As part of my Paranormal Pandemonium 2011 Blog Tour, I’m going to be posting the first FIVE chapters of my next release, Forbidden Blood.
Forbidden Blood is a dark vampire romance novel, and the first book in the Vampire Venators series. I’ll be introducing you to a whole new world and a whole new type of vampire, and I hope that you’ll enjoy the book and want more in the series.
In a dark world where vampires exist and where Source Blood, a rare human blood type, can bestow godlike powers upon them, the vampire Venators of the Sovereignty fight to protect the humans by banishing those who drink it to the endless dark.
Exiled from his family and with only his duty to sustain him, Kearn has been on the trail of an elusive Source Blood abuser for three years. When he saves a beautiful human female from the vampireâ€™s grasp, it turns out sheâ€™s the lead heâ€™s been waiting for. Amber is a Source Blood and the perfect bait, but for who?
As they race to catch the vampire and survive the cruel games he plays, Amber is pulled deeper into Kearnâ€™s world and discovers the painful secrets he hides behind his handsome but emotionless exteriorâ€”hurt that she has the power to heal if she is brave enough.
Forbidden Blood is book one in the Vampire Venators series and a dark, sensual tale of betrayal, revenge and a love that knows no bounds.
genre: paranormal vampire romance
length: 126000 words
released: June 18th 2011
Book 1 in the Vampire Venators series
She shouldn’t have looked.
Amber hurried through the dark side streets of central London, heading for the nearest Underground station. She glanced back over her shoulder. The man from the courtyard of the redbrick factory building stood on the other side of a busy road. The hood of his black coat obscured his face but Amber could feel his eyes on herâ€”intent and cold.
She turned away, huddled up into her thin black suit jacket, and carried on walking. She could feel the man still staring at her.
The courtyard flashed across her mind. Two men with sacks and another sweeping disinfectant out into the street. She had never seen the wooden gates open before, but there was always a puddle of disinfectant outside in the mornings. What did they have in those bags? What were they trying to wash away?
Car headlights snapped her out of her thoughts. A white Audi sports car purred past her, rear lights flashing bright crimson in the darkness as it stopped at the junction ahead and then turned and roared away.
Amber undid the button on her jacket and one on her white shirt, hot from her leaving party and panic. She had to get a grip. She glanced back again, shifting her handbag on her shoulder. No one was there save a few Londoners making their way home from the pubs or going to nightclubs. She hated walking around the city so late at night. It always got her jittery and the few drinks she’d had with her work colleagues at the pub weren’t helping.
It wasn’t far to the Underground station. If she focused on thinking about good things, she would be there before she knew it and then she would feel foolish for being so nervous. She smiled when she thought about her leaving party. She had worked for the company for years, but it was time for a change and she couldn’t wait to start her new life. In only a few weeks, she would be working in Paris. She would be able to see her brother more often and would be able to soak up a different culture. It seemed like a dream and she was so caught up in it that she didn’t care about all the work she still had to doâ€”the crash course in French, even though it was a British firm she was going to work for and there would be English speakers there, all the packing and things she had to arrange.
Amber turned down a narrow one-way street. A light on the wall of a building above her blinked on and off. Footsteps rang out behind her, echoing along the road. Pleasant daydreams about her future life in Paris disappeared. She walked faster, her heart beating quicker now as fearful thoughts crowded her mind.
She had almost reached the other end of the road when two men appeared, walking towards her. She went to cross the road to avoid them but they split up and motioned to each other. Her hazel eyes shot wide when she recognised them from the courtyard. She turned to go back the other way.
The hooded man stood at the other end of the street.
Amber searched for a way to get past him. Why had he followed her? Her heart beat harder. Long heavy black sacks. Pink disinfectant.
A hand around her wrist sent a jolt through her and she tried to pull free. One man twisted her right arm behind her back and the other grabbed her left wrist. They pulled her backwards into the shadows.
Amber kicked her legs and opened her mouth to scream. A heavy gloved hand covered it. The smell of leather filled her nostrils and she breathed hard through her nose, staring wild-eyed at the man in front of her. The hood obscured his face but she could see his jaw, see the hint of a smile on his lips.
He nodded to the two men behind her and their grip increased. Amber flailed, desperate to escape. It was impossible. She stamped on their feet, kicked their legs, wriggled with all of her strength, but they wouldn’t let her go.
The man motioned to one of the others holding her. The moment he removed his hand from her mouth, another covered it, keeping her silent. She tried to call out anyway, her eyes darting between her attackers and the street. The hooded man smiled at her, as though amused by the muffled sound and her panic.
Amber stilled when he reached inside his long black coat and pulled out a knife. Her eyes went round and her heart raced, fear thundering in her veins.
He was going to kill her.
She shook her head and didn’t stop, not when the man took another step back and not even when he raised his left hand and drew the knife down the palm of his leather glove, cutting into his flesh beneath. Not a trace of pain showed on what she could see of his face. Was he trying to frighten her by showing how strong he was? She was already petrified. He stepped towards her and she redoubled her fight against the men, kicking with all of her might.
“Hurry,” the man to her right said in a low voice as her heel connected with his shin. “Get to it already.”
Tears rolled down her cheeks and a chill swept in constant waves over her skin, stealing her strength. She shook her head again and begged the man not to hurt her, but the other man’s hand over her mouth turned her words into nothing more than a frightened murmur. Futile.
The hooded man stepped up to her, balled his cut hand into a fist, and raised it towards her face. What was he going to do? She kept her eyes fixed on the knife in his other hand, afraid that he would stab her if she dared to look away from it.
She gasped when the man holding her mouth released it but didn’t have time to call out for help. He pressed his fingers into her cheeks, forced her mouth open and tilted her head back. Her gaze snapped to the hooded man’s hand. He held it above her and drops of blood trembled on the edge of his black glove.
He was going to make her drink his blood.
She tried to move but couldn’t. The men’s grip on her increased again, fingers pressing hard into her arms, bruising her. The drop fell, landing on her tongue, and another quickly followed it. The hooded man tightened his fist and more dripped into her mouth. She tried not to swallow, didn’t want to taste his blood. It slid down her throat, one drop after another, until she wanted to be sick.
And then she felt strange.
A hollow feeling opened inside her and her mind emptied.
His hand hovered above her, feeding her blood, and it no longer felt repulsive or frightening. It tasted good. Thick, heavy fog rolled into her mind, weighing her head down. She closed her eyes and then struggled to open them again.
The men behind her released her arms.
Amber stood there facing the hooded man, her shoulders relaxed and her head tilted to one side. He wavered in her vision as he raised the knife and licked the blade. It didn’t scare her. Her handbag slid down her right arm to the crook of her elbow as she raised her hand. She held it out to him, palm up, and blinked languidly.
He took it in his, so gently that she smiled, and ran the knife over her palm. The sting of pain was pleasurable, flooding her with hazy warmth from head to toe, awakening blissful awareness of his touch and his hungry intent.
The man lifted her hand towards his mouth and dipped his head. Was he going to kiss it better? She continued to smile, amused by his chivalry.
What a nice man.
His tongue came out. White lights flashed across him.
They blinded her and she flinched away, afraid of the bright light that drowned out the world. The man released her hand and was behind her in an instant. Her handbag dropped to the floor and she tried to blink away the white spots in her vision and they multiplied.
The sound of footsteps echoed in her mind and she cursed the other men for fleeing. They would pay for leaving her here to deal with this Venator.
Her hands tightened into fists.
She couldn’t risk fighting the Venator but she had to taste the blood. She raised her hand towards her mouth. This was an unexpected twist but she could work it in her favour. First, she had to be sure she was a Source, and then she would take care of the Venator.
What was a Source?
She stopped with her hand mid-way to her mouth. Blood pooled on her palm, black in the low light.
