Title: Blood Feud (10 of 10) Author: Lindyrb Rating: PG-13 Pairing: Mick/Beth Spoilers: NoneDisclaimer: CBS owns Moonlight. They've got all the neat stuff (like Alex's phone number...)

Okay…finally! The last chapter and epilogue of this story. Thanks to all of you for your patience and feedback (my muse greatly appreciates being fed!).

From last chapter:

Coraline stared coldly at Beth, seated at Josef's right. "You're going to allow a human to sit in on our strategy sessions?"

"Beth is a member of our community. She's welcome here. If that's a problem," he said mildly to the dark haired woman, "I'd be glad to have one of my drivers escort you back to your hotel for the night."

Coraline growled and sank back into her seat, clearly unhappy with Beth's elevated status within the vampire hierarchy.

Josef smiled to himself. Time for some fun!

"Sorry I was indisposed earlier. Anything interesting happen while I was out?"

Part 10

Mick sped through the night along Verdugo Avenue towards the Red Cross Blood Bank DuPre had named as the next target. With him were three of Josef's security detail. In the back of the Benz were two large Swedes named Sven and Thor – Mick wasn't quite sure which was which. Beside him, riding shotgun, was Connor, a former Navy SEAL that he'd worked with before on cases for Josef. Turned just a few years after Mick, he had an irreverent sense of humor that Mick appreciated.

Connor looked down at his feet and leaned over, picking up a paper tray and wrapper from the floor. "Fast food?"

Mick glanced over and shrugged. "Beth's dinner a couple nights ago – she likes Pink's Hot Dogs."

Connor looked at the receipt. "M.S., no SK?"

Mick grinned. "The Martha Stewart dog, hold the sauerkraut."

Connor chuckled and dropped the wrappers in the trash bag. "Man, I gotta hand it to you. High-rise pad, classic wheels, and a gorgeous blonde human conveniently at your beck and call."

A quick laugh exploded from Mick. "You obviously don't know Beth. She's at nobody's 'beck and call'. And believe me, there's never been anything convenient about our relationship." Still smiling, he turned the Benz down a side street and stopped under a broken streetlight next to a vacant building.

The four vampires climbed out and waited while Mick popped open the trunk. Without a word, the four quickly donned Kevlar vests and armed themselves with semi-automatic weapons equipped with silencers and a variety of bladed weapons. Finally, each man included a powerful taser into their arsenal. Mick also slung a scabbard across his back and slid his personal machete smoothly into it. He had already placed the Cleaner on notice and knew she and her team were waiting somewhere close by.

Moments later, the vamps easily vaulted over the security fence at the back of the property, silently landing in the deeply shadowed parking area. As with most blood facilities in the area, they had advance intel giving them the layout of the property and the facility itself. The four had already devised a plan of attack, and at a sign from Mick, the group divided up, with the two Swedes disappearing to the right where they would access the building through windows conveniently hidden from the street.

Mick and Connor crept to the back of the structure and with a glance at each other, effortlessly leapt to the roof of the two-story building, landing soundlessly in a crouch. With feline grace, the PI and the SEAL moved to the roof access door and within seconds had disabled both the locked door and the security system. Entering, they found themselves inside a maintenance closet and quickly crept into the darkened hallway adjacent.

In an instant, the two men had scanned the area. With their heightened visual acuity, they confirmed they were alone in the hallway, but a quick whiff told Mick there were humans somewhere in the facility. Suddenly, their super-hearing registered a shuffling sound at the bottom of the stairs in front of them.

Mick smiled grimly. Game's on!

Josef casually leaned back in his chair and looked at the delegates gathered around the table. He had met all of them at various Council events through the years and had never had any problems with any of them, save DuPre.

Ah, DuPre. Josef let his gaze land on the haughty vampire at the far end of the table. Looking at the woman at DuPre's side, he raised his eyebrows in mock surprise. "Coraline! Well, this is a surprise. I could swear I declared you persona non grata months ago. Yet….here you are."

"I'm just here to support my husband," Coraline said demurely. "I'm not here to cause any trouble."

At his side, Josef felt Beth tense and he was sure that if she could have growled, she would have. 'Easy, Beth,' Josef thought, smiling to himself.

"Of course not," Josef replied lightly to the dark haired vampire. "Oh, and congratulations to the two of you on your recent marriage," he said brightly to the two at the end of the table. "If I'd known, I would have given you a matching set of something."

