The thing was I didn’t want any of that ambition but it kept falling at my feet – quite literally. Alex walked into the kitchen with Benji trailing and Adrian still kneeling on the ground despite my acceptance of his submission to my supposed Alphaness.

Alex looked from me to the surrounding crowd and then smirked. “If I were a lesser man I would think you were having an orgy without me.”

I grinned at Alex and walked towards him and kissed him hard, my hands falling to his waist. It was a show, but Alex took it that much further and laced his fingers behind my neck and held me close with his other hand wrapped around my waist clutching my ass and pressing me hard against him.

I pulled away breathless and kept my eyes on his slightly swollen and moist lips. God I wanted to kiss him again. Alex smirked and then let me go then walked around me to introduce himself. “I’m Alex. I’m sure you’ve heard all about me.”

Alec laughed. “Alec Moretti and yes he never shuts up about you.” In a heavy French accent and his hand to his head in mock distress, “I miss him so…” He gave Alex a toothy grin. “This is the Lovely Valentina. Valentina, my love this is Alex Kennedy, Eidolon.”

“Say what now?” Alex asked before any other introductions could be made.

“Eidolon, the phantom. The lost dream walker.” Francesco answered. Alex looked at the grandfather to our friend, and he blinked. He looked at me for clarification but it was Francesco who cleared it up. “Anthony is my grandson. The family resemblance is uncanny I know. Let me introduce myself.” The vampire was shorter than Alex and I, but he loomed over us in presence, he made you want to slouch or be shorter but Alex stood up taller and smirked – immune to his charms, one of the things I loved about Alex. “Francesco Giovanni – son of The Elder – our Leader. I’m his liaison with the rest of the world.”

Aurora laughed melodically through the kitchen. “Donatello never leaves his home in the mountains. He prefers the daylight to the firelight of Sanctuary and he can’t be bothered with human interests as he puts it.”

“Hush you.” Francesco beamed at the lovely brunette who was his mistress. He was happily married. And Aurora as well, though I wasn’t sure that there was marital bliss between her and Sal since they’d spent the last few centuries across the ocean from one another.

Benji asked, “Why are there so many vampires in your kitchen, Nox?”

“Because the Vampire Council is here seeking asylum. My protection, just like you.”

“Except what are vampires afraid of?” Benji asked confused.

“Other vampires?” I asked him rhetorically.

Alec supplied, “Him of course. Which is why we come here.” Alec approached Benji and I could feel his power washing over me, and thus over Benji. “Who is this pretty morsel?”

I sighed, “Alec, do not play with my friends.”

The power cut off as smoothly as it started. “As my Prince wishes.”

There was no condescension in his voice as I would have expected. He just dropped the power. “But the question remains,” he said simply.

“This is Benji, Alex’s best friend, he’s my family. He’s not food. You are to make your people aware of this. All of them. Anyone touches my friends and family and I will not hesitate to lob off heads.”

Valentina laughed. “But what if they want us to.”

“Stay out of their heads Valentina.”

“You are not my master, Mors Praetor.”

“Do we need that lesson again, Valentina?” I asked pleasantly. I let a trickle of my power go and it slowly filled the room.

She shook her head. “No. It is as you wish, Nox.” This time that note of condescension was there.

Alex wrapped his arm around me. “Benji wanted to see if you had lunch ready.”

“For everyone else,” I said. Not for you. I thought at Alex.

Benji helped himself to the lunch I’d prepared for the rest of the family. “We are still on right?” I asked Alex out loud.

“Of course. Unless your plans have changed.”

I shook my head. “Nope I’m good. If you want you can watch me cook.”

Alex laughed and nodded. “Oh I suppose.”

I grabbed the book. “I’ll be back later,” I said and only Ryan followed me and Alex as we headed for the elevator.

Alex’s phone range and he picked it up immediately. I didn’t recognize the ring tone, “Dude.” But I recognized the voice, Sage was calling him.

“What do you want Wicked?” Alex asked as he turned around to face me while we rode down the elevator It was a thing we did even here when in the elevator, he stood in front of me impossibly close so I could lean against the wall and press my face into his chest and take in him and nothing else.

“Q’s on the move,” I heard Sage say over the phone.

Alex tensed up as he asked, “Where is she?”

“She’s on a plane to New York.”

“Why is she coming here?” he asked.

Sage sighed. “I figured if she was going to run away again, at least she’d run towards you instead of running some random place hoping you’d find her. It was just a suggestion I planted everywhere.”

Alex sighed. “When does she land?”

“In ten minutes,” Sage said coyly.

“Why the fuck are you just telling me now?” Alex growled as we started to head for the lobby of the Night Life building with Ryan in tow.

“Uh, I tried calling you but you wouldn’t pick up. I sent you emails but you don’t read them. So it’s not my fault you are so involved with your boy toy that you ignore my warnings.”

Alex growled, then took a deep breath. “I was in the middle of a business meeting, I’m sorry. Arrange for a car and send her to my apartment.”

“Already done. I’ll change the final destination.”

“Thank you Sage,” Alex said as he hung up and looked at me. “I’ll tell you when we get home.” He was upset so I just nodded and knew we’d talk later.

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