Sookie’s hair was already up in a ponytail, so I wet a rag and ran it over her neck. She sighed as she flushed away the evidence of her distress.
“I’m okay. Could you get me some water—salty salt water?”
I nodded. By the time I was back with the beverage a minute later, she was standing in front of the sink brushing her teeth with her finger.
She accepted the water and took a few tentative sips before guzzling the rest of it down.
She sighed. “I’m okay. I guess I can’t complain. Pregnant women are supposed to get morning sickness.”
“I do not think that it was our sons who caused your illness, min kära,” I said gently.
She nodded. “You’re right. It’s just that her head was so sick.”
I sighed. “Do you think you got all the information you could from her?”
“Yeah. I don’t think there’s any more.”
“Then, I’m going to let her loose,” I informed. “Get another glass of water—okay?” I asked, placing a hand over her plumped belly.
I quickly returned to the living room where Sarah was trying to plead with Jason to release her. Luckily, for them both, he’d not done so.
“Sarah!” I yelled, immediately drawing her eyes to mine and catching her under my influence.
“Yeah?” she asked dreamily.
“You will not remember seeing Sookie or me here. You will not remember being asked any questions; in fact, you will not recall the name Sookie at all, nor will you remember that she has any kind of extra-human gift. Right?”
“Sookie who?” she sighed.
“You came to Jason Stackhouse’s home tonight to rekindle a sexual relationship with him, and that’s all you did here,” I continued.
“And it was good,” Jason whispered from behind me.
I rolled my eyes but indulged my “brother-in-law.”
“Yes, Sarah, Jason satisfied you very much—so much, in fact, that you will return here as soon as you are able—preferably tomorrow night,” I added.
“I will?” she asked.
“She will?” Jason asked at the same time.
“You will call Jason in order to confirm first, but yes,” I continued. “However, before you return, you will secretly retrieve all items related to Hep-V and the Vamp Camps from Truman Burrell’s safe.”
“Why would I do that?” she asked, frowning a little.
“Because you don’t trust Burrell anymore. He’s just not strident enough when it comes to anti-vampire policy,” I said.
“No—he’s not,” she returned. “He wants to take things soooo slow. He’s just too damned cautious—too worried about his political career,” she sneered.
“I know. But, in Jason, you have discovered a true partner,” I said.
“She has?” the idiot asked.
I waved back at him to shut the fuck up.
“I have?” Sarah asked.
“Oh yes. You want to bring Jason the items you take from Burrell’s safe. But you must be careful, Sarah. You must act naturally until you have returned here. It is very important that you are not caught doing this. The whole anti-vampire movement is counting on you!”
“Yes—I am God’s angel on earth, chosen to eradicate vampires,” she said dreamily.
“And Jason Stackhouse is the only one you can trust to help you fulfill your grand destiny,” I continued.
She nodded and smiled widely. “I know! He was always so perfect for me.”
“I was?” Jason asked.
Sookie had returned to the room, and—thankfully—she popped her brother’s arm to get him to shut the fuck up.
“Now,” I said, even as I removed the ropes from around Sarah’s body, “if you have any bruises from these, it’s because you wanted Jason to tie you up during sex, and you enjoyed that very much. But it’s time to go now. You don’t want Truman to be suspicious that you aren’t there.”
“The contacts,” Sookie whispered.
I turned to wink at my bonded before looking back at Sarah. Unfortunately, she’d thrown the contacts to the floor and they were not usable.
“Your contacts began to burn your eyes, so you took them out,” I said.
“They always do that,” Sarah sighed. “I told Truman not to use that cheap-ass company to make knock-offs of the good ones.”
“He should have listened to you more all along,” I cooed.
“You’re right,” she answered, getting up. “It’s time I cut ties with him.”
“Jason looks forward to your return, Sarah,” I said. “So you should leave now so that you can get back that much faster.”
“To start my new life,” she smiled as she left the house. Moments later we heard her car pulling away.
“Damn! Y’all can really make people do whatever you want with that glamour stuff!” Jason exclaimed.
“Not really,” I responded.
