Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sneak Peak: Violca's Vow

THE DRIVE TO LAZZARO’S took most the day and he pulled up to the gate right as the sun started to set. The guard behind the gate, obviously expecting him, just nodded to someone and the gate slowly opened. He noticed the guard was human and dressed more like a biker than one of his typical guards. So Chase wondered if this was one of the humans who hoped to become a vampire, or a friend of the wolf clan that guarded him.

The guard gestured for him to go up to the house before stepping out of his way. Driving up to the front of house, he parked his SUV in the driveway. The door opened before he could even knock, and he was surprised to see a young female werewolf greet him. The girl looked like walking sunshine when she smiled brightly at him. “You must be Chase. Lazzaro said you would be stopping by. He’s down the hall in his study.”

Pointing the way, she gave him one more smile before walking outside. Chase couldn’t help but watch her golden hair catching the sunlight and he noticed the guards outside eagerly trying to get her attention. She looked to be in her twenties but knew that, as with him, looks could be deceiving.

Shaking his head, he closed the door before going down the hall. A light coming from the open door led him to Lazzaro, who was sitting at a desk reading an old scroll.

“Please, Lazzaro, don’t concern yourself by standing up,” Chase said, taking one of the seats opposite him.

“I didn’t realize you were a woman and needed me to rise when you walked into a room, Dragon.” Lazzaro replied calmly, his head slowly rising his so that his icy blue eyes met his.

“Too bad. I made sure to dress extra nice for the occasion. You did work so hard to get me here and all.” Lazzaro smirked at his comment as he looked Chase over. In a pair of boots, black jeans, and a simple gray T-shirt, Chase almost felt underdressed sitting across from Lazzaro, who was always in a tailored suit.

“Don’t be too upset, Chase. I didn’t want you dead. I just wanted to have a discussion with your mate. I didn’t think you’d take my calls, so I had to think of an alternative. What’s the expression? No blood, no foul?”

Chase watched Lazzaro and had an urge to punch the smirk off his face. During that little skirmish, there was blood. No one was truly hurt, but there was blood when they fought to rescue Aithne’s sister Ally. The fight was over almost as quickly as it had begun. The longest fight was between Viktor and Lazzaro.

“Violca said you had some books you wanted her to look at,” Chase said, ready to begin the long drive back home.

Lazzaro got up and walked over to a large bookcase. Grabbing two older books, he walked across to Chase, who stood up to take them from him. Both books were very old; he could smell the real leather that had been used for the covers. The one on top looked like it had a family crest on the cover. “Be careful with those; they’re very delicate.”

Reaching into his jacket pocket, he handed Lazzaro the envelope with an invitation. “Violca wanted me to make sure you had a formal invitation to the wedding and the reception.”

Lazzaro took the envelope from him and set it on the desk. Leaning back, the two men eyed each other. “Will you be bringing the female wolf that just left?” Chase asked, curious about Lazzaro’s relationship with this particular clan of wolves whom he surrounded himself with.

Chuckling, Lazzaro shook his head. “No, I told your mate, I would be bringing a member of the guard and that would be it.”

“I’m curious how it is you come to be surrounded by so many wolves? These aren’t the same ones your father hired,” Chase asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.

The look Lazzaro gave him was one of surprise. Dragons and vampires usually avoided each other. One night when Chase was younger and getting into trouble, he ran into his father and his guards. Each werewolf had a tattoo on his face. That particular tattoo marked the werewolves as a clan from the south that was available for hire.

“They come because of the girl you saw leave here,” Lazzaro answered calmly.

Raising an eyebrow at the vague statement, Chase waited for him to continue. Letting out a long deep breath he responded, “I have a hard time picturing you dating that young wolf.”

Lazzaro chuckled softly and smirked, “I don’t know if I should be offended or not, Chase. Most women find me very attractive.”

Chase gave him a look and Lazzaro laughed out loud. “First, that young wolf was not as young as she looked. Hope is close to fifty years old, but don’t tell her I told you that.”

She barely looked to be twenty. Shifters aged like a normal person would, until their twentieth birthday. Once they hit twenty, the aging process slowed down. The fact that she looked even younger than she should piqued his interest more. “So, since the truce, you have sent Viktor a ton of information but haven’t mentioned your werewolves. Is there something you’re hiding?”

With a look that said he knew he was being manipulated, Lazzaro regarded him in silence for a moment before taking a seat on the other side of the desk. Chase fought the urge to smirk, as Lazzaro appeared to be contemplating exactly what he was going to tell him.

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