A Vampire’s Soft Embrace – Chapter One

Caris Roane Paranormal Romance AuthorA Vampire’s Soft Embrace – Chapter One

Hi, Everyone! Are you excited to read A VAMPIRE’S SOFT EMBRACE – Chapter One? I hope so, because I’m here to tempt you to buy my book then hopefully all the others that follow.  Thanks for being with me on my writing journey! Your support means the world to me! As a reminder, A VAMPIRE’S SOFT EMBRACE is the first novella of the Blood Rose Time Travel Series. 

A Vampire's Soft Embrace - Caris Roane Paranormal Romance AuthorHere is: A VAMPIRE’S SOFT EMBRACE, Novella 1 of The Blood Rose Time Travel Series

Taking the vampire into the past, changed the future…

Read more…

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A VAMPIRE’S SOFT EMBRACE – Chapter One

The man held her heart in his hand.

He had for the past five years.

Did he even have the smallest clue?

Emily Hargraves stood in the dark alley across the street from the Wild Boar, staring at Devyn. She’d known him just shy of five years. She supposed she’d loved him that long as well.

She’d asked – okay, begged – to meet him here tonight, after his shift. He belonged to the Tannisford Vampire Guard. Both he and his twin brother, Kyle, had joined the force about the same time several decades ago.

Kyle had died a year ago and Emily had been engaged to him the seven months before his death. She’d dated Kyle for years before he asked her to marry him. For the most part, they’d been living together though she’d kept her home here in Millerell.

Yet the entire time she’d been with Kyle, Devyn had been the one.

She also suspected he felt the same way, though he barely spoke to her anymore, not since Kyle’s death. The few times she’d been in the same room with him, however, she’d catch him staring at her. She knew he wasn’t indifferent because she could always detect a scent from him, something like lemon and oak leaves and very Devyn, whenever he was around her.

Devyn.

Sweet Goddess, she ached for him and not just in her body. Her soul throbbed with so much longing, she was sure she glowed different shades of moonlight the second she drew near him.

As she thought about crossing the cobbled street, her heart pounded. Was it possible she was mistaken about him, about what she believed he felt for her?

When doubts about what she wanted to do flooded her, she wondered if she should go into the past and see Devyn’s reactions for herself, to see if he really did have feelings for her. It would be a breach of protocol since she’d be using the time-path for her own personal reasons. But she was sorely tempted.

For the past two years, Vojalie, one of the most gifted and powerful fae in the Nine Realms, had been teaching her how to travel back in time. But her instruction also included specific parameters for making use of the time-path, like hunting for clues to crimes or antidotes for poisons or some other form of information gathering.

Using the time-path was not encouraged for the purpose of finding out if a specific man, in this case a very powerful vampire, was in love with you.

Yet right now, Emily had to know. If she was mistaken, the last thing she should do was cross the street and confront Devyn about his repressed feelings for her.

So, going back in time it was.

She straightened her shoulders and accessed her time-pathing frequency, something only a handful of fae women in the Nine Realms could do. The sensation was like nothing else in her world and began at her shoulders, she supposed where one carried the weight of the world as a sensitive fae woman.

A tingling began, soft at first then growing in strength until her entire chest buzzed with energy. By training, she focused first on Devyn, then constructed a time-map.

Vojalie said each time-pathing fae found her own method of managing the function of moving through time. Emily had a mental map she used to create the sought-after past moment.

In this case, she brought forward the images from the first time she ever met Devyn. It had been snowing so she placed the image of it in the center of her map. Off to one side, she invoked the image of the coffee shop where she’d first met him. Off to the other, how she remembered Devyn himself. He’d worn a navy wool coat over his Guardsman leather, sleeveless duster. He had snowflakes on his shoulders and in his blond hair. He’d stood by the counter waiting for his coffee order. She’d met Devyn in the month of January, in this same coffee shop. She’d arranged to meet Kyle there, a third exciting date, but hadn’t known Devyn had been invited as well, ostensibly to meet her. Kyle thought it was great fun to trick them both.

So, it was winter and January and early evening, before the men took off for their Guard shift. She remembered what happened exactly, as though it was yesterday and not five years ago.

With her time-pathing frequency vibrating strongly, she slipped into the continuum, also called the time-path.

Though she still stood on the streets of Millerell, across from the Wild Boar, the moment she moved into the continuum, the street became locked in the present. It was one of the strange miracles of what she could do. She could now travel in time, but when she returned, her ‘present’ would be the moment she’d just left. It was the best gift of time travel.

