Thank you so much kind readers for taking a chance on our latest collaboration. This story has been in the works almost since Eternal Kiss of Darkness, by the amazing Jeaniene Frost, came out in July 2010. If you haven't read EKOD we highly recommend it, but regardless we think you'll be able to follow our story. At least we hope you will... If you have any questions please feel free to ask us!

These characters belong to Jeaniene Frost, to whom we are eternally thankful!

This story follows Mega Master Vampire Mencheres and Kira Graceling shortly after the end of EKOD.

Special thanks to the co-betaing duo of Kristin Elizabeth and A Redhead Thing for going over this and whipping it into shape.

And of course big hugs to the lovely GaijinVamp who has been an eager pre-reader for us.

Chapter 1

Mencheres pulled the covers up around Kira, stroking her hair, and placed a gentle kiss on her temple.

"Rest well, my littlest vampire, I will see you soon," he whispered.

Resisting the urge to crawl back into bed with her, he gathered up his laptop and took a last look at her sleeping in their bed before leaving the bedroom.

Several hours later, Mencheres sensed that Kira was about to rise. He entered their bedroom and saw his beautiful dark lady still resting, her nude body peeking out from under the covers, looking so luscious in the remaining moments of daylight. He removed his clothes and lifted the covers. Crawling into bed with her, he pulled her to him, relaxing into her. Her unique scent filled his nose and took away all the tensions of the day. Kira began to stir in his arms.

"Ah, there you are..." He stroked her hair while her eyes fluttered open.

Sighing contentedly, Kira spoke softly, "Hello. What time is it?"

"It's almost sundown. Did you rest well?" He asked as his hands caressed her back.

"Sundown?" Kira said, worry in her voice. "Why did I sleep so late? I haven't slept this long since those first few days. Is something wrong with me?"

He laughed quietly. "Nothing is wrong with you, my love. We have been these past few days."

Kira looked at him for a moment, then realization hit. "Oh, whew! Wow, yeah, I guess we have been...busy. I was worried for a minute." She turned so their bodies faced each other, wrapping her arms around his back. Their bodies flush against one another; she closed her eyes and drank in his unique scent as she thought back on the past few days. Had it only been a week since they came back to Chicago after the encounter with Radjedef? Kira closed her eyes, resting her cheek against his cool flesh, remembering that last hectic week.

By the time our plane had gotten to Atlanta, Mencheres had everything under control and a clean up crew was making any signs of his fight with Radje disappear. It was so good to be in his arms again. We didn't stay in Atlanta for long and quickly headed back to Chicago. I needed to be near Tina, and Mencheres wanted to assess the damage that Radje had done to all of us.

Gorgon had gone ahead to make sure things were in place once Mencheres and I arrived. Even though they hadn't been in communication during our time on the run, Gorgon had managed to follow our progress and knew when we were finally safe.

We stayed in a hotel in downtown Chicago for three days while Gorgon got things ready. I was relieved to be back in Chicago but dreaded it too. What did people think had happened to me? What kind of life was I going back to? Which former pieces of my life were available to me?

While I hid in the hotel, pondering what was left of my former life, Mencheres went out and met with other vampires to find out who had stood by him, and who hadn't, when he had been accused by the law guardians.

Later that day we got a call from Cat, who informed us that Don Williams, head of the Paranormal Division of Homeland Security, had been doing major clean up and damage repair while we were gone. Turned out he was also Cat's uncle. Don's people had managed to make the bag of Mencheres' blood that the police had confiscated disappear and got the charges against me dropped. It was a huge relief to find out that we were no longer fugitives in either the human or vampire world.

Gorgon picked us up on the morning of the fourth day. Mencheres didn't want me to see the house until it was ready. He had wanted to blindfold me but I convinced him that he could distract me another way. I tried to figure out where we were headed, but Mencheres was very good at distracting me. Luckily, Gorgon had brought the town car so we at least had the illusion of privacy. As soon as we got to the long tree-lined drive, he put his hands over my eyes.

