Vampire, Shifter and Superhero romances, for 0,99 to 1,99 or FREE

I admit. I’m into romance, the hot kind, paranormal, supernatural and dark, if possible. I’ll have them with really steamy scenes, please, or I’ll file a complaint. If you’re like me, then you’ll be happy to learn that…

Having access to tons of reads through my job, I will be posting new hot romances, freebies and special offers (0,99 to 1,99)! I’ll be your romance reads contrabandist. Interested?  Stay tuned, loves!

SO

For starters:

If you’re into vampire, shifter and superhero romance, I have a number of books out there that will ignite your passion and make your evenings special. They are either on special offer, or free, and they’ll remind you of Twilight and Christine Feehan’s Carpathian series.

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Prince of Midnight is currently only 0,99 on Amazon, and free to read in KU!

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Let me tell you a secret–Dracula had a brother. This is true. They called him Radu the Handsome, but his beauty was deceiving, and it hid a deadly secret…

With high ambitions as a journalist, Juliet Jochs travels to the Carpathians to investigate a mysterious and unnaturally beautiful prince. She suspects that he’s a dangerous man, and that this mission may cost her life. But, as the prince’s masks begin to peel off, she fears she may lose her sanity.

Prince Radek’s dark powers suck Juliet into a whirl of hypnotic desire–no woman has ever resisted his lures. But something is different about her, special, and he’s growing dangerously addicted to her. She must keep her head above the water if she is to save herself, run away and not look back before he consumes her completely. But can she resist opening the last door to his most terrible secret?
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You can grab book two, Prince of Obsession for 1,99, or read for free in KU!
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Carpathian prince Radek the Handsome has one last, dirty secret.

When Prince Radek is forced to strike a deal with his older brother Dracula, his young lover Juliet must pay the price–and is forced to leave him.

They meet again later, when he comes to her city on secret business. The Prince tries to keep cool when Juliet probes his shady dealings, but his craving for her grows obsessive and even dangerous, striking with a vengeance after their time apart. Stalking her from behind mirrors at night, he can barely contain his 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?

This is book two of the series Dracula’s Bloodline.
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Prince of Blood is the latest book in the series! Get it for 1,99 or free in KU!
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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
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A shadow stalks librarian Ruxandra Len, a demonic power from a past she can’t remember. Intrigued when she discovers that her bloodline leads back to the notorious Prince Dracula, she travels to the Carpathians to learn more. 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. 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?

This is book three of the Dracula’s Bloodline series. It has a HEA and a lot of steam.

Book four is in the works, and will hit the Zon on the 22nd of March, so in less than a month 🙂
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YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO LOVES VAMPIRE AND SHIFTER ROMANCE? Let them know 🙂 And there’s more! If you like superhero romance (genetically engineeered superhumans falling in love), I have two free stories out there!
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FREE
If you want something mysterious but sweet, Hyperion is the story for you 🙂
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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 in need of protection seeks the assassin, and threatens to melt the heart that has been frozen for so long.
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Want something more dangerous, dark romance, with dark steamy scenes? Prepare for triggers and forbidden lust with The Revenge of Andrey Jones
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.

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EXTRA for 0,99 on Amazon, gothic supernatural romance, The Soul Trapper
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When beauty hides a curse.

Saphira is cursed with exceptional beauty. To her parents, she’s a goldmine. They want to find her a rich husband to save their own failing business. Enter the Marquis, a wealthy assassin with a secret grudge against Saphira’s parents and the rest of the town’s elite.

Forced into an arrangement she can’t escape, Saphira is pulled down a dark path of revenge. Certain she won’t survive the Marquis’s plot, she tries to keep her sanity by doing the one thing she knows how–she paints him. What she doesn’t expect is that her nemesis has another face only she can see. And that she has hidden powers of her own, powers that can either redeem or doom his soul.

For fans of Christine Feehan and Nora Roberts.

A dark paranormal romance with HEA guaranteed.

