Dorian despised parties. He hated the young girls fighting for his attention and he hated the jealous men. But he could not serve his Clan if he wasn’t seen. He had to mingle with society if he was to draw the attention of the hunters away from his family.
Women smiled at him, fluttered their lashes, and even winked at him as he made his way through the room. Some were even bolder. They pressed against him and quickly whispered their names and addresses in his ear. It was the same everywhere he went. Even when he had been human, women would beg for him to take them to his bed.
Ever since it got out that Lady Tillman had paid him a strictly social visit, he was now the talk of the ton. He had been interested in renting one of her properties to stable his horses and, naturally, the bored, twisted minds of the aristocracy would have to distort it into an afternoon tryst. Whoever had spread the gossip must have completely forgotten that Lady Tillman had entered and departed his home in the presence of her full-grown nephew, who had taken over her financial affairs since the passing of her husband.
There was no possible way he could not deny that he had taken lovers within the last month but he preferred his own kind. Humans could be so fragile. His few tumbles had been with vampires and those very talented gypsy women.
Dorian shook hands with a few of the men and exchanged pleasant words with a few of the more respectable ladies before he dashed outside. He took in a deep breath of the fresh night air and spared a glance up at the moon. The sky was not as clear as it was back home and he found it irritating. The one thing that had ever given him peace was the brilliant shine of the moon.
“It isn't as clear as the country.”
“The sky. It is clearer in the country,” Victoria said as she stepped from the shadows of the trees.
The man turned to face her and she gasped as if she had been struck. He was tall, taller than any man she had ever seen, muscled and thick. Strands of deep brown hair fell across his angelic yet masculine face, her fingers twitched with the desire to brush them away from his magnificent eyes. Those fathoms of blue were like the sea after a tremendous storm, piercing, penetrating, and exotic. His jaw was straight and square, his lips thin and alluring. He was absolutely beautiful, in a dangerous, very masculine way.
“Yes.” Dorian’s delicious lips turned up in a smile.
His husky voice moved over her skin like a caress, her entire body was aflame as his smoldering gaze that roamed over her, leaving nothing untouched.
Dorian was swept away by this young woman's beauty. She looked like an ancient goddess. Her nearly black hair sat in tight ringlets atop her head. He could see every detail of her face in the moonlight. Her deep, green eyes framed with long, flirting lashes, her slim nose, perfectly molded cheekbones, and lush lips that would tempt any man. His eyes slowly moved down the length of her bare neck, over her slender shoulders, and paused for the briefest of moments on her full breasts then continued their journey across her waist and hips, all the way down to the hem of her gown.
Victoria shook her head trying to remember why it was she had come outside. She commanded herself to think and forced the thick, sensual haze from her mind. She turned her eyes back to the man and found that his had never once left her. The way he studied her was beginning to grow irksome and she had the sudden desire to slap that satisfied smirk off his face.
“I do believe you are staring, sir.”
“I am,” he said, his smile widening. And he wasn't finished. He looked her over once more, much to Victoria's aggravation. “Do you belong to anyone?” he asked.
“I don’t believe that is any of your business.”
“Ah, no one?” he said, his interest rising.
“That is not what I said.”
“And why is it that such a beautiful woman belongs to no one?”
“I'm not married or engaged,” she stated then snapped her mouth shut. She should not have given this seductive man that information. In his hands the knowledge could be dangerous.
“I concluded that, but surely your parents…”
Victoria tilted her chin up. “My parents have recently passed away.”
“I'm sorry,” he apologized, his smile gone.
“Why should you be? You didn't know them,” she stated, fighting the tears that threatened to fall. Now was not the time to cry, not in front of him, even if she had the desperate desire to feel his strong arms around her.
“The little kitten has claws,” Dorian said intrigued. “I like that.”
She laughed. It was a warm sound that made him want to kiss those rich lips of hers.
“You are trying to make me blush, but it won't work. I’ve dealt with men like you before.”
It was Dorian's turn to laugh now. She had never dealt with anyone like him. He was no ordinary man. He was a vampire king.
“Men like me, kitten?” he asked when he had finally gained control of his laughter.
“Yes,” she said with a nod, her irritation growing. He had laughed at her. Did he think she was a young naïve chit who knew nothing of men and their ways?
“You are the rakish type whose only talent is seducing innocent girls.”
“That is not my only talent. Although I must admit,” his smile turned devilish, “it is one of my favorites.” He took a step forward. “Tell me your name, sweetheart,” his voice was bewitching, smooth, and elegant.
Her name? Her name? Her mind was a whirlwind of sinful images, tender caresses, and feather light kisses. Her name? How could she have forgotten her name?
Dorian chuckled at her confusion. She looked so sweet, her emerald eyes glazed over with passion. Her lips parted and moist, and he took another step.
“Please, a name, my lady,” he begged, moving closer.
“My name?” she asked herself. “I–My–” She shook her head, clearing it of its sinful haze and announced, at long last, “Victoria Kingston.”
“Victoria,” he repeated with a nod. “A gorgeous name, it suits you well.” Another step, now they stood a breath apart. He could feel the heat from her body; her rapid heartbeat was music to his ears. This woman was a treat and it appeared that he would no longer need to amuse himself with gypsies and vampire whores. His policy was to not bed women who were members of fickle court life but he was more than willing to make an exception for this girl. She was a delicacy and everyone deserved a little indulgence once in a while.
Victoria backed away; she could not allow herself to be so close to him. He was a libertine and she could not afford to be seduced.
She cleared her throat and opened her mouth to speak, but before she could say a word, he announced, “I am Dorian Vlakhos.”
