Léopold’s Wicked Embrace – Book 5

Léopold’s Wicked Embrace – Book 5
Author:
Series: Immortals of New Orleans, Book 5
ASIN: B00JHNAWQS
ISBN: 1497312442
Seductive and lethal vampire, Léopold Devereoux, returns to the Big Easy to find a killer. His search leads him to a beautiful and mysterious woman, who awakens desires and emotions that he’s long fought to keep buried. After centuries of self-imposed solitude, the billionaire philanthropist struggles to restrain his growing thirst for the intriguing, lovely female who’s captured his attention.
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About the Book

Seductive and lethal vampire, Léopold Devereoux, returns to the Big Easy to find a killer. His search leads him to a beautiful and mysterious woman, who awakens desires and emotions that he’s long fought to keep buried. After centuries of self-imposed solitude, the billionaire philanthropist struggles to restrain his growing thirst for the intriguing, lovely female who’s captured his attention.

Laryssa Theriot, an antiques proprietor in the Vieux Carré, agrees to help the commanding yet debonair stranger, who seeks her assistance. She withholds her secret abilities, afraid to trust the man who threatens to unleash her darkest fantasies. All the while, Léopold consumes her thoughts, testing her erotic limits and bringing her to new levels of ecstasy. As the menacing force that has stalked Laryssa for years finally catches up to her, she submits, putting her life into the hands of the dominant vampire who offers his protection.

Deep in the heart of New Orleans, they embark on a perilous adventure, forced to search for an ancient sacrificial relic that they hope will save their lives. As they face formidable challenges, Léopold and Laryssa surrender to the passionate intimacy that possesses them. After hundreds of years of denying himself love, will Léopold bond to the woman who has begun to crack the impenetrable shell around his heart? As evil draws near, will Laryssa survive the demon that has come to take her soul?

Warning: This book contains several erotic love scenes and is intended for adult readers only.

 

Reviews

“Léopold’s Wicked Embrace is a passionate and emotionally engaging roller coaster ride from start to finish, one I didn’t want to get off! I love the Immortals of New Orleans series and can’t wait to read the next book.” ~Night Owl Reviews

“This book is HOT on the sex scale…I could not decide however if I wanted to stray from my never ending love of Dimitri to steal Leo away from Laryssa. It is too bad you can only have one true mate, I think I might want them both. This book was not made up of fluffy sex and romance, there was a great backstory at the same time! Now I beg you Ms. Kym, can I please have more of my love? I give this a steamy five fang review.” ~Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock  

“5 Stars! As with all the books in this series, there are suspense, violence, hot, hot sex and hot, hot, hot vampires, and wolves.  Leopold is one of the sexiest characters. The romance between Leo and Laryssa is sizzling.” ~The Paranormal Romance Guild

“5 Stars…Through this story Leopold and Laryssa became one of my favorite couples in this series. I seriously recommend picking this book up and this series if you haven’t yet tried it.”~Paranormal Reads

“LÉOPOLD’S WICKED EMBRACE is a must-read for Immortals of New Orleans fans. If you haven’t started the series yet…well why not? If you’re in the mood for a hot, paranormal read then LÉOPOLD’S WICKED EMBRACE will be sure to please.” ~Mad Hatter Reads

“I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes Paranormal Romance with a variety of species. I would also recommend they also read the rest of the series, as I myself will be doing very, very soon! If the rest of the books in this series are as good as Leopold’s Wicked Embrace, I may have found a new series to add to my list of favorites!”  ~Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews

“Kym Grosso has written an engaging, compelling and passionate storyline where an ancient vampire has been given a second chance at love.” ~The Reading Cafe

“Another incredible installment in the IMMORTALS OF NEW ORLEANS series! Our hero, Leopold, is possibly the oldest vampire around. He’s dangerous, sexy as sin, and pure Alpha Male. ~Literal Addiction

“If you love paranormal romance at its best then please check out Leopold’s Wicked Embrace and meet the kinkiest, sexiest vamp I’ve ever met.” ~Victoria’s Gossip

“This story is well written, fast-paced and hot!” ~Paranormal Romance Fans for Life 

“In Kym’s typical style, this book is fun and flirty, sexy and hot, steamy and romantic, as well as shrouded in mystery, suspense, and action. In a word ~ phenomenal!” ~Crazy Four Books

“The journey these two embark on together is nothing short of a remarkable love story.” ~Vampires, Werewolves & Fairies!  Oh My!

