Best Laid Plans

A Let Love In companion story

By Terri Botta

Disclaimer: I don't own the Southern Vampires. Sole copyright belongs to Charlaine Harris. I'm poor so don't sue.

Rating: M

Timeframe: Post-From Dead to Worse

Pairing: Eric/Sookie

Summary: The Wednesday night announcement.

A/N: Here are the first two chapters of the first short story in the LLI universe. There will be one or two more chapters after these two. It's a bit of a romp, so enjoy!

Chapter One

Sookie looked at herself in the mirror for the umpteenth time, making sure all her pieces and parts were in the right places. She'd splurged and bought an expensive push-up bra meant to show off even more of her generous natural bounty, and it was definitely doing wonders for how her cleavage looked in her white and red floral dress. She knew she wasn't playing fair, but she was pulling out all the stops tonight because it was Wednesday, the night of the announcement, and she wanted to present herself in such an alluring package that her Viking vampire would forget all about whatever horribly embarrassing dress he'd planned to put her in.

To that end, she had put on the little, white, sleeveless dress dotted with red flowers that she had worn the first time she ever went to Fangtasia. It was a crazy outfit to wear in November, but desperate times called for desperate measures – hence the bra. Her vamp was nothing if not a boob man, and hers were stunning tonight. She even sprinkled a little glitter on them to make them sparkle. Even her goldgubbe shimmered. Ha! Let him resist that.

She topped the outfit with her red screw-me heels (which she knew he would happily do quite readily) and a tight, white cardigan sweater. Underneath she had the requisite skimpy panties (red) and thigh high hose with black garters. Not that anyone but Eric would see the garters, but the little touch would drive him wild. Add a little make-up and a few brushes to her hair, and she was ready for action. Now all she had to do was drive to Shreveport and walk into Fangtasia like she was Angelina Jolie coming to screw Brad Pitt. Oh yeah, she could do that easy.

She looked at the clock. It was just after seven. The party didn't go into full swing until ten, but Eric had wanted her there by nine. She still had two hours to go. That gave her plenty of time to eat and then get herself over to Shreveport.

Eric had slept over in her hidey-hole, but he'd left before she'd gotten off work. His note had offered his condolences for not being there, but explained that there had been an issue at Fangtasia that he'd had to handle before the party, and he would see her there. That had been fine by her because it increased the shock value of her outfit if she surprised him at the bar.

She called him to tell him that she'd gotten his note, and made all the necessary sounds of a good little mate who had every intention of doing what her vamp told her to. Ha! Was he in for a rude awakening. This mate wasn't going down without a fight.

"Holy cow, woman, you are dressed to kill!" Amelia gasped, her friend's eyes bugging out as she came out of her bedroom.

She smiled and preened. "You think so?"

Her witchy friend nodded and licked her lips. Sookie knew Amelia swung both ways, and her lustful gaze was unmistakable. "Oh, girlfriend, he is gonna eat you alive."

"That's kinda the plan."

"I think you got a fool proof one there. Wow."

She laughed and reached for her coat and keys, but at that moment there was a knock at the door. She opened it to find Pam standing there dressed in a burgundy and gold gown straight out of a Marylin Monroe movie. Her pale blond hair was up in a bun, and she was wearing the gold and carnelian necklace Eric had bought for her on Isle Elena with matching earrings. She looked stunning.

Sookie knew immediately that her little dress just wasn't going to cut it, and that she was in big, big trouble. Pam took one look at her and smiled, her fangs running down.

"Oh, that's rich. Just wait until Eric sees you in that," her vampire friend commented.

"Pam! What are you doing here?" she blurted.

"I've been sent to fetch you and bring you forthwith to Fangtasia," she was told, but Pam's eyes were just dancing with mirth.

"But I was going to drive…"

"My master bids you to come with me."

Read: So you will have no car in which to escape. Once again her vamp was a conniving, devious bastard who knew her far, far too well. She gulped and weighed the consequences of refusing. If she was stubborn now, she might use up all of the stubborn points that she might need for later.

