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Bitten by the King (Virgin Blood #4)
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Loren River doesn’t understand why her father ever adopted her. All he does is keep her locked up and hidden away from what he calls his “business.” She’s spent most of her life alone and she’s desperate to make friends and have a family of her own. What’s so wrong with wanting to fall in love and become a mom? But life has its own plans for her when she gets caught between her father and a man so dark and deadly she can’t look away. Could the feelings she’s having be more than just fear? Could they possibly be desire, too?
Bishop Thorin is worried about the threat to his territory in the city. There’s a rogue vampire on the loose and it’s trying to tear apart all that he’s built. He’s got the weight of the world resting on his shoulders and he needs to fix this. But when a young redhead steps in his way, all that he thought was lost is right in front of him. Can he take away her prison just to give her another?
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I stand in the middle of my dad’s office and there’s chaos everywhere. I know the mess scattered around will make my dad crazy angry, but I don’t care.
He’ll have it cleaned immediately when he sees what the girl he locked inside here did. She looked to be my age, but I’m surrounded by vampires all the time, so I never know how old some people are. I had to stare at her for a long moment to be sure she was human. My father is a vampire and he can tell when someone is human by their scent. That’s what made him underestimate the girl in his office.
I’m kind of proud that she caused this mess either in her anger or her need to find something. I find the whole situation fascinating and I want to talk to her again. I want to ask her what’s happening and why my dad is holding her against her will. I also just want someone to talk to. That sounds pathetic when I think about it, but I can’t remember the last time I hung out with a girl my own age. I wouldn’t even know what to say.
I look down at one of the open folders at my feet and reach down to pick it up. It’s a black and white picture of a man I know all too well. I’ve only seen his photo once before, but I remember every detail. This one is different, but the feelings from before are the same. It sparks something inside me and it’s something my dad can’t take away. I keep it locked away tightly in my mind and I don’t let it out unless I can’t help it. Lately that’s more and more and it feels like he’s getting closer. Maybe it’s the dreams I’ve been having, but I sense change is coming. I might sound crazy, but I can feel it in my blood. Though is that any crazier than vampires?
The picture I’m holding now looks over a hundred years old. The other one I saw for only a second, but the man in the photo branded himself into my mind. Could it be how his eyes called to me, or was it the fact that my dad told me he was the man who killed my mother? A lot of my childhood is fuzzy, and I don’t even remember her, but that picture never leaves my mind.
That day my dad told me I was old enough to know the truth. He told me what happened and that I needed to know so I could understand why we live the way we do. I stopped asking for freedom after that because I realized he was only trying to keep me safe.
I believed every word he told me, but this new picture would mean he lied to me. I fold it in half and put it in the pocket of my dress. I don’t want it to be taken from me before I can get a better look at it.
The office door bursts open and I spin around to see my dad standing there. I know he’s just woken up because his hair’s a mess and he’s still buttoning his suit. When he went to bed for a few hours I knew it was my only chance to save the girl. The one whose words won’t leave me. A taunt I want to ignore but know I won’t be able to any longer.
“You’ve been standing next to evil this whole time and you thought you were standing in the light. This isn’t the right side of things.”
“You let her go.” I don’t answer him because he’ll know if I lie.
My dad gives me information to keep me safe from the outside world. He says he can’t lose me like he lost my mom and it always gets me to stop pushing for a world beyond these walls. But lately I’ve been thinking he says these things to scare me and to make me afraid of leaving home. I thought before we moved here we lived a pretty isolated life, but I understood why. He had to protect who he was, but now it’s beyond that because we’re surrounded by a city.
He’s always good at seeing the truth, and if I could pick one vampire trait to have, that would be it, even over immortality. I look down at the ground and I know I did the right thing, but guilt lingers because I went against the only family I have. He’s all I know, and it goes even further than that now that we’ve moved away from my old life. I barely even know the city we’re in and I’d be lost without him.
I hear him let out a deep breath and his frustration with me is clear. I’m starting to get used to it. Maybe I’m hitting those rebellious teen years I should have already had, but homeschooling kept them from coming out and now they’re making themselves known.