Where Evil Lurks

Welcome to Moonlight Madness - Where Evil Lurks

This is the fourth story in my Moonlight saga.

Story One - The Beginning - Beth's Diary

Story Two - With Arms Wide Open

Story Three - Barely Breathing

Cast of Characters

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chapter 9 The Hard Truth

Chapter 9 The Hard Truth

At three o'clock Lani went into Josef's office, anxious to get their weekend started. He was just finishing a call and waved her in when she knocked softly and poked her head into the room.

He sat the phone down and leaned back in his chair, a satisfied smile on his face. The jet was landing in LA in a minutes and Katrina was secure. Tango would be taking over the watch for the next few days while Josef was with Lani.

"Hello Sweetness! How has your day been?" It all sounded so Ozzie and Harriett when all the while he was planning a very violent and bloody death for that bitch that caused so much time and expense to be wasted on her. All that mattered little when compared that if it hadn't been for the fact that she indirectly caused Beth's death and subsequent turning. One part of his brain was thinking of one horrible demise after another while the other part was thinking about loving the night away with his mate.

Hey, a guy had to have some balance after all.

"Wonderful and the best part is that I'm done with business and ready to head out of here and slide myself into a teeny, tiny bikini. You like?" she teased, drawing a fingertip down his nose and then tracing her thumb over his lips.

"Well, that depends on the bikini!" he laughed and then watched as she pouted sweetly for a moment. He pulled her down onto his lap and kissed away the pout and then continued to kiss her senseless. She was breathless and trembling by the time he was done.

"Not fair Kostan, not fair at all," she grumbled as she slid off of his lap and smoothed the Vera Wang skirt down over long and curvy legs. She turned around and bent over and made a display of smoothing her hosiery before casting a wicked look over her shoulder as she straightened up. He couldn't see the delighted grin she hid when she saw that his eyes were practically popping out of his head as he watched her.

He absentmindedly hit the intercom button, missing it on the first try and called Thor. "Has everything been handled today Thor?"

"Yes Mr. Kostan. You appointment calendar is cleared until Tuesday. The jet just touched down and all went according to your direction. Tango has everything under control and told me to tell you to relax."

"Very good Thor. Ms. Parker and I will be leaving shortly then. No disturbances this weekend unless it is a major emergency - get that?"

"Of course sir. Please have a pleasant weekend," Thor said, going back to work. He had his training class with Ms. Parker this morning on the new security system and he had some homework to occupy him. It was quite an interesting and innovative system; only the most skilled of individuals would have any success with it. He was one of those people though he thought with a smile.


Beth dialed the phone and looked at the 'send' key for a moment, trying to talk herself into making the call. She wanted to but it was so hard; if she were still human her heart would be pounding crazily. Finally she punched the key and waited for the call to be answered.

"Hello?" Robbi said. She knew it was Beth from the caller ID but for some reason she felt uncomfortable acknowledging it until Beth identified herself.

"Hey Robbi. It's Beth. How are you?"

"I'm fine Beth."

Silence. Beth took a deep unnecessary breath and got to the point. "I was wondering if you'd like to go to lunch with me next Wednesday? My treat, wherever you like." Beth mentally ticked off the seconds while she waited for her friend to answer.

Robbi was quiet as she thought about the offer. She missed Beth and she so badly wanted to catch up with her. It wasn't her fault that she missed Brian's birth and Robbi understood that now. Still, there was a wall between them that was in part her doing and she wasn't sure she was ready to breach it yet. Maybe there was no time like the present she decided.

"Okay, I will. Our favorite sushi place sound good to you?"

Beth grinned into the phone and almost squealed out loud. "Yes, that sounds great. What time works for you?"

"How about 1:00? I'll see if Mom will watch Brianna but I sort of need to keep Brian with me."

"Okay, that sounds good. I can't wait Robbi," she said and meant it. When they ended the call a few minutes later she wondered why Robbi didn't want Brianna to see her; was it the vampire thing? It was a strangely disquieting thought.

Next Beth called her mom, excited to let her know that Robbi had agreed to lunch. The words fairly spilled out, her happiness bubbling over.

Dorothy loved her daughter sounding so happy and excited. The situation with Robbi had been weighing heavily on Dorothy's mind because Robbi had been as much a part of their lives as Lani had been. Not in the same way because Robbi had a very happy childhood but the three had been inseparable growing up.

"Beth, that is wonderful news! I can tell how excited you are about it. How are you doing otherwise?" The rest of that sentence was left unsaid, are you still upset about the baby? How could she not be? It wasn't like it was going to go away over night.

