion rages out of control just like ten years ago. Severin has never touched Nikolaus before. He let him go in the ultimate act of altruism. Now he’s desperate, forgetting all the promises he made to himself. His only option to taste what he’s never had appears to be to join Emil and Nikolaus in bed, but once isn’t enough and he’s not sure he wants to share...
It was Emil’s fault that Severin now forever connected bloodlust and human lust. It aroused him to drink and when he had sex, he longed to bite. The two needs were inseparable. It was Emil who had made them that way. Severin cast a resentful glance toward the dais.
King Emil sat there presiding over his subjects, on a jewelled throne no less, suit made of velvet and stiff collar pinching his neck. Severin would never deny the man was sexually magnetic, more so than other vampires.
Tall and commanding, he wore his intense sexuality on his sleeve. He lay with both sexes but preferred men. He was never short of a companion, vampire or human, and dominated his partners with an iron fist. Severin could testify to that.
He glanced at his friend who was looking at Emil, too. Severin sighed. Istvan was his only friend. Vampires didn’t and couldn’t afford to have friends but Istvan was different. He had picked Severin up when he was at the bottom and continued to hold him up. That was why his friend deserved better than Emil.
“Put your eyes back in,” he said good-naturedly.
A flush bloomed over Istvan’s pale skin. His amber eyes seemed misty. Nervously, he touched his chestnut hair.
Severin smiled and shook his head fondly. Perhaps he needed to find Istvan a mate to get him over this fascination with the dreadful Emil. His gaze took in Emil once more and sharpened with interest when he saw Emil was holding a length of chain.
Good God, the vampire had a pet attached to it!
A human no less—it was very popular among vampires at the time, a pet on tap for blood and sexual services—a man kneeling on a silken cushion a few paces behind Emil, chain attached to an iron collar around his neck.
Something prickled along the back of Severin’s neck as he took in the pale, slight figure wearing an outfit of white silk that clung to his lean curves. The pet’s face was downcast, delicate bone structure and sooty lashes emphasised by his cropped, glossy black hair. His small hands were folded together on his lap. He was motionless, barely breathing.
Severin reeled back, dropping his goblet.
It was the love of his life.
* * * *
Severin stared, drenched suddenly in cold sweat. Severin knew this man like he was his own twin. As dark as Severin was blond, as pure as Severin was defiled.
“Severin?” Istvan steadied him by the arm as Severin swayed in shock. He looked down at the marble floor, running crimson with blood as waiters hurried to clean it up and the bloodlust hit him without warning. His fangs snapped out, eyes turning red and it was all he could do to stop himself darting across the room, throwing himself at the man who still held his dead heart and tearing into his throat the way he’d always longed to do.
Istvan’s fingers tightened on him. He had been in Budapest when Severin met Nikolaus in Vienna ten years previously and had later picked up the pieces from the fallout of Severin’s affair. Hardly an affair in retrospect. He had barely touched Nikolaus at all. But knowing him over that short period of a few weeks, it was enough to lose his head and his heart in a way he never had in his life before.
Severin allowed Istvan to lead him out of the ballroom, through the French windows and onto the balcony that commanded views of the rugged Bavarian countryside for miles. He slumped against the stone railing, clutching with feverish hands.
“Emil’s pet?” Istvan questioned, tense by his side.
Severin nodded. “Nikolaus.” The name tore from his chest, leaving a jagged wound. It was snowing. Severin put his head back, opened his mouth, and tasted soft flakes on his tongue. “Oh God,” he said. “We must leave.” Even as he said the words, he knew he couldn’t go without speaking to Nikolaus just once, no matter what it cost him.
Istvan’s voice was gentle. “You know we can’t. It would be the ultimate insult. He’d kill us.”
“He wouldn’t kill you, you’re his favourite.” Severin bit his tongue against the bitterness he heard on it. Who was he to judge whatever strange relationship Emil and Istvan had? When had he ever succeeded in being close to anyone in the last five hundred years?
Istvan was silent.
Istvan gazed at the snowy landscape. “I’m not immune from his wrath, you know that.”
That was true. During lover’s tiffs in the past, Emil had almost killed Istvan. Severin rubbed his hands over his face roughly and gave a loud sigh. “I never thought to set eyes on him again.”
“I know. We must go back to the party. You must greet Emil as though nothing has happened. Once he’s seen you he’ll be happy. Maybe we can slip away early tomorrow.”
Severin swallowed. How exactly did he greet Emil with Nikolaus chained by his side without wanting to rip the vampire’s throat out for daring to touch what Severin had never had? Wanton, erotic images filled his mind of Emil entwined with Nikolaus, naked limbs writhing, the vampire’s teeth in the human’s throat, drinking, tasting that sweet nectar that Severin had always denied himself because of some misguided view of his love for Nikolaus. At this distance, he asked himself why. Why hadn’t he taken what he wanted? Made Nikolaus into his mate for all time. He didn’t know. It seemed obvious now but then Severin thought Nikolaus had never wanted it. Maybe he had never felt the same intensity of feelings. Severin wasn’t sure. All he knew was that leaving Nikolaus had ripped him apart from the inside out and left him a shell.
Istvan touched his shoulder. “Come on.”
Severin turned, followed Istvan back inside and to the instrument of his doom.