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A Fall of Secrets(A Shade of Vampire,Book 15)(9) by Bella Forrest

A flicker of surprise crossed Kiev’s face, though I’d expected him to be more shocked. I’d seen the two of them dancing at the wedding today, but I hadn’t known that they shared anything deeper than that. Not that long ago, Matteo had despised Kiev’s siblings.

Matteo glanced back at the crowds. I followed his gaze to see that it had fallen on Helina, who was standing in conversation with Erik.

“She doesn’t know that I’m having this conversation with you,” Matteo said, drawing his eyes back to Kiev. “But I want to marry her.”

There wasn’t even a moment’s hesitation on Kiev’s part.

“There isn’t a man in this world I’d rather she ended up with,” Kiev said, his eyes glistening as he nodded vigorously. Beneath my husband’s joy, I couldn’t miss the pain and guilt. Kiev had murdered Matteo’s sister, Natalie. Now here was Matteo asking for permission to love and marry Kiev’s sister, Helina.

A smile broke out on Matteo’s face. He looked relieved.

“You didn’t need to ask,” Kiev said. “You know that I owe you more than I can ever repay.”

Matteo looked once again at Helina. “Well… your sister will be a good start.”

The two men embraced. Before Matteo headed off, he gave me a hug and kissed my cheek. “Congratulations, Mona. I wish you and Kiev a life of happiness.”

I hugged him tight. Matteo had been like an older brother to me during some of the most painful and hopeless years of my life. “Thank you,” I whispered.

Matteo left us and headed back toward Helina. Kiev watched him leave, positively beaming. “Well, that’s one sibling sorted. Now there’s just Erik…” He turned and looked down at me. “Now, where were we? Ah. Are you comfortable in that dress, my love? It looks rather tight. This ridiculous costume Corrine has put me in certainly is…”

Not willing to hang around for any more distractions, I gripped his hands and vanished us from the spot.

Chapter 6: Caleb

My eyes were mostly on Rose throughout the wedding. She looked more beautiful than ever in that light pink dress, her dark hair trailing down her back. As the hours passed by, and Kiev and Mona had left the beach, Rose continued playing along with the witches for those who were still dancing. I could see that her hands were growing weary. I walked over to her and sat down on the bench. Placing an arm around her, I whispered into her ear, “Shall I give you a break?”

She smiled, then shook her head. “I would rather play with you.”

I acquiesced, although I would have much preferred to see her resting. Planting my hands further up along the piano, I began to accompany her melody. As our harmony filled the air, the thoughts and emotions that I’d experienced during the wedding came back to me.

Watching the ceremony had moved me in ways I hadn’t expected. With Rose sitting only a few feet away from the platform where Kiev and Mona had stood, I kept looking from them to her. My mind filled with images of Rose walking down that aisle toward me, the two of us standing on the platform, exchanging vows, sharing a kiss… I couldn’t stop the scene from playing in my mind.

I wasn’t sure why this wedding had brought about such a reaction. But it stirred something deep inside me. An ache. A desire. A longing to finally claim a woman as my own, to place a ring upon her finger, to both give myself and accept her completely… I thought back to the heat I’d seen in Rose’s eyes the other evening. She’d wanted me to make love to her. I’d refused to that night. I hadn’t even been sure why at the time.

But now I understood.

I looked back down at Rose expertly playing her piece, her brows furrowed in concentration, the flowers in her hair beginning to loosen and touch the sides of her face.

I wanted to commit everything I had to her before making her fully mine.

Chapter 7: Rose

I was glad to be able to provide the music for the party. A wedding was just what this island needed. We’d been under so much stress, I could see how much everyone appreciated this relief.

People stayed on long after Kiev and Mona took their leave. They continued to dance and mingle even as sunset arrived beyond the island’s boundary. Although my hands were aching, I didn’t want to take more than a few minutes’ pause. I was enjoying playing with Caleb too much. I hadn’t played with him since I’d been trapped on his island as a prisoner.

I noticed Caleb looking at me a lot throughout the wedding. I wasn’t sure why he was staring at me. As we both took our third break, allowing Landis and Ashley to take a turn, I walked with Caleb toward the dance floor.

“You’ve been staring at me a lot today,” I said, raising a brow.

Caleb smiled. “Then you must have been staring at me to notice.”

I chuckled. “I guess so.” I did find myself looking at him a lot. Partly because I still couldn’t believe he was here with us on this island. It felt like a dream.

“You look stunning, Rose,” he whispered into my ear as he led me to dance. “And I still can’t quite believe you’re mine.”

I know the feeling.

As I draped my arms over his shoulders, his hands wrapped around my waist and he lifted me up suddenly so that my face was level with his, my feet hovering above the ground. He kissed my cheek and rested his chin on my shoulder, still holding me in the air. I giggled as my legs swayed.

Erik and Abby danced a few feet away. The way Erik was holding Abby close to him, and the way she nestled her head against his shoulder… I was surprised by how intimate they looked. I hadn’t even known they were friends until recently. The attraction was unmistakable as they looked into each other’s eyes.