The down side was a peculiar after effect which occurred during a prolonged stay. If she was in the continuum for longer than ten minutes, once she returned, she would experience a terrible phenomenon her teacher called time-lethargy. She’d only done it once and the lesson had been frightening. She hadn’t been in any real danger because she’d returned to Vojalie during a training session. However, the complete fatigue that had settled over her, in any other circumstance, could have made her vulnerable to attack or abduction.

She hadn’t been able to move a muscle. Literally.

Right now, though, she wasn’t concerned about overstaying this particular journey in the time-path. She knew where she was going and what she needed to accomplish.

Focusing on the event, the person and the season, she found herself exactly where she wanted to be.

Normally, she would leave the continuum and actually step into the past where she would be safe from falling victim to time-lethargy. But because she was a participant in the event she wanted to witness, she couldn’t actually enter the past at this point. Her two selves couldn’t be in such close proximity and the time-path itself wouldn’t let her leave the continuum. No one knew exactly what would happen, but the time-path created its own rules.

She therefore remained within the continuum, which was good enough for her purposes. She would be able to observe Devyn’s reactions to an experience that had haunted Emily for years now.

The coffee shop in Boylbury was exactly as she remembered it that night, a warm sanctuary during a cold January. The village was small but charming with cobbled, narrow streets and a number of shops run by local inhabitants. Devyn owned and lived in a farmhouse nearby he’d remodeled himself. She’d been there a few times with Kyle.

At the time, however, she hadn’t known anything except that Kyle wanted to meet up at the Boylbury coffee shop to have some pie before heading out for a night of battle. So, when she’d gone in, she’d seen a tall, blond-haired Guardsman towering over the elven coffee house owner. He’d just come in, too, because he still had snowflakes on his coat.

Within the time-path, she saw him as though slightly blurred. Yet, even now, as she looked at him, she wouldn’t have known it was Devyn. He looked just like Kyle. Because both men were Guardsmen, each had the muscular grace of the fighting man. He stood with shoulders back, head high, his body strong. Kyle had the same stance.

She heard the jangling of the bells on the door and turned within the time-path to watch herself enter the shop. She smiled when her past self caught sight of ‘Kyle’ and gave a squeal. She’d only been on three dates with him, but already they’d been having a lot of fun. Kyle had been so charming and full of an irresistible devilment.

Through the continuum, she watched herself hurry past several turnstiles of cards, coffee beans, and music CDs trying to get to the counter. Several customers milled about waiting for coffee orders as well. The moment Devyn turned toward her, she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him.

From the safety of her blurred view of the past, she watched and waited. She remembered the kiss going on for several seconds. She recalled how different Devyn had tasted even then and how sensual the kiss became, and how tender his embrace had been, very much unlike Kyle. She remembered even then Devyn had a sexy scent, all lemony and oak-like. She’d quickly become aroused and almost begged him to take her somewhere.

At that point in her relationship with Kyle, she hadn’t been to bed with him yet. But if Devyn had asked her right then, she would have gone with him without the slightest hesitation.

That’s what she remembered.

But what had Devyn felt?

He slowly drew back and pushed her away. He looked remorseful. “Sorry. You must be Emily and you also must be mistaking me for my brother, for Kyle. I’m Devyn.”

She could recall the terrible, cold sensation of pulling away from him, of feeling like that withdrawal from his arms was the biggest mistake of her life. She’d known even then she was losing something of inestimable value.

The bells jangled again. From within the time-path, she watched Kyle arrive.

Emily recalled that in her dismay, she had run to Kyle and thrown herself on his chest. She pretended to laugh, but she didn’t want him to see her distress.

She watched herself for a moment, remembering the pain even back then. Yet she wasn’t there to relive that part of the memory. Within the time-path, she shifted back to Devyn.

And there it was, a look of stunned horror as he watched Kyle hugging her and kissing the top of her head. Devyn stared at her then at Kyle, his heart in his eyes. Emily saw the depth of his regret. His lips remained parted and for a long time he didn’t look away.

He must have heard his coffee order called up because he turned toward the counter. The elven female waiting on him reached out and grabbed his arm. “Are you okay, Mastyr Devyn?”

He’d caught himself on the side of the counter and kept himself from losing his balance. He’d laughed, pretending as she had, that something amusing was happening.

