Blood Rose Tale #1 – Trapped

000 Caris Roane - Author Photo 2Hi, Everyone!  And welcome to my first “Blood Rose Tale” called:  TRAPPED!!!

The Blood Rose Tales are longer than a short story but shorter than a novella, just right for telling those tales that explore a unique aspect of the world of the Nine Realms!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000030_00040]In “Trapped”, we get to watch a realm woman, half-fae/half-human, try to disconnect from her vampire warrior love, Zephyr.  But Zephyr, intent on keeping her safe, must see her home every night or he won’t be able to sleep.

Alesia despises that he kills the evil Invictus wraith-pairs and he thinks she’s being ridiculous for wanting to see them rehabilitated.

But by dawn, the pair is trapped together in his home and sparks fly when he soon discovers that the woman who refuses to have anything more to do with him is also the one woman who can satisfy his chronic and extremely painful blood starvation needs!
Blood Rose Tales Box Set: Trapped, Hunger & Seduced

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More about TRAPPED!

Mastyr Vampire Zephyr, a one-man fighting force, struggles to save the life of a woman who despises his warrior ways.

He won’t give up his warrior life to please a woman…

Zephyr can’t keep away from Alesia and feels obligated to keep her safe.  They’d broken up, unable to reconcile painfully opposing views on what should be done to the evil Invictus pairs.  But when several wraith-pairs attack her diner, he flies her to safety, taking her home where they’re trapped together for the entire day.  His chronic blood-starvation problem surfaces and it soon becomes apparent that she’s the key to taking away decades of suffering. But if she offers to take care of his needs, will he be drawn in once more only to have her disapproval ruin the moment yet again?

Surrendering is dangerous…

 Alesia wishes Zephyr would just leave her alone.  She broke up with him months ago and wants to start a new life.  The trouble is, he’s still the one man who can curl her toes. But when several deadly Invictus pairs attack her diner, Alesia has no choice but to go home with Zephyr, something she’s promised herself never to do.  Trapped all day with the powerful warrior, she finds it hard to resist the comfort of his arms and the sensual feel of his lips pressed to hers.  Will it hurt to offer to meet his blood-needs just this once or will surrendering leave her more vulnerable than ever?

And here’s the first chapter from TRAPPED!!!

Chapter One

Just before dawn, Alesia turned the diner lights out and stared at a shadow beneath the lone pine tree at the far edge of the gravel parking lot. She held her breath, waiting to see if the dark shape turned into a friend or someone out to kill her.

The last of the cars had left over an hour ago. Most of her customers had headed home for the day to avoid the damaging, or in the case of vampires and fae, deadly sunlight rays. She owned a small diner in the south of Merhaine Realm, an area known to have a lot of enemy traffic.

The shadow finally moved, heading in her direction, and her heart set up a loud thumping in her ears. Sweet Goddess, she went through this every night, wondering if this time one of the dreaded wraith-pairs had finally shown up to finish her off.

However, when Zephyr came into view instead, the air rushed from her lungs, both in relief and with the excitement she always felt when she saw him. He was a powerful vampire who made war against the wraith-pairs and who saw her home every night just to make sure she was safe.

Even though she’d already dated him, slept with him and broken up with him several months ago, she still had such a thing for the man. Which begged the question, would she ever really get over him or would she feel this hunger forever?

As he made his way toward the diner, she left the lights off but warmed up her fae vision so that the closer he drew the better she’d be able to see him. Her vision was one of the most useful abilities she’d gained from her fae mother. Her human side, however, wreaked havoc with her sensibilities, having decided that this warrior vampire was exactly what she wanted to take home with her tonight. He walked up the steps of her diner, carrying his two-hundred-and-forty pounds like a god.

He opened the door with an easy shove of his hand. He stood six-five and because he worked out, he had massive shoulders and arms, which were well-defined by a snug t-shirt. He had clear blue eyes and his thick, wavy black hair hit the space just above his shoulders. A freaking sexy look for him.

She’d always loved his hair, the coarse feel beneath her fingers and especially the way it had moved when he’d made love to her, swaying in rhythm. His hair even smelled good, the same way he smelled, like a woodland of oaks: strong, slightly bitter, woodsy.

As he stepped inside, his scent wrapped her up and made her feel about a hundred things she shouldn’t be feeling. As attracted to him as she was, she’d ended things for a reason and had no intention of resuming their relationship. But for her, perhaps forever, he was nothing short of temptation on two legs.

And here he was again, performing his last self-assigned duty of his rogue policing activities for the night. Zephyr was a one-man show, who worked apart from Merhaine’s vampire Guard, patrolling the south, the poorest part of the realm, the same area where she had her diner.

She at least had this much in common with him, that each served the poorer element of Merhaine. She provided good, cheap, home-cooked meals for the locals and Zephyr battled the Invictus every night to keep the community safe. With just the power of his battle frequency and the energy he could release from the palms of his hands, he had more kills than any of the traditional Guardsmen who worked the region.

