Jonas Forge held out a fork full of pastry and fruit. “Here, try this. Little slice of heaven is no exaggeration.”
Blair leaned forward and caught most of what Forge offered, in his mouth. He smiled, eyes lighting up, and groaned. “That’s good.” He licked up the little bit that dribbled off the fork with a swipe of his tongue under his lower lip.
Autumn was wonderful in America’s Midwest, Forge’s favorite time of year. He was a 240-year-old vampire and he’d had plenty of time to decide this season was the one he liked the best. “I’ve lived quite a few different places, but I have to say this part of the world has definite advantages this time of year. I bet you didn’t get pie like this in New Mexico.”
Blair shrugged. “True, but no one up here knows what a good burrito is.”
“Touché,” Forge said and grinned. “But the leaves don’t change color in the desert either.” He cut a piece of pie for Blair and handed it across the table. They had two entire nights alone at Boggs’s Castle, a rare occurrence. In fact, Forge wasn’t even sure how that happened. He couldn’t remember the last time everyone else was away for so long at once.
Blair Turner had been living here, in Flint, Ohio with Forge just about a year now and this was the first night they’d been alone in the house. He poked at Blair’s plate. “Want some ice cream with that?”
“No, I like it just the way it is.” Blair took a forkful and scooped more of the pie into his mouth. He swallowed and there it was, exactly what Forge was waiting for. Leaning back in his chair he watched Blair’s Adam’s apple slide up and down as he swallowed. Some of the filling slipped off the fork and oozed down Blair’s chin. He used the fork to scrape it off and into his mouth. Stopping mid-swallow, fork still in his mouth, he met Forge’s gaze and raised his eyebrows. “What?”
Forge and Blair had been soul bonded last year. It was autumn then as well, but too much had been going on for them to enjoy what the season had to offer. Bonded vampires felt each other’s emotions to varying degrees, depending on the individuals. For Forge and Blair that connection was very strong.
Tonight it was clear Blair was sensing Forge’s feelings a bit more intensely than usual. From the expression he wore and the emotions rolling off Blair, Forge knew he liked the way Forge watched him.
Blair swallowed leisurely, smirking around his fork. Earlier, while they were setting the table, Blair had put music on. Despite Forge being born before the artists popular in this century, he and Blair shared very similar tastes in music.
Humming along with Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Blair scooped up another forkful of pie. He eased it into his mouth and swallowed even more slowly than before, eyebrows bobbing and eyes twinkling. Before taking another mouthful of apple pie Blair asked, “So, what do you want to do tonight?”
Forge blinked at him and poured more wine into both their glasses. He ran his tongue along his lips and shrugged. “I hadn’t thought about it.” There was a fire crackling and popping cheerfully in the living room fireplace. Moose, of course, sprawled in front of it, soaking up all the heat.
“Wine and pie don’t really go together well,” Blair pointed out. He plucked a loose slice of apple from the pan and sucked it deliberately into his mouth. Then he swiped the tip of his tongue across his lower lip.
Clearing his throat, Forge stood up. “I’ll make some coffee.” He waved at the remains of their main course. “We should clean up so Moose doesn’t help himself to scraps.” He stacked the dinner plates and wandered to the kitchen.
“You’ll probably need the caffeine for extra energy, old man,” Blair murmured. Forge snickered when he heard the sound of Blair’s footsteps behind him and his humming made Forge smile. Setting his plate with his half-eaten piece of pie on the counter, Blair used one finger to scoop up a chunk of apple.
Forge put coffee beans in the grinder and pressed down, turning to face Blair as he did so. Blair’s eyes had changed to solid hazel. He put the piece of apple in his mouth and grinned, licking the juice off his finger a second later.
“You’re distracting me from my mission of making coffee,” Forge teased.
Blair swayed with the music, brushing against Forge’s hip. “Um-hum. Yes, I am.” He took another finger-full of pie and held it up between them.
Forge leaned in, slipped one arm around Blair’s waist and ate the offered fruit. Pulling Blair close, he licked Blair’s lip then kissed him. “You taste like apples.”
Blair smiled into the kiss and scooped up more pie. This time he smeared some of the filling down his neck. He stepped back so he could lean against the counter. “You like apples.”
“I do.” Forge’s fangs dropped and he used them to rake lightly over the skin of Blair’s neck before sucking the juice off. “Love them actually.”
Blair’s Adam’s apple bobbed, but this time it was caused by the deep, needy moan he exhaled. Forge wrapped both arms around Blair and moved him so he was wedged securely between the counter and Forge. Using one hand between Blair’s thighs Forge pressed his fingers against the inside of his left thigh, rubbing the marks he’d made there when they’d bonded. He knew they were hot-wired directly to Blair’s cock. Blair squirmed against him, breath coming in fast pants.
