Welcome to EMBRACE THE PASSION Chapter One!
EMBRACE THE PASSION is the fourth book in the BLOOD ROSE SERIES, featuring super-hunky Mastyr Seth and his woman, Lorelei, who carries four genetic realm strains!
For more information and for the buy links, go here!
In a real twist, we finally get to meet the shifter population of the Nine Realms, since the Blood Rose phenomenon hits Lorelei hard and ignites her shifter-ness. And Mastyr Seth, a highly disciplined, analytical vampire, discovers he has a real wild side when he scents Lorelei’s shifter earthiness!
Mastyr Seth craves his shifter bodyguard, Lorelei, but with her close connection to the enemy, how can he ever trust her?
He’s lived a solitary life and needs no one…
Mastyr Vampire Seth 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. He’s lived a life of enforced solitude as Mastyr of Walvashorr Realm, but when the enemy arrives, ready to invade his land, he must rely on his bodyguard more than he ever dreamed possible. So much proximity breaks through his resistance and he takes the woman, marking her in a shocking shifter way that overturns his careful, analytical world. But when her connection to the enemy puts his realm in danger, how can he embrace a serious relationship with her?
She’s loved him from the first moment she saw him…
Lorelei guards Seth night after night, her heart on fire. She’s loved him from the time she snuck into his workout room and watched him go through his rigid exercise routine. Now serving as his bodyguard, she wants to take her relationship with the Mastyr of Walvashorr to the next level, but Seth holds back. That he desires her comes through in his wicked mossy scent, which in turn ignites her inner wolf. When he finally gives in to his own cravings and makes his move, she shows him how hot shifter-love can be. But will she ever be more than just his bodyguard?
And now, the entire first chapter from EMBRACE THE PASSION!!!
As the snowy December evening gave way to full-dark, Lorelei took up her bodyguard position outside Mastyr Seth’s backdoor. She was about as qualified to guard the mastyr of Walvashorr Realm as a rabbit taking on a hawk, but she was here by Queen Rosamunde’s orders, so here she’d stay.
Her real problem, however, went way beyond her lack of any real battle skills, since she’d done the unthinkable and actually fallen in love with the man. Seth had a long history of keeping his distance from anything that smacked of a relationship and he had absolutely no reason to be interested in a realm-person of questionable parentage.
Lorelei’s mother was the present scourge of the Nine Realms and the power behind the recent, deadly Invictus insurgence. No self-respecting mastyr could ever involve himself with the daughter of the ancient fae, Margetta, the one responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of realm-folk.
Yet hope, as always, refused to die.
She trembled now as she waited for him, standing in the snow, her heart thumping heavily in her chest. She savored this first moment of the night, anticipating the long hours ahead in Seth’s company, traversing the realm beside him, hunting the enemy of the Nine Realms, the dreaded Invictus wraith-pairs.
She heard him moving through the house, heading in her direction. He knew by now to expect her the moment the sun set fully in the west.
His wonderful mossy scent reached her first, an erotic musk that rippled along the air and teased her shifter vibration first, then her overworked fae mating vibration. From the first time she’d seen him at the queen’s castle two months ago, she’d had the worst crush on the vampire.
A moment later, he came into view through the glass door.
He arrived at the kitchen threshold and paused to buckle the belt that angled across his long leather Guardsman coat. Meeting her gaze though the glass door, he frowned, his expression, as usual, disapproving.
He lifted his chin. “You might as well come in. I have a call to make and you’re shivering.”
She couldn’t tell him the truth, that she wasn’t cold at all, that she shook because of him and not because of the below freezing mountain temps.
She opened the door and stepped inside, but her breathing stalled out. Her sensitive shifter-based DNA might have been able to catch his scent while standing outside his home, but now that her furry boots were planted inside his kitchen, a redolence of moss and Seth combined almost knocked her over.
She swallowed hard, trying to control the sudden swell of desire that washed through her. “Good evening, mastyr. I’m here to serve.”
He shook his head as he straightened his belt. “One of these days you’ll realize how foolish this is. You’re not battle trained, Lorelei, so how the hell can you serve as my bodyguard?”
She smiled. “We’ve been over this how many times? You’re not getting rid of me so you might as well get used to it.”
“Stubborn. Very stubborn.”
