ROMAN'S RETURN - Sample

PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES

BY ELLE POLON

Vampires Forever Series, Book 2

Prologue

This existence of never-ending years, one fading into the next, is bittersweet. More than a century of my sentence has passed, and yet I haven’t aged nor do I show any outward changes. I look exactly as I did the last time I was in the presence of Roman, my beloved. He watched helplessly as the Council sentenced me to one hundred and eight years of purgatory for an indiscretion I didn’t commit. I can’t cry tears of indignation or sorrow for my imprisonment, which only adds to my frustration. And yet every day that passes brings me one day closer to being released from this confinement, and more important, one day closer to again being with Roman. The constant thought of him is what keeps me going through each of these excruciating days and nights without him beside me. It is this dream for my future that compels me to face each new hour with determination.

You might wonder how it is that I can be so confident that Roman waits for me as I do for him. My answer is simple. He comes as close to me as he can every day without fail to demonstrate that his love for me remains steadfast and true. I watch him from the windows in the tower of this, my elegant prison, from which I’m not permitted to leave, even if just to walk the grounds outside the door.

Each day for more than a century he has appeared outside the gates where I can see him and am certain he can observe me, as well. I press my hand to the windowpane but can’t feel its warmth in the summer or its chill when snow blankets the ground. And yet I swear I can feel his palm stretching out to meet mine despite the distance between us. He doesn’t stay long, for that would draw attention to him, and that’s one of the worst transgressions to be made in our existence. So he lingers as much as he can before he drifts off to places I can only dream of. But like the ocean tides, he faithfully returns to me every day that I’m held here.

My Master, Haedyn, who is now your Master, as well, is kind and needn’t be feared as long as you strictly adhere to our rules. He has never asked of me anything I wouldn’t do willingly, with the exception of one request. On many occasions over the past century, he has wanted me to participate in the consumption of human blood. You will soon come to realize that it is only when our Masters share this vital essence with us that we’re able to feel any physical sensations. Haedyn is a good Master who thinks of the needs of his servants and regularly provides human blood to all those in his service. However, I have always refused to indulge in this pleasure. I don’t wish to feel any more than I already do, for my existence is almost unbearable as it is without Roman by my side. With human blood coursing through my veins, I know my emotions will become unleashed, my physical desires will stir, my unshed tears will fall, and I’m truly afraid of how I might respond in such circumstances. And so, when Haedyn beckons me close to impart this life essence to me, I always politely refuse. And he, thankfully, doesn’t force the matter.

But you don’t need to lead the same solitary existence I’ve chosen. For this manor is filled with many servants who will be good company for you. With them you might find camaraderie, perhaps friendship, someone to share physical pleasures with, and maybe even something deeper. I have witnessed such relationships flourish in this very household. So, you see, our future doesn’t have to be bleak and solitary. There is potential to be happy and fulfilled when one is indentured to a Master who is as benevolent as Haedyn is. I hope to have this again once Roman and I are reunited. For now I would be pleased to show you around your new home and introduce you to the others. I believe you and I will become friends, for I already sense a strange connection between us that draws me to you. And if you wish to hear more about me and my story, I still have several years left in my sentence during which we can become better acquainted. My time in the tower today is done, so come with me now and we shall begin your process of initiation into our culture.

ONE

As my new acquaintance and I make our way downstairs to the main salon, I see Haedyn in the foyer, adjusting his collar in the gilded mirror hanging on the wall. He truly is a decent Master who is concerned for the welfare of his servants and has never demanded anything of us that would be considered cruel or demeaning.

“Hello, Amy,” Haedyn says as we approach. “I see you’ve met Caleb, our newest addition.”

“Yes, Master. I was just bringing him downstairs to introduce him to the others and explain in greater detail the rules he must abide by as one of us.”

“Thank you, Amy. I know I can always depend on you to help acclimatize our new members.”

Then Haedyn turns his attention to the individual I now know is named Caleb. “It’s been a while since your transformation, Caleb. Are you managing all right? I know the first days can be difficult.”

Caleb peers directly into Haedyn’s silver eyes, which are identical in color at this moment to Caleb’s own, although I don’t think he realizes this yet. The responsibility to make him comprehend his new state and position will rest with me. In this regard I know that Haedyn values my ability to help newcomers in our household to adjust to their new existence.

I take a moment to assess Caleb’s physical appearance. In human years he’s probably only slightly older than I was at age eighteen when Roman transformed me. He has long hair in an unusual style I’ve never seen before. It has many thick strands coiled into long, twisted ringlets. Caleb is tall and muscular with a broad chest and torso that narrows into his hips. His finely shaped features are pleasing to the eye, and I’m sure that when he was alive he must have captured the interest of numerous eligible young women. I hope he hasn’t left someone behind who loves him deeply in the human world. I know from my own experience how devastating it will be for both of them if that’s the case.

His clothing is like nothing I’ve ever seen up close. However, when I gaze out of the windows from the tower to watch for Roman, I’ve witnessed theses changes in fashion. My mother, before her death, was a gifted seamstress, and she passed much of her knowledge on to me. I wonder if I’d be able to reproduce this type of clothing if Haedyn provided me with the proper materials.

