I have the hard task of choosing my favourite scenes from some of my books to share with you this weekend. It might sound like a lot of fun, but sometimes there is more than one scene that I really love in a book and choosing between them can be very tricky. Add to that the fact that I can’t choose a scene that gives something major about the plot away and it becomes doubly tricky!
My next favourite scene is from Forbidden Blood and I had a hard time choosing this one again. I have other scenes in this book that I really love but I can’t share those as they give too much about the book away!
I’m a sucker for dance scenes and this is one I just had to post. This one needs a little scene setting though. Amber, the heroine, is a Source Blood (a human with very powerful blood that can turn a vampire into something god-like) and was saved from a vampire by Kearn, who is also a vampire and a Venator. Venators hunt vampires who break the law by attempting to use Source Blood. He’s been on the trail of the Source Blood abuser for years and Amber is the perfect bait. The game between Kearn and his enemy heats up when the vampire says he might be at a masquerade ball held by Duke Montagu. Kearn doesn’t want to show his face in society but must go there with Amber, and she gets her first glimpse at the world of vampires, and draws the attention of the host. Duke Montagu threatens to have them removed from the premises unless Amber dances with him and she reluctantly agrees, and when Kearn offers to teach her the waltz by using the remnants of her blood in his to control her so she impresses the duke, she can’t resist the chance to be in his arms.
Amber looked around her to see what everyone else on the dance floor was doing. The ladies curtseyed to their partners so she did too, going low enough that she would make the right impression on Kearn and the watching vampires, but not so low that she wouldnâ€™t be able to get back up. She rose again and the ladies stepped forwards into their partnersâ€™ waiting arms.
She went to touch Kearnâ€™s arm and take his hand.
Kearn stepped back.
â€œThe first thing you need to know is never touch me or anyone above your rank.â€ His voice was stern again. She had committed a faux pas by grabbing the duke. Everyone here was probably above her. â€œYou must allow your partner to place your hands.â€
Kearn gently placed her right hand on his shoulder and held her left, their palms pressing together. His hand was warm and his fingers curled tightly around hers. Both of his hands were steady. Hers shook like crazy.
She swallowed to ease the dryness in her throat but it didnâ€™t help.
â€œI need a drink,â€ she whispered and Kearnâ€™s gaze slid to her neck and then back to her eyes. A shiver tripped through her at the flash of red in his irises.
She jumped when his left hand settled against her waist and then they were moving. The tempo of the orchestra was slower than before. It was a triumphant sounding piece, with rising strings and deep brass. The choir sung beautifully but she didnâ€™t hear it. She was lost in Kearnâ€™s eyes and the way he was holding her, moving with her. They turned in slow circles and it didnâ€™t feel as though he was moving her feet for her. She felt in control.
â€œSee,â€ he whispered and smiled into her eyes, â€œnothing to it.â€
She smiled and his look turned serious, his head tilting to one side. His eyes dropped to her mouth, briefly enough that she might have missed it had she not been watching him so closely. Did he want to kiss her? She swallowed again. She wanted to kiss him.
â€œTell me about your brother,â€ he said.
She stumbled slightly. â€œI donâ€™t think this is the time for conversation. I need to concentrate.â€
â€œNo, you do not. You will only make it more difficult for me. I can concentrate for both of us.â€
Amber tried to think of what to tell him. It was hard not to focus on her feet when she knew she was dancing.
â€œHeâ€™s around your height and build, funny and smart, looks like a male version of me and lives in Paris,â€ she said and no longer noticed the way the vampires stared, the couples glancing their way as they passed, or even the duke. The music and Kearn filled her world. He was so handsome, looking at her with warmth in his eyes and no trace of loneliness. She felt as though she had helped erase his hurt after all. â€œHeâ€™s always trying to get me to move to France and it must have finally worked because Iâ€™m going to Paris soon.â€
Kearn frowned. â€œYou are leaving England?â€
She nodded. â€œIâ€™m moving there for work.â€
The warmth in Kearnâ€™s eyes dissipated, leaving ice in its wake. He turned his face away, looking in the direction that they were moving with the music, and her feelings shifted. The excitement and happiness she had felt on mentioning her move to Paris gradually changed into something darker.
