A/N: Okay, sorry, not a lemon…but definitely long enough to be a chapter! And posted so quickly after the last one!


Glossary:

sarobi: a man's shirt


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Epilogue
A Game of Truths

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"Rome," I called softly.

Rome tilted his head slightly, just enough to acknowledge he had heard me.

We were approaching the site of the wedding. The morning light filtered down through the branches overhead—the higher ones still strung with white flowers—down onto the rows of empty benches. It felt strange, viewing everything as an outsider after the dust had settled. Yesterday I walked into this clearing a bride, waltzing into a new way of life, with the assurance of home and husband for the first time in my life. Today I walked into the same scene with uncertainty, the vacancy of the seats reflecting my lack of belonging.

But I think what scared me more was the idea that Rome might leave me here, in this empty place. Rome had saved me again, but for what? Would he really leave me again? Could he? Sometimes I was not sure I knew this man anymore. I wanted answers.

"Rome," I called again, "can we stop? Please?"

He paused obligingly, but did not turn to face me.

"Can we…talk?" I knew he probably would not like the idea, but it was the only way I knew of to keep him here, and perhaps my only chance at straightening what exactly had happened between us, before he disappeared into the forest.

A second passed before he answered. "Is that wise?"

"Is it wise not to?" I countered, trying to soften my voice so he would not see it as a challenge. "A lot has happened."

"I do not wish to talk about it," Rome said shortly.

Well, I supposed that made sense, considering whatever had happened while I was unconscious to cause the death of so many men. But I really needed to know where these events left me—where they left us.

"There is too much between us," I pressed carefully. "If we are ever to trust one another, we have to clear the air."

Rome turned partway around to regard me through one golden eye. "What are you suggesting?"

I thought quickly. "A game."

He raised a skeptical brow. "A game," he repeated, in a tone that said, Really? You want me to participate in a game?

"A game of truths," I clarified. It was something Kitiora had taught me awhile back, when we had just met and she could hardly get me to talk to her. "One of us speaks a truth—only one—and then the other speaks a truth. We alternate back and forth."

"And if I choose not to answer?" he qualified shrewdly.

I had already thought of that. That was why I had picked this game. "There are no questions," I told him. "You can say whatever you wish. But it has to be a truth. And it can't just be a fact; it has to hold personal significance to one of us."

Rome considered for a long moment, until I was sure he would refuse…and then finally nodded a hesitant assent.

Relieved, I glanced about us, and then walked over to a bench in the front row. I dragged my leg across to straddle the bench so we could face each other, and waved at Rome. He trailed over hesitantly, swinging his long leg over to sit across from me. The waves of his unruly mane fell into his golden eyes as he watched me cautiously, as though bracing himself.

Trying to ignore his obvious discomfort, I stretched my arms out, palms up halfway between us. "Place your palms on top of mine?"

Eying me warily, Rome slowly extended his arms to place his flattened palms carefully over mine. His hands were so large, they completely obscured mine from view. Wicked-looking nails curved slightly over the ends of his fingers.

"Repeat after me," I instructed bravely. "I swear—"

I was almost surprised when, without a fight, he repeated slowly, "…I swear…"

"—to tell you only truth—"

"…to tell you only truth…"

"—for the duration of this game."

"…for the duration of this game."

"I will look you in the eyes—"

He looked slightly surprised. "…I will look you in the eyes…"

"I will not ask questions—" That was the one I knew he was glad for on his own account.

"…I will not ask questions…"

"I will not shift blame—" This one was hard.

"…I will not shift blame…"

"I will not sugarcoat the truth—" That was the hardest for me, but somehow I was sure it would be the easiest for him.

"…I will not sugarcoat the truth…"

"And I will answer the same number of truths—"

"…and I will answer the same number of truths…"

"—as the other person." Because otherwise the game could go on forever.

"…as the other person."

"Okay." I exhaled in a calming breath. "Who do you want to go first?"

"You."

Of course he does. I closed my eyes, sifting through my thoughts. What was I puzzled about? What did I want to know? I needed to find a way to prompt the answers to these questions. "Okay," I said, taking a deep breath, and snapped my eyes up to Rome's. Here we go. "I didn't expect you at the wedding."

Rome held my eyes. "I was not invited to the wedding."

What?! Then how… "I looked for you at the wedding." There, that was a statement along the same lines.

He tilted his chin up slightly. "I did not wish to be seen."

No kidding. This was not really getting us anywhere. Maybe I should segue into a different topic…? "I did not look for you at the tree we used to meet at, either." Seriously, what had he been doing there?!

Rome's eyes clouded, as though troubled. "I did not see you at the tree we used to meet at."

He admitted to being there…but he did not see me? How was that possible? He had beckoned to me! "I saw you at the tree," I whispered.

Rome's eyes narrowed pensively. "There was an absence at the tree."

An "absence"? What the heck did that mean? "You beckoned to me," I said slowly, keeping up the topic.

He seemed to mull over his words carefully, fitting his thoughts within the constraints of the truth statement. "I was the only one at the tree."

Huh? Were we talking about the same instance? "I walked toward you," I tried.

Rome's brows creased. "The tree was imbued with Power," he offered.

Whose Power? I wanted to ask. Yours? I did not know any other people outside the temple who had Power. But I could not ask; the rules of the game forbade it. "There was a bright light before I fainted," I informed him.

"You fell out of existence."

What did that even mean?! How could someone fall out of existence?

"I did not hear or see anyone else at the tree…" I said, trying to convey my initial conclusion about how I had ended up bound and imprisoned.

I watched the understanding dawn in his eyes as the implied question of "If you weren't with me, then where were you?" sunk in. "Gian found me after the wedding."

Why would he use that statement as a reply? Was he saying he had been with Gian at the time? Then who had been with me…? "I thought you had betrayed me until I saw you try to kill the priest," I confessed, wondering what his reaction would be. Would he even care, or try to contest it?

A barrage of violent emotions flickered through Rome's eyes, hurt being one of the most prevalent. He started to turn his face away, but then seemed to remember the rules of the game. "I have never betrayed you," he said finally.

Oh, a part of me sorely wanted to argue that point, on account of giving me to Gian after that night together…But what could I say without blame-shifting? And if he truly believed he had not betrayed me, then what was he thinking back then? I swallowed. "It hurt when you gave me to Gian."

Rome's face twisted, pain squeezing around his eyes although he did not quite grimace. "Yes, it did."

My heart skipped a beat at his agreement. His words were very vague, but they said so much more…

"I trusted that you would not send me away," I whispered, knowing I was pushing it.

Rome clenched his teeth. "I already knew you could not stay with me."

Why? Why could I not stay with him? What had made him decide this? Had it been the noble ball?

…The ball. We had never really talked about that.

"I am glad I went with you to the ball."

Rome blinked at the change of subject, and his expression closed a little. "I am not."

His swift reply was like a blow to my chest, and my mind reeled a little bit, eyes burning. Why would he say that?

"I like being a part of your world," I tried, referring to his allowing me to attend him at the ball.

"I do not want you to be a part of my world," Rome shut down firmly without hesitation.

I gasped reflexively, fighting back tears. My palms trembled beneath his. Seeing my reaction, Rome looked like he wanted to add something, but it was no longer his turn. I choked down my tears and swallowed, gathering my courage. "I thought we were going to have sex in that garden."

Rome's eyes remained level with mine. "We almost did."

I caught my breath. "I wanted to."

He wet his lips and swallowed. "So did I."

My sore heart leapt. So we had been of the same mind! I thought about what stopped us, and about what Rome's reaction had been after. "I didn't know we weren't alone in the garden."

The corner of his mouth twitched ever so slightly. "I did not care."

I felt my eyes widen. Oh Goddess, he was going to take my virginity right in front of that noble, knowing he was there! "I-I might have let you," I admitted bashfully.

Rome's amber eyes darkened a little. "I know."

I blushed hotly, fighting not to look away from his direct gaze. I could feel my palms growing sweaty under his.

"The lavender-eyed noble was not my motivation for bedding you." I thought it was very important that he know that this was not just an excuse; it was the truth.

He absorbed this information in silence. And then, finally, he said, "I cannot bed you."

Painful as it was, it was not a new statement, and it did not really explain anything. "Rome—"

"It is dangerous to bed you," he rephrased quickly.

Dangerous? Dangerous like killing wolves and killing men? Or dangerous socially, maybe? "You were dangerous today," I tried. All those bodies were still fresh in my mind's eye.

Rome's eyes clouded. "I cannot stay around humans any longer."

I did not know how to respond to this. I was no longer certain of whether or not Rome was human. "I don't know if you're human or not," I admitted in a whisper.

"I am not," he said, and the certainty in his eyes was daunting.

"I still care about you," I confessed. Somehow, Rome not being human did not seem to make that go away.

"You should not have cancelled the wedding," he countered.

Funny how a statement regarding such a different subject could make such perfect sense in this context. And funny how my next truth could do the same.

"I can't forget you."

Rome shut his eyes briefly, as though savoring the words, and then re-opened them to say, "If forgetting me is what it takes, then you need to forget me."

Impossible. "We have too much history to forget."

Rome fell quiet, and then said softly, "I may be able to make you forget."

I gaped in horror. Don't you DARE! "Memories of you are the only ones I want."

He jolted a little at that statement, emotions warring behind his eyes. "Your memories of Gian are more important."

Okay, now I was angry. "You do not have the right to decide which memories are important to me."

"You're angry," Rome whispered in slow revelation.

I began to pull my hands out from beneath his, unwilling to hear or speak anymore. We had spoken the same number of truths. The game could end. I was ending it. But Rome caught my wrists, restraining me from leaving.

"Of course I'm angry," I retorted, glaring at him. "I offered myself to you, and you offered me to another man…and now you want to steal the memories of us together from me?!"

"He is a better match for you." He seemed genuinely convinced.

"I don't care!" I yelled stubbornly.

"Bre, I—" Rome bowed his head, sighing. "I'm sorry I touched you the way that I did. You were in Gian's care, and that dream was…inappropriate."

As soon as his grip lessened on my wrists, I pulled back and cracked my open palm across his cheek so hard his head swung to the side. "How dare you!" I hissed. "How dare you do something that intimate and then call it a mistake!" The one time he chose to apologize, and it was for this?!

"Dammit bitch!" Rome growled, whipping his head up to bare his teeth at me. I gasped at the sight of his incisors, which extended down an inch from either side of his mouth. "I tell you that I am dangerous, and then you assault me?! What part of 'beast' do you not understand?!"

"EVERYTHING!" I yelled back. "There is not one thing I understand about you anymore!"

Rome's whole body flinched, like I had struck him again. Quickly he ducked his head so his bangs obscured his face. "Then why the hell are you sitting here with me?"

"Because I am trying to understand," I said, "but you won't let me in!"

"Were there not enough bodies for you to understand?" he growled low.

"Why?" I asked fervently. "Why did you kill them, Rome?"

"For what they did to you,…" he said, raising up his head so his glowing, orangey harvest-moon eyes could peruse my face. He brought one clawed hand up, and I kept very still as he trailed a long nail in a few random lines over my face. "…I would kill them all over again."

"You can't just kill people, Rome," I admonished in a small voice, ever conscious of his sharp claws tracing over my skin.

"Can't I?" he mused, tone unmoved. "No one will stop me."

"I will," I said, before my brain caught up with my mouth. "I stopped you today, didn't I?" What was wrong with me?! What was I implying?! There was no guarantee I could stop him again!

"Oh will you?" Rome teased, but his amusement had a strange edge of melancholy. "And how will you manage that? How do you plan to convince me? What will I get in return?"

"Do you need something in return?" Did he really think killing was so natural, that he needed to be bribed not to kill someone?

Rome shrugged his maroon-clad shoulders. "It helps to have a reason."

I studied the man before me. That he was dangerous, I had no doubt. His was a lethal beauty, lithe grace belying his ruthlessness. I was not sure how he had become like this. But there was something familiar in his orangey eyes—a speck of loneliness in all the confident bravado. Rome was alone. He had been for a long time. But perhaps…Perhaps he was not as impervious to people's company as he would have others believe. Maybe, there was that part of him I had seen in the garden—the part I had seen in the dream—that wanted to be close to someone—needed someone close to him. Maybe he just needed someone to welcome him—a place to feel safe, to not feel the need to kill off others who might be a threat. He had always protected me. His touches had always been exploratory, oftentimes forceful but never cruel. As soon as I turned his attention from the priest, he had started licking what must have been a scrape on my face, healing me with that familiar tingling sensation. Even now, touching my face with his sharp claws, he was startlingly gentle with the razor tips—almost affectionate.

Despite a few extraordinary physical features, Rome was not unattractive. Even with those fangs, most women would look at him and dream of him doing to them what he had done to me. How to reconcile the ethereal beauty of the man in front of me, with the slaughter of the wolves and the massacre of my kidnappers in their house, I had not yet figured out. But there was definitely still something human in him; I could feel it.

Catching his hand gently in mine, I removed it from my cheek, leaning forward until I could press my lips lightly to where his fang peeked out from his upper lip. "I'll be your compensation," I murmured, pressing another kiss.

"No," he said gruffly, gently pushing me away with a shake of his head. "Absolutely not." He made to rise.

"Why not?" I grasped hastily at his hand.

Rome leaned forward, inches from my face. "I would tear you apart," he hissed.

"Tell me you don't want to kiss me right now," I challenged, staring into his eyes. I did not know what I would do if he actually said it.

"That is beside the point!" he stressed.

"Then what is the point?" I pressed.

"You are human!" Rome exclaimed. "I am not! If I kissed you, I would do more than that. If I took you, it would break you!"

"Rome," I reproved flatly. "I'm not that fragile."

"Yes, you are!" he insisted stubbornly. "And I don't want you to be mangled and bloody when you finally realize that!"

I stared at him. "You're trying to protect me."

"Yes!"

"You're trying to protect me from having sex with you," I clarified.

"Yes!"

"Goddess, Rome, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."

Rome let loose a feral growl of frustration, tossing his golden head. "Why won't you ever just listen!?"

"I'm listening, Rome," I retorted. "I just still think it's worth it!"

"Worth what?!"

"You're a confusing, defensive, stubborn bastard!" He flinched. "Pretentious, conceited, hostile, you always push people away, and you always do the opposite of what you want." I flipped his palm over. "But last time I checked, you're passionate, affectionate, and remarkably gentle with these long nails of yours," I said, tracing a finger along the length of one claw. He watched the movement hesitantly, his entire body tense. "And what I realized, standing on the wedding altar over there," I said, nodding to the side toward the dais, "is when I thought about my wedding night, all I could think about was you and your breath-stealing kisses and the feel of your nails on my skin, and your…your mouth on my neck…" I faltered, clearing my throat. "And I realized," I continued, glancing up into Rome's stunned eyes, "that in my heart I was marrying you."

Rome swallowed. "Bre, I cannot marry you."

"I know," I whispered. "But you don't have to. Just let me stay with you. My heart's already there anyway, whether you're human or not."

"I can't, Bre," he whispered back. "I am too far gone. I'm degenerating, becoming less and less human."

I leaned forward, my lips a breath from his.

"Don't, Bre," he whispered. "Don't—"

My lips gently settled over his. His lips moved unwittingly, and I angled a bit to the side, skimming over one of his fangs. He parted his lips slightly, and I traced my tongue over the parting. With a groan, Rome put one hand to my shoulder and pushed me backward, so I was laying with my back along the length of the bench. His mouth followed me back, tongue swiping at my lips. I reached a hand up to finger through the wave of hair that fell over his eyes, and his mouth immediately dropped down to envelop mine. I gave my lips up to him willingly, allowing him to mesh our lips together while I just laid back, testing the coarse silkiness of his hair. I breathed in the smell of him through my nose, felt the flutter of his long lashes on my skin. Humming, I draped my other arm up over his back, trying to show him that he was welcome. Rome sighed into my lips, slanting his jaw to open wider over me, and I lifted my head a little to meet him, opening my own mouth to deepen the kiss. He traced a clawed finger along my jaw, bringing it down to hook around my chin. His other hand slid down over the front of the white shift I was still wearing from my captivity, cresting the modest swell of my breasts, and sliding down over my pelvic bone, and further to the hem of the shift. He riffled a bit with the fabric, and then I felt his hot, clawed palm on my knee, feeling up the outside of my thigh.

Forward as I had been with my words, I was still unaccustomed to being handled this way. Gian had made a point of not getting too heavily physical with his kisses. And beside that, there was something different about Rome's touch—something electrifying. He radiated a heat through his hands that translated to a seductive, burning passion. Add to that the light, inadvertent scraping of his nails over my skin, and he had me squirming almost instantly.

"Change your mind?" Rome murmured, hovering just above my lips. The gravelly tone of his voice sent bolts shooting down my abdomen.

I fisted my hand in his hair. "No," I squeaked, barely regaining my voice.

Rome hummed, and then moved his mouth over to my cheek, and flicked his tongue over it in a long, slow swipe.

"What are you doing?" I asked, trying to get my voice back under control, but having a hard time of it with Rome's hand still stroking absently up and down my thigh.

"Healing you," Rome murmured, before dropping to lap at another spot.

"Shouldn't you wait until I bathe before you do that?" I was sure I tasted like a dirt road, at best.

He snorted. "And where were you planning to bathe?"

I fell quiet. "Your house?"

Rome paused, raising his head from licking my face to look me in the eyes. "You want to…come home with me?"

"I'd like to," I ventured in a small voice.

"Bre," he rumbled, "you are technically no longer under my guardianship." I opened my mouth to protest. "Even if you were," he said, putting one clawed finger to my lips, "there would be no reason matters should work out any differently between us."

How can he say that when he's on top of me?! "But there is an 'us,'" I pried out of his logic.

He hesitated, his hand pausing on my leg. "Yes," Rome drew out slowly, "I suppose there has always been an 'us.' We have known one another since we were children, after all."

My wounded heart swelled with hope.

"However, it is not sensible for you to live in my house. I barely live there myself anymore." His nails grazed my thigh in a shockingly adoring caress. "You need human company, Bre. The next season will be long and harsh."

Oh Goddess, the next season… Where would I go? What would I do? Rome was right: Freezing Season would be brutal. It was not even about comfort. Without Gian, how would I survive? "I can't go back to Gian," I told Rome. "It would not be fair to him. And I cannot go back to the temple." I dropped my arm from his back to clutch the front of his sarobi. "I know we've had our differences, Rome, but please…I have nowhere else to go."

Rome sighed, eyes closing. "You cannot stay with me. It is out of the question."

I gritted my teeth in annoyance and frustration. "Then get off of me." If he did not care whether I froze or starved to death, then why was he kissing me?!

Rome's hand stilled, then slid back down from under my shift. He sat up, allowing me to sit up as well.

As soon as I recovered my balance, I stood. What had I been thinking? I did not have time to mess around. I had to secure my survival for the next several months. My prospects were bleak, I knew. People were stocking up food, blankets, and firewood for their families. Everything would be rationed. No one could afford an extra mouth to feed, or an extra body to clothe. A huge lump rose into my throat at the thought of what I would have to do, short of a miracle. Lifting my leg back across the bench to join my other, I slowly began to trudge back the way we had come, my steps heavy with revelation.

"Where are you going?"

"I'm not like you, Rome," I said, continuing to trudge in roughly the direction I thought the village lay. "I can't survive Freezing Season out in the cold. I have to find someplace warm to stay."

"Where?"

I shrugged against the growing pit in my stomach. There was likely only one way I could secure a warm place to sleep, and it was going to cost me dearly. Pushing back the apprehensive dread, I replied, "Probably someone's bed." Goddess help me through whatever would happen there.

I cried out as I was suddenly swept off my feet and thrown into a tree trunk, fiery yellow eyes glaring ferociously at me. "Tell me you do not mean that the way I think you do," Rome demanded.

I averted my gaze. He shook me, but I refused to glance back. "No one wants an extra mouth to feed in Freezing Season," I told him, "unless they're irreplaceable and earn their keep. And I don't have anything else of worth."

"Dammit Bre!" Rome half exclaimed, half whined, sounding immensely pained. "There must be another way."

"There isn't." As it was, if I were to sell my body, I would probably have to move from bed to bed; I doubted anyone in the village was wealthy enough to afford to keep someone to warm their bed for the entire season. Maybe a merchant, or a noble…I shuddered as the turquoise-eyed noble came to mind.

I tried to slip out of Rome's grasp, but he threw me back against the tree. "You cannot do this; I will not allow it."

I swallowed. "Then you've killed me already."

"No!" he half-yelled, half-growled.

"Rome…" His head was bowed, and he was gritting his teeth so hard I could hear them grind.

"You promised."

My brow furrowed in confusion. "Promised what?"

"You said your maidenhood had always belonged to me."

I stared at his bowed head, perplexed. "But you don't want it."

Rome's head snapped from side to side. "I never said that."

I hesitated. "Do you want it?" I asked tentatively. I meant what I had said; although far from perfect, Rome was indisputably my first choice for a sex partner. Not only did we have a history together as children, but he was also the only man I had ever cared for deeply and been attracted to. Gian was the only other man who even came close, and in the end he felt to me too akin to an older brother for me to marry. But Rome had made it clear to me time and time again that he had no intention of bedding me. He had said as much only minutes ago. Had he suddenly changed his mind?

Rome stayed silent for a few seconds, which felt like an eternity. And then finally, with head still bowed, he muttered, "Of course I do."

My heart leaped into my throat. I could have jumped up around his waist and kissed him! He actually wanted me—I was worth something to him! But I stayed still, careful not to spook him as my heart galloped in my chest. I was not sure I could handle it if he took back those words.

"But Bre," he said, slowly lifting his head…and then his troubled amber eyes snagged on mine, and he caught his breath. "God, Bre, you're looking at me like you just won a prize you expect me to take from you."

"Maybe I am," I whispered.

Rome swallowed, eyes grieved. "Bre, it's not what you think. Being in my bed would not be normal."

"I don't want normal," I said with growing certainty. This was what had been missing from my wedding, I pieced together. This was why I could not marry Gian, wonderful man though he was. "I want you."

Rome caught his breath, as though starting to believe me…and then grimaced. "No, you do not," he said softly. "You want a 'me' that is dead and gone. I cannot be that person, Bre. Not even for you."

"Maybe not," I agreed slowly, eyes surveying the golden features of the man in front of me, and the wave of his bangs over his faintly glowing eyes. He certainly looked a far cry from the brown-haired, emerald-eyed boy I had grown up talking to. "But I still want you, I think."

