It’s My Birthday!!!

newbirthday-cakeHello All!

Today is the big day. I turn 47! Throughout the day we will be giving away prizes. Print books, Amazon GC’s and the occasional ebook of your choice. I hope you have as much fun participating as I do. One of the things I’m going to do today is go see Murder on the Orient Express. I love movies. What is your favorite movie?

One winner will receive a $25.00 GC to Amazon or the ebook retailer of your choice.

 

Catnapped 15

Sorry I was feeling sick yesterday!

The rest of the week passed quickly. Nevio still hadn’t requested blood and Jacques spent most of his time in his lion form lying in the garden.

He flicked his tail from side to side and he lay on the large rock Nevio had placed to the left of the flowers. Apparently the gardeners were worried about the state of the greenery with his big lion ass in the way.

Sunshine beamed down on him as Jacques lolled about in the bright sunshine enjoying the heat against his fur.

“You are just a big lazy lion, aren’t you?”

Jacques lifted one eyelid to examine the vampire standing beside his rock. He yawned, exposing his sharp teeth.

“Yes, yes, you are quite intimidating. If you are done with your nap your tutor is going to be here in an hour to discuss some boring, dusty history with you. I thought you might want to be ready for that.” Nevio’s disdain came across clearly.

Jacques chuffed his disapproval before standing then jumping down from his rock. If he nudged Nevio a bit it was perfectly accidental, or he would claim, if asked.

“Brat,” Nevio scoled in a surprisingly affectionate tone.

Heading inside, Jacques didn’t bother to reply. He made it all the way back to his room before he wondered why Nevio hadn’t sent a servant to inform him.

After a quick shower and change into fresh clothes, Jacques located the library where his sessions were going to be held. A man in a tweed jacket and khakis stood in the room, a low table between him and the door. Jacques couldn’t make out what was on the table. A covering blocked his view.

“Oh, there you are. Well I’m assuming it’s you. You are Jacques Caldera are you not?”

“Yes, and you are?”

“Felix Underson.”

“The explorer?” Excitement shot through him. He hadn’t dared to hope to have someone this prestigious teaching him.

“Yes, that would be me!” The explorer beamed at him. “I’ve heard you want to work in a museum.”

Jacques nodded. “That’s been my dream since my dad took me to the Smithsonian as a child. I want to preserve our history.” He blushed beneath Felix’s understanding gaze.

“Quite right. As do I. I’ve spent the past ten years trying to uncover histories lost treasures from remote locations. All the ordinary valuable items are returned to their home cultural center so it can be shared with all.”

“And the ones that aren’t ordinary?” The hairs on the back of Jacques neck rose as Felix lifted the cover off the table.

“I bring them with me to discover their secrets and I’ll be using them as a teaching tool. What better way to learn about history than to learn everything that has happened in the past good and bad. You see, Jacques, may I call you that?”

Jacques nodded, his mouth too dry to answer.

“I’m going to teach you to be a true historian. Unlike those that try to whitewash history and make it all about the pretty trinkets and heroic battles, I’m going to show you the evil underbelly so you have a more rounded education. You can only learn so much history from books before you have to go out and explore on your own. Unfortunately for you, you’ve been put into a rather restrictive environment while still expecting you to learn about the world. It is my job to make sure you can get the education you need.”

“I appreciate that sir.” Jacques tried not to show his unease. Surely Nevio would leave him alone with someone who meant him harm.

“I knew you would.” Felix flashed him an approving smile. “That’s why I saved my best hexed objects for you.”

“Oh, um thanks.” Curiosity had him stepping forward. He blamed his inner feline.

Three items lay on a bed of red silk.

“All three of these have a dangerous curse of some kind. It is unusual to find in lost temples or tombs protection against theft or intrusion.”

The best solution to Jacques mind it to just leave it there.

Catnapped 14

As promised an extra edition. Not super long…but here!

 * * * *

Nevio didn’t have a response for Jacques statement of him being half wolf. “I didn’t know shifters could interbreed.”

The ‘you’re and idiot’ look Jacques flashed him would’ve made him blush if he could. “We are human even if we can change into an animal. Humans can breed.”

“Sorry,” Nevio raised his hands in defense. “I’ve never given shifter sex much attention.”

