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Nodding, he pulled my hand. "I have a surprise for you."

Now I was grinning ear to ear. Teren's surprises were usually pretty good. Simultaneously greeting our pet and children, as all three greeted me at the door, I looked around for a big box with a shiny bow or something. Not seeing anything, I frowned.

Teren laughed at my face and started tugging on my hand to get me to follow him, but two excited little bodies were holding me in place. Jumping up and down, they were both animatedly repeating, "It's quiet, Mommy!"

Scrunching my brows at them, I glanced up at Teren. Sighing, he pointed up to our room. "Secret's out, I guess. Gabriel was here, he finished the room."

I blinked at and then smiled. Our sex room was complete. Okay, that wasn't entirely the reason for the soundproofing but still, it was definitely a perk. Teren grinned at seeing my response, then successfully yanked me away from the kids.

All of us laughing a little, we walked upstairs and to the end of the hall, where our bedroom was. Running past us, Julian and Nika darted into the room and started screeching at the top of their lungs. It was loud, I cringed. Then Teren closed the door.

I blinked at it, disbelieving. I couldn't hear them, not a peep. I knew they were still making as much noise as they could, but even whispering, I should have been able to hear them. It was a little disorienting.

Teren opened the door after a second, the sound of screaming instantly filling my ears. Giggling, the twins took turns being the noisemaker and the door shutter. As the sound of Nika yelling her ABCs shifted in and out of my mind while Julian opened and closed the door, I turned to stare at Teren. "Wow, that really is amazing."

Nodding, he pointed to the seal around the door. It was different than before and even though I could hear it swishing across the carpet with each opening and shutting, no sound came past it once it was locked into place. "He installed the seals and changed the insulation in the walls." Chuckling, he added, "He even added several layers of Kevlar, so we're bulletproof now."

I smiled at him; we were already bulletproof.

Shaking my head as I stepped into the room with Julian, who had taken Nika's place as noise maker, I looked around. Everything was picture perfect, just as I'd left it this morning. You'd never know that the walls had been torn up and replaced. The toxic smell of paint was sharp to my sensitive nose, but really, that was the only clue that anything had happened in this room today.

Ushering Julian outside with his sister, Teren closed the door as he stepped in with me.

Their giggling was instantly silenced, along with every car horn, dog bark, screeching neighbor, and telephone conversation nearby. The quiet intruded on my brain, like a physical thing that could seep in and envelope me. All I heard for once was the sound of Teren and I breathing.

"It' quiet," I whispered, suddenly feeling like I was in a sacred place.

Teren came up to me, grabbing my hands. "I know. It's kind of nice isn't it?" He shut his eyes, his face relaxing. "Not having to block the world out, just so you can hear yourself think."

Smiling up at him, I laced my arms around his neck. "It feels like we're the only two people on earth."

He opened his eyes, his lips curving in a warm smile. "We could be, for just a little while."

His gaze flicked down my body and I instantly felt the heat of it. It was all mental of course, my body didn't actually heat up anymore, but the fire of wanting him was still within me, mentally if not physically. He leaned in to kiss me, backing me up to the bed in the process. As his fingers removed my blazer, mine threaded through his hair.

As I sat on the bed, his body forcing me to lie back on it, I kept a mental tack on the kids. Feeling that they were safely playing in their room, I indulged in not having to hold anything back for once. With sunlight streaming through the window, it gave me a little bit of a high to be with him like this, during waking hours.

My legs wrapped around him as his hands drifted up the lacey camisole he loved. Grabbing his back, I pulled him where I need him most. He groaned in my mouth. Smiling, I relished the sound, then his hand slid under my bra and I made a moan of my own.

Our breaths heavy in the quiet room, his lips traveled up to my ear. "That sounds so nice. I've missed hearing you let go." His hand coming down to unfasten my slacks, he whispered, "I want to hear you beg for me. I want to hear you scream."

My eyes rolled back as his words tumbled around the room. My hand came up to his cheek, forcing his mouth back to mine. "I want to hear you too," I muttered, our lips frantic as desire revved up the pace.

Getting lost in him, my fingers grasping the fabric of his shirt, I didn't notice something I really should have noticed. Pressing into me, his body as ready to go as mine was, Teren didn't notice either. We both noticed about five seconds later.

"Mommy, I hungry."

