Blood Rites

By: Amity Cross

I rolled my eyes, listening to the party start downstairs. Music filtered through the house and I found myself wanting to get off the phone so I could be there when Lorelei arrived. If she arrived.

“Sounds like you’re having a party,” Sykes drawled. “Am I keeping you?”

The last thing I needed was for a man like Sykes to turn up uninvited to a staged society fling I concocted to get a woman into bed. “Not at all,” I replied, trying to sound bored. “I was coerced into hosting an event at my residence. Appearances, you know.”

“Of course.”

“Will Royal Blood be a problem for you?” I asked, turning our conversation back to business.

“Maybe, but our clubs have had a long standing rivalry. Not of my doing, I assure you. It goes back beyond my time.”

Fuck, Sykes talked slicker than any mafia boss I knew. Just by talking with him, I understood that he was meant for bigger things than biker gangs. The Necromancers were his springboard that had come pre-loaded with a network of petty crime. I alone could think of a dozen ways to capitalize on that and expand, which was the only reason why I was talking to the bastard.

“I understand you are acquainted with Jacques Lafayette?” Sykes asked.

My blood began to run cold at the mention of the notorious human trafficker. Yes, I knew Lafayette, but I didn’t trade women that way. This was a red flag and a fucking huge one at that. Sykes was about to become bothersome and I hated bothersome.

“I know of him,” I said carefully.

“I would like an introduction if you can manage it. Let’s call it one of my terms of business.”

Fuck. “Shall we discuss this further next week? It would be much better to discuss specific terms in person, yes?”

“Of course,” he replied with a chuckle. “Where are my manners. I will have my people talk to yours and arrange the specifics. Enjoy your party, Mr. Vaughn.”

There was a click as the call disconnected. I put the phone down and rubbed my eyes, feeling strung out. This was turning out to be more trouble than it was worth. Motherfucking Lafayette? Sykes was looking to do more than take his operation international. I was a bad man, but he was a borderline sadist.

“All good?” Hawkes asked.

“For now,” I said, standing and straightening my jacket. Fixing my cufflinks, I nodded toward the door. “Is she here?”

“Not yet.”

I was glad he said ‘not yet’. My balls were going to burst if I didn’t get to fuck something soon, add that telephone conversation to the mix and they were now fucking blue. “I’ll be down in a moment.”

The door clicked closed and I was alone. Checking my appearance in the reflection of the darkened windows, my thoughts firmly landed on Lorelei. If she didn’t come, then what was I going to do? Pursue her, of course. I couldn’t even think about fucking another woman with her on my mind. No, fucking someone else would be empty until I could taste her.

Taking a deep breath, I opened the office door and strode down the hallway. If I had to suffer this party without her…this was all for her. Just to get her into bed, I reminded myself. No connections, no commitments, no falling for her.

Hesitating at the top of the stairs, I regarded the party below, the finely dressed men and women who I’d have to mingle with to keep up appearances. Time to put my game face on.

I began to descend as the front door opened and she stepped across the threshold. She was just…there.

I halted my stride, pausing on the staircase, my gaze taking her in. A fine, red silk dress hugged her curves, accentuating her breasts and hips, illuminating her ivory skin. Her hair was curled, pinned up just so, and I felt the urge to let the chestnut waves out so they could spill down her elegant back. I envisioned running my fingers though her locks and tugging her head back so I could take her mouth with mine.

I sucked in a breath, but I couldn’t catch it. She was fucking stunning. I’d never seen a woman more beautiful than Lorelei Lansford.

As my gaze collided with hers, it felt like the wind was knocked out of my lungs.

What the fuck was with that?



The party was in full swing by the time my car pulled into the driveway.

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