MORE TO COME, FOLKS! Stay tuned 🙂

Jealousy – Ep. 7 of The Marquis

Used by the Marquis for vengeance and for physical pleasures, young artist Saphira struggles to escape his power. She has come up with a plan to persuade him to let her leave his grand manor, so that she can secretly meet Inspector Jeremy Simmons – the one man who knows more about the Marquis’ dark powers and his past than Saphira. But her plans are dangerous, and discovery may cost Saphira her life. The Marquis allows her to leave only in the company of his spy, Pretty Lauren, a woman who was once Saphira’s best friend, and who today is her worst enemy. Will Saphira’s plan succeed, or will the Marquis catch her?

***

Lauren and I descend the manor stairs side by side, each with her chin up and a sour attitude. I feel slightly superior because of my elegant two-piece outfit of a creamy white and the respect-inspiring golden bun that I managed to restrain my hair in, while Lauren looks a hooker in her short red dress and pumps too high for her skinny legs.

By the last step my stomach turns and twists as I think what must be happening in the Marquis’ men’s heads while they flank and tail us like a squad of bodyguards. They must be convinced the Marquis has cheated on me with her. Maybe he has. My heart shrinks with jealousy, but I manage to keep control.

We get into the black car waiting in front of the manor, the fountain with gargoyles that spit water in warmer seasons looming beyond it in the fog. The Marquis is a monster, a murderer, and I must break away from him, I tell myself. I must help Jeremy to bring him down, and free myself from his blackmail and his cruelty. I won’t be swayed by his inebriating power on my senses, or by his charm when I’m “sober.”

A short clapping sound rips me from my thoughts. I look to my side to see Lauren redoing her lipstick in a small round pocket-mirror, and I forget my determination, now replaced by hot jealousy again. In the flash of a second I want to jump over our bags that occupy the seat between us, straddle her and tear her reddish hair, but instead clamp my hands together on my lap, hurting under the gloves that conceal the marks of last night’s cuffs.

“Repairing your mouth after a blow job?” I spit, glaring at her.

“How I’d love to let you believe that,” she says, puckering her lips while still looking in the mirror, then smacking them. She claps the pocket mirror back shut and places it in her bag, in which she rummages as she speaks. “I could let you boil in your own juice over it for at least a few hours, but I won’t risk the Marquis’ good feelings about me for short-lived satisfaction. He’d tell you the truth when you asked, and that would kill my chances.”

The Marquis’ good feelings. Her chances. Jealousy chokes me, and I pray my cheeks haven’t turned red.

“You hope to get him between your legs. But I doubt your satisfaction will last any longer than it did with Jeremy.”

“Who says the satisfaction with Jeremy didn’t last?” She grins, lights a long slim cigarette and cracks the window. The draught pulls out most of the smoke, but it still reaches me and stings my eyes. She knows I’m sensitive to it, the bitch. By the time we come to our destination I’ll be looking like a poltergeist with red-rimmed golden eyes.

“Are you still seeing him?” I inquire.

“Jealous?”

“Curios.”

She takes a drag of her cigarette, her cheeks hollowing, the skin stretching on her thin but sharp jaw line.

“Curiosity killed the cat,” she says.

“That it did.” I look away through the window. It’s foggy and grey outside. The seeming indifference sets Lauren on fire, as I expected.

“I saw you leaving after him last night. Vivien tried to keep your fiancé’s men off your heels, but Zed here –” she throws one curt knock on the black glass that separates us from the driver’s side of the car where Zed and the driver sit – “is hard to fool.”

I bite my lower lip and refrain from responding. I know she wants to know what happened, so I decide to let her boil in her own juice.

“Why would you still want Jeremy, Saphira?” She inquires, annoyed by my silence. “He’s no match for the Marquis in looks or assets. Is the power of the first love that great?” She mocks, but beyond that she’s dying to know. I take the opportunity to hurt her, hoping it will cause at least a tenth of the pain she once caused me.

“I don’t give a shit about Jeremy, Lauren, you can have him. Catching him in bed with you installed automatic nausea at the thought of sex with him. I didn’t follow Jeremy out of the hall, I went down to the dungeons. Remember the catacombs you used to play in with the boys back when we were kids? I always wanted to do it in there. Well, the Marquis fulfilled my fantasy last night, he cuffed me to the wall and banged me. He made me come so hard –”

“He’s in love with you, Saphira, there’s no arguing that,” she interrupts and throws me a killer glare. The statement stuns me into dumbness.