“The way you’re going you never will.” Jacques sniffed.

“Is that your way of saying maybe some day we can be more than donor and vampire?”

Jacques flushed. “No, that is my mouth running ahead of my brain.”

“I’m going to let you off the hook this time.” Nevio smirked.

“How generous of you.”

“Isn’t it?”

Jacques played with the handle of his mug, moving the cup back and forth a few times. “When do you think you want me to start donating blood?” The lion shifter didn’t make eye contact.

Jacques held back the urge to declare now the perfect time. “How about next Tuesday? If you come find me after breakfast I can drink from you then.”

“Why can’t I just bleed in a tube like I do when donating at the pack?”

Nevio collected his thoughts trying to figure out a polite way to telling Jacques how much he yearned to lick the lion shifter’s skin and taste that first orgasmic suck of warm blood from the source. “Some of the nutrients are lost in transport from body to cup.”

“Really?” Jacques eyes went wide.

“Not a lot but some. And it is more pleasant for a vampire to drink from living flesh.” Might as well be honest or at least moderately honest. Too much honest would drive Jacques away.

“Oh, I guess I can see that. My lion half prefers game I hunted down myself rather than stuff bought at the store.”

“Exactly.” Nevio smiled. It was nice that Jacques understood.

“You, um, don’t need to drink earlier than that?” Jacques bit his lip adorably and looked up him with big innocent lion eyes.

Nevio clutched his mug carefully chanting in his head how many ways wrong it would be to throw Jacques on the floor and have his way with the younger man.

“You all right?” Jacques asked.

Nevio shook his head. “Of course, why wouldn’t I be?”

“I don’t know but you had a strange expression on your face.”

“Sorry. Your tutor is coming next Wednesday to go over your schedule. Will you be ready?”

“Yes!” Jacques warm, brilliant smile had Nevio wishing he could keep it there forever. “I can’t wait to start.”

“I think your online class starts there next week also.”

“Yeah, Thursday. It will be a busy week.”

“Good it gives you less time to mope.” It hadn’t missed Nevio’s attention that Jacques appeared a bit sad and lost in the mansion without his pack buddies.

“I don’t mope!” Jacques said with a proud tilt of his head. “I sulk with style.”

Catnapped 13

Sorry about missing Monday. I seem to lose track of days. At least I got my next Moon Pack out…see I was doing something. HA!

I’m hoping I’m not contradicting something I wrote earlier.

Keep in mind this is unedited and sometimes written while I’m half asleep. You have been warned. 🙂

* * * *

Nevio sipped his coffee before setting the mug back on the iron table. “You’re right the garden is nice this time of day.”

Jacques had taken to sleeping in a patch of sunlight every afternoon in his lion form. Nevio had the servants put a table and two chairs along with an umbrella. It was oddly peaceful to sit in the shade while his lion companion napped. He’d taken to bringing his paperwork outside. Instead of the stifling quiet of his office he listened to the birds sing and the occasional insect buzz.

“Do the bloodsucking mosquitos suck a bloodsuckers blood?” Jacques asked. He sat on the grass with his arms wrapped around his knees. His bright eyes glowed with amusement.

Busy admiring the sunlight in Jacques hair, it took a minute for him to process what the lion shifter had said. “No. We are immune to insects. They aren’t attracted to our scent.”

Jacques made a humming sound but didn’t say anything else. He tilted back his head as if he were a flower seeking the sun.

“You should wear sunscreen.” Nevio bit his lip after he spoke.

“I don’t burn,” Jacques said. “I don’t know a single shifter who does.”

“Really?” Nevio would have to look into that. “I wonder if it’s a natural immunity.” If it was could it be passed along? He’d bring the idea to the coven’s doctor.

“We are immune to a lot of things. Is there enough coffee for two?” Jacques asked tilting his head up to look at the table.

“There can be.” Nevio motioned toward the servant standing by the door. There was always someone within sight in case he needed anything. As the leader he often had to call someone to him or have something fetched right away. It was easier to have a servant on call than to have hunt down a messenger. They might have cell phones but more than a few of the coven ignored them. If it was urgent they expected a live person to come and tell them so.

