Monday, March 13, 2017

Blog Tour for More Than a Threat by Kennedy L. Mitchell

More Than a Threat

by Kennedy L. Mitchell 
Publication Date: March 10, 2017 
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
In the face of danger, the thin line between love and hate is blurred and rules are broken. But are these two prepared to face the consequences? Dr. Kate Wheeler is an independent, feisty emergency medicine doctor with a perfect life, or at least that’s what everyone sees from the outside. Her world is turned upside down when she is forced to allow twenty-four-seven protection, disrupting her independent lifestyle leaving Kate to adjust, or not. She finds herself in uncharted territory as she balances a new love interest at work, never being alone and dodging multiple attempts on her life. If it weren’t for her two best friends by her side the stress would be too much, even for her to handle. Her newly assigned security detail, Casey Weston, is harsh, dismissive, and overbearing. His sexy, strong body and bad boy tattoos are just the exterior to this thoughtful man who has secrets of his own. As he works to keep Kate at arm’s length he finds himself equally frustrated and fascinated by this woman who pushes his boundaries. Weston’s rules are intense and focused solely on keeping her alive. But as time goes on will his better judgement falter? Tempers and emotions flare when these two headstrong individuals go head to head, both used to having their own way and unwilling…or too afraid…to give an inch. With Kate’s life in the crosshairs and Weston determined to protect her, will their future be happily ever after or torn apart by the same threat that brought them together?

About Kennedy L. Mitchell

I live in Dallas but I am not a Texan by birth, I am a transplant from Tennessee and married a true Texan so I had to stay. We live in a older home in Dallas proper with our son and goldendoodle (who is roughly the size of a pony). Writing isn’t my day job, however it is my joy and favorite hobby. I enjoy sending my friends new chapters nightly and hearing their reactions the next day. That is why I write, being published is just a bonus really. My real job is the same every day, but at night I get to be someone else and write about all these fun adventures and sexcapades:) When I’m writing you can find me on the couch, earbuds in and a full glass of wine beside me. Music inspires my stores, at the end of each book I list the playlist that helped me through writing the novel. When I am not working or writing, I am reading. I go through about 3 books a week and I am 100% sure that I’m that annoying person at book-club that gets on to people when they are not keeping up with the monthly readings or suggest the movie is as good as a book (Sometimes I wish I could vote those people out of book-club like they do on Survivor. “The tribe has spoken”). My favorite authors that inspire my writing are: Colleen Hoover, Sarah J. Maas, Sandra Brown, and Rainbow Rowell.

Blog Tour and Giveawat BLIND FAITH by Nancy Haviland

BLIND FAITH

by Nancy Haviland Steel Jackals MC #2 
Publication Date: February 28, 2017 
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Erotic, Romance, MC

BUY:

SYNOPSIS:

After years of solitude, Tish O’Malley made the mistake of assuming happiness was finally hers. But before she can relax her guard and enjoy her protective—albeit secretive—Sergeant at Arms, another selfish choice made by her unconscionable drug-addict mother brings about deadly consequences. With Rachel conveniently tucked away behind bars, her massive debt is laid at Tish’s feet. Josh “The Guardian” Sylvan knew when he claimed his young queen, her well-being would become his life’s purpose. When her mother’s senseless idiocy brings his estranged father’s notorious club to town, to protect Tish, Josh must consider taking out a member of the Obsidian Devils MC. Can he risk it all? Jeopardize his brothers and their families as they stand at his back, preparing to fight this personal battle? Everything changes when Josh discovers his and Tish’s love has produced the one thing that will bind her to his side forever. Only then does indecision flee, and possessive rage takes over. 


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DON'T MISS WHERE IT ALL STARTED! GRAB YOUR COPY OF BLIND DEVOTION, BOOK #1 IN THE STEEL JACKALS MC SERIES!