Beth quieted for a moment, understanding exactly what her mom was asking. There was no quick solution to her pain; it wouldn't go away overnight but it would lessen in time. She was happy with her life now and being with Mick made up for it all but that didn't mean that she didn't mourn the loss of being able to have a baby with him. What was amazing to her was that she had never really thought about kids; there was always so many things to do with her life. It wasn't until Mick came along and she understood his hunger and need for a family that it became important to her. Now the thought of not holding a little one, a shared being of their creation left her feeling so empty inside.

"I'm dealing with it Mom, it's just going to take time, you know?"

"Time alone isn't going to heal this Beth. You need to share this with Mick. Did you stop to think that he may be holding this same pain inside him; that he is keeping it in because he's worried about you? Beth, he is your husband and has been connected to you in ways I can't even begin to understand for so many years. You have to know that he feels your pain and it makes him feel worse. Please Bethy, talk to him."

"I - I don't know Mom; he'll just feel guilty because whenever I have regret about anything he thinks it's his fault for being in my life. He has this stupid notion that if he'd never come into my life that I'd be happier than I am now."

"Is that possible Beth?"

"NO, it isn't. He is my life, always has been. Mom, I felt him from my youngest years after he saved me. I always knew he was there and I knew when he left here too - when he moved to Seattle. I don't understand the strength of the connection either but it's there."

"So tell him that."


The ride north was wonderful; the air was cool but not chilly, perfect early October weather along the coast. The water was a blue-gray and the air held a salty tang to it. The top was down on the Ferrari and Lani had pulled her hair back into a pony tail and leaned her head back, delighting in the feel of the sun occasionally playing peek a boo on her face since it was a mostly cloudy day. The CD player was spinning an old Beatles album and Josef hummed along as he drove. It sort of surprised her, that he would be a Beatles fan and it made her smile.

The White Album, was one of the biggest Beatles albums ever but most of it was pretty strange Lani thought. She guessed you just had to be there, in the 1960's to appreciate it. Still, one of her all time favorite songs came on then and she sang along.

Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we're together
Love you when we're apart

Josef cast a sideways glance at her as she sang and couldn't resist smiling at her. Her eyes were closed as she sang and he could see that she was very relaxed. He had some things to tell her when they got to the beach house and he hoped she'd accept it all. They had developed a pattern of honesty between them and he planned to continue it; she couldn't survive in his world if he pulled his punches with her. She needed to know the truth and he intended to give it to her.

What if she couldn't handle it?

He refused to believe that she couldn't; she was strong. His mate, his woman was incredible and a fighter too. It would be okay, he had to believe that.

He was worried about the fact that she hadn't looked out of the peep hole this morning, but it was more than that. He was placing some security measures around her and he hoped that she'd accept it. Four hundred years of being a vampire was a lot to carry around and enemies could literally be anywhere. He was determined that she not be a causality of it all.

Lani opened her eyes when the car downshifted to make the turn onto the access road that led to the beach house. She was pleased to be back because this house was the beginning of them, their relationship. Granted, their physical relationship started at her beach house but here was where she finally opened to him, and he to her. This place was special to them both.

The garage door opened and they pulled in and then it came down and she looked at him, watching her. "What?"

"I love you, okay?"

"I love you too. But something's up Josef. You can't hide it from me."

He gave a wry laugh and shook his head. "No, I guess I can't. Before the fun starts we have a few things to talk about so let's go in, okay?"

He sounded so serious and her heart skipped a beat or two; she was suddenly afraid of what he was going to say to her. "Are you breaking up with me?" she asked in a tight, panicked voice.

He leaned over and kissed her lips and then the tip of her nose. "No, you aren't getting rid of me that easily. Just some things we need to talk about okay? Nothing to fear. So come on, let's get in the house."

"Okay," she said still eyeing him warily. He was so serious about it all. He came around and opened her door and she stepped out while he grabbed their bags out of the storage behind the seats.

At the door into the house he punched in a code and then slid a key card through a slot and the door opened with a loud click. Lani stepped through closely followed by Josef who closed and locked the door again behind him.

"Why don't you get us a drink while I take these down to our bedroom?" he asked. At her nod he disappeared down the stairs and she went to the bar in the patio room and found a bottle of red wine and poured two glasses. She found a small paring knife used for cutting lemon's and pricked her finger, letting a few drops of blood fall into his glass. She had often seen him add a few drops of blood to his beverage and this time she wanted it to be hers. She was sucking on the fingertip when he came back upstairs, immediately catching the scent of her blood.