Teren immediately sat up, looking back at the door. Standing here, pure innocence in her eyes, my daughter watched us struggle to breathe calmly. Letting out a soft laugh, Teren looked down at me. "We do still need a lock on the door though."

Laughing, I covered my face. I couldn't believe we'd nearly been walked in on by our kids. Locking the door had been on our to-do list for awhile; I vowed to bump it to the top of that list. After setting the kids up with some graham crackers and chocolate milk, Teren was back in our room moments later. Shutting the door as he swished into the room, the noise of our young ones eating instantly cut off.

I sat up on my elbows as he grinned crookedly and crawled on top of me. "Now, where were we?"

While he nuzzled my neck, not bothered in the least by the disruption, I struggled to stay in cautious parent-mode. "Uh, the kids?"

"Downstairs, watching cartoons," he murmured, his lips wandering up to my neck as his hand resumed caressing my breast.

I closed my eyes as a soft moan left me. "A cartoon? Will they be alright, down there all alone?"

Nodding, he moved over the top of me. "Everything is locked up tight. There's nothing dangerous they can get into, they'll be fine." His hands slid down to my slacks, unzipping them. "Besides, in about twenty minutes, they'll come looking for us."

Feeling them safe and secure downstairs, I let go of worry and enjoyed the gift that my husband had arranged for me. Lickety-split we blurred out of our clothes, not wanting to waste what precious time we had with foreplay. As the tip of him pressed against my entrance, that body part as lukewarm as the rest of him, he paused, looking down on me with lust and love in his eyes.

Groaning at how close he was, how much closer I needed him, I watched the corner of his lip lift. Needing him so much I wouldn't have even cared if our room wasn't soundproof, I pulled at his hips. "Please, take me, Teren."

He closed his eyes as he pushed into me. I let out a cry that ordinarily would have had the kids huddled in a corner. As Teren took long, slow strokes, murmuring 'yes' in my shoulder, I let out every sound he made me feel. I contained nothing and it drove him into a near frenzy. His pace quickened dramatically with every sound I made.

Wrapping my legs around him, my fingers digging into his back, I begged, "I want to hear you too, don't hold back either."

His forehead rested against mine as he sucked in a quick breath then let out a sound that was beyond any erotic sound I'd ever heard. Somewhere between pain and pleasure, it ached with the need to release. I found myself muttering, 'yes' and 'more.'

Driving against each other, I felt the buildup in me but heard it more from him. He swore, dropping his head back to my shoulder as the intenseness of our connection rose. "Yes, oh...god, yes, Em."

Throwing my head back, I screamed out his name just as euphoria burst through my body. His hand came out to clench mine, his wedding ring digging into my skin as he cried out. The cool-warmth of his release flowed into me and I gasped at the sensation. My undead body felt everything more intensely, orgasms included.

Panting as we both came down, I took a second to locate our kids. They hadn't moved. Collapsing on top of me, Teren let out a deep groan in my skin. "I think I'm going to love this room."

Chuckling lightly, I smacked his shoulder. "I knew it. I knew this was more a present for you."

Lifting his head, he raised an eyebrow. "You didn't enjoy that?"

Grinning widely, I wrapped my legs tighter around him and rocked my hips. "Alright, maybe I did." As I continued moving my hips, he closed his eyes. Still inside me, I felt him responding again. Groaning at my husband's endurance level, I again let him know how much I appreciated his gift.

Thank goodness the children's cartoon was a long one.

Once we were as spent as we could be for one evening, Teren opened the door while I threw on some comfy clothes. The sounds of the world instantly encroached on me, spoiling the peaceful sanctuary we'd found. I smiled though, being able to hear my kids again. They were watching a cartoon that was asking them questions, diligently responding where they were supposed to.

Teren dressed in some lounge pants and came up to snuggle beside me on the bed. Throwing a leg and arm over me, he sighed contently. I kissed his head as I lightly stroked his back with my fingernails. His lips barely moving, he said, "We'll have to send Gabriel something as a thank you."

Smiling, I laid my cheek on his head. "I doubt there's anything he wants." Frowning, I considered how untrue that sentence was. I knew exactly what he'd love to have - full access to my kids.

Maybe feeling my body posture change, Teren lifted his head. His pale eyes searching mine, he shook his head. "He knows we won't ever let him test them. He wouldn't even ask."

Sighing, I nodded. "He stills studies them though. You notice how he watches them?"