Caleb responds to Haedyn in a lighthearted voice. “Did you say days?” He shakes his head in disbelief. “I’m feeling pretty disoriented, to tell the truth. I don’t remember how I got here or what happened. I just know that I woke up, started wandering around this huge mausoleum, and ran into this person —” he indicates me “— who’s talked to me nonstop since I found her. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. She’s the most beautiful girl I’ve seen in a long time.” He looks at me and winks.

“Anyway, I can’t seem to locate my cellphone. I guess it fell out of my pocket at some point. Man, I really must have had too much to drink. So if you could just let me borrow one of yours, I’ll call a cab and be on my way.”

Haedyn smiles at me knowingly. This poor soul has no idea what’s happened to him. When I explain things to him fully, I’m quite certain he won’t understand at first, but when he does, I know he won’t be happy, either. He appears to have a carefree spirit that won’t likely lend itself to an existence of servitude for eternity.

“So,” says Caleb with a mischievous grin cast at me, “do you want to head out with me? Maybe grab a bite? Or a coffee? Latte? Whatever you want, as long as we can spend some time together. I live by the university, an easy walk to school, you know? I have no idea where we are now, but I do know this great little café we could hang out in for a while. What do you say? Are you up for that?”

I’m not used to people speaking in this manner. And what exactly is a latte? But I know I have a lot of explaining to do and I want to please Haedyn, since he’s always so kind to me. So I reply to Caleb, “I’d certainly like to get to know you better. How about if we have tea in the library? Would that suit you?”

“Long Island Ice Tea?”

I glance at Haedyn for assistance. “Whatever you want, Caleb,” he says. “Amy can ask one of our kitchen staff to get it for you. Why don’t you meet Amy in the library and she can get your beverage organized? Just go down the hall. It’s the third door on your left.”

“Cool!” Caleb saunters off with a spring in his step.

“Master, I’m guessing he hasn’t been informed of anything yet? Am I correct?”

“Yes, Amy, but I want you to know that I brought him here specifically for you.”

“What do you mean, specifically for me?”

You’re a loyal and humble servant, Amy. You do everything I ask of you and yet you don’t ever ask for anything in return.”

“That’s not my place. I understand the rules of my existence and my status in this world. I’m in no position to ask you for anything, but in any event, there’s nothing you could give to me that I want. At least not yet.”

“Amy, I know you’re waiting to be reunited with Roman and that you want me to release you to him when these final years of your confinement come to an end. But even at the end of your purgatory I don’t know what conditions the Council might impose on you. Thanos might not want me to release you to Roman’s service, and even if he consents to that, I don’t think he’ll ever allow you to become a Master.”

“I don’t care if I’m a servant forever. As long as I can be with Roman, that’s all that matters. And I know what you’ve told me about the Council and that I might not be permitted to join Roman’s household again. But once I’m released at least I’ll be able to see him, won’t I? They wouldn’t forbid me that, would they?”

“Amy, over the past decades I’ve come to learn that you’re honest and faithful. I still don’t know how to explain the circumstances that led you to my care, but I can assure you I will do what I can to help you. But, Amy, please understand that I can’t make any guarantees. I would feel so much better if you made some alternate plans. And I’m hoping that perhaps Caleb might be just the one to show you that you have other options. You don’t need to pine for Roman anymore. You don’t need to deny yourself physical pleasures. You can form a new relationship, perhaps even a loving one, with someone who will provide you with a less … troublesome future.”

“But, Haedyn, I don’t want any other future. As long as Roman still wants me, I’m his. Every day I go to the windows in the tower, and you know he always comes to me. He’s never let me down, not even once in all these years. I won’t consider any other path than that which takes me back to him. Unless, of course, he decides he no longer desires me. But there’s only six years left in my confinement. He’s waited this long, so I can’t imagine his intentions would change now. I’m certain he still loves me and that he, too, is counting down the days until we can be together again.”

Haedyn places his palm under my chin, and though I can’t feel his touch, I’m certain of his care and concern for my well-being.

“Amy, I don’t know what your future will bring, but I’m concerned that any plans that involve Roman might be met with resistance from the Council. Go talk to Caleb. In human years he’s about your age. He’s handsome, and I think he’ll be good company for you. At least keep an open mind. If nothing else, he might help distract you and allow the days to pass more quickly for you.”

“Haedyn, I’ll train him as I’ve done for all the others you’ve brought to me. But please don’t think he’ll dissuade me from still wanting to be with Roman. I do appreciate that you’re concerned for my future, and I thank you for thinking about my happiness.”

“Amy, you deserve to be happy. Now go to Caleb and let’s see what a new day will bring.”

I smile at Haedyn and start to walk toward the kitchen to see about this drink called a Long Island Ice Tea. As I begin my retreat from Haedyn, I hear him mutter quietly to himself, “It looks as if I’ll have to proceed with my other plan …”

And I wonder what he means.

 

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