Catching Up

Serafine's Apartment

A modest (for the Upper West Side) three bedroom apartment, eclectically decorated.


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Kieran Collins Serafine Roche

Kieran doesn’t knock. He should; it would be the polite thing to do, but he only adheres to social convention when it’s necessary. Letting himself into Serafine’s apartment with a personal key isn’t one of those times. Besides, if he didn’t sneak in uninvited he might have missed the sight of her dancing around while “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” blares out of the Bose speakers strategically placed around the living room. Armed with a dust towel and an aerosol can of anti-dust spray and clad in the housekeeping uniform of an extremely short pair of shorts and a camisole top that leaves nothing to the imagination, Kieran thinks it’s a very good sight and he’s pleased that he didn’t give her a heads up to miss it.

“Don’t you have cleaning service for that?” He kicks the door closed behind him and turns to open the coat closet. The garment bag that’s been waiting patiently on his arm finds a new home in the closet as he watches her from the corner of his eye.


It’s Sunday evening, and Sera’s begged off from the gallery just to spend some quiet time at home. She needs to catch up on her email, and her publisher is already chomping at the bit to hear the proposal for her next book and she’s not yet done going over that galley, and tomorrow is the change over at Galerie Montage. She needs her downtime.

She’s heard Kieran enter, she simply hasn’t stopped her movements and actions to acknowledge him. The music is loud, loud enough that the beat can be felt in her toes and straight up to the roots of her hair, loud enough that some would claim and inability to hear themselves think. Still, she hears Kieran and he’s not shouting to be heard.

One of the perks of vampire hearing.

“I don’t have them come on Sunday.” Serafine spins and steps, spraying the nearest shelf and wiping it down.


“You could,” Kieran points out. His voice never rises above conversational levels. A human wouldn’t be able to hear him, but he knows that Sera can hear him just fine. “But I know. You like cleaning.”

He crosses the room in a few strides and wraps an arm around her from behind as the music switches from classic Cyndi Lauper to male lead vocalist of Cobra Starship declaring that he makes good girls go bad. That’s a plan and a song that Kieran can get onboard with.

Tugging Serafine’s body back snugly against his, Kieran moves with her in time to the beat and thrum of the music. “I know what we need to break this case.”

“Yes, I do like it.” Not the cleaning so much. Serafine hates cleaning. That’s why she hired the cleaning crew. Granted it does give her something to do when she’s awake during the day and can’t venture outside, but she’d rather watch television or read. “I like getting exercise.”

She giggles, not resisting Kieran’s antics or the tug into his arms. It impedes her progress with the cleaning, but she’s learned that sometimes it’s better just to indulge her Maker. “A break? An eyewitness? A confession?”


Kieran laughs against her hair and dips his head to nip playfully at her ear. “Smart ass.” He emphasizes the ‘ass’ by using his free hand to swing down and swat hers.

“No, luv. We need a ghost.” Kieran twists her in his arms so that they’re facing one another, resting his hands on her hips and still keeping time with the music. “Or rather, we need a necromancer.”


Though she knew the swat was coming, Serafine still gives an mock offended yelp.

She blinks up at him curiously when he makes his pronouncement. “That’s … “ She wonders why no one has thought of it before. Assuming that the dead women have spirits hanging around and want to talk. Assuming that The Priory has a contact that is a necromancer. They’re a rare breed and vampires tend to avoid them. They’re just something a bit creepy about humans who can take control of souls if they so desire.

There are more than a few stories about a vampire who met his or her demise because a necromancer thought they were possessed and wanted to ‘free’ the soul from the hold of the demon.

Pushing that thought aside, Serafine nods. “I’ll call Ashcroft. The Priory has to have some contacts…”


“No.” Kieran hooks a finger under her chin and holds her gaze intently. “You won’t.”


“I’d rather keep The Priory out of this one.”


“I know, you’re going to say that it’s too late for that, but we still have some advantages and this is still a vampire matter.”


“Until it isn’t.” Serafine shakes her head and pulls out of Kieran’s arms. “Kostas is going to expose us all or get us killed with his stubbornness.” A disgusted eye roll accompanies her words.


“Hey.” Kieran’s in front of her again before she’s turned fully away. There’s a struggle playing across his face as he formulates an answer to her. It’s dangerous for her to talk that way, though it’s perfectly safe to say those things to him. Outside of her apartment, those words could get her in a lot of trouble, trouble that he might not be able to protect her from.

Trouble Kostas might make Kieran deliver for his own sick pleasure and to remind Kieran - and the rest of the Vampires - who is in charge of the City.

The Sheriff needs to control his own Child.

Kieran locks his hands around her upper arms, holding her tight. His blue eyes shift to demon black, ringed with a networking of dark veins. “Watch what you say and your attitude, Serafine. One of these days you’re going to slip and it’s not going to be in front of me.”

Serafine twists but it’s an exercise in futility unless she wants to get into a physical fight with Kieran. His grip on her arms is rough and she can feel the bruises forming beneath his fingers, healing and reforming again as his grip tightens further when his eyes change.

He’s not going to hurt her. In this, Serafine has confidence. The words are meant as a warning and reminder and she hears the message loud and clear. That doesn’t stop her from glaring back at him for a few moments, or baring fangs as she gives another tug to pull from his grip.

“I am smarter than that, Kieran.”


The older vampire tightens his grip more, a final warning given without words before he allows her to pull out of his grasp. They both know she’s only free because he wanted her to be free, and really, she’s absolutely right. Kieran isn’t trying to hurt her. He needs to remind her sometimes that she could cross a very dangerous line. He likes New York and he would hate never being able to return because he defied the Master of the City.

There aren’t many for whom Kieran would ever do that. Other Vampires, even those he’s friendly with are not worth the risk that defying the Master would carry. That he’d do it in an unnecessary heartbeat for this Child is telling.

And stupid.

Kieran knows it’s stupid. He’s known for years that his attachment to Serafine could be a weakness.

He’s never cared and he’s not going to start after more than a hundred and fifty years.

“Just reminding you, luv.” That’s the end of that conversation. Blinking as his eyes shift back to their natural blue and the veining recedes, Kieran crosses the room and sprawls comfortably on the dark leather couch. He stretches his legs in front of him, and pats the cushions beside him. “I was in Central Park tonight and saw a ghost there. More to the point, I met Lillith Graves.”


Serafine watches him recline on the couch, her eyes tracking up the lean, toned line of long legs and sensuality. Somehow that man just makes every move graceful and fills them with an oozing sexuality.

“You met Lilith Graves?” Serafine climbs onto the couch where he indicates, drawing her legs up and tucking them beneath her. “How on earth did you meet her? Where?” She draws back a hand and slaps his upper arm. “Spill, Collins.”

“Ow,” Kieran says because it’s what he’s supposed to say. Just as he’s supposed to wince a little and rub his arm, when they both know the swat did nothing at all to injure him. He flashes her a grin, and quick as a flash has a hand around her wrist and has halfway tugged her into his lap.

He’s neither subtle nor gentle with Serafine, but he’s never had to be. “That’s Mr. Collins.”

It’s not entirely true. Kieran does have his moments when he’s perfectly gentle, but the rough tugging and bodily handling is the norm between them, and Serafine has never objected to any of it. There is something primal about it that makes her enjoy it when he’s strong and forceful.

Serafine yelps and laughs and then settles straddling one of his thighs, her elbow propped against the back of the couch so that she can lean her head on her open palm. “In your dreams, Kieran.”


“Lilith Graves?” She’s not going to be sidetracked. Serafine finds the woman fascinating, though Kieran thinks she’s a fraud and that her show is a ‘crock of shite.’


Kieran leans back, resting his head against the back of the couch and smiles at her. He traces her collarbone with a fingertip, sliding it along her skin until it meets the strap of her camisole. Using that same finger, he pushes the strap down, “You’re gorgeous when you’re being persistent.”

Giving her a smirk, Kieran stops his teasing there. He wants to talk about his encounter with Graves and her two ghosts, so he does. Starting from beginning to end, brow furrowing with brief pauses as he makes certain he’s not leaving out any details. Serafine is the one individual whom he can be completely open and honest with, and he needs to bounce ideas and thoughts off of her right now.

“She’s an odd bird, but we need her. Or someone like her.”


“Of course she’s an odd bird. Mon Dieu, Kier, the woman sees and talks to dead people all the time. I can’t imagine what my state of mind would have been had I grown up seeing ghosts all the time.” Serafine chooses her words carefully, trying hard not to give Kieran an opening to snark.

