IMMORTAL by Bryl R. Tyne
Noble Romance Publishing
(c) 2011 Bryl R. Tyne
Blurb: Found abandoned as a child and taken in by the Nevsky clan, the man Ivis now feels the call of the water, the sea, but Sefton and his family, one of the most influential vampire bloodlines in Russia, isn’t about to let Ivis go. As Ivis’s powers grow stronger—powers unknown to him—Sefton’s instructed to detain Ivis at all costs to tilt in his clan’s favor the balance of power in an endless struggle between the Bogdanov water gods and Nevsky vampires. Sefton’s left with a choice: power or love. Which is the greater desire?
At the edge of the great forest, wild fields stretched to the south and to the east, ending as they tapered into a great sea. Though I could see only long grasses to the horizon, rumor spoke of such a place, the place where the Nevsky hunters had found me as a child of four seasons, with not a stitch of clothing or clan to lay claim and the letters IVIS scored across the point where my left collarbone met my shoulder. Few from the nearby village had dared venture out that far since, and those with a will to try had never returned. I dreamt of returning there someday. Though to what, or to whom, or precisely where, I had yet to learn.
“Again, I fear I am losing you, Ivis.” Sefton’s breaths cut cold and hard across the dampness between my shoulders.
Tepid skin graced my lips as I kissed the back of his hand. “Unfortunately, glimpses of my past remain with me to this day, as they should. Should they not?” I asked but got no reply at my back. “I can no more forget them than the sight of my own face in the water.”
But no matter how often I uttered those words, in truth, my past reached no farther than the tip of my nose, for how was it possible a child, no taller than waist high, should remember such places or events . . . or names? It was vain for me to try, but even now, as a young man, I continued to do so. More so, the closer Sefton drew to me for the power, though I knew not this power he claimed to seek . . . but his seeking me out for yet another romp in the forests happened more often than not of late.
“When I am with you, I am alive as never before.” Sefton tugged me against his chest, as he had done each night and many a carefree afternoon for as far back as I could recall. His lips found the juncture at my neck and shoulder, while he fondled me with the most skilled of touches. “You are the very air I breathe.” His words danced across my skin, graceful and confident. With his other hand, he found and teased my entrance, and pushed into me with a whisper, “You are mine, now and for always.”
“Yes.” I barely recognized my own voice under his assault. Yet, I wanted him as totally as he claimed to want me. “Always.”
He stroked my manhood and plowed into me relentlessly, over and again. “Tell me you are mine.”
By the goddess, I wanted to. I wanted nothing more than to accept his invitation to stay forever. But to do so would be a lie.
“Do not speak, my love,” he said, entering me again and again, working himself, faster and faster, until I could not tell where his body ended and mine began. “My love is enough to carry us both.” And he sank his sharp bite into my neck, took from me as much as he gave me elsewhere, and sending me into the bright abyss that only a lover can do.
“Sefton . . . .”
He withdrew his fangs, sealed the tiny wounds with a loving touch of his tongue. My body quivered in his embrace as he brought me back to earth with his sure caress. Yet, I lay there in his arms, fully aware of my plans to leave. How could I tell him that I could not stay, no matter how promising, how tempting . . . how pleasurable his touch.
“I am troubled, not understanding how each time can be better than the last, yet it is a truth I cannot deny,” he said and kissed the top of my head, then my shoulder; his hips pressed firmly to my backside. “Ivis? Promise me. Tell me that every day will be like today only better. Promise to never leave my side.”
His words were at once as a thick plume of smoke, suffocating, no matter how quickly I maneuvered through them. How could he promise me what was not his to give? I removed his less than reassuring arm and pulled myself up to stand. The rocky ground outside our grassy circle of body-warmed foliage stung the soles of my feet. “For the Lady’s sake, I am no Nevsky, and I belong to no one in your villages. To this day, I know not even my family name.” I leaned, one hand clinging, toying with a low-hanging branch. “Until I know who I am, I cannot make such promises. You know that I would die for you if I could.”
I turned and found the ever-present doubt his gaze increasingly held.
“I love you, Sefton Nevsky, like no other. Is knowing that not enough for you?”
For the briefest of seconds, his eyes flashed the color of fresh-spilled blood, and I looked away. He shot to his feet and with a firm grip, carried my face nose to nose with his own in a move that left me panting with fright. Yet I did not retreat, nor show the fear he had instigated and likely craved. Instead, I met his sternness with my own. “You are neither my keeper nor my brother.”
