As part of my Paranormal Pandemonium 2011 Blog Tour, I have been posting chapters of my next release, Forbidden Blood.
Forbidden Blood is a dark vampire romance novel, and the first book in the Vampire Venators series, and will be released on June 18th 2011. I’ve already posted chapter one and chapter two of this long novel, and now here’s chapter three.
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
Amber kept her eyes fixed on the man. The passing streetlights flickered across his face as he drove. He was a mystery and, for some reason, she wanted to crack him. She hadnâ€™t witnessed one trace of emotion in his eyes. At least nothing that had been real. Sure, there had been feigned feelings, but she had seen straight through those. The whole time he had been talking to her about her blood and tracking the man and keeping her safe, the whole time they had been together, his green eyes had remained empty and dark. If it werenâ€™t for them, for the sense of iciness that he radiated like a barrier around him, she would have thought him sexy.
He held rank at handsome though, and she couldnâ€™t deny that he was attractive. His longish silver hair and vivid green eyes were unusual, but only added to his masculine beauty, and his body pushed the bar and threatened to break him back through into sexy territory, regardless of his detached air. It could easily grace the cover of a male fitness magazineâ€”all compact muscle without a trace of fat. Her eyes roamed his face, over his fine dark silvery eyebrows and down his nose to the curve of his dusky lips that had tempted her more than once this evening, to the defined line of his jaw. He was definitely handsome, but the edge to him, the invisible walls that he didnâ€™t bother to hide, stole something from his looks and warned her away.
Perhaps his profession made him so cold and distant. It was difficult for her to understand his role or even the effect it might have on him. She had never known anyone in the police force or military. She looked at the gun in the holster under his left arm. How many people had he killed? Not people. Vampires. He killed vampires and protected people, and now she was playing bait so he could catch the man who wanted to kill her, and no doubt kill him. Was that the reason he seemed so heartless and distant?
Was that why he lived alone in that building?
She wasnâ€™t blind. Even with that vampireâ€™s blood sending her crazy and controlling her, she hadnâ€™t failed to notice that his car had been the only one in the garage and that there was no sense of life in his building. He was alone there.
Did he live that way in order to protect humans like her from the vampires that might come after him, or for different reasons?
Her gaze slowly fell to his chest. The black buttoned shirt didnâ€™t stop her from remembering how good his body had looked. Her eyes shifted to his right hand on the black steering wheel. Or the strange tattoo that covered his entire right arm. She hazily remembered it from when he had rescued her. It had glowed blue. Had that been real or just the effects of the vampireâ€™s blood on her?
She shuddered with the thought that the vampireâ€™s blood was still in her, crawling around in her veins, and looked down at her bandaged hand. Could he still control her? She felt normal again now, back to herself, almost. Her mind was playing catch up and computing everything that had happened, making it all seem like some surreal dream even when she knew that it was reality. She was with a vampire hunter en route to kill the demon who wanted her blood. It should frighten her, she knew it should, but whenever she looked at the man beside her, her fear faded away.
â€œIâ€™m Amber,â€ she said, not only to break the steadily turning oppressive silence but because she wanted to know his.
Amber presumed that was his name.
â€œSo… youâ€™re a Venator.â€ She felt silly the moment she said it but she had to do something to start a conversation with him.
He sped over a crossroad and then turned left at the next. They were heading back to where he had rescued her. She felt uneasy about returning to the area and leading Kearn to the factory, but he had assured her that he would keep her safe, and she was determined to believe him, if only to stop herself from feeling scared.
He wasnâ€™t very talkative. She had hoped that he would turn out to be a talker so she could chip away at his hard exterior and see what lurked beneath.
What could she say to get him talking? His distance wasnâ€™t going to deter her. If they were going to be working together, then they at least needed to be on talking terms. Perhaps he wasnâ€™t used to company. If his building were empty as she suspected, it would make sense that he hadnâ€™t had much practice at making idle conversation. Her apartment building was full of people of all ages, and most of them stopped in the corridors to talk about trivial things like the weather, work and where they were going to or coming from. Sheâ€™d had plenty of practice at making conversation. He would just have to catch up.
â€œMust be a pretty lonely job.â€ She regretted her choice of words when he looked at her out of the corner of his eye and a strange sense of hurt filled her. It wasnâ€™t in his eyes, they were dark and narrowed, but something about him gave her the impression that he was lonely. â€œSounds more interesting than my job though.â€
â€œAnd what is your profession?â€ He had a very formal way of talking at times, speaking with a regal edge to his deep voice.
â€œI wouldnâ€™t exactly call it my profession, but Iâ€™m an analyst.â€
His expression turned thoughtful. â€œAn analyst? That could be useful in finding the man who is after you.â€
Amber laughed and he glanced at her.
â€œOnly if he needs his numbers crunched. Iâ€™m more like an accountâ€¦ not the sort of analyst youâ€™re thinking of.â€
â€œI apologise.â€ He frowned at the road. â€œI do not know much of offices and such.â€
Amber smiled. â€œI got that impression.â€
Kearn didnâ€™t say anything. She picked at her bandage again. Her hand still hurt but the bleeding had stopped now and the pain was lessening.
â€œWhere is the building from here?â€ he said and she realised they were in the side street where the men had attacked her.
Amber directed him towards the building, leading him through the maze of one-way streets. He pulled the car to a halt around the corner from the gates of the old redbrick factory and looked across at her.
â€œStay here. Under no circumstances are you to leave the vehicle.â€ The hard edge to his voice made her nod in agreement even when she wanted to say that she was coming with him and he had no right to tell her what to do.
He turned off the engine and then stepped out of the car. The moment the door clicked shut, she felt on edge. With Kearn around, she had felt safe from the vampire. He had been a talisman that had kept the dark thoughts and her fear at bay. What if the man was in the building? Would he try to control her again if he knew that she was here? She didnâ€™t want to be his pawn in whatever game he was playing with Kearn, and she didnâ€™t want to die.
Amber stared at Kearnâ€™s back as he walked away from her in the beam of the headlights, her sense of safety leaving with him. He reached across and removed his gun from the holster. It flashed in the white light. He looked menacing dressed head to toe in black, his silver hair dancing in the night breeze and his gun in his hand. A fitting look for a man who hunted vampires. At the corner, he looked back at her and then he was gone.
She went to curl up on the black leather seat and then thought the better of it. Judging by the way people had stared at it during the journey here, the car had to be worth a hundred grand at least. She couldnâ€™t go putting a dent in the leather or scuffing it with her heeled work shoes.
The empty road was too quiet, increasing the creeping chill inside her. After a few wrong choices, she found the button for the radio on the black console and it came on, illuminating the dashboard. She kept the volume low, afraid that it would attract the wrong kind of attention if it were louder, and then tried to figure out how to turn off the headlights. She couldnâ€™t find the switch for them but she did find one that locked the doors. This car was nothing like any she had driven before.
Someone walked past the end of the road ahead of her and she froze, cautiously watching them until they disappeared from view.
What was Kearn doing? Had he gone into the building to find the men who had attacked her?
Vampires. It seemed incredible that they existed and she felt as though she shouldnâ€™t believe it even when she did.
Was Kearn going to kill them?
She didnâ€™t like the thought of him killing someone because of her, but she wanted to be safe again and go back to her life, and she knew that wouldnâ€™t happen without the vampire dying. Did France have vampires too? Kearn had said that once he had captured the man, she would be safe. No one else would know about her blood. No one except Kearn at least. Would he keep her secret for her? She wanted to escape London more than ever now, wanted to go somewhere new, where no one knew her, but she wasnâ€™t sure if she would ever feel safe again. Vampires would constantly be on her mind. Maybe she could ask Kearn for some self-defence lessons in return for helping him. She would feel a whole lot safer if she knew how to kill a vampire.
Amber pushed her wavy brown hair out of her face and then tied it up into a ponytail. The building to her left was dark. Would Kearn find anyone in it? If the vampire had known he was a Venator, then surely he knew that Kearn would come after him. He wouldnâ€™t have remained in the building.
The hairs on the back of her neck rose and she swore she heard someone saying her name. She looked around the streets but no one was there. The feeling came again, a notion that someone was calling to her. Was it the vampire?
She reached over to turn the radio up in the hope of drowning out the feeling and stopped dead when a loud cracking noise echoed around the streets. She had seen enough movies to recognise the sound. A gunshot. Kearn.
Without a second thought, Amber left the car and ran to the corner. No one was in the narrow road. She hurried on, heading for the gates. Another gunshot rang out and she flinched, instinctively hunching up to make herself small in case the bullet was coming her way.
She was about to move when a man landed in front of her, close enough that she stumbled backwards and fell, jolting her coccyx. He glanced at her with red eyes and then ran off. A vampire? Where had he come from?
Amber looked up the three-storey height of the building and wished she hadnâ€™t.
Kearn was falling out of the sky.
She screwed her eyes shut, not wanting to see him die. A warm breeze washed over her and then silence. She had expected more of a commotion when someone hit a pavement from a great height.
â€œI told you to stay in the car.â€ Kearnâ€™s sharp voice cut the silence and she cracked an eye open. He stood over her, not a scuff on him, looking as though he had just walked along the street to see her rather than dropped from the heavens. She glanced up at the top of the building and then back at him. It wasnâ€™t possible for someone to fall like that and survive without a scratch.
The vampire had done it.
So had Kearn.
His green eyes narrowed, darker than usual.
Amber opened her mouth to explain but fell silent when he extended his right hand to her. It was glowing blue, the marks on it shining so brightly they were dazzling. Just what was it? Just what was he?
Her hand shook as she slipped it into his. His fingers closed over hers, the glow lighting her skin and washing all colour away, and he pulled her up off the ground. He didnâ€™t release her hand. He led her back to the car at a brisk pace and opened the passenger side door.
â€œGet back in the car,â€ he said and she didnâ€™t hesitate or protest.
He slammed the door and ran off.
Amber breathed hard and tried to shake the image of him falling from the sky and his arm from her mind. How could he do that? Was he like the vampire? She kicked off her shoes, locked all the doors, and huddled up on the seat, afraid of Kearn coming back.
She lost track of time as she stared at the road in front of her, trying to make sense of everything and wondering why she was suddenly frightened. Kearn had never said that he was human but he hadnâ€™t mentioned that he was anything like the vampires he hunted either. Who was she to think that made him bad? She shared a gene with vampires, making her like them too. Perhaps he had found a way to use the power in that gene as the vampires did. Perhaps he was a vampire. Why did it frighten her if he was? He was still trying to protect her.
But he was keeping things from her.
And she didnâ€™t like it.
Her eyes widened when he stepped into the path of the headlights. They threw his shadow out long behind him. He holstered his gun under his left arm and walked towards the car, all glowering darkness that reminded her of the vampire who was after her. Was Kearn one too? She wanted to ask him but was too afraid of the answer.
His eyes bore into hers and she couldnâ€™t look away. She stared straight into them, still trying to decipher what he was hiding behind their impenetrable emerald shield.
He stopped at the driverâ€™s side door and tried to open it. Twice. Amber dropped her gaze when he bent over and looked at her through the window.
â€œI am sorry if I was rude. I only wish to keep you safe,â€ he said, as though he honestly thought his somewhat arrogant attitude had forced her to lock him out of the car. She made herself look at him. There was no darkness in his eyes now, only a touch of confusion that was real. He smiled and she expected to see fangs but only saw normal teeth. â€œApology accepted?â€
What if she let him in and he tried to drink her blood, just as the other man had? She reasoned that he was helping her, and he did genuinely want to keep her safe, even if it was only so he could use her as bait to lure out the vampire. If he was like the vampire and wanted to kill her for her blood, he probably would have done so back at his apartment.
And she was safer with him than by herself.
A sense of calm flowed through her as she stared into his eyes, chasing back the darkness and the fear. Even if he was a vampire, he was her only protection against the man. She needed him. She couldnâ€™t fight the man herself.
She unlocked the doors and Kearn opened it, slid into the seat and stared at her.
â€œDid you find anything?â€ Her voice was a tight squeak and he frowned. â€œYou seemed quite intent on chasing that man.â€
Intent enough to jump off the roof of a building and survive unharmed.
â€œVampire,â€ Kearn said and started the car. â€œAnd no, there was nothing in the building besides some bloodstains on the floors. Whatever they were doing there, they have moved location now that I know about it. I only managed to catch that one vampire.â€
Kearn didnâ€™t say anything. He pulled the white Audi R8 out into the road and drove to the junction at the end of it.
He stopped the car at the line and his grip on the black steering wheel tightened.
â€œThe next time I tell you to remain in the car, do just that. Unless you want to get yourself killed.â€ The hard edge was back in his voice and she saw a flicker of how he had looked in the street.
His arm had been glowing. Human arms couldnâ€™t do that sort of thing. Could a vampireâ€™s?
â€œWhat will you do now? Was this your only lead?â€ she said rather than asking him whether he too had fangs and hungered for blood. She stared at his eyes, wondering if they might turn red, and then told herself to stop overanalysing things. He had bandaged her cut hand without so much as a hint of wanting her blood and the vampire Kearn had been chasing had red eyes and the other had fangs. Kearn had neither of those things.
â€œNo,â€ Kearn said and she almost jumped. Her eyes darted away from his face when he looked at her. The dashboard of an Audi was very interesting. She stared at it, frowning at times, doing her best to look fascinated by it and not him. â€œThere is a club where we might get some answers.â€
â€œA club?â€ She looked down at her neat black trouser suit. â€œIâ€™m not exactly dressed for that sort of place.â€
â€œI will handle that.â€
Amberâ€™s eyes drifted back to him when the car pulled away, accelerating along the wide tree-lined shopping street.
She couldnâ€™t shake the feeling that there was more to Kearn than met the eye, that he hid the real him behind a mask to keep the world at a distance. Why? The bright streetlights flashed on his face.
If he was a vampire, would he hurt her like the other one wanted to?
Or was there such a thing as a good vampire?
Are we enjoying the story so far? Can’t wait until June 18th when the book is released?