Nights Master Page 51


Rafe put me down ever so slowly, so that my body glided intimately over his. ’’I think I've been waiting for you all my life,’’ he said, his voice husky. ’’I can't believe you're really here, that you're mine.’’ His knuckles stroked my cheek. ’’I think I loved you the minute I saw you in the bookstore. I know I couldn't think of anything else once I saw you.’’


’’It was the same for me,’’ I said. ’’I tried to fight it. I kept telling myself you were a Vampire, that we could never be together, but here we are.’’


’’I will love you and cherish you for as long as you live.’’ His hands slid up and down my arms, his touch sending ripples of anticipation racing through me. He kissed me gently, sweetly. ’’I will never love another.’’


’’Rafe...’’ I couldn't bear the thought of his being alone after I was gone, couldn't bear the thought of leaving him. If I lived to be a hundred, it wouldn't be long enough.


’’One love to last a lifetime,’’ he murmured, and sweeping me into his arms, he carried me to bed.


We undressed each other slowly, savoring each shared moment, each tender touch, each gentle caress, our passion building, building, until the pleasure was almost more than I could bear, our bodies so hot, our need so intense, I was surprised the sheets didn't go up in flames. I ran my hands over his heated flesh, loving the way his muscles quivered at my touch, the harsh rasp of his voice when he cried my name, his body trembling convulsively as he buried himself deep inside me and carried me to paradise.


One love to last a lifetime, he had said, and as he kissed me, I knew the day would come when I would find the courage to cross the abyss that separated us. I would accept the Dark Gift and truly join my life with his.


Reading my thoughts as always, Rafe gazed at me, his dark eyes glowing with love and affection, and when he smiled, I saw forever waiting for me in his eyes.


Epilogue


And so Rafe and I were married. We decided to stay in Oak Hollow. With the war over between the Vampires and the Werewolves, and Edna and Pearl no longer a threat, Oak Hollow became the quiet haven I had come looking for. Pearl brought Travis across shortly after she had been made. As Rafe had predicted, Travis was as arrogant as a Vampire as he had been as a hunter. Strangely, he had no recollection of his former life. It was almost as if he had been born the night his grandmother gave him the Dark Gift.


Rafe and I often spent time with his parents and his grandparents, and I grew to love them all, especially his grandfather, Roshan, with his courtly manners and wry sense of humor. Rafe's mother and I became good friends.


As for my parents, I called to tell them of my marriage the day after the wedding. My mother was naturally disappointed that they hadn't been invited. I explained that Rafe had swept me off my feet and we had been married on the spur of the moment. Romantic that she was, my mother had assured me that she understood. For the next month, we received gifts from my mom and dad every other day. We had been married a little over six months when I finally told them that Rafe was a Vampire. I had expected the worst but, as they had so often in the past, my parents surprised me. My mother said it didn't matter. My father said he had known it all the time.


’’Being able to identify the Undead is a family trait,’’ he had remarked nonchalantly. ’’Your mother and I wondered if you had inherited it, since it usually passes from father to son.’’


Parents. Just when you thought you had them pegged, they threw you for a loop.


Susie and Cagin were married a year to the night after Rick's demise. Her children took to Joe immediately. The Cagins made an unusual family, with a Were-tiger for a father, a Vampire mother, and three mortal children, but they all seemed extraordinarily happy together. Sometimes I envied Susie her children, but, for the most part, I was blissfully content with my life.


I continued to run the bookstore. I only worked four days a week, from ten in the morning until four in the afternoon, until I received an e-mail from Edna and Pearl complaining about my hours and asking me to stay open later since they couldn't shop until after dark. When Susie voiced the same request, I hired a young man to open the store from 7:00P.M . to 10:00P.M . one night a week.


Because my nights, all of them, belonged to Rafe.



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