Tor drove through the slick quiet streets of Paris, the wipers on full to combat the downpour. Lightning danced across the heavy grey clouds in the distance and thunder rolled ominously overhead. Not the best weather for flying, but he had flown through worse in his years and in vehicles far more dangerous than the expensive Cessna jet waiting for them at the private strip outside the city centre.
His passenger sat in silence, staring out of the window beside her, her glossy dark hair catching the lights of passing cars that flashed across her face too, distracting him.
She was different from her photograph and he hadnâ€™t been prepared for the darkness that had come over him on finding her facing several vampires alone, bleeding from multiple wounds and close to being overwhelmed, her pretty face a picture of determination even as she broadcasted fear.
Fear and determination werenâ€™t the only things she had felt in his presence. There had also been emotions he hadnâ€™t been able to decipher, and ones he could easily read.
Her shock on hearing that there was a jet waiting for her was one of them, and her surprise on seeing the black car parked outside the club and discovering that he hadnâ€™t stolen it. He wasnâ€™t sure where she had received her education on vampires, but apparently it had taught her that all vampires, regardless of bloodline and status, stole vehicles and engaged in other criminal activities, such as theft and breaking and entering.
Oneiric had assured her that the Vehemens bloodline didnâ€™t engage in such activity.
Shortly into their journey, she had found her voice and pointed out that he might not be a thief but he was a murderer.
Tor hadnâ€™t denied it.
Oneiric had warned him that she had a hunterâ€™s view of their kind. To her, they were all murderers, liars, thieves and, without a doubt, soulless and evil.
How much did she actually know about the pure bloodlines and how they functioned? He doubted that she had ever fought a vampire from one. Most hunters never met a pureblood and those who did, died. The weaklings were hard enough for them to kill. Still, he appreciated the pest control they performed on the wretched bastards. Weaklings were a pain in his arse.
How many had she killed before her turning?
She was a murderer too. She just didnâ€™t like to acknowledge it. She had drawn a line between humans and vampires, and now it was blurring for her and it was hitting her hard.
Hunter turned vampire.
Tor shook his head.
It was little wonder the female wasnâ€™t coping with the transition.
He couldnâ€™t remember his own turning. It had faded over the centuries, shoved out of his mind by the training that had taken place immediately after he had completed his transition. They had expunged his every weakness, moulding him into a stronger man. One capable of fulfilling his duties.
Throughout his years as a hunter, he had forgotten other things too. A whole spectrum of useless emotions that were nothing but another form of weakness. Things the slight female beside him felt in full if her constant change in moods was anything to go by.
She sighed, her cool breath barely misting the glass beside her.
Tor turned a corner and she swayed towards him. The scent of her blood struck him hard, swirling around him, teasing him as if it knew his thoughts and wanted to prove that he still had weaknesses. His fangs itched in response, hunger welling up in him in reaction to the sweet scent. They had tended to her wounds before leaving her father, but she still smelled of blood. He had never smelled anything like her.
He clamped his teeth together and shut down his bodyâ€™s response to her blood scent. Hunger had been his subordinate for centuries, since shortly after he had completed his training. He had mastered it and it wouldnâ€™t begin to control him again now. He had fed well recently and was strong, uninjured. He didnâ€™t need blood.
He didnâ€™t need her sweet taste on his tongue.
He needed a distraction.
Tor pulled the phone from his pocket and dialled Lincoln. The male picked up on the third ring.
â€œFemale is in transit. Jet is scheduled for departure in twenty minutes. We will reach the mansion before dawn.â€
He felt her gaze swing to him, sensed her feelings shift towards anger. She had stated at the club that she didnâ€™t like people referring to her as a package. That was all she was to him. A mission. He would take her home, as per his instructions, and then she would receive the care that she needed.
He ended the call and slipped the phone back into his jeans.
Eve returned to gazing out of the window but her agitation remained. It wasnâ€™t just his referring to her as a package again. She had been growing increasingly tense and restless during the journey, as if something played on her mind.
Tor kept a close eye on her as he took the turn that would bring him back to the small airport. She was important to the lady of his bloodline, and also his familyâ€™s Chosen Son, Lincoln, and therefore he would do all in his power to protect her and safely deliver her to them.
During their meeting, Lincoln had told him that Eve would become the Chosen Daughter, a woman ranked only below Lilith and Lincoln in the entire bloodline.
Lincoln had also told him that if he failed in this mission, it would be his head. The threat didnâ€™t bother Tor. He had never failed. He had never strayed from his duty. This escort mission was simple in comparison to his previous ones.
