Prince of Blood – Capter I

Loves, as you know, I’m constantly working on a new book, and right now I’m deep into the one for February–book 3 of the Dracula’s Bloodline series, Prince of Blood. I’m very excited about this book, and I thought I’d share the cover and the first chapter with you guys. Let me know what you think. First, here’s what the book is about:

anagratiu_ebook (1)

Dracula exists.

For centuries he’s been lurking in the underworld, searching for the one woman whose blood can make him invincible—Dracula’s Grail.

Bad things happen to the men who date librarian Ruxandra Len, as if she’s cursed. If she’s ever to at least lose her virginity, she needs to find out why. Through a scholar interested in her curse, she learns that her bloodline connects to the legend of Dracula. Intrigued, she travels to the Carpathians to learn more about him. But what she finds is a truth darker than legend.

The Prince of Blood fascinates Rux. His dark energy weaves a web of enchantment around her, making her crave him like a drug. But just as the Dark Lord thinks she’s ready to surrender her blood, the deepest shadow of her past emerges. Can Vlad Dracula defeat an even older, darker legend, and protect the woman who means the world to him in more ways than he likes to admit?

 

CHAPTER I

Rux

 

I have a stalker. Not the kind to send flowers, chocolate, or even dick pics. No, he sends my dates skidding under speeding buses, or slipping on tiles and cracking their skulls in the men’s room. Wanna date me? Might as well watch Final Destination just to warm up.

He’s a shadow. A curse. Kept me a hormone-raging virgin to date—I’m twenty-three. But, no matter how many men this curse puts in the hospital, there’s always a new guy eager to dare the fates. Today, as I do my hair and prepare for work, one of them goes wild.

‘I can meet you anywhere.’

Bling.

‘Shall I pick you up from work?’

Bling.

‘Or we can meet for lunch at the cafeteria.’

Bling.

‘Why don’t you text me back?’

Bling-bling-bling as his texts hit my cell, the display flashing on the bed until I pick it up. A glance at the guy’s profile pic that appears along with the text shows a long face, baldhead, big nerd glasses. He looks like a middle-aged science freak with mental issues. Half as bad as the leather jackets and tattoos, but I still block him.

I swing my purse on my shoulder and close the door behind me.

Half an hour later, on campus, the elevator opens at the library level, leaving me a corridor away from my workplace. A smile along with the occasional nod is my default response to greetings—most students know Miss Len from the library, and they think I must have taken special notice of them, too. I didn’t. No, believe me, I do like people, and I love the vibe of campus life, but I try to avoid close contact. It drains me.

Carrying a mocha to go in one hand, I’m groping in my purse for my staff card when I see him. The guy from the profile picture is standing right in front of the library doors where I can’t avoid him. I stop in my tracks, my jaw clenching.

Tall and willowy, he looks nervously left and right, pushing his thick-framed glasses up his nose. When he spots me he stiffens and clutches his briefcase like a shield to his chest, sweat glistening on his baldhead.

“Good morning, Miss Len,” he says in a rickety voice as I approach. His upper lip twitches over mousey front teeth.

I try to walk past him. He grabs my elbow, and my heart beats harder, but it’s more with rage than anything else. I’ve had so many daredevils pushing for a date that it’s not even funny anymore, it’s fucking annoying.

“Please, Miss Len, just listen.”

“No, you listen.” I take a step closer, not even bothering to struggle from his grip. “If you insist, bad things are going to happen, okay? This isn’t a fucking game.”

He swallows hard, and I pull my arm out of his grip. He lets me walk by him to the library entrance, but then he calls after me.

“I think I can help you get rid of the curse, Miss Len.”

I stop with my staff card in my hand, looking over my shoulder. That’s a first, nobody offered ‘help’ before.

“Aren’t you the one who’s been messaging me like crazy since five in the morning?”

“I am. But I wasn’t writing because I wanted to dare the fates and ask you out. But because I think I know why this is happening to you.”

I turn to him, giving him a once over. I have to admit, he doesn’t fit the pattern of the daredevil. He seems terrified to be even talking to me, clutching that briefcase like his life depends on it, sweating everywhere, eyes wide behind the glasses, upper lip trembling over his front teeth.

He’s probably never been on a date in his life, much less with a notorious cursed woman. The other guys were the leather-wearing, Harley-revving kind of bad boys, race pilots, even high-profile gamblers that would have made hundreds of thousands if they got into my pants without breaking a bone.

“Don’t take this wrong,” I begin, my tone softer. “You seem like a decent person. But don’t you think I already tried everything?” I motion to the elegant library doors behind me. “I’m a librarian. I know how to do research, and research I did to exhaustion.”

“But did you look down your own bloodline?”

My silence encourages him to walk over.

“You probably went the classic way,” he says, talking too fast to still hide his lisp. “You’ve probably been looking for similar cases in history, researching the kind of stalkers who created the illusion that supernatural things were happening, you probably even looked into myths and legends. But you never stopped to wonder why it’s happening to you of all people, have you?”

“I did, but I never used it as a research angle. The other similar cases in history didn’t seem to be related by blood. I feared researching my bloodline would be a waste of time, unnecessary effort—because it would be an effort. I’m adopted, with no ties to my biological parents.”

The nerd looks left and right to ensure privacy, then he leans down to me and whispers.

“Miss Len, forgive me for being so direct, but I think your bloodline leads back to Vlad the Impaler, the Prince of Blood. And I think he is related to your curse.”

It takes a moment until I realize—he’s making fun of me. A feeling of betrayal and anger engulfs me. For a moment there he had me fooled, thinking he was a decent guy.

“You think this is funny?” I say between my teeth.

“I know it sounds crazy.” He gropes in his pocket until he finds a handkerchief, and wipes the sweat off his baldhead. The smell of perspiration wafts over. “But let me tell you how I came to this conclusion.”

“Stun me.”

He looks around again, as if watching for spies.

“Not here. Please, meet me for lunch. I promise this isn’t a date, and I will explain everything, but we need complete privacy. Trust me, Miss Len, this will be worth it.”

He looks into my eyes full of hope.

I let the entire thing go through my head. What do I have to lose? I tried all the logical ways, I might as well give the impossible a chance.

“All right. But you better have convincing arguments.”

“I do, Miss Len. Thank you for your trust.”

“No, no trust yet.” My tone goes softer. “But hope. It’s been years, and I’m getting tired of this whole curse business.” Not to mention I’m yearning to feel a hot male body pressing on mine at least once in this lifetime, which won’t happen unless I finally lose the curse that’s been stalking me for years. I look the nerd up and down again. “Where?”

We agree on a pub downtown. We have to avoid running into people who know me, simply because they would stare and eavesdrop, so he says he’d reserve a booth.

When I ask him the obvious—isn’t he afraid of the curse?—the nerd says he isn’t; he’s certain it applies only to men who have certain intentions with me, and who actually make a move.

He finally leaves, his step quick and jerky, betraying he’s excited. I turn around, sliding my staff card through the device to get inside the library, wondering if a Dracula enthusiast could really hold the answer to my problem.

***

“I’m Dalton, by the way,” the freaky nerd says as we sit awkwardly across from each other at the pub. We’re in a booth by a crown glass window, everything around smelling old and moldy.

“Nice to meet you, Dalton.”

Awkward silence.

“So,” I break the ice. “You a Dracula fan?”

“Dracula is an interest of mine, yes.” He pauses, and looks back down into his cappuccino. I roll my eyes, my shoulders sagging.

“Okay, listen. I’m not a people person. I became a librarian because I preferred books to people, so please don’t put strain on my very poor socializing skills. You wanted to share your theory with me, but now you’re having me work for it. So please, if you have something to say, just say it, or give me something to read and extract the information myself. Like I said, I’m more comfortable with that than with conversation anyway.”

He blinks behind those big glasses.

“As a matter of fact, I did bring reading material,” he says, and bends to the side to pick up his briefcase from the floor. He opens it, and uses both hands to take out a big, medieval book with a beautifully carved silver cover that catches the light filtering through the crown glass.

My jaw drops.

“Where in the world did you get this?” I whisper, touching the book with the reverence I would touch a shrine, my eyes drinking it in.

“You know what it is?”

“I know it’s a highly valuable medieval artifact, worth hundreds of thousands,” I whisper.

“So you’re certain it isn’t a fake.”

“No, it’s real.” I hesitate, but then I tell him how I know. “My entire family deals in rare artifacts and books. Hundreds of originals and fakes have passed through my hands, all I need is a glance to tell.”

So much silver in my hands at once makes my scalp prickle. Great joy begins to build inside my lower belly, rising to my stomach—that same feeling I got every time I touched the rare books dad examined. It’s all I can do to keep myself from going high with the feeling, my eyelids fluttering as I drink in the beautiful carvings of what looks like gargoyles with tongues sticking out of their mouths.

“Well then, read the title,” Dalton encourages.

Vlad the Impaler, Prince of Blood.

And, under it, also carved into the cover, Year of our Lord 1449.

“Why would they put the year on the cover?” I whisper.

“Because this isn’t a book, Miss Len. It’s a chronicle.”

“Please, call me Ruxandra. Or Rux—easier to pronounce.” I touch the book tentatively again, opening it with reverence.

“Ruxandra—a Romanian name. It’s your name that drew my attention in particular when I heard about your curse.” He stands and moves over to my side, so that we can look into the book from the same angle. “May I?”

He starts turning pages. The gentle but expert way in which his fingers move, turning fragile yellowed page after page, the writing faded but coiling beautifully fascinates me. All chapters seem to have a date instead of a title. He stops at July 5th, 1450.

“These chronicles have been recorded at a medieval monks’ monastery,” he says, but then loses his battle with shyness again. It seems talking to me is a continuous struggle for him.

He’s now too close to me, the smell of perspiration and dank old suit wiping away my book-and-silver induced feeling of euphoria. His upper lip trembles over his teeth, and the page quivers between his fingers.

“The language,” I begin in a soft voice, trying to make this easier on him. “It doesn’t look Romanian, it looks German. Old German.”

“It is. The scholars leading the monastery were from Nürnberg—you must have heard about the Nürnberg Chronicles that documented the life and actions of Vlad the Impaler.” He looks at me when I don’t reply. “Sorry, I don’t know where to start, because I don’t know how much of the Impaler’s history you’re familiar with.”

“Honestly, not much more than what I saw in Dracula movies. But—” I narrow my eyes, going through my memories. “My mum is some sort of Dracula scholar, a fact that I never really took seriously.”

“So your mother might be aware of your family ties with the Impaler,” he says, his voice jumping with hope.

“Rather my dad. He’s… Well, his ancestors come from the Carpathians. But he doesn’t talk about it much. He never did while he was still here, in Britain.”

Dalton nods, his lips pursing.

“I heard about your dad in aristocrat circles. He’s a character that intrigues me—Radek Len, the dealer in rare books and artifacts.”

“My dad is a very private man. He’d hate to know he drew attention. But we didn’t come here to talk about him and his dealings, did we?”

“We might have to talk about them, in order to clarify your connection to the Impaler. Just look at the big picture: Your father, Radek Len, coming from the Carpathians, dealing in rare books and artifacts. Through him, you had enough experience with rare books in order to recognize a medieval original at once. And your mother is a Dracula enthusiast.” He looks at me as if from here the conclusion is obvious.

