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Chapter 1

There was one rule his kind honoured above all others: an owned human must never be touched by a vampire other than their master.

Every vampire knew that to lay a hand on a bonded human out of desire or feed from their vein caused them immeasurable pain and suffering, and that their master would know of it and would come to act out the penalty.

Death to the vampire who had broken the sacred law.

Death was not something that Javier was looking for but knowledge that it awaited him should he break the law hadn’t stopped the fierce heat of desire from gripping him the moment she had arrived at the London theatre two years ago, sent to work by her master. Javier had been telling himself to forget her ever since. In the time that she had been in the service of the theatre, he had been unable to escape the torment of her presence. The simplest task had become agonizing for him. Giving her orders for the night with the other staff was torture he couldn’t endure. Two years and his need for her had only grown worse. His desire had gone from a liquid fire that threatened to make him step out of line if he were in her presence for more than a minute to a crushing need to kiss her whenever he heard the soft melody of her voice in the distance.

It was unbearable.

But bear it he would.

There was no alternative. Her owner was one of the richest of Vampirerotique’s patrons and his business partners would stake him if he lost the man’s much needed money. That was, if the man didn’t kill him first. Lord Ashville was an aristocrat, a pureblood vampire, and almost three times Javier’s age and strength. As only an elite, Javier couldn’t contend with him. His death would be swift and brutal, and by law he wasn’t even allowed to defend himself. If he dared to touch her, to act out his dark urges and needs with the human female, he would have to quietly accept the consequences.

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