featuring the characters from CheckMate
“Do you believe in fate?”
Lilia stilled, her mouth pressed to the center of Vincent’s back. Sometimes, he asked the strangest questions.
“Define ‘fate,’” she demanded, and resumed kissing a long, wet line up his spine.
His shoulders twitched when she reached the top of his back. He was particularly ticklish between his shoulder blades, and she remained there a little longer, sucking on his skin and leaving a row of red marks.
“I don’t know,” he muttered into the pillow. “Fate. The big book where someone wrote everything that will ever happen. The ladies who spin, weave and cut the threads of people’s lives—”
“Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos,” she interrupted, breathing the names at the nape of his neck.
She was about to lay her mouth on her silver marks on Vincent’s throats, those scars she had left on his skin on their first night together and that marked him as her Mate, when Vincent moved underneath her. She rose up to her knees before he could throw her off him, and waited until he had rolled onto his back before settling down again across his lap. Under her, some part of him seemed to be recovering after their earlier escapades. She shifted lightly, encouraging him to harden fully. Vincent, however, was frowning at her.
“Atro-what?” he asked, sounding confused, even as he rested his hands on her thighs and stroked absently.
She rolled her eyes at him. “Atropos. The ‘lady’ as you say who supposedly will decide when you must die.” Reaching up to his neck, she touched her bite marks with her fingertips. “That is, unless I decide I’ve waited long enough.”
He didn’t even react at that. She had threatened – promised – to turn him into a vampire many times. He knew by now that she wouldn’t do it unless he gave her permission. Or was that, she wouldn’t do it until Atropos decided it was time?
“You know their names from the top of your head?” he asked blankly.
She shrugged; his interest hardened a little more under her. “I do. So what?”
He continued to stare at her in confusion. “I learned that stuff in school, but I forgot the names as soon as the test was done. When did you learn about Roman mythology?”
Pursing her lips, Lilia considered him thoughtfully. She could think of much better things to do than talk about her education, of all things. She knew Vincent, however; knew how stubborn he could be when an idea got stuck in his head. If they didn’t close the topic, she wouldn’t get laid properly any time soon.
“Greek mythology,” she sighed, giving in and sliding off his lap to lay by his side, the curve of her breast resting against his arm. “And I had a governess, if you really must know. She drilled these names into me until I could have recited them in my sleep.”
And the result was that, close to two hundred years later, with her governess and all she had known long gone, Lilia still remembered those silly names. And she still thought the same thing she had back then.
“And no,” she finally answered his first question. “I don’t believe in fate. What would be the point of living if everything was already preordained, all your choices already made for you?”
Vincent turned onto his side, his body tight alongside hers. With two fingers, he picked a stray strand of hair that tickled her forehead and tucked it away.
“I do,” he whispered. The same two fingers were now caressing her cheek, then sliding down to trace her lips. “I believe in fate. I believe that you became a vampire and lived for so long just so we could meet some day. Just so we could drive each other crazy—”
She nipped playfully at his fingers and he smiled as he continued.
“—and get on each other’s nerves and become Mates.” He leaned down and finished so close to her lips that his words were a caress. “Just so I could love you and try to make you happy today.”
His kiss was sweet and slow, the very antithesis of his desire, hardened flesh pressing into her hip. Lilia was glad for that kiss; it kept both their mouths busy, and stopped him from saying anything more than might cause her throat to clench even more tightly. Even more importantly, it stopped her from saying something sappy, like of course you make me happy, or if I hadn’t met you, my life would hardly be worth living. At times like these, words tripped her tongue and made her feel foolish.
Besides, she had always believed actions spoke louder than words.
Deepening the kiss, she slipped a naughty hand between them. Fated or not, Vincent was her Mate, and that was quite enough for her.