Love’s Denial Preview

1

It was really rather pathetic that my sex life was so bad that I had to go to Rune to get some. I was Yuri Stanalovic, for god sakes! Century after century I was used to having men throw themselves at me, simply for the chance to say they’d been with me. But now, everyone was finding their mates and settling down. My two best friends, Dimitri and Matteo, had recently done just that. So here I was, seeking out Rune because I needed to scratch the itch.

I knocked on his door and walked into his room without waiting for an answer. He always left the door unlocked in case someone would come by and give him some TLC. I wanted to do a happy dance when I saw he was sleeping. That meant I didn’t have to get into the whole Master bullshit with him. Rune had some fucked up ideas about sex.

Crawling into bed with him, I saw he was already naked. I shed my own clothes and grabbed the lube I’d brought with me. One of the issues I had with Rune’s idea of sex was that he liked it rough, so rough he bled or got hurt in the process. Yeah, I like some rough sex here and there, but nowhere along those lines.

I squirted some slick on my fingers as I moved his legs apart. Positioning myself between them, I found he had a butt plug already in his ass. I bit my lip to keep from laughing and used the lube on my cock instead. He snored lightly as I pulled out the plug and pushed his knees up to his chest. I lined up my dick and worked my cock into him.

“Oh fuck,” Rune whispered as his eyes fluttered open. By the time I saw the recognition on his face at who I was, I’d bottomed inside of him. I moved so I could lean over him, and tried to kiss him. Like Rune always did, he turned his head to the side. That was another issue, god forbid we were actually intimate and it was about more than just fucking.

“Fine,” I growled as I moved back and hooked his legs over my shoulders. If he wanted a hard fuck, I’d give him one. I pulled out slowly before thrusting back into him so forcefully the bed hit the wall. Rune moaned loudly as I began pounding into him. I knew it wasn’t his fault that he had emotional issues, but it pissed me off right then.

So I took it out on his ass. I slammed into him so hard, over and over again, that he was screaming from my ferocity. “Harder, fuck me as hard as you can, Yuri. Hit me! I want you to beat me,” he panted.

“I’ll fuck you hard, but you know I won’t hit you,” I grunted, starting to not want to even do that. “Shut up about that shit or I’ll lose my hard-on.”

“Yes, Master,” Rune answered as he grabbed his own cock. He squeezed it so tightly that I was surprised the damn thing didn’t burst. I looked away as I kept thrusting in and out of him. After a few more minutes, he screamed as his dick exploded, shooting cum all over both of us. That was all I needed. His ass clamped down on my cock, and I roared out my own release. I kept snapping my hips through my orgasm, trying to draw it out.

When I was done, I sat back on my heels, letting my spent cock slip from his ass. Rune had fallen back asleep with a smile on his face. I, on the other hand, didn’t feel like smiling. The itch I felt was for more than just fucking, but at least my cock was happy. As I got off the bed and started getting dressed again, I felt my phone vibrate in my jeans. Pulling it out I saw I’d missed calls and texts from Alexander.

What does he want at this time of night? I left Rune’s room and headed towards the command center. It was just a level below, in the main housing for the warriors. I jogged down the stairs and turned left towards the tech room. After I entered, I saw Alexander and headed his way.

Alexander was actually the mate of one of my best friends, Dimitri. He was also in command of the training camp. I was ranked third, under Dimitri. Normally, most warriors fought for that first position and I could have, probably, even won. I was older and better trained than Alexander, but I liked the job that came with being third on the base.

I was in charge of all the outside missions, which included things from chaperoning duty to organizing some official council member’s security, sometimes even search and rescue. I loved my job. It was what I had been born to do.

“Where the fuck have you been?” Alexander grumbled as I neared him.

“It’s the middle of the night. What do you think I was doing?”

“You smell like sex.” Dimitri chuckled, punching me in the arm. “Anyone I know?”

“Yeah, and don’t remind me about it,” I mumbled, reaching out for the file Alexander held. “What’s up?”

“An attempt was made on the life of the leader of France’s covens,” Alexander stated as I looked over the file. “The head of the American councils was contacted. They want outside help, since they think it’s an inside job. The guy is the last in his line.”

“Yeah, that normally screams insider,” I agreed, but was still confused. “Why contact us?”

“You,” Dimitri said gently, knowing I wasn’t going to like it. “They want you sent because of your gift.”

All vampires had heightened senses, extreme healing capabilities, and strength. We also had one special gift that was something we were born with. Mine was being able to tell when someone was lying. It was as if a breeze blew through the room that only I could feel and the strength of it was directly correlated to the type of lie. If was a little white lie, it felt as if someone blew across my cheek. When it was a big fat lie, it felt like the wind on top of Mount Everest.

