A Pack For Christmas

Kansas City Vampires Book 7

G.R. George

Chapter 1

Do not put another light up in here, Alex.” Julia Deihl rolled onto her back. Her lover and pack leader, Rafir Caras, groaned and shifted his weight next to her, and the sheet covering them slid off his chest. It was a nice chest, but Julia would not be distracted. “This is not a discotheque!”

“Look,” Alex said. He stood naked holding up a strand of blinkers. “I know for a fact it has been years since you’ve celebrated Christmas, and it’s been several since I have, and now that we’re… family, I think it’s important we develop rituals.” He looked ridiculous with the lights flashing across his pale skin. His sandy blond hair fell forward to cover his deep-set hazel green and gold eyes while his full, sensual mouth puckered in a sexy pout. The flickering light cast dancing shadows across every crease of the firmly developed muscles on his wide chest and narrow waist. Again, Julia thought to herself, he looked ridiculous. Ridiculously good-looking.

“It’s important,” Alex said, breaking the spell he hadn’t even known he was casting. “Besides, it’s only four days until Christmas. It’s not like they’re going to be up forever.”

Julia looked away. “No, Alex.”

Rafir rolled over, placing his arm across her waist. His gaze traveled over Alex’s delicious form—slowly, and with much appreciation.

Julia noticed. Her face warmed with jealousy and a sense of shame. She hadn’t any reason to be jealous, other than the fact her lover of ten years had introduced a new lover to their home and bed. Right. No reason at all. It didn’t help that the new lover was only twenty-three years old, or that he was a vampire. She both hated and loved Alex’s youth. There were moments when she’d been grateful for him, even. Rafir was stronger for adding Alex to their pack. Julia knew this, even if she didn’t always like what it meant. Alex was enthusiastic, filled with the exuberance of the young, though not necessarily the naïveté. He hadn’t wanted to become a vampire, but he hadn’t been given the choice, just like Julia hadn’t been given the choice to be passed around as a blood slave to vampires for a decade during her youth. She glanced at Rafir and stroked his arm. He’d rescued her. He’d protected her. And ever since the day he’d busted into the Middle Eastern compound where her master had been visiting, she’d never dreamed of a time where she might exist without him.

Her gaze trailed the curve of Alex’s shoulder, the cut of each muscle down his back, to his firm and ultimately squeezable ass as he stared wistfully out the window at the cool, crisp night. She knew his appeal. Hell, she felt the appeal, and in her own way, over the past several months with Alex, she’d grown to love him.

But he was Rafir’s, not hers. The thought punched at Julia’s gut. Even when they had sex together, as pack, Rafir got most of Alex’s attention. Although, Julia hadn’t helped the situation. She tended to spend all her attention on Rafir as well. It was safer that way. Alex preferred men, and Julia was the anti-man—all curvy and no dick.

While Julia watched Alex, she allowed her hand to slide across Rafir’s arm until it rested on his cock. He was erect. No surprise there. Watching Alex, naked and bathed in moonlight as fairy lights flickered against his thighs had left her pussy wet and aching. A noise escaped her throat as Rafir’s fingers slipped through the folds of her sex. She squirmed her thighs apart to give him more room to play. She loved his sure fingers, his confident touch.

His warm breath ghosted her neck raising the small hairs at the nape. She turned her head to face him, to drink in his chocolate brown eyes. If Alex was beautiful, Rafir was godly. His muscles were tight and thick with years of military service and combat. For a lone wolf, the army had been a perfect place to hide out from the world. He had sated his need to be alpha by moving up the ranks and leading his own squad, while simultaneously staying out of wolf politics. When his black ops squad had taken Sheik Abadul’s palace in Saudi Arabia, he’d found Julia. She’d been a shadow of a human then. She’d ceased thinking of herself as more than a cow for the vampires to milk for nourishment on a daily basis with no more consideration for her than if she were a dumb beast. Her master’s taste tended to run to teenagers, male and female alike, so he’d stopped raping her after the first two or three years. After that, he’d passed her around like a sex doll to his “friends.”

She’d been pale and anorexic thin with auburn hair long enough to brush the top of her ass. A perfect prize. After Rafir had set her free, the first thing Julia did was cut her hair to an inch of her scalp. She’d kept it short ever since, and now, over ten years later, she’d gained weight—her body had become the full figure genetics and regular meals had meant it to be.

