Aramis watched the flow of traffic from his hotel room through the glass doors that led to a small balcony. The room was booked with urgency after the report of the first vampire attack was made public. The idea of organized rogues evoked enough concern to warrant his trip but the moment he set foot onto land, Aramis felt noose of responsibility tighten around his neck. The other regional rulers had brushed off the idea of lending a helping hand to their SA counterpart. The king made a formal request for aid but a request didn’t hold the weight of royal decree.
Jeffery was never social, never bothered with building ties among his kin. Aramis was just loyal enough to offer aid to a family member, whether the old fool wanted it or not. If his mother didn’t adore her brother as much as she did, perhaps Aramis would have ignored the situation alongside the rest of his brethren.
Aramis lifted his wineglass that rested on the side table, swirling the contents. The scent of blood was faint, but unmistakable. By the time Aramis had reached the hotel, he was ravenous. He stared at the swirling liquid, hunger gnawing at his gut. The bloodlust was an unwelcome complication. He would have to leash his instincts if he was going to complete his task.
“Sire,” The voice belong to one of his most loyal people. Revy was a purebred that was lethally gifted. She also walked on the very edge of sanity.
“What is it Revy?”
She wet her dry lips with the tip of her tongue. She was seductive by nature, even though her creamy skin, golden blond hair and eyes that shone silver made her a beautiful women who didn’t need tricks to entice both men and women.
“Jeffery is in over his head. Shivan is prime alpha of this territory and his aggression… is infamous,” she moved towards the couch, “Are you sure you are related,” she asked specifically.
“My mother insists.”
Revy moved with towards the leather covered couch, curled her long legs beneath her as she leaned against her side. Her movements held a feline grace, which reminded him of a feline shifter that had caught his interest…Carly.
She was a feral beauty, sensual in a way that was an inherent part of her nature. He didn’t miss the flashes of temper that lit her eyes. Shifters had a wildness within them that seep through to their personalities and Carly was no exception.
Carly had ignited a different kind of hunger within him. He knew his hunger was radiating through his skin, when Revy reacted. She moved off the couch in a fluid motion to stand inches away from him. Her scent was heavy with her own hunger. He allowed her to lean in close, felt her heated breath against her neck. The near contact should have made him react, but it seemed his craving was highly specific.
“That’s enough Revy.”
“I’m not conceited enough to think I can scratch every itch,” she stepped back and drew her full bottom lip between her teeth,”it’s a shame though. You are a beautiful male.”
“I appreciate the compliment,” he drank the remaining contents of his glass,
“I need more information on Jeffrey’s coven, the fool wouldn’t give me a morsel of detail. If the shifter attack, it will be a head on assault. Jeffery doesn’t stand a chance.” He was too prideful to ask for help and too stupid to hide.
“That should be easy enough.” She smirked confidently.
Aramis watched her leave before he refilled his glass.
THE NEXT DAY Aramis sat across from Carly, she held an empty cup against her cheek. Her eyes were half closed as she relished the contact. Carly’s eyes caught and held his, he forged interest in the blur of activity behind her.
“I like the feel of heat against my cheek,”she admitted, as she reluctantly lowered the cup.
“I did not ask Miss Devon,” he refused to let her realize the effect she had on him, “Are we actually going to do some investigating or am I to watch you down another cup of coffee.”
She looked genuinely offended, “ Bodies with the M.E, male and female, we are assuming they were a couple, but their identities are still unknown.”
“Were they shifters?”
Suspicion reflected in hazel eyes, “Yes.”
“And,” she passed two files to him, “I’m sure any information you require can be found in those.” She turned back to her computer screen, her fingers punishing the keyboard.
“Perhaps Martin has overestimated your capability.”
A flash of temper and her beast coloured her eyes gold, “I am more than capable to investigate this case, but mind-reading isn’t one of my talents. If you asked me directly for the info you need than I will be more than happy to oblige.”
Aramis knew he was being unreasonable, too used to people falling over themselves to please him. They had given him more than what he required without request. Carly wasn’t one of those people and he respected her more for that.
“Okay,I want to know your opinion of the case.” Carly narrowed her eyes, surprise written on her face.
“Well…uhm. I think the rogues aren’t really rogues. The attacks are too planned out, the kill spot was secluded, there was no chance of somebody wondering in unexpectedly,” rogues didn’t think about witnesses, “The perps are intelligent but arrogant .”
“No cop worth their salt would assume this was a rogue attack. The shifters are baying for blood but they haven’t moved yet. A, they know something doesn’t fit and B, they need to be sure before acting.” Carly’s thought process relied on cold logic and common sense, common sense unfortunately was not so common to some. He appreciated her quick assessment.
There was a growing list of attributes he admired about the female.
“We should question Shavin. The Prime alpha may be privy to information vital to the case.”Aramis had intended to meet the prime at some stage. He needed to know what Shavin intended to do.
Carly’s expression was half surprise, half disbelief, “Do you have some kind of death wish, you do not waltz into a meeting with a prime and interrogate him. Shavin is a lion for goodness sakes! His a scary sonofabitch before he shifts, after, he is a freaking living nightmare.”
Carly couldn’t believed he had suggested they interrogate the SA prime. Aramis’s expression had been unreadably until she pointed out the absurdity of his suggestion. His eyes had erupted with flecks of red that was pretty scary in itself. She chewed on the tip of her fingernail, the nervous tick calmed her enough for her to remain seated and not find the nearest exit.
“I happen to be a regional ruler as well, on par with a prime shifter.”
Carly open her mouth to argue, saw the tiniest glimpse of his fangs and thought better. Primes were a force to be reckoned with but she knew nothing of the strength of a vampire lord. She sighed heavily, “I can’t take two vampire into the compound, we can’t take Jared with us.”
“I don’t see the problem.”
No, he wouldn’t have seen the merit of having backup when everything turned to hell. She drew I’m a deep breath, “I’ll call ahead and make the appointment. She didn’t relished the idea of playing referee between Shavin and Aramis.
A few hours later they waited patiently in the lobby of a high-rise in central town. The building was shifter own, managed by the Shavin’s beta. Zekes was built like a professional wrestler with skin the colour or strong coffee, his beast was a dominant bull elephant. Carly usually avoided the big male but Shavin was in the building for a meeting and requested they meet him after.
Carly saw Zekes turned the conner, a bright smile softening his features, “Hey pretty Kitty.”
Annoyance sparked her temper, “Hi,” she hissed, hoping to end the conversation before it started.
“As prickly as ever aren’t we kitty?”
Carly like Zekes well enough, he was a good guy but his persistent pursuit of her was really working her last nerve, “Here on business, we have an appointment with Shavin.” She replied, ignoring his question.
“Leave,” Aramis said. There was so much power coating the word like a cocoon. Carly glance at Aramis and for the second time that day she wondered just how strong was a vampire lord.
Zekes eyes glazed over, sweat broke over his brow. He fought the command, gritting his teeth, skin tight over heavy bone. If he lost control and shifted, the lobby could be destroyed in a matter of minutes. The elephant shifter shook of the command, “Try that again bloodsucker and you won’t live to regret it.”
“Is that so,” Aramis replied, rising to his full height that was only inches shorter than the pissed off shifter in front of him. For a vampire Aramis was a formidable figure.
“Shavin is not going to like this.” Carly warned, hoping the two males would come to their senses,“Damn it Zekes, Aramis is a French Lord, the last thing we need is a regional war.”
Zekes took a step back, visibly calmed, “Shavin is in the conference room on the second floor.” tugged the edged of Aramis’s tailored suit, he was rooted to the floor, “Aramis please.”
The vampire pulled his gaze from Zekes, “Remove you hand Miss Devon.” His tone was a blade. Carly let go and moved back, turning she walked away from the him and towards the elevator. She had little patience for the childish display or Aramis’s clear distaste for her.
She tap on the elevator button and waited for the doors to open. She felt the weight of his present before she turned to confirm that Aramis was behind her, “Done?” She asked, as she impatiently pressed the elevator button again.
Carly wanted to ban Aramis from accompanying her to the conference room that inhabited another male that had no patience and was as aggressive as the Aramis had proven to be. She felt her head pound as she rubbed her temples.