"Thank you," DuPre replied through gritted teeth. "I must say, Josef, I'm…surprised to see you trying to deal with this stressful of a situation in your condition."

"I'm fine, thanks for asking," quipped Josef. "And St. John told me how you offered to 'help'." He held DuPre's eyes, coldly relaying his message. "However, I think my team has a handle on things now."

DuPre leaned back in his chair, never breaking eyes with Josef, and spoke to ensure his comments were heard by the Council members on the phone. "Your 'team' has consistently failed to handle the situation. Obviously, your informants aren't reliable, your intelligence analysts are naive, and your muscle, including St. John, are inept bumblers who can't even handle a couple of human oafs."

"And yet the vampire death rate, the rate of Cleaner use per vampire capita, the number of required disciplinary actions in this region are less than a third of those rates in the New Orleans region," observed Josef.

A muscle twitch in DuPre's jaw was the only reaction that escaped his control. "Perhaps it is because of this lack of challenge that your leadership has become lax and ineffective."

"Or perhaps the Los Angeles community has fewer issues because they have no need to rebel against a totalitarian wanna-be dictator," Josef shot back.

"I may use a firmer hand in my region, but the result is a community that has both integrated modern improvements while maintaining traditional ways without the…degradation of values that occurs when we mix too closely with humans," he said archly, refusing to look at where Beth sat glaring at him. "The result is a intelligence network far superior to that of any other region's. My informants know there is a penalty for false leads or information." He shrugged and gave Josef a cold smile. "I have no doubt your pet PI and your lackies will confirm I was right about the location of tonight's attack. Of course, that assumes that they won't botch the job this evening."

"Since you brought the topic up, DuPre, since when does a Regional Leader develop informants within another leader's region?" Josef's eyes flashed as he leaned forward. "It makes a person feel as though the other leader might have some hidden agenda."

"Gentlemen," came Alexander's firm command over the speaker, "this discussion can wait until after we have resolved the current situation in Los Angeles." He continued, shutting down DuPre's attempted argument. "This Council placed Josef Konstantin in the role of Regional Leader and we continue to have full confidence in his ability to lead his area."

Josef relaxed back into his chair with a smile as DuPre angrily sank back into his. "I thank the Council," Josef said smoothly. "Now, let's review what we know…

Mick and Connor moved quickly to flank the staircase, weapons at the ready. Connor signaled that he would take point, and Mick nodded, shifting to cover Conner as he moved downwards. Between his vampire skills and his training as a SEAL, Conner moved with the grace and stealth of a panther. In an instant, he had reached the landing below and scanned the area. He signaled Mick with an 'all clear' and a moment later was joined by the PI. Together, the men crept down the hall towards where they heard the beat of multiple human hearts. They knew the other two vampires would be approaching from the other side and, if things went according to plan, they would trap the expected two to three attackers between them.

Of course, you know what they say about best laid plans.

As they got closer to where their prey was, Mick and Connor looked at each other grimly. Six heartbeats.So much for that part of the plan. Still, four vamps should have the advantage due to their superior speed and senses. A quick glance at his watch told Mick they had about 45 seconds left until their predetermined time to attack.

Suddenly, all hell broke loose. Without warning, a metal canister was lobbed around the corner towards them. Mick and Connor moved at vamp speed, taking cover behind a half wall to their right just as the canister exploded with a bright flash and a deafening concussion

A stun grenade. Fortunately the effects had been dampened by the barrier they were behind. Mick shook his head to clear his vision as he vamped out and defensively brought his weapon up and flipped off the safety. The bad guys were upping the ante – this was the first time they'd used explosive ordinance – and Mick said a quick thanks that he'd refused to let Beth join them tonight. In the distance, they heard another commotion as the attackers engaged the other two vamps, and as Mick and Conner rounded their barrier, they found themselves facing three armed attackers.

Beth took a final bite of the lasagna on her plate then grabbed a cold bottle of water as she stood up from the table in Josef's dining room. The delegates had taken a half hour 'dinner' break during which she had grabbed a quick bite from the freshies' buffet. As she slipped back into the conference room she saw that all the delegates were back in their seats except Josef. At the far end of the table, DuPre and Coraline continued to 'hold court', regaling all those who would listen about the changes needed.

