Home > The Asylum (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #5)(13)

The Asylum (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #5)(13)
Author: L.J. Smith

The door was opened by a well-dressed butler just as the elderly couple reached the entrance. “Lord and Lady Broad,” the man said, inclining his head slightly. The butler ushered them in. I craned my neck, trying to get a glimpse inside the lavish marble foyer.

And then I spotted Violet. She looked nothing like the half-dead girl I’d last seen in Ivinghoe. She was wearing a green velvet dress, and her hair was pinned in an elaborate mass of curls. Her lips were bright red, and her eyes seemed wider than ever. She was beautiful—but I’d already known that. What startled me was the way she carried herself, shoulders thrown back, chin lifted. Gone was the aura of a fragile fawn in a forest. Now, she seemed like a lioness— beautiful, graceful, and wholly confident in her Power. Even as she sipped champagne and smiled politely at her conversation partner, her eyes were scanning the crowd. I wondered who—or what—she was looking for.

Damon stepped into the triangle of light from the open door, pulling at his collar to reveal his face. His jaw was set, determined, and his eyes were lit with passionate rage.

“I’m Damon Salvatore,” he announced himself, dropping his sobriquet. “And I need to speak to Samuel. Alone.”

“I’m afraid you can’t come in,” the butler said firmly. His steady voice and unflickering eyes made it clear that he’d been compelled by Samuel.

“We’re business acquaintances of Mr. Mortimer’s,” I lied. I thought of Violet, crouched over Oliver’s body, being forced to feed after resisting for so long. I thought of Samuel, smiling down at me as he staked my stomach. I thought of all the destruction he’d wrought on London, of the smell of blood on the cobblestone alleyways. I thought of it all until I felt hatred begin to burn, as real and tangible as a brand pulled from the fire. I gazed into the butler’s eyes, willing my hate to be strong enough to override Samuel’s compulsion.

“Let us in,” I growled, and felt his resolve begin to weaken. Good. “Now,” I emphasized, not daring to blink.

But the butler stepped back and firmly crossed his arms across his chest.

“You are not to come in,” he said resolutely. “And if you continue to ask, I shall have to alert my master. Or, if you prefer, the Metropolitan Police,” he said, lowering his voice until he was speaking barely above a whisper. “In fact, the commissioner is inside right now, and I’m sure he’d love to see you, Count DeSangue.”

I flinched at the way the butler dropped Damon’s alias. Damon’s expression remained impassive. “If Samuel’s not willing to let me in, then tell him to come out. And as for the police commissioner, by all means, send him my way. Although blood on sandstone might be tricky to clean,” he said ominously, raising an eyebrow.

Murmurs rustled behind us, and I realized a crowd of guests had built up as we stood blocking the door. The butler cleared his throat and smiled tightly, as if to reassure the other guests that nothing was amiss.

“I’m afraid seeing Master Mortimer is impossible,” the butler said quietly, his voice tight behind his smile. “This is a private party, and you must get off the property immediately.”

“Samuel always invites too many people,” one of the guests complained, honking his bulbous red nose into a monogrammed blue handkerchief.

“You know you have a future councilor when commoners start crashing the party,” came another voice behind me. Laughter rippled through the crowd, and my spine stiffened. I knew we had to turn around, but I wasn’t ready to admit defeat. Not when Violet was so close.

“Beckford, is there a problem?” Suddenly, a presence loomed behind the butler. It was Samuel, dressed in a perfectly tailored black tuxedo. His blond hair glowed in the light shed by the lanterns surrounding the door. Hatred boiled in my veins at the sight of him. It was all I could do not to tackle him to the ground and hold him down so Damon could stake him.

His thin lips curled into a sneer at the sight of Damon and me.

“Well, well, well … not a pair of guests I expected to see. Beckford, I’ll deal with the riffraff. How will anyone trust me as the councilor of the city if I can’t handle the trouble on my own doorstep? Consider this a campaign demonstration!” He smiled widely at the crowd. “The rest of you, please come in and enjoy!” He threw his arms out in a gesture of welcome as guests squeezed past us and into the expansive mansion.

As the guests streamed in, two hulking men stepped outside, standing like bookends beside Samuel. I watched them warily. Were they vampires? Or were they human guards, unaware of their employer’s true identity? One of them caught me staring and took a warning step toward me. I clenched my jaw and flexed my fingers, preparing myself for what was sure to be an impossible fight.

Once the last guest was inside, Beckford closed the door with a thud. Samuel glanced back and forth between us. I shifted from foot to foot, trying as hard as I could to seem calm. After all, I’d gotten into battles with vampires before. I’d even thrown Samuel’s brother off a train. It wasn’t as if he could stake us on his front doorstep. Could he?

“You two.” Samuel shook his head and let out a long, low laugh. “Stefan, I would have thought you’d be in ashes by now. Or drowning in self-pity.”

“If you’re going to kill me, you’ll have to try harder,” I said, anger boiling inside me. “And I don’t know what you and your brother have against us, but I want answers. We both do.”

“Or else what?” Samuel asked calmly. “You’re on my territory, so my house rules apply. And I don’t appreciate trespassers, especially when I’m otherwise engaged. What did you think you would do here? Stake me? Have a bloody vampire battle while the band plays a waltz?” And that’s when I saw it. Under his white dress shirt was a pendant, gleaming in the moonlight. I glanced reflexively at my own ring. It also sparkled, as if sensing its nearby match.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
» Fixed series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)
» Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1)
» Norse Mythology