Everlasting Kiss Page 52


But nothing in the last five months had scared her as much as going to Boston to visit her family.


Daisy stared at the front door of her parents'home. Even with the door closed, she could smell their blood, hear the beating of their hearts. ’’Will they be able to tell that I've changed?’’


Erik shook his head. ’’Not unless you tell them.’’


She had kept in touch with Alex and her parents. Her mom and dad were still mourning Brandon, of course. To Daisy's surprise, her mother had informed her that Alex was spending a lot of time with Paula O'Reilly.


’’I think he's in love with her,’’ Irene had remarked during one conversation. ’’Perhaps it was inevitable. They started out comforting each other and, well, it looks like Paula might eventually be a part of the family after all.’’


Daisy was summoning the nerve to knock on the door when she heard footsteps behind her. She didn't have to turn around to know that Alex was coming up the walk, and that he wasn't alone. Paula was with him.


’’Hey, sis!’’


Slowly, she turned to face him. ’’Hi, Alex. Paula.’’


Alex nodded at Erik, then threw his arms around Daisy and gave her a quick hug. ’’I didn't know you were coming.’’


’’It was kind of spur of the moment,’’ Daisy said. ’’Paula, I don't think you've met Erik.’’


Erik extended his hand. ’’Pleased to meet you, Paula.’’


’’Likewise.’’


Annoyed with the amenities, Alex opened the door and ushered everyone inside.


The next few minutes were spent on introductions as Erik met Daisy's parents. Even though Daisy knew her mother and father were uncomfortable with having a vampire in the house, they handled his presence better than she had expected. Her mother invited Erik to sit down and soon they were all seated in the living room, with Erik and Daisy on the love seat, Alex, Paula, and Irene on the sofa, and Noah in his favorite chair.


’’So, daughter, how was your trip?’’ Noah asked. ’’Did you fly or drive?’’


Daisy slid a glance at Erik. ’’We flew.’’ In a manner of speaking, she thought, smiling inwardly.


’’How'd you get here from the airport?’’ Alex asked. ’’I didn't see a rental out front.’’


’’We took a taxi,’’ Daisy said. She didn't like lying to her family, but the truth was out of the question.


’’Of course, no need for a car,’’ Noah said, ’’since you'll be staying here.’’


’’Thanks, Dad, but we're staying at a hotel.’’


’’Now, you know I won't hear of that,’’ Irene said, her hands fluttering. ’’You can stay in your old room and Erik can...can...’’


’’Erik can stay in Brandon's room,’’ Noah finished.


’’Thanks, Dad, but we've already made reservations.’’


’’Oh, well, if that's what you want,’’ Irene murmured.


Daisy didn't miss the look of relief in her mother's eyes when she realized Erik wouldn't be staying the night.


’’Well,’’ Irene said briskly, ’’where are my manners? Can I get you all anything? I made a devil's food cake this afternoon.’’


’’Sounds good, Mom,’’ Alex said with a wink.


’’None for me, thank you,’’ Erik said.


’’Me, either,’’ Daisy said. ’’We ate just before we got here.’’


’’But, Daisy,’’ Irene said, ’’it's your favorite.’’


’’I know,’’ Daisy said, smiling. ’’Maybe later.’’


’’I'll have some of that cake,’’ Noah said, ’’with a little ice cream on the side. And a cup of coffee.’’


’’Let me help you, Mrs. O'Donnell,’’ Paula said. Rising, she followed Irene into the kitchen.


’’You seem a little uptight, daughter,’’ Noah remarked after Irene and Paula left the room. ’’Is anything wrong?’’


’’Why should anything be wrong?’’


’’I don't know.’’ He leaned forward in his chair, his eyes narrowed. ’’You tell me.’’


’’I'm fine, Dad, just a little, ah, jet-lagged.’’


’’Uh-huh.’’


Daisy looked at Erik for reassurance. Should I just tell them the truth?


It's up to you, love.


’’All right, Daisy, spit it out,’’ Alex said. ’’You're hiding something.’’ He sent a suspicious glance at Erik, and then swore softly. ’’You didn't. Dammit, you bloodsucker, tell me you didn't!’’


Noah looked at Alex, then at Daisy, and then at Erik. ’’Didn't what?’’ he asked, and then comprehension dawned in his eyes. ’’Daisy, no.’’


She couldn't face the disappointment in her father's eyes, the disgust in Alex's. Sobbing, ’’I knew this was a bad idea,’’ she fled the house.


When Erik started to follow, Alex stood and blocked his path. ’’You filthy bloodsucker! How could you?’’


’’It was her decision.’’