Cold swept through her.
He had shut her out, relinquishing control of her and leaving her in the dark about his feelings. Why?
Amber focused hard, biting her lip and tripping her way through the steps. This wasnâ€™t good. She panicked, the feeling blasting through her so quickly that her temperature shot up and her heart skipped. She caught her foot on Kearnâ€™s boot and her eyes leapt to his, her apology balancing on her lips.
It fell away when her feet suddenly knew the way and her legs no longer shook. Was he controlling her again? The anger she had felt before he had surrendered control of her wasnâ€™t there anymore. She searched his eyes for it and found nothing. The desire to question him burned in her heart but she couldnâ€™t find the courage to go through with it. What was she going to ask him?
Was he angry because she was leaving England? Didnâ€™t he want her to go to Paris? Did he want her to stay?
Did he want her?
Amber glanced down at the bright silver buttons on the breast of his black jacket, focusing on herself instead of him, studying her own feelings. What did she want? The thought of Paris had excited her before she had met him, but now her move felt like something to fear rather than look forward to. Her eyes roamed up over his chest and neck to his face, lingering on his sensual mouth. Fire skittered over her skin at the memory of their kiss. The thought of kissing him again excited her, sent her blood rushing and her mind leaping forward to imagine how everything would unfold from even the gentlest of caresses.
She forced her eyes onwards, until they met his. There had to be something that she could say to break the ice between them again.
â€œIâ€™m not really sure Iâ€™ll like it in Paris,â€ she whispered, looking deep into his eyes. She had loved the thought of it just a few days ago but meeting Kearn had changed her whole world, knocking it off kilter, and now she wasnâ€™t sure of anything. She shrugged. â€œIâ€™m not even any good at French.â€
Kearn leaned over and her eyes widened when his cheek brushed hers, heating hers through. He whispered in French into her ear, his breath tickling her neck, and continued to turn with her. Her eyelids fell to half-mast and she melted into him, savouring the feel of him against her and the relief that blossomed deep in her heart as she realised he was no longer angry with her. Only warm feelings danced inside her now, and a part of them were his. He drew back again and she shook some sense into herself, enough to look him in the eye.
â€œWhat did you say?â€
He just smiled.
She wanted to know. Whatever it had been, it had sounded distinctly romantic.
The choir began to sing again, slower now but rising with the music, sweeping over the room and carrying her along. Their words sounded as beautiful as Kearnâ€™s had and she listened to them.
â€œIs that Latin?â€ She turned with Kearn. They had moved closer together. His chest brushed hers as they spun to the music, galloping around the room. It was still hard for her not to think about the steps. Whenever she stopped speaking, her focus went back to her feet. She used Kearn as a distraction, keeping her eyes on his face, and floated along in his arms.
â€œDo you understand it?â€ What other languages did he know? He was over three hundred years old. He had probably learnt many languages and studied all sorts of things in his years.
He nodded again and looked ahead of them.
â€œWhat are they saying?â€
â€œYou do not want to know.â€
Amber gasped when they collided with another couple. The sandy haired man glared at her. Marquess Pendragon. Had he bumped them on purpose? Amber didnâ€™t recognise the woman in his arms.
â€œIgnore them,â€ Kearn said and she focused on him again, only this time the world didnâ€™t melt away. She was aware of everyone staring and the intent behind their glares. She could sense they wanted to harm her.
No, not her. She stared into Kearnâ€™s eyes. These were his feelings again.
The tempo of the music increased. Her legs were growing tired but she kept going, determined to finish the dance.
â€œYou must curtsey to the duke and allow him to place your hands. Do not speak unless spoken to and do not look him in the eye. Keep your gaze on his chest.â€ The warmth was gone from Kearnâ€™s face and voice, but at least he wasnâ€™t shutting her out again.
