Someone wanted Caiti dead. Her body had been so riddled with poison that when the fairies removed it, it would take the help of CJ and Ramon to save her. Ramon was instructed to convert her to a vampire, or she would die.
Unsure how his new mate would react when she recovered, Ramon enlisted the help of the kiss to protect her. Both their survival depended on it.
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Kelly Roman was good at her job. As a forensic anthropologist, she could help the dead and help the families find closure. The one thing she hated about her job was her boss, Shamus Van. That man was out to sabotage everything she did. And when he brought in the new chief of police, Bancroft Dalton, to make her look bad, that was the last straw. She’d quit before they had a chance to fire her.
When Bancroft showed up at her front door, he asked to be invited in, and when he told her he couldn’t lie to her, it set off all kinds of bells and whistles in Kelly’s suspicions. It wasn’t the fact that he was a vampire that bothered her, it was the part about him not being able to lie to her. She knew shifters couldn’t lie to their mates. There was no way in hell she was letting a man barge into her life and take over….
Elizabeth Strickland, Lizzy, to her friends, found herself in a predicament. The last thing she remembered was attending her own bachelorette party, then waking up in a cave with six other women. They all had wounds, just like hers, only they were dead. Lizzy had awakened as a newborn vampire. She had no idea why they died, and she had lived, but she had wished every day that she had died with them.
Stanley Remy, better known as just Remy, was an old vampire and close friends with Bancroft, their leader. He had his own issues. He was being falsely charged with making baby vamps and leaving them to fend for themselves.
Lizzy just wanted the bodies of the other women found. Once they were, she had every intention of meeting the sun. What she didn’t need were two overbearing old vampires dictating to her what she could and couldn’t do. She had killed her maker, she wouldn’t hesitate to take them out if they didn’t let her be.
But then Remy gifted her with something she never thought she’d have again. To feel the sun without burning. She could have her life back. Maybe this mate thing wouldn’t be so bad after all.
If only it were that simple….
Donald had been in the room with the women for a while. He knew one of them was his mate, but their scents were so similar he couldn’t tell which one it was. He took the women home one at a time. CJ and Rachel were the last to leave. It was then that Donald knew which one was his mate. He didn’t know which one of them was taking it harder, either.
Gracie had just lost the one person that meant the most to her. Craig, the ancient vampire that had raised her. He wasn’t just a father figure. He was her best friend. Now, she had been shot too, but she would honor his final wishes, find Bancroft, the king of the vampires and go to him. She wasn’t a vampire. She was so much more. The problem was that Gracie trusted no one.
As soon as she was around him, Gracie knew that Clyde, an ancient vampire, was her mate, but she was in no hurry to tell him. She had to deal with Bancroft first. The one responsible for Craig’s death was plotting to kill them all.
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Ramon wasn’t sure how it had happened, but he knew that Caiti, what she had never been called before, was going to make a difference in his life like none other. Reaching for her hand, he was glad when she allowed it. “I read about your trauma some years ago. I’ve never been one to read the newspaper, but I did that day. And the weeks following.” Caiti laid down, never looking at him, nor did she release his hand. “I still to this day believe there was more to that day than was ever reported. I don’t believe, not even knowing you now, that you lived a better life than you did at home with your family, as the papers speculated some months later.” “She didn’t want me.” He nodded, waiting for her to say more.
“Grandma wasn’t mean to me. She never demanded anything of me, nor did she question me about things that had been going on in the house. The police did, as did the doctors. But no one ever got anything more than she wanted them to have. Which was nothing.” “Did you have a good life living with your parents?” She said it had been a life. She’d had rules to follow, such as making sure that when her other grandmother came over, she kept to her room and out of sight. “Who was it that told you to do that?” “My mother. She didn’t like Grandmother. Nor did she like my dad, but she said it was the life she’d chosen, and it was all she had.” Ramon nodded but didn’t say anything. She dozed off and on throughout the night. Twice she woke up and said nothing, but he could tell that whatever had awakened her so violently was something she had dreamed about before. Ramon never let go of her hand, nor did he leave even after Clyde did. Caiti had told Clyde she was safe now, whatever that had meant between the two of them. He did contact him, telling him about the child as well as her parents.
Ramon was glad for the two of them. However, he was a little nervous about why Caiti had felt his good friend would be a better father to a human than the parents would have. Ramon didn’t stand when the doctor that had seen Caiti in the emergency room came into her room after a short knock. He told him she would be going home tomorrow, as he wanted to observe her and make sure she was all right. Ramon told him he was a doctor and could care for her needs, but the doctor still wouldn’t sign the paperwork for her to leave. Something occurred to him at that moment, and he reached out to Kelly for help. The doctor that is here, can you tell me what he looks like? Then compare him to anything you can find online about him. She said she could do that easily. Kelly had been in charge of the FBI for some time now, and he’d never been so happy for her help. When she got back to him, he had a feeling she was just as surprised as he was about what she’d found. So he’s dead. Been dead for some time now. So who do you think this man is that is treating her? I have no idea why, but I think we’re sitting ducks here.
