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  • Home > Laurell Kaye Hamilton > The Anita Blake Series > Wounded (Chapter 24)     
  • Wounded(Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #24.5)(24) by Laurell Kaye Hamilton
  • Micah laughed, and moved away so he could take my hand. “Let’s go greet him, so you can touch him without thinking that hard.”

    I blushed and hated that I still did that, but Micah started leading me forward, and Nathaniel took my other hand so it was like a very slow game of crack the whip.

    Micah actually reached him first. We’d worked out the logistics of who kissed who first a while ago, especially important in public, because any confusion was seen as a sign that things weren’t working well between us all. Jean-Claude was the public face for American vampires, Micah was the same for the shapeshifters, I was in the news often as a zombie expert and for some of the more newsworthy U.S. Marshal cases, and Nathaniel as his stripper alias had his own Internet fan sites—in one way or another, we were all celebrities, which meant sometimes total strangers took things they saw, heard, or made up and turned them into rumors. We’d learned that one stumbled kiss, or Jean-Claude not greeting both the men, or a dozen different things, caused the rumor mill to grind faster. I never thought that famous people needed to discuss and then practice how to interact with their lovers in public to keep the craziness down, but if we did, then some of the people who were in the news a hell of a lot more than we were had to do it, too. Or maybe they didn’t, and that was why they were in the news so much more. It was weird to be famous, weirder to date someone famous, and weirder still to deal with the public about it.

    Jean-Claude bent over Micah, and it looked for a moment as if they would kiss for real, but just as their lips would have touched, Micah turned his head slightly to the side and Jean-Claude brushed his lips against his cheek. The only man that Micah kissed for real was Nathaniel. Micah turned his head a little more to the side and Jean-Claude ended with his mouth against the curve of Micah’s neck, kissing just over that warm, pulsing point where the blood ran hot and close to the surface of the skin. It had become something of a signature greeting for them. What the people who thought it was so intimate didn’t realize was that it was also a way of Jean-Claude asserting dominance every time he touched Micah publicly, because among vampires, whoever gave up their blood was admitting they were less dominant, and among the lycanthropes there were versions of offering your neck to a leader that were a way of saying you’re dominant to me without having to argue about it.

    The men had started doing the greeting after the vampires started talking about Micah being the true power behind Jean-Claude’s throne. This was an easy way to fix that rumor, and the human media loved it. “So intimate, so sensual,” they wrote. If they only knew it was purely political, they’d be so disappointed.

    I was in Jean-Claude’s arms then, my hands sliding underneath the short jacket to knead and caress over the cool smoothness of his shirt. He’d won me over to the feel of cloth that was not only washed often, but ironed. It gave a sensation that was smoother, crisper, cleaner, and all of it covering the solidness of his back. He’d once told me that he knew his near-obsession with clean, fresh clothing came from starting life in a peasant home with a dirt floor, and spending centuries either in the lap of luxury or broke. When he could afford nice things he wanted them, and he could afford pretty much anything he wanted at this point.

    I went up on tiptoe to meet his lips with mine. His arms wrapped around me, smoothing down my back and hesitating at my waist, not because of the gun that he knew was there, but more like he was wanting to touch my ass and wouldn’t do it in public. It meant he really liked the new red skirt and how I looked in it. I could carry concealed, and Jean-Claude liked the way my ass looked in it almost enough to forget himself—serious bonus points!

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire