For the first time since accepting her mission, Lilian felt she was in danger.
When Bastian had declared he had urgent business to attend to in London and that he would return in a week, she had been thankful for the reprieve, but as she stood in the grand entrance hall of his home, staring at the vampire who was to be her guard for the next few days, she was starting to wish he would come back.
Night resembled his older brother in many ways. Same neat rich brown hair. Same ice-cold pale blue eyes. Same ridiculously good bone structure. One thing was different about him though.
While Bastian was handsome, Night was seductively handsome. It was as if fate had taken Bastian as the blueprint and turned the dials up to eleven when they had made his younger brother.
The tall, lithe and elegant vampire before her cut an all too alluring figure in his tailored black suit, with his equally dark shirt unbuttoned just enough to reveal a hint of the honed body it concealed.
His aquamarine eyes pierced her soul as she dared to look into them and the corners of his profane lips tilted into the ghost of a smile, one that had her pulse quickening.
Mother earth, she was in trouble.
If Bastian’s sudden disappearance hadn’t thrown a spanner in the works, Night’s sudden appearance might. Need threatened to burn up her blood and she had to fight her own body to keep her reaction hidden from him, fearing what he might do if he realised the effect he had on her.
The other servants left them alone and she told herself to move, to follow the mortals and escape this vampire, but her feet refused to cooperate, remaining rooted to the marble floor.
Something crossed his face, darkening his eyes for a moment, ringing them with crimson.
“Where is your room?” His deep voice rolled over her. Rocked her. Shook her to her core. She opened her mouth, but he didn’t give her the chance to tell him. He barked, “Do not speak. Show me.”
Before she could do that, he was before her, his hand locked around her arm.
Skin on skin with her.
She tensed at the sudden hot wave that rolled up her arm, electric tingles chasing in its wake, and stared up at him. His eyes widened and for a heartbeat he looked as if he might release her, and then he was dragging her towards the stairs and up them. She struggled to keep up with his long strides as he tugged her along the corridor, fought to tear her eyes away from his profile even as she drank her fill of him, caught up in the hurricane of feelings he had caused inside her with only an innocent touch.
Lilian stumbled along the cream hallway behind him, trying to rouse herself because she needed to remain in control. If she lost control, she would ruin everything. She wasn’t surprised when he paused before her door. Vampires had acute senses. Her intel said that Night was over a thousand years old. At his age, his senses would be incredible. He could probably sniff her out over a vast distance.
Like a shark detecting a drop of blood in a huge body of water.
He pushed her into the room and released her.
Lilian was quick to move away from him, placing some much-needed distance between them. She secretly rubbed her wrist and looked at it, unsure whether she was trying to ease the pain of his bruising grip or work the heat of his touch into her skin so it would remain forever. She was deeply aware of his gaze on her as she crossed the wooden floor of the pale green room, heading for her dresser and pretending she meant to do something there.
When she felt his eyes leave her, she glanced back at him.
He was staring at the scarlet dress on the dark green covers of her bed.
His irises ringed with that bloody colour.
Lilian couldn’t bring herself to look at it. She stared at the floor instead, fighting the same battle she had waged with herself since she had stepped into this house. Duty warred with her sense of self-preservation. Her coven meant everything to her, and she knew she should be honoured to carry out this mission given how important it was to her family, but whenever she thought about what she was going to have to do—how much it would cost her—she wanted to run.
She closed her eyes. She had to be here, though. It had to be her. Only she could get the proof her coven needed. Only she had that power. Bastian was lucky that her coven hadn’t decided to kill him based on the rumour that placed him at the scene of the crime. He was being given a chance to prove his innocence.
She was being given the chance to prove it.
To do that, she had to go through with the ceremony that would bind them. Didn’t she?
She glanced at Night.
Their eyes clashed and heat swept through her, igniting her blood. His eyes darkened, but not from anger. The desire that shone in them was unmistakable.
It scorched her.