ROMAN'S EMPIRE - Sample

PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES

BY ELLE POLON

Vampires Forever Series, Book 1

Chapter Four

For the next several weeks Roman treated me as if I were a beloved niece or sister. I would have said that he even considered me as a precious daughter except for the fact that his young age and handsomeness prevented me from viewing him as a father figure. He bought me lovely clothes made of the finest linens, velvets, and satins and made sure my favorite foods were prepared and served. When he learned of my sewing abilities, he asked me to make him something so that he could admire my skill. At his request I made him a monogrammed handkerchief with his name embroidered in gold thread. He wore that handkerchief each day so that I could see that he wore it close to his heart and know he was my protector, benefactor, and savior.

I didn’t want for anything and was given things before I even knew I desired them. There were several servants who passed by me wordlessly each day to clean my room, deliver clean basins of water, wash my clothes, and cook my meals. All of Roman’s servants must have been instructed not to engage in conversations with me, for they all remained silent in my presence. And strangely, none of them looked me in the eye. Whenever they were in my presence, they kept their eyes hidden and downcast.

For company I had many books that I luxuriated in reading. I had fabrics to sew if I wished. And I had Roman. So the days passed peacefully. I never left the house, for I had no reason to do so. The few times I asked Roman if I might go for a walk, he distracted me with other tasks, and more important, his company, and I soon forget I had ever asked to leave. He was attentive and kind and made me feel as if I was special to him. We spent most of my waking hours together in blissful contentment. I never felt awkward or tongue-tied in his presence, for he had a persuasive way of coaxing me to share my feelings and ideas. He made me feel clever and wanted, which was something I had yearned for as an orphan who had essentially lost all of her family. Ever so gently, without my awareness, he eased me into a state of anticipation whenever I thought about him. Eagerly, I waited for his morning greetings to begin my day in his presence. When I wasn’t with him, I couldn’t get his image out of my mind. Initially, my thoughts of him were like those of an awed schoolgirl seeking the approval of a respected teacher. I daydreamed about conversations I wanted to have with him, which all ended with Roman praising my intellect, and I sought his approval and attention, with my only objective each morning being to please him.

As the weeks flowed one into the next, I discovered that my thoughts of Roman began to change. Instead of imagining stimulating conversations, I started to visualize Roman romantically. Whenever I caught a glimpse of him rounding a corner or coming down the hallway, I blushed at the indecency of my thoughts. What did I know of romance? I had never so much as been on a date with a man. Before Roman I had never even been alone with a man, other than in my immediate family. I stared at his hands with their beautiful, long, tapered fingers and imagined him stroking me intimately, the way a husband would touch his wife. I gazed into his eyes and got lost in fantasies of sharing a future together. And my eyes lingered on his lips as I trembled with desire at the thought of him kissing me with tenderness and love.

In retrospect I should have questioned the fact that Roman never touched me in any way. He never held my hand, touched my elbow, or patted my head. Nothing. After that first encounter the night we met, when he stroked me with his gloved hand, he never laid a finger on me. But perhaps he did that on purpose to let my feelings for him grow in strength. And I now like to think that at the time perhaps he was adjusting to his growing attachment to me. He never asked me about my feelings for him, but I was certain he knew. Every fiber of my body reached out for him. I tried to maneuver myself to be physically close to him and silently encouraged him to take our relationship to a more intimate level. Blushing in his presence, I touched the sleeve of his shirt, and when I felt very bold, I sometimes placed my hand on his leg for the briefest of moments. Once, I even pretended to flick lint off his collar, and for an instant my fingers brushed against his skin. His skin felt smooth, yet so cold, as if he was made of the most precious and flawless marble. He must have known. And yet he never did anything to either encourage or discourage me. He continued to endear himself to me, and soon, my only thoughts were of him.

After a few more weeks passed, my dreams became more unsettling and more vivid than before. The dreams were always the same, and Roman was always the focal point. In them he approached me with gentleness and reached out his open arms to me. I ran into his embrace, expecting to feel warmth and tenderness, but once I was in his grip, I was enveloped by darkness and cold. When I huddled closer to him for protection, he murmured to me not to be afraid, but then I experienced pain, which was sometimes fleeting and other times more intense. As soon as I awakened, I was shivering and scared, with small cuts in different places on my body that I supposed I had self-inflicted during these strange nocturnal visions.

After having these dreams each night for an entire week, I decided to confide in Roman. He listened attentively and then promised he would stay with me that night. I asked him what he thought was the meaning of my dreams, and he replied, “Amy, it’s my greatest wish that your life and my existence will soon be entwined forever. Don’t be afraid. Trust me and all your desires will come to fruition.”

