Home > Royal Blood (Vampire Kisses #6)(13)

Royal Blood (Vampire Kisses #6)(13)
Author: Ellen Schreiber


"Here's a picture of her." Mrs. Sterling opened the weathered photo album. "This is my husband's mother." She showed me a picture of a thin woman with high cheekbones and Alexander's soulful eyes.

Some of the pages were fraying away from the binding and a few pictures were coming unglued. "This Mansion meant everything to her. And so did her family. As you might know, she and Alexander's grandfather were barons. They kept company with heads of state and other royalty, such as kings and queens acrossEurope ."

I knew it! She is going to tell me that I'm not of royal blood-therefore I'm not worthy of her son.

"But they escapedRomania ," she continued, "when the family was being persecuted. She saved them, really. If it wasn't for her quick thinking, there would never have been a safe Constantine and never an Alexander. She kept the royal bloodline alive. And that is very important to all of us."

"Wow- she sounds very brave," I began to say.

"When it was safe,Constantine went back toRomania . His mother remained here."

I hung on her every word.

"Did Alexander tell you why he moved here?" she asked.

"Yes, but he may have left something out. He can be mysterious."

"Our family had an arrangement with theMaxwells - another prominent and noble family inRomania -with their daughter, Luna. We wanted to carry on our royal bloodline. It was very important to Mr. Sterling, you see. He's spent so much time worrying about his mother, isolated in this mansion, away from our own kind. He wanted someone for Alexander who would be like us-who would make us all happy. What we didn't realize was that on the big day the one person whomattered the most wasn't happy: Alexander.

"Luna was a fine girl and theMaxwells are a wonderful family. But when Alexander rejected them, it sent our world into chaos. The only safe haven was for Alexander to come here and live in the Mansion. Away from theMaxwells .

"My heart broke that day. Alexander has been so far away from me. And now that we have returned for him, there was something else we didn't plan on: You."

I didn't know what to say.

"I was a lot like you when I was your age."

"Were you an outsider?" I asked.

"Yes, and I dressed in wild outfits and danced at parties until sunrise."

I wondered what could be wilder than the attire she was already sporting.

"When I met Mr. Sterling everything fell into place. However, his mother was unlike all of us. She was courageous and regal-and mortal. I never could live up to her image. Mr. Sterling and Alexander think you are like her."


"Yes. And she was a true outsider.In her world and in ours. But she was hot-blooded about the Underworld. You have a passion for our world thatwe don't even have. And that you share with Alexander's grandmother.

"I just wanted you to know that by dating Alexander-there are concerns we have. We wouldn't be responsible adults if we didn't look out for you - just as we would for our own son," she went on.

Do you want me to be turned?I wanted to say.Just say the date. But I knew it wasn't that simple. And Mrs. Sterling didn't appear to be heading down that path.

"Now, enough serious talk," she continued. "I'd like to have a little girl time."

"Fine by me."

"Are there any tattoo parlors?" she asked with a whimsical laugh.

"Not around here."


"A few towns over."

"Any snake charmers?"

"Only once a year, when the carnival comes to visit."

"Well then, we'll have to make our own fun," she said emphatically. "Jameson, get the car!"

I scooted into the Mercedes next to Mrs. Sterling, her umbrella resting between us as Jameson drove us to town.

"Stop here," Alexander's mother called to Jameson when we came to the town square. It took a few moments for the creepy man to react and press the brakes. We stepped out of the car and into the busy square.

Main Streetwas filled with upscale preppy boutiques. It was a hangout for families, dog walkers, and strolling seniors. Mrs. Sterling, poised with her umbrella, sunglasses, and purple velvet purse with black lace ribbons, was quite the sight to see. Even I found myself gawking at her. It was as if I were walking with a movie star.Dullsvillians , however, thought we were a freak show. Snickers and giggles and stares followed us up and down the block.

Mrs. Sterling, with her statuesque figure and graveyard-glam style, was oblivious to the stares. She looked like any A-list star, unfettered by her paparazzi.

When we passed a few people walking dogs, the animals became unruly. Mrs. Sterling didn't seem to even notice the upset pets.

We stopped in front of Purse Party. Mrs. Sterling was enamored by a leopard clutch purse in the window.

"Let's peek inside," she said.

We stepped into the overpriced boutique. The gimmick was you picked a purse style, fabric, buttons, and ribbons and walk away with a unique custom-made handbag. Long tables were set up in the middle of the store, with sample fabric strewn across haphazardly, as if there had just been a purse-picking party.

The owner had no idea who-or what-had just entered her shop. I could tell her face was straining, trying to hold back her real thoughts. She was ready to push the panic button. Instead she did her best to feign enthusiasm. "We specialize in one-of-a-kind purses. We can come to your home and if you have at least five women show up, you get a free purse."

I could just imagine the shopkeeper, swatches of fabric in tow, arriving to discover the Mansion instead of her usual five-bedroom cookie-cutter mega-mansions and speeding away before her tires passed the wrought-iron gates.

Mrs. Sterling didn't say a word as she cased the shop. She held her umbrella with one hand, and with her free one she picked through purses.

I sensed the saleswoman was checking her inner clock, hoping we'd get out of the storeimmediately.

"I'm absolutely crazy about this!" Mrs. Sterling exclaimed, holding up a woolly black carpet bag. "Do Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter,you have leopard print? "

"Yes. Would you like piping, trim, or ribbon?" the woman asked, now enthused about a possible sale.

"Black lace.I'd like a shoulder-length strap made of thick chain."

The saleswoman tried to hide her shock. Every handle in the store was either made of plastic or ribbon.

"I'm sure we can find that somewhere," she said, determined.

I was holding a crimson messenger bag. The cheapest purse was ninety-five dollars. And that was the size of a cosmetic bag.

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