A Vampire’s Embrace Chapter One

Caris Roane PhotoA VAMPIRE’S EMBRACE Chapter One

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to A VAMPIRE’S EMBRACE Chapter One. To give you a taste of the story, I’ve included the entire first chapter of A VAMPIRE’S EMBRACE. The story is book #2 of the Blood Rose Time Travel Series and takes place in Tannisford Realm of the Nine Realms.

First, here’s a link to the buy links and a brief description of the story.

A VAMPIRE’S EMBRACE

A VAMPIRE’S EMBRACE ~ Book 2 of the Blood Rose Time Travel Series

Having lost his entire family, Mastyr Rez vowed never to love again…

‘Rez drew closer and caught her softly pointed fae chin. “You buy shoes on the black market because it’s exciting and different. You can’t fool me, Holly. You’re a secret rebel.”’

For Buy Links and to Read More 

~ ~ ~

From A VAMPIRE’S EMBRACE, Chapter One:

Chapter One

Rez sat on the cobbled sidewalk in Millerell. A house blazed opposite him. He leaned against a low stone wall and stared up at the night sky, his vision narrowing. His eyes felt cold, like they were trying to see deep into space, into the beyond. He knew then he was riding death’s train and it was picking up speed.

Blood poured from the wound in his gut. Four Invictus lay around him, two female wraiths, each bonded to powerful, Guardsmen-size vampires. The battle had been difficult and furious. Four dead.

If he didn’t get help, he’d be joining them.

He had a sense of the villagers coming out slowly from their hiding places. They moved with caution. He didn’t blame them. The Invictus had set a house on fire and bombed one of the cars. They’d been wild, out-of-control and in need of blood.

They’d found his battle energy instead.

But in return, an axe had struck home.

His self-healing wouldn’t close the gap and he was still leaking all over the cobbles. Something was wrong.

He didn’t want to make the call, but he had no choice. If he didn’t get a healer over here fast, he would die.

He’d been avoiding contact with this particular fae for two months. She’d served him once before. Mastyr Stone had beat him senseless at the Wild Boar, for coming onto his woman, Rosamunde.

The bar owner had summoned a fae of considerable power who had a home in the nearby mountains, a beautiful woman with a floral scent that still lived in his nostrils. He’d been semi-conscious at the time. But when he’d come around, the smell of her had aroused him like fire on a dry stack of wood.

He’d thought about calling her a hundred times since. But he knew she was the kind of trouble he had to avoid like flesh-eating bacteria.

Right now, however, he was out of time.

Still wishing he had an alternative, he opened his pathing ability, then tapped on her telepathy. Holly, I’m in trouble. I’ve got an axe wound and something stinks like poison. I can’t stop the bleeding.

~ ~ ~

Holly was holding a glass bowl in her hands, full of flour, when Mastyr Rez’s telepathy sounded through her mind.

Poison? Are you sure?

I can’t self-heal. Gotta be dark fae magic.

The bowl slipped from her hands, hit the side of the granite counter, and crashed to the stone floor. She stared down at all the broken pieces and the lake of flour, but didn’t make a move to pick it up.

Her heart slammed around in her chest a few times. She had to work to calm herself.

Rez needed her and every fae instinct she possessed told her he was minutes from death.

Rez was many things. He was arrogant and proud. He was even a deserter of the ruling mastyr’s Vampire Guard. But he wasn’t a liar and he wouldn’t have reached out to her if it hadn’t been absolutely necessary.

She’d healed him a couple of months ago, this solitary vampire. She’d been drawn to him in a way that wasn’t good at all, an intense obsession. She’d vowed never to see him again, especially since after she’d healed him, they’d argued.

Viciously.

She drew in a deep breath. Right now, none of that mattered.

As she saw it, she had two problems in front of her. She had to get to Rez fast and she had to know what kind of poison she was dealing with.

First, she needed information. Was there a battle?

Yes. As I’ve said. Out at Millerell, not far from the Wild Boar where you healed me. Four Invictus dead. House on fire. Family is alive. Neighbors are out.

Can any of them reach you?

No. They can’t get past some kind of mist. They can’t even see me.

Holly’s heart sank. Will I be able to?

I don’t know. You have a lot of power, more than I think you know. So, maybe. That’s why I reached out to you.

Okay. Listen. I’ll figure it out. But I also need to ask an important question: Exactly what does the poison smell like?

He didn’t answer right away, but she didn’t intrude. She needed him to take his time and make his best guess or she’d never be able to concoct the right antidote to save him.

Finally, he said, This may sound off, but it’s like fresh cut grass.

Good. That’s exactly what I needed to know. Now, I have one final question, and it’s very important: How much time have you got?

~ ~ ~

Rez felt light-headed, almost euphoric, probably from the blood loss. How much time have I got?

Yes. A minute? Two? Mastyr, pay attention. Focus. Can you last two minutes? I need to know.

He chuckled. I can last longer than that. You should try me.

Sweet, Goddess, are you flirting with me? You’re dying and you’re flirting with me?

He sighed. Every cell in his body burned from the poison now. Foolish to waste time. But he was a man. Some drives wouldn’t be denied.

He took a moment to evaluate his blood level. Odd, being a vampire and the things you could know. Like he knew exactly how much blood he’d lost, half his supply and still pouring out of him. He also knew the hour, just past eleven. I’ve got about three minutes. No more.

I have to see the battle. I’ll be with you in two.

He couldn’t make sense of what she’d said. How could she get to him in two minutes unless she was closer than he thought? What did she mean, she had to see the battle? The Invictus lay at his feet. What was there to see?

He must have misunderstood her. Nothing more to be done now, except wait.

The building opposite him still shot flames high in the sky. He was close enough that the heat kept the dying chill from overtaking him.

The couple had lost their home but he’d saved their lives. They were a lovely troll family with five children. He could see the woman in the distance, beyond the strange mist. She held an infant in her arms. He could hear the baby crying, but it was a wonderful sound, full of hope and life.

He’d had a family once.

They were gone now.

But he wouldn’t think about that.

Although, if Holly didn’t arrive soon with a miracle antidote in hand, he’d be joining them tonight.

A pain drove through his heart, a sharp jagged thing. He couldn’t leave Tannisford Realm. He hadn’t found his teenage daughter, Isobel, yet.

Two years ago, while he’d been out patrolling with the Vampire Guard, several Invictus pairs had invaded his small farm. They’d slaughtered his wife and two young sons, but his daughter had been abducted. One of the neighbors had seen her held captive by the vicious wraith-pairs.

He’d hunted for her since, but still hadn’t found her.

So, no, he couldn’t die yet.

Not yet.

Not until he’d brought Isobel safely back to his home in Boylbury.

~ ~ ~

Holly had spent the last two years studying time travel with Vojalie, the most powerful fae in the Nine Realms. She had prepared for exactly this kind of situation, to breach time through the time-path in order to extract sufficient information to save another realm-person’s life.

She was on deck and frightened out of her mind. Her heart beat like it was a thoroughbred running the last quarter mile of a critical race.

Knowing she had only two minutes, she took a deep breath and sent up a prayer. Goddess, be with me. Help me to keep everyone safe as I enter the continuum.

It was her own prayer, not something Vojalie had taught her. More than anything, she feared by her actions she would cause a serious disturbance and alter the future. By carelessness, she might initiate waves of change that could end in the deaths of innocent people.

Despite her fears, she had to move into the time-path. Otherwise, Rez would die.

She closed her eyes and spread her hands wide. She engaged in the unique gift which very few realm women shared. The world of the Nine Realms was the world of frequencies and vibrations. Time-pathing was no different.

With a sudden jolt, she moved from real-time into the continuum, a place where the past could be observed and from which Holly could move from one location to another with ease. In this state, she was free of time. When she reentered real-time, she would return to Rez with two minutes to spare. It was the greatest gift of time-pathing.

Once inside, she saw her kitchen as though it was blurred. Even the flour and broken glass on the floor had a wavy appearance.

Before she did anything, however, she wanted Vojalie’s guidance.

She tapped on Vojalie’s pathing frequency and the woman responded. I’ve been expecting to hear from you. Vojalie had a powerful connection to the future.

Holly explained the situation as quickly as she could. Though she knew she would meet Rez in time to heal him, she didn’t have unlimited time in the continuum. For her, a ten-minute trip would usually end in severe lethargy, which would leave her extremely vulnerable.

Vojalie listened to her recounting of her conversation with Rez. Fresh cut grass. You know what that sounds like.

I do. But I want to be sure. If I’m to save Rez, I need to return to the battle to see the moment he was afflicted. I need to smell the poison myself.

I couldn’t agree more.

Then you approve the direction I intend to take. More a statement than a question.

Holly, I give you leave from this point forward to time-path when and how you feel you must. You’ve entered a critical period in your life. I will only say you would be wise, at times, to move beyond the strict rules and expectations you’ve set for yourself.

A familiar theme. She’d argued with Vojalie for hours on this subject. She didn’t have time, however, to take issue with her now. I have heard you, Mistress.

She heard Vojalie’s telepathic chuckle. You are very stubborn, Holly McCrae. Now, get going.

