Home > Love Bites (Vampire Kisses #7)

Love Bites (Vampire Kisses #7)
Author: Ellen Schreiber

Chapter 1 Ghoulish Guest

It was a deadly kissthe kind of kiss that stole my breath, forced my heart into overdrive, left me hopelessly weakened and desperately gasping for more. The kind of kiss where I felt as if Id die if it ever ended. I, Raven Madison, was in terminal bliss.

Alexander, my vampire boyfriend, and I were nestled together in the dusty depths of the Mansions basement, passionately clinging to each other like a broken spider-web. Id transformed the wine cellar into a ghastly haunt as a present for him. I wanted him to have an alternative macabre sanctuary when he needed a retreat from painting in his attic room.

After Alexanders parents returned to Romania, I had decided to once again give the Mansion a feminine touch. Upon moving a portrait for storage in the basement, I stumbled across something Id never seen before. Behind the staircase and toward the north wing of the house I found an arched wooden door secured with a heavy wooden beam. I had no idea what lay on the other side, and since Alexander was upstairs creating a masterpiece, I didnt want to disturb him. I paced in front of the door, deliberating whether to wait until he was finished. My impatience got the best of me, so I figured a quick peek wouldnt hurt anyone.

It took all my strength to pry open the beam, but less to open the rusty door. What lay on the other side was a dark, dusty, and chilly room. I was awestruck. The floor was made of uneven stones and the arched ceiling and narrow walls of gray bricks. Centuries-old Romanian and other European bottles were evenly stacked on dozens of wooden racks. On closer inspection, some of the bottles appeared different from the cabernets and merlots Id seen resting on the three-tiered metal rack in the Madison family kitchen.

Curious, I lifted one of the Sterlings bottles from the shelf to inspect it further when I felt an icy shadow behind me.

I gasped.

Slowly, I turned around to find Alexander standing in the doorway. I held out the bottle, which was shaking in my hand. He nodded his head, and it was then I knewthese bottles werent filled with wine. They were filled with blood.

And now, a month later, the wineor, rather, bloodcellar also housed votives, a portable DVD player, and an amorously entangled mortal and vampire. As the candelabras dripped bloodred wax, my body melted around Alexanders. He, in turn, held me in the clutches of his strong, pale arms. The cool air of the cellar only added to the chills dancing up and down my spine from Alexanders tantalizing fingers. His deep, dark eyes stared boldly into mine, his fangs gently grazing my neck. For a moment, I was tempted to pull him into meso hard he would be forced to sink his teeth into my flesh.

Then Id be a vampire. Forever. For eternity.

But as I stared back at him, I knew that that wouldnt be fair. The quiet and reclusive Alexander had already shared so much with mehis family, his nemesis, his home. He had to be ready to take me completely into his world just as much as I was ready to be taken.

While I contemplated my plunge into the Underworld, three hard knocks came from above the rustic ceiling and echoed off the  basement staircase walls. I wasnt about to end our embrace, but Alexander pulled away.

It was critical that nothing separate usnot time, homework, or an unwanted visitor.

I fingered his metal chain-link necklace and gently drew him back toward me. He leaned in for another kiss and I closed my eyes. As I waited for his lips to touch mine, three loud thumps echoed again. I opened my eyes to find Alexander gazing at the door instead of me.

Jameson, Alexanders butler, was out on the town catching a late-night flick with his girlfriend, Ruby White. It couldnt have been him. It was too late for deliveries, and no Dullsvillian in his or her right Ivy Leagueschooled mind would dare venture out to the old lonely Mansion and up its spooky driveway in the middle of the night.

Perhaps its a ghost, I teased. Begging for souls.

For a few minutes, there was silence. I was relieved.

Then, suddenly, a louder bang.

Ill only be a minute, he said, rising.

And leave me here alone? I argued.

You arent afraid, are you? I thought you felt like the Mansion was your home.

The cellar was certainly spooky, dark, and foreboding, and I was far more comforted by it than I was afraid. However, there was nothing I could do alone, and since Alexander and I were destined to be separated by the sunlight, our darkened moments together were priceless.

Me? Afraid? Only of being apart from you.

It sounded corny, something from a greeting card or a sappy TV movie, but I meant every word.

Alexander extended his hand and led me up the basement stairs and past the candelabra flickering in the hallway.

We reached the foyer, and Alexander grabbed the door handle. I took his hand before he opened it. Arent you going to look out the peephole before you answer?

Alexander glared down at me. He was, after all, a vampire. Who could be on the other end of the door that could frighten him?

The Mansion door slowly creaked open, and I waited anxiously to see who was brave enough to be standing in the shadows on the broken steps.

Candlelight streamed out from the Mansion, partially illuminating an unfamiliar figure. I craned my neck to get a better glimpse of the stranger. A handsome guy, appearing to be around Alexanders age, with wildly wiry short blond and brown dreadlocks, boot-shaped sideburns, goatee, and a thin, ashen face, stood before us. Tattoos crept out from his unbuttoned vintage white shirt, and gold earrings hung from his ears. He had a glistening gaze and an alluring smile.

Dude! Where have you been? the visitor asked enthusiastically.

Sebastian Alexander was shocked. My boyfriend was familiar with the guy I thought was a stranger. What are you doing here?

Thats what I wanted to ask you. I had to find out from your parents that you werent returning to Romania. But now I see why His gaze bore through me. Well, arent you going to introduce us?

This is Sebastian, Alexander said politely. Sebastian, this is

Raven. Sebastian took my hand in his. He wore more rings than I did and sported black polish on his bitten fingernails. He kissed my hand. I couldnt quite tell if this character was charming or just an annoying flirt.

Well, arent you going to invite me in? he asked with a wide grin.

Of course, Alexander replied, still surprised.

Alexander stepped back, but Sebastian didnt follow.

Just a minute, Sebastian said. Ill get my things.

Things? Alexander asked, his mouth hanging agape.

Sebastian had already taken off toward a vintage mint-condition 1960s black Mustang with silver racing stripes, which was parked in the Mansions drive.

Alexanderwho is? I began softly.

Alexander didnt answer. Instead, he remained focused on Sebastian.

The handsome visitor popped open the trunk and reached inside. I could see in the distance that he was pulling out a large duffel bag and setting it on the drive. He reached in again and placed another bag on the broken pavement. Then another.

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