The Murder King’s Summons

The Murder King's Summons
Jamie Leigh Hansen
May 16, 2012
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Murder Tales, Book 2

Paranormal romance author Jamie Leigh Hansen brings you an exciting new story of Mary.

After rescuing her vampire lover, the King of the Murder, Sebastian, Mary must now prove her worth as his mate. But, when her past clashes with her future and lives are at stake—literally—a woman does what she must. Will their love survive her sacrifice?

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Chapter One

The Murder King's Summons

Mary’s cell rang, the lead singer of Disturbed’s deep voice growling Overburdened. Flipping to her stomach and burying her head in the pillows, she squeezed her eyes shut. It had taken weeks to decide on Sebastian’s ringtone. Not just any new fashionable song would suffice, but one that really described the type of man her vampire was. But, now it beat through her head like an accusation every time it rang and she refused to answer.

No doubt he thought she was angry. Or hurt. Or scared. Any one of those would tear him apart. The last thing she wanted to do was hurt the man who filled her heart. But if she answered, she would be summoned. And that would hurt him worse. Mandatory attendance in a compound of mind-reading vampires? Not the best idea at this time.

Enticing hints and excuses inviting her home had ended long ago. Then he’d texted a polite request, as he called it.

Now, it was December and the beginning of winter break. No more classes for three entire weeks. He wanted her home and the next time they talked, it would be a formal summons. No one ignored a command from the Murder King. It would be like ignoring a court subpoena; smart people just didn’t do it.

Sebastian was the law. He chased rogues across boundaries, solved disputes between the region’s top leaders, spoke and was instantly obeyed by every vampire and werewolf he commanded. His patience was a gift given as a result of his soft feelings for his human after their incredible week together. Ignoring his call was a temporary band-aid on the crack in a dam. Nothing more.

The phone sang to her from the nightstand and she couldn’t bare to look at it, so instead she turned away and stretched under the covers. Sore muscles, exhausted brain, complete lack of motivation to get out of bed—finals only explained a little of that. Not sleeping didn’t help but was there a choice to sleep? Her body ached, craving his touch. The slide of soft sheets against her bare skin felt like his hair as he stroked her back with the strands. Even the motion of a deep breath reminded her of how she’d tried, and failed, to memorize his scent with her too-human nose.

She sighed.

It was hopeless. She would return on her own or be forced. And once she was there, all those vampires would take one peek inside her brain and find themselves regaled with every detail of their one passionate week and how desperately she wanted to repeat it. Sebastian’s bed, hers, hell, even his throne had featured in some of her more recent fantasies. The arm rests ended with palm-sized growling wolf heads, just right to brace her knees as she sat back, held intimately open to his every whim.

And her vampire had a lot of whims.

Mary grinned as she slipped one hand beneath her, between the bed and her stomach, then between her legs. Self-pleasure never satisfied her for long, but she hadn’t seen Sebastian for over a month. Do-it-yourself orgasms were all she had.

Knowing the futility of her hopes, she continued anyway. Maybe a miracle would happen and the DIY-Os really would ease her yearning for him. Maybe she’d be able to maintain her mental shield instead of remembering the taut crunch of his abs as he curled up beneath her, his lips and tongue seeking her breasts, her neck. The fire that brightened his eyes to an unholy red when he hungered for her body or the nourishment running through her veins.

God, maybe it was wrong, but she loved knowing that his need for her went deeper than a want. There was more than just thoughts and emotions between them. He craved her taste, her scent, her body filling his with life. Despite what detractors might say – calling her food or anti-feminist – it was freaking sexy to her. She knew what she wanted and she wouldn’t hesitate to go for it. Just as soon as she could keep prying minds off her fantasies.

She was wet. Soaking hot and trembling head to toe. Mary kept her pace slow, letting the release gain strength and power. Biting her pillow, she groaned. Slithering and arching against her hand, she pictured him braced over her, holding her completely still for his perusal. He loved sex. Touching her, tasting her, spreading her wide and baring her body and her mind. It never mattered if he lay under her and submitted to all her curiosities or arched over her and dominated her, his focus was utterly intent. His blue eyes demanding everything from her, feeding her desperation to give it to him.

A knock shook her door, startling her, making her tense. Damn it, really? She couldn’t stop. No one was worth an interruption now.

The knock sounded again.

She groaned into her pillow. She’d jumped a few steps from the precious ledge again, but with a little more patience and a lot more “Leave me the hell alone!” this could still end satisfactorily. She squeezed her eyes tighter, but the heaviness of the knock finally registered in her mind. The solidity of the three generic thumps. Oh, God, no. Not now.

The knock sounded a third time and the orgasm slid away. The heat in her stomach was replaced by an icy dread. She knew that knock. It wasn’t Sebastian’s. It was worse.

Mary rose from the bed, pulled her pajama pants and the matching tank top straight. From her nightstand, disguised in a body-spray bottle, was a scent-scrubber. She spritzed it over her and her bedding. The job wasn’t thorough but it was better than nothing.

With a scowl worthy of an evil villain, she pulled her door open and blocked it. “Really? You show up at my dorm on the day I finally get to sleep in, just expecting me to be here, ready to answer the door?”

Lucas, Sebastian’s bodyguard-Sebastian’s huge, hulking, scruffy-faced and intimidating bodyguard-glared down at her, telling her without words how ridiculous her question was. He was in command of her bodyguards. Of course he knew she’d be home. Mary sighed. Some wolves just had no sense of humor.