Kearn turned with her and she caught a glimpse of the duke. He was still watching her.
â€œBecause regardless of what he said to you, you are beneath him, just as I am.â€
Amber wanted to ask why he was beneath the duke but the hurt was back in his eyes. Would he really tell her later or had he been using it as an excuse to keep her quiet on the subject so she would forget about it? She would never forget the way the people had treated him tonight.
â€œRemain polite at all times and maintain the proper distance between you and him.â€
Kearnâ€™s hand slid around her back and he drew her closer to him, until their chests were against each other the whole time they danced. That wasnâ€™t proper distance, but she didnâ€™t care. It felt too good to be this close to him, in his arms. It didnâ€™t matter that her feet were tired and her legs ached. She wanted to keep dancing so she could remain like this with him.
Her eyes met his just as he was about to speak and his mouth closed. He stared down into her eyes, warmth resurfacing in his. She was glad the loneliness was gone again. They shone now, and deep contentment filled her. It wasnâ€™t only her feelings.
Kearn raised his left hand and trailed his fingertips down her bare arm and then over her long black satin glove. The touch was light and sensual, teasing her and stealing her breath. Her lips parted and her gaze fell to his mouth. His parted too, an invite to a kiss that she wanted to take more than anything. The world disappeared again and she was drifting with him with nothing but the sound of her heart beating and the light strings of the orchestra filling her ears.
She raised her gaze to his. Red tinted the edges of his irises. What was he thinking to make them look like that?
The dance ended.
He took her hand from his shoulder, raised it to his lips, bowed low and pressed a kiss to it.
Amber smiled, warm all over, and then realised that she wasnâ€™t the only one looking at him. Half of the room had stopped to stare again and were whispering to each other. Her gaze stopped on Kyran. He stood a few metres away, blue eyes narrowed behind his black mask. The woman in his arms looked disgusted.
Kearn rose, turned Amberâ€™s hand in his, and led her from the dance floor. Either he was oblivious to the dirty looks they were receiving or he didnâ€™t care. They stopped in the spot where they had been before, near the wall and away from everyone.
â€œYou danced well.â€ He smiled.
Amber smiled too and touched the spot on her glove that Kearn had kissed. Was the kiss why everyone looked so shocked? She had wanted far more than such a tame moment of intimacy. She had considered kissing him on the mouth.
â€œThat was quite a spectacle.â€ Venom dripped from the male voice.
Amber looked up to see Kyran stood beside Kearn, glaring at him. Kearnâ€™s expression was void of emotion as he stared back. The tension between them was palpable. Kyranâ€™s red eyes darted to her and his lips compressed. None of the usual kindness and charm touched his face now.
â€œA Noble lowering himself to a human.â€ Pure disgust tainted his expression and his tone. She had been wrong. The kiss hadnâ€™t shocked everyone. It was the fact that Kearn had bowed to her. Kyran smirked. â€œDo not expect such behaviour from Duke Montagu.â€
She wasnâ€™t sure how to react or what to say.
Kyran snorted in her direction and then grabbed Kearnâ€™s upper arm.
â€œExcuse me, I must speak with my little brother before he ridicules the entire family.â€ He turned on his heel and dragged Kearn away.
Kearn didnâ€™t seem to care that he was in for an earful. He looked back over his shoulder at her.
â€œDo not move from that spot. I will not be long. I will bring you a drink.â€ He actually smiled.
Amberâ€™s eyebrows rose. She stood rooted to the spot, watching the brothers. Kyran jerked to a halt and shoved Kearn out in front of him, pushing him back towards the wall near the corner of the room. She was too far away to hear them but their thunderous expressions said they were arguing. Kearn threw Kyranâ€™s hand from his arm and stepped up to him. She wanted to know what they were saying.
â€œThat was quite a dance.â€
Amber turned quickly to face the owner of the female voice.
A short dark haired young woman and two other women, both of them closer to Amberâ€™s height, stood before her. They were all wearing black empire-line dresses with a lot of cleavage on show, and a lot of make-up in sombre tones. They looked like death, ashen and dull.
Amber smiled politely. Kearn had told her that there would be other humans at the ball and they might be unmasked. These women were going through the transition from human to vampire. If she were bitten, would she look this bad when changing?
Heat touched her cheeks when she thought about Kearn biting her. She had dreamt of it today while sleeping in his bed and had tossed and turned so much that Kearn had woken her by knocking hard on the door and asking whether something was wrong. She had blushed ten shades of red then and hadnâ€™t been able to tell him the truth. Instead, she had said it was nothing and had hurried into the shower. He had gone out and when he had come back, he had given her the dress.
She felt incredibly sexy in it.
Especially when he told her that she looked beautiful.
â€œHe is quite the catch.â€ The blonde woman in the group looked past Amber.
Amber followed her gaze. Kearn was still arguing with Kyran. The other vampires nearby had moved away and were warily watching them. What were they arguing about? It couldnâ€™t just be about her. Was it about their family name too?
â€œAnd so subservient.â€
She looked back at the three women. They all smiled at her. She didnâ€™t think that Kearn was subservient but she smiled anyway.
â€œTo think a Noble would behave such a way.â€ The short dark haired one cast a wistful look in Kearnâ€™s direction and then her brown eyes found Amberâ€™s again. â€œI have never seen anything like it.â€
The third woman, a brunette with a bob, stepped forwards and looked Amber over. â€œHow far along are you?â€
Amber glanced down at her stomach. She looked pregnant?
â€œI thought the dress was quite flattering.â€ She skimmed her hands down her sides. Kearn definitely liked it, and sheâ€™d had a duke and Kyran call her beautiful too.
All three women laughed.
â€œIn your turning.â€ The brunette smiled. â€œYou must be far along for a Noble to behave in such a way. It shocked the crowd something terrible.â€
Amber hadnâ€™t failed to notice that.
The blonde twisted her hair around her fingers. â€œIâ€™ve almost completed my transition but my Lesser Noble wonâ€™t even dance with me.â€
Kearn had also warned Amber that humans going through the transition never danced. Most Nobles and Lesser Nobles didnâ€™t associate with them until they had fully turned. It seemed strange that they went to the trouble of courting a human to convince them to become a vampire and then discarded them during their transition. It was almost cruel. Kearn hadnâ€™t said what happened when they had finished becoming a vampire.
â€œSo how far along are you?â€ the brunette prompted.
Amber smiled politely. â€œIâ€™m not a vampire.â€
They all laughed again.
â€œNo.â€ The blonde took Amberâ€™s black gloved hand and patted it. â€œYouâ€™re what my Lesser Noble refers to as a chrysalisâ€”the transition from disgusting worm to beautiful butterflyâ€”and you must be close to spreading your wings.â€
Amberâ€™s smile faltered at the corners. â€œIâ€™m afraid youâ€™re all quite mistaken. Iâ€™m the caterpillar.â€
They gasped and backed off a step. The blonde woman dropped her hand and wiped hers on her dress, glaring at her as though she had been the one to take hold of her.
â€œA human.â€ The dark haired one sneered and flicked her long locks behind her shoulder, revealing a set of scars on her neck.
The three women turned their backs on her, looped their arms together, and moved off as one, disappearing into the black-clad crowd.
Heat burned through Amber, a remnant of her dream. Kearn had bitten her neck. She had worn marks just like that woman. If she did in reality, would Kearn treat her differently? Was he merely courting her with the intention of sending her through the transition and then discarding her until she had become like him?
No. He wanted to protect her, even from himself. He had slipped tonight and allowed a glimmer of his feelings to shine through, but she was sure that he wasnâ€™t out to make her into a vampire.
She turned to look for Kearn and found Duke Montagu standing before her. Instinct whispered that it was dangerous for her to be alone with him. He frowned over her head towards the women and then at her, his red eyes intent and cold behind his black mask. He was over one thousand years old. How powerful did that make him?