Pam was watching her, a delighted gleam in her eyes, and she just knew the female was waiting for her to dig in her heels and say no no no. The resultant phone call to Eric would be epic. Well, Pam was in for a surprise because she was saving the real fight for later – and she didn't intend to play fair.

"Let me get my purse and coat," she said, ignoring Pam's raised eyebrows and knowing smirk. The female vampire was in an exceptionally good mood tonight, but she was afraid to ask.

In short order, they were in Pam's car and headed down the road.

"So… ummm… is everything all right? Eric said there was a problem that he had to take care of before tonight," she asked, just for something to say.

"Yes, an issue with the staff, but it's taken care of now."

"Oh, good."

"Yes. Nothing can go wrong tonight. It is far too important."

Because tonight was the night all of the Area Five vampires would be told about her and Eric's bonding, and that was a big deal with a capital B.


"Eric is very excited. I have not seen him this excited since the Dracula Night celebration," Pam said.



She took a moment to process that, not liking what it could mean. Eric was a whirling dervish just before every February 8th. The man had a serious case of Dracula hero worship, and he fretted and fussed and drove everyone crazy with his obsession every year. Pam had nearly staked him herself last year when he'd spent a fortune on Royalty – a very rare bottled blood made with the real blood of nobility (willingly donated, of course.)

If Eric was fussing that much, she really was in deep, deep trouble.

"Oh boy," she breathed.

"Oh boy is right," Pam confirmed, grinning.

They spent the rest of the trip chit chatting. She complimented Pam on her gown and inquired as to what Eric was wearing. Pam replied that her maker was dressed in the same custom-fitted tuxedo that he'd worn in February, which almost made her start drooling right then and there. The only outfit he'd looked better in was the brown leather pants he'd worn on the night of their bonding on Isle Elena, and she wasn't letting him out in public in those.

Then she asked about the Area Five vampires and other guests Eric had invited to the announcement, and she was told that all of the major leaders of the Supe community in and around Shreveport had been invited, but not required, to attend, and that Felipe couldn't make it, but that Sandy was coming in his place. Victor, Pam said, was due in around nine.

She steeled herself and made her face blank at the mention of her and Eric's biggest problem. So far there had been no new attempts on either of their lives, but they both knew it was just a matter of time. Her biggest task tonight was to get close enough to Victor to somehow read his mind and glean the locations of his daytime hiding spots out of him. She still had no idea how she was going to manage that, but at some point during the night Eric was going to arrange for her to be left alone with Victor while he handled a pre-arranged "disturbance."

Eric was not in his office when they arrived at Fangtasia, and Pam told her that he did not want her to go into the bar until it was time for him to make the announcement, so she was left in the office while Pam went to find her master. She putted around the small room nervously, probing the bond for reassurance, but not opening it up too much because then he'd be able to tell what she was planning. He sent warm welcome and love across the bond, and a mental kiss that made her feel loved despite her nervousness.

Pam returned a few minutes later carrying a black plastic dress bag. She gulped, knowing this was it.

"My master bids you to put this on. I am to help you with it."

Pam's eyes were glowing, and it was obvious that she'd seen the dress. The look on the female vampire's face made her even more nervous, and even a little angry. She was not going to like this dress, and she knew it. Promise or no promise, if it was going to make her look like a loose whore, she wasn't going to wear it and damn the consequences.

She gritted her teeth and lifted the black plastic to see her punishment.

Okay. It wasn't as bad as she had been expecting, or as it could have been, but it was bad enough. The really sad part about it was that it could have been a dress she might have chosen for herself under different circumstances and in a different material, but the fact that it was a low-cut halter dress made from dark red latex really killed it for her.

"No," she stated emphatically. 'No.'

Pam grinned. "You agreed."

"I don't care. I am not wearing that dress."

She dug in her heels mentally and physically, even crossing her arms over her chest. Pam smirked and whipped out her phone.

