“I hope so.” I pulled my sweatshirt tighter to me, even though I wasn’t cold anymore. “Is Peter back?”

“Not yet. But he will be soon.”

“Jack said that I’m meant for Peter. What does that mean?” I looked over at Ezra, and half-expected him to give me the same run around as everyone else.

“Mythology has set us up to be extreme loners, but at our core, emotionally, we’re very human. We desire companionship, but ours has to be more selective.” As he spoke, he kept one hand on the wheel, while the other one bobbed a silver ring over his fingers. “Our blood is almost magnetized to our – for a lack of a better word – soul mates. We feel it intrinsically when we find each other.”

“Is Mae your soul mate?” I asked quietly.

“She is.” His eyes had that faraway look again, and the corners of his mouth curled up ever so slightly. “I lived 255 years before her, but now, I couldn’t imagine existing a single day without her. I even ‘dated’ before I met her, but it was impossible to make lasting relationships. That was part of the reason that I turned Peter. I was desperately lonely, and he traveled around with me for awhile. But then he met his mate.”

“Wait,” I interrupted. “I thought I was Peter’s ‘mate.’”

“I told you this was new for all of us,” Ezra looked over at me. “Peter met a vampire named Elise, and they were together for only a brief time. Maybe ten or twenty years. He knows it to the exact day, but he never speaks of it.”

“What happened?” I glanced out the window, and I realized we weren’t taking the normal route to his house. In fact, if my guess was right, he wasn’t taking me anywhere near their place. “Where are we going?”

“I thought it would be better if the two of us had some time to talk before we went back.” Ezra must have read the confusion on my face because he continued. “Some of this would be better if Jack didn’t hear.”

“Oh,” I said. Jack had mentioned that they didn’t like to tell him anything, and he wasn’t kidding. “So what happened with Peter?”

“Elise was killed.” Ezra heard my sharp intake of breath and smiled humorlessly. “Fighting broke out amongst vampires, arguing over who had control over a certain area. Vampires are notoriously territorial and possessive, but then again, so are humans, and in most ways, we are just heightened versions of yourselves.”

“So you’re saying that another vampire killed Elise?” My eyes were wide, and he nodded.

“It nearly destroyed Peter. He went into a very dark period for awhile.” A troubled expression went on Ezra’s face, and I didn’t want to know what Peter had been through or what he had done.

“He’s fought in every major war since WWI, up until this last excursion in the Middle East,” Ezra continued. “He had blood lust or a death wish, or some combination of that, for a very long time, but he’s mostly come out of it now. He’s not the same man he once was, though.”

“It must’ve been terrible for him,” I said. I had spent hardly any time with him, but it would be agony for me if anything happened to him.

“It was,” Ezra agreed solemnly. “But he had moved on, as best he could. After Elise died, he assumed that that part of his life was over. We all had. But then you came along.”

“How did you know I was meant for Peter?” I asked. “Jack stumbled upon me long before I met Peter.”

“We didn’t, not at first, although Mae suspected immediately.” With that, Ezra gave a small shrug. “None of it really made sense.”

“What do you mean?” I crinkled my forehead, trying to understand.

“For starters, you’re human.” Ezra gave me an even look, and I shook my head. “We’re never intended for humans. Both Peter and Elise were vampires when they met, and so was Mae when I met her. We’re not callous, exactly, but we just don’t feel attachments to humans the way we do to other vampires.

“When Jack came home and said he’d met you, we couldn’t figure it out,” Ezra went on. “He connected with you instantly, but he didn’t feel that… physical need, the way we do.”

I nodded, knowing exactly what he’d meant. I felt it the instant I saw Peter, and it only got more intense with time.

“But the connection was something we all understood,” Ezra explained. “Because Peter is of my blood, I felt connected with Elise, and both Peter and Jack feel connected with Mae.”

“Do you feel connected with me?” I thought that I felt connected with him, but it was hard to tell what was a real connection and not just falling under the spell of his perfection.

“Yes.” Ezra smiled warmly at me, and I flushed. “I feel more connected to you than I have with any human since I’ve been a vampire.”

“Jack said my safety was top priority for you,” I mumbled dazedly. It was insanely flattering and intimidating knowing that I had fallen into Ezra’s favor.

“He wasn’t exaggerating,” Ezra grinned wider. “You are in a very unique position.”

“Is that what the issue is about biting me?” I asked.

“Yes and no.” Ezra tilted his head. “Remember when I said that we were possessive and territorial? As soon as Peter met you, you were his. He felt it inside him, the way you do.