Nevio didn’t blame them for their beliefs but they were inconvenient at times. A second mug appeared on the table along with a basket of pastries. Vampires could eat but it wouldn’t sustain them like blood. However the coven kept chefs on hand to feed donors. A full donor was a happy donor.

“These are good.” Jacques’s happy noises made Nevio smile.

Everything about Jacques made him smile even when he was being grumpy lion. “I’m glad you are enjoying them. Do you have enough to keep you busy?”

“For a lion,” Jacques replied.

“What does that mean?”

“That I have enough to keep me busy for now but I’m waiting to find out when my tutor will be here.”

“Next week. I wanted you to have this week to settle in. I didn’t want you to have too many changes at one time.”

“I’m settled.”

“Good. Everything else to your satisfaction? Getting enough food?”

“Yes, I’m fine.” Jacques happier expression eased Nevio’s concerns.

A happy lion would be one that didn’t try to escape. “I did have a question for you.”

“What?”

“Why do you live with wolves?”

Jacques smiled. “I was wondering when you would ask that.”

“The only thing I really know about you is that you live with wolves and your blood is the nectar of the gods.”

Jacques blushed. “I was abandoned in front of the pack house. The letter I was left with said that my father was a wolf so they could keep me. We never did find out if that was true or not.”

“Why wouldn’t your mother keep you if she knew you were a lion?”

“Because I smell like a wolf. She probably assumed I would shift into one. Shifters don’t change until they are at least two. From my scent she decided I took after my father and didn’t want to take care of me. No one in the pack ever admitted an affair with a lion so I never did find out who my dad is. They tried a DNA test but it didn’t match anyone in the pack. The person either moved on or never belonged to our pack.”

 

Catnapped – 12

Jacques spent the morning reviewing the contract. For a contract where he bartered with his blood it was a pretty good deal. Nevio offered him a solid salary for his time and for living there. His room, food, and a car were part of the package. A slight twinge of irritation went through him over the car but he let it slide.

With vampires he would have to pick his battles. Making sure Nevio didn’t take over his life would be the largest one. He could accept a car with good grace.

The way Jacques saw things he could either give in with good grace by signing the contract, or he could fight Nevio and lose all of his opportunity for negotiating. He didn’t bother to consider a third option of being allowed to leave. Vampires were territorial and Nevio saw Jacques as belonging to him. No way would the vampire let his meal walk out of the door and not do anything.

Jacques clutched the pen he found tucked into a drawer and frowned. A deep sigh escaped from the recesses of his soul. “I’m screwed either way,” he muttered.

A headache pressed down on him adding to his oppression. He growled. His lion half wanted to run.

Why shouldn’t he? Didn’t Nevio tell him to examine the document? If he were to negotiate in good faith he needed to relax. He couldn’t concentrate under a time crunch. A wicked smile curled his lips.

“I hope he warned them he had a lion in the house.”

Laughter rang through the room seconds later followed by a loud roar.

As he suspected the noise brought company. A man he didn’t recognize opened Jacques door. He didn’t wait to discover his response. Instead Jacques ran past. The startled yelp added to his enjoyment of the moment.

Let them try and cage the lion, he would show them what it meant to try and tame the beast.

The long hallways were perfect for a good run. Jacques followed the carpet to a landing then down a flight of stairs. The front door thwarted him with its closed status. He growled at the barrier.

“Are you running for freedom or stretching your legs?” Nevio’s voice called out from the top of the stairs.

How did the idiot think a lion could answer? Jacques plopped down on the marbled floor and glared at the vampire.

“Hmm, good point. You’re not exactly the English speaking type of lion. This isn’t a cartoon after all. If I let you out will you stay on the grounds? I don’t want someone to shoot you thinking you escaped from the zoo. I’ve warned my fellow vampires that my sweet lion has joined me. No one on the state will seek to harm you.”

Jacques waited.

“Nod if you are just going for a run,” Nevio demanded.

Jacques let the moment linger for a bit before nodding. The damn vamp needed to sweat a little. Did vampires sweat? A question to have answered another time.

“All right then. Like I said don’t run past the gates. We don’t want someone making a lion rug.”

Jacques didn’t bother to respond to Nevio’s humor. He fled as soon as Nevio opened the door enough for him to get through.

“Have a good run. I’ll leave the door ajar for your return,” Nevio promised.

