The firelight licked her goose fleshed skin as she lay bare and vulnerable before it. Thoughts chased around her head, skittering down her spine.
“I don’t date vampires,” she murmured.
“Didn’t,” he corrected, dislodging his second boot and watching the play of warm colours across her skin. He paused. He could smell her sweet scents, autumn flowers and fallen leaves, whispering in with the sneaking sliver of fear.
It wasn’t just her blood he wanted. It was her soul willingly given.
“You don’t have to do this…”
She snapped her head around to face him, golden tendrils sweeping off her shoulders and dripping down her unguarded back. Her lips curved and cheeks flushed. She dropped her eyes to the floor, his stark male figure too obvious in the gentle light.
“I do.” The words fell in an almost squeak.
She turned back to the fire, concealing her face from his probing brown eyes. It was too much. This was too much. But she’d promised.
The slightest of gasps slipped from her. He curled his arm low around his waist and settled his body against her back, lips fluttering only once upon her slender shoulders. She hadn’t expected him to feel human and warm.
“I won’t do this if you don’t want it.” The words hummed over her skin, tracing her curves with another ripple of gooseflesh. “Why are you here?”
Thoughts of her mother flooded in and she pulled her limbs in tighter. It was her duty to do this.
“I… We need protection…”
The words stumbled from her lips before she could stop them. She wished she could retract them, the promise to her mother broken.
He turned her in his arms, forcing her to face him as she scrabbled to cover her breasts, but that wasn’t what he demanded to see. “I’m a vampire, not a monster.”
His vow undulated through her spine as he released a heartfelt sigh. She wanted to believe him.
“Have you really been sent as a sacrifice to me?”
Her nod only served to make him turn away, something she hadn’t expected from one of his kind. It could be a trick. Her mother had warned her that he might use tricks against her, but her mortal heart hoped it wasn’t.
“I already gave my word to protect your family… Shall I assume that you do not love me as your mother told me so?”
He closed his eyes, struggling with the thought that after so many centuries he had been so stupid to believe a witch in trouble. Why hadn’t he seen this? Pain clouded his expression. These were modern times and yet the worst of witches were still happy to send their daughters to those they believed monsters in order to protect themselves.
The small words breathed across his lips, followed by the barest of kisses in trembling form. She muttered the words again, bolder but still softened, and stole another taste of his lips. He curled his arms around her, daring to hope that this time would be different.
Even monsters are not devoid of love.
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