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, chapter three and chapter four. That means that today is the final chapter I’ll be posting, and with it I’m adding a little about the series.
Enter a dark world where humans live alongside nine species of demon without knowing it and a mysterious circle of ancient beings called the Sovereignty battles to protect mankind. For each of the nine species, Venators are chosen, hunters who are given the power of the Sovereignty and fight in their stead to defeat those in their species who seek to harm humans and demons alike. It is a world of vampires, werewolves, therianthropes, angels and other demons, each with their own distinct society and world they desire to protect–a world they desire to keep separate and hidden from ours.
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 woke slowly to an unfamiliar view. She lay on her back, staring at the ceiling, and could see the edges of the brown walls either side of her and the window behind her that formed another wall. She felt very calm, as though she had slept deeply. It surprised her. After what she had been through last night, she had expected not to sleep at all. She had drifted off waiting for the nightmares but felt as though her dreams had been pleasant, or non-existent.
Perhaps her dreams and reality had swapped places. She was living a nightmare and dreaming her old life now. The fear that had settled in her heart last night hadnâ€™t gone anywhere. It was quieter now, lessened by the steps Kearn had taken to protect her, to make her feel safe, but it wasnâ€™t going away. Deep inside her heart, a voice whispered that she should fear Kearn too, but for some reason she couldnâ€™t bring herself to feel that way, not even when a part of her knew that there was something different about him.
It didnâ€™t matter what he was. He was protecting her and she could help him. They needed each other. In order to swap her dreams and reality back around, she had to be strong and get through his, and she would, with Kearn at her side.
The quiet noise of the flat panel television built into the oak wardrobes opposite the foot of the bed filled the silence along with her breathing. She stretched. Kearnâ€™s bedroom was soothing. She wanted to sleep here forever.
The bed was soft and warm, the room peaceful and quiet, and she felt safe.
Amber rolled onto her side and took a deep breath. The brown pillows smelt like Kearn. She hadnâ€™t noticed it before. It was a warm smell. She smiled. Probably a very expensive warm smell.
There was no doubt in her mind that Kearnâ€™s job paid well. The car, the apartment, and the terribly modern dÃ©cor that gave it an air of something out of a perfect homes magazine, all pointed towards money.
Another smile touched her lips when she remembered him insisting on her taking his bed. Very chivalrous.
And then there was his brother.
They looked alike in some ways and the very opposite in others. She imagined Kearn with blue eyes and black hair cut short around the sides but longer on top. They would definitely look alike then.
His brother had a different personality though. He was open, playful, and seemed to take great amusement from saying things that Kearn thought werenâ€™t suitable. If they hadnâ€™t told her that Kyran was the older brother, she would have thought him the younger.
Kearn seemed so cold in comparison, and more distant than she had first placed him. His behaviour around his brother, the flashes of anger swiftly chased by sorrow that had crossed his face at times, and the way he had ended the night so abruptly, all of them increased her feeling that Kearn was hiding something. What did he want to conceal?
Kyran had said that he knew vampires and he knew what his brother did to them. What did Kearn do to them? She had been about to ask him when she had felt incredibly sleepy. The tension in the apartment had risen the moment Kearn had closed the bedroom door on her and then the front door had slammed. Had they argued? Because of her?
Amber sat up on the double bed and pulled the brown duvet to her chest, covering her bare breasts with it.
Why would they argue because of her?
Because Kyran had been too friendly or because he had said something he shouldnâ€™t have?
Amber looked over at the bedside table.
And why were her clothes gone?
She scrambled across the double bed and peered down at the floor in case they had fallen off. They were gone. Her shoes were too. Only her black handbag remained.
Had Kearn taken them?
She blushed from head to toe at the thought of him coming into the room while she had been sleeping in his bed wearing only her knickers.
Her eyes widened.
He had even taken her bra.
Her cheeks burned now.
Amber wrapped herself in the brown duvet and shuffled carefully to the bedroom door. She opened it a crack and looked out into the main room. She couldnâ€™t see Kearn. The television in the white dividing wall above the low rectangular open fireplace was off. The apartment was silent save the noise of the television behind her.