Her eyes flew wide. This was the man about whom Lady Wisten had warned her. This was the prince who had caused such a stir. Now she understood why the women were fawning over him. He was everything he was said to be, a devilishly handsome man with who had seduction on his mind and she was out on the terrace alone with the rake. He could ruin her. He could tarnish her good name. Panic began to flutter in her belly.
“Well, Your Royal Highness–”
“Call me Dorian.”
“Your Royal Highness–”
“It’s much less of a mouthful to say.”
“As you please,” he said with a shrug.
“Your Royal Highness,” she snapped. “I really must be getting back to the party. My friend is waiting.” She moved to step around him, but he caught her arm and pulled her back.
Victoria sighed in exasperation. “Prince Dorian, I have no desire to become another one of your conquests for this season.”
“I just want us to become better acquainted,” Dorian stated. “And we will,” he added with a raised brow.
“No,” she declared, yanking her arm back. “We won't.” She turned on her heel and stormed back into the house.
Dorian watched her with a smile on his face. He could not remember the last time he had smiled and this girl had him smiling like a fool. He fought the urge to go after her, pull her back outside, and into the shadows where he could make good his promise.
Victoria Kingston was going to be a tough skirt to catch, but he was not a man who backed down from such a challenge, especially not when the reward was so sweet.
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Sexy Snippets: Romancing the Darkside
“Are you all right?” a man asked from behind her.
She relaxed when she realized the voice sounded nothing like her attackers; it was warm, deep, and comforting.
Slowly turning toward the voice, relief flooded her body, her breathing began to slow, and her limbs went limp. She stumbled and prepared to meet the pavement again, but her rescuer caught her. He tenderly held her to him, supporting her. Kerstyn knew she ought to protest and shove him away, he was a stranger after all, but his touch was soothing and reassuring. She had never felt so safe and calm in her life.
Calm was the furthest thing from her savior’s mind.
Dimitri had heard the vampires’ thoughts as they followed the woman from Dark. He knew he had to protect her from the depraved creatures who intended to make a meal out of her. When he materialized in the alley, the weaker vampires caught his scent and fled, leaving him alone with the woman. Instead of feeling anger as he expected, an entirely different emotion settled over him.
Lust. It was no ordinary lust, but a heart racing, blood raging, sexual yearning and it turned his body into a blazing inferno of need. Then hunger like he had never known slammed into him. It gnawed at him relentlessly as it mixed with his unmerciful lust. The torturous combination attacked both his body and his mind. He had never wanted any woman with this kind of intensity.
His body had been dead for so long, no longer responding to sexual stimulus or blood-thirst. Thousands of years had passed since the last time he had fed. The desire and necessity for blood had abandoned him. None of that seemed to matter now. His fangs sprang free as his pants grew tighter about his throbbing shaft. This woman’s blood sang to him, beckoned him to have a taste.
Dimitri ruthlessly fought the temptation to seize her mind and take what he wanted. The dread of not being able to pull away terrified him. Realizing what precious little control he had, he shut down his senses, driving away her intoxicating scent and the warmth of her soft body against his. He forced the color from his sight, only seeing in black and white with shades of gray. Though he knew he would never forget the light fragrance of her strawberry blonde hair, the feel of her in his arms, and the sapphire color of her eyes.
He took in deep breaths and focused on the cool bite of the air. It washed over his body, rinsing away his desire leaving him as always, cold and unfeeling, like death. He was death: a true, pureblood vampire.
“What were you running from?” he asked, his tone controlled.
“I was being followed.”
He peered over her head, his eyes scanning the alley. “I see no one.”
Nausea twisted her insides as she thought of what almost happened. Thank God, this man was here. If it weren’t for him–
“Do not think about it,” he said, his arms tightening about her. “You are safe now.”
She nodded, rubbing her cheek against his chest. He smelled absolutely wonderful, like dark spices. His voice felt like velvet brushing along her skin. She shivered and sighed in contentment.
“Do you need help with anything?”
His last question snapped her back into action. She stepped back, breaking the circle of his arms.
“I need a taxi.”
“A simple enough task,” he said with a shrug.
She scoffed. If it were simple, she would have been half way home by now. She turned her head up intending to face him and a broad chest greeted her eyes. She was forced to take another step back in order to get a proper look at him.
He was huge. Thick. Stacked.
He must be close to seven feet, she thought as her eyes traveled up his torso, over his wide chest, to his face.
Her heart stopped when their eyes met. They were a near colorless shade of blue. Like diamonds. His gaze was sharp, hard, filled with wisdom and strength. Intense. Warrior eyes. Yet, he could not be much older than her, around twenty-six. His golden hair glittered from the light of the neon signs and floated about his shoulders. His face was chiseled and impossibly perfect. His lips were full and Kerstyn wanted nothing more than to feel them against hers. Her eyes traveled back down his hard, honed body.
She stood, rooted to the cement, captivated by the Norse god before her.
Damn, he’s incredibly yummy.
Dimitri forced himself to remain still while she studied him. Again, he struggled against his urges, his heart thundering from the force of the shock of desire that still echoed in his mind.
He knew one day he would meet his mate, but he had underestimated the force of her seductiveness. He never expected she would spark such yearning deep within his soul. He wondered how Dorian had dealt with such overwhelming need when he had found his intended. Dorian had been the first and, until now, only vampire king to find his other half.
Dimitri’s breath caught as her small, pink tongue wet her lips and her sensual thoughts invaded his mind.
She had to go.
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Caressed by a Crimson Moon
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Dear God, what had her father done?
He sacrificed me. She snorted. He couldn’t send one of his precious purebred daughters off to what was surely her death.
“I thought so,” she said, her voice a faint whisper.