Friday, April 17, 2015

Cold November Rain / Sister Christian-Genesis (Sister Christian #1) /Sins of the Father (Sister Christian #2) by Lisa Beth Darling OUT NOW!



"The Doc" and is a contemporary romance/erotica short series that will consist of 3 stories when it's finished later this year. The first two are available. They are "On a Hot Summer Night" (noir vignette) and "Cold November Rain" (novel)  is available now in paperback and eBook on Amazon ans Smashwords

COLD NOVEMBER RAIN
Contemporary Adult Romance/Erotica with a dash of Thriller

BLURB-  Mason and his Mystery Lover meet again in the second installment of the hot adult The Doc Series.  As he becomes sucked into her world of insanity, hot sex and crazy love ensue much against Mason's better judgment.  Mason is not alone in his lust for the fair 'Rose'. Someone else is watching and seething over her loss.

EXCERPT:
Rick felt his heart drop; she was here but she'd already picked out her prey for the night.
Feeling his jaw clench as he tried to decide if he should stay or go, Tony put a glass of scotch on the bar for him.  There wasn't any sense in letting good booze go to waste.  Turning his back to his Mystery Woman, Rick retrieve the drink only to discover the large mirror behind the bar gave him a better angle on her companion for the evening; male, maybe thirty, good looking. Lucky guy didn't know what he was in for tonight.  The Mystery Woman raised her empty glass to catch Tony's attention and, like a good bartender, Tony went right over to her with a fresh Martini.  Downing the double-shot, Rick gazed in the mirror to stare at her reflection, she was staring at his back from the corner of her pale green eyes as she chatted with the man across from her.
Rick looked away wondering if it was just coincidence or if she'd noticed him sitting there so he gave it a few moments while he lingered over his drink before glancing into the mirror again. This time she wasn't taking a sneak peek at him from the corner of her eye she was looking directly at him, past him, at his reflection. When she saw him staring back at her, she smiled for him.  Shy. Precocious. Full of promise. 
Was she wishing he'd come over there? Maybe.  Only one way to find out.
Rick eased himself off the barstool and made his way over to where the couple was engaged in light conversation. "Excuse me," he said to the man in the booth, "You're in my seat."
"Pardon?" The man asked as he looked from him to her. "Were you waiting for this guy?"
"Actually," she said softly, "I was."  She was surprised and delighted by the Doc's forthrightness. "Hi, Do-c."
There it was, 'Do-c', just the way she said in it his dreams, with that extra little coy kick she gave the 'c'.  It made him want to melt. "Hi." Rick said to her. "Three's a crowd." He said to the man. "Go on beat it."
 Now available in paperback on Amazon
Pre-Order Cold November Rain on Kindle and Smashwords $0.99:

Amazon/Kindle:

Smashwords:





The second series is "Sister Christian" (this is not a religious series). Again, the first two novels are available, "Genesis" and "Sins of the Father".  This is an adult family drama centering on a brother and sister.

SINS OF THE FATHER
Adult Family Drama
BLURB
As Hannah recovers from emergency brain and heart surgery, memories of the past take over her dreams with such clarity they cannot be denied. As the last of the painful family secrets, including what really happened the night of Hannah's accident and the circumstances surrounding the death of her only son, Little Ricky, come to light it's up to her brother, Doctor Richard Mason, and his unconventional methods to help her confront the ugliness.  For it is only when we deal with our demons that we can leave them behind and work toward a bright future.

Please note this novel/series is NOT a "Christian" or "religious" story. Adult themes apply and reader discretion is advised.  This is a story about a brother and sister who discover each other late in life.

EXCERPT:
Something that sounded like a shotgun blast echoed through the church. Father Murphy ran out of the vestibule. "What is it?"

"Someone's at the door." Sister Cynthia said.
"Who knocks on the door of a church?" Father Murphy huffed.  The sound came again. It was sharp and demanded attention. Those were not knuckles wrapping at the door.
Outside in the rain, Spaulding turned to Mason and echoed Father Murphy's sentiment. "What's wrong with you? No one knocks on the door of a church."
"How ya supposed to get 'em to let ya in?"
"Open the door?" Spaulding put his hand on the handle as he went to push it; it was opened from the other side. "Oh, hello, Father." He stuttered.
Father Murphy looked at the two men standing in the pouring rain. "Are you here for her?  Please tell me that the Lord has guided your steps and brought you here for her."
"Actually it was a trail of broken glass, not God." Mason said gruffly. "Where is she? Where's Hannah?"
Father Murphy held out his arm and stood aside. "Come this way, My Son."
Putting one foot over the threshold of the church Mason looked at the priest, "Let's get one thing straight right now, Padre, I'm not your son."

Paperbacks are now available from Amazon
Pre-Order Sins of the Father on Kindle and Smashwords $0.99:

Amazon/Kindle:

Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/511325

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

HAPPY RELEASE DAY TO CARRIE ANN RYAN WITH A GUEST REVIEW: Fierce Enchantment By Carrie Ann Ryan


Humans aren't as alone as they choose to believe. Every human possesses a trait of supernatural that lays dormant within their genetic make-up. Centuries of diluting and breeding have allowed humans to think they are alone and untouched by magic. But what happens when something changes?

Seven friends meet in a bar for drinks. While they are enjoying themselves, they are struck by lightning inside of the bar as a result, they become magical beings once they find their mates. Thus begins the Dante's Circle Series.

Faith Sanders is still human when she jumps in front of a dragon to save her friend Nadie. She is critically injured in the attack and is dying. In order to save her, Levi Hughes, a wizard, bonds with her. Faith ends up in a healing coma for a year. During this time, her friends take care of her. When she finally awakes, she finds out that Levi not only saved her life, but is her mate as well. Faith was NOT happy.

Levi Hughes was a wizard of the Conclave, the secret working body of leadership and decision making for the Supes. Levi was not just a wizard, he was a wizard prince. When a person joined the Conclave, you had no choice, you had to leave your life behind for up to a century. As a result, his wife divorced him and kept his daughters. Lynn, his ex wife made his life miserable. She wasn't in love with Levi or loved her daughters, she was with him purely for what his position as prince could offer her.

Faith has a hard time adjusting once she is awake. She feels like she has missed so much and her friends have moved on without her. She had a lot to work through, getting to know her friends and their mates again, mating with Levi, Levi's ex wife and children, what supernatural creature she will become, but most importantly, her fear of losing her independence as a result of the mating.

Levi waits for Faith to come to him. Eventually his dominant personality says enough and he begins a campaign to win her over. He understands Faith's need for her independence, and takes it slow. This is not good enough and he realizes that while Faith wants her independence, she also wants someone to take care of her. As this is going on, Faith comes into her powers and must deal with that group who challenges her. Levi works to try to change how the members of the Conclave feel about humans changed to supernaturals and other supernaturals too, protecting Faith ,dealing with his ex and making Faith realize that they are better together than apart.

I was so excited when this installment of Dante's Circle arrived. I love all of Carrie Ann Ryan's series, but this one is my favorite by far. I loved all of the books, how each one of the ladies found their mates and came into their powers. Faith is one of my favorites. She was different from all of the others. While she loved her friends and would do anything for them, based on her childhood, she always kept a distance, afraid to get close, to lose her independence. Levi is just the right person to help her realize that it was ok to love and that she could still not lose herself. He also realizes what he wants in his life too, that includes Faith. I look forward to the rest of this series. I can't wait to see what the author has planned for the rest of the group. I highly recommend this book. 

~JANET RODMAN~ 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hearts In Danger: 14 Thrilling Romances to Support the American Heart Association (Seal Brotherhood #1) COMING IN JUNE!!!

by Sharon Hamilton, Roxanne St. Claire,
 Paige Tyler, Lynn Raye Harris,
Elle James, Carolyn Crane, Cheyenne McCray, Nina Bruhns, Misty Evans, Susan Stoker, Parker Kincade, Mandy Harbin,
Megan Mitcham and Barb Han


FOURTEEN stories of thrilling romance to benefit the American Heart Association. These full length, Romantic Suspense stories come from NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, AND NATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHORS and is only $0.99 for a limited time!