“Makes sense,” I conceded, though I thought I might not be the best choice. “But I think an aura reader like Matteo might be better suited to keeping someone safe. I have to have the enemy open their mouths and be close to them when it happens. Matteo can tell from a distance who the assholes are.”

“Exactly what I said to the head of our council.” Alexander nodded his approval. “Matteo’s gift is out since he blew open that shit in Russia a few decades ago. No one knows about you, except some of us locally.”

“Do I have a choice in this?” I scoffed, pretty sure I knew the answer.

“Nope.” Alexander smiled at me.

“Then when do I leave?” I asked, sticking my tongue out at Dimitri who was making faces at me over his mate’s shoulder. They had the kind of love I never thought I would want, but after seeing both my friends with it, I’d started longing for it.

“Immediately,” Alexander answered as he elbowed Dimitri playfully. “Pack what you need. The jet is landing at the airstrip in an hour to pick you up.”

“I want all the files of all the ranking vampires close to the leader,” I said, switching to mission mode. “Email them to me so I can study them on the plane. I also want the hierarchy. Who gets the most by getting this guy out of the way? I want his lineage, everything, Alexander. If I’m going to figure out who’s the mole or the traitor, I need to know as much as I can before I’m ass deep in alligators.”

“Already working on it.” He smiled as everyone got quiet. “Safe passage, my friend. You need backup, you call us and we’re on the next flight. Otherwise, cover your ass like a mother fucker and come back to us.”

“You got it, boss,” I snickered even though what he said meant a lot to me.

“Hey, we just don’t want to have to break in a new guy,” Dimitri said sarcastically as he gave me a hug. Matteo was next, as his mate Nate gave me a little wave. Nate was a good guy, but I didn’t interact with the pre- and post-trans that much, so I didn’t really know him.

Rushing back to my room, I showered, packed, and was in one of the camp’s SUVs within forty minutes. Some post-trans guy gave me a ride to the airstrip. Most of the mundane tasks like that went to them. The pre-trans were training and learning how to be warriors. The post-trans were training but also learning the ropes. They were like interns before they got the official warrior title.

The plane was waiting when we pulled up. I thanked the kid, grabbed my bags, and hurried over. Once I was all strapped in, we took right off. I love the perks of a private airstrip. The captain came on the overhead and told me it was safe to turn on my electronics. I booted up my computer and got right to work.

I’d been forewarned the flight would take about eleven hours, depending on the winds. Again, the perks of having access to a Learjet. No stopovers, connecting flights, or any of that bullshit. France was eight hours ahead of what I was used to in Nowhere, Wyoming, so I figured I should try and stay awake for the flight and study up on what I was walking into. We took off at one in the morning, Mountain Time.

The flight would put in us France at noon, my time. Add eight hours to that, plus travel time once we landed, and I would be getting to the French Royal Compound around nine in the evening, Paris time. If I could stay awake, hopefully I would be so tired I’d crash and get adjusted to my new time zone. It was the plan anyways.

I studied the files on everyone surrounding the Royal for hours. When I felt my eyes starting to cross, I got up and stretched my legs. The plane was, of course, furnished with a mini kitchen, complete with a fridge stocked with blood and food. Realizing I’d not eaten or had any blood in a while, I loaded up.

Then I started to look into the Royal himself. France was still doing it old school. Even though the legitimate government in the human world wasn’t a monarchy and hadn’t been for centuries, vampires weren’t as quick to change with the times. The new ruler of the French Covens was one Grand Duc Dominic Reynard Courtland Aldrich. His lineage went all the way back to Charlemagne, who I learned had been a vampire. I hadn’t known that bit of history.

The Grand Duc, which is Duke in French, recently came into power at the age of thirty. Great, he’s just a kid, I thought, rolling my eyes. But as I read on, my heart went out to the guy. His parents had been murdered by unknown parties when he was a child away at school. It seemed his parents had thought that any good ruler of the vampire race needed to be fluent in their understanding of the way humans lived. So they’d sent their only offspring to a human boarding school in England at the age of ten.

While it wasn’t unheard of for vampires to attend human schools, especially those who hadn’t gone through their transition yet, it sounded harsh to be sent away at ten years old. But then again, at ten, I’d been working in the fields of my family’s farm in Poland. So what did I know?