He might be scowling, but Lorelei saw the faint glimmer of amusement in his soft gray-green eyes and that his lips almost curved. Desire once more curled through her. Was it possible he wasn’t indifferent to her?
He pulled his phone from the pocket of his black battle leathers and turned away from her slightly to make his call. “Hey, Aaron, how are things shaping up? Is the Guard on patrol?”
He spoke with his second-in-command, the man in charge of the Walvashorr Vampire Guard. She’d been by Seth’s side a full month now, so she could repeat verbatim how this conversation would go, that Aaron had all the Guardsmen out on patrol throughout the southern half of Walvashorr realm, which also included the lower portion of the Shauck Mountain Range. Seth would ask if there’d been any fatalities among his realm-folk, and he would scowl if Aaron told him there were.
No scowl yet, but the night was young.
Because Seth had focused his attention elsewhere and had fixed his gaze well away from hers, Lorelei allowed herself one dizzying look at the Mastyr of Walvashorr.
He wore his long, thick brown hair pulled back in the heavy woven clasp that all the Guardsmen wore, allowing her an easy view of straight brows, strong, angled cheekbones, a slightly aquiline nose that gave him a sexy, hawkish appearance, and a firm jaw line. He was incredibly handsome with a serious demeanor that rarely changed.
He didn’t have the large, boisterous personality of some of the mastyrs like Jude of Kellcasse or Ethan of Bergisson. He was more like Gerrod in that he ruled with a stoic, dedicated drive that overshadowed everything else in his life.
More than all the other ruling mastyrs, Seth lived an almost solitary existence. He rarely had any of his Guardsmen over to his house for social reasons, not even Aaron. And though he had a small apartment in the southern plains of his realm, he only stayed there if he was caught out patrolling near dawn and couldn’t get back to his Shauck Gorge home. And this dwelling was tens of miles away from the nearest town.
He stood almost six-seven, something she loved because she was just shy of six foot herself. She’d be very comfortable in his arms, his kissable lips only inches away.
Of course this thought brought her back to her surroundings because she tried very hard to keep her personal fantasies, like longing for Seth’s arms, and yes, his bed, from affecting her professional relationship with him.
She cleared her throat and looked away from him. She clasped her hands tightly together behind her back in hopes that he wouldn’t notice her renewed trembling. To say she had a thing for Mastyr Seth was like saying the moon was round.
Her gaze drifted through the north-facing window of the breakfast nook and landed on the snow-crusted, steel railing that ran the length of the broad, wrap-around porch. Seth’s home was an amazing architectural wonder. He’d hired one of the Nine Realms’ leading architects to design a modern structure that could hang off the side of the granite-based gorge. The result was a single-story, elegant structure of dark wood and black steel supports, suspended two hundred feet above the Athalia River. She’d come to love the dynamic house, as much a representation of the owner as it was his permanent dwelling.
The shifter part of her relationship with him was simple; she knew Seth as her pack and she doubted that would ever change. But the fae part of her savored what was complicated and had fallen hopelessly in love with him.
Seth, however, hadn’t exactly taken to her presence and he definitely didn’t appreciate her being his bodyguard but he was right. She had no battle experience nor the physical strength to fight off an attacker.
But Queen Rosamunde had commanded Lorelei to serve as his bodyguard, and that was enough for her. And perhaps to some degree, enough for Seth, since he always permitted her to track him through the night. He was a man of the law and he obeyed the queen. At the same time, he didn’t hide the fact that he’d petitioned Rosamunde to have Lorelei removed from his service.
Her gaze traveled beyond the railing to the view of Defiance Falls in the distance. She could hear the falls though they were a half-mile away.
The view was exquisite, of the mountains and forest blanketed with snow. Rosamunde may have had her own reasons for sending Lorelei to Walvashorr, but Lorelei had never been happier. She loved the forest, the falls, the fast-moving frothy river below, and especially her new life serving Mastyr Seth.
She stood up a little straighter, proud that she was finally making a contribution to her world instead of living a half-life on the run as she had for the first ninety years of her existence.
Maybe she lacked traditional Guardsman credentials, but her faeness, always dipping into the future, told her that she would one day be of great use to Seth.
He hung up his phone and drew close, searching her eyes. “You do understand that I worry like hell every night you traipse along beside me?”
