Annabel is ready to give herself to Poe, body and soul. But will he accept her offer?
Just as Annabel is ready to end her life, an amazing man comes to her in the dark of night. Her body responds to him and she finds that she wants him more than she’s ever wanted anyone. Allowing him to make love to her, she decides that she’ll do whatever he asks, as long as he’ll keep her with him — even if he is a vampire.
The darkness rolled in like dark clouds in a thunderstorm. The inky black night surrounded me, wrapped me in its embrace. It had been a month since “the incident” had happened, and while it might seem minor to some, it was the final nail in my coffin. I had tried to carry on, but I couldn’t take another thing life had to throw my way. If I’d been able to afford a psychologist, I’m sure he would have diagnosed me with some fancy term and prescribed me a bottle of pills. Instead, I was taking matters into my own hands.
The hair on the back of my neck stood on end, letting me know I wasn’t alone. I knew I should be afraid, yet I wasn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to care enough to be frightened. The numbness had spread through me, leaving nothing but emptiness inside of me, a large echoing cavern that I couldn’t fill.
I felt a puff of breath against my skin. A chill raced down my spine as my eyes stared sightlessly ahead, the dark impenetrable. I didn’t know what was to come, but I stood stoically, waiting to see what would happen. It couldn’t be any worse than what I had planned for myself.
Soft lips trailed down my neck to my shoulder. Teeth softly brushed against my skin. I felt a small prick against my neck and then warmth spread through me. I closed my eyes, a sigh on my lips. Whatever was happening, it felt right. Arms encircled my waist as they pulled me against a tall, hard body. Muscles bulged in the arms that held me gently. A lover’s embrace.
Fluid trailed down my neck and my captor lapped it up like a kitten drinking milk. “So sweet,” said a husky voice that left chills on my flesh.
“Who are you?” I whispered.
“It doesn’t matter.”
He turned me to face him. I looked up into fathomless gray eyes, the color of a winter morning, set in a pale face. He had a long elegant nose that led to full lips. Shaggy brown hair fell past his shoulders.
When he smiled, I saw canines that were long and pointed. Vampire my mind said, but I shook the thought away. Vampires weren’t real. My hand drifted to my neck and I felt the two small pinpricks. A breath caught in my throat as I stared up at him in surprise. Or were they?
“You’re a vampire,” I heard myself say in a quiet voice filled with wonder.
“Yes.” He watched me intently, probably expecting me to scream at any moment. And had I been anyone else, I might have. But a woman willing to die was another matter all together.
I tipped my head to the side, exposing my neck to him once more. “Do it. Go ahead and end it.”
He looked puzzled and slightly taken aback. “Do what?”
“Bite me. End my life.”
He shook his head and looked exasperated. “Silly creature, why would I want to end your life? I feed to live, not to kill.”
To my humiliation, I felt tears gather in my eyes and slip silently down my cheeks. “Please,” I begged. “I can’t go on living this way. I’m tired of feeling empty.”
I felt his intense stare as if he could see right through me. I wondered how long it would take to make a decision. Did I not taste good? Was there something wrong with my blood? Or was there just something wrong with me?
“Why do you feel empty?” he finally asked.
“If I knew, I wouldn’t feel this way. I only see shades of gray and darkness. When I wake up, all I want to do is close my eyes and sleep until another day has passed. I go through the motions, smile at people when I should, but it’s all meaningless. Inside I feel like there’s a void, a giant black hole in the middle of my soul sucking the life right out of me.” It wasn’t that I wanted to feel the way I did. I just hadn’t had a reason to be happy.
He grinned. “So you have a vampire in your soul?”
I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but it made a sort of crazy sense to me. “Yeah, I guess I do.”
His long fingers reached out and stroked my jaw. “You’re too beautiful to die.”
Beautiful? Me? I wanted to laugh, but also wanted to cry. I couldn’t remember the last time someone had seen me as beautiful. I certainly didn’t see myself that way. When I looked in the mirror, I saw nondescript brown hair, plain brown eyes, and average facial features. I saw a body that was too plump to be fashionable, rounded in more places than it should be. What was beautiful about me?
He stared into my eyes as if reading my thoughts. And perhaps he could. Before I knew what he was doing, he leaned forward and brushed his lips against mine. They were petal soft and chilled to the touch. His mouth moved over mine, coaxing me to join in his dance.
A spark ignited inside of me, a small glowing ember. Warmth spread through my soul and for the first time in years, I was happy to be alive. This dangerous, deadly, gorgeous man made me feel more alive than any of my family or friends had in a long time. Nothing in this world had felt half as right as being kissed by him. It amazed me how I could feel so much in just one kiss. It wasn’t like I hadn’t been kissed before, because I had, but Poe’s kiss put all the others to shame. With just one kiss, he pushed aside my thoughts of killing myself. I’d come to the cavern so no one would find me. I knew my landlady wouldn’t be able to handle finding a dead body. She was sweet and I didn’t want to do that to her. And I didn’t have any family or friends to speak of. Just an ex who kept showing up repeatedly, no matter how many times I pushed him away.
With just one kiss, Poe had given me a gift. The gift of hope. I’d felt bleak and hopeless for so long that I’d forgotten what it felt like to want to live. But with one kiss, he’d given all that back to me, and more. As if he were a drug, I found that I wanted more. Kissing Poe was the equivalent of basking in the sunlight.
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