by Faye Robertson
Some vampires had a thing for B+. Some preferred redheads. Others preferred blondes.
For Jasper, it had to be nuns–and he’s been regretting that since the day he bit Amabel de Woodville, almost two centuries ago.
She’d done something to him. Something that restored his conscience, pointed his moral compass straight north, and ended his career of seducing virgin nuns and killing as he pleased. But even worse–she’d gotten under his skin, and he hasn’t forgotten the green-eyed witch who’d been immune to his charms.
When Amabel ends up in his office, still as young as the day they’d met and seeking a charity sponsor, Jasper has the chance he’s ached for: to show her the pleasure that’s haunted her dreams for decades. He’s taken the virginity of a hundred nuns…but a vampire nun? That’s new.
And Jasper has always enjoyed a challenge.
© 2012 Faye Robertson
The last thing Jasper expected to see when he came out of his office was a group of nuns standing around the water cooler.
Outside it was dark, eight o’clock in November, and lights were on across the city. Not the sort of time for holy women to be out and about. He stopped dead and stared at the five sisters, the instructions to his personal assistant dying on his lips. An icy shiver ran from the nape of his neck to the base of his spine. The last time he’d seen so many nuns in one place, it had not ended well.
Was this someone’s idea of a joke?
He watched, transfixed, as one of the sisters bent to put her paper cup in the rubbish bin. As she stretched out her arm, her long sleeve rode up, revealing her slender white wrist, marked with raised blue veins. Beneath the black habit, the rest of her skin would also be pale and soft, criss-crossed with a map of veins and arteries directing the way to her heart. Her blood would be warm, strong with the tang of copper, sweet with the taste of innocence. Her body would be untouched by another human being. Pure and uncontaminated. Chaste. Virginal.
“Really, Jasper?” His PA, the formidable Mrs. Gillbanks, gestured at his crotch. Her eyebrows arched, and her lips curved with amusement.
He glanced down, stared at the erection obvious through his dark-gray Armani suit trousers, then looked up at her. “Your point is?”
“Nuns, Jasper? Honestly?”
“What are they doing here?” he whispered.
“They’re here to see Sandy. About socks.”
Jasper blinked. What was this, the lingerie department of Debenhams? And nuns didn’t wear socks. He should know. Their legs were bare in the summer, pale as milk, covered with the fine, downy hairs of women who’d never known a razor or strips of wax. In the winter, they would don black tights. Thick tights. Coarse under the hands, rough against the pads of the fingers.
“Socks?” he asked faintly. “What color?”
Mrs. Gillbanks frowned. “SOCS. S-O-C-S. The Save our Children Society? Dear Lord, are you all right?”
Every single blood cell in his body had flooded to his groin. “I think I might be having an allergic reaction to something.”
“I think allergies usually cause rashes, dear, not…well…you know.” She glanced at his groin briefly.
“It’s a very severe reaction.”
Her lips twitched. “Do you need to lie down?”
“Quite possibly.” He gave her the file folder in his hand. “I have no idea why I brought this out to you. Hold all my calls.”
He clutched the table edge for a moment, fighting the urge to turn around. He forced his legs to move forward and gripped the table, then the doorframe, as if he were on a boat that pitched from side to side. When he finally got inside his office, he slammed the door behind him, went over to his desk, and sat. He rested his head on the desk, then banged it firmly.
Some men had alcohol. Some had narcotics. Women had chocolate, and occasionally shoes.
Jasper’s weakness was nuns.
Quite clearly, he was in hell.
Well, it was about time.
Not that he’d been near any for over a hundred and sixty years. Since the incident at the Convent of Mercy in Yorkshire, he’d not let himself get within a mile of any holy women, like an alcoholic refusing to touch a drop of whisky. But unfortunately, there wasn’t an AA-type meeting for people with his addiction. He’d tried a therapist once, but that had ended with them having sex on the sofa—exactly the sort of thing he was trying to avoid.
Sitting back in his chair, he stared up at the ceiling. He thought of the whiteness of the sister’s arm as she’d stretched forward; the blue-green color of her veins. He closed his eyes and sighed.
