Single White Vampire
Chapter Seventeen

 Lynsay Sands

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"I think we're ready here."
Kate nodded at Allison's comment as she peered around at their handiwork. Black tablecloths, blood-red roses on each table and dim lighting. It was ready.
"You'd better go change. The guests will start arriving in half an hour, and you and Luc are supposed to be in the receiving line," the head editor warned. Kate grimaced, but nodded and gestured to Chris that it was time to go. She started out of the ballroom.
Allison, Chuck, Tom and Deeana had all already changed; they had been exiting one at a time to get into their costumes, leaving the others to continue decorating. Kate and Chris were the only ones left. Kate had deliberately put it off until now. She wasn't looking forward to telling Lucern that he was the star attraction at this ball. She knew he was not going to be pleased, and after the laughter and passion they had shared, she was fearful the annoyed and surly Lucern would return.
"Buck up," Chris said as they stepped out of the elevator. "Luc has loosened up quite a bit. He may take this in stride."
Kate forced a smile for her coworker. She only hoped he was right. She felt guilty for not having told Lucern about this from the start, but she was a coward.
The vampire ball hadn't been her idea. Chuck had come up with it. He'd considered it a brilliant bit of promotion, and when Kate had tried to talk him out of it, telling him that Lucern wasn't a very social person and that it might overwhelm him, Chuck had steamrolled over her protests. He had even ignored the fact that the conference attendees would have little time to prepare for the switch from the spy party that had originally been planned. Kate was worried sick that half the attendees would arrive in trench coats, the other half in capes. It might all turn farcical!
These worries faded from her mind as she paused at the entrance to the suite. C.K. pulled out his key card and unlocked the door. Kate spotted Lucern immediately. He was seated on the couch, watching television. His hair was wet and he was in a robe, obviously waiting to finish getting ready. He didn't notice their entrance at first, seemed instead quite involved with whatever he was watching. There was a look of abject horror on his face. What was he watching?
Kate glanced at the TV, recognizing a rerun of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Lucern suddenly sat forward, a sound of disgust slipping from his lips. It sounded very much like "bitch," though Kate couldn't be sure.
Aware that they had very little time to get ready for the party, she cleared her throat. "Er Luc?"
He glanced at her sharply, a scowl on his face. "Did you see that? Buffy just staked that poor vampire. He had yet to even do anything untoward, he just crawled out of his grave and she staked him. That is just not right. She is taking out her problems with that Angel fellow on vampires, that is what she's doing." Luc muttered a curse as he turned back to the screen.
A little burst of laughter slipped from Chris's lips, as he headed for his room. "Urn, I'm going to get ready."
Kate bit her lip as she watched him go.
"Look!" Luc snapped, sitting forward again. "She's just done it again. Stake-happy is what she is. She's just staking them left and right, sometimes for no reason at all. This Buffy person is"
"Luc?" Kate interrupted.
"Hmm?" he asked. His gaze was still fixed on the screen.
"We have to get ready to go."
"Yes. I showered and shaved, I just have to dress. I was waiting for you to return to see what I am supposed to wear. I didn't know if you had another costume orshe did it again!" He launched to his feet, glaring furiously at the screen. "Who writes this nonsense? We don't turn into slavering beasts when we bite, and did I turn into a puff of smoke when I was staked? No. No, I say. This is shameful nonsense. Just ridiculous. I ought to write and"
Kate didn't catch the rest. She left Lucern waving his fist at the television and retreated to her room to collect the costume she had rented for him. So, Lucern had discovered television. It was a shame, really. It was even her fault. She had insisted that he watch TV that first night.
He was still ranting about writing to whomever was in charge of the Buffy show and straightening them out, when Kate returned. She paused beside him and shook her head mournfully.
"I suppose I should be grateful that you haven't discovered sports yet. Men can be impossible when they're sports freaks," she commented.
Lucern tore his gaze away from the TV and snorted. "Sports. I saw what you people call sports. Sheesh. If you want sports, you should watch a joust. Now, that was a sport. Matches won, lives lost, blood shed." His gaze dropped to the bag she held. "Is that for me?"
