Stone Haven, Pennsylvania
“We need to talk.”
When his older brother used that tone, Torr Derrickson knew
he should do one of two things. Listen patiently, preferably with a drink in
hand, or walk away.
Regrettably, over the course of their long, long lives, he’d
usually gravitated toward a third option: fight. He and Lawrence had butted
heads about any number of things in any number of places—from where to live
when they weren’t hunting Cheld to how they invested their vast wealth—and if
he’d learned anything, it was that he couldn’t go up against Lawrence, who had,
after all, been his clan chief centuries before, without one of them ending up
Figuratively speaking, of course.
They were vampires, yes, but they were brothers first and
“Something tells me I’d like a refill first,” he told
Lawrence, who pulled Torr’s empty glass toward him from across the mahogany
Although his brother had not yet finished transforming the
old bank he’d bought into the bar he planned to open, his liquor license had
been granted, making it legal for him to serve alcohol, a fact their small
group had been celebrating for the past few hours. They sat around the circular
bar in the middle of the room. Lawrence stood behind it, as usual.
After refilling Torr’s Ardbeg, the only whiskey he’d drink
if given the choice, Lawrence leaned against the bar, crossing his arms as if
settling in for a long lecture.
Fantastic. At least he’d asked for the drink first.
“You said ‘we’ needed to talk,” he lifted an eyebrow, “so
why do I have a feeling you’ll be doing most of the talking?”
“I’m serious, Torr—”
“That’s what worries me.”
Savoring the rich liquid he sipped, waiting.
“You’ve been back for less than three weeks, and people are
starting to tal—”
“You mean, they’ve already grown tired of discussing the
apple festival? You would think all that fuss over the festival queen would
Perhaps. Still, he wasn’t wrong, and they both knew it. The
people in Stone Haven had a tendency to gossip about the most trivial of
matters, including the tie vote for their festival queen and the ensuing
brouhaha it had caused. Imagine, four vampires currently resided in the
tourist-laden Pennsylvania town where his brother had decided to settle, and
the townsfolk worried about offending a poor little rich girl whose daddy had just
donated enough money to remodel the visitor’s center.
The Derrickson siblings and Kenton Morley could each buy and
sell the small-time businessman fifty times over.
But no one here knew it.
The townspeople realized the Derrickson and Morley families
had money, of course. After all, they had purchased the only two mansions in
the town, neither of which had been up for sale. But no one could possibly
fathom how much wealth an individual could accumulate after hundreds of years
“All I’m saying is that if you plan to stay awhile—”
“Which you obviously think is a bad idea.”
Lawrence’s frown made him look older than thirty, the age
he’d been when they were cursed to live as immortals. The aging process had
stopped at twenty-eight for Torr, leaving him perpetually the younger brother.
“I think it would be a fine idea if you weren’t making your
string of bedmates so obvious.”
Torr took a sip of his whiskey and tried not to smile. It
would only further infuriate his brother, and he really didn’t want to fight
with him today, especially not in front of Lawrence’s girlfriend, Toni, whom he
“If you’re asking me to be more discreet—”
Lawrence scoffed. “It shouldn’t be difficult given the way
you’ve been flaunting your exploits around town.”
“I don’t flaunt.”
When someone tousled his hair from behind, Torr placed his
drink on the bar so quickly the motion would have given most humans pause.
Luckily, Toni, the only non-vampire present, already knew their secret.
Reaching back without looking, he snagged his sister’s hand.
“Watch the hair,” he said.
“It’s almost too easy to get to you,” she said, sitting next
to him. He’d tried for a menacing tone, but she seemed completely unrepentant.
She glanced from him to Lawrence. “What’s wrong?”
Torr shrugged. “Nothing at all.” From his perspective, it
“Other than the fact that we’re preparing to open a business
in a town too small to tolerate Torr’s antics,” Lawrence said.
Refusing to make eye contact with his sister, Torr
concentrated on the liquid gold in his glass. But he could feel her piercing
green eyes, the same shade as his own, on him anyway. Laria had always been
able to get to him in a way Lawrence could not. She was his elder too, although
only by a year, and he felt a combination of admiration and protectiveness for
her. He’d do anything to insulate her from wicked men.
“Now what have you done?”
Hating the censure in her voice, he ignored the question.
“Torr . . .”
“I’ve done nothing an uninhibited, virile—”
“What has he done?” she asked Lawrence instead, her tone
“The mayor stopped me earlier today in The Witch’s Brew—”
“A rather droll name for a coffee shop if you ask me,” Torr
offered, darting a glance at his siblings, both of whom ignored him. They were
conversing with each other now, about him, no less.
“Apparently, there was some commotion at the inn the other
Ah, so that’s what had Lawrence all worked up.
“About that,” he interrupted. “I don’t make a habit of
attending bachelorette parties, but—”
He stopped when Lawrence shifted his gaze to the other
end of the bar, where Toni sat with her best friend and . . . him.
The bastard was grinning at his brother as if the two of them shared a private
Kenton fucking Morley.
For centuries the man had been their enemy, and now he and
Lawrence were acting like best buds.
Lawrence may have forgiven, if not forgotten, Morley’s
former crusade against the Cheld, which he’d forsaken for Alessandra, but Torr
certainly hadn’t. As far as he was concerned, the other vampire was still their
He wasn’t about to pretend otherwise.
“It won’t happen again,” he ground out, ending the
conversation. “If you want me to leave—”
“He doesn’t want you to leave,” his sister, the peacemaker,
cut in. “Just try to remember this is Lawrence’s town, and he means to stay
“For now,” he muttered under his breath, earning himself a
couple of dark looks from Lawrence and Laria. “Fine. I hear you. Best
He grinned, wishing—not for the first time—his charm had
more of an effect on his siblings. They knew him too well to fall for it.
“I appreciate it,” Lawrence said. “Now give me your glass.”
“And stop glaring at Kenton,” Laria added.
Taking yet another refill from Lawrence, he lifted his glass
in the air. “That may be asking a wee bit too much, lassie,” he said, knowing
his sister had a soft spot for the accent of their homeland, which they’d
dropped over the years. “To Lawrence.”
Joining him in a toast, his siblings raised their own
drinks, their differences momentarily forgotten as they celebrated Lawrence and
Toni’s forthcoming business venture.
His brother deserved to be happy, so he would try to behave.
For tonight, at least.