"She is being recalcitrant. I told you so."

She felt the anger right before he appeared in the doorway, and he had his "I am not amused" look in his face. She matched it with her own and the sparks veritably flew between them. It was Showdown at the O-neg Corral.

"Pam. Leave us."

Pam bowed like a good minion. "Yes, Master," she said and vanished.

Eric stepped into the office and closed the door. She tried not to wince when she heard the lock click home, but she raised her chin defiantly and pushed out her chest. She saw him take in her outfit and felt a shimmer of lust across the bond. It gave her a little hope that she might just get out of this in one piece.

"I know what you are trying to do," he stated, stepping towards her.

"I am not wearing that red latex dress, Eric."

"Why not? You were the one who gave me the idea."

"I was referring to some fangbanging bimbo, not a lady like me."

"You think wearing that dress will make you less of a lady?"

She looked at it again, noting that it wasn't nearly as short as some of the other dresses she owned. But still… latex? Did he think she was some dimwit floozy?

"Sookie. This is your punishment. You agreed to this," he reminded, his voice gentle but hard.

She turned so the light from the desk lamp would reflect off the glitter dusted on her boobs and gave him a come hither look. He'd had a plan. So did she, and this was hers.

"But you said that you had fantasies of me in this dress," she cooed, batting her eyelashes at him.

His eyes dilated and he took a step towards her, his fangs down a little and his hands loosely clawed. They hadn't seen each other since five am that morning, so it had been over twelve hours for him, he'd most likely had only TrueBlood to drink, and she knew she looked good enough to eat. Everything was stacked in her favor.

"So I do, and I will happily fuck you senseless right here on my desk, but you will come to your senses wearing that dress."

She closed the distance between them, slipping her hand under his vest and running her fingers up his chest. He did look utterly magnificent in that tux.

"Are you certain?" she purred, feeling his nipple through the fabric of his starched, white shirt. It was time to put all of her skills at seducing Eric Northman to work – overtime. She pinched the nipple, feeling it harden under her touch, and felt him shudder.

He growled low in his chest, and she tasted victory as lust came barreling across the bond. A moment later, she was on the edge of the desk, his hand under her ass, and his crotch – with its very big bulge – pressed between her legs. She grinned and reached around to grab his butt and pull him closer as she hitched her thighs around his hips. Oh yeah, this plan was definitely working.

He bent down and bit his wrist, pressing the wounds to her mouth.

"Drink, so you will be strong and able to read Victor's thoughts tonight," he ordered, his voice shaky.

She obeyed and latched onto the seeping punctures, drawing hard because she knew that would drive him insane with want. She was right, because she had no sooner released his wrist when his mouth came down on her bloody lips and his hand ripped off her panties. She grunted as he shoved two fingers into her and tried to suck her tongue down his throat. She was clinging to him for dear life, balanced precariously on the desk as he worked her into a frenzy.

'Eric. Eric, please…'

He groaned, pulled back his lips and yanked down the front of the dress, freeing her breasts as he took her forcefully. She cried out, arching her back, as he rode her hard and fast, shaking the desk. His mouth was everywhere, suckling her breasts, nibbling her earlobe, licking her neck, until she offered her throat and he drove his fangs into her jugular. She screamed and came, shuddering violently as she felt him reach his own climax. He tore his mouth away, his fangs dripping with her blood, and kissed her as they rode out the aftershocks. She came again.

She was panting, flush and full of satisfaction, and she smiled at him as he pulled out of her, squirming from the loss of him. Her panties were ruined, but luckily she'd packed a spare pair in her purse. When vamps were involved, it was always good to be prepared. She shivered as he licked the wounds on her throat lovingly.

"Mmmmmm," she sighed.

"Thank you, my lover," he murmured. She was feeling and hearing him very clearly, his blood dancing in her veins. It was a very powerful sensation.

"You're welcome. We both needed it."