“Eric played on things Sarah already wanted,” Sookie said insightfully. “She wants to be seen as a savior—an angel. And, clearly, she is unhappy with Burrell.”
“How do you know that?” Jason asked, scratching his head.
“She was meeting you why?” Sookie asked.
“Oh!” Jason said with sudden realization. “Right—she came here to fuck me!”
I chuckled. If there was a village idiot, he’d wear an ‘I’m with stupid’ T-shirt when hanging out with Jason Stackhouse. “Jason, Sarah will call you before she returns, and you will call Sookie and me.”
Jason nodded. “Okay.”
I turned to Sookie. “Shall we?”
She was about to take my hand when Jason interrupted her with a hug.
“I love you, Sook. And I haven’t said it yet, but I’m lookin’ forward to bein’ an uncle.”
Sookie smiled widely and hugged her brother back.
She winked at me. What she’d said earlier had been true. Glamour was easiest to perform (and it held better intact) when people were influenced to do things that they wanted to do anyway—whether that be forgetting a monster with fangs so that they could go on with their “comfortable” lives or accepting a sister that they truly did want to love unconditionally.
Jason’s glamour had been even easier than Sarah’s to complete. And I knew it would hold just as well.
A few hours later, Sookie had eaten well—and then had been loved even better. She lay sleeping in my arms, exhausted by what she’d learned earlier that night—not to mention the changes to her body and the love-making, which she’d seemed insatiable for.
Hell—if I weren’t a vampire, there would have been no way for me to keep up with her.
Not that I was complaining.
I held my hand in place over our children, which were—even then—growing inside of her.
Growing in a way that I could literally feel as Sookie’s belly expanded micrometers at a time under my touch.
It was fucking amazing!
I closed my eyes as I recalled what Sookie had learned earlier about Burrell’s Vamp Camp, which was—in essence—a concentration camp for my kind. Burrell intended to begin rounding up vampires, starting with the newly turned since they were the weakest. There would be experimentation—both physical and psychological. Vampires would be studied so that the best ways to kill them could be discovered, but also—clearly—for the sick pleasure of their captors. After all, how would knowing about our sexual stamina benefit humankind?
Slowly, Burrell planned to capture older and older vampires—until he was ready to implement his “final solution,” using Hep-V to destroy all vampires by tainting TrueBlood. In fact, part of his plan was to work with TrueBlood’s Japanese manufacturers to bottle the liquid in a plant that he owned. The Japanese wouldn’t know that Burrell planned to taint the blood. Of course, he didn’t know that vampires were already working on a solution to the TrueBlood shortage. Troublingly, if Billith had not been defeated and the Authority had not been reestablished, Burrell’s plan very well may have worked.
The governor, unlike Steve Newlin, was organized and willing to play with an endgame in mind.
He was even more dangerous because of this.
And his thoughts were contagious.
According to Sarah’s head, Burrell already had the human governors of Mississippi and Arkansas in on his plans; they planned to “ship” him vampires to help populate his camp as soon as its construction was completed. Even more disturbing were Burrell’s plans to meet with other “like-minded” governors as soon as the Vamp Camp was up and running. He hoped that it would be a model for others to follow.
Sookie had gotten the location for the Vamp Camp from Sarah’s head, and I already had Pam and Tara on the way to scope it out. When Herveaux hung up on me when I asked him to help, I decided to cut ties with him and the rest of the local pack. Let them implode! They were the least common denominator when it came to the two-natured—in my opinion. Maybe even worse than the Hot Shot group. I had been willing to keep working with Herveaux for Sookie’s sake, but—honestly—I was glad that he’d hung up on me.
Voluntarily exiting my mate’s life would more than likely be easier for the mongrel in the long-run, given his propensity for a lack of decency and judgment.
Once upon a time, I’d actually had dealings with Alcide’s father, who’d been an excellent Packmaster until he’d stolen pack money to cover some of his gambling debts. The Packmaster who had followed him, Marcus Bozeman, had been weak, and I’d come to learn that most of his people had been absorbed into Russell’s pack.