Teren looked down. "Yeah, I've noticed." His eyes came back up to me. "But he's only observing, and mainly from a distance. It won't go any further...ever."

His lips firmed in a line, the factualness of his statement apparent in his features. No, Teren would never let Gabriel do anything other than watch. And really, he only got away with that because we couldn't do anything to stop it. But they were children, not experiments, and neither one of us were going to let him treat them as such.

Pushing my concerns to the back of my head, I ran my fingers through the hair over his ear. "Speaking of Gabriel, how has he been doing with the multiple conversions?"

He smiled softly. "Good, he tells me they all made it safely through." Teren didn't specify what they'd eaten to make it through. I didn't ask either.

Stroking the stubble of his jaw with my thumb, I frowned. "Who do you think the vampire was who trashed Gabriel's lab? Why would he do that?"

Teren sighed, propping himself up on his elbow. "Gabriel won't really talk about the vampire who stole from him." He shrugged. "He just keeps saying it's a family matter. Even Great-Gran doesn't know a whole lot." He sat up, slinging his arms around his legs. "From what I've gathered, his name is Malcolm. He was apparently Gabriel's assistant, ages ago, when he'd first started developing the shots. After awhile, he took off on Gabriel, and he hasn't seen him since."

I sat up too, looping my arm through his. "Oh...and now that Gabriel knows what he did, he's tracking him?"

Teren nodded, his face a little grim. "Yeah, and they're getting close. I have a feeling that it won't be pleasant when Gabriel does find him." Sighing, he cupped my cheek. "But, that's Gabriel's problem, Gabriel's decision, not ours." He smiled slightly. "Our family has nothing to do with...any of that."

I sighed and leaned into his side. From downstairs, I heard the kids' show end. Thinking I should go down and make them something more substantial to eat than crackers, and maybe warm up something for Teren and me, I heard Nika say, "Press the button, Julie."

Giggling, I listened to the two of them rustling around with something. Then I heard channels being flipped on the television. Laughing softly as my kids tried to find something else to watch, I felt Teren pat my thigh.

"Ready to exit our love nest?" he asked playfully.

Looking up at him, I shook my head. "Not really...but alright." While flipping TV stations echoed through the background, Teren hopped off the bed, then pulled me to my feet. I stumbled a little as he pulled me all the way into his body, wrapping my arms around him. Tilting my head, I held his own arms behind his back. "Hungry?"

Nodding, his fangs slid out. He immediately brought them to my neck, like he was going to bite me right then and there. Letting him go, I smacked his chest and pushed him away from me. "Uh-uh." Smirking, I playfully said, "No vampiric candy before dinner."

He rolled his eyes at me as he grabbed my hand and led me to the open door. "You're no fun," he mumbled.

Laughing, I kissed his shoulder. "I just said no candy before dinner. I didn't say anything about afterwards."

Smiling adorably, he looked back at me as we entered the hallway. The television stopped downstairs as our kids found something on it that held their attention. As Teren shook his head at me, I heard Nika exclaim, "Ooh, pretty."

Cocking my head, I listened to what had enraptured them. Oddly enough, it sounded like the news. Shaking my head that my kids would find the news fun, I hoped whatever they were reporting on was innocent, a piece on adopting puppies or something. Shoving Teren so he'd move faster, I tuned into what the reporter was saying.

" sweeping over the hills has many Los Angeles residents fearing that they may have to evacuate..."

Teren looked back at me before blurring downstairs. I was right behind him. I didn't need our kids terrified over the fires that seemed to spread over the countryside yearly. The one going on that they were talking about had been blazing for awhile now, and showed no signs of stopping.

A pace ahead of me, he had the remote in hand just as the reporter said, "...the body was found among the debris and is believed to have been out hiking when they unfortunately got caught up in the disaster. Burned beyond recognition, dental records have confirmed the identity as..."

The television flashed a picture and I gasped, my hands flying to my face.

"No..." Teren muttered, dropping the remote. Staggering, he looked like he was going to sink right to the floor. His wide eyes swung to me just as the photograph of the person who had perished in the flames was identified.

"...thirty-one year old Carrie Davids. Hailing from a small town in northeast Maine, friends and coworkers have confirmed to us that Miss Davids made an impromptu decision to fly out to California back in April. Not leaving anyone with a clear idea of when she' be back, it would seem that Miss Davids had set across the Country to discover herself. A journey of self discovery that ultimately led to her tragic demise..."

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