"Yes." Kate handed it over. She started to turn away, but gasped in surprise when he caught her hand and tugged her off balance. She landed in his lap with an ungraceful plop. Before she had quite recovered, his mouth covered hers and he subjected her to a thorough kiss.
"Oh," she sighed when it was over. Her mind was awhirl. Somehow her arms had crept around Luc's neck, and she was plastered to his chest like a wet cloth.
"Hello," the vampire growled. His hand slid up the inside of her leg, pausing to run over a bite mark he had left on her upper thigh.
Kate stiffened and wiggled as a thick ache started between her legs.
"Does it hurt?" he asked quietly, rubbing his fingers over the mark.
"No." She reached down to try to stop him, but the straight skirt of her business suit was pulled tight over her legs. She couldn't hamper him.
He began to nibble at her ear, and his fingers slid further up her leg.
"Luc," Kate protested, dismayed at how breathy she sounded. She tried for a firmer tone. "I have to get ready."
Lucern grunted and slipped a finger under the elastic of her panties. "You feel ready to me."
"Oh." She arched slightly into his caress. Her body was eager to recreate a little of the magic from that morning. Her mind, however, was lecturing her. The ball. Lucern was the star attraction. And Chris was just on the other side of the door. This last thought, more than any other, made her scramble out of Luc's lap and away from his touch.
"I have to dress," she blurted. Rushing into her room, Kate slammed the door on any comment he might have made, then leaned back against it, her hand to her chest. She was panting as if she had run a race, her legs trembling, her flesh tingling. And she was fighting her own instincts. She would have much rather taken him by the hand and dragged him to bed. In fact, she was hard-pressed not to do so right that moment. But duty called.
Duty. She sighed. She still had not told Lucern that he was the focal point of tonight's ball. He was feeling lusty now, but he wouldn't be once he learned what she'd gotten him into.
Forcing herself not to think of that, she pushed herself away from the door. She had to get ready. She had brought a long black gown of her own from home. She donned the slim sheath of black silk, then used makeup to give her skin the fine white sheen of bone china before adding a blood-red lipstick. That done, she released her hair from its bun and brushed it out until it fell around her shoulders in soft waves.
Deciding she was as done as she was going to get, Kate grabbed the two pairs of vampire teeth she had brought from New York and hurried out of her room.
Lucern was standing in the living room, dressed and ready to go. Kate felt a gusty sigh slip from her lips at the sight. The man looked absolutely fabulous in the tuxedo and cape she had brought. He was every woman's fantasy. She really wished she wasn't about to anger him with the news she had to impart.
"You look ravishing," Lucern said solemnly.
Kate forced a smile and walked forward, holding out one set of teeth.
Lucern glanced down with distaste at the cheap plastic vampire teeth, then stiffened. His gaze shot back to her face. "Please say you jest."
Kate bit her lip to stifle the laugh that was suddenly eager to burst from her; Luc looked so horrified at the very thought of wearing the tacky teeth.
"Everyone will be wearing them," she informed him. "It's a vampire ball."
"I have my own teeth," he said with great dignity.
"Yes, I know. But no one will expect that. Please, just put them on. Please, Lucern?" She touched his arm.
His gaze settled on her lips in a way she found most distracting; then he sighed heavily with exasperation. "Oh, very well."
He snatched one of the pairs of teeth from her palm and popped them into his mouth. Then he proceeded to move them about, making faces and shifting his jaw in an effort to make them more comfortable. "Vees ore asrocious."
Kate blinked at his slurred words. Deciding it would be best not to encourage his whining, she shrugged and popped the second set of teeth into her own mouth, then understood exactly what he meant. They were atrocious. They were damned uncomfortable. They were so bad, she almost considered leaving both pairs behind.
Chris sauntered into the room in his own tuxedo and cape. "You two look great," he said.
He smiled at them both, revealing a pair of realistic-looking vampire teeth.
Lucern immediately scowled. "Ou ee? 'Is eeth ook eal. An a amn ight ore omorta-ul."
Kate was trying to translate his attempted words when Chris winced. "Man, Kate," he said. "Where did you get your teeth? Sheesh. Those are so out-of-date it isn't funny."