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SYNOPSIS:

Nineteen-year-old Tish O’Malley has loved Josh “The Guardian” Sylvan since she was a child. When her reticent hero returns to Queen Creek after serving a three-year prison term meant for her mother, Tish is through pretending this man nearly twice her age isn’t the only happiness she’s ever known. Will the viciously loyal Sergeant at Arms stand by his instant and brutal rejection of the woman Tish has become? Or will he give in and claim her as his young queen despite his best efforts to resist the one female who should never have made it on his radar? *PLEASE BE AWARE: Blind Devotion was formerly released in November 2015 as HIS YOUNG QUEEN by TIFF P. RAINE. It has been revised, given a new title and cover, but it hasn't been altered enough for any information to be missed if you don’t re-read before continuing with the books that will follow. This is the intro to the STEEL JACKALS MC series, and it’s in Tish O’Malley’s POV only. Hers and Josh’s story will continue in dual POV in BLIND FAITH, which is scheduled for release at the end of February 2017. **WARNING: Contains drug use, profanity, and explicit sexual situations. If you’re not comfortable with frequent use of the C-words or a demanding alpha biker fresh out of prison, please skip reading this book. +18

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EXCERPT - Blind Faith (Steel Jackals #2) by Nancy Haviland


Josh stared at the woman before him. If ever there was any doubt he’d hooked up with someone too young, the look in Tish’s eyes at that moment cured him of it. She hadn’t been hanging out here, shitting her panties over her makeup being broken or her clothes being dirty because a bad man had touched them. She’d been trying to figure out the next logical step; medical care for whoever needed it—she’d thought that might be him and her concern was beautiful—a surface or deep clean to get the house in shape again, a possible insurance claim.
He lifted a finger, and, ignoring his body as it burned as hot for her as his heart, he explained a couple of things. “One. The next time you wanna yell at me, you keep that shit under wraps until we’re alone. You understand?”
She glanced around and only then seemed to notice the volume of voices out in the kitchen had gone real low. She looked properly horrified, so he went on.
“Two. I will not call in a report to you. Not ever. But if you want to send a text next time to make sure your old man isn’t dead, feel free. I’ll happily answer it.”
“Three. I’m sorry. I was totally blowing you off, and I get how insulting that is. Forgive me.”
She went to move toward him, but he held up his spread fingers.
“Four.” He leaned his upper body into her, close enough that the sweetness of vanilla trailed under his nostrils. “I am your big bad man, and I have every fucking right to put you on that shelf. Only, in my head, it’s a pedestal, and I’ll jam you up there and keep every fucking secret in the world from you if I think it will make your life better. Why? Because I want you happy more than I want you informed. You’re gonna have to get used to that because it’s not gonna change no matter how much you bitch and moan about it. Got it? Tish?”
She nodded, her mouth tight.
“And, five, where the fuck did you see a dead body?”
“When we were in Phoenix, my mom once made a buy off a dealer who lived under a bridge. As she sampled the shit, then exchanged drugs for money, I stared at a naked woman lying spread-eagled on a dirty mattress in the corner. Her eyes stared back, and I made a game of waiting to see how long it would be before her chest moved. My mom dragged me away before it could, so I guess the woman won.”
Josh’s soul crumpled and wept as it did every time she casually shared one of her stories. He slid his fingers into her hair and tipped her head back with his thumbs under her jaw. “I’m sorry, Tish-Tosh,” he whispered. “You don’t know how badly I want to give you a new past.”
Her entire face compressed. “I’m angry with you, Josh. You’re not supposed to say stuff like that.”
“Sorry, babe. I’m trying here.” He brought their mouths together and apologized with a slow kiss that turned into something more the second she got her hands under his shirt. The heat from her palms was a tease, but he could have handled that. The scrape of her fingernails as she focused on a spot above his belt buckle, no. She wanted in his pants. And he wanted to give her what she wanted.
A loud bang killed the mood.
“Food’s ready!”
Holding Tish to him, he leaned over and threw the door open. Chase stood there with his hand over his eyes, but his fingers were separated. The cacophony going on behind him was once again at full level. He gave them the once over then looked at the clothes littered all over the floor.
“You’ll have to learn to multi-task, Tish. Least you could have done while showing off your brass balls is wash your uncle’s jeans.”
He walked off laughing.
“Fuckin’ idiot,” Josh muttered as he took Tish’s hand and brought it to his cock. Her quiet gasp was the sweetest thing. “Squeeze me.”
She gripped him, and contracted her hand, making it an experience when she did it with little pulses that unknowingly mimicked a coming pussy. Pride showed in her smile when he groaned.
“You want that?”
“Yes, even though I’m still sort of mad, I’d take you.”
“I’ll give it to you after church. If we can get away with it, we’re spending the day in bed tomorrow.”
She looked excited and skeptical all at once. “In my uncle’s house?”
He nodded and looked at the empty doorway, smirking. “Yeah. And I’m gonna make you scream the fuckin’ place down. Twenty bucks says he and Chase stay away for the duration. We’ll toss our dirty sheets on top of all this shit,” he added, thinking that might be a nice touch.
Tish’s cheeks flamed, and she was still laughing as she pulled him out of the house. She led him around a table loaded down with empanadas, grilled steaks, ribs and burgers, and his favorite; Mesquite-smoked, bacon-wrapped Sonoran dogs. He held their plates while Tish filled them, and didn’t miss how the discreet looks from Beth and Fiona turned into relieved smiles when they saw Tish happy. Because they knew her story, they all wanted her in a good place.
Lucky for him, he was the chosen one who would get her there.

