Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood #2) - J.R. Ward

Black Dagger Brotherhood 2 - Lover Eternal

Chapter One

“Ah, hell, V, you're killing me.” Butch O'Neal mined through his sock drawer, looking for black silk, finding white cotton.

No, wait. He pulled out one dress sock. Not exactly a triumph.

“If I were killing you, cop, footwear'd be the last thing on your mind.”

Butch glanced over at his roommate. His fellow Red Sox fan. His… well, one of his two best friends.

Both of whom, as it turned out, happened to be vampires.

Fresh from the shower, Vishous had a towel wrapped around his waist, his chest muscles and thick arms out on display. He was pulling on a black leather driving glove, covering up his tattooed left hand.

“Do you have to go for my dress blacks?”

V grinned, fangs flashing in the midst of his goatee. “They feel good.”

“Why don't you ask Fritz to get you some?”

“He's too busy feeding your jones for clothes, man.”

Okay, so maybe Butch had recently gotten in touch with his inner Versace, and who've thought he'd had it in him, but how hard could it be to get an extra dozen silkies in the house?

“I'll ask him for you.”

“Aren't you a gentleman.” V pushed back his dark hair. The tattoos at his left temple made an appearance and then were covered up again. “You need the Escalade tonight?”

“Yeah, thanks.” Butch stuffed his feet into Gucci loafers, bareback.

“So you're going to see Marissa?”

Butch nodded. “I need to know. One way or the other.”

And he had a feeling it was going to be the other.

“She's a good female.”

She sure the hell was, which was probably why she wasn't returning his calls. Ex-cops who liked Scotch weren't exactly good relationship material for women, human or vampire. And the fact that he wasn't one of her kind didn't help the situation.

“Well, cop, Rhage and I'll be throwing back a few at One Eye. You come and find us when you're done—”

Banging, like someone was hitting the front door with a battering ram, brought their heads around.

V hiked up the towel. “Goddamn it, flyboy is going to have to learn how to use a doorbell.”

“You try talking to him. He doesn't listen to me.”

“Rhage doesn't listen to anyone.” V jogged down the hall.

As the thundering dried up, Butch went over to his ever-expanding tie collection. He chose a pale blue Brioni, popped the collar of his white button-down, and slipped the silk around his neck. As he strolled out to the living room, he could hear Rhage and V talking over 2Pac's “RU still down?”

Butch had to laugh. Man, his life had taken him to a lot of places, most of them ugly, but he'd never thought he'd end up living with six warrior vampires. Or being on the fringes of their fight to protect their dwindling, hidden species. Somehow, though, he belonged with the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he and Vishous and Rhage were an awesome threesome.

Rhage lived in the mansion across the courtyard with the rest of the Brotherhood, but the troika hung out in the gatehouse, where V and Butch crashed. The Pit, as the place was now known, was sweet digs compared to the hovels Butch had lived in. He and V had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a galley kitchen, and a living room that was decorated in a winsome, postmodern, Frat-House-Basement style: a pair of leather couches, plasma-screen high-def TV, foosball table, gym bags everywhere.

As Butch stepped into the main room, he got a load of Rhage's ensemble for the night: Black leather trench coat fell from his shoulders to his ankles. Black wife-beater was tucked into leathers. Shitkickers topped him out at six-eight or so. In the getup, the vampire was flat-out, drop-dead gorgeous. Even to a certified hetero like Butch.

The son of a bitch actually bent the laws of physics, he was so attractive. Blond hair was cut short in the back and left longer in the front. Teal-blue eyes were the color of Bahamas seawater. And that face made Brad Pitt look like a candidate for The Swan.

But he was no mama's boy, in spite of being a charmer. Something dark and lethal seethed behind the flashy exterior, and you knew it the minute you saw him. He gave off the vibe of a guy who'd smile while he set the record straight with his fists, even if he was spitting his own teeth out while he took care of business.

“What's doing, Hollywood?” Butch asked.

Rhage smiled, revealing a splendid set of pearlies with those long canines. “Time to