All he needed to do was bring Eve to the mansion in Oslo and abide by the rules set out by Lincoln. He had to treat her with the respect she deserved as their future Chosen Daughter, had to protect her with his life, and had to do nothing that might harm her. Easy enough considering all he had to do was put her on the private jet, sit with her a few hours, and then drive her to the mansion after they had landed in Oslo.
Or it should be.
But something about her bothered him.
Lincoln had warned she would be volatile, frightened and in need of care. Tor could see that, although she hid it well most of the time. The male had neglected to mention that she would be such a danger to herself though. He had thought Lincoln overprotective when he had told him to protect her from herself if the need arose.
Tor had the feeling the need was definitely rising, and the more time he sat with her, the stronger the feeling grew.
He flicked another glance at her, catching a glimpse of her profile as light flashed across it, his gaze focused on her deep brown eyes.
Those eyes had shown a hint of vulnerability back at the club. It had been buried beneath the layers of defiance, anger, bitterness and hatred, but it was there. Those darker emotions were keeping her going. They were keeping her strong, but they troubled him.
She wasnâ€™t right.
She wasnâ€™t coping as everyone thought.
He had encountered many newly turned vampires and this one wasnâ€™t dealing with the transition.
If given leave to voice his opinion, he would say that she wasnâ€™t going to survive being in the mansion. It was going to be too much for her.
He knew Lady Lilith had taken months to move from the cabin in the mountains into residence at the mansion. He wasnâ€™t sure how long her sister had been a vampire, but it was going to take more than a few months of seclusion to convince her to embrace life as one.
Tor shifted his focus to her again and drove onto the airport, heading for the hangar where the jet waited. Eve tensed, her mood darkening and emotions rising. Too many to discern but a few stood out amongst the swirling maelstrom.
Panic. Fear. Determination.
Her feelings about travelling to Oslo and facing her sister?
Or something else?
The bitterness came again, a sharp tang in her scent that blacker feelings swiftly followed. Her fingers curled into fists on her lap.
He spotted the small white jet ahead, stark in the darkness. Rain lashed down, the wind driving it across the tarmac, towards the open hangar nearby. Every metre closer they drew to it, Eveâ€™s tension increased.
It was on the tip of his tongue to break protocol and ask her what was wrong when she suddenly turned in her seat to face him.
â€œI changed my mind. Iâ€™m not going.â€
Tor frowned and rattled through his orders. Bringing her home went up against respecting her and doing nothing that might harm her. Could forcing her onto the plane be considered disrespecting and hurting her?
His primary objective was completing his mission. That mission was to bring her home.
â€œJet is already preparing for take-off. No turning back now.â€
She cursed. â€œYouâ€™ll have to carry me onto that damn plane.â€
â€œI have no problem with that. Thank you for giving permission.â€ Tor drove into the hangar, parked the car and turned off the engine.
He shoved the door open, stepped out and closed it, cutting off her low growl.
Tor opened the back door, grabbed his duffle and slung it over his shoulder, and then picked up her bag. He shut the door, rounded the car and was about to get the door for her when she opened it, slamming the metal panel hard into his knees. She huffed and strode away from him, leaving him to close the door for her.
He bit back a growl and went after her.
She paused inside the hangar and stared at the plane, the breeze whipping her dark hair around her shoulders. Spots of rain landed on her face, glistening like diamonds against her pale skin. He didnâ€™t want to hazard a guess at the last time she had fed properly. She was weak. She hadnâ€™t been able to defend herself against four weakling vampires, a task that should have been easy for her, and he had noticed her shaking in the club.
Before departing, he had pressed Oneiric on the subject and the male had admitted she had refused blood on waking tonight. Tor had the feeling tonight wasnâ€™t the only time she had refused to feed.
Her face paled further and she wrapped her arms around herself, fingers clutching the sleeves of her black jacket and pulling the material tight, as if she needed to hold herself together or she would fall to pieces.
Tor hazarded a step closer and she looked across at him, her large brown eyes showing that vulnerable edge as clear as night now.
The stewardess and co-pilot of the jet lingered nearby, waiting for the pilot to lower the steps of the plane so they could make the short bolt across the tarmac in the driving rain.
The door began to lower.
Tor took another step towards her. Eve swung to face him, grabbed his arm and stared up into his eyes, her panic flowing over him.
â€œJust give me a minute,â€ she blurted and clutched his arm, her fingers trembling against his wrist.
His mission was to get her on that plane and their departure time was rolling up on them. He didnâ€™t have a minute to give. Her fingers flexed and her grip tightened. Her dark eyes implored him.