I’m sending you some agents. He told her that he’d rather have the kiss there with him. All right. I’ll tell Banny. He’ll be there before anyone else can be, anyway. Also, I’ll contact CJ, as well as Gracie and the other women. Good. The doctor was going on about how she was going to have to go down for some tests. Ramon asked him what sort of tests they were going to be running on her. Something else occurred to him. Caiti was drugged. Not just dozing but fighting whatever was in her IV. I’m going to leave here with her as soon as the others arrive. This doctor, or whoever he is, said he was going to have someone run her down to get some blood tests and won’t tell me what they are. He’s also, knowing that we’re not married, going to have me escorted out. Please tell them to— Gwyneth is here now. Gwyneth had been around for a very long time, and she didn’t suffer fools at all. “There you are, my…why is she so drugged up?” She turned to the doctor. “She was only supposed to be treated in the ER, then released. Why is she still feeling the effects of the little bit of pain medication she was given down there?”
“The two of you need to leave here. Neither of you are related to this young woman, and she needs to have the best of care.” The others showed up just as the doctor was calling security on them. “You all need to leave here. This is a private room, and Caitlynne needs her rest.” “Leave.” It was Banny that got the man to leave them alone. As soon as he was gone, Banny turned to him. “Take her to your home, Ramon. Once there, I need for you to get her to wake. There will be a number of faeries there with you that will do your bidding. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, but she needs to get out of here now.” Taking her home via his magic, he laid her gently on the bed. A faerie named Peanut stood on the pillow with her. Ramon told him what was going on. “She’s been drugged. The others and I, we can take that out of her system, but she will need you to give her your blood. I’m not sure how that will affect her, my lord, but she is going to die if we don’t work now.”
Telling him to do what he needed, Ramon called for Clyde. After telling him what Peanut had said, he said he’d help. Even CJ showed up to begin the process of removing the poison from her blood. “They want her dead. We can save her, my lord, but you must be ready to help her.” Not having any idea what that might mean, he stood by as CJ put her hands on Caiti’s chest. When she pulled back, he could see that her hands were covered in what he could only assume was the poison. She turned back to her task as she spoke to him. “This isn’t a poison like anything I’ve ever felt before. It was to shut down her organs. Also, it’s manmade. If not for your quick thinking, I’m afraid it would have been too late. As it is now, Ramon, you’re going to have to convert her.” He told her he’d never done that before. “Well, find someone that has and talk to them. But you’re going to have to act fast. Even with the poison out of her, she’s still got a great deal of damage happening right now.” It was Gwyneth that joined him in the room. Once CJ had done as much as she could by removing most of her blood from her body, Gwyneth told him to give Caiti as much as he could. Then she would give her some of herself. With the powerful blood they both had, she would convert quickly or die.
Ramon hoped to Christ this was going to work. Just meeting his mate only to have her die after all this time of waiting for her, he didn’t know what he’d do. He did know that he’d have to be put down at some point if she didn’t make it. After nearly two hours of giving her his and Gwyneth’s blood off and on, he could see the changes finally happening to Caiti. Twice while they’d been working on converting her, she’d stopped responding. Not just not breathing, but her heart had stopped, and there had been no brain activity. Normal things, he’d been told. However, he was terrified out of his mind for her. “There is a cave not far from here that you two need to go to. Not only will it keep her safe, but it will be a good place for you to train her how to be a vampire. She’ll need that, Ramon. The only thing that worries me now is if she will have your traits or those of a baby vamp.” He nodded at Banny as he watched color come back to Caiti’s lips. “I’ll come to you in a couple of days.
All of us will. The place has been set up for you, so you’ll not have to give up any of the comforts she might be used to, but you have to stay out of sight. Also, you should know that Gracie found a tracker in her wound when she was being converted. There seem to be no steps these people won’t take to have her.” “Why?” Banny said that for now, he really didn’t know. “All right. But don’t expect me to be a nice guy if anyone shows up without me knowing them. I will kill anyone that comes sniffing around us while hiding.” “Good.” Ramon wasn’t sure what he had expected from his friend, but he was glad for it. “Also, there will be a lot of faeries there. Not only is Aurora sending help, but so are CJ and Melisandre. You should be about as safe as you can be.” As soon as he entered the large cave, he had to laugh. Having the comforts of home was not what he had. Ramon thought this could well be his home for the way it looked. He laid Caiti on the large bed and went to inspect the rest of the area. There was a kitchen of sorts, with a large refrigerator that seemed to be running on magic.