V-addicts—almost all of them!
And—since Alcide had now proven himself to be just as useless as the rest—I contacted a Were pack in Pensacola, Florida for daytime help. Brady’s pack. The pack was small, but trustworthy. Their leader, who was an advocate of Weres “coming out,” had immediately understood the implications of Burrell’s idea of a vampire concentration camp. What worked for vampires would inevitably be used for Weres too!
Given this, the packmaster had sent two of his people who would join with Brady and act as daytime spies. As a bonus, one of the Weres being sent was ex-military and an explosives expert. After getting a rough blueprint of the facility, he would be able to plant explosives in the “sweet spots.”
Indeed, it was safe to say that—if I had anything to do with it—the Vamp Camp would be destroyed long before it got its first resident.
My phone buzzed on the bedside table in Sookie’s bedroom. Since it was still a couple of hours before dawn, I’d not moved us to the cubby yet.
She and I had enjoyed the bigger bed.
Before enjoying it again.
Seeing that the call was from Nora’s number, I quickly answered the device before it buzzed again. I spoke quietly, knowing that my sister could hear me and not wanting to awaken my bonded.
“So?” I asked.
“General Michaels has accepted our deal,” she informed. “He’s already taken Newlin. I believe there’s to be a very public trial.”
“That’s a good thing for us,” I commented. “We will publically condemn Newlin, too, and he will answer for that tape that was made public. And—if vampire involvement at the karaoke bar is discovered—he and Russell can shoulder the blame for that as well.”
“We were guilty of murder there too, Brother,” Nora said quietly.
“Yes,” I acknowledged. I wasn’t about to blame my actions on Lilith’s blood, though I knew that it had greatly factored into the situation. However, the fact was that my fangs had pierced two humans. My mouth had sucked their blood until they were dry. And, although my mind had not been my own, facts were facts.
That situation—like the one with the necromancer—had humbled me. I was not impervious to forces that would take away my will. However, I was determined to learn from those times—to avoid future situations that might take away my self-determination.
“Are you certain you have the Burrell situation in hand?” Nora asked.
“Yes,” I responded. I’d briefed her earlier via email, and—if the cure panned out—I’d be sharing that formula with her, too. Also, she’d be passing along the evidence collected against Truman Burrell and Sarah Newlin to General Michaels. Nora was anxious to see how our “partner” in the government would handle the situation.
I could care less as long as me and mine were safe in Louisiana, and if that meant doing away with Burrell myself, then so be it. In the meantime, I was going to be watching him. I’d already done a bit of research on him. His ex-wife had taken a vampire as a lover. Later, she’d been turned and was now living in California with her maker/lover.
Burrell had fathered a child with his wife, and—according to a tidbit Sookie had gotten from Sarah’s head—the daughter, Willa, was practically a prisoner in her own home. Her father had made her drop out of college when Willa had wanted to pursue a degree in supernatural relations. Before her “house arrest,” she’d also been to several pro-vampire rallies. Sarah had thought that Governor Burrell’s continued efforts to reform his daughter were ineffective at best—especially since Willa had snuck out to attend a Pro-Vampire rally at her own father’s home two nights before. Sarah wanted Burrell to disown Willa—publically.
But Burrell had refused so far. Apparently, Sarah’s pussy wasn’t stronger than the father’s affection for the child.
Not yet—at least.
I planned to have Pam approach Willa—to see if she might spy on her father for us. I figured that chances were good that the young woman would help us. In truth, I didn’t want to have to kill Burrell. It would be best if his own government brought him down. But I did plan to take care of Sarah Newlin—for good.
And for the good.
A/N: No time for a long author’s note today, but I hope you enjoyed this!
Until next time,
NEXT CHRONOLOGICALLY IN THE OVERALL NARRATIVE IS INNER-LUDE 1 (A SIDE-STORY FROM PAM’S POV, WHICH SHOWS WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON AWAY FROM ERIC).
CLICK HERE TO ACCESS INNER-LUDE 1
CLICK HERE TO GO TO CHAPTER 13