Prince Vampire
often gave away what she was feeling. That was how he knew she loved him.
    “So you read the book and fell in love with the big guy.”
    Valdemar was about to move off but stopped when he heard the elf’s words. He needed to hear her response. In fact he longed to hear the words from her lips. That Aureliann loved him he did not doubt. Women like Aureliann did not throw themselves at any man. They had too much pride and class to be with just anyone. Women like Aureliann wanted more than a meaningless fling.
    “Why do you want to know?” Aureliann asked.
    “Because he’s our prince and if you mess with him you mess with us.”
    “Well that just scares the crap out of me—not.”
    Valdemar held back his laughter.
    “You talk tough,” an elf pointed out.
    “So do you,” she responded.
    There was a moment’s silence before Aureliann spoke. “I love your prince.”
    Valdemar felt like he had been given the greatest gift in the world. He wanted to rush back and hold her to him and never let go.
    “You’re a big softy.” The elf’s voice, although harsh, sounded pleased.
    “So you’ll be our queen.”
    “Yeah and you’ll have to obey my every command.” Now Aureliann sounded pleased.
    The elves all laughed. “Yeah right. Sure.”
    “Let’s go see these tar pits,” Aureliann interrupted their mirth. “I’ll jump in after you do.”
    “But you’re our guest, you must go first…”
    As they walked off Valdemar shook his head. “I love my life.”

Chapter Ten
    Victor looked at the thirty or so mercenary vampires he had collected from Brisbane and sneered. They were an indolent lot but then what could one expect when you sought out the scum of the earth? He had virtually no followers of his own in Serawych that he had not paid dearly for. It angered him that his cousin was the popular one. How could the people mistake his kind, calm words as strength? He was exactly like the old king and he had never capitalized on the great wealth that could be used for the benefit of their family. Instead they lived in an old gothic monstrosity of a castle that sucked the money out of the family purse because his uncle had not wanted to burden the people with the repair of the castle. One of the first things Victor planned to do once Valdemar was dead was to knock down the castle. Neither his cousin nor the castle would remain. They were symbols of the past and Victor saw his future very differently. He was going to use every single asset that Serawych had for his own pleasure. That was what kingship was about, otherwise what was the point of the crown?
    Since these mercenaries had arrived they had lolled around, argued with each other and made spectacles of themselves with the whores of Serawych. They were not like the vampires Victor knew. Vampires were lords in his town. They had class. They had breeding. This lot had no self-control but then they did not have a kingdom to conquer. Victor did not have time for indulgences. Already Valdemar was back and amassing his army. Many were loyal to him including those vicious elves who knew how to fight and win despite their size.
    “If only I had them on my side,” Victor muttered to himself. Elves unquestioningly followed their leader. They were also skilled in war and if called upon knew how to make a human suffer unbearable pain. “Out!” he ordered as his surveyed the half-dressed women. The vampires of Brisbane narrowed their eyes at him as the women fled. If Victor had been a lesser man he would have been afraid of these men but he wasn’t. There was no time for fear. He was on a timetable to take the crown. Victor had been planning this since he was old enough to know he would never inherit and Valdemar would. But for the fate of his father being the younger son, he would have been the heir. It still galled him that he both missed out on the crown and had the misfortune to look like Valdemar. It was a queer genetic trait that often happened in

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