The file listed his accomplishments and changes since coming into power, most of them seeming to bring the covens into the twenty-first century. I liked the guy, on paper at least. He had a master’s from Oxford and seemed to have learned a lot from spending so much time around humans. The bad part about doing what was best for the vampires in that area even when they might not realize it was that change brought fear, and when people were scared they did drastic things. Like trying to kill off or overthrow a monarchy.

I rubbed my hands over my face as my eyes started to hurt again. Being a vampire with heightened senses came with all kinds of gifts, like a photographic memory. But I was trying to learn about a century’s worth of history and background in an eleven hour flight, including the entire chain of command of the French hierarchy. Fortunately for me, I wasn’t going to report to anyone except my liaison and the head of the Western European Council.

“We’re going to be landing in less than ten minutes, Mr. Stanalovic,” the pilot said on the overhead. “Please turn off all electronics and make ready.”

I did as he asked and packed everything up before making sure I was all strapped in for our arrival. Looking at my watch, I saw we had made good time. Good, because I was hungry again and ready to sleep. Moments later, I felt the plane’s altitude drop as it descended. I popped my ears as we hit the tarmac, and other than a few bumps, the landing was textbook.

Once the plane stopped, I unbuckled myself, got up, and grabbed my bags. I opened the side door, the steps rolled out, and I strolled off the plane. It was unnerving when I glanced around and realized there was no one waiting for me. Just as I was getting pissed and about to call Alexander, a limo drove towards me. Raising an eyebrow, I walked a few feet towards it when it stopped, not wanting to get too close in case it wasn’t a friendly.

“Mr. Stanalovic?” the driver asked as he got out of the car and raced over to me.

“I’m Yuri Stanalovic,” I answered, eyeing the guy hesitantly. I was fairly big even for a vampire warrior, coming in at almost seven feet. Yeah, try finding clothes when you were six-ten. It’s not fun. Then you also had to figure in that I was over three hundred pounds of solid muscle. Most of my clothes were special order.

“I apologize for not being here when you landed,” the driver said, freezing when he saw the look of distrust on my face… That and I had about two feet on him, which he realized as he looked up, and up, and up at me. “You arrived earlier than Councilman Matthews told me to expect.”

“Not a problem,” I answered, relaxing when he said that name. It wasn’t the real name of the councilman, but the one I had been told to listen for when other people did anything on his behalf. I handed the guy my bags and got in the backseat, not even bothering to wait for him to get the door for me. The guy was frazzled enough at being late, no need to act like a stuck-up priss on top of it.

Twenty minutes later, we were pulling into a large estate outside of Paris. I’d thoroughly enjoyed the ride over. If time allowed it, I would really like to have seen some of the sights. In all my travels as a warrior, France hadn’t been one of them. I knew it wasn’t all cool and warrior-like to admit to wanting to do the tourist thing, but we need vacations too.

I opened the door and got out on my own when the car stopped in front of a large mansion. And seriously, I wasn’t sure mansion covered it. I decided to call it a castle, because, damn, the place was massive. The grounds were extensive and very much looked like the house of someone royal. I mean there were even hedges and bushes in the shapes of animals.

The castle itself had to be at least four stories, with towers that added several more. I snickered to myself when I saw the towers, but then remembered it was the English that had the tendency to lock their royals in towers, not the French. Also, I took note of the lack of proper security measures in the front, including reinforced doors and cameras. The driver popped the trunk, and I reached in and grabbed my own bags.

“Thanks for the lift, man,” I said to his shocked face and walked up to the main doors. They opened for me without me even having to knock. Good to know security was so tight. I’d really have to check into that.

“Mr. Stanalovic, I’m Edmund Dantes.” The smaller man introduced himself to me as he walked quickly towards me. “You’ll be reporting to me while staying here.”

“No, I really won’t be, Mr. Dantes,” I replied, raising an eyebrow while smirking, even if I kept the formalities of last names. Funny, the guy wasn’t lying, he really thought I was reporting to him. “I’ll be reporting directly to Councilman De La Cruz. If you have any questions or issues, you’re to take them up with him. Sorry you weren’t informed properly, probably due to the last minute nature of this whole thing.”

“Umm, I’ll have to talk this over with Mr. Egan, the Grand Duc’s head of security,” Edmund stuttered, looking perplexed. The other thing that came in handy as a vampire was that we understood pretty much every language. It was almost if we had our own personal translators in our brains. Edmund was speaking fluent French, and I was speaking English back at him, without either of us missing a step.

“That’s fine. Let’s go see him,” I replied, waiting for him to show me the way.

“That’s not possible. He’s unavailable at the moment,” Edmund answered, his eyes going wide.

