It’s time for Snippet Saturday! Each week has a theme or is author’s choice. This week the theme is author’s choice.
This week’s snippet comes from Hunter’s Moon, which is the ninth book in the Vampires Realm romance series, and is a vampire / werewolf romance. It’s a bit of a long one today as I just couldn’t decide on one part of the opening chapter… so I thought I would post it all!
Crisp air rushed through Nicolaeâ€™s black fur in a constant stream, shifting with him as he wove through the dark forest, keeping pace with the bulk of the local timber wolf pack. The group ahead of him, led by the grey alpha, snarled and played, riding up on each otherâ€™s shoulders as they ran. Nicolae bounded after them, his paws pounding the uneven ground and his footing sure. He ducked under a low branch and then leapt over a fallen tree, landing softly in the fresh leaf litter on the other side. Mountains stretched into the distance before him through the woods, their craggy peaks highlighted by glowing white snow. The fat moon flickered between the bare branches above him and called to his blood.
He raced with the pack down the slope towards the hidden glade in the forest. Leafless trees gave way to tall pines that towered above him, blocking the light, and his eyes adjusted, the dark world around him sharpening and his senses following suit. Cool fingers of wind caressed his ears as he headed in amongst the pack and joined in their play, enjoying the clear wintry air and the bright night with them. Several younger wolves in the pack snarled and nudged him, and he playfully responded, gently shouldering them as they ran and fighting for dominance. He let them win even though they were far smaller than he was.
Nicolae wasnâ€™t interested in gaining rank within the pack. He was here to enjoy the moment and the company. Running with the timber wolves under a full moon excited him, took him away from the complications of the human world and set him free. There was nothing in the world as exhilarating as surrendering to his true nature.
Animal sounds filled his ears, undetectable to the humans who lived in the rugged mountainous region of Canada. The deer down in the valley ahead were moving, heading for a safe place to spend the night. He could picture them now as they waited nervously in the shadows of the trees around the glade, alert and aware of the wolves that ran in the dark forest. They would move and make it out onto the narrow strip of grazing land between the banks of woods at the valley bottom before the wolves reached them.
Tomorrow, there would be reports of a wolf attack on the deer, and how the Caseyâ€™s horses had panicked, and Nicolae would have to pretend that it startled him to hear such a thing.
That he hadnâ€™t participated in the hunt and the kill of deer.
That he wasnâ€™t a wolf.
A burst of wings broke the silence, owls fluttering from their roosts and heading high into the sky. Hungry wolf eyes instantly tracked them for a heartbeat of time and then the pack moved on, their focus returning to playing and hunting the deer. The day birds settled down in their nests, safe from predators for another night, unbothered by the wolves running below.
The pack began to streak ahead and Nicolae returned his attention to them. His blood rushed and his heart thundered. He felt wild. Alive. The leaders were dark blurs in the distance, almost blending in with the night, silent predators built for this terrain. Younger wolves jostled for position nearer to him. He raced to catch up, the cold air burning in his lungs and a sense of freedom flowing through him.
A howl cut the night and the wolves shifted as one, turning right towards the mountain, away from the glade and the grazing land beyond. Something had caught their attention. The howl came again and Nicolae listened this time, deciphering it. Wolf-speak was old and varied from pack to pack, but he had studied this one closely, and long enough that they had accepted his presence on the mountain. They no longer feared him. It had taken him a century of working with each generation, but he had gained their trust and their friendship, and had learned how to communicate with them.
He pounded up to the peak of a bare hillock, threw his head back, and howled at the moon through the barren trees.
The answering call told him why the wolves were now running with intent.
There were men on the mountain.
Men who didnâ€™t belong there.
Nicolae ran down the other side of the hillock and rejoined the wolves, running close to them now, amongst the pack. The sense of calm and playfulness disappeared. The wolves were hunting, a sliver of fear flowing through the entire pack, alertness that called to his instincts. He focused on the woods ahead, mapping them and monitoring for a sign of the men. It was unusual for hunters to come onto the mountains at night, especially when winterâ€™s grip was closing on the area.
A distant noise snapped the group to attention. The alpha snarled. Nicolae stretched his superior senses farther ahead of them. They whispered of danger. He sniffed and caught the scent of men on the wind. No one that he recognised. The grey alpha snarled again, this time in Nicolaeâ€™s direction. Nicolae answered with a growl. There was no reason to fear the humans.
He would protect them if it came to a fight.
He doubted that it would. Humans rarely hurt the wolves and never bothered him. They were probably looking for deer. He glanced at the moon. It was late to be hunting, and not just in the year. The sun had set hours ago and midnight was approaching. What prey were they after? The bears were already heading into hibernation, and deer didnâ€™t come this far up the mountain in winter. The only animals up here were small game and the timber wolves.
A trickle of fear slithered down his spine. His hackles rose in response.
Were they after the wolves?
Nicolae snarled, sending a message to the pack.
They turned and moved in a silent dark stream down into the valley, away from the hunters. Nicolae lumbered onwards alone, towards the hunters he could sense in the distance. It was rocky ground where they were and the sparse trees would offer him little cover, but it was a risk he had to take. If the hunters saw him, he would head back down towards the valley, where the forest was thicker. He had to make sure that these men werenâ€™t a threat. He needed to protect the wolves.
Nicolae slowed to a trot as he reached the stony ground and lowered himself until his softer stomach fur brushed the leaf litter and rocks. He crawled forwards, moving as quietly as possible, stalking the hunters. They stood in a clearing, the moon highlighting them with threads of silver. Nicolae stopped behind the broad trunk of the nearest tree, as close as he could get without them noticing him.
Their murmured conversation masked the sound of his soft huffs. His heart thumped against his ribs.
Four men. Dark haired. They were difficult to make out even in the moonlight. He could tell they were tall, and that the two who had their backs to him were broad built, possibly even bigger than he was in human form. Their black fatigues caused them to blend into each other and the woods beyond, and he couldnâ€™t make out any of their faces or the builds of the other two men.
â€œIâ€™m telling you sheâ€™s gone down towards that valley,â€ one of the men whispered, his accent local sounding enough. He was Canadian at least. Nicolae couldnâ€™t see him clearly from his position behind the tree and bushes, but he couldnâ€™t risk moving.
â€œDid you see how she moved? Iâ€™ve never seen something move that fast. Is that normal?â€ This voice had a tremor in it that spoke of inexperience and fear.
What were they hunting? Referring to animals as female was nothing new to him but it didnâ€™t sound as though they were hunting bear or deer. Were his suspicions correct and they were after the wolves?
Nicolae looked down towards the valley. The local timber wolf pack were all there and most of them had been with him all night. The distant howl that had alerted them to the presence of the hunters had been a scout. It hadnâ€™t given word of an altercation with the men. If there had been one, the wolf would have reported it to the pack.
He glanced the other way, towards the peak of the plateau and his cabin. Beyond it was the settlement. Were they hunting his sort of wolf? Impossible. No one in these parts knew of the werewolves. They lived quietly amongst the humans, blending in and keeping to themselves. None more so than him. He didnâ€™t belong to that pack. He didnâ€™t belong to anyone.
He cast his gaze over each hunter in turn, scrutinising them with his senses and putting their scents to memory. What were they doing on the mountain? One of the men looked in the direction of the valley and Nicolae stilled. They werenâ€™t dark haired. They were all wearing black woollen hats, and the one he could see had night-vision goggles on.
Nicolae shuffled back a step and hunkered down when the man turned towards him. Even the bushes around the trees had lost their foliage this far up the mountain. If he moved so much as a millimetre, the man would spot him through the infrared goggles. His heartbeat doubled and it felt impossible to keep still. He wasnâ€™t sure what sort of weaponry they had, but with the goggles, the men already had the advantage. They would be able to see him at a distance. There would be no quick escape into the darkness. Anticipation sent adrenaline to his muscles and they coiled in readiness. The wolf pack howled in the distance. The man turned away. Nicolae dared to peek through the twigs of the bushes at the men.
The one who had looked towards him was facing the others again, his hand hovering on the hilt of a vicious-looking hunting knife that hung from his utility belt. Nicolae glanced at the man next to him. A similar knife hung from his belt. Were they armed only with knives? He tried to see their hands but most of the men had them in front of them, or the bodies of the others hid them. They started talking again, calm and unfazed by the surrounding darkness and distant wolf howls.
Something about them didnâ€™t feel right. Their poise, their calmness, set them apart from the casual hunters that often came to the area, and gave him the impression that they were experienced in night manoeuvres and possibly trained in combat. In fact, he would hazard a guess that either they were in the military or they used to be. The only one who didnâ€™t feel like a threat was the one who was afraid. His heart pounded faster than the other three menâ€™s did, pushing at Nicolaeâ€™s desire to attack. He clawed for control, his focus turning inward for a moment as he struggled against his animal instincts.
â€œI say we go down.â€ The one in the middle of the group this time. His agreement with the first voice caused a murmur to run through them. The three men who had spoken turned towards the fourth, tallest, man.
The man stepped forwards, into the clearing, and Nicolae got a good look at him. The cold calculating edge to his expression warned Nicolae that this man was more than a hunter of animals. He had seen such faces before, in his past, on merciless killers that were acquainted with death and cruelty, and revelled in it.
Nicolae slunk further into the shadows, battling dark splintered memories that branded his mind with horrific images of violence and bloodshed, and seared his body with fierce pain. Each scar on his skin turned to flame beneath his black fur and he fought the urge to snarl. It had been so long since he had relived the nightmare of his past that he had forgotten how to deal with the pain. It threatened to cripple him, to force him from his animal state and expose him to the hunters. He battled the memories, using every ounce of his strength and willpower to remain hidden and as a wolf, but his control began to slip.
Screams taunted him, pleas for mercy and desperate cries for protection. His muscles bunched tight, bordering on cramping, and his heart wrenched in his chest as he relived everything in such vivid detail that it felt as though he had been transported back to that time, to the hellhole in which they had tortured him and his blood kin. Images of them swam in his mind, shifting in and out of focus, bloodied and beaten, eyes full of despair that turned to hope as they fell on him. He felt himself reaching out to them even though he couldnâ€™t move, trying to grasp the fragile visions as frantic need to comfort them flooded him. They slipped through his fingers, faces turning hollow and emaciated as they screamed, clutching themselves. His limbs shook, weak down to his bones, and he tried to shun the images, not wanting to witness their deaths again.
Not wanting to relive the horror of his failings.
He ground his teeth, biting down hard until his sharp canines cut into his gums and the taste of blood flooded his mouth. The metallic scent brought darker memories with it. They crowded his mind, driving him to the edge of despair, and threatening to break his hold on his wolf form. He couldnâ€™t lose it here. The hunters would see him. They would kill him before he had a chance to fully transform and escape into the woods. He would expose everyone to danger. He fought to remain focused, clamping his jaw and sucking in deep gulps of night air through his nose. The crisp edge to the air and the scent of the woods grounded him enough that he could shift his focus to the present and his surroundings, pushing away the terrifying memories.
â€œWe go down,â€ the hunter said at last, snapping Nicolae back to them and giving him a point of focus to hold on to, helping him clear his mind.
He breathed hard, gradually bringing himself back under control. The smell of the night soothed him and his pulse began to level again, his blood no longer blazing in his veins.
Nicolae looked up at the moon through the trees, needing to see it and see that he was free. His past laid thousands of miles away and a hundred years ago. Out here in the wild, he was free of the world that had once enslaved him. He was free of the vampires.
Two of the men moved past the one who Nicolae had decided was their leader. They brought their night-vision goggles down over their eyes and shouldered weapons that caused Nicolae to hesitate. The fourth man moved and did a sweep of the area.
Nicolae stared at the crossbow and the shiny tip of the dart aimed straight at him, his breathing faltering at the sight of it. The man moved on, scanning behind the group, and then followed them down into the woods.
When was the last time he had seen a hunter use a bow? He couldnâ€™t recall one in recent years. Everyone used high-powered rifles with accurate sights now. Even he did.
The timber wolves howled in the valley.
Nicolae tried to make out what they were saying but it was difficult with the men distracting him. He crawled through the undergrowth, tracking them from a distance. Whenever one of the men turned his way, sweeping the area with their crossbow, he flattened himself against the ground and waited. Their progress through the forest was slow but they were heading towards the wolves. If they came too close to the pack, he would break cover and head down to warn them.
The hunters maintained their silence as they wove through the woods, giving Nicolae difficulty. It was hard to move without making a sound when the leaf litter was so deep and crisp. He placed each paw carefully, moving with stealth and keeping far enough away that they wouldnâ€™t hear him.
â€œI still say that she went up,â€ one of the men whispered after they had been walking for over twenty minutes and Nicolae caught sight of the leader through the dense tree trunks.
The man held his hand up in a fist and the group halted. Nicolae stopped too, one paw in the air. It trembled with the exertion of holding it there. He gradually lowered it to the ground, holding his breath as he did so, and then exhaled when none of the hunters looked his way. The leader turned towards the man who had spoken and something silent passed between them.
