Between the Books: Volume One
|Character(s)||Carlos and Damali|
|After||The Hunted or Make it Last Forever|
|Between the Books Navigation|
Carlos followed the curve of Damali’s nude hip with his hand, and stared down at her as she dozed. Ten fantastic nights, and in twenty more, he’d have to leave her to go handle his business down at Council. Dawn approached, and were it in his power, he’d stop time. He allowed his fingers to play along the caramel softness of her flesh and finally sighed. He had to let her go this morning like all the others before. It had become their routine. She needed fresh air, sunshine, and real food… people… all the things that she’d be denied if she stayed locked within his lair all day.
He kissed her gently to rouse her. She had to go now, if she wanted to spend the day in the sunlight.
“The beach is calling your name,” he said softly. “In a half hour, the lair will seal, but I’ll come get you later on tonight.”
She yawned and stretched. “I don’t feel like sunlight today,” she murmured, leaning in to kiss him. “I’m so beat, I could sleep until you get up.”
While it was a pleasant thought, her comment slightly disturbed him. He didn’t necessarily want her to see him regenerate. What if she panicked when his breathing stopped and he became ice cold, and turned into what he was during the day, a corpse? There’d be no way to open the lair for her to escape. He’d torch.
Carlos smiled and played off her request with a casual shrug. “After about two hours, once your batteries recharge, you’ll be in here fussing and stomping your feet and complaining, girl. Go on, now, and put on some clothes and I’ll send you down to the beach.”
“After messing with you all night, all I want is some sleep, brother.” She offered him a mischievous smile. “And you’d better keep your hands off me, too. I’m starting to get friction burns.”
“Then sleep in a lounge chair, sip some daiquiris, get something to eat, go shopping or sightseeing, and then I’ll see you tonight. Cool?” He would not be moved. She had to go.
She made a face and sat up slowly. “The sun hurts my eyes and is too hot. All the noise and confusion on the beach with tourists and whatnot gets on my nerves, and I’m dead tired, Carlos. C’mon, baby, just let me sleep… especially after last night, I’m beat. For real.”
She flopped back on the pillows and stretched out. It was so hard to argue with her when she just sprawled out in his bed like that. He watched her breathing become so shallow that it suddenly made him come near her to check it.
“You hungry?” he asked, feeling her forehead and unmasking her throat wounds to study them. She was cool to the touch. Mild panic coursed through him as he felt her body temperature and studied her complexion. He’d scored her throat so badly on one side that he immediately resealed it, ashamed at the deep punctures that had black and blue swollen tissue around it. “You definitely need to eat. You’re blood sugar is low.”
“I’m starved,” she said in a lazy, sated tone.
“I’ll put some fruit on the—”
“How about a steak?”
Again, he just stared at her for a moment. “You’re vegetarian.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, but that’s what I have a taste for.”
“How about if I put out a fruit platter, some wine, some bottled water, juice, some stuff to make a salad, since you’re being obstinate and won’t go before the grates come down?” Truthfully, he didn’t want her to leave, but this was a bad idea.
She sighed. “Leave the water running and the bathroom working,” she said, drifting off. “In case I have to get up, later. Maybe leave the fireplace lit so I can reheat the steak. Oh yeah, and a pan and some flatware wouldn’t hurt.”
“Any more requests, Princess Richards. You’re seriously high-maintenance, D. Did I ever tell you that? Leos!” He laughed and shook his head. “Can a sister get some TV up in the joint, too, since you’re gonna be knocked out for—”
“See, girl, this is what I’m saying. It takes energy to keep all the amenities going while I’m…”
“In state?” She smiled with her eyes closed. “I hear you. Chances are I won’t get up during the day.”
He didn’t like the sound of that at all. Besides, she couldn’t fathom what he had to do while inside a lair by day. All the silk sheets and plush room appointments and torches, all of it, drained his energy. That was the sole reason he’d purchased real clothes for her when they’d gone out at night, so that he didn’t have to maintain multiple illusions through daylight hours. She simply didn’t understand, even after all they’d been through that, the reason Master vampire lairs only had plain marble slabs and rocky granite interiors when opened by vampire hunters during the day was, the Master in repose was saving precious energy for the night. Last night, whatever he’d had left in him, was reduced to fumes.
“You sure you feel okay, baby?” Carlos looked at her, beginning to lose vitality as the grates started to come down.
She patted the bed beside her. “Lie down and go to sleep. You worry too much.”
The moment darkness kissed the horizon Carlos opened his eyes and sat up. He peered down at Damali and touched her face. He felt groggy and a little off kilter. Maintaining everything for her throughout the day had robbed him of both total relaxation and strength. But as he glimpsed the table, she hadn’t touched a thing.
Whole mangoes and strawberries and papayas remained undisturbed. The wine still had a cork in it, and the cranberry juice and bottled water was still sealed. The steak he’d provided was still intact, she hadn’t even taken a bite of it. From the way the sheets remained, he could tell that she hadn’t even turned in her sleep. The television was cold.
“Baby,” he whispered. “You wanna go down to the city?”