“I can’t say I didn’t try to seduce him,” she continues. “I think you can tell. But he has the resilience of a man with a fresh crush. Still, infatuation doesn’t last an eternity, Saphira, and when it fades, I’ll be there to take advantage.”

That last sentence is a declaration of war, but I’m so stunned by her words that I can’t speak, and almost miss the turn where I can ask for a stop at Billy the Notary’s. In the last moment I jerk to the separating black glass and knock hard, my mouth still open and my eyes blinking, trying to gather myself. The glass lowers and Zed’s profile appears, as stony and expressionless as ever, offering me his ear to speak in like in an intercom. I can see the small headphone and the curled transparent wire that links it to whatever bodyguard gadgets are hidden under his black suit.

“Please stop at Billy the Notary’s,” I say the line I’ve prepared. “It’s on our route, and I might as well set in motion the formalities for the upcoming change of my name.”

I can only hope he buys it. My heart beats hard in my chest, not only with anxiety that Zed might refuse, but also because of what Lauren just said. I can barely believe it when Zed gives a curt nod and motions the driver to pull over. Relishing in the idea that the Marquis might be in love with me, I forget to expect that Lauren would want to come along, so I’m surprised when she expresses this desire, grabbing her purse.

I fall behind and let Lauren lead the way up the creaky stairs to Billy’s office. The building is old and mouldy, but its Victorian charm nonetheless intact. I watch Lauren’s bottom move under her red silk dress, and realize she must be freezing with only a leather jacket over her torso. It’s January, in the end. Girls go to unimaginable lengths to be attractive, but Lauren has always been a sexy cat-girl, so her reasons for acting desperate escape me.

We’ve known each other since childhood, she and I and Vivien used to be best friends. Jeanie, Jeremy’s little sister, was yet a toddler watching with her small hands and nose pressed to the window while the rest of us played in the yard, and ventured at the cliffs and in the forest beyond the Manor with the Fields. Catching Lauren in bed with Jeremy two years ago, a month before he and I were supposed to get married, broke me in quite a number of ways. So Lauren’s manifesting more hatred and grudge than me has been a challenge to common sense and to my logic, but now that it becomes clear she’d have a go at any man who shows interest in me makes me wonder if there’s not more to it than plain meanness.

The door to Billy’s office opens to reveal the mouse-faced man in a crumpled suit, the glasses large and round on his narrow, grey face. The office is cluttered with shelves and books and papers, his desk a mess, the small sofa patched and greasy, and the window closed. A catastrophe, since cigarette smoke fills the place, making me cough hard.

“Oh, Lauren, Lauren Morris, wow,” he exclaims as he recognizes Lauren, straightening his back like a soldier on command. He seems unsure and shaky in his greeting to me. “Saphira, what a pleasant surprise.”

He hurries to the window, pulls a few times until it unsticks and cracks, and then motions us to take a seat on the gross looking sofa.

“That’s all right, I prefer to stand,” I say, my eyes darting from him to Lauren, who lights a cigarette and stomps about the room like an undercover spy. She seems to be looking for something – or someone. Maybe the Marquis instructed her to. I’m now relieved that Jeremy isn’t waiting here, that he’s either late or already gone. Still, I’m anxious, afraid he might pop in any second and expose our plans to Lauren.

“To what do I owe the honour?” Billy says, clearing his desk with fast and clumsy hands, then emptying an ashtray in the paper bin and offering it to Lauren.

“I need to see to some formalities for the change of my name. I’ll soon be married to the Marquis of Vandenesse, and I –”

“I know, I attended the engagement ball yesterday,” he interrupts, and in his eagerness stumbles and spills the cup of coffee he intended to offer Lauren all over her.

“Oh, God, oh, oh, that’s terrible, I’m so sorry,” he says, eyes wide, hands all over Lauren, who he clearly has a thing for. I remember he was pretty obvious about it the night at my parents’ house, when my father announced my engagement to the Marquis.

“You complete idiot,” she cusses.

“Oh, please, let me –”

“Just take your hands off me. I know where the bathroom is,” she spews and stalks to the door, then up the creaking stairs. When I turn my eyes back to Billy, he’s so composed I’m staggered.

