Today’s tease comes from the book Heart of Darkness, which is a stand alone vampire romance novel, and a book that features one of my favourite heroes, the vampire prince Aleksandr. I’ve shared a tease from this book before, and now I’m going to share one of my favourite moments in the book… and if Aleksandr doesn’t melt you, I don’t know who can!
She chafed her hands to keep the cold off them. Aleksandr stopped, removed his long coat, and placed it around her shoulders.
â€œYou are injured, you need this more than I do.â€ She went to take it off but his grip on her shoulders tightened, not allowing her to.
The look in his eyes said not to refuse him this kindness. She lowered her head, ashamed that she didnâ€™t have the strength to go against him. His white shirt and trousers wouldnâ€™t keep him warm and he needed his energy to heal. She lifted the coat so the hem didnâ€™t drag on the damp floor as she walked with him. She would wear it a while and find a way to convince him that she was warm enough and he could have his coat back, even though she was freezing.
Elise stopped walking again. What was wrong with her? Most women would be pleased by his attention so why did she fight him so much? She wasnâ€™t trying to refuse his kind offer of his coat because he would be cold and he was injured. She wanted to refuse it because she feared the attention from him. Was she really so afraid of losing her heart to him that she was going to push him away and give up whatever small chance she had with him? It was childish of her to fear such things and to flee his attention. She was in love with him and wanted him more than anything. Any other woman in the world would take whatever he could offer her even if it was only for a short time. Why wasnâ€™t she brave enough to do that?
â€œIs something the matter?â€ Aleksandr came back to her, concern in his grey eyes.
Elise cast her gaze downwards and then around her at the garden. It was beautiful tonight. The path glittered like a million diamonds under the white lights around the garden. The heavy clouds carried the scent of snow. The frost on the grass sparkled. It was beautiful and she was ruining what could have been a romantic moment by over-thinking it and fearing her love. She should have been embracing it. She had always thought herself brave but she was a coward. She feared giving her heart to Aleksandr because she believed he wouldnâ€™t give his in return.
â€œNothing at all.â€ She made herself look at him and see him for once. He was handsome, powerful, and he made her feel as no other man in the world had. She wanted him and she only had to say the word and she would have him. â€œIâ€™m afraid Iâ€™m not much company.â€
He smiled, wide and charming, a remnant of how heâ€™d looked so many times since they had first met.
â€œYou are more than enough company. We will only walk to the main fountain and back. You neednâ€™t fear. I do not plan to whisk you into the darkness and have my way with you.â€
Elise frowned at him. Why not? Perhaps she wanted him to whisk her away and make love to her. Couldnâ€™t he see that in her eyes or hear it in the tremulous beat of her heart?
She looked ahead at the larger fountain at the head of the long rectangular pond. The white-lit jet of water reached high into the air and thundered down, punching a hole in the ice. It wasnâ€™t a long walk at all to there and back. Maybe she wanted to be out with him longer than that.
Maybe he didnâ€™t want to be with her longer than that though. Was he in a hurry to get back to Ladislav and his brother? Or was it the women who awaited him there who had his attention?
She huffed and walked on at a brisk pace. Aleksandr caught up with her and she tried to ignore him, wanting their walk to be over quickly, but he captivated her. He strode beside her, his chin tilted up and his focus on the distance. Her heart beat faster at the sight of him. She wanted him.
He was gone.
Elise frowned and then bit her lip to stop herself from laughing when she looked down and saw him sitting in the middle of a sheet of ice. The water from the main fountain sprayed towards them, causing a slick on the path in the chill night air.
â€œAre you hurt?â€ she said in a tight voice, barely able to contain her laughter.
â€œOnly my pride,â€ he muttered and cast a dark glare at the ice and then looked up at her. â€œIt is good to see you smile. Shall I stand and slip again?â€
She shook her head. â€œNo, I donâ€™t want you hurting your shoulder.â€
Elise offered her hand to him. He took it, gripping her close to her elbow, and she grasped his forearm. A vampire with his skill shouldnâ€™t have fallen so easily, at least not if they had been paying any attention at all to their surroundings. She had sensed the danger of the ice before they had reached it. Why hadnâ€™t he?
He pulled himself onto his feet and ended up very close to her, so near that his legs were against hers. Elise tilted her head back and met his gaze. There was warmth in his eyes, a hint of a smile that brought hers back out again.
â€œWhat were you thinking to fall like that?â€
His smile widened. â€œI believe I was attempting to impress you by appearing noble and handsome.â€
Elise laughed. Aleksandr didnâ€™t.
She fell quiet, realising that he had been serious. A smile worked its way back onto her lips.
â€œYou looked very noble on your backside,â€ she said almost under her breath.
He laughed and she realised that it was the first time she had heard him laugh properly without bitterness or forcing it. It had a nice timbre to it and warmth that made her want to giggle along with him.
Aleksandr stopped laughing and looked up at the sky. Elise followed his gaze and her lips parted when she saw the large flakes of snow falling from the darkness. Each flake caught in the white lights illuminating the garden. There was something magical about snow at night when it floated and swirled its way down to the ground on a light breeze. It enthralled her but not enough that it stopped her from looking at Aleksandr. He was watching the snow, a beautiful look of fascination on his face. Why did she resist him so much?
It dawned on her that it wasnâ€™t just the fact that he might leave her. It was his strength that frightened her. She feared that he would control her and change her.
He already was changing her.
Aleksandr looked down at her, the fascinated look in his eyes increasing and then changing to hold a spark of warmth and desire, passion that called to her own and filled her mind with erotic images of them together.
â€œYou brought the snow with you,â€ she whispered, unable to tear her eyes away from his and unafraid of anything that might happen.
He smiled, his perfect sensual mouth enticing her, and said, â€œI am not that cold.â€
Elise swallowed when he feathered a caress down her cheek and along her jaw to her neck. A shiver danced through her and her body responded, heating outward from her core. His touch ran so deeply, as though he was reaching down to her heart. She wanted to resist but there was black magic in it, a spell that she could only respond to.
His fingers paused on her throat, his gaze intent on it.
â€œI want you,â€ he whispered and Elise could feel the depth of his desire, could sense his body calling to hers.
Aleksandr removed his hand and she felt bereft and cold. She didnâ€™t understand. He wanted her so why was he distancing himself?
â€œIn time, you will come to me willingly, without fear or reservation. That is the only way that I want you.â€ He leaned in and disappointment flooded her when he only kissed her cheek.
Her eyes closed and she stood there with his lips against her cheek and her heart crying out for more. His breath teased her neck and she shivered again.
â€œTell me you want me too and that this is not a foolâ€™s game,â€ he whispered in a strained voice and she sensed the switch in his emotions, feeling the same intense vulnerability she had this morning when they had been together in his rooms. â€œI never lose but I am beginning to think that I might lose my hunt for you. You are wily prey who outwits me at every turn.â€
He sighed and ran his hands down her arms to hers, taking hold of them and placing her right one on the hilt of his dagger where it hung at his hip and her other hand against his chest.
â€œKill me now if that is your intent,â€ he murmured into her ear. Her heart raced. He couldnâ€™t be serious. â€œSilence me forever if you could never love me.â€
Did you enjoy today’s tease?
Aleksandr Nemov wonâ€™t stop until the last of the vampire hunterâ€™s progeny is wiped from the Earth. Each kill has stolen a piece of his humanity, pushing him towards the black abyss all vampires hold within their hearts. Now he is teetering on the edge, close to devolving into a beast, and time is running out as he tracks the last hunter to Prague. There he finds a beautiful woman who could be his one chance for salvation, but is it already too late for him?
A vampire guard who will do whatever it takes to protect those she loves…
Elise is dedicated to her duty. Itâ€™s the only thing she has left. All that changes when she meets Aleksandr in Prague and her master grants him permission to stay at her bloodlineâ€™s mansion. She knows all about Aleksandr but none of it prepares her for how she feels when the legendary princeâ€™s hunt becomes one for her heart. Elise battles him with all of her strength but can she stop herself from falling for the handsome hunter? When he reveals the depth of the corruption in his soul, will she have the strength to face the pain in her past and do whatever it takes to save him?
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