“I know. But the realm part of me understands that I’m supposed to be here.”
“I’m still petitioning the queen because I believe you put yourself at risk every time we head out.”
Again, she straightened her shoulders. “For as long as it lasts, I’ll serve as your bodyguard.”
She couldn’t say the rest—that she’d lay down her life for him, or for the queen who’d made her new life possible. Queen Rosamunde had taught her the layered enthrallment skills that now protected her from Margetta.
Even if Lorelei hadn’t had a deep attraction and very realm-like commitment to Mastyr Seth, she would have remained at his side simply out of loyalty and gratitude to Rosamunde.
He switched suddenly to telepathy, a sure sign he was ready to go out on patrol. You intend to shift to wolf anytime soon?
Did she detect a slight curve of the mastyr’s lips? Was it possible Seth was teasing her? She’d been seeing more of this side of him over the past two weeks. Just waiting on you, mastyr, but you sure are chatty with Aaron these days.
Chatty? You’re calling me chatty?
She grinned. If the boot fits–
He passed by her and opened the door, holding it wide for her. Let’s go, bodyguard.
Lorelei nodded as her heart thrummed with excitement. The few short weeks she’d been doing this had given her a love of the shifter-side of her genetics that she’d never really explored before, of embracing her wolf-side and running. Previously, she lived in her fae form, but, Sweet Goddess, how she loved to run.
In a swift blur of intention and movement, she became a wolf. Her clothes were absorbed as part of the incredible process so that later, when she shifted back to full fae form, she’d be dressed as before, in full winter gear, furry boots and all.
It was damn cold in the Shauck Mountains, so despite her shifter metabolism, she was grateful she’d be running most of the night.
She ran past him and by habit bounded up the incline toward the mastyr’s favorite launch-point at the top of the steep ridge behind his house.
* * * * * * * * *
Seth’s chest ached in the strangest way as he watched Lorelei’s strong white wolf form disappear up the trail. Her presence in his life disturbed him more than he would have ever believed possible.
She was a fairly delicate woman and wouldn’t be of much use in a hand-to-hand combat situation despite the fact that she carried a helluva lot of latent realm-power. However, she could sniff out the presence of Invictus wraith-pairs from several miles away, so her frequent warnings had been invaluable. He always gave credit where credit was due. But he still didn’t know what the queen had been thinking to send her to him.
Yet he knew that the real trouble lay deeper, because from the first moment she’d shown herself to him, a good month ago, he’d been way too attracted to her. She’d appeared at his front door at full-dark wearing a Russian fur hat, a short jacket, tight pants and furry boots, the kind she’d worn since. And from that moment until now, she’d pretty much overtaken his thoughts, though he worked hard to make sure she didn’t know it.
She was beautiful, which didn’t help, with large doe eyes, softly arched brows, and layered dark brown hair that floated around her shoulders and down her back. A vulnerability clung to this woman, making him want to drag her into his arms and hold her close, to protect her, to love her, to take her into his bed and keep her there.
More than once, his mating frequency had lit on fire when he’d opened the back door for her first thing at night. He was drawn to her in a way he hadn’t experienced in a long time.
A very long time.
Centuries, in fact.
But something more than just her appearance had snagged him, maybe her smile because she seemed to find a lot of pleasure in life, an anomaly given her horrendous background as the daughter of Margetta, the great evil of the Nine Realms.
He knew a number of critical things about Lorelei, having vetted her when she’d first shown up. Basically, she’d been kept a solitary prisoner during her growing up years without company of children her own age. A good-hearted troll, named Genevieve, had raised her and even helped her to escape.
Lorelei had spent her adult life running from Margetta until she’d come under the queen’s wing and Rosamunde had taught her some serious enthrallment skills. Now she was free from her mother’s ability to locate her so that she could live wherever she wanted.
And now she was here.
Closing the back door, he followed after the wolf, levitating and flying just a foot above the snow covered trail. He stuck close to the ground to avoid detection.
He found her at the uppermost peak of the ridge, well above the forest tree line, so that he had a spectacular view in all directions of the Shauck Mountains. The vast range extended across nearly the entire northern half of his realm.
The recent snowstorm had eased up but still clouded the night sky, blanking out the stars. His vampire night vision, however, warmed up the snow-laden scene. The mountains had been his home for centuries and he loved it here.