Kearn was gone.
She hitched her duvet toga up and went back into the bedroom, crossing it to the bathroom. There was a white bathrobe on the back of the door. She dropped the duvet and put on the robe. It was too big for her but it was better than walking around Kearnâ€™s apartment in only her knickers.
She made the bed, turned off the television and then returned to the bedroom door and opened it.
There was no sign of her clothes in the living area, or in the kitchen in the right hand corner opposite it. The glasses and bowl were on the drainer, and Kearnâ€™s bloodied shirt was gone. She picked up one of the glasses, filled it with water and drank it down in one go. Her stomach growled. Food. She hadnâ€™t eaten in almost a day.
Amber checked the pale wooden cupboards. The first two being bare didnâ€™t bother her, but after the fifth, she started to find it strange. When she had checked every cupboard and found only a few glasses and some other kitchenware, but not cutlery or plates, she was disconcerted. She approached the large white refrigerator with caution, fearing what she would find in it. Vampires drank blood. What if the fridge was full of bits of people or blood bags stolen from the local hospital?
She grabbed the refrigerator door and yanked it open.
Her heart pounded against her ribs.
She was going crazy.
She had to stop being so suspicious.
Vampires killed people. Maybe he didnâ€™t keep his food in the house. Maybe he ate street food of the vampire kind.
Amber shut the fridge door. She really was being stupid now.
Kearn hunted vampires.
Maybe he ate out all the time. There were people who did that. She had seen television programs where famous people had never used the expensive stove in their oversized kitchen. Kearn could be just like them.
Or he could eat blood.
She walked out of the kitchen, trying to distance herself from her thoughts as easily as she could distance herself from the refrigerator.
She stopped at the black front door of the apartment.
There was a note stuck to it, written in neat cursive script.
Do not even consider leaving. I shall return by the time you have showered and shall bring you breakfast. Kearn.
She tried the handle anyway. Locked. Some of the locks she could open from the inside, but one of them needed a key.
Well, that was considerate of him. He stole her clothes and locked her in his apartment, and then offered her a shower and said he would bring her breakfast. He was confusing her more every minute that she knew him.
Amber glanced to her left, through the small study area to the bank of windows that formed the wall there. The sun was heading towards the horizon, casting a golden glow over the rooftops of London. He had a strange concept of meal times, but then he hunted vampires. It was probably a job he could only do at night.
She perused the books in the beech bookcase that lined the wall of the study opposite the open fireplace, her fingers tripping from spine to spine. There were many novels on the side nearest the front door, but closer to the wooden desk in front of the window, the books were all factual, and some of them were definitely not available in stores. Books on demons, vampires, werewolves and other creatures. All of them old and large, and leather-bound. None of them had authors or publishing houses on the spine. She took a thick, heavy tome on vampires, placed it down on the desk and opened it carefully to somewhere near the middle. Her gaze scanned the neatly hand written paragraphs on the yellowing page and stopped on a name she recognised.
She had to read it three times to make sure she wasnâ€™t imagining it.
She cast a quick glance around the apartment, her heart starting to race and tremble at the thought of being caught snooping in Kearnâ€™s things, and then read the passage about the earl.
Kyran knew vampires. Was that why Kearn didnâ€™t like Earl Huntingdon? Perhaps there were good vampires after all and that was why Kyran was friends with him.
Or perhaps not.
Amber read the page, enthralled by the things it said about the earl and his bloodthirsty ways. He sounded dangerous, the sort of vampire that people had written tales about centuries ago, like Vlad the Impaler. He sounded like the sort that Kearn should kill.
She went to turn the page and read on but stopped herself. Reading about the horrible things vampires did to people and to other vampires would only frighten her. She closed the book and placed it back on the shelf. She was better off not knowing. They said ignorance was bliss after all. When Kearn had caught the vampire, she would be going back to her life. Kearn wouldnâ€™t be there to protect her from the scary vampires. She would be alone again and she didnâ€™t want to spend the rest of her life afraid, fearing that someone like Earl Huntingdon would somehow find her. She wanted to live life.