What was it about nuns that rang his bell so loudly? He’d asked himself that question time and again while trying to analyze his obsession, but he’d never been able to come up with a definitive answer. He’d told himself it was about corruption, about controlling someone else and making them do whatever he wanted. About power.
But deep down, he knew it wasn’t that. Other vampires just wanted to bite, but he’d never seen the attraction. It had never been about the biting. It had always been about sex. Going where no man had gone before was extremely appealing. Like writing your name in untouched snow. Showing women the delights of lovemaking—and helping them achieve their first orgasm—was an intoxicating blend he’d never been able to resist.
He adored women. And he adored sex. He’d never had much trouble getting laid as a human, but becoming a vampire had made him completely irresistible. His powers had included this incredible ability to attract the opposite sex, and there was no way he could avoid that. What man wouldn’t like to think all women found him desirable? And how could he not try to convince women who’d dedicated their lives to God that the thing they wanted most in the world was to take off all their clothes and jump him?
He was evil, after all.
Except he wasn’t now. What on earth would his excuse be for lusting after holy women this time?
He put his head in his hands. Nuns had always been his weakness. Achilles had gotten off lightly with the heel thing, and Superman’s kryptonite was a breeze in comparison. Kryptonite hadn’t tempted Clark Kent to do unspeakable acts. It hadn’t filled him with an unquenchable lust that forced him to seduce entire convents like the vampire virus had done to Jasper—well, until Amabel de Woodville had come along.
She’d changed Jasper’s life forever, and not in a good way. He’d had such fun being evil, corrupting the world’s holy women. Then he’d met this tiny, devout nun, who, for some peculiar reason, had been completely impervious to his charms.
When he’d first seen her, desire had surged through him. Her eyes, framed by the white wimple, had been a vivid green in the candlelight. She’d backed up against the wall of the cloister, holding out her hands as he advanced on her, as if those slender arms would be strong enough to hold him back.
He’d introduced himself politely, asked her name, then cast his glamour, but her eyes hadn’t taken on the customary glaze of those who fell under his spell.
“If you bite me, you will regret it forever,” she’d told him, not a shimmer of fear in her eyes. “You will remember me evermore as the one who changed you.”
“No I won’t,” he’d snapped.
“I curse you,” she’d declared, as if on stage. “I curse you and all your kind, and banish you to the depths of hell from whence you came. I hereby declare that for all eternity, you will be exiled and cast out—”
“Oh, for the love of… This isn’t King Lear.” He’d pulled her to him and explored the shape of her through the woolen habit, her breasts heavy and soft beneath his searching hand.
“Honestly.” She’d tried to fight him off. He’d played along, rather enjoying the game—until she slapped him. Seeing stars, he’d stared at her, horrified. She was resisting him? No one resisted him. The glamour removed his victims’ inhibitions and let them give in to the deepest, darkest desires they kept hidden from the rest of the world. He liked to think of himself as liberating them.
But she really wasn’t going to give in.
So he’d bitten her. Only to find that her blood had done something to him. Cured him, even. Not of being a vampire—it seemed nothing could do that. But she’d given him the most fatal thing a vampire could have: a conscience. And now he couldn’t bite anyone without feeling guilty, which kind of sucked. No pun intended.
To make it worse, she hadn’t just infected his blood. Somehow she’d contaminated his very soul. He dreamed about her almost every night and thought about her constantly. He hungered for her, and nothing—nothing—took away that yearning. Not drinking, not having sex with someone else.
She was destined to haunt him for the rest of his long life.
He rubbed his eyes, which felt dry and scratchy from the air conditioning. No, Amabel had nothing to do with his present predicament. He refused to believe she had such an effect on him. It had been several months since he’d had sex. That was almost certainly the reason he was having trouble controlling himself. He was still a vampire; his sex drive could power the floodlights in a football stadium.
The only difference now was that he rarely gave himself an outlet for it. He controlled his thirst for human blood more easily nowadays through his current nightly activities. The thirst for sex proved more of a problem. He hadn’t used his glamour in years. The only sex he got was when he went on a genuine date, which were few and far between. It wasn’t easy to cultivate a relationship when you suffered from extreme photosensitivity and had a fetish for A-positive. Both tended to be a turn-off for most women.
Perhaps he should go out and face his fear. Talk to the nuns. Make himself deal with them without touching them. Break the habit.
Habit. Oh, hellfire.
He banged his head on the table again. Then he rested his forehead against the cool oak. The best way to get rid of his raging hard-on was to help himself out. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d done it in the office. Sometimes the bloodlust rose in him so strongly, it was the only way he could release it. Providing he had a plentiful supply of tissues and a lock on the door, he didn’t see the harm.
Sighing, he brought his hand to his fly and slid down the zipper.
Just as he took himself in hand, his phone beeped.
“Shit.” He zipped up and snatched his hand away like a thirteen-year-old caught by his mum. Sometimes he wondered if Mrs. Gillbanks had a secret camera in his office. He pressed the button and barked, “Yes?”
“I’m sorry to interrupt, Jasper.” Laughter lit her voice, as if she knew exactly what he’d been up to. “But Sandy wondered if you’d have five minutes for the Chairperson of SOCS.”
He stared at the phone, then cleared his throat. “Of course. Give me a minute.” He released the button.
Five minutes with the Chairperson of SOCS. Alone. In his office.
God, please don’t let it be one of the nuns.
This was rapidly turning into a very bad spoof of a 1940s Christopher Lee movie. The only way he’d been able to curb his fixation was to keep his distance from convents. How the hell was he supposed to cope when the damn women came to his place of work?
Maybe they weren’t really from SOCS. Maybe someone was trying to torture him.
He couldn’t stay in the room forever. But the problem in his trousers wasn’t going away, either. Jasper stood and shrugged on his jacket. Grabbing a folder, he held it across his hips and marched to his office door. He wouldn’t cower and refuse to leave his office. He’d always met his problems head-on. One way or another, he would sort this tonight.
He opened the door. The nuns had gone. He let out a sigh of relief and ran a hand through his hair. Mrs. Gillbanks glanced up at him, noted the appropriately placed folder, and grinned. She gestured to the woman who stood to one side, looking out the window at the view across the Thames.
Jasper stared at the Chairperson of the Save our Children Society. She was tiny, maybe five-feet-two on a good day, and reed slim—but with a surprisingly generous bust. She wore a white, long-sleeved shirt and black trousers which, despite being trousers, still managed to make her look remarkably like a nun.
Or maybe it was his imagination. Nuns on the brain.
She’d scooped her shoulder-length blond hair back with a clip. He cleared his throat and she turned toward him. She was surprisingly young, her face sweet and fresh.
Her gaze fell on him. He opened his mouth to say hello, but the expression on her face stopped him. She stared at him as if she’d come face to face with Brad Pitt. Or Jack the Ripper—he wasn’t sure which.
He frowned. What was the problem? Then he noticed the color of her eyes. A beautiful, bright green. Realization dawned on him gradually, like bringing a camera slowly into focus. Last time he’d seen her, a black veil had covered her hair. A shapeless black habit had sheltered her body from his inquisitive eyes. She’d been carrying a prayer book in her right hand, a candle in her left. It wasn’t her looks that struck him.
It was the determination and fury in the sparkling green eyes that had haunted him for a lifetime.
He blinked. “Amabel?”
“Jasper? Fucking hell!”
It was such an un-nun-like thing to say. He burst out laughing. “You pray to your God with that mouth?”
She gasped, her shock morphing into a glare that could have withered the plants in their pots.
He sobered instantly. He hadn’t meant to laugh, and now he cursed himself for seeming flippant.
“I’m not a nun anymore,” she hissed. “Not since somebody bit me.”
Jasper glanced at Mrs. Gillbanks, whose eyebrows had disappeared into her gray fringe. He backed up to his office and opened his door. “Won’t you come in?”
“Are you kidding me?” She stared at the name of the company on the wall. “You’re the CEO of Howard Enterprises?”
“The Howard Enterprises?”
“The multibillion-pound corporation that donates millions to charities each year?”
“Yuh-huh.” He gestured to the door. “You coming in or what?”
She looked at Mrs. Gillbanks, who gave a slight nod. Amabel walked up to her. “You hear me scream, you call security,” she said firmly.
The PA nodded, casting a glance at Jasper, who shrugged. Amabel walked past him into the office. He closed his eyes momentarily, then followed her in, pulling the door shut behind him.