Nicolae knew a threat when he felt it. It seemed the man who had spoken did too because he bent his head and remained silent as the group continued down towards the glade. Nicolae reached out with his senses, searching for both the wolf pack and the prey of the hunters. Could it be a bear?
They had talked about her being quick. Bears were fast when they had to be. Heâ€™d been on the receiving end of a few charges in his lifetime. They werenâ€™t as fast as wolves though.
He sensed the timber wolf pack on the grazing land far below. The alpha howled and Nicolae paid him no heed, only using the sound to confirm their position on his senses was correct. He couldnâ€™t feel any other animals besides a few birds and small creatures. The high-tech crossbows these men were packing said that they werenâ€™t after prey smaller than a wolf, not unless they enjoyed a challenge. Even then, they would probably go after big game. Hunting large animals with only a bow would be more exciting and dangerous. A challenge most hunters would relish. Which brought him back around to bears.
The men stopped a few hundred metres up the mountain from the glade. Their leader raised his goggles, looked towards the rugged horizon, and then turned towards the other three.
â€œShe might have gone to ground.â€ It was the one who had almost seen him. The leader looked thoughtful, his face shadowed and difficult to make out.
Two of the men he hadnâ€™t got a good look at earlier were in broken moonlight now, their night-vision goggles pushed up on their foreheads. They were young, one of them around his late twenties and the other into his thirties. Nicolae suspected it had been the youngest man who had sounded scared. The other one had a hard set to his jaw and coldness in his eyes. The sort of look a man got after seeing a lot of death.
Nicolae had that look sometimes.
â€œI shot her.â€ There was certainty in the manâ€™s gravelly voice. None of the others looked as though they were about to doubt him.
Nicolae sniffed, trying to catch a scent on the chill air. If they had shot whatever animal they were after, then it would be bleeding. He would be able to track it.
â€œThe poison will take care of her in that case.â€
Nicolae froze. Poison? He looked at the bolts loaded in the crossbows. Just what was it they had shot and now wanted to find? Hunters didnâ€™t normally poison their prey.
Not unless their prey was strong enough to survive arrows and bullets and come after them. He shook that thought away. There was no reason for him to get jittery. In the century he had lived in the area, not once had anyone attacked the werewolves.
â€œI donâ€™t want to risk it. I want to find her.â€ The leader this time.
The alpha wolf howled again and Nicolae listened.
They were hunting something.
Nicolae tensed, torn between breaking cover and heading down to see what the wolves had smelt, and remaining to listen to the men and ensure they left the mountain.
He raised his nose to the breeze and sniffed. He could smell it now, sharp and coppery, coming up from the valley.
A bolt zipped past him, thudding into a tree barely inches from his nose. Nicolae ran, keeping his rear down and weaving through the narrow gaps between the trees to cover himself. Another bolt narrowly missed him.
â€œDonâ€™t waste ammo unless youâ€™re sure itâ€™s what weâ€™re here after,â€ the leader said.
Nicolae pounded through the forest, away from the men and down towards the valley. He picked up the scent of blood and followed the trail. It grew stronger, fresh and sharp in the clear air, cutting through it. He sniffed the ground at intervals, trying to see if the animal had bled onto it so he could investigate the scent and determine what sort of creature it was.
The pine trees grew dense around him as he neared the glade. Their scent obscured the subtler one of the blood, making it impossible for him to tell what it belonged to. It didnâ€™t smell animal.
It wasnâ€™t werewolf.
He rounded a tree and spotted something in the clearing ahead.
The timber wolves broke out of the woods on the other side to Nicolae, heading for the body. His heart slammed against his ribs and he crashed through the undergrowth and out into the glade. He dashed across the open ground, passing the body, and leapt into the group, snarling and snapping at them, driving them back. His teeth clashed with those of the more persistent wolves but he was careful not to draw blood. His attack wasnâ€™t about hurting them. It was purely to force them to leave the human alone. It was to protect them. If they ate the body, the locals would hunt them down and slaughter them all. He couldnâ€™t allow that to happen.
The alpha growled.
The rest of the pack cowered, lowering their rears and bowing their heads. Some of the younger ones at the back whimpered and whined.
The grey alpha came forward, smaller than Nicolae but bigger than the other wolves, and stared at him.
Nicolae breathed hard and held the alphaâ€™s yellow gaze.