When the car finally stopped he let me look. It was beautiful. More beautiful than any house I had ever seen. I knew there were houses like this in Illinois but I had never been in one. It was more than a house; it was an estate, with a large garage, gardens, a patio and best of all, a pool. It was much larger than his other house, but somehow this one was much warmer. I didn't know if Gorgon had done this all in the few days he had or if it had come fully furnished, but I loved it and was touched that they had spent time trying to make our first home together perfect.

Kira inhaled deeply, enjoying the feel of hm pressed against her. "So what have you been doing while I've been resting?"

Mencheres wrapped his arms around her, breathing in her sweet scent. "I was downstairs working for a while, and then came up so I could be here when you rose. I find that I like that very much." He ran his hands down her back, holding her close.

Kira smiled warmly at him. "I like that too. It's my favorite way to wake up, in your arms. In fact, it's my favorite place to be all the time."

"Then I shall have to be sure to be here when you rise." He placed a soft kiss on her lips. "And what would you like to do this night?"

Kira laughed. "That will be interesting when you have to leave a meeting to crawl into bed with your girlfriend, but I won't complain." She kissed him back. "Hmmm...tonight? I'm open to suggestions."

"Ah, those are the perks of being the head of your own line. I'm serious about having Bones do more, so I can enjoy your lovely company."

She kissed him again, this time deeper, placing her hands on either side of his face to hold him to her. She continued kissing him, running her hands through his thick, silky hair, enjoying the growing scent of sandalwood and dark spices that filled the air.

Mencheres pulled her body tighter to his, lost in the feelings of her bare flesh against him. Her own lemony scent mixed with his as their lust for each other grew.

Kira removed her hands from his hair, rubbing them over his chest, while placing soft kisses on his cheek, throat, and neck. "Mmmhmmm. I could get used to waking up like this."

Mencheres stroked the backs of his fingers down her cheek until he cupped her chin, bringing his lips to hers. "I find myself unable to leave you alone in this bed."

She kissed him back softly, "I hope you'll never leave me."

Mencheres brushed the hair away from Kira's face. "I'm sure you will tire of me before long," He looked deeply into her eyes, "but I would have you stay with me forever, if I could."

Kira sat up and straddled his waist, placing her hands on his strong arms to keep him in place, while looking directly into his eyes. "I will never tire of you my love, you're stuck with me. I suggest you get used to it." She claimed his lips fiercely.

He wrapped his arms around her tightly, returning her kiss, still amazed at the turn of events in his life.

Sensing his swirling feelings, and knowing that he sometimes had a hard time accepting the fact that he deserved happiness, she reassured him, "Mencheres, I adore you. I have never felt so happy and so complete until you." Kira lowered her head and kissed his chest softly.

With her words, Mencheres felt a sense of peace and belonging flood his body. "And I can say the same of you, my love. I thought these feelings were lost to me forever." He kissed her with passion, dropping his shields completely, letting her feel what he was feeling.

She molded her body to his as his kiss and his feelings consumed her. "We just needed to find each other, and now we have." Stroking his hair, "This is right. You're mine. This is how it is meant be."

Looking directly into her eyes, he replied. "I am yours, forever, my darling."

Kira licked his neck, grinning at him. "Good. Now that we've got that settled..." She kissed her way down his throat, sucking on his neck while her fingers pinched his nipple.

"Did you have something in mind, my love?"

She rested her head on his chest as her hand skimmed across his smooth, hard abs, reaching lower to lightly brush his length before settling on his thigh. "Maybe..."

He rolled her over onto her back, holding her hands over her head, and pressing her down with his body. "Maybe? I think you are teasing me..." Mencheres used his thigh to part her legs and rest in the cradle of her hips, his eyes glowing green as his fangs lengthened.

"Me, tease you?" Kira was panting slightly from the delicious way his body had trapped her. She moaned softly, his name on her lips.

