The shadows settled uneasily across the moorland as dusk fell. The moonlight shone through hazy clouds and shifting evening fog, making the landscape beneath shift and shimmer once the dying sunlight retreated from it. Sister Lilian Chescott - Lily, to the few friends she had - wasn’t scared, though. The other nuns of the Convent of St. Dorothea were, she knew, and besides, they lacked the constitution for roaming the moors and hills surrounding the old abbey. That was why, despite her many failings as a sister of the convent, she was granted the boon of being the sister appointed to gather flowers and medicinal herbs after the evening’s prayers were done. For most, it was a detested task, but Lily took comfort in the strange twilight. It was the one moment of each day she was allowed to feel truly alone.
It wasn’t all good, of course. Lily didn’t claim to enjoy the way the heather that smothered the moors clung to her habit, and most evenings, her legs ached fiercely from all the kneeling she was forced to do to carry out penances for her various misdemeanors. But it was worth it, for the solitude and the escape. Lily knew perfectly well that she wasn’t suited for convent life. She wasn’t a pious girl, and she wasn’t there by choice. She’d been banished there by her family; punishment, for that little indiscretion with one of the family’s maids, acting on feelings she barely understood. She’d tried pleading for mercy, but her mother and father had been resolute. They couldn’t have her embarrassing the family. So now, she would live out her life trapped in a nunnery. Lily constantly smoldered with rage at the unfairness of it all, but she didn’t have it in her to fight back or run away. What could she do? She was just one girl. There was nothing left for her but to find what little comfort she could, gathering herbs alone out on the moor and staying out longer into the night than she should, away from the stern, watchful gaze of the mother superior.
Lily sighed. The full moon always made her pensive. Better to keep her eyes down and focus on the task in front of her. The young nun lifted her habit and took big, careful steps to avoid the many puddles left behind by that day’s rainfall as she finished her ascent up to her favorite spot: the summit of a small hill, where an old oak tree grew. From beneath its branches she could look out, away from the convent, and imagine the world beyond its cold, stone walls. But as she reached the top of the hill, she noticed that, for the first time ever, she wasn’t alone up there.
There was a woman, standing about twenty paces away from her and staring up at the moon. For a long moment, Lily just stared at her, unable to believe what she was seeing. There was a village not far from the convent, but besides that, Lily could not think of any reason she might encounter someone out on the moors, especially so late. And one look was enough to tell her that this woman was not one of the villagers. The way she was dressed was so out-of-place, she seemed almost a phantasm. She was wearing a long, flowing, crimson dress, as fine and grand as any that might be worn by a debutante at court. Its skirt billowed out behind her in the wind, lifting to reveal high-heeled shoes that were entirely unsuited for walking the moors. She was adorned in all kinds of fine jewelery, both gold and silver, and she had on her more rubies than Lily could count. She was a noblewoman, clearly, but that only added to Lily’s puzzlement. A noblewoman, out on these remote hilltops? It couldn’t be.
“Um… good evening,” Lily called out, to announce herself. She didn’t want to startle this stranger. The stranger, though, showed no signs of being startled, and turned her head slowly towards Lily as if she’d known she was there all along.
“Good evening,” she replied. She spoke with a slight, refined accent, one that Lily struggled to place. Eastern European? It was hard for her to be sure, when she was so distracted staring dumbstruck at the woman’s face.
She was beautiful. But to Lily, that word didn’t do her justice. She strained to remember the poems that had been drilled into her by her tutor in the hopes that one of them might be eloquent enough to encapsulate this strange woman’s beauty, but they had all flown out of her head. There was something ethereal about her; her long, silky, black hair streamed out behind her in the wind, but even in the twilight Lily could tell she was unbelievably pale, as if the sun’s light had never touched her skin. She had impossibly high cheekbones, a sharp jaw, and high, arched, aristocratic brows. She was the kind of beauty that would surely inspire sculptors and painters for centuries or more. Lily found that she needed to remind herself to breathe, and started fighting to control her breathing. She needed to hide the shameful blush that was rising to her cheeks. But even though it was affecting her so terribly, she couldn’t bring herself to avert her gaze from the strange woman’s face. She was truly captivating; especially, the eerie, crimson glint that Lily thought she could see in her eyes. Surely, though, that was only a trick of the light.
“Are you, perhaps, a sister of the nearby convent?” the strange woman asked, a slight smile on her face. Lily realized she had lapsed into an awkward silence. Hopefully, the twilight was too dim for anyone to see the fierce blush in her cheeks.
“I-I am, yes,” Lily replied, clasping her hands and inclining her head respectfully. “Sister Lilian, novice of the Order of the Sanguine Chalice of the Blood of Our Lord.”
“The Sanguine Chalice? How delightful.” One side of the strange woman’s smile curled upwards, giving her a lopsided grin. “I’m pleased to meet you, Sister Lilian. You have the honor of meeting Countess Selina de Augusta.”
“Oh!” Lily exclaimed, flustered. “I-I am honored, my lady.”
“Indeed,” Countess Selina replied, plainly amused. “Now tell me, what brings a young, pretty, innocent nun such as yourself out of the convent so late at night. It isn’t safe, you know.”
“I am out to gather herbs,” Lily exclaimed. She paused. “Might… might I ask your business, my lady? Forgive me, but I’m surprised to meet someone of your standing out here at such an hour.”
“I’ve traveled far,” the Countess said, although to Lily’s mind that explained little. “But if you’re from the convent, then my journey is nearly over. I’d heard there was such a place here. But sister, won’t you come closer? Need we talk at such a distance?”
Lily approached the Countess, but cautiously. She was confused, and not just because of how difficult it was to think in the Countess’s presence. A noblewoman had traveled out to the convent, but didn’t even know its name? Why was she standing out on the moors? Why not take the road from the coast? If she’d walked all the way up here, why was there no sign of mud or dirty on her finery?
“That’s better,” the Countess purred once Lily was within a few paces of her. “My goodness! You’re a pretty young thing, aren’t you? It seems almost a shame, to hide that lovely, golden hair under a habit, and keep those big, blue eyes of yours locked behind the walls of a convent. A novice, you said? When are you to take your vows?”
Lily glanced aside, embarrassed. “It has yet to be decided.”
The Countess laughed. The sound was rich, although a touch haughty. “I understand. A nun’s life is not for everyone, no? All those rules and strictures must be so burdensome. And so many temptations! I don’t know how you do it, truly. Personally, I’ve found the only true solution to temptation to be indulgence.”
Lily had no idea what to say to that. More and more with each passing moment, she was feeling troubled by this strange encounter. Now she was closer, she could see the Countess more clearly, illuminated by the moon’s light reflected in the puddles of rain around her. The cut of the noblewoman’s dress was scandalously low, and when Lily wasn’t struggling not to stare at the swell of her chest, she couldn’t help but notice that the Countess showed not even the slightest sign of being troubled by the cold. That strange, crimson glint in her eyes hadn’t disappeared, and when the Countess had laughed, Lily could have sworn she could see a pair of elongated, pointed fangs in her mouth. Lily knew it had to be merely a flight of fancy, but she couldn’t quite shake the impression from her head.
“Can I ask, my lady, why you are visiting our convent?” Lily asked slowly. She hoped Countess Selina wouldn’t take offense at her questioning. “I… wasn’t aware we were expecting to receive a guest of your station.”
“Oh, you aren’t,” the Countess answered nonchalantly. “I simply heard that there was an old and very well-reputed order of nuns in this part of the world, and I fancied to a pay visit, quite unannounced. I have an interest in convents, you see. I know it’s terribly discourteous of me not to send word, but in my defense, I am not an onerous guest. I require very, very little in the way of food and drink. Practically nothing at all, in fact.”
The knowing smirk on the Countess’s face was making Lily deeply uneasy. She could sense that whatever joke the Countess was finding so humorous, she wasn’t in on it. That, along with the slight yet distinctly predatory hunger she could see in the noblewoman’s eyes, had all the little hairs on her body standing on end. The Countess’s presence was captivating, but it seemed to wake some deep instinct in Lily: the instinct to turn tail and flee for her life. Lily fought the urge, though. She refused to give in to whatever hysteria was currently possessing her. Still, though, questions and doubts continued to bite at her like horseflies.
“And… what brings you up here, so far off the road, my lady?” Lily pressed nervously.
“I might ask you the same,” the Countess shot back. “Collecting herbs… no. There’s something more than that, isn’t there?”
Lily froze as a chill ran down her spine. She could barely stand to meet the Countess’s gaze. The strange noblewoman’s crimson eyes seemed to be able to see right through her. There was no doubt in her voice, none at all. She knew. Lily wanted to deny it, or else evade her question, but when her lips parted, something else entirely spilled out.
“Yes,” Lily found herself confessing, the words drawn from her lips like a thread drawn across a spinner’s wheel. “I… I like it out here at night. It’s peaceful. I like to escape.”
“Oh?” The Countess smiled. “Perhaps we are kindred spirits, you and I. Perhaps more than you might think.”
“H-how did you do that?” Lily was too afraid to be tactful. She had felt the Countess’s words stroke her soul, compelling her with some kind of unnatural power. Something was terribly, terribly wrong.
“Do what, Sister Lilian?” The Countess cocked her head, feigning innocence, but the playful mockery in her eyes was barely hidden. Even her thin pretense of ignorance collapsed moments later, when she opened her mouth wide and laughed.
Again, Lily saw fangs. This time, there could be no doubt.
“I… I must be going,” Lily blurted out lamely. “The other sisters w-will be worried.”
Before the Countess could say another word, Lily turned her back on her and started to flee, moving as quickly as she could without breaking into an outright run. She barely made it a few paces, though, before she heard the Countess call out: “Stop.”
The Countess spoke with all the weighty authority of true nobility, and with the confidence of one who was entirely accustomed to being obeyed. Under any circumstances, her command might have been enough to make a timid girl like Lily hesitate. But what happened to her was far more than that. Chillingly, Lily felt her body itself rebel against her own will, as if obedience to the Countess was its basest instinct. Her blood felt as if it had frozen in her veins, rooting her to the spot. Lily’s fear turned to abject terror, but quickly found that she was completely unable to move. She could scream, perhaps, but her breath died in her throat. And besides, there was no-one around to hear.
“So tell me,” the Countess sang. Lily could hear her footsteps approaching slowly from behind. “Did you figure it out, sister? Or did you merely sense it?”
“I… I…” Lily didn’t want to consider what the Countess might be thinking about. There was one word that came into her head; a creature from old folk tales, used to terrify children. Lily refused to say it. She didn’t want to believe it. She wanted to believe this was nothing more than a nightmare, or a bout of her own foolishness.
“Let me give you a hint,” the Countess continued, as she waltzed into Lily’s field of view. “Look down.”
Helpless to do otherwise, Lily looked down at the ground. At first, she wasn’t sure what the Countess was hinting at. Night was truly falling, and in the gloom she could see little on the ground but a number of small puddles around the Countess’s feet, each reflecting the light of the moon. Yet as she looked, Lily was struck with the thought that there was something terribly, unnaturally wrong about what she was seeing. She looked more and more, searching until finally, it dawned on her. The puddles were all around the Countess’s feet, yet besides the moon, there was nothing in them.
The Countess had no reflection.
“Yes,” the Countess said mirthfully, once she noticed the look of horrified comprehension on Lily’s face. “I am exactly what you think, sister. A vampire.”
“P-please,” Lily whimpered, though she knew the Countess’s heart contained no mercy. “Please don’t kill me!”
“You fear death?” the Countess mused, slowly approaching the paralyzed nun. “And yet no prayer rises to your lips. Not a true believer, sister?”
“I thought not.” Once again, Lily felt as though the vampire could see right through her. “I thought I could see something else in your gaze, when you looked at me. A certain… desire.” Countess Selina cocked her head to one side, as if something had just occurred to her. “Hmm…. Perhaps…”
“Please!” Lily begged. She did not believe for a moment that her pleas would mean anything, but what else could she do? “I… I’ll do anything you ask! I swear it, I swear it on my immortal soul!”
The Countess laughed. This time, the sound made Lily’s blood run cold. “Oh, but you have the meekness of a nun! But maybe there’s enough defiance in you to cultivate, as a gardener tends to the most fragile roses.” Lily saw the vampire’s nostrils flare as she smelled the air. “That can come later, though. For now, my thirst grows. Sister Lilian, your heart is pounding so! And your fear, it tastes so sweet. I long for it.”
The Countess quickened her step, and in moments crossed the last few yards between her and Lily. At such a distance, Lily couldn’t help but notice the way the vampire towered over her. An instant later, the Countess raised her hand to Lily’s chin, pushing gently to incline her head upwards. Lily couldn’t tell if she was in control of her own body or not, but either way, she was far too afraid to resist. She caught the vampire’s perfumed scent on the wind, rich and feminine. Intoxicating. Lily felt as small as a mouse caught in a cat’s jaws. Fearfully, she tried to look up and meet the vampire’s gaze. That was a mistake. From the moment the two of them locked eyes, Lily was transfixed. Countess Selina de Augusta’s eyes were blood red, but more than that, they were filled with a hunger as wide and deep as the ocean. Lily immediately knew she was staring into the eyes of a true predator. Strangely, the longer Lily stared, the more she started to relax. Her whole body became heavy and limp, and she had no choice but to look deeper, deeper, deeper. An unusual thought occurred to her: perhaps it was only right that this beautiful creature should be the huntress, and she the prey. Condemning her for it would be like condemning a wolf for hunting sheep. It was simply the way of things.
“You fall fast, sister,” the Countess whispered. Her voice was low, sensual. “I think part of you wants this. Haven’t you been longing for it, sister? For the chance to give in to your desires. For the chance to be in the arms of a… woman.”
Lily shivered as she felt the Countess place her other hand on her hip. Her little, stifled whimper came out sounding like a moan. Was it true? She wanted to deny it, but she wasn’t sure. She could barely think. The vampire’s aura was drowning her thoughts, and she was still tumbling into her monstrous eyes. Each of the Countess’s words was like a tendril of shadow, creeping into her ears and slipping into her mind. She couldn’t stop it. She was helpless.
“There is so much need in you,” the Countess told her. “Oh, you keep it bound down tight, but I see it. You yearn.” Keeping her hand in place, the vampire brought her thumb up to push it past Lily’s lips, parting them. Lily’s mouth started hanging open, ready to receive whatever the Countess offered her. The nun had never felt such an overwhelming sense of submission. The mother superior always told her to find submission to God, but no feeling she’d ever had kneeling before a church altar came anything close to this. It was cold out on the moors, but her body had never felt so warm. The Countess’s body, though, offered no warmth, no life. Lily could feel that clearly as the tall vampire pressed her body against the whimpering nun’s.
“Shall I tell you a secret?” The Countess opened her mouth, bearing her fangs. Lily was still transfixed by her gaze, but she could still see them in the corners of her eyes. They were each an inch long, and wickedly sharp. After allowing Lily a moment to take in the sight, the vampire lowered her lips to Lily’s ear. “It feels good,” she whispered. “Better than you’d believe. Better than anything you’ve yet tasted in your miserable, little life. Whether you want to or not, sister, you will enjoy it.”
As Lily struggled to come to terms with her words, the Countess used the hand she was resting on the nun’s chin to slowly push her head over to one side. Lily fought her as hard as she could, but even that small act of resistance was beyond her. She felt as weak as a newborn lamb, and the vampire overpowered her effortlessly. The way the Countess’s eyes dilated hungrily at the sight of Lily’s pale, exposed neck sent a chill down Lily’s spine. Yet try as she might, she couldn’t get the vampire’s twisted secret out of her head.
“Please…” was all Lily could say, her voice a needy whisper. Her head was spinning dangerously. All she could see was the vampire’s sinister, endless eyes. She was a mere puppet in the dark creature’s grasp. It had all happened so fast. The Countess had swept her up in her embrace in what had felt like mere moments. Lily’s feelings were wildly out of control. She was terrified, yes, but there was something else too. Something she didn’t dare to contemplate.
And when the vampire lowered her lips to Lily’s skin and sank her fangs into her neck, even those feelings were taken from her.
At first, all Lily felt was two sharp pinpricks of pain, and for an instant she wondered if the Countess had been lying to her. But as the vampire’s sharp teeth slid deeper into her flesh and blood started to spring forth from the wound, Lily’s heart started beating wildly, pumping adrenaline through her body. She could feel the Countess sucking and lapping greedily at her neck. A wave of light-headedness hit the nun, so sharp she thought she might faint. But no; instead her body simply went completely limp. She started to fall backwards, but the Countess was there to catch her, cradling her in her arms. Lily quickly started to feel fainter and fainter, her breathing turning short and sharp and her eyelids rapidly flickering open and closed.
Then, the pleasure hit her.
Everything grew faint, except the pain of the bite. It burned in her, white-hot, growing to overpower everything else. As the pain grew, though, it transformed. It became something unrecognizable as pain, just an incredible, unnameable intensity. Quickly, it started to radiate out, spreading across Lily’s whole body. Lily started shivering from the over-stimulation, her breath coming out in weak moans. The sensation settled most of all not just on the bite itself, but also across her chest and between her legs. For once, though, Lily was beyond shame. She didn’t fight it; she simply let herself sink into the feeling. Even though it was strange and unfamiliar, her body responded to it like it was a catharsis she’d been denied for far, far too long. The Countess was right. It felt better than she ever could have believed.
But that was just the beginning. With each passing moment, the strange pleasure became greater and greater. The more Countess Selina drank of Lily’s blood, the more everything else - every other thought and sensation - simply faded away, leaving nothing in her mind but the ecstasy of being the vampire’s prey. Moments stretched into eternities, and as she pawed pathetically at the Countess’s dress with her hands, Lily found herself wishing it would never end. Everything else in her life was dull and empty compared to this. She wanted this beautiful woman to keep feeding off her forever, if that was what it took. Deliriously, Lily started to murmur senseless prayers for the vampire to take everything from her, every last drop. The raw intensity of what she was feeling was quickly reshaping her, showing her new desires she’d never dared to consider before. It wasn’t long before Lily stopped pawing at the Countess’s clothes and started groping at herself, feeling out all the places her body was most sensitive. She could feel something building inside her. She was yearning for it. All the need that she’d tried so hard to shackle was coming out, unleashed by this ecstasy. Lily wanted this, she thought to herself, as darkness started to creep into the corners of her vision. She wanted to be consumed.
At the last moment, though, it ended. The Countess retracted her fangs, leaving Lily to slump to her knees and groan in feverish desperation. The Countess stepped back from her for a moment, surveying her victim. She ran a finger along her lip, wiping away a small droplet of blood, and sucked on it. Though she was still corpse-pale, the vampire now had a very slight blush to her cheeks, as if Lily’s blood was now flowing through her veins.
“Truly exquisite,” the Countess murmured appreciatively. “You taste so sweet, sister. I could barely hold myself back from drinking every last drop.”
“Please… please…” It was the only word that came to Lily’s lips. She was utterly intoxicated on the perverse adrenaline rush of the Countess feeding on her.
“Oh?” The vampire laughed, the sound full of mockery and satisfaction. “What’s this? Does the nun want me to keep drinking from her? Do you want me to plunge my fangs back into your neck? To keep drinking and drinking and drinking until you experience that absolute, final bliss you so crave? What would the other nuns say, if they could see you now? How delightfully sinful!” She abruptly stopped laughing and stared at Lily intently, her crimson eyes burrowing into the defiled nun’s soul. “Tell me. Tell me what you want.”
The sharp command brought Lily’s babbling to a halt. She couldn’t bring herself back to her senses, but she was powerless to disobey the Countess, and so she found herself calming down, panic and desperate need tamed by the impulse to obey. “Yes. Yes! I-I want that.” Lily wished she could pretend that she didn’t know what she was saying, but in that moment, the awful truth was that she did. She knew what she was begging for. She would sacrifice anything for another taste of that pleasure. Her safety, her vows, even self-preservation - all were forgotten. “Take me. Take me!”
“No!” The Countess said sharply. She bent over to grip Lily’s face once more, forcing the nun to meet her petrifying gaze. “Is there nothing more to you than that, Sister Lilian? Will you let me break you that easily? Prove yourself!”
“I… I…” Lily wasn’t sure she understood, but in response to the vampire’s words, a whole collection of different thoughts and feelings were bubbling up inside her.
“Look into my eyes.” Lily looked, helpless. “What do you see?”
She looked, pushing past her fear and haziness. “Hunger,” Lily ventured uncertainly.
“Look deeper, sister,” Countess Selina commanded. Lily obeyed, staring so deep into the vampire’s crimson, inhuman eyes she felt like she was being consumed by them. As she looked, she started to understand. The Countess was hungry, yes. It was an unnatural, gnawing hunger that ran deeper than Lily could comprehend. But while the Countess hungered, she wasn’t desperate. Not ever. Hers was a predator’s hunger. She was at ease and assured, comfortable in the knowledge that she could sate herself at any moment, pouncing on a poor, innocent victim like Lily and mesmerizing them, or simply overpowering them. To a creature like her, Lily realized, the whole world was little more than something to be toyed with and conquered.
“Power,” Lily whispered slowly. Suddenly, she realized she recognized the greatest of the feelings that had been growing inside her. It was envy.
The Countess nodded. “Power. And what if I offered that to you, sister? What if you could have that power for yourself? You could. I would delight in watching you unleash those desires you’ve been keeping locked up inside. So. Tell me what you want?”
Lily looked up at the vampire in silence for several long seconds, eyes wide. Despite the effects of the vampire’s compulsion, she was having trouble bringing the words to her lips, but deep in her heart she knew there was only one answer she could give.
“Yes,” Lily answered, her voice wavering. “I… I want that. Make me like you.”
The grin that broke across the vampire’s face was pure, proud malice. “Perfect.”
Using her unholy strength, the Countess hauled Lily up to her feet. The blood-drained nun could barely stand, but the vampire held her in place and allowed her to lean on her a little for support. Then, to Lily’s shock, the vampire used her other hand to pull her dress down at the cleavage, exposing her breasts to the night. For a brief moment, all Lily could do was stare. The moment was broken, though, when the Countess used a razor-sharp fingernail to slice a thin line across herself, tracing the swell of her bosom. Small droplets of blood started to form at the cut, and in the darkness they looked completely black.
“Drink,” the Countess commanded, and pulled Lily’s face to her chest.
Lily whimpered slightly in surprise as she was suddenly smothered by the Countess’s breasts, but before she could enjoy the experience, she noticed the sweet, rich scent of the vampire’s blood. Despite how repulsive the act would have seemed to her mere minutes before, she opened her mouth and extended her tongue to lap it up. From the very first taste of it, she was hopelessly addicted. The Countess’s blood tasted dark and rich, almost like a fine wine, but with the telltale metallic hint of iron that made it very, very clear what exactly Lily was drinking. She shouldn’t have found it pleasant, but she did. As she swallowed the first few drops, she started to feel miraculously reinvigorated. The light-headedness her exsanguination had caused faded, and she found she could stand of her own strength. Lily didn’t pull away, though; if anything, she clung even tighter to the vampire, eager to drink down every last drop of blood she was being offered.
“Good girl,” the Countess crooned, stroking her hand through Lily’s hair in a twisted mockery of motherly affection. “Drink deep. I will delight in watching the havoc you wreak.”
The more Lily drank, the more her body grew both stronger and warmer. As before, it started to cry out lustfully for touch and stimulation, but Lily could not drag her attention away from the sweet, dark ichor she was imbibing. In that moment, she needed it more than air. In fact, as she drank, she noticed her breathing start to become shallow and ragged. It brought her no discomfort. In fact, she was starting to feel like she didn’t need to breathe at all. As long as she could continue to suckle at the Countess’s chest, she was perfectly content. She started to shiver as her body overflowed with energy and arousal. Even as her heartbeat slowed dangerously, her head filled with fantasies she’d never allowed herself to give in to before. She fantasized about herself and the Countess tearing at each other’s clothes, ripping them to shreds with infernal strength before tumbling down onto the ground to fulfill their passion together in one another’s arms. Before she knew it, one of Lily’s hands was between her legs, rubbing at herself through her nun’s habit out of her desperate craving for stimulation. Her mouth still full of blood, Lily moaned in dissatisfaction. It wasn’t enough. She wanted more.
“I’m sure you can feel it now,” the Countess whispered. “The transformation. Don’t fight it. Succumb. Embrace your hunger.”
Lily was long past the point of fighting it. After a lifetime of self-denial, she couldn’t resist such visceral pleasure. Far from filling her, the blood she drank formed a dark pit in her stomach, birthing an endless craving for more. Need and desire exploded within her. She wanted the Countess. She wanted her body, her blood. She wanted more than that. She wanted everything. Everyone. And with this new strength she could feel, it would all be hers. Lily felt giddy, like there was nothing she couldn’t do. She wanted to throw back her head and laugh, and howl. But she wanted to keep drinking the Countess’s blood even more.
Eventually, though, the flow ran dry. Lily looked up at the Countess with wide-eyed shock and anguish on her face, only to find the vampire was gently pulling her head away. Lily wanted to fight her and force her lips back onto the Countess’s chest, but the unholy strength she’d been gifted with instantly deserted her, leaving her as weak as a kitten once more. Lily collapsed. For a few moments, she could hear her heartbeat in her ears, so deafeningly loud it hurt. Then, without warning, it stopped, and there was silence.
In the moments before she lost consciousness, all Lily could remember was the Countess bending down to plant a gentle kiss on her lips.
“I will take you back to your sisters,” the vampire whispered. “And after that? I will be watching very, very carefully.”