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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 140)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(140) by Chloe Neill
  • Hands on my hips, I looked down at the year-old girl who bounced on chubby thighs, her tiny fingers gripping the edge of the coffee table. Her golden curls moved as she did, bouncing up and down around her cherubic face, punctuated by emerald green eyes.

    This beautiful little girl was stuffing Cheerios into her mouth with wild abandon, bouncing up and down on plump little legs that poked out beneath a blue dress sprigged with tiny white flowers. “Ree!”

    It was her favorite sound, the word that meant “Yes,” “Cheerios,” “Here,” and every other phrase she couldn’t quite manage to articulate.

    I nodded. “Like those, do you?”

    Brow furrowed as she worked, she scooped a handful of Cheerios from the coffee table and offered them to me. “Ree.”

    I walked to the coffee table, went to my knees, and slurped Cheerios out of her unsurprisingly sticky hand. She squealed happily, jogged in place on unsteady feet, and grabbed more Cheerios. Then she lifted the few she managed to corral to my mouth. I obliged her and munched them. Tasty, but five or six were more filling for a toddler than for a thirty-year-old vampire.

    “Are you ready?” her father called out from the next room.

    “Almost,” I said, and pulled a barrette from my pocket, used it to clip back one side of Elisa’s hair. It would keep her curls out of her face—and her sticky hands from getting tangled in the thick blond locks.

    “Dress!”

    “I know, sweetheart,” I said, smoothing out the skirt of her blue cotton dress. She was a rough-and-tumble girl, and she’d destroy the dress by the end of the evening, but she looked lovely in it now. I tucked her into white Mary Jane shoes. “Do you like your dress?”

    “Pretty,” she seriously said.

    “Yes, it is. Are you ready to go see Aunt Mallory and Baby Lulu?”

    She nodded seriously. “Baby.”

    Ethan stepped into the doorway, eyes glowing green with pleasure. “How’s my birthday girl?”

    Elisa squealed, raised her chubby arms.

    With the pride of a lion, Ethan walked forward, lifted her up. She wrapped her little arms around his neck, then kissed his cheek. “Ree! Ree! Ree!”

    Ethan arched a brow at me. “Did she have coffee for breakfast?”

    I patted her little bottom. “Not that I’m aware of. She’s in a really good mood, though. Probably because you’re so pretty.”

    Elisa nodded solemnly and patted his face with one hand, the other hand wrapped tightly around his House medal. “Pretty.”

    Ethan chomped at her hand, and she laughed wildly, swinging her head around.

    “Not as pretty as Elisa or Mommy,” he said.

    I grinned, always amused to hear a four-hundred-year-old vampire call me “Mommy.” And still awed that it had happened. That we’d conceived her, that my body had been able to nurture her, and that we’d brought her into the world.

    It hadn’t been a perfect journey. The “morning” sickness (albeit at dusk) had been horrific, the cravings completely bizarre, and, at the end, labor that had to be halted twice when the sun rose. And there’d been a moment of complete and utter terror when we’d thought we’d lost her. Even now, when she was healthy and happy and here, the memory made my body clench with fear.

    She was the first vampire child in history—the only vampire born of vampires. But more important, most important, she was ours. She had been born of love, and born into a House of vampires who loved her nearly as much as we did. She was part of me, and part of Ethan, and so much her own person. I loved her more than I’d have thought possible.

    I owed my life to Ethan, and I gave him my heart. And now Elisa held them both.

    • • •

    We headed to the House’s first floor with a diaper bag; the House was big enough that it was faster and simpler than traversing it every time Elisa needed a diaper or clothes change. Which was often. I liked to joke that she was the only person who could throw up on one of Ethan’s expensive custom suits and live to tell the tale. There wasn’t a vampire in the House who wasn’t wrapped around her tiny little finger.

    As far as we could tell, she hadn’t been negatively affected by the magic that made her. She was usually hungry, and had a quick temper, but those seemed perfectly explainable by biology and genetics, no magic required.

    Mallory, Catcher, and Lulu sat on the couch in Ethan’s office, Lulu nestled in her mother’s arms. She was a tiny pale doll of a thing, except for the head of thick dark hair she’d been born with. Mallory had put a tiny polka-dot bow in it today.

    “Hi, Elisa,” Catcher said.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire