Night of Sin 3: The Ties That Bind
Night of Sin 3: The Ties That Bind Excerpt
© 2018 Marilyn Lee
All Rights Reserved
Ancient-blood vampire Sebastian Stoner rode along the Wissahickon Creek. While enjoying the afternoon breeze, he crafted closing arguments designed to result in a not guilty verdict for his client. Hearing horses approach, he drew his mount aside and waited.
Several minutes later, two horses rounded the curve. A beautiful, full-figured woman with lovely dark skin sat astride one. Rayna Redwolfe, the niece of full-blood friends of he and his brothers, and a woman he was always happy to see. A tall male with long, dark hair, and green eyes accompanied her. Lately, she and Kristopher Macarik seemed joined at the hip. He liked the other male less each time he saw him with Rayna.
“Seb! Hey.” She turned her radiant smile on him.
“Hey.” He smiled warmly at her before nodding coolly at the other male. “Macarik.”
He glanced at his watch before turning his attention back to Rayna. “Are you free for dinner?”
She shook her head. “I’ve graciously agreed to allow Kristopher to buy me dinner tonight.”
He gave Macarik an annoyed look. “Lucky bastard.”
“You’re welcome to join us, Stoner.”
“Three’s a crowd. Or haven’t you heard?”
“Three friends having dinner is the exception.”
Except that he had no desire to share her time or company with the other man. “Thanks, maybe another time.”
“Are you sure you won’t join us, Seb?”
She moved her horse closer and leaned in to kiss his cheek. “Great to see you again.”
He resisted the urge to turn his head and kiss her on her lips. “Enjoy dinner.”
She glanced at Macarik and smiled. “I always enjoy Kristopher’s company. Tell the guys I said hey.”
“I will,” he said and watched the two of them ride down the path.
Two weeks later, dining out with his brother Max and his wife, Kenna, he glanced across the restaurant and saw her seated with Macarik.
Max looked up and followed his gaze. “Shall I ask them to join us?”
“No,” he said and then shrugged. “Unless you and Kenna feel a burning need for their company.”
He saw Max and Kenna exchange glances before they both shook their head. “But I’m going to go over to say hello.”
He remained seated while Max and Kenna walked over to speak to them.
To his surprise, Rayna stood up and crossed the room to speak to him. “Hey.”
He rose and smiled at her. As usual, she looked radiant. “Hey. How are you?”
She slipped her arm through his. “I’m fine.”
“As usual, you look it.”
Her smile widened. “And how are you, Prince Charming?”
She tugged at the dark blue silk tie he wore. “I like your tie.”
He arched a brow. “You should. You gave it to me last month. And it wasn’t even my birthday.”
She shrugged. “I saw it, thought of you, and had to buy it. I’m glad I did because no one could do it more justice than you.” She glanced across the restaurant where Max and Kenna talked with Macarik. “Join us?”
He shook his head.
“We’d love to have you.”
“Maybe another time.”
“Well, I just wanted to say hi.” She leaned close to kiss his cheek.
He nodded and resumed his seat as she went back to her table.
Max and Kenna rejoined him, and they ordered.
Max looked at him. Do you want to talk about it?
There’s nothing to talk about.
Then why are you looking as if you’d like to meet Macarik in a dark alley and do all sorts of illegal things to him?
Probably because he would. He’s done nothing to deserve that.
No. He hasn’t.
Then what’s your point? You know, it’s unbecoming of a full-blood your age to start imagining things.
Max arched a brow and shrugged. If you say so.
He shook his head.
Don’t fuck with Macarik, Seb.
Fuck you, Max.
Thanks, but even if I did men, I wouldn’t do my own brother.
He’d always viewed Max as the ideal older brother with a knack for restoring his sense of humor when needed. He laughed, and his tension and annoyance dissipated.
Rayna stood in front of her bedroom closet trying to decide what to wear for her dinner out when her phone rang. After hearing Sebastian Stoner’s name and number announced, she smiled. Nothing like a call from a tall, handsome full-blood to start the evening off right.
Hearing the warm tone in his voice she could picture his dark blue eyes twinkling and his lips curving in a smile.
“How are you?”
“It’s been a minute since you asked.”
“I just finished a difficult trial.”
“I heard. Congrats on another win.”
“Thank you. So, how are you?”
“Since you’ve finally gotten around to asking, I’m fine.”
“And I’m very glad to hear that.”
“And you?” she asked.
“I’m feeling in need of a break.”
“The managing attorney of our Richmond office is getting married. Will Thomas. Do you remember him? He worked in our Center City office when you interned there.”
“Yes. I do. Who’s the lucky woman?”
“Actually, it’s a lucky guy, Jim Martin, a personal injury attorney from California. Is that going to be a problem?”
“That he’s marrying a guy? No. Why should it?”
“Great. The wedding is on a Sunday afternoon, but they’re starting the celebration on Friday night in three weeks. I was hoping you’d be available to come with.”
“Three weeks? You expect me to know if I’ll be free for an entire weekend three weekends from now?”
“Yes. If memory serves, and it always does, the last time you were insulted that I’d waited three days before an event to call you. I distinctly remember your rant that you had better things to do than sit and wait for my call.”
“It was a gentle reminder, Seb.”
“As the guy on the receiving end, believe me when I say it was a rant.”
It had been a rant. She smiled. “Isn’t it time you got yourself a woman and stopped assuming I have nothing better to do with my time but accompany you to yet another boring social function?”
“Hmm. I thought we’d drive down Thursday morning and head back Tuesday.”
“That’s almost a week.”
“So it is. Let’s go all in and come back the following Monday.”
“That would make it…what? Twelve days?”
“Glad to see you can still count.”
“Hmm. Have I ever said or done anything to make you think I’d want to spend that much time in your company?”
“Can you get time off?”
“I’m between jobs at the moment.”
“Is that by choice? If it’s not, you know there’s always a place for you at Stoner and Stoner.”
One of the benefits of having three wealthy uncles, was the fact that she didn’t need to work unless she wanted to. “It’s by choice,” she said. “Are you a member of the wedding party?”
“Then why are you going so early and staying so long?”
“I think I’ve already said that I need a break.”
She knew he and Sin-bad, the brother with whom he shared a law practice, took pride in winning cases by convincing rather than coercing juries. “So you did.”
“So what time am I picking you up?”
“You’re assuming I’m going.”
“Why wouldn’t you? It’s my treat entirely.”
She scoffed. “I should hope so. Surely you don’t think I’m prepared to spend a single penny of my hard-earned money for the questionable pleasure of your company.”
“Your hearing is still excellent.”
“Well, damn, I’d be crushed if I thought you were serious.”
“Consider yourself crushed.”
He laughed. “Besides, don’t you mean your uncles’ money?”
“No, I don’t because once they give it to me, it’s mine.”
“In any case, the entire trip is on me, including any new clothes you might need.”
“Really?” Her uncles often complained that she spent far too much money on clothes, which she bought at every opportunity. But they’d always been generous with their wealth.
She thought of at least two dresses she’d convinced herself were too outlandishly expensive. “How many outfits can I buy?”
“As many as you like.”
“As many as I like? You must be desperate for a date.”
“How much can I spend?”
“As much as you think necessary.”
“Have I ever lied to you?”
“I don’t know. Have you?”
“No, I have not. Now do we have a date?”
“Attempting to bribe me, counselor?”
“Let’s discuss it over dinner.”
“All right. When?”
She shook her head. “See what I mean about calling at the last minute? I already have dinner plans.”
“With that damn Macarik?”
“Yes. With Kristopher. How’d you know?”
He made a growling sound. “Because I trip over his big, ugly ass every time I want to ask you out.”
“Wow. Where’d that come from? I thought you liked him.”
“Why? Because you do?”
“Because everyone likes him.”
“I like him less and less all the time and apparently so does Shanise.”
Tall, dark, handsome, hunky, and apparently jealous. “That’s an unkind thing to say, Seb.”
“I’m not feeling particularly warm and fuzzy about him.”
“You know you sound downright jealous.”
“Why the hell would any man be jealous of him, sunshine?”
“Seriously? Have you seen him? He’s tall, dark, and too damned handsome. Then there’s all that gorgeous dark hair, those cheekbones, those beautiful green eyes and that Native American male mystique he has going on. He’s the total and complete package.”
“I’m not jealous of him or any other man.”
She was sure he might be at least a little jealous of his older brother Sin-Bad, who had won Chandra, the woman they both loved. But there was no way she would even hint about that to him. “There’s very little, if any reason for you to be jealous of any male, human or full-blood.”
“Why didn’t you tell me you two were dating?”
He asked that as if he had a right to know who she was seeing. “I didn’t tell you because we’re not dating. What made you think we were?”
“You mean besides the fact that every time I see you, you’re with him?”
“Not true, but yes. Besides that.”
“Then there’s the fact that everyone knows he likes pretty, curvaceous women with lovely dark skin.”
“I’ve never seen any woman with lovelier skin or one that is prettier with as many curves as you.”
“Why do you sound surprised?”
“Surely you know you’re more than pretty.”
Despite being plump all her life, she’d grown up confident because her uncles had constantly reinforced the fact that she was pretty and perfect just as she was. In addition, she knew that men generally found her attractive, but she’d long since given up hope that he did.
“I have to go, but Macarik and I are not dating. He’s in love with Shanise.”
“I’m not in love with either one of them.”
He scoffed. “I’ll call you in a week or so and we’ll go finalize our plans and go shopping for the wedding.”
“I haven’t said I’m going.”
“But you are. Aren’t you?”
Surely you know you’re more than pretty and she could buy what she wanted? “Maybe.”
“When you see Macarik tonight, tell him to find himself a woman because you’re not going to continue to be at his beck and call.”
“Said the pot to the kettle,” she said dryly.
“I don’t monopolize your time.”
“Not for a lack of trying.”
“Is there something you want to tell me, sunshine?”
“I’ve already told you. He and I are friends.”
“Are there any benefits—”
“I don’t sleep with my friends, Sebastian.”
“Who do you sleep with?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?”
“Yes. I would.”
“Too bad it’s none of your concern.”
“I’d still like to know.”
“I have to go, or I’ll be late.”
“God forbid you keep him waiting.”
“Yes. God forbid. Good night,” she said and ended the call. Lord save her from overconfident, annoying full-bloods who thought she was more than pretty.
An hour after returning home from a pleasant dinner with Kristopher Macarik, as she lay on her balcony listening to soft jazz with a glass of red wine, a beautiful bouquet of roses and a bottle of her favorite wine arrived.
The card read:
Why the wine and roses? Just because.
Overconfident and sometimes annoying? Yes, but in a charming, delightful way.
Night of Sin 3: The Ties That Bind Coming Soon