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Illusion:The Vampire Destiny Book #2

By:Alexandra Anthony

Illusion:The Vampire Destiny Book #2
Alexandra Anthony


Prologue

I could only stand by helpless as I watched Josephine collapsed in my arms, her fragile human mind overloaded with information. She had not expected to unlock her mysterious past in a house filled with vampires. I am nearly 1,000 years old and even I was amazed to discover that her father was one of the most formidable vampires in our world.
Carrying her to one of the sofas, I placed her against the overstuffed leather. Her pale copper hair fanned around her head like a halo, her long eyelashes casting a shadow over her prominent cheekbones. Unable to stop myself, I pressed my lips against hers. They were warm and pliable, soft pink and irresistible to me.
"I need you to come back to me, vackra. I just found you," I whispered against her unresponsive lips. I would sit by her for an eternity if that would bring her back to me. In desperation, I had attempted to read her thoughts. I had been frustrated to find they were blocked by a blackness that shrouded her mind.
"You love my daughter," Kian stated simply. He sat down on the arm of the sofa and clasped his hands together in his lap. My focus had been on Josephine and I had forgotten that we were not alone.
"Yes."
"I have watched you for centuries as you searched for her. Many would have given up, yet you never faltered. It is admirable," he said. His green eyes, so much like Josephine's, traveled over his daughter's face. His eyes shifted to me, a wry smile on his lips.
"She is my fated. I had no choice," I said. Reaching for her small hand, I enveloped it in my much larger grasp. Expecting to feel her squeeze my hand in response, her fingers were limp against mine. My eyes swept over her, silently musing that if not for the steady rise and fall of her chest and strum of her heartbeat, she looked like a vampire in rest.
"She is immortal, Stefan. She is also partly human. Eventually she would have stopped aging. Your blood and influence have caused her change to accelerate. She will forever be as she is now," Kian said, reaching to stroke her hair. "I could not ask for a better vampire to protect her, Stefan."
"You said she is immortal. She will not need to be turned?" A mixture of relief and happiness coursed through me at his words. If Josephine was immortal, I would not have to kill her to have an eternity with her. It silenced the questions that lingered in my mind, explaining why I had the vision of her when other humans were a blank to me.
"Stefan, she is still partly human and could still die a human death. At some point, you will have to change her. I am sorry." Kian stood and rested his hand on my shoulder for a moment. "You have been a faithful servant of the Board and Council for centuries. You will do what you think is right. When she wakes, I wish to speak with her. That is not a request."
Kian departed quietly, leaving me alone with her as she slept. Hours blended together as I sat at her side, silently willing her back to me. I spoke quietly to her, hopeful that the sound of my voice would be enough to break through the darkness of her mind.
"Stefan."
Tensing at Sofia's voice, I did not turn and acknowledge the female vampire's entrance into the room. She was an unwelcome annoyance.
"Sofia, now is not the time to provoke me. Find someone else to bother," I growled in response. She had been a willing bed mate over two centuries ago. I had not touched her since my vision of Josephine, yet she never tired of trying to convince me that she was still willing to pick up where we left off.
"Is that any way to greet me, Stefan?" Sofia purred. I could feel her eyes sweeping over my body like eager fingers.
"Explain what you were anticipating, Sofia. For me to fuck you? Hardly," I scoffed and glanced at her over my shoulder. She was beautiful with her long dark hair and black eyes; however her good looks meant nothing to me now. My words angered her and I could see her eyes darken with undisguised fury.
"Leave her and come with me. We were so good together. She is nothing but a mere human. She cannot satisfy you as I can. Don't you remember, Stefan?" Sofia's voice was a seductive whisper as she crossed the room to stand behind me. "Remember what we had …  what we can have again."
I closed my eyes, attempting to drown out her senseless chatter. The fact that she chose to approach me after my declaration in front of the Council infuriated me. Unwittingly, my mind filtered through memories of myself with Sofia. She was simply a willing body to fuck, nothing more.
"That was 250 years ago, Sofia. You were at best a meaningless fuck," I replied quietly. My eyes reopened and I reached to brush Josephine's hair back from her face, my fingertips tracing over the curve of her cheek and brushing against the swell of her full lips. All those years of anonymous bodies and forgettable mouths …  they were all insignificant in comparison to her. She was now my salvation and my reason to exist.
"Look at you, Stefan. She's making you weak." Her heavily accented voice was filled with disdain. She stepped closer and ran her fingers across my shoulders.
Gripping her hand, I rose to my feet and twisted her arm behind her back and pulled her against my chest. My fangs dropped as I angrily yanked her arm, threatening to dislocate her shoulder. She struggled weakly against me as she tried to free herself from my grasp. Leaning to whisper in her ear, my voice came out like a snarl. "You do not get to touch me anymore. I would rather be seen as weak than to ever fuck you again, Sofia."
I pushed her away and watched her stumble to her knees. She turned to face me, her fangs bared as she looked up at me.
"I'll tell your precious Josie that we fucked. How do you think she'll react to that, Stefan?"
Blurring to her side, I had her by her throat before she could react. She clawed against me as I raised her off the ground with one arm, my hand tightening around her neck. "You will do no such thing, Sofia. One more word from you and I will end you. Are we clear?"
She managed a weak nod. I continued to increase my grip, enjoying her escalating fear. It would only take one more squeeze to snap her neck. My hand constricted and I felt the tendons in her neck strain under the increasing pressure.
"Stefan!"
Josephine's whimper made me forget my anger and desire to punish Sofia. Dropping her, my focus was on Josephine. The rest of the world could wait.
She needed me.

                       
       
           



       Chapter 1  –  Say Hello to Daddy

Blackness. It kept me unaware of my surroundings, a buffer from the real world.
Awareness came back to me gradually, like slowly pulling a curtain away from the haze that had draped over my mind. Flashes of memories and impressions flashed like a slide show: startling red hair and green eyes like my own, laughter, blond hair and overwhelming anxiety.
The last thing I could recall seeing was his desperate blue eyes boring into my own. Now they taunt me as I remain locked in the darkness that holds me as its unwilling prisoner.
I could sense his presence in the back of my psyche, a constant hum that reassured me that all wasn't lost. My desire to know he was real and not a figment of my imagination forced me to fight to follow him out of the safety of my mind, back into the reality of the unknown. His lilting voice and cool touch the only thing that seemed tangible. He'd been an illusion in my dreams before, but he was real.
He had to be real. Everything hadn't been a dream. I had to find him to reassure myself that he did exist.
Breaking free from the shadows, I rubbed my hand across my eyes. Staring at the ceiling, I took a few deep breaths and reality fell over me like a bucket of ice water, making everything fall into place. It was all real. The fear, the confusion, my vampire father and Stefan.
Stefan!
Managing to pull myself up into a sitting position, my eyes darted around the room in search of him. I choked back a startled breath when I saw him. He had his long arm extended, holding Sofia by the throat, his normally handsome face twisted in rage as his large hand tightened around the female vampire's neck. Her feet dangled off the floor helplessly and her long fingernails scratched feebly at his hand as she struggled against him.
"You will do no such thing, Sofia. One more word from you and I will end you. Are we clear?" Stefan hissed, his voice filled with venom.
Sofia managed to nod as fear flickered across her beautiful features.
What had I missed after I blacked out?
"Stefan," I whimpered, my voice sounding hoarse and weak as I called out for him. I watched as Stefan's head turned slightly to focus on me, relief relaxing the harsh expression on his face. He immediately released his hold on Sofia's neck, causing her to fall in a heap on the wood floor.
He blurred to my side, crushing me to his chest in a tight embrace. I managed to wrap my arms around his neck, burying my nose against his chest. I inhaled the familiar smell of him: sandalwood and home. I wasn't sure what was going on, but I was with him. Home. Safe. Real.
"Josephine," he murmured, his breath cool against my hair. He pulled away slightly and his blue eyes swept over my face. The hands that had gripped Sofia's throat in anger moments ago were gentle as they traveled down the side of my face. He lowered his lips to press them tenderly against mine in a soft kiss. The familiar need for him ignited like a flame inside of me, my body recognizing the feel of his muscular, hard body against my own and wanting to reclaim it as mine.

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