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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Intimate Relations [Book 4]
Autumn caught his scent as soon as she reached the sidewalk in front of the members only club called Burgundy Peak.
Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply. Ignoring the scent of the others mingling inside the club, she focused on his aroma. Rolon Adler. She immediately guessed the scent belonged to him, since it was clearly that of an ancient alpha male. The only two other vampires who had scents as powerful were the club’s owner, Master Zigor, and his eldest offspring, Onan. Anybody who knew Zigor realized that no ancient alpha besides Onan would be allowed to set foot in Burgundy Peak without his permission. Since there was no sign that anyone in the club was engaged in a fight to the death, she knew the owner of that marvelous scent must have been invited.
In spite of the way Adler’s fresh, wild aroma fascinated her, Autumn raised her internal shield, preparing to ignore any attraction she might feel for him. She had been subjected to the arrogance and cruelty of an ancient for too long to ever bind herself to another. For over a thousand years, Autumn had developed her talents and built a reputation as an old and respected Intimate, a vampire who shares his or her sexual expertise and discipline in exchange for blood. Now she controlled the pleasure of the males she bedded and was not subject to their whims. She demanded and they obeyed. Becoming an Intimate was no easy task. It took years of practice to develop physical, emotional, and psychic discipline beyond others of her kind. According to information from an accurate source, she knew this aromatic singer was also an Intimate, and two such dominant creatures could never mix.
Mix! What the hell was she thinking? A man whose scent was as powerful and thrilling as a stormy ocean was not the sort she wanted in her life. Besides, she hadn’t yet seen him. For all she knew, he was a scrawny runt with crooked fangs.
Still, his aroma was so wonderful she almost doubted it would matter what he looked like. He could probably hypnotize a woman with his scent just as most vampires could hypnotize a victim with their gaze.
When she reached out to open the door, she realized her hand was trembling. Never had a man’s scent affected her in this way, not since —
No! She would not think of the past. Never again would she be a weak, vulnerable thrall. She would kill — or die — first.
It was ridiculous to question herself simply because a man’s scent attracted her. This wasn’t the first time an aroma had lured her and it wouldn’t be the last. Shaking off her doubts, she opened the door and strode inside with confidence.
In the foyer, keeping watch over the entrance to the club’s main floor, stood a tall, powerfully-built black man. “Good evening, Onan.”
He nodded, meeting her gaze. Sometimes Autumn wondered if he ever smiled. His handsome face seemed to be carved from marble. She didn’t doubt that Rolon Adler’s presence affected Onan, as well. It amazed her that a vampire such as Onan still peacefully coexisted in close proximity with Zigor, but the Master and his offspring shared a closeness rare in ancient males.
“Sounds like there’s quite a crowd in there tonight,” Autumn said.
“Yes. Rolon has a vast following in this city, and he hasn’t visited us since the nineteen thirties.”
“What do you think of him, Onan?”
“He is very talented.”
“I mean what do you think of him personally?”
An annoyed look glistened in Onan’s ebony eyes, though whether it was directed at her or reflected his feelings toward Rolon, she couldn’t be sure.
“You’re expected at Master Zigor’s booth.”
Autumn smiled. “Hate him so much that you don’t want to talk about him. I understand.”
“I do not hate Rolon.” Onan’s broad chest expanded beneath his black leather coat. “But he can be difficult.”
“As if any of you ancient males are easy to get along with.”
“I do not appreciate such a generalization.”
Autumn tossed another smile his way before she stepped through the door to the club area.
Saturday nights at Burgundy Peak were usually busy, but tonight’s crowd was unprecedented, at least for the thirty years she had patronized it. Vamps and mortal donors were almost crawling over each other on the dance floor. Customers literally covered the bar, and not a single empty table existed. Autumn could only begin to guess the amount of money the club was earning tonight. Still, as she approached the owner’s booth in a relatively secluded corner of the room she noted that Master Zigor’s attitude seemed fouler than usual. The tall, black-haired vampire’s piercing gaze swept the club like a tiger seeking its prey. Beside him sat his wife, Mel, whose wild reputation preceded her. Autumn couldn’t understand how a vampiress with Mel’s strength could tolerate marriage to such an aggressive ancient. Years ago, while seeking the skills to establish herself as an Intimate, Autumn had spent several sessions with Zigor and despised every moment of it. Still, he had given her valuable skills. The man was a master of control, both of himself and his partners.