ABOUT NANCY HAVILAND

Nancy Haviland is an award-winning, bestselling romance (suspense, erotic, contemporary) author who writes about her possessive alpha males and their obsessively loved women from her home in Southwestern Ontario. Her greatest loves are her family and that ever-present cooling cup of coffee at her elbow.
To stay up-to-date on new releases, click the yellow button above or join her reader list at http://bit.ly/NHNewsletter. To stay in the loop, you can also visit www.nancyhaviland.com!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Blog Tour and Giveaway for WANDERER by Janine Infante Bosco


WANDERER

by Janine Infante Bosco Nomad #2 
Publication Date: March 7, 2017 
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Erotic, MC, Romantic Suspense

#FREE with #KindleUnlimited!



SYNOPSIS:

Cobra
I’ve lived two lives.
One full of innocence and one full of sin.
I mourned the perfect life I was born into and made it my duty to chase the phantom who stole it from me.
Revenge, mayhem and loss are all I know.
I am the lone man—I am the wanderer.
The former nomad—now, Satan’s deadliest soldier.
The two worlds were never supposed to collide. Innocence and sin aren’t made to coexist yet somehow my past bleeds into the present and I find myself facing my biggest regret…I find myself face to face with her—the girl who got away.
The girl I let go.
The woman I’ll ruin if I stay.
Celeste
Our young love was marred by violence.
Our guilt destroyed us, fate tempted us but, it was he who broke us.
They say time heals all, but all time did was dull the ache of his abandonment.
Now, dressed in leather, covered in ink the boy I mourned is now a man—a man tormented by his demons.
In another life we were everything to one another.
In this life we’re strangers.
*NOTE* Each book in the Nomad series can be read as a STANDALONE.


 
Let me start off by staying that this is a new author to us and we thoroughly enjoyed reading our first book by her.I recently discover MC romance and we are definitely loving it so far .We will be adding this author to our to be read series for sure.We loved Wanderer and we are looking forward to reading Drifter Stryker's story.

I really loved these two main characters they were a lot of fun to read about.I loved this couple Cobra and Celeste and how they had a past together.I loved that these High School sweethearts got a second chance at romance and a chance for a happy ever after.

I always pick a favorite character in my current read and mine is going to Cobra.He just touched my heart as he had experienced so much heartache is his life that I only wanted something good to come his way for a change.My heart broke for him as I could not imagine losing a sibling let alone your twin sister. Then losing your parents within a small amount of time.I loved how he was withdrawn and dark and then tenderly sweet.I enjoyed his interactions with his friends and MC brothers and how supportive they were in his vengeance to bring his sisters killer to justice.I loved how he was toward Celeste always in protective mode.I loved how her carried a torch for her all those years they were apart . Cobra never stopped loving his soul mate even when they were apart.I thought that this was his most endearing quality he had.My heart bleed for him for the pain it brought him to do the right thing by her always pushing her away just to keep her safe.I loved the chemistry this couple had it was explosive right from the beginning pages.Celeste and Cobra's sexual encounters were intoxicating and super hot!I enjoyed seeing the bad boy and the dangerous side of him but he melted my heart every time he just looked at his women and his daughter.

My favorite scene is with him and Celeste when they are waiting to see if their pregnant or not.These two were so cute together with their banter back and forth waiting that they made me smile.I found myself smiling quite a bit throughout this story.

Celeste on the other hand I found to be a bit of a fire cracker.I loved her sense of humor and how protective she was about those she cared about.I loved how she fought back and stood up to Cobra even when he was being an a** she never took any of his crap.This gal definitely held her own.These situations had me chuckling as these scenes played out.I loved how she mourned her lost love Cobra all their years apart.Celeste never stop loving him even when they were apart.I loved how she interacted and  how protective she was toward her daughter Skylar.I admired her character she was a strong and independent women.I admired the choices she made regrading Cobra even after all the heart ache he caused her with all their years apart.

