Home > The Shadow (The Florentine #2)(27)

The Shadow (The Florentine #2)(27)
Author: Sylvain Reynard


“I don’t need you to be my angel of death.” Raven withdrew her hand.

William was quiet for so long, Raven worried he’d gone into a trance. Pain flamed in her injured leg, driving her back to the chair.

He stood over her, his expression conflicted. “I was like you once.”

“Before you became a vampyre?”

He nodded.

“What happened?”

His face hardened. “I watched goodness die, not once, but twice. And I lost hope.”

She reached for him, closing her hand over his cool fingers. “You told me once that I was hope, dancing in your arms.”

He stared at their hands, then slowly skimmed his lips over her forehead.

“Would that you had enough hope for both of us.”

Her grip on him tightened.

“You remind me of someone,” he whispered.


“A saint.”

A laugh escaped Raven’s throat. “I think in order to become a saint, you need to believe in God.”

“I believe. I simply think God is a monster.”

“I don’t understand why you still believe in him if you hate him so much.”

“Some things can’t be disbelieved.” He bowed his head. “But you—you’ve changed me.”


“Before we met, I wouldn’t have thought twice about taking a life had I decided the life was worthless.”

“And now?”

William covered their connection with his other hand. “Even though I desperately wish to end him, I would rather please you.”

She brought her lips to his fingers and kissed them. “Now I know why you need to spend the daylight hours in solitude and meditation. No one could spend centuries making decisions like this and not need time to think and find peace.”

He lifted her hand, lacing their fingers together. “We are susceptible to a kind of madness because of our longevity. Resting the mind keeps it at bay.”

Raven’s eyes widened. “Madness?”

“The madness that turns a vampyre into a feral.”

She gazed up at him in horror. William continued. “I’m afraid that’s not the worst of it. In addition to the possibility of madness, there’s the curse.”

“What curse?”

“During the war with the Curia, they cursed us with a life span of only a thousand years. When a vampyre approaches that age, he begins to go mad. I suppose it’s like the senility of old age in a human. Then, on or around the one-thousandth year, the vampyre dies.”

“I thought vampyres were immortal.”

“They were once. But their immortality was taken away by the Curia. One more reason why we hate and fear them.”

“How old are you, William?”

“I was turned in 1274. But this is a secret, Cassita. Even those closest to me in the Consilium don’t know my true age.”

“Why not?”

“Several of them are already covetous of my throne. I don’t wish them to be able to pinpoint my weakness.”

She forced a smile. “I knew you’d outlive me.”

“That is one of life’s greatest tragedies.” He hesitated. “Unless you become like me.”

She disentangled herself from his grasp. “I don’t want to live that long.”

“I won’t let such beauty die,” he whispered.

“But you’ll have to, someday.” Raven smiled sadly. “Art is the only beauty that never dies.”

He kissed her, until she opened to him. With a growl, he plunged into her mouth. She wrapped her arms around his neck, anchoring him to her.

Without warning, he swung her into his arms and strode inside toward the bed.

Within moments, they were both unclothed and he was kneeling between her legs.

He rained soft kisses down the center of her body, pausing to pay homage to her breasts. Then his face descended between her legs.

His tongue was cool as it fluttered over her. She closed her eyes, her hands fisting the sheets at either side of her body.

William kept an unhurried pace, tasting and licking from side to side. He nuzzled the inside of her thigh with his nose before drawing the flesh into his mouth and sucking.

His palm slid up her side to cup her right breast, holding the weight in his hand. She murmured her approval, and he nipped at her thigh.

“I am going to feed from you. Here.” He bit at the flesh again, if only to give her a warning.

She lifted her head, gazing down at the powerful creature that worshipped between her legs.

She nodded.

He looked up at her through his eyebrows and smiled a slow, sensual smile. “Prepare to be pleasured.”

Raven watched as his head descended. But with the first touch of his mouth, she closed her eyes. He kept his slow pace, teasing and tasting her with lips and tongue.

At the crest of her orgasm, he released her, turning his head to her uninjured leg. He gripped her thigh tightly and then he was sucking the flesh into his mouth and tearing into the skin with his teeth.

Raven soared, her body shaking with mindless pleasure.

William drank and swallowed and drank some more, his grip on her thigh ever tightening. When her body finally relaxed, he released her, pressing the coolness of his tongue to the wound on her leg.

“I could drink you dry and never be satisfied.” He rested his chin on her opposite leg.

Raven lifted her head but found the task too great and rested back on the pillow, her mind floating on a wave of ecstasy.

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