When he thought of it, this whole soul bonding thing was crazy. Being drawn to someone who was in many ways his opposite—no, complement, Forge reminded himself—was mind boggling. Mind boggling, amazing and incredible all at once, but love in general was a little crazy he supposed.
Letting go of Blair, Forge took one step back, held his arm up and made a big deal out of looking at his watch. “We can still get to that orchard a few miles outside of town and get some cider and apple fritters for breakfast.”
Blair sagged back against the counter. “Huh?” His voice cracked and Forge chuckled. “You want to go now?”
Forge shrugged. “They close a few hours after dark. We should get another pie. I bet they have hay rides.”
“Do you have some kind of bizarre addiction to apples?” Blair asked. Feelings of lust, heavily spiced with impatience and a dash of annoyance radiated from him.
“I know you’ve only been a vampire for a handful of years, but we have plenty of time. There’s no ru—” Forge’s words were abruptly cut off when Blair reached out, grabbed Forge’s shirt in both hands and yanked him hard against Blair. In the next instance he had a mouthful of Blair’s tongue.
Turning them, Blair reversed their positions. Now Forge was trapped against the counter. Widening his stance, Blair stepped close so one of Forge’s thighs was between his legs. The tips of his fangs skimmed a path across Forge’s jaw before he nipped lightly at Forge’s ear.
“So, are you saying you don’t want to take a car ride?” Forge ran one hand up Blair’s spine and moaned softly when Blair’s tongue followed his fangs.
“I’d rather take a walk,” Blair said softly, squeezing Forge’s waist and pressing even more closely to him.
“Oh, okay, if that’s what you want. Your wish and all. Let me grab Moose’s harness, we can’t go for a walk without him,” Forge said. He laughed when Blair’s feelings turned to aggravation and innocently asked, “Am I missing something?”
Blair bounced with the music and gave him a playful shove, forcing Forge to stay where he was. Snatching up more apples from the pie, Blair smeared the juice over his lips then licked his fingers clean. He sucked in a ragged breath and Forge was drenched in an emotional cocktail of love, desire and needy desperation.
“I hate you,” Blair grumbled.
“Uh-huh.” Forge grinned and Blair smiled back.
“Not buying it, huh?” Blair tipped his head back and gave Forge complete access to the length of his neck. He took full advantage of that offer.
Forge ran his fingertips along Blair’s left inner thigh again, making him shudder. “Nope.” His own body quivered in response. Pulling them together again, Forge pressed a hungry, long kiss to Blair’s mouth. His tongue slipped over Blair’s and his hands moved to Blair’s hips, moving them in time to the music. He put his other arm around Blair and walked him backward toward the door. “A minute,” Forge said, stopped and held up one finger. “I really do have to take care of this or else someone…,” he tipped his head in Moose’s direction, “…will clean up for us.”
“Right.” Blair sidestepped and grabbed the garbage bag out of the can, holding it open so Forge could dump the contents of the plates inside. He sprinted to the dining room and came back with the pie dish and what was left of their dessert. That went into the refrigerator.
Forge tied the bag and took it out to the garbage can, secured the lid and bound back into the house, locking the door after him. “You were asking about what to do tonight?”
“I have an idea or two,” Blair said. He held up one hand and crooked a finger as he backed toward the stairs to the second floor.
“Only one or two?” Forge shook his head and rested his hands on his hips. “You’re slipping.”
Blair arched an eyebrow, a subtle enough gesture. The emotions that accompanied it, however, took Forge back to him thinking how much he loved Blair. And how crazy it was, considering they’d barely had much chance to get to know one another. When one’s life span had the potential to cover hundreds, if not thousands of years, one year together was a mere blip.
“We still have time to get to the apple orchard,” Forge said innocently.
Blair threw his hands up in the air. “Arrrgghh!” He turned and bolted up the steps.
Forge laughed. “Or we can go tomorrow.”
Feelings of love and craving washed over Forge as he bounded up the stairs to join Blair. Tomorrow they’d have a late breakfast at the orchard and get some extra cider to bring home. Later in the afternoon was the Ohio State/Michigan football game—go Buckeyes—complete, of course, with the halftime band show featuring the ‘best damn band in the land’.
Blair was starting a fire in the bedroom fireplace. He stood to face Forge, grinning. Forge snagged him around the waist and hustled him to the bed, dumped him there and pounced on top of Blair, loving how his chest vibrated when he laughed.
Autumn in Ohio was Forge’s favorite time of year. There were apples, football, trees awash in golds, reds and oranges and nights spent in front of a fire. Even better was this crazy soul mate bonding thing and a future forever with Blair.
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