A table that would seat a couple of people in a dining area he loved. The table was made of a long piece of stone that was as polished as anything he’d ever seen before. There were chairs around it, but for the most part, the room looked like something he’d seen during medieval times. A very large stone fireplace was burning against the cold of the stone rooms. He thought it would easily roast an entire cow, if not a herd. Even as he warmed himself by it, he felt the earth shake a little under his feet and went to see if his Caiti was all right. There were several little people in the room with her as she still lay quietly on the bed. “We’ve adjusted the room for her, my lord. The fire will run as long as she is recovering. After that, it will only take a thought for her to have it turn back to warmth for her.” He thanked the little person. “We have also adjusted the bed for the two of you. It will grow with the need you have for it. While she is resting, it will accommodate her. If you should wish to rest with her, it will widen for you both. Also, the bed is made with the finest of magic. Neither she nor you will ever have a bad night’s sleep upon it.”
“Thank you again.” He was glad there were no windows, but he did worry about her being without them. “She was forever staring out the window while in the care of the hospital. I don’t know if she was watching for someone to come or enjoyed the view. I should like it if she were to have one. One that changed with her needs. She is my mate, as you are aware, and I only want the best for her.” “Of course you do, my lord. She will have it too. Several places in this mountain have been carved out for the two of you should you wish it. A very private hot bath is just beyond that wall there. Also, there is a place where she can be hidden should someone come around. I do not foresee that happening, as we are all keeping her safe, but should it happen, you are only to take her to the wall there, and it will cover you both for as long as you need.” He was shown the area and was glad for it. “I’m to tell you that the doctor that treated the young woman so horribly has not been killed. Lady Kelly is using him to find out who he is working for if she can. She thinks him too dumb to be working alone.
I believe I must agree with her on this.” “I have some things in the home I have in England that I would like brought here. It was my plan at some point to return there to bring them back, but I would like them here now. I have fallen in love with this arrangement we’re using now. It’s quiet and just what I’d like should I need a place to go to unwind.” The faerie told him his name was Blue and said he had taken the information from his mind when he made this area for them. “I thank you again for that. Should Caiti need anything or wish to make changes, you are to do it. She is the only reason I breathe now, and I wish only for her to be as happy as I can make her.” It took them working for several hours side by side to make a few adjustments to the living arrangements where they were staying. Blue and several other faeries would be living in the cave with them for the time being, but after Caiti was awake and feeling better, there would be more. When he went to check on Caiti at around midnight, she was sitting on the side of the bed.
Saying her name, she looked up at him and frowned. He asked her what she remembered. It took her several moments before she answered him. “I was ill, I think,” Ramon told her everything that had happened while she’d been in the hospital. He also told her where they were and why. She listened, asking questions when she wasn’t sure of things, and he answered them honestly. “This person, you believe, is after me. Have you any information on him?” “Only in that Kelly thinks he’s not working alone.” She nodded, and he helped her stand. “You need anything, you only need to call out, and everyone here will be there for you.” “I’d like a shower if you’d not mind. Is that possible?” Apparently, no one had thought of a bathroom, and he had to laugh. “I guess it won’t be possible since we’re living in a cave.” “It is ready, my lady.” Blue told her he was sorry for being so short-sighted. “I never thought you’d be up and about so soon, or your needs might have occurred to me before you needed to have them. I am profoundly sorry.”
He started to tell the faerie it was all right when Caiti smiled at Blue. “It’s all right. I don’t know what is going on right now, but the simple fact that I’ve been resting on a very wonderful bed and have been treated so nicely makes any minor adjustments seem so small. You’ve done us a great service, Blue, in making this place safe and comfy.” The shower was perfect, she told him. If she had told him to let her alone in the large room, he would have, but since she didn’t mind that he was in the room with her when she stripped down, he said nothing. However, he was glad he was there when she became a little too weak to stand on her own toward the end. She rested in a chair that hadn’t been in the room before. When Caiti asked him what had happened after the doctor had tried to take her to have tests, he told her that in order to save her life, he’d had to convert her. Otherwise, her organs would have shut down completely, and she would have died. “I guess you’re aware that I didn’t have much in the way of a reason to live before today.” He asked her if she still felt that way. “I’m not sure. I do feel like I’ve been given a better outlook on life, but as for not wanting to perish? I’m not sure just yet. Things are certainly different.”
“Yes, they are.” Ramon told her about himself. What he thought his age was. “I’ve no idea. After a time, it became meaningless for me, much like it has for the others I know. My parents are both alive, though I rarely see them. I have a grandma as well that I don’t care for, but I see her sometimes too.” “Your parents must be very old.” They both laughed. “Mine are all dead. I’ve no one left. I don’t even own a dog, though I must admit that is something that I have wished for my entire life.” The little puppy appeared on her lap seconds later. He didn’t move, not sure what he was supposed to think of a dog. Most creatures, human pets, didn’t like his kind. Not that he blamed them. In his time, he had, in emergency situations, taken what he needed from the little creatures. “Oh, how beautiful.” She held the little dog, a beagle if he didn’t miss his bet, to her cheek. “She’s so soft, Ramon. Come and pet her.”
He couldn’t have turned her down if she’d asked him to pet an alligator. As soon as his hand was near the little dog’s head, it licked him as if he knew he’d kill anyone that tried to harm his mistress. Ramon looked at Blue when he cleared his throat. “The earth did this for her, my lord. We’ve no idea of animals enough to have brought her one. This little creature will not harm any of us or you. I have spoken to the earth, and they have said that it is so.” Thanking the man again, he nodded before speaking again. “There is food for the dog in the pantry, as well as a bowl for food and water. While we have not much in the way of encounters with the puppy, I have read his mind in things he wished. One of the faeries will walk him when necessary to keep the two of you safe for this time.” “Make it so that when he leaves here with one of the others, he isn’t seen. Nor you. I don’t wish anyone of you to be harmed with him either.” Blue said he’d take care of it.
“You’re doing so much for us, sir, that I feel as if telling you thank you is very little in comparison.” “You have given us a great honor in being able to help you and your mate through all this.” Ramon looked at Caiti when she said his name. “My lady?” “Don’t put yourself in harm’s way for me, Blue. None of you. I would never be able to live with myself if anything should happen to such wonderful creatures.” He looked at him, then back at Caiti when she spoke again. “You’ll do this for me, won’t you?” “I cannot, my lady. Above my own life, as it would be for Lord Ramon here, I will die to make you and this little puppy safe. It is my duty to do so and an honor for us to have been chosen to serve you.” He looked so proud of himself that Ramon was sure that his shirt buttons would pop off. “We have, above all other faeries of the world, been picked to come here and ensure your every need is met. That above all else, you are as safe as our own children would be in their beds. Nay, to not serve you the way you deserve would be a blemish on our kind. Not just all faeries but all creatures of the earth. Queen CJ, she’s a good and wonderful queen to us all, but should we, as she said, fuck this up, she will be a wrath like we’ve never seen before.
I believe her. While we can make mistakes—she said that is the only way we can improve on ourselves—we are not to just simply let things go when we see a need. Why I do believe she’d hurt us for decades to come and those behind us, should we simply allow you to be harmed. She is a wonderful queen, but she is also someone we are afeared of.” When Blue left them to see to the puppy, Ramon burst out laughing. Caiti looked at him as his laughter got the better of him several times in just a few moments. She had to ask him several times to tell her what he had found so funny. “They’re afraid of CJ. She’s more than likely…well, you’ve met her. Does she strike you as someone they should be afeared of, as he put it?” Caiti told him she didn’t know her that well, but she did seem to be very soft-hearted. “She is anything but that. However, thinking along those lines is what will get you killed by her too.
CJ is funny, hard, and full of life. She is also the first person I would call upon if I were in trouble. I’d never tell Banny that, but I think he might know it. She isn’t one to mess with. None of the women in this kiss are.” “Am I a part of this kiss now?” He said she was as long as she wanted to be. “Don’t treat me like this, Ramon. I want you to have opinions too. I also want you to give them to me when I ask you for them.” “All right.” She laughed when the puppy came running back into the room with them. “I think someone missed me. How about you show me around our new home, and then we talk about this conversion I’ve had done to me. That way, I won’t be surprised too much about changes.” Roman was as happy as he’d ever been. Several times he had to reach out to one of the others around the kiss and let them know things that Caiti would say to him casually. He was positive she was giving him information she’d not thought of as helpful too. Like the fact that she’d been thinking she’d been followed for some time.
Also, she’d not been working for several places that tried to find her for the last three weeks. The list she gave him he turned over to Kelly. “This place is large, isn’t it?” He said he thought it was growing with her needs. “Oh, I guess I never thought of that. All right. Well, I’m ready for bed. Not with you right now, but I do find myself very tired. Is it the poison?” “I would imagine it’s a great many things.” He took her to the bedroom he’d brought her to first. “You only need to call out for me, and I’ll be here. There is some work I can do while you’re resting that will keep me busy.” Caiti was nearly asleep when he left the room. The roaring fire lit up the room and her face, so he was sure she’d be all right. Finding a computer room set up for himself, he and Boop, the dog’s name, went to the room to work. There was a bed set up for the pup and a fire for him as well. Ramon thought he could really get used to this.