Emmett was a man of many mysteries. On the night of his death, I found a letter stuffed between the pages of my favorite novel with explicit indications as to where I should be standing within twenty-four hours of his final breath. No funeral would be held for New York's most exceptional entrepreneur according to his wishes. I was to meet his successor in person: Mr. Darian Stark himself.


2. Chapter One: Darian

Control was the sole factor in my life. With it in my grasp, nothing stood between the paths of chaos and order, and therefore, the excuse never aroused to stray from the right one. Emmett had taught me all he could in his final years, enough to clearly distinct between right and wrong, in the way that would benefit me most. Humanity is not an aspect of our nature, he would say, but merely the potential to be humane. He’d given me the ability to stray away from my humanity, to alter it, and to make it vanish at will . . . but I dare say he never spoke of the nature of women.

Miss Lloyd was quite the sight on the terms of sexual appeal, but I doubted she was aware of that the moment she stumbled into my office, the clumsy little thing.

Preying on the oblivious did happen to be one of my many second natures, and Miss Lloyd fit the profile beyond its requirements. The demon inside me stirred with anticipation, but to my disappointment, I wouldn’t give in to its beckoning call so easily. Miss Lloyd wasn’t prey, but my predecessor’s flesh and blood.

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