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Caz Pedroso

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  1. Carl slammed into his rooms and froze. He hadn’t thought of what to do once they were back. “Are you going to let me down or stand here staring at the couch all afternoon?” Tristan’s muffled voice demanded. Carl shook himself and slowly lowered Tristan to his feet. And if he allowed a bit more full body contact than was necessary well who could blame him? Tristan straightened his clothes, crossed his arms and glared. “I supposed you think you're clever carting me off so we don’t have to do any of the clean up? So, you have me alone again. What are you going to do now?” Carl’s mind blanked. He knew what he wanted to do, but shouldn’t they be talking? They hadn’t finished their discussion before the attack. They needed to decide things. Like where would they live when this mess was finished? Would Tristan move to the clan? Or should Carl tell his council to start looking for a new elder? If Tristan was willing to give him time he could have Simon trained enough to take over and he could mentor him from wherever they decided to settle down. What about children? Did Tristan want kids? Carl had no preference either way, he’d raised several younglings over his lifetime. “Carl, are you going to stand there staring into space or are you going to answer me?” “Um, we need to talk.” Tristan rolled his eyes. “Like anyone wants to hear that from a potential partner, or especially from their unclaimed mate.” He flopped down on the couch. “What do you want to talk about this time.” Carl screwed up his courage and laid out everything he’d been thinking. Tristan stared at him open-mouthed by the time he’d finished. “You’d leave your clan for me?” Carl frowned. “I will do whatever I have to do to ensure we are together and that you are happy. You’re my mate. What else would I do?” Tristan didn’t answer, but Carl did find his arms suddenly full of a happy wriggling mate who was peppering kisses all over his face. “Our talk,” he tried to say. “Talk later,” Tristan mumbled between kisses, “Claim now.” Carl gave up holding back and gladly acceded to his mate's demands. By dawn they would both be thoroughly claimed. *** Tristan ran his fingers over the parts of Carl’s chest he could reach from his position half covering his mate. “Did you mean it?” Carl made a questioning noise. Dawn was near and the vamp was no doubt feeling the pull of sleep. No matter how old a vamp got they couldn’t ever fight the call of sleep at dawn for long. “I said, did you mean it? Would you leave your clan if I asked you to?” Carl opened his eyes and Tristan found himself pinned in place by a very penetrating gaze. “Yes. I have waited a very long time for you. As far as I am concerned you are the most important being in my life now. Nothing else matters. I have enough money that we would never have to worry about living costs. We can go wherever you wish.” Tristan could feel his eyes tearing up and blinked to banish them. He needed to get this conversation over before Carl couldn’t fight dawn’s pull. “I wouldn’t want you to give up your clan for me. I have nothing holding me where I’m currently living. I can move to the clan if you think they will accept me as your mate.” “They will. The majority of my clan are older vamps who are also looking for their mates. I have a few younglings, but I trained most of them at some point and they know better than to question me when it comes to clan matters. What about your family. Don’t mages usually live in family groups?” Tristan lowered his gaze. “I’m the letdown of the family. All my family are level five mages, or even above. I’m only a level two. The further I am from the family home the better. That way I can’t embarrass the family name.” Tristan knew his bitterness was showing in his tone, but he couldn’t help it. Carl growled making his chest vibrate distractingly against Tristan’s cheek. “From what I know of mage levels and age you are still growing in your magic. Why would someone as young as you be measured yet? Do you even know what your specialty is yet?” Tristan shook his head, rubbing his face on Carl’s chest. “No one bothered to test what my magic is once they had tested my level. All my family are tested when they come of age at sixteen.” “Sixteen! That’s ridiculous. A mage's magic keeps growing well into their thirties. Have you even found someone to retest you? I mean I saw the effects of some of your spells when I came looking for you. No level two mage I know would be able to perform spells that powerful. The strongest mage I’ve known was a level ten. I have heard of a level fifteen. But both of those beings were over a hundred years old. I think if you were retested you would find your level has gone up considerably. Add in the fact you are now claimed by an old vampire and your magic may be even higher than the rest of your family’s. Oh, and as for your specialty, since you are the mate of a vamp, I would say that yours will center around the night. Maybe you will take your power from the moon? Or you could even have magic linked to death, since vamps are sometimes referred to as the walking dead. Although I feel compelled to say that turning a human would be impossible if they were dead. How would they swallow their sire’s blood if they were no longer alive?” Tristan didn’t reply. He was too busy sorting through all the information he’d just received.
  2. “Where do you need me?” Tristan yelled as soon as he spotted Patrick. “Protect Fran and the other children. They are in the main meeting room.” “On it.” He feinted right and stunned a vampire trying to creep up on Patrick, before spinning and taking off down the next hallway. He ran as fast as he could while sending stunning spells at anyone not wearing a glowing blue armband. He sent a thank you to anyone listening that Kitryn had suggested everyone wear something to identify them as friends. With so many elders either in residence or expected, there were a lot of strangers running around fighting. He skidded to a halt near the required doorway. He took only a moment to assess the fight confronting him before he waded in. He took out one enemy without being spotted but then all bets were off. He managed to stun three more and the bear shifters guarding the door took out the last ones. The sounds of fighting were cooling off and Tristan hoped that was a sign they were winning. Tristan got the bears to shift and help him restrain the stunned enemy to be questioned later. They then dragged the limp beings inside the door. The children were all huddled in a corner. Fran was talking to them waving her small hands around as she spoke. Two more bears prowled back and forth growling. “How are you all doing?” Tristan made sure to keep one eye on the door as he crouched down and spoke as cheerfully as possible to the kids. Some had shifted and others were clinging together. Fran answered for them all. “We okay. Littlies scared but we sing.” Tristan grinned. “Singing is good. Can you teach me?” By the time that had taught him their ‘Bear is sleeping, don’t wake him’ song the sound of fighting had stopped. The person through the door was Carl. Tristan oof’ed and the children giggled as Carl swung him around and started patting him down. He hit a ticklish spot and Tristan dissolved into giggles. He doubled over hitting the floor on his knees. The children took this as an invitation and soon he was in tickling hands. “Uncle, Uncle, I give up.” Tristan managed to gasp out between laughs and trying to catch his breath. A strong hand latched onto his arm and he was plucked from what was rapidly becoming an animal pile. He looked up into Carl’s amused face. Scowling he poked his mate in the chest. “I am not hurt, but if you're not careful you soon will be, mate or no mate.” Carl let out a belly laugh that made Tristan’s scowl deepen and back up a few paces. Then Tristan grinned. “Keep laughing, mate. Of course, I may be busy for the foreseeable future when it comes to bedtime.” He let the comment sink in. then he saw the light dawn in his mate’s eyes, and he stopped laughing. The light in Carl’s eyes brightened and he stalked toward Tristan. Tristan backed up again. “Now, Carl, remember there are little ones in here with us. We can’t—” The rest of what he was going to say was lost in the kiss his mate laid on him. His brain shut down and everything narrowed to the tongue that was now fighting his for dominance. The kiss ended when Carl pulled away with a hiss and Kitryn’s laughing voice echoed, “Get a room you two.” “Don’t mind if we do,” Carl snapped, and Tristan found himself in his mate's arms. The world whizzed by and Tristan hung on for the ride. He hoped there be more rides in his near future.
  3. Caz Pedroso

    Chapter 20.3

    Tristan will be fine and I'm sure Carl will have words with him as soon as he has made sure his mate isn't hurt. You would think that, but people's thoughts about themselves rarely follow any logical route. Thank you They'll get back to their conversation...eventually. Thank you all for sticking with me, and continuing to read, react, and comment.
  4. You put into a few words what my friends and I have been saying for years. Unfortunately, the people who would be offended by this aren't listening. I live in hope though...one day. Wonderfully written as always, Gary,
  5. Caz Pedroso

    Chapter 20.2

    I think it is slightly like an arranged marriage/mating or a marriage/mating of convenience. There needed to be two beings leading the clan to keep up with all the work. I suppose the attraction and/or heartbreak is a risk they take for the prestige of being clan leader/mate if the clan leader. Thanks for reading and commenting
  6. Tristan cocked his head to one side and stared at Carl. Maybe he had jumped to conclusions. Maybe he should have listened before he spoke. But, really? A vampire elder and a second level mage? What were the fates thinking? What did he know about leading a clan? Carl seemed to be a patient male. He just stood there waiting for Tristan to process what he’d said and to make a decision. “I think we need to sit and talk properly. I will warn you now I have reservations about how this mating would work and I would want to sort through all potential problems before I think about any talk of claiming.” Carl dipped his chin. “I agree. If the last few minutes are anything to go by I think we have a lot to talk about.” Tristan barked out a laugh. That was the understatement of a lifetime. He held out his hand. “How about we agree to see where things go?” Carl grinned and Tristan didn’t like the look in his eye. He let out a very manly squeak when he was pulled into a hug. “How about dinner after sunset tonight?” Tristan shivered when Carl’s whisper tickled the sensitive skin behind his ear. Before Tristan could answer frantic knocking on the door broke into their moment. “We’re under attack. Flash bombs and other explosives are in use. All vampires are to stay in their rooms with doors locked for security.” The voice repeated the warning and then moved away from the door. Presumably to repeat the warning on the next rooms. “I gotta go,” Tristan said pushing away from Carl. Carl growled and pulled him back in, holding him tighter. Tristan huffed. “I’m guessing you want to protect me? Well, you can’t. Flash bombs are enhanced by magic to give of sunlight. And explosives run the risk of fire or exposing you to the outside by blowing out walls. Either way, you are sitting this one out. I, on the other hand, am a mage and am needed to fight. You have to let me go. I will come straight back here as soon as it’s safe. I promise.” Carl mumbled something against the skin of Tristan’s neck and Tristan shuddered when he felt a fang nick his skin. “I can’t let anything happen to you. I’ve just found you. You don’t know how long I have lived alone.” “I’ll be fine. I’m better at offensive spells than most other level two mages, so it’s the enemy that should be worried. I may have even invented a few they haven’t even heard of yet. Even if this bitch uses her stolen powers to see what is going o happen, she can’t defend against magic that no one but me knows how to throw around.” Carl hissed and after pressing a kiss to Tristan's lips he pushed Tristan towards the door. “Come back to me or come sunset I will hunt your ass down.” Tristan blew him a kiss and slipped out the door. And straight into chaos.
  7. Caz Pedroso

    Cover photo

    Additional information - The same thing is happening with my story picture headers. I only just noticed when i went to check on comments nad such
  8. Caz Pedroso

    Cover photo

    I don't get the problem with any other profile. Only my own. A curious bug 🐜
  9. Caz Pedroso

    Cover photo

    This is happening to me too. I even tried different devices and it happens on all if them. iPad, phone, windows laptop, windows desktop, all on Crome.
  10. @Timothy M. Thank you for the recommendation. My stories wouldn't be what they are without your tireless help and patience
  11. I met Mark when my ex talked me into meeting him after work. Mark was the waiter at the cafe we went to with my best friend and her then boyfriend. Mark knew my ex and was invited to join our group when his shift ended. My best friend went home with her man, I took Mark home with me and my ex was left to find his own way home. Mark and I have been together nineteen years this October and married sixteen years this September. I can't imagine my life without him. A great topic to see @TetRefine
  12. Caz Pedroso

    Chapter 20.2

    @Timothy M. Normally I would answer this with a and tell you to wait and see. But, Normischell actually hit the nail right on the head. Simon is a new vampire. Carl can train and mold him into what he wants for his clan. He can teach Simon his ways, his values, and then when he thinks Simon is ready he can offer him the leadership. But, of course, Simon could refuse and he and Kit could want to join a pack somewhere and settle down with their small family. Thank you both for reading and commenting...
  13. Caz Pedroso

    Chapter 20.2

    When they are both making an ass of themselves by not listening as well as talking. Maybe they will get a few things sorted before the next shoe drops. I'm sure they will get there in the end Thanks Thank you all for reading, reacting, and commenting
  14. Caz Pedroso

    Chapter 20.1

    I think they did a good job of pissing each other off. We'll have to see who is going to the sensible one I'm sure they will sort their problems out, eventually. how quickly is down to how grown up they can act. There is a story behind both of their reactions. All will be explained (I hope ) No, you aren't wrong, but things are not always as they seem. But, I think that is the hardest part of any relationship, especially a new one IMO Although i think Carl needs to ask more than assume things, I also think Tristan needs to learn the same lesson. Maybe someone can bang their heads together? Yep, I think there are explanations owed all round Hmmm, now what could happen to interrupt them Thank you all for reading, reacting, and commenting.
  15. Sending you keep going as I know you can, you’re stronger than you realiise.
  16. Tristan was furious. However, it was a toss-up as to who he was more furious with, himself or his mate. How dare the fanged bloodsucker speak to him like that. Who did he think he was? Tristan had every right to think he was about to be told to not get his hopes up. After all, he was just a lowly mage. He was nobody special. His family had made sure to remind him of that at every opportunity. He wasn’t smart enough. He wasn’t strong enough. He was an embarrassment to the family name. He was about to bang again when the door was wrenched open and he found himself face to chest with his mate. Why was he angry with the sexy vampire? “What do you want? Have you decided?” Oh yes, that’s why he was angry with the idiot. He shoved and was grateful when Carl moved enough to allow him to enter the room and shut the door. He knew his strength was nothing compared to a vampire's and that if Carl hadn’t wanted to move Tristan would have had more luck moving a solid brick wall. Once the door was shut, he spun to face his mate. “What gives you the right to say all that and then run away? You can’t just say you’re trying to seduce someone and then leave.” Carl snarled. “Why not? You obviously had already decided to reject me. Or you’d decided that for some unknown reason I would reject you. You didn’t think to ask me what I was thinking. You made assumptions. I am one of the oldest vampires known to be around currently. I run my clan with the help of my bond mate and a council. I—” Tristan’s brain shut down at the word mate. He knew it was too good to be true. His mate was already mated. As usual he was left with no one. A hand shaking his shoulder snapped him back to the present. He shrugged the hand off and thought he saw hurt pass over Carl’s face before an expressionless mask fell into place. “You’re not interested in anything I’m saying, are you? Why did you chase after me? Why not just let me go if you aren’t interested?” Tristan frowned. Something wasn’t making sense in all this. Why did it sound like Carl wanted him? Did he just want a fling? Or did he want to keep Tristan as his dirty secret and set him up in an out of the way place where he would visit him for booty calls when needed? “Are you even listening?” The exasperated tone pulled his attention back to Carl. “I don’t understand.” He finally managed to get out around his tight throat. “Why are you making me out to be the bad guy here? You already have a mate. So why are you yelling at me for assuming that I’m going to be rejected.” His voice picked up volume as everything he’d been thinking came out in a torrent. “If you think you will be able to set me up and only visit when the mating urges get too bad then you have another thing coming. I am no one’s dirty secret. I sit and wait for no man.” “Where are you getting this from?” Carl yelled throwing up his hands. “I have never said I wanted you to be my dirty secret. I have never said I would hide you away. Do you even know anything about vampire mates? Once we mate, I won’t be able to feed from anyone but you. I would rely on you to go on living. By agreeing to mate with you I would be putting my very life in your hands. All you would have to do would be to walk away and I would be dead within a month at most. That would be if I didn’t go blood mad first and have to be put down to protect others. Now, why don’t you tell me what gave you these ridiculous ideas.” Tristan swallowed. Only one thing kept circling his mind and he blurted it out without thinking about it. “You said you already have a mate.” Carl frowned, then grinned. Tristan glared, what was so funny? Did this fanghead think so little of his feelings? Did he think… “I have a bond mate. Not a fated mate.” It was Tristan’s turn to frown. “A mate is a mate. Once bonded the bond can’t be broken.” Carl shook his head. “I think you have a different idea of bonded. I have a contract that says I am mated to Natalia until one or both of us meet our fated mates. Under high council law, fated mates trump any and all mating agreements signed before the fated mates met. My contract is called a bond. I gave my bond—or suspect you would call it my promise or my word—that I would share the ruling of my clan and any money made during our rule with her and she would do everything she could to support me and our clan. If we found the relationship became intimate, then any issue would become the heir of the clan automatically. However, since I prefer men and she women that never became an issue. As the leader of the clan, I can name anyone heir and I have been seriously considering naming Simon. Although, I would prefer you didn’t say anything until I have had time to train him more. “Does any of this make things clearer for you?”
  17. Caz Pedroso

    Chapter 19.2

    Yep, I thought it needed to be all brought together so everyone (especially me ) could see what we knew and what still needed to be found out. Thank you for reading and commenting
  18. Carl watched his mate stop and turn. What did he say now? Should they go to his room? Or Tristan’s? or to one of the main rooms so they were more public? Would Tristan think he was being too forward to ask to speak in one of their rooms? Or would he think he wasn’t interested if he asked to speak in a main room? Goddess, he was the Elder of his clan, he represented his clan at various events during any given year, he spoke to beings of all species. Why was it so hard to think of what to say and do with the being the fates thought was perfect for him? “Um, should we…maybe…go somewhere…more private?” Carl was sure he could feel his face heating up, but he ignored it and hoped no one else—especially the male standing in front of him with a sexy smirk on his lips—noticed. Tristan cocked his head to the side and seemed to study Carl. Whatever he was looking for he apparently found as he nodded and indicated for Carl to follow him. Carl couldn’t help letting his gaze slide down to appreciate the rounded ass as his mate walked ahead of him. If things went well he would be biting into said ass as soon as— “Keep your eyes up and look where you’re going.” Carl snapped his head up in time to not walk straight into Tristan’s back. He ignored Tristan’s chuckle and finally took notice of where they were. Tristan had led him to one of the few secluded gardens within the den compound. There were night blooming kaislys and a love seat was tucked under a weeping willow tree. Carl slid a hand to Tristan’s back, relishing the slight hitch he heard in his mate’s breathing, and led him over to the love seat. Once they were both seated he took a breath to speak. However, Tristan beat him to it. “Is this where you tell me that you’re an elder and you either already have a mate or you can’t mate with a man because you need to have an heir to pass the eldership onto?” Carl frowned. Why did his mate sound so defensive? Why would he automatically think Carl was going to deny their mating? What had been said to this male to lead his thoughts in that direction? “What if I wanted to get you alone so I could slam you up against the nearest surface and claim you so hard everyone would know who you belonged with?” he leaned over as he spoke and let his breath tickle Tristan’s ear. Tristan jerked away from the contact and Carl felt his heart lurch. What if Tristan didn’t want him? What if his comment had been his way of telling Carl why he didn’t want to mate him? What if… “If you think that’s funny then you are going to find out why people go out of their way to avoid angry mages.” Carl had had enough. He was a plain-spoken male as a rule and obviously, seduction wasn’t working for him. “I haven’t tried to be funny. I was trying to seduce you. I have looked for my mate for a long time. If you don’t want me then say so. Quit trying to put words and thoughts on me without asking me what I want or think. Maybe you should think about what you want and get back to me. It’s getting near to dawn and old I may be, but I am still not immune to sunlight.” Rising, Carl kept his head high as he headed back inside at a deliberate walk. Once he was inside and sure he was out of sight of his mate, he picked up speed and didn't stop until he was safe inside his suite. Only then did he allow himself to crumple to the floor. Even at his advanced age, he had had dreams of the day he met his fated mate. He had thought their eyes would meet across a crowded room, or on the street in the moonlight, and they would smile and move closer. Maybe they would talk and get to know each other. Or maybe they would get to the good stuff first and then talk after while cuddled up together in his massive bed in his clan house. Carl pushed himself to his feet and shook off the sadness. He was an adult and an elder. He knew not all matings worked out. He would just have to deal with it and keep his dealings with Tristan professional. Maybe he could speak to Simon and get him to run interference? No, that would involve Kitryn and that cat would love the opportunity to get any information he could use to tease Carl. He’d poured himself a glass of whiskey and was about to take a sip when someone started banging on his door. Before he could move a voice joined the banging. “I know you’re in there. Open this door or I swear I will blast it off its hinges. You do not get to say all that and then walk away." Oh, his mate sounded pissed…
  19. Caz Pedroso

    Chapter 19.2

    Thank you. I want to take it slowly so I make sure I don't leave any threads untied. I've done that many a time in a story and had to go back and change too many things. Thank you, I am so glad. Thank you both for reading and commenting
  20. Fran sat next to Meg and continued eating her sandwich as she looked around the table. “Where, Conny?” she asked between bites. Tristan suppressed a laughed when he realized she meant O’Connor. “O’Connor is on his way. I sent a spelled necklace to the infirmary and told the medics to give it to him as soon as he woke up. I felt the spell activate about twenty minutes ago. The necklace will suppress the mate bond enough to alleviate the pain he is experiencing.” Everyone nodded, including Fran who’d finished her sandwich and was now munching on a packet of sweets that had appeared from who knew where. Patrick read out the message Fran had delivered again for Meg and Fran—who said she never remembered what she’d said when in a trance. “I not the only in’cent,” Fran stated. “New baby and sister with bad lady.” Silence met her declaration. Tristan sent her a smile. “Thank you, Fran, we hadn’t thought of them. The two children we know of—and there may be others we don’t know about yet—need protection. “So, let's make a list.” Tristan pulled a paper pad nearer to himself and stole Simon’s pen, ignoring the glare it earned him. “What questions do we still need answered?” Pen poised he waited. “What is Cheryl’s end goal?” Tristan nodded at Simon and noted the question down. Next was Patrick. “Where is her base of operations?” Helen. “How many people are helping her?” Kitryn. “And how many are there under duress?” Meg. “What powers does she have access to?” Simon again. “Where will she hit next?” “How is she getting the seers that have been taken from their homes?” O’Connor spoke as he entered the room the large pendant Tristan had sent to the infirmary shone in the light as he sat. Tristan nodded to O’Connor and noted down the question, before turning to a fresh sheet. “Now let’s think about what we know.” O’Connor’s bitter voice spoke up first. “Cheryl is stealing powers and probably killing the victims in the process.” The fact his mate could be next at any time was left unsaid. Kitryn. “They are trying to keep the victims alive, I would assume to try and extend the powers they can steal, and to that end, they took a healer.” Carl. “They’re using hostages to ensure good behavior.” Fran. “They keep baby.” Tristan sent her an encouraging smile as he wrote. “If we can get the hostages out maybe the mage at least could fight back.” O’Connor pointed out. Tristan nodded thoughtfully and turned to Fran. “Would you mind a roommate for a while? I think if I can be there when your mom visits again I may be able to set a tracking spell to find out where she is. It won’t be exact, but it should give us an area to concentrate on.” Fran clapped in excitement. “Yes!” she squealed. He held up a hand to try and calm her down. “I am not making any promises. But, I think I know a spell that should work.” The rest of the meeting ended up going round in circles until O’Connor said he needed to head back to bed and everyone noticed that Fran had fallen back to sleep resting her head on the table. Tristan headed out to find the book he needed to check on the spell he wanted to use. Carl’s voice called out from behind him. “Tristan, wait, please, we need to talk.”
  21. Caz Pedroso

    Chapter 19.1

    Like all riddles, the understanding will be in the interpretation. Yes, she's ready, as long as the adult listen now. Thank you, Kitt Maybe she meant herself, and then again maybe not Thank you Ah, but is the obvious answer always the right answer? Hopefully the adults don't need her to connect to Cheryl very often. If nothing else they don't want to run the risk of her being caught. As for the verbal warnings, she doesn't remember them after she's given them to the person they're for. No, and that is where the adults come in to make sure she is protected Thank you all for reading, reacting and commenting.
  22. Caz Pedroso

    Chapter 18.5

    More questions, yes, but we also have a few answers now, too. I'm glad you liked this newest installment. I'm sure answers will start appearing more now (or at least I hope they do, I'm writing this by the seat of my pants each week). Always more questions but hopefully some answers too now. Hopefully, they will all be reunited in the end. Thank you, everyone, for reading, reacting, and commenting.
  23. Thank you It always means so much to hear people not only enjoy my stories but reread them too. I have got a storyline noted down for Vance, but I need to find the time to sit down and actually write it. I promise it is on the list.
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