This story was a page turner for me from beginning to end with lots of little twists and turns.It had love ,romance,vengeance , secrets coming to light ,second chances,pain and suffering and the MC life element all the things that make for a exciting read.I loved it.I enjoyed getting to know each and every character and their different personalities.I loved how I was able to connect with these characters and relate to them.I loved being on Celeste and Cobra rediscovery and that was once lost was still worth fighting for.I loved how their love stood the test of time.They were such a cute couple that had some amazing sex that added that bit of erotica to the story to cause a girl to get heated a just a bit. (lol)Looking forward to reading the stories to come and getting to know the rest of these MC brothers of Cobra's.A recommended read to all romance lovers.


This was an ARC given to us by the author for and honest review and were a giving it 5 stars.It was and amazing read we loved it!

P.S Would also have to point out that this story has one hot book cover and we love it!

Other books in this series !
Click cover to go to amazon


#WANDERINTOCHAOS


#THENOMADSERIES

DON'T MISS THE BIKER FULL OF DIRTY PROMISES! GRAB YOUR COPY OF #DRIFTER, BOOK #1 IN THE NOMAD SERIES!

AVAILABLE #FREE with #KINDLEUNLIMITED!


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ABOUT JANINE INFANTE BOSCO


Janine Infante Bosco lives in New York City, she has always loved reading and writing. When she was thirteen, she began to write her own stories and her passion for writing took off as the years went on. At eighteen, she even wrote a full screenplay with dreams of one day becoming a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Janine writes emotionally charged novels with an emphasis on family bonds, strong willed female characters, and alpha male men who will do anything for the women they love. She loves to interact with fans and fellow avid romance readers like herself. She is proud of her success as an author and the friendships she’s made in the book community but her greatest accomplishment to date would be her two sons Joseph and Paul.
Website • Facebook • Twitter • Pinterest • Goodreads • Newsletter • Amazon

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Blog Tour and Giveaway for Vampires of London Books #1-3 Bundle by Lorelei Moone


Vampires of London: Books #1-3 Bundle,

A Steamy & Suspenseful Vampire Romance Collection

by Lorelei Moone
Vampires of London #1-3
Publication Date: March 10, 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires



SYNOPSIS:


HURRY: ONLY AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME!

Sink your fangs into Books 1-3 of the Vampires of London series in one handy bundle. This Vampire Romance collection includes: Alexander’s Blood Bride, Michael’s Soul Mate and Lucille’s Valentine.Alexander’s Blood Bride

When Cat ends up at a Halloween party hosted by the mysteriously handsome and super rich Alexander Broderick, the last thing she expects is to become the object of his desire. Although she gets spooked and runs, she doesn’t yet understand the extent of his dangerous secret: Alexander, and a number of his guests, are vampires. And Cat’s blood is unlike anything they’ve smelled before…Michael’s Soul Mate

Playboy Michael has never wanted to settle down. When he finds a severely injured woman lying in the street, his instincts insist he save her. He turns her into a vampire and takes her home, not realizing that this little random encounter is going to change his immortal life forever.



Lucille’s Valentine

Marek the Soul Eater has escaped and it’s Lucille’s job as Enforcer to return him to the Council. She’s not a team player usually, but when she finds Vampire Hunter Valentino Conti also on Marek’s trail, she decides to join forces. The longer they work together, the more their connection grows. What if the truth comes out? What if Valentino realizes Lucille is the very thing he’s been hunting all his life?


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EXCERPTS: Alexander’s Blood Bride by Lorelei Moone

