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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Two Steps Behind by Wendi Zwaduk

Daisy smoothed her hands over her silken skirt. Being at the Vampire Ball wasn’t anything like she’d expected. Most of the attendees of the annual event were men, brooding and pale, dressed in coal black tuxedos, and eagerly eyeing the females.

Typical. They want a meal. Now where is he?

Julian had invited her to the ball to mark her for her protection. She forced her gaze to the wall of floor to ceiling windows. The gentle breeze cooled the cavernous ballroom. She should be scared they’d take her soul. She didn’t care—for him she’d be brave.

A smile twitched on her lips. The man staring at something beyond the glass caught her attention. From the back, his strong build and inky hair stirred her insides, but not the wanton desire she expected. When she captured a glimpse of his profile, her mirth faded.

Andreas. Not Julian.

A gravelly voice drifted over her shoulder. The timbre resonated to her core and her thighs slickened. She knew who stood behind her. Julian. Thrilled the vampire of her naughtiest dreams stood behind her, she inched towards him. Just to have him whisper in her ear—his voice worked better than her vibrator.

“You don’t want to touch him or hear him speak.”

Daisy twined her fingers to prolong the moments until she reached for him. Make him ache for her as much as she yearned for him. She clamped her teeth together to keep from calling his name. She’d play the game, but dammit, the earthy scent of his cologne wafted around her, short circuiting the synapses in her brain. She loved his sense of humor, the boom of his laughter, his sleek muscles...more than she should, she adored him.

A girl could take only so much.

“Julian.” She leaned back into the solid wall of his chest. She soft folds of his lapels rubbed against her bare back when he moved closer.

He rested his chin on her shoulder as he spoke. “What ‘cha want with Andreas, anyhow? So he’s rich and great in bed...”

Ah, she loved when he dropped the formal speech and slipped into his normal dialect. “I don’t care about Andreas, because he’s not the one I want.”

“Oh? Then who?”

She closed her eyes and caressed her cheek against his five o’clock shadow. The prickles sent tingles along her veins. Her nipples beaded under the delicate silk of her dress. She drew a ragged breath into her lungs and released it. “The man I want is about five-nine with coal black hair and intense ice blue eyes. He’s also a goof.” She writhed against the bulge in his trousers, wrapping his arms around her waist. “I also hear he’s obsessed with a certain blonde, as well.”

“You said I’m a goof.” He nipped her earlobe, the warmth of his breath feathering over her heated skin.

“I have a soft spot your wicked sense of humor.” She twisted in his embrace until she gazed into his eyes. She shivered despite the humidity in the room. “Dance with me?”

“I can’t dance.” A frown dipped at the corners of his mouth. “Never learned.”

Ignoring his protests, Daisy led him to the center of the room. She didn’t care if the volume of the room became non-existent. The crowd of hungry vampires melted away when she gazed into Julian’s eyes. “Hold me close and follow my lead.”

“That I can do.” Julian rested his forehead against hers. “You feel so right in my arms, mon cherie.”

She giggled. “My name is—”

Julian silenced her with a kiss. “Hush, I’m trying to sound suave.”

“I like you, too.”

A cross between a growl and a moan erupted from his throat. “Any more nice words like that and I’ll have to whisk you home.”

“Yours or mine?” Anywhere where they could be alone.

“Mine.” Julian drew her tight in his arms, nearly crushing her in his grasp. “Hold on to me.”

She paused. “Why?”

“I’m taking you home to fuck you.”

Although they continued to sway to the music, Daisy’s stomach whirled. A breeze ruffled through her hair and she closed her eyes. Being in his arms affected her like a drug, made her woozy and alert at the same time. She nuzzled his chest and opened her eyes. Instead of standing in the middle of the ballroom, she peered at the heavy furniture and maroon shrouding the walls. Julian’s bedroom. She gasped. “You were serious.”

“For the woman I love, always.”

Her heart thumped. The emerald silk constricted around her and the temperature rose in the small room. He said he loved her. Holy crap.