She turned to see Josef stride into the room, pushing the doors closed behind him. With a tight smile, he took his seat at the head of the table and motioned for everyone to be seated. "Let's get started again, shall we? Is the Council present as well?" Getting confirmation from the phone speakers, he pressed a couple buttons on a remote, and a map of the United States was projected on the wall screen.

Highlighted in yellow was the city of Atlanta. "While we were taking our break, my head of technology gave me some very interesting news." He smiled brightly at DuPre. "My tech guys make yours look like a bunch of grandmas."

"You see, they've been able to trace both the cells phones the attackers used. We knew they'd been bought in Atlanta, but my guys managed to triangulate exactly where they were purchased and get the security tape footage." Josef pushed another button, and two grainy images appeared on the screen. He turned to look at DuPre. "It turns out both were purchased by the same individual….isn't that one of your personal assistants, DuPre?"

The heads of all the delegates snapped to look at DuPre who continued to glare at Josef with undisguised hatred. "It could be. It's hard to tell with such low quality photos. And since we live in Atlanta, I would imagine my people frequent many of the stores in the area."

"Well, let me confirm for you, it's one of your key assistants, an Anton Bouret." Josef pressed the remote again and a series of surveillance photos followed Bouret as he left the store and approached a waiting vehicle. The next photos showed him passing the newly purchased cell phone to an individual clearly visable in the passenger seat of the car. "In each case, Bouret immediately handed off the phones to relatives of our favorite psycho, Peter Trent."

As the delegates launched questions at DuPre and each other, Josef leaned over and surreptitiously slipped something into Beth's hand. Looking down, she saw he had palmed her a small revolver no larger than a credit card. Snapping her eyes up to his, she saw caution in his gaze. "Stay close, Beth," he murmured. "And if this explodes, get to the freshies' safe room and lock yourself in."

Beth subtly nodded and watched Josef as he turned back to the chaos in front of him and motioned for quiet. Pressing the remote yet again, he gestured to the US map which now was criss-crossed with colored lines.

The slide was titled "Courier Routes – 2008" and had different colored lines linking the major cities. A yellow line connected Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and ended in Richmond, VA. A red line shot west from Philadelphia towards Chicago and Minneapolis while a blue line started where the yellow line ended in Richmond and continued to Charleston, Atlanta, New Orleans and Dallas. Finally, a green line linked Dallas with Denver, Phoenix, and Los Angeles, then shot north through San Francisco to Seattle. Mick had explained to Beth once that there was a regular courier service, providing confidential transportation of messages, valuables and passengers, both vamp and even some humans.

"Here's where it gets really interesting," quipped Josef. "Both of those individuals were getting rides with our courier service. Trent's cousin, Johnny Thompson came out of the Boston area. In fact, he picked up a package from your Uncle Malachi while in NYC and rode with the courier down to Charleston and on to Atlanta. Two days later, another cousin caught a ride from Richmond, also headed for Atlanta. In both cases, our little 'caravan of kooks' continued on to New Orleans. In fact, every one of the individuals tied to the attacks so far can be placed in the New Orleans area within the last couple of months. In fact, the security tapes from your compound show them in your private office."

A tense silence vibrated through the room and through the phone link to the Council members in New York.

DuPre slowly rose to his feet, his eyes shimmering with a silver tint. "What are you insinuating, Konstintin?"

Josef remained seated, looking relaxed to those who were unfamiliar with him. Beth, however, could tell he was primed to release his inner vamp at a moment's notice.

"I'm not insinuating anything, DuPre. I'm just sharing what my 'insignificant, bumbling network has discovered," Josef responded.

Suddenly, the doors to the conference room burst open. Mick and Connor strode in, dragging a semi-conscious form between them which they unceremoniously dumped on the floor, scattering delegates as they scrambled out of the way.

Beth leapt to her feet, her eyes quickly checking her fiancé for injuries and seeing none, released the breath she'd been holding. She couldn't help admiring him as he stood there all in black, sweaty, in a Kevlar vest, a bandana around his head. She caught his eyes as he glanced over to check on her and gave him a quick smile. Mick winked at Beth then looked to where Josef sat with a humorous look on his face.

"We brought you a little something, Josef," Mick grinned.

"So I can see," Josef said, observing the now moaning lump on the floor. "Just one?"

The smile slid from Mick's face. "The Cleaner's busy tonight, Josef. We lost Thor. And we had no choice – we had to eliminate five of them.

