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Authors: Michele Hauf

Tags: #Horror, #Time Travel, #Ghost, #Paranormal Romance, #vampire, #paris, #michele hauf

Dark Rapture (4 page)

BOOK: Dark Rapture
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“Vince knows him better than I do, but as far as I know, he’s a cool guy. Although I hear he’s quite the charmer. You know those Frenchmen, they really know how to work the ladies.”

“Yes, he does, doesn’t he,” she added dreamily.

Gary moved his hand back and forth in front of her eyes. “Yeah, and it looks like he really worked a number on you.”

Her dreamlike state continued. “He’s so handsome. And his eyes, have you ever looked into his eyes?” She leaned on the counter. “So dark and mysterious, like if you looked long enough you would discover some hidden secret he possesses.”

Gary picked up a towel and laughed. “Can’t say that I’ve spent too much time gazing into his eyes.” He started drying the dishes that she’d stacked around the counter. “But I thought you were going to go out with Vince?”

“He hasn’t asked me yet.”

“Yeah, well, Sebastian better treat you well.” He leaned back and pointed a stern finger at Scarlet. “Otherwise, he’ll have to answer to me.”

“Yes sir.” She happily finished the dishes with Gary while her mind could only think of tomorrow night.

***

Sebastian walked the dozen or so blocks to his house, his boots stepping lightly over the sidewalk so as not to disturb the eloquent silence of the early morning. Moonlight glinted across the silver chains on his boots, which clanked softly with each graceful step. It was fortunate that he lived so close to Scarlet because he planned to spend much time with her in the future.

Someday you'll understand, Sebastian. I love you.

The words he still didn’t understand reverberated in his memory. But meeting Scarlet made his heart beat wildly with hopes for love again. It had been a long time since he’d felt such a rush of emotions, that strong pull at his heart that he knew to be love.
Mon dieu!
She was so beautiful. And yes, he did believe in love at first sight. It had, after all, happened once before. So familiar, she had been. Her luscious curls, those delicate lips, and radiant jewel eyes.

But she was different.
She had to be, he was sure of it. Scarlet set his heart ablaze with newfound passion and desire. The pressure of his fingers gliding over her smooth silky skin, and her rich rose perfume, had teased his senses.

Impossible to believe that this sort of heady feeling could come again as it had so long ago.

He could barely wait for tomorrow night as he skipped across his yard, still moist from the summer storm, and took the rickety porch steps in one bound.

Inside, he sprang up the stairs and began to strip off his clothes. He was so excited, he felt sure that sleep would not come, and he paced across the bedroom floor, scattering his garments here and there, Pausing at the window he closed his eyes, inhaling deeply the fresh air. He could already feel Scarlet’s lustrous hair falling over his bare skin. And her lips, yes, her lips had sent shock waves throughout his entire body.

Waves that he would ride with her together. Soon.

Please let everything go well. Let me be able to control this raging within.

 

Chapter Four

 

The vampire lifted a grocery bag filled with cleaning sprays and mineral water, and set it on the passenger’s seat. The parking lot was nearly vacant save for a few older women and one incredibly gorgeous young woman with short-cropped blonde hair. She pushed her cart with delicate pink-tipped nails. The vampire peered over his circular sunglasses and smiled as she opened the trunk on the car next to his.

“Nice day,” he said looking over her tan body. The tiny yellow bikini top she wore barely concealed her ample breasts and he was impressed that she had no visible tan lines.

“Yes.” She bent to lift one of the heavily stuffed bags from her cart but pulled back and brought her finger to her mouth. “Shoot, broke a nail.”

“Let me help you.” Seeing his chance, the vampire sailed over to her cart and began to load her groceries into the trunk as she made small talk with him.

“It’s a little too hot for long sleeves, don’t you think?” She said this casually, though she seemed more interested in her torn nail.

“Uh, I guess I was expecting it to rain again.” The vampire eyed the woman nervously and was satisfied that she could not see the lust in his eyes hidden safely behind his sunglasses. He checked his watch. He’d have time for this one if he hurried. But he noticed something alarming when she turned to push the cart back into the stall.

“Oh.” The woman touched the hand that he’d placed on her neck.

The vampire removed his fingers from the fading black and blue marks on her skin. Two of them, about an inch apart. “I’m sorry. There was some sort of bug…”

“Oh!” The lady began to squirm, and she brushed frantically at her neck.

“It’s all right. It’s gone now. Well, I shouldn’t be keeping you. I hope you won’t have any problems with your bags at home?”

“No, my boyfriend can carry them in. Thank you.”

Behind the wheel of his car, the vampire waved and watched as the woman stood by the trunk of her car until he left the parking lot. She hadn’t known who, or what, he was, but her body had. When he'd touched her bruises, her blood responded by rushing to the surface and he could feel the hot liquid effervescing beneath her skin. The trembling of her blood to be taken again by the vampire’s kiss.

