Blood and Soul Collection
by Kate Hill
eBook ISBN: 978-1-59596-622-3
Follow the erotic adventures of the Ancients at Burgundy Peak
Lust abounds within the walls of Burgundy Peak, haven for vampires. Mortals and immortals alike confront their deepest, darkest fears and desires. Step inside to find out if they’re willing to pay the steep price for true love.
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Nutcracker [Book 2.5]
Onan’s heartbeat quickened when he saw the familiar writing on the red envelope. It was December 23rd, and he thought for once Christmas would pass without any contact from her. Strange that he was almost disappointed that she might have forgotten him. Each year he ignored her letter and never responded to the gift that always followed.
Drawing a deep breath, he stuffed the envelope between his other mail and ascended the stairs to his suite above the club where he worked. Burgundy Peak was a popular haven for vampires and Onan enjoyed his job as head of security. The club would be opening soon, and he liked to be waiting in the foyer when the first patrons stepped inside.
Upstairs, he walked to the end of the corridor and unlocked his door. Though Onan possessed several homes throughout the world, he preferred spending most of his time here in New York City. He certainly didn’t need the job, but he enjoyed the atmosphere and knew the exclusive club required a security chief with a personal interest in the welfare of its owner and patrons. His Master owned Burgundy Peak. He and Onan were as close as two men could be without crossing the sexual line. They had been almost inseparable for years, but Master Zigor had recently taken a wife. While Onan was thoroughly pleased that his Master had found love, part of him envied Zigor’s marriage. Watching the couple made him long for the only woman he had ever truly loved.
Onan stepped into his suite and glanced around. While no vampire enjoyed too much brightness, he preferred his surroundings darker than most. His walls were painted deep green and the floor was of black tile. Several statues from ancient Nubia adorned the shelves lining the far wall, yet those reminders of his homeland didn’t attract his attention. Four shelves filled with other ornaments captured his interest instead. Everything on those shelves had been made by the same woman whose letter he now avoided reading. There were Christmas elves, miniature rocking horses carved out of wood, and snowflakes of cut glass. She loved the Christmas season, and when they had been a couple, her enthusiasm had infected him as well. Since their split, his desire to celebrate the holidays faded more with each passing season.
Tearing his gaze from the shelves, he walked to the kitchen table and tossed the mail atop it. Curiosity about her letter ate at his gut. He got as far as the corridor before he returned to his suite, snatched the red envelope, and shoved it into the pocket of his trousers.
When he arrived in the foyer, one of the club’s employees, a slim redhead named Julie, was just unlocking the entrance. Haunting dance music with a Native American flavor echoed from the club and the scent of cooking food wafted from the kitchen. Chilly air blew through the foyer when the first customers stepped inside.
“Looks like it might be a quiet night. It’s snowing pretty hard out there,” Julie said, snapping her gum in a manner Onan found most annoying. Her tiny fangs flashed against her red painted lips.
“There’s something I like about the snow, though. How about you?”
Onan ignored her, his thoughts focused on the letter in his pocket.
“Well, I might as well go inside and wait for customers.”
She wrinkled her nose at him. “See you later, Mr. Congeniality.”
If Onan hadn’t been so preoccupied with a more serious dilemma, he would have taken her aside and taught her to respect her elders. Onan found the rudeness of today’s youth appalling. Things were different in his time. Perhaps that was part of the reason why he and Elizabeth hadn’t worked out.
For the next hour customers trickled in while outside, the snow fell thick and heavy. Its scent stirred memories of winters past. Finally Onan stepped outside. Standing in front of the club, he narrowed his eyes against the icy wind and licked the snowflakes clinging to his lips. He and Elizabeth used to take long walks in the snow.
Cursing softly, he went inside and tore the letter from his pocket. He broke the wax seal and pored over her words, his entire body tingling. After re-reading it twice, he pocketed it and stepped into the club. Two couples clung to each other on the dance floor and several men and women sat at the bar and at tables.
Master Zigor approached, his penetrating eyes staring into Onan’s.
“All this snow is hell on my business,” Zigor muttered. “Who would think that vampires would waste a night by hibernating due to a little cold weather?”
Onan nodded slightly, his thoughts focused on the letter.
“You’ve heard from her, haven’t you?”
“What makes you say that?”
Zigor glanced at him as if to say he knew Onan better than Onan knew himself. Unfortunately, that was probably true.
“What gift did she send this year?”
“She didn’t. This year she wishes to deliver it in person.”
“Excellent. Now perhaps this avoidance nonsense will end.”
“It is not nonsense. You of all people should understand that, Master.”
“I understand that she was a foolish child when you last knew her.”
“She was a disloyal bitch.”
“I agree, but she was also a newly made vampire. Though I am too old to recall the details of my youth, I remember the feelings of wildness and curiosity that would have burned me alive, had I not sated their demands. If you are not prepared to accept a child’s rebellion, then you should not indulge in parenthood.”
“I overlooked many of her rebellious ways, but what she did was unforgivable.”
“You are overreacting.”
“If Melinda bedded another man behind your back, what would you do?”
Zigor shrugged. “Kill him.”
“You know I could not do that.”
“Yes. It is most distressing that she cheated on you with another of your children, especially one who did not know that you were in love with her.”
“Exactly. She may send as many letters and gifts as she wants, but I will not succumb.”