’’I don't believe that for a minute,’’ Alex said, his voice tinged with bitterness.


’’Remember Mariah? Well, she had a boyfriend. Damon wasn't very happy about what happened to his lady love. He attacked Daisy. My guess is that you would have been next. Of course, that's neither here nor there. Daisy was dying when I found her. I gave her a choice.’’


’’No.’’ Noah O'Donnell gained his feet and took a menacing step toward Erik. ’’She would never agree to that.’’


Erik swore under his breath. Daisy had been right. Coming here had been a bad idea. Judging by the looks on the faces of Daisy's father and brother, things were about to get really ugly really fast. Unable to think of a safe way to defuse the situation, he was about to dissolve into mist when Daisy materialized beside him.


’’Erik's telling the truth,’’ she said, taking his hand in hers. ’’It was my idea.’’


The sound of breaking dishes rang out from the kitchen. Before anyone could go see what had happened, Irene appeared in the doorway. Tears cascaded down her cheeks as she murmured, ’’Oh, Daisy, no.’’


’’I'm sorry, Mom.’’ Daisy tugged on Erik's hand. ’’Let's go.’’


’’No!’’ Hurrying across the room, Irene O'Donnell threw her arms around her daughter. ’’I don't care what you are. All that matters is that you're still here, with us.’’


’’Irene--’’


She turned on her husband like a mother grizzly defending her young. ’’Hush up, Noah Patrick O'Donnell. Would you rather she was gone forever, like Brandon?’’


Shoulders sagging, Noah shook his head. ’’No.’’ Head bowed, he took several deep breaths and then, heaving a sigh, he straightened his shoulders and offered Erik his hand. ’’Welcome to the family. Son.’’


With tears in her eyes, Daisy threw her arms around her father. ’’Thank you, Daddy,’’ she whispered.


Alex snorted softly, and then he, too, offered Erik his hand. ’’Welcome to the family. Vampire.’’


Sitting on the edge of the bed in their hotel room, Erik pulled Daisy onto his lap. ’’I told you everything would be all right.’’


’’All right? Is that what you call all right?’’


’’Well, at least your old man didn't drive a stake through my heart,’’ he said with a wry grin. ’’Or yours.’’


’’Very funny.’’


’’They'll get used to the idea. Just give them a little time.’’


’’Strange advice coming from you,’’ Daisy retorted. ’’You said you left your home and your family after you were turned, and never went back.’’


’’It's not the same thing. I didn't have anybody to show me the ropes when I was turned. No one to tell me I didn't have to kill to survive. I didn't know anything about vampires, and there was no one with me when I woke up that first night, no one to tell me what to expect. All I had was a raging thirst.’’


Daisy nodded. He was right, of course. She didn't know what she would have done if Erik hadn't been there. He had made her transformation from mortal to vampire almost painless. He had even made a joke the first night he had taken her hunting, asking her what she was in the mood for, Italian, French, or Chinese. She hadn't been amused at the time, but she saw the humor in it now. What couldn't be changed must be accepted. And if you could do it with a smile, so much the better. And looking at Erik always made her smile.


He was watching her, his dark eyes filled with concern, and she loved him the more for it.


’’Stop worrying about me. I'm okay.’’


’’You're better than okay, darlin'. You're perfect. And you know what else? I don't think we should let Alex and Paula beat us to the altar.’’


’’What?’’


’’Marriage, Daisy Mae. I'm asking you to marry me.’’


She blinked at him. ’’You want to marry me?’’


’’Well, I thought I did. But if you don't want to...’’


’’Of course I want to. Now, hush up and kiss me.’’


Stifling a laugh, he said, ’’You sound just like your mother. Maybe we can have a double wedding. Rhys can be the best man.’’


The very thought made Daisy burst out laughing.


’’I love you, Daisy darlin', more than you'll ever know.’’


Warmth and affection flooded Daisy's heart and soul as she wrapped her arms around him. ’’And I love you. Only you. All of you.’’


He knew what she wanted even before she did. Falling back on the bed, he finessed her clothes away, then drew her down on top of him, his hands sliding up and down her bare back.


There were a lot of perks to being a vampire, Daisy mused when he kissed her. All of her physical senses were enhanced, which served to heighten her pleasure when they made love, so that every kiss, every touch, was experienced on a deeper, more sensual level. She slid her hands under Erik's shirt, loving the way his muscles bunched and quivered beneath her fingertips, the latent sense of power that radiated from him. But best of all, he never got tired, and neither did she.


With a heartfelt sigh, she surrendered to the sensual magic of Erik's touch, reveling in each tender kiss, each languid caress.


There was no need to hurry.


Dawn's first light was hours away.



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