Chapter Ten

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I sat up slowly and tried to erase the night’s sleep from my eyes with my fingers. Then, blinking rapidly, I focussed on the sunbeams streaming through the upper stained glass section of the window, casting rainbows of light on the pale carpet below, and I remembered where I was.

Sebastian was lying on his side, facing away from me and breathing heavily. I gingerly reached out towards the soft skin that invited me to touch it. Slowly, I stroked my fingers down his side and under the covers, letting feelings of desire wash over me, as I traced his curves from the rise of his hips around onto his bottom. This was new territory for me, and I couldn’t resist the urge to give his buttock a gentle squeeze.

A groan escaped from his lips. “Sophie, stop being a tease. I won’t be able to control myself if you carry on much longer, and then you’ll be in trouble.”

I think I already am, I thought silently. Instead what came out of my mouth was, “What about Lara?”

“Huh? Where did that come from? What about her?” He yawned and turned over to face me. “Don’t tell me we’ve skipped straight from, leave me alone, to the green eyed monster?” He propped himself up on one arm, removed a strand of hair that had stuck to my face during the night, and began twirling it around his finger.

She seems to think she has a claim on you.”

“Well she doesn’t. She’s just trying it on. She’s not my type. She’s a mannequin; perfectly formed, perfectly painted, but nothing inside. Someone has to look out for her, that’s all. Her parents didn’t deserve to die.”

“I heard it was an accident. Didn’t they drive off a cliff?” I asked, puzzled.

“Officially…yes. But the truth is that they were sniffing around some land near Carwick Castle. They wanted to build on it, and they uncovered some information the Reiths didn’t want making public, so they were permanently silenced.”

“They were murdered? By the Reiths?”

“Yes, but Lara doesn’t know, and she’s better off not knowing, or she may be next.”

“But you know, and now I know. Aren’t we in danger?”

He lowered his head and stared up at me with a look that dismissed my concerns. “They wouldn’t dare. It’s a delicate balance, but there are secrets on both sides. It’s a necessary requirement to keep the peace.”

A moments silence grew between us, as I digested this recent information. Then Simone’s face flashed before my eyes. “The Reiths were at the Halloween ball weren’t they?”

“Only Vincent…and he doesn’t really count. The family sent representatives though. It’s an obligatory courtesy to extend invitations to every other family, when one of us hosts an event.”

“I knew the costumes were too good.” I paused to think. “The vampires, they were real weren’t they? And they killed Simone.”

“Whoa, hold on there Sherlock. None of Father’s guests wore costumes. They simply dropped their human guises. But the Reiths aren’t vampires; they’re something else. The vamps just work for them. As for Simone…it’s possible. Not usual, but possible.”

I wanted to ask more but he quickly changed the subject. “My T-shirt looks good on you.” He was staring at my chest, and I looked down, noticing that the loose neckline was exposing rather more cleavage than I would have liked.

My hands grabbed the sheet to restore my dignity but were halted by his, pinning them to my waist. His face was inches away from mine, and his eyes bore into me. He bowed his head slowly, grazing his lips and nose gently against the curves of my chest. Hot breath scorched my skin, and I let my head roll back to expose my neck to his caresses. I let out a moan of pleasure, and he felt my surrender, releasing my hands and reaching up to stroke my face. The tip of his thumb brushed my lips, and they parted in anticipation. He angled his head and moved closer.

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