Pic above: Isolde, Marku and Liliana

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Pic above: Isolde, Marku and Liliana

Chapter dedicated to JuneMakin. Welcome and thanks for knocking the shit out of the Vote button! You are awesome, my friend!

Chapter 54 –Bloodline Vampires – Raine's POV

I held tightly to Alaric as we navigated the interior of the main estate. Its beauty and opulence was stunning. Huge grand staircases spiraled and flowed like a waterfall of steps, cascading down from the highest level forty feet in the air, intersecting together in several landings, only to split apart again in contrary directions, before gracing the main floor.

Marble and intricately engraved hardwoods, hand chiseled by only the finest craftsmen, adorned most surfaces. And noble candelabras stood erect, with an air of indifference, as they illuminated our path.

The sound of my heels clicking against the cold hard floor resonated in my ears as we approached a set of two large ornamental doors, hand carved and gilded with gold embellishment.

Alaric hesitated just outside the doors, and murmured, "Are you ready?"

The resounding answer was no. I had no desire to walk into a room filled with cruel and violent vampires. But alas, it was just one more of my duties, courtesy of my relationship to Armand. No answer released from my lips. Instead, I just squeezed Alaric's hand and nodded.

He opened one of the doors and led me through into a massive room. We were met with soaring marble columns, which supported hundreds of arches, and a domed ceiling. Giant chandeliers clawed the air, refracting and scattering light from thousands of crystals in every direction. It looked very reminiscent of an opera house, complete with three-story balconies stacked on top of each other, and blood-red plush seating. Its breathtaking beauty was almost ridiculous.

I didn't have much time to fully appreciate the splendor around me, because as soon as we entered, there was a resounding beat of silence, and every head in the room turned in my direction.

I knew why.

They had caught my unique and apparently vampire-captivating scent.

Shit.

Alaric's grip tightened almost painfully as tension coursed through his body. The silence did not last more than a second or two before most resumed their previous conversation. However, I noticed more than a few throwing furtive looks in my direction, and some just continued to outright stare boldly. Their countenances were a mixture of curiosity, suspicion and lust.

Shit. Again.

Alaric guided me toward a grand table in the center of the room with fifty intricately carved chairs surrounding it. It wasn't difficult to determine that only the vampires with the highest status were allowed a seat there – which I was not.

The perimeter of the room had hundreds of additional chairs, most of which were occupied, and hundreds more vampires standing behind them. I glanced up for only a second to find the balconies teeming with vampires as well. The overload to my senses was shocking and intense.

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