Bonds of Blood

By: Shauna Hart

Dedication



Thanks to all of my friends and family

who have been so supportive of my work.



To my sons, Anthony and Colton, for

always making me smile.



And, as always, thanks to my husband, Willchris,

for giving me all of the love and support

that keeps me going.





Chapter 1

She didn’t even know he was here.

Each night, he watched her.

To protect.

It was his duty.

She let out a low murmur as she twisted on the bed, the sheets slipping below her waist. The satin negligee she wore moved against her skin to reveal the side of her breast. Full breasts that he wanted to touch, to taste.

His body went taut. Leaning over, his hand hovered over the sheet. As much as he wanted to take temptation from view, he didn’t trust himself to touch her.

She was not for him, no matter how much he desired her. He had been chosen for this task because of his loyalty, and he refused to dishonor that. His job was quite clear. He was a Member of the Vigilate—he was only meant to watch, to protect.

She rolled over, her long legs slipping out from under the sheet. He drew in a deep breath. His hand ached with the need to caress her thigh, to tease the hot center of her. Each night was like this.

A lesson in torture.

Each night as she slept, he watched her. He had to.

A sound outside made his head turn. The scuffling sound broke through the normal sounds of music and laughter. The others would come if they found out the truth about her. He just hoped that he was strong enough to protect her when they did.

Dawn was approaching.

It was time to disappear.

Standing to leave, Alec heard rustling in the bed. With lightning quick movements he slipped out the French doors to the balcony just as she sat up. Jumping over the edge, he landed on the street. Standing in the shadows, he watched her look out the small glass panes.

She was searching.

Searching for him.

Luckily, the darkness was like a second skin. It enabled him to disappear. Still, her senses were developing fast. Quicker than anyone expected.

Soon, he wouldn’t be able to hide.

And then, she would know the truth about him…and herself.

****

Kat Montague stared out the window into the French Quarter.

It had happened again.

Each night she woke up with the feeling that someone was there.

Watching her.

And each night she woke up alone.

The rational part of her brain told her that she was most likely cracking up. Maybe the grief of losing her mother had finally taken its toll. After six months, she was finally beginning to move on with her life.

So, why did she feel this…presence each night?

Even now, she felt like someone was watching her.

She threw open the French doors to step out onto the balcony. Below, a couple walked by, the man’s hands roving over the woman’s body as she giggled. Across the street a man sat outside the entrance to a bar signing a soulful tune. Despite the strange sensation she couldn’t shake, it was clear that no one even noticed her. She padded across the wooden floor on bare feet to slide into bed. Clutching the sheet around her, she lay down.

It wasn’t just the sensation of being watched that bothered her.

Ever since she came back to New Orleans, the dreams had become an unwelcome guest. Dreams of a man that she knew she belonged to. Dreams she hadn’t had since she was a child.

Why had they come back now?

She closed her eyes.

But sleep wouldn’t come.

****

The next morning she stepped out onto the street. The Louisiana heat was so intense that she could see steam rising from the pavement. She hurried through the throngs of tourists and street performers to glance down at her watch.

Shit!

She was going to be late.

If it wasn’t for her addiction to the snooze button, she wouldn’t be in this mess.

That and the dream.

The dream had been so intense that she didn’t want to wake up. Maybe she had gone without for too long. After all, a year without sex was like seven dog years.

It was a damned long time.

Maybe that was why her subconscious mind was so fascinated with her mystery dream man. If she would’ve just gone out and found someone to enjoy, she might be on time today.

Finally, she spotted Mina sitting at a small table at Café du Monde. The little café had begun long ago and become a fixture in the community. With its chicory coffee and legendary beignets, it was the perfect place to enjoy a part of the Cajun culture for tourists and locals alike.

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