Kate glared at her friend's betrayal. Deciding to ignore both men, she headed for the door, saying, "Let's go, I don't want to be late." At least, she tried to say that. It came out more like " 'et's o ah own an oo ee ate." Sighing as Chris burst out laughing, she dragged the door open and led the way out.
Lucern tried to remove his teeth in the elevator, but Kate managed to convince him to put them back in. She then removed her own, cleared her throat and said, "Luc, I really should have mentioned this before, but"
"I a uh oco oin uh uh awe."
"What?" Chris gaped at him, then glanced at Kate. "What did he say?"
"He said, 'I am the focal point of the ball,'" she answered distractedly. Then she asked Lucern. "How did you know?"
Lucern spat his teeth out before answering, "Jodi told me."
"Oh." Kate bit her lip and surveyed his face, trying to figure out why he wasn't angry. "It wasn't my idea," she informed him quietly.
"It really wasn't," Chris said. "This was Chuck's brainchild. Kate tried to talk him out of it."
When Lucern merely nodded and didn't say anything else, Kate frowned. "You aren't angry?"
He shrugged. "I was a tad annoyed at first. But it's only a couple of hours out of my life. I have a lot of hours to fill, Kate. This whole conference is barely a heartbeat of time for me."
Chris looked perplexed. Kate wasn't perplexed as to Luc's meaninghe had lived hundreds of years, and would no doubt live hundreds more; these few days were barely a grain of sand on the beach of his lifebut what she did wonder about was whether his words held a secret meaning for her. She was one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of women who had passed through his life in those hundreds of years. Was the relationship they were enjoying just as unimportant to him as this conference? Was she just another grain of sand?
The idea bothered her, yet it made perfect sense. What else could she be? In another twenty-four hours she would be back at home in New York, and he would be back in Toronto. Life would go on as it always had. Eventually, she would meet some nice man, settle down and have a couple of kids, grow old. And Lucern would be still young, sexy, and taking some other woman to the heights of ecstasy. The idea really bothered her.
Taking a deep breath to try to dispel the ache in her heart, Kate put her teeth back in her mouth and followed Chris out of the elevator.
"There you are!" Allison greeted as they arrived. She stood just inside the ballroom doors with Lady Barrow and Chuck. "You're just in time. One or two people have arrived, but that's all."
"Good. It would be shameful to be late for my own party," Lucern said dryly. He gave the publisher a glance that made the man shift uncomfortably.
"Yes, well," Chuck muttered, but Lucern had already turned to greet Lady Barrow.
Luc smiled at the woman in her lovely crimson gown, took her hand and bowed low over it. "Lady Barrow," he said, pressing a kiss to the back of her hand. "You look and smell good enough to eat."
Lady Barrow gave a good-natured laugh at this, but Kate tensed. She distinctly recalled him almost biting the woman. She also recalled that she had yet to replace Luc's emergency blood supply. As far as she knew, he needed more than the blood he'd gotten from her this morning while they made love. She'd meant to make a quick trip to the blood bank at some point today, but it had slipped her mind. And now Luc must be starving. And no doubt in pain from lack of blood.
Still, he didn't look to be in bad shape. She peered at Luc as he laughed and talked to Allison and Lady Barrow. He was a touch pale, but not gray as he had been. And there were no pained lines on his face.
Kate considered the matter as she reminded Lucern to put his teeth back in, and they took their positions at the door to greet the ball attendees. She concluded that they would have to leave the ball early and rob the blood bank again. She hated to do it. Blood banks were always short of blood. But Lucern was as needy as any patient, and she could hardly let him suffer.
They were at the door for an hour before Allison announced it was time to circulate. Kate stayed close to Lucern, afraid that he mightout of desperationbite one of the guests. She might not have worried so much if women didn't keep coming up, asking to have their picture taken with him doing just that. She could only imagine the torture he must be suffering, pretending to bite their necks. It was rather like asking a dieting woman to hold a forkful of cheesecake in her mouth all night and not chew.
Aside from that, though, everything went fine. Well except for the damned teeth she had supplied. It was terribly difficult to speak coherently with them in and Lucern's dropped into his wineglass at least three times as he tried to drink. The fourth time he dropped them, Kate caught Lucern's arm and dragged him to a stage across the ballroom. Slipping backstage, she led him through the first door she came to, flicked on the lights and closed the door behind them.
Lucern peered around. The room was a dressing room, and he raised his eyebrows. "What"
"Give me your teeth," Kate interrupted, holding out her hand.
Lucern didn't bother to hide his relief as he popped them out. When he handed them over, Kate walked back to the dressing table and tossed both his fake fangs and hers into a garbage can. "You can use your real teeth. We'll just tell everyone that a nice fan saw the trouble you were having and offered you a spare pair."
She turned, giving a start when she found him directly behind her. She hadn't heard him follow. Managing a smile despite her suddenly tripping heart, she said, "We should probably wait a few minutes before going back. I'm not sure how long it usually takes to put in teeth like Chris has, but I imagine the glue needs a few moments to dry."
"Hmm." Lucern ran a hand up her arm, smiling when she shivered.
Kate tried not to look ready to leap on him. The man had just to touch her and she wanted him. Dear God, her legs were shaking. Clearing her throat, she shifted away and sank onto the upholstered bench in front of the dressing table. Turning to face the mirror, she set her purse down, took out her lipstick and quickly applied a fresh coat. Her eyes darted to the man standing behind her when he placed his hands on her shoulders.
Luc didn't say anything, just caught her gaze in the mirror. Kate's mouth went dry. She swallowed at the sight of the silver fire sparking out of his eyes. She recognized that look. He had nearly burned her alive with it this morning. Luc wanted her.
His hands slid off her shoulders, and Kate's gaze shifted to follow his hands as they dropped down to cover her breasts. The dress had no back, which meant she'd had to forgo a bra. There was nothing between his hands and her breasts except for black silk.
"Shhh." He placed one knee on the bench by her hip, then nudged her head to the side. Urging back her hair, he placed a kiss on her neck.
Kate leaned back into him and watched in the mirror. A sigh slipped from her lips as he ran his thumbs over her erect nipples. Then he removed one hand and raised it to catch her chin and turn her head. He kissed her. Kate moaned, opening to him, arching into his caress, her hands sliding up his arms toward his shoulders.
She was taken by surprise when he suddenly lifted her to her feet. "What?"
"Come," was all he said. Then he was leaving the room and pulling her behind him. Kate thought he was taking her back to the party, but he led her onto the curtained stage. He quickly crossed it. Kate tried to follow quietly, knowing all that stood between them and the ballroom full of people was the stage's closed curtain, but her high-heeled shoes went click-click-click as she walked. Luc led her down the stairs on the opposite side and out a door.
"Where are we going?" Kate hissed, glancing nervously back down the hall at the doors to the ballroom.
Luc stopped at the elevators and pushed the button. "You look tired," he said. "You worked too hard today. You need rest."
Kate spoke sharply. "Luc, we have toOhh," she cried as the elevator doors opened and he tugged her inside.
"Luc," she repeated. He pushed the button for their floor, but Kate slipped between him and the panel and hit the open button. "We have to" She nearly swallowed her tongue when he pressed close against her back and slid his hands up to cup her breasts. She let go of the elevator button to grab his hands. "Lucern!"
He ground his lower body against her buttocks, and she closed her eyes as she felt his hardness. The elevator's doors closed, and the car started to rise. "A nap does sound good," she breathed. Then she shook her head. "No, we have to"
She swallowed her words again as he bent to catch her legs just above the knees. His hands skimmed up over her skin, sliding under her skirt as he straightened.
Kate groaned and widened her stance. He cupped her between the legs with both hands and pressed her back against him.
"You want me."
"I want you," Kate echoed. Then she blinked her eyes. "Hey!"
Struggling out of his hold, she whirled to scowl at him. "Don't pull that mind-control crap on me."
"Don't you want me?"
Kate merely scowled harder. He knew she wanted him. He couldn't have slipped inside her mind if she didn't. Still, that didn't matter. She was finding it difficult enough to fight her desires and do what was expected of herhaving him take control of her mind was not helping. And he had slipped in so easily!
