The Bonds of Family
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Christie Gordon
Word Count :45005
Publication Date :2021-09-17
Series : In Life and Blood#3
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-3309-3
Are the ties between bonded vampires stronger than blood?
Julian, taken at birth from a Louisiana hospital and forced into a vampire coven, is forbidden by those who’ve freed him from seeking out his still-human twin brother. He’s new to the rules and regulations of the Templar and isn’t one to follow orders. But going against the rules also means betraying and deceiving his One, his bonded mate, and could bring death or imprisonment to himself and those he loves.
Sebastian has finally found his mate after 1,500 years, and the threat of Julian’s old coven is behind them. Now, he settles into a normal life with Julian, attempting to raise a human, preteen son, a child that Julian unwittingly stole as an infant from a Russian orphanage.
As Julian plots behind Sebastian’s back, he threatens the special bond they share, but his obsession with his twin won’t be denied. In order to have both his mate and his twin, he must risk it all.
"You know I have to find out." Julian's heart pounded in his chest as if it would break free. There was no way anyone could keep him from finding out if his family was indeed here. Wearing only his jeans, he scanned the room, the leather couch and contemporary furnishings of their family room, Sebastian's beloved gold and red Romanian icons hanging from the walls.
With an audible exhale, Sebastian shut his eyes tight and pinched the bridge of his nose, his black hair falling in waves to his shoulders over his black button-down shirt, his bottom half still bare after their lovemaking. "Let this wait until tomorrow." He breathed deeply and looked at Julian with black almond-shaped eyes. "Tomorrow we will meet with my father. You can bring it to his attention."
Julian stared at Sebastian. Would they let me see them? What would I do if they said no? He opened his mouth to speak but clamped it shut.
Sebastian stepped to Julian, then took his hand in his and kissed his cheek, sliding his long chestnut-colored hair to the side. "We've had a very busy day today. Let us go to bed and deal with this in the morning."
Julian nodded his head. The haze of possibility threatened to overwhelm him. "You're right." As he strolled with Sebastian into the hallway, he stopped at Nikolai's door, opened it, and peeked inside. Nikolai was still here. He released a long exhale.
Nikolai lay fast asleep in a mission-style bed with a tan comforter drawn up to his chin. The crescent moon shining outside an open window above the bed gave the twelve-year-old boy a blue glow to his blond hair.
"Come on." Sebastian tugged at Julian's hand.
"We almost lost him." Momentary panic pricked his heart. The memory of the fight with Caesar in the cave came rushing forward. He shut it away. Caesar was dead, and they were safe now.
"And I almost lost both of you." As Sebastian wrapped his arms around Julian’s shoulders from behind, he whispered into his ear, "It's over now. Come to bed."
He followed Sebastian into the doorway of their master bedroom, wrinkling his brow. His family was out there. How long would it take to fall asleep knowing that?
As Julian slept in the mahogany, sleigh-style bed, buzzing rang out beside him. With a groan, he turned over and squeezed a cream pillow tight against his ears in an attempt to shut out the noise.
Sebastian tapped off the alarm clock, shaking the bed. He dropped his arm over Julian’s side and tugged his chest in snug behind Julian’s back. "Time to get up, my angel."
It couldn’t be time already. "Ugh, really?" His voice was hoarse with sleep.
"I'm afraid so. You were the one who wanted to try daylight hours so we could be with Nikolai when he came home from school." With a light chuckle, Sebastian placed a gentle kiss on the back of Julian's shoulder.
"Yeah, I know." This was not going to be easy. It wasn’t natural for vampires to be awake this early. With a grumble, he forced himself up from the immense bed and swept his legs over the edge. As his feet planted firmly on the ground, he stretched his arms high over his head and yawned. "Maybe this wasn't such a great idea." He dropped his arms to the bed and focused on the clock on the mahogany nightstand, showing three-thirty in the afternoon. The squeaking of the front door caught his attention. "Sounds like they're home."
"Uncle Julian?" Nikolai's voice snaked in through the door.
“Be right out, Nikolai.” After rising from the bed, he ambled to the walk-in closet, snagged a pair of jeans off a hanger, and slid them up his legs. With a snap, he snatched a white t-shirt off a hanger on the top rung and slipped it over his disheveled head of long chestnut-colored hair, squeezing muscled arms through the remaining holes.
Sebastian, as groggy and slow as Julian, managed to set a pair of dark slacks and a dress shirt next to himself on the bed.
Sounding as if she were just outside their door, Maggie said, "Maybe they aren't quite up yet."
Damn, she was persistent. "No, no, we're up," Julian said in a loud voice. "Our vampire-slaying nanny is beckoning."
Standing next to the bed, fully dressed, Sebastian released a quick chuckle. "Now, now, where would we be without her?"
"I know." Truth was, she had been there for them through it all, and if she didn’t help with Nikolai, they might not have been able to have him. He went to the door and opened it.
Nikolai, his blue school uniform making him look like a short businessman, beamed up at Julian, his blue eyes shining in the low-lit hallway. "Look." He held up a sheet of paper with typewritten numbers and darkened circles. An "A" was scrawled across the top in red.
Turned out this kid was smart. As Julian let a wide smile spread over his face, he grasped the paper.
Sebastian meandered up behind Julian in his black button-down shirt and slacks, to peek down at the paper. "My, my, you got an A on your math test."
"Looks like it." Julian handed the paper to Nikolai. "Good job." He lifted his chin to Nikolai, beaming at him.
"Thanks, Uncle Julian." Nikolai bound off, heading in the direction of the kitchen.
Julian faced Maggie, focusing on her green eyes. "He did well despite all that happened last night." And over the last few months. The kid seemed invincible.
Maggie wore a pair of jeans and a blue blouse and nodded her red head of curls once. "Seems nothing fazes this kid." Her attention turned to Sebastian. "How are you two doing with the early rise?"