Josef blinked. "There were six of them?"

"Yeah," nodded Connor. "Armed with silver hollow point bullets in semi-automatics, silver bladed machetes and stun grenades."

Murmurs of amazement came from the delegates who suddenly fell silent as the form on the floor moaned and rolled over. Mick strode forward and grabbed the man's collar and sat him up against the wall.

"This guy says he was following the directions of The Old One." Out of the corner of his eye, Mick observed a movement and quickly moved to block the individual from slipping out of the room.

"Leaving, DuPre? Surely you don't want to miss the good parts." Mick stepped close to the elder vamp and quietly added, "Oh…but when you do leave? Don't forget to take your new bride."

Suddenly, the captured attacker staggered to his feet, leaning heavily on the wall and hobbled towards where Mick and DuPre stood. Reaching out towards DuPre, the man whimpered, "Oh, Old One! I have failed you!"

Mick gaped at DuPre in disbelief. "You're…"

"Oh my God," murmured Beth as gasps rippled around the room and across the phone lines.

"Don't be ridiculous," snapped DuPre, pulling his arm away from where Mick had grabbed him. "This human imbecile is obviously mentally disturbed. I have no idea what he is talking about."

The man shrank away as Connor moved towards where he stood. Moving quickly, Beth darted around the others to stand in front of the man. Touching his arm gently, she smiled at him. "Why do you call this man The Old One?"

The injured man peered into Beth's face and seemed to decide that she was not going to harm him. "Because he is The Old One. My cousins and I learned from him at his secret temple in New Orleans."

"His secret temple?" encouraged Beth. "What did The Old One teach you?"

"He taught us about our sacred calling. You see," he leaned forward, confiding in the woman before him, "he is actually John the Baptist, here to cleanse the evil from the world to prepare us for the rising of Christ. Those of us who are faithful warriors in his army will be baptized in blood by The Old One and shall be the first of Christ's new disciples."

"He's obviously deranged," railed DuPre. "Certainly you can't believe this drivel. He's either mental or is part of some scheme to discredit me. Either way, I've never seen this man before."

The man shook his head and stepped towards DuPre. "But Old One! You must remember me! I'm one of your faithful! I saw you there at the temple," he pleaded, then turned and motioned towards where Coraline stood against one wall. "You and Mary Magdelene!"

"Oh, this is getting better and better," smirked Josef as he leaned back against the edge of the table. Turning to his employee, Josef directed "Connor, why don't you escort our Holy Terror here to a holding cell. See that he gets medical attention as well."

With a nod, Connor moved forward and grabbed the attacker's arm and propelled him out of the room, pulling the door closed behind them.

Josef broke the resulting silence, clasping his hands and settling back into his chair. "Well, DuPre, I've got to give you points for originality. This is one scam I haven't seen before. John the Baptist. Oh," he said, grinning at where Coraline stood looking uncomfortable, "and let's not forget Mary Magdelene."

"Let me get this straight," Mick said, his fury backing DuPre away from the exit. "You planned this whole thing…the attacks, the vampire hunters. You actually took a chance of exposing our world! Why the hell would you do that?"

"A question I believe we would all like to have answered," came Alexander's obviously angry voice through the speakers.

DuPre drew himself up and pushed against Mick who continued to block him in the corner. Unable to dislodge the furious PI, DuPre motioned to be allowed to address the delegates, and Mick shifted to allow the elder vamp to face the group.

DuPre looked around the room with a disdainful curl to his lip. "How soft and timid you all have become. You tremble before mere humans, worry about what they say and think. As though their opinions should matter to us!" He stepped forward and slammed his fist down on the table.

"We are the dominant species on this planet! Given our superior physique and intellect, it is our right to take our place over the lesser beings around us. Our key chosen ones will manipulate their body's chemistry to position themselves in every major human government and military around the world. But while they make this sacrifice, those of us who are of royal descent must keep ourselves elevated and pure," he said, sneering as he looked from Mick to where Beth sat next to Josef, "avoiding the dilution of our noble bloodlines. We are superior! And those of us who have courage and vision must take command of our people and lead them to the power that has been so long denied us."

A deafening silence blanketed the room. Stunned, those in the room stared at the defiant vampire, struggling to grasp the fact that the crisis facing their nation had been launched from within. Proof that the most dangerous terrorist is often the one that hides in plain view.

