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Adriann looked down at the unconscious young man, a flood of conflicting desires filling his mind and body. He was a beautiful human and the desire to bite, to fuck, to enthrall, was nearly overwhelming. Nearly. His long years of experience were honed to perfection and it would be easy to simply dismiss him and move on. But there was something about this young man.

He knelt on one knee and brushed the auburn brown locks from the man’s brow and studied his face. He’d glimpsed his mind, knew he was an archaeologist, a linguist, a peace-loving man, so what was he doing traveling with a military team? Exploration certainly, but that was not what they were doing here on his planet. They were searching for something. If the stunning beam, triggered due to the unexpected presence of the uninvited visitors, hadn’t done its job so quickly, Adriann would have known why they were here.

He sighed. Those conflicting desires were now forced to wait. On the other hand, he could kill this beautiful human and his companions and send them back through the portal as a warning. He could let them live and send them back. He could keep them, ensnaring them for entertainment. It’d been a while since he’d had a human from Earth.

The human stirred and Adriann froze, a frown marring his own handsome face. What to do. He placed the tip of his index finger on the center brow of the young man and closed his eyes in concentration. The young man was dreaming. The images were dark, troubling. That made sense. His mind was trying to figure out why he’d been stunned into unconsciousness.

Adriann detected worry for one of his companions and understood the meaning: the older man lying next to him was his mate. With a heavy sigh, he stood up, hating that his wisest course was to send them back through the portal. He hated complications — like interfering with another’s romantic relationship. With his abilities, he could simply take control and wipe the relationship from the young man’s mind, but coercion and mind control had never been his way.

“Too bad,” he whispered as he moved to the pedestal and pressed the glyphs. “You would have been a wonderful lay.”

A woman appeared at his side and he didn’t need to look to know his sister’s presence as she touched his mind. “You are sure? It has been a while, Adriann. We could use their blood.”

“I know. But …”

“Yes.”

“I can’t just …”

“Yes you can. You’ve done it often enough to others who’ve found their way here.”

“This is different.”

“How?”

“I could fall in love with him.”

She sighed and stooped to pick the young man up in her arms. “Stop dithering, Adriann. If you want him, I’ll take him up to the house. If you don’t, I’ll set him back down. Decide.”

The need filled his mind, coloring it with loneliness. “Go on then,” he said, and looked over his shoulder at the waiting servants. “Take the rest and make them comfortable. We shall decide later what to do with them.”

“Yes, my lord,” said one.

Adriann’s body warmed, from his belly to between his legs, and the long-absent refreshment doubled. His canines lengthened in anticipation.

**************************
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