She tosses her ponytail and tucks a straying curl behind her ear. “Are you going to go see her? Did you want me to?”

“I’ll do it. I’ve already met her.” Kieran shrugs and grins deviously. “I might have freaked her out but I got her attention.”

His fingers skim along her thigh and over her hip. They tease at the hem of her camisole, fingertips tattooing a path along the sliver of skin bared there. “I just need to talk to her without an audience.”

Serafine peers at him, tilting her head curiously. “I can do it. I’m a fan of her show. I can play the fan card.” She’s not saying that Kieran can’t do it, but his methods can be unorthodox.

Or just plain rude and annoying, depending on his mood and approach.

“I’ll try to be nice.” Kieran has known Serafine a long time. He knew her when she was human, he turned her, and they’ve never been apart more than ten years since the day she first awoke to complete her transition. He knows this gorgeous woman like the back of his hand, and can read her like a book.

Kieran hears what she says and translates it into what she doesn’t say. She’s questioning how he’ll approach Graves. He’ll admit, she has good reason to question it. Kieran isn’t always politic and diplomatic, especially if he’s impatient or annoyed. In this matter, time is of the essence and there is only so far he will go with diplomacy before he gets a bit more forward and demanding.

He tells Serafine none of that. Instead, he hooks his hand around her backside and tugs her closer to him, dipping his head to run his tongue along her pulse point. Yes, vampire hearts do beat, when they will it so. Biting down gently, Kieran slides his free hand beneath the camisole, exploring familiar territory as though it’s uncharted waters.

“I need you to stay on The Priory,” Kieran mouths the words against her throat. He bites down gently above her pulse point and squeezes her backside. “I can handle Graves.”

“You … have a one track mind.” Serafine means the words to be accusatory and firm, but the hitch in her voice gives her away. Her eyes flutter closed, a soft sigh escaping from the low reaches of her throat as her head falls to the side, body responding to him as though he’s a puppeteer and she has no will of her own.

Sometimes, she thinks that’s a pretty apt description. Her hand has already curled into the soft, dark hairs at the base of his skull before she realizes it, and it’s only the unexpected soft whimper from the back of her throat, as his fangs play over her pulse point, that pulls her back to the here and now. “Just … be nice, Kier. You can be a dick sometimes.”

He chuckles against her skin, encouraged by the way her body relaxes against his, and doubly so by the familiar whimper of arousal he hears from her. “It’s an art, mo thaisce.”

Kieran sinks fangs into her throat. It’s not nourishing, but it’s a heady rush that connects them. It’s a good few hours later that he’s propping up on an elbow to look down at her, their bare bodies entangled on the thick rug of her living room floor because they never even tried to make it to the bedroom.

“Would now be a good time to mention that we have a date on Thursday?”

Stretched out on her back, staring up at the ceiling, Serafine is attempting to will her various limbs into working again. Everything tingles, but in a good way. The aches of exertion are fading quickly, but she’s not fully focused on the here and now yet.

“Wha?” She rolls her head to look up into those piercing, haunting blue eyes.

“There’s a record launch thing at Flanaghan’s.”


“You’re coming with me. I even bought you a dress.”

Kieran palms his hand over the flat of her abdomen. “It’s green so it matches your eyes.”

Really, the vampiress is not quite recovered enough to shove him away. She’s not even recovered enough to feign annoyance. He has that way about him, or maybe it’s just the centuries of skills, but Serafine is far too relaxed to argue with him.

She stretches leisurely and purrs beneath his touch. “What happened to Tiffany?” At least she thinks that’s the name of his latest arm candy, sex toy, blood bag, bimbo.

“Tiffany.” Kieran sighs and drops down to his back. He tucks his arm behind his head and stares up at the ceiling. “Tiffany had the opportunity of a lifetime. A photoshoot in Milan. She’ll be gone a month.”


“Poor baby,” Serafine laughs. Rolling over onto her side, she tosses a leg over his and combs her fingers through his dark hair. “Was this your way of coaxing me into going with you? You know you don’t have to try this hard, Kier.”

She rests her chin on his chest. “Just buy me something pretty and owe me a favor.” Pressing a kiss to his chest, Serafine sighs against him. “The dress better be mind blowing.”

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