Fresh air filled his lungs as Jacques fled from the stifling mansion. Years among the cold walls didn’t sound like a good time but maybe he could coax the wolves to come visit and liven things up. He could already tell that the vampires needed a bit more excitement. Who better to add it than the pack?

Pondering the downfall of the vampire coven, Jacques explored the grounds. Looking back at the mansion he admired the gothic pillars and enormous size. The ivy trailing up the sides added a romantic charm.

However, it was the landscape that took Jacques breath away. He currently stood in the middle of a small flower garden in full bloom. A riot of colors and smells flooded his senses. The urge to run faded as he inhaled the heady fragrance of the blossoms.

Jacques flopped down in a patch of sunlight and gave into his feline urges to become one with the sunny circle of grass.

Catnapped – 11

Okay so I reread 10 and there is a bit of a flow issue. Instead of going back over it I will just get on trucking. LOL This is what happens when I type sleepy.
* * * *

“Tell me what you need,” Nevio crooned.

“Freedom,” Jacques quipped taking back his hand.

“Once we’ve established a contract I will see about letting you have more ability to move outside of this house. However, I want you to look over this contract first.” He pulled a bundle of papers out of his inner pocket then handed them over.”

“Thanks.” He didn’t try to hide his sarcasm. If Nevio planned on keeping him here against his will he would be hearing a lot of it in the future.

“Don’t mention it,” Nevio beamed. “Now please keep in mind not everyone here is friendly. While none of my coven will attack you outright we have frequent visitors. Some of them might take offense of a mouthy feeder.”

“Then they can take their fangs and go,” Jacques sniped.

Nevio rubbed his hands over his face. “You are going to make this as miserable as possible.”

“Yes I am. Maybe you should let me go so you can enjoy the peace of my absence.” He raised his right eyebrow at Jacques.

“Good try, my little lion.”

“I’m not little,” Jacques denied.

“But you are mine,” Nevio’s pleased smile had Jacques clenching his fists.

“I really want to punch you.” The words blurted out before he could snatch them back. He pressed his hand to his mouth. “I’m sorry I didn’t mean that.”

“Yes you did.” Nevio ran a hand over Jacques hair. “But if we are going to be together we need to learn to get along.”

“Or we could part ways with no ill feelings.” The more the vampire fought him about it the more resentment faded and his amusement rose. His father always said he was a contrary creature.

“We could, but I’m not willing to.” Nevio wrapped a strand of Jacques hair around his finger. “How about we do a test?”

“What kind of test.” Jacques mistrust increased.

“Hmm, maybe test wasn’t the right word. How about trial? You stay here, with me, for two weeks and we get to know each other. And I don’t mean you tolerate me for two weeks than run off. I want you to genuinely try.”

“And what happens if we prove incompatible after two weeks.”

“I let you go.” Nevio lost his wistful smile and released Jacques hair. “I won’t hunt you down, or force you to return. I’ll even resist the urge to drug you and keep you captive.”

Jacques ran a hand through his hair. “I should probably be worried that you have that as an option.”

“I said I wouldn’t.” Nevio shrugged shoulders in an elegant dismissal.

Jacques mentally poked at the pros and cons for a while before deciding. “All right you have a deal. I will give you a genuine try and make a final decision in two weeks.”

“Excellent.”

He didn’t expect the kiss pressed to his lips and it ended before Jacques could properly object. “What was that for?”

“All the best personal contracts are sealed with a kiss. Take a look at yours and let me know if you have any changes or suggestions.”

Before Jacques could say anything else, Nevio left. Still clutching the contract in a tight fist Jacques headed back to the room he woke up inside. It only took him one wrong turn before he opened a door and entered the now familiar room.

Flopping down on the bed he unfolded the contract to give it a careful examination. If he decided to go along with this he needed to know all the details. He wouldn’t put it past Jacques to sneak in a little clause like Jacques had to massage Nevio’s feet every night.

He raised his eyes at the section titled schooling. Nevio had apparently taken his concerns seriously. A museum curator would be coming by to tutor him once a week while he was in residence and he would be doing his classes online. Would that really work?

Jacques tapped his chin as he considered the possibilities. At least Nevio seemed to be taking his concerns seriously and not just trying to plow over him.