She felt Vojalie end the telepathic conversation. She wished she could pause to catch her breath, but she didn’t have time.

Focusing on Rez, she let the time-path move her. It was like being pushed one direction then another as though searching for the way. She’d learned through her apprenticeship with Vojalie not to fight it.

Within seconds, she was at the village of Millerell, though a couple of minutes in the past. Because she was in the continuum and hadn’t actually moved into the past yet, she saw the entire village as if blurred. If a car drove down the street, it wouldn’t strike her because she wasn’t really there.

She could observe, though.

The fire drew her attention first. The cottage was in flames. A fire truck was already on the scene and several strong-looking trolls worked three different hoses to bring the blaze under control.

Villagers clustered at a distance, though a troll family stood nearby and appeared devastated, probably the owners. A sudden breeze whipped up the flames and the villagers gave a cry. Just as quickly, it died down and the heavy sprays of water began subduing the fire once more.

She turned and saw Rez sitting against a low stone wall. Nearby were several dead Invictus. She put a hand to her mouth and avoided looking at the corpses. Instead, she focused on Rez.

His hand was pressed to his stomach. His white tank top was stained a deep red. She repressed a sudden revulsion as she saw he sat in a pool of his own blood. He was pale, his forehead beaded with sweat.

In this instant, she’d forgotten what he looked like, the features she’d seen in her dreams a hundred times. He had a firm jawline, sharp cheekbones and straight brows. He was one of the handsomest men she’d ever seen with wavy brown hair to his shoulders, ridiculously sexy blond highlights and light blue eyes that two months ago had pierced her soul.

All this she took in like the flash of an image on a screen.

Her heart pounded hard now, as though laden. She put a hand to her chest. She’d felt this before, the night she’d been summoned to heal him at the Wild Boar.

She’d never met him before. Even if she had, she wouldn’t have known who he was since Mastyr Stone had pummeled him almost to the point of death for making a move on Rosamunde. Rez’s jaw had been broken, the bones around his eyes shattered. His face was a mass of blood and bruises.

It had taken all her healing arts to first bring him back from the edge of death, then to restore him to health. Once she had, she’d been astonished by how gorgeous he was.

Gaining his feet, he’d thanked her. She remembered his height and the tremendous bulk of his muscles. Mostly, she recalled how her heart had started to labor in her chest as she looked up at him. She’d experienced a profound desire to feed him.

She’d often wondered what would have happened if they’d been in a private space. Longing had torn at her. She’d wanted him like no other man before him. He’d been into her as well.

An argument had followed. She’d been defensive when he called her ‘uptight’. She hadn’t hesitated to remind him he’d left the Guard when they’d needed him most.

Other words were exchanged. She couldn’t recall them all, but neither pulled any punches. She’d often thought her own words had been a thick smokescreen to disguise her sudden, intense craving for the man.

Fortunately, the shifters in the bar, who were some of his fellow-bikers, had grabbed him up to celebrate his return to life. Her gaze had followed him like a thirsty desert animal looking at a mirage.

She’d left soon after. Mastyr Rez was the one thing she could never forgive: He was a deserter.

With this last thought, she was brought back to the present within the continuum. Despite her disapproval of his choices, she had work to do on his behalf. Again.

As she made her plans, her nerves grew jumpy. She would have to travel the time-path until she found the exact moment the poison had been used on Rez. This meant she would see the perpetrator.

She focused on the past, on Rez and on the dead Invictus. The continuum obeyed her thoughts. Though she remained in one place, time moved in front of her. She was able, because of her training, to keep the pace slow.

She steeled herself as she approached the moment when Rez fought the last of the Invictus. She knew he’d been struck in his stomach with an axe, something she didn’t really want to see. But there was no other way to find out how he’d been poisoned.

When she reached the beginnings of the battle, for a moment, she got lost in watching him. A fury was on him, an unwillingness to let these Invictus take one more life.

The odd thought went through her mind that he looked like a god. His entire body was tense and alive.

When the axe appeared in the hand of the enemy, Rez released a killing wave of blue battle energy from his hands and arms.

She let the moment play out. She was sure this had to be it.

The swiftly thrown axe struck Rez at the same moment that his battle power hit the vampire. The latter flew backward and smashed into the street. Holly knew he’d died instantly.

Rez lowered his arms and grabbed the axe handle with both hands.

The time had come.

Holly felt a heavy ripple in time that knocked her sideways. She levitated to regain her balance. Though she’d never experienced this phenomenon while time-pathing, she knew what it was: Another time traveler had come for Rez.

Fear pierced her heart. She could feel darkness envelop her.

