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A Shade Of Blood(A Shade Of Vampire Series Book 2)(1) by Bella Forrest

A cold wind howled as it whipped through the giant redwoods surrounding us. The port was in sight. The sound of the ocean waves crashing against the island's ragged cliffs was clearly audible - even to less sensitive human ears.

It wouldn't be long until I'd have to watch her go. I knew the risks that came with letting them leave The Shade. Still, I had no choice. She chose to go and I had to respect that decision. It hurt that she didn't trust me enough to protect her; that she chose the human lad, Ben, over me, but I knew she would be safer if I let her go.

Yet holding her in my arms, with my lips still tingling from the kiss I claimed - perhaps even demanded - from her, I was aware of every curve of her slim, fragile body flush against mine. My fingers were entangled with her long, soft auburn locks and her sweet scent invaded my senses. No other woman had ever made me feel the way Sofia Claremont did, and at that very moment, I couldn't bear the thought of her leaving me.

Her beautiful, freckled face was buried against my shoulder as she broke down into tears for reasons I couldn't fully understand. Each sob was cutting me to the core. From the corner of my eye, I saw Ben tentatively approach us. He had been watching us from the moment I pulled Sofia into my arms and pressed my lips against hers. I didn't need to look at him to know that his eyes were screaming murder at the sight of me.

I ignored him. The only reason he mattered to me was because he mattered to her. I didn't even trust him, but she did and that was supposed to be enough.

I shifted my focus back to Sofia, sensing how her arms tightened around my waist, clinging to me in much the same way I was clinging to her. The motion gave me hope that yes... she might choose to stay.

"Sofia..." My voice came out in a husky, breathless whisper.

My heart sank when she slowly pulled away from me. I was certain that she was about to say goodbye. Thus, I was surprised when she laid both hands on my shoulders, stood on her tiptoes and leaned into me, her lips gently brushing against my own. It propelled all my senses into overdrive and it took all of my will power to not let my passions take over. I didn't want to scare her, so I shut my eyes and let her take the lead. My fists clenched when our lips parted. I opened my eyes and found her emerald green gaze fixed on me. She was studying my face so closely - almost as if she were trying to memorize me.

I did the same. I committed every part of her adorable face - her long eyelashes, every freckle, and every other detail - into my memory.

Sensing how deeply she had begun to mean to me, I was unable to keep myself from voicing out what was going through my mind. I knew it was selfish of me to ask it of her, but the words flooded out of my lips before I could second guess them.

"Sofia, stay."

I hoped that the words wouldn't come across as a command, that she would know them for what they were - a plea. I, Prince of The Shade, was begging her - supposedly my slave - not to leave me, because I knew without a doubt in my mind that her departure would only serve to plunge me deeper into the darkness that took over my life five hundred years ago when my own father turned me into the monster that I was.