Author: Leigh Jarrett
Genre: Gay Dark, Paranormal Romance
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Oleander paced the full length of Callum's drawing room, infuriated that his brother would feel it necessary to pose such a question.
It was indisputable. His allegiance would forever be to their father, Drakkar, and the coven of his birth. His time spent in the North with Grimmr Coven had brought him closer to them, but not so much as to abandon his own, despite the fact his father despised him and refused to acknowledge his place in the bloodline.
Oleander's brow creased in aggravation.
"Brother, sit," Callum said, his arm outstretched for Oleander to place himself in the worn leather armchair very near to where he was himself seated. "I would be amiss if I did not ask."
Grunting and nodding his acquiescence, Oleander stretched out on the ottoman in the furthest possible corner of the drawing room away from where Callum had suggested he situate himself.
A grin creased the exquisite surface of Oleander's cheek, lifting one side, when Callum's eyes narrowed and his lips peeled back enough for his stained, putrid fangs to show themselves.
His brother had a way about him that brought him endless amusement. Always so quick to react with threatened bloodshed.
"Now, now, brother," Oleander said, fluttering his hand about in the space between them to dismiss his own disobedience. "Of course, I side with our father. Grimmr was a gracious host while I was a visitor in their region, but my family comes first."
Callum's dark eyes studied him in slow contemplation. Again, the amusement danced on Oleander's lips. Where both Callum and Drachen were dark and brooding in their coloring and countenance, cumbersome in their movements, entirely undisciplined, and in Callum's case, predictable in his reactions, he himself was quite the opposite.
His complexion was fair, in both skin and hair color, his appearance almost elegant, his movements swift. Discipline ruled his life. And contrary to reports amongst the humans, likely due to the fact they had only ever spotted him on horseback, he was much taller than both Callum and Drachen—and far more lethal.
The last part pleased him most.
Placing a hand on his knee, he drummed his fingers as he waited for Callum to continue. His brother had yet to impart any practical information. He rolled his eyes, his impatience losing the battle to wait out the deliberate annoyance tactic of his brother-lord.
"Callum, please. Your little game has bested me once again. Tell me …what other news did Cassandra float in with?"
Callum shook his head. "Not much else, brother. Grimmr Coven's ground forces have crossed into Drakkar Coven territory. They have ventured beyond the Valkeurig range and set up camp near the village of Boden. A village where we have a head count of nearly one hundred humans, a fifth of which were to be slaughtered in the coming weeks to rejuvenate Father's militia."
Oleander crossed his arms, prepared for the repercussions. He was familiar with the village of Boden and its purpose within their coven. He bowed his head and picked at the fictitious loose threads of his jacket's pearlescent buttons, ruminating briefly on the kiss his new human companion had bestowed upon him. It had been most unexpected.
He cleared his throat before speaking.
"That may be my fault …their knowledge of Boden's existence."
Callum's neck cracked and popped as he straightened up. "And why, dearest brother of mine, does that not surprise me?"
Oleander winced at the jab, then recovered, posing auspiciously as the furor surrounding his younger brother Drachen's well-timed arrival erupted into the room, pointing a finger straight at what he perceived to be a traitor.
"You!" Drachen shouted.
Scurrying to the far side of the ottoman, unperturbed by Drachen's temper, but prudent, Oleander stripped out of his jacket. He tossed his jacket aside and crouched low, prepared to spring upward and away from his crazed brother if Callum chose not to intervene on his behalf.
Grimmr Coven would have found the village of Boden on their own eventually and he had little control over the force that had likely caused Grimmr Coven to advance south.
"You!" Drachen repeated, spitting the words past lips still fresh with blood, spattering crimson droplets onto the freshly creased lapels of Oleander's white satin shirt.
Drachen's snapped his jaws shut when the sound of Callum's voice commanding him to withdraw broke through his rage. He slumped into a chair in front of the fire where he contented himself stabbing at the glowing embers with a wish-I-could-kill-him-with-it wrought-iron poker.
"Let us not be fighting amongst ourselves," Callum began, carefully formulating what his next words would be in order to appease his brothers' appetite for information without revealing the severity of the entire situation. Along with Cassandra's verbal warning had come a discreet, rolled note from his father. A note meant for his eyes alone. The summation of their father's words, dire.
There would likely be war before first snowfall.
"Regardless of what you may think, brother," Callum continued, directing his words toward Drachen's snarling, aggravated form. "Grimmr would have likely located Boden without any assistance Oleander may have inadvertently offered."
"Thank you, brother," he said.
A mumbled, "Please may I kill him," drifted over the flames then died upon Drachen's lips. The request futile, regardless of its incessant repetition.
"Perhaps something to eat might be in order," Oleander suggested. "You know ...to lighten the mood somewhat." He placed himself back on the ottoman, relaxing as if nothing untoward had transpired. A thought occurred to him.
"What of Alexander and Alexis," he said. "Surely, they must have further insight. Boden is very near their hunting grounds, is it not?"
Oleander shifted upon the ottoman, distressed by his near lapse in control. His breath had almost quivered in anguish as he spoke those words. He knew for a fact it was part of their roaming territory. He'd accompanied Alex there many times.
Callum shook his head. "Cassandra needs to rest before I send her off on a quest in search of those two."
"Please share, dear brother," Oleander said, his head tipped to one side in an attempt to ascertain Drachen's current level of irritation surrounding the topic matter of Cassandra.