Something DuPre had said was gnawing at Mick. Slowly, the pieces came together and Mick pushed away from the wall and moved slowly towards where DuPre stood.

"It all makes more sense now," Mick said in amazement. "Your plans about 'manipulating the body's chemistry'. Your attacks on the clinics, where I'm betting your 'warriors' safely removed every pint of AO Negative blood before trashing the rest. Using it for Coraline's research on the 'cure' to enhance it so your 'chosen ones' would be able to pass – able to infiltrate human society at every level, withstand any level of scrutiny, any medical exams." He looked from DuPre to where Josef and Beth sat, a look of understanding dawning on their faces.

Josef raised an eyebrow. "Yes, Pinky, we're going to take over the world…"

Beth couldn't help the smile that tugged at the corner of her mouth. She glanced over at where Mick stood and realized that only Mick had been able to link all the pieces of the puzzles the vampire community had faced over the last couple years. Looking at the delegates, she saw the respect in their eyes as they looked at the young vamp.

Mick frowned as he turned to look across the room to where Coraline stood, trying to fade into the background. "But one thing I don't understand," he puzzled, catching her gaze. "Why, Coraline? You've never been into that kind of power. Why would you sell out your family, use the compound for such a….warped purpose?"

"Because if she helped DuPre pull off his little coup, he'd eventually control not only the human power structure, but the Council as well", reasoned Josef. "I'm sure he told her he'd reward her well. Give her what she wanted most." Josef cocked his head and looked at his best friend. "He promised her you, Mick."

Mick felt a tight knot twisting inside as anger flushed through him. The thought of being treated like a commodity…of being bartered for services rendered...Mick suddenly felt ill. A gentle hand on his arm, though, drained the tension from him as a warm body leaned against his back.

Instinctively, his arms went around his rescuer. Nuzzling her hair, he forgot about the others in the room and held Beth tightly, listening as she murmured soothing words against his cheek. Finally calm, he released her but kept hold of her hand, brushing a kiss against her forehead then turned so they both faced Coraline.

Before he could say anything, though, Alexander's commanding voice filled the room. "Vincent DuPre, you are hereby stripped of your position as Regional Leader and will be escorted immediately by the delegates of the Committee to Council Headquarters where you will be incarcerated until you stand trial for crimes against the Vampire Nation. One week from today, you will be judged by an international committee of Council Leaders who will determine your guilt or innocence and any punishment they deem appropriate."

"Coraline DuPre", he continued, "you are also to be escorted to Council Headquarters for questioning and possible charges. Also remanded into custody will be those of our people identified by film, photos or testimony as part of this matter. This will include Council Member Malachi, who is already being escorted to a confinement facility."

Alexander's voice changed, becoming less hardened. "To Regional Leader Josef Konstintin and to Michael St. John, the Council extends our deepest thanks. Konstintin, your intelligent and discreet handling of this matter reaffirms the wisdom of our choice of leadership in the Los Angeles Region. In addition, we are most impressed with St. John's ability to step into the Leader position in a time of crisis. The effectiveness of his unique and somewhat unconventional style will bear further discussion. Ultimately, we feel assured that Konstintin has a strong second available to him."

"Thank you," both vampires responded.

Within half an hour, the delegates had made arrangements to escort DuPre and Coraline as well as the captured attacker to the private airplane waiting their departure, and Josef's mansion began to empty. Beth had wisely decided not to ask what fate awaited either the accused vamps or DuPre's follower.

The Canadian delegate stopped to speak with Josef and Mick as his entourage prepared to leave. He chuckled, "I must say, I've rarely had such an enjoyable few days! It was like watching a cross between Desperate Housewives and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Next time you decide to take on a megalomaniac and his henchmen, let me know." Still laughing, he made his way to the waiting sedan. Soon, peace and quiet replaced the insanity of the last two days.

Closing the door behind the last delegate, Mick walked back to the living room and collapsed on the sofa next to where Beth was curled up, leaning on a pillow. With a smile, she shifted to cuddle up to Mick who instinctively wrapped his arm around her.

Josef wandered in from his techie area and relaxed into a comfortable chair opposite the couple. "Well, Ryder and his team are thrilled. I gave each of them three months salary as a bonus for their work 'above and beyond'." He smiled wryly. "It may have cost me a bundle, but I wasn't lying in there…my techies kick ass."

"The Council seemed pleased with the way you two wrapped things up," Beth commented.

