Katia Dobre cried out as the chained cuff enclosed her wrist. She kicked out at Serle. "What are you doing to me?" she screamed.
Serle backed away. "You must be quieter. The prince does not like the women to fight him. If you do not stop this, I will have to drug you again and he will like that even less."
Vasili watched from the shadows across the room. Though Serle spoke in a hushed whisper, he could still hear him. Firelight from the massive hearth centered on one wall flickered over Katia, but excluded the corner where he sat by his bed from any illumination.
He'd left for home immediately after making his choice, going on foot as he moved much, much faster than Serle or any human. He had left the carriage for his man to bring Katia in. He found it easier on himself if he were not there when Serle used the potion to render the woman of his choice unconscious to bring them here. This time, Serle's potion had not worked quite as well. Katia had woken as the first cuff closed around her wrist and quickly came to her feet to fend off the man.
"That will be all, Serle," Vasili said. Katia's pulse leapt in response to his voice, he heard it, and Vasili closed his eyes, breathing in her scent. He had every assurance he had made the right choice in that moment. It was rare he ever needed to chain or bind a woman anymore, but he instinctually knew with Katia it would be everything necessary. He usually found his women quite willing after a few touches.
Katia was different.
She intrigued him.
She would be a challenge.
As Serle left the room, Katia jerked on the chains, rattling them. "I know it is you, Prince Vasili," she called across the chamber. She stopped her futile efforts and glared in his direction. "You are a much worse monster than I first thought!"
Vasili chuckled, raking her body with his dark stare. He fingered his chin as he watched her. Her breasts heaved in her anger. He found it odd that she was angrier with him more than she was afraid. They were always afraid at first, until he showed them he would not harm them.
His intrigue for her stirred his passion and Vasili felt himself begin to swell. As Katia was not afraid of him, perhaps this might allow him to go further with her than he usually did the others.
Vasili gained his feet and was at her back in an instant, his lips on her neck. Katia jumped, gasping.
"How did you do that?" she asked, trying to face him. The chains held her in place, affixed to two walls at the corner of the room.
"I possess certain strengths most men do not, Katia."
"What do you mean?" she asked.
Vasili trailed the top of her bare shoulder with the pad of his thumb up to her ear and back down. She flinched from him, watching him intently. "All in good time," he said low, near her ear.
"Stop that," she said.
He smiled, looking down her back at those pearl buttons that had so bothered him with their presence before. Her blood rushed, her skin a little hotter with his nearness.
"I do not intend to stop." Vasili dipped his head to the crook of her neck and nipped her with his teeth. He drew back sucking in a hissed breath, his fangs protruding at the taste of her. He stayed well behind Katia where she could not see as he fought back his desires, tamping them down into submission.
That was the first thing he had taught himself: To own the beast driving him from within. He might be a monster, but he would never let the beast control him.
He took blood only when he wanted to take it.
It was the only way.
Vasili reached into Katia's hair and removed a single pin. He stepped closer, inhaling her. She intoxicated him.
"Prince Vasili, what do you mean to do to me?" she asked quietly.
He stopped. "Isn't it obvious?"
"You . . ." A pinch of hysteria entered her tone. "You mean to rape me?"
Now it was his turn to scoff at her. Upon reflection, he had not liked being scoffed at earlier. "No," he said flatly, and began to circle around to her front. He stood back just a step, so she might see him clearly. She still met his stare, not cowed in the least.
Vasili reached for her pert chin at lifted it. "By the time I take you, you will be very much compliant."
She arched a brow at him. "So sure of yourself, aren’t you?" She scoffed, jerking from his grip and looking across the room.
Vasili's pleasure fell a notch. "Do not make that sound again," he said.
Her wide stare returned to his and she scoffed once more. "What? That sound?"
His jaw set in a hard line and he tilted her chin up again. "That sound."
"I do not understand why you chose me for this. Why not my sister? She is prettier and she would have fallen into your hands like clay. Tamara would have let you cast her whichever way you wanted." Katia paused. "Not that I would wish this on her. It is just that she is the more preferable when it comes to the attention of gentlemen."
Vasili chuckled. "I assure you, the choices of those men are not based on your beauty. It is your sharp tongue that deters them. You nearly had me fooled, too, but I did not wish to have someone so easy to be had. Not tonight."
She arched a brow again. "Then I am not the first to be brought here?"
Vasili snorted at that. "Certainly not."
She regarded him with fury.
Vasili stepped in again, cupping her cheek. He rubbed his thumb alongside her face. "It is not my wish to break you. I admire your spirit. It is what drew me to you. I wanted to know what exists beneath the façade you wear. You wish to learn? Let me educate you on the passion there is to be had between a man and a woman."
She tried to pull back. "I do not wish to be your whore."
"I will not make you my whore," he said, reaching for her hair.
Her eyes narrowed as she watched him pull another pin from her head, the strand it had held cascading down to dangle over her breast and Vasili casually tossed the pin over his shoulder, his stare traveling down the lock, to her breasts, and back up.
She gaped, staring after the pin, but he tilted her chin with a finger, returning her attention to him. When he was satisfied that her concentration was again on him, Vasili slowly circled her, returning to her back. He kissed her neck tenderly and reached around to fill his hand with her breast. He gave her a squeeze and Katia gasped. In the faintest bit, her neck rolled to the side for him and Vasili chuckled darkly. Her skin fevered under his touch.
As much as Katia might like to deny him, her body betrayed her.
Desire thrummed through her, coursing in her veins.
Katia might not be so hard to tame as he thought. Her blood pulsed hard, and what thrilled him more, it was all from his touch. He would show her pleasure she had never dreamed of before.
Vasili pulled the last pin from her hair and wound his fingers in her tresses, pulling her head back. He sealed his lips over hers then, kissing her hard. "I want you, Katia. I will have you," he said against her lips.
"No," she whispered back.
Vasili dipped under her arm, returning to her front. He stooped to pull a small dagger from his boot, causing Katia to shrink back as much as the chains would allow. He came forward and pulled her into him with one arm and with the knife in his other hand, drew it up her back. The sound of the pearls clanking to the stone floor filled the massive room.
Katia gaped at him in horror, but Vasili smiled down on her triumphantly and made quick work of removing the rest of her bodice.
"You are an animal," she spat.
"You have no idea," he murmured, taking the top of her skirts in hand and ripping them down the middle.
Katia shrieked, looking down on herself in her silk shift. They both knew there was little else beneath. Vasili tossed his dagger behind him where it embedded into the wall with a thunk.
Katia looked over his shoulder at it and then back to him.
"How did you rip through all that material?" Katia looked down at the pile around her feet. So absent was her voice, it was almost as though she had not known she'd spoken.
"I told you, I have strengths other men do not possess."
Her stare returned to him. "What are you?" she asked. Vasili circled her again, kicking the torn clothing out of his path. "I told you I have read our histories. Tell me you are not what I think you are."
"I am not what you think I am." Vasili drew his fingers around her slender waist. He sucked in a hissed breath at the feel of the curls at the juncture of her legs, beneath the shift. In a burst of need, he rent the sleeve on one side and tasted her skin there, and inhumanly quickly, he did the same at the other side. He was back in front of her before Katia could blink. Vasili pushed the garment down, exposing her breasts and the rest of her body fully. He delighted in seeing her as the shift slunk to the floor around her feet. Her white stockings were tied up with green ribbons matching the gown she had worn.
--------------------------An excerpt from Under the Harvest Moon-Castle de Sânge-------------------------