"Cassandra …resting," Drachen replied. "Those are two words I would never entertain using in the same sentence. Except perhaps, Cassandra kept everyone else from resting."
Callum's body shook, rolling through a deep laugh. "Agreed, brother. Perhaps I should have Finster locate her. Preferably, before she brings the castle down upon us."
The door of the chamber unlatched with a thunderous crunch. Timothy thought for sure the sound would draw attention to his presence and his intention to venture not only down the halls of the castle but to the captive holding cells in the dungeon, where he was certain there was a tunnel to the outside by which to attempt an escape, as they'd arrived through one.
He heaved out a sigh and leaned against the smooth, marble wall of the vast, seemingly endless corridor he'd emerged into, uncertain of the reasoning behind his quest for freedom.
His life outside the castle walls in Drumceda was familiar but predictable. Mundane even. Here—he gazed up and down the long corridor, which was illuminated by burning torches and golden moonlight filtering through immense, stained glass windows. It was a serene and beautiful sight, brimming with possibility and untold adventure.
Timothy ruffled his hair and smacked his head back against the thick wall. A serene and beautiful sight?
The majestic corridor, or the man—
Timothy smacked his head against the wall again. Oleander had done something to him …there was no other explanation for the attraction and affinity burgeoning within him for the beast.
He groaned in despair.
Or the desire to have that same beast take him to his bed, and—
"No ..." He draped his arms atop his head and slid down to the floor, where he remained squatting in tears until a voice cleared, throaty but entertained, above him—Moira.
"Is there anything amiss, Master Timothy?"
"What?" Timothy straightened up, rose to his feet, and smoothed the front of his tunic in order to improve his chances of convincing Moira he was unperturbed by the state of distress in which she had found him …or the manner by which she had addressed him.
Yesterday, a source of sexual perversion and blood …today, he was being addressed as Master Timothy. He rolled his shoulders, relaxing.
"What are you referring to?" he rephrased.
Moira tilted her face toward the floor, averting her eyes.
"I speak of nothing …nothing of note, Master Timothy."
Timothy tapped his hand against his thigh, his mind searching for a response. "Carry on then," were the words that spilled from his mouth, astonishing both himself and Moira.
But without another word, Moira obeyed, scurrying off down the hallway in the direction Timothy knew to be the way to Callum's throne room—and Laramie.
He considered it briefly, visiting, but Oleander had warned him Laramie …and Jonathan would be unpredictable for many days yet. He scratched his head, perplexed by Callum's motivation for turning Jonathan. Laramie, understandable …but Jonathan? Perhaps Callum wasn't aware that Laramie and Jonathan were lovers.
He shook his head. That seemed an impossibility. However guarded and discreet the two had tried to be, they had failed miserably in his eyes.
Timothy rubbed at his eyes with the heels of his hands, begging for the memory to recede. It would not.
He turned to face the wall, shame rippling through him as a rush of heat, fraught with vulgarity, prickled his cheeks and moistened his upper lip in perspiration.
Nights curled up on his own cot—listening.
The nightly whispers and sighs.
The undulating barrage of heavy breathing, groans, gasps, and—
An ache radiated from his balls, persuading him to seek the wall in an effort to obscure his presence from those passing by the far end of the corridor. He pressed his hand against the front of his tunic, praying the hardening of his cock would desist and subside.
For a moment, he contemplated heading back into the chamber but promptly abandoned the idea. He had no way of knowing when Oleander planned on returning, so he ducked into a cavernous, dark alcove instead, suffering through the lust and envy he'd experienced when Laramie and Jonathan had climaxed—grunting and swearing.
A groan escaped Timothy's lips as he encouraged the desire within him to swell, stroking his palm along the length of his cock while searching his mind for a suitable recipient of his lustful intentions. He settled on the image of the stonemason's daughter, Rebecca. She had beautiful, blonde hair and an impish, carefree quality to her demeanor that had always caught his attention. He imagined her kneeling before him, licking at his cock. Then drawing it into her perfect mouth, her tongue running circles around the sensitive ridge, then the slit, tasting it, her blonde hair tickling the skin of his thighs …then she looked up at him.
Timothy covered his mouth, sobbing, and stumbled into the deepest corner, near collapsing, his face tucked to his chest in horror.
The face looking up at him hadn't been that of Rebecca.
Those pink, flushed lips—unmistakable against his ivory skin.
The lure of the beast—the vampire—the man, undeniable.
"No …," Timothy pleaded, the polished marble now pressed to his own lips, unresponsive. Entirely unlike Oleander's whose had been trembling as he'd kissed them. "No ..." He traced his fingers down the smooth surface then clenched his fist, and pounded the wall.
The unrelenting seduction of Oleander's cool, flawless skin—and deep, captivating eyes. The concern in his voice—the touch of his hand. The exhilaration and pride elicited by the sight of Oleander waiting for him after the visit with his family had left him feeling disappointed and unfulfilled.
Unfulfilled …pointless, insignificant—until Oleander.
"Please, no …," whispered Timothy, his voice shaking. Defeated, he dropped to his knees and began ripping at the knot barring him from slipping his hand into the front of his freshly pressed, silken pants. He cringed as he gained access.
They were damp with his mounting desire.
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Other books in the Drakkar Coven Series: Callum of Drakkar Coven | Alexander, Prince of the North