Eric was just touching down in Bill’s front yard when he felt the twinge of anxiousness coming from Sookie. He pulled his phone from his pocket as he walked to the front door and dialed her number. No answer. The doors to the king’s home opened and Eric paused on the porch to listen for anything that was out of the ordinary. His superior hearing would catch any screams coming from Sookie’s property. He could be at her side in ten seconds. Unfortunately, that would be more than enough time for someone to kill her.
“Jessica is with her,” Bill said and Eric turned his head to look at Sookie’s former lover.
Sookie might not be under Bill’s influence any longer but it was obvious the same couldn’t be said for Bill. Eric didn’t need to know by volume how much of his blood Bill had given Sookie, but it was obvious it was a considerable amount when it was all added up. Bill looked almost strung out. He’d looked the same way after Sookie first disappeared.
Was that a side effect of her blood? He’d never heard of vampires getting addicted to fae blood before but then again, it was rare to find it. Any vampire who was fortunate to get their hands on fae blood was either going to drain the fairy dry, or make sure to keep the fairy all to themselves. No wonder Bill had been so hell bent on bumping off anyone knew about Sookie. It wasn’t about his love for her at all; it was about the blood.
“Come in. We need to go over some things,” Bill motioned for Eric to follow him into his office.
Eric gave one last look over his shoulder, but heard or saw nothing to make him think Sookie was in danger. He kept a close tab on his bond with her, monitoring everything he could with his blood. Her feelings were… they were interesting. Something was certainly troubling her but not enough that Eric was alarmed.
“I’ve selected new sheriffs to replace the others. I had intended to instate them yesterday but then we received word about Russell,” Bill explained as if Eric wasn’t the one who called him.
“Whatever I can do to assist, Your Majesty,” Eric said and tried not to sound completely bored.
Bill went on to tell Eric whom he’d selected to run the other four areas of the state. It was a bit ridiculous that Bill was shirking the responsibility of running an area. Sophie-Anne had run area one just fine for most of her rule, and New Orleans had the largest population of vampires. Eric wasn’t at all prepared for it when Bill dropped a bit of a bomb on him.
“I would like if you would consider switching areas on a temporary basis. Area one requires the most guidance and you are clearly the most experienced sheriff I have,” Bill said in that smarmy tone he used to placate humans.
“No,” Eric said without hesitation. “I decline your offer.”
Bill’s brows knit together for a second before schooling his face back into that vampire passive expression. “I would be willing to make a considerable cut on the tribute required.”
“Forgive me for saying this, Majesty, but New Orleans could benefit strongly from the presence of a regent. There was a very good reason why Sophie-Anne chose that to be her home,” Eric’s eyes met Bill’s. If he could glamour another vampire, this would all be over. Hell, it would have been over a long time ago.
“That was the old regime, Eric,” Bill looked perturbed that Eric would mention the former queen in his presence. “And if you’ll remember, Sophie-Anne had accumulated a significant amount of debt—debt that I am now beholden to paying off.”
“Yes, but she had a lot of unnecessary staff on her payroll,” Eric spoke glibly and the hiss that escaped Bill couldn’t be ignored.
“Watch your tone, Sheriff,” Bill warned.
The two vampires were staring one another down and Eric was suddenly itching for a fight. He remembered the night Sookie had disappeared and how easily Bill had looked him in the eyes, swore to let bygones be bygones and then tried to kill him. It was a perfectly acceptable thing for a vampire to do, unfortunately. Throwing an opponent off balance, or luring them into a false sense of security was always a bonus. However, Bill seemed to have underestimated what Eric was capable of. Not only was Eric stronger than most vampires, he also had a ruthlessly loyal child.
Pam was still looking for the opportunity to make Bill pay for what he’d done to Eric, and perhaps even more importantly to the designer clothing and shoes she was wearing that night; to say nothing of her hair. But Bill was nothing more than one long exercise in learning how to bide one’s time. The most important thing a person could learn when it came to battle, as far as Eric was concerned, was patience. Waiting for the exact right moment to strike so the defense wouldn’t see it coming; it was waiting for that moment when the fight usually ended up being lost. Bill being the impatient little prick he was, he would lash out at anything within striking distance just to prove himself. He didn’t have a plan, just an ego that required constant feeding.