"What have you done?" he teased, looking at her finger. A small bead of blood welled up and he licked it off, stroking his tongue over it tenderly.

A small shiver of anticipation washed over her; my god, the things he could do with his mouth. She shook it off finally and answered, much to his amusement, "I put a few drops of my blood in your wine."

"You don't have to do that Sweetness. I have other fresh blood here; we're fully stocked for the weekend, food for you and blood for Mick and Beth and I. Of course, Beth will probably eat food too is my guess."

"I wanted it to be my blood," she told him defiantly with a slight lift of her chin.

He nodded and a soft smile crept over his face at her loving gesture. "Okay, so let's sit down and talk Lani."

He sat down on the couch and loosened his tie and then unbuttoned the top button on his shirt. She went to sit on his lap and he shook his head no and indicated she sit next to him. He needed to keep his senses about him and with her on his lap that wouldn't happen.

"Lani, this morning when you didn't check who was at your door before you opened it really scared me."

"Funny, you didn't act scared," she told him, a coy smile on her face.

"So I'm good at multi-tasking! Look, this is serious, okay?" He took a sip of the wine and her taste filled him, rushing through his senses and body like wildfire. He took a deep breath and continued, trying to get her out of his head. "Lani, I'm over 400 years old and there are many people who would say that I'm a ruthless bastard and at times I'd agree with them. You see the soft side of me Lani, the man who loves his mate deeply and it should be that way but there will be times when you'll see the other side of me; I would kill to protect the people I care about and have, many times."

She nodded her head, acknowledging his words. She knew that they had to be true and she said, "Okay. I love you and it doesn't matter."

He took another long drink, finishing the wine and sat the glass on the coffee table in front of them. "I have enemies Lani; brutal, merciless bastards that would use you against me. They could hurt you, or...or worse and I won't let that happen. Things in your life are going to have to change a bit. I'll make sure that it is the least invasive measures I can but I have to know that you are protected."

"Josef, I lived under Heroku's protection in Tokyo, after I was attacked. Heroku, like you made sure I understood the nature of vampires and I get it. He protected Cami and I both and I was glad to have him protecting me; I will accept yours because nothing is going to keep me from you Josef. Understand THAT."

Did he think she was a fighter? Make that a fierce partner in their lives; he saw that clearly. "Okay then," he said, finally letting himself relax a bit.

"So what happens?"

"First, I've got a garage door opener for you, for this house and a gate remote for you for in town. And keys and I'm going to teach you the alarm codes."

"I already have the code for here," she told him.

"No, you have the code to the safe rooms. It's a different code up here. I'm having security camera's and heavy duty locking doors installed at your beach house and the penthouse. It's okay with your landlord at the penthouse, I already checked." Heroku was the building owner but she didn't know that. "You must use those camera's, okay? If you aren't expecting someone and you don't know them, you don't answer the door, period."


"When we get back to town on Monday morning you will have a security person watching over you." He saw her mouth open to protest and he held his hand up to stop her. "You'll probably never see them Lani, but they will be there always."

"In my apartment?" No way she thought.

"No, but they'll watch the building at night. While you'll probably never see them they will be able to hear you if you call out so we're going to establish an emergency word that you can shout if you need help."

"What word?"

"I don't know, we'll figure it out this weekend. Just something that you wouldn't ordinarily say."

She sighed, thinking about it all. She could handle it all and in some ways it wasn't even unexpected. She knew what life would be like with a vampire in her life; it's just that now instead of fearing them she was with them. With him and it was exactly where she wanted to be. "Anything else?"

"One thing about Monday and then I'm going to show you something downstairs that we didn't have time for last time you were here."

"So what about Monday," she said with a frown and then remembered that he had told Thor he would see him Tuesday.

"After drop you off I have business to take care of so I won't likely see you until that night. I'd like you to stay at my place for a few days until the security equipment can be installed at your place and until we make sure that our business on Monday is finished."

"Okay, but I'm going to need some things from my place to do that. And what is the business on Monday?"

"We'll stop by your place on the way home. And the business," he hesitated, a frown marring his face as he debated whether she was up to hearing it. She looked at him expectantly and he decided to just tell her because she deserved to know. "We caught Katrina, the woman who was the head cleaner before Tango. She was flown into LA this afternoon."

Recognition came to her of exactly who Katrina was. "The woman who was supposed to execute Kelly and didn't." The woman that she had killed instead after she attacked Beth.

"Yes. Logan and Ryder tracked her down in Haiti and brought her back here today. Monday we're going to take care of her."