“Yet another fantastic book that Kym wrote with awesome characters and an even more stunning story line. I have loved this series from the start, and this one is the best so far, in my opinion. If you’re into the paranormal, you have to read this, it will not disappoint, not even a little. ” ~Ramblings of a Book Lunatic 

 

Excerpts

EXCERPT 1

Laryssa had heard the customer behind her, but the damn mirror wire wouldn’t seem to catch right.  It kept slipping and she cursed under her breath, hoping she wouldn’t drop it.  If she could just hold it up a minute longer, she could get it to hang squarely on the wall.  She fingered the hook that she’d just renailed into the wall and then moved her thumb over to the thin metal string.  With a final shove upward, she attempted to flick it into place.  But as the wire caught, it sliced into her flesh.  A sharp sting threw her off balance, and her pumps began to waver.  Shit.  Not again.

“Oh my God!” Laryssa squeaked as she fell backwards, fully expecting to crack her head open on one of the many sharp-edged desks that sat adjacent to where she’d been working.  As she felt strong male hands slide up under her ribcage, grazing her breasts, she gasped.  She wasn’t sure whether to thank the stranger or call the police, but as she turned her face to try to see him, she immediately recognized her rescuer.

“It’s you,” she stammered, clutching his arms. Laryssa giggled nervously, realizing how once again she’d foolishly fallen in front of the sexy vampire.  And like last night, he’d caught her.  She couldn’t believe how clumsy she’d all of a sudden become.  She tried to relax and find her footing, but her heart was beating so fast that she could barely think.  What is he doing here in my shop?  How did he find me?

Like a story book flipping pages, her mind whirled until she remembered what she’d done last night at the club.  She’d fought off the asshole who’d grabbed her at the bar.  The feel of his hands around her throat had forced her fear into overdrive.  The knife had only been a few inches away, but still too far.  Desperation had taken over as her power surged, calling the blade to her fingertips.  Jamming it into his neck was as instinctive as breathing.  Kill or be killed, she’d always choose the former.  She’d run into the alley, refusing to discuss it with management.  The only one who knew her was Avery and there was no way her friend would have divulged her identity to the vampire.  She’d be more likely to turn him into a three horned sheep before she’d squeal.  The only way the vampire could have found her would have been if he’d followed her home.

A brush to her breast reminded her that she was still being held upright by him, and Laryssa felt her face grow red.  Arousal licked over her skin.  Cautiously, she rooted her shoes on the floor and turned around, steeling her nerves.

“I’m so sorry,” she said.

“My pleasure, mademoiselle, but I suggest you avoid heights in the future.”

Surreptitiously, she stole a glance at him, which reminded her how incredibly handsome he was.  His short dark hair was perfectly coiffed.  His white dress shirt hung casually over the waistband of his jeans.  Laryssa forced herself to look away, trying not to stare at the masculine features of his face. Straight nose, square jaw and perfectly kissable lips… lips that were smooth talking and way too articulate, teasing her with every word he spoke.  Beads of sweat broke out across her forehead.  It felt as if someone had turned up the heat, her skin was on fire.  She noticed his eyes were no longer on hers and had dropped to her chest.  They lingered only a second, and then he met her gaze and smiled.  She looked downward and noticed that several buttons had come undone in her fall, revealing the edges of her white lace bra.  Could this day get any more embarrassing?  Laryssa’s fingers shook as she buttoned her sweater.

“I’m so sorry.  I just…you just…I just…”  Great, first I’m a klutz and now I can’t speak.  She bit her lip, paused and then took a deep breath before starting again.  “Thank you for catching me.”

“Again.”  Léopold watched her as she adjusted her clothes, wishing to rip the rest of the pearly buttons from their fragile seams. But he refused to let the beast within take what it wanted.  No, he’d find out what the hell she was before showing her his true nature. “Yes, thank you…again.”  She smoothed down her skirt, trying to pretend she hadn’t just fallen into his arms and let him feel her up in the process.  Business, think business.  Her pulse slowed and she willed herself to appear nonchalant.

