Eddie marched across the bed and head-butted Cassidy’s scrunched-up face. Then he gave Dominic’s nose a thorough sniff. Any other night he would have been elated at this sign of trust and acceptance from his little predator brother. All he felt now was an inexplicable anger. With the tips of his fangs showing, he snarled at the cat.
Saucer-eyed and flat-eared, Eddie bolted backward as though blown by a wind. He thumped off the foot of the bed with an uncharacteristic lack of grace and hustled out the door.
Cassidy sat up. “Okay, that’s it. What is going on with you? What the hell happened out there?”
Dominic studied the ceiling. “I’m not sure.”
“What do you mean you’re not sure? Did you kill anyone I know?”
“Non. Nobody you know.” Though that would have been so much simpler to explain.
A small fold creased the skin above her freckled nose. “But someone did die?”
He told her in French.
“I get the bastard part but not the rest,” she said, her words clipped with agitation. Her lack of comprehension of his first language was yet another sign that their minds were currently far from one.
“He died before I ever touched him,” he clarified. “Apparently I scared him to death.”
She stared at him. The corner of her mouth twitched before she gave a small cough that sounded suspiciously like a stifled giggle. “Oh. Really. I can’t imagine how that might have happened.”
He shot her a sour look.
“Your alter ego must have been terribly disappointed, poor baby.”
“Beside himself,” he muttered. He couldn’t meet her eyes anymore.
After a brief silence, she said, “But that’s not what you don’t want to show me, is it?” The disappointment in her tone scratched at his heart, but he remained still. “You know better than that. I know you do.” She cupped his face in one hand. “I’m here for you, my love. Always. No matter what. We’re a team.”
A well-spring of uncertainty opened within him. His whole body ached with his need for her. How could he exist without being part of her? How could he exist without her love?
How could he exist with her knowing what he had almost done?
He gathered her close. Emotion squeezed his words into a harsh whisper. “I made you a solemn promise that I will be by your side as long as you will have me. On my eternal life, this is an oath I will not betray.” And he would do nothing to motivate her not to have him. Nothing at all. “But I need time. Just a little time. To think about some things. On my own.”
“Vampire things?” she wondered against his chest.
He loosened his hold far enough to meet her eyes, making no effort to hide his hunger for her, nor his love, or his gratitude. “Oui.”
“Don’t I know all about those by now?”
“Perhaps too much,” he admitted. How she stayed sane knowing all she did about his hellish world mystified him.
Her eyes glistened, but her voice remained steady. “I see.” She inclined her head in a tiny surrender. “All right. Maybe I should think about some human things. For a change.”
He kissed her, tasting all the resignation and disappointment she felt—and feeling all the hope in her tender response. Always hope. “J’taime, mon amour,” he murmured, pressing his forehead against hers. “I am yours. No matter what, I am yours. Never forget that.”