I left Roman then to get ready for bed, safe in the knowledge he would come to me and protect me as he had been doing now for so many weeks. Putting on a gauzy nightdress so fine you could see through its white transparency, I left the buttons at my throat undone, and in a state of wantonness I had never known before, wore nothing else underneath. I hoped I would be able to entice him to see me as a woman who longed for his affection and wished with my full heart and soul he would desire me as I did him. And I repeated the words he had just spoken to me as encouragement for what was to come between us.

Although my desire for a future with Roman was fulfilled that night, I paid for that relationship with my life. However, I would make that same choice a hundred times over and never regret it. For that was the only way I could be with Roman, and without him, my life as a human would have been empty and meaningless. Life was a small price to pay for unconditional, everlasting love.

The minutes passed quickly as I waited for Roman. I thought about huddling under my blankets as a child would do but decided I needed to take a riskier approach. I wanted Roman, and it was time for me to show him just how much, so I stood before the bed with a lamp providing little light, just enough for him to take in my appearance fully. The door opened and there stood Roman. My breath caught in my throat, for he looked like a god. My breathing became ragged and my pupils dilated with unhidden desire. Roman gazed at me intently, and my lips parted slightly with anticipation as well as hope that he wouldn’t reject me.

“Come to me, Amy,” he said.

And so I rushed into his arms and buried myself in his embrace, feeling his hands stroke my back through the thin material of my nightgown.

He lowered his head to rest on top of mine and murmured into my hair, “My beautiful Amy. I’ve been watching you closely these weeks while you’ve been staying with me. I’ve been trying to envision a future with you, for I needed to be certain before deciding what to do with you. But I’m ready now, for I know you’re the one. But I can’t make this decision for you and you must be fully informed before you choose your future path. Now is the time for you to begin a new existence. But there are different options you’ll have to choose from. You must look deep within your heart, but you must also think rationally about what it is you truly desire. For once you make your decision, there will be no turning back. Will you agree to listen to what I have to say with an open mind? Do you trust me?”

“With my life, Roman,” I replied. I didn’t, of course, realize that was to be given a literal interpretation.

He sighed with pleasure and then effortlessly picked me up and pressed my body against his chest. Silently, he carried me to a place I had never been before — his own bedchamber. When I saw the massive bed in the middle of the room piled high with pillows and blankets in the deepest blood-red color, I didn’t think twice about what I was about to do. I felt no hesitancy, no uncertainty, nothing but eager anticipation and a desire to give myself wholly to this man. Despite the fact that I had no experience at all with men, and without any thought to the fact that I had never lain with a man before, I welcomed what was to come.

Roman knew of my desire. He could see it in my face and feel it in my body. He gently lowered me so that I stood on the floor in front of him, then placed his hands on my shoulders. My skin ignited with his touch, even though his hands felt as cold as ice. I shivered as the coldness penetrated my body and caused goose bumps to appear on my arms.

“Amy,” he purred, “come sit with me now. I know your desires and promise you have nothing to fear. I won’t do anything without your consent. But don’t let your physical desires overwhelm you. You must be clearheaded to hear what I have to offer.”

I stared up into his eyes, and my gaze was met with love. Roman loved me, of that I had no doubt. His beautiful silver eyes reflected back my own desire, and his sensuous, knowing smile gave me certainty that he wanted me as much as I wanted him. He cradled my hand in his own and led me to a plush velvet chair adjacent to his bed. As I sat in the warm luxury of the fabric, a sharp disappointment pierced my heart. I didn’t want to be in the chair. I wanted to be in Roman’s bed. He knelt before me, and my heart raced with the hope that he was about to propose marriage. I would soon learn that he couldn’t offer me a betrothal but would willingly give me everything within his power. He glanced up at me and gauged my readiness to listen. When he was satisfied he had my undivided attention, he said, “Amy, let me ask you something. What do you envision for your future? What is it that you want?”

I didn’t hesitate, for I knew exactly what I hoped for myself. “I want what my parents had — undying love for each other, true devotion, commitment, and companionship. My father died of a broken heart after my mother’s death. They loved each other completely until they were parted by death — just as their wedding vows stated. That’s what I want for myself.”

“And what about children, Amy? Your parents had a family together. Do you wish that, too?”

“I would love to have a child with the man I love. A baby would be a part of both of us and would symbolize our love.”

“And what if the man you loved couldn’t give you a child?”

“Then I would rejoice every day in the fact that I was with the man I love. If we decided together that we wanted children, we could look to adoption.”

“And what if adoption was out of the question? Could you be happy with just the man and not the family?”

“If it was the right man, then I wouldn’t care.”

“Oh, Amy,” Roman sighed. “You’re so young. Perhaps one day you’ll live to regret such a choice. I can’t ever give you a family. If you choose me, you’ll only get me. There will never be any children. But, Amy, I could set you up in any town that you wish and give you all the money you could ever need to live well. And you could find a man to share your life with, a man who would love and cherish you and be able to give you a family. I would help you find your true love, if you’d let me.”

“But what if I’ve already found him?” I whispered. Then I boldly leaned forward and placed my lips softly against his.

Roman moaned and then gently pushed me back. “Amy, you don’t fully understand yet. Before you commit yourself to me, listen to my story. Please.”

I nodded, and he began to speak words I could never have imagined.

“Amy, I’ve been searching for so many years to find my chosen one. You’re so sweet, so beautiful. You never ask me for anything and you rejoice simply to be in my company. I derive such pleasure every moment I’m with you. Your kindness and your goodness transcend every action you do. You light up my world, which has been so dark and dismal. I want more than anything to spend the rest of eternity with you. And so I’ll share with you my secrets. And I’ll offer you everything I have within my power to give. And once you hear me out, you’ll have to choose your future life. I’ve already offered you the path that will set you free, and now I’ll tell you the choice that will bind you to me potentially for all time. Do you understand?”

Truthfully, at that moment, I didn’t understand, but I felt as if I had triumphed in the most important victory of my life. He trusted me enough to confide in me. Our intimacy wouldn’t just be physical, but we would also have emotional bonds. His intentions were clear. He wanted to share his life with me, and at that moment there was nothing I wanted more.

Roman gazed deeply into my eyes and then began his tale — the story that would join me to him and to his existence for the rest of time.

“I was once the only child of wealthy parents. I had every blessing life could offer. I was rich. I was intelligent. I was handsome and sought after as a prospective groom for many eligible, beautiful women. I had so many wonderful possibilities to think of for my future. And then she saw me. Her name was Sarah, and she, too, was beautiful. She lured me out of my bed, out of the security and comfort of my parents’ house one night, and took me to her bedchamber where she did to me what I might do to you tonight. She transformed me, took away my human life, and brought me into a new existence. After my transformation, she made me serve her every whim for many long years. And after that first night she never again showed me any kindness and never allowed me to indulge in human sensations.

“I suffered for countless decades as her servant before another, Maximilian, rescued me from my position and made me a Master. And, until I met you, I admit I indulged in human pleasure as often as I wished. I craved it. I needed it. I still do, as will you if you choose this way. But I’ve come to realize that it’s not enough. I don’t want to spend eternity alone. I’ve been looking for so long for the one to share my existence with. Amy, I’ve been watching you for many weeks, and you’re everything I want. Tonight, if you agree, we shall fulfill each other’s desires. For you see, if you consent, your existence will change forever.

“At first you’ll need to be my servant, but that would only be temporary. We would start the process to make you my equal right away. I would hope that soon your status would be elevated to mine and that we’d choose to be together forever. But, Amy, I must also caution you. I can make no guarantees about your future as my equal, for that decision isn’t mine alone to make. There’s a process outside my control. But I will promise you that I’ll do everything I can to have your status change approved as quickly as possible.

“We can’t progress without your transformation, but I’ll also never lie to you. I can’t make premature promises to you. And, perhaps even more important, Amy, you must understand that in your new existence there will be strict rules that I didn’t create and can’t alter. If you break any of the rules, I won’t be able to protect you and you’ll feel the wrath of the Council. You’ll have to be segregated from the outside world. You’ll never see your brothers or sister again. Do you still want to pursue this relationship, Amy? Do you want to give up your life, your world, your siblings, your dreams of a family, just to be with me?”

“Yes,” I answered without hesitation.

“Think for a moment, Amy. Consider what you’re saying before you choose.”

And so I thought. Roman’s words ran through my brain, but I couldn’t entirely process what he was saying. I didn’t fully comprehend what he was telling me. The elements of his story didn’t quite fit together, but I didn’t care. I would have promised him anything at that moment, simply to have him. Love and desire in equal proportions coursed through my veins and overpowered any sense of rationality. All I wanted was him. I figured I could later piece together all of these details. But at that instant my only thought was to cement my relationship with Roman in any way possible and to finally feel his touch upon my skin. Roman was the only man who had ever made me feel beautiful and special, and I longed for his kisses to reassure me of my own worth. I knew with my whole being that I loved this man and would willingly give up everything to be with him. So without any further resistance, I nodded in assent.

Roman smiled at me with a wondrous expression on his handsome face and whispered, “You’re choosing me? Oh, my darling beautiful Amy, are you truly sure? Is this what you want?”

“You’re what I want, Roman. You and nothing else. My world would be empty without you. I choose you.”

“Then let our journey together begin,” he whispered softly.

 

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Paranormal Romance Series

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