Josef shook his head slowly. "You have no idea – neither of you do – of how rare that approval is. In my nearly 400 years as a vamp, I can count on one hand the number of times I've heard the Council actually thank someone publically like that."

"Yeah," grinned Mick, stretching his legs out in front of him, "I think the Council pretty well shot down any takeover plans anybody might have. You're firmly in charge, Josef, Armani suits, Ferrari and all."

"Hey, don't diss the suits, man!"

Beth giggled as the two friends continued to bicker. "Well at least they left me out of it."

"Not exactly, Blondie," huffed Josef. "You're what they meant by Mick's 'unique and unconventional style'. But the fact that they decided your relationship is worth watching is pretty 'unique and unconventional' itself."

"Just the same, I'm glad this whole things over," Mick yawned, stretching as he stood up. Reaching down, he pulled Beth up and the two began gathering up their things. "No offense, Josef, but I want to get out of here and take my fiancée home."

"No offense taken," Josef shrugged. "I arranged with some of the Council members to have a believable message recorded saying the Vampire Hunters have realized their errors and are now concentrating on hunting down the gnome and leprechaun communities." He grinned at Beth and chuckled. "I'll have the tape delivered to you by tomorrow afternoon. Once you air that, it should effectively close out the police investigations here and guarantee DuPre's followers are declared certifiable nut-jobs."

Beth burst into laughter. "Leprechauns? Yeah, that ought to do it."

Mick chuckled and took her hand. "Never underestimate Josef Konstintin."

"You've got that right, my friend," smiled Josef, as one of his freshies sauntered into the room. "Ah! Breakfast!"


Beth sat in the middle of the living room floor, her planner in front of her and surrounded by piles of papers, books and two laptops. She looked up as the door opened and Mick entered, arms full of grocery bags. Kicking the door closed behind him he grinned at the picture before him.

"Weren't you in exactly that same position when I left for the store an hour ago?"

Beth huffed in exasperation. "Mick, we're getting married in less than a month and there are so many details that still need to be done. And you're no help."

Mick shrugged, "I tried. You just didn't like my results."

"I asked you to help pick the alcohol for the toast and you suggested 'a dark ale'. Ale? Who has ale for the toast at a reception?" Beth waved her arms in frustration. "And when I sent you and Josef to get fitted for your tuxes, you changed the reserved suits. Yours was suddenly all black- shirt, long duster, no cumberbund- and Josef suddenly decided to wear an Armani tux in aubergine! If I hadn't double checked, you two would have actually gone through with it, too, wouldn't you!"

Mick set down the groceries on the counter and wandered over to where Beth sat in the midst of her chaos. Reaching down, he drew her up into his arms and gave her a gentle kiss on the forehead.

"I'm sorry, Sweetheart, I really don't mean to cause you more headaches," murmured Mick. "It's just that all that really matters to me is that we end up married. Legally. Finally!"

In the three months since the blood bank attacks had ended, Mick and Beth had relaxed back into their regular routine. Mick's business was booming and he could barely handle the workload. He'd even hired one of Josef's retired freshies as an administrative assistant to handle the phones and paperwork during the day. Following her highly popular coverage and final exclusive 'scoop' wrapping up the Vampire Hunter Attacks, Beth had been promoted to Senior Reporter at Buzzwire and had even had her reports picked up by the networks. As a result, her career was in high gear as well.

Fortunately, Beth's mother was more than willing to handle many of the details and had been down to visit twice since the attacks. She'd shown up the first time just days afterwards, wanting to see for herself that Josef was alright. She'd fussed, Josef had complained. Mick and Beth had done their best not to burst into laughter watching the odd couple of friends.

Beth reached up and pulled Mick down for a deep kiss. "Mmmm…legally and finally. I like the sound of that. But my mother would be devastated if we didn't have the wedding. She's looking forward to it as much as I am. Maybe more."

"Yeah," Mick grinned, nibbling on her ear and running his hands down her sides. "We want to be sure everybody's as happy as possible."

"Oh, I definitely agree," Beth purred, licking Mick's neck and raking her nails down his chest, causing him to moan with desire.

As he swept her into his arms and headed towards the stairs, Beth glanced into the kitchen. "What about the groceries?"

"They'll keep," he growled, his eyes frosting over. "Right now, I've got exactly what I want a bite of…"

THE END…..for now