AUDIO EXCERPT


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Excerpt #1


Cat smoothed the velvety fabric down herself as she checked out her reflection.
Not half bad.
Granted, the medieval style deep burgundy gown had been one of the very few choices in her size, and expensive to boot. But it fit Cat like a glove and accentuated her best features: her curves.
"I'm telling you, you look amazing," Shelly insisted, and rested her hand on top of Cat's shoulder.
Cat turned to face her friend and smiled. "I'll just pretend I'm meant to be an extra from Game of Thrones. That's still popular, right?"
Shelly grinned and nodded. "That's the spirit. Just give me a moment to fix my hair and we can go."
Cat watched Shelly as she fluffed up her blond curls, making sure not a single one was out of place, before pushing a flower wreath down on top of them.
Her costume was a sort of cross between stripper and fairy, with the most elaborately decorated net wings Cat had ever seen. The overall effect was impressive, if a little revealing. Of course, that was exactly how Shelly liked to dress when she went out. There was no way she'd end the night alone.
"You look great too," Cat said, as she ran her fingertips over the edge of the sparkly wings.
"They won't know what hit them when the two of us arrive."  Shelly giggled.
The doorbell rang, signaling the arrival of the cab they'd booked. You didn't turn up at a fancy party disheveled and windblown after braving the public transport and autumn rains, Shelly had insisted.
Cat took one final look in the mirror and off they went. She had no idea what to expect. The card, combined with the address at the bottom, had seemed quite fancy indeed. But if it was so special to be invited, how come the two of them had snagged a card? They weren't exactly part of London's high society.
Even the cabbie seemed surprised when Shelly told him the address. Cat imagined that it wasn't every day that two working class girls asked to be picked up from their tiny shared apartment in Shepherd's Bush and driven all the way to Kensington Palace Gardens, London's most expensive street. Luckily, the man didn't make a fuss about it.
As they pulled into the road, Cat finally did understand his reaction though. Just the size and scale of the first houses she saw were enough to take her breath away. Ever since moving to London a couple of years ago, she'd never visited this part of the city—why would she? Ordinarily she would have had no reason to.
"There it is." The cabbie pointed ahead at a beautiful Georgian villa.
As he pulled into the driveway, the ornately decorated iron gate opened by itself to let them in. The cab crawled up the immaculately kept gravel driveway and came to a halt in front of the house itself.
"Wow," Shelly said.
Cat just stared up at the impressive fa├žade and blinked a couple of times, lost for words.
Was this really the place? She didn't belong here. They ought to turn back and forget about this whole party business.
"Come on!" Shelly urged and prodded Cat with her elbow. "Let's go!"

 



EXCERPTS
MICHAEL'S SOUL MATE by Lorelei Moone

EXCERPT #1
Michael buttoned up his woolen overcoat as he stepped outside. It was a starless night; the dense cloud cover had made sure of that. There was a certain electricity in the air, which to him suggested it might be about to start snowing.
Michael took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Yes, something was definitely coming. Could that be what had made him feel off for most of the night?
The frosty air surrounding the bar he'd just left seemed heavy with a great many aromas. Things that humans might never notice; for example, the scent of what remained of the fallen autumn leaves from that one tree down the street.
Michael turned to face the opposite direction. Chinatown was at least a mile away, but he could smell the restaurants from here.
He was tempted to stretch his legs a little and sprint home as fast as only a vampire could, but the roads were still too busy. He couldn't risk someone watching him as he seemingly disappeared into thin air. The Council didn't take kindly to vampires exposing themselves to humans at the best of times. Ever since the big showdown between Michael's friend and mentor Alexander and Council leader Julius, they'd been under extra scrutiny. Julius would jump at the chance to punish Michael for supporting Alexander.
Things had really changed a lot in a short period of time, and not entirely for the better.
Michael opened his eyes again, resigned to the fact that he would either have to hail a cab or walk home at an excruciatingly slow, much more human-like pace.
He started to walk roughly in the direction of Hyde Park. If he found a quiet spot, he might still indulge himself in a little fun. As he crossed the busy street ahead, his nose caught a whiff of something unexpected, something metallic.
Blood.
His instincts took over. He turned on his heel and sped up a little as he followed the smell. A low whimper urged him to speed up even further, but he couldn't risk going any faster if he didn't want to make a spectacle of himself.
There was a dark passageway in between two large office buildings. He made his way through and found himself in a quiet courtyard, which housed a number of large garbage bins. A woman's foot peeked out from in between them. No human would have been able to see it in the dark, but Michael could.
Her breaths were labored and becoming shallower, and her heartbeat was slowing. Michael pushed one of the bins aside and kneeled beside the woman, who lay face-down on the ground.
It was obvious to him now; she was barely clinging on to life. He carefully turned her onto her back. Her lips had a purple tinge and her skin looked dry and unusually pale for a human.
The two dark marks on her neck spoke volumes.
She'd been drained.
For but a split second, her eyelids fluttered open. She seemed to see him and opened her mouth to speak, but no sound came. Then she slipped back into unconsciousness.
Michael tensed up. He ought to leave, pretend he never found her. The last thing he needed was for someone to find him here, standing over a dying woman who had clearly been attacked by one of his own. But he couldn't bring himself to leave.
How pretty she was, how fragile, as she clung to her last shred of humanity.
Why had she ended up like this? Killing was against the rules. And discarding a drained body out in public where it could so easily be discovered? That was sacrilege.
His mind raced. Too many questions, not enough answers. 
Michael gazed down at her face; the slightly parted lips, despite their unnatural color, still looked full and luxurious. As did the rest of her, actually. She made a beautiful corpse. Such a waste. This woman would have been a sight to behold before someone had decided to take her life for themselves.
He ran the back of his index finger along the side of her face. She twitched slightly, seemingly in reaction to his touch, causing him to pull away again.
No, he would not leave her, discarded among these bins of office refuse. This wasn't the end she deserved.
Michael closed his eyes and tried to focus. Her heartbeat had become irregular, as though her body was giving up the fight. If he didn't hurry, there wouldn't be any life left to save.
Before he fully realized what he was doing, Michael nicked a vein in his wrist and pressed the newly created wound against her lips.
"Drink," he whispered.
She was too far out of it, so he couldn't compel her to listen, but that wouldn’t stop him.
Then, he picked up one of her arms and brought it to his own lips. He waited for what felt like forever. Was she too far gone already?
"Drink or you'll die!" he urged again, fully aware she likely couldn't even hear him.
Still, as more and more of his blood trickled out of the gash in his wrist, there was a subtle change in her. Her heartbeat seemed to strengthen. Her breaths became more controlled.
And then, out of nowhere, her free hand jerked up to grab his wrist and press it tightly against her mouth. Finally, she drank in deep gulps as her body tried to recover what it had lost.
That was his cue.
He bit into the wrist he'd been holding already and allowed himself the smallest of tastes. That completed the cycle. The Ritual was done.
She became still again and let go of his arm, her hand flopping down onto her stomach. Her eyes had remained shut throughout; she probably hadn't even realized what had just happened.
He'd barely realized it too; he'd been acting purely on instinct. Now, as he stood up and inspected the smeared blood on his wrist, it hit him. He'd performed the Ritual. He'd created another vampire—tried to, anyway.
That was something he'd vowed he'd never take as lightly as his own maker had.
She wasn't out of the woods yet; in fact, he wouldn't know if she'd even survive the change until the following night, but for some strange reason, he'd jumped in and impulsively made the biggest decision of his immortal life so far.
Things would never be the same again.


EXCERPTS: Lucille’s Valentine by Lorelei Moone

EXCERPT #1 Prologue

Ever since Lucille had hauled the criminal known as Marek before the Council, she could not wait for the trial to begin. She had so many questions and very few answers. Her curiosity was what made her such a driven investigator.
Marek was a Soul Eater; that much was clear. But how had he become so powerful? How old was he? How long had he been killing humans indiscriminately without appearing on her radar?
Obviously, he had only just started his reign of terror in London a few weeks ago, when a human had been found on the brink of death by one of their own. The vampire Michael had turned the unfortunate female, and Lucille had worked together with the unlikely pair to track down Marek and his henchmen.
It had been a triumphant victory for her, and earned her much praise from Julius, Lucille's maker and leader of the Council.
Tonight was finally going to be the night. The trial of Marek and his associates would begin.
He stood accused of reckless conduct that risked the exposure of the vampire race to humanity as well as attempted murder of a fellow vampire. Julius had wanted to add on more charges, but decided against it on Lucille's advice. They had caught him on the gravest crime possible. The Council took the safety of their kind extremely seriously. And randomly draining humans and leaving them for all the world to find was the most callous display of overt vampirism the city had seen in over a century. The only way the Council could have come down any harder on Marek would have been if he’d videotaped himself drinking his victim's blood and posted it on the Internet.
So it wasn't the outcome of the trial that Lucille was interested in; the case was clear and the punishment obvious; Marek would be sentenced to death, and depending on whether they were complicit or only following orders, so would his two associates. Lucille was more interested in any possible justifications Marek would give during the process. Any information at all that would shine a light on his motivations and history.
Lucille would be lying to herself if she didn't admit that Marek's immense power had intrigued and even impressed her a bit. He had been a formidable adversary.
Additionally, there was something about the vehemence with which Julius sought to punish Marek that had set off her investigative instincts. There was something more to their relationship than the Council leader had led on.
"Are you ready, my child?" Julius interrupted her thoughts.
"Yes, of course." Lucille looked up and nodded at her maker.
The most powerful vampire in the world, as Julius liked to refer to himself at times. It was true in a political sense. His claim for the Council leadership had gone unchallenged for centuries. Though Marek had shown powers that outshone Julius manifold. Was that his reason for disliking the Soul Eater so much?
He returned her nod and beckoned her to come closer.
"It'll all be over soon. Before long, Marek will no longer be able to threaten our way of life."
Lucille scrutinized the smug grin on Julius' face. He was definitely hiding something.
"Have you come across him before?" she asked.
Julius glanced at her, his face suddenly serious again. "We've known of the Soul Eaters that live outside the Council's realm of influence for centuries. You know this. Never before have they ventured into London, though."
None who were this evolved, no. Though Lucille had dealt with plenty of killers before.
That hadn't answered her question, but Lucille decided not to pry. Due to their history, Julius had a soft spot for her, but it would be unwise to exploit their relationship just to get answers out of him. Perhaps she was just being nosy. What business was it of hers whether or not Julius knew the Soul Eater from another time?
"I will call in the elders," Lucille said. "Once everyone is here we can begin."
Julius shot her a quick smile and rubbed his hands together. "Very good, my child."
Lucille left the main hall and rounded up the other six members of the Council. Although she was already four centuries old, the elders, as the term suggested, were all much more senior. At least a millennium old, each one of them. Together, they represented the far corners of the world, both ancient and modern. As the six venerable vampires entered the great hall, Lucille found herself captivated by their movements. Some seemed to levitate rather than walk, but each demonstrated a smoothness and elegance of movement that Lucille herself could not replicate if she wanted to.
Vampires, those that had the capacity to outlast the age they were born in, got better and more impressive with age.
They sat on the six chairs arranged in a semi-circle around Julius' throne. Three to his left and three to his right. There were further chairs inside the main hall facing the throne for any other vampires who wished to observe the trial. The center of the hall had been kept free for the accused.
Lucille signaled at Dominic and Cameron, the two guards stationed beside the large entrance doors, to let the audience in.
Whispers and footsteps echoed against the tall ceiling of the cathedral as about three dozen vampires shuffled inside and found their seats. Then, Julius raised his right hand and the crowd became silent.
"We are gathered here for the trial of Marek the Soul Eater and his two progenies, who shall remain unnamed," Julius spoke in a firm voice.
A whisper traveled across the audience once again.
"So it's true."
"A Soul Eater!"
"I can't believe it!"
Lucille rolled her eyes. The sort of vampires who frequented Council trials were not her usual choice of company. Then again, not many people were.
Julius cleared his throat and silence prevailed once more. "Bring in the prisoners!"
Lucille watched as the double doors swung open and two more Council guards rolled in a cage on wheels that gleamed under the chandelier in the center of the hall. The Silver Vault, as it was known, was only used during trials of the most notorious, dangerous criminals. Obviously, Marek posed a flight risk; his powers were greater than those of anyone in this room. Perhaps he was even stronger than Julius himself.
Marek's two associates were led in wearing cuffs right behind the cage.
The audience was deadly silent as the three accused were positioned in the empty space between the council members and the rest of the crowd.
Julius cleared his throat again and got up from his throne.
"Marek. You know why you are here. You are to stand trial—"
Marek shook his head. "Julius, please refer to me by my full title."
Lucille frowned. Julius and Marek did seem awfully familiar, the way they spoke to one another.
Julius' eyes narrowed. "Very well. Marek, son of Lilith. You are on trial for—"
Lilith. Only the most ancient of vampires held the title son or daughter of Lilith. Julius held this title himself. That meant Marek was an ancient? A contender for a seat on the Council?
"The rest also, if you don't mind. I've worked too hard these past millennia for my achievements to go unnoticed."
Lucille found that she was holding her breath. Marek had guts to interrupt Julius twice in front of an entire room full of his subjects. Then again, he probably knew as well as any of them that his life would soon be over, so he had nothing much to lose.
"Son of Lilith, Master of a Thousand Souls." Julius folded his arms and stared darkly at Marek. How long would his patience last?
"Thank you." Marek grinned, showing off a row of razor sharp white teeth.
During the brief contact Lucille had had with Marek, he had not struck her as one of those vampires who grew weary of immortality and longed for it all to end. Yet here he was, taunting Julius and grinning like a madman on what could very well be his last day walking this earth. It wasn't just unusual, it was unnerving.
Julius ignored Marek's remark and started listing his offenses, during which Marek seemed to grow even more cheerful. He was obviously proud of everything he’d done.
Lucille found herself tuning out Julius' monotone voice. It was all stuff she’d heard before. Killing humans, leaving their bodies, risking their exposure, blah, blah.
Instead of listening to him rehashing the same old accusations, she took the time to really observe Marek. His strange appearance had fascinated her from the moment she’d first laid eyes on him.
Vampires didn't age normally, but in the case of Marek, he seemed marked by every century he’d lived through. The casual observer might mistake his transparent skin, his slender body, and papery voice for signs of frailty. Lucille knew otherwise. It had taken a dozen guards to subdue Marek and restrain him for transport back to the Council prison.
The two younger Soul Eaters who stood toward his left now looked much more powerful, but actually did not even possess half of Marek's strength. Lucille found it difficult to control her curiosity. She knew of vampires who’d killed humans; she had locked up many of them over the years. But these three were different. They didn't just kill, they had figured out a way of absorbing a victim's essence—their strength and life-force. Not just their blood.
Was it magic?
She could not make sense of it on her own, and seeing as Julius seemed in no mood to share whatever information or previous knowledge of Marek he had… She would talk to Alexander about it as soon as the trial was over. Perhaps her brother and his vast library of old books could shed some light.
Lucille rested her gaze on the younger Soul Eater who stood nearest to the Silver Vault. He seemed unafraid, like his maker, smiling subtly and staring at nothing in particular, until suddenly he looked up right into Lucille's eyes.
A shiver travelled down her spine, but she did not let it show.
If you want to live, you'll stand down.
So he was a telepath, and a rather talented one too, if he could communicate with her halfway across the large hall.
Lucille did not take kindly to threats. Her hand instinctively reached for the dagger she kept in a sheath attached to her belt. She snapped open the clasp that held the blade in place and tightened her fingers around the grip.
She looked back at Marek, who had started to laugh. A quick glance at Julius revealed that he was starting to lose his cool. He spoke faster now, lecturing the three accused on the codes of conduct the Council lived by and promoted. His eyes were wild, his expression even tenser than before.
Lucille looked back at Marek, who had now reached for the bars on his cage, tightening his long, bony fingers around them. The scent of burning flesh filled the air as his skin reacted to the metal. An ordinary vampire would not be able to bear it, but Marek showed no sign of being in pain. Instead of letting go, he held on tighter, tugging at it until the bars started to give way.
Lucille jumped forward, her dagger drawn, and was instantly joined by the guards who had been positioned at the doors. The crowd gasped in horror as Marek's form became blurred, his body twisting and whirling around so fast that even Lucille's perfect vision could no longer focus on him. His laughter echoed through the Council chamber, growing louder and louder until it became deafening.
She reached the cage, but Marek was no longer inside. Instead, he seemed to be levitating far above the ground, still turning at lightning speed, like a whirlwind. Now what? She didn't have his talents or his powers; she could do nothing but watch.
Lucille turned and saw that Julius was frozen in place in front of his throne, his fist raised in the air in protest, lips opening and closing, without any sound coming out.
She had never seen him stumped like this.
At that moment, the stained glass of the large rosette shaped window above Julius' throne shattered as Marek's floating form surged against it and broke through. He was gone within the blink of an eye.
"Go after him," Julius hissed, before repeating himself much louder and forcefully. "Go after him at once!"
Lucille turned and found that Julius had moved from his throne. He now stood just a few feet away from her near the Silver Vault, with Marek's two followers slumped in pools of blood at his feet. After the initial shock of Marek's grand display, Julius had recovered and taken swift action and punished them with death. Their still twitching hearts lay on the ground beside their lifeless bodies.
"Yes, master," Lucille mumbled. It had been extremely difficult capturing Marek the first time around. This time, she would need a miracle.

ABOUT LORELEI MOONE

Lorelei Moone is an up-and-coming author of paranormal romance based in London. A lover of all things sweet, and caffeinated, when she’s not writing about sexy bear shifters and their strong-willed curvaceous love interests, Lorelei can be found baking cookies or cakes for her family.

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