Max Stops the Presses: A Gardella Vampire Chronicles Short Story

Max Stops the Presses: A Gardella Vampire Chronicles Short Story by Colleen Gleason Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Max Stops the Presses: A Gardella Vampire Chronicles Short Story by Colleen Gleason Read Free Book Online
Authors: Colleen Gleason
Tags: gardella vampire chronicles, max pesaro, sebastian vioget, victoria gardella
anything happen to her while she was carrying his child.
Or ever.
    He still woke sometimes,
erupting into a sudden, terrified fear that she was once again
Lilith’s captive.
    A soft sniffle and the
dampness seeping into his shirt told him she wasn’t yet over her
pique. A non-pregnant Victoria would rage and storm about, her eyes
flashing and her hands throwing things, but as he’d discovered,
things were different at the moment.
    “Shh,” he murmured. “It
won’t be long now, and before you know it, you’ll be back in here
trying to flip me onto my arse.”
    “Trying ?” She bristled in his arms and he smiled against her hair.
“You know bloody well I can get you on your back any time I want
to.”
    “You certainly can,” he
said, his voice dropping low and dusky as his thoughts went
elsewhere. He slid his hands down over her pert bottom and ducked
to kiss her in that special place she liked, behind the
ear.
    “Max…” She sagged against
him, giving a little tremble. “Don’t be…”
    Just as she lifted her face
to meet his kiss, he felt a definite nudge from her round middle.
They both stilled and waited, belly pressed to belly, as the baby
kicked and shifted inside her. A particularly sharp, hard movement
had Max’s eyes widening at the sheer force of it.
    “He’s going to be a fighter
just like his papa,” Victoria said, easing back.
    “No… she’s going to be a quiet, sedate
little girl, un like
her mother,” he said. Then Max was suddenly terrified at the very
thought of a little Victoria toddling about his house…running his
life…looking up at him with big hazel eyes…getting into trouble.
Christ…climbing into carriages with handsome, rakish men like
Vioget. Bloody hell. I’ll never sleep
again.
    “A girl ?” said Victoria. “If it’s a
girl—which I’m quite certain it’s not—she’s going to be just like
me. Not sedate in the least.”
    “By the devil, I’ll be gray
before she’s three,” he said, laughing down at her, relieved that
she seemed to have gotten past her tears. But then her face
pinched. “Victoria? What is it?”
    She grimaced and rubbed her
belly. “Nothing. Just a little twinge. I get them occasionally,
which just means the time is getting closer. And don’t even think about telling me to
sit down and put my feet up. Tiana told me that moving around can
help make the baby come. Which is why I was in here.”
    Tiana was the midwife, and
Kritanu had found her for them. He’d assured the soon-to-be-father
the woman was not only experienced and excellent with baby
deliveries but was also a Comitator—a Venator trainer—like Kritanu
himself, which left Max as comfortable with the situation as
possible.
    The irony of the
possibility of losing his wife not to a vampire, but to the very
natural event of childbirth, had occurred to him more often than
he’d ever admit. Which was why he’d hardly left the house in the
last two weeks, even to patrol for undead.
    Speaking of which…just
then, Max felt a familiar, slightly nauseating chill waft over the
back of his neck. He and Victoria turned toward the kalari door at the same
time.
    He scooped up a fallen
stake with one smooth movement and glanced at his wife. “Get that
sparkle out of your eyes. You’re in no condition to be even
thinking about—”
    “Oh, hush, Max. It’s just
Sebastian, not an army of undead.” Victoria was already lumbering
toward the door.
    Just Sebastian? Max didn’t bother to stifle a derisive snort. There
was no “just” about Vioget. “How the bloody hell do you know it’s
him?” He lowered the stake, but tucked it into his coat pocket.
Just in case. “He was in Roma last I knew.”
    “He sent word earlier
today, and I told Kritanu to let him in—ah, Sebastian.” Her voice
lifted with pleasure as she disappeared into the hall.
    “Cherie .” That was Sebastian of course, his rich voice filled with
affection and warmth. He barely looked up when Max came into view;
he

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