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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Phantom Kiss (Chapter 13)     
  • Phantom Kiss(Chicagoland Vampires #12.5)(13) by Chloe Neill
  • He leaned up, skimmed fangs across my collarbone, my neck, then paused to wait for my affirmation. For the consent I’d once been unable to give.

    Yes, I said, and he bit, fangs piercing tender skin, and sent me over another crest. Ethan groaned with pleasure, arms banding around me as he drank, as we shared the unique connection of vampires, the union that linked us even closer together.

    My body was already warm and limp with pleasure when he covered me again, kissed me slowly as he moved within me. I slid my fingers into his hair, closed my eyes to focus on sensations, on the taste of him, the feel of his body against mine as heat gathered and rose again.

    “Look at me,” Ethan said, his voice deep, the words as much order as request. I opened my eyes, undoubtedly well-silvered by desire, and met the molten metal of his gaze. And I watched his pupils dilate, his lips part, as sensation pushed through him.

    The sight of him midpleasure, sharing that most intimate of moments with me, sent me flying again. We fell together like angels bound to earth, and bound to each other.

    It wasn’t a bad way to go.

    4

    Since Ethan and I were both vampires, the sinking of the sun behind the horizon should have affected us equally, waking us together at the same time. But for some reason—personality, biology, or just plain magic—he was usually awake before I was, donning a dark, sexy suit while I snoozed.

    Tonight, those tables were turned.

    I’d risen before Ethan, grabbed a muffin from the basket Margot had left at the door—and I had no idea how she accomplished the miracle of waking even earlier than Ethan usually did—and taken a seat at the antique desk in the sitting room.

    Becoming an investigator of the supernatural wasn’t something I’d planned on. Not when a Ph.D. in English literature had been my goal. But over the last year, I’d done more investigating. And I’d gotten better at it.

    I checked my messages, found a note from Annabelle confirming the video likely showed a ghost but the magic—which she couldn’t analyze from video alone—would tell for sure. I also found a message from Luc confirming ghosthunters—in the form of CPAN—would be arriving at the House shortly, and a message from Mallory advising she and Catcher wanted in on the ghosthunting. I sent along the particulars.

    I also found the usual set of e-mails from my mother about the wedding. Since those weren’t our highest priority at the moment, I turned to the Internet.

    It wasn’t difficult to find the official Almshouse Cemetery records online, but most were still on old-fashioned ledger pages. While they’d had been scanned and posted online, the data itself hadn’t been pulled out or compiled, so I had to check each handwritten page individually for the number that matched the disturbed grave.

    I was staring so intently at a page written in a looping, slanted cursive I didn’t hear Ethan up and around until he walked into the room, his favored silk pajama bottoms slung low on his lean hips, every muscle in his abdomen defined.

    “You’re up early.” He pressed his lips to my neck, then offered a teasing kiss that made my blood go instantly hot.

    “I’m detecting,” I said, offering it as information and defense. “And breaking my fast.” I pointed to the basket. “The chocolate chip muffins are divine.”

    Ethan opted for an apple and peered over my shoulder at the computer screen. “Cemetery records?”

    “Yeah. And as it turns out, I think I finally found what we were looking for.” I pointed to the spot on the screen where the plot number—1-CCU49-871—was neatly printed. “Mickey Riley,” I said. “Buried in 1929.”

    “Annabelle’s date range was spot-on,” he said, as I ran an Internet search on the name.

    First result: his FBI profile.

    “Mickey Riley was a brawler who belonged to Al Capone,” I said, scanning the screen. “He was convicted of grand larceny in 1927 and murdered in prison. His body wasn’t claimed, so he was buried by the county in Almshouse Cemetery.”

    There was a picture with the description, a small black-and-white image faded around the edges. Mickey Riley wasn’t an attractive man by any measure I could come up with. His face was square, his chin broad, his brow large and overshadowing small, weaselly eyes. His skin was pockmarked, and the long, thin ridge of a scar bisected the lower part of his jaw. His dark hair was greased back from his forehead, his barrel-chested form tucked into a snug, rumpled suit. In the picture, his hands were crossed in front of him, one wrapped around the brim of a derby hat.

    “Is he familiar to you?” I asked.

    Ethan leaned in for a closer look, then shook his head. “We were here in the Roaring Twenties. Malik and I and many others. I don’t remember this individual in particular, nor were Capone or the other mobsters interested in us. They didn’t know we existed, as far as I’m aware, and probably wouldn’t have cared if they did, as we weren’t competition for their criminal enterprises.”

    I nodded. “The biography doesn’t mention any connection to Cadogan House, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

    “Why him?” Ethan asked. “Why unearth his skull and use magic on it?”

    I grimaced. “You know better than to ask that. There are any number of disturbing reasons. We just need to narrow it down to the one at play here.” I checked the clock in the corner. “Mallory and Catcher and CPAN will be here within the hour. We can ask them.”

    He kissed my neck. “In the meantime, perhaps we can revisit those control issues we addressed last night.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire