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  • Home > Laurell Kaye Hamilton > The Anita Blake Series > Wounded (Chapter 23)     
  • Wounded(Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #24.5)(23) by Laurell Kaye Hamilton
  • We went back out to the party and found a crowd at the doors. Whispers spilled out from there and into the rest of the crowd. Mrs. Conroy and a few others might not approve, but the excited buzz in the room said clearly that having Jean-Claude, the first vampire king of America, as a guest was a serious social coup.

    We went to him hand in hand, me in the middle of the other two men, because Jean-Claude had his own sad stories to tell, and we knew that the thin scars on his back were whip marks from when he was a live human boy, younger than Tomas. He was king of all the vampires in America now, but he had been a survivor long before and, like us, learned how to thrive.

    He was all long black curls, white lace shirt, and black jacket, so that the shirt and his own pale skin made a dramatic contrast. It was his usual colors, and no one seemed to mind that he’d worn black to the wedding reception. He had to be wearing heeled boots, because he was taller than the bodyguards that flanked him, and I knew they were six feet, but in the heels he was taller.

    His long black curls melted into the shoulders of his black jacket, the high white collar of his shirt setting off the paleness of his skin, but there was a flush of color to all that pallor, like a hint of healthy blush, which meant he’d fed on someone before he came to the wedding. It didn’t take much blood at a feeding for a vampire to be “full.” The movies that made out that a vamp had to drain a person dry to feed were just using fearmongering or dramatic license. Feeding meant that when he took Rosita’s hand to raise it against his lips, his skin was warm against hers. Making sure your skin wasn’t ice cold used to be a way to pass as human; now it was just a politeness.

    Rosita’s dark skin blushed even darker. She was tall, only a few inches shorter than Jean-Claude, and though her daughters had gotten her to exercise with them she would always be a big woman, as she was meant to be, but she simpered and flustered as if she were the most delicate teenager.

    Micah laughed. “That’s something I never thought I’d see.”

    We laughed with him.

    “The first time Rosita met us, she was afraid to shake hands, because she thought she could catch lycanthropy from just touching us,” Nathaniel said.

    “We’ve all come a long way,” I said. I put an arm around both their waists and enjoyed the moment that let Jean-Claude be invited to the reception and be an honored guest.

    He looked up over the crowd and I met his gaze. It wasn’t vampire powers that made me catch my breath, my body tightening as if it were far more than just a look that passed between us. It was just him. If that was magic, it was the same kind that made me react to Nathaniel and Micah, but then love is a kind of magic, after all.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire