Welcome to the sixth of ten excerpts from BOND OF FIRE.
“Ah, mon amour, don’t you see? That’s why we’d be so magnificent together! We’d rule everything from the Atlantic to the Rockies, from the Gulf to the Ohio River. And in a year or two, we’d have all of the United States and Canada. Who could stop us?” She ran her tongue over her lips, her nipples pointed and hard against the brocade. Mon Dieu, how her blood was pounding. She ran a crimson-tipped finger up his thigh, to remind him of more intimate delights. “And the fucking, mon étalon. To have you between my legs again. . .”
“Non, madame.” Rafael gripped her wrist hard.
“What do you mean? We would rule North America together!” She leaned forward again, desperate to taste his mouth once again.
“No.” He put her aside very firmly. “I am honored by your high opinion, but I already have more than I ever dreamed of. I regret I must decline your generous offer; uniting Texas with any other territory is impossible.”
She stared at him, her brain finally starting to work. “Mais, Don Rafael, don’t you desire me?”
“Madame, please remember immense territories have never lasted long among our kind. Content yourself with what you have.”
“But I know you want me; every man always has. Why do you keep refusing me?”
“Madame, the answer is no. Neither your great estates nor your beautiful body will take me away from Texas.”
Understanding slowly dawned. She threw her champagne in his face and sprang at him, slashing at his eyes. “Nique ta mère!”
Rafael grabbed her wrists, his expression bitterly controlled.
Impossible; nobody was cold to her, least of all a coldly formal rage!
She spat curses at him, hissing and scratching, slipping from his grip, trying to slam her knee into his groin. “Raclure de bidet!”
He wrestled her to the floor, barely dodging the table. A twist, a roll, and they were in front of the fireplace. He forced her to obey him by lying on top of her, straddling her legs, with her wrists gripped in one of his hands. And always – always! – so damnably cold.
She poured her gift over him again and again, seeking an entry to make him her slave. Nobody had ever walked away from her!
“Soyez tranquille, madame,” he insisted, enforcing the command telepathically as well as vocally. “Remember you are the patrón of New Orleans.”
She stretched against him, rubbing her breasts against his jacket. He lifted an eyebrow but didn’t move.
Damn him, how could he say no? Not to her!
She circled her hips against him, making the sexual offering of herself more emphatic. She slammed her gift at him, demanding that he lust for her.
His cock remained as limp as a day-old mackerel.
“Dardillon! You should be hard as a rock for me!” She spat at him, but he dodged easily, his face calm.
He seared tranquility into her mind, pushing anger out of her like a dam locking water from a reservoir.
Logic slowly replaced fury.
“You truly don’t want me,” she hissed as she stilled under him. He finally released, all too calmly.
She straightened her skirt with angry jerks. Rafael poured her a fresh glass of champagne, which she accepted with a sneer. How dare he be kind to her when he’d just insulted her?
She downed it in rapid gulps before she started talking again. “Haven’t you ever wondered why I took over New Orleans only after that Mardi Gras we shared?”
Rafael inclined his head and let her speak, his face impassive. What would it take to break through to him? What wouldn’t she give to see him hurt the way she did?
And when she thought of all she’d done to get his attention? How she’d become a great patrona, just so she’d be a worthy ally for him – the only type of female he’d spend his lifetime with? And what good had it done her?
“I needed that territory so you’d stick around me. Me, La Patrona d’Esfera de Nouvelle Orléans! Not just another chick good for only a few weeks,” she snarled at him. “And if I can’t have you, then by God, I’ll dance on your grave.” Very happily.
“You can try, madame. But you’ll fail.”
“And I’ll succeed. My assassins have killed more than one esfera’s patrón.” She rose impatiently and began to pace.
Rafael lounged against the fireplace, irritatingly calm. “Their tricks are well known to the least discerning vampiro. They will not succeed here.”
She’d wipe that bored nonchalance off his face, the bastard.
“Even the best vampiro assassin in the world and a vampiro mayor at that? The little golden toy who enlivens my bed in gratitude for a place to stay? He’d kill you and a hundred others, just to please me.”
“Texas is not like other territories, madame. Even if I die, Gray Wolf will lead the armies of Texas against you. You will regret the day you caused a painted savage to go to war.”
The hair on the nape of her neck rose. An Indian leading a war between esferas, when very few rules applied anyway? Merde. . .
Let Don Rafael and his minions just try it! If he wanted to use Indians – well, she had an army and could find vampiros. Plus, there were other weapons that would terrify even him.
She bared her fangs in a travesty of a smile, the ritual start to a vampiro duel.
He came to full attention. Good, she had his attention now.
“Or I’ll send in my darling Georges to frighten the locals. He would make Texas so hot that los prosaicos would destroy you and all your precious vampiros and compañeros.”
“Madame, do not try to alarm me with your talk of assassins and mobs. Texas is too strong for you to take down,” Rafael snapped. “Save your strength for where it can be put to better use, such as stopping the river rats that bring drugs and weapons into your great city.”
“Don’t bother me with your pretty speeches, Don Rafael. We understand each other well enough without them,” she snarled and turned for the door. She stiffened when Rafael clamped his hand over her wrist.
“Do not start a war you cannot win, madame, lest you be destroyed by it,” Rafael warned, his voice hard. “You are my guest tonight, protected by the laws of hospitality. But if you attack me, then I and my Texans will bury you.”
“Damn you, let me go!” She yanked but his grip was immovable. She viciously compared him to the worst forms of life that had ever crawled out of a sewer, or better yet, one of his beloved manure pits.
“You and your entourage are leaving now, madame. If you ever step foot uninvited again on Texan soil, you will die.” He forced her to meet his eyes, fury boiling inside him. “Do you understand me, madame?”
“Oui, je comprends,” she snarled, contemplating her revenge.
He released her slowly.
She nearly spat at him but changed it into an offended snort. She stormed out, striding down the hill toward the helipad and Georges.
Mon Dieu, he would regret the day he insulted her this way. She would kill him and take his precious Texas for her own.
Excerpt from Bond of Fire by Diane Whiteside
Copyright © 2008 by Diane Whiteside
All rights reserved