“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”—Maya Angelou
Eric heard the vehicle just as Sookie closed her eyes to listen for the thoughts of its driver.
“Your range is getting better,” Eric smiled.
Sookie opened her eyes. “Yeah—stretching it yesterday to try to hear the thoughts of the Weres following us sucked, but it was good exercise.”
“I’m sorry you had to hear them,” Eric said with regret.
Sookie took a deep breath. “It was horrible hearing what Ray and some of the other Weres wanted to do to me, but I’m not . . . .” She paused. “I’m not the scared little girl I was when my uncle . . . .” She took another deep breath. “I’m not the quiet victim hiding in the attic anymore. And—even if the worst had happened—I know that I would have survived.”
“Yes,” Eric said, pulling her closer, “you would have.”
She looked up at him, awestruck by his confidence in her—and by him. “But you didn’t let that happen to me Eric.”
“No—and I never will,” he vowed.
She smiled at him. “Thank you for being my own personal knight in shining armor.”
He smirked. “I am no hero, Sookie.”
“Oh yes, you are,” she corrected with a smirk. “And—as the fairy in the story—I get to make the rules about the knight.”
He chuckled and got out of bed as the delivery truck pulled up to the cabin. “Is all well?” he asked.
“Yep. Two humans. They are checking the manifest. Both are happy for the overtime this job is giving them. They have been speculating about who you are, given the fact that this cabin is prime real estate in this area—and really secluded.”
Eric zipped up his jeans. “And who do they think I am?”
“Well,” Sookie said contemplatively, “one is pretty sure you’re a Hollywood movie star, up here to escape the paparazzi.”
Eric chuckled. “And the other?”
“He thinks you’re some rich asshole—up here to cheat on your wife.”
Eric laughed even louder as he pulled on his shirt.
“They’ve made a bet,” Sookie informed.
“And who is more deserving to win it?” Eric asked mischievously.
Sookie closed her eyes. “The one who thinks you’re the asshole having an affair. He’s gotta pregnant wife at home and is doing this extra job to save up for a crib to surprise her. The other would just blow the money in Vegas.”
Eric grinned. “Okay—so the expecting father will win.” He winked.
She giggled. “Good. His name is Hal, and he’s the one with dark hair.”
Eric nodded. “Ready to get some furniture? And,” he added with a twinkle in his eyes, “ready to pretend to be my secret mistress?”
“Yep. No—actually. I’m gonna potty, clean up, and then go make coffee.”
Eric chuckled as there was a knock at the door. “Then I’ll let in our furniture delivery crew.”
“Don’t worry, once I have coffee, I’ll make a grand entrance that will ensure Hal his money,” she grinned back.
“I can’t wait, Lover,” Eric leered.
Fifteen minutes later, Sookie had showered and her human needs had been met.
She gasped when she exited the light-tight space of the bedroom. That bedroom they’d been in was obviously not the master bedroom; it was just a simple square space with sloped ceilings, and the attached bathroom was nice, but mainly just functional. In fact, the bedroom and bathroom had reminded her a lot of the other homes they’d stayed in during their time on the lam: nice, but with no fancy bells and whistles.
As she walked out of the bedroom, however, she realized that her first impression of the home had been all wrong.
The loft, where two light-tight bedrooms were located, was quite small; however, it was only the tip of the iceberg—the tip of a very luxurious iceberg! She wound her way around the round staircase and wondered how the two movers were going to get the king-sized bed that she ordered for her and Eric up there.
“Hello, lover,” Eric said—emphasizing the endearment—as he presented her with a cup of steaming coffee.
“You made this?” she asked.
“You glamoured one of the delivery men to make it—didn’t you?” she chuckled.
“I simply offered both of them a cup of coffee and then had them make it,” he grinned. “Manners, hospitality, and all that stuff,” he added.
She took a sip of her beverage.
“Is it good, or will I have to torture the humans?” he asked playfully.
She grinned. “A little stout, but good.”
Eric nodded. “Then the humans will live.” He winked.
“They have already brought in several boxes for the kitchen—if you wish to begin unpacking,” he said.
Sookie nodded and followed him to the large, open kitchen, which faced a row of windows looking out onto a lake.
“Wow!” Sookie gasped. “It’s beautiful here.” She looked up at him. “This cabin is so unlike most of your other hideouts.”
He smiled a little. “I had thought that this cabin might eventually make a good vacation spot. This area has much snow in the winter—like the place where I am from. And it has been the last place on my escape route—at least in this country—for about three years now. I wanted someplace secluded—in relatively friendly territory—where I could hold up in comfort for a while if need be.”
Sookie smiled. “Well—I love what I’ve seen of it so far.” She closed her eyes. “And I can’t sense any neighbors,” she whispered, despite the clamor of the delivery men in what must have been the living room.