Lorelei waited a few yards away, looking lean and regal as she sat on her haunches, nose sniffing the air and never getting too close to him, something he preferred. Despite that he liked her and approved of her work ethic, for her own safety he wanted her removed from his service. He would defer to the queen, of course, but at this point, he feared Lorelei would become a hindrance in some future encounter and she’d get hurt, or worse, die.
Well, he couldn’t change that tonight.
He put a hand to his stomach, cramping already even though one of his vampire doneuses had come and gone.
All mastyr vampires suffered as he did. Something about the increase in power that came with reaching mastyr status created a corresponding chronic, and very painful blood starvation. He could have fed from a donor on the hour, every hour, but he’d still cramp up as he did now.
He felt Aaron tap his telepathic frequency. Something so soon, Aaron? We’ve just gotten started.
The worst. An elven family slaughtered in the south, near Kavelith Gorge but the Invictus pair got away.
Shit. He took a deep breath. I’m at Shauck Gorge. Which direction was the wraith-pair heading?
Okay. I’ll try to intercept. Heading south now. Keep me informed.
He broke off communication and at the same time, from his peripheral, he saw Lorelei’s ears dart forward and her muzzle jerk toward the south.
He pathed to her. What do you see?
He told her quickly about the elven family.
Lorelei didn’t shift her wolf eyes in his direction as she added, I see a wraith-pair, maybe three miles away. They’ve just dipped down the east side of a ridge.
He’d give Lorelei that; she could see farther than any other realm person he’d ever known. Has to be them.
When the echoing shriek of a wraith rolled through the mountains, Seth took to the air in pursuit. He descended swiftly, flying as fast as he could.
By the time he reached the opposite ridge, he could see the pair in the distance and that they’d headed down one of the most difficult trails in the Realm.
From experience, he knew that Lorelei tracked with him. The shifter part of her could run as fast as the most powerful alpha males of the four packs of his realm. Since the time she’d been here, she’d make her way through the mountains, using the numerous footbridges that crisscrossed the hundreds of gorges in this part of the realm.
He knew the paths well, having explored every square mile of his realm from the time he’d learned how to fly. A solitary process, but one he’d savored. Orphaned early in life, when he was eight, he’d built an inner world for himself that kept him satisfied and determined to do right by his mastyr calling.
The Invictus pair he followed involved a wraith and a vampire, the latter just shy of mastyr status, which was a level of power that Seth possessed. However, the bonding that only a wraith could perform with another realm person, created a tremendous surge of power, so that after fifteen miles of pursuit, they were still at least a mile ahead of him.
He picked up his pace, aware the Lorelei tracked with him, racing at full shifter speed.
Another turn in the bend and he saw the wraith-pair in the distance, racing across a shallow meadow and heading toward what he knew to be a box canyon, one called Loperz after a troll family of ancient lineage who ranched there.
He smiled and went faster still.
He had them now because if they dared rise into the air above the mountains, they’d be visible for miles and his Vampire Guard was in flight, hunting for them from every possible direction.
He flew through the meadow, the freezing temperature making him glad for his long Guardsman coat, battle leathers and boots.
From his periphery, he watched the white wolf racing over the snowy ground, leaping over deadfall, but always keeping pace.
He slowed slightly as he approached the narrowing entrance to the canyon, rising higher in the air at the same time. He didn’t want to be caught by a guerilla strike from the surrounding trees.
But the wraith-pair remained tight to the canyon floor, streaking through a scattering of firs, the wraith’s gown of red gauze strips flying behind her, a beacon in the night. Wraiths stayed warm no matter how cold the temperature dropped.
He gradually descended to his original position just above the ground, flying swiftly. The canyon floor spread a half-mile across.
The wraith-pair had also started to slow down and he thought he knew why. They’d probably just discovered that they’d chosen a box canyon. To escape him now, their only hope was to rise up and over the mountains, but they risked revealing their position to his Vampire Guard.
The wraith-pair had just lost the advantage and he smiled a little more.
Another mile and Loperz Canyon would end in a waterfall and a sheer rise to the ridge above.
He also hoped to the Goddess that the troll family had gone into town for supplies.
He listened hard, but he didn’t hear any sounds coming from the direction of their rambling log house.
He pathed to Aaron, I’m at Loperz Canyon. Do you have anyone in the vicinity?
Everyone knew the Loperz place. Arlen Loperz had a fondness for the Walvashorr Guard as well as the Shifter Brigade and fed any at his table who came by during nightly patrols. He brewed a fresh pot of coffee every couple of hours.
I can have three Guardsmen there in ten minutes, but not sooner.
Send them in. The Invictus are here. I’m not seeing any of the family, though. I’m hoping they’re either in hiding or away from the house. Tell the nearest Guardsmen to get here quick but to be careful. This is a dangerous pair.
You got it.
He shut the communication down, slowing his pace at the same time.
The approach to the ranch had a broad wind-break of trees, at least a dozen deep that served as an all-purpose weather barricade. Right now the trees gave him cover until he could assess the situation.
Another shriek sounded over the canyon, louder this time, the wraith giving full expression to her battle-voice.
When he reached the inside edge of the line of trees, not even a small column of chimney smoke rose from the cabin, a good sign that the family was safe.
The wolf growled, maybe a warning, he couldn’t be sure.
But he felt it as well, that something wasn’t right.
The wraith-pair he’d been chasing hung in the air near the waterfall, talking quietly to each other, well beyond the cabin’s position.
The whole situation started to smell like a trap.
The door of the cabin opened, and a second wraith-bonded pair, the mate a powerful vampire, strode out onto the front deck. The vampire fixed his gaze in Seth’s direction.
Even at that distance, he knew he was looking at a mastyr vampire, like the ones Quinlan had encountered in Grochaire Realm just a little over two months ago. With no other sign of Invictus around, Seth made a calculated decision to do what he could to take out the vampire on the porch. Slaying one part of a pair, rendered the other half immobile and sometimes even death followed.
He flew at top speed toward the cabin. The vampire saw him coming, but didn’t move. Instead, as Seth flew closer, a slow smile curved the vampire’s lips.
Lorelei let out a sudden powerful howl, clearly a warning, but of what?
The next moment, a preternaturally charged fae net surrounded Seth as though coming out of nowhere.
He tumbled around then landed hard against several boulders not far from the Loperz’s yard. The air got knocked from his lungs and he’d broken an arm, a few ribs, and shattered his knee.
Holy fuck. He was completely immobilized. He slid off the rock, the jute netting clinging to him and burning his skin, as he landed in the snow.
He pathed to Aaron. I’m trapped in a net. Bones broken. Can’t move.
Three Guardsmen are seven minutes out. Hang tough.
Seth couldn’t tell him the rest, that two wraith-pairs headed in his direction, taking their sweet time, knowing they had him, and that at least one of the bonded vampires was at mastyr status, the other not far behind.
He worked at his healing and by the time he saw the thick leather boots of the vampire, he’d brought his forearm bones into alignment and they were knitting together.
But the pain from his ribs kept him pinned in place, and his knee was a mess.
Despite all that, he gathered his battle energy into both hands, but at the last second he realized he couldn’t fire.
“Won’t do you a damn bit of good, Mastyr Seth. You’ll fry your own ass if you let loose with that charge.” His smile broadened. “The mistress told us you’d fall for the trap and that we should make quick work of you. But I’ve lost too many friends because of you and your Guard, not to savor this moment just a little.” He gathered saliva in his mouth and let it fly.
The spittle landed on Seth’s face. Rage moved in him, and he wanted to attack, but the nature of fae-charged nets meant that any battle energy he might send outward would be reflected by the netting. The vampire was right. He’d kill himself if he discharged a serious energy blast from his hands.
And right now, he had a whisper of time on his side as he stared up at the bonded vampire who had already made the decision not to kill him immediately. “We have someone who can sever the wraith-bond. You’d be free. Her name is Samantha. She’s bound to Mastyr Ethan. I can bring her to Walvashorr with one phone call.”
“What the hell makes you think I want to be free? A bunch of us mastyrs watched you and the others take over our realms, and I promised myself that if I ever had the chance, I’d off as many of you assholes as I could. Today just happens to be my lucky day. Margetta has big plans and I’ll one day rule in this realm, so no, I don’t want you to make a phone call, not today, not ever.”
If he could keep this egomaniac talking, his Guard might get to him in time. “And what exactly would you do with Walvashorr if you had the chance?”
