Can't wait for Lucius to come out? Tide yourself over with a sneak peak at his book. This is the next time that he sees Ava, after Stefan and Nikolai's books. (Trigger warning - Ava's brother is physically rough with her)
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Lucius turned a corner and spotted the entrance to the great hall ahead. Before he’d taken more than a couple steps, the heavy wooden doors banged open against the thick stone walls and a woman stormed out. Laughter and revelry spilled into the hall behind her. She spun toward him, but a tall male followed her, grabbing her upper arm and yanking her to a stop.
Everything within Lucius stilled when he saw her.
Long white hair flowed freely down her slim frame to brush her hips. Her plump pink lips opened on a gasp and her eyes glittered in the candlelight. He knew her eyes were the lightest blue he’d ever seen.
Lucius had only seen her once in passing as he reported to Raynard. She and the male that now gripped her arm had argued outside of Raynard’s chambers, and the male had been rough with her, until Lucius wondered if she bore bruises under the heavy cloak she’d worn. She’d seemed so ethereal, so untouched by the darkness that day. It unsettled him.
Tonight, her arms were bared in a light, white dress that clung to curves a man dreamed of touching. Lucius scrutinized her fair skin, searching out every shadow that might be a bruise from the harsh grip holding her in place.
“You do not leave until I say.” The male leaned close, scowling as he spoke to her, punctuating his words with the jerk of her arm.
Even at a distance, Lucius’s enhanced hearing picked up the angry words. He bared his teeth and scanned the male. He had the white hair of the Nemesi and a slim, but powerful frame. He wore an embroidered navy tunic and white breeches that clung to his form. One blade at his waist, one in his boot, and likely another up his sleeve. His face was a little more angular, his mouth a bit wider than Ava’s, but the resemblance to her was undeniable. Siblings, Lucius guessed.
Ava hissed and tried to pull her arm from the male’s but he held tight. “Let me go,” she whispered.
Lucius’s muscles tensed, his body automatically reacting to the threat. He took a step toward them before he stopped himself, forced himself to relax. He didn’t know this woman. She was Nemesi, as was the male with her. He hated their kind. She had no place in his thoughts. Not now, not ever. Her bruises meant nothing to him. It was only that he hated to see a woman hurt. Some useless sense of honor that no longer served him but seemed ingrained in him anyway.
He huffed out a frustrated breath.
The male’s head snapped up and searched the corridor.
Only then did Lucius realize that he’d automatically reached for the shadows and pulled them closer, wrapping him in darkness. A habit to avoid the harsh, hateful stares of the Nemesi.
Ava took advantage of the distraction and pulled out of the male’s grasp.
“I’m going to my room, Orin,” she whispered, then spun and hurried Lucius’s direction.
The male glowered after her, then stomped back into the great hall.
Lucius watched him go, then turned his focus back to Ava, only to realize two things. She was faster than he’d thought and she didn’t see him standing in the shadows. A moment later, she collided with him.
Lucius wrapped his arms around her, instinctively cradling her from the impact. She gasped and her inhale pushed her breasts against his chest. Heat flooded him, blasting through the emptiness in his chest and obliterating the calm he’d felt. The silk of her hair tickled his hands at the small of her back and he pulled her a fraction closer.
Wide blue eyes stared up at him and her lips parted in surprise.
He had the mad urge to taste her lips. To breathe deep at the junction where her neck met her shoulder to see if she smelled like lilacs as she had the last time he’d seen her. Goddess, what was wrong with him? He hated the Nemesi. They cursed him, feared him, and treated him like the slave he was.
He stared at her, dreading the moment that the surprise in her eyes changed to fear or revulsion.
She pushed lightly against his chest, putting a small bit of distance between them. When their gazes met, his heart stuttered and then began to pound.
She looked at him with open curiosity and a bit of a flush tinged her cheeks.
“Pardon,” she said and pushed out of his arms. Her gaze tracked over his face, then across his shoulders and down his arms. She studied his hands, then flicked a surprised look back at him.
A moment later, she was gone.
Lucius looked down at his hands, noting brown blood stains. Of course she’d run. She would know the rumors and seeing the blood upon him would only confirm them. The next time their paths crossed, she would either fear him or curse him, like the rest of her kind. With a sigh, he continued down the hall toward Raynard’s study, and wondered again why the hell he cared.
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