Tor went against every instinct he possessed and led her deeper into the hangar, away from the rain.
Eve released him and paced away, her gaze dancing between him and the plane.
â€œIâ€™m not ready for this,â€ she whispered, her soft voice laced with pain. â€œItâ€™s too much. I need more time.â€
â€œI cannot give you that time. My mission is to bring you to Lady Lilith as soon as possible.â€
Eve cast him a pained look and turned her back on him. She wrapped her arms around herself again and shook her head. She looked smaller like that. More vulnerable.
It was strange for him, but he found himself drawn to stepping closer to her and gently asking, â€œDonâ€™t you want to see your sister?â€
â€œI do,â€ she said and sighed. â€œI do want to see herâ€¦ but I donâ€™t know how sheâ€™ll react to seeing me again. She thought I was dead. Itâ€™s been five years, Tor.â€
The sound of his name rolling softly off her tongue shocked him almost as much as the news that she had turned five years ago and hadnâ€™t seen her sister in that time. He hadnâ€™t known, but now that he did, he understood her reluctance to jump on a plane and meet her sister again.
It wasnâ€™t the only reason behind her reluctance though.
He could see the cold hunger in her again as she turned to face him and her dark eyes locked with his. She hid it well, but it was there, layered with purpose and determination, and a drive that seemed familiar to him.
On top of that burning need that drove her ever onwards was one that held her back.
The need to avoid accepting what she had become at all costs. At the Vehemens mansion, she wouldnâ€™t be able to hide from it any longer. The hunter would have to face the truth. She had become a vampire. She had become the very creature she once hunted and loathed.
Movement out of the corner of his eye drew his attention to the front of the hangar. The stewardess and co-pilot placed their long dark coats over their heads to shield them from the downpour and rushed across the small strip of tarmac to the plane.
The jetâ€™s staff made it on board.
Thunder rumbled in the distance.
Not the distance.
His senses focused and everything slowed to a crawl.
A violent growl filled the silence, beginning in the belly of the jet, and grew in volume to a deadly roar. Brilliant blinding light drove the darkness back, orange and white flares stinging his eyes.
Tor reacted on instinct to the split-second warning, turning away from the coming blast.
Did you enjoy today’s snippet?
Betrayed by one of her own and turned into a vampire, hunter Eve is consumed by her hunger for vengeance and has spent five years surviving hell, driven to take the life of the man she once loved. But just as she is about to close in on the hunter-turned-vampire, an event is set in motion that threatens to see him slip beyond her grasp foreverâ€”the leader of her bloodline has sent an escort to bring her to the familyâ€™s mansion. To a nest of the very creatures she once hunted and loathes.
A vampire assassin hardened by centuries of service, Tor is a man of discipline and loyalty, never straying from his mission or the rules set out for him, and has purged all his weaknesses, including his emotions.
But the moment he meets the broken, fiery female he is to escort to Oslo, something dangerous awakens in him, something possessive and powerful, and when he is pulled into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who betrayed her, Tor discovers he will do anything to protect the woman slowly claiming his heart and give her the vengeance she desiresâ€”even break all the rules.
Can Eve embrace her new vampire nature in order to have her revenge and find a reason to live again in Tor? Can Tor and Eve stop the man who betrayed her and the deaths of thousands of innocents? Or will he succeed in creating a new army of hybrid vampires who will rise up against the purebloods?
NOTE: This book can be read out of order with the rest of the series and acts as a standalone vampire romance novel
You can get your hands on the first book in this series, PROPHECY: CHILD OF LIGHT, for FREE right now on selected Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Apple iBooks Stores. Find out more at my Paranormal Romance Ebook Offers page.
If you haven’t had a chance to read any of the books in the Vampires Realm romance series yet, they’re all available at major ebook retailers and some are available in paperback, and you can find the links and samples of the books at my website:
Prophecy: Child of Light (Vampires Realm Romance Series #1)
Prophecy: Caelestis & Aurorea (Vampires Realm Romance Series #2)
Prophecy: Dark Moon Rising (Vampires Realm Romance Series #3)
Eternity: The Beginning (Vampires Realm Romance Series #3.2)
Spellbound (Vampires Realm Romance Series #3.1)
Reunion (Vampires Realm Romance Series #3.5)
Seventh Circle (Vampires Realm Romance Series #4)
Winter’s Kiss (Vampires Realm Romance Series #5)
Hunter’s Moon (Vampires Realm Romance Series #6)
Masquerade (Vampires Realm Romance Series #7)
Hunger (Vampires Realm Romance Series #8)