“But all this is irrelevant, Dalton, because I’m adopted. Wouldn’t it make more sense that we focus on my biological family, if it’s my bloodline that matters?”

“Depends. Your adoptive family seems related to the legend, too. And then there’s your name.”

I frown. “You mentioned that. What does my name have to do with it?”

He turns his attention to the book and puts a finger on a certain word.

I look down at the medieval page, my eyes fixing on the word right above Dalton’s finger. I don’t need to know the language in order to understand what it says.

Ruxandra.

I glance at word in front of it, and the one after.

Lady. Basarab.

“You see, there has been a lot of speculation regarding Vlad Dracula’s first wife,” Dalton begins. “Most sources refer to her as Elizabetta, some as Anastasia, some blatantly wrongly as Cneajna, who was actually his mother. But the noblewoman Vlad married in his youth, soon after he came back from his soldier’s training at the Sultan’s court, was Ruxandra. She was only seventeen at the time, he wasn’t much older either. They fell in love like only heart-driven teenagers can fall in love.

“But their romance was short-lived. Upon the Turks’ first attack on Dracula’s castle, Ruxandra threw herself from the window of their marital chamber, and perished into the river flowing at the bottom of the castle’s rocky base. To this day, the river carries the name of Lady’s River. Before she jumped, she told the servants who struggled to keep her back that she’d rather die than become a slave to the Turks.

“Days later, when Vlad returned from battle, Ruxandra’s lifeless body was lying inside the castle chapel. The priests damned her, telling Vlad that her soul was forever lost; suicides would never be allowed into the kingdom of God. It is said that was the day Vlad lost his soul. The day when he started on a blood-shedding frenzy, impaling every one of his boyars that he thought might have betrayed him and driven his wife to kill herself, and hating the Turks with a passion.”

He turns the page, magic filling the booth at the rustle of old paper and his voice. I don’t think I’ve been so taken with a story since grandma Magda used to tuck me in.

“This chapter was written in 1449, while Ruxandra was still alive. But it tells a slightly different story than the official one I just recounted for you.” He pauses for the effect of his words, drinking in the fascination in my face.

“Well,” I invite.

“Seems Lady Ruxandra Basarab held a secret hidden within the walls of this monastery, where this chronicle was written. In later chapters, this book reveals that her suicide didn’t have to do with the Turks, but with this secret. She killed herself before the Turks could torture the truth out of her.”

“And what was the truth?” I push, looking at the beautiful writing again. The monks’ hands had moved with care and reverence—writing itself was an art back then.

Dalton lowers his voice, filling with gravity and magic. “Seems Ruxandra had pledged herself to a demon, performing a ritual at this specific monastery. It was a very special demon, that could only be summoned and bound on Holy ground. Must have been a fallen angel or a very ancient spirit, because it is said only those have access on holy ground.” He looks me gravely in the face, turning pages. “The next chapter tells of people in the village mysteriously dying if they said the slightest bad thing about Lady Ruxandra. Once, a boyar expressed his dislike of the Lady, and Vlad wasn’t there to defend her honor. She just looked at him with her—” He looks into the book, quoting. “Deeply black eyes, the black of the demon. The man fell to the ground, taken by violent convulsions that killed him.” He looks at me again. “There are mentions of Ruxandra’s demonic spells over the boyars in later chapters as well, many cases in which people died after she’d given them the ‘black in her eyes’. Now, returning to what is happening with you, six centuries later….”

I wait for him to continue, but he keeps staring at me as if I should have already understood, and now he expects a reaction. I shake my head, frowning.

“I’m sorry, I still don’t see how this whole thing led you to me, or determined you to link my case to this—” I gesture towards the book, looking for the word. “Story.”

“Can it get any clearer than this? Lady Ruxandra’s name, her eyes.” Again that pause and expectant look—after all, it’s so obvious, isn’t it? Because of my ink black eyes I must be as evil as a woman who’d pledged her soul to the devil.

In moments like this I remember why I resent human contact.

“You know a lot about Lady Ruxandra,” I say, a long-forgotten meanness seeping into my voice. “But I must wonder—how much do you know about me?”

“I knew that you were adopted by two high-profile traders in rare artifacts and books before you told me,” he says eagerly. “Both people of powerful secrets. You, their daughter, are haunted by a curse that puts your suitors in hospital. The papers flared with stories about you, but your father soon managed an injunction. Still, the articles were enough for me.” He looks at me with the pride of someone who thinks they know everything, and that they know you better than you know yourself. God, how I want to slap it off his face, but I refrain, speaking slowly, clearly, but through my teeth.

“Well, I see that you already know enough to understand me and my story fully. I only have a few details to add, not much, really. My adoptive parents were very loving, and for a few years things were amazing. But then they disappeared, leaving me with my grandmother, Magda—a former librarian who taught me the craft. I haven’t seen them in many years, not even when my father managed the injunction. He did it from a distance.” The meanness swells in my heart, and I snort bitterly. I can feel the blackness in my eyes deepening, and Dalton leans back, obviously growing scared.

“I know that look in your eyes, Dalton. It’s how people used to look at me in school—fear and suspicion. All because of the way I looked. The starkly white skin, the eyes ink black. You know what they called me? Samara. It didn’t sound so bad at first, because I didn’t know who Samara was. I Googled her, though, and found out soon enough. Watched The Ring, and realized I wanted to scare the shit out of the bullies, just like Samara did. Especially those always hanging by the lockers, laughing and pushing me around. One even hauled me against a locker and lifted my skirt, pretending to fuck me from behind and daring all the others to laugh.” The meanness turns to satisfaction, which surely shows in my grin. I can feel my eyes become even more intense, and Dalton pushes himself against the back of his chair.

“That’s when it first happened,” I say darkly. “One of his friends had a sudden change of heart. The smile suddenly wiped off his face, and he decided to attack the guy molesting me, punching him hard in the face and breaking his nose. So it was a man made of flesh of blood who stepped in, not some supernatural power that made him convulse and die. Soon though, people forgot, and a new kind of bullying began.

“The guys started betting on who would relieve ‘Samara’ of her virginity. So one of the school heartthrobs, one I had a crush on, asked me out. I accepted, eager to be kissed by him—unaware of the bet. But before he touched my lips after the movie’s, some stranger stepped in and beat him to a pulp. It was a while until things became more refined, with the ‘saviors’ no longer appearing and beating my dates, but acting from a distance, orchestrating accidents in men’s rooms and involving even crane hooks. Now, you’ll understand if I’m firmly convinced whoever is behind all this is a man of flesh of blood, not some demon. A man who’s been watching me for many, many years. And you know what? For a long time I was grateful for this stalker. Because, deranged or not, he loved me.”

I lean even closer, forcing Dalton to lean his head back, the skin folding under his chin as he tries to put distance between his face and mine.

“And love was something I craved like a starving dog. I’d never been so precious to anyone before, I’d never felt so worthy. Even my parents,” I continue, forcing the information into his head. “They tried to love me, but they failed. Sure, they left me with a caring grandma and kept sending money, but still—they weren’t there. They couldn’t find a good reason to keep me by their side. I wasn’t enough. But this stalker….” I lean back again, relishing the story in my head. “He loved me, and I didn’t want him to go away. I wanted him to show himself. At first, I didn’t research in order to get him off my case, but to bring him closer. It never worked, for some reason. He must enjoy just meddling with my life from a distance, never involving himself physically, it must be some kind of fetish for him. But I want to have a real relationship, so I grew tired of his games. Now tell me, Dalton, how could this be related to Dracula?”

He swallows, his Adam’s apple moving up and down. I wait for an answer, eyes fixed on his without blinking. He glances at the book and points shyly to it.

“May I?” he whispers gutturally.

“Please.”

Slowly, he turns a chunk of pages, then again a few of them one by one until he reaches chapter 31st of October 1460. He waits again as if he expects me to feel enlightened only by looking at it.

“I must remind you, Dalton, I don’t understand German, much less the medieval version.”

“Sorry, I forgot,” he says quietly. Sure, he’s been too taken with my intensity. “This chapter talks about one thing that always puzzled historians—how did Vlad the Impaler win battles with an Ottoman army that outnumbered his by thousands?” He taps the page with his finger. “This account says that Ottoman turned on Ottoman as if some demon possessed them to turn on their own—just like the first guy who punched the bully in the face. Imagine a battlefield, it says, one army red, one silver. The red one is a bundle of crazed animals tearing at each other, while the silver one simply forms the shape of a five-pointed star in front of their opponents. In the end, they finished the survivors, and impaled them.”

I don’t understand why he’s telling me this at first. But then my synapses start firing again.

“I understand where you’re going. The same demon, the one that Lady Ruxandra pledged herself to, probably in exchange for the demon helping her husband in battle, must have influenced my protectors as well. But I never had anything to do with pentagrams, demons, and I don’t take soul pledging very seriously.”

“For a woman with the word ‘curse’ attached to her you sure are very skeptical.”

“I’m just realistic, Dalton,” I conclude, hands on the table as I decide I’ve heard enough, and make to stand up. “There are no such things as curses, stalking demons, or reincarnations for that matter.”

“No? Then how do you explain this?”

He moves on to the last page. My brain freezes.

I’ll be damned…. I drop back into the chair.

***

 

Enjoyed this? Let me know what you think in a comment, I’m always happy to hear from you 🙂

Yours,

Ana

 

Prince of Obsession – Chapter I FREE

Loves, the release date for Prince of Obsession is approaching fast! The 18th of January is just around the corner, and guess what? On the 3rd, just a few days from now, the manuscript will be ready to go to my ARC readers (readers who receive the e-book in advance, for free, and post a review on Amazon.com and/or Goodreads on the release date). If you’d like to hop on my ARC team leave me a comment or send me your e-mail details to anaatcalin@gmail.com, and I’ll send you the book as soon as it’s set to go out. Until then, here’s what this sequel to Prince of Midnight is about, and the first chapter:

Anagratiu_v4_Ebook

 

Carpathian prince Radek the Handsome no longer turns into a monster at nightfall. But does that make him any less wicked than his brother, Lord Dracula?

Three nights before their wedding, former journalist Juliet Jochs storms out of Prince Radek’s castle in the Carpathians, determined never to return. Five years later, she makes a terrible discovery—the true reason why Radek broke her heart, and its connection to Dracula.

The Prince and Juliet meet face to face again when he comes on business to her city. He tries to keep cool when she probes his shady dealings, but his craving for her grows possessive, obsessive and even dangerous, striking with a vengeance after their time apart. Stalking her from behind mirrors at night, he can barely contain his dark lust. But can he afford to lose control now that he’s so close to attaining the very goal for which he sacrificed Juliet years ago?

***

CHAPTER I

Prince Radek

 

For the first time in years I’m facing my notorious older brother, Vlad Dracula. Yes, he’s as real as it gets, and just like the cliché describes him—shiny fangs, blood-red lips, cruel bony face.

