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Unbound (Forbidden Bond Book 1)

By:Cat Miller

 Griffin sat in a rocking chair, holding his newborn daughter. She was  only hours old. He laughed quietly to himself, trying not to wake her  mother, Tessa.

He pulled off the little knit cap on her tiny head to stroke her hair.  He had always hated the white streaks in his own dark brown hair. His  mother had always called them birthmarks. His father had told him they  were very rare and were believed to be a sign of great power among their  kind. So, when Griffin's daughter emerged into the world with a head  full of dark hair with little white streaks, his heart swelled with  pride. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

Her name was Soleil. It meant sun. He chose the name because surely the  world would revolve around the perfect child in his arms.

Just then, his pride and joy looked up at him with the palest blue eyes  that resembled the lightest of aquamarine jewels. Tessa had smiled and  teased him earlier, saying they were the color of Windex. She thought it  was funny. Griffin did not. The baby had Tessa's eyes, and staring into  them took him back in time to the night he found Tessa walking down a  dark, abandoned street.



She was a petite girl with dark blond hair hanging in loose waves down  her back, almost to her waist. She wore a dark jacket that was too light  for the season and a snug pair of jeans. The sway of her hips drew his  eyes to her feminine curves.

As he got closer to his prey, he could feel her warmth and the blood  pulsing through her body urging him to feed. It made his mouth water and  his pulse quicken.

She turned down a dark alley as he stalked her quietly. Could she make  this any easier? Hard to believe no one ever told the little thing to  stay away from dark alleys at night.

As he turned the corner, Griffin knew he would catch her before she  reached the end of the alley. He was surprised to find her standing  there, among the empty bottles and trash blowing in the wind, with both  her hands on her hips, smiling.

The streetlight closest to the alley shone on her face, illuminating  those pale-blue eyes. They were so clear, he feared she might have the  ability to see straight into his soul without all the color of normal  eyes to block her view. He felt naked in her stunning gaze.

Being a vampire meant he was a natural hunter, aware of his surroundings  and ready for anything at all times. However, at that moment,  everything faded into the background. A bomb could have dropped at his  feet and he would not have noticed the blast.

"I was wondering when you were going to show up." The little blonde grinned up at him.

Confused, he searched the vacant street behind him. As he scanned and  listened for witnesses, he wondered why he felt so off guard. "Are you  waiting for someone to meet you?"

"No. I have been waiting for you. You are the man of my dreams, so to  speak. Would you like to walk with me?" She cocked her head to the side  in a most endearing way, as if they had spoken a thousand times before  and she knew just how to lure him away. "I promise I won't bite," she  joked, as she started down the alley and turned her back to him.

He could overtake her at any time, but the need to be closer to her was  stronger than the hunger for her blood. She piqued his curiosity. What  was wrong with him? Humans had never drawn him as she had. His family  had taught him from birth that they were cattle to be maintained and  respected for the gift they give, but nothing more.

Moreover, how could she possibly have been waiting for him? She must  think I'm someone else, he thought to himself. The thought sent an odd  wave of jealousy over him. It didn't matter. Why should he care if she  were expecting to meet a human male?

She strolled down the alley without a care, and he began to follow, as  if he were the tide being pulled by her gravity. He felt a sudden surge  of anger at her arrogance. She could not lead him, Griffin Vaughn,  around by the nose like some weak, human male. He caught up with her in  less than a heartbeat and spun her around by her arm so she could see  her predator's true face. His fangs extended, and he knew his dark blue  irises had darkened to solid black. She needed to develop some respect  for the danger he displayed. He would be sure she never acted so  foolishly again.

"I don't think I'm the male you were waiting for, little one," he snarled into her face.

"Of course you are. You just don't know it, yet." Her voice wobbled.

"You have no idea what you're dealing with, little one. I'm not one of your timid males." A growl came from deep in his throat.

Why had he done that? He really didn't want to scare her away, and he  knew better than to reveal himself to a human. Vampires enthralled their  donors and sent them on their way with no memory of the feeding, but  she had him so twisted in the space of a minute that he'd exposed  himself.         

     



 

Tessa put both of her fists against his abdomen and pushed with all her  might to put space between the two of them. It didn't move Griffin at  all, but the motion forced Tessa back against the cold brick wall behind  her.

"I'm not afraid of you! If you wanted to hurt me, I'd be dead by now, or at least unconscious from blood loss," she stuttered.

He stepped in closer so they were chest to chest, and she had to crane  her neck up to look into his black eyes. The fangs he had on display for  her to admire and fear were just inches from her face.

"Are you quite sure about that, little one?" he hissed.

He could hear her suck wind between her glossy, bow-shaped lips, and her  heart sped at his touch. She composed herself instantly and laid her  head back, turning her face to the side in order to bare her neck to  him. Her hair fell down her chest from her shoulder. The smell of  vanilla wafted up to him. She was calling his bluff. At that moment, his  mouth watered for an entirely different reason.

"Do it, then." There was uncertainty mixed with the challenge in her  eyes. "I don't have all night to hang out in a dark alley with you," she  said, facing the direction they had come from. Her breath suddenly  sounded too rapid.

She stayed motionless for several moments, her neck splayed out before  him in what felt like a dare, as he looked down on her in wonder. Humans  weren't supposed to know about vampires, but her behavior and lack of  shock led him to believe she was fully aware.

"I didn't think so, tough guy," she whispered, as he finally allowed her  to push him away. The smug glare she tossed him made his body quicken.  So arrogant. So beautiful.

Suddenly, there was a noise on the street. The humans began to filter  out of the various watering holes and nightclubs nearby. She stepped  around him and started to walk away, expecting him to follow. He did so  without pause.



Tessa's weak voice pulled him out of his reverie.

"You know, if you don't put her down, she'll be the most spoiled child either of our worlds has ever known," Tessa teased.

Her weakness concerned him. It had been a long, hard labor for her after  nine months of the baby draining her of the blood she also needed to  survive. Vampire women would have fed more frequently to replenish the  loss, but Tessa didn't have that option. He had arranged for regular  transfusions, but it still hadn't been enough. She suffered it all with a  smile and joyful expectation of their coming child, and he could do  nothing but comfort and try to support her. When Tessa went into labor,  he felt absolutely useless. She'd assured him that all women experienced  this during childbirth but it wasn't true. Not in today's world of  modern medicine, anyway. But there was no such thing as pain medication  in a secret home birth. She'd had to endure it with nothing stronger  than ibuprofen and some breathing exercises.

He worried about how her body would deal with it all. Carrying and  delivering a vampire baby was very different from a human child. She had  spent the last three months of her pregnancy in bed. Griffin had never  known of a vampire siring a child with a human, but from his research in  preparation for the event, he learned that the mothers didn't fare  well. They usually died in childbirth, and the babies didn't do much  better. In the records he reviewed at the Council Hall library, there  had been no known surviving births.

"I fully intend to ensure that is the case. She will be the most  pampered little girl in existence. So what does it matter if I hold her  all day?" he whispered, as the baby had fallen asleep.

"I love you, Griffin," Tessa told him.

"I will love you always. Why do you sound so sad? Are you in pain? Can I  get you anything?" Griffin's heart ached at her weakened state and his  inability to do anything for her. If he had been able to stand up to his  parents, she would have had the best medical care available to humans,  but admitting he was bound to a human wasn't a possibility yet. His  parents expected him to bond with the female of their choice, and he'd  been ready and willing to do just that, until the night he met a pretty  little human in a dark alley.

He felt like he was living on borrowed time because eventually he would  be forced to admit his betrayal of the betrothal agreement and his  family honor. His odd behavior and frequent absence were already drawing  attention to him. Griffin's parents had no love for humans other than  as food. Sadly, he just didn't trust them not to have Tessa murdered in  an attempt to salvage his honor. Coming clean about his new mate while  she was pregnant was a risk he wasn't willing to take. Keeping her  hidden was the safest bet until he found a way to deal with his parents.         

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