Venice Vampyr #3
Venice, Italy – early 1800s
When vampire rake Lorenzo Conti finds a beautiful woman sleeping in the bedchamber of his newly acquired home, he believes her to be a housewarming gift bestowed upon him by his thoughtful friends. There’s only one thing to do with such a delicious present: ravish her!
The mysterious Bianca rushes to Venice upon her father’s death but arrives too late: the house that she believes to contain a priceless treasure has already been sold. Hoping the new owner won’t move in for another few days, she breaks in to search for her father’s elusive treasure.
But when Lorenzo discovers her, she has to think fast and find a way to remain at the house to continue her search. And what better way than to seduce the new owner?
Venice, Italy – early 1800s
Lorenzo was late, yet he was sure his friends would forgive him, considering the good news he had.
Only a few weeks earlier, an attack by a Guardian had almost killed one of their own. With the Guardians of the Holy Waters, the secret society of vampire hunters in Venice, becoming more and more daring in their attempts to eradicate each and every vampire within the island city, he and his fellow vampires had decided on drastic measures to protect themselves against their threat.
Dante, his best friend, had suggested buying up all dwellings within the city block on which he and his brother Raphael lived, and turn the entire square block into a fortress of sorts: ten homes on this street, ten on the street behind them, and four each on the side alleys that completed the rectangle. By purchasing the houses that bordered each other, they would be able to create secret walkways between the buildings, thus being able to meet without having to exit to the streets or the canals. It would also provide them with easy means of escape and a way of coming to each other’s aid during daylight hours without being exposed to the burning rays of the sun.
Tonight was their second meeting to discuss strategy on how to achieve their goal.
Lorenzo smiled to himself as a servant opened the heavy entrance door to Dante and Raphael’s home. He was way ahead of the game. His friends would be very pleased with him.
There was a chill in the night air, and despite his vampire body not being as susceptible to the cold as humans were, he didn’t like the damp, cold air that reached his lungs as he inhaled. He much preferred the subtle scent of the wood fire in the parlor that drifted into his nostrils as he stepped inside. He handed his gloves to the manservant and allowed him to take the heavy black cloak from his shoulders. The human servants were chosen carefully and often came from the same family that served their masters faithfully, taking their secrets to the grave. For that, they were paid extraordinarily well. Loyalty wasn’t cheap.
His sensitive hearing had already picked up the voices of his friends. His enhanced sense of smell was able to distinguish them further: there were a dozen of them assembled.
Lorenzo entered the parlor and swept his gaze across the room. Besides the brothers Dante and Raphael and their wives Viola and Isabella, several of his fellow vampires were in attendance: Nico, Silvano, Enrico, Francesco, Paolo, Andrea, Carlo, and Marcello. While there were more vampires in Venice, the ones assembled represented the leaders of their various clans. They would instruct their followers on what to do.
As usual, his nostrils flared when he took in Isabella’s scent. Raphael’s wife was the only human among them, and her delightful scent always made his gums itch and his fangs tingle. His friend was one lucky son of a bitch. Not that Lorenzo would have liked the trappings of marriage, but to drink from a human without having to use his powers to make the woman forget what he was doing to her was a treat in which he’d never partaken. The thought of having a human woman underneath him and fucking her while she willingly offered her neck to him, fully aware of his intentions, made him hard.
“Evening, gentlemen,” he said louder than was necessary, trying to distract himself from his debauched thoughts. Not that it would do any good. He’d have to venture out later and slake his lust with whatever trollop he could find at such a late hour. But while he would have no problems finding a willing woman who’d let him fuck her, taking her blood would have to be done under the veil of his persuasive powers, which would erase her memories of his act. A shame really, because a vampire’s bite only heightened the arousal—both in the host as well as the vampire.
“Somebody tie you to a bed?” Dante chuckled and looked at him.
Nico laughed. “More like he needed seconds.”
Lorenzo’s appetite for women was well known among his friends, and instead of getting annoyed about their little jabs here and there, he wore them as medals of honor. “She simply couldn’t get enough of me,” he lied, making his friends roar with laughter. There was even a twinkle in Isabella’s eyes. He winked good-naturedly. “But I had to take care of her friend too.”
The second lie earned him an even louder reply.
“That’s my boy!” Paolo proclaimed and slapped his own thigh.
And at most times, what Lorenzo was dishing out to his friends would have been the plain truth, but he’d had more important things to do these last hours. The negotiations he’d entered into had taken longer than expected, and hadn’t allowed him to indulge in his favorite pastime: women.
“Find yourself a seat,” Raphael instructed. “We started without you. You’ll just have to catch up.”
Lorenzo beamed. “Not necessary.”
Several sets of eyes landed on him, curiosity flashing in them. Lorenzo didn’t wait for their questions, too excited to impart his news. “I’ve purchased a house.”
He could tell that Dante wanted to jump up from his seat, but Viola, his lovely wife, put her hand on his thigh. “Congratulations, Lorenzo!” she said and smiled.
“Thank you, Viola. That’s very kind of you to say.”
“Well, don’t keep us on tenterhooks,” Nico complained. “Where is it located?”
Lorenzo smirked and motioned his head toward the East. “Two doors down.”
Suddenly Dante’s apprehensive face turned to admiration. “How did you manage that? If I’m not mistaken, the owner only died three days ago. I was going to approach his heirs in the next few days.”
“Beat you to it, my old friend. It turns out that I’d purchased one of the man’s markers.”
“He was a gambler?” Raphael interjected.
Lorenzo nodded. “A bad one at that. As soon as he died, I approached his solicitor and made it clear that it would be most beneficial to the heir if I received the house in exchange for my marker, considering the marker was for more than the house was worth. I threw in a small sum to pacify the solicitor and a slightly larger one for the heir.”
“And the heir agreed?” Dante asked, raising an eyebrow in inquiry.
Lorenzo folded his arms across his chest, fully satisfied with his achievement. “She has no choice. There is nothing for her to inherit other than her father’s debts, which I’ve now taken care of. The solicitor will explain it to her when she arrives in Venice. I’m sure it’ll pose no problem. In any case, the solicitor had authorization to execute the contract.”
“Excellent!” Dante stood and slapped him on the shoulder. “I applaud you on your initiative.” Then he turned to the other men in the room. “That’s exactly what I expect from the rest of you. Don’t wait until a house is being offered for sale. Make an offer. We have the funds to make it happen. There are twenty-eight houses on this block and the one behind us. We need to own each and every one of them if we want to make sure we’re protected from the Guardians.”
All heads nodded enthusiastically.
“When are you moving in?” Nico asked.
“This Friday night.”
Nico and Dante exchanged a conspiratorial look.
“I’m sure we’ll find a suitable housewarming gift for you, won’t we, Nico?” Dante grinned from one ear to the next and received the same wicked grin in response from Nico.
Lorenzo merely shook his head. He could be sure that whatever his friends had in mind would be either sinful or entertaining, and if he was lucky, both.