Blood Rose Tale #2: Hunger

 

Photo of Caris Roane Paranormal Romance AuthorHunger

Hi, Everyone!  And welcome to my second “Blood Rose Tale” called:  HUNGER!!!

The Blood Rose Tales are a short novella length, just right for telling those stories that explore a unique aspect of the world of the Nine Realms!

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“Hunger” reaches right into the break-up point of the relationship between soon-to-be mastyr vampire, Yolen and his woman, Brianna.  He’s a detective with the Nine Realms Police Force in the city of Cameron in Bergisson Realm.  She’s a local artist, gaining in reputation daily. But his refusal to attend her upcoming exhibition, her first in a year, is their current bone of contention.  She needs more from her man and he holds back for the noble reason that he believes he’s keeping her safe by keeping his distance.  But Brianna can no longer bear that their relationship is limited to once-a-week dates and she’s ready to break up with him, much to his dismay!!!

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Hunger: Blood Rose Tales 2

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More about HUNGER!

Detective Yolen of the Nine Realms police force strives to keep his dissatisfied girlfriend safe from a mastyr vampire intent on possessing her at all costs.

He won’t become a mastyr vampire just to please his woman…

Yolen keeps his love life and his work life separate with one goal in mind – to protect Brianna.  After seeing his best friend slaughtered by the enemy, he will do whatever it takes to ensure Brianna’s safety even if it means holding her at a distance.  But the woman doesn’t seem to understand and demands more of him. At the same time, his mastyr calling surges whenever he’s around her, causing him to crave her more than ever. Because he believes in what he’s doing, however, he digs in his heels and sticks to seeing her only on Friday nights.  But does he risk losing the woman he loves by keeping her at arm’s length?

 She needs so much more from the man she loves…

Brianna longs for a deeper connection with Yolen, the man she loves, but he’s sworn to limit their relationship to a date once-a-week.  At the same time, her heart labors with an overproduction of what her vampire boyfriend needs the most, yet he’s not around to relieve the strain on her heart.  When another vampire courts her, one who has already embraced his mastyr calling, Brianna is drawn to him in a way she doesn’t understand.  She can’t seem to help herself as she agrees to go out with him.  Yet, how can she turn away from Yolen when she loves him body and soul? Will Yolen finally relent and give her what she needs?

Hunger: Blood Rose Tales 2

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

Chapter One

“If you still refuse to budge, I don’t see the point. We should go our separate ways.”

Brianna sat with her boyfriend in their favorite bar, The Long Tooth, uncertain whether to break up with him or not. She tugged her shawl around her shoulders, her throat tight.

“Don’t do this.” Yolen looked hurt, but she refused to get lost as she always did in his dark brown eyes and in the scent he gave off like smoky wood, burning by a river. Sweet Goddess, she craved that scent. “You know I love you. Tell me you know I love you.”

She drew in a deep breath. “I do. But I need more from you and yes, I know you hate hearing that.”

He narrowed his gaze and leaned back in chair. “Wait a minute. Is this because I’m not going to your exhibition?”

“In part.” Her art show was their current bone of contention, but might just be their last. “This is the first one I’ve had in a year and given the write-ups in the Bergisson News, this could be a turning point in my career. At the very least, I want my boyfriend there and I don’t think that’s asking too much.”

His expression hardened and his gorgeous eyes started throwing off sparks. “So I was right. We wouldn’t even be having this conversation if I’d set aside my work schedule to be with you at the gallery tomorrow night.”

She sighed because this meant getting to the heart of things. “You’re missing the point. The exhibition is only part of the problem.”

“And I think you’re being ridiculous. We’ve got a great thing here.” He crossed his arms over his chest, which of course made his biceps look like the size of small boulders. A shiver raced through her all the way to her toes. She loved his body, loved making love with him. Hell, she loved everything about him, except that he was so damn obstinate about the strict box into which he’d crammed their relationship.

Friday nights.

That’s all she ever got.

“You’re not listening to me.”

He compressed his lips. Not a good sign, but a very familiar one. She knew what would follow almost as certainly as night followed day. She tensed up, waiting for the lecture.

But he surprised her. Instead, of going into his full-blown diatribe on how his plan was best for all concerned, he slid his arm around her shoulders and held her gaze. He was only a few inches away and she was pretty sure her heart had just slammed out a few extra beats. “This is the way I keep you safe. Don’t you get that, Brianna? Distance is good given that those of us in homicide are targeted by the enemy. Try to remember what happened to Alec and his woman. She died because she was with him when the wraith-pairs attacked. And he was a mastyr vampire.”

“I know you believe what you’re saying, but seeing you only once a week just isn’t working. I can’t explain it, but I get so hungry for you and I need so much more—like talking to you throughout the week, being with you, sharing your bed—”

Suddenly, he dropped his arm off her shoulders. “Fuck. I know what this about. It’s because I won’t embrace my mastyr calling, isn’t it? You and Ethan, always on me about this.”

She widened her eyes, startled how he’d shifted the subject. “I never said that,” she responded, shoving at his arm. “I do not pick on you about your refusal to rise to mastyr status, nor does Mastyr Ethan.”

“But you think it. You’ve shared your opinion often enough.”

“I’m sorry, but what universe are you living in? I think I may have said twice that you should think about it. That’s all. Just think about it and I’ve never brought it up again.”

He frowned. “You’re right and I’ll concede that.” But he rose suddenly. “I’ll get us some beers and I’ll try to calm down. But you’re really pissing me off tonight and I had all this stuff planned.”

“What stuff?”

“Just forget it. Forget I said anything.”

She watched Yolen wend his way through tall tables, stools, and chatting customers. The bar had an industrial feel with exposed ductwork and lamps that hung suspended from the twenty foot ceiling. Old, beat-up Bergisson license plates, along with some from their neighboring U.S. access point of Louisiana, covered the red brick wall behind a long glossy wood bar.

She felt guilty as she always did when she made a push. Yolen wasn’t a bad boyfriend. Far from it. And he always made their Friday nights together special. That he might have had something arranged for later, for just the two of them would have been exactly his speed and she appreciated the effort he made.

But her heart ached at the serious gap between what she had with him and what she needed. She also knew it wasn’t entirely his fault because for some reason, in recent weeks, she’d developed deep and at times almost painful longings to be so much closer to him, to share her life more fully with him.

She even carried around a strange weight in her chest, especially heavy on Friday nights before she fed him. Though she’d dated a lot of vampires, Yolen was the first one who had ever pierced her throat, a profoundly intimate act. And she loved him fiercely like air to her lungs.

She put a hand to her chest and rubbed. And there it was the weight and the ache.

But she couldn’t continue like this. Her feelings of desperation were tearing her apart. Unless he made more room for her in his life, she had to let him go, had to move on.

~ ~ ~

Yolen shook off the anger that radiated through his brain, making his biceps flex and release. He hated fighting with Brianna. But more importantly, he didn’t like her efforts to push him into something he truly disagreed with. He had his world set up very carefully to ensure that those he cared about stayed safe, yet somehow she refused to understand that.

But the thought of breaking up, of never seeing her again, tore a hole in his chest. He loved Brianna, more than he could say. The sex was amazing, she made him laugh, and they shared a lot of things in common, especially their love of Cameron, Bergisson Realm’s largest city.

He was also sorry he’d have to miss her exhibition, but it couldn’t be helped. He worked one of Cameron’s toughest crime districts, six nights a week, until dawn, keeping their city safe. He spent his hours investigating every murder within his jurisdiction and usually once a night helped the Bergisson Vampire Guard battle Invictus wraith-pairs.

Yet apparently all that wasn’t good enough for Brianna.

As he moved toward the bar, he worked to set aside his frustration. This storm would blow over soon enough, hopefully after a couple of beers. In the meantime, he greeted friends, shook a few hands, clapped some shoulders, and felt at least some of his aggravation drift away.

When he reached the bar, he glanced back at her. With any other woman, this kind of conversation would have obliterated his interest and the relationship would have disintegrated in a very short period of time. But in the year he’d dated Brianna, she’d gotten under his skin like no other woman he’d ever known.

It helped that she was beautiful. She had a sexy, almost willowy appearance with graceful fingers, a long, elegant throat that appealed to his vampire nature, and a way of moving that reminded him of the wind. Her light blue eyes, fringed with dark lashes, flashed lightning at times, and at others, when he was looking down at her, appeared like bottomless pools into which he could get completely lost.

Her long blond hair curled just at the tips and right now she wore it pushed back behind her left ear. She wore a trio of thin gold rings just below the sexy, fae ear-point. More than once he’d used his tongue along those rings to work her up.

His whole body heated up at the thought.

At the same time, he felt damn uneasy. He didn’t want to let Brianna go. For one thing, she got him. She never bitched about his temper or even flinched when he expressed a contrary opinion. Instead, she’d give him that straight-on look of hers until he finally apologized for being a Neanderthal and rephrased his statement.

He just didn’t understand why she couldn’t see how perfect their current arrangement was. They had the best Friday night dates of any couple he knew, and he saw to that.

He contributed.

In fact, tonight he’d planned on doing something he’d never done before, and for him this was a big concession. For the first time ever, he intended to take her back to his house.

He never brought women to his riverside home. But he knew Brianna needed more and he’d worked with his housekeeper to make tonight special. He’d timed things to have champagne ready in an iced bucket, flowers in a vase, rose petals on the carpet, lots of candles lighting the place in a glow. He’d even stacked up a fire on the hearth, ready to be lit when he brought her home. And he’d done this because he cared about her.

He just didn’t understand why she’d suddenly become so demanding? If he thought back to the time when things had shifted, he recalled that a tough battling situation one night had forced his mastyr calling to surge. He’d been sick as a dog afterwards, having tamped his calling down. He hated the surges, but having faced off against two wraith-pairs, and almost dying, had brought the flow of power rising, begging to be fully embraced. Fortunately, Mastyr Ethan had shown up, the ruler of Bergisson and the most powerful vampire in their realm. He’d taken both pairs out in less than a minute.

But after that surge, things with Brianna had grown strained. Yes, he could date the moment from exactly that point.

He just didn’t know why and to give her credit, she really hadn’t picked at him about accepting his calling and rising to mastyr status. That was all on him.

~ ~ ~

Brianna watched Yolen as he stood at the bar. He waited for a couple of pints and as always her gaze fell to his gorgeous ass tucked into snug, sexy jeans. He worked out and it showed. He had massive shoulders that tapered to a lean waist.

She had such a thing for him.

He wore his long, wavy brown hair in the woven clasp more typical of the Vampire Guard than the local police force. Decades earlier, he’d been a Guardsman for a while, but had found he preferred working in a city setting. He knew Ethan, the Mastyr of Bergisson, really well and in years past had done some serious bar-hopping with him, though that was well before her time.

She wished like anything she didn’t have to break up with Yolen, but her relationship had moved into a difficult no-man’s-land, the one involving what she needed and just how much he wasn’t willing to budge.

Not a single inch.

He wasn’t even coming to her exhibition, her first in a year, the one that could possibly define her entire future. And all because he had their relationship in a tidy little Friday night box. And in-between, he had a no-call policy so that for six days out of seven she was lonely as hell for him.

She watched him chat with friends at the bar, other vampires getting drinks for their dates. He laughed and smiled. He had an easy charisma that reminded her of Ethan, that kind of charm with a broad smile, handsome teeth, eyes that carried a lot of life and intelligence.

And this could well be their last date.

The man had his reasons. She’d give him that. He swore that keeping their dating life limited kept her physically safe. Even if on an essential level she disagreed with him, she couldn’t fault him for being capricious. Just unyielding.

He worked hard, in a dangerous line of work and had lost a good friend, Alec, a year ago to an enemy attack shortly after the friend had reached mastyr status. That Alec’s woman had died with him had affected Yolen deeply.

Yolen contended that Alec’s death had been premeditated, that the Invictus had targeted him because he’d gained a new level of power and had become an even greater threat. So the Invictus had singled him out because the fiendish element in the Nine Realms made up exclusively of bonded wraith-pairs, had become more organized in recent years. Brianna had no difficulty at all believing that Alec’s death had been part of a plot.

Yet despite Yolen’s reasons, every ounce of her being cried out for a greater connection to him.

Her throat grew unbearably tight at the thought of never seeing him again, so she got busy removing her shawl and draping it over the back of her chair.

The Long Tooth bar was their usual spot, full of warrior-types and the fae women who went for them. She waved at a few friends, smiled, and looked for some excuse not to break-up with her man.

The door behind her opened and a sudden cool rush of air flowed into the bar. She turned, as most everyone did, to check out the latest arrivals.

Two vampires walked in, one of them a mastyr with a swagger in his step, Mastyr Keynes. He didn’t belong to the Bergisson Guard, but he could have, he was that big and had that much power.

Without understanding exactly why, her gaze flipped to Keynes and for some reason got stuck. Was it her imagination or did he have a new and very intriguing aura going on? Even her heart started beating harder just looking at him.

She knew who Keynes was, of course. Everyone in Cameron did, though she’d never met him. He was a man of considerable wealth, who had a number of business interests in the city.

The funny thing was, she’d always thought him a bit arrogant for her tastes, very full of himself. But tonight somehow he seemed different. She’d never noticed before how much his mastyr status appealed to her.

Some said that if Yolen ever finally tapped into his mastyr calling he’d be equal to Ethan who ruled all of Bergisson Realm because of the level of his power. She knew that when a vampire accepted his mastyr calling and embraced the new mantle, the Sidhe Council measured his ability in order to determine if he should become the new ruler of his realm.

Nine Realms law was simple: the most powerful vampire ruled.

Brianna didn’t need Yolen to embrace his power, not if he didn’t want to, but she did need more from him. Although she supposed it was possible that the two concepts were somehow connected, though she truly hadn’t considered the idea before. Did Yolen’s unwillingness to become a mastyr vampire have something to do with how much he held back in his relationship with her?

Keynes met her gaze and narrowed his sharp, hawkish gray eyes as he watched her. She couldn’t look away. She didn’t even want to.

He whispered something to his wingman, who nodded, glanced at Brianna with a knowing smile, then headed toward the bar.

Keynes drew close. “You’re the artist, Brianna, right?” He had a resonant voice, though not as deep as Yolen’s.

“I am. And you’re Mastyr Keynes.”

He nodded. “You go out with that tall detective who works one of the eastern districts, if I’m not mistaken.”

She still couldn’t drag her gaze away from Keynes as she gestured with a toss of her hand the opposite direction. “Yolen’s at the bar.”

Keynes smiled. “That’s it. Detective Yolen. But why would he leave you alone for even a second? He seems to be taking some pretty serious risks with you.”

She turned toward him a little more, still surprised by his sudden appeal. “He’s getting us a couple of beers. Would you care to join us?” Okay, this was way off the grid, inviting another man to join in her date with Yolen. Somewhere deep inside her brain warning bells started going off.

His gaze drifted down the front of her shirt, dwelling for a long moment on her cleavage. She’d worn the deep-cut blouse for Yolen, yet right now, she didn’t mind Keynes looking. Sure enough, another warning bell sounded. What the hell was going on with her? Maybe she was more intent on ending things with Yolen than she’d realized.

His gaze drifted up her throat and his nostrils flared. “By all the elf lords,” he murmured on what sounded like a pained whisper, “you smell incredible.”

He breathed in again, closing his eyes this time, then leaning close. When he opened them once more, the hunger she saw there aroused her something fierce. Sweet Goddess, what the hell was happening?

But what she said next, startled her, as though she’d completely lost her moral compass. “See anything you want?” Then she slowly slid her hair away from her throat. Was this her? Why was she doing this? She didn’t understand. But a sudden need to feed the vampire rolled through her in a steady, hot wave.

“You smell like ancient seas rich with life, with a kind of sweet flower underneath. I don’t think I’ve ever known anything like it.”

Slowly, he settled a hand on her shoulder, moving in tight to sniff all along her cheek.

His touch ignited a fire that stunned Brianna and she almost asked him to take her out of there, to take her home, even to take her to bed.

But she couldn’t do that to Yolen. She tried to draw back, but his hand was clamped on her shoulder and a terrible part of her didn’t want him to let go. And she really didn’t understand why her heart pounded so heavily in her chest, crying out to satisfy what she could sense was the vampire’s terrible craving for her blood.

~ ~ ~

Yolen tucked his wallet into the back pocket of his jeans and was about to pick up the two pints he’d just bought, when an odd vibration in the air started pummeling him.

Leaving the beers where they were, he turned slowly in Brianna’s direction. Both biceps flexed all over again, but for a different reason. This time, he smelled Brianna’s desire on the air, his woman’s unique scent, a faint whiff of jasmine combined with sea air, a scent he’d come to love and to savor.

A scent meant only for him.

But a man leaned over her, way too close.

Mastyr Keynes.

He appeared to be nuzzling Brianna’s neck, his hand caressing her shoulder.

Worse, Brianna was into him.

Yolen had only been gone a couple of minutes and not only had another man put the moves on his woman, but Brianna liked what he was doing.

He heard a strange rushing sound in his ears, blood through his veins. Power rose in a terrifying geyser, a familiar surge attached to his mastyr calling, and he roared.

He launched himself in levitated flight across the room, well above the crowd. He nicked some of the hanging lights at the same time, which sent people ducking and screaming.

Keynes, in slow motion, pivoted in his direction, and smiled, his eyes darkening. Then he launched at Yolen.

At the same moment, he saw Brianna’s eyes widen. She grabbed her shawl and her satchel and moved to the far wall.

Good. She was safe.

Then it was game on as he caught the bastard midair and brought him hard to the floor, banging into chairs. Things crashed around him as he pounded Keynes’s face, that smug look of mastyr self-importance.

Something struck at his own chin and cheek a couple of times, but he wasn’t feeling anything except the need to connect his fist with any part of Keynes’s body.

But Keynes was damn strong and jumped his feet. Yolen followed and got in a hard hit. Keynes’s head jerked back, just enough for Yolen to watch as Brianna slung her shawl over her shoulders and, with her satchel tucked beneath her arm, left the bar.

His woman was leaving. He didn’t want her to leave. He couldn’t let her leave.

When she opened the door, he even felt a cool breeze blow through the space or maybe it was the wind caused by Keynes’s fist as he hit Yolen square on his unguarded jaw.

Stars followed, as well as an odd view of the bar’s ceiling and swinging overhead lights.

Yolen drifted to the floor, then everything went dark.

~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~

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

Hunger: Blood Rose Tales 2

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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 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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3 thoughts on “Blood Rose Tale #2: Hunger

  1. Donna, though we don’t know why, KOBO just takes longer for books to appear on their website than either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. But yes, we’ve uploaded the book. Just keep checking back with them!

    Hugs,
    Caris

  2. I have trouble finding your books on my IPHONE. Is there an easier site to find & download them. Love your stuff.

  3. Pingback: Goodness In My Garden - Caris RoaneCaris Roane

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