Blood Rites

By: Amity Cross

My mother was obsessed with my relationship status. Being wealthy came with responsibilities, she always said. I hadn’t known any other life, other than being the daughter of a billionaire businessman, so I wasn’t quite sure what it felt like to be normal. I was sent to the most exclusive private schools in the UK and rubbed shoulders with some of the most up themselves girls in the entire world. They were the daughters of Lords and Barons and all of these archaic titles bestowed upon them by the Queen or by birth and I was just plain old Lorelei Lansford with the rich daddy. You think that would be enough, but no…it mattered what blood you had in your veins.

The whole thing made me want to asphyxiate on my own vomit.

My saving grace was my father, of all people. He’d worked for his fortune from a young age, making his mark in Corporate Resale. Buying failing companies, making them profitable, then selling on to the highest bidder. He came from humble roots and my mother had been the daughter of a rich socialite. He suffered my mother because he loved her and I supposed that's why he was so lenient on me. He wanted me to fall in love one day, not be married off like one of his companies for some business alliance.

I strode down a side street of boutiques in Kensington, desperate to get away from Mother's constant whining over my singledom. I didn’t care one iota for it. My work at the gallery commanded most of my attention. Art and antiquity. That was my thing, not popping out spoilt brats from between my legs.

Seriously, I was twenty-five years old and I wanted to be in control of my own destiny. Why was that such a bad thing? It wasn’t like I was falling over myself for the first guy who—

I smacked into something hard and stumbled, instantly realizing I’d collided with some poor man in my haste to get away from my overbearing mother. Strong hands grasped my shoulders and I gasped as the stranger’s phone hit the footpath. The screen shattered and I felt my cheeks heat. Great, just great.

Hastily, I bent to retrieve it.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” I exclaimed, trying to smooth things over. “I didn’t mean—”

“No bother.”

I glanced up at the stranger and instantly flushed. He was handsome. I mean, there were good looking guys, then there was him. He was tall and lean with broad shoulders, blue eyes and sandy blond hair. His jaw looked like it was bloody chiseled from marble for heaven’s sake. And the suit he wore…dark navy with a subtle pinstripe, cream dress shirt and silver tie. Shit, were those platinum cufflinks?

He reached out for his shattered phone and his fingers brushed lightly against my skin. Shivers ran up and down my arm and I flushed scarlet.

“What’s your name?” he asked silkily.

Even his voice was pure sex. Oh hell, my knickers were becoming damp. I flushed for the millionth bloody time.


A grin pulled at his perfectly sculpted mouth and I felt weak at the knees. He held out his hand. “Sebastian.”

Automatically, I curled my fingers around his and my whole body seemed to come alive. His grip was firm, his skin kind of rough for someone so refined in appearance. I wondered what he did.

All too soon he let my hand go and I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding in. Holy shit.

“I’m on my way to work,” I blurted, unable to tear my gaze away from his.

He smiled, his eyes sparkling with amusement. “Oh? Where is that?”

Oh. I blinked. “The gallery, just down the street.”

“Space Gallery?” he asked, tilting his head to the side.

“You know it?” I couldn’t hide my surprise. If he’d been into the gallery, I would’ve remembered him. I mean, all my most private parts were currently salivating for him. Who could forget that?

His lips curved into a smile. “I know it, yes.”

A big hand clamped down on his shoulder and I blinked, the spell broken. Bloody hell, I was totally in some kind of sexual thrall. Was this what people went gaga over when they said they were attracted to someone? If it was, then I finally understood.

He glanced at the man beside him and nodded. I didn’t realize we had an audience to our casual flirting and I flushed. More like eye fucking, Lorelei. The man was tall, impeccably dressed like Sebastian, but he wasn’t nearly half as attractive. He looked like a bodyguard and I felt my curiosity bristle.

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