As Rez drew the axe from his body, in that precise split-second, a shadow figure, reeking of the dark fae, slid up behind him while in the time-path then breached time.

The fae stepped into the past so she was fully present with Rez and visible in time. She stuck a needle into Rez’s shoulder and delivered the poison. A split-second later, she slipped back inside the continuum to disappear.

The fae had long straight blond hair, braided down her back with peacock feathers. She wore an ankle-length tight navy dress, tall, dark blue and tan espadrilles, and a lot of bangles on her arms. Dark fae.

The attack had been so quick and from behind, it was no wonder Rez hadn’t been aware what had happened to him.

Holly only had a second to act or she’d lose the opportunity. She drew close to the puncture sight, entered the past, sniffed the injection site then returned behind the safety of the continuum.

She needed to remain within the continuum as long as possible. Once she returned to present time to prepare the antidote, the clock would start ticking.

She slowly opened the full length of her olfactory ability.

She had only a faint scent to go on, but she’d trained hard with Vojalie for this specific kind of situation. Over the past two years, she’d sniffed hundreds of dark fae poison concoctions. Vojalie had given her dozens of tests, pushed her hard. But she’d never had such a faint sample before.

Her heart hammered in her chest all over again as she struggled to separate the different scents. For a moment, she feared she wasn’t up to it and Rez would die because of her inexperience.

By training, she forced herself to focus. She began eliminating one ingredient after another, until the full recipe revealed itself. She caught the grassy scent Rez had mentioned.

At the core, however, was the most insidious poison of all: Realm Wolfsbane. It brought on paralysis of lung tissue unless treated quickly.

In real-time, Rez would begin to feel short of breath and his vision would go dark.

Now that she knew what needed to be done, she returned to her workroom while still in the continuum, then stepped into real time. The clock started up again.

She had less than two minutes to save Rez.

She gathered the ingredients necessary to counteract the deadly wolfsbane. She used her mortar and pestle, added a liquid, then strained it quickly.

She filled a syringe with the working antidote.

Her fingers trembled. Rez had barely a minute to live.

With the syringe in hand, she returned to the continuum then pushed her way back to Rez.

Since she’d spent a full minute preparing the antidote, he now sat slumped against the wall, his eyes barely open, breathing shallow.

One last prayer. “Goddess, help me.”

She stepped into the present, moved close to him, and sat down next to him. She slid her arm around his shoulders and gave a tug so that he fell across her lap. He was closer to death than she thought.

“Stay with me, Mastyr.”

She quickly located the original entry point, pushed the fabric of his black tank aside, then said, “This will hurt like hell, Rez.”

She slammed the hypodermic home…

~ ~ ~

I hope you enjoyed A VAMPIRE’S EMBRACE Chapter One. Following is a link to the buy links!

A VAMPIRE’S EMBRACE

A VAMPIRE’S EMBRACE ~ Book 2 of the Blood Rose Time Travel Series

Having lost his entire family, Mastyr Rez vowed never to love again…

‘Rez drew closer and caught her softly pointed fae chin. “You buy shoes on the black market because it’s exciting and different. You can’t fool me, Holly. You’re a secret rebel.”’

For Buy Links and to Read More 

~ ~ ~

And now, have a wonderful day and an even better night! For more information about my books, keep scrolling! Live the fang!

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Caris Roane Home PageDo you enjoy free books!?! All year, I’ll be giving away copies of my e-books through my newsletter. I also run subscriber-exclusive giveaways, so be sure to sign up on my home page in the right hand column where it says: Subscribe to Our Mailing List! Once you do, you’ll receive a welcome letter with a link to your free e-book! Enjoy and hugs, Caris Roane!

Be sure to look for your welcome letter which has the link to your free e-book! 

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Having lost his entire family, Mastyr Rez vowed never to love again…

‘Rez drew closer and caught her softly pointed fae chin. “You buy shoes on the black market because it’s exciting and different. You can’t fool me, Holly. You’re a secret rebel.”’

For Buy Links and to Read More 

~ ~ ~

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Mastyr Vampire Griffin hates his enslavement in Margetta’s fortress. He sought death a thousand times because of it, but was denied when the Ancient Fae brought him back repeatedly, forcing him to train her evil army. When a beautiful fae-slave, Sandra, tells him to live, he begins to believe his life could have more meaning…

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Caris Roane is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-eight paranormal romance books. Writing as Valerie King, she has published fifty novels and novellas in Regency Romance. Caris lives in Phoenix, Arizona, loves gardening, enjoys the birds and lizards in her yard, but encourages the scorpions to inhabit elsewhere! Her motto: Live the Fang!

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