Home > Love Bites (My Sister the Vampire #6)(14)

Love Bites (My Sister the Vampire #6)(14)
Author: Sienna Mercer

Olivia felt as though a cool breeze had just blown through the room. She realised that maybe some of these vampire guests didn’t approve of her. Olivia knew that there were plenty of separationists – vampires that thought humans and vampires should never mingle, and especially never have relationships. That’s why her father marrying their mother had been such a scandal.

‘I can assure you that I am not biased in my views,’ Alex said, looking at her intently. He leaned forward slightly. ‘Your eyes are fascinating. I am used to vampire eye colours, but yours are like a sparkling summer lake.’

Olivia blushed.

Suddenly, the household staff glided into the room, carrying individual silver domed trays. Olivia smiled at the girl Tessa that they’d met in the hallway earlier, who was serving the opposite side of the table. The staff placed the plates down noiselessly in front of everyone and, with a metallic ring, lifted the domes off to reveal something the size and colour of a pot of lip balm in the centre of each large, white plate. They stood back against the walls, waiting.

Horatio bowed to the group and said simply, ‘Pâté en croûte.’

Ew, Olivia thought. She was relieved to see that on her plate was a fresh garden salad.

‘It looks like a rainbow,’ Alex said, glancing at the vegetables.

Olivia was surprised by the description, but he was right. The red and yellow peppers, the green celery and cucumber, the purple-looking red lettuce – the colours were bright.

‘You certainly have a way with words,’ Olivia commented.

‘Thank you,’ Alex bowed his head a little. ‘I do love poetry. Have you ever read “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”; by Wallace Stevens?’

Olivia shook her head.

‘You must.’ Prince Alex looked wistful for a moment. ‘There are so many ways to see the same thing.’

Like the meaning of Valentine’s Day, Olivia thought to herself. Despite being surrounded by all these wonderful new things, a part of her heart was still with Jackson, wondering if he was thinking of her. She wanted to rush upstairs and check her new phone for texts.

As she ate her croutons, Alex said, ‘I hope we will get to spend more time together while you are here in my country. There is so much I can show you, so many places to visit.’

Olivia was flattered but she heard a tut coming from across the table. Directly opposite her, the Queen was watching them with her lips pressed together.

Olivia felt a hot flush creep up her cheeks and she tried to un-blush as she concentrated on her food. Is the Queen unhappy that her son is fraternising with a human? Olivia wondered. Alex had kept glancing over at her while they were talking. Is her Royal Vampness one of the ones doing the ‘discussing’ about vampire–human relations?

Olivia saw Ivy leaning forward on the other side of Alex, trying to catch her attention.

Horatio suddenly appeared at Ivy’s side. ‘What may I do for you, Miss Ivy?’

‘Uh, no, no, nothing,’ Ivy mumbled. ‘I was just trying to . . . um . . .’

‘Ivy and I very much enjoyed our drive from the airport,’ Olivia said to the prince, hoping it would be enough for him to include Ivy in their conversation.

Horatio bowed and backed away. The staff had been so quiet, Olivia had almost forgotten they were standing there.

Alex dabbed at his mouth with his napkin. ‘The countryside here is underappreciated by the world’s tourists, in my view. I can never get enough of it.’

‘And I can’t get enough of this pâté,’ Ivy said. She had already finished her little portion and was munching on the watercress around the edges that everyone else was leaving untouched. ‘Do you think there will be any more of it?’

Alex chuckled. ‘Are you asking if you can have mine?’

Ivy winced. ‘No, no. I just meant . . . I could massacre a burger right now.’

Olivia glanced around the room, suddenly aware of the silence that surrounded them. Twenty-nine other faces were turned in their direction. Ivy’s exclamation had come at just the wrong time. Burgers at a formal dinner?

Olivia could see her sister struggling to swallow and Olivia had no idea what to do to save her sister.

‘Oh, yes,’ Alex said, loudly enough for the whole table to hear. ‘Those wagyu beef burgers from Japan are such a delicacy.’

The Countess, sitting opposite them next to Mr Vega, agreed. ‘When I went to visit the Imperial House of Japan, they served the most wonderful kobe beef, which is a kind of wagyu.’

Olivia let out her breath as the other vampires nodded appreciatively. Ivy shot Alex a grateful look.

For a prince, Olivia thought, Alex seems really down-to-earth and welcoming. His modesty reminded her of Jackson a little.

She missed Jackson. Is he even missing me? Will he do anything at all for Valentine’s Day?

Across the table, the Queen snapped her fingers at the maid, Tessa. Olivia noticed Prince Alex watching intently. ‘My water is too warm. Bring me ice,’ she commanded.

‘Yes, ma’am.’ Tessa curtsied and hurried off.

Gosh, Olivia thought. The Queen sure knows how to act like a royal.

‘If you like our Romanian countryside, Olivia and Ivy, I must show you our estate,’ said Prince Alex. For some reason, his face had coloured. ‘Please be my guests at the palace tomorrow.’

Olivia felt a thrill. The palace!

She glanced across the table and saw the Queen staring back, her face impassive. Olivia gulped. It seemed that the Queen of Transylvania wasn’t happy that her son was mingling with a human. Not one tiny bit.

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