“Do you want my hands to roam your body or would you rather I lifted your arms above your head?

“Do you prefer to be above or below? Sideways? From behind?” He kissed her ear.

Raven shot off the couch so quickly, she almost fell.

“Stop.” She pressed a hand to her face, trying to cool the heated skin.

“Why?”

“I don’t like bullshit and that sounds like bullshit. Stop talking to me like that.”

William’s expression changed in an instant. He stood, glaring. “What’s the issue, Raven? I thought we’d come to an understanding.”

She held up her hands. “I just want a quiet evening and a movie. Can’t we forget about all that other stuff ? And relax?”

William moved toward her but stopped, noting that she was extremely agitated.

She didn’t appear afraid, but neither did she seem comfortable.

His seductive strategy was failing and that pricked his pride.

His features hardened. “We are going to bed together. You will welcome me inside your body. It’s only a matter of time.”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

He gestured in frustration. “Why the hell not?”

“Do vampyres transmit sexual diseases?”

“Of course not!” His nostrils flared. “Do you think I would do that to you? That I’d knowingly give you a disease?”

“Humans have to discuss disease before they have sex.”

“Vampyres are impervious to human diseases. We cannot contract them or transmit them. Next issue.” He crossed his hands over his chest.

When she didn’t respond, his eyes narrowed.

“This is all subterfuge. What’s the true reason you won’t go to bed with me?”

“I went to see Bruno,” she blurted out.

“I know. And?”

“He didn’t remember me.”

“I warned you about that. Vampyre blood can cause memory loss.”

Raven looked over at her cane, which was resting against the sofa.

“We went out. We had dinner and laughed. He kissed me. Today, he was completely indifferent. He barely looked at me.” She gave William a tremulous look. “I’m tired of being invisible.”

His expression softened. “Come here.”

“No.”

He extended his hand in her direction. “You aren’t invisible to me. I think I’ve made that clear.”

Raven turned to stare at the empty movie screen. “What happens when you really see me?”

“I don’t understand.”

“You wouldn’t,” she mumbled. “You’re beautiful.”

“You seem to be forgetting that I want you.” He gestured to what stirred behind his trousers. “Badly.”

She met his eyes and gave him a long look. “Tonight I don’t need a lover. I need a friend. Can you give me that?”

“Vampyres don’t have friends.” William retreated a step.

He was about to deny her; she saw the resolve in his gaze.

Abruptly, his face changed.

“If that’s what you desire,” he said primly, gesturing to the couch.

She sat down, and this time he positioned himself a few feet away. He placed the popcorn bowl between them and handed her the drink.

“Thank you.”

He didn’t answer, his posture stiff, his face glowering.

She pressed play on the remote control.

William was so engrossed in the film he didn’t notice Raven set the popcorn bowl aside. Nor did he notice when she moved toward him.

During the scene when Michael comes to his first wife on their wedding night, she rested her head on William’s upper arm. Without thinking, he shifted so that his arm went around her shoulders.

She burrowed against him.

“Is it dangerous?” she asked.

“Is what dangerous?” He looked down at her profile.

“Having sex with a vampyre.”

His gaze returned to the screen. “It can be.”

“For my body or my heart?”

He leaned over and pressed his lips to her forehead.

“I thought your heart was part of your body.”

She met his eyes and the smile faded from his lips.

“I can’t answer that, Cassita,” he whispered.

Raven tried to focus on the film, pretending his words didn’t trouble her.

In the middle of the night, Raven awoke in William’s arms. They were in his bed.

William was on his back, shirtless, stroking the skin of her shoulders, while she curled into his side.

The room was dark. The curtains had been drawn across the balcony doors. A small shaft of light shone from under the door that led to the hall.

She blinked up at him, trying to make out his features.

He smiled. “Hello, pretty girl.”

The shadows made her bolder, as she forgot that he could see in the dark. She lifted her hand to his face and pressed against him. Her green eyes darkened with an unexpressed emotion.

Somehow, her feelings transferred themselves to her lips. She kissed him purposefully, nibbling his lower lip before taking it into her mouth.

William touched her neck, angling so he could deepen the kiss. As soon as their tongues touched, sparks flew.

Raven moved her leg over and between his, shifting so she was half on his chest. She rested her hands on his shoulders, enjoying the feel of the muscles under her fingers.

His tongue entered her mouth and retreated, enticing her to follow, while his palms brushed the length of her back to rest on the curves of her bottom. By all accounts, he liked what he felt, squeezing and kneading the flesh with his hands.

She licked at the seam of his lips before dipping inside. Back and forth and in and out.

William’s pace was focused but unhurried, as if he were determined to enjoy every point of contact, every sensation.

He traced the hills and valleys of her spine before grabbing her oldfashioned nightgown and lifting it to her thighs.

“William,” she murmured, pressing their lower bodies together.

He rolled her to her back and whispered fine kisses along her jaw and down to her neck.

She drew in a sharp breath.

“Please don’t feed from me. Not our first time.”

He lifted his head, conflict visible in his eyes.

He blinked slowly, like a cat.

“If that’s what you desire.”

He nuzzled her cleavage before slipping her nightgown from her shoulders, baring her expansive breasts.

“These are exquisite.” He brought her breasts to his lips, eagerly licking and sucking.

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