Daric's Mate

DARIC’S MATE

(Book Five: The Vampire Coalition)

By J. S. Scott

Copyright© 2013 by J. S. Scott

All Right Reserved

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgments:

Many thanks to the TT. Daric wouldn’t have been the same without you!

My appreciation to Cali MacKay for the lovely new covers for this series.

And, as always my never-ending gratitude to the readers who wanted Daric’s story.

Chapter 1

Daric Carvillius paced his remote Colorado mountain home with a heavy sigh, plagued by overwhelming fatigue. Although he was the Prince of the Vampire Healers, he still had some of the same characteristics of an average vampire healer, and he hated to feed. Unfortunately - due to his royal blood, power and strength - Daric actually needed blood more often than the average healer, and his feelings of revulsion at performing the necessary function were much more powerful than that of other vampire healers. Recoiling instinctively from the act of taking blood from a human without consent, Daric put off the inevitable as long as possible, delaying until he could barely function.

Plowing his way to the kitchen, Daric rifled through the contents of his refrigerator, hoping to calm his urgency for blood with ordinary human food. It wouldn’t entirely work, but it would at least keep him occupied with something pleasurable. After he had left Liam’s party, the gnawing emptiness had consumed him, leaving him with nothing to occupy himself, nothing to think about except the pain caused by lack of feeding and the void of loneliness that had haunted him for the last millennium.

He’d interfered in Liam’s mating, something that was definitely frowned upon in vampire circles, but who was going to tell
him
to do otherwise? He was a Carvillius, Prince Daric, the last of vampire royalty. He’d stopped giving a shit about what he should and shouldn’t do long ago, doing as he damn well pleased…and he had chosen to help Liam. Daric answered to no one but himself, and Liam had needed to be kicked in the ass before the boy did something incredibly stupid.

Had to. The dumbass was about to screw up the first chance that a vampire healer had been given to mate in over a millennium.

Like it or not, Daric had to admit that his healers needed mates.

Scowling as he pawed through old bread, moldy cheese and a few unidentifiable leftovers, Daric conceded that he had helped Liam for reasons other than the fact that a vampire healer finding his mate was a monumental event. Honestly, although the boy could be annoying, Daric liked Liam. He admired the healer’s dedication, his willingness to sacrifice for his people. Liam deserved a woman if that was what he wanted, and the boy had gotten a good female in Regan.

Maybe it will help a little with the guilt.

“Fuck! There isn’t a damn thing to eat in this house!” His voice boomed through the massive home, echoing back at him, nothing more than a failed attempt to drown out his thoughts.

Hell yeah, he felt guilty. Always had. Always would. He just didn’t want to be reminded of it. Part of the reason vampire healers had a difficult time finding a mate rested on Daric’s shoulders, his fault for not getting to his father before the ancient vampire healer became mentally unsound and dangerous. If he had just gotten there a few minutes earlier, he might have prevented his grief-stricken father from performing an act that would ultimately harm his people, leaving Daric with a bunch of unhappy vampire healers to deal with on a daily basis. Daric was a second son, an unnecessary and useless prince. His father had never had much use for his second-born, his whole life revolving around his heir, Nolan.

Daric Carvillius was now alone, completely alone, his entire family taken away in moments over a thousand years ago, his people suffering because he had failed to stop his father, because Nolan’s intended mate had favored another. There had been a Carvillius as King of the Vampire Healers forever, but
that
tradition was ending. Daric refused to take the title that had belonged to his father, with Nolan next in line as the heir.

I was never meant to be King. I don’t want to be King.

As far as Daric was concerned, the title of King of the Vampire Healers could die out, because he wasn’t taking that mantle, had refused to do so for the last thousand years. He barely tolerated being a lone prince. He would always watch over his people, do his duty as the last surviving member of the royal family, but he wanted nothing to do with the title of
King
that came with the responsibility. What good was the title? It hadn’t protected Nolan, heir to the Kingdom, who had been brought down by a selfish, insane female. And it certainly hadn’t saved his father from madness. No, the title of King had belonged to his father and should now be Nolan’s. Since they were both dead, the title would die with them.

Daric slammed the door of the refrigerator, irritated that he hadn’t stopped for food. Problem was, his duties didn’t leave him with time to shop, and the food that he conjured tasted like shit. He was rarely at home except to sleep, spending all of his time trying to protect his fellow healers from their own stupidity. Vampire healers had more power than an average vampire, and they didn’t always use it wisely. Daric was forced to intervene whenever one of them stepped over the line, which was far too often. His powers as a prince were no match for the average healer.

Frowning as he dug his cell phone out of the pocket of his jeans, Daric hoped that Liam finding his mate was a sign that more and more of the healers would start finding mates. Most of the unrest among vampire healers was due to a lack of female influence – a realization that they were unlikely to ever be blessed with a mate.

Scrolling through his list of numbers, Daric punched the one he sought, so hard that he nearly broke the phone.

Don’t know why anyone would want that sort of blessing. Females are really nothing but trouble. Why my fellow healers think they need one is beyond me.

