April 20th, Paris
Thanks to a well-placed whammy, Bourbon and Camille had arrived in Paris via a chartered, private, nonstop flight. As the only passengers on board, the flight was quiet and peaceful, allowing them to keep all of the windows closed to block out the sun. Not only were they able to rest during the daytime, they took advantage of the privacy and renewed their membership in what mortals called “the mile high club.”
She had changed since their time at New Jerusalem. She was much less timid, more confident. Gone was the demure, little girl who allowed her chivalrous mate to protect and shelter her. She had grown. The vampire had an air of maturity about her that had not been there before.
She had also developed a temper.
He and Camille had never argued often. Before, their worst disagreements had only involved a lot of shouting and growling. Since their time with the large group of immortals and vampires, they now involved thrown pottery and broken lamps. Bourbon had gotten good at ducking and weaving.
It was just after sundown when they arrived at the airport. The couple climbed into a waiting limo and was whisked to their hotel.
Bourbon had reserved the best suite of rooms at the historic Hotel Meurice. The hotel itself dated to the early 1800s, but had undergone many renovations in order to provide their guests with every modern convenience and luxury. The rooms were lavishly furnished with antiques to give them the feel of what they were like when the hotel originally opened.
The flight had been free and no doubt the hotel would be too.
Bourbon loved a good scam. He’d pulled off many in his long lifetime. He was a millionaire several times over and had more than enough money to pay for anything he wanted. The vampire just thrived on the thrill of getting away with things.
Once they were checked in and their bags were delivered to their suite, the vampires took off into the night. Their Immortal friend, Gunther, had arrived a day earlier, so Bourbon rang his hotel. Half an hour later, the threesome met outside a night club.
There was to be an auction the next day. That was the main reason they had come. Camille owned an antique shop in Seattle. Though she rarely set foot in the place, she loved traveling and acquiring the merchandise.
Ordinarily, Camille and Bourbon would have gone together. This time, Gunther had seen the catalogue and immediately booked a flight. Several Medieval weapons and pieces of armor were going to be auctioned. Among them were items recovered from a recently excavated Viking burial. The immortal suspected the newly discovered grave was that of his adoptive father.
Since Olaf died after Gunther became immortal, and had no other sons, the family’s sword had been buried with the patriarch. There was no way to recover the longship, since the wood had long ago rotted away. His father’s helmet, some pottery, the sword, pole ax, and flail had survived the ravages of time, though.
Bourbon was mildly interested in a few of the swords. There was a Rapier that looked vaguely familiar, though he couldn’t place it. Mostly, it was spring in Paris and Camille wanted to be there.
Camille was interested in some jewelry and a few pieces of furniture. For her, it was more a matter of who would be at the auction rather than the items offered.
There would be a Faberge egg, some porcelain and enamel plates, and silver, all of which were rumored to have belonged to the Romanov’s. If they were, indeed, Romanov possessions, perhaps they would bring “the Tsarevich” out to play.
That thought tantalized Camille. Nikolai and she were, for lack of a better term, “fuck buddies” as mortals put it.
He was phenomenal in bed. Mind bending, in fact. His body was perfectly formed, well muscled, with curves in all the right places. His soft voice was a low, soothing caress that sent a shiver of desire down her spine. Yet the same sensual voice could be regal and authoritative when necessary.
The problem was that he detested vampires and actively hunted them.
Camille was the exception, and by extension, Bourbon. As long as his death would hurt her, the Russian would let that one live. The female vampire and many other women, mortal and immortal, had Nikolai’s body, but none his heart.
He still deeply felt the loss of the one woman he ever loved. Ekaterina Poskov was an immortal like him. They were together nearly 40 years before a vampire captured her. The female vampire tortured his wife until she went mad, and then released her to kill him. He himself had been forced to take his Katya’s head. Only then had he known what had happened to her while she had been held prisoner.
He’d spent every night of the next 65 years hunting vampires. He’d taken enough immortal heads as well, but he never went looking for a
fight with his own kind. He had his own agenda and little time for the game.