Dragging herself away from the study, she walked around the wide white dividing wall of the modern double-sided fireplace and stopped dead when she saw a black jacket and Kearnâ€™s gun on the end of the long black couch against the bedroom wall. The setting sun glinted off the silver gun, luring her to it.
She stopped at the window-end of the couch beside the gun and stared hard at it, memorising the weaponâ€™s exact position on the jacket so she knew where to place it so Kearn wouldnâ€™t know what she had done. With her heart in her throat, she reached a trembling hand out to the gun and closed the fingers of her left hand around the grip. Her whole arm shook as she lifted it. It was heavier than expected and felt cold against her fingers. She kept it pointed away from her, afraid it would go off, and studied it. It looked like a gun from a movie, sleek and modern, and dangerous.
What kind of bullets did it take? They had to be special to kill vampires.
Amber tried to figure out how to open it, turning it one way and then the other, and even looking closely at the bottom of the grip. In the movies, people changed the clip so quickly she never saw how they got it out. She lifted her other hand, tempted to pull the top part of the gun back and then stopped herself. She didnâ€™t know what would happen if she did that. If she blew out a window or made a hole in the white wall, Kearn would know that she had been messing around with his gun. Afraid of the consequences if that happened, Amber placed the gun back down in the precise spot and position she had found it, and stepped back from it. She didnâ€™t like it.
Turning away, she walked back to Kearnâ€™s bedroom and through it to the bathroom. Take a shower. Kearn had said he would be back when she had showered. She looked at the large white cubicle to her left. Take a shower she would.
She stripped off the bathrobe and her knickers, and closed the bathroom door. The clear shower door squeaked when she slid it open. She turned the water on and stepped under the jet, showering quickly and holding her hair up so it didnâ€™t get too wet. It would frizz if it did and she didnâ€™t want to look like a prize poodle around Kearn.
Amber shut the water off and stepped out of the shower. Her head spun. She closed her eyes and waited for it to clear. It had done that from time to time last night too. Was it the vampire trying to control her?
She shuddered at the thought. She didnâ€™t like the idea that someone could control her and make her do things against her will. She unravelled the bandage on her hand. The cut across her palm was still raw and it was bleeding in places again. She washed it in the sink and then looked for a new bandage, finding some in the cupboard in the black sink cabinet. She carefully wound it around her hand, tight enough that it would stop the bleeding, and pinned it.
The vampire had wanted her to taste her blood but she hadnâ€™t been tempted this time. Was his hold over her fading?
The sound of a door closing made her look up at herself in the mirror. Kearn.
She clawed her hair back into a neat ponytail, slipped the robe on, and tied it.
Kearn was in the kitchen when she walked out of the bedroom. He glanced over at her, his green eyes as impassive as ever. Not even the sight of her in his bathrobe fresh from the shower provoked a reaction. He crossed the room and held two large black paper bags out to her. There was a store name she didnâ€™t recognise written on the side in a white cursive font. She peered inside the first one at the clothes. The second had a cardboard shoebox in it.
â€œWhat is it?â€ She looked at Kearn.
â€œYour outfit for tonight.â€ He dropped another similar bag on the couch facing the window and she looked in it too. Her own clothes. He had taken them to a store and, judging by the bags, it had been somewhere expensive.
Kearn held a small brown bag out to her.
â€œWhatâ€™s this?â€ She took it from him.
â€œBreakfast,â€ he said without any trace of emotion, his eyes not leaving hers. â€œCoffee and pastries. I asked the woman what you might like.â€
Amber frowned. What she might like? As though a stranger would know such a thing. Couldnâ€™t he have judged for himself? Maybe he didnâ€™t know what food tasted like. Maybe vampires didnâ€™t eat anything other than blood.
Maybe he just didnâ€™t eat pastries. She had known men in her past that didnâ€™t touch sweet things. He could be like them.
â€œWhat about you?â€ She placed the clothes bags down on the couch beside the other one and eyed him closely, studying his face.
â€œI ate when I was out.â€
Amber stared at him. He stared back, colder than ever. He really wasnâ€™t very talkative. The effort of trying to make conversation with him was exhausting.
Kearn walked around her and along the length of the couch beside the wall to the far end of it. He leaned over and paused with his hand just above his gun. He kept his back to her as he picked it up.
â€œDo not ever touch it again,â€ he said and went into his bedroom, closing the door.
A few minutes later the shower was running and Amber was still standing in the middle of his apartment feeling guilty for snooping and wondering how the hell he had known she had touched the gun. It had been in exactly the same place as he had left it.
He was an enigma.
He had no food, a lot of money, and treated her coldly even though she was helping him. She looked at the clothing and the food that he had bought. She couldnâ€™t figure him out at all. She had never met anyone so distant either. Was it his work? Maybe he was just unused to company. He hadnâ€™t been that at ease with his brother too.
Maybe he wasnâ€™t human.
She couldnâ€™t push that thought away. Whenever she gave it a chance, it came back.
Amber walked over to the kitchen island and placed the brown paper bag down on the granite top. She sat on one of the black and wood stools that followed the curve of the island, and opened the bag, removing the white paper cup of coffee. She took off the lid and scooped up some of the foam with her finger. Cappuccino. Just the fix she had needed.
There were a lot of different pastries in the bag. Covering his bets?
The bedroom door opened and Amber looked over her shoulder at Kearn. He rubbed a brown towel against his wet hair. Water dripped from the ends of the long silver strands and rolled down the bare strip of chest and stomach visible between the two sides of his black shirt. His body was delicious. Just what she wanted to eat for breakfast. His muscles shifted and bunched with each move he made as he dried his hair, a feast for her eyes only. She stared, unashamed of what she was doing. If he was going to put it out there, then she wasnâ€™t going to shy away.
Kearn tossed the towel back into his bedroom, ran his fingers through his hair, and then walked over to the jacket on the couch. He picked it up and placed it over the back of the couch facing the window. Amber sipped her coffee and kept watching him, or at least his body. He ruined her fun by buttoning his shirt and tucking it into his black trousers.
He came over to her and looked at the paper bag. She took another sip of her coffee and drank her fill of his face, putting to memory the curve of his lips as they parted and the way a line formed between his dark silver eyebrows when he frowned. He was undeniably good looking and was starting to creep back into sexy territory.
â€œWant one?â€ Amber offered the bag, part of her doing so out of politeness and the other part wanting to test him.
His green eyes shifted from the contents of the bag to her hand that was holding it. Blood was seeping into the bandage again.
â€œTake it if you want it,â€ she said and his eyes met hers, incredulous and searching. It was the first sign of something other than cold calculation in them today. He almost looked shocked.
â€œNo, thank you.â€ Kearn pushed the bag back at her. â€œYou should dress. We need to arrive at the club before everyone else so we do not look as though we are together.â€
She took a long leisurely sip of her cappuccino, unwilling to be rushed by him, and then slipped down off the stool.
When he had said they would go to a club, she had expected them to be together the whole time. The thought of being alone when the vampire could be stalking her was frightening but she had promised to play bait for him. She picked up the bags of clothes from the couch. What sort of bait did Kearn have in mind? The clothes would give her a hint.
She walked into his bedroom, kicked the door closed, put her coffee and pastries down on the side cupboard and dumped the bags on the bed.
Refusing to hurry, she ate a croissant and drank half of her coffee, and then devoured another pastry.
Amber pulled the large shoebox out of the first bag and opened it.
She tipped the contents of the other bag out on the bed beside it.
Her eyes widened.
â€œWhat the hell!â€
That’s the final chapter of my sneak preview for Forbidden Blood, but you don’t have to wait long to get your hands on this book now. It’s released on June 18th, just next week! Have you all enjoyed the book so far?