He looked down at how he had her pinned against him, her beautiful breasts heaving with want. He leaned in close and whispered against her skin. "Maybe I should just take you now, without mercy. Would you like that? Or I could make you wait until later, with anticipation or perhaps a little of both?" He kissed her deeply, pressing his hard length against her slick, soft skin.

Moaning as his tongue ravaged her, she enjoyed the feeling of being powerless in his grasp. She arched into him, pressing her body upwards to try and meet his.

He smiled. "I guess I have my answer." Mencheres parted her legs wider with his thigh and slid into her with a single stroke, marveling at how tight and wet she was. "Oh, Kira." He started with slow thrusts and gradually increased the pace as he watched the green swirl in her eyes.

She followed his movements, rolling her hips to meet his, until her back arched enough that her nipples made contact with his chest.

Mencheres kissed her throat as he moved inside her, licking the lemony scent from her skin. He scraped his fangs along her vein, lost in the feel of her skin against his lips.

Kira wrapped her legs around him. "Yes, Mencheres, yes!" She cried out while she writhed beneath him as he continued to press her hands into the mattress over her head. Kira's body was on fire, and she threw her head back, baring her throat and breasts to him.

Mencheres' eyes blazed green as he sank his fangs into her right breast with a growl. He drank her rich, sweet blood as he continued to pound into her. She was so close now.

"Oh my god, yes!" Kira arched her entire body off the bed to meet his hips. "More, I need more!" she pleaded.

He obliged, thrusting into her harder. Releasing her hands from over her head, he grabbed her thighs, opening her so he could go deeper, groaning with deep guttural moans as he felt her tighten around him. He wanted more too, to feel her body shake with pleasure from his attentions.

Kira ran her hands down his back and grabbed his ass. "Come Mencheres, come with me!" She bucked her hips into his, matching him thrust for thrust. "YES! OH, YES!"

Mencheres felt Kira clench around him as she climaxed. He thrust into her again and growled as his body rippled with his own orgasm. He became aware that she was holding his hips to hers as he finished. He dropped his head to her shoulder and nipped at her playfully.

Kira stroked his long beautiful hair, brushing it away from his face as he rested his head on her shoulder, their legs still entwined. "Yep, definitely my favorite way to wake up," she giggled. He gave her a quick kiss, and rolled off of her and onto his back, missing the feel of her hands in his hair. "Kira, if you keep doing that to me, we will never get out of this bed."

"But I like this bed." She whimpered from the loss of his strong body on top of hers, putting her arms around him and snuggling close against his chest. "Do you want to take a bath or a swim?"

"A swim, I think." he said, stroking her arm with his fingers. "After we feed first, of course. You must be hungry." He grinned. "Shall we go downstairs or would you prefer to stay here?"

She rested her hand on his muscular arm, not ready to leave the bed. "You're right, I am hungry." Kira smiled at him and kissed his lips. "I wouldn't mind staying here, but I don't really want to have anyone else in our room. I don't suppose we have any bags of blood in the fridge?"

He stroked her arm, sensing her unease, and kissed her back. Kira still wasn't completely comfortable feeding from humans, and he could feel her apprehension. He smiled at her and tried to calm her fears. "You look so beautiful when you feed, I love to watch you. Let us go down to the library, take care of our needs, and then go for a swim. Is that all right with you? Bathing suits optional, of course."

"It is so hard to refuse you when you smile at me like that," she said, touching his cheek. "Ok, fine, let's go feed. But no walking around naked in front of the donors. Is that the right word, donors?"

He laughed. "All right, for you, I will dress to feed. And the same goes for you, my love. Perhaps you'd like to wear one of those lovely new bathing suits you bought." He picked up the phone from the nightstand. "Now what is your preference? Male or female?"

"Wait, do you usually feed naked? I'm sorry, but this just feels strange, ordering people to drink from, like some fast food place. I'm still not used to this." Mencheres didn't say anything as he waited for her answer. "Okay, I don't know, female? What do you usually prefer? Do you drink off the same person mostly, or do you mix it up?"

