Cover Title Page Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28 Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33 Chapter 34Chapter 35 Chapter 36 Chapter 37 About the Author Other Books by This Author Credits Back Ads Copyright About the Publisher
Elena Gilbert stepped onto a smooth expanse of grass, the spongy blades collapsing beneath her feet.
Clusters of scarlet roses and violet delphiniums pushed up from the ground, while a giant canopy hung above her, twinkling with glowing lanterns. On the terracein front of her stood two curving white marble fountains that shot sprays of water high into the air. Everything was beautiful, elegant, and somehow familiar. This is Bloddeuwedd’s palace, a voice in her head said. But when she had been here last, the field had been crowded with laughing, dancing partygoers. They were gone now, although signs of their presence remained: empty glasses littered thetables set around the edges of the lawn; a silken shawl was tossed over a chair; a lone high-heeled shoe perched on the edge of a fountain. Something else was odd, too. Before, the scene had been lit by the hellish red light that illuminated everything in the Dark Dimension, turning blues to purples, whites to pinks, and pinks to the velvety color of blood. Now a clear light shone overeverything, and a full white moon sailed calmly overhead. A whisper of movement came from behind her, and Elena realized with a start that she wasn’t alone after all. A dark figure was suddenly there, approaching her.
Of course it was Damon, Elena thought with a smile. If anyone was going to appear unexpectedly before her here, at what felt like the end of the world—or at least the hour after agood party had ended—it would be Damon. God, he was so beautiful. Black on black: soft black hair, eyes black as midnight, black jeans, and a smooth leather jacket. As their eyes met, she was so glad to see him that she could hardly breathe. She threw herself into his embrace, clasping him around the neck, feeling the lithe, hard muscles in his arms and chest. “Damon,” she said, her voice tremblingfor some reason. Her body was trembling, too, and Damon stroked her arms and shoulders, calming her. “What is it, princess? Don’t tell me you’re afraid.” He smirked lazily at her, his hands strong and steady. “I am afraid,” she answered. “But what are you afraid of?” That left her puzzled for a moment. Then, slowly, putting her cheek against his, she said, “I’m afraid that this is just a dream.”“I’ll tell you a secret, princess,” he said into her ear. “You and I are the only real things here. It’s everything else that’s the dream.” “Just you and me?” Elena echoed, an uneasy thought nagging at her, as though she were forgetting something—or someone. A fleck of ash landed on her dress, and she absently brushed it away. “It’s just the two of us, Elena,” Damon said sharply. “You’re mine. I’myours. We’ve loved each other since the beginning of time.” Of course. That must be why she was trembling—it was joy. He was hers. She was his. They belonged together. She whispered one word: “Yes.” Then he kissed her. His lips were soft as silk, and when the kiss deepened, she tilted her head back, exposing her throat, anticipating the double wasp sting he’d delivered so many times. When it didn’tcome, she opened her eyes questioningly. The moon was as bright as ever, and the scent of roses hung heavy in the air. But Damon’s chiseled features were pale under his dark hair, and more ash had landed on the shoulders of his jacket. All at once, the little doubts that had been niggling at her came together. Oh, no. Oh, no. “Damon.” She gasped, looking into his eyes despairingly as tears...