Lillian Holmes and the Leaping Man

Lillian Holmes and the Leaping Man by Ciar Cullen

Book: Lillian Holmes and the Leaping Man by Ciar Cullen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ciar Cullen
Phillip would speak to him again. His only ally.
    Well, he’d have to fix that and amass a following. If Marie de Bourbon had done so, he surely could. With his looks, charm, and hunger, he could have his own House in Baltimore, dull as the city was. Perhaps he’d start with the lovely Miss Holmes.
    Invigorated, George nodded to the usual characters who shared the night with him as he walked towards Federal Hill: a carriage driver hoping for a final customer; a young man hurrying home on unsteady legs, no doubt after some raucous outing; a few servants playing dice and drinking. Soon he stood in the alleyway beneath the house where his last “murder” occurred and peered up at Lillian Holmes’s balcony. There was no God to intervene on his behalf, and so he would have to kill her or turn her. His fervor cooled now that he was close to his goal, he half wished the situation were reversed. But tired, so tired of his life, he nonetheless found the energy to leap to her window.
    George peered into the room carefully, lest she be up and about. But no, even in the dim light of the moon he saw her tall figure stretched out on the bed in filmy white as if she were on her funeral bier. The sight stirred so much in him: lust, for both the sexual beauty and her blood; sorrow, for what he would no doubt need to do to her; fear, for she made him loathe himself and he didn’t like that.
    He stepped across the sill into the room, still unsure of what exactly he would do but knowing he must act to save himself, to sate himself. Unlike Phillip, he wouldn’t indulge in longing for a normal life, for romance and companionship. But oh, wouldn’t she be a companion? So odd, this beauty. So strong and fragile at the same time. Annaluisa had said her mother was a beauty as well, and of course was one still. But George was certain the mother couldn’t have the spirit or intellect of Lillian Holmes.
    Damnation, this is cruel. I don’t want to kill her, he thought. If I don’t, I will have to flee Baltimore, for she might be wise enough to uncover the truth. And then he’d be alone again against Madam Lucifer. He knew what she’d been up to in the mud of his front lawn. He knew she had the strength and wit to do verbal battle with him, despite knowing him to be a murderer. What would she do if she knew the bitter truth? Revile him more, for certain. No, she would turn him in. She must be stopped.
    But perhaps he could leave her be, take Phillip’s suggestion and find a spot of boring solitude, hide away like the refugee he was. Alone, yes, but what else was new? Phillip had tried to love him for years and seemed nearly ready to give up. Perhaps those days of trying were finally over. They certainly would be if he learned of George slaying this beautiful girl in her bed.
    Lillian stirred a bit and rolled onto her side. George groaned as the play of moonlight on her long legs, hips and breasts made his body tingle in anticipation of all she might offer both man and vampire. He noticed perspiration gleaming on her pale skin as he got closer. The night wasn’t that hot; was she ill? No matter, even if she had the plague, it wouldn’t kill him. He’d learned that firsthand a few centuries earlier.
    He knelt beside her and lightly brushed her damp raven-dark hair away from her neck. The sound of her coursing blood screamed at him from her veins, but he watched her for a moment while his sadness for her—for himself—made him curse. Thank God no one can see me so weak.
    She moaned and threw her arm over her head. Ah, a dream. Did she dream of him? Or was it a nightmare of him? He leaned in close to her neck, the pounding through her arteries practically deafening, matching the beat of his own black heart. Had he ever felt such a bloodlust? Not since the early days. He would have her, every drop of her.
    To his shock, her eyes shot open, expressionless. As if he belonged there, she stared at him and let out a deep breath. Then she closed her

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