Accidental SEAL by Sharon Hamilton: Navy SEAL Kyle Lansdowne goes looking for his missing SEAL Team 3 buddy Armando who has been kidnapped by a drug gang intent on buying specialized military equipment. Newbie Realtor Christy Nelson holds her first Open House but is given the wrong address, and finds a hot naked SEAL in the master bedroom. Their little misunderstanding leads to a hot affair until the gang uses Christy as bait to lure Kyle into a trap to ransom his honor.

Pick Your Poison by Roxanne St. Claire: Meet Benjamin Youngblood - he’s sexy, smart, spectacular and ... about to lose his job for the best security firm in the world. He’s got one chance to prove himself and nothing will stop him. Not even a flower farmer. When Ben sets out to track and trap an assassin, he's forced to trust a feisty farmer who could be as dangerous as her homegrown poison. Ben and Callie join forces to zero in on the killer, taking a few heated detours along the way. Can they stay alive long enough to save Ben’s job, stop an assassin, and find true love? 

Protective Custody by Paige Tyler: Someone is stalking reporter Paisley McCoy, and police detective Gray Beckham is the only man who can protect her. Having a dad on the force has led to one hard and fast rule – she doesn’t date cops. And while she might be sexy as hell, there’s no way he’s going anywhere near the captain’s daughter. Paisley and Gray can’t deny the chemistry between them, though. But as that connection turns into romance, they find out the stalker is a far greater threat than they had originally thought. And that if he can’t have her, no one will.

Hot Pursuit by Lynn Raye Harris: When someone starts shooting at Evie Baker, there's only one man dangerous enough to help her--the man who broke her heart ten years ago. Hostile Operations Team soldier Matt Girard uses all his considerable black ops skill to protect Evie from someone who thinks she possesses information that could bring down a crime syndicate. But working together shows Matt what he gave up--can he claim Evie for his own after what he did in the past?

SEAL's Honor by Elle James: Two Navy SEALs jeopardize their lives and hearts in a battle-torn land when they vie for the love of one sexy Night Stalker helicopter pilot.

Against The Dark by Carolyn Crane: Angel is an ex-safecracker forced into one last heist. Cole is an undercover agent with big plans for his gorgeous thief—he'll make her pose as his girlfriend to help with a dangerous mission.

Hidden Prey by Cheyenne McCray: Tori flees an abusive relationship and heads to her hometown in Arizona. When she arrives, she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time and witnesses the execution of a Federal agent by the son of the head of the Jimenez Cartel. Special Agent Landon Walker rescues Tori and sets out to protect her, but soon protecting her isn’t enough. He’ll go to the ends of the earth for her—and never let her go.

Dangerous Curves by Nina Bruhns: A spec ops transporter for STORM Corps takes on drones, bad guys, and car chases on the coast of Italy—and falls for a beautiful scientist whose curves are far more dangerous than the road!

Deadly Pursuit by Misty Evans: One year ago, rookie FBI agent Celina Davenport pulled off the ultimate undercover operation…she seduced Emilio Londano – the dangerous leader of the San Diego Mafia – and destroyed his illegal empire. When Londano escapes a maximum security prison and begins picking off Celina’s friends and coworkers, everyone she knows becomes a target. Including DEA agent Cooper Harris, the man who once broke her heart and is now assigned to be her bodyguard. Cooper must risk his career – and his heart – to keep Celina alive. But will their past, with its forbidden passions and impulsive choices, put them directly in the killer’s crosshairs?

Protecting Caroline by Susan Stoker: Caroline helps foil a terrorist plot when she finds herself on a plane that’s hijacked (with the help of three members of a SEAL team), but after she gets home she finds herself still in the sights of the terrorists. She can only hope Wolf and his team will be able to save her in time.

One Night Stand by Parker Kincade: Amanda Martin decides to have a one-night stand. No relationship, no promises … just hot, indulgent sex. What she doesn’t anticipate is meeting a handsome-as-sin stranger who gives her pleasure unlike she’s ever known. A stranger with a deadly secret…

Brody by Mandy Harbin: Brody thinks the skittish Xan is sexy as hell, but it’s not her hot body that has him rocked to his core. He knows her from somewhere, and in his line of work, that’s a dangerous thing. Following orders have never been this hard, but when he finds out she’s his next assignment, he will protect her at all costs … even if what she needs protection from most is him.


Enemy Mine by Megan Mitcham: Born in the blood of Sierra Leone's Civil War, enslaved, then sold to the US as an orphan, Base Branch operative Sloan Harris is emotionally dead and driven by vengeance. With no soul to give, her body becomes the bargaining chip to infiltrate a warlord's inner circle. As son of the warlord, Baine Kendrick will happily use Sloan's body if it expedites his father's demise. Yet, he is wholly unprepared for the possessive and protective emotions she provokes. In the Devil's den with Baine by her side, Sloan braves certain death and discovers a spirit for living.

Caught in the Crosshair by Barb Han: On a tropical island with a hurricane brewing and dangerous men closing in, private security firm owner Jaden Dean will need to work side-by-side with Lauren James to survive and find her brother. The cartel he's associated with seems to be one step ahead and Jaden’s operatives are being killed one-by-one. He will have to use all his specialized training and risk everything, including his heart, to outwit the deadly group and keep Lauren safe. Their magnetic attraction isn't helping matters...because even a slight distraction might just get them both killed.

PRE-ORDER YOURS TODAY!

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1yKsjlg

Saturday, April 11, 2015

GUEST REVIEW: Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies by Cynthia Cooke

Genie Marsters has secrets. She has empathic abilities, she can get impressions from people near her. She wanted to be normal. She also has two other sisters with the same abilities. After her mother's "accident", the three girls were split up, given new identities and sent to different boarding schools. Growing up, she believed her father did this because as the head of the CTA, Counter Terrorism Agency, a secret government agency he was busy with work. When she was older, Genie joined the CTA too.
Kyle Montgomery was Genie's partner and lover when she worked for the CTA. Her secrets eventually caused their breakup. Becca, one of Genie's sisters was involved with Sean Emerich whom she met in school. Emerich was an international crime boss who organized "everything from the movement of illegal arms and counterfeit goods to human trafficking." He was interested in the Marsters sisters, the question was, why? After an explosion in a warehouse that killed her sister Becca and severely injuring Kyle, Genie goes into hiding and quits the CTA. She never visits Kyle in the hospital believing she is protecting him. Kyle feels betrayed. While she is in hiding, she receives her mother's necklace in the mail. Feeling something is wrong with her father, Genie tries to get in touch with him to no avail. She is going to his estate to see what is going on. After rescuing her, Kyle goes with her, she is also getting visions of her "dead' sister. Genie's third sister, Cat was a wife with a husband and two children and far removed from anything dealing with the CTA. The sisters had very little contact with each other based on the recommendations of their father.
The story follows Genie and Kyle's search for answers from her father about what really happened to their mother, Becca's "death", why they were sent away, their psychic abilities, who the mole in the CTA is, why Sean Emerich wants the Marsters sisters and can they find the love they thought was gone.

This romantic suspense is the first in a series by Cynthia Cooke and she is off to a great start. Just when I thought I had the plot figured out, a new twist was added. I enjoyed the relationship tension between Genie and Kyle as they tried to figure out if they could recover the love they used to have and make a go of it. I keep hoping she would let loose and tell Kyle all of her secrets. Can't wait to see if she finally tells him in future books. I also tried to figure out who the mole at the agency was. Too many suspects. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a new romantic suspense series. I look forward to the next book.
~JANET RODMAN~ 

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Duke of Andelot (School of Gallantry #7) by Delilah Marvelle


Never have I picked up a book by Delilah Marvelle and not come away completely in awe. Ms Marvelle's stories take a tight grip of your heart and soul and never let go.

Therese Angelique Bouchard left her family's overrun home in her small town for Paris to fulfill her dreams of becoming a famous stage actress. When she meets a mysterious man on the road, her life is forever changed.

Gerard Antoine Tolbert, the last heir to the Andelot dukedom needs to save his godfather, the imprisoned King of France from his certain demise. Meeting the ambitious Therese on the road was providence. After a torrid encounter with the innocent, he recruits her to spy for him promising her everything she can imagine except for marriage.

Their meeting seems fate and quickly leads to a passion that will burn brightly, but Gerard has rules, while Therese continually attempts to cross the fine lines drawn. Sticking to the rules of the game becomes difficult for both of them and danger is always at their backs. Once Therese becomes the toast of the Republic she discovers that having every amenity at her feet is not enough. She also finds herself pregnant with Gerard's child and keeping it from those around her for as long as possible becomes a task.

The reign of terror in France is on the cusp of exploding and no one is safe from Robespierre and the Republic, not even citoyen Sade, formerly the Marquis de Sade, who forfeit his title with the rise of the Republic but plays a dangerous game playing both sides of the coin.

Tragedy strikes when Gerard's father, who holds the lower classes in utter disdain, attempts to do away with Therese. Confusion ensues on all sides with the political unrest and with Therese. Citoyen Sade takes Therese to hand, but Gerard has been taken into custody and Lord only knows what treatment he will receives. Will both Therese and Gerard survive the revolution? Will their passion and desire for one another survive the insurmountable odds? 

The Duke of Andelot by Delilah Marvelle is a highly emotional tale with such sensuality and devotion. It is not for the faint of heart, for the twists and turns this story takes are gut-wrenching. This sweeping tale is so well written with characters of such depth it leaves you thinking about it long after the story has ended. Delilah Marvelle is absolutely brilliant in her depiction of this era and she brings to life that troubled time seemingly with such ease. Time after time Ms. Marvelle achieves greatness with each and every story that she writes. She is solidly on my list of favorite authors and I strongly recommend The Duke of Andelot as well as the entire School of Gallantry series to anyone wanting a deeply emotional plot. Days after reading, I am still in awe.

~KIMBERLY~

COVER REVEAL HAPPINESS!!!! KYM GROSSO ***** SOLSTICE BURN*****

DRUM-ROLL PLEASE!!! HERE IS THE LATEST HOTTTTT COVER TO KYM GROSSO'S BRAND SPANKING NEW NOVELLA COMING ON MAY 26!!!


*COVER REVEAL* Solstice Burn, my brand new erotic contemporary novella, is releasing May 26th as part of the Summer Fire Box Set. Thanks so much to LM Creations​ for creating this amazing cover and to Stuart Reardon, Professional Athlete and Model​ *Check out the details on the $50 Amazon gift card giveaway below*

Solstice Burn by Kym Grosso
Cover Artist:  LM Creations
Cover Model: Stuart Reardon
Photographer: Rick Day

SOLSTICE BURN
Temptations flare in the hedonistic tropics when wealthy philanthropist and professional deep sea diver, Chase Ellsworth, rescues a beautiful woman at sea. Penny Travis, a big city lawyer, may have been looking for relaxation at the exclusive adults' resort, but she soon embraces adventure, submitting to secret fantasies within the arms of her charismatic hero. #SummerFire #EroticRomance





Thursday, April 9, 2015

SPOTLIGHT ON ~~~Bite at First Sight (Scandals with Bite #3) by Brooklyn Ann~~~


Sourcebooks Casablanca

Paranormal Historical Romance

April 7, 2015

ISBN: 9781402274503

$7.99 Mass Market Paperback



About the Book

Her interest is purely scientific

Cassandra Burton wants to study medicine, surgery, healing, and everything related to the human body and its mysteries—and she's willing to rob graves to do it! But a lady can meet dark and dangerous characters lurking around the cemetery. And who could be more fascinating than Rafael Villar, Lord Vampire of London? If she could study his physiology, she could learn so much that would help humans. After all, he’s immortal—and Cassandra is now his prisoner…


Until she gets close enough to touch

As if Rafael didn’t have enough to worry about, with a rebellion brewing and his allies out of reach, now he’s confronted by a beautiful, fearless lady who wants to heal the scars he's borne for centuries. He can’t keep her, and he can’t let her go, and worst of all, he’s every bit as intrigued by her as she is by him.

My Review: 

It has been quite a while since I have dived into a paranormal romance and I am so happy that Brooklyn Ann's BITE AT FIRST SIGHT, the third installment of the Scandals With Bite series, has brought me back. This book is wonderfully written and so descriptive, it makes me want to jump right in and enjoy the show. Cassandra and Rafael are strong and intriguing characters who keep the reader's attention from the first. The story is brimming with action and the perfect amount of romance to keep the reader on edge. This happens to be the first book I have had the pleasure to read by Brooklyn Ann and I have already gone and grabbed up the first two books in the series. Combining my fascination with vampires and historical romance, Brooklyn Ann has a new fan. 

~KIMBERLY~ 



Scandals with Bite series:

Bite Me, Your Grace (Book 1)

One Bite Per Night (Book 2)

Bite at First Sight (Book 3)
Purchase Here:
BITE ME, YOUR GRACE – eBook now $0.00
Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | Kobo
ONE BITE PER NIGHT – eBook now $1.99
Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | Kobo
BITE AT FIRST SIGHT - $7.99
Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | Kobo


About the Author

A lover of witty Regencies and dark paranormal romance, Brooklyn Ann combines the two in her new vampire series. The former mechanic turned author lives with her family in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho.



Connect with Brooklyn Ann







Praise for Brooklyn Ann

“Solid writing, a tasty dash of originality, and realistic relationships that zing with sexual energy.” —Publishers Weekly

“Clutch the pearls, ladies. It’s wonderful.” —Lit Bites



Excerpt from BITE AT FIRST SIGHT



28 September 1823

St. Pancras Cemetery, London

“If one desires a task accomplished correctly, one must do it herself.” Cassandra Burton, Dowager Countess of Rosslyn, repeated the litany as she pulled the rickety little wagon through the moonlit aisle of tombstones.

She shivered under her velvet cloak. Her fingers had long since gone numb with the effort of navigating the dratted conveyance over uneven ground and across slippery, damp grass. Shovels and pry bars clanked across the wagon’s worn pine boards. The winch rattled on its frame.

Something flickered across the corner of her vision.

Cassandra jumped. She stopped and rubbed her gloved hands together for warmth, surveying the graveyard. The area was still and silent as…well, a tomb. Yet the chill in her spine refused to abate. A scornful frown turned her lips at such irrational behavior. Ghosts were an illogical figment of uneducated imaginations, and no one could possibly have business out here at this hour…except herself.

“Worthless curs,” Cassandra whispered in as haughty a tone as she could manage.

If only the men to whom she’d offered a more-than-generous sum to perform this troublesome task had done their duty, rather than disappearing. She shook her head. If not for their unreasonable negligence, she would now be comfortably ensconced in her laboratory unraveling the secrets of the human body…not out in this cold, dreary place, jumping at shadows.

Surveying the newest graves, she read the dates to decide which would be the best specimen. The mysterious disappearance of her hired hands nagged at her. Could a murderer be on the loose? She shook her head and pulled the folds of her cloak tighter. No, by now the authorities would have found their bodies and the news would be sensationalized in The Times.

They were cowards, but she was not. To prove her lack of fear, Cassandra halted her wagon and fetched out a shovel. Her hands trembled nervously as she grasped the wooden handle.

Removing the dead from their graves was illegal. If a constable caught her, she’d be sent directly to Fleet Prison. A fresh surge of trepidation curled in her belly.

Exhuming a corpse was quite a different matter from having one ready on her operating table. As objective as she tried to be, the prospect of removing the body from its carefully arranged resting place by winching it out of the ground and loading it onto her cart was undeniably gruesome. However, gruesome or not, Cassandra needed a specimen to continue her work. And she would acquire it, no matter how much her nerves protested.

Despite being barred from official education as a physician because of her sex, Cassandra was determined to learn the skills required to become a doctor. That included studying human anatomy, and for that, she required cadavers.

Returning to the graves, she made her selection. Alfred Lumley, born September first, 1801; died September twenty-sixth, 1823. Two days ago Alfred had been a living twenty-two-year-old man, three years younger than herself. Whether or not he’d been healthy, she would soon determine. A pang of sorrow struck her heart. His soul is in heaven, she reminded herself. A mere shell remains. A shell that will help me to aid the living.

She raised the shovel, ready to plunge it into the soft soil. “I am not afraid. I am not.”

“You should be.” A sinister, accented voice pierced her consciousness.

The shovel fell from her nerveless fingers, thudding onto the cold ground.

Cassandra knew that voice; it had the rich, dark cadence that had haunted her dreams since the night she’d first met him. She spun around, the hood of her cloak falling to her shoulders.

Rafael Villar stepped out from behind a mausoleum. The shadows embraced his bronze skin, obscuring the scars on the left side of his face while moonlight highlighted his exotic features on the right.

Known as “the Spaniard,” Villar had been an infamous pugilist in Cheapside despite having only one functioning arm. The eccentric and wealthy Duke of Burnrath was his sponsor. Cassandra had often encountered Villar at Burnrath House when attending the duchess’s literary circles. Right away she’d suspected that there was more to the relationship between Rafael and Their Graces. And she’d been utterly and completely fascinated by him.

When the duke and duchess departed for the Continent to travel, Villar had leased Burnrath House. By all accounts he was rich as a nabob. For the remainder of the Season, Don Villar was all the ton could gossip about. But when months passed without the Spaniard making the slightest attempt to join Society, he was forgotten. Cassandra would have forgotten him as well, if it weren’t for those damned dreams. Now he stood before her in the most unexpected place and at the most inconvenient time.

Good Lord, will he turn me in to the authorities?

She opened her mouth to ask the reason for his presence, but the words caught in her throat when she saw that his amber eyes were glowing like a funeral pyre. His sensuous lips—lips she’d unreasonably dreamed of kissing—drew back to reveal white, even teeth…with two gleaming fangs for incisors.

Before she could scream or flee, Don Villar’s fiery gaze widened, then narrowed in recognition. “You! You’ve been the one disturbing my people?”

“Y-your people?” Cassandra stammered, staring raptly at those sharp fangs. She’d certainly never seen those during their previous encounters. Her heart leaped into her throat in dawning horror. This man was not human.

His lips curled back in a sneer, puckering the scars on the left side of his face. “Don’t play coy with me, Countess.” The word was filled with disdain. “Some of my subordinates reported hunters disturbing their lairs.” He gestured at the mausoleum behind him. “It is hard to fathom that you’re behind this, though I should have guessed. Is that why you befriended the Duchess of Burnrath?”

“I haven’t the slightest idea what you are going on about. I came here to… Well, it is no concern of yours.” A wave of indignation bolstered her courage. How dare he speak of her most treasured friendship in such a manner? How dare he accuse her of duplicity when he stood before her sporting unnatural teeth and luminescent eyes? And of what exactly was he accusing her? “What does Her Grace have to do with this?” Cassandra took a shaky step back. “And, in the name of heaven, what are you?”

In a blink of an eye, Rafael stood inches from her. With the same impossible speed, he grasped her shoulder, pulling her close against him. Dizziness swarmed her mind at the feel of his firm heat and his intoxicating scent of forbidden spices. His crippled left arm moved lightly around her waist, his fingers delicately brushing across her lower back. The heady combination of rough and gentle made her tremble.

His eyes locked on hers. “I will show you, Countess.”

Then his mouth was on her neck, firm lips caressing the sensitive flesh, somehow more intimate than anything she’d experienced during her ill-fated marriage. Cassandra melted against him, tangling her fingers in his silken hair.

Sharp pain exploded in her throat as his fangs broke her skin. Cassandra cried out and tried to push him away, but his iron-like right arm mercilessly held her immobile. The pain took flight, and drugging pleasure fluttered within her belly. A low moan escaped her throat as she pulled him closer. Liquid desire pulsed between her thighs. Whatever this was, she needed more, craved it with mindless longing.

Rafael pulled away, muttering a foreign curse. “You’re a grave robber?” Lifting his finger to his mouth, he pierced his flesh with one pearly fang and then gently touched the wound on her throat. The soft touch was juxtaposed by his blazing eyes and furious snarl.

She barely heard his words as her eyes locked on those deadly fangs. Cassandra froze as realization shook her to the core. He wiped her neck with a handkerchief. In confirmation of her suspicions, blood spotted the snowy cloth like an accusation.

“Vampire,” she gasped, struggling to breathe. The foundations of her scientific beliefs quaked within her consciousness. Fairy tales were not true, and magic was not real. Yet here he stood, ready to devour her blood and perhaps her soul. Terror gripped her heart like ice.

The creature that should not exist outside of myth nodded. “Yes, but you will not remember the fact.”

His eyes glowed brighter, capturing her gaze. The intensity caused a fresh wave of dizziness, but Cassandra fought it off. The vampire stood like a statue, continuing to stare at her in a most unnerving manner.

