(Lesbian Paranormal Romance)
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Sometimes the sharpest bite brings the sweetest pleasure…
Alexa Dangelis has returned home after eight long years to attend her father’s funeral and take the throne as vampire queen of the East Coast. The public believes their king committed suicide, but Alexa knows better–he was murdered, and she’s determined to prove her half-brother did it.
Werewolf Penny Seiler was once Alexa’s secret lover, until Alexa betrayed her to marry the vampire king of the West Coast. When they meet again, sparks fly.
While Alexa focuses her attention on regaining Penny’s trust and love, her half-brother plots to wrest the throne from Alexa’s control. To stop him from destroying the capital city and her future with Penny, Alexa must broker a peace treaty with the werewolves and convince the vampire community werewolves are more than mere animals.
The floral air brushed over Penny’s face. She needed some sort of solace after her near breakdown in the bathroom. At least no one had witnessed her embarrassing reaction…well, maybe one person had. She didn’t know what excuse she would give Lissa for running from the room like the devil was on her back.
Lissa…Alexa… Her mind was still a jumbled mess and she needed to clear it before she returned inside and pretended everything was fine. Unfortunately, her date and most likely her brothers would know something was off. They were too tuned in to her moods. She hated being an open book for them. It disturbed her, just as it had when Alexa walked down those stairs…
She studied the half moon, edgy with the urge to shift and run. For now, she would have to wait. Transforming into a snarling and furry beast at a state function like this would be considered gauche.
Giggling at the idea of trotting into the ballroom in her wolf form and scampering around the well-dressed government officials, she walked deeper into the grassy labyrinth.
A few minutes later, she reached the center. A small fountain stood in the corner, a gazebo in the middle with a bench, vacant for her to sit and relax. The sky was clear, unlike the past few months when passing storms had popped up unpredictably.
She listened to the soft breeze flowing through the leaves. Music from the palace trickled over to her. She began to meditate, trying to find the balance taught to her by her therapist years ago.
She was close to reaching equilibrium when she heard a slight crackling on the dirt path behind her. She stiffened, facing the one who would try to claim her soul again.
“Hello, Alexa. Why am I not surprised you’d find me?” Her voice sounded strong and unyielding, at least to her ears.
“The moment I entered the ballroom, I knew you were there. Your unique scent is easy to recognize.” Alexa emerged from the shadows. “How many years has it been since we last saw one another?” She continued walking toward her and entered the gazebo.
She expected Alexa to overpower her. Surprisingly, she kept her distance. She soaked in the vision of this immortal woman who had come close to destroying her with her treachery.
“Eight years to be exact. You look well,” she responded politely. No matter what hardship a vampire went through, they appeared unmarked by whatever affliction might fall upon them.
“So much time has passed.” Alexa took another step. “You look…distressed. Does my appearance here unsettle you?”
Her laugh was empty. “Stop playing games. You know full well it would ‘unsettle’ me.” She shrugged, feigning boredom. “It’s a knee-jerk reaction. You make quite an impression wherever you go.”
“From the aroma of your sweat and your hesitance, I can tell I made quite the impression on you. You’re not immune to me as you want me to believe.”
She backed away and cursed in her head.
Humor crossed Alexa’s face and she moved forward. “So, it’s going to be a cat and mouse game between us?”
She waited for Alexa to charge after her, to grab her and hold her in a passionate embrace like she used to. Her body tensed in anticipation.
“Are you’re remembering all the times we chased each other in the woods and then made love for hours?” Alexa asked, suddenly standing too close.
She did her best not to react when Alexa brushed a finger over her cheek. “Your touch doesn’t affect me anymore.” She stepped back and crossed her arms to hide their trembling. “Actually, I’m thinking how much of a pushy bitch you were.”
Alexa laughed and tapped her mouth with a red manicured nail. “I missed you more than you can know.”
She laughed hollowly. “Oh please. I’m no longer some dumb, immature kid who ended up fucking a spoiled daddy’s girl.”
Alexa was quiet beside her, although Penny could feel the hum of anger coming from her.
“No. Don’t apologize.” Alexa moved away.
She felt like she had lost something. Why? It didn’t make any sense. She was used to that yawning emptiness ever since Alexa had left. She’d almost died after Alexa had been with her one final time to say goodbye because of her impending marriage. Memories of that night she’d admitted her love made her eyes burn. Shame spread through her over the way she had reacted to Alexa’s rejection in the days following.
“You’re right, I was spoiled. With a snap of my fingers, I had whatever I wanted, or my father would acquire it for me.” Sadness filtered into the woman’s voice.
Sympathy clogged her throat. She jabbed her nails into her palms to stop from reaching for her. Her arms ached with the need to hold Alexa and touch her, but it was more like a phantom pain. She cleared her throat, trying her best to remain civil and not run away or do something stupid like kiss her.
“I’m sorry about King Christophe. His death…suicide was a horrible loss.”
“He didn’t kill himself!”
She had never heard such an emotional outburst from Alexa before, even when they were intimate with one another. Alexa stepped toward her again. She retreated against the wooden railing of the gazebo. “The newspapers announced his death after they were sent an official statement. There’s been nonstop talk, rumors…discussions on television and on the blogs.”
“Stupid modern technology,” Alexa muttered, sliding in closer.
Riddled with tension, she dug her nails into the railing, observing her ex-lover carefully. “Don’t tell me you’re surprised by media gossip about your family. It’s been like that for years.” She counted herself lucky the gossip rags had never got wind of their relationship.
The only noticeable reaction from Alexa was the small strain lines around her mouth. They vanished as soon as they materialized, and she was back to being cold and aloof.
She snorted. How did I ever fall for this woman in the first place and allow her complete access to my body?
Alexa’s sudden smile made her stomach contract.
“Now you’re thinking about the times we made love,” Alexa said in an assured voice.
She bolted to the center of the gazebo as Alexa slowly stalked her. She’s still upset about her father. Must be the reason she changed the conversation at the drop of a hat. “Your intuition is not what it used to be. I must have been crazy to have a fling with you in the first place.” Her statement came out harsher than she’d intended.
Alexa’s cheek twitched, and she eyed Penny in stony silence, licking her lips.
Her inner thighs quivered. Shit. Alexa would pick up on it.
“For all your cutting, juvenile remarks, and acting like you’re not attracted to me, your scent tells me the opposite.”
She widened her stance. “Childish?” She purposely ignored the mention of her arousal. Damn the vamp and her keen sense of smell!
“Yes, you’re acting like a bad-tempered child.” Alexa crossed her arms to mimic her.
She longed to stamp her foot in annoyance but didn’t. “You’re such a wise-ass. Some things never change.”
“I agree with you there. We’ve come full circle. Do you remember the first time I caught you? I do. From the moment I saw you at the street fair in Three Points, I wanted you, and nothing was going to stop me from taking you.”