Alex held me until I was right which could have been forever because I was never right, but I felt better and Alex had agreed and we both had things to do. Alex left to go meet Benji at the location that they were looking to lease for their Vegas meets New York show. They wouldn’t tell me anything more about it and that was alright. I’d find out more when they were ready. Show girls and Vegas were all I knew.
Vin had been replaced by Ant, something about a show of force for the Vampire council. Vin was good but to have Ant at my back was better, and I did trust him more than I trusted Vin. But Ant trusted him so I was good with that.
We were meeting down in the conference room two floors down. The same one I’m told Alex had the supernatural world in when he went to rescue me from the Venatori. It didn’t look like any place you’d stage a coup, but Alex had pulled in all my allies and broke about a dozen laws the Venatori hold in place. And there had been no retaliation from the Venatori – short of exiling me.
I was early. Totally expected but there was a man lounging at the table his feet kicked up and he was leaning back. He wore all black except for the red frilled shirt that stuck out from the overcoat. His smile showed off his fangs and he wore thick eye liner. The bearing around the man was one that spoke of domination. I stopped well away from him and I could feel his presence washing over me like a glove. He was trying to manipulate me and if I wasn’t the man I was today, he would have won. But I loved Alex, and I promised him no one would ever control me again like that. The bracelet was only one added protection, the rest was sheer will.
I took a deep ragged breath and closed my eyes as I spoke, “You must be Alec Moretti.”
He laughed, and it filled the room with mirth and joy and the domination fled like Moses parting the red sea. I was myself and I smiled at him. “Thank you.”
He stood up and he was a few inches taller than myself but he bowed graciously, his voice thick with a french accent, “My pleasure, Monseiur Nox.”
Ant interrupted, “Alec you can quit the theatrics, Nox is not going to be swayed by this either.”
The vampire stood up tall and pouted. He gave Ant a look that said you ruin all my fun.
I laughed. “I wouldn’t mind a little ass kissing,” I corrected Ant.
“I promised Alex you would be safe.”
“I’m not worried about Mr. Moretti. He’s just trying to find his place in the hierarchy I think. How did you fare?” I grinned at the Master Vampire.
“You command the Prince, the Son of Il Cane, and I’m but a peasant in comparison.”
I laughed. “You are a Master vampire. How you fall in line with the others is up to them isn’t it?”
Alec laughed. “I don’t care how I fall in line with them. They are nothing in America. Il Cane rules here. Sal may think he does, but it is not who the little American vampires fear. From my understanding the little vampires only fear one other person more – and the whole fucking city I’m sitting in comes to call when he beckons. So I curry favor where there is the most power.”
“I’m not looking for power.”
“I know,” Alec Moretti said as he bent on one knee and bit his wrist and held it high above his head. “That is why I offer.”
I looked at Ant and he stared straight ahead but gave me a slight nod. It would offend the vampire if I didn’t take his allegiance but it was more than that, he was calling me his Master. Above Il Cane, above, all others. I took his hand and licked the dripping blood and wrapped my lips around his wrist and drank as much as I could tolerate before feeling like I would sick up.
The door opened as Alec lowered his hand and the rest of the council saw him bent before me, his blood still on my lips. Alec was proud of himself as he walked to the seat he’d vacated earlier and when I looked back at Ant there was a smirk on his face.
A cute brunette was the only one who approached me. She offered me a hand. “After this, if your schedule allows, I would very much like to meet for dinner.”
I nodded. “Of course Ms. DeJesus.”
Her smile widened. “You know us?”
I nodded. “I have been studying for a good long time.”
A man with a dark suit and an evil look – almost like the devil, laughed. “Why would a bloody Venatori want to study vampire hierarchy.”
“Why would any man learn about things?”
“So you are either learning to kill us, or what?” he asked.
“You must be Salvatore Einor, fear-monger master. I learned about Vampire hierarchy and customs so that I wouldn’t offend you.” I smiled. “Now you wanted to see me. I assume that you have questions and are not here for a power exchange.”
A big black man towered over me and he pushed his power at me and I let my shields down just a little, and then a little bit more until he backed up. “I’m getting really tired of power plays.” I dropped my shields and flexed my power, the elements swirled around the room and I heard a gasp. “Now if you’ll just stop playing games, sit down and tell me what’s going on.”