1# Awakened by the Vampire Prince

By: Charlene Hartnady


Part 1

Chapter 1

Lord help him. Xavier sighed. At this rate he would die of a heart attack. Since he was a non-human, that was saying something. Even though she was at least a foot shorter than him, Xavier had to pick up his pace to keep up with the elven princess. Her long golden tresses flew about her face as she purposefully strode across the field in the direction of the forest.

Why she insisted on wearing those blasted silken robes was beyond him? The fabric clung to her enticing curves, the hem rode high on her creamy thighs. Then again, he didn’t like it when she wore dresses or shorts either. He sighed again. She could probably wear a hessian sack and still draw the eye of those around her.

They passed by various groups of males who were busy with their training sessions. As they caught sight of her, they stopped what they were doing so that they could stare open mouthed as she walked past. Some stopped mid fight, allowing their opponents to hit them, while others fumbled and even dropped their weapons. None of them dared to say anything or to approach her. At least his regularly swollen, bleeding knuckles had not been for nothing. Xavier narrowed his eyes at those who dared look his way and was content when they dropped their gazes in a show of submission.

By the time they made it to the edge of the forest, Xavier realized that the princess planned on entering the thick undergrowth and he ground to a halt. “This is far enough, princess.”

Esral turned on her heel, putting her hands on her hips. She had to look up to maintain eye contact with him. “How many times do I need to tell you that I’m an elf? We need to be out in the open. To be one with nature.”

“It is my duty to protect you.” Xavier tried to keep himself from growling.

“Well then, you’d better follow me.” Like a leaf in the wind, she turned back to the forest and was gone in what felt like an instant.

Xavier had to run to catch up with her. He gripped her lightly by the elbow and spun her back to face him, keeping his hand on her arm. Her cheeks were pink. Her large blue eyes wide. “I don’t like to stray too far from the castle, princess. If anything should happen…”

“I’m sure that you’re more than capable of ensuring my safety, especially considering you take your duty so seriously.” She chewed on her lower lip for a few beats. “Please, Xavier. The walls are closing in on me. I need to spend a little time out here.” She opened her arms forcing him to release his light grip on her. The nimble elf spun around in circles and when Esral laughed it eased something inside of him. She lifted her eyes to the thick canopy overhead, a radiant smile graced her beautiful face.

He shook his head and sighed heavily. “We really shouldn’t.” How the hell could he deny her?

When her eyes locked with his once again, he knew that it would be hopeless to try and dissuade her. Besides, he didn’t really want to. “Fine. One short walk and then we have to go back”

He didn’t think it possible but her smile widened and her blue eyes sparkled brightly even in the shadows. “Let’s go then.” Using long graceful strides, she skipped and danced her way through the thick undergrowth, leaving him cursing as he stumbled behind her. It was impossibly thick in this part of the woods. Thankfully he was in his leathers because the thick branches would’ve cut his arms and snagged regular fabric. How in the name of blood did she move so quickly? The only thing that kept him sane was listening to her odd peal of laughter. At least someone was having fun.

“Slow down, princess,” he called after her. Insects buzzed around his neck and face. The undergrowth crunched beneath his boots. Sweat trickled from his brow. He shook his head, the little elf was wearing a silk robe, and no shoes. By now she should be scratched up and bleeding. The garment torn from her body. He almost groaned aloud at the thought of her exposed feminine curves. Hopefully he wouldn’t have to look upon her naked flesh or all bets would be off. His willpower was at an all time low as it was. He made out a blue flash in the distance and then another. His view mostly obscured by bushes and branches.

Xavier moved forward, he cursed as a thorny branch sliced across his wrist. It healed almost instantly. Using the back of his hand, he wiped his brow and continued to pick his way through the dense undergrowth. He cursed again when his boot got snagged on a gnarled root. A seasoned warrior, one of the elite, a vampire fucking prince yet he failed to keep up with the petite, elven beauty and almost fell flat onto his ass as he stumbled into a clearing.

The air seized in his lungs as he took in the view. A waterfall fed into a crystal pool which was surrounded by scattered pebbles. Water lilies floated gently across the rippling surface. Though the only thought that passed through his mind at the moment was that Esral had the sexiest ass he had ever seen in his life. When she turned towards him, he all out cursed.

“Stop that.” Her eyes narrowed at him. “Why do you have to be so vulgar?”

“You’ve taken off your clothes.” Xavier had to work hard to keep his eyes on hers.

“I’m going for a swim.” She gestured to the water behind her. “For the record, I’m wearing a swimsuit.”

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