Across from Mel and Zigor sat another couple. The man, impeccably dressed and graceful as a panther, exuded tremendous power for a vampire only a few centuries old. Woodrow Quint’s telepathic skills were even the envy of some ancients. Dark glasses concealed his sightless eyes, but Autumn knew better than to think Woodrow’s blindness made him vulnerable. Zigor had trained him to be one of the fiercest vampire warriors in existence, and he never hesitated to defend what was his, particularly the lovely vampiress seated beside him. Dechrista leaned close to her husband, her arm linked with his, and whispered something in his ear that made him smile. It was Dechrista who glanced at Autumn first and waved to her as she approached the booth.
Slipping into the seat beside Woodrow, Autumn exchanged greetings with her companions, except for Master Zigor who was still too busy glaring around the club.
“Looks like you’re having a great night.” Autumn grinned, perhaps to taunt Zigor a bit. She and the others knew he hated the idea of having a strange ancient male in his club, even for a single night. Still, he hadn’t been able to resist the financial benefits of allowing Rolon to sing there.
“Rolon has a big following here in the US, even if he hasn’t graced us with his presence since the nineteen thirties,” Woodrow said.
“Yes. Just after he came the stock market crashed. I wonder what the hell will happen this time?”
“Zigor, can’t you ease up a little?” Mel said. “Rolon’s only going to be here for one night.”
“Yes, and you are the reason, Woodrow. If not for my affection for you, I would not allow Rolon through the door of Burgundy Peak.”
A smile flirted around Woodrow’s lips. “It’s funny, Master, but according to Rolon, had it not been for me he would never perform in a dilapidated den of evil such as Burgundy Peak.”
Zigor growled and his eyes flashed red with rage. “He said that?”
“In all honesty, no, but he did think it.”
“When you were young, Woodrow, did I not arrange for you to learn from the world’s greatest music teachers? Why did you decide to become the student of an arrogant ass like Rolon?”
“You wouldn’t know a thing about arrogance, would you, Zigor?” Autumn couldn’t resist the opportunity to rib him.
“No one asked for your comments.”
“I don’t need an invitation.”
“Here you do.”
Woodrow said, “I trained with Rolon because he is the oldest and most talented vocalist in the world. You know how much music means to me, Master, and I learned more from Rolon than all the others combined.“
Autumn ceased paying attention to the conversation as Rolon’s delicious scent grew stronger. Everyone focused on the small stage across the room on which stood the most captivating man Autumn had ever seen.
Hair the color of warm chocolate hung just past his broad shoulders. The planes and chiseled angles of his face reminded her of some primitive creature, yet the pale blue eyes gazing from beneath savagely arched brows revealed keen intelligence and the wisdom of an ancient. For a moment, his gaze drifted in Autumn’s direction. A ripple of pure desire rushed through her from scalp to toe.
When he began singing, she realized why so many vampires adored him. Not only was his voice as pure as an arctic breeze, but it seemed to combine styles from every age since the beginning of time.
For the next two hours, no one except Rolon existed. Through the wonders of his clear, perfect voice, she seemed to relive past centuries and experience times before her own existence.
Still, she rebelled against her desire for him. His power and arrogance were as obvious as his vocal talent, and the last thing Autumn wanted was to develop a crush on a man like him.
Only when he left the stage did she realize the entire room had fallen silent. Everyone gazed at Rolon, entranced by him. Suddenly they erupted into screams and applause such as mortal children at a pop star’s concert. The noise jarred her from the carnal thoughts about Rolon.
“That was something all right,” Mel said, swallowing her whiskey in a gulp. She tossed Zigor a sidelong glance. “I even sensed you getting into a few of his songs.”
“Melinda, now is not the time to goad me.”
