Candles flickered through the columns. Sulpicia turned as the door opened.

He entered and extended his hand. Eerie scarlet eyes flickered over her.

"You understand why," he said.

She nodded.

Lithe fingers took hers. "And you trust me?"

"No," she said.

This startled him and caused her to smile.

"I won't hurt you," he purred.

One brow twitched. "You wouldn't be the first."

She drew him across the room. He went, intrigued. Her hands slid to the tie at her waist. He stopped her, so close she could feel the cold. Her breath caught in her throat.

"Do you always play with your food?"

He gripped her waist, his eyes flickering toward hers. "Is that what you are?"

"Isn't it?" Sulpicia ran her hand up his chest.

Aro pushed her. It was only a nudge but still knocked her onto the bed. She lay back on the pillows as he leaned over her. Scarlet eyes softened to amber. He touched the side of her face, eliciting a shiver of delight. His thumb traced her bottom lip, his fingers trailing to her throat.

"Caius says you play with your food."

He smiled. "Is that what Caius says?"

Blood pulsed in her veins, rich Grecian blood. Yet, it wasn't what he wanted. His mouth closed hers. Flickers passed through her, a jolt that didn't last long enough. It was a light, teasing caress, almost cruel as it drew back, leaving her leaning, reaching for him.

"Stop teasing me," she hissed.

One brow twitched. He turned her face away, his fingertips lingering on her mouth as he licked her throat. She shut her eyes, her teeth biting down gently on his thumb as her head tilted back.

Every emotion she had, he felt. Her every thought entered his head. All she wanted, he offered to her, save that. Igniting his passion would kill her. She was so feeble a thing, so young… so weak, breakable. One twist of his teeth and she would fall in pieces.

So he entertained her, caressed her, kissed her, felt the frantic pace of her heart against his chest, the rush of blood in her veins, the frantic need she had to be desired.

Her thoughts merged with his. I'll do it.

"It will hurt," he said.

I don't care.

Teeth sank into her. Blood flowed. Venom shot through her veins. He felt it all, every pain, every fear, every anguish. She convulsed and he held her down. Strength flowed into her, renewed strength and… annoyance.


Her first thought, as he let her up.

But, as she smiled at him, as his fingers laced with hers, as he read her mind and she moved toward him, like a queen, her head full of intriguing notions, he discovered with a shudder of delight that it wasn't her second.

Her fingers were cold as she placed them on either side of his face. So this is what it's like, to be immortal.

Every sight, each sound, magnified… transformed. She shook with desire for all of it.

Aro drew her off the bed. "Come," he said.

Bare feet followed him, her hand firmly clasped in his. Where are we going?

He smiled at her, a wicked, delighted smile.

One corner of her mouth turned up. "So you do play with your food."

The door opened. Night crept in. Shadows lengthened. With a ripple, the room emptied, and the candles blew out.