She stirred and smiled, but didn’t immediately open her eyes. “In a little bit. What time is it?”
“Sunset,” he said quietly and brushed her cool forehead with a kiss. “I think you need some fresh air. Just give me a few to go get some dinner, and I’ll be back, then we can go.”
“We should get Yonnie and his boys to come over, ya know?” She sat up with effort and raked her fingers through her locks. “Aren’t you bored? I mean, the night is young, it’s just been the two of us for a couple of weeks… and maybe we could get some people together to go party, or something?”
He stared at her. Had she lost her mind? Yonnie and Stack and the rest of his lieutenants weren’t just people. Rolling with his disorganized lieutenants or even thinking about asking any of them to hang out was an invitation to sheer disaster. The way they partied was not in her vampire huntress code of ethics, not to mention, in Rio, it could pose unthinkable hazards to local citizens, if his squad were on the loose over here. But she was bored? That really worried him.
“If you’re tired of Rio,” he said, deflecting the request to go hang out with a crew of vampires, “we can do one of the islands in my territory.”
“St. Lucia?” she said, perking up. “I’ve always wanted to go there.”
He smiled, loving the way her breasts gently swayed when she leaned in close to him. “Yeah… we can do St. Lucia.” He stood up and walked toward the deck, dressing as he strolled across the room.
She loved how he did that. Simply materialized his leather pants and the way they hugged his butt. Then he’d slip on a black shirt out of thin air; it was so cool to watch him just transform from graceful nakedness into butter soft fabrics in one fluid catlike motion. When he glanced over his shoulder at her, she almost got up and crossed the room. Nah… she wasn’t hardly bored. But the night was a siren, nonetheless. Always had been.
“I love watching you get dressed,” she said, her tone husky as the grates slowly opened. “You’re gonna have to teach me how to do that one night.”
He chuckled low in his throat and winked at her. “I can show you a lot of stuff, but some of it you can’t do, baby.”
She smiled as a hint of fang glistened within his smile. “Oh, leave it to the Master, huh?”
“Yeah, something like that.”
“Take me with you on the hunt tonight,” she said, moving to the edge of the bed with anticipation.
His smile slowly receded. “No. I’ve always told you, there are some things I don’t want you to see me do. I’ll be back.”
“Why?” She stood up and walked toward him. “If I’m going to be with you, then I have to get used to it. Right?”
“Wrong,” he said, going out on the deck to get away from her. He had to eat, his energy was too low, and she had a look on her face that promised tonight was gonna be a barnburner. “If you’re bored, we can change venues, take a moonlight cruise, go dancing, whatever, but—”
“All right. Sorry about signifying.” She offered a slight pout and put her hands on her hips. “If that’s why you’re so salty, just know that I wasn’t commenting on your prowess, okaaaay?”
Carlos feigned shock. “I knew you weren’t commenting on that.”
He was glad that she laughed; he was slightly relieved. But he did understand where she was coming from. It was a solitary life, if he couldn’t connect with his kind. Yet, she didn’t fit into his world. Her friends couldn’t handle it either. However the fact that she was yearning for company, any company at all, after only ten nights away from normal, human socialization let him truly know what he’d known all along. Soon, he’d have to take her back to her people. There was no way to grow a lush tropical plant without sunlight and proper food. She was alive and needed to be in a human garden filled with life. His false lights and soft fabrics were no comparison to what she really required. Beneath it all, there was nothing but marble and granite and death. Illusion couldn’t create life energy. The materialized foods lacked vitality, living essence. No wonder she’d started wilting. His flower was dying and needed The Light.
She recovered from her mirth and swept around the room with a smile. “All right, go eat, and then let’s paint the town red.”
Her choice of words bothered him as he mounted the deck rail and looked out into the darkness for prey. Even her vocabulary was shifting. “Later, if you’re patient, I’ll fix that chaffing problem you mentioned.” He smiled and considered how to do that with well-placed kisses.
She laughed again and winked at him and made him chuckle as she leaned against the railing and stared down at the waves bashing the cliffs. “I guess after we go out we could possibly come back here… does that work? Unless you’re bored?”
“You are anything but boring, Damali,” he said truly meaning it. “Being with you is an unsettling adventure.”
“That’s not what you said last night.”
“I was in the throes and liable to have told you anything.”
“Oh, right. I forgot. Vampires lie.” She laughed and pushed his leg to try to make him fall over the edge of the balcony just to see him take flight.
“Stop playing, girl,” he fussed, teasing her as he wobbled. “I haven’t eaten right and kept everything going for you all day. What if I just fell for you…” he said, dropping backward over the chasm and sending his voice behind him as an echo.
Notes[edit | edit source]
Make it Last Forever takes place entirely in the past. The Epilogue takes place during Minion. Tara isn't revealed to be alive until book 3, The Hunted. So you could read this at any point between The Hunted and The Bitten, regardless of if/when you read Make it Last Forever.
See Also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
-  Official Website (Archived)
|Edits to this page before January 1, 2021 use CC-BY-SA-licensed content from the Fandom Vampire Huntress Legend Series Wiki.|