The Murder King's Summons

“Pack.”

“Hello to you, too.” Mary gripped the door, fully aware she was fighting a losing battle but unable to not. “No.”

Lucas’s eyes narrowed, then his nostril’s flared, possibly with temper, but she knew the instant he caught the scent of her. His eyes widened, blazing, and she barely had time to side-step before he threw open the door and searched her empty room with his eyes. There was, literally, nowhere a person could hide. And her windows were locked shut because she was a good girl who didn’t give her personal guards a hard time.

Her lips curling in embarrassment, Mary shut the door. “There was only me here.”

Lucas stilled, his body half-turned to her. Morning light struck his tanned skin, sliding through his irises in such a way the greens and browns sparkled. Brown as tree bark and streaked with red and gold, his hair invited a woman’s hands to feel and savor. He may spend all his nights in the moonlight with the vampires, but parts of him were all wild nature and belonged in service to the day. He would never be pale, weak or sick. He would not die easily, nor would he ever forget a scent.

Lucas took a deep breath, inhaling her scent again. He would know instantly if she were lying, and not just because lies stunk.

As the truth registered, awareness lit his expression. His eyes raked her body. Her sensitive places suddenly seemed even more sensitive, from the tight nipples pressed against her shirt to the wet crotch of her cotton panties. When his gaze returned to hers, there was a knowing, a realization.

Mary rubbed her arms. She didn’t welcome his realization as much as she would have years ago, when she’d had a teenage crush on both of the main men in her life. But now she’d chosen. She’d left for college months ago, a girl in the eyes of many of the Murder. After all, what was twenty-two compared to the centuries they’d lived? But she was a woman, with a woman’s body and a woman’s needs. She shouldn’t have to feel so exposed for meeting those needs.

Thank God werewolves couldn’t read her mind, unlike the vampires who’d raised her, or Lucas would have known exactly what fantasy had put her in this state. If Sebastian hadn’t told Lucas about them, there was a reason and whether she knew that reason or not, she would honor it. So, had Sebastian told him?

“Your tests are done. Your classes over. Pack.”

Mary growled, but grabbed her suitcases. At least this time she’d forced more than a one-word order from him. It had been eight words, seven of which could be misconstrued as an explanation. She smirked.

“Smiling is not necessary,” he snapped. When she looked up, frowning, he added, “I don’t trust you when you smile.”

Mary laughed outright. “All these commands are a little too grumpy, even for you. Did you get car sick?”

He scowled. “The windows were left open.”

But that wouldn’t be enough for a large werewolf who loved open spaces.

Mary grabbed clothes and shoes, then added toiletries, her newest paperback and a few of her favorite toys: scent-scrubber sprays and a bomb; knock-out gel that rendered any living or undead being comatose for a few hours (except the wearer); and a dagger set with blazing multi-hued gems.

Her name was etched into the blade, beautiful scrollwork in the wolven language, and surrounded by symbols of the Murder. She was human, but a special, protected human. The dagger was unique and more identifying than her driver’s license. Gifted on her sixteenth birthday, the dagger had been made by Lucas, himself. Then he’d taught her how to use it, in exacting, perfectionistic detail. To this day she didn’t know if he’d finally found her skill with it acceptable or if he’d just given up and decided she was too deficient and weak to train properly.

“Sebastian says you have agreed to certain…” He frowned, glancing around her room. “Tests. He thinks you are ready for them.”

While Lucas obviously disagreed. Mary scowled. “I am ready.”

As if she were sixteen again, the old feelings rushed back, defensive yet yearning to prove herself, to Lucas above most others. Sebastian said there was no need for anyone else’s approval, but Mary felt the need quite keenly. Without Lucas’s approval, there would always be something missing. If she were to earn a place at Sebastian’s side, that couldn’t be.

The Murder King's Summons

“We’ll see.” He commented.

Wait. Did he know she and Sebastian were lovers? Was there another subtext to their conversation? Did Lucas believe he was testing her for another purpose? If it wasn’t Sebastian and her, then did it have to do with working for the Murder? Dare she hope? “And how will we do that?”

“You will aid in the recapture and elimination of a rogue.” His tone was so disgusted, her stomach twisted.

Her nerves jumped, ready to dance. She restrained the urge, even as hope poured over her like a warm shower. Mary fought to keep her suspicion from her tone. “Aid how? By sitting safe in the car while you get the job done?”

He considered her weak and ineffectual. Always had, which hurt. Now his very tone suggested she would have an opportunity he did not think she could handle. But, she’d proven herself last Halloween, hadn’t she?

His eyes narrowed knowingly. “Don’t worry, little kamikaze.”

Mary grinned a little at his old nickname for her.

“You’ll have Crow status for this mission.”

Mary beamed, her entire body glowing. A step up! She really must have proven something.

“Don’t be too happy. You haven’t asked where we’re going.”

“It doesn’t matter.” She added more weapons to her suitcase, dancing giddily. Crow status. She was being tested to join the Murder. To be a Crow. To prove her worth as more than a blood-donor human. To kick ass.

Lucas scowled.

Humoring him, she asked, “Where?”

“Sullivan Lake Campground.”

Mary froze, her smile slipping from her face. “Oh.”

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