"Got ourselves in trouble again, I see."
Maria froze. "Carlos." How did he get here? She
was alone in the room
and the door was locked. Her gaze tore away from the tall,
lean vampire and
settled on the open window. Damn, she knew not to be so
Carlos, he probably watched her whole exchange with Enrique.
He would want a
full report, but Maria was in no mood to give one.
The vampire crossed his arms in front of his chest.
"So, you remember me.
After not seeing you for two nights, I was beginning to
She turned on her heel to face him. "I would never
forget you -- or the
kindness youâ€™ve shown Frederick and me."
He frowned, his perfect dark brow arching over his amber
eyes. "You need to
work on your lies, Maria."
Her breath caught. Leave it to him to bring up her
immaturity. She carefully
schooled her face into a blank mask, as she was taught.
His features softened as he approached. "You're still a
very young vampire
and unable to hold you mask." He stopped, his face
inches away from hers.
Crooking his finger under her chin, he turned her head first
to the right, then
to the left. A frown creased his perfect angular features.
She jerked her head away from his grasp. "It is
"I've heard that you haven't been going to the
"They are innocent people."
"Theyâ€™re food, nothing more." He sighed. "At
this rate you are
going to collapse before your second year." Reaching
out, he trailed his
finger down the side of her face. Maria forced herself not
to flinch. "It
would be a pity to lose such wonderful vampire flesh."
She bit back a retort. Arguing would accomplish nothing.
Carlos was a master of
words and would only use her arguments to manipulate her. An
image of her
brother appeared in the forefront of her mind and she
strengthened her resolve.
At her darkest hour, Carlos rescued both her and Frederick
from the brink of
destruction. The vampire leader was now securing their
future. Under Carlos'
protection Frederick would remain safe. She would remain
dealings with the underworld had put her in danger more than
once before. Now
that they had the protection of the vampires, they wouldn't
Carlos slipped his hand lower, catching the 'V' in her
dress. "You can't
keep denying our desire for flesh and blood, Maria." He
leaned in close,
his warm breath gliding against her cheek.
Maria shivered as his icy fingers danced over her skin. She
was grateful for his
protection, but would never...could never...
"One night with me and I can take you away from all
this." His voice
was soft and filled with promise. Maria resisted the
stirring in her lower
abdomen. "Think about it, no more accusing stares from
the servants, no
No more Enrique. She had always loved Enrique's handsome
features, but now that
she had spent more time with him her feelings ran much
deeper than lust. He
treated her like somebody -- somebody who mattered. He was
so different from
Carlos, who only wanted to use her body to further his agenda.
Maria stepped back from his touch. "Why do you have me
stay here at all? I
mean, you say you want to trap Enrique -- SeÃ±or Torres --
but wouldn't it just
be easier to send in vampires to capture him?"
Carlos smiled, showing each of his perfectly white teeth.
"Ah, my dear. It
isn't enough just to capture him." He took a step
forward. "I want to
humiliate him." Golden flecks danced across his eyes.
Maria's back hit the wall. She was trapped. "Why?"
He stepped closer, his chest even with her head. Her skin
tingled at the power
before her. She felt her fangs lower in response.
"Why?" He tipped his fingers under her chin and
tilted her head up to
his gaze. "Because I loathe him, Maria." He
lowered his head until his
mouth hovered inches above her own. "As every vampire
lips brushed against hers. Maria felt the cold press all the
way to her toes.
"The fool will destroy us all." He kissed one
cheek. "If he knew
your real identity..." He kissed the other cheek.
hesitate to put a stake in your heart."
"No." Enrique was kind and thoughtful. He loved
And he only approached her after she became a vampire and
used her charms on
him. His caring words, his gentle touch, all of it prompted
by the magik Carlos
bestowed on her. Sure Enrique was always kind to her, but it
wasn't until she
became a vampire that his interest turned sexual.
Maria straightened and tried to pull away, but it was no
use. The weight of her
burden felt like an anvil on her shoulders. The only reason
why she was even
allowed at the Torres estate was because Carlos decreed it.
At any moment the
vampire lord could take the privilege away from her. Then
what would she be left
Carlos' grip tightened. "You know it is true. Don't
deny who you are
-— or your destiny."
Hunger, pure and raw blossomed in her core. Only a select
few were allowed to
feed directly from the vampire leader. Maria had no
illusions as to why she was
bestowed such an honor. Vampire feedings were steeped in
sexual energy and it
was no secret that Carlos favored her.
Her master tilted his head to the side. His long dark hair
fell away from his
shoulders and exposed the smooth ivory skin of his neck.