But Emily knew the truth and tears burned her eyes. What had happened between herself and Devyn during that kiss had been completely and fully mutual.

Emily drew a deep breath. She hadn’t been mistaken, now or then.

Over the next four years, as she dated Kyle then shared living spaces with him, there had been a series of incidences with Devyn. She time-pathed to the one that stood out in her mind.

The second year she’d been with Kyle, Devyn had given her a Christmas present that had meant the world to her. Kyle had thought the silver bucket of pink silk roses absurd and had teased her about it. But the bucket had been a reference to a book she’d read that had moved her. She’d told Devyn about it in passing. Devyn had read the book then given her the roses.

After Kyle had taunted her, Devyn had left the room, then the house. She followed him now, in the time-path. She watched him as he walked home. His jaw worked several times. He rubbed his palms over his eyes.

She hadn’t seen him for a couple of months after that. Even Kyle thought he was making up excuses not to see her, though he had no idea what she might have done to offend his brother.

She now had the answer she needed and left the time-path. She returned to the present, to her place in the alley across the street from the Wild Boar.

She didn’t cross to Devyn immediately. Because she’d been within the continuum for several minutes, she experienced some dizziness, a precursor to time-lethargy. A familiar and lovely troll approached him, a barmaid at the Wild Boar. She chatted with him for a minute then levitated in a swift, friendly leap to kiss Devyn on the cheek. Trolls were short and vampire Guardsmen tall.

Emily heard his deep voice. “You’re good people, Wanda.”

“Back atcha, Mastyr. Well, I’m going in. Those beers won’t pour themselves and Rachel hates it when I’m late.” Rachel owned the bar.

She felt in her bones Wanda’s exit was her cue.

She emerged from the shadows of the alley, walking briskly as though having just turned the corner. Traffic was light as she crossed the street. No cars in sight though in the distance she could hear the rumble of several motorcycles. Bikers hung out at the Wild Boar. “Hey, Dev. I’m here.”

Devyn turned her direction, but he wasn’t smiling. If anything, his expression grew more somber still.

Her heart jackhammered now and she put her hand to her throat. She forced herself to breathe, but it wasn’t easy. She felt as though her entire life had been building to this moment.

As she gathered her forces, she had to overlook his almost dark expression. He hadn’t wanted to see her. For the past year, since Kyle’s death, he’d been avoiding her at every turn.

She’d finally forced the issue and demanded a conversation with him. She thought the Wild Boar a good place given its casual nature, neutral territory for a talk.

For a moment, as she drew close, however, she forgot everything she’d come to say. Instead, all she saw was him, the lines of his strained brow, his gorgeous brown eyes, his wavy blond hair that flowed away from his face. He wore it long like all Guardsmen and drawn back in a woven clasp for battle. In the shadows of the night, his eyes looked almost black. Over the years, she’d seen them in other kinds of light as well. In the early evening, the color appeared like amber and brown combined.

He was very handsome with strong cheekbones and full lips. His nose was slightly aquiline which gave him a predatory look, not a bad thing at all for a warrior in Mastyr Stone’s Vampire Guard.

Unlike Kyle, he was a full-blown mastyr and suffered as all the mastyrs did with chronic blood starvation. Intense, crippling stomach pain accompanied the rise to mastyr power. These men bore their condition with tremendous grace and Devyn was no exception. That his twin wasn’t also a mastyr was something of a mystery to Emily. Why did one brother have such power, while the identical twin didn’t?

He frowned slightly. “I don’t have much time, Emily. I’m sorry. I have another appointment.”

She’d heard a dozen excuses over the past year, just like this one. But she wouldn’t be put off. She had things she needed to say and tonight she would say them.

She gestured toward the door. “I thought we might have a drink together. We haven’t done that in a while.”

He shoved his hands into the pockets of his long black leather coat. It was Guardsman issue and had no sleeves, though underneath was a traditional long-sleeved woven shirt. The mid-calf length of the duster was sexy as hell especially combined with hip boots and leathers.

He glanced around avoiding eye-contact. “I don’t think so. Not tonight. Maybe another time.”

She decided she had to be bold. “I don’t believe you have another appointment, or a date, or anything. Surely, we can share a beer after all this time.”

His gaze shifted to her and his frown deepened almost to a scowl. “What do you want here, Emily?”

She took a step toward him, which brought her just a few inches away from his lips. Her gaze fell there and for a long moment she couldn’t respond.

She’d imagined his lips pressed to hers a thousand times. “What do I want? A beer and a little conversation.”

He huffed an annoyed sound. “Nothing can come of this and you know it.”

She recalled what she’d witnessed in the time-path. For whatever reason, Devyn was holding back. If he wasn’t going to invite her to sit down for a drink, she was going to have her say despite his resistance. She needed him to know the truth. “Kyle’s been gone over a year now and there’s something I want you to know. I’ve never told anyone this, but I was going to leave him. In fact, and this is very hard for me to say, I was going to tell him the night he died, but he never came home.”

Devyn’s gaze shot to hers. “You were leaving my brother? Why?”

She wanted to shout, ‘because I was in love with you’, but she knew it would only make matters worse. She suspected Devyn was carrying a heavy weight of guilt about his brother’s death.

Instead of addressing her feelings, she brought forward what she believed was the tougher issue. “Kyle and I didn’t suit, Dev. You must have seen that. He was lighter than air most of the time and I couldn’t bring him to ground enough to make sense of our life together. He was so much fun. But, after the parties and laughter, well … Do you want to know the truth? I was lonely.”

He shook his head. “I don’t get what you’re saying. You were basically living with him. I know you had your own house, but you were always at his. How can you say you were lonely?”

“You know how. He always had the remote in his hand and a beer in the other. Though the entire last year it was usually a bottle of single malt. Tell me you didn’t notice something was off as well.”

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Devyn rubbed his chin, his gaze cast anywhere but on her face. This was the last thing he expected, to hear that Emily was going to leave Kyle. Not that it made a difference. He couldn’t be involved with her.

But, sweet Goddess, why did she have to smell like heaven? She was a springtime bouquet of flowers. Something about her scent, maybe the womanly part, streamed into his brain in a way that made it hard to think.

He believed he understood why Emily had reached out to him. Or at least he thought he had until she mentioned how she’d been planning to leave his brother.

“Did Kyle know what you intended?”

“On some level, he must have. He wasn’t happy, either.”

“You’re wrong about that. He told me you were the best thing that ever happened to him. If anything, he said he felt unworthy of you.”

“He said that?” She frowned. “But that means he spoke to you about us.”

“Something like that.” Shit. He did not want to tell her the truth. He wished to hell she hadn’t called him.

Yet, even with her brow creased and her lips in a serious line, she was still one of the most beautiful women he’d ever known. Actually, she was more ‘cute’ than beautiful but so appealing his damn heart ached whenever he saw her. She was very fae with a gently pointed chin and ears she often stroked at the tip.

She was doing it now. She had an emerald stud in the lovely crevice at the top. How many times had he imagined his tongue right there, doing what her fingers were doing. This was his real problem with Emily. He couldn’t be with the woman, but he wanted her so bad he could hardly breathe.

He forced air into his lungs anyway. That’s how it had been from the first, from five years ago when she’d kissed him in that coffee shop in Boylbury not far from his home.

Kyle had asked him to meet him for coffee but hadn’t said a word about Emily. But that was Kyle, always messing around. He thought it would be funny if they met unsuspecting.

Had Kyle seen the kiss? Devyn had never said anything nor had Emily. He wouldn’t have mentioned it if his life depended on it. Devyn knew the kiss had been innocent, at least that’s what he’d told himself for five years.

Yet the way he’d felt had been anything but. The minute she’d thrown herself on him and planted her lips on his, he’d been fucking lost. That’s the only way he could explain what he felt for this woman. Lost, like she had some power over him he couldn’t fathom.

He resented her for calling him up and asking to have a beer with him. She was his dead brother’s fiancé who now told him she’d intended on breaking up with Kyle before his death.

But she was here now and seemed pretty intent on stirring things up. Time to finish this off. “Look, Emily, I won’t pretend there’s not something between us. But for a long time, I’ve set it down to twins often being attracted to the same woman. It’s not that unusual. But I’m not interested in you, not romantically. Whether or not you were breaking up with Kyle before he died doesn’t matter. You were his woman. You can’t be anything to me. Do you understand?”

She shook her head slowly and grabbed his arm. “No, I don’t and like hell you’re telling me the truth.”

Where she touched him through his woven shirt felt like fire. Her flowery scent hit him again causing him to shudder.

Did he want her? Like a dry summer to a rainstorm.

But she was off-limits. She’d been off-limits for years. He was used to holding back. He saw no reason to change things, not when it was his fault his brother was dead.