"Indeed," he agreed, sending love and lust and joy across the bond.

"Now aren't you glad I wore this dress?" she cooed, feeling smug.

In an instant the emotions in the bond shifted, and she felt his disappointment and irritation.

"I am, but you're still wearing mine," he answered, his voice hard.

She frowned as he pulled away from her. "No."

"Yes. I will give you time to clean up, then I will send Pam back in and she will help you get into it. I understand there are some procedures involving powder and petroleum jelly that must be followed," he stated coolly, rearranging his clothing and tucking his package back in place.

He was upset with himself at his own lack of control. She felt mortified and used, but he just gave her a dangerous look.


"No. This is your punishment and you are not getting out of it. You should not have even thought about trying to seduce me in order to get your way," he said angrily. "Or use an outfit you knew I would not be able to resist. Such tactics are beneath you, my lover."

The rebuke hit home and she teared up, but she could already tell that tears would fall on a hardened heart.

"I am not wearing that dress," she insisted.

"You are or I will punish you a different way, one far less pleasant than merely putting on a sexy dress that will look fabulous on you," he threatened, his face stony.

"You think that dress will look fabulous on me?" she blurted incredulously.

"Of course. I would not have chosen it if I did not think so."

"Eric, it's latex. Only hos and fetish queens wear latex."

"I told you never to refer to yourself in such a way in my presence," he snapped, then bared his teeth at her in quiet fury.

Oh, he was very angry, almost as angry as he'd been the night she'd snubbed him to go out with Quinn. More anger came across the bond, and she knew he'd caught her thoughts. She shivered, realizing that her plan had just gone horribly wrong.

"You know, Pam was so certain that you would refuse me that she brought her paddle. She would like nothing more than to see you humiliated in the same way I humiliated her. Maybe I ought to give her her wish," he said, his eyes flashing sparks.

She got a very clear image – very clear, much clearer than she would ever, ever want to see – of Pam draped across Eric's lap, her bare ass in the air, writhing and screaming as he spanked her until she begged for mercy in front of several witnesses who were very much enjoying the show.

"You would never do that to me," she insisted, her eyes wide, but deep down she knew that he would if she continued to defy him.

"Pam thought the same thing until she pushed me too far one too many times, and I made good on my threat."

He was angry enough with her and himself not to care about the consequences of doing such a thing. It wasn't like him to be so impulsive, but she began to catch on that he was not only seriously pissed off, but that he was also feeling very betrayed. He took a step towards her. She gulped and tried to take a step back, but she backed into the desk. Fear lanced through her, and she felt him grow even angrier.

She trembled and began hastily putting herself back to rights. It was a miracle that he hadn't ripped the dress when he'd pulled it down.

"Stop," he ordered and she had to obey. He'd never been like this before, and it was really, really scaring her.

"I've told you before that I don't enjoy you being afraid of me," he all but growled.

"You're the one threatening to spank me in the middle of Fangtasia," she countered, trying to get back on an even keel when her boobs were still hanging out of her dress and her inner thighs were wet from sex.

"Only because you used me and attempted to manipulate me into getting about of a punishment you had already agreed upon. Only because you have done so in front of my subordinate, and made it appear that I cannot control you. You say you do not want me to treat you like a fangbanger whore, well you just behaved like one."

No physical blow could have hurt her more than his words, and she felt them as sharply as if he had spanked her.

"How dare you," she accused.

"I dare because it's true."

He sent her an image of a pathetic woman begging for sex, begging to be bitten, simpering and using her boobs and her body to try to seduce a vampire who had seen and done it all. She was so offended by the comparison that she raised her hand to slap him across the face, but of course he caught it before she got anywhere near his cheek.

"Have I ever raised my hand to you?" he stated calmly, but he was anything but calm. He was hurt and disappointed and deeply offended.

"No," she admitted.

She was trembling in earnest now, realizing just how much she had miscalculated, and wondering how the hell she was going to get out of the predicament she'd gotten herself into.