Mencheres pulled her into his arms and kissed her temple. "No, I don't feed naked. The donors are here of their own free will. They are better off than they would be on their own, and they have my protection in our world. They can leave anytime, but only after being relieved of their memories. But most choose to stay with us, hoping to eventually become one of us. Do you remember the first time I bit you? Do you remember how you felt?"

"Yes, I remember," she said softly, thinking of that time when she was still human, and Mencheres bit her; she hadn't wanted him to stop, it felt so good.

"That feeling is a consequence of a vampire bite because of the special substance released by our fangs when we feed. They find the bite pleasurable. I have no preference, and I do not feed from the same person so they may replenish their blood supply between feedings. When you feel you are ready, I will show you where they stay." He paused, gauging her comfort level, and he waited for her questions.

Kira exhaled, even though it wasn't necessary. "Okay, thank you. I've been unsure about all of this, and I know that you would take good care of anyone who worked for you. So, these people must get very attached to you then, because it's so, um, pleasurable. Does that ever become a problem?"

"In our world, these human donors are considered property. And yes, I value my property, and in return I expect loyalty, and blood. They are not our equals, Kira." He pulled up his defenses, not wanting her to feel his concern over how she would accept humans as property. He waited for her reaction, but it wasn't what he had expected.

Kira felt the wall go up between them and sat up in bed. "Why did you do that? Is there something you're not telling me? I understand that your—our world is different. Property is the reason I got killed in the first place. I tried to take Flare's property, right? And I understand now that there is a price that is paid, and it works both ways. They provide you what you need to survive, and in turn you protect and take care of them." She reached out and touched his cheek. "I know you value your people, all of them. It's one of the reasons I love you. I'll get used to this, I will. I'm just trying to understand it."

"Kira, I'm not keeping anything from you. I've had thousands of years of withholding and controlling my emotions. I suppose there are things I will need to get used to as well." He answered, holding out his hand to her, still wary that she was upset.

She took his hand and laid her head on his chest. "Please don't cut me off from your emotions like that. It hurts. It hurts too much."

Mencheres shifted his position so he could look into her eyes. "I will try. I promise." He dropped his defenses, letting her feel his love for her, and then kissed her lips, his tongue sliding against hers.

Kira relaxed into his embrace, smiling that she could feel his emotions again. It felt so right to be there, in his arms, and she kissed him back, their passion evident in their combined scent in the room.

After a few minutes, he reluctantly stopped kissing her, resting his forehead against hers. "If we don't stop now, we are never going to get out of this bed, and as much as I'd like to ravish you through the night, you really do need to feed. I want you to be strong, my littlest vampire, and I told you I would take care of you." He gave her a quick kiss. "Go put something on that won't get Gorgon too distracted and then we'll take a swim, alright?"

She laughed. "Okay, but I don't think Gorgon much cares what I wear or don't wear." Kira climbed out of bed and entered the walk-in closet containing her clothes. She shuffled through the choices and wondered what was proper feeding attire. She laughed to herself and wasn't about to ask that question. She selected a top and a pair of short shorts and pulled them on. "Okay, I'm ready..."

Mencheres took one look at Kira and smiled. "As much as I do love your outfit my love, I don't like to torture my property, and I'm afraid they wouldn't be able to resist acting inappropriately with you in your current attire. Then I would certainly have to defend you, and you know what would happen then." He threw his hands up in mock despair, as if he would actually harm his own property.

Kira laughed and threw her arms around him, squeezing him tight. She kissed him hard on the lips. "My big bad vampire." She kissed him again. "Okay, I'll put on something more...appropriate."

He laughed and twirled her around so her back was against his chest. He teased her neck with his kisses, nipping at her lightly with his flat teeth. "Yes, I think that would be best." He released her, playfully pushing her back into her closet. He then grabbed a pair of jeans and a t-shirt from his dresser. "Are you ready, my love?"