His damn fault.

He shook his head and looked away from her. The night before Kyle died, he’d caught his brother cheating on Emily. He’d come out of a hotel with a woman and kissed her before they headed opposite directions.

When Devyn had confronted him, Kyle had broken down. He’d been seeing a lot of other women from about the time he and Emily had gotten engaged. No, he didn’t think Emily knew a thing about his affairs. But he couldn’t seem to help himself.

Rage was what Devyn had felt, on Emily’s behalf and on his own. He would never have treated a woman like Emily the way his brother had.

He’d shut his brother out that night, refusing to take his phone calls. They’d always served together, fought the enemy Invictus side by side. Brothers-in-arms. Comrades. Best Friends.

Devyn would never know how Kyle ended up dying at the hands of the enemy that night. One of their mutual friends, a Guardsman who’d been with Kyle, said his brother hadn’t been himself. He’d been arrogant in his battling and a surprise attack by several Invictus wraith-pairs had ended in Kyle’s death. But it had also resulted in a mountain of guilt. If only he hadn’t refused to go on patrol with Kyle, his brother would still be alive.

Now he was standing way too close to Emily, his chest aching, his body on fire.

He had to get rid of her. “I can’t have a beer with you, Emily. Kyle … well, he’s still with me. I can’t cross that abyss. I’ll never be able to. You were his woman and he loved you.”

He didn’t wait for her to respond. Instead, he turned away and headed up the street on foot…

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I hope you enjoyed A VAMPIRE’S SOFT EMBRACE – Chapter One! Go ahead, treat yourself to a heart-warming, sexy, exciting paranormal romance today!

A Vampire's Soft Embrace - Caris Roane Paranormal Romance AuthorA VAMPIRE’S SOFT EMBRACE, Novella 1 of The Blood Rose Time Travel Series

Taking the vampire into the past, changed the future…

Read more

Amazon US // iBooks // Barnes & Noble // Kobo //
Amazon Canada // Amazon UK //
Amazon Australia // 

~ ~ ~

A VAMPIRE’S SOFT EMBRACE, A Paranormal Romance, is a passionate, tender, standalone romance set in the Blood Rose Time Travel series and the world of the Nine Realms.

About the Author: Caris Roane is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-seven paranormal romances. She loves her desert garden, especially the birds and lizards who like to hang out. But she encourages the scorpions to inhabit elsewhere! Caris’s motto: Live the fang!

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

Caris Roane Home Page

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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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Caris Roane Paranormal Romance AuthorBlood Rose 4 – EMBRACE THE PASSION

Seth, Mastyr Vampire of Walvashorr Realm, craves Lorelei, his new bodyguard, but he has a hands-off policy with those under his command. However, the sexy glint in her eye, as well as her wolf-shifter ways, keeps him in a fevered state. 

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Caris Roane Paranormal Romance AuthorBlood Rose 5 – EMBRACE THE NIGHT

Mastyr Vampire Jude has kept his distance from all women because he lost his wife and daughter to an enemy attack a hundred years ago. He won’t go through that kind of loss again. And he won’t jeopardize another woman’s life while the deadly Invictus wraith-pairs still pose a threat in the Nine Realms.

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Caris Roane Paranormal Romance AuthorBlood Rose 6 – EMBRACE THE WILD

Mastyr Vampire Malik has only one goal: to serve the realm he loves. Battling both the dreaded Invictus wraith-pairs and an element in Ashleaf Realm that wants all innocent wraiths dead, Malik can’t afford to get distracted. But Willow has already become an obsession as he lusts for the powerful fae whose blood he craves.

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Caris Roane Paranormal Romance AuthorBlood Rose 7 – EMBRACE THE WIND

Mastyr Vampire Zane didn’t want another woman in his life not after the dreaded Invictus killed his wife five years ago. He serves Swanicott Realm, the land he rules, and doesn’t want anything to interfere with his war against the enemy.

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Caris Roane Paranormal Romance AuthorBlood Rose 8 – EMBRACE THE HUNT

Mastyr Vampire Ian never wanted to see Regan again. He blamed her for the massacre at Raven’s Overlook, an attack that killed his sister and her children. He’s convinced Regan enthralled him, using her extensive fae powers to keep him by her side. If he’d been in his realm that night, he could have saved 200 people.

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Caris Roane Paranormal Romance AuthorLove in the Fortress: Blood Rose Series 8.1

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-seven 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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