"By take care of her I assume you mean execute her? I hope you aren't nice about it, the bitch. I don't suppose you'll let me help?"

The thought of Lani being involved in it scared him, surprised him and almost made him smile. No, he had not underestimated his fiery mate at all. "No, we'll have it covered Sweetness."

"You're going to hurt her first aren't you?" she asked, knowing it was true.

"We are going to make sure that no one else is working with her, even though we feel sure that we've caught everyone."

Torture he meant. Whatever they did, it wouldn't be enough. She nodded, satisfied. She finished her wine and said, "So what do you have to show me downstairs?"

He stood up and held his hand out to her. She took it and followed him downstairs and this time headed left, instead of to the right where her bedroom had been before. She smiled, she was staying in his room with him and tingles ran up and down her spine.

He led her into the bedroom and then into a large closet filled with clothes for him. On the back wall was something that looked like a digital thermostat and he punched some numbers into it and said, "I need your thumb, please?" he asked with a grin.

He pressed her thumb onto a blank part of the readout and then entered more numbers, which he divulged as he punched them in. The door panel slid open and his freezer room was displayed. It had low lighting that sprung to life as they entered and she saw his freezer for the first time. High tech looking, much like the one he had bought for Mick and Beth except it was obviously only big enough to accommodate one person. He led her around it and they found another control box on the opposite wall. He did the same thing with her thumb and when the panel opened this time it led into a dark passageway. Her eyebrows rose in surprise.

"If you seal off the safe room from the rest of the house you have to have an escape route and this is it. It leads down to the cliffs by the beach. The opening there is hidden among the rocks, but you can easily open it if you need to."'

"Wow, it's all so James Bond!" she said, taking it all in.

He laughed and said, "Just covering all the bases Lani. Come on," he said, closing the panel and heading back out to the bedroom. "Let's get changed and enjoy our weekend, shall we?"

"Um, sounds wonderful. I think I'm hungry and then maybe we can take a moonlight swim? Since the pool is heated?"

"Are you going to wear one of those tiny little bikini's you brought?" His sherry brown eyes regarded her with a hint of passion in them.

"No, I don't think so," she whispered. Her arms entwined around his neck and his head came down so that his lips could capture hers, drinking her in. The kiss was deep and thorough and her knees gave away so he picked her up and carried her to the bed.

She watched him undress, her gray eyes watching the fluidity and elegance of his movements. She caught her breath, feeling the greedy fingers of passion spreading like wildfire through her body.

He came to her, his naked body proud and aroused as he slowly undressed her. Lips and fingers explored every delicious inch of her. His mouth seemed to be everywhere at once, her mouth, the sensitive skin under her breasts, circling her navel, buried in the wet heat of her body. Her body trembled wildly at her release as Josef sought her mouth again, delving deeply into its recesses with his tongue.

Breathlessly she whispered, "I love you Josef. Don't stop loving me."

"Never Lani. You are mine, only MINE," he stated with a fierce growl. His eyes silvered over as he sank into the drenched folds of her body, shuddering as he tried to control his need for her.

"Let go Love," she whispered, sensing what he was holding back. "Show me Josef, show me how much you want me!"

He needed no further urging and the two became one as the fever overtook them both. Two bodies, one mind and neither could tell where one of them left off and the other started. Together they found that place where sweet release came and afterwards they clung to each other tightly, trying to catch their breaths.

They stared into one another's eyes, each seeing the love and devotion of the other and both knew that it would last forever.

To be continued...C


mum said...

Wonderful post!

And thanks for posting so regularly, Hope. I can't imagine it's easy sticking to a schedule, but your consistency is very much appreciated! mum

Hope said...

Hi mum!!

Thank you, the story is coming along nicely and will be heating up pretty quickly! Your reading and commenting is always appreciated.

LOL, it's much easier for me to keep to a schedule. I'm a left brained person, very linear in my thinking so I like it organized. If I didn't have a schedule I'd probably never get chapters posted! :)

Joangel said...

Wow...so much going on. I love all the hidden stuff you have in your stories. Is Thor really a bad guy? Is he working for Katrina or worse? And maybe since Beth is so different from other vamps, could she have a baby? Don't they still have some of Micks sperm left? Hmmmm....can't wait to see!

Hope said...

Hey Joangel!!

Hidden stuff? Really? Hm... ;)

Yes, lots of stuff going on and that's a good thing! Thor, good or bad? No one has ever asked that before! You might be onto something there, or not!

Yes, there is some left. Maybe they can figure out what to do with it. Lots of options for them.

Thanks so much for reading and leaving me a comment Joangel!!