The Old Priest brought me to his cave deep in a thorny mountain forest, the stalactites above us dripping water in some places, blood in others. Vlad still likes to impale creatures, and he doesn’t miss a chance to set an example among his vampires. I heard he likes to impale them upside down, making them resemble bleeding bats.

“I must say, little brother,” his voice bounces off the wet cave walls. “I was disappointed not to get an invite to your wedding. When is it again, in three days?”

I remain still as a statue, determined to wait the show out. Vlad grins, his predator canines glinting in the undulating light from the cave water. Large, with a black cape hanging on broad shoulders, he’s sure earned his title as Dark Lord.

“Tell me, Radek the Handsome,” he continues, placing special emphasis on my old title. The chains on his boots clamor as he steps down the stairs from his black throne towards me, his vampires hissing all around the cave and retreating fearfully into the cavernous tunnels that radiate from it. “How long has it been since you and I last saw each other face to face? A century? More?”

“Since the Nazis,” I say evenly.

“The last time we actually worked together.” He stops a few feet away. He’s taller and broader than me, and still not beyond trying to intimidate me. My jaw tightens as I try not to flash a silver blade at his throat.

“Before the truce,” he continues when all he gets from me is a cold stare. “The truce when I was generous enough to give you my castle and my scepter.”

“You didn’t have much of a choice but cede them to me. Be grateful I didn’t continue to hunt you down, you would have lost.”

He squares his shoulders, a big dark presence, only the face white and angular. “You know damn well you wouldn’t stand a chance if I was immune against silver and if I could walk into the sunlight.”

“But you’re not immune to silver, and you cannot walk into the sunlight,” I say, cocking an eyebrow and balling my fist to feel the silver blade strapped to my forearm under the black leather jacket.

Cruelty glints like blades in his dark irises, his jaw clenches for a moment, but then he relaxes and gives me a large, perfectly white grin.

“I didn’t ask the Old Priest to bring you here in order revive old conflicts, little brother.” Fuck, I hate it when he calls me that. “I’m here to claim what you promised me.”

I frown at him. “I never promised you anything.”

“No?” He looks at me with fake confusion, then starts pacing around me. “One night six months ago you met the Old Priest at church, and told him you’ll send me the girl when you’re done with her. Now, not only that you failed to deliver what you promised, but I find that you’re about to marry her, and I’m not even invited. That hurts.”

He stops in front of me after a full circle, now closer than last time, forcing me to look up at him. Anger boils inside of him, I can tell by the way his vampires hiss, restless, pulling deeper inside the tunnels. They sense him. The Old Priest, now one of these creatures as well but much uglier, presses himself against the cave wall to the side, shivering.

“What do you want, Vlad?” I say between my teeth.

He spreads his arms, the cape making him resemble a huge, regal vulture. “It’s easy. I want what you promised me. You told the Old Priest Juliet Jochs was a classy beauty in great genetic form.” He stresses the last words just like I have months ago. “You said she’d be very nutritious for me, and I could use nutritious right now, to be honest.”

My eyes become slits. “You know I’m marrying her in a few days. Besides, why now? You could have staked your claim right after the final battle, three months ago.”

“I’ll only say this, little brother, a mere reminder, really. Our truce only stands if both of us keep our promises.”

It’s my turn to start pacing. “To be honest, Vlad, I’m kind of losing interest in Juliet Jochs. I’ve been consuming her freely for months now, and well, you know me. I’m bored quickly.” I halt and look around, spreading my arms. “By the way, what kind of a welcome is this? Why doesn’t anybody offer me a cup of wine?”

Vlad grins, probably knowing what I’m doing. He nods and signals towards one of the tunnels with two claw-like fingers. To my surprise—however masked—the one hurrying over is Victoria, or rather a new version of her. She’s even thinner than before, her hair half dark half white, and messy as if she’s slept in hay. She also resembles a hologram because, due to the midnight monster’s curse, she materializes in more dimensions at the same time, and in none fully. Twelve equally-disturbing looking women follow her as she moves to an adjacent tunnel to pick up wine and cups—she manages to materialize completely when she grabs things—then walking over, keeping her eyes down.

I resent looking at Victoria because I resent what she’s done, but those other women do unsettle me, because I’m partly guilty of what happened to them. But it’s imperative that Vlad doesn’t pick up on the slightest trace of emotional weakness on me, which is hard. He’s literally known me for centuries, since the day I was born.

Victoria is now cursed to always be surrounded by the women she’d kept in the dungeon for so long, the living corpses who spit black, foul body liquid at people, infecting them with the Black Plague. She’s basically the one who turned them into what they are today, so she has to pay the price. She can’t move around without them, the Bloody Maries always floating around her like shadows.

“I’m surprised to hear that, Radek,” Vlad says as Victoria is pouring wine. “If you’ve lost interest in Juliet Jochs, then why marry her? Why tie your destiny to hers forever—because it is forever for us.”

“Merely a strategic alliance.” I pick the medieval cup of wine from Victoria without giving her another glance, as if she’s truly nothing more than a slave. “Juliet Jochs can make it big in the Western world, and she can serve my purposes there. I have money, but she has the connections, the influence, and the open doors.”

“Then, if all she is to you is a tool, you wouldn’t mind passing her on to me afterwards, would you?”

I look at him calmly, pondering, twirling the wine in my hand. “I would mind, because I hope to be using her for a long time. That’s why I’m marrying her. And she wouldn’t be much use out in the open if she couldn’t walk into the sunlight, or if the slightest touch of silver would make her writhe in pain, would she?”

Vlad looks me up and down. “Who are you trying to fool Radek? This woman healed you of the midnight monster, and gave you love that infiltrated your very flesh. You risked your life for her a few months ago.”

“It was the first time I felt something for a woman, Vlad, sure I was confused. I mistook gratitude for love, deep sexual attraction for emotional connection. I may be old, but these were new feelings to me.”

Vlad grins and, for a moment, it doesn’t look so vile.

“Little brother,” he says, almost a whisper. “I remember that sweet confusion.”

Memories come back to me and, for another moment, my animosity against Vlad drops. “Ruxandra—”

“Ruxandrs. Long ago.” He takes a deep breath, and snaps out of it. “Before we get melancholic, let’s get back to the true reason why I asked to see you today.”

“Let’s hear it.”

“I’ll be completely honest. I wanted to present you with a choice—you either give Juliet Jochs over to me, or you help my get the one thing that will reinstate my powers forever. The one thing that will make Dracula invincible again.”

The blood drains from my head. “Dracula’s Grail…”

“Refuse, and it will cost you Juliet Jochs. Even if you are telling the truth—which I doubt—and you’re no longer in love with her, you must care about her a great deal. In the end, she healed you of the midnight monster, and loved you even as a disgusting creature.” He holds up his big hands with the long, dangerous claws. “Which means you wouldn’t want these on her, would you?”

Vlad and I look hard into each other’s eyes. We both know—what I say now will determine whether the war between us starts again or not.

“If you refuse to help me,” Vlad slurs, “I will kill her, little brother. I’ll hunt her down and, no matter how hard you try, you cannot protect her every second, not from me. Sooner or later I will get her.” He bends just a little bit closer to me, glancing from the corner of his eye to Victoria. “And, if by some incredible chance I don’t succeed, someone else will. Your future wife has made some pretty nasty enemies. So. What say you?”

I ponder, my fists clenched and my muscles flexed under the leather jacket, the silver blades pressed against my sinews.

“The one thing that will reinstate your full power,” I grunt through my teeth, “Dracula’s Grail, isn’t easily found. And, if found, it’s not easily obtained. For centuries secret societies have tried to get their hands on it, and….” I stop before Victoria, the Old Priest, or the vampires get ideas.

Vlad grins dangerously. “Don’t pretend you didn’t try to get your hands on it yourself.” He bursts into wall-shaking laughter. “What, you didn’t think I’d see through your schemes, little brother? Only that you were planning on using the Grail against me, probably eliminate me for good. But I suggest you don’t even think about it. You see, if I die, things will become even worse for Juliet Jochs. The last thing I’ll do is order these guys to sink their fangs in her.” He motions around the cave at the tunnels full of vampires. “Or their claws and curses,” he mentions with a wave of his hand towards Victoria and her Bloody Maries. “And you know my subjects are forced to do my bidding even in my death.”

I look around from under my eyebrows, gaging the danger. Vlad sure has built a powerful army. Victoria’s type of monster is new, and she’s not the only oddity he’s added to his collection. I look at the Old Priest and the Bloody Maries.

“What can I say, Vlad,” I hiss. “You leave me no choice.”

***

 

 

Juliet

 

Radek is back! Thank God, I’ve been worried sick since he went to see his brother.

With an ecstatic smile on my face, I hurry down the castle stairs to the vestibule where I heard his voice. But he’s gone before I get to him.

As I follow his voice from one room to another—wonder whom he’s talking to—I’m led through the dimensions from one narrow passageway to eerie lonely room, to yet another passageway and another room. I stop, facing a wooden chair beside a crown glass window, like in some absurd theater play.

“No more dimensions games, Radek,” I call out, growing angry.

He’s been avoiding me for weeks, and it’s becoming increasingly hard for me to keep up my enthusiasm about our upcoming wedding. I’m glad to the moon and back that he returned safely from his meeting with Dracula, which had me biting my nails in terror, but now a more long-term, nagging worry returns—he’s been neglecting me. Why?

I notice a door in a corner, and stomp to it, my cheeks now burning. The door leads me to my own chambers, where I’m alone again. I curse in frustration.

He relocated me to these chambers two weeks ago, and went out with strange business every evening. Gone are the nights when he held me pressed to his naked body, and kissed me all over like his life depended on it. At least now he’s letting me see Lazarus—a newborn vampire—and Magda—a hundred-year-old witch—down in town. They’re my only friends. I didn’t tell them my worries about Radek losing interest though, because I didn’t want to admit them to myself, but I did turn to some tricks to reawaken his passion. Tricks I learned before I even knew Radek, before I knew anything about the Hidden World, before I knew the paranormal was as real as banks, cancer and David Bowie.

Tonight I’m wearing one of those white silk negligees that Radek likes so much. I even procured a set of cuffs to spice up what I hoped would be lovemaking.

“Juliet.”

Startled, I turn swiftly and find Radek leaning against the doorframe. He’s got a bottle of wine in one hand, and crystal wine glasses in the other.

“I’m sorry. Did I scare you?” He walks over smoothly like the prince he is, black suit jacket open, revealing a lean but muscular body under it. My heart aches at how beautiful he is.

He places the bottle on the medieval desk by the window, a bad-boy smile on those lips like red roses, his ivory face perfect and somehow detached. I think I catch the perfume of another woman on him. I gather the silk night robe tighter around me, watching him pour us both wine, struggling with my anger and burning cheeks.

“So, I gather the meeting with your brother went well?” I manage as I take the glass he gives me.

“Wonderfully. The truce stands solid. He was a bit hurt we didn’t invite him to the wedding.”

I snort. “Is that why he summoned you? To reprimand you on that?”

“And to make sure I wouldn’t attack him, now that I emerged even more powerful from the battle three months ago.”

I hold his stare. “Aren’t you taking this a little too lightly? The battle was terrible, we both almost got killed, and—”

The perfume of the other woman wafts over again as he shifts and leans on the desk.