'Apologize and mean it. Promise to never do such a thing again.'

Tears welled up in her eyes and spilled down her cheeks, ruining her light make-up.

"I'm sorry," she whispered, feeling ashamed. "I won't do this again."

He sighed and she felt the tension drain out of the bond, taking his anger and hurt with it. His relief echoed into her, and she calmed down as he drew her close and kissed her bare shoulder.

"Apology accepted, my lover. I am sorry I chose a dress that so offends you."

"But you're still making me wear it," she stated.

"I must. Now is not the time for you to defy me. Pam has seen the dress and so have others. If you do not wear it, it will seem as if you can challenge my authority and get away with it."

She nodded, understanding. She looked at the red dress again. It really wasn't all that bad. From the look of it, her boobs wouldn't show too much and it would come to about mid-thigh on her. In anything other than latex, it would be considered classy. He'd kept his promise not to put her in anything that made her look cheap.

"Not that I don't love this dress, and I would have very much appreciated your efforts had you chosen to wear it any other night but tonight," he said, stroking her breasts gently.

Now that the anger between them was settled, he was starting to remember that she was half naked. It seemed almost beyond belief that they would have sex after having such a fight, but they were both feeling the need to reaffirm their connection.

'And make-up sex can be very sweet,' he sent, drawing her close and bending his mouth to her nipple. She gasped and arched towards him, threading her fingers into his hair.

He guided her to the leather couch and sat her down, going to his knees between her legs as he used his mouth on her. He'd already fed from her throat, but he knew she liked it when he bit her thigh so he obliged her and took a small sip. She shuddered and cried out, but when he moved to take her, she put a hand on his shoulder and stopped him with a look. Then, while he watched her every move with a ravenous look on his face, she turned over and presented herself to him, arching her back like a wolf waiting for the alpha to mount her. He groaned and readily accepted her offering, flipping up the bottom of her dress and gripping her firmly by the hips for leverage.

"Oooooooohhhhhhhh," she moaned as he covered her with his body, sliding his hands up to fondle her breasts as he thrust into her deep and strong, and he had her gasping and panting in no time.

One hand left her breast to slide between her legs and work her clitoris while he stroked her insides, and she didn't know which way to move – if she should press into his hand or push back onto his penis. He had her trapped between them, teetering on the edge of perfect bliss, but not letting her fall over the cliff. He held her there on the knifepoint of climax, bringing her up almost to the top then – maddeningly – backing her down. He did it four times until she was sobbing and clenching her fists with frustration.

He finally took pity on her and pulled out long enough to flip her over before hooking her knees over his shoulders and pushing back in. The angle was perfect, his Gracious Plenty rubbing her nub and striking her secret spot deep inside all at once, and she was building again, staring directly into his eyes – eyes that were so dilated with need and want that she could barely see the blue in them.

"Eric. I love you, Eric," she whispered.

That did it. He arched his neck, rolled his eyes back, and gave her one last thrust that sent them both toppling over the edge with their names on each other's lips. It was a good thing too because a moment later his cell phone rang.

"Yes?" he barked into the receiver even as she tried to quiet her panting so whoever was calling wouldn't hear her.

"Understood," he said and cut off the connection. "Victor is here."


He gave her an apologetic look and pulled out of her, using his deft hands to set her dress to rights, kissing both of her breasts as he tucked them back into her bra.

"I like the glitter by the way. Nice touch," he admitted.

She giggled because he had some all over his face. He grinned and preened.

"Trophies," he replied. "Should I leave it? That way everyone will know I've had you back here."

"As if the fang marks on my neck wouldn't do that for you," she commented as he used a wad of tissues to wipe himself clean before putting his flaccid member back into his pants. It wasn't like him to bite her where anyone could see.

"I did that deliberately. It is expected," he explained, using another wad of tissues to wipe her clean. She shivered as his fingers brushed against her sensitive center.

"Careful," she warned teasingly.

