Enchanting Raven (Curse of the Vampire Queen Book 2)

By: Jessica Sorensen

(Curse of the Vampire Queen, #2)



Raven





My skinny legs shake as I sneak out into the trees. If my parents discover I’ve snuck out, I’ll be banished from going to Nadine’s nineteenth birthday party tomorrow. While I’m not a huge fan of Nadine, and rarely get to go to parties, this one I’ve been re-dying to attend. Not because I’ve suddenly developed a desire to hang out with my older sister and her stuck-up vampire friends. No, I want to go because he’ll be there. Just like he’s out here in the forest, waiting for me. I want to latch on to any excuse to see him before we say our goodbyes.

Pulling the hood of my ankle-length velvet cloak over my head, I creep farther into the trees as the sunlight glistens from the sky, announcing daybreak.

Most vampires are heading to bed by now, or are already fast asleep. Still, I worry someone will spot me and inform my parents. While I’m almost eighteen and old enough to wander off on my own, I’ll be in a lot of trouble if I’m seen having a secret rendezvous with him, my sister’s betrothed and the future king of the vampire species.

While I’m not technically doing anything wrong—just sneaking out to see a vampire who’s been my friend for ages—my sister won’t see it like that. Normally, Nadine’s opinion isn’t even a blip on my concern radar, but now that she’s in line to be the future queen of the vampire world, she’ll soon be able to punish me whenever she wants and however she sees fit. Since Nadine has never liked me, I can imagine how awful of a punishment she’d give me if she caught me spending time in secret with her betrothed. I’m taking a huge risk being out here, but spending time with the soon-to-be king before he becomes forever tied to a vampire who despises me is important.

Sucking in a breath, I quicken my pace, my thick, buckled boots crunching against the dry leaves and twigs covering the enchanted forest that surrounds Mystic Willow Bay.

My family’s cottage is a few miles from the border of the enchanted woods, which required me to take a path through several quaint neighborhoods. If the wrong vampire is up this late, my mom will for sure hear about my journey away from my family’s cottage at such a late hour. But my cloak and hood should be enough to hopefully conceal my identity from any neighbors that are up late, along with the pixies who sometimes roam the woods.

The farther I hike into the trees, the more relaxed I become. For various reasons, ranging from the risk of getting lost to running into a forest demon, hardly anyone comes this far into the forest. I’ve spent plenty of time here, though, and I know my way around. As for the forest demons, my hiding skills are above average. Sure, I may suck at most vampire abilities, like super speed and strength, but I’ve always possessed the ability to hide well when needs be. And I’ve had my fair share of times when I’ve needed to hide.

“Where are you?” I mutter as I arrive at the towering rock where we normally meet.

Usually, he beats me here, since he’s one of the fastest vampires in town. Perhaps he’s hiding? He’s done that a couple of times so he can sneak up and scare the shit out of me.

After scanning the area and not seeing any sign of him, I decide I must’ve made it here first. That revelation makes me smile.

Ha! I’m so going to tease him for being slower than one of the slowest vampires in town.

Grinning, I clumsily climb up onto the rock and plop down on the flat top, stretching my legs and resting back on my hands. The rock is almost as tall as the trees, so I have a good view of the forest, but the trees are too thick to see much of anything besides leaves and branches.

“Dang it, I was hoping I’d be able to see when he showed up so I can pay him back for all those times he snuck up on me,” I mutter with a sigh.

“That sounds like a lot of fun to me.” The voice comes from right behind me, so close their breath tickles the back of my neck.

Startled, I let out a high-pitched squeal that would put even the cry of a Banshee to shame and whirl around, nearly smacking my head against his. Luckily, his super speed and coordination registers quicker than my clumsiness and he slants back before we end up clanking skulls.

“Holy evil demons, you scared me.” I press my hand to my chest as I narrow my eyes at the vampire in front of me. Dark hair, playful eyes, and dressed in black slacks, a matching loose shirt, and thick silver-strapped boots. Not the vampire I was supposed to be meeting, but I’m not surprised he’s here. “That wasn’t very nice.”

His eyes glint wickedly. “Since when have I ever claimed to be nice?”

“Never. And if you did, you’d be a liar.” I flash him a sassy smirk.

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