Kira exited the closet also wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Her feet were bare, and she looked around the room for a pair of shoes she could slip on. Mencheres came up behind her and lifted her into his arms.

"Forget the shoes, I'll carry you downstairs. We will be in the pool very soon."

She kissed his neck, once, then again, and whispered in his ear. "Good, because I think the only way I'm leaving this room is if you carry me." She kissed him again, this time finding the spot that caused a shiver of pleasure to run through him.

"And if you keep kissing me like that, we will never leave this room, and then my littlest vampire would starve, and we can't have that, can we?"

Kira sighed contentedly, smiling at his new nickname for her. She was his newest vampire, and she liked him taking care of her. "You're right, and I am hungry. I just like having you all to myself. I feel once we leave the bedroom, something could come up to take you away from me, my big, strong, important vampire. "

Mencheres opened the door with his mind and floated them into the library, placing her gently on the couch. He sat next to her and pulled her into his lap, nuzzling behind her ear.

"Tonight, I am all yours. No interruptions, I promise."

A knock at the door reminded Kira why they were in the library. She looked at the two human males Gorgon brought into the room. One was blond and the other dark-haired, and they were both very good looking. She could feel apprehension and hunger twisting in her stomach.

Mencheres looked at Kira and whispered softly. "Are you ready, Kira?"

Kira sat up straight and hoped that Mencheres would take the lead and drink first. Even though she had fed from humans before, it was still uncomfortable for her. It wasn't as if she was unsure about what to do. Her discomfort came from knowing that she actually liked it. She was still dealing with the differences in her life, and feeding was one big difference.

"Yes," she answered, in what she hoped was a strong and confident voice.

He detected the scent of her nervousness and kissed her gently, brushing her cheek with his fingertips. He signaled to the donors to step behind the couch and reached around to grasp the blond's wrist. While Kira watched, his fangs elongated, and he bit into the vein that pulsated with fresh blood under the surface of the human's skin. Her hunger burned in her belly as she smelled the delicious blood filling his mouth. Her fangs throbbed, wanting a taste. Now.

Mencheres could feel her hunger as he fed and quickly healed the holes with a swipe of his tongue, sending the donor away with a nod. Kira shifted in his lap and turned to the remaining donor, taking his arm gently. She bit into the human's wrist, all the while keeping her eyes locked onto Mencheres', feeling his passion, pride, and lust for her as he lowered his defenses while she drank. As soon as the warm blood entered her mouth, her nervousness receded, along with the pain in her stomach. She groaned from the intense emotions raging through her, her own feelings entwining with Mencheres' until she couldn't distinguish their source.

Once she felt full, she pricked her thumb on her fang and sealed up the wounds on the human's wrist. Her discomfort returned, wondering if it was proper to thank the donor. Mencheres didn't, but she didn't feel right just sending this man away without expressing her gratitude.

"Thank you," Kira said quietly, as she continued to feel Mencheres' aura wrap around her. Before the door to the library had closed, she wrapped her arms and legs around Mencheres and kissed him fiercely, the taste of the donors' blood still in their mouths. He kissed her back, his tongue probing her intently. He pulled off her t-shirt, his hands and power stroking her everywhere.

"I thought we were going for a swim," she managed to say between kisses, her nails biting into his shoulders as she clutched him to her. His mouth went to her throat, and she threw her head back as his lips claimed her there. He held her tightly in his arms, and when she playfully pushed against his chest to get free, she was seized with a sudden pain. Her head filled with images, mental pictures of her pushing Mencheres away from her, only she wasn't playing. In her mind, she was yelling at him to stay away as he begged with outstretched arms for her to forgive him.

Thanks for reading - we hope you liked it! Please feel free to tell us what you think.

I'd like to take a moment to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wonderful writing partner Tradermare! I am so thankful to have found her stories and through them gotten to know her better. We are truly part of an amazing community of readers and writers. I am just so thrilled that we are posting chapter 1 of this story on her birthday! ~bontempscutie