“Look, I know this sucks for you since your chain of command gave you the wrong instructions.” I was trying to be patient, but I was fucking tired. “I got dragged out of bed at midnight my time and hopped on a plane an hour later at the decree of your council and mine. My orders are to keep the Grand Duc safe and take out the threat. Which means no one holds my leash except the council. I flew almost eleven hours without any sleep to get here because the situation is that serious. So, I’m telling you to take me to whoever is in charge around here because I need to speak to him now.”

Edmund stared at me for a few moments as if I were the devil himself before falling back on that perfect persona. “Right this way, Mr. Stanalovic.”

“Yuri’s fine,” I answered, trying to be less of a dickhead. I followed him down the hall, making two rights before we came to a conference room, mapping out what I saw in my head as I went. “I’m probably going to be here awhile and we’re going to interact. I don’t need formalities.”

“And you are just a warrior after all. It’s not like you deserve the respect,” another man said, disdain dripping off his words as he walked into the room. Interestingly enough, I felt the breeze indicate he was lying. I’d have to file that information away for later.

“Well, jeez, thanks.” I snorted as I put my bags down. I didn’t want to have my hands full as I faced off against someone this hostile. “And you would be?”

“Charles Egan, the head of the Grand Duc’s security, and advisor,” Chuck said, obviously sticking his hands in his pockets. The message that I wasn’t worth shaking hands with was received loud and clear. I crossed my arms over my very large chest, knowingly showing my muscles off to the smaller man.

“Oh goody, so it’s going to be like that,” I drawled mockingly, giving the guy the once-over. “So you’re just a glorified security guard and a know-it-all. Now that we’ve got that settled, I want the complete layout of this place, the Grand Duc’s schedule, a list of every employee staffed here, and anyone else who has access to the Grand Duc.”

“You can’t just come in here and start barking orders,” Chuck snarled, and again I felt the wave tell me he was lying. What was this shit? Some sort of glorified pissing contest?

“Yes, I can,” I growled as I let my fangs come out, showing clearly I wasn’t to be fucked with. “I was sent here by my council, and yours, because someone almost killed the Grand Duc. I’m here because you can’t do your job and keep the guy safe. So suck it up and get me what I need.”

“Oh, I like this one,” a softer voice said with a chuckle from behind me. I saw the other two men bow and realized who it had to be. Turning to face the newcomer, but not giving Chuck boy my back, I gave a bow as well.

“Yuri Stanalovic, Your Highness,” I said as he eyed me.

“Did you just arrive?” the Grand Duc asked. I nodded, and he continued. “And what have you found so far?”

“That depends, Your Highness.”

“On what?” he asked, with a grin and raised brow.

“On whether you really want an answer, or just some bullshit line.” I shrugged, figuring that if I was going to be protecting him, he’d need to know the real me. “If you don’t want what I really think, I suggest you never ask me anything.”

He chuckled. “I appreciate honesty, Yuri.” His face really lit up when he smiled, and unfortunately, I felt my cock harden in my jeans. It wasn’t good to lust after someone you were sent to protect. He was smaller than my normal tastes, about five-nine and one-sixty or so. But it was his almost ankle-length raven-black hair and light brown eyes that kept me staring. His eyes were so light they were almost yellow, absolutely gorgeous.

“Unless your security here is equipped with facial recognition software, I’m extremely disappointed,” I said. “No one’s checked my ID or asked for my official orders from the councils. For all they might know, I’m the one trying to kill you and I intercepted the message that someone new was coming to head your security. I could have killed the real Yuri and taken his place.”

“Anything else?” the Grand Duc asked, looking pleased.

“I would prefer the rest of my assessments be given to you in private,” I answered, wondering how much he knew about me.

“Now see here,” Chuck growled but stopped as the Grand Duc held up his hand for silence. Well, that was a neat trick.

“Get Yuri everything he asked for, within the hour, Charles,” he said firmly. Then he turned to Edmund. “Please show our guest to the chamber connecting to mine. I will be up there shortly, Yuri. We can chat more then.”

“Thank you, Your Highness,” I replied, glad the guy seemed to be on my side. He simply gave me a nod and went on his way. Edmund was gracious enough to take one of my bags for me, but Chuck was seething. If looks could kill, I’d be six feet under.

“Follow me,” Edmund said, biting his lip. I had a feeling old Edmund liked seeing Chuck get put in his place. I picked up my other bags and trailed along behind him, taking in my surroundings as we went. Since this was going to be my home and headquarters for a while, I needed to learn it like the back of my hand.