Eternal Captive (Mark of the Vampire #3)

Chapter 31

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SoHo

October 31

"And you thought we'd never need this, Luca."

They all sat around the massive dining table, looking like the oddest collection of vampire family in the world-and perhaps they were. Alexander and Sara, Nicholas and Kate, Lucian, Bronwyn, and their balas, Lucy, the four feral-looking Beasts, and Ladd.

After several weeks of recovery in Scotland, Lucian had returned home with his veana and his balas, and just a day later, the four Beasts had shown up on their doorstep. They'd claimed their stay would be for only a short time, until they decided where they wanted to go. Still unsure about these savage newcomers, but recognizing them as family, Alexander and Nicholas had told them they were welcome to stay for as long as they liked.

Lucian had not been so courteous.

Seated beside the albino brother, Erion was working on a bite of Bronwyn's seedcake and trying like hell not to make a face.

"Good eats, eh, Gemino?" Lucian asked, his eyes narrowed on the dark-haired paven with features resembling a lion.

"Very good." Erion glanced at his wolflike brother, Lycos, and grinned. "What do you think, Ly?"

Without answering, Lycos shifted his gaze to massively tattooed and skull-shaved Helo, who was just staring at the thing, cursing to himself.

"Well, I love it."

They all turned to look at the final Beast, Phane. The long-haired paven was all kinds of badass, but he had a mouthful of seedcake and was grinning like a fool.

Bronwyn laughed. "There is always more, Phane. Whether it is wanted or not."

He took the whole plate and grinned. "Appreciate that, ma'am."

Bronwyn turned to Sara and Kate and grinned. "More Roman brothers. What in the world have we gotten ourselves into?"

Before anyone could answer, the doorbell rang. They all looked at each other in wonder. No one ever came to their door.

"Trick-or-treaters?" Alexander said, grinning.

Nicky nodded. "Right. It's Halloween."

Lucian grinned broadly. "Should we really give them a good fright?" He jerked his chin at the Beasts. "Hell, we got these four things now. Let's use them. Shift into your ugly forms, Paven-oh wait, already done." He chuckled to himself.

Erion's nostrils flared and Phane growled. "You want to see a show, do you?"

Lycos grinned. "A little four on one?"

Taking his baby daughter from her mother's arms and giving her kiss on the neck, Lucian snorted. "Not into males, but if I was I wouldn't be going anywhere near the four of you with all that seedcake in your teeth. Christ, get a toothbrush!"

"Don't you mean a 'fang' brush, Uncle Luca?" Ladd said, laughing at his own joke before stuffing another seedcake inside his mouth.

The hard rumbles of laughter were interrupted by Evans, who rushed into the room followed by Gray. They hadn't seen Gray in so many months, they almost didn't recognize him. He seemed larger, more imposing, completely self-contained. There was something in his arms.

"We have a problem," he said, his eyes steely and concerned.

Alexander was already on his feet. "Is that Dillon?" Nicholas and Sara crowded around Gray too. "What the hell happened?" Alexander asked. "And why has she been unreachable? Why have you kept her from us?"

"I did as she asked," Gray said, his jaw tight. "I will always do what she asks. Seems I'm wired that way when it comes to her. It's why I'm here. She wanted to be brought to you."

Alexander shook his head. "Why?"

"She killed someone. A human."

Nicholas cursed, "Fuck." Lucian too.

"The Order-," Alexander began.

"Will be on her the moment they find out," Gray finished. "But not just for the killing."

"Oh, Jesus, what now?" Lucian muttered, his arm stealing around his veana, pulling his balas closer.

Gray looked only at Alexander. "She wasn't in this form when she did it."

"Form?" Alexander repeated.

"Dilly." It was Erion, and he was standing and staring at what was in Gray's arms. He motioned for the other Beasts to come take a look.

Nicholas stared at Erion. "You know her?"

"She was with us as balas," he said. "She left our father…Cruen, when he got too rough."

His eyes wide and sharp, Alexander looked up, looked at Gray. "She's a…"

"Mutore," Gray finished for him.

And before their eyes, Dillon shuddered, screamed like a jungle cat, and shifted into a Beast.

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