No Rest for the Wicked Read online

Page 9

denizens of this village. Only a dog howled in the background. Though Sebastian had avoided humans since he'd been turned, he was fully prepared to question them now. He was desperate to. If they had information about his mysterious Bride, he'd become the thing they feared in order to get it from them.

  Yet they had disappeared. Even the home of the butcher who secretly sold him blood and occasionally transacted for clothing and books was darkened and empty. Apparently, she'd warned them that he'd be searching for her with a vengeance.

  Again and again, Sebastian contemplated what he knew about his mysterious Kaderin. At times he thought her too beautiful, too perfect, a vision who existed only in his fantasies. He had been alone for so long. . .

  And had been mad in the past.

  But if he thought he'd imagined the entire thing, he had a glaring bruise on his chest and rents in his shirt from where her claws had dug into his back and his arms. God, she was fierce, his Bride, and even now he was hard for her.

  Never before had he felt such lust. No woman had ever stirred him to anything like this. Surely the desire for her was stronger because he'd abstained for so long. That had to be it. He hadn't even taken her.

  Hell, he hadn't even seen her naked body or touched her skin.

  He shook his head, flushing yet again at his behavior with her. He was in no way experienced, but he knew enough to know that what they'd done was. . . irregular.

  In his entire life, he'd had sex fewer than half a dozen times, with just two women, if you could call it that with the second. Sebastian had never been inclined to charm ladies, but even if he hadn't been quiet and introspective, there simply hadn't been time, opportunity, or, more important, women to have.

  His family's home of Blachmount had been secluded from towns and markets. Any attractive farmers' daughters within a hundred miles had been hopelessly in love with - and most likely enjoying - Sebastian's rakish brother Murdoch. Which excluded them forever from Sebastian's interest. He could never have compared with Murdoch's experience, and he'd dreaded looking down as he took a woman and knowing that she was thinking the same.

  If not Murdoch, Sebastian still had to compete with two other older brothers.

  Then came the war.

  Sebastian's forgettable - or disastrous - experiences had not prepared him in any way for Kaderin's passion. She had been as frantic as he was. He couldn't even imagine what she would be like naked and writhing beneath him. His erection throbbed at the idea, and he cursed it.

  She'd urged him on and then reveled in his strength, like some wild creature. Which reminded him that not only did he not know her full name or how to contact her - he didn't even know what her species was.

  If only he understood more about this world he now inhabited, the Lore. He was as ignorant of it as he was of modern human culture.

  When he had awakened from the dead all those years ago, Nikolai and Murdoch had tried to explain what they knew of the Lore, which was little - they'd only been turned recently themselves. Sebastian hadn't listened. What good would their teaching do him if he was going to walk into the sun anyway?

  For all these years, he'd avoided Blachmount, instead residing in the one country where no one would have thought to look for him. What if he returned now? Could he even predict what he would do if he faced Nikolai?

  From the corner of his eye, Sebastian caught sight of something. He twisted around to find his reflection in a shop window. As he stood arrested, he brought his hand up to grasp his chin.

  Christ, why wouldn't she run?

  He looked like a monster in the pouring rain. His face was sun-blistered down one side and gaunt from irregular feeding - he had never been able to make himself drink enough to sustain his weight. His hair was cut haphazardly, and his clothes were worn and threadbare.

  In her eyes, Sebastian was penniless, living in a heap, without friends or relations. He'd given her no indication that he would be a worthy partner for her. In his time, a female had needed to be assured that the male she cast her lot with could provide for her. Surely something so elemental hadn't changed.

  Worse than all this, he was a vampire - which she clearly detested.

  He would never be able to share days outside with her. God, how he already missed the sun - now more than ever because he couldn't walk in it with her.

  Vampiir. He raked his hand through his wet hair. What kind of children would I give her? Would they drink blood?

  He'd have run from him, too.

  How could he expect her not to be repulsed by what he'd become, when he himself was? He subsisted on blood. He was relegated to shadow.

  "You'll never be my husband," she'd vowed.