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There’s only one way to safeguard the future—fight free of the past.
Forbidden, Book 2
Byron Renfield is a master of climbing the social ladder. He’s successful, handsome, independently wealthy…and a vampire. As a member of an elite group of immortals, the Dominie, Byron’s spent centuries isolating himself from humanity in order to pursue redemption. It’s a good plan…until Violet Deeds comes along.
Violet is beautiful, sexy, outspoken…and human, which makes her completely off limits. His society’s canon may forbid it, but Byron is rocked by a longing so intense that in one impulsive act of passion, he claims Violet as his mate.
Irrevocably bound together, Byron and Violet enter one another’s worlds, threatening the balance of society and nature. He takes steps to protect them both from the Dominie’s inevitable retribution, but it isn’t enough. Violet is hunted down and kidnapped. If Byron wants a life—any life—with Violet, he must defy the very core of the Dominie itself. And win.
This book has been previously published and has been revised and expanded from its original release.
This book contains one fabulously feisty redheaded heroine, one hunky holy-man-turned-rebel vampire, a group of corrupt religious zealots, women in chains and plenty of scorching hot sex.
Copyright © 2009 Samantha Sommersby
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
Violet reached over and brushed her fingers across my wrinkled forehead. “You’re thinking awfully hard about something. Care to share?”
I reached for her hand, intending to brush it away. Instead I held onto it. “Have you ever found yourself questioning whether what you believed was true?”
“Daily,” she admitted, sounding somewhat amused.
“I’m not talking about the little things, like whether it’s going to rain or not. I’m talking about the big stuff.”
Her expression turned serious. “Like?”
“Like, what if you didn’t have to die? What if you could live forever?”
She shook her head and laughed. Well, of course she would laugh.
“Do I get to be rich and beautiful?” she asked.
“What’s the catch?”
“The down side. What do I have to give up?”
Now, they don’t talk about that much, vampires don’t. They don’t talk about the things they miss, the things they will never have. Perhaps it’s because we have no control over it. Why brood about what can’t be changed?
“Being around people.” I shrugged, passing it off as if it were nothing.
“I’d have to be alone forever? No. Not worth it. I’m not that interesting.”
“Not alone, exactly. You could be around others who are like you.”
“It would be me and a bunch of me clones? Kind of creepy, don’t you think?”
God, this woman was exasperating.
“No. That’s not what I mean. Let’s say you’re American.”
“I am American. Why can’t I be Italian?”
“Okay. Let’s say you’re Italian, and you can only be around other Italians.”
“But what if I meet and fall in love with a man from France or Spain or Greece or—”
I held up my hand to stop her. “I get it. You can’t.”
“I can’t fall in love with them? So, I can’t feel love?”
“You can’t be with them,” I told her.
“Why?” she challenged. She clearly didn’t like the idea.
“It’s a rule.”
“It’s a stupid rule,” she declared.
“Yes,” I agreed.
She bit her lower lip. It was full and red, ripe. I wanted to sweep my tongue across it, to suck it into my mouth, to take just one tiny nibble.
“Let me see if I have this straight. I’m going to live forever. I’m beautiful and rich, and I’ve met a drop-dead gorgeous French guy who promises to be the love of my life?”
“Let’s say I break the rule. What happens? Instant death?”
“Death, yes. Instant? No. You live for quite some time, a hundred years, two hundred, maybe more.”
“I’m still beautiful and rich?”
“You age slowly.”
“Does my Frenchman leave me?”
I couldn’t help but smile. “You’re a romantic. No. He adores you. He has eyes only for you. Even when you are old, and gray, and disgusting.”
Her mouth fell open. “Disgusting?” She gave my shoulder a little shove. “You should take lessons from my Frenchman. He tells me I’m getting better with age, like fine wine.”
“He says stuff like that so you’ll sleep with him,” I replied, goading her and suddenly disliking the Frenchman.
“You’re clearly projecting,” she countered. “I’m leaning toward saying yes, then breaking the rule and living happily ever after for a few hundred years with Pierre.”
“He has a name now?”
“Yes. He’s also an attentive lover, and a devoted father.” I was envying Pierre more and more.
“You have children?”
“If they aren’t like you, you must send them away.”
“Yes,” I said, remembering my mother’s pain. It all had occurred long ago. Yet it seemed in many ways to have happened yesterday. “So they can live with others like them and have a normal life.”
“Hmm?” For a moment I’d gotten lost in the memories.
“Nobody has a normal life. It’s a myth.”
“Like vampires are myths?” I said hesitantly, trying to gauge her reaction.
“I’m a vampire now?”
“Immortal,” I clarified, not that she would understand the difference between those who are immortal and those who have crossed the line.
“Do I have to drink blood and sleep in a coffin?”
“You don’t have to drink blood. You can eat regular food and sleep in a regular bed. Only the warped vampires traipse around biting people and draining their blood, Violet.”
“It’s a problem. The older you get, the more powerful, the easier you can tolerate it.”
“I’m still saying I’d go for it and break the rules.”
“You’d break the rules?”
“Yup. I’d marry Pierre, keep the kids and live to a ripe old age with no regrets.”
She seemed quite pleased with herself.
“You’d break the rules,” I repeated.
“Sure, why not?”
Why not, indeed? My father had broken the rules. I was here, after all. My parents died when I was still young, and Fred had essentially raised me. She certainly broke the rules. She didn’t seem to regret it, either. Not one bit. Although she never had children, never had to face the pain of giving them up.
“Have you no respect for rules in general?” I asked her.
“Are you asking vampire me? ’Cause I hear vampires are pretty morally flexible, being evil and soulless and all.”
“You’re not evil and soulless. You’re different.”
“With stupid rules that make no sense. Okay, I have one now. You’re stuck on an island for three whole days with a moderately attractive woman who finds you interesting and would like to get to know you better. Do you pretend you’ve already eaten and make her dine alone in the guest room, or do you do the polite thing and have dinner with her?”
“How big are her tits?” I asked.
I saw it coming. I probably saw it coming before she even realized she was going to do it. Immortals are like that, especially those of us who have been around for a long time. We anticipate and we defend. She grasped the throw pillow and swung it toward my head in a wide arch. Long before it connected, I had her wrist grasped firmly in my hand and her arm held over her head. My body was hovering over the length of hers and the rumble of a low growl was still emanating from my chest. She glanced down briefly before searching my eyes. And, that’s when I made the biggest mistake of my three-hundred-and-seventy-nine years. I kissed her.
I kissed her, and in that moment nothing else mattered. I wasn’t thinking about next year, or next month, or even the next minute. All I was thinking about was how incredibly good she felt beneath me. Her lips were soft and sweet and willing. No, wanting. I wasn’t tender. I wasn’t careful. And I wasn’t holding back. Not anymore, and maybe never again.
As my tongue entered her mouth, Violet arched up, her breasts coming into contact with my chest. My breath hitched at the sensation and our kiss deepened. It was slow and languid. I had never experienced anything quite so exquisite. Stroking, exploring, over and over. All that existed was her—this moment. I wanted it to last forever. Then I realized, with an almost blinding clarity, I didn’t want to last forever without it.
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