Authors: Ann Cory
Tags: #Erotic Paranormal Romance
By Ann Cory
Resplendence Publishing, LLC
Resplendence Publishing, LLC
Copyright © 2009, Ann Cory
Edited by Tiffany Mason
Cover art by Rika Singh
Electronic format ISBN: 978-1-60735-071-2
Warning: All rights reserved. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain,
by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Electronic release: October 2009
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and occurrences are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places or occurrences, is purely coincidental.
For those who like a little added bite to their vampire romance.
Table of Contents
smoothed her hand along the sleek banister as she climbed the stairs. The hem of her nightgown trailed along the crimson velvet carpet that had lost its plush feel over time. Much of the wallpaper and fixtures around the manor showed heavy wear. In many ways, it reflected the way she viewed herself.
She’d inherited the property from her parents after they had passed away. The gesture came as a surprise, considering their lack of communication since she’d left home. And the fact she never came back to visit. Not that she wanted to be perceived as a bad daughter or ungrateful for all they’d done for her while growing up, but once she’d left, she’d promised never to return.
And here she was—another broken promise in a long line of them.
The first day she’d stepped through the doors, guilt consumed her. Her mother’s perfume scented the air, as did her father’s pipe tobacco. Old feelings from her childhood resurfaced. She should’ve visited instead of punishing them. Looking back, she knew they had only moved there to offer her a better education and a safe place to grow up. But the cruelty she experienced on her first day of school shattered any and all hopes of fitting in. Her classmates had deemed her a freak. Shunned her for living in a haunted house where the previous owner hated children. Treated her as though she didn’t exist until graduation day, when she finally left to start over.
Sure, there’d been ghosts. Some even became her playmates.
Twelve years later, there were still ghosts, but none from her childhood.
The ambience of the house fit the bitter adult she’d become. It almost suffocated her. By the end of the first week, she thought the depression would consume her. And she’d probably have given into the darkness if it hadn’t been for Armand
, her vampire lovers who knew no boundaries when it came to pleasures of the body. They’d saved her from…well herself, really.
It was the evening before All Hallows Eve. The same night a year ago, they had appeared to her.
At first, she’d feared the vampires, afraid they would hurt her. But it didn’t take long before she looked forward to their visits. They made her laugh, and were gracious with compliments.
Made her feel loved and wanted, as if everything was going to be okay.
It was hard not to fall for their charms, or the way they catered to her every need.
Bastian had seduced her first, but later that same night, Armand had made his presence known. She’d awoken in a haze, happily wedged between two luscious hard bodies. It had been perfect.
Rare was the morning when she didn’t feel sated beyond all reason and comprehension. Soon the depression lifted and she looked forward to each day with a renewed spirit.
For almost a year, they’d become an important part of her life.
Spoiled her rotten.
Left her beautiful gowns once made for queens. Brought her breakfast in bed and often fed it to her. Drew hot baths. Read her stories. And best of all—pleasured her. Sometimes separately, but the most memorable of nights were when they were all together.
Bodies rocking, swaying, moving as one.
She didn’t ever want to come down from the rapturous highs they took her to with their hands, mouths and cocks.
But once again, a shadow of gloom hung over her. The vampires wanted a specific answer. An answer she didn’t want to give, an answer that would change her world—mortality and all.
Although sex with the dreamy vampires was phenomenal, her feelings for them went deeper. She genuinely cared for them both and couldn’t picture her life without one being a part of it. So when they told her she needed to choose which of them she would marry, it felt like a ton of bricks on her shoulders. She’d become used to their presence, their quirks and mannerisms, and the feeling of completeness that she’d never experienced before.
To not have
one by her side would be like day without night. She’d been so happy and never expected it would end.
had never wished for time to move slower.
Her thoughts remained jumbled as she ascended the steps. At the top of the stairs, she sighed and strolled toward her room, bypassing the other rooms along the way. Six rooms to be exact, not including the study—a room she avoided. The moment she’d entered the room, she feared being in there alone. A large eerie portrait of a man that hung on the far wall disturbed her. More than once, she removed it and stored it in the closet only to find the portrait put back the next day.
