2 Chapter 2

Three hundred years later.

Dimitri snorted. "Bloody fuck! Who could that be?" Who on earth was visiting at this time of the morning? It wasn't like they were used to receiving guests, even during decent hours. Modern times were indeed very different from the days when people would send letters after letters informing them of their plans to visit the previous month or weeks.

Gabby, his sixty-year-old butler, struggled with a smile, his white-silver hair glistening in the sunlight coming off the window, but one could see that he was out of exercise with his smile. It was weird and unwelcoming. "We used to have visitors. Do you recall, sir?"

That was the issue with butlers who'd served the Norton family since before one was born. Gabby's forefather used to work with the Nortons, and he knew their secret. He knew about his kind and they grew to think highly of mockery and thought he was their closest man to call a family, Gabby was always the pain in the ass.

"Who is this visitor, Gabby?"

"I'm not entirely sure, sir."

"You're not sure? Are you seriously kidding me?" Dimitri asked, disbelievingly.

"I didn't inquire."

"Isn't that what butlers are meant to do?"

"Ask, sir?"

A frustrated Dimitri said, "Yes." He wondered if Gabby was trying to see how red his employer could get without falling to the ground in a child's or a monster's fit. Dimitri wouldn't be surprised if Gabby ended up peeing on his expensive carpet if Dimitri let his monster get loose.

"I thought I'd let you ask, sir."

"You thought you'd let me ask." Dimitri had realized the futility of inquiring into problems, so this one came out as an assertion. One of these days, he might as well eat Gabby for lunch. He bet the old man doesn't taste good, but for being annoying? He might as well close his nose while eating his flesh.

"Yes, sir. She's here to see you, after all."

"She? A woman? Damn it! I hate visitors, Gabby. You should have known that by now, remember?"

"But, sir, so are all of our visitors, and that hasn't stopped you from verifying their identities in the past. She called many times and you said that she could come and visit."

"I did not! … I did?" Since when? Did he, or didn't he? The woman who couldn't stop calling his mobile phone asking for an interview? Did he even say yes? He couldn't remember.

"Well, actually, sir—"

"I'm quite sure—I did not agree for an interview Gabby." Dimitri made an effort to interrupt as he stood very quickly.

"Oh, well,... maybe we don't have guests, sir," Gabby finished, quite simply beating the idiomatic clash.

Dimitri sighed and took a deep breath, savoring her amazing fragrance down his living room. He guessed a woman indeed had a sweet strawberry vanilla scent with odd peppermint essence. Strange, she smells familiar. But it was impossible. He thought to himself. Shampoo, perhaps? He opened his mouth to point out that they did have guests, there was one downstairs that very minute; but certainly, what was the point? Gabby was clearly trying to make him lose his temper. "Fine," he mumbled, thoroughly annoyed. "I'll go downstairs now. Prepare my tea."

Gabby flickered. "Excellent, sir."

Dimitri glanced at his butler in surprise. "Are you sick, Gabby? Since when are you excited about accepting guests? I know for sure you hated visitors, as I hated them."

"This one is a beautiful woman, sir. She even looks familiar. No need to hate."

"So? I have dozens of beautiful women on one call, Gabby."

"I know, sir, but this one is different. You'll like her."

"Oh, playing Cupid now, Gabby?"

"Certainly not. Why do you ask, sir?"

It didn't seem quite polite to point out that the broad smile made Gabby look a bit like a goat, so Dimitri just mumbled, "Fine... whatever... It's nothing," he headed down the stairs.

A guest? Who would be coming here? Yes, he was a private man. Few people knew him. He was very sheltered, though he was rich and had massive wealth all over Europe, so few knew who was behind many charitable donations and research programs. Who could this be? And an interview? No one had come to visit in nearly six months since the neighbors, friends, and associates of Gabby's grandfather had finished making their obligatory condolence calls when the old man passed away. Gabby's grandfather was his personal face to the public, and few knew about the real Dimitri Norton, though some knew about him being the old man's nephew.

Dimitri supposed he couldn't really blame the media for their many questions. Just a few weeks ago, he had managed to donate one million pounds to the university research program about paranormal exploration in town, which by many assumptions was just plain foolish and Norton's donations were nothing but a ploy. A ploy to what end? Those stupid folks were really into crazy speculation these days.

Yet, the last time one of the media came to visit, his massive guardian hounds had smeared berry jam on the chairs. The man had left in a fit of temper quite beyond anything Dimitri would have thought healthy for a man of his years. Dimitri frowned as he reached the bottom of the stairs and turned into the entry hall.

Who the hell—

He halted short, staggered, even.

Because the woman standing in his vast living room hall was young and quite brilliant, beyond beautiful, and when she looked up to meet his gaze, he saw that she had the largest, most achingly beautiful charcoal jet-black eyes he'd ever seen.

He could drown in those eyes. Dark, too dark, too deep, too powerful and innocent.

And Dimitri did not, as one might understand, even think the word "drown" lightly. He was captivated by her simplicity, just like a bee to a honeycomb.

Meanwhile, Blanca gaped at the grandeur of the massive mansion, then she was sure she would not be surprised to hear, she talked far too much. She simply couldn't stop talking, but she supposed that was what she did when she was nervous. One can only hope she has less cause for nerves as the rest of her life unfolds when she sees him, the most handsome man she has ever seen.

Dimitri Norton was a man of beauty and elegance. He wasn't a male model, but he should have been. The lush, mother lode-gold hair he groomed so carefully had rippling excellence, a sign of his promising health. His only blemish was that he had beetle-brows that looked at her knit in frustration. Maybe more questions. After all, she tricked his butler into coming here.

Dimitri's aquiline, elegant nose that he sported complemented his dominant cheekbones. Handsome in an understated way, his basalt jaw and warrior's shoulders spoke of strength, power, and charm. He possessed latent, leonine energy and walked down the stairs with purpose and superiority.

With her much research, she knew by now that people had always remarked that his best feature was his entrancing, ocean-blue eyes. Sloe shaped, they could shine as bright as the twilight stars when they were a-light with pleasure. Maybe at other times, they could match two liquid-blue pools of flashing fire and passion, sex and pleasure beyond her comprehension.

"Who are you?" He grumbled, and at that moment, Blanca knew that his flamboyant character, the living room, was filled with his vibrant, alpha-rumbling voice.

Then she opened her mouth.

"Um-Sir Dimitri? Um-Mr. Norton, sir?" She inquired, and before the towering man even had a chance to nod in the affirmative, she said, at quite the speed of lightning, "I'm so terribly sorry to arrive unannounced. My name is Blanca Vergil... Well, um-I'm sorry about tricking your butler, but I really had no other choice, and to be h-honest, if I'd sent notice, it probably would have a-arrived behind me or would be stuck in your mailbox, m-making the note entirely moot, as I'm s-sure you'll agree, and..."

Dimitri blinked and furrowed his forehead, sure he was supposed to be following what she was saying but no longer able to make out where one phrase ended and the next began.

". . . I'm an intern from the paranormal research program, and I'm one of your scholars, I came from London... It's been a long journey, and I'm afraid I didn't sleep. I felt groggy on the flight and quite dizzy to tell you the truth, so I must beg you to forgive my appearance and . . ."

The woman was making him dizzy too. Would it be rude if he sat down and stopped her grumbling about nonsense and just kissed her plump pink lips?

". . . didn't bring much more than a pair of clothing and all my notes, but I had no choice, and... I have to know more."

This had simply gone on far too long, with no sign, in fact, that it would ever end. She talked too much for his liking. It was too fast and too unfocused. If he allowed her to speak for one moment longer, he was quite certain that he would suffer an inner ear imbalance, or possibly, she would swoon from lack of breath and hit her head on the tiled floor. Either way, one of them would be maimed and in weakening pain from her grumbling.

"Stop... right there," he said, clearing his throat.

If she heard him, she gave no inkling, rather saying something about the mundane flight and taxi she had taken that had clearly conveyed her to his doorstep.

"Miss," he mumbled, a little louder this time.

". . . but then I—" The woman brightened up, blinking those exceedingly confused jet-black eyes at him, and for a minute, he felt frighteningly off balance. Odd. He was never that unfocused before. But looking at her pool of remarkable orbs, "Yes?" she inquired.

Now that he had her vigilance, he appeared to have overlooked why he'd sought it. "Um, miss," he asked, "...who are you again and what are you doing here in my state?"

She gaped at him for a good ten seconds, her lips parted in shock, and then she eventually replied, "Blanca Vergil, of course."

Blanca was fairly certain she was talking too much, and she was aware she was talking too fast too, but she did that when she was anxious or nervous, and while she prided herself on the fact that she was barely anxious, now seemed like a fairly worthy time to examine that long-forgotten emotion, and besides, Mr. Norton—if indeed he was the large wolf of a man standing before her—was not at all what she had expected, and he was so fucking hot and handsome that she had never had a crush before; her twenty-three-year-old self had never been so intimate with anyone. Not because she was a tomboy or anything, but because she disliked physical touch, she has been alone since high school. Well, to her surprise, she loves being alone. After all, she was an orphan and had become an unwanted parcel between too many foster homes.

"You're Blanca Vergil?"

She looked up into his gaping face and felt the first stirrings of irritation. "Well, of course, I am. Who else would I be?"

"I could not possibly imagine... I'm a dear friend of your parents."

"Seriously? I don't even know who my parents were. I'm an orphan. Do you know them?"

"Yes, I'm sure, you are Vergil. You have their necklace." Yes, Dimitri knew she was Vergil, from the look of it and from the moment he laid his eyes on her and from her deep, remarkable eyes that seemed to be calling him to be drawn to it. Dimitri knew she was undoubtedly the missing daughter of his dear friends. The woman looked exactly like Barbara and Benjamin, from her curly dark hair to her pale complexion. It was like two halves made into one, plus the necklace on her cleavage. It was theirs. The couple's enchanted necklace confirmed that she was indeed the daughter of his long-lost friend. The deceased Luna and Alpha of the Northern London pack. He sighed... It's been more than two decades since the secret war between werewolf packs occurred in four niches of London. And now, Barbara and Benjamin's missing daughter were here in his mansion. How odd was that?

"You know my parents?" she asked.

"Yes," he replied.

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