"We don't have time, but rest assured, my lover, I will have you many, many times tonight. You have off tomorrow, do you not?"

She nodded. "And Friday, but I work Saturday and Sunday."

'Then we will spend the night in Ruston. I will be in no mood to share you after tonight, and we are only guaranteed privacy when we are in our secret nest.'

'No arguments there,' she agreed.

He kissed her and stood, offering his hand to help her to her feet. She snickered when she realized that she still had her screw-me heels on, and they both laughed.

"I love you," he told her, drawing her close for one last embrace and kiss.

"Love you, too. I am sorry about earlier."

"It is forgotten. But wear this dress for me again, and you will get the same… deluxe treatment."

"You love fucking me in my clothes," she jibed.

"I love fucking you out of them, then fucking you again naked," he clarified with a leer.

"You just love fucking me."

"Of course. And you would be lying if you didn't admit that you enjoy doing the same thing to me."

She grinned. "Of course. Wear those leather pants and I won't let you out of the bedroom."

He laughed and stepped away. "Go on and clean up in the employee bathroom. I will send Pam to help you get into the dress."

She took a deep breath and nodded. "Okay."

He sobered and looked intently at her. 'This is it, my lover. You know what you have to do. Our lives and our future depend on us executing our plan.'

'I understand. I'll do my best. Just get me alone with Victor and I'll get what we need.'

'I know you will do me proud.'

He stole one last kiss before he tore himself away from her and left the office. She waited a minute, making sure he'd gotten all of her back where everything belonged, then made her way over to the bathroom in the storeroom. She was reapplying her lipstick when Pam found her. She saw the female vampire's nostrils flare from the scent of blood and sex clinging to her. Secretly, she hoped Pam would have pleasurable company tonight.

"Eric tells me you have reconsidered," Pam said carefully.

She nodded. "Yes. I will need help getting into that dress. I've never worn latex before."

Pam was silent for a moment, then she shook her head, smiling secretly. "Yes. You must powder down with talcum so it will slide on smoothly."

She gulped. "Sounds like fun."

Pam grinned. "Latex can be… very freeing."

"I'm sure," she said drolly, checking her hair before dutifully following Pam back to Eric's office.

"Eric said Victor is here," she commented once they were behind the locked office door.

"Yes. He arrived with Rasul."

"Rasul is here?" she blurted. Rasul was the only Area One vampire left alive after Nevada's take-over, although she couldn't be certain how many hadn't surrendered. Katrina and the bombing in Rhodes had decimated Sophie-Anne's entourage. It could very well have been that Rasul was the only one left.

"Yes, he is eager to see you again, it seems."

Rasul had liked her the time they had met in New Orleans, but she had no idea how he felt about her now. It was a moot point anyway, because Eric would kill him if he tried to touch her.

She didn't comment because Pam was removing the latex dress from it's packaging and preparing it to be worn. There was a bottle of talcum powder and a jar of Vaseline on Eric's desk. She gulped.

"Undress. You will have to take everything off," Pam instructed.

"The bra too?" She already wasn't wearing panties, but Pam probably already knew that.

"Oh yes. Everything shows under latex."

Pam had seen her naked before, but it was still weird getting out of her clothes with the vampire watching like she was the main course at a banquet. Oh yeah, she really hoped Pam would get some action tonight.

'I'll see to it,' Eric's mindvoice said with amusement.

She steeled her face not to give anything away as she peeled off her thigh-highs and garters.

'I did like those, by the way. Is she ogling you?'

'Somewhat. Like she's starving and I'm a big, juicy steak.'

'Hm. I think I'll give her the weekend off and send her somewhere nice.'

'She certainly has earned it.'

His laughter echoed across the bond. 'You have no idea.'

Hm, she guessed Pam was going to have a hand in the upcoming "incident."

When she was naked, Pam gave her a liberal dusting with the talcum, beginning with her boobs and working her way down. She didn't seem to care that she was getting powder all over Eric's rug, and the look on the vampire's face said she was enjoying her job far too much. Pam was very thorough – very thorough – and, when she was done, Sookie felt like she was a powdered donut.

