You try to freeze, but your weight is off. You begin to tumble and find yourself facing a jawbone on the floor. On instinct, you fling your hands out to catch yourself. Darkness swoops through the air and pins you tight to a cold, steel body.
Rather than fight it you give in, letting Orpheus hold you mere inches above the bone you nearly shattered. He clings around your stomach, his entire body leaning at a forty-five degree angle on only the balls of his feet. His words part from behind your ear. “That would have been a most consequential fall.”
Slowly, he pivots back onto his heel, taking you away from the jawbone. “How bad?” you ask, glad to have ground under your feet. Though the vampire’s solid grip doesn’t move. Instead, it’s you who turns in his arms, who stares at the eyes that quickly dart from gazing down your backside to the floor.
“Depends upon your preference for suffering from a flea infestation and rolling in dead things as a pastime,” Orpheus says with a soft laugh you don’t share. That didn’t sound like a particularly appetizing end.
You give one last glare at the bones that nearly ended you and turn into the beguiling gaze of a vampire. For once it’s not sparkling in smug intelligence or wry humor. He’s staring intently at your face as if weighing what would have happened if you’d become a werewolf.
With the tip of his pinkie, Orpheus circles from the swell of your cheek down to your lip, never once touching you. In a breathless voice, he says, “It would be criminal for your remarkable features to be marred by fur.”
His body jerks as if he’s been shaken from a spell. It causes yours to tremble as well, pressing your hips tighter to his. The vampire opens his arms and stumbles back. His pale face is somehow even whiter, leaving his gums gleaming like a neon sign. Massaging the nape of his neck, he says, “Not that I’d considered, or even weighed upon the uninhibited desires of a woman’s…knowledge. What you have to share!”
Cold hands cinch around yours. A shiver rises up your arms at his touch and Orpheus pulls you closer. “Please, tell me what you know. Tell me everything that’s changed outside these walls.”
“That…would take a long time,” you say, glancing around the victorian room. Has he been trapped here since the nineteenth century?
“Of course, of course,” the man says. He opens his hands and drifts away. “Your attentions are required elsewhere. I have heard the song countless times. I bare you no ill for singing the same.”
Dejected, Orpheus floats over the ground to another pile of books he left standing nearly a full man tall. You cannot stop watching the flit of covers, the binding fraying, the letters faded. But you want to know more.
He tosses a book and you catch it. Prying apart the pages, it reveals a world of fairies written in such heart wrenching detail, you feel as if you’re there among them. The fall of their golden wings into a gentle brush of warm kisses over the skin. The ache in every heart when one slipping off to winter’s slumber. The glorious summer dances to welcome the longest night’s mischievous fools.
You start, realizing you’ve been sitting at his desk reading this mysterious book for what could be hours or even longer. “This is…beautiful,” you say, startled to find tears in your eyes.
“Hm?” The vampire turns from his stack of research. He stares down from behind you to the book in your lap. “Ah yes, my trips into the fairy realm. Funny enough, my first dealings with magic itself.”
“You wrote this?” you gasp, turning him.
Orpheus blinks in surprise. His hand caresses the chair’s back. “Of course. I’ve written numerous accounts of my travels. The books are scattered across the manor.”
“I’ve never read anything like this,” you gasp and reach for his hand in awe at the wonder it created.
“You’re being…” Orpheus’ face blushes bright red clear up to the tips of his pointy ears. “Kind. Complimentary for no reason. There is nothing for you to fear within these walls.”
“That’s not why I said it.” You shake your head, wishing you had the words he did to explain what you felt in those pages. They swept you away into a world never seen before, but you feel as if you can still smell the fairies vegetables roasting on open coals. Feel the gentle brush of their wings as they flit in circles with arms outstretched. And find yourself adoring the mind that could find such beauty and share it so.
Rising, you fully spin in the old armchair until your knees dig into the cushion. “This book is brilliant,” you say placing your hand to its cover. “And the man who wrote it is…”
“A fusspot, a recluse, a man of such ill content no one would ever draw near.” Orpheus mutters them all to himself, but you draw your hand to his chin and turn him to face you.
“He’s enchanting,” you say and pull his lips to yours. For a moment, they flitter against yours, as the fairies did upon first meeting the young stranger in their midst. But as you melt against him, Orpheus begins to caress his kiss against yours.
You drink deeper of the vampire, tasting a hint of brash cinnamon on his tongue. He parts his mouth, inviting you in. Your tongue draws against the fangs, trailing down one, then the other.
A moan slips from Orpheus. Firmly, he takes your face in his hands, his thumbs sweeping over your cheeks as you tap your tongue against the point of his fang. His body shivers and he presses his fingers tighter to your skin. “Beware what you do. You’re toying with a dangerous fire,” Orpheus whispers.
“I don’t mind getting burned,” you respond and reach for him.
A loud caw bursts from behind, startling the vampire out of your kiss. You turn to find a crow perched at the window. It smacks it beak against the glass, cries once more, the flits away. A mood killer, but you think you can get it back on track.
You reach for Orpheus, but the vampire has floated away. He taps the tip of his thumb against this teeth and whispers to himself. “There isn’t enough time. The one cursed thing I never run out of and now it’s…”
His fretting pauses and he glances at you. “Mortal,” he says, holding a palm out to you. “What if we could be more? What if you could be more?”
You stagger to your feet, the air growing pungent with an unholy incense. It claws down your nose, causing you to tremble. But as you take Orpheus’ hand, the shivers stop. “More how?”
His smile is contagious. Orpheus dashes to his desk and in one fell swoop shoves his work, ink pot and all, to the ground. “I thought the research only academic, but with you…” After unlocking a drawer in the desk, Orpheus lays out a book bound in a light brown leather, a vial of black liquid, and a crystal goblet.
He reaches to uncork the vial, only to find your fingers are still entwined. An adorable smile rises as he realizes his fumble and he pulls your knuckles to his lips. The fangs frame your fingers with his kiss. He abandons your hand to open the vial and tosses three drops into the goblet.
Waving a hand over the glass, he recites an incantation from the book. “All it needs is the binding liquid. A wine or brandy would work. And you seem to have brought one with you.”
You damn near forgot about the wine from the cellar you left on the ground. The bottle feels heavy in your fingers. Orpheus reaches for it, but you cling tighter. At his look, you reveal what’s on your mind. “What exactly are you doing?”
“With this glass,” Orpheus raises the goblet to the light. It pierces through all the crystal, but does nothing to illuminate the black liquid, “you can join me. Become as I am, and together we can share in knowledge, experience…or,” his cheeks tinge pink and he shyly laughs, “more.”
Become a vampire?
You stare through the glass and find the pure crystal warps Orpheus’ face. His lips recede, his eyes shorten, and his cheeks turn gaunter than a skull’s. Would you become the same?
What do you do?
Brought to you by Ink, A steamy new Reverse Harem series with a devilishly charismatic incubus.