It had been a very long time since Daric had experienced the pleasures of sex, but he didn’t think he really missed it. And he certainly didn’t think it would be worth the trouble of having a meddling, whiny female around all the time.

Unfortunately, his vampire healers apparently still remembered the pleasures of the flesh, and seemed to be willing to tolerate the discomfort of having a female around just for the sake of having sex.

Daric shook his head as he waited impatiently for someone to answer his call. If females would help his unruly lot of male vampire healers behave, Daric didn’t care if every single one of them found a female.

As long as it doesn’t happen to me!
The last thing Daric wanted was a goddamn female to add to his list of things that irritated him, which, unfortunately, was a pretty damn long list. Watching over an irksome woman would probably send him over the edge.

Finally, after about the twentieth ring, a female voice answered Daric’s call.

“Temple’s Pizza, how can I help you?”

“I need a delivery. And I don’t want to wait forever.” Daric’s voice was rough, his intense hunger for something other than food making him cranky. Okay…crabbier than usual, since his normal behavior was less than angelic most of the time.

“I’m sorry, sir, but my delivery person is gone for the evening because of the storm.”
The female voice sounded weary.

Fuck! He ordered from
Temple’s
often, and they had never had a problem delivering, even when it was snowing. If they did, they would never deliver because it snowed all the damn time during the winter in this remote area. His home and the tiny town about three miles away, in a far-flung area of the Rocky Mountains, rarely saw a day without snow in the winter at this elevation.

“I’ll pay. Five hundred bucks extra to anybody you can find to deliver. In addition to the cost of the food. And I need a lot of food.” Actually, he needed blood, and Daric didn’t want to waste energy going to retrieve human food. His reserves were low; he’d waited way too long. After his day sleep, he’d be forced to immediately find an unsuspecting blood donor, his need finally overcoming his revulsion. Until then, he was hoping that gorging on pizza and bread sticks would take the edge off the gnawing hunger that was making his gut burn, his gums ache with stabbing pain, and his fangs want to burst free from confinement.

The phone line was silent, but Daric could hear the woman breathing. He clenched his fingers around the phone, fighting the urge to give the woman a
push
, a slight mental compulsion to obey his demands. As a prince of the vampire healers, there was very little that Daric wasn’t capable of doing with his magic. However, doing anything other than feeding, like taking away free will from another being, came with a price. The pain wouldn’t be anything like the backlash he suffered whenever he was forced to take the life of a
fallen
, but it wouldn’t be pleasant in his weakened state. And, his fucking noble conscience would plague him later, beating at him for doing something that he would definitely have chastised one of his healers for doing. Having royal blood could be a real bitch sometimes.

“I’ll find someone.”
The woman’s breathy answer was barely audible.

Daric didn’t recognize the voice, though he thought he had probably spoken to everyone who worked at
Temple’s
. God knew he called there often enough. “I need ten extra-large pizzas with everything. No fish. No fruit.” Daric shuddered. There wasn’t much he wouldn’t eat, but there was something criminal about putting pineapple or tiny fish on a perfectly good pizza.

“Must be some party.”
The female’s comment was muttered in a low voice, too quiet for a human to hear.

But Daric wasn’t human, and he grumbled, “No party. I’m hungry.”

“Sorry…I…sorry.”
She sounded distressed, embarrassed that Daric had responded to her personal observation
. “I’ll get those out to you as soon as possible
,” the woman answered in a louder, more professional voice.

“I’m not done.” Did she think that was all he wanted? He had told her he was
hungry
. “I need ten orders of bread sticks with plenty of dipping sauce.” He paused before asking, “And those little chocolate desserts. I want ten of those.”

“Is this a joke? Who is this?”
The voice on the line sounded exasperated.

A joke? The damn human female was mocking
him?
“I am Daric Carvillius.” Who did she think she was messing with? Nobody screwed around with his food.

“Shit! I’m sorry, Mr. Carvillius. I should have known. My name is Hannah. I don’t take orders very often.”
Her answer was immediate and remorseful.

Okay. That was more like it.
Daric wasn’t so sure that the cursing was appropriate, but at least the woman was properly contrite. “Just get it here. Fast.”

“As quickly as possible, Mr. Carvillius.”

Daric disconnected the call, shoving his phone back into his pocket with a heavy sigh.

Dragging his depleted body into the living room, he threw his massive bulk onto the couch, trying not to think about how desperately he needed blood. Compulsion and revulsion were constantly at war, revulsion almost always winning, until a vampire healer absolutely had to feed. At that point, compulsion took over and the healer fed, hating the act, but compelled by a force stronger than the foul distaste he felt when taking blood. Eventually, need would always win, forcing the healer to act.

Daric was pushing that fine line, his need growing stronger than his morals.

Fuck! It was going to be a long night.

Chapter 2

Damn it!

Hannah Temple slammed the phone back into the cradle on the wall, brushing it absently with the towel in her hand to remove the flour that now coated the entire telephone, a result of her grabbing at it without removing the pizza dough from her hands before answering the call.

“I should have just let it ring,” she muttered to herself, glancing out of the window of the empty restaurant, seeing nothing but blowing snow, wondering what had possessed her to agree to this order and the delivery.

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