“I’m not –”
“Silence.” Zigor held up his hand and turned his gaze to Rolon who was approaching the table. The guests he passed stared at him, but none dared approach him.
“That was fantastic, as always, Rolon,” Woodrow said as the ancient paused beside the table. The others agreed, except for Zigor and Autumn. Everyone knew Zigor would rip out his own tongue before complimenting Rolon, and Autumn refused to help feed what she guessed to be his massive ego. How could someone like him not be self-absorbed? He had everything a vampire could ask for: age, beauty, talent, and power.
While he talked to the others and accepted their praise, Rolon’s gaze constantly drifted toward Autumn. Though she stared at him with equal intensity, inside she quivered. God, this man could almost make her forget her own power, or perhaps tempt her to revel too fully in it. At that moment, all she could think about was fucking him until neither of them could move. His strong, heady scent filled her, almost making her dizzy.
“Several women have been selected for you to choose from,” Zigor stated. “If you would like to get right to it –”
“And out of your sight?” A slow smile spread across Rolon’s sexy lips, yet the gesture never reached his eyes. “Hopping from one performance to another without pause doesn’t appeal to me. You should look happier than you do, Zigor. I’m sure this establishment hasn’t had such a prosperous night in –”
“Burgundy Peak has prospered since the late eighteen hundreds. Just because you stop here every now and then to clear your throat, don’t presume to –”
“Clear my throat? I should be amused by how little you’ve changed over the years, Zigor.” Once again Rolon’s pale eyes fixed on Autumn.
“How rude of us,” Dechrista said. “Rolon Adler, this is Autumn Arienn.”
Autumn slowly extended her hand. He reached across the table and took it. He kissed the back of it, a slight smirk on his lips. The gesture appeared harmless enough, but Autumn sensed his mental challenge. Just as she knew by his scent that he was an ancient, he also knew by hers that she was one as well. As she sensed his power, he sensed hers. To kiss even her hand without permission was almost like extending a challenge. His gaze revealed his desire and curiosity. Releasing her hand, he slipped into the seat beside Zigor and didn’t bother looking at her for the next several moments.
Inside, Autumn seethed. Why should she care whether or not he challenged or acknowledged her? She wanted no part of an arrogant, aggressive male. A man such as Rolon had already caused her enough pain. She had been lucky and courageous enough to free herself from her former master’s grasp and would never place herself at the mercy of another ancient alpha, no matter how much he aroused her.
* * *
While engaging in conversation with the others in the booth, Rolon gazed at Autumn from the corner of his eye. Though he longed to stare at her and drink in the beauty of her large, dark eyes, he refused to give her the satisfaction.
His desire for her had begun before he even knew what she looked like. From the moment he caught her scent when he was warming up his voice in a back room of the club, he wanted her. Her sweet yet powerful scent intoxicated him and had nearly driven his thoughts from his upcoming performance.
Before stepping onto the stage, he had glanced around the club, searching for the owner of such a marvelous aroma. When his gaze fell up on Autumn, desire such as he hadn’t felt in ages shot through him. His pulse had actually quickened and he’d been unable to control his smile.
It had been years since he’d encountered a female ancient who exuded this woman’s strength. Her exotic face, supple form, and piercing gaze tightened his insides and made his cock spring alive. Not exactly the way he wanted to present himself in front of an audience.
It had taken him several moments to control his desire enough to take the stage. When he had, he allowed himself only a brief glance in her direction, then tried pushing thoughts of her to the back of his mind while he sang. Music meant the world to him. Until now, only one other person had ever been able to distract him from it. Memories of Cleo were what finally interrupted his daydreaming of the lovely woman in the audience. The last thing he needed in his life was a woman who consumed him. He was an Intimate. Women knelt at his feet and willingly offered their bodies and blood in exchange for the marvelous sexual gratification he provided. Feeding his almost insatiable physical desire was all that mattered. He didn’t need to get emotionally involved with anyone. Such closeness distracted him from his music and charged a spiritual toll he was no longer willing to pay.
Still, the woman intrigued him. Such a feeling made his head spin more than the finest blood-laced wine. His interest in her was the only thing forcing him to share a table with Zigor. His only link to the other ancient male was through Woodrow, one of Rolon’s favorite students. During the years he spent training the blind vampire as a singer, he had developed a great admiration for Woodrow’s perseverance and many talents. Rolon and Zigor hated each other on sight, yet Woodrow had always managed to prevent a full-blown war between them. Besides, there were some things about the arrogant prick Zigor that Rolon almost respected.
“Too bad you don’t come here more often, Rolon. The customers seem to love you,” Mel said. She was a fine woman. Rolon wondered why the hell she had married Zigor.
“Don’t speak so quickly, my dear. The last time he sang here the stock market crashed and I nearly lost the club soon after.”
Rolon’s anger bristled and he resisted the urge to growl. “Your memory fails you, Zigor. You were nearly destroyed due to the crash and I sang here as a mission of mercy to help save your business.”
“If anyone was performing a mission of mercy, it was me.” Zigor glared, the scent of his rage almost overpowering. “You hadn’t performed in years and I agreed to let you sing here to help you get over your problem.”
Nearly blinded by fury, Rolon allowed warning growls to rumble in his chest. “As if I would ever require your help to get over even the most insignificant problem. Count your earnings carefully tonight, Zigor, because this is the last time I’ll ever sing in this dump again. Forgive my harshness, Mel.”
“Who gave you permission to address my wife?”
“Is this argument necessary?” Woodrow stated.
“Never ask me to allow him to perform here again, Woodrow, for the answer shall be no.”
“I wouldn’t perform here again if you begged me on bended knee.”
“What really happened?” Autumn asked, a taunting gleam in her eye. It was as if the woman wanted to goad them. For some reason, this increased Rolon’s desire. Such a woman presented so many thrilling challenges.
“I saved his business.”
“I saved his career.”
“Woodrow, who is telling the truth?” Autumn pressed.
“Yeah, I’d like to know too.”
“You doubt my word, Melinda?”
“Zigor, I don’t doubt you, but I know you have a lot of anger toward Rolon, and –”
“They are both telling the truth. Master Zigor’s business was suffering a bit due to the Depression and Rolon hadn’t performed publicly in almost a century,” Woodrow said, an amused smile on his lips. For a moment, Rolon wished the bastard could see so he could fling him one of his most ferocious glares.
“Why had you stopped singing?” Autumn gazed at him, her eyes seeming to penetrate his soul.
The last thing he wanted was to discuss the most vulnerable time of his life in front of an audience. The waitress who approached the table to take his order saved him from answering, or so he thought. He had no sooner asked for his drink than Autumn reminded him of her question.
“Personal reasons kept me from performing,” he replied. “I’m much more interested in hearing about you, Ms. Arienn.”
“Are you?” Another sexy little smile flirted with her lips.
For a moment, the attraction buzzing between them seemed to block out everyone in the club. It was as if only the two of them existed. Reaching out telepathically, he tried to enter her thoughts only to find that she was attempting to probe his mind as well. Perhaps it was due to her age and experience, but never had he felt such gentleness in a telepathic exchange. Her mental hand seemed to caress his soul, asking rather than demanding his thoughts. Such tenderness made denying her more difficult than fighting off a ferocious attack. Yes, this woman was as intelligent as she appeared. Hiding most of his thoughts from her, he vowed not to succumb to her charms so easily. She also disguised her innermost self from him, though he sensed her attraction. Catching a glimpse of both of them wrapped naked in each other’s arms, he allowed himself to indulge in a similar fantasy. For a brief moment, it was as if they shared the same daydream. Her smooth, dark skin slid sensuously over him. Tickled by her long, silky hair gliding over his skin and tantalized by the thought of her deep, wet kiss, his felt his heartbeat quicken.
Simultaneously, they broke off the telepathic connection. Drawing a deep breath, Rolon sat back, wondering if his expression revealed the passion crashing through him. His cock ached and throbbed, pushing against his trousers in the most wonderfully annoying way.
Autumn drained her glass of water. Her scent had grown stronger and Rolon resisted the urge to smile. It seemed he had tempted her as much as she tempted him.
The others at the table had gone suspiciously silent. Dechrista and Woodrow excused themselves to dance while Zigor and Mel said they had business to take care of upstairs.
Alone in the booth, Autumn and Rolon faced one another.
“Discreet, weren’t they?” Rolon said.
“I suppose.” She removed a compact from her purse and glanced at her reflection. The woman was deliberately sending mixed messages, hot one moment, cool the next. Still, her scent and heartbeat didn’t lie.
“Would you like to dance?”
Snapping the compact shut, she cast him an appraising look that he found most irritating. An ancient male of his nature wasn’t accustomed to women rating him. He was invariably an eleven on a scale of one to ten, yet this bitch glanced at him as if he scarcely reached the five mark. Funny her scent didn’t match her expression.
He offered her his hand and they walked to the dance floor. The music was slow and romantic, perfect for seduction had he been with an average woman. Autumn was far above average and would not be lured easily. Knowing that only made him want her more. Not for anything permanent, of course. All he needed was to fuck her once and take the edge off the brutal need that had been building since he first caught her scent.
His arm slipped around her waist while her hand fell lightly on his shoulder. God, her touch seemed to burn right through to his core. Her small, soft hand fit his perfectly.
“You know, I’m going to tell you straight out that I’m an Intimate,” she said, gazing into his eyes.
His insides fluttered and he resisted the urge to tighten his grip on her. Her revelation certainly didn’t surprise him. How could a vampire of her age and power be anything less?
“I know you’re one too,” she said. “So anything more than dancing is impossible.”
“Nothing is impossible, Ms. Arienn.”
“Unless you plan to accept me as a Mistress it is.”
He couldn’t resist smiling. “Such a tempting offer.”
“You want to take it?”
“I don’t think so.” His arm tightened around her waist and he lowered his mouth to hers, not kissing her, but feeling their breath mingle. Her scent filled him and her heart pounded against his chest, or was it his own heart? Her dark eyes gleamed with the same passion he felt and she gripped his shoulder tighter. Her hand dropped from his waist, then slid up his back.
Just before he kissed her, she slipped from his grasp.
“The song’s over.” She held his gaze, her expression taunting yet passionate. “Thanks for the dance. It was nice meeting you, Mr. Adler.”
“Are you leaving?”
“Would you like a hunting partner?”
She smiled and flung his words back at him. “I don’t think so.”
Rolon stared as she grabbed her purse and wove her way through the crowd to disappeared out the door. For several moments he stood, inhaling her fading scent, oblivious to everything around him. His mind churned with thoughts of lovely Autumn Arienn.
Nothing tempted a man more than the refusal of a woman who he knew wanted him as much as he wanted her.
“Excuse me, sir.” A feminine voice interrupted his thoughts.
Rolon glanced at the young vampiress, one of Zigor’s employees.
“Master Zigor said whenever you are ready the hopefuls have been assembled.”
Rolon drew another deep breath, savoring the remnants of Autumn’s scent, before following his hostess out of the club’s main floor to the rooms upstairs.
In spite of how he goaded Zigor regarding the quality of Burgundy Peak, he had yet to find a club anywhere in the world as well run. Only the finest food, wine, and blood were served. Every corner and crevice was sparkling clean, and Zigor’s employees, from the prostitutes to the janitor, were paid good wages and enjoyed the ancient Master’s protection. One of Zigor’s few admirable qualities was that he defended his own. Like Rolon, he was as powerful as he was harsh, and heaven help anyone who harmed someone connected to him.
Upstairs, the vampiress opened the door to a large room. Decorated simply yet elegantly, it was the perfect place for a romantic interlude.
Four women stood in front of the drawn black drapes that blocked out the glow of moonlight. A thick pillar candle flickered on the round table in a corner of the room, providing ample light for vampiric eyes. The women gazed hungrily at Rolon, though they remained at silent attention while he strode in front of them, his hands folded behind his back. They were an attractive lot and pleasantly varied. There was a voluptuous brunette with slanted brown eyes. The tips of her tiny fangs rested against full red lips. Beside her stood a charming redhead with marvelous curves and a pale neck simply made for biting. Two blondes, fair skinned and full breasted, gazed at him with lust gleaming in their pale green eyes. He knew by their scent that they were more than ready to fuck the night away. His slight telepathic probing revealed their submissive nature. They would provide their blood willingly and comply with each of his demands. They longed for his guiding hand and the pleasure only an ancient alpha male could bestow upon their ravenous flesh.