And not by her hands.
Since then she didn’t bother to go back in. It wasn’t worth the extra gray hairs.
She paused at her bedroom door and took a deep breath. Fatigue had set in early tonight, at least in her body. Her mind wouldn’t stop racing. It would feel good to lie down, though she didn’t expect to sleep. Not with such an important decision weighing heavy on her. She’d chosen the largest room at the end for the rich scarlet drapes of the large four-poster canopy bed, a place where she felt like a queen. They matched the scarlet curtains bordering the large picture windows that overlooked a stone courtyard with its many statues and a labyrinth of hedges. Hardly any flowers grew though, and those that did promptly died. Everything was a stone gray.
Much like her thoughts this evening.
opened the door and at once, a smile curved her lips. A warm and inviting fire blazed in the fireplace. Someone had read her mind, and she guessed it was Armand. He had a flair for the dramatics and paid particular attention to the smallest details.
She leaned against the bedpost and stared into the flames, watching them flicker and sway. On rainy nights, Armand would read her romantic overtures from books and poems. Sometimes he’d act out the part of the anguished lover who ravaged the unsuspecting woman. She enjoyed it and the role-playing. He promised to treat her like a queen if the one chosen. He promised to give her everything she could ever want. Bastian offered the same in his own modest way.
While Armand liked sex to be artistic and savored her body with his tongue, Bastian was all about powerful strokes with his cock and taking command. Together they offered the perfect blend of pain and pleasure.
often wondered what it would be like for them to drink her blood during the height of an orgasm. They never tried and she wondered if there was something wrong with her. Maybe someday she’d ask.
But for all the wonderful things they did, they didn’t always understand her. Being vampires, they had the luxury of knowing the future that lay in front of them, where she was clueless. They didn’t bother with regrets or agonize over the past of each day, trying to figure out ways to fix what they lacked control over. Though the thought of being immortal excited her, the thought of choosing which one she’d spend an eternity with didn’t.
If she could just have a sign.
A single glimpse into the future to show her which path to take.
She would have to come to a decision by the stroke of
tomorrow night, or they would both leave and never return. Once again, she’d be alone. The house would drive her mad, and she feared it would be her undoing.
sensed a presence and turned.
Armand stood tall in his five foot nine, half-naked glory. Dark hair hung down to an inch above his shoulders with a jagged part at the side. She loved to stare into his deep green eyes that smoldered when he climaxed. Somewhat slender, his body was an equal mix of sinewy muscle and smooth planes. He considered himself a student of Shakespeare and Keats.
Favored plays, poetry and fine literature.
He loved to be in love and to express love with words. Love was art in his opinion. Her gaze followed the muscles of his abs downward to where his skintight black pants outlined his noticeable erection.
His voice echoed deep and seductive.
Her pulse sped up. If she could purr, she would have. “Evening,” she replied.
His glance heated her body from the inside out. “I don’t suppose you’ve made your decision early?”
His self-serving question quickly tempered the blaze in her belly. It was the last thing she wanted to discuss.
“I’m afraid not.” Her clipped tone came out harsher than she’d planned. Still, she wanted him to know the decision caused her nothing but anguish.
Armand raised a brow. “It has been a year, my sweet.”
, a year,” she corrected. “It will be one year tomorrow. I still have time to choose.”
He sighed. “You know the life I can offer you.
Anything your heart desires.”
“Yes, and Bastian offers the same,” she countered.
He chuckled. “Bastian doesn’t come from the same bloodline as I.”
She knew Armand meant well, but sometimes his words came out downright arrogant. Bastian was every bit as handsome and debonair, but without the theatrics and conceit. At the same time, she knew Armand couldn’t help the way he was, and in the
she wouldn’t change anything about him.
“I don’t mean royalty and riches,” she explained. “Just that he offers an immortal life with all the perks, and then some. The same as you do.”
only have eyes for you,” the vampire asserted.