Vampire’s Mate (Book 1)

Vampire Guardian, Marcus Dagotto is sworn to safeguard humanity. With the death of his mate, and a curse that will soon catapult him into bloodlust, he focuses on protecting his king and surviving each day. When the gods interfere, it’s never a good thing and this time they destine him a new mate. He tries to resist the woman fated to be his, but when she ends up in trouble, instinct demands he protect her.

In the darkness, she may be the sliver of light that will save his soul.

After the love of Cassandra Jensen’s life ditches her at the altar, she swears off men forever. But when a sexy stranger visits her nightly dreams and seduction plays a starring role, she reconsiders her current situation. Problem is, he’s a figment of her wild imagination, at least until he steps into her life for real. His world is full of things that go bump in the night, and something evil is coming to claim him. To protect herself means losing him. To save him will mean the ultimate sacrifice.

A single kiss will change her life forever.

Formally published as Eternal Flame. Revised 2nd edition

Excerpt:

Chapter One

 

Current time

 “When do you suppose the bastard will show up?” Marcus asked, tired of waiting. He and Baal had staked out the stucco house for weeks, waiting for the ring leaders to show. They’d even rented a house across the street and worked in shifts. He’d just sent Garin and Lucan home for the night when Baal arrived.

The demon beside him stared out the curtained window before turning to answer. “My sources think it will be soon.”

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“I sure the hell hope so. I’m ready to burn that fucking hole to the ground.” He wasn’t sure how much more he could take. While they waited for the man in charge to show his face, the girls were paraded up and down the sidewalk like cheap streetwalkers. His jaw clenched so hard he thought his fangs would snap. Marcus wanted to move the women to safety, but they were forced to wait. If they showed their hand now, they might never catch the slave traders who were busy kidnapping Kothar demons to use in the prostitution market.

Baal’s back went rigid. “That’s a human woman.”

Marcus’s frame shadowed the window in two steps. “Damn it.” Sure enough, there was a petite blonde, wearing a skin-tight red dress and heels to match being escorted down the sidewalk. Her shoulders slumped, and her head hung low. She looked to be either American or European. Her looks stood out considering they were in the middle of bum-fuck Egypt, literally. He had no idea humans were being taken and sold into slavery as well. “I take back my previous comment. Before I burn the house down, I will gut every one of the motherfuckers responsible. I may even heal them then gut them again for fun.”

Baal slapped him on the back. “I will enjoy helping you.”

Marcus didn’t doubt it. Baal was a Kothar demon, and his younger sister Lileta had gone missing years ago. Hell, she might even be in the very house they staked out. He felt a twinge of pain in the center of his forehead. What the hell? He reached up and rubbed his temples.

Baal gave him a look of concern. “What’s wrong? I didn’t think vampires got headaches.”

“We don’t.”

Marcus, I need you...now! Shit, his prince’s voice slammed into his brain.

“I have to go. Aidyn is calling me. Something’s wrong,” Marcus said.

“Do you need my assistance?”

“No, stay here and watch that house. I’ll send reinforcements as soon as I can.” Before Baal could respond, Marcus flashed from the house to a remote location in the desert. He hadn’t dared open a portal to Vandeldor back at the house. The demons in the area would sense it and run.

When he arrived in the forests of Vandeldor, storm clouds boiled in the sky. “Aidyn?” Debris flew at his face, causing him to squint. Movement caught his attention, and he ran toward it. When he drew closer, he realized Aidyn sat on the ground, cradling his mother, the queen, in his lap.

“What the hell happened?”

“She was attacked. You need to heal her,” Aidyn replied.

“Attacked by whom?” Her neck was nearly sliced clean through, and blood pooled under her head. Your majesty, who did this to you?

Odage.

Marcus placed his palms on her neck, and energy flowed through his fingertips. Within seconds, her wound closed. He moved his hands down to her abdomen, searching for internal injuries. Oh gods! How could this happen?

He bowed his head. “I am sorry, my lady.” He stood and looked at Aidyn. “There is nothing else I can do. Her life force has been taken. She will die.” It was the only thing besides beheading that would kill an immortal. He touched the prince’s shoulder. “Make your goodbyes quick.”

Daria’s hand trembled when she reached up to touch Aidyn’s cheek. “Aidyn,” she whispered. “It is time for you to take the crown and become king.” Tears rolled down her cheeks. “I sense darkness descending upon the world. Evil not seen for many centuries will close in around you. Stay true to your course, my son.”

Her gaze moved to Marcus. “Marcus, move closer to me.” Her voice hardly a whisper.

He knelt next to her and gently grasped her hand. “Yes, Your Majesty?”

“You are like a brother to Aidyn. Promise you will stand by him.” The once vibrant woman, who held the guardians together through a war with Drayos, now looked weak and fragile. Visions of his own father shifted through his memories. Moisture caught in the corner of his eye as he bent to kiss her hand. “I swear it on my life.”

Daria turned back to Aidyn. “I love you, son. May the gods have mercy on you.” She grew silent and her eyes slid shut.

The queen was dead.

Aidyn kissed the top of her head. “I love you, Mother.” Marcus reached out and gripped Aidyn’s shoulders as the new king wept over his mother’s body.

“I’m so sorry. I have you, my friend.”

“Why would Odage do this?”

Marcus sensed anger building up in the king. It wouldn’t be long before Aidyn’s fury unleashed itself. “I wish I had the answers, but I will find out. I promise you.” He didn’t understand either. Odage was an ally. This was out of character for the shape shifter or any of the Draki.

Lightning streaked through the sky and struck the ground. One of the most powerful guardians had just had his heart ripped out, and Marcus was standing in the middle of a shit storm.

“Aidyn, pull yourself together, or you will destroy us both.” He prayed he didn’t anger Aidyn further. The king’s control over the elements would create a danger to everyone in their world. Hell, if he let Aidyn’s temper continue to grow, it might reach the human realm as well. Lightning struck so close electricity sizzled across his skin. Smoke swirled from the crater left behind him. Shit! He pursed his lips and squeezed the prince tighter against his chest.

“Aidyn, I know how much you’re hurting, but you must regain control.”

“Marcus, help me. Talk me down from my rage.”

“You can’t bring her back, but you can avenge her death.”

“Yes, I will kill Odage. How do we torture a Draki?” Another flash of lightning snapped over their heads.

“I don’t know, perhaps we slit his belly open? In the meantime, think of how guilty you’ll feel should your anger accidentally hurt the ones we protect.” Marcus closed his eyes and let his energy merge with Aidyn’s. While he couldn’t heal a broken heart, he was able to help the king focus and surround him with a calming aura.

Some of the tension left Aidyn’s body. “You’re right. I will fight the urge I have to kill everything in sight. You’re a good and loyal friend.”

Marcus released Aidyn and the king stood, lifting the queen’s body in his arms. “We need to take my mother home. I could use your help with the preparations.”

“I would be honored to assist you.”

After helping Aidyn prepare the queen’s soul for departure the two men now stood on the beach watching her body burn. This had been Daria’s favorite place. The beauty of it never ceased to astound him. Waves swirled in various shades of turquoise, and the beach itself resembled freshly fallen snow, dusted with diamonds. As beautiful as it appeared, it also haunted him. Three hundred years ago, they stood in this exact spot and cremated their loved ones remains. Marcus’s mate, mother and father, not to mention, his king, as well as thirty warriors along with their mates.

“What are you thinking, my friend?” Aidyn asked.

“I can’t help but recall the last time we did this.”

“Yes, we have both suffered many losses in our lives. Today, we suffer another.” He turned to face Marcus. “Make sure you tell your sister how much she means to you.”

He dropped his gaze to the sand. “I probably don’t do so enough.”

“She is all you have left of your family. Cherish her, being alone holds no merit.”

He touched Aidyn’s shoulder. “You are never alone, Aidyn. Remember that.”

Aidyn nodded. “Tomorrow, the gods will come.”

The next day, Aidyn would be crowned king. No doubt Zarek would show up for the coronation, as was his duty. Marcus looked over at his friend. “Are you ready for this?”

Aidyn stared into the distance “I am left with no choice. My mother was a remarkable woman. I can only hope to lead our people as well as she did.”

“You certainly have your work cut out for you, but I don’t doubt you’ll do well.”

#

Cassie swung her feet over the edge of the bed and sucked in slow, deep breaths. Sweat trickled between her breasts, tickling as it formed intricate patterns on her skin. These dreams were driving her batty.

She dropped her face in her hands. “What’s wrong with me?”

It always started the same, with her lying in bed naked, sleeping. A man slipped in beside her and caressed her arm. He started at the shoulder and ended at her fingertips. His lips brushed a light kiss on hers, then another until he suckled her lower lip. His tongue flicked out and demanded entrance, and she submitted, parted her lips, allowing their tongues to caress each other. The kiss deepened, became desperate until he pulled away and left her gasping for air.

He traced his tongue down her neck and stopped at her shoulder, giving a playful nip before he proceeded to her left breast. Warm lips wrapped around her pink bud, pulled until it hardened and she arched her back.

“Don’t stop,” she whimpered. He never listened. Instead, his tongue glided down her belly until he reached her pelvic bone.

Silver eyes flashed at her as he smiled. “Cassie, my love, I will worship your body until you beg me to stop.”

Stop? No, she’d never ask him to stop. At a pace that was sheer torture, he started to nibble down her thigh while reaching to insert a finger deep into her sex. Her body shuddered with pleasure as her orgasm built. His tongue flicked out around her soft folds and lapped at her wetness. Her head thrashed side to side, while her body bucked wildly. It had been a long time since a man touched her, and no man had touched her like he did. Her body burned, and when she could take no more he inserted another finger and began sliding them in and out. His hand found her nipple and pinched the pink bud between his thumb and forefinger. She crashed over the edge, falling into an eternal flame of pleasure. Her screams filled the room. When her climax subsided, another took hold, sending her soaring. Tears rolled down her cheeks from the intensity. He was true to his word. She begged him to stop, not sure she could take anymore.

When he pulled away he smiled, white fangs flashed in the moonlight. “You are mine forever.” Then he sunk his fangs deep into her neck, taking heavy pulls of blood that sent her body crashing into another wave of ecstasy.

She lifted her head, closed her eyes. “Men that handsome don’t exist.” Her active imagination still saw him. He was lean and muscular, every inch of him toned. His gray eyes were flecked with silver that flashed when aroused. Her fingers itched to slide through his dark brown waves. He was perfection, built only for her.

She laughed. “How fucked up and lonely I must be. I need to stop reading all those paranormal romance novels. They’re showing up in my dreams.”

 

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COLLAPSE
Reviews:Debra R on AmazonCA wrote:

This well written paranormal is action-packed with intrigue, violent suspense, danger around every corner, humor, witty banter, and hot steamy scenes. The storyline is interesting, thrilling, and captivating. The characters are strong and well-developed, with the chemistry between them off the charts. This is an on the edge of your seat read, and will leave you anxious to read the next book in the series. Definitely recommended.

Raina on Bookbub wrote:

I like this series. Lots and lots of action. It has a strong plot that evolves throughout the story. A few twists and still plenty of mystery for the next book.

Daewalker1 on Amazon wrote:

Action, adventure, love, betrayal, drama, steamy sex (Mature Audiences) and hunky Guardians... sign me up! If you like Caris Roane's Ascension series, you'll love Guardians - Vampire's Mate!