“Who were you talking to earlier in the hall? I heard you,” I demand.

“Just our new housekeeper.”

“Our new housekeeper smells of pastry and Mr. Proper. Not Chanel No 5.”

He looks at me in that specific way men do when they’re thinking of a lie to tell. For a moment I hope the lie is good, because I really want to believe it. But, instead, Radek grins widely and opens his arms in a come-on-babe gesture. I’m sure the earth has just been pulled from under my feet. No, no, no, he isn’t doing this to me.

“Juliet, I actually didn’t even intend to keep this from you.” He looks to the door and calls a woman’s name, but I don’t register it. It’s like my brain is protecting itself.

My jaw drops when a blonde with a killer body dressed in a red negligee steps like a cat into the room.

“I thought maybe it was time we spiced up our relationship,” Radek says. “One on one, things kind of got stale.”

The image in front of my eyes is swimming, giving me a hard time believing this is actually happening. A part of me is screaming to scratch his eyes out, but another part just says,

“You feel our relationship has already grown stale? After only three months in which we’ve loved each other freely?” After you risked your life to save mine, after I healed you of the midnight monster, after I gave everything up for you, after, after, after.

I stand frozen with the glass of wine in my hand.

“Please, Juliet, be reasonable,” he says as the blonde stops by his side, a white hand with red polished fingernails snaking on his shoulder. He takes it and kisses it, forcing me to blink as if to wipe the image away. No, this can’t be really happening, he must be putting up some kind of show.

“I’ve been limited by the midnight monster for so long,” he continues. “Now that I’m free of it, I can do things I couldn’t even dream of before. It’s been six hundred years of prison inside my own body, hiding my deadly secret. Now I can finally enjoy life and sex to the fullest—thanks to you, of course.” He grins at me, and the playboy glint in his eyes spears me. “I can finally enjoy things I dreamt of for centuries, like a threesome with two beautiful women, fully naked.”

I just stand here like a statue as the blonde closes the short distance between us and caresses my face seductively. The part of me I recognize wants to spit her in the face and call her a whore, but….

I just snort, looking her up and down appreciatively. “Wow, what can I say, Radek. She is indeed beautiful. But I’m afraid I’m as straight as they come and, if you still intend to go ahead with the wedding in three days, I suggest that you send her back to where you found her.”

The woman opens her mouth to speak, and I cock an eyebrow, stunned that she dares believe she has a say in this.

“Why so bitter, milady,” she says in a thick Slavic accent. “I’ll gladly please you as well.” But I can see the delight behind her cat-like blue eyes hooded by heavy mascara—she already feels she’s better than me, her heart is swelling with self-esteem thinking the prince will even forgo his wedding with me for a night with her. But no, he won’t give her this satisfaction. Will he?

My heart sinks as I watch his hand touch the small of her back, grazing her spine. Her eyelids flutter at his touch, her hand moving away from my face, cupping her own breast.

“I want to marry you, Juliet,” Radek says as he strokes the blonde, “but not in the terms we had until now.” He looks me straight in the face. “I want an open relationship.”

A sharp pain goes through my heart, heat flushing to my cheeks. I hear my mother’s words in my head, words she told my sister and me a felt lifetime ago. ‘Life will kick us in the face. And our lovers. Our lovers will kick us in the face.’

I stare from Radek to the blonde, who now leans against him, massaging her own tits and looking provocatively into my eyes while Radek watches what she’s doing over her shoulder with an I’ll-do-your-every-hole grin. Her lascivious stare tells me, ‘He prefers me, boring long-time girlfriend’.

On the outside, I remain calm. On the inside, I’m on fire. I square my shoulders and push out my chin, placing the glass of wine gently on the medieval desk—ignoring the part of me that’s raging to throw it into Radek’s face.

“I’m not in the mood for wine today. Or a threesome. Radek, I would like to leave the castle now, and I’d like to find my way easily.” This means no games with the dimensions like before.

He looks me in the face, his stare growing deep and hard. It’s like he wants to carve my features into his memory. Is this what he wanted all along? Was he determining me to leave him so that he doesn’t have to be the one walking away?

“Are you sure about this, Juliet?”

I snort and smile. “Hypocrite.”

We just look each other in the eyes for moments. He doesn’t even blink, his feelings unreadable beyond the fact that they’re intense, while my heart is crumbling to pieces. My skin burns all over, but the rage of the moment enables me to keep my ground, which I’m mighty grateful for.

“I will ask Lazarus to come get my things later.” I look them up and down one last time. “Ask the housekeeper to have them ready. It’s the last thing I ask of you.”

Radek’s voice stops me as I head to the door.

“I have a final request from you as well.”

I glance over my shoulder. “Yes.”

“It’s about our other arrangements.” He leaves the blonde by the desk, walking towards me. “I’m still willing to honor all our other plans besides the wedding. I’m willing to buy Herald Gruff’s e-zine, which you will then run. Of course, in exchange for you building a credible and likeable public persona for me in Germany, securing me people’s approval.”

“And influential people’s trust,” I finish in his place.

I feel him close behind me, but he doesn’t answer. With a bleeding heart and a huge lump in my throat, I walk out the door. Soon after that I’m running out into the night, the white silk robe floating behind me as hot tears stream down my face. I run until I fall to my knees at Magda’s door, sobbing hard, bracing myself as if to keep my body from crumbling to pieces.

***

 

Radek

 

I stare out the window, leaning with my hands on the sidewalls. It pains me to have hurt the woman that I owe my life and my very humanity to, but it was for her own good.

“You think she’ll still help you in the Western World?” Irina asks from behind me. She’s laid down on Juliet’s bed.

“Get up,” I say evenly.

“I will,” she says seductively, “but only if you turn around to watch me do it.”

Anger grips me, but I manage to keep my tone calm. “You, in her bed. It’s a sacrilege that I don’t want to witness. Get up.”

“You really do love her,” she whispers.

“Lord Dracula was right,” she continues when I don’t answer. “You were truly marrying her for love.”

I ponder. How do I put this? “If you look into the life Juliet and I led together this last month, you’ll find out that we grew apart before my meeting with my brother tonight.”

“But she is important to you.”

“Of course she is important to me. She healed me of the midnight monster, and used intense love to do it. I’ll always be grateful to her for it, and in her debt.”

“But do you love her back, prince?” Her voice is pleading, making it clear she’s desperate for me to deny it. Given that she’s one of Vlad’s vampires, I better play along.

“Not enough to tie my life to hers forever,” I say, turning around to find her now sitting on the bed like an unhappy child. “She will be useful to me in the Western World because she wants to make sure I’ll honor my promise to her friends, the witch Magda, and Lazarus. I promised that I’d fight for the good guys, and use my power to back them up in the war against evil. Lazarus is also a vampire, by the way.”

“I know. I was one of those who bit him in the final battle three months ago.” She licks her lips, remembering the taste of him on the one hand, and trying to seduce me on the other. The strategy flops miserably.

“That’s not why I brought you here, Irina.”

She pouts playfully, but I can tell her disappointment is real.

“Too bad,” she says. “I have talents, you know. You would’ve liked them.”

“This isn’t about me.” The problem with living forever is that you come to see straight through people. “This is about you wanting to feel more valuable than Juliet. But, to me, no woman has ever been more valuable. She’s unique, and special. I may not desire her the same way I did in the beginning, but she’s still the only woman that’s worth something in my life.”

Only part of that is true, but I manage to mask it well. Another thing that comes with an unnaturally long life is a strong grip on the display of one’s emotions.

Irina keeps sitting on the bed, doing nothing to signal an intention of leaving. I exit the room without giving her another glance, making things as clear as they get. I may still need her later, but right now the least I can do for Juliet and my own aching heart is not giving this lustful vampiress satisfaction.

***

Prince of Midnight is live!

It’s the 20th of December and, as promised, Prince of Midnight just went live! It’s there for you to grab it, if you like, plus!–You won’t have to wait long for the sequel, Prince of Obsession. It will hit the Zon as soon as the 18th of January, and you know what? Get used to it. I have a new book planned for every month of 2019, so there will be a lot of fun! (And a lot of interesting stuff about vampires, shifters and other supernatural creatures)

The plot takes place in the Carpathians, is related to Dracula and Dracula’s castle, and the book is similar to the work of Christine Feehan. So, if you enjoy Christine Feehan books, you might love this one, too : )

Anagratiu_v3

Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Chapter XX

THIS CHAPTER FEATURES MATURE CONTENT! 18+

Blurb:

Wickedly handsome and shamelessly rich, Tristan Stahl is a villain. A businessman by day and an underground cage fighter by night, he fears no one, and respects one man alone – his adoptive father, Mark Stahl. It’s at Mark’s request that Tristan recruits Isolde Molnar for her “special talents”. He doesn’t expect complications from this “piece of livestock”, but working closely with her turns out challenging in more ways than one. Throw a modern alchemist’s potion in the mix along with Mark Stahl’s growing infatuation with the girl, and there you have it – a retelling of the Tristan and Isolde tale with a modern, sexy flair. Enjoy!

Chapter XX – Deadly Passion

“Have you lost your mind?” My heart beats like a rabbit’s, and my cheeks are burning. Still, I can’t find it in myself to struggle from his embrace. “I’m your father’s—”

“He doesn’t have to know,” Tristan purrs. “He has no idea you’re a virgin, so he’ll have no reason to suspect.”

“But Gertrude and all your people heard me back at the dress store, when I told you I’d never been with a man.”

“Mark doesn’t maintain chit-chat relationships with the staff. Nobody will dare break the news to him.”

Anger squeezes my throat. “So you want to do me, and then throw me into his bed, is that it?”

“Yes. That’s it.”

I plant my hands on his iron hard chest and push at him with all I have. He doesn’t budge, but it serves as release for my anger. “Do you believe yourself, you bastard?” When I fail to move him, I throw my fists at his chest, beating down on him. “You want to use me and toss me like a condom, and you tell it to my face, too?”

“Would you prefer that I lied?”

I scream in outrage. He lets me beat him, his face hard, his jaw set, his gaze icy. He doesn’t move at all, he simply waits it out. The sides of my fists hurt, and I’m pretty sure they’ll bruise, but I don’t stop hitting him until I’m exhausted. I fall to my knees, crying and heaving, my dress deflating all around me like a parachute on the ground.

Shimmer in the limelight makes me glance to the side and remember that we’re not alone: the guards down by my foster father’s cross stare at us, but probably all they can see is unintelligible movement. We’re too far up. My foster father is looking, too, and I think our gazes meet.

I feel Tristan’s fingers sink into my hair, his big fist clenching on a handful. Astounded, I gaze up at him. He tugs, it’s painful, and I moan. He inhales sharply—the sight of me at his feet clearly turns this magnificent monster on. He opens his fly with his other hand, reaches in, and frees his erection. By God!

He’s huge. His shaft is a freaking weapon made of muscle.

“Take me in your mouth now, if you want to save him.” His voice is gruff with want, and his eyes flash like a beast’s ready to tear into my flesh. “He doesn’t have long, so don’t negotiate.”