“I believe that our nearest neighbor is about three miles to the north,” Eric reported. “And the small lake you see is more-less a bowl, pretty much cut off from the other lakes in the area.” He smiled. “There’s a small natural hot springs on the property too. It would do well for a bath, lover,” he purred.
Sookie flushed red. “And is it secluded?” she asked coyly.
“Oh yes. Very.”
She giggled as she stripped the tape off of the first box, which contained pots and pans. “Then you might just get lucky.”
By the time Sookie was done unpacking and washing the items she’d gotten for the kitchen, the deliverymen had finished with the rest of the house. Eric was quick to glamour them to believe that he was—indeed—some stuffy, rich businessman. And—in their memories at least—Sookie reminded them of a playboy bunny who’d had one plastic surgery too many. They left with a fat tip, a nice story to tell their friends, and an imperfect knowledge of how to find the cabin. “Sadly,” they also lost the manifest with the address printed on it.
After they were gone, Eric led Sookie out to the large central room of the cabin. Since the loft was only a fraction of the overall square footage of the main dwelling, the living room area had vaulted ceilings and huge windows to complement the fireplace.
“Wow!” Sookie exclaimed. “When you told me to get the largest sectional I could find, I thought it might make the room look small,” she laughed, taking in the huge living room.
“Nope,” Eric said as he lit a match and started the fire. “Well?” he sighed. “Ready?”
Sookie nodded as she watched Eric unwrap the log that contained the magical spell that would cover the scents in the cabin from all supernatural noses and/or spells.
“What about all the property around the house?” Sookie asked.
“This should cover all that too,” Eric grinned. “The spell is for the property, so don’t worry. Those hot springs I told you about will be included.”
She giggled in return, even as she appreciated his fine form as he continue to stoke the fire. She had to shake her head to clear it of her lust-filled thoughts.
Eric turned to wink at her.
“So—uh—I’ll be able to practice my Fae powers outside?” Sookie asked to clarify.
“Yes,” Eric responded. “According to Octavia, the scent of any magic you produce on the property will be locked inside the spell.”
“Cool,” Sookie smiled. She closed her eyes as another mind came into range. She noticed that Eric was tilting his head a little.
“The groceries?” Eric asked.
Sookie read the mind of the driver and nodded. “Yes.”
Eric felt Sookie’s excitement through their blood tie.
“Putting away groceries shouldn’t have you so enthusiastic,” he observed as he came into the kitchen. He smiled as he noticed that one of her hands was behind her back.
“What are you trying to hide from me, Miss Stackhouse?” he smirked, as he prowled toward her.
“A surprise isn’t a surprise if you know about it before you should, Mr. Northman,” she returned flirtingly, even as she took a few steps back.
“Who says I like surprises?” he returned.
“Oh—I think you’ll like this one,” she responded. “But you’ll have to wait for it.”
“Will I?” he challenged.
“Please,” she smiled and batted her eyelashes in an exaggerated way.
He narrowed his gaze. “Never tell Pam that I have gone soft.”
She let out a laugh. “I don’t think Pam and I will be sharing any secrets any time soon.” Her eyebrows scrunched together. “Pam doesn’t much like me—you know?”
Eric shrugged. “Pam doesn’t like anyone.”
“She likes you,” Sookie challenged.
“Hmmm,” Eric smirked. “Sometimes. Seriously, though, she has felt quite a few things around you, but dislike hasn’t really been one of them.”
“What does she think about me?” she asked curiously.
“She’s very attracted to you,” Eric began.
Sookie shook her head and chuckled. “Yeah. That part—I’ve picked up on.” Her eyebrow arched. “Like maker, like progeny?”
Eric chuckled. “Something like that.”
“What else does she think?”
“She is curious about you; we were both curious about your scent. She was amused that you had the ability to,” he paused, “unnerve me.”
“Hmm—unnerve you?” Sookie maneuvered a drawer behind her open with her free hand and managed to put her surprise inside of it without Eric seeing the item. She gave Eric a warning look when he looked ready to pounce on the drawer.
“Please?” she asked with a little smile.
He chuckled and zipped toward her to take her into his arms. “Who knew that one word from you would be my kryptonite?”
Her smile widened. “Unnerving isn’t it?”
He chuckled. “It truly is,” he agreed right before capturing her lips with his.
“Let’s go break in that big bed I picked out,” she panted as she moved her kisses down his neck and bit a little.
He growled and sped them to the bedroom.
The bed was soft.
The Viking? He was hard.
A/N: Well—I hope that you are all enjoying this time of peace for our pair. I really felt that these two deserved time to “rest” after what happened to them in Phoenix. And I had fun imagining how “easy” it would be for Eric and Sookie once the questions about the Fae bond were lessened.