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, chapter two, and chapter three of this long novel, and now here’s chapter four. Just one more to go after this and I hope you’re all enjoying it so far.
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
Kearn led the way up through his apartment building. With all of the stores closed until morning, he would have to wait to visit the club and see if he could attract attention with Amber and her blood. He had hoped to end this tonight and take her home, ridding himself of both the temptation she presented and his unending mission to capture the man, but fate had never been kind to him. For now, he would battle his lingering hunger for her and bide his time. Tomorrow, he would buy her some clothes to wear to the club, and together they would hunt down the vampire. He didnâ€™t have much experience of dressing women, but was sure someone at the shops would be happy to assist him, especially since money wasnâ€™t a factor.
Humans and vampires were very similar in that respect. Money could buy you anything and the more you had, the more people were willing the crawl on their bellies for you.
Amberâ€™s fatigue flowed through the connection between their blood. It wasnâ€™t the only feeling that he could sense in her. Her emotions were steadily turning towards fear again. Perhaps it was a good thing that they had been unable to go to the club tonight. She needed to rest. All he had done since meeting her was push her into doing things his way. The man he sought would be cautious tonight. Going to the club wouldnâ€™t have produced any results. Tomorrow was a different matter. The vampire would want to find her. He would come out hunting and Kearn would be waiting for him.
There was another reason for him to take things more slowly. Pushing her now, when she was tired and afraid, would only lead to him losing her. She had locked him out of the car tonight and she hadnâ€™t done it out of fear of the vampire. She had feared him. He needed her to remain with him. His instincts whispered that he could force her to stay, at least until her blood was completely absorbed into his. No. No good would come of it. His mission was to protect humans, not prey on them. Not anymore. If it came down to it, he would confess that her suspicions were correct.
He was a vampire.
â€œSo did they hurt when you had them done?â€
He stopped just short of the black door to his apartment and turned to face her.
She looked nervous. Her heart was racing, sending her blood to the surface. It filled the white hallway with the sweet enticing scent and caused his fangs to itch. Her blood had tasted so delicious. His stomach ached, hunger to taste her again causing it to cramp, and he struggled to hold his fangs at bay. It was just the remnants of her blood affecting him still. The effects were already wearing off. He just needed to hold it together for a few more hours and then he would be free of the haze induced by her blood and she wouldnâ€™t be such a temptation. His gaze slid to her neck and his throat burned. He closed his eyes when the hallway brightened, signalling a change in his irises, and clamped his teeth together. It was just her blood in him. It would pass. He told himself it repeatedly but it didnâ€™t ease the tight ache in his gut. He wanted her blood, and it went deeper than a craving for another high.
â€œKearn?â€ she whispered and he drew a long, steadying breath, and then opened his eyes. The hallway was dim again. He looked up at her.
Her gaze fell to his hand.
His did too.
He raised his right hand and her eyes followed it, fixed intently on the silver marks that covered it to his fingertips.
She seemed fascinated by them. He had caught her looking at him countless times since meeting her, and several of those she had been staring at his arm, her gaze tracing the marks that flowed over it from his shoulder to his hand. He was surprised that she hadnâ€™t asked him about it before now. Twice she had seen it activated. Now she was asking him whether the marks had hurt, as though they were just a tattoo, rather than asking what they did and what he was.
Didnâ€™t she want to know?
Or was she trying to pretend that she hadnâ€™t noticed, and that he was only human?
Perhaps she wasnâ€™t as strong as he had thought and was having trouble believing everything and taking it all in after all. Kearn reminded himself that she was human. This was probably some strange dream or nightmare to her. There had been moments when her blood had conveyed that she trusted him, and wanted to remain with him. Was her denial of the truth standing before her all because she wanted to continue to trust that he would save her? If he told her that he was a vampire, would she want to leave? Would she fear him then and see him as she saw the manâ€”a beast and a monster?
Part of him didnâ€™t want her to feel that way towards him.
He would never harm her.
He only wanted to protect her.
He opened the door to his apartment while considering what to say about his arm and whether to tell her about himself. It wasnâ€™t a good idea. The moment the door swung open, he drew his gun and aimed it at the person standing in the middle of his home.
His brother raised his hands in an act of surrender and smiled.
â€œWhat are you doing here, Kyran?â€ Kearn holstered his gun and walked into the apartment. Only one of the lights in the kitchen was on, leaving the rest of the large room in near-darkness.
Amber followed him. When she stepped out from behind him, Kyranâ€™s dark blue eyes were on her.
â€œHe cried like a baby when they put those marks on him.â€ Kyran smiled broadly, his gaze assessing Amber.