“Damn.” He pounded the dashboard. There was another vampire. In his territory. And he was sure he knew who it was.

“I thought I’d seen the last of you over two hundred years ago, Francesco Volierre.”

Nervous tension crawled along the vampire’s clenched fingers and up to his temples. His mind began to throb with forgotten memories. He had made a mistake. Yes, he could admit that now after all these years. He had wronged Francesco. The man had every right to seek him out.

But why now? Why had he waited so long?

***

Scarlet pulled the hairbrush through her gleaming hair, pulling the nylon bristles to the ends and watching dreamily as the long strands floated to her shoulders. Her thoughts were on Sebastian DelaCourte. They had been all night and day since he’d kissed her. She pursed her lips, hoping to recall the sweet taste of his kiss. It had been almost twenty-four hours, and the heat was beginning to fade. She yearned for him to re-warm them for her.

She imagined his face in the mirror, his devilish smile beckoning her to surrender to him. His long straight hair, pleading for her fingers to tangle through it. And his elegance and charm, simply asking for her submission.

She wondered if she would surrender to him, let him take her into his arms and ravish her body. No, not on the first date. Though she felt sure that he was probably used to women throwing themselves at him, what with his rock n’ roll lifestyle. He probably had a different woman every night.

“Hmm.”

She decided it would be best to control her desires. Set herself apart from all the women he had most likely had. She didn’t want to appear too eager. Not that she fancied herself as a wild woman who zoomed in for the kill, but she wasn’t sure how she would act around Sebastian. Not after the way he had made her feel last night.

Casper pounced onto the vanity, disheveling the various ribbons and sprays nestled among the silver brushes and glass perfume bottles, casting Sebastian’s tempting image from her thoughts.

“Casper, not now, go play.”

Annoyed, Scarlet shooed the cat away with a flick of her wrist and then crossed the room. She picked through her closet in search of the perfect dress. Something that would make her stand out from the rest of the women.

“This one will do the trick.”

Cool red silk slipped over her body, clinging to her breasts and hips and stopping just above her knees in a flourish of teasing white ruffles. She shimmied in front of the mirror, enjoying the sexy slide of the material over his skin and hoping that Sebastian would also notice. A pair of red snakeskin heels added the finishing touch and she headed downstairs to wait.

The living room echoed with a soft, sensuous melody. Guitar and voice interwove in a tender love song. Gary played, while Vince sang, his voice liquid silver. They were working on a new ballad. According to Gary, all they needed were a few more songs for their album.

Scarlet quietly took a chair next to the duo, settling into the thick cushions to enjoy this rare chance to listen to her brother’s music without having to pay for a ticket.

Gary winked, not losing his place or concentration. Vince sang promises of undying love and devotion, his eyes closed to the world, as if he drew on all his inner emotions to give the song the life it deserved. When Gary joined in on the chorus, the two harmonized like angels.

The doorbell rang, shattering Vince’s intense concentration and jolting Scarlet to her feet.

He's here, oh God, he's already here
.

Vince cast Scarlet a long, lustful stare as she walked past him. “Let’s call it quits for today.” He slouched back into the sofa. “I’m tired.”

“So am I,” Gary added. “We’ve pretty much got the lyrics the way we want anyway.”

“I think it’s more like too much partying,” Scarlet said with a laugh as she headed toward the door. Her stomach fluttered with nerves, a feeling she hadn’t felt for a long time. This time the man on the other side of the door was not waiting to take her on a ‘business’ date. No, this man was going to make her fantasies come true. Or at least she hoped he would.

“You’re going to let us meet your date before you leave, aren’t you, young lady?” Gary teased as he walked up behind her, crossing his arms and tilting his head forward as their father always had.

She stopped at the door and turned around, pressing her back against her hands that turned slowly on the knob. “Gary, you’ve already met Sebastian.”

“I know, but someone has to check out your dates.” He looked at Vince and they both exchanged knowing glances. He enjoyed teasing Scarlet.

She rolled her eyes and turned around.

The door opened to reveal Sebastian looking like the gypsy he was. Gold looped earrings dangled from beneath his hair, and he wore a black ruffled buccaneer shirt, opened slightly at the top to reveal a shiny silver cross. And, as always, skinny black suede jeans over worn boots.

Without a word, he took Scarlet’s hand, his eyes never leaving hers, and kissed it tenderly, arousing the simmering desire within her. “Are you ready?”

“Yes.”

Vince and Gary waved from the door as Scarlet walked to Sebastian’s black Corvette idling outside.

“Don’t keep her out too late!” Gary called as Sebastian closed the passenger door behind Scarlet.