"Take this and smear it on your inner thighs. It will prevent chafing," Pam told her, handing her the jar of Vaseline.

"Do I have to?"

"You do if you don't want it to stick to you. I have heard humans complain about how uncomfortable it is to sweat in latex. Vampires, of course, do not have that problem," she replied with some superiority.

"Right," she said, taking the jar and doing as she was told.

Pam smirked. "You are being very obedient tonight. I am surprised."

Yeah, she hated to disappoint her best vamp girlfriend by not pushing Eric hard enough to make him drag her out into the bar and spank her in front of the crowd. She wondered what Pam did to make Eric do such a thing to her because he obviously hadn't enjoyed it.

'You really don't want to know.'

"Yeah, well, Eric can be very convincing," she answered a little sullenly.

Pam smiled, her fangs running out a little. "I know. Raise your arms. I will slip this over your head."

She did as instructed and watched as Pam bunched up the dress and lifted it to slide over her arms and head. Then the vampire rolled it down carefully, fitting it just so as she smoothed it over Sookie's breasts (perhaps taking a bit too much time there) and patted it down her hips and over her butt. She was right, it did come down to mid-thigh, and it had a built in bra, which was a good thing.

"Ooofff," she gasped. It was tight. She felt like a stuffed sausage, and she gripped it under her arms to shimmy it into a better position. Pam slapped her hands away.

"You must be very careful with latex. You cannot tear it," Pam warned.

"What'll happen if I tear it?"

Her friend gave her an eager look, her pale eyes gleaming. "You don't want to know."

She sighed. Pam opened the closet door, revealing a full-length mirror, and she was presented with her first glimpse of how she looked in the dress. Bombshell didn't quite cover it.


Pam grinned, her fangs fully out now. "My master has good taste," she said, pulling out a shoebox from the closet and presenting her with a pair of gorgeous heels with red satin ties.

She kicked off her red shoes and replaced them with the new ones, letting Pam tie the ties so she wouldn't have to bend over in the dress. She looked at herself in the mirror again and frowned. Somehow, her cheap consume jewelry just didn't seem to cut it. But Pam had one more surprise, and she pulled open Eric's desk drawer to retrieve a jewelry box. Then her quick fingers removed Sookie's red ceramic earrings and replaced them with the rubies Eric had tried to buy for her on Isle Elena. She gasped.

"That sneak! I told him not to buy those!" she complained.

Pam just snickered and put a matching gold and ruby bracelet on her right wrist. There was no necklace, but she hadn't expected one. Her guldgubbe was gleaming brightly at the top of her breasts. So few people ever saw it because she kept it tucked under her clothes, close to her heart, but tonight it was on full display.

"You can either thank or punish him later."

"Hmmph," she grumped, but inwardly admitted that the jewels looked amazing. "Probably both."

Pam laughed, then pulled out a brush from the same drawer that had held the jewelry box and began to brush Sookie's hair. In short order, her long, blond locks were done up in an updo fit for a queen with little tendrils left hanging to frame her face.

"I know you said you were not a lady maid, but you're very good at this," she complimented.

"Hm," was all Pam said in answer, then whipped out her phone to make a call. "She is ready."

She felt Eric's eager anticipation through the bond, and she gave herself one more quick look-over in the mirror right before he appeared in the doorway. His pleasure was evident on his face, and in the bulge in his pants.

"You are a vision," he breathed, coming towards her with his arms outstretched. "Pam, you did an exemplary job."

Pam nodded her head. "Thank you."

He kissed her and fingered her guldgubbe, his eyes alight with love and desire.

"Would that I could skip this whole circus and just take you home," he commented, smiling.

"You wouldn't get any complaints from me," she replied.

He laughed softly, then took her hand. "Are you ready?"

"Aren't we a bit early? It's only 9:30."

