The sounds of swords clanging against one another rung through my household. Every week, once or twice in a seven day span, I’d teach and spar with who would become a very important vampire in the coming days, Ryland Durand. For two earthly years, which to me had only begun, I gave Ryland lessons on various black arts and spells, putting him amongst the most powerful immortals in the universe. Coupled with his intelligence and calm spirit, the gifts I’d bestowed upon him would make him damn near invincible. I was told we would need allies like him if the great battle my first father prophesied would occur.
Though my prime objective was to be his instructor, I had developed intense feelings for the blood sucker. Nothing would please me more than to have Ryland by my side, but the vampire had committed to his brother and a human named Dale. When I expressed how I felt to Ryland, he responded there was no room in his heart or his bed for another. Nevertheless, I would not be deterred and would use every opportunity as merely another part of my relentless plan of seduction.
“Ha!” Ryland lunged forward, showing off his magnificent fencing techniques, attacking me whenever he could detect what he supposed to be my weakness.
“Good move, Ryland.”
When Ryland appeared to be relaxed, I knocked the weapon out of Ryland’s hands, sending it across the room. Not allowing him to move, I placed the tip of my blade against Ryland’s throat. Without moving it, I slowly stalked closer to Ryland, watching his eyes and reading his thoughts. Within those, I saw the plans Ryland had concocted to use the magic spell I’d given him to gain the upper hand.
Although I’d lose this particular match, I’d let him win so he’d question my decision.
For a demon who relies on raw emotions for consumption and arousal, there was more than one way to obtain what I desired.
“You have plans to take this sword?” I asked him, cocking an eyebrow.
Ryland grimaced, gnashing his teeth together. “I … I do.”
While I continued to scan his mind, I studied Ryland’s face. The sharp cheekbones, the gorgeous profile. Beautiful light brown eyes with speckles of yellow along with a narrow nose and full kissable lips. Ryland was indeed a sight to behold and my only wish was to be near him even with my feelings for the blasted angel looming over my head.
Of course, if given the choice, I would pick Ryland in a heartbeat over Calisto.
We were one in the same; demons and killers.
Nearly losing my concentration, I swiped my tongue over my lip and nodded once. “Then do what you have been taught.”
Ryland’s eyes changed into a deep crimson color, before he closed them. In a matter of seconds, my sword flew out of my grasp and into Ryland’s. Then, with all his might, Ryland roughly pushed me against the wall with so much force it caused cracks in the foundation. With his body fully pinned against mine, he raised the weapon, tucking it under my chin.
Noting my defeat, I grunted and met his fiery gaze once again.
“How did I do, teacher?” Ryland flashed a smirky grin.
Not able to be killed, only tiny embers of fire spit from my neck. I felt no pain in the spot Ryland had pierced. Instead, discomfort in my groin where I desperately wanted release. Thoroughly aroused by the two of us being so close, I drew in a sharp breath and bowed my head once.
“You’ve done well, Ryland. As to be expected.”
Ryland’s grin disappeared. He marked me with the edge of the sword. Then, he quickly pulled it away, his crimson eyes narrowing. “You knew of my plan the whole time, did you, not? Why did you let me defeat you?”
Still watching the beautiful creature, I ran my hand over the slivers of flesh on my throat. The wounds dissipated and I leaned in close. Our mouths were only an inch or so apart. I shrugged. “I did not, my friend. You caught me by complete surprise.”
“Liar!” Ryland spun on his feet, apparently angry about my submission. “You are to teach me, Valios. Allowing me to win, will not teach me a damn thing!”
Feeling his disdain, I inhaled deeply and closed my eyes tight. Tiny flickers of fire burned in my belly, seeping down to my groin. Knowing the vampire’s emotions were getting out of control, my arousal increased. If only he would allow me one time to make him experience the same excitement firsthand.
Ryland’s bark sounded and broke my concentration. Unlike other immortals it took a lot for me to be sexually turned on. However, with my student in such close proximity, the task of stimulating me was not difficult at all. The lust I had for him was abundantly clear.
Slowly, I opened my eyes, taking in the vampire’s attractiveness. I licked my lips, sensing the surge of energy bolt through every spot in my body.
“I cannot do this anymore. You are not keeping things professional as I have asked you to.”
“I have kept things exactly the way I said I would, Ryland. I have yet to make a pass at you. Although …” I stood in front of him, softly running my hands over his flawless jawline. Being of the undead, his flesh was cold to the touch. Still, the fire in my mind, heart, body, and soul would not be extinguished no matter how low his body temperature was.
“Our lesson is over, vampire. Now that our professional time is complete, I could use the rest of the evening to show how much I care for you.”
Ryland continued to eye me confused. I sensed the conflicts in his mind and heart about the feelings he had for me.
Could they be mere adoration?
Perhaps love, but I didn’t need the last emotion to sustain me. I was a demon. We cared nothing about being loved. We fed on hatred, lust, and greed. Surely that “godly” quality did not make a damn bit of difference in how I’d pursue a relationship with Ryland.
“Then, I shall end this night now.” Ryland pulled away and slammed his sword into the scabbard on his hip.
Before he could get away any further, I reached out for Ryland, curling my claws around his bicep.
“Please, stay.” I managed through baited breaths.
I seethed, thinking of Ryland’s partners. His lovers, who ruled his mind and body, making him inaccessible to those who were more than fond of him.
“I cannot. I am due home to enjoy a dinner with my family. Dale wants us to try something he calls jambalaya. A southern staple, he tells us. He’s even went as far as to add fresh animal blood to season it for myself and Ryder. Such a thoughtful lover he is.”
Ignoring his statement, I yanked Ryland into me. We were turned in opposite ways, but still able to lock eyes; his light brown orbs with my emerald greens.
Again, I leaned in close, inhaling the faint scents of flesh from Ryland’s body. He also smelled of sandalwood, not natural, perhaps a chemical he had took to wearing so his true ardor would be masked.
“He is that, but in your heart I detect emotions for me. You do not want to leave. The fire inside your groin burns out of control, much like mine. You lust me. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t continue to come here taking lessons.”
Ryland nodded. “It is true, Valios. I do sense my feelings for you running deeper than they should, but I must beg of you to respect me and my relationship. You have known about this−”
“I do, but I choose not to allow it to override my desire to seduce you.”
Ryland swallowed hard. Apparently aroused, he opened his mouth and hissed, revealing elongated fangs.
“Ah, Valios. You make things too difficult, and despite the want I possess to be passionately entangled with you, I must still decline this tantalizing offer.”
Ryland pressed a soft kiss on my cheek and squeezed my arm.
“I shall leave now. When you have new lessons to show me, I will return. Until then, please do not contact me.”
Ryland grasped my bicep again, before using the power I’d given him to disappear into thin air. Unlike the old vampire folklore, Ryland did not change into a bat. Instead, he vanished into a cloud of smoke as I would do.
Mentally, I kicked myself for giving him that ability, to use against me when he saw fit. At times I wished I hadn’t been so giving with my most important spells, like now when I wished to compel him to stay by my side.
Despite this, I was doing my duty as the head soul catcher demon, preparing one of our greatest allies for a possible war down the line.
Though neither of my fathers predicted me falling for the bloodsucker, I did not regret it entirely.
If only I would’ve made my feelings known before Ryland and Ryder found their third. The written story in the immortal truth book would’ve been written in my favor.