“Trying to buy some time?” He chortled. “It’s okay. A few seconds more won’t matter and I’ll happily share exactly what we will do once we gain power. For starters, we’ll get rid of the lesser folk, weed out a few of the elven and troll lines, build up the wraith and vampire populations, limit the number of shifter packs to one per realm, maybe two. I can at least respect the shifter’s battle ethic.”
“You’re talking genocide.”
“Whatever it takes. But enough of your stall-tactics, mastyr. Time to pay your debt to nature.”
He felt the vampire’s power revving up. His wraith-mate joined him, a beautiful female who wrapped her arms around his shoulders as she floated slightly above him. “Sweet music to my ears, darling. Now kill the prick. Do it slow. I want to watch him suffer.”
“Anything for you, sweetheart.”
Seth knew he was about as close to death as he’d ever been in his long life. His Guard was too far away to intervene and Lorelei was no match for either of these Invictus pairs.
But just as the vampire would have released his blast, a white blur came at the vampire from the side. Lorelei, still in her wolf form, clipped his legs hard and knocked him off-balance.
The vampire spun, falling hard to the snow-covered ground.
Lorelei had just saved his life.
When she leaped to attack once more, however, the wraith leveled a hand-blast at her, hitting her in the side. She yelped and twisted midair to land not far from Seth. That she didn’t instantly spring to her feet told Seth she’d been seriously injured. Lorelei whimpered as she crept on her belly in his direction.
Seth breathed hard, his heart pounding. He had to think of something fast. The moment the wraith wound up her power again, they’d both die.
Lorelei pathed, You’ve got to touch me, mastyr. Now.
What are you saying?
I’ve felt it for a couple of weeks, that we have power between us. Can’t explain.
He pivoted in her direction, but the net prevented him from getting closer. I can’t move any farther than this.
“You fucking bitch.” The vampire had gained his feet and once more pulled his energy into his hand, drawing the vibrations from the earth itself, from the sky, from the mountains, forest, and rocks.
But Lorelei kept crawling toward Seth, leading with her front paws, blood seeping from the wound on her side. He felt it now, the female shifter’s battle vibration, a core of reserve that could be released if only he could make contact. There would even be enough power to destroy the net.
The wraith shrieked her delight. She could have long since added the killing blow but it was clear she preferred to watch the wolf suffer.
A moment later, the original wraith-pair arrived, no doubt having decided that it was safe to join in the fun.
The second wraith’s shrill voice taunted Seth. “I think the mastyr’s got himself some shifter love. Will you look at that, creeping along with her ribs all bloody and exposed. She probably wants to kiss him good-bye.”
The wraith who’d blasted Lorelei caught her mate’s arm. “Aw honey, at least let them say their farewells before you burn them both to a crisp.”
“You’re so romantic.”
Seth, I’m going to breach the net and it’s going to hurt. Just touch me.
Seth got as close as he could to Lorelei. She crawled toward him, inch by inch.
The closer she got, Seth felt her latent power vibrating within her wolf form. Just an inch more. Do it, Lorelei. I can feel what you’ve got.
The vampire called out, “Time to die, Mastyr of Walvashorr.”
Seth glanced over his shoulder as both vampires wound up their energy this time.
He felt them release just as Lorelei shoved her paw through the net and made contact with Seth.
Power flared between them, then erupted, blowing the net apart.
Seth’s ribs and knee still hurt like hell, but now that he was free, he released his battle force through both hands. Lorelei crouched next to him, staying in physical contact and streaming her battle energy into him. He’d never felt so much power before.
Even so, facing two such incredibly powerful wraith-pairs had him battling at the full reach of his ability as streaks of his energy repulsed the powerful red vibrations that came at him from both vampires as well as lesser pulses from their wraith-mates. As weak as he was, he didn’t know how long he could keep it up, especially since he could feel Lorelei’s battle vibration begin to weaken.
Lorelei, how you doing?
I’m dizzy. I think I’ve lost too much blood.
Stay with me. I have Guardsmen on the way. They’re almost here.
But he felt her fade as he continued to battle and suddenly her power just winked out. She’d either fainted or worse, dropped into a coma from loss of blood which meant she’d be dead in a few more minutes.
Without her power support, his own battle energy began to subside. The most he could do was hold a battle shield, but a few good strikes and these two pairs together would take him down.
When both vampires, cheered on by their shrieking wraith-mates, stopped firing in order to rev up for a final blow, Seth knew the moment had come.
While holding his shield steady, he turned toward Lorelei and reached down to put a hand between her ears. Lorelei, I’m so sorry.
His heart felt heavy as hell. He didn’t really even know this woman, but she’d been his companion for the past month and he’d gotten used to her being in his life. And she sure as hell didn’t deserve to die like this. You have one of the sweetest spirits I’ve ever known. Thank you for making my solitary life a little less lonely.
The vampires drew close to his shield. He turned to meet his enemy square, facing death with as much strength as he could muster.
Then all at once, dozens of wolves ran in from every direction, filling the snowy ground all around the Loperz cabin. He couldn’t believe it, but a large portion of his Shifter Brigade had just come to the rescue and by the looks of it, not only from one pack, but from all four. Unbelievable.
They transformed swiftly from their wolf forms to upright warriors, clothed in their Shifter Brigade uniforms of leather, chains, snug black tees, and heavy black leather work-boots. Each fired blue streams of powerful energy straight at both wraith-pairs.
The vampires fought wildly in return, their energy blasts scattering all around them, but they wouldn’t be able to withstand so many shifters all at one time.
Seth threw himself over Lorelei, forming a physical shield against any stray hits. She breathed in light pants now, tongue lolling, eyes closed.
She wasn’t dead, but she was way too close to the edge.
A few moments more and the battlefield fell silent.
When he lifted up off of Lorelei, he saw that the two wraith-pairs were dead on the ground, the stench of burned flesh filling the air.
He picked the white wolf up and turned to Ephyx, one of the alpha males. “I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you got here. You’ve saved my life and hers.”
Ephyx stood six-five, not as tall as Seth, but bigger through the shoulders, chest and arms.
The powerful alpha glanced around, frowning heavily. He appeared to be confused. “Mastyr, we’re not sure what happened—what we’re all doing here.”
“What do you mean?”
He glanced at Lorelei. “Your bodyguard called the entire brigade from all over the Shauck Mountains.”
Seth remembered Lorelei howling just as the net trapped him. He glanced down at her, frowning heavily. Who was this woman? “She let out a long howl. That much I remember.”
“Yes, she did.”
“And you’re saying that when she howled, she reached the entire brigade? All four packs?”
“Sweet Goddess.” He turned in a circle. Wolves were still arriving from each point of the compass.
He turned to meet Ephyx’s gaze once more. “I have to get Lorelei to my Shauck Gorge house. After you’ve disposed of the wraith-pairs and tended to your wounded, you can return to your territories. I’ll be in touch later. Continue on your patrols.” The Shifter Brigade worked the Shauck Mountains all night protecting the realm-folk who lived in the mountains, in the same way his Vampire Guard patrolled the southern part of his realm.
As Seth flew into the air, he contacted Aaron as well, letting him know what had happened and that the Shifter Brigade would take care of clean-up. He then headed in the direction he’d come, back toward Defiance Falls and Shauck Gorge. At the same time, he contacted his realm’s most powerful fae healer. The woman could fly, but even moving at her top speed she couldn’t cover that many miles in under an hour.
He told her to come anyway and hoped to hell he’d be able to keep Lorelei alive until she got there.
Somewhere in the depths of his realm-soul, he knew that he held the fate of all the Nine Realms in his arms.
Lorelei had to live.
When he arrived at his canyon ridge home, however, he found his front door wide open…
I hope you enjoyed reading chapter one of EMBRACE THE PASSION!
For more information and for the buy links, go here!
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EMBRACE THE PASSION, Blood Rose #4
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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Do 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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Most Recent Releases:
A VAMPIRE’S SOFT EMBRACE
Taking the vampire into the past, changed the future…
The man held her heart in his hand.
He had for the past five years.
Did he even have the smallest clue?
~ A Vampire’s Soft Embrace
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REVEALED: Rapture’s Edge 3, A Guardians of Ascension Novel #11
He’s a warrior deep in his bones, but all she ever wanted was peace…
As Duncan battles the dangerous death vampires at night, during the day he fights an even greater monster: He can’t believe he’s worthy of the woman he loves.
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Mastyr Vampire Stone wants to bond with Aralynn, his battle partner, until he learns she lives a double life as a woman he despises…
For hundreds of years, Stone has lived a solitary life, serving Tannisford Realm as he battles the deadly Invictus wraith-pairs with his Vampire Guard.
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More about Caris Roane and her books!!!
THE FLAME SERIES
Vampire Officer Connor of the Crescent Border Patrol tries to suppress his desire for Iris, a powerful witch. Because the woman possesses the ability to kill him with the tips of her fingers, how can he possibly fall in love with her? When a double homicide throws them together, he soon finds his deepest fantasies fulfilled as Iris succumbs to his seductions.
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Vampire Officer Vaughn of the Crescent Border Patrol gets called to a triple homicide in a deadly place called the Graveyard. When he finds that Emma Delacey has been summoned to the same crime scene, warning bells sound. He’s tried to suppress his desire for the beautiful witch knowing nothing good can come of a relationship in the alter world of Five Bridges.
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Brannick works with Juliet Tunney to help several human women escape the nightmare of Five Bridges. But something isn’t right. Juliet acts as though she knows him really well, yet he’s only met her once. Unless…the dreams he’s been having about her aren’t dreams at all.
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AMBER FLAME, Book #4 of the Flame Series
Fergus has been without an alpha-mate for three years, from the time his wife was murdered. He’s failed repeatedly to bond with the female wolves of the Gordion Pack. When he rescues a fae woman from a sex club, his need to bond with her goes into overdrive.
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On Christmas Eve, vampire Officer Kyle Drake has finally persuaded the shy wolf shifter, Verena, to go on a first date. His plans include a little mistletoe and a lot of seduction.
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THE GUARDIANS OF ASCENSION SERIES
(After Ascension, Burning Skies, Wings of Fire, Born of Ashes, Obsidian Flame and Gates of Rapture)
Includes Sub-Series: Dawn of Ascension and the Rapture’s Edge Saga
Warrior Gideon swore he would never see Elise Jordan again even though they’d been passionate lovers for two years. Her human nature couldn’t survive in his ascended vampire world; she would be vulnerable to attack on every front if he tried to continue a relationship with her.
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Fearing that his newly emerged grayle power will kill innocent ascenders, Samuel Daman struggles to keep his distance from beautiful Vela Stillwell. But the breh-hedden has struck and her light floral scent tears at his restraint.
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For the last few weeks, since Warrior Duncan professed his intention ‘to try’ to make his relationship with Rachel work, he’s failed on all fronts. But how can he explain that a serpent lives in his gut, poisoning him against her?
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For decades, Warrior Duncan has had an on-again, off-again relationship with a woman opposed to his warrior lifestyle. When Rachel shows up in his life again, he wants to keep his distance, but the infamous breh-hedden, the myth-that-isn’t-a myth, bears down on him keeping him in a perpetual caveman-like state.
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THE BLOOD ROSE SERIES – SHORT WORKS
The Blood Rose Tales, are much shorter stories than the “Embrace” books of the Blood Rose Series. Each ‘tale’ highlights one particular aspect of the world of the Nine Realms as well as a mastyr vampire in pursuit of his Blood Rose.
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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.
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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.
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For weeks, Mastyr Willem, agent for the Realm Investigative Unit, has been tracking Charlotte Vail, a human college student at the local Grochaire University. He’s had a thing for Charlotte that he doesn’t quite understand.
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THE BLOOD ROSE SERIES – THE BOOKS
Enter a world of blood-starved mastyr vampires and the rare women who can satisfy their deepest needs…
How can he resist his blood rose…
Gerrod, mastyr vampire of the Merhaine Realm, never thought to have his blood-needs satisfied by a mere human. But Abigail is no ordinary woman.
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Ethan, mastyr vampire of the Bergisson Realm, never thought to find his blood rose, the one woman who could ease the blood-starvation he’s endured for decades. But Samantha carries a surprising level of power as her newly discovered fae heritage emerges..
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Quinlan must keep Grochaire Realm safe from the enemy at all costs. As ruler of his realm, a woman has no permanent place in his day-to-day existence. But when his lust takes him to Batya’s bedroom, he soon discovers he’s deep into a powerful experience that threatens to blow his life apart.
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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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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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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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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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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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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…
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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