“We met last night, remember?” he pressed. Léopold smiled and ran his hand over the colorful marquetry in rosewood that scrolled through a seventeenth century secretaire.  Interesting that she could deliberately control the flow of her blood.  It further piqued his concern about her species.  What was she?

Laryssa’s eyes met his, widening at the confirmation that he knew exactly who she was.

“Yes, yes I do.  But I’m afraid I didn’t catch your name.”  Vampire.  Big bad vampire.  Laryssa watched intently as he fingered the furniture, trailing his thumb over the symmetrical scenes as if he was caressing a lover.

“Lovely.”  Léopold flashed his eyes to hers.

“What?”  Laryssa realized that he was toying with her, purposefully trying to make her nervous.

“I said, it’s lovely.  The neoclassical architectural structures.  The white marble top.  Doré bronze mounts.”

“Is there something specific I can help you with?”

“You get directly to the point?”  Léopold had intended to play with her a bit, throw her off her game.  Yet his little rabbit wasn’t frozen in the field like he’d anticipated.  No, she rebounded nicely, and now stood confidently like a wildcat, poised to attack.

“I don’t really have time to waste.  So yeah, I’d like to know why you followed me from the club.  And I really want to know what you are doing in my shop.”

Léopold merely laughed and crossed the room to admire a chair and matching settee.

“Circa 1775?”

Laryssa walked over and placed her hand on the elegant Louis XVI chair.   “Yes.  How did you know?  It’s a very special piece.  It has the mark of Versailles Palace on it.”

“Indeed.”  Léopold sat in the chair, wrapping his fingers around its arms.  “Nothing but the best.  Fit for a king.”

“And I suspect you’d like being a king.” She put her hands on her hips, waiting for him to respond.

“Ah, a king I never was.  But I’ve dined with kings, and I can assure you that while they enjoy the extravagances of the rich, they often lose their heads.  Easy come, easy go.”

“Why are you here?” Laryssa brushed her hair back, attempting to regain her composure. “Are you looking for something specific?”

“Oui, pet.  But not an antique.  While I do enjoy shopping, this is hardly the time.”  Léopold lost the smile, allowing his eyes to pierce hers. “So I shall get to the point.  What are you?”

Laryssa lost her ability to rein in her pulse and her heart began to fiercely pump hot blood through her veins.  Her lips tightened, and she clenched her jaw.  How dare he ask about her?  What the hell did he want from her anyway? Dear God, she had enough issues with the darkness on her tail and now he was asking about her origins.

“What do you mean, ‘what am I?’ I’m the owner of this store.  Does that answer your question?”  Laryssa asked, her voice growing louder.  “Who are you?”

“Léopold Devereoux.  That’s who I am.  I can be your angel or nightmare, depending on the day.  So listen up.  What. Are. You?”  Léopold didn’t make a move.  He sat completely still, anticipating her answer.

EXCERPT 2

Laryssa’s spirit flared to life within the dark abyss.  Naked to the cold, she’d stripped in front of Dimitri, no longer worried about being discovered.  Like a gentleman, he’d turned his head.  In truth, she hadn’t cared if he’d seen her.  Now that she’d confessed her nature, she felt liberated.  Nude and slippery, she breathed in the water, letting the healing begin.

Dimitri sat on the dock with his jeans rolled up and his feet in the water, watching Laryssa swim.  Gloriously bared, she dove, exposing her bottom.  But when she didn’t resurface, he panicked and began to tear off his shirt.

“It’s okay,” he heard Léopold say.

“No it’s not.  What the hell?  She’s drowning.  Come on, help me,” he snapped.

“Elle va bien.  She breathes in the water.”  Léopold laughed.  Still in his robe, he sat next to his friend.  “She’s amazing, no?”

“Scary is more like it.  Dammit, Leo.  You could’ve warned me,” he said, blowing out a breath.  “Jesus, how does she do that?  She’s been under for almost five minutes now.”

“It’s the way of her species.  The lake…it heals her.  Keep watching.”

“Watching for what?”

“Ah, there,” he pointed to a faint glimmer, which soon began to illuminate the water within a ten foot diameter.  “See.  She glows.”  Léopold chuckled.

“Now that’s something you don’t see every day.  She’s like one of those fish…you know, the kind that lights up to lure their prey.”

“She’s captivating.”

“You do realize your girlfriend is lit up like a light bulb, right?”

“Oui.”

“Goddamn,” Dimitri exclaimed, punching Léopold lightly on his shoulder.

“What’s your issue, wolf?  I assume you have some good reason for flailing your arms at me?”

“You like her…she’s your girlfriend,” Dimitri sang.

“Oui, I suppose she is.”  Léopold’s eyes darted to Dimitri, enjoying his shocked expression but quickly focused on the lake again.

“What happened?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Okay, what happened to my dark souled friend, Léopold?”

“My soul has never been dark,” Léopold informed him in a serious voice.  “My soul died.  The day my family died, I died.”

“Hey, I was just joking, man.  Come on.  Lighten up.” Dimitri looked to the water and tried not to laugh.  “Listen Leo, I’m sorry.  Really.  And I’m sorry you lost your family all those years ago.  But I’ve always known your soul is in there.  And it’s never been dark or anything like that.  Don’t forget, I was there when you saved Wynter.  You’ve just been…I don’t know…hurt bad.  So you went with tough and alone.  Could be worse.  You survived.”

“Oui, I survived.  But as Laryssa pointed out to me this evening, I haven’t been living.  She makes me want to do that again.”

“So, uh, what’s the story?” Dimitri asked. “She seemed kinda pissed at you when we left.  But look at her now.”

“She flourishes.  But she must learn that we cannot have secrets,” Léopold told him with a smile.

“Can’t argue with that….but what happened?”

Before Léopold had a chance to answer, Laryssa broke through the surface with a cry of victory and began laughing.  Caught up in her self-induced electrifying pleasure, she’d forgotten about Dimitri.  As she glanced over to the dock and saw the men watching her, she rolled onto her back, exposing her breasts.  Floating in the water, aglow with energy, she knowingly teased them.

“You’ve got yourself a live one, bro,” Dimitri commented.

“That I do. She’s devilish.”  Léopold shook his head and grinned.  “And very disobedient.  Look at her taunting us.  She knows what she’s doing.”

“Oh, I’m lookin’.”

Léopold gave Dimitri a glare.

“What, man?  You know me.  I’m not one to pass up the beauty of a nekkid water nymph,” Dimitri teased.

“Naiad,” Léopold corrected.

“Whatever. Say listen, you mind if I go wolf for a while?  I’m planning on stayin’ the night given the whole demon business, but I’ve been crammed in the city for weeks.”

“Run wild, mon ami.”  Léopold’s expression was one of pure delight as he watched Laryssa kick her legs and frolic. “You may want to stick around for a few minutes.”

“Why’s that?”

“Tonight, my little Laryssa came alive on the dance floor,” Léopold began.

“I thought you guys were trying to remain inconspicuous?”

“Yeah, we kind of lost sight of that.  Let’s just say that I do believe she enjoys an audience.”

“Really, now? She should be your perfect match, then,” Dimitri snorted, recalling how the first time he’d ever met the vampire, he’d been deeply engaged in a public display of affection, having sex in the middle of Mordez. “Well if you’re puttin’ on a show, I’m down with that.”

“Ah, here comes our little fish,” Léopold commented, never taking his eyes off Laryssa.

Rejuvenated, Laryssa swam toward the dock, deciding that it was time to talk with Léopold.  Taking in the sight of him and his delicious smile, she’d have to resist tearing off his robe and pulling him in with her.  As she approached, she kicked her feet up into the air, spraying them both.

“Come in,” she called, laughing as they wiped the water from their faces.

“You know, Dimitri, Laryssa and I came to an agreement this evening.”  While Léopold spoke to Dimitri, he smiled at Laryssa, his eyes locked on hers.

“Yeah.  Hmm…what’s that?”

“Well you see?  I’ve been quite stubborn about keeping a certain little naiad out of my mind.”

“Stubborn?  You?  Never,” Dimitri chuckled.

“Oui, it’s true.  Our agreement was that I let go of my past, my guilt and choose her.  Which I did.  Yet for some reason tonight, she thought I betrayed her,” Léopold said, his tone growing serious.  “But I didn’t do any such thing.  You see, I was merely ordering food for us…as in human food.”

“A girl’s gotta eat,” Dimitri added with a grin, knowing Léopold was about to do something he’d enjoy.

“Yes she does.  But Laryssa thought I was bringing another woman into my home…for me.  Now tell me, why would I do that when I’ve told her she’s mine, when I’ve recently fed from her?”

“Leo, I…” Laryssa stammered.  Her heart began to pound as she heard Léopold calmly tell Dimitri what had transpired between them in the car.  Why is he telling him what happened?  Even though she momentarily looked away, she was unable to take her eyes off Léopold.  He was smiling.  Damn him, he knew.  He knew she’d been jealous.  “You said you were ordering a meal.  You just did that last night and a woman showed up.  How am I supposed to know what you mean?”

“Because, mon amour,” he crooked his finger at her, drawing her to him until she brushed against his calves, “I made you mine.  And you must learn how to trust… to communicate.”

“I’m sorry, but I…”

“So you see, Dimitri, she’s very naughty.”  Léopold reached into the water until he’d fitted his hands underneath her arms.  Easily lifting her out of the lake, he brought her upward so she straddled him on her knees.  He kissed her lightly and continued.  “Tonight on the dance floor…she teased me mercilessly, enjoying their eyes on her.”

“She did?” Dimitri asked, raising his eyebrow at them.

“Tell me Dimitri, how do you feel about spankings?”

“I do like a good spanking.”  Dimitri flattened his hands behind him, leaning backward onto the dock.

Laryssa’s eyes widened and she tried to push away from Léopold, but he held her firmly about her waist.  Slowly he kissed her neck, placing his parted lips underneath her ear.  As much as she wanted to struggle, the heat of him wrapped around her caused her to melt.  A moan escaped her lips and before she knew what was happening, his lips had found her nipple.  Her body lit on fire, and though she caught a glimpse of Dimitri, she soon refocused on Léopold’s touch.

EXCERPT 3

Dimitri crossed the room and sat on the bed, taking in the listless state of the vampire.  He observed that Léopold’s eyes were now closed, and the wound had started bubbling apart.  Before he could stop himself, he’d made the suggestion.

“I’ll feed you.”

Léopold’s eyes flew open, meeting Dimitri’s. “What?”

“You heard me.  Come on, let’s do this thing.  You can bite my arm, right?”

“I don’t know…I can’t ask this of you.  The donors, they come to me freely.”

“Yeah, well, so do I.  Come on.  You did this for Wynter.  You had her back, I have yours.  It’s no big deal, right?  I mean, it’s not like you’re going to have some weird bond to me.”

“No.” Léopold gave him a small smile. “No bonds.  No sires or anything. But still…”

“The faster you’re on your feet, the faster we can go try to find connections to Mariah’s past.”

Léopold’s lips tightened and he looked away.

“Ya know I’m right.  We can’t waste any more time.  You didn’t fly me all the way out here to lie around, did ya?”

“No, but I don’t think this is a good idea.”

“Well let me put it this way…At some point, possibly very soon, whoever wanted that kid dead is going to realize that she’s still very much alive.  Then they’re gonna go after her again.  And since she’s staying with Logan, I don’t want them going after my Alpha and his mate.  So let’s go.  Come on, just take a little, enough to get you by until we find your donor.”

“I won’t need much.  Your blood; it’s strong.  You’re wolf,” Léopold admitted.

“There ya go, then.  Let’s get to…what do you need here?” Dimitri sat on the bed and considered how best to feed a vampire.  What the fuck am I thinking?  Too late now.  He sat cross-legged, and then changed his mind, lying onto his back.

Léopold grew amused at his friend’s insistence.  Not that he didn’t appreciate the offer, but he wasn’t accustomed to needing anyone.  Dimitri’s blood, given in friendship, felt all too intimate, making him uncomfortable.  Yet the lancing pain to his gut reminded him of his dire situation.  He shifted onto his side, cradling Dimitri’s arm in his hands.  Slowly he lowered his head to the wolf’s wrist.  The aromatic scent of blood called to him as he found the strong beating pulse.

“You’re sure?” he asked, locking eyes on Dimitri’s.

“Yeah, I can take it.  Do it now, before I change my mind.”  Dimitri glanced away as if someone was about to give him a needle.

Without hesitation, Léopold’s fangs extended, striking the wolf’s arm.  He closed his eyes, allowing the pungent flavor to coat his tongue.  Deliberately, he suctioned the life-sustaining fluid, releasing his own power into Dimitri’s body.  Léopold, grateful for the gift, would cause the wolf no pain, only pleasure.  He knew Dimitri would resist, confused by his reaction to the bite.  Léopold clutched the wrist to his lips, watching as his friend’s body bowed off the bed.

As soon as Dimitri felt the pinpricks, his body flooded with unexpected warmth.  The tug of Léopold’s lips sent a rush of blood to his cock.  What the fuck is happening?  He wanted to rip his arm away from the vampire, but he felt paralyzed to fight.  Desire washed over him from head to toe and before he knew what he was doing, his own hand had reached to grip his shaft through the fine cotton shorts.  Stiff as a board, he stroked himself, attempting to relieve the pressure.  Goddess, this feels wrong on so many levels.  His mind screamed at him to move, to struggle, yet his lips parted, releasing only a moan.

Léopold licked the wounds he’d caused, and released Dimitri’s arm.  Thoroughly energized, he sat up, and stared down at Dimitri, whose face had grown tight in both arousal and anger.  Léopold laughed, and rolled off the bed.  He watched in amusement as the wolf attempted to launch himself off the mattress but fell backwards, clutching himself.

“Fuck me.” Dimitri shook his head at the realization of what he’d just said.  He quickly took his hand off his groin and glared at Léopold. “No.  I didn’t mean that.  Don’t touch me.”

“You’re fine,” Léopold assured him.  He glanced in the mirror and finger-combed his hair back into place.

“This,” Dimitri gestured to his erection, “is not funny.  Goddammit, I need to get laid.  Not that you aren’t pretty, Leo, but you’re not my type.  Shit, look what you did.”

“You may recall that I told you that feeding from you was not a good idea.  But I must admit, your blood is fine.  Very tasty.”  A broad smile broke across his face.

“Really, Leo?  What the hell, man?”

“Sorry, but there aren’t many choices when it comes to a bite, you know.  Would you have rather had pain?  I’m not a sadist by nature, but if you’d preferred it…”

“No.”  Dimitri pushed himself up so that he was sitting on the edge of the bed.  His painful erection was finally starting to subside.

“Well, then, you have to admit that it didn’t hurt.  Go get a shower, see to your need.  I’d love to help you but I’m afraid you’re not my preference either, wolf.”

“Really, so you give hard-ons but no blow jobs?  Lucky me.  For the record, if I ever am dumb enough to suggest this again, would you please just say no?”  Dimitri hobbled over to the bathroom door.

“Hey wolf,” Léopold called from the doorway.

Dimitri lifted his gaze to him. “Yeah?”

“Seriously, Dimitri. I appreciate you helping me.  I should’ve paid more attention. I let myself get run down.  It won’t happen again.”

“No problem.”

“You need to know that it has been a very long time for me…this friendship thing.  This isn’t something someone like me does.” Or deserves. Léopold’s eyes darkened and his tone grew serious. “These few days have been quite the adventure, and I suspect there is more to come.  I must ask, however, that you keep what you experienced tonight to yourself.  Not the bite but the travel.  Logan knows as I couldn’t hide it from him when I showed up in his house last night.  But no one else.  It’s a special ability…one I’d prefer others not know about.  Understood?”

“My lips are zipped.” Dimitri sensed sadness in Léopold.  As wolf, with his pack, he was never truly alone.  Perhaps he underestimated the loneliness that plagued the vampire.

“Well, then…see you downstairs in a few.  I’ve got someone I want you to meet,” Léopold commented as he left the room.

EXCERPT 4

“Did you just say it clawed at her?  Is she hurt?”  Dimitri approached Léopold so that they stood shoulder to shoulder, taking in the landscape.  It was the first time he’d been to Léopold’s lake house.

“No, she’s fine, but…”  Léopold didn’t finish his sentence.

“But what?  Exactly how does someone get swiped by a demon and be fine?”

“She’s healed.” While she was sleeping, he’d inspected the wound and not a trace of a scar was evident.

“I take it this has something to do with what she does?”

“Indeed, mon ami.  But I promised her that I wouldn’t tell anyone what she is, so don’t bother asking.  It’s her story to tell.  You can ask her when she comes out.  My guess is that after that demon showed up, she’ll tell you.  But I cannot break my oath to her.  I’ve already done enough to hurt her on my own without digging the hole any deeper,” Léopold confessed.  Turning to Dimitri, he raked his hand through his tousled hair.

Dimitri leaned toward his friend and sniffed.  He shook his head, knowing the answer to the next question he was about to ask Léopold.  “You fucked her didn’t you?  I can smell it.”

“Must you be so uncouth?” Léopold replied, blowing out a breath.

“You did,” Dimitri exclaimed.  “Jesus Christ, Leo.  Seriously, man.  You can have any woman you want.  Why her?  You ever hear that expression, ‘don’t dip your pen in the company ink’?”

“Yes, I’ve fucking heard it, asshole.  But she’s just so…I don’t know, she’s just special.  Goddammit, I know, okay?  I know I fucked up.”

“I don’t see what the issue is here.  I mean have you two idiots ever heard the term ‘consenting adults’.  What’s the big deal?”  Jake asked.

“The big deal is that he just fucking met her.  And we need her to help us to keep Ava safe.  If she’s in danger, so is our Alpha.  Laryssa was just starting to trust us, trust him, and lover boy here just can’t keep it in his pants,” Dimitri huffed, taking a seat at the table.

“He’s right.  There’s no excuse,” Léopold agreed.  “It’s not sleeping with a woman that’s a problem, it’s the fact that I can’t…I won’t have a relationship.  It’s not happening.  And now that we’ve made love, well, it adds complications to our situation.  Ones we didn’t need.”

“It would be one thing if you actually cared about anything besides yourself, Devereoux.  But you don’t.  That’s the thing.  If you fucking hurt her…” Dimitri began.

“Why do you care about her anyway, wolf?”  Léopold’s eyes narrowed on Dimitri.

“Because, Leo,” Dimitri stared at his friend.  “She seemed kind of nice.  And she stood up to that asshole, Luca.  And for some reason, unbeknownst to me, she seems like she might actually care about you.  Why is beyond me. And she cares about Ava too, and she has no reason to.  We are the ones who sought her out.  Now, not only have we upturned her life, we’ve brought a demon to her…right here to your goddamn house.”

“I think we’ve established that I fucked up.  I just said so.  Can we just move on?”

“She’s okay with one night?  Because I know that you never have women sleepover.  You’ve told me as much.”

“I told her that I don’t do relationships.  I can’t become involved with her.  But you’re correct in that we do need her.  We need to find that knife.”

“This isn’t going to go well, you know that, right?  I mean, I don’t know Laryssa, but I saw the way she looked at you yesterday, and I have a hard time believing she’s a one night stand kinda girl.  Could be wrong?  But damn, it was as if she had ‘innocence’ stamped on her forehead,” Dimitri said.

“Please stop already.  Okay?” Léopold tilted his head backwards, closed his eyes and wiped them with both of his hands out of frustration.  “I get it.  I’m a dick.  I shouldn’t have slept with her but I did.  I can’t take it back.  I promise you that I’ll do my best to repair this…‘relationship’ I’ve irresponsibly put at risk.”

He choked on the word.  Relationship.  No, no, no.  As if it wasn’t bad enough that he was developing feelings for Laryssa, now Dimitri had him filled with guilt for what he’d done.  Damn wolves.  Damn humans.  For a moment, he wished he could go back to not caring about his new friend. But no matter how he tried, what was done was done.  Merde.  I’m truly fucked.

Look Inside