If she’d been in support of all that death and destruction, she’d be proud of Zephyr. Instead, she despised his nocturnal killing efforts, the source of the contention between them and the exact reason she’d never give herself to him again. She believed in the absolute necessity of rehabilitating wraith-pairs. Simply put, he didn’t.

“We’re closed,” she stated, opening their age-old argument. She didn’t need him to fly her home, and it would help her a lot to get over the vampire if she didn’t have to see him every night.

“Alesia, you didn’t lock the door. What the hell is wrong with you?” His voice fell into the lower timbres, not quite bass but damn close, a sound that teased her in all the wrong places.

She shrugged. “Do you honestly believe that a lock is going to keep out a powerful Invictus wraith-pair?” The bonded pairs had an amplified level of power that could easily take down the solitary realm person.

“I think turning that damn lock would give you an extra few seconds to escape out the back door.” He glanced around. “I take it you’re all set for the night.”

“I am, which means you can go now. I can see myself home.”

He snorted. “Like hell. You know the drill, Alesia, and we can do it the hard way or we can do it my way.”

She rolled her eyes. “Fine. You can fly me home. Will that make you happy?”

“Damn straight it will. You serve the community, something I’ve always admired about you. It’s my job to keep you safe.”

Her lips curved. “Because I’m a good citizen of Merhaine?”

“Exactly. Now go get your purse.” He was always commanding her.

“Couldn’t you at least talk nicer to me?”

“Don’t see the point. You’ll just argue anyway, tell me how wrong I am about what I do and how I do it. Besides, if I’m not home in the next thirty minutes, I’ll be toast.”

Dawn was coming fast.

She huffed a sigh, slipped behind the long, metal counter, and retrieved her shoulder bag. “All right. Let’s go.”

 * * *  * * *  * * *

 Zephyr wished like hell Alesia wasn’t the most beautiful woman he’d ever known, inside and out. For him, she was perfection with layered brown hair, neither dark nor light, just a soft shade between. She had large, green eyes, thick lashes. Her human genetics had softened her fae appearance so that her chin wasn’t as pointed as most of the fae he knew. The result somehow charmed him as no other woman ever had.

Her ears had rounded fae points that he’d enjoyed tonguing and she’d loved how he’d worked her ears. He’d never been with a woman who liked her ears sucked and tongued the way Alesia had.

She stood five-ten, a perfect armful. She wasn’t a skinny type either, but had a rounded ass he couldn’t get enough of and full breasts. At the same time, he could fit his hands around her small waist.

Damn all the elf lords, he missed the woman, ached for her, but she’d broken it off after their last big fight in which they’d called each other a few choice names, some of which fit. She could be opinionated as hell and he definitely, on occasion, fit the epithet of a stubborn, intractable male.

Still, nothing he’d said, no amount of apologies could eradicate the sore point between them that he killed wraith-pairs on the spot. She believed, with every ounce of her lovely self, that wraith-pairs should be captured, not killed, and afterward rehabilitated.

The first time he’d heard her opinion, he’d laughed, thinking she’d been joking. But she hadn’t. Instead, she’d been so offended that she’d thrown a small but heavy ceramic dish at his head. Her apologies about the bump on his forehead had been long and regretful since she’d felt like such a hypocrite having used violence against him.

He’d healed within a minute, the wound completely disappearing, then set aside the argument by kissing her, working those sexy ears of hers, then making love to her.

Sweet Goddess, how he missed sexing her up, watching her body move beneath his, her moans and the final cries of ecstasy. She always sounded like a hunting bird in flight when she came, and he’d loved it.

Now he served essentially as her bodyguard, escorting her home last thing before dawn, night after night. He had to know she was safe. He couldn’t sleep otherwise. She didn’t like that he looked after her in this way and was perpetually mad at him. But as long as she didn’t look to her own safety, in a part of Merhaine where wraith-pairs hunted more heavily than any other part of the realm, he’d fly her the hell home at dawn.

More than once, he’d almost talked her into another round in the bedroom, but she kept steeling herself against him. She held rigidly to her rehabilitation philosophy and for some reason, he couldn’t get her to see that every time he fought and prevailed over yet another wraith-pair that he was saving dozens, maybe even hundreds of innocent realm lives.

Though she would concede that he had a point, she didn’t sway from her belief that wraith-pairs could and should be rehabilitated.

He thought her position foolish beyond words.

As she locked up the diner, he held out his arm to her.

This was the moment he loved best, when she slid her arm around his neck, climbed onto his booted foot and he pulled her tight against him. She smelled like berries soaked in red wine. She tasted like that, too. He ached to feed from her throat, something she’d never allowed him to do, but Goddess help him he wanted to know, just once, what it would feel like sucking from her vein, and what her blood would taste like.

A full-body shiver ripped through him.

“Not gonna happen, Zeph.” She understood him pretty well, too.

“I know. But you smell so good.”

“Did you call one of your doneuses?” She looked angry now, her brows pinched together. “Even I can sense that your blood-needs are at a critical level.”

“That’s not your concern.”

Because he’d reached mastyr status, he suffered from chronic blood-starvation that kept his nerves raw and his stomach cramping. He had to use a donor at least once a day, which kept him alive but didn’t do much to alleviate his symptoms. But like all mastyrs, he’d learned to live with his suffering as just one of the unfortunate results of gaining an unparalleled level of battling power.

And that power allowed him to hunt down and destroy several wraith-pairs every night, all by himself.

Before he took to the skies, he turned into her and licked her ear, hoping to tease her into a couple of hours with him in her bedroom, but she drew back.

“Hey, none of that.”

He smiled. “But you like it so much.”

He felt her hesitation and his chest lit up with sudden hope.

She shook her head. “Just take me home, Zeph. I’m tired and my feet hurt.” Her gaze flitted past him and her face twisted with sudden horror. “Red wind. Sweet Goddess, no.”

An unusual red wind always presaged the arrival of wraith-pairs, but not everyone could see the telltale sign of the Invictus. Yet apparently Alesia could.

He felt the vibration in the air at almost the same moment as he released her, shoving her behind him for protection. He turned to face the wraith and in this case her bonded troll. She wore the typical gauzy red strips of fabric that most wraiths wore and the troll had a vicious, fierce look as he lifted a battle axe, ready to engage.

The wraith shrieked, a sound designed to strike fear into the hearts of their intended victims.

Just stay behind me, he pathed to Alesia. And whatever you do, don’t run.

Not going anywhere.

Zephyr dropped into his hunched battling position, shoulders lowered slightly as he gathered power from all around him, the earth, the air, the nearby pine forest. At the same time, his mastyr level of power allowed him to erect a protective blue shield between himself and the wraith-pair that would help keep Alesia safe.

“This one has power,” the wraith shouted, hovering a few inches above the gravel. “But we can take him.”

“Yes, mistress.”

The troll lifted his arm and the axe flew. At the same time, the wraith shot a powerful red blast from her hand. Both were aimed at Zephyr.

His shield shunted the axe aside and he countered the wraith’s battling frequency with his own. He settled into his power and created a surge that broke apart the wraith’s energy beam so that the resulting unimpeded flow hit her square in the chest.

She screamed as she flew backward several yards, while the troll collapsed where he stood. Zephyr wasn’t surprised, since the bonded mates often became incapacitated when the controlling wraith was injured.

He lowered his blue shield and was about to go in for the kill, when he felt a hand on his arm. “Don’t, Zeph, please. Call for someone to take them to the rehab prison. Please.”

The wraith was already rising, clearly a profound self-healer. She bared her yellow fangs and hissed. Her long, thin blond hair floated around her head, having a life of its own.

“Please, Zeph. I knew this troll before he was abducted. He had an auto parts business about two miles from here and used to eat at my diner every night. He lost his wife in the attack, but he didn’t deserve this fate, to lose his essential identity when the wraith bound him. Don’t you get that part of the equation? For every wraith-pair that you save, you’ll be bringing a realm-person back from the dead?”

He stared at her hard, willing her to understand. “But how many have they killed tonight? That’s what you’re not considering, what you never think about.”

Tears tracked her cheeks. It occurred to him suddenly that she must have other reasons, more personal reasons for feeling this strongly. But he’d seen way too many innocent people drained-to-death, or slaughtered outright, to believe it would be wise to let either of these two live.

“Zeph, I’m begging you.”

“Even if I called for help, the recovery team wouldn’t arrive for hours. I’d have to spend the better part of the morning, probably in your diner, continuing to hurt them in order to keep them locked down. And even then, surely you know the rehab rates are really low.”

But she was adamant and though it went against his principles in the war against the Invictus, he knew for her sake, he had to try.

He was about to acquiesce and make the call, when suddenly two more wraith-pairs dropped out of the night sky. In addition, the time he’d used up arguing with Alesia, had given the wraith enough time to complete her healing.

“Oh, Shit.”

Alesia grabbed his arm. “Zeph, what are we going to do? Can you battle all three pairs and survive?”

Only if he was alone, but he didn’t tell her that. Instead, he shifted into action and without giving Alesia a warning, he whipped her into his arms, shot straight up into the night sky, then streaked north as fast as he could.

If none of the wraith-pairs were unusually fast, he’d reach his locked-down, fortress-like home and they’d be safe…

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000030_00040]I hope you enjoyed chapter one of TRAPPED!  Let the Blood Rose Series become a new journey for you!

Blood Rose Tales Box Set: Trapped, Hunger & Seduced

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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!

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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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2 thoughts on “Blood Rose Tale #1 – Trapped

  1. I just finished the ascention series really enjoyed the books The series was very captivating to read about well written kept me entertained .I have cancer and this series made me get some very tough times during my treatments.Now I can’t wait to start on the other series of her other novels find a new author to enjoy.

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