She kissed Rafir, her eyes closing as his hand moved from her pussy to her breast, cupping it as he nibbled down her jawline, her throat, his mouth finding purchase on her nipple. She gasped as he took the nub between his teeth, teasing the tip with circular motions from his tongue. Moaning, she laced her fingers in his hair. Rafir’s hand moved again between her thighs, the folds of her pussy slick and swollen with a never-waning desire for him.

Opening her eyes, she lolled her head sideways. Alex no longer stared out the window, and he’d allowed the lights to fall to the floor. He’d been watching, and Julia wasn’t certain how long, but his hand grasped his thick, hard cock, stroking without hurry as he stared at her and Rafir. He didn’t look away when Julia turned to him. On the contrary, he met her gaze full-on, conveying all his passion—as naked as his own body. She knew he waited for an invitation. He could be almost shy at times, and this evening appeared to be no exception.

Before Julia could take the lead, acknowledge Alex and accept him into bed, Rafir held out his hand. A sad smile ghosted Alex’s lips as he strolled across the bedroom and climbed onto the bed behind Rafir. Julia closed her eyes again when Rafir slid his fingers between the puckered lips of her pussy and began to work in earnest on her clit. A tingle of warmth spread through her groin—a building pressure. He had the ability to bring her over and over. He’d helped her through a bad time when sex meant violence and blood. Because of Rafir, it had become beautiful, pleasurable, a definitive gesture of love. She rocked her pelvis to meet his hand. He sucked and licked her nipples, back and forth, then kissed up her neck, capturing her mouth with his own. He pressed, pushing tongue past teeth, sucking her tongue into his mouth. He tasted her, and drank her, and made her feel alive.

Rafir moaned into her mouth. She opened her eyes, half-lidded, and could see Alex’s hand on Rafir’s cock, fisting it in his palm, his thumb playing over the tip. She stared, unable to avert her gaze. Julia had learned something about herself, much to her chagrin, since Alex had joined their brood. She might miss the days when it was only her and Rafir, but it didn’t stop her freaky libido from going nuts every time she saw Rafir and Alex together, touching, sucking, or fucking. It didn’t matter. She had an inner voyeur, and it definitely liked to watch.

A spasm tweaked her clit. She could feel the orgasm building, but she wanted to hold off, knowing the longer she waited the harder she would come. She craved the sweet oblivion. Licking her lips, she locked eyes with Alex as he leaned over Rafir’s hip. He pulled his hair back with his right hand, while holding Rafir’s cock in his left. Dipping forward, he snaked his tongue over the tip. Julia exhaled a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. A hint of a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. He slid his lips down Rafir’s shaft while keeping his gaze on Julia. A throaty rumble vibrated in Rafir’s chest. He nipped her collar, teeth tugging at the skin hard enough to bruise but not break.

Alex took Rafir’s entire length, or as much as he could at the awkward angle, into his mouth. His head moved up and down leaving a glistening trail of saliva over the swollen cock.

Julia whimpered. She couldn’t help it. She wanted to see more. To feel more. “Yes,” she whispered.

Rafir’s fingers became more insistent. He slid one finger into her pussy, then another, fucking her with both as his thumb danced over her inflamed clitoris. A noise, akin to a keening wail, burst from her mouth. Her body shuddered and rocked as the ecstasy and pleasure rode her. Her limbs cooled as blood rushed to her groin and exploded like a furnace blast.

“Rafir, Rafir,” she said, squeezing her thighs around his hand.

“Julia,” he said, his voice tight. He rolled to his back and Alex moved between his legs, his mouth never leaving Rafir’s cock. He sucked and licked, his back bowed forward as his head dipped and retreated. Alex’s hands gripped Rafir’s buttocks, pulling him upward in a thrusting motion as he allowed the cock to sink to the back of his throat. Now he focused completely on Rafir, inhaling his shaft like a dying man eating his last meal—with intensity, enthusiasm, and just a hint of desperation.

A sharp bark released from Rafir. His hips bucked and twisted as he pounded Alex’s mouth. The young vampire didn’t withdraw or waver. He sucked and swallowed until he’d taken every drop of Rafir’s orgasm. When Rafir stopped moving, Alex shifted up in the bed until his shoulder was nested between Rafir’s arm and body.

Julia watched Rafir’s sated smile as he fingered Alex’s sandy-brown hair. She bit her lip, refusing to be jealous. Rafir had just brought her to climax. He’d never even touched Alex. Alex had done all the work. But still…

Rafir’s low voice broke her thoughts. “Do you want—”

Alex silenced Rafir with a finger over his lips. “Not tonight.” There wasn’t a hint of tragedy in his tone. “I’m good.” Alex tilted his head, and Rafir met his lips with a soft kiss.

Julia curled up on the other side of Rafir, ignoring the twinge in her chest.

Chapter 2

I’ve got to get to work.” Julia said, facing Rafir with her hand on the front door.

Rafir set his coffee on the breakfast bar and made his way across the apartment to Julia. He wrapped his arms around her, staring down into her gray-green eyes. She had a fragile beauty. Her naturally auburn hair, even short, set off her pale skin in such a way it seemed to glow. After they’d returned to the States, he’d moved her to Kansas City. Julia hadn’t wanted to be anywhere near where she’d grown up in Upstate New York. Rafir had already given the army twelve years, and while his commanding officer had been reluctant to let him go, he repaid a favor to Rafir and put him through for an honorable discharge. Rafir had never regretted a moment. Gazing down at her solemn face, he worried she couldn’t say the same.

“A kiss good-bye?” Rafir trailed his hand down her back, cupped her buttocks, then pulled her to him. He brushed her lips with his, trying to convey his feelings through touch.

Julia didn’t hesitate. She never did. She’d never denied him any of herself, and when she met his tenderness with her own, Rafir relaxed.

“Love you,” Julia said.

“Love you more,” Rafir countered.

“Not possible.” She smiled and disengaged from his embrace. She looked around the living room with all its multi-colored blinking lights.

“When I get home, I want them gone.” She put her hands on her hips to squash any protest on Rafir’s lips. “You know how much I hate Christmas.”

He did know, but he’d hoped this year would be different.

After finishing his morning cup of black coffee, Rafir walked around the living room. He couldn’t help but smile with all the little holiday touches Alex had made. There was a green and red throw over the back of the ginger colored couch, holly and candles on the coffee table, and a sprig of mistletoe hanging from the living room ceiling light—he’d put it all together by himself while Julia and Rafir had slept. Unfortunately, Julia hadn’t appreciated the effort at all. Christmas reminded her of bad things. Very bad things. Her abduction had happened three days before Christmas when she’d been only fifteen. And while it had nothing to do with the holiday itself, this time of year always brought up terrible memories for her. It seemed particularly worse this year. She’d even started to have nightmares again.

Rafir worried it was because of Alex. He was a vampire, and Julia hated vampires. She’d been made a slave, worse, she’d been cheated out of a romantic coming of age where the whole world still offered infinite possibilities. Her youth had been snatched from her, and Rafir would give anything for her to feel innocent wonder once again.

He moved to the open doorway of the bedroom. Alex’s lifeless body lay pale against the hunter green sheets on the bed. The young vampire had developed a habit of meeting the morning sun with his body half-draped over Rafir’s. To be frank, it had initially been disconcerting. It weirded him out, untangling his body from a corpse every morning, but he knew Alex wouldn’t even think of that side of the issue. He was a young vampire, less than a year old. He probably didn’t even wonder what his body did during daytime hours. Alex had also been through so much horror, not for as long as Julia had, but to much the same extent. He’d been used, changed, and discarded against his will. He would not have chosen an immortal life. It was going to break his heart when Rafir told him the decorations would have to go.

Rafir canted his head, remembering how suicidal the vampire had been when they’d first met. The vampire had wanted so badly to end his own life, and failing that, he’d sought out ways to get someone else to do it for him. Rafir had had to make a choice—kill him or keep him. Alex had instantly felt like pack, like home, and Rafir made the only choice he could have under the circumstances. He loved the feel of Alex in his arms. With both Julia and Alex, he felt completed, like he would never require anything else in this world as long as he had the two of them by his side. It still repulsed Alex to take blood, so Rafir let Alex drink from him every evening, which in turn repulsed Julia. He knew it was why she’d started coming home later and later. Sometimes she wouldn’t get home until after Rafir went to work at Corazon de la Muerte—the nightclub where he worked security. It was his day off, but he had an incident report to finish, so he’d planned on going in anyways. Besides, while it was fun to look at Alex naked, it was much better when the vampire could look back. The paperwork would break up the day until the evening when he could be with both Julia and Alex again.

The club, a converted brick building, used to be an auto glass warehouse. During the day hours, it was literally and figuratively dead. The owner, Guillermo Perez, was a master vampire and he sometimes stayed in his old bedroom in the back of the club if his own paperwork ran late into the morning. Most of the time though, Guillermo lived with his lover Nathan Greer, a doctor and vampire, at their home off Valentine road. Theirs was a strange brew of family, but since Rafir’s own family consisted of a human and a vampire, he had no intention of casting stones. Especially since Nathan and his “living” vampire daughter, Rebekah, had saved Rafir’s life after Julia had accidentally shot him with silver.

Rafir used his set of keys to unlock the blacked-out, glass front door, but before he could get it turned, he found himself surrounded by five very muscular men. He sniffed the air. Not men—wolves. He turned, his back against the glass, casual, but still defensible. One man wore a suit, another had coveralls with the name Hank embroidered on the front, two were in jeans, and the fifth looked like a middle-aged pharmacist with short, dark hair slicked back and parted on the side. The flare of the nostril, the dominance in the stance, told Rafir what he needed to know. The pharmacist was in charge.

“Can I help you?”

They all simultaneously stepped forward. Rafir clenched his fists ready to take out whoever made the first move. He probably wouldn’t survive the fight, but he’d make sure some of them died right along with him.

The pharmacist held up his hand. “Enough,” he said to his posturing posse. “Rafir Caras?”

“That’s me.” Rafir felt the glass door against his upper arms and wondered how hard it would be to break the glass to get inside if he needed to escape to fight another day. This was why he’d always stayed away from wolf packs. He sucked at politics.

“Word is you’ve got a proper pack now. Is that true?”

He thought about Julia and Alex. Having both of them made him stronger, he couldn’t deny the plain truth, but were they really a proper pack? He hadn’t thought so. This man had to be Bernard Peat, the Kansas City pack master. Rafir had never met him before, and he’d sincerely hoped to keep it that way. Bernard was old and strong, wicked strong to handle the twenty or so men he had in his crew, and as many women if not more. The size of the pack in the city was unusually large. Rafir had worked with a few of the wolves over the years, but they’d never bothered him. Why now? Just because of Alex? It didn’t make sense.

Bernard strolled forward, not cocky, but oozing confidence. He sniffed at Rafir. “It’s true. I can smell the power on you. It’s strong, friend.”

Rafir could smell Bernard as well. He reeked of strength… and hair gel. “I’m not a threat to you.” He held out his hands, palms open. A form of submission without submitting.

“I’m not here to fight with you, son.” Bernard smiled with good ol’ boy charm. “I’m inviting you to join my pack.”

It sounded more like an ultimatum than an invitation. Neither Julia nor Alex could thrive in a pack with real wolves. And even if they could, Rafir didn’t plan on putting them to the test. “Thank you, but no thank you.” He tried to keep his tone respectful. “I don’t think I’m interested right now.”

“I don’t think you understand, Caras.” Bernard woefully shook his head. “You don’t have a choice.”

“I understand what you’re saying, but I have lone wolf status. It was sanctioned by yourself, if I’m not mistaken, through Guillermo Perez. I don’t want to be part of a pack.” At least not Bernard’s pack.

“Too late, wolf. You stopped being a lone wolf when you bonded to the vamp. I could overlook a human, but the vampire has raised some questions, and I can’t have any dissension in the rank and fold. If I let you get away with this in my territory, next thing you know all sorts of small power groups will be wanting to move in. I know I said you didn’t have a choice, but I’ve changed my mind. You can join or you can die. I’m good with either solution as well.”

Rafir noticed the other four werewolves had all moved in closer, trapping him from all sides. He shook his head, more to himself than Bernard. “I… Can I think about it?” he asked, to buy time, not because he was seriously considering Bernard’s offer.

“Sure.” Bernard thumped him on the chest with the back of his hand. “Take the next twenty-four hours. Should be plenty of time. Have an answer for me, Caras, or you won’t like my reaction.”

Bernard stepped back, and his boys followed suit. They turned as one unit and started down the sidewalk. Bernard held up a hand and said loudly. “Twenty-four hours, son. Not a second more.”

Rafir let out a long, slow breath. He hadn’t wanted trouble. He’d enjoyed autonomy for too long to be immersed in pack dynamics. What could he do? Alex might pick up and leave with him, but Julia loved her job. She loved her life here in Kansas City. She wouldn’t give it up without a fight, and he wasn’t sure it was a fight any of them could survive.

~

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