Chapter 1

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Blackstone taverns, located in the shadows of London, Bussell's with activity. The lords and  ladies  of the night are enjoying their evening, playing cards or drinking sweet blood wine, the gentleman catching the attention of several ladies. The humans of London do not know about this place. However, there are a few exceptions. Some vampires have chosen to take a human soulmate as their partner. But not for long. They must turn their human before the next blood moon cycle. If they don't, that human will be killed.

But one couple is going to defy those odds, for as long as they possibly can.

***

29-year-old Lucius Blackstone, duke of London, is sitting at one of the card tables, throwing down in Ace of spades. He's been playing this game for the last three hours, and is beginning to become bored.

Edward. Come now Blackstone, don't be a stick in the mud. You are almost a winner. Why have you stopped?

Lucius. Because I am bored Rochford. I wish to have something different in my life. To do something that I have never done before.

Edward. Such as what, fall in love? You know that has not been your forte.

Lucius growls. Do you need to remind me of that every time I bring it up?

Edward. I am just stating the facts my friend. You need to find someone who is worth your while.

Lucius. I feel as if no one here is good enough. And there's no one that I have come across. They all want me for my money. Or to be immortal.

Edward. Victoria seemed interested.

Lucius. Victoria was a drunken mistake. I never loved her. She is nothing but trouble.

Edward grins. Not for me. She's a wicked little thing now.

Lucius. I'm glad she has you. He's about to throw down another few cards, when his eyes drift to the door of the pub.

A young woman walks slowly into the room. She is absolutely breathtaking. She has caramel blonde hair and is wearing a gown of ice blue silk with off the shoulder sleeves, white opera gloves, and a matching ice blue headband. Her ice blue eyes travel around the room, figuring out her surroundings.

Edward. Bloody hell... I've never seen someone more beautiful.

Lucius. I have not seen anyone so radiant. His body feels as if it is on fire. Throughout his 123 years of a mortality, he has never come across anyone so gorgeous. I am going to go speak with her.

Edward. Are you mad? She might not even want to speak with you.

Lucius rises from his seat. Trust me, she's going to.

Edward rolls his eyes. Very well Blackstone.

Squaring his shoulders, Lucius makes his way towards the beautiful woman before him.

***

19-year-old Eleanor Parker feels as if her heart is going to explode. She has somehow ended up at Blackstone taverns, the finest pub England has to offer. And she is staring at the most beautiful gentleman she has ever seen.

He is tall, with dark red hair, piercing dark green eyes, and a muscular body. He's wearing a black suit with a white linen undershirt. His black boots seem to glitter beneath the pub lights.

Eleanor feels her toes quiver in her matching ice blue 1 inch heels, her heart fluttering. She has never seen anyone so beautiful in her entire life.

The gentleman makes his way slowly towards her, his expression kind and gentle. When he gets closer, he gives her a sweet smile. Hello.

Eleanor clears her throat. Hello.

***

Her voice is like soft music. Lucius can barely catch his breath. She is even more beautiful up close.

Lucius. Are you looking for something?

The young woman gives him a small smile. I was actually on my way to Buckingham palace for a friends celebration with my fiancé, or rather my partner, but I have been replaced with another woman.

Lucius feels his insides boil with anger. I'm so sorry. You do not deserve to be neglected. No beautiful woman does.

His companion colors bright pink, smiling softly. Thank you. But I am now in need of an escort.

Lucius. If you would like, I could be your escort.

The young woman's eyes sparkle. Could you? I would greatly appreciate that.

Lucius. Of course. He extends his hand. Lucius Blackstone, Duke of London.

***

He is even more handsome than she has ever imagined. Eleanor can barely breathe, much less process his words. His voice is so soft and silky. And he is the duke of London. Ready to be her escort to the ball at Buckingham palace.

Not wanting to be rude, or stand there like an idiot, Eleanor takes his hand. Pleasure to meet you, your grace. I am Eleanor Parker.

Lucius. Pleasure to meet you Miss Parker. And please, Lucius is just fine.

Eleanor gives him a smile. Very well then. And you may call me Eleanor.

Lucius returns her smile. Very well then. Would you like that escort?

Eleanor. Yes, please.

And with that, they walk out of the Blackstone Tavern and into a waiting carriage.

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