His fist tightens on my hair, and the pain sharpens. He tugs my head back, touching his shaft to my lips. It smells of clean cotton. The moment he tinges my skin his lids flutter, his lips part, and he breathes in sharply, while his cock twitches on my mouth, releasing a drop of warm pre-cum. He wants me that much?

“Not here,” I whisper. “Please, it’s all I ask.”

He looks down at me on my knees before him. Keeping my head in place, he pushes his hips forward, and his shaft digs into my lips. He’s still on the outside, rubbing lengthwise on my mouth and my face, surely smudging my makeup. He pushes harder, and that weapon of a cock splits my lip. He moans deeply from his chest like he enjoys my blood.

“Tristan, I beg of you,” I manage, my lips squashed against his rough manhood, tears shimmering hot in my lower eyelids. I’m choking with indignation. “It’s my first time.”

He watches me for a few moments with a cold, unreadable expression, but then he steps back and tucks himself back in. He grips his erection over his trousers, probably to still it. My lips feel dry and cracked, and I run my tongue over the place where he’s been only a moment before, tasting my own blood and his salty pre-cum. Shock lessens, and my heart jolts—I’ve actually had my mouth on the most intimate part of Tristan Stahl’s body.

Turning to the Roman guards, Tristan’s voice booms, resounding against the cave. “Take the pig down from the cross, and drive him to the hospital. Make sure he stays alive. Keep guards on him, don’t leave him alone even for a minute.”

His attention returns to me, and my insides twist with a mix of anticipation and rage.

“Come,” he orders.

“Where are we going?”

“No time for questions, Isolde.” The way he says that, the way he looks at me, there’s no doubt—he won’t leave me a choice. I put my hand in his, and stagger up to my feet.

He slides an arm like an iron beam under me and cradles me to what seems a secret door beaten into the hard mud. I guess I could fight this, argue and scream, find a way to run with it to Mark, but it hits me with a bang—I want Tristan to be the first man in my life, even though I know he’ll be a brute. Damn you and your love potion, Marie France Cassel.

Tristan pushes the door, which makes an unsticking sound as it parts with the frame. It appears heavy like the entrance to a vault.

“Jesus, you’re strong,” I think out loud. Seems my neurons have all fainted. He doesn’t say anything.

He sets me down on my feet on a corridor smelling of mold. Above us, I can hear the muffled laughter and music of the mega theme party upstairs.

“This palace has secret passages?” I say in a quivering voice.

“They all do,” Tristan replies dismissively as he leads the way. I should want to jump on his back, screaming and scratching with indignation right now. Instead, I take a deep breath and go for another strategy.

“I always thought this place much too serious and, I don’t know, too sober for such things. Secret passageways are so France.” I even try a small laugh. I hope conversation will make Tristan see me as a human again, not just a piece of warm meat to stick his dick into.

“No one beats the Germans at secret passages.”

He turns, annoyance crossing his sharp blue eyes, making it clear he doesn’t welcome the chitchat. He grabs my hand as if he’s lost patience, and practically drags me into what looks like a royal bedroom. He shuts the doors and hauls me onto a small divan by the wall. My back knocks against it and, despite my hands gripping to silky cushions, I feel like I’ve just been thrown into a prison cell.

Tristan approaches me, losing his suit jacket and tossing it to the side. He begins unbuttoning his white shirt that clings to his fighter muscles, and something stirs in my core. Silver light from the garden filters into the spacious room through the two windows on the far wall that frame Tristan’s figure. Apart from the shirt that outlines the shape of his body, he’s all made of blackness against the light, while he can see me clearly like a deer in his headlights.

He stands right before me and lifts my chin with his forefinger. His shirt is completely open now, his blue eyes luminous like a monster’s in his shadow face. I keep my gaze glued to his, but register his other hand working on his fly, freeing his manhood. My heart pumps like crazy, and I can’t believe this is actually happening to me.

“You’ll take me in your mouth,” he says gruffly. I make out his hand moving up and down his shaft—he’s stroking himself; my pulse throbs in my throat, and cream from my private parts trickles into my panties. What the—?

“Do it without objection,” he demands. “Do it until you feel my cum down your throat, and it may just save your virtue.”

This is wrong, this is sick, but it turns me on big time. My panties are soaked.

“No,” I whisper. I see the surprise cross Tristan’s eyes, and his hand stops moving.

Slowly, I bend down, bringing my face closer to his shaft, touching it with my breath. I grip the rim of my dress and lift the skirts, gathering the material in my lap and beside my hips. I’m a step away from revealing the most intimate part of my body to him. Underneath the skirts I’m wearing black stockings up to mid-thigh, and I make sure I display them for Tristan.

“This is the first time I’m being intimate with a man, Tristan,” I say in a low, secretive voice. “And I prefer to give you my virtue than my dignity.”

He inhales sharply, as if my very words make him horny. His big hand goes around the back of my neck, gripping my nape as he bends down to me. A split second before it happens I realize his mouth is going to leave me breathless, and I take in air. He crushes my lips under his, overriding me like a wave. That vicious mouth of his that I’ve been wanting to taste for so long is now actually on mine, causing me pain as it presses on the split.

Tristan’s teeth sink hard into my lower lip. I yelp as blood squirts out, and I try to pull back, but he keeps his teeth in like a pit-bull. He sucks on my pierced flesh, and fear rolls like ice on the inside of my skin. Just how damaged is this man? He moans with the frenzy, both his hands sinking into my chignon and messing up my hair.

Once again I try to pull away, intent on using as pretext that we can’t look a mess when we return to the party, but he apparently lost every ounce of reason. He keeps his hands in my hair, his tongue sliding hungrily into my mouth. Dear God, he’s kissing me with a deadly passion, and I have no way of fighting it.

My body softens in his arms, and I give in to him. I let my arms go around his broad torso and I press my tits against his iron chest—it feels delicious. I want more, and I snake onto him, feeling his body respond. He pushes himself into me, knocking me into the wooden back of the divan, smothering me with his hot mouth. I’m breathless when he breaks the kiss, looking into my eyes. There’s the raw desire of a caveman in his gaze, mixed with bloodlust. My lips feel sore and swollen, and I shake all over.

“That smart mouth of yours makes me want to eat you alive,” he says gruffly, the sound of his voice giving me goose bumps. It’s so animal sexy, and his wintry scent now mixed with the sweat of his body is an aphrodisiac.

“I didn’t think brains were something that you looked for in a woman,” I mumble. Speaking is hard, that’s how demanding he’s been on my lips.

“Me neither.” He grins viciously, and plunges into another kiss. I can’t restrain muffled moans while his hands splay on my neck and chest, going down to my necklace and tearing it. I can hear the emerald beads hit the parquet floor in a ripple, and a flash of Mark demanding to know where they went stirs me from Tristan’s embrace. His hands harden on me, keeping me in place.

He plasters me to his body, forcing my legs apart to accommodate his hips between them. I think he’s on his knees, but he still reaches me perfectly in all the right places. His fingers hook into the rim of my cleavage and pull down, my tits springing out and filling his rough palms. He releases a groan, and kisses my neck wildly, pushing his body into mine, squeezing my breasts. His manhood twitches against my most intimate part, only my lace panties between us. My skirts are in my lap and his trousers still on, only his manhood out, which makes the contact between us so secret, so meaningful. The touch of his mouth on my skin sends pleasure all over me, making me sigh and clutch his taut triceps, arching into his mouth, offering him my neck, my chest, opening my legs wider.

“Aw, Tristan, don’t stop,” I slur.

My heart beats like crazy in expectation. I’m convinced that this is it, Tristan Stahl is going to rip my soaked panties and enter me, and my head swims. But only a big hand goes down between my legs, strokes aside the lace, and swipes over my swollen private part. He’s surprisingly gentle, but I wince with the bolt of pleasure that shoots through me. He brings his face above mine, searching my eyes. His own are luscious like a starved animal’s chained just feet away from his meal.

“How does this feel?” His voice is husky, barely controlled.

“It feels like heaven.” My lids are heavy, hooding my eyes. I can barely restrain myself, my high heels planted firmly in the ground, and my hips moving into his touch. He strokes again, now with more pressure. “Aw, yes!” I arch my head back and push my hips forward, rolling my eyes at the sensation. I’m now twisted in an awkward position, my arms spread over the back of the divan, holding tightly, and my hips off the cushions, moving to meet the moves of Tristan’s hand. He brings his big body over mine, the sides of his shirt open, his face above my eyes. I think he wants to drink in how I feel, to relish what his touch is doing to me.

“This is my first time, too, Isolde,” he says huskily. “The first time I’ve ever wanted to pleasure a woman. Damn that witch and her potions.”

His words, his touch, his scent, it all brings me to the highest point. My hips arch further up, and orgasm breaks out from my clitoris. My neck arches back, my muscles stretch and tense, my eyelids squeeze, and I release a long moan that stops in Tristan’s palm that presses on my lips.

He releases me as soon as my moans die down, my body relaxing on the divan like a mass of jelly molding to the wood and cushions. He can use me now, and that’s just what he intends to do, I realize.

He grabs the sides of my thighs above the stockings and positions himself between my legs. This is it!

But no.

His long manhood touches me there, and he begins rubbing along my slit, relishing the wetness. He does not try to enter.

I look at him baffled. “What are you doing?”

He’s frowning, his lips slightly parted, painful need written all over him. His fingers drill into my flesh, marking his want. I bite back a yelp.

“If I thrust into you now I don’t think I can . . .” He pants, rocking his hips harder into mine. “Fuck,” he growls.

His body tightens, and his sap splashes on the inside of my skirts, a few drops landing on my skin. His groans are delicious to my ears, shooting current all through me. He breathes hard, his whole body relaxing, and I open my arms to receive him. For just a moment he leans his entire weight on my body, suffocating me against the wooden back of the divan, but he comes back to himself fast. We look long at each other, and I swear my heart has just melted away. I’m falling deeply in love with Tristan Stahl, the villain, the man who just took me with a passion I never thought I’d experience from a man.

The way his eyes lick all over me, for a moment I think he feels the same. But then he gets off me, tucks himself in, and starts buttoning up his shirt. The ice returns to his eyes, and soon an alternate reality seems to have replaced the passion between us.

“This won’t happen again,” he states coldly. I blink at him, trying to wrap my head around this extreme switch of his. There’s no trace left of the passionate Tristan from before.

“Why?” The question leaves my mouth like a ghost.

He shuffles his suit jacket on, just like a client who finished screwing a hooker. “Because you’re going to be Mark’s woman. Even if it’s only for a while, it will bring you many advantages, and you don’t need complications. And neither do I.”

Rage boils inside my chest, and my mouth goes dry. I glare at him. “I was going to become your adoptive father’s woman half an hour ago, too. That didn’t stop you from pushing your penis on my mouth. You think you’re any less despicable if you never do it again?”

He stands in front of me, now completely dressed, looking as if nothing ever happened between us. Nobody would guess that he’s been intimate with me just moments ago.