â€œI hope they have not upset you,â€ he said with charm and grace. â€œIf they have, I will see to it that the young Venator is punished.â€
Amberâ€™s eyes darted towards Kearn. He stood a few metres behind the duke, a glass of champagne in his hand. His eyes were wide. Stunned? She couldnâ€™t feel anything of the sort. He could definitely control the connection between them and had shut her out again.
â€œI was not offended.â€ She smiled, not wanting him to punish Kearn for what he had done. It was an honour to have such a noble man lower himself to her regardless of the rules.
There wasnâ€™t a trace of cruelty in the dukeâ€™s smile this time. His red eyes held hers.
â€œJealousy is such an ugly thing.â€ His eyes narrowed as his smile widened. â€œThe presence of such a beautiful creature will always upset those desiring to attain beauty beyond their grasp.â€
Amber wished that Kearn had been the one to say those words. If he had been standing before her, telling her again how beautiful she was, she would have kissed him. She wouldnâ€™t have cared if they had thrown them out for it either.
She glanced past the duke to Kearn. He no longer looked stunned. The warm edge to his eyes told her that he believed the dukeâ€™s words and what he had told her earlier. When he looked at her like that, with a shine to his green eyes and a smile starting to tease at his lips, she felt as beautiful as he painted her to be.
She blushed and looked back at the duke. He stared in the direction of the three women.
â€œThey had hoped to believe you almost a vampire, desiring that they would become as beautiful as you on their transition, and that their master would show them such attention.â€ His gaze dropped to her and a serious look replaced his smile. â€œThey are still foolish enough to believe it will happen. What they will find when they join us is nothing more than they have nowâ€”empty vanity and a male who will move on to a new female.â€
The women had been nasty to her once they had realised that she was human but she felt sorry for them. They only wanted their vampire to love them. They were alike in that respect. She barely knew Kearn but she was falling for him, and she wanted him to fall for her too. She had come here tonight with the intention of keeping his attention on her, desiring him to be as lost in her as she felt in him. Regardless of their differences and the fact they walked in two different worlds, she wanted to be with him.
â€œBut you,â€ Duke Montagu said. â€œIf you changed, you would attain that beauty and the heart of your Noble. You would rule absolute.â€
A shiver danced through her and her gaze roamed to Kearn. Would she really win his heart that way?
No trace of denial touched Kearnâ€™s features. His eyes were open, allowing her to read his feelings in them, but she couldnâ€™t decipher them and she desperately wanted to.
â€œI said a Noble.â€ Duke Montaguâ€™s tone was darker, commanding, and her gaze snapped back to him. â€œNot a Venator. Such a creature is unworthy of you. I spoke of someone like myself.â€
In the corner of her vision, Kearnâ€™s eyes turned vivid red.
Duke Montagu raised an eyebrow and his gaze slid to the side, towards Kearn, but he didnâ€™t turn to face him.
â€œYou dare to threaten me, Venator?â€ The dukeâ€™s voice was pure ice. His red eyes narrowed behind his mask.
Kearnâ€™s irises melted back to green and he lowered his head.
Duke Montagu held his hand out to one side, towards the dance floor.
The music stopped.
The crowd parted and left the large dance floor bare.
â€œAllow me to show you how a true Noble behaves.â€
Amber looked at Kearn.
He cast his gaze to one side. She could feel hurt inside her, a dull ache in her chest, that wasnâ€™t just hers.
She followed Duke Montagu onto the dance floor, her heart too heavy to care whether she made a fool of herself. When she stopped opposite the duke in the middle of the dance floor, she glanced back at Kearn.
He was watching her now.
She wanted to go to him and tell him that he was worthy of her.
She didnâ€™t want the duke or anyone else for that matter.
She only wanted him.
Remember you can download Forbidden Blood for FREE today on Amazon Kindle!
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.
FREE on Amazon Kindle this weekend!