"Everyone who was required to be here has already arrived, but if you would like to wait until 10pm, I am sure we can find something with which to occupy our time," he said.

Pam snorted. "I wouldn't advise anything too involved since I just got her into that dress, and it's unlikely that I could get her into it again so soon."

She blushed and Eric growled, but Pam just shrugged and whisked out of the office.

"Victor is here?" she asked.

Eric nodded. "With Rasul."

"Pam told me. Was he the only Area One vamp spared in the takeover?"

"No, there were two others, but neither came with Victor tonight."

She nodded, feeling nervous. "Did your Hammer give you any warnings?" As always, the Godtouched pendant was tucked under his shirt and out of sight. As far as she knew, the only other person to see it had been Pam.

He shook his head. "If he is planning anything, which I doubt, he doesn't have any silver on him."

"That's good, right?"

"Yes. I don't think Victor will make any moves against us tonight. Too many witnesses."

That was a small relief.

"Would you like me to get you something to drink?" he offered.

"Actually I'm afraid to eat or drink anything in this dress," she admitted. "It's so tight, I can't even wear panties under it."

He leered. "I know."

She wanted to smack him. 'So, has your distraction been put into place?'

The leer spread into a grin. 'It is in the works, so to speak.'

'Are you going to give me any warning ahead of time?'


'Then how will I know when it's happening?'

'You will be rushed back here and left alone with Victor.'

She frowned because he was enjoying himself far too much. 'Maybe I should ask Pam for her paddle. You're being very naughty.'

His eyebrows went all the way up into his hair, then he roared with laughter.

'Oh no, my lover. You enjoy my ass too much to mark it.'

'The redness would go away,' she pointed out, smiling at him.

He loomed over her, grinning, his fangs down in his excitement. 'You think a paddling might bring me down a notch or two?'

'As Gran used to say, it gets to the seat of the problem.'

'I think I would have liked your grandmother.'

A stab of grief shot through her, and her smile faltered. Comfort and love immediately flooded into her as her Viking bent down to kiss her hair. It seemed that he was being careful about the dress too.

"I wish she had lived to see me happy. And now, with all I know, I have so many questions, and she's not here to answer them."

"I know. I'm sorry. When Niall approached me…" He sighed. "I knew it would alter your life forever, and I did not know if it would be for the good or ill. I almost refused to do the introduction, but I knew he would approach you anyway, and I decided that I would rather be there when it happened so I could be there for you if you needed me."

She stroked his chest, feeling her love for him tingling under her skin. Even though he was a devious, manipulating bastard who had stuffed her in a latex dress, she still adored him.

"You've always done that, haven't you? You've always put yourself close in case I needed you."

He kissed her gently. "From the moment we met."

She closed her eyes and leaned close, pressing the side of her face to his chest and was rewarded with a strong hug.

"I'm sorry I was such a bitch to you for so long."

He stroked her back very lightly and kissed the twin puncture marks on her neck. "It is forgiven, my lover. I won you in the end, as I knew I would."

His typical arrogance made her snicker and she pinched his butt. "Ego much?"

His rumbling chuckle vibrated his whole chest, but he took her by the arms and gently pushed her away. "I know it is twenty minutes early, but if we stay here alone for much longer, I fear we will be very late."

His eyes were dilated with want and she shivered all over. "I think you might be right."

"Then let us get out of here and get this over with, so I can get you home and get some."

He seemed very pleased with himself on his play of words.

"Like you haven't already gotten some tonight, twice," she reminded.

"Never enough," he murmured, licking behind her ear.

"Eric…" she warned.

He gave a long suffering sigh and rolled his eyes as he took a step back, then he offered her his hand and she placed hers in it, and they left the office together. She stopped at the heavy door that led to the bar, suddenly afraid, but Eric looked down at her and smiled such a gentle, reassuring smile that all her fear disappeared.

"You will be safe," he promised.

"I know. I'm with you."

He gave her one last kiss and opened the door.