After an endless moment, she shook her head and took another wary step back. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

Villar blinked and the fire dimmed from his gaze. An explosion of Spanish expletives came out in a growl as he seized her arm. “I apologize, Countess. You’ll have to come with me.”

“C-come with you where?” Cassandra stammered in confusion, trying to pull away. He’d already bitten her and drunk her blood. What more could he want? “Why? And f-for how long?”

“I am taking you to Burnrath House,” Rafael snarled through clenched teeth. “I have no choice but to place you under arrest until I can determine what to do with you.”

***

Rafe bit back another growl. Madre de Dios, why did the mysterious intruder have to be her? The Countess of Rosslyn was the only mortal in over three centuries to have gotten under his skin, and he still did not know why. And why did she have to be one of the rare individuals immune to mesmerism?

He’d wanted a brief moment to punish her for being a nuisance to him yet again. He’d wanted to punish her, to show her the folly in seeking out a monster, before banishing her memory. It was the worst of luck that the first mortal he’d deliberately revealed himself to was impervious to his power.

“Arrest?” Lady Rosslyn struggled in his grip, her warm flesh slipping beneath his grasp on the sleeve of her cloak, drawing his attention back to the vexing situation at hand. “Are you a constable?”

“Constable? Hardly. I am Lord of this city.” He held her fast.

“Lord? Of all of London? Whatever do you mean?” The countess tried once more to pull away. “And what of my wagon?”

Rafe tugged her closer before she could trip over a gravestone. “Damn it, woman. Devil take your wagon! You fail to grasp the severity of this situation.”

Truly, it would have been a simple matter had he succeeded in clearing the woman’s mind of the memory. Hell, it still would have been simple if the woman hadn’t been her. Not when her sweet, rich taste lay thick on his tongue. Not when her intoxicating scent of rose petals and woman engulfed his senses.

“Well, of course I do not grasp the situation!” Lady Rosslyn exclaimed, maddeningly oblivious to the tentative hold he had on his temper. “You have failed to explain it! First, I had no idea that vampires existed outside fiction. Furthermore, I have no notion why one would arrest me for exhuming a corpse for my studies. I am fully aware that my actions are illegal, but the logic eludes me as to how that should mean anything to you.”

Rafe sucked in a hissing breath through his teeth, biting back a stream of curses. Conversing with humans had never been his strong suit, but talking with Lady Rosslyn was always especially trying. “Your morbid hobby is of no concern to me. I had mistakenly believed you were hunting my people. You’re fortunate that my people didn’t take action themselves. That you weren’t beaten bloody by a mob, your house set aflame!”

Rafe closed his eyes, remembering how Ian’s third-in-command and a gang of other vengeful vampires had done exactly that to a prominent surgeon only three years ago. Ian had been apoplectic with rage. If the man’s wife hadn’t been in the country, she would surely have perished. Ian had punished the mob and issued a law that all suspicious mortals were to be handled only by the Lord of London from then on.

“Morbid?” Cassandra repeated, oblivious to the rest of his words. “You drank my blood only moments ago and you call me morbid?” Her sea-green eyes glared up at him from beneath impossibly long lashes. The captivating contact was broken too soon when she shook her head. “Well, if it is a mistake, then why are you arresting me?”

Ah and what a sweet drink it was. Yet somehow her life and memories had been more potent. Rafe usually closed his mind to his victims’ lives when he fed, but in the case of Lady Rosslyn, he had needed to discover what she was up to.

Lady Rosslyn seemed to have been a very busy woman during the last year. She’d had the daring to apply to Oxford, Cambridge, and Saint Bartholomew’s to master the healing arts. All those establishments had turned her away because of her sex. But she did not give up. Instead, she’d set forth with her studies alone, even robbing graves to learn the secrets of the human body.

Rafe sighed. This evening’s events had all been a misunderstanding. Unfortunately, one that could not be rectified. The Elders would not permit her to leave his presence alive.

“It is forbidden for mortals to know of our kind. I attempted to banish your memory of the encounter, but it appears you are immune to my powers. So now you must come with me until…” He trailed off, strangely reluctant to voice the rest aloud.

“Until when?” Her voice emerged in a frightened whimper.

Rafe closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Unexpected sorrow churned in his gut at the consequence this encounter would bear.

“Until it is decided whether I kill you or Change you into a vampire.”

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