â€œI did not.â€ Kearn closed the door. It was unusual for Kyran to drop by unannounced to his apartment. His brother knew how much he hated it.
â€œIt isnâ€™t like you to bring a girl home, Kearn.â€ Kyranâ€™s blue eyes remained locked on Amber and he inhaled deeply.
His gaze slid to Kearn. The look in his eyes and the connection they shared through a familial bond asked a question. Was she Source Blood? Kearn refused to answer. His brother didnâ€™t need to know and wouldnâ€™t be able to tell from Amberâ€™s scent alone.
â€œDonâ€™t tell me you are planning to go a little rogue? The old habits die hardest, donâ€™t they?â€ Kyran said with a wicked smile.
Amber stared at Kearn.
Kearn glared at his brother. He wasnâ€™t intending to take Amberâ€™s blood. He knew the law and he wasnâ€™t going to break it by using her blood purely to get high. He had only taken a small amount for testing purposes. That was as far as it went. This wasnâ€™t the same as back then. He hadnâ€™t known he was breaking the law. He hadnâ€™t known she was tainted.
It was typical of his brother to bring up his past. Kyran had always found it amusing to make him uncomfortable but that trait had turned vicious since Kearn had become a Venator, to the point where Kyran took intense pleasure from saying things that would get him into trouble. He was convinced that his brother did it to see him suffer, to make him pay for the things that had happened between them centuries ago, so he bore it as punishment for his sins against his own blood.
He bore it in the hope that one day they would finally move past what had happened and would be able to forgive each other.
â€œWhy are you here?â€ Kearn looked hard at his older brother and then moved back to the door of his apartment. It wasnâ€™t like Kyran to hide in the dark and he could smell blood other than Amberâ€™s. The flat dull smell of vampire blood. It all smelt the same, not unique like human blood. He turned on the ceiling spotlights. â€œAnd why are you bleeding?â€
Kyran touched a gash on his face. It wasnâ€™t the only cut. A myriad of thin red lines covered his face, neck and hands. He grinned.
â€œI was playing with Earl Huntingdon and Marchioness Montagu. You know what they can be like.â€ Kyranâ€™s grin widened. His blue eyes shifted back to Amber. â€œAlthough if I had known you had such sweet company, I would have come here earlier.â€
Kearn crossed the room, grabbed Kyranâ€™s arm, and led him over to the small dining area in the far left corner of his apartment. He didnâ€™t relinquish his grip on his brother.
â€œShe does not know what we are.â€
â€œKinky,â€ Kyran whispered and raised a dark eyebrow in Amberâ€™s direction. â€œDo you intend to reveal it during the act?â€
Kearn tightened his grip on his brotherâ€™s arm, bringing his attention back to him. Kyran frowned down at his hand and then into his eyes.
â€œShe is a lead on a case. Bait.â€ He kept his voice low so Amber didnâ€™t hear him. He wanted to tell his brother that he wasnâ€™t interested in drinking from Amber, or anything sexual, but couldnâ€™t bring himself to lie. His eyes threatened to stray to her, to take in her beauty, but he kept them fixed on Kyran.
â€œA Source Blood?â€ Kyran went to look at Amber again but Kearn stepped into his path.
â€œIf you reveal what we areâ€”â€
Kyran slapped a hand down hard on his shoulder and smiled. Kearn could see straight through it. Whatever his brother was going to say, it was a lie. The look in Kyranâ€™s eyes screamed trouble.
â€œI will not say a word out of place.â€ Kyran removed Kearnâ€™s hand from his arm and was past Kearn before he could stop him.
Amber still stood by the door, an air of hesitation about her, as though she had noticed the tension between him and his brother and didnâ€™t want to be caught in the crossfire.
â€œI have been unforgivably rude.â€ Kyran stopped far too close to Amber for Kearnâ€™s liking. â€œPermit me to introduce myself. My name is Kyran, and I am Kearnâ€™s older brother.â€
â€œAmber,â€ she said and then peered around Kyran to him. â€œBrother? You donâ€™t really look alike.â€
They had looked alike before he had become a Venator. His hair had once been black like Kyranâ€™s and his eyes had been an equally deep clear blue. In terms of stature and build, they had remained much the same, and he could see himself in his brotherâ€™s face. His eternal torment.
â€œKearn looks like our father.â€ Kyranâ€™s tone was sharper than razor blades. Kearn could sense the hate and the hurt in him. It was never going away.
Kyran should have been Venator. It was the tradition in the Noble and Lesser Noble families. The eldest son carried on the duty of their father as Venator. He had wanted it to be that way, because Kyran had thought of nothing but becoming a Venator since they had been children. Kearn had fought the Sovereignty, had tried to convince them to give the duty to his brother, but they had given it to him regardless. Kyran had hated him ever since. A part of Kearn still hated his brother in return for his role in what had happened, but the pain of what he had gone through was nothing compared to the fact he had stolen his brotherâ€™s dream.
Time had healed some of the breach between them, but sometimes Kearn got the feeling that nothing had been forgiven or forgotten. No matter how much progress they made with each other or how they tried to get along, the past would always stand between them.
The countess would always stand between them.
There was something akin to concern in Amberâ€™s eyes as she looked at him. Why? Because of his silence or because of the mix of sombre and fiery feelings that accompanied his thoughts? She would be able to sense them if she tried. The connection her blood in his veins caused between them was open and transmitting the emotions in his blood back to hers.
Kearn reached out to her through their connection and felt the concern in her. He closed off his emotions and monitored her in case the vampire tried anything.
She forced a polite smile at Kyran.
â€œYou mentioned an earl and a marchioness. Iâ€™ve never met anyone who knew fancy people like that.â€
Kyran looked over his shoulder at him, his black eyebrows raised again. Kearn shook his head a fraction, enough that only his brother would notice the answer to his silent question. No. He hadnâ€™t told Amber about them and their family and he wasnâ€™t going to let Kyran mention it either. It was best she knew as little as possible.
â€œKearn doesnâ€™t approve of Earl Huntingdon. He believes him a bad influence. Donâ€™t you, brother?â€
Kearn left the dining area and came to stand near Amber in the open space between the four areas of the main room of his apartment.
â€œBecause he is.â€ Kearn held his hand out, indicating the living area beyond the wall of the open fireplace. â€œPerhaps we should sit down since Kyran seems to have no intention of leaving soon.â€
â€œSounds like a wonderful idea.â€ Kyran flashed a smile and held his arm out to Amber. â€œShall we?â€
She hesitated, looking unsure of what she was supposed to do, and then slipped her arm around his brotherâ€™s one. Kearn glared at his brotherâ€™s back as he led Amber to the couches, his eyes shifting to red for a moment and the world sharpening with it. Kyran would feel the threat. Hopefully, it would improve his behaviour.
Kearn turned away and went into the kitchen area, trying to clear his head. What was Kyran playing at? Of course he despised Earl Huntingdon but Amber didnâ€™t need to know that, or about anything to do with the sordid man. Earl Huntingdon was an animal. His family had always relished power and embraced the myths surrounding vampires, and had always been the most blood-soaked and violent because of it. Sometimes Lesser Noble families had no sense of breeding.
He took a fresh glass from the cupboard and filled it with water.
Kyran wouldnâ€™t talk to him about what had happened during his century of exile from their family, but he knew that Earl Huntingdon had invited him into his home and treated him like a brother. The earl was young, almost the same age as them, and had taken the role as head of his household when his parents had died around two centuries ago. He had been only one hundred and fifty at the time, the equivalent to a human fifteen year old, but he had been bloodthirsty and ruled in violence with his sister.
Kearn carried the glass with him across the room to the living area and rounded the black couch that faced the window. Kyran was sitting on the one against the wall, his legs crossed, revealing a rip in the knee of his black tailored trousers. Had Kyran been out killing tonight with the earl and marchioness? The three of them were prone to such acts of debauchery when together. He couldnâ€™t smell human blood on him, but it was difficult with Amber in the room. The heavenly scent of her blood drowned out everything else, filling his mind with the need to take more.
His gaze roamed to her where she sat on the couch that faced the window, staring out of it. Forbidden. Why did that word only make her more tempting? He placed the water down on the coffee table in front of her and she looked up at him.
â€œThank you.â€ She smiled and then it melted away into a frown. Her voice dropped to a whisper. â€œDoes your brother know what you do?â€
Kearn flinched internally at that question. He could feel Kyranâ€™s eyes on his back, boring a hole through his chest as though he wanted to rip out his heart with thought alone.
â€œYes,â€ Kearn said in a tight voice and sat beside her. She shuffled over to give him room and then sat with her hands in her lap, her body angled towards him and his brother.
He tried to think of something to talk about that wouldnâ€™t give Kyran an opening to hate him, ridicule him, or reveal anything about them and their family.
â€œI think Kearn has some more bandages if you need some.â€ Amber smiled in Kyranâ€™s direction. She toyed with the cream crepe bandage around her hand.
â€œDid something happen to you?â€ Kyran sat forwards, resting his elbows on his knees. He reached a hand out to Amber.
Something inside Kearn said to knock his hand away and not let his brother touch Amber again, but he kept still. He didnâ€™t have any claim to her and his brother was behaving himself. If he stopped him, the next thing his brother said would probably be something about his penchant for blood drinking. The introduction had been bad enough. Permit me to introduce myself? He might as well have saidâ€”Iâ€™m a ridiculously portrayed vampire from a clichÃ© low-budget movie.
Amber placed her hand into Kyranâ€™s. His brother cooed over it in a way that made Kearn want to hit him.
â€œThis is terrible. You poor thing. What happened?â€
It would have been more convincing to Kearn had his brother not been drawing a deep breath the whole time, trying to catch the scent of her blood.
â€œA man attacked me. A vampire, actually.â€ She eyed Kyran closely.
â€œDamned vampires.â€ He rolled his eyes.
Kearn did take her hand away from Kyran now, and gave his brother a dark look for good measure.
â€œI take it you know about them?â€ Amber put her hand back in lap and started toying with the bandage again. Kearn kept a close eye on her, concerned that the vampireâ€™s hold over her might not have faded completely. Since it was the vampireâ€™s blood in her body, and not the other way around, he would still be able to find her using the lingering connection between them until tomorrow night, or even beyond that, but Kearn had expected his ability to control her to have left her system by now.
He picked up the water and offered it to her with a smile. A delightful blush stained her cheeks. She had reacted the same way when he had smiled at her earlier tonight. Did she like it? He smiled again and she took the glass, running her fingers around the rim of it with her eyes downcast. Shy?
He could feel Kyranâ€™s eyes on him. Watching. It wasnâ€™t illegal for him to study a human and Amber fascinated him.
â€œI know all about vampires,â€ Kyran said in a tone as black as an abyss. Kearn looked at him when Amber lifted the glass to her lips. Kyran blatantly ignored the silent command not to watch her by staring at her throat while she drank. Red briefly ringed his irises. â€œI know about them and the terrible things that Kearn does to them.â€
Amber choked, coughing and spluttering, her hand over her mouth. Kearn quickly took the glass from her. She stared at his brother with wide eyes. He didnâ€™t like the question he could see in them. She didnâ€™t need to know what he did.
He touched her shoulder and used the connection between them to give her feelings a slight push. Not too much influence over her thoughts. More of a suggestion than a command. He wouldnâ€™t control her as the other vampire had.
She rubbed her eyes and yawned. â€œI feel tired.â€
â€œIt is late.â€ Kearn placed the glass down on the square coffee table, feeling Kyranâ€™s glare on him the whole time. â€œPerhaps you should rest. You have had quite a night. I will stay on the couch. Please, make yourself at home in my room.â€
â€œReally? I couldnâ€™t.â€ Her beautiful hazel eyes met his, full of warmth and honesty. They backed up the message her blood sent to his. She felt bad for taking his bed.
â€œI insist.â€ He took her elbow, bringing her with him when he stood. Kyran was still staring at him. He led Amber past him and to the bedroom, and turned the light on for her. â€œThe bathroom is just through that door. The control for the blinds is on the bedside table, as is the remote control for the television, in case you feel uncomfortable sleeping without background noise tonight. I will be here if you need anything.â€
She nodded and he closed the door. The moment it clicked shut, his eyes changed to red and he looked at Kyran. Scarlet eyes stared right back at him.
Without a word, Kearn walked to the door of the apartment and opened it. Kyran stood, stalked across the room, and stopped toe to toe with him.
â€œThat was uncalled for. I was merely making conversation.â€
â€œI did not like the direction your apparently innocent conversation was heading.â€ Kearnâ€™s red eyes locked with his brotherâ€™s ones.
â€œDo you really believe the lie you are telling yourself when you say she only needs to know as little as possible?â€
â€œIt is a lie, brother, and a shallow one. You do not keep her in the dark about your true self because you believe she doesnâ€™t need to know it in order to play the role you have assigned her.â€ Kyran stepped past him but remained facing him, his back to the hall. â€œYou do so because you are afraid of what she would think of you if she found out what you areâ€¦ a vampire no different to the one who attacked herâ€¦ a fiend lusting for her precious blood.â€
Kearn curled his fingers into a tight fist at his side and gripped the door hard with his other hand.
Kyran stepped back into the hall.
â€œShe will find out, little brother.â€
He was gone.
Kearn growled under his breath at the truth in his brotherâ€™s words.
It was only a matter of time before Amber saw past the faÃ§ade.
For some reason, he didnâ€™t want her to see him for what he was.
He didnâ€™t want her to fear him.
Not even when it felt inevitable.
Kearn cursed and slammed the door.
Not long to wait now until the book is released! Final sneak preview chapter next week! Is everyone excited?