- Author: Elizabeth Myles
Read book online «The Sharpest Kiss by Elizabeth Myles (the false prince .txt) 📕». Author - Elizabeth Myles
Copyright © 2019 Elizabeth Myles
Cover by Victoria Cooper
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any person or persons, living, dead, or undead, events or locales is purely coincidental.
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The Courtyard at Vintage Meadow Lake, a suburb of Houston, Texas
Nine days before Halloween
The vampire glared down at Lucy with red and glittering eyes, his fangs glinting from a self-satisfied smirk. He had a handsome face, pale as the moon shining above him, and his hair was long and lustrous, black as the midnight sky at his back. His white linen shirt gaped open, revealing what seemed like acres of gleaming muscle. He had the body of a warrior. Or a god. But it was the fangs to which Lucy’s gaze continually returned. Elongated and sharp, they made her think of jaguars and panthers, tigers and…baboons.
A crisp breeze swept by, sending a dead leaf skittering across Lucy’s shoe. Predator, she thought, hugging herself as she stared back at the vampire, but she couldn’t bring herself to look away. She stood spellbound, her feet rooted to the cobblestones, and her hands clutching at her elbows—until a familiar voice chirped in her ear and shocked her out of it.
“Hey, Luce, sorry to make you wait. You about ready to go now?”
“Oh!” Lucy jumped and turned around to find her best friend, Jessica, standing right beside her, with her sunglasses on her head and her purse slung over her arm. “Oh, um, hi, Jess. Y-yeah, I’m all set.”
Jessica paused, glancing at the vampire and then back at Lucy. Her lips curled with amusement, her blue topaz eyes beginning to twinkle. They were a beautiful contrast, those limpid eyes, to her warm brown complexion and dark hair. Lucy glanced over her friend’s perfectly balanced hourglass figure and felt dowdy standing next to her, but then again, after fifteen years of friendship, that was nothing new. “See anything you like?” It was clear Jessica meant the vampire and not herself.
Lucy felt herself blush. She adjusted her glasses. “Wh-who is that?” she asked, gesturing at the vampire. Who wasn’t a real vampire, of course, but a painting of one, printed on an enormous slab of cardboard and propped up in a bookstore window. Jessica’s romance bookstore, Book of Love, which, according to the feathery purple lettering on the door, “specialized in HEA.” Jessica had explained it meant Happily Ever After.
People love a good love story, she’d added with a wistful sigh, because in a good love story, there’s always a happy ending.
Never mind that Lucy could easily think of half a dozen classic love stories that proved her best friend wrong. She knew better than to argue with Jessica when she was adamant about something.
“That,” Jessica said, and gave the vampire a long, admiring look, “is Prince Ion Petrescu.”
“Prince Yawn?” Lucy patted her hand against her open mouth.
“Ion,” Jessica corrected, laughing. “I-O-N. He’s Romanian…or something.”
“Oh.” Lucy tilted her chin, reading the title printed above the vampire’s head. A Prince at Midnight: The Sharpest Kiss Book VI.
“The Sharpest Kiss?” She wrinkled her nose. “That doesn’t sound…very comfortable at all, now does it?”
Jessica trilled another laugh. “Well, it’s a really popular series. This one’s a sequel to A Prince Under the Moonlight, which was a huge bestseller in the U.S. last year. It’s actually not bad, either, aside from the cliffhanger ending. I cannot wait for the shipment of Midnight to show up, so I can finally figure out what happens to the Duchess Horatia Alexandrescu there. Did Ion turn her into a vampire to rescue her from falling victim to consumption, or what?” She pointed at the painting, and Lucy examined it again, this time focusing on the fiery-haired woman held fast in the circle of Ion’s massive arms. She was gorgeous, too, and appeared perfectly content in the vampire’s grip, with her delicate hand splayed against Ion’s alabaster chest, her elegant fingers digging into his bulging pectoral muscles. Lucy pictured herself in Horatia’s place, tried to imagine what it might be like to love a monster. Not so bad, maybe, judging by the adoring look on the duchess’s face.
But then Lucy’s gaze went to the sickle lying at Ion’s booted feet—his weapon for killing upstart rival vampires, she guessed—and she found herself shuddering again.
Jessica chided, “Hey, stop giving the prince the side-eye, would you? He keeps the lights on around here, and food on my table.”
“Sorry. Guess I’m just used to vampires being, you know, scary.” Like the ones Ace Van Helsing fights in the Fiends of Professor Nosferus Chronicles, Lucy added to herself. Professor Nosferus was her favorite currently-running comic book series for adults, and she couldn’t imagine wanting to get snuggly with any of the snarling, ferocious nosferatu featured in its pages.
Now, Ace Van Helsing, on the other hand…
“Oh, the prince is scary alright,” a wicked gleam entered Jessica’s irises as she waggled her eyebrows at Lucy, “in the sexiest way imaginable.”
Lucy couldn’t begin to understand what that was supposed to mean, nor was she so sure she wanted to. Without another word, she let Jessica thread her arm through hers and lead her across the courtyard to the Dos Lunas Café. They ordered sandwiches and coffee and then, because it was a sunny and mild fall afternoon, settled in at a wrought iron table on the sidewalk. As they ate and drank underneath the wide canvas umbrella spread out overhead, they discussed all the usual topics. The latest Netflix docuseries, the news, Jessica’s family, Lucy’s family, how the renovations on the bookstore were coming along…but eventually the conversation circled back to