For several moments he paced slowly in front of the women, listening to their heartbeats and inhaling their lusty scents.
“Please, Master.” The redhead dropped to her knees in front of him, her blue eyes daring to meet his and reveal the depth of her need.
“Master.” The blondes also sank to the floor at his feet, followed by the brunette.
“My blood is yours.”
Rolon reached over them and opened the drapes. Drawing a deep breath he gazed at the moon severed by a skyscraper. These girls were lovely and would surely taste delicious. Their blood would appease the hunger that had burned inside him for too long. Fasting made one stronger, but too much denial was dangerous for a vampire. He liked testing himself to the point of starvation, but anything more would tempt the violent frenzy that overtook a vampire just before the point of death. Rolon had experienced that horror once and had no desire to repeat it. Still, he didn’t want these young vampiresses who were so eager to please. Someone else had caught his fancy. An older woman, one who oozed sexuality and knew her own mind. What would it feel like to love Autumn Arienn?
Drawing a deep breath, Rolon turned from the window and strode across the room, leaving the hopefuls on their knees.
When he stepped out of the club, he found Zigor standing there, one of his shoulders resting against the brick building. Though they had never fought, he almost longed for a good old-fashioned brawl with a vampire like Zigor. He exuded physical, emotional, and telepathic strength that might just match Rolon’s.
“Were the women not to your liking?” Zigor asked.
“No. They were very well chosen.”
“You want blood. I can smell it.”
“A man of your experience must know that abstinence is good for the soul.”
“I think your refusal of those women has nothing to do with spirituality, but you merely wish to taste the cream of a different cat.”
Rolon’s gaze fixed on Zigor’s. Had his attraction to Autumn been so obvious? Regardless, Zigor’s uninvited familiarity irritated him. “I suggest that you attend to your own affairs and leave me to mine.”
The slightest smile touched Zigor’s lips. “See you next century?”
Rolon continued down the street to his rented car. While visiting New York state, he was staying with Woodrow and Dechrista. He wanted to reach their home as quickly as possible and put his plan into action.
Upon arriving at Woodrow and Dechrista’s house, he found the couple seated on the floor in front of the living room fireplace, a tray of tea and cookies nearby.
“Come in and join us,” Dechrista said.
Rolon smiled. “No. Thank you. Tea in front of a fireplace is meant for two, not three. I have some errands to do this evening, but I needed to ask you something.”
“What is it?”
“Is Autumn Arienn a close friend of Zigor’s or of you?”
“Zigor has known her for years, but she’s actually a good friend of mine,” Dechrista said.
“Excellent. May I inconvenience you by asking you to invite her to dinner this week?”
Both Woodrow and Dechrista grinned.
“We would be glad to.” Woodrow turned in Rolon’s direction. Sometimes Rolon swore his friend’s blind gaze unsettled him more than that of a sighted person. Woodrow’s telepathy could even challenge someone as old as Rolon, if he didn’t keep his guard sharp.
“I won’t presume to ask her address –”
“We couldn’t give it,” Dechrista said. “Autumn can give you that herself.”
“I was asking if you would have orchids delivered to her and send me the bill.”
“Oh.” Dechrista smiled. “I should have let you finish your sentence. Sure. Orchids.”
“Make sure they’re potted, not cut.”
Rolon wouldn’t dare insult a woman like Autumn by presenting her with dead flowers. She deserved a gift as beautiful and alive as she was.
“Well, that’s sure to get her attention.” Dechrista smiled. “Autumn is a botanical enthusiast. I’ll be glad to send the flowers for you.”
“We’ll ask her over on Monday.”
Nodding, Rolon left the room, his pulse quickening with the thought of seeing Autumn again.
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