The pack was hungry. With winter setting in, it was important that they fed well, but he couldnâ€™t allow them to harm this human. The alpha didnâ€™t move. Nicolae could understand his need to protect his pack and provide for them.
He huffed, turning the air misty for a second with his warm breath, and then came to a decision. He looked deep into the alphaâ€™s eyes, communicating with him alone. He would hunt and leave them a deer at his cabin in exchange for the human. Was that acceptable?
The alpha wolf stared at him a moment longer and then turned and trotted silently into the forest. The pack followed.
Nicolae huffed again.
He would do as he had promised and give them a deer as soon as he could go out and hunt. During harsher winters, he often provided for them. Wolves were a proud race, just like their werewolf brethren, but this pack no longer took offence at his offerings.
Nicolae knew the pain of not being able to provide for the pack, of failing in his duty to protect them, and because of those experiences he knew that he had asked a lot of the alpha tonight. He was grateful the wolf had chosen to accept the deer and, to show it, he would find the largest one he could.
He turned and sniffed his way back to the human. She lay on the leaf litter, motionless and pale. Covered in blood. It had a strange smell. Some part of it was human but the scent was different, familiar. Was it the poison that made it smell so wrong?
The womanâ€™s eyes were closed, her fair hair spread across the ground in a golden wave. Moonlight shone down into the glade, the bare branches of the trees splitting it into bright shafts that bathed her. He sniffed again and listened. No heartbeat but he couldnâ€™t be sure. Twin darts punctured her black fatigues, one in the left of her chest, up from her heart, and the second in the right side of her stomach. Could she have survived that?
He caught the scent of the hunters on the darts.
Why had they killed her?
She was dressed like them.
Nicolae listened again for a pulse. None came.
There were some things that he couldnâ€™t do as a wolf. He shuffled back a few paces to give himself more room and then focused. His bones popped and body twisted, the black fur on it slowly disappearing as he transformed back into his normal form. He grimaced and growled quietly, containing his pain for fear of alerting the hunters to his presence. He wasnâ€™t sure if they had gone and he wasnâ€™t sure if the woman was dead. He couldnâ€™t let either of them know what he was. His ribs stretched and his limbs cracked back into human forms still covered in patches of fur. It swept backwards, towards his shoulders, revealing deformed fingers that pushed out into normal shapes. His muzzle compressed, his teeth receding, and he moved onto his hind legs, standing with a wobble. Pain ripped down his spine with the final shift of his bones beneath his now human skin, and he bit back his desire to throw his head back and scream out his agony.
Nicolae clenched his fists and breathed deep, waiting with closed eyes for the pain to pass and his heartbeat to level again.
Centuries of life as a werewolf and whenever he spent too long in his animal form, he still felt the pain as he had during the first change.
The moment it subsided, he crouched beside the woman, naked and unashamed. He touched her throat. She was cold and he couldnâ€™t feel a pulse. Dead.
He ran his hand over his messy dark hair and frowned, thinking over what he should do.
His gaze assessed the two darts. Blood saturated the black material around them. He touched it, brought his fingers to his nose, and sniffed. He could smell the poison. Strong. Why had the hunters killed her? If he had found her before coming across the hunters, he would have said they had belonged to the same party. Only this woman wasnâ€™t armed.
Nicolae looked around the clearing for a weapon.
When he looked back at the woman, she was staring at him with dark eyes.
Her left fist flew towards him.
Nicolae rolled backwards into a crouch, barely avoiding the punch. She lunged, trying to grab him, gasping and wheezing. Blood pumped from around the arrow in her abdomen. The dart must have punctured her lung.
His gaze met hers again and he froze. The words of warning to keep still fled his lips.
Fiery orange eyes pinned him with the deadliest of stares.
She bore her fangs and Nicolae backed away, his eyes still locked with hers, panic sending an icy wave through his blood.
What was a vampire of the Nocens bloodline doing in Canada?
She snarled and then slumped backwards, hitting the dirt hard. Nicolae didnâ€™t move. He couldnâ€™t tell if she was dead or not but he wasnâ€™t about to risk his neck by checking her. His gaze darted between the arrows. There was a lot of blood on her, and around the glade. The arrows were poisoned. He dragged in a shaky breath.
The scent of her blood hit him and, now that he knew why he recognised it, he couldnâ€™t bear the smell.
Nicolae shook his head at the first assault of memories, desperate to keep them at bay. He wasnâ€™t there now. He was free. He had paid for it in blood and death, but he was free. The images came, relentless, horrifying visions of violence and pain, punishment in dark barred corridors, screams that echoed through the entire compound. He fell forwards, breathing hard, clawing the dirt into his fists and holding on. Cries. Blood. The sting of the whip against his back. He arched forwards and growled, his teeth elongating. The laughter of his cruel masters. His neck burned, aching under the pressing weight of an iron collar. The humiliation of his brethren.
Blood ran in a fetid river before his eyes, trickling over damp dark stones and along the gutter in front of the cells, mixing with faeces and urine. Shackles clanked in the dim light. Bars rattled under the duress of a fruitless attack by a prisoner.
He wasnâ€™t there.
Nicolae yelled his rage at the starlit sky. It burst from him, desperate and feral in its sound, and echoed around the distant mountains. A disconsolate howl from the valley answered him. The alpha. The sound of it and the message it contained soothed him and granted him relief. He shut the pain down, clearing his mind of the past and focusing on the present, but there was no comfort in it now.
His gaze snapped to the vampire.
He pushed himself back onto his feet and stood over her, staring with hatred burning in his gut. The hunters were still searching for her, and it wouldnâ€™t be long before they reached where he was. They would finish her off. If she managed to survive both the hunters and the poison until daybreak, then nature would take care of her. The sky was clear. When the sun rose, it would spill into the glade. She wouldnâ€™t be strong enough to escape it. Her kind deserved to feel pain.
He would never involve himself with vampires.
He strode away from her.
No matter how beautiful they were.
That thought arrested his steps. He frowned over his shoulder at her. The cold air curled around him, chilling and stiffening his bare body. He stared at the vampire and then at the horizon through the trees, and realised with self-loathing that he wasnâ€™t strong enough to do it. As much as he despised her kind, he wasnâ€™t a monster like them. She wasnâ€™t the same bloodline as the ones who had enslaved him. She had done nothing to deserve his bitterness. If he left her, it would plague him and he would regret it. If he needed a reason to help her, he would do it for the sake of information about the hunters. They had to be the reason that she was so far from home.
Nicolae went back to her. She looked small and fragile as she lay on the dirt. Her appearance belied her true nature but it couldnâ€™t fool his senses. When she had come around, he had felt her strength. Was she strong enough to fight the poison? He placed his palm against her forehead. She wasnâ€™t burning up yet. If the poison was the type most vampire hunters used, then there was still time to help her.
Part of him said to leave her. Her kind had given him nothing but pain. She should feel it in return.
He couldnâ€™t bring himself to do such a thing. Watching a dying vampire succumb to the sun and poison would be a petty form of vengeance. His heart had let go of his desire for revenge almost fifty years ago now, cleansed by his quiet life in the wilderness. Only the nightmarish memories kept it alive in him.
Nicolae sighed and picked her up, shifting her into his arms and cradling her against his bare chest in a way that didnâ€™t disturb the bolts. If she woke again, he would drop her in a flash and distance himself. He doubted that she would though. She had probably used the last of her strength fighting him.
Was he really going to do this? If he brought her into his home, if he helped her heal, then he would be helping the enemy.
In times of war, it was acceptable to help the enemy of your enemy. The hunters had tried to kill her. They were a threat to everything he had built here, and everyone that he knew.
He had to help her.
Even when he knew it would place him in danger.
The hunters were after her.
They would be after him too now.
Did you enjoy the snippet?
More about the book:
F E Heaton
The horror of the night he failed to save his werewolf pack from the cruelty of their vampire masters has haunted Nicolae for one hundred years, driving him deep into the Canadian wilderness in search of peace. That peace is threatened when unfamiliar hunters and the scent of blood lead him to a beautiful woman and a hard decisionâ€”face his past and help her or risk losing everyone he cares about again.
Bearing a heart filled with grief and with vengeance on her mind, Tatyana is intent on killing the hunters sheâ€™s tracking and returning to her vampire bloodline, but her plan didnâ€™t include being shot with poisoned arrows or rescued by a glowering alpha werewolf who stirs forbidden hunger in her.
When the hunters make their move, will Nicolae be able to stop them before itâ€™s too late? Will he be able to overcome the darkness in his heart and embrace his desire for a vampire? And can Tatyana face her fears and risk her life for the sake of forbidden love?
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Mandy M. Roth