Trust only works when it’s both ways
Trust only works when it’s both ways
The RedLine is the perfect haven for a man of Ryder’s extensive desires and tastes. He uses the women of the club, much like they do him, with little care to know anything more than their names, sometimes even less than that. His reputation for open-minded, tantalizing sex was renowned, and willing victims for this particular vampire were never at a shortage. At least until Catalym comes crashing into his life, taking over from the moment they’d met. And it isn’t long before her past life’s tribulations follow her, including a dangerous ex-boyfriend who is hiding far more than Ryder or his friends could ever guess.
To hear her speak that one word made my cock tighten past what was possibly sane. My distress deepened, took hold in my mind, making me feel like a teenager.
My unwillingly eyes roamed her body, unable to quite hide it from her. But a quick glance at her face told me she didn’t mind. There was a distinct flush on her cheeks I was entirely too entranced by.
Breathe Ryder, she won’t bite unless you ask her to.
Corrine laughed in my head, but I had no idea if she did so out loud. I was enthralled, shaking my head to dispel the haziness.
All at once remembering civilized manners, I extended my hand, and lifted hers.
“Hi.” I smiled. Maybe a little dumbly and late, but at least the ability to speak had returned to me.
Kelly chuckled into Marcus’s shoulder, and I knew Sara would be rolling her eyes, as was her petulance to do so often. They knew me to well.
“Good show there, buddy boy. What about Shakespeare next? Gene, I think he is losing his touch,” Sara muttered.
At any other time, I would’ve reacted to her banter. But this wasn’t a normal moment in my life.
Bringing Catalym’s silky hand to my lips, she blushed, eyes sliding away. I was pleased by the coquettishness that was so rare in my world.
“My name is Catalym. I assume you’re Ryder?”
She lucky I was a vampire. The club’s music would’ve most definitely prevented my hearing her otherwise with that soft voice.
“Beautiful name, that,” I whispered just as gently.
Still she didn’t look up at me.
I couldn’t help but study her. Even amidst the crowd, she was still apart from all of us in an inexplicable way. But she had fire, and was by no means feeble by any description of the word. To be near her was to feel supremacy so deep and old, it vibrated through my very being.
This wasn’t normal vampire.
“Thank you,” she replied.
“Well then, let me introduce the people who will annoy you in their own endearing way.”
The joke pulled another smile from her reluctant, cautious face. She finally looked up, not at me though, but at them.
“This is Marcus and Kelly.” I nodded to them, and turned to the others, “Gene and Sara.”
I wondered by her shyness, if Corrine had forced this on her. I certainly hoped not. It wouldn’t make her charge any easier to deal with.
“Catalym, these are truly good people, and they will protect you while you’re here.” Corrine came around the bar to put her arm around her niece’s shoulders protectively.
Marcus mechanically digested Corrine’s candid words, and their possible hidden meanings we normally had to decipher with very little help from her.
“So, we’re to protect her then?” Marcus said with quiet anger. We all knew his thoughts were centred on Kelly and Sara before anything else. “From what exactly?”
My lips tugged into a half smile at his tendency to be overprotective of his woman and what made her happy, which was of course Sara. Nothing else mattered to him anymore. They had become his life.
“Her ex-boyfriend, and anyone else who means her harm.”
He thought that over for a moment before responding, “Then we’re at your service.”
He brought Kelly further to the shelter of his arms, gaze darting about like the threat was already here. He was thinking so much and so hard, he was broadcasting openly to Gene and I. It was beginning to give me a headache.
At the mention of the need for protection, Catalym turned ashen until I thought she may faint. Terror clashed in her beautiful eyes, and my stomach wrenched violently at the sight.
I had seen so many traumatized humans in my work for the Council, but not something that went this deep. Just what had happened to this woman? She looked too much like a child who had been beaten down past the point where they were capable of getting back up again, or would even want to.
Hatred for a man who was unknown filled me, and I snapped just a little.
“Corrine, we need to talk. Now, please,” I barked, and then continued in a slightly nicer tone, “Marcus, how ‘bout you guys take our lovely guest to the table. I’ll join you shortly.”