What was she doing?
The door of the white car opened and Amber looked at it. It was the Audi. A man stepped out and she moved back. Damn interfering Venator.
Amber frowned at her thoughts. What was a Venator? What was going on? She tried to remember but her thoughts became tangled with others, ones she didn’t understand. They didn’t feel as though they were her own.
She turned towards the hooded man. The car lights shone on the lower half of his face, highlighting his jaw and mouth. A tilt of a smile touched his lips. She needed to taste the blood.
“Get in the car,” a male voice said behind her, deep and intense.
She refused. She had to taste the blood and then leave. She raised her hand and poked her tongue out. A taste was all it would take. Then she would know.
Amber jumped, startled by the volume of that word. She looked at her palm, horrified by what she had been about to do, and then at the hooded man. He continued to smile at her and she felt compelled to do as he silently wished.
“Car, now!” the man behind her said. He was right. She had to get away from the man who had cut her but she couldn’t move.
Her thoughts became strange and distant again, and no matter how many times she told herself to run, her feet wouldn’t cooperate. She wanted to go with the hooded man, even though she knew he would kill her.
Her head spun.
She took a step towards him, her mind heavy and thick again.
Someone grabbed her arm from behind and then a bright blue flash burst out of the corner of her eye. She stared at the silver handgun beside her head and the strange blue marks on the man’s hand. They glowed. Shiny. Amber reached out to touch them.
The new man moved his arm away from her and pulled her back, so she was almost behind him. She tried to focus on his arm and the gun. The fog descended on her mind again, swamping everything, turning her numb and empty. Her gaze moved of its own accord, shifting to the man’s face. Silver hair. Green eyes. Damned Venator.
She struggled against his grip, clawing at his hand.
“Calm down.” He glanced at her and then back at the hooded man. “Lower the knife and come peacefully.”
“Peacefully?” She yanked on her arm in an attempt to free herself, twisting her wrist in his tight grip and not caring that it hurt. She had to get away from him. The silver-haired man turned her way, his vivid green eyes bright in the car headlights and boring into hers. She sneered. “I will never come peacefully, Venator.”
“Let her go,” he said and she shook her head.
Amber kept shaking it, trying to clear the weird dull feeling and get her mind into order. How did she know this man? The knowledge she sought shifted and evaded her grasp, as though it was a living thing and could anticipate her. The haze in her head lifted long enough that she saw the silver-haired man clearly at last. His eyes were cold as he stared into hers, pupils narrowed and an edge of darkness about his handsome face.
“I said, let her go.” He turned to the hooded man.
Amber looked there too. She couldn’t see them, but she could feel his eyes on her, and could feel him inside her head and her body. She scrubbed her throat with her hand, her mouth, trying to get him out of her. The silver-haired man held her tighter. What was he waiting for? Shoot him. He had tried to kill her. He had put something inside her and now she felt strange.
The silver-haired man started to pull the trigger.
“No!” she screamed and knocked his hand away. She stared at his raised gun and her outstretched hand. What the hell was she doing? She wanted the man dead, so why had she stopped him?
The man holding her shoved her backwards and then ducked away from her. A silver streak shot past her wide eyes. The knife clattered to the floor a short distance behind her and a thin dark line flowed down the man’s neck from his ear, soaking into his white shirt. He raised his gun again but she grabbed it and pulled it around to point at her.
The hooded man laughed.
Amber’s gaze shot from the barrel of the gun to him. She stared at his mouth.
He grinned and it felt as though he was looking straight through her. Whispered voices filled her head, clashing with each other so she couldn’t make out what they were saying. She tried to focus on one of them but couldn’t. The clamour in her mind rose and a deep sense that she wasn’t alone washed through her. Someone else was in her head with her. The hooded man’s smile widened. Him. How? One of the voices rang out above the rest and her questions fell away, leaving her docile again. He knew something about her that she didn’t. Something important. She had to know too.
She took a step towards him and he was gone, leaving the street empty in front of her. Why? She went to walk after him and frowned when her arm lagged behind her, held fast by something. Her eyes drifted to her wrist and the hand tightly grasping it.
“Are you all right?” the silver-haired man said and her head suddenly felt lighter.
Her gaze ran up his left arm to his shoulder. A trail of blood stained his white shirt and she followed the drips and dashes downwards to the black holster around his shoulders. His gun was in it but not secured. If she made a lunge for it, would he reach it before her? Amber shook that thought away. This man had saved her. Why would she do such a thing to him? Because he was dangerous. She didn’t want to go with him. She wanted to find the man. The feeling ran deep in her blood, flowing through her veins, compelling her. She needed to find the man.
This Venator would be her downfall.
Amber shook her head again and the haze in her mind dissipated for long enough that she felt her normal self again. Her panic and fear returned full force, crashing over her. What was happening to her? She kept thinking about things she wasn’t familiar with, like Venators and Sources, and wanted to do things that went against her nature, like injuring someone.
The man held his bleeding ear with his right hand. There were pale tribal markings on it. They wove down over his wrist and under his white shirtsleeve. Those markings had glowed ethereally earlier. She couldn’t have imagined it.
“You need to come with me,” he said, and before she could take in what was happening, he dragged her to the white Audi R8 and pushed her into it on the passenger side.
He closed the door, picked up the knife and her handbag from the pavement, and rounded the car. Amber sat there, thoughtless and empty, her eyes fixed on the spot where the hooded man had been. She should have gone with him.
No. She shouldn’t have. She didn’t know what she was thinking anymore.
The car moved and she became gradually aware of the man next to her. Her gaze slid to him. He was handsome, his green eyes fixed on the road now, shadowed by a frown of concentration, and the messy finger-length strands of his silver hair brushed back out of his face. He didn’t look old enough to have such white hair. He seemed barely five years her senior.
It echoed in her head, as though something inside her knew it applied to him even when she had never heard the word before tonight.
“What is your name?” His deep voice soothed her, easing away some of her tension even when she felt she should be on alert, or escaping.
Amber didn’t reply. Her eyes dropped to the gun tucked under his left arm when he clipped the leather strap over it, securing it in place. It unnerved her but not as much as the fact that she wanted to use it against him, or the fact that his arm had glowed blue and the other man had fangs. None of that made sense, even when she felt it did.
The man looked at her and she glanced up, meeting his gaze. The streetlights flashed on his face, stealing all colour and warmth from his eyes. They were so cold that she couldn’t tear hers away. She stared into them, chilled by the detached air that he emanated but fascinated by him at the same time. Was he as empty inside as his eyes? She had never met anyone who looked as hollow and emotionless as this man did. Something terrible must have happened to him to make him look this way.
She remembered the way his arm had glowed.
Her head spun.
She wanted to get away from him. Her priority was to escape, not fall under a spell.
They pulled to a halt at a set of traffic lights and her hand went straight for the door. She shoved it open and the man grabbed her, pulling her back against him. The door slammed shut without her touching it and the locks clunked into place. She elbowed the man in the ribs, struggled out of his grip and lunged for the door again, frantically tugging on the handle. It wouldn’t open. Her eyes darted over the moulded leather of the door. No way of unlocking it. The Venator would stop her before she could find the button on the dashboard that would unlock the doors. She spat out a curse. Never mind. If she couldn’t escape, she could at least taste her blood.
“You cannot leave. You are in too much danger out there.”
Amber stared down at the cut on her right palm. It had bled all over her trousers.
She had to lick the blood and taste it.
She raised her hand but the man caught her wrist.
“What happened?” He frowned at the cut.
Amber tried to get her hand back but his grip was vice tight. Interfering Venator. She gritted her teeth and twisted her arm. He didn’t let go. Her stomach turned when she saw the blood on her palm and her vision distorted. She stopped struggling and looked at the man. His expression was soft, silently reassuring, and the longer she stared at him, the calmer she felt, until the sense that she wasn’t in control of herself disappeared again.
Amber tried to remember what had happened to her hand but it slipped through her fingers every time she came close, as though she didn’t really want to recall it.
“He gave you his blood, didn’t he?”
That memory popped to the forefront of her mind and she nodded. The man had made her drink his blood. It had been disgusting and she could feel it inside her.
“Hold on.” He released her hand, put the car into gear and roared off the white line.
Amber did. She grabbed the edge of the seat with her left hand as they raced through the streets of London so fast they were a blur. She couldn’t take her eyes off the road and the cars as they swerved around them, barely missing each one. Her heart lodged in her throat, her right hand trembling where she held it out in front of her. What was happening? It felt as though she had slipped into some dreadful fantasy world and she wanted out.
He turned the car around a corner so sharply that the tyres screeched and she slammed against the door, and then they were going down a slope towards an underground garage. The car spun around in the brightly lit space, coming to a halt facing the exit, and the engine cut out. A grey shutter slowly rolled down, eclipsing the world outside.
Amber stared at it, still trying to catch up.
The man had given her blood, and then he had cut her. She needed to taste her blood before the Venator stopped her. She was about to lick her palm when the door beside her opened and he pulled her out of the car.
“Damned Venator!” She kneed him in the groin and ran for the garage door.
He reached it before her and stood in her path, his eyes darker and colder than ever. He glared at her and drew his gun.
“Let her go,” he whispered, voice strained.
She grinned, satisfied by the pain in his voice.
“No.” Amber tried to pass him.
“You do not want to leave, woman. You do not want to do as he bids.”
Amber stopped. “As who bids?”
The strange feeling inside her grew worse, something telling her to keep going and not listen to him. She had to get past the man and drink her blood. That was all that mattered now.
“Listen to my voice.” He put the gun away and stepped up to her.
The moment his hands touched her shoulders, Amber felt different. She stared into his eyes and her thoughts fell into better order, enough that she could recall things clearly again.
Her heart pounded.
“The man made me drink his blood… I saw him in that place with the gates and the disinfectant and then they were after me. He cut me.” She held her hand out and it trembled between them, fluttering in time with her heart. “I just want to go home. I want this nightmare to end. Please? I can’t take this. Please?”
The man stepped back, his eyes still fixed intently on her face, the frown not leaving his.
“The man will come for you.”
“Fangs,” she whispered and her eyes widened. Her heart missed a beat and then slammed painfully against her ribs. “He had fangs. He was going to drink my blood.”
“I will not hurt you. You must ignore your instincts and listen to me. I will not allow him to harm you. You will be safe here,” he said, so calmly and softly that the deep waves of fear surging through her eased to gentle ripples. “He will find you if you leave. I can protect you. I will not allow the man to harm you.”
Amber looked at the closed garage door and then back at him.
There was honesty in his green eyes and her options were limited. Either she stayed here with him, or she ventured outside where there were monsters. If she did that, and the man found her, she wouldn’t escape him a second time. He had fangs. He had been about to drink her blood.
Something inside her said that she would be fine outside, and that she wanted to find the hooded man again. She wanted him to taste her blood. Desired it more than anything. This man was lying to her.
No. Amber closed her eyes, battling the compulsion to leave, and then looked back into the silver-haired man’s eyes.
The other man had wanted to kill her and drink her blood. This man had saved her. He said he could protect her.
“I will bandage your hand and make you feel better if you come upstairs,” he said in a low voice, one that soothed her ears and quelled her fear. The desire to escape him drifted away, replaced by a need to remain.
“Will you tell me what’s happening to me? I feel strange.”
He held his hand out, pointing to his left. “If you come with me.”
Amber looked at the dark grey metal door far to her right across the empty garage and then back at the man. His gaze held hers, cold but honest, and she ignored the voice inside her that was screaming for her to leave and taste her blood.
She nodded and went with him.