“Yes,” he says evenly, fastening his Rolex around his wrist. “Look, Isolde, I’ll put this in clear terms for you.” He sits on the divan by my side, hand on the wooden back. I read contempt all over his face, which I now see clearly in the light from the garden. So this is what they mean when they say men can do you and then ditch you like a used condom. “I’m engaged to be married, and while it is a marriage of convenience, it’s also the only relationship I have interest in. I’ve fucked other women before Gertrude, and I will fuck other women after I’m married to her. As you may have noticed, I have particularities in matters of sex. I wouldn’t be able to live them out with my respected wife, would I?”

Rage is choking me. I’ve been used in the filthiest way, I’m no more than a public toilet to him. The man split my lip trying to fuck my mouth, and he enjoyed it. I take my hand to the place, hot with anger. Hadn’t he been so out of his mind horny to make him think he wouldn’t last enough for it to be worth it, he would have taken my virginity and tossed me away in the same sick manner. I want to scream at him that his warm seed is still dripping off me, but I bite it from my lips, tears salty in the back of my throat.

“Secondly,” he says, “Mark hasn’t shown interest in a woman in over a decade. That he likes you the way he does is special, and I don’t want to spoil it for him.”

TO BE CONTINUED

***

Enjoyed this? Stay tuned for more! Subscribe to this blog, and follow me on Facebook andTwitter to be notified each time a new chapter is uploaded. Here’s the whole story:

Prologue – Meet Tristan The Ripper

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII

Chapter XIII

Chapter XIV

Chapter XV

Chapter XVI

Chapter XVII

Chapter XVIII

Chapter XIX

OR ENJOY THE HEAT IN MY FULL LENGTH BOOKS

The Executioner Part One

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The Executioner Part Two

TheExecutioner_version2_p2

 

The Revenge of Andrey Jones

RoAJ

FREE ROMANCE READS, everyone!

You know me, folks 🙂 Always both eyes open for all things good books, all things hot romance, and all things good books again. Got two hot giveaways to tell you about today, and namely:

Romancing and Army of Readers – Some of these titles had me fanning my hands over my face, and I’m not one to do that often, I tell ya. Check this out.

Paranormal Suspense and Romance – One of my favorite favorites so far! It includes one of the best romance authors out there, Rachael Tamayo, I grabbed her latest book here.

Stay tuned for more, folks! I’m always reading and collecting all the worthwhile reads for you, not to mention that my latest activity as an editor with one of the fastest growing indie publishers out there has opened a well of goodies 🙂 So keep close

 

The Revenge of Andrey Jones is LIVE!

The day has come, folks!”The Revenge of Andrey Jones” has released, and let me tell you it’s a goody. I’ve been preparing this one for you for a while now, and when things got out of hand, I found myself on a joy ride 🙂 Full of dark romance, suspense and dark erotic, this one will surprise you! Get it for only $ 1,17 on Amazon, and enjoy a wild night 🙂

RoAJ

There’s a fine line between love and hate

Lila Banks is driven and cool-headed—until she meets dream employer Andrey Jones, and finds herself drooling over him. The last thing she expects is that he’s hated her for years. His father, the villain known as Big Boss, had once left his family for Lila—or so Andrey thinks. Today, he wants revenge.

Cold, calculated and almost evil, Andrey uses Lila in vile ways, but the boomerang is bound to return. Will Andrey be able to resist Lila when she turns his own weapons against him? A story of dark seduction, walking the fine line between love and hate.

Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Chapter XIX – INDECENT PROPOSAL

Wickedly handsome and shamelessly rich, Tristan Stahl is a villain. A businessman by day and an underground cage fighter by night, he fears no one, and respects one man alone – his adoptive father, Mark Stahl. It’s at Mark’s request that Tristan recruits Isolde Molnar for her “special talents”. He doesn’t expect complications from this “piece of livestock”, but working closely with her turns out challenging in more ways than one. Throw a modern alchemist’s potion in the mix along with Mark Stahl’s growing infatuation with the girl, and there you have it – Tristan and Isolde Reloaded. Enjoy!

Chapter XIX – Indecent Proposal

ISOLDE

I know the woman now facing me directly. Her deep brown eyes meet mine with those unmistakable long eyelashes, curved upward. Her face is heart-shaped, delicate and very pale, as it’s always been, but indeed, I can see the lady in her. I’ve known her as helpless Frany, but now I’m looking at Lady Marie France Cassel, elite chemist; if I didn’t know better now, I’d think she is my sweet Frany’s older, aristocrat sister.

The moment she recognizes me Lady Marie France turns on her heels, places her drink on the mantelpiece behind her, lifts her skirt—shiny, black, sewn with black pearls—and she glides through the crowd away from me.

I scurry after her, but she’s faster. She seems a ghost, floating casually among human obstacles, while I bump into them, and excuse myself. I keep my eyes on her and follow out of the room to another room, different people, same smothering heat. I see her take a right into what turns out to be a dark corridor where I’m forced to feel my way along the walls, into the gardens outside.

It’s dark, the gardens are scarcely lit, and the chill bites into my naked arms and shoulders. The emerald necklace turns to metal against my skin, hitting me like a small cold whip every step I take.

“Frany,” I call after the woman who’s become a dark moving stain before me. She keeps gliding away. “Lady Marie France!”

She stops and turns, her pale face like half a moon in the night. I can’t see her eyes, but I can read her surprise.

“Yes, I know who you are, Lady Cassel,” I press, slowing down, hoping I got her. But she turns, and moves away even faster than before. I grip the folds of my dress and increase pace, my chest and neck cold, and my breath steaming out of my mouth. My lungs burn, and the dress squeezes me like pliers, but I won’t give up.

Marie France crosses a quaint little bridge over the pond, and disappears into a rusty pavilion. I’m pretty sure I hear a creak, but it could be the floorboards of the bridge squeaking under my feet. When I reach the pavilion I spin in circles, but she’s disappeared. I’m sure she stepped in here, though.

I look around the dimly lit gazebo, touching and inspecting the wrought iron benches and the chipped round table in the middle. Under it there’s a lever. I wrap both my hands around the cold iron, pull down hard, and a hatch opens. Indeed, there’s the creak, the same one from before.

I take a deep breath and climb down through the hatch, feeling a bit like Alice in Wonderland. I don’t know why, but I’m not surprised to find a secret doorway in the royal gardens of the Charlottenburg Palace. Maybe it’s because of the vision I had, because I kind of know what to expect.

My hair and dress catch in the edges of the entrance, and I can’t refrain from cursing. A tooth-like piece of copper hooked into a fold of my dress, and the only solution I see to free myself is tugging hard. The force I apply to the tug turns out too much, the fold rips, and I roll downwards on my back. Something like a metal slide batters my spine as I roll, and by the time I hit the ground I’ve groaned so loud that my presence surely isn’t a secret anymore.

I get to my feet with difficulty, not sure yet how much of my body is broken. My bones hurt, but as I touch myself I realize the scare was the worst part of it. If anything, I’ll get a few bruises by morning.

I look around, bracing myself and rubbing my upper arms. This place is deserted and frightening, like an ancient cave. The air is stale, and foul. Ventilation surely is an issue here, and the pressure is heavy on my body, too. I must have fallen really far underground.

The soil consists of damp gravel and sand, and it crunches under my feet as I step to the edge of an abyss that yawns before me without warning. I flail my arms to keep balance, but when I steady myself my eyes also adjust, and I gasp.

The countless seats carved into the earth all around the hole are empty, but limelight is focused on a scene in the center of an abandoned arena. This place seems a secret Roman ruin, a site where Roman military probably had gladiators fight when they missed home. Spotting movement, I narrow my eyes, hunker down, and strain with all I have to see from this distance. I gasp, taking my hand to my mouth.

He hangs on a cross just like in my vision. Streaks of blood seem to snake down his forearms and down the cross from his feet, while two men dressed like Roman guards stand on each side of him with spears in their hands. I’m sure the crucified man is Tristan, and panic makes the blood squirt from my heart. But, unlike in my vision, there’s no laughing crowd, and as I look better I see the man on the cross isn’t Tristan. It’s my foster father from years ago, his body like a flaccid peach glistening with sweat in the limelight. He’s completely naked, and he seems barely alive.

I feel Tristan’s wintry breath on the curve of my neck before his voice reaches my ear from behind.

“He knows exactly why this is happening to him.” He’s really close; the temperature of his big body envelops my back. It’s not heat and it’s not cold, it’s just waves of temperature field. Something I’ve never experienced before, I realize suddenly.

“You aren’t human,” I whisper without turning.

“Whether I’m human or not has nothing to do with this,” he says in a low voice. His lips touch the shell of my ear lightly, and a shiver that borders on pleasure runs all through me. I grit my teeth. There’s satisfaction in his voice at his next words. “Do you enjoy the sight?”

“Enjoy?” God, I’m trembling like a chicken stripped of feathers.

“After everything he did to you, retribution must feel good.”

I turn to look into Tristan’s face. My heart cringes as my eyes settle on him. Please, God, don’t let me be falling for a monster, for a torturer and a killer. I brusquely remember Marie France and her love potion.

“I saw her, Tristan. I saw Marie France. She led me here, and she must be around somewhere.”

He grins his thuggish grin, and the wicked dimple appears beside his mouth. “Yes, I know. Well, she had a surprise of her own. She expected me on that cross.”

“And she expected a full audience, too. That’s what I saw in my vision.”

“Your vision helped change that version of the future—to this.” He motions with his chin to the scene in the limelight. I glance at my foster father, and my fists clench on the folds of my dress.

“Tristan, please, I can’t be responsible for this.”

He stands while I’m still hunkering down. He now looms over me. “Come on, Isolde, don’t be a hypocrite. Roland told me what this piece of shit put you through, you must experience some sort of pleasure right now.”

He reaches for me and helps me up. His hand is big enough to wind around my upper arm completely, but it’s also cold and wet. I look at it, and my stomach twists. His hand, wrist and cuff are soaking red.

“Yes, I nailed him myself,” Tristan says, and he sounds like a satisfied psycho. He offers me his other hand. “Here, touch his blood.”

“What, no!” Frany! I grip his forearm, horrified. “What about Marie France? Did you intercept her as she came here? What did you do to her?”

He frowns. “I decided to let her go. Desperate as she is now, she’s going to make huge mistakes, and lead us to the others. My men are tailing her closely. We’ll get to all of her confederates, eventually.”

I glance at my foster father. “Are you really doing this for me, Tristan? When we met at the Palace you looked at me like I wasn’t worth jack. The last thing I expected—”

“Was that I’d seek revenge in your name. Exactly.” He steps closer, and his arm goes around my waist, plastering me to his body. I gasp. This can’t be happening. This can’t be freaking happening.

His wintry smell tinges my nostrils, the sleek feel of his suit licks my arms, and I think I’m having an out of body experience. It all feels like an alternate reality, me staring up into his razor sharp blue eyes from somewhere beside myself.

“I had to do something that would make this a highly incredible scenario, Isolde. Namely that I’d be down in this cave tonight, ramming nails into a man’s hands and feet in order to please you. I had to put on display my indifference to you.” His gaze is wild. The man is mighty damaged.

“Tristan, this is sacrilege,” I manage, keeping my tone extra soft. “You can’t give my foster father the fate of Christ. Please, get him down. That would please me.”