Nervous again, Scarlet stared straight ahead, looking through the blue haze at the top of the windshield. Her heart beat triple time and she hoped that the sound wasn’t audible. She didn’t want Sebastian to think she was the least bit anxious.

A delicious scent of spice permeated the tiny car as soon as he closed his door, and the intimacy of the small enclosure made her conscious of her skimpy dress. She tugged at the ruffles above her knees, trying to tame them a little lower.

“Anything wrong?” he asked as he started the car.

“Huh? No, I’m sorry.” She flushed to see him looking so sweetly at her. And there was that devilish smile again. “Just a little nervous, I guess.”

Oh God, I really said that. Shut up, Scarlet, or he’ll think you’ve never done this before. He’s charming and sophisticated. You can’t let him think any less of you.

Sebastian smiled and shifted the car back into park. “I know what will help.” He leaned across the shift, tilted her face toward his, and kissed her softly. “Still nervous?” he wondered.

Nervous, you’ve got to be kidding, just kiss me again
.

“No. I’m fine.”

He had roused the spell again. She was hopelessly under his command.

“Good.” Sebastian drove the car out of her driveway and down the street. “I hope you won’t mind, but instead of taking you out on the town, I’ve planned a romantic dinner at my place. I live very close, only a handful of blocks away.”

“Really? I had no idea.”

She was delighted at that news but surprised she had never run into him before last night. A major musical celebrity, someone she had spent many a night fantasizing about, lived just down the road?

“Yes, and I’d prefer to spend a little time alone with you to get to know you, rather than share you with a crowd and spend the evening yelling above the noise at one another. Sound okay to you?”

She nodded that it was.
Why am I so nervous? I feel like a silly schoolgirl on a date with the football star.
She’d never been so unnerved by a man’s presence before.

They pulled into Sebastian’s driveway and the headlights fell upon his modest house. The faded yellow paint was peeling but the wood porch that stretched across the front made it homey and inviting. A surprise to Scarlet, who had thought all rock stars lived on estates with high voltage security fences surrounding the land.

Sebastian got out and swung around the front of the car, rushing to get the door for her. Hand in hand he led her into the house. Two wineglasses waited on the kitchen counter. He filled them, and then led her into the living room.

“This is a cozy place.” Scarlet surveyed the room and pressed her hand to his, concentrating more on his body heat than on the appearance of the house. “Have you lived here long? I’ve lived in the beach house two years and I don’t remember seeing your car parked outside before.”

“Actually, I have lived here for a few years, but you’ve probably never seen my car because I like to keep it inside. The rain we’ve had lately works hell on the exterior.”

“Oh, I know. Isn’t this weather incredible? It’s seems more like Washington weather than a California summer.”

Sebastian nodded and looked at the fireplace, while Scarlet clenched her fingers around the skinny stem of the crystal wineglass.
You’re talking about the weather. How much more boring can you get?

Yet she sensed his apprehension and shyness, too. Was it possible the infamous Sebastian DelaCourte, prince of rock n’ roll, was also nervous?

“I should check dinner. It’s done, I’m sure. Won’t you have a seat and make yourself comfortable?”

Alone for the moment, she settled onto the plush, blue velvet couch and breathed deeply to relax. With a long visual stroll around the room, she decided that Sebastian had a very ancient sense of style.

Old paintings of Rubenesque women hung within ornate gold frames on the fireplace wall. The huge white marble mantel hosted what appeared to be antique vases and busts of unknown people, possibly composers. What else would a musician have? His walls were covered with the same style paper that had been in the hallways at Vince’s mansion, except here it was a light periwinkle enhanced by gold motifs. He must have had someone do this for him. How could a modern-day rock star have such eccentric taste?

In the corner of the room, Sebastian had set a small table for dinner. A single candle flame danced in the center of the lace tablecloth, flickering across the silverware and refracting in a kaleidoscope of colors through the shiny crystal glasses.

Scarlet peeked into the kitchen and saw Sebastian busy over the sink. Deciding against offering to help, she sipped the wine, enjoying its smoothness as it slipped down her throat. Normally she didn’t drink, but she wanted to relax and enjoy the evening.

She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but something was still making her nervous. Maybe she’d grown so used to the arrogant attitudes of the men she had dated in the past. That must be it. Sebastian’s gentle smile and magnetic charm were a welcome change. It was certain. His charm and personality were infectious and she had caught the disease.

***

This was going well, Sebastian thought as he set the roasting pan on top of the counter. The beef was cooked to perfection, the mushrooms spread artfully across the plate. Now for the bread.

The food smelled divine, though it did not in the least tempt him. He was in much more control than he’d hoped.

He set the steaming bread pan on the counter and then stretched his arms before him, feeling his stomach muscles pull tightly from the sides. The churning caldron that lay deep inside him was strangely quiet, yet he knew already that something was not right.

BOOK: Dark Rapture
6.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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