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  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(29) by Chloe Neill
  • We’d survived the wedding and made it to the reception. For the first time, I felt myself relax. Felt that knot of tension in my gut finally loosen.

    Vampires came forward. They came to pay homage to Ethan, to greet and congratulate us. Nicole Heart, with dark skin and serious eyes, hair waving gently at her bare shoulders in a dress of pale peach. Morgan Greer, head of Chicago’s Navarre House, with pale skin, dark hair, and dreamily good looks.

    There were more Masters, more humans, more captains of finance, industry, and academia whom Ethan had come to know in his many years as a vampire. Supernaturals of most peaceful varieties, which left a few humans staring at the nymphs, trolls, and broad-shouldered shifters.

    Saxophones filled the air, and the singer did a pretty good impression of Al Green as he began to croon “Let’s Stay Together.”

    Ethan held out his hand, crooked his finger to beckon me forward. Need I call you, Sentinel?

    I grinned at him. Why don’t we save that for the honeymoon? I offered my hand, and he pulled me against the long, hard line of his body, to the enjoyment of the crowd, which hooted in appreciation.

    One of his hands in mine, the other at the small of my back, we swayed to the music while the crowd watched.

    The happiness in the room was literally palpable, magic bubbling into the air from supernaturals who nursed champagne, chatted and caught up, or otherwise enjoyed a good party.

    “It looks like everyone’s having a good time,” I told him.

    “I believe you’re right,” Ethan said, and, when I looked back at him, tipped up my chin for a kiss. He got catcalls for the effort that I’m pretty sure came from Luc’s direction.

    I love you, he said. Truly, madly, fiercely. So much that I’m nearly drunk with it.

    Part of that may be the very good champagne, I said. The French may make irritating vampires, but they make very good bubbles.

    Ethan smiled. So they do.

    And I love you, too. And I think you will very much enjoy the trousseau I’ve put together later.

    His brows lifted with interest. I’m enjoying even knowing that it exists.

    Just you wait, I said, and gave him a wink.

    • • •

    We danced, and the world around us disappeared. There were only Ethan and me and the sweeping melody among the glow of those thousand candles. No politics, no drama. Just love and hope, and the fact that this incredibly sexy and powerful man belonged to me.

    When the song ended, Ethan spun me around and dipped me low to more applause and amusement.

    “You are really working the crowd tonight.”

    “It’s my party,” he said with a smile.

    The sound of ringing crystal was a welcome interruption. We looked back, found Amit on the small stage, microphone in hand.

    “Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “for those who don’t know me, my name is Amit Patel. And I have had the dubious honor of knowing the groom for more than a century.”

    There were well-timed chuckles.

    “I have seen him at his worst, and this wouldn’t be a very good wedding toast if I didn’t share at least a few of those embarrassing anecdotes with you.”

    “Good Lord,” Ethan whispered beside me, as my smile spread.

    Embarrassing anecdotes about my gorgeous husband seemed like the perfect cure for family-related blues.

    “Yes, please!” I yelled out.

    “Well, there was the time the only mount we could find was a very sad-looking donkey. So close your eyes, if you will, and imagine Masterful Ethan Sullivan riding Eeyore. Until Eeyore decided he wasn’t interested in being ridden, and chucked him into the street. The look on his face—even then.” Amit stopped to laugh. “He was shocked—absolutely shocked—that a donkey would dare.” His smile was warm when he looked at Ethan again. “He was a Master even then. And then there was the time in a certain house of ill repute . . .”

    There were salacious whispers in the audience, and Ethan cleared his throat. “Pay him no mind, Sentinel.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire