Dark Blood Page 33

Damon opened his mouth to reply, but Branislava and Tatijana returned with cups of coffee for Damon, Daciana and Makoce. Damon’s gaze immediately jumped to Branislava’s face as she handed him the hot mug.

“I have no idea if it’s any good,” she admitted. “It’s the first cup of coffee I’ve ever actually made.”

Tatijana handed a cup to Daciana. “Not the first, this is about the fifteenth, but we think this could actually be drinkable. We want the truth because we have to be able to make this for our guests.”

“I’m sure it will be fine,” Damon said, staring into Branislava’s emerald eyes.

As usual, Branislava wore a long dress, looking very feminine, the material clinging to her breasts and emphasizing her waist and flared hips. A ribbon was woven into her long braid, and she moved gracefully to Zev’s side, perching on the arm of his chair, drawing her legs up under her.

Zev immediately wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her closer to him. His wolf was close to the surface, much closer than he would have liked. Damon was just too attentive to her, his interest far too evident. His wolf prowled and snarled and raked, demanding the freedom to rid the world of a rival.

Branislava leaned into him, her lips brushing his ear. Hello, my little Wolfie. I’ve missed you. She breathed the words into his ear, yet no sound emerged. He heard her only in his mind.

Warm air sent fingers of arousal dancing through his body. The tension in his wolf eased instantly to be replaced by amusement—and satisfaction. His wolf no longer wanted anything to do with Damon, but Branislava was in danger of him eating her up.

Daciana and Mokoce drank their coffee gratefully. Damon took a sip of his and nearly choked. He turned away from Branislava, desperate to keep from spitting the brew out on the verandah.

Branislava’s soft laughter sounded intimate in Zev’s mind. He really shouldn’t have come here to hurt the wolves, kill Dimitri and Skyler and upset you.

Evil woman. His laughter joined hers. I should have expected that you would exact some sort of revenge. His laughter faded and he whipped his head around to look into her eyes. You didn’t poison him, did you?

The temptation was there, not to kill him, just make him a little sick, but I resisted. Branislava sounded just a little regretful. She even glanced at Damon speculatively under the sweep of her long lashes, as if at any moment she might change her mind and lace his drink with one of the millions of spells she knew.

Zev wanted to be alone with her. He needed to be. How was he going to talk to her, let her get to know him? Give her the chance to fall in love with him? He was falling hard for her. It seemed that every time they had a moment alone, something happened to steal it away from them.

You’re getting to know me, Branislava said. Her arm tightened around his neck and she brushed her lips against his ear, sending that warm air rushing like liquid lava through his bloodstream. You know more about me than anyone else other than Tatijana. I’m beginning to know you as well, especially your wolf. I rather like him. He thinks like me.

He never ever wants you to refer to him as Wolfie out loud. In Fen’s presence especially. Or Dimitri’s. Or Tatijana’s and Skyler’s, because I will never hear the end of it.

He had no idea why he didn’t just object strenuously to her use of that name, but somehow when she whispered Wolfie so intimately into his mind in her soft, sexy voice . . . He sighed. He might already have tumbled right into loving her.

“Did you understand what Fen just told you, Damon?” Daciana demanded, pinning her brother with angry eyes. They were nearly golden, a clear sign that she was furious with him. “Carpathians can turn vampire just as we can turn rogue. There’s a difference just as with us.”

Damon carefully set the cup of coffee on the wide railing and leaned one hip against the stone. “I’m aware there is a difference between a Carpathian and a vampire.”

“So use your head,” Zev snapped. “When the sacred code was written, the Sange rau had slaughtered our people, completely decimated our ranks. It made sense to keep the women at home and out of harm’s way. No one knew much about the demon who preyed on our people, and it was nearly impossible to kill, so they created the sacred code and it made sense to them.”

Damon rubbed at his temples again, a frown creeping across his face.

Branka, look at him. Every time I mention anything to do with why he’s here or the Sacred Circle or code, he gets a violent headache. I saw a small trickle of blood come from his nose earlier when he was trying to tell me who sent him here. He couldn’t remember and became very confused.

Branislava sat up a little straighter, her attention centering on Damon. The wolf in Zev didn’t like it, but he understood and it was far easier for Zev to control that dangerous streak of jealousy knowing why she was so focused on the Lycan.

“Damon?” Daciana prompted. “If you understand the difference between a Carpathian and a vampire, it isn’t that big of a leap to understand the difference between the Sange rau and the Hän ku pesäk kaikak. The Hän ku pesäk kaikak translates to ‘guardian of all,’ which is what Dimitri is.”

“And me,” Fen said. “I hunted the Sange rau with Vakasin, and we shared blood when wounded. Vakasin became Carpathian and Lycan and I became Lycan and Carpathian. Neither of us were vampire or rogue. We were stronger, yes, and faster, and in the end that is what enabled us to defeat the Sange rau.”

Damon nodded his head several times but he pressed his fingers to his eyes. A fine sheen of sweat broke out on his face.

Out of the mist, Dimitri and Skyler came, walking hand in hand up the stone steps to the verandah. Dimitri looked—lethal. Zev couldn’t blame him. Skyler had been targeted more than once by members of the Sacred Circle and they were relentless in the pursuit to kill her. Dimitri still bore the scars of the silver chains they’d wrapped him in from his forehead to his ankles.

Clearly, Dimitri gave off an aura of danger. Both Makoce and Daciana moved closer to Damon as if they might protect him from the Hän ku pesäk kaikak.

Dimitri ignored them and went straight to Branislava to drop a kiss on the top of her head. “Little sister, you were wonderful tonight. Thank you.”

She touched him with gentle fingers in reply. Skyler exchanged a kiss on the cheek with Branislava and then Tatijana.

“I’m sorry we’re late,” Dimitri said. “We were attending the wound on the wolf.” Again he didn’t look at Damon, but his low tone carried easily and deliberately.

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