Home > A Call of Vampires (A Shade of Vampire #51)

A Call of Vampires (A Shade of Vampire #51)
Author: Bella Forrest

Derek

 

 

I could never get tired of watching Sofia getting ready to go out. The way her fingers gracefully fastened her pearl earrings before sweeping her dark auburn hair up in an elegant bun. The way her emerald eyes found mine in the mirror as I walked over and helped her with the delicate gold chain holding a single pearl pendant. Inhaling her scent as I stood behind her, admiring her beauty and marveling at how lucky I was to have her in my life.

“You look stunning,” I whispered in her ear, making her smile.

The sprinkle of freckles on her nose and cheeks still brought out an ache in my chest, reminding me of the first time I laid eyes on her, and making me fall in love with her all over again.

“You’re quite dapper yourself, Mr. Novak,” Sofia replied, turning to face me with a pout.

I rested my hands on her hips, feeling the soft silk of her black, floor-length dress against my fingertips, and her cool flesh underneath.

“Am I allowed to say something cheesy?” I asked, as I dropped a kiss on her forehead.

She put her arms around my neck and pulled herself closer to me, giving me a lazy smile. “Well, I don’t know. What scale on the cheese-o-meter are we talking about?”

“Hmmm…” I took my time in thinking about it, while I dropped more kisses on her face, then a few down her neck for good measure. “I’d say… a five out of ten.”

I paused to look her in the eyes, which narrowed on me as she gave me a considering look. Then she nodded. “Okay. I’ll allow it.”

“All right, well, what I wanted to say was…” I took a moment to breathe in, to amplify her anticipation. “Every day, it’s like I discover you for the first time.”

Her face broke into a radiant grin. “Ohhh, Derek… That was totally not a five.”

“Okay, okay. It was probably more like a seven.”

“At least.”

My expression turned serious as I held her in my arms, lowering my face nearer to hers again and looking deep into her sparkling green eyes. “But it’s true,” I said softly.

“My cheese-o-meter is close to exploding,” she whispered back, though I could tell from the gleam in her irises that she didn’t mind in the slightest.

And from the way she tilted her chin upward, beckoning me in. I caught her lips in mine, enveloping her waist with my arms and drawing her in for a slow but intense kiss.

“Derek,” she panted after a moment, pushing me away as she apparently came to her senses. “We’re going to be late!”

“You’re just annoyed my cheese tactics get you every time.”

“No, seriously, look at the time!”

I glanced at the clock, and sighed. She was right, and I had no choice but to release her. I bit my lip and nodded, before reluctantly turning toward the veranda to allow her to finish getting ready.

“We can certainly continue this conversation later, though,” she added, “once we’re settled into our guest room in Luceria...”

Her voice was low and husky as she said that, making me glance over my shoulder, only to find her facing the mirror again. She tucked a rebellious lock of hair behind her ear and sprayed her (and my) favorite perfume, a subtle combination of jasmine and lily. She knew exactly what it did to my senses. It was her way of confirming that, indeed, the conversation was not over.

I walked out onto the veranda with a boyish grin, looking out into the gorgeous night sky sprinkled with millions of stars. The redwoods swayed in the mild breeze. I inhaled the fresh air, the wind gently brushing against my cheeks while the leaves trembled and whispered their nightly songs.

For centuries I’d been here, in The Shade, and I never could have thought I’d live to see such joy and peace as part of my eternal life. My family had grown so strong, so wonderful and fierce. GASP had developed to such an impressive extent that we’d even built a powerful alliance with Eritopia, a far-out galaxy in the mysterious In-Between.

I’d never thought I’d see the Novak name acquire such eminence, our reputation preceding us across the fabric of not one, but three different worlds. I was humbled and proud at the same time, feeling like the sky had stopped being our limit a very long time ago.

We’d come so far, and made so many unbreakable friendships along the way. With Sofia by my side, everything felt amplified, every experience exhilarating and every moment worth remembering. Our children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren had all survived strange and life-threatening events, and yet they were still with us, loving every minute that life, eternal or simply blissfully long, had to offer.

Three months had passed since we’d suddenly remembered Serena, Phoenix, Aida, Jovi, Vita, and Field, after the Daughters of Eritopia removed the shroud that had erased them from our memories. And before that, twenty years had passed in their absence, thanks to the Daughters’ time flow spell.

My great-grandchildren, great nephew and great niece had been a crucial part of defeating the evil Druid who had nearly destroyed Eritopia—and the galaxy, home to twenty planets with some of the most fascinating creatures I’d ever encountered, was now slowly recovering and rebuilding itself.

My great-granddaughter Serena married Draven one month after the war ended. It was a beautiful, tear-inducing event. The Daughters of Eritopia suggested we establish a new tradition on that occasion, when both myself and one of the Daughters officiated the ceremony—due to it being a matrimony between one of ours and one of theirs, an Eritopian and a Shadian. Draven had already begun to excel in his role as Master Druid of Eritopia, and, with the Circle rituals having been reprised, he’d received the arm band tattoos that symbolized his expertise and social status. Only two levels were left for him to complete before he would become a Master Druid on paper, as well.

Calliope, the largest planet of the galaxy and the capital land of Eritopia, thrived under his care and rule. Draven was stern but fair, and thought twice before each command that he gave. Serena was there to support and encourage him along the way, while she developed her own role in the leadership of Calliope. They were a power couple by all possible definitions, and the people loved them and supported their decisions. There was peace on Calliope at last.

The Druid society had been reestablished, and law and order returned under the new Master Druids appointed by the Daughters. Those who had survived Azazel’s reign were not experienced enough to attain the title but were nonetheless necessary in rebuilding Eritopia. Like Draven, they all gained their Circle levels retroactively.

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