Bill began running down his proposed strategy for tracking Russell down and it didn’t take long for Eric to figure out Bill was in over his head. Bill wanted to rally the troops and send them out after Russell, which was the exact opposite of what Eric wanted to do. Sending people to search Russell out was going to be a wild goose chase. For all Bill knew, Russell had left the country. It would be a waste of their already limited manpower to go on the offensive this way.
Eric had formulated a plan of his own, and it would start the following week. Halloween. It was usually a very profitable night at Fangtasia and there was no reason not to use that to his advantage. He had yet to run the plan by Sookie, but Eric already had a plan for how to lure Russell if she was willing to be a part of it. He didn’t like the idea of using Sookie as bait, but she was his best chance at drawing Russell out of the woodwork. Trying to keep Sookie in a case was clearly not going to work and he didn’t want her to end up resenting him for it.
While Eric was mentally rolling his eyes at Bill’s less than stellar plan of attack, he felt a shift in his bond with Sookie. What had been concern suddenly turned into full on panic and the instinct to fight. Bill stopped talking and his eyes met Eric’s, suggesting he’d felt something similar from Jessica. Fuck. This couldn’t be good.
Without a word Eric was out the door and on his way to Sookie, while Bill ordered guards to follow them on foot to Sookie’s property. With Russell around, backup was going to be needed.
oOo ~ oOo ~ oOo
Sookie and Jessica had rushed out of the house to find Jason standing in the parking area by the Range Rover with a spacy look in his eyes, holding a gun to his head. Sookie didn’t need Jessica to tell her Jason was under the influence of glamour. His mind was foggy and his actions weren’t of his own choosing. She tried to get into his memories to see who had planted the glamour there but since the hypnosis hadn’t been released yet, she was still blocked.
Sookie scanned for other minds nearby and there was another vampire a couple hundred yards to the west, hiding in the trees. Eric was about the same distance away but in the opposite direction, most likely at Bill’s, and he wasn’t moving. Sookie looked at Jessica, who was staring at Jason.
“Jason, what are you doing?” Sookie asked calmly.
“You need to come with me, Sook,” he said in an almost robotic tone.
“Who did this to you?” Jessica asked.
“Sookie needs to come with me, or I have to pull the trigger,” Jason was useless. Whoever had glamoured him had done a damn good job of it.
“Jason, put the gun down,” Sookie tried anyway.
“Come with me, or I’ll pull the trigger,” Jason repeated.
Sookie looked at Jessica and took a step down off the porch, but Jessica pulled her back. “Sookie, you can’t.”
“I can’t let him kill himself,” Sookie argued and tried to fight Jessica.
“Let her go,” Jason suddenly swung the gun in Jessica’s direction. “Silver bullets, bloodsucker. Take your fang raping hands off my baby sister.”
“Jason!” Sookie said while Jessica gasped.
“Come with me, Sookie, or I’ll kill her and then myself,” Jason warned.
“It’s okay, Jess, let me go. It’ll be okay,” Sookie insisted and then took another step down off the porch. “Jason, I’m coming down. Put the gun down, okay? No one needs to get hurt.”
Jason slowly lowered the gun once Sookie stepped off the porch. The vampire that had been hiding in the trees moved as fast as it could to snatch Sookie up but Jessica being closer moved faster and grabbed the gun out of Jason’s hand. She wasn’t a great shot but she was good enough that she could fire a bullet at a vampire if she had to. Both women were expecting to see Russell Edgington standing before them, but that wasn’t the case.
No, this vampire was far too young to have Russell Edgington’s kind of power. He was dressed in khaki’s, a neatly tucked in polo and shiny loafers. His hair was gelled in the same way it always was, almost in a dark version of the Donald Trump style. His face was the same, only paler than before. And of course, now there were fangs.
“If it isn’t my favorite fang banging whore,” Steve Newlin grinned in Sookie’s direction, his shiny new fangs gleaming in her direction.
“Mother of God,” Jessica murmured.
“Who the fuck would turn you?” Sookie couldn’t stop herself from asking.
“Funny you should ask, but we’ll get to that in a moment,” Steve took a step closer to her.
“You need to back the fuck up or I’ll shoot,” Jessica threatened, her fangs clicking into place.
“You’d kill your own kind for a couple of traitors?” Steve looked at Jessica with disgust. “The boy’s nearly too dim to exist and the girl… well, we all know she’ll spread her legs for anything with fangs.”
Jessica pulled the hammer back on the revolver in her hands but then Sookie squealed. Jason had his hand wrapped tightly around her throat and was quickly cutting off her air supply. In a blind panic Sookie’s hands began to light up and she raised them in Steve Newlin’s direction.
“What the-” he didn’t get to finish before the light shot out of Sookie’s fingers and knocked Steve flat on his back. It didn’t kill him but it incapacitated him.
Jason’s hold on Sookie’s throat released itself and she spun around. He shook his head, trying to clear away the glamour and influence. “Are you okay?” Sookie asked him.
“I’mma kill that prickless piece of shit,” Jason started to charge forward but was stopped by Sookie and Jessica.
“You need to go inside,” Sookie told him.
“What? No! I ain’t leavin’ y’all out here alone with him,” Jason shook his head.
“Honey, its real sweet of you to want to protect us but you can be glamoured and we can’t. Now please, go inside and let us deal with Steve,” Sookie pleaded with him.
When he continued to argue, Jessica stepped up and glamoured him into going into the house. She hated herself for doing it but she didn’t have a choice. Jason staying outside was just going to get them killed. Sookie remembered the silver chains that were down in Eric’s cubby and ran to get them while Steve was still out of it. Jessica remained out front, gun aimed right at Steve.
Sookie could feel Eric getting closer and she knew it would only be a few seconds before he appeared. Thankfully Eric stopped when he saw Jessica with a gun trained on the vampire sprawled out on the gravel. Killing Newlin would be something Eric would enjoy quite a bit, but at the moment there were too many questions that needed answering.
“Where is Sookie?” Eric growled in Jessica’s direction.
“She went inside the house with Jason,” Jessica didn’t take her eyes off of Steve.
The sound of rattling chains came from the house and both vampires looked at the porch in time to see Sookie emerge with the silver from the basement in her hands. Bits and pieces of Eric were dried to them and flaked away as she moved. Eric’s fangs ran out at the sight of silver in her hands. He’d spent more than enough time in chains recently but this time it wasn’t for him; it was for the piece of trash taking a nap on Sookie’s driveway.
“Are you injured?” Eric asked, even though he detected no pain coming from her.
“Just spooked,” Sookie said as she began to unfurl the lengths of chain.
“Jessica, put the gun down and help me,” Eric said as he walked over to Steve’s body. He looked at Sookie with relief and pride. She had done well. “Did you do this to him?” he asked her.
Sookie nodded and explained what happened, leaving nothing out. Eric wasn’t thrilled that she was willing to give herself up to save her brother but then she explained her rationale behind it and it made sense.
“I figured having a mindless drone to control was more dangerous than him coming near me. I knew you were close and with Jessica standing right there I knew she couldn’t be glamoured. She made it pretty clear he was going to have to go through her to get to me and there’s no way Newlin is an older vampire than Jessica. But before I knew it Jason had his hand around my throat. My hands lit up and I zapped him,” Sookie explained.
Jessica held Steve in place, his head lolling from side to side, while Eric wrapped the chains around him. Where the fuck was Bill? Eric had a slight lead but not much. Bill should have been there by now. Eric stopped what he was doing and tried to assess whether there were any other supernatural creatures nearby.
“Sookie, can you scan for me?” Eric asked, just in case he wasn’t getting it right.
She didn’t need to ask what he meant. She dropped her shields completely and listened. Jason was in the house watching TV like it was the norm for him but that was the only other brain she sensed outside of the three vampires she was standing in front of. “It’s just us,” Sookie told him.
Eric looked to Jessica and asked, “Where is your maker?”
“He’s at home, I think. I know he’s not far. Why?” Jessica looked concerned.
“You can’t pinpoint him exactly?” Eric raised an eyebrow and she shook her head.
“Not since he…” she trailed off and looked at Sookie. “Not since Sookie’s been back.”
That was interesting. Was Bill limiting things on purpose or was there something else at work? There was no way to know without straight out asking him and doing so could get Jessica in a lot of trouble with her maker. Once the chains were secure all they could do was wait for Steve to come around. Minutes passed and there was still no sign of Bill anywhere. Something wasn’t right; Eric could feel it.
He’s taking too long, Eric thought.
“Did you find the necklace?” Eric asked Sookie.
“Not yet,” she shook her head and rubbed her eyes.
“Why don’t you go in and keep looking? I’ll stay here with him until he comes around,” Eric told her but then Steve started to grunt and before Sookie could go anywhere, Eric had hauled the vampire to his feet. “Morning, princess,” Eric said as Steve’s eyes fluttered open.
Steve began to feel the effects of the silver and even though he was trying to fight it, he ended up screaming in agony. Both Jessica and Eric knew what the searing pain felt like. Sookie stifled the gasp that was in her throat when she felt lust begin to rise in Eric. He looked in her direction and his warning from earlier in the night came back to her. What had happened after his visit to Debbie Pelt was most likely to be child’s play in comparison to this.
“You scream like a woman,” Jessica folded her arms over her chest.
“Silence, whore,” Steve said but was then knocked back by a slap from Jessica.
Sookie had never seen the young vampire consumed by bloodlust before but it was obvious Eric wasn’t the only one who was turned on by the suffering of the newborn wrapped in silver. Still, there was business to tend to before they got to have their fun.
“Who is your maker?” Sookie asked to get the ball rolling.
Steve licked the blood from his lip and chin before unleashing one of those creepy smiles on them. “Russell Edgington,” he said with pride.
Fuck. Why the hell would Russell want to turn someone like Steve Newlin?
“You’re probably wondering why he blessed me,” Steve said, which was an interesting choice of words.
Sookie wished she could read a vampire’s mind for maybe only the third time in her life. It wasn’t that she wanted to know what Newlin was thinking now, so much as what had been said prior to him being turned. How in the hell had Russell convinced Steve this was a good idea? He had to know he was nothing more than a pawn—that he was disposable.
“Our kind has become a watered down version of what it once was. Russell believes there can be a new evolution, that the old ways can be restored. He chose me because I have my flock. I have all those minds just waiting to be manipulated and I don’t even have to glamour them into it! They’re sheep, every last one of them, all desperate for something to believe in. They will follow me into the dark and wage war against the tyranny of the Authority. Mainstreaming is for pussies,” Newlin spat his rhetoric; it was obviously programmed into him by his maker.
“So your objective is to turn your followers into an army for Russell Edgington’s cause?” Eric asked, just to make sure he understood the moron wrapped in silver.
“Do you have a hearing problem, or are you just that stupid?” Steve stared at Eric, challenging him to do something.
Beheading might have been nice but unfortunately, they were going to have to keep Steve around. He would become part of the plan to get Russell to show himself. Newlin continued to rant and rave like it was one of his televised Sunday sermons, spouting Biblical quotes and all sorts of nonsense, while Eric called Pam for a pick up.
“You’re fucking with me,” Pam deadpanned.
“Not even a little,” Eric said in a bored tone.
“Can I play with him?” Pam asked, feeling the need to make something hurt. If she was going to have to listen to the ranting of an insane vampire, it was the least Eric could give her in return.
“Don’t lose any of his limbs. They won’t grow back before next week,” Eric told her.
“What’s next week?” Pam felt like she was missing something.
Eric looked at Sookie, who was shaking her head at Steve while he continued to go back and forth in his fanatical verbal vomit. It was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—one side was pro-vampire and the other was most decidedly anti-vampire.
“Next week we get Russell,” Eric said.
oOo ~ oOo ~oOo
Before loading him into the van, Sookie did Pam the favor of stunning Steve again, knocking him out for at least the first half of the drive back to Shreveport. Eric followed Sookie inside and once she was assured Jason was okay, the three of them piled into the Range Rover so they could take him home before heading onto Shreveport themselves. Jessica had departed immediately after Pam left, although not in search of her maker. She needed to feed and she wanted the pleasure of hunting for something. Donors were nice and all but the vampire in her didn’t want her meal to come to her the easy way.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” Sookie walked Jason to his door.
“I’m fine, Sook, just a little dazed,” Jason rubbed his head.
Eric had been able to unlock all of Jason’s memories for him and unfortunately, he wasn’t able to contribute any new information to what they had already learned. Sookie hugged her brother goodbye and made him promise to rescind the invitation into his house for all vampires.
“No offense, Sook, but I don’t have as many vamps over as you do,” Jason opened the front door.
“Just promise me,” Sookie insisted.
“I rescind my invitation to all vampires,” Jason said and Sookie nodded, satisfied for the moment.
“Thank you,” she hugged him again. “Jessica was asking about you before you showed up. She misses you.”
“Dammit, Sook,” Jason grumbled.
“Well she does, and I can tell by the way you’re acting you miss her too. The damage has already been done, Jason. If she’s who’s in your heart, you should give it a chance,” Sookie advised.
“Even though it means hurtin’ Hoyt worse than I already have?” Jason looked guilty.
“He said there was something missin’ in you, that all you wanted from Jessica was sex. Now’s your chance to prove him wrong,” Sookie pointed out and Jason nodded. “You call me if anything happens or if you just want to talk.”
“I will, sis, I will,” Jason promised and went inside.
Sookie returned to the Range Rover and watched the lights go on in Jason’s house one room at a time. When she saw the flicker of the TV turning on, she knew he was going to be fine. Eric backed away from the house and headed for the highway. Sookie reached for Eric’s hand and laced her fingers with his. She shifted in her seat and leaned over to kiss his neck.
“Lover?” he looked in her direction and she smiled in response.
“Thank you for coming for me,” she raised his hand to her lips and kissed each of his knuckles.
“You held your own quite well,” Eric was proud of her.
“Thank you,” she kissed the inside of his wrist. “What will you do with Steve Newlin?”
“We’re going to hold him. I have a plan,” Eric said but didn’t want to discuss it just then.
Instead he pulled off to the side of the road, which Sookie wasn’t anticipating. They weren’t far from the highway, after all. Before Sookie could ask what he was doing, Eric was out of the car and around to her side. He flung the door open and Sookie whipped around to see the whites of his eyes glowing in the darkness.
Before he could even ask, or suggest it, Sookie took off her seat belt and bolted from the car like it was on fire. She heard him growl behind her and it made her run faster. She knew he would catch her no matter how fast she went. She ran for a good two minutes until she was deep into the woods. It took her a moment to realize where Eric had stopped. The forest where he’d found her after Bill set him free.
Her feet slowed as she came upon the same clearing and she gasped when she realized their clothing was still strewn about amongst the bushes and trees. The moon wasn’t full overhead like it had been that night and it was definitely colder outside than it was before. Sookie stopped and let the memory of that night flood over her. She had tried so hard to keep her feelings at bay and heed Gran’s warning. Gran had said it wouldn’t last forever and she had been right, to some extent. In many ways, however, this was even better. Now she has the best of both worlds at all times.
Sookie came to a complete stop when she reached the exact spot where she and Eric had made love the first time. She turned just in time to see him closing the last few feet of distance between them and was nearly knocked off her feet when he caught her. His lips crashed down on hers but she kissed back with the same lust and need. Her arms wrapped around his neck while he freed her hair from the elastic holding it hostage. His fingers tangled in the long, silky threads while they sank to their knees on the soft grass.
Eric could smell too many other vampires on her which didn’t sit well with him at all. He wanted those smells gone, completely replaced by his own. Sookie forgot about the cold as her blood pumped furiously through her body, the heat of Eric’s kisses and desire for her warming her all over. He savored the taste of her skin as his mouth moved from place to place, leaving a wet trail as he went. The breeze that picked up made her shiver when it found the wetness on her skin.
Their movements became frenzied after that, leaving most of their clothes on but pulling them to awkward angles to expose various parts that needed to be kissed, nibbled, sucked or bitten. Eric landed on his back with Sookie astride him, her fingers in his hair and scratching against his scalp. His hands roamed under the skirt she was wearing and then moved to unfasten his jeans. One of Sookie’s hands found his under her skirt and took over the task of freeing his erection from his pants.
She stroked him without breaking the kiss they had managed to keep going for what felt like hours. When she finally broke away she moved down his neck, sucking air into her lungs while her hand pumped his cock, her thumb spreading the pre-cum down his shaft. He grunted at the twist of her wrist with each stroke, going to the right on the upstroke and then to the left when she went down.
Sookie dragged her teeth along the column of his neck, nipping at him every now and again as she teased. Never one to be selfish, Eric worked her panties to the side and slid his fingers between her folds, coating them in her wetness before pushing two of them inside her. Their eyes met and her hips lifted a little higher. He wanted to pull her back but the angling of her hand left little to the imagination. She wanted him inside her and he was more than willing to oblige.
They rolled easily with Eric settling himself between her open knees. He pushed her skirt up around her waist and stared down at her hand wrapped around his cock, watching her stroke him until finally he removed his fingers from inside her. She pulled his hand to her mouth and sucked his fingers, robbing him of the taste of her momentarily. She moaned around his fingers, sucking them hard. He growled when the tip of his cock brushed against her clit.
He would repay her for this once they were home. When he was finished with her she would be exhausted and maybe a little sore. No matter; he could heal her easily with a nick of his finger. Sookie moved him to her entrance and he pushed just the head of his erection inside her before pulling out again. Over and over, he shallowly thrust into her, never going deeper than an inch before pulling out again.
Just when she was about to beg for him to fill her, he did so, thrusting into her entirely. She cried out at the pleasure of it but then he pulled out again and repeated the same shallow thrusting a few times before filling her again. The teasing pace was driving her crazy. He could feel the frenzy building inside her slowly, the need driving her mad.
“Eric please,” she moaned and reached to grab his ass to pull him inside her.
“Please what, lover?” he whispered against her neck, plotting where he would strike when the moment was just right.
“Make me cum,” she said in a barely there breath of a voice.
Granting her wish, he slid inside her and began to thrust slowly. Her hips rose to meet him, her head turned to the side in anticipation of his bite. The little noises she made as she got closer and closer to her orgasm drove him crazy. He wanted to abandon all control and pound into her at vampire speed but he held back. When they got home it would be another story.
“Faster,” Sookie pleaded, pulling his mouth back to hers to kiss him.
Eric shifted his angle just a little and rubbed his pubic bone against her clit with his thrust. Her moans got louder and Eric moved down to her neck again, his fangs sliding back into place. Just before she came he bit into her and the first rush of her blood in his mouth was sweet and warm as it filled him. Then when she came there was a change and he could taste the wildness in her; it seemed her blood took on a little bit of spice. It was hotter than before, her heart pumping faster with the waves of her pleasure.
The combination of her blood and the tight squeezes of her core milked his orgasm from him. Sookie’s hands moved up his back, tickling his spine just a little before settling on his shoulders. Eric healed the wounds on her neck when he felt her heartbeat slow. It was hard to tell if it was from the feeding or because her orgasm had passed but it didn’t matter. He wasn’t going to take any chances.
Her legs wrapped around him, keeping him close to her while he pressed wet, lazy kisses against her skin, slowly moving back to her mouth. They lay there for a while, clothes disheveled, kissing each other until a throat cleared. Eric’s head popped up, fangs extended; he was ready to attack. The face standing just ahead of the line of trees and bushes was familiar. The man was naked and obviously shocked by what he was seeing.
Sookie tilted her head back and gasped in surprise. “Sam?”