He lets go of me and squares his shoulders. “It’s pretty hard to release him now, Isolde. What you see is only the tip of the iceberg. Your foster father and I first met twenty-four hours ago, and we spent some time together since then, you see.”

I shudder, understanding what he means. I look him up and down, picturing how this monster has tortured my foster father, probably while telling him it was in my name. Now that weasel has seen Tristan’s face, and he can go to the police with it. I notice a stain of blood on Tristan’s white shirt under the suit jacket, emerging from under his lapel, wet and plastering his shirt to his pectoral.

“You intend to kill him no matter what,” I breathe, bracing myself.

“I don’t have a choice,” he states coldly.

I glance away for only a moment to ease the tension between us, and when my eyes find him again he seems even more threatening. I barely dare look him in the face as I say, timidly, “You’re the mighty Tristan Stahl. President of Stahl Biotech, head of the pharmaceuticals mafia, and you’re well connected to the very top of the world. If anyone always has a choice, it’s you.”

I drop my gaze, but I can feel those blade sharp eyes drilling into my skull.

“Well, what can I say.” His tone is deceivingly calm. “You are very smart, Isolde. You know how to manipulate words, but I’m afraid men of my caliber aren’t as easy.”

My eyes snap to him. “I’m not trying to manipulate you, Tristan. I’m trying to talk some sense into you.” I point to my foster father, raising my voice as the fist of despair grips my heart. “You’re about to take a life!”

“His life is worthless.”

“That’s not for you to decide. He’s been born into this world, he has a right to be here.”

“Well, he sure doesn’t feel the same about you, does he?” Tristan loses patience, grips my elbow, and pulls me harshly to him. I slam into his body like a ragdoll against a wall. I’m so soft compared to him, and his face is so freaking close to mine, his wintry breath smashing into my face, good God! “This man is a neo-Nazi. He believes that I deserve to live, the perfect Aryan specimen, while you should die just because your skin is a few shades darker than his. He’d never return the favor you’re doing him now, Isolde.”

It’s a struggle to keep my gaze hanging on his, but I have to. It’s either make my point now, or never. “And if you sacrifice him now to his own gods, Tristan, saying you’re doing it for me, what lesson will he have learned? He’ll only think he’s dying a martyr, and that he’s been right all along to hate the Latina bitch.”

Tristan pauses, looking hard into my eyes. “You’ll say anything to save him, won’t you?” He scans me up and down. My intuition tells me that, if until now he was only intrigued by me, now I’m in much bigger trouble. “It would seem you’re even more special than Mark expected.”

He comes so close his icy blue eyes become a blur. “Tell, me,” he purrs like a stalking tiger, “how much would you sacrifice in order to save this piece of shit?”

“Sacrifice?”

“What would you give me in order to safeguard his right of being in this world?”

Blood drains from my head. “What are you trying to say to me, Tristan?”

He splays his fingers over my back, my tits swelling against his iron body. “If you want me to take the risk and set him loose, Isolde, I’ll have something in return.” His voice goes low, deep, smoky, making the skin on my back prickle. “I’ll have your virtue.”

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

***

Enjoyed this? Stay tuned for more! Subscribe to this blog, and follow me on Facebook andTwitter to be notified each time a new chapter is uploaded. Here’s the whole story:

Prologue – Meet Tristan The Ripper

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII

Chapter XIII

Chapter XIV

Chapter XV

Chapter XVI

Chapter XVII

Chapter XVIII

 

 

Tristan and Isolde Reloaded- Chapter XVIII

Chapter XVIII – Party Flavours

 

ISOLDE

 

VIP treatment can be scary as heck. I’m sitting in the back of Mark Stahl’s limo, noise and cameras surrounding the car. I blink every time flashes bounce off the bulletproof glass. Mark Stahl’s pruned hand is on my knee, the white sleeve of his shirt starched and spotless. I’m sick to my stomach.

“You’ll have to get used to the attention,” Mark’s robotic voice says in my ear. The speaking device is strapped to his dry neck with transparent, thin little tubes. I struggle to repress a shudder when I look at him, an ancient turtle in a suit.

“Once they see you by my side they won’t get off your back again.” He grins. “So get used to the VIP status.”

The limo comes to a full stop, the driver walks over, and opens the door on Mark’s side. His men grip the wheels of his chair and carry him out like some ancient king. As soon as his blotched baldhead emerges from the car, journalists’ voices surge, and a bodyguard’s hand reaches in for me. I take it and step out, too, careful not to stumble on the rim of my 18th century dress with emerald green folds. The corset is tight, and my tits once again fill my cleavage, but I’ve learned how to move in such a way that they’re never in danger of popping out. Not to mention that I can count on the vintage emerald necklace to cover almost all of my chest down to the swell of my breasts.

As soon as I’m fully out of the car microphones pop under my face from everywhere.

“Was this a secret affair?” Male voice, very close.

“How long has this been going on?” A woman, close, too.

“Is there a pregnancy involved?” A girl journalist with a blurry face squashed in the crowd to one side of the red carpet. Jesus Christ, I’m actually on the red carpet, and for what?

With every step I take another camera flash hits me, making me squint. One wrong step, my feet in high heels stumble on each other, and I lose my balance. Luckily, two bodyguards catch me, one on each side. They practically carry me to the entrance, which feels like a throttle. They have to squeeze me between their barrel-like bodies to get me inside. Mark is basically carried over the throng’s heads.

“Whew, that was crazy,” the man to my right says once we’re inside the foyer. His voice is deep, familiar, and when I look up at him I recognize Demerol, Tristan’s right hand. He’s smiling down at me. By God, this man has a lot of hair.

The bodyguards set Mark down by my side. He ignores the shouted questions all around us, and keeps his eyes fixed ahead. He raises his hand, palm up, waiting for me to take it. He may seem an old frog in a high tech wheel chair, but his face demands respect. He oozes power, like there’s a huge, dangerous shadow rising from him.

As soon as my hand has touched Mark’s crumpled skin the chair starts wheeling forward, his bodyguards keeping tight on each side of us, making way. We make it through the entrance hall that is full of journalists, and move from room to room that open into each other, all opulent rococo. It’s crowded beyond belief, and hot like the in cauldrons of the underworld. It’s smothering.

“I thought this party would be much smaller. Something secret with closed circuit,” I whisper to Mark, bending slightly from my waist to his ear. My hip bumps into the top of his wheel with every step, and brushes into Demerol on the other side, that’s how tightly I’m squeezed between them. Journalists shout and slam like crazy into the bodyguards, trying to reach the mighty Mark Stahl—I learn from their yells that this is the first time Mark has shown himself in public in over a decade.

“Would I take the trouble to attend a small party, Isolde?” Mark smiles a cold smile as if only for the cameras, keeping his eyes ahead. It makes me feel like I’ve asked the most idiotic question.

“No, but the Charlottenburg Palace is a museum,” I retort. “I didn’t think it could be used as a venue for a party of such large scale.”

“It sure doesn’t happen every day,” he replies coldly. He’s been strange for a few days, and his attitude makes me uncomfortable.

We enter the Golden Gallery, the main ballroom with its gilded patterns on the walls, mirrors and high windows. I’ve seen this room empty once when I visited the museum, and it was impressive, but today it’s downright stunning. It’s hosting a theme party, women in white wigs and vintage dresses laughing on the arms of their partners.

Mark’s wheelchair glides along by my side, leading me deeper towards the center of the ballroom. People stop and stare as we approach, and laughter ceases. Some men even bow. An older lady to the right covers her mouth with her fan as she leans towards a younger one’s ear, and I can tell she’s whispering about us by the way her eyes stay fixed in our direction.

“Is this really happening, or are my eyes playing tricks on me?” a thick male voice booms, tearing my eyes away from the woman with the fan. A man with grey whiskers and rich mustache fills my field of vision. He’s wearing an aristocrat’s—or is it a military man’s?—dark blue outfit from the Kaiser’s times, knee-length boots included. He’s tall and fleshy, broad. Mark’s wheelchair comes to a stop, and I halt, too. We’re still holding hands.

“Mark Stahl in the flesh and—” The man leans back, exploring Mark. “—well, in the wheels.”

“Wolfram,” Mark greets evenly, the smile wiping off his face. He squeezes my hand. “Isolde, this is former member of Parliament Wolfram Schultze. He planted as many obstacles in my company’s way as he could back in his day. Wasn’t a big supporter of Stahl Biotech.”

Oh, wow. I like him already.

“I’m still not a fan, Mark, I must say,” Mr. Schultze says, taking my hand. He kisses it, avoiding to leer, and turns his attention back to my partner. “But I’m retired now, so no longer a problem to you.” He bends in closer to Mark and winks. “Which means I can now take you up on your offer of friendship.”

“I have no use for your friendship anymore, Wolfram,” Mark says bluntly.

“Don’t be so quick to write me off.” Mr. Schultze straightens up, and offers his arm to a woman who steps into he picture by his side. I recognize the mole above her mouth and the shape of her bright red lips—it’s the woman from my vision. She looks at me with contempt, as if she knows me from somewhere, too. Or maybe it’s just because I’m the escort of a much older and outrageously rich man.

Mr. Schultze looks around the place as if he’s searching for something or someone, and making a point to Mark. “There are people here who would love to have me on their side. I may not sit in the Parliament anymore, but I’m still invited to dinner, you know.”

“I’m sure you haven’t lost your connections,” Mark says. “Especially not the ones to the benefit of which you gave me hell.”

I glance from him to Mr. Schultze, who’s chewing on the inside of his cheek, frowning, clearly uncomfortable. “I want to make peace, Mark.”

“You want to nail me as much as always. You just changed strategy.”

I keep staring at the woman, Mr. Schultze’s partner. She’s a good-looking middle-aged lady, with a wicked vibe. In my vision she was laughing. Was she enjoying Tristan’s pain? Wait a minute—did she help set up the trap for him?

Familiar, deep baritone makes my ears perk up.

“Isn’t this an unexpected encounter,” Tristan says. He’s joining our little circle in a sheen grey suit that hugs his tall and broad-shouldered frame. I can’t help it. My eyes lick all over his figure, and I mindlessly let my tongue run over my upper lip. When I realize what I’m doing it’s too late. It’s obvious to everyone that I find him delicious, especially to the blonde with white gloves on his arm—Gertrude. My heart gives me a pang, and I swallow hard. I look away to avoid the poison in her glass-like blue eyes.

“Mr. Wolfram Schultze.” Tristan extends his hand. Mr. Schultze takes it, a bit hesitant. “I trust you remember me as well, not only my father.”

“How could I ever forget you,” Mr. Schultze replies, keeping his reserve. “Mark Stahl’s loyal Cerberus.”

Tristan gives a short laugh that vibrates against my chest. “Interesting comparison, but defense is Demerol’s specialty.” He motions with his hand curtly to Demerol, who’s still flanking me. “I’m more of an attack dog.”

“Indeed,” Mr. Schultze says, scanning my blond bad boy up and down. There’s genuine curiosity in his gaze, and respect that he seems unwilling to display otherwise. “I hear you go after those who make your father uncomfortable, rather than protect him from them.”

“I’m not very good at coaxing, I must admit. I mostly coerce.” Tristan displays a cool grin. That dimple appears in his cheek, and my knees liquefy. By God, everything about him is sexy and powerful at the same time. Mr. Schultze, Demerol, all his father’s bodyguards seem squashed beneath the weight of his presence.

“Tristan,” I whisper, reaching for him. Shoot, my arm is trembling. From the corner of my eye I see Mark raise an arch of skin that used to be one of his eyebrows. I’m being too freaking obvious, but I have to tell Tristan about the woman. This whole event here could have the sole purpose of trapping Mark Stahl’s engineered weapon of a son.

But before I can touch him Tristan plants a razor sharp glare between my eyes. It seems to split my forehead open. I freeze, and my hand drops to my side. Tristan offers Gertrude his arm, she smiles triumphantly at me, then they turn around and leave. Boy, was that embarrassing.

People come between Mr. Schultze, Mark and me, and soon Mr. Schultze is taken away in a small crowd.

“Keep an eye on him,” Mark says to me while picking up a glass of sparkling wine off the tray a waiter holds. The young man bows enough to make the famous magnate’s job easy. Mark passes me the glass. “The people he mentioned, those who want him on their side if I don’t—they’re definitely the Institute’s people. So switch that legendary intuition of yours on, get to work, and let me know if you notice anyone special.”

He sounds like a boss, and I can hear the anger behind his voice. I understand his reasons, too. I hunker down so that my face is well beneath his, and place my hands on his knees.

“Mark, that woman. The one escorting Mr. Schultze. I had a vision of her a week ago. In that vision, Tristan was being crucified, and she was laughing hard. This means that, if they have anything planned for him, she’ll know. That’s what I wanted to tell him.”

Light gradually returns to Mark’s face. “Is that why you reached for him the way you did?” He lets out a small laugh, like he’s relieved. “You looked like a schoolgirl with a crush, Isolde.”

Which is what made Tristan look at me the way he did. His contempt was a blow right to my solar plexus. I bite my lip and drop my eyes to the floor, to Mark’s shiny black shoes.

“I don’t have romantic interest in your son, Mark.” The lie is sour on my tongue. He reaches under my chin and makes me look up into his blotched face again.

“We’re prepared for this, Isolde,” he says quietly, his lips close to my face. He has his last meal on his breath, and I want to crease my nose, but I stop myself in time. “All the important ones are gathered here, thinking they can finally get their hands on The Ripper.”

The what?

“But, thanks to you, they’ve dug their own grave. Finally, we have them, Isolde. We just have to identify them.”

“Mark!” A man places big hands on each side of Mark’s arms from behind, peeking at him from around the life support gear. He must be someone who knows Mark well, since the bodyguards let him through.

Mark seems genuinely pleased to see him as well. They go on talking, and I remember to keep an eye on Mr. Schultze. I walk around with the glass of sparkling wine in my hand, taking a sip here and there, Demerol close behind me.

“If you keep so close people will think you are my partner,” I say over my shoulder when my tongue is loose enough from the alcohol. I’m a bit dizzy and I start to relax, but my eyes are soberly fixed on Mr. Schultze. He’s just turned to talk to someone, but his broad and fleshy back obscures the person completely. I crane my neck left and right, trying to get a glimpse around him, but in vain.

“If I were your partner, you wouldn’t be attending monster events like this,” Demerol says warmly. “You’d be tucked in bed, with cheap beer and a pizza instead of caviar and sparkling wine. But I’d treat you much better than Mark Stahl and his beast of a son.” His voice fades as he finishes the sentence, as if it took all his nerve to bring the words about his lips.

“I thought you were loyal to Tristan.” My eyes are still fixed on Schultze, and I do my best to ignore the staring crowd. I can feel their gazes on me, but my intuition gives me tension; something tells me it’s important to keep focused on the former member of Parliament.

“I am loyal to Tristan.” Demerol snorts softly. “I don’t have a choice. But neither he or his father would ever have to know about us.”

I can feel my own eyes widen at those words. I turn to him.

“Are you suggesting an affair?” I’m staring Demerol in the face, and it feels like watching a big, good-natured dog-man with a kind gaze and a soft voice. He takes a step closer, and hope flickers in his eyes.

“I’m proposing an affair,” he whispers.

I’m stunned. “Wow. That takes a lot of guts.”

“It may cost me my guts if they ever find out I said this to you.”

I’m lost for words, and embarrassed. I don’t know how to reject him gently. The best solution right now seems to be taking a sip of my sparkling wine and returning my attention to Mr. Schultze, but he’s not longer where I left him.

“Shoot!” I push the glass into Demerol’s hands, hitch up the folds of my dress to make sure I don’t stumble again, and begin a desperate search for Mr. Schultze. I hurry to the place he’d last been, wedging myself between people when I have to. Those who spot me before I’m close enough move out of my way of their own accord, and I’m sure it’s because of my VIP status as Mark Stahl’s partner—or his bed bunny, as I heard some whisper.

I finally see Mr. Schultze’s fleshy back clad in a dark blue tailcoat, and I slow down, breathing out in relief. But then he moves out of the way, revealing his interlocutor. My stomach shoots to my throat.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

***

Enjoyed this? Stay tuned for more! Subscribe to this blog, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter to be notified each time a new chapter is uploaded. Here’s the whole story:

Prologue – Meet Tristan The Ripper

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII

Chapter XIII

Chapter XIV

Chapter XV

Chapter XVI

Chapter XVII

 

FREE ROMANCE for everyone!

Hello, dear peeps! I have some awesome goodies for you today. Lots of hot, hot, hot FREE reads – because sharing is caring, and I love sharing the good stuff with you guys. Click HERE and see the Heart Pounding Romance Giveaway list with all the gems it has to offer. Hyperion-The Assassin is among them, so grab your copy if you haven’t gotten one yet.

Stay tuned for more free reads this month! Soon I will be sharing with you Spooktacular stories, part of a special Halloween themed project that I’m part of. Can’t wait to tell you more, very soon 🙂

Hugs,

Ana

THE EXECUTIONER PART TWO asking for your support

We’re at that stage again, dear peeps – promoting. Every helping hand is much appreciated! Please help support the Thunderclap campaign that we set up for The Executioner Part Two on your social media by following this link, and I’ll be sure to show my gratitude as soon as my next (HOT) story is released, The Revenge of Andrey Jones – I will send it to you free; just leave a comment if you supported the campaign, and I’ll send you the story as soon as it’s good to go on the 20th of October. Thanks so much in advance! Stay tuned for many more goodies to come these following months, including a great many free reads by the hottest authors out there. I’ll get back to you with the first batch as soon as tomorrow 🙂

Hugs,

Ana

THE EXECUTIONER Part Two is LIVE! Released by Solstice Publishing

Big day follows big day follows big day 🙂 Solstice Publishing has released The Executioner Part Two today! This has been an intense ride, in which Alice and Damian’s story has had me completeley immersed in it. Theirs is a love story that consumed not only the characters but also the author – yours truly. I just ordered my paperbacks, and can’t wait to enjoy that cozy smell of new book. But if you want instant gratification, by all means, go ahead 🙂 Get The Executioner Part Two  (new release) and, if you haven’t read it yet, The Executioner Part One.

   

And no need to stop there 🙂 If you want yet more, my short story Hyperion – The Assassin is free for a limited amount of time here. So if after Alice and Damian you’re left craving more, there’s more to get. And if you find yourself wishing for yet more consuming love, genetic and psychological engineering, and ancient mysteries, enjoy my online novel, The Devil’s Elixir! There’s no end to all the stories and the goodies. Embark on this ride with me, and enjoy dark thrills and worthwhile secrets.

 

Hyperion – The Assassin is LIVE and FREE

Hi Peeps! Got huge news again today. My romantic suspense short story, Hyperion – The Assassin, is live and free starting today! Grab your copy and tell your friends, too. if you share this with other people (either on your blog, on social media or via e-mail) I’ll be sure to reward you richly with another three free books: The Executioner Part One, The Executioner Part Two, and The Revenge of Andrey Jones – coming out mid November – but also with many other free books by other authors every month.

Here’s what Hyperion – The Assassin is about:

Hyperion is an assassin with a fist of iron and a heart of ice. Not entirely human, he’s the only one who can fight a special kind of enemy. After being sent to the Dark Forest, he sets up camp and begins observing his target from the shadows. There’s little Hyperion doesn’t see coming, and even less he can’t deal with. That is, until his target’s young wife, Ligia, steps into the picture. A woman surrounded by darkness seeks the assassin, and threatens to melt the heart that has been frozen for so long.

Get it for FREE here! and stay tuned for more goodies coming up this week.

BIG NEWS! The Executioner is LIVE!

Today is the big day, peeps! Solstice Publishing has released The Executioner Part One in all major bookstores online and POD! Grab it now and enjoy it to the max! You won’t have to wait long for Part Two either, since it’s being released with Solstice Publishing no later than September 26th.

Grab a copy of Part One, send me a picture of yourself with it (it can be a chapter on your Kindle if not a paperback), and I’ll send you Part Two as a PDF file for free, if you’re eager to know what happens next 🙂 Also, if you already read the book because I sent you an ARC or you’ve read an early version, I’d be very grateful for a review at the link where you find the book, namely here.

Thank you all for your wonderful support, and I promise there are many more goodies to come 🙂

Yours,

Ana

May I Ask a Favor

Hi peeps! As you all know by now, I’ve been busy brewing the release of my novel, The Executioner Part One, with my publisher. We’re now working on setting up a Thunderclap campaign to get the word out to folks out there, and this is the point where I’d like to ask a favor. Just click on the link below, and support the campaign – I’ll be sure to return the favour when you need my support 🙂 Also, once you’ve supported the campaign, let me know if you’d like a free PDF copy of The Executioner Part One! Drop me a comment with your e-mail address, and I’ll send it to you.

In order for the campaign to actually be implemented with Thunderclap, I need a hundred supporters by the time the campaign starts, namely on the 14th of September. This means, dear peeps, that I’d be grateful if you shared this on your social media. Each and every one of your counts for me.

Here is the notorious link. Thank you guys so much!

COMING SEPTEMBER 12TH!

The big moment is drawing near! After a fantastic ride, the publishing process is being finalized. Thank you, Solstice Publishing, for making this possible!

Peeps, stay tuned September 12th, when The Executioner Part One is being officially released by Solstice Publishing! And guess what – you won’t have to wait long for Part Two, since it will be relased within a few weeks after Part One.

Set in the enigmatic corners of Eastern Europe, here’s what The Executioner is about:

When a shady corporation that conducts experiments on humans targets Alice Preda, “muscle tank” Damian Novac is secretly assigned with her protection. Alice discovers his true identity and she’s soon love-struck, but Damian keeps a cool reserve, protecting Alice not only from her hunters but also from himself.

A villain who switched sides long ago, Damian is the biggest gun the science mafia ever created. He’s been halfway stable serving the good for years, but when his makers return to the picture and provoke him, he threatens to relapse. The ice breaks, his demons awaken, and the Executioner is unleashed once more. Only the mysterious gift buried in Alice’s psyche can tame him, but for that she’ll have to place herself in the line of fire.

Teaser 4