"Bre," Rome chided lowly, "You don't know who this 'me' is."

"Not completely," I acknowledged. "But I'm getting there."

"And you think you know this 'me' enough to live with him? To bed him, even?" Rome's perturbed eyes were clouded with concern, his forehead creased.

"You keep saving me," I reminded him, holding his eyes. "Even if I don't agree with your methods, I still trust you. And," I added, "you've made me feel things I never knew were possible." I could feel myself blushing then.

"What kinds of things?" Rome asked hesitantly.

My cheeks grew hotter. "We were in your dream, weren't we? Couldn't you tell?"

"You…liked…what I did to you, then?" he asked carefully.

"Goddess, Rome," I whispered, "do you really have to ask?"

Rome started to open his mouth, and then changed his mind, flinging around his mane as he shook his head. "It would not look like that dream, Bre. It probably would not feel like it either."

I jutted out my chin stubbornly. "Why don't you let me be the judge of that?"

Rome shook his head vehemently. "I cannot allow you to share my bed."

I could feel the ultimate rejection coming, and I tried to stave off the rest. "Rome—"

He charged right on ahead. "But I will not see you ruin yourself either, as you seem so intent upon doing." Rome sighed heavily, tossing his mane moodily. "I will provide the roof over your head—"

My heart jolted in shock.

"—so long as you understand that you will not be permitted in my bed, nor am I under any obligation to stay under the same roof. I simply will not see you freeze. Is that understood?"

His somber golden eyes held a gravity that told me any breach of this agreement would be taken very seriously. The weight of my responsibility to this contract was not lost on me, nor was the implication of his probable absence. But my heart was pounding in my ears. Rome was providing me with a place to stay that would allegedly keep my virginity in tact, right after he admitted he wanted it…and that place was his house. Whether or not sex was on the table, Rome was consciously allowing me to step back into his life. Was it safe? No; both of us knew that. Rome had just slaughtered a house full of men, and it was not his first slaughter if the wolves were to be considered. But this was an opportunity, and a warm resting place for the duration of Freezing Season, and I would be a fool not to take it, or to mess it up.

"Yes," I whispered, "I understand."

.

Thus Rome accepted me back into his house.

I can say with some certainty that in both of our minds, the arrangement was only one of temporary refuge from the cold. Neither of us had any idea whether the temple knew what had happened. We had no idea what was stirring in the depths of the forest. We had no idea what the nobles did to pass the time during Freezing Season. We had no concept of the trouble that two people cooped up alone together and trying not to freeze could get into.

But if we had known, I am not sure we would have done anything different. Sometimes, innocence leads to the most seductive of troubles, until even if you could turn back, you would not want to.

For once you have been loved by a beast, how can you ever turn back?

And once a beast has been loved, how can the world ever be the same?


- END VOLUME 1-


A/N: Aaaaaaand FINISHED! :D

Okay, maybe that was a mean foreshadowy-cliffhanger of an ending. But I gotta leave room for volume 2, right?

Just so you all know, there IS going to be sexual activity in volume 2. In fact, if you don't like reading about sex, then you probably shouldn't read it. It's going to have plot developments, but the focus really is always going to be the relationship between Rome and Labriella, and as that gets more intense the story is going to get more graphic. Really, volume 2 will just be a continuation of volume 1…except hopefully more exciting. I would like it to be faster-paced, but we'll see.

There IS a story I have posted as volume 2 already, but it's the old version, most of which has already been integrated into volume 1 since I rewrote this volume. I've deleted most of it, only leaving the first chapter as a placeholder. The next thing I write will be a new chapter 1 for volume 2, and so will be posted as a new chapter. Realistically, it will probably be at least a couple weeks before that happens though.

When I start writing and/or posting volume 2, I will announce it on my profile and on my website (which you can find a link to on my profile).

Thanks for hanging in there with me, my dear readers! I hope to see you next volume!

~ Seriah Black Sheep