The elevator stopped, the doors opened, and Lucern grabbed her hand and pulled her out.
Kate tried to dig her feet in as he dragged her up the hall. "Lucern. One more hour at the ball. One hour. Then we can go visit the blood bank and take care of your little problem. We can'tOkay, half an hour," she argued desperately as he stopped at their door and used his key card. "Half an hour more at the ball!"
He tugged her inside, pushed the door closed, then walked to the couch.
"Or maybe we could make a quick trip to the blood bank now, then go back to the ball," Kate pleaded. Luc dropped to sit on the couch, still holding her hand. "We can take care of your need for blood, then go back"
"Kate," Lucern interrupted.
"What?" she asked warily.
"I do not need blood." He tugged her off balance and into his lap. "All I need is you."
Kate didn't get a chance to respond; Lucern prevented it by sealing her lips with his. She kept her mouth closed at first, ignoring the temptation to kiss him back as she struggled to retain control. But his lips weren't the only thing moving on herone of his arms was around her back, the fingers having slipped through the side of her dress to caress the ticklish skin under her arm and along side her breast. The other was working busily at the ties of her gown at her shoulder.
Kate moaned deep in her throat, but managed to keep her lips shut as first one shoulder tie was pulled free, then the other. The material pooled around her waist, and Lucern gave up trying to kiss her and bent his head to her breasts.
"Damn," Kate breathed as he suckled one nipple, then the other. "Screw the ball."
Grabbing him by the hair, she dragged his head back up and kissed him voraciously. This was their last night together. Chuck and her job could go to hell. She was going to make the most of this.
Kate heard Lucern growl in response to her surrender; then he set to work with a passion. His hands were everywhere, skimming her breasts, her waist, her hips, sliding up her thighs.
Kate wasn't satisfied simply being the recipient of his touch, and with his help, she shifted to straddle him on the couch, forcing the narrow skirt of her dress up her legs to her hips. She wanted to touch and taste him everywhere. Breaking their kiss, she leaned back and set to work removing his clothes. She undid his cape and pushed it off his shoulders, then pushed the tuxedo jacket off too.
Leaving both garments bunched up behind him on the couch, Kate set to work on his shirt. She breathed a sigh of relief once she had him bare to the waist. Sliding off his lap, she knelt on the floor between his knees and turned her attention to his pants. When she got the button undone and slid the zipper down, Lucern made as if to stand, but Kate shifted forward, blocking his ability to rise. She pushed his slacks and boxers down and caught hold of his erection. Lucern jerked and gasped as she took him into her mouth, groaned as she ran her lips down him and back again.
"Kate," he growled and caught his hands in her hair. He couldn't seem to make up his mind what to do. She suspected he wanted to pull her head away but couldn't quite manage it and so simply held on as she pleasured him. He allowed her to do so for a moment or two; then he did exert pressure and pulled her head away.
He was growling again, his face strained, and Kate knew she had woken the beast. Catching her by one arm, Luc stood, pulling her up with him; then he kissed her roughly, his hands shoving her gown down her hips. It barely hit the floor before he caught the fragile cloth of her panties. He gave a tug that ripped them clean off.
Kate gasped and trembled. Then his hand was there, his fingers delving between her legs. Kate squeezed her eyes closed and pressed into his touch, aware that her legs wouldn't hold her upright for long. Lucern seemed to realize it, too, because he broke the kiss and turned her toward the couch. Pushing her onto her knees on it with his body, he followed her, bending her over its back and pressing close.
Kate cried out and clutched the back of the couch as he slid into and filled her. She cried out again as he reached his arms around, one hand catching under her breasts for support, the other slipping between her legs as he slid in and out.
It was fast and furious this passion, overwhelming them both quickly. Kate never felt Lucern bite her, but she definitely noticed when he suffused her mind with his passion. Already teetering on the edge of fulfillment,
Kate plunged into it, screaming out with ecstasy. Luc's pleasure joined hers in her mind. But the sound seemed faint to her ringing ears, and Kate feared she was about to