“I am a Nevsky and you—a bastard son found amongst the reeds. Do not push me, lower than low.” He pounded his chest with a knuckled fist. “You will not defy my wishes.”
Against my knotted gut, I stepped around him and retrieved my tunic and breeches. Oxen more stubborn, I had never witnessed in my supposed twenty-some years—I kept that knowledge loosely, also, for I had as much recollection of my true age as I had of the day I was born. Despite Sefton’s stance and his curses to the contrary, I dressed, slipping my tunic over my head. “Your proclaimed ‘two years’ on me makes you no wiser than I, though, with each passing day, you do resemble more and more a donkey’s behind.”
His reaction came swift and sure as he backed me against the nearest stone birch; Sefton tightened his grasp on my tunic with a shove surely meant to meld his fist to my chest. My still-naked buttocks encountered rough bark. His gaze remained locked with mine. “One day”—he wiped the spittle from his bottom lip—”one day I will make you know how infuriating a man you can be, Ivis Bogdanov.”
Sefton’s mouth covered mine, leaving me forgotten moments better used for breathing, but I could no more deny his needs for all the talk in the forest. He pulled away, as breathless as I. “Curse our lives,” he said, grimacing in obvious disgust. “Were I not born the ass that I am—were you . . . had we met under different circumstances—”
“But we have not. That is the hand the Fates have dealt us.”
Sefton pulled me into his arms. “Do not do this. No good can come of your curiosity. Are you so unhappy that I cannot expect you to share this life we have?”
“Life?” I wrenched free, backed out of his embrace. “You call this a life? I roam your fathers’ countryside by day and your castle by night as if in search of something, though I know not what.”
The look Sefton bore frustrated me further.
“You do not understand. I am a man. Do you not see that I have no need to be by your side both day and night? Can you not see your constant concern is smothering? I turn a corner; you are there. I close my eyes only to open them to your face. Is it I you do not trust, or is it yourself?”
Sefton’s steely eyes flared to deep crimson, and in that flash of color, he stood a hair’s breadth before me. “Rue the day I found you among the marshes bordering the eastern fields.” His nostrils flared as he turned away. “I need you beside me, or you would not remain . . . .” His stance turned aloof, and his stare grew cold. “You are no one special. No one would have you but I; no man is as accoutered as I to keep a—a man, such as yourself.”
Heat pooled in my chest, and a chill, the likes of which I had never experienced, consumed my shaking limbs. “A burden you claim, then I fear a burden I shall become.”
“Do not speak the words, Bogdanov”—he bore his elongated teeth in anger, a rarity in my presence—”or feel my wrath!”
In a move unseen, he was upon me, the sting of his bite upon my flesh, and I hardened instantly, despite my struggle.
“Damn you, son of Nevsky.”
But my words came on a fleeting breath, for my body could not mask my desire, and I pressed into his touch, his bite . . . his embrace, wanting him near with the same ferocity I wanted him to stay away, the same longing I had felt the first time we had coupled. And he reciprocated, penetrating my flesh deeper as he rolled his hips, revealing his desire, even as he assuaged his anger with the blood drawn from my shoulder.
He pulled away, withdrawing his fangs. His gaze, obscured by a haze of lust, met mine, and it was my blood that trickled from his lips as he said, “Too late.”
His expression told of his pain—decades, centuries, an eternity—for how long, I had no knowledge. So much had passed between us, years of growing—more, I’d grown from boy to man; Sefton had remained as youthful and handsome as ever—still, I knew few details of his life or circumstance. Uneasiness swallowed me whole with one look into his eyes. In spite of his protests to the contrary, I could never be what he desired. It hurt to love him as I did, but it hurt more to know not who I was, where I had come from, to whom I might belong.
“You belong with me, Ivis.” His voice was but a whisper as he wiped the blood from his chin.
“Get out of my head.”
“Your own thoughts betray you, for freely they gave themselves to me. I had no need to pry my way in.”
“You are an insatiable and arrogant man.”
“I’m no more a man than you—” He stopped abruptly and turned his back to me.
“What is this you once again allude to?” He removed himself from my reach. No man could keep one such as me . . . . Had he not meant riches, for admittedly, I had wants, and Sefton seemed always to have the need to fulfill each and every one of them? Before my next breath, Sefton had dressed.
“Son of Nevsky, what are you hiding from—?” But before I could finish my question, he was gone. And hence, so was I.
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