Daisy tore her gaze from Julian’s and glared at the intruder taking up the doorway. Andreas folded his thick arms and chuckled. “She’s interesting.” He leaned against the mahogany doorframe and shouted over his shoulder. “Vincent, our brother Julian brought us a snack.”

“She’s my fiancée.”

Andreas’ green eyes darkened to black. “You love her? She’s human!”

Julian’s voice remained calm tinged with sadness. “We all were once.”

Daisy clutched Julian’s jacket with white knuckles. Being the head vampire, Andreas could force Julian to part with her. Julian’s show of strength against his brother in blood helped, but didn’t totally ease her mind. He’d protect her, but he couldn’t predict Andreas’ reaction.

Brows drawn, black hair fluttering around his shoulders as he stalked forward, Andreas crossed the room. “And you morsel, how do you feel about him? Julian is the runt.”

“I love him.”

“Excuse me.” Using a brute strength his lanky build belied, Julian muscled Andreas from the room and slammed the door. Scooping her into his arms, he strode to the bed. “About that proclamation. You love me?”

“Yes, Julian.”

“Goddess, yes.” He lowered her to her feet. “Let me see you. All of you.”

Daisy tugged the zipper at her side down until the gown slid off her shoulders and pooled at her feet. She moved to kick out of her stiletto pumps, but he stilled her actions.

“Ready.” During their first meeting over two years prior, Julian admitted he yearned to see her in nothing but garters, stockings, and heels. Tonight, she made his dream a reality. Her nipples puckered in the cool air. She peered at him through lowered lashes.

“You remembered.” Julian wriggled out of his tuxedo jacket and toed off his shoes, but his gaze never left her nearly bare body. He licked his lips and tore the dress shirt from his body, baring his body to her heated gaze inch by delicious inch.

“I meant it.” Her words came out on a broken breath as his opened trousers fell to his feet. “I love you and want to be claimed—as your mate.”

“Makes things easier.” His thick cock beckoned to her, a bead of pre-come glistened on the tip. “Lay down, love.”

As she fell supine against the lush bed sheets, she dragged her gaze from his erection to his face. Silver swam in the icy depths of his eyes.

“You’re the only woman I want in my bed.” He crawled over her, his dick thrumming against her clit. “I can’t impregnate you or give you a disease.” When she nodded, he entered her body. “I’ve needed you for so long.”

“For the last two years.”

The corner of his mouth kinked as he slowed. “You knew?”

She smoothed her palms over his chest, plucking his nipples between her thumbs and forefingers. “You’ve been two steps behind me, protecting me from Andreas. I didn’t know how to tell you to come to me for more.”

“I couldn’t be dead with myself if something happened to you.”

She arched into him, sending him deeper into her pussy and kick-starting his thrusts. “Mark me, make your own, and never leave me. I’m yours.”

Julian pistoned into her, knocking the headboard against the wall in the rhythm of their love. When he tilted his head back and opened his mouth, his fangs lengthened. “You’re my equal.” He surged forward, burying his cock to the hilt and his teeth into her neck.

Daisy gasped and clutched him. Electrical tingles streaked through her body and centered in her pussy. The orgasm built in a wave and colors flashed behind her closed eyes. As Julian withdrew from her vein, his feral cry ricocheted through the room.


The tension within her body snapped as she tipped into oblivion. Julian surged forward with his final thrust and slumped onto his forearms over her. His heated breath fanned over her skin and a hank of his dark hair hung over his brow as he remained within her body.


“Yes, my beloved?”

“Do you really sleep all day and hunt all night?”

“Sleep all day and make love all night. I’m through hunting.”

“Perfect. Are you ready for round two?”

“Until the sun comes up.”

About the author: Thanks for enjoying this work by Wendi Zwaduk. By day she’s a SAHM of one son, two dogs, and two cats, but at night she lets her inner muse run wild and writes tales of love won, lost, and won again. If she’s not at her computer, she can be found at her local dirt tracks cheering for the Late Model cars or haunting the local library in search of new authors. Check out her blog and website

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