Stepping into the chilled night air, Victor paused, his senses instinctively searching the garden and shadowed mews for any hint of danger. At the same moment his gaze was busily savoring the sight of Juliet leaning against the stone railing.
As a vampire, Victor had no need for the moonlight to reveal the pure, delicate lines of her profile or the fire in her curls that were currently pulled into a knot at the back of her head. He did, however, fully appreciate the wash of silver light that shimmered over alabaster skin and added a hint of mystery to the pale emerald eyes.
His gaze lowered to her gown that was a delicate white lace over a gold sheath and cut in Grecian lines to emphasize the tempting mounds of her breasts. Then slowly his gaze lifted, lingering on the long, bare curve of her throat.
Victor’s fangs ached with a swift, brutal hunger.
Bloody hell. He had been too long without a woman.
With an effort, Victor resisted the urge to charge across the terrace and crush the female into his arms. Although she was not a practicing witch, and her imp blood was diluted, she did possess her own share of powers. Including the ability to resist his attempts to glamour her.
If he was going to lure her to his bed, it was going to take skill and patience.
For some ridiculous reason the knowledge sent a tingle of anticipation down his spine.
Strolling forward, Victor allowed is gaze to boldly travel over her tense body, a faint smile curving his lips.
“Did you think you could hide from me, sweet Juliet?” he murmured.
The emerald eyes flashed with annoyance, but she couldn’t disguise the fluttering beat of her heart or the potent scent of her awareness.
Miss Juliet Lawrence might wish him in hell, but she desired him.
“Actually, I was attempting to avoid the sudden influx of vermin, my lord,” she drawled in overly sweet tones.
“Victor,” he corrected, not halting until he had her firmly trapped against the stone railing, his fierce gaze sweeping over her flushed face.
“I thought you were in Venice.” She tilted her chin, her expression defiant. “What are you doing here?”
“At the moment I am enjoying the very fine view,” he husked, his gaze never wavering from her wide eyes.
“I mean, what are you doing in London?”
“I should think it obvious. Tis hunting season.”
Her brows pulled together. “You are mistaken, my lord, hunting season ended weeks ago.”
His fingers lifted to trace the tender curve of her neck, his mouth watering.
“That all depends on the prey.”
She shivered, pressing against the railing in a futile attempt to escape his lingering touch.
“So you are here for the Season?”
“You have developed a taste for tender young debutantes?” she mocked. “I thought you preferred a more well-seasoned meal?”
His lips twitched at the bite in her tone. “There is no need for you to be jealous of my…”
“Companions.” His fingers lingered at the pulse fluttering at the base of her throat, his senses drowning in the scent of peaches. “You need only say the word and there would be no others.”
“How many times must I tell you that I will never be a vampire’s blood-whore?” she rasped, her eyes flashing with fury.
Victor laughed. “Such crude language from such beautiful lips. Does it help you to deny your body’s hunger for my touch to pretend I am a monster?”
“There is no pretense. You are a monster.”
His lips twisted. He could hardly deny her claim.
He was a ruthless predator who killed without mercy and was willing to use whatever violence necessary to maintain his control of his clan.
That did not mean, however, he was incapable of appreciating a woman who stirred his most primitive needs. His gaze lowered to the soft thrust of her breasts, a shudder shaking through his body as the heat of her wrapped around him.
No. He it was more than mere appreciation.
Having her in his bed, tasting the potent power of her blood…it was rapidly becoming a necessity.
He groaned, his fingers following the enticing line of her bodice, his body hard with need.
“And yet your heart thunders and your knees tremble when I am near,” he husked. “You cannot hide your reaction to me.”
She trembled. “Disgust.”
“Desire.” He lowered his head, his lips brushing over her bare shoulder. “It perfumes the very air.”