February 1st, 2006
Kiziah’s Reading

Cable tried to work up some concern at the prospect of being lectured by the higher-ups in his order, including his father, and possibly being reduced to errand boy for a while—but couldn’t. Hard to care about that when the rest of his life was about to crash and burn, when things were coming to an end with Fane.

The fingers of future heartbreak reached back and jabbed him. Yeah, he’d get over the agony eventually. It was getting through it that he had to manage first.

He shouldn’t have gotten involved with Fane to begin with.

But I did.

And now Fane’s Transformation from dhampir to vampire was approaching. Cable had been around enough dhampirs to recognize it—even if he wanted to ignore it and pretend it wasn’t so close.

He could sense the restlessness in Fane. The Hunger. The Heat.

Fane had become aggressive in bed, insatiable, dangerous. Multiple times he’d avoided being bitten only because Fane was underneath him, tethered or with his face pressed to the mattress to maintain control.

Heated need shivered through Cable and his hardened cock licked across his abs. He wanted Fane’s fangs to pierce his throat, dreamed of the ecstasy of being taken while Fane fed, of taking Fane while being bitten.

It was madness. The consequences were serious for a padrall who became obsessed with that particular high. Nothing was as addictive as a vampire’s bite when the one being bitten was allowed to experience it without the fog of enthrallment.

There were brothels where padralls who’d succumbed to the lure and the addiction were kept to service vampires and dhampirs who preferred their prey aware. The fallen padralls were never trusted again because of what they might do if they found themselves repudiated or replaced. A large number of them committed suicide once their looks had faded and they were no longer favored by the men who visited the brothels.

He’d avoided Fane’s bite not just because of the possible consequences but because it would make him desire Fane more desperately.

What a dumb fuck. He should have stuck to women.

Cable closed his eyes and tilted his head back, wished the hot water could pound the desire for Fane out of him. He needed to put some distance between them. He needed to walk away from the relationship before Fane came to him and asked him to arrange for the creation of a kadine.

He hated that vampire practice. But who else would Fane trust with such an important undertaking?

And undertaking the task…

That would be a living hell, a hell that could extend for decades unless one of the women who were little more than breeders was selected.

Pain shredded Cable’s heart. Fuck.

Would Fane expect the two of them to stay lovers until Fane claimed his bride and sexually bonded with her as he turned her into his kadine? And then what? Stick around, helping them raise their children, aging quickly while they aged over centuries?

That was not going to be his future! He wanted no part of it. No part of any of it.

He hated the entire concept of creating future brides, these days using artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization, and then raising those girls to be the perfect match for the vampire who’d made the arrangement with the espandral order.

If he could abolish it, he would. But he’d never be powerful enough to change the practice. And he’d never be able to escape the padrall system.

His family and all the others had prospered and gained power with each generation, but their livelihood and survival were irrevocably tied to the vampire race. There was no breaking the bonds forged so long ago that there was no written record of it. Betrayal—on any level—was a death sentence.

So where did that leave him? If he could go back in time, he’d still say yes to Fane that first time, and the second, and the third.

He took his shaft in hand and Fane’s image was immediately there. Broad shouldered, chest and biceps and thighs muscled in the way of a major league baseball player, hair the same shade of brown as his own, growing lighter in the summer and darker in the winter. A mouth that knew how to deliver pleasure. A cock—

Cable moaned, pumped his hand up and down on his shaft. Fuck, he was horny.

The bathroom door opened and he knew without looking that Fane stood watching him through the glass shower stall door. He should turn his back, or smarter still, get out of the room and out of the house.

But he didn’t.