“I’ll keep her out for as long as I can. I’ll knock three times when she’s on her way back,” he says, and follows Lauren.

I stare, amazed by his presence of mind. Soon after they leave the cluttered bookcase behind his desk opens heavily like a hidden door, as if pushed by a ghost.

***

Previous episode.

Next episode.

Enjoyed this? Check out episodes of the prequel, Saphira, here, or the whole prequel in the Christmas Story Book for Adults, available here. Stay tuned for a further episode on Tuesday and, until then, enjoy all the quizzes, stories and goodies available here especially for you.

READ THE STORY FROM THE BEGINNING: PREQUEL – Saphira in the Christmas Story Book for Adults

Pic source.

Dangerous Plans – Ep. 6 of The Marquis

Forced into intimacy with a man who seeks revenge, Saphira finds herself falling in love with her abuser, the Marquis. The Marquis’ own feelings for her seem to heat up, but would he give up his revenge for a true love affair? Saphira needs to know more about him and therefore wants to meet with the one man who knows more about the mysterious Marquis than she does – Inspector Jeremy Simmons. The Marquis keeps her locked in a tower and under permanent surveillance, but Saphira manages to come up with a plan, which is not without danger. The stake is high if the Marquis discovers her intention, since he’s threatened that her betrayal would unleash a new measure of his wrath. Will Saphira be able to carry out her plan, or will the Marquis catch her?

***

“Zed and the boys” keep lurking outside the door to my chamber. After at least twelve hours locked in the tower I recognize each of them by the way they stomp the vestibule. They must be around five.

By noon I’m chewing on my fingernails, desperate for a way to get out and meet Jeremy. I sit on the end of the bed under the ragged canopy, patting my foot on a loose floor tile and fraying my own nerves. They say Necessity is the best teacher, so a minute before the clock on the wall strikes twelve, a solution lights up in my head.

I hurry to the wardrobe, throw the doors open and pick an outfit worthy of a lady – two-piece suit with fitted jacket and pencil skirt, a creamy white. There’s hardly anything casual in the old creaking thing, and I suspect the choice of clothes is customized to suit my future husband’s tastes. My future husband. My heart flares at the thought.

The outfit enhances the difference between my middle and the hips. The skirt combined with varnished stilettos make my legs seem long, and the golden bun I’ve learned from Mum to pull out fast makes me look even taller, but after I bang on the door and Zed answers I lose the illusion of being a grand presence. Zed is as tall as the Marquis, which places his face half a head above mine despite my stilettos, the steel look in his eyes making me shift from one leg to the other and seek my words in my purse.

“Uhm. Kieran said I should tell you if there was anything I needed. I need to see him.”

I’m still pretending to rummage inside the designer purse hanging from my forearm when I hear Zed speak for the first time.

“That name. You shouldn’t say it.” He sounds like the big, overly broad-shouldered Frankenstein-looking servant from the Adams family. Deep voice, no inflections. I look up at him, but keep my eyes on his cheek, not the steel bullets his irises seem to be.

“Why not?”

“Here he’s known as the Marquis of Vandenesse. And it should stay that way.”

“I’m not the only one who knows his name.”

“You’re the only one I hear use it.”

I nod at Zed and look down.

“Very well then. Please take me to him.”

I expect more resistance, so I’m surprised when Zed doesn’t pose any. He removes himself from my way, motioning for me to walk ahead of him. His men, at their turn, walk before me without needing to be told, guiding me down the narrow spiral stairs that have yet to be cleared of cobweb and humidity. This place has once been Catherine Lancaster’s home, it’s older than the Queen’s jewels, and its walls seem to be crawling with insects and mould. I shudder when we finally reach the ground floor and emerge into the wide reception hall.

The men keep around me, marching down the corridors and halls like a badass squad escorting a V.I.P., which annoys me more with each step. Truly “encumbering,” like the Marquis had put it, suffocating and strenuous, since not for one second can I forget myself and act normal. I have to keep the film of dignity I retained after they saw me hanging from chains in the dungeons, subject to the Marquis’ lust. I keep my back straighter than ever, my chin up and my attitude contained.

