by Amanda J. Greene
Length: 388 pages
Sub-Genres: Paranormal Romance
Consumed by madness and tormented by dark memories of blood and death, Hadrian Lucretius, King of the Validus Clan, has returned after living in self-imposed exile for nearly three hundred and fifty years.
To maintain peace with the vampires, Eva Maldonado is offered as a sacrifice to the crazed vampire king by her father, the alpha of the Silveria Shifter Pack. Hadrian’s reputation is both legendary and lethal; he is ruthless, bloodthirsty, lusty, and soulless. When Eva arrives at the ancient fortress high in the Carpathian Mountains, she is shocked to find a ravaged man with dark burning eyes filled with loneliness and dangerous desire.
Would she be his lover…or his prey? His savior…or his victim? Would Hadrian lure her into madness or would their perilous passion be their redemption?
Dear God, what had her father done?
He sacrificed me. She snorted. He couldn’t send one of his precious purebred daughters off to what was surely her death.
Eva pushed away from the wall and began to pace. Falcon had been gone for nearly fifteen minutes and her nerves were making her restless. Glancing about, she decided to take a little tour. She would not go far and, with luck, she may find the knight. Besides, if she remained immobile, consumed by her thoughts, she would soon have herself worked up into another fit of hysteria.
Deciding to head in the direction Falcon had, she did not enter the main hall though the large arched entrance was directly in front of her. She turned left and headed down a long, dimly lit corridor. She paused outside each door she passed, she knocked and tried their knobs, but no one called from the other side and every door was locked.
After the fifth door, she gave up her search and allowed her curiosity to take over. The hall was lined with wood paneling decorated by sharply detailed paintings. Each featured a portrait of a man and was accompanied by a gold placard with his name. These were the kings of the Validus Clan.
The name of the last painting read Hadrian Lucretius, but the image had been savagely shredded. Stepping closer, Eva reach up, trying to place the pieces back together, wanting to get a look at the vampire—
A cool hand clamped over her mouth, stifling her scream as she was hauled back. Eva fought for freedom, twisting down, she jabbed her elbow in her attacker’s side then kicked back, connecting with his shin. He growled in response and spun her about, trapping her with his body. His hands slammed into the wall, cracking the wood, on either side of her head.
“Little girls should not wander alone in the dark.”
She closed her eyes and swallowed hard. His voice, it was dark, threatening—pure sex. He leaned his head down, his lips brushed her ear and, God help her, she shivered. Whether it was from fear or something entirely sexual, she did not know. Confusion, terror, and desire fought for control of her brain, as she remained pinned between the large, solid male and the wall.
“Bad things prowl in the dark,” he whispered against her ear and Eva’s knees went weak. His words were heavily accented, his voice deep. It echoed with evil and laced with lust. “Bad things, like me.”
Eva tried to speak, knowing she should demand he release her, or scream, but nothing came.
One of his hands dropped from the wall to encircle her wrist, the pad of his thumb gently brushed over her erratically beating pulse.
“Your scent,” he said, his voice rough, the sound sending waves of need crashing over her.
His fingers lightly traced up her arm to cup her nape, tickling her sensitive flesh.
Eva’s breathing grew shallow as her body began to burn.
Yes. Oh, God, yes.
The menacing male drew closer, his second hand dropping to her shoulder, pressing her firmly against the wall. Danger, it radiated from him, yet desire flickered in his cold, black eyes. Instinct took hold of her. Eva wrapped her arms about his waist. Her hands pressed flat against his lower back, urging him closer. She arched her back trying in vain to close the space between them.
“Sweet…warm vanilla.” His cool breath caressed the tender flesh of her throat, sending chills all the way down to her toes.
Was he going to bite her?
God, what was she doing? She had no idea who this man was let alone what he was doing to her. She should shove him away. She should bring her knee up and hit him where it counts. But she could not move. Her heart beat frantically, her blood rushed like lava through her veins as her body responded to this aggressive male.
Eva’s sigh was a mix of relief and disappointment when she heard Falcon’s voice.
The vampire’s mystifying obsidian gaze held her captive as he asked, “Do you want to be rescued?”
No, but her self-preservation cried yes.
He vampire gently brushed her bottom lip with his thumb and Eva shuttered.
“My king,” Falcon bellowed.
The stranger lifted his head and glared at Falcon for a long breathless moment. She could sense the tension that coiled in his body. Pure lethal power flowed from him like tidal waves.
Finally he turned his attention back to her. Framing her jaw with his large hands, he bent his head down. Was he going to kiss her? Another rush of heat coursed through her and pooled at her core. She wished she could see his face. The shadows hid his features. All she could see were his dark as midnight eyes, which burned in the darkness, violence and lust.
He leaned into her, his solid chest brushing her breasts, causing them to ache, as he sank his lower body against her. Surrounded. Hot, aggressive male surrounded her and—wild, she was wild with need.
His cool lips brushed against hers as he whispered, “Until we meet again, little one.” He disappeared.
Eva sagged against the wall, her body feeling bereft without him. Shock pulsed through her body and she struggled to make sense of what just happened. Her initial reaction had been fear, but was quickly replaced by desire. She focused on her breathing, trying to calm herself as she gathered her scattered, confused thoughts.
He didn’t kiss her. Why did he not—
“Did I not ask you to remain in the foyer, because I distinctly remember doing so,” Falcon said.
“W-what?” she sputtered.
When she looked up at him, his expression was not what she had expected. His tone implied announces but his gaze was quizzical as he studied her, his brow furrowed in thought.
“Nothing,” he said with a shake of his head.
Falcon cursed a string of obscenities, some in English but most in an old form of…French?
“Come on, I’ll show you to your room so you can get settled.”
He turned and began back down the hall.
Eva shoved away from wall and jogged to catch up with him. Her legs were still weak and she feared they might give out. She caught his arm and Falcon stopped.
“Was that…I mean, he was—”
“Hadrian Lucretius, King of the Validus Clan of vampires,” he answered.
“I thought so,” she said, her voice a faint whisper.
When she is not writing, Amanda can found playing the role of a full time university student who works part time. She lives in Southern California with her very supportive husband and their sweet cocker spaniel. Doing all the above and being a military wife is not easy, but rewarding! Of course, she accomplishes everything with a strong cup of coffee in her hand.