“That a man of your age can be so stupid. Whether you want to believe it or not, Onan, you will eventually give in because you love her.”
“That doesn’t matter.”
“And I no longer love her in the manner you have implied. Yes, I love her with the same affection as the others I have Changed, but I no longer crave her romantically.”
Zigor’s gaze seemed to tear through Onan’s soul and expose his innermost desires. Damn Zigor for his perception!
“It is a matter of pride, Master.”
“I understand, however I know this woman has spent over two hundred years trying to get you back.”
“The one that got away is always most appealing.”
“See her, Onan, if only to prove to yourself that you truly don’t want her in your life. If you meet with her and sense that she hasn’t changed or that her affection for you is not genuine, then forget her. Burn her letters and her gifts and get on with your life.”
Onan ground his teeth. If anyone but Zigor spoke to him in such a way, he would have torn out their throat. Unfortunately, his creator was right. If he didn’t confront her, she would haunt him forever.
* * *
Elizabeth’s heart pounded and her hands trembled when she read Onan’s message. Seated on the bed in her New York City hotel room, she read his letter over and over. Gazing at every line and curve of his bold handwriting, she felt overwhelmed by happiness. Moments ago a young vampire sent by her Master had delivered the letter.
After so many years, he had finally agreed to spend Christmas Eve with her. They had met at Christmastime. She had been alone, dying on the streets of this very city. Master Onan had fed and clothed her and eventually made her a vampire. He had introduced her to a marvelous new world she never dreamed possible, and how had she repaid him? By cheating on him with another of his vampiric children. She regretted little about her life, but hurting Onan to satisfy a momentary craving was the worst mistake she had ever made. Not a night went by that she didn’t regret it, for there was no man in the world like her ancient, powerful Master. She recalled his touch and his scent, how it felt when his telepathic voice touched her mind. With him she felt safe, protected, and loved. More than anything, she wanted his forgiveness and another chance at happiness with him. Perhaps he was finally prepared to reconcile with her.
Sudden panic shook her out of her romantic stupor. Tonight was Christmas Eve! In less than two hours, she was to meet him at Burgundy Peak.
She flew into the shower, then carefully fixed her hair and makeup. Excitement coursed through her as she slipped on the slinky black dress. It hugged her feminine curves and looked gorgeous with her long red hair that hung loosely down her back. Of course it was too cold for such an outfit, but she had a lovely faux fur coat that would keep her warm until — she hoped — Onan’s embrace took over the job.
She slipped on her coat and picked up Onan’s gift which she had wrapped in silver paper.
As always, she had made the gift herself. To her nothing compared with the uniqueness of handmade crafts, which was why after so many successful years of owning two small novelty shops, she refused to expand. Assembly line work didn’t appeal to her, not when she could offer her customers good old-fashioned quality.
Someone tapped on her door. She opened it and was greeted by the driver Onan had sent from Burgundy Peak. Following him to the car, she hoped that in spite of Onan’s years of outward indifference, he had missed her as much as she missed him.
The drive to the club dragged due to the heavy snow. With her vampiric speed, it would have been much faster if she got out and ran, but she refused to look desperate. The desire to see her Master again and hear his voice made her feel like a schoolgirl with a crush. She had been little more than that when she met him. She had just finished school and was working with her parents in their bakeshop. Always good with her hands, Elizabeth had a stand in the shop where she sold dolls, needlework, and ornaments that she made. Her favorites were holiday themed crafts. Each year she earned enough extra money to ensure a fantastic Christmas dinner. The year she met Onan had been tragic. Someone had set fire to her family’s shop, killing her father and brother who were trapped inside. When her mother heard about what happened, she died of shock, leaving Elizabeth with stacks of unpaid bills. With the shop destroyed and no family, she found herself on the street. It was then that Onan found her. So tall and handsome with his smooth, ebony skin and captivating black eyes that could pierce the heart as well as warm the soul, he had charmed her on sight. They became a most unconventional couple, the poor immigrant girl and the wealthy foreign merchant, but neither of them cared.
The car stopped in front of Burgundy Peak, and Elizabeth jumped out before the driver could open her door. Glancing over her shoulder, she thanked him, then hurried to the club’s entrance, her heart pounding as hard as a mortal’s. Onan’s familiar scent filled her with every breath. He was close. No sooner had she opened the door than her gaze fell upon the man she had dreamed about for the past two centuries.
For a second she froze, her breasts rising and falling with each anxious breath. Onan stood by the staircase in the entrance, his face arranged in its usual stoic expression, yet a battlefield of emotions glistened beneath the cool surface of his eyes. His black hair hung in a thick braid and his black shirt and trousers accentuated his stunning build. Broad shoulders tapered to a lean waist with legs as long and powerful as she remembered. Just looking at him made her weak with desire. How many nights had his magnificent body claimed hers? She remembered how his thick cock filled her, how his kiss tasted, and how his fangs felt when they slipped into her flesh.
“Welcome, Elizabeth.” Onan’s deep voice filled her ears. His cultured tones were sexier than the most ancient chant.
“Merry Christmas, Master.” She stepped forward, holding out the silver box.
He glanced at it with an almost contemptuous expression. Did he still hate her? If so, why had he asked her to come? Elizabeth summoned all of her telepathic skills and tried to breach his thoughts. It was impossible. He was too old and too powerful.
Finally he took the gift and began walking up the steps. “Come with me.”
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