But when one of the men pushes the heavy double doors to the Marquis’ study, revealing my fiancé in conversation with Pretty Lauren, I can no longer keep back. Fury shows in my face for sure, and I can’t even remember if the man knocked first or not.

“Well, well, well,” I say and stalk to them in an aggressive catwalk prance that escapes my control. “Isn’t this an interesting visit?”

I stop by the Marquis, looking straight into his black eyes that make my legs feel weak. Still, the anger gives me a weird kind of nerve. I curl an arm around his lower back, the fabric of his suit caressing my palm as I brush over it, and raise my chin to invite him for a kiss. This can end badly, very badly, I realize. He doesn’t look like he intends to lower his handsome face and kiss me, which would make me stand a fool in Lauren’s eyes, but after a few seconds’ hesitation I realize it was just the stun. His lips press warm and soft on mine, making a buzz start in my lower belly, his bittersweet scent acting on me like a drug.

A bit dizzy and really nervous I peel my lips off his, staring up into his hypnotic black eyes, hoping to read his feelings and having forgotten why I just did what I did. Lauren clears her throat, thus reminding of her presence and my reasons. With narrowed eyes I look at her sitting with her legs crossed and arms on the chair arms. She glares a misty green glare at me, her make-up flawless, the dark red dress that matches her hair too short. A pair of high designer shoes seem to dangle from her white feet. Her skinny legs are naked to mid-thigh, her silk dress draped over her pointy-boned hips. She’s always been skinny but sexy nonetheless, and jealousy would eat at my jugular in a mighty way for finding her with the Marquis if it weren’t busy eating at Lauren’s. The jealousy in her pretty greenish eyes is the exact kind of balm I need right now. I give her an almost involuntary satisfied smile.

“And to what do we owe the pleasure?” I inquire sweetly, nestling my cheek at my fiancé’s chest. My fiancé. The idea and the feel of him make my heart flutter, and I must admit this situation has just turned into something rather pleasant.

“Miss Lauren was just telling me about a property her father has for sale,” the Marquis answers in her place, his voice a ripple of chocolate to my senses. My lids feel a bit heavy, and I know he’s unleashing his opium-like powers on me, but I make every effort to resist.

“Oh, and he sent his daughter to discuss the deal. I didn’t know you were real estate savvy, Lauren,” I address her.

The Marquis’ hand goes around my middle, and now we’re standing cradling each other’s lower backs, leaning on his desk. He doesn’t intervene to save Lauren from replying despite her glancing at him repeatedly before doing so, and seems to enjoy my defending his position as my man.

“Nice banquet yesterday. Hopefully the wedding turns out just as good,” Lauren changes the subject and stands in one rather jerky move. She pulls nervously at the rim of her dress as if she’s embarrassed, and grabs her purse form the corner of the desk. For a moment there I think she acts like a mistress who’d just been caught by the wife. I remember her envious stares last night while the Marquis took me on exhibiting rounds among the crowd to save his image in front of the guests after I’d been seen leaving with Jeremy. Speaking of Jeremy . . .

“You seem to have a weakness for my fiancés, but not all of them fall for red.” I measure her with a despising attitude, and feel like a bitchy idiot only a moment later.

“Saphira,” the Marquis pulls the brakes in a serious tone, but I try my best not to let it intimidate me. My body wants to keep glued to his hard torso, but my mind tells me to act, and I do, even if only to prove that I still have a will of my own.

“I need to go to town,” I say in a breath, turning to him as if Lauren weren’t even there. He shouldn’t have any reason to refuse the brilliant lie that I came up with. “I need to see Vivien for some floral arrangements for the wedding. Zed and his boys can escort me, if you feel more in control that way.” – I intend to make the visit to Billy the Notary only a “convenient stop on the way.”

The Marquis must like my thinking so seriously of the wedding, since his beautiful marble lips draw in a smile like none I’ve seen on his face before.

“Wonderful then,” he says, and looks at Lauren with a sharpness that stands in contrast with the warm smile he’s given me. “Miss Vivien’s house is exactly where Miss Lauren was going right now too.”

I freeze. I glance repeatedly from the Marquis to Lauren, and I realize this was a command she knows she has to follow. She is to act as his spy and, unlike the Marquis’ men, she can follow me even to the toilet. Whether she’s bound to him because they’re sleeping together or because he agreed to buy her father’s property, I don’t know. But I know that jealousy is showing its big ugly snout again, and this time darn close.

***

Enjoyed this? Check out episodes of the prequel, Saphira, here, or the whole prequel in the Christmas Story Book for Adults, available here. Stay tuned for a further episode on Friday and, until then, enjoy all the quizzes (NEW QUIZ COMING UP TOMORROW!), stories and goodies available here especially for you.

NEXT EPISODEJealousy – Ep. 7 of The Marquis

PREQUELSaphira in the Christmas Story Book for Adults

Pic source.

A Dark Love – Ep. 5 of The Marquis

The young and powerful Marquis seeks revenge for the death of his former lover, and he uses his main target’s daughter to get it. He forced the girl into an engagement and a dirty arrangement, but things have taken new turns. Saphira is falling in love with him despite her fight to hate him, and in the last episode the passion between them broke loose from its hinges. But the Marquis is a mysterious creature, and his plans are dark, taking Saphira down perilous roads.

(Previous episodes)

***

“Who told you?” the Marquis demands to know.

“It was . . .” I wish I could brace myself and hide. I stand naked and with my hands cuffed to the sides before the Marquis, the stockings and high heels making me feel like a prostitute. He shuffles his shirt back on, buttons up his pants and tightens his belt, his pitch black eyes striking on his ivory face. He’s taken me like a master his slave, and now he interrogates me like an inquisitor.

“It was Jeremy Simmons, wasn’t it?”

“Up in the ballroom,” I attempt a lie, but the grin crooking on his face tells me he’s not buying it. He pulls me hard to him. The chains holding my hands rattle, and my breasts crush into his chest, him being dressed and me naked making me feel vulnerable and worthless. His eyes are now close, defiant and even angrier than before.

“You were down here with him, weren’t you, Saphira? Did he give you my name along with the sob story of Catherine Lancaster and the stable boy?”

“Is that sob story not why you seek revenge?” I whisper.

He bares his white teeth in a grin that’s as threatening as the split serpent tongue that now moves between them.

“If you ever see Jeremy Simmons alone again,” he hisses, “I’ll make his head a trophy on my wall.”

I hear the jealousy in his words, and my heart flutters. I know this is sick, but I’m no less jealous of Catherine Lancaster.

“Jeremy is an Inspector. His murder would have the police all over you.”

“The police are already all over me, Saphira. But they have nothing except stories, like your ex, the Inspector boy.”

His serpent tongue slithers out of his mouth, making the finest hairs stand on my arms as it licks my cheek in a cold, wet stroke. He takes distance again, his black eyes nailing me in place. A patch of skin on his face seems to peel off like burning paper, revealing thick serpent scales the colour of ash as he lifts my chin with two fingers.

“Don’t betray me, Saphira,” he warns, his voice now deep but silvery, like a monster’s. “Or you’ll know a new measure of my wrath.”

I’m afraid of antagonizing him. He presses me harder to his body and lets out a sharp, piping sound that makes my ears buzz and my eyes scrunch, reverberating through the dungeons. In  response many steps march down the catacombs.

The Marquis holds me crushed to his chest, covering my nakedness but not our intimacy as his men appear, wearing dark suits and grim attitudes. It’s clear to everyone what happened between us, and it’s especially humiliating since my arms are still spread open, and in cuffs.

“A new dress,” he orders. “A comfortable one.”

One of his men hurries to carry out the command, while the Marquis frees my hands. I fall in his arms, my legs weak and my will numb. The hard sinews beneath his shirt feel like steel on my flesh, his glinting black gaze making me all too aware of the power he has over me. I’m stripped of clothes and of options.

A mighty awkward while later the man who went away returns with a simple dark-red strap dress, which the Marquis takes from him, then dismisses the entire team. I hear them whisper and murmur at the end of the aisle while I get dressed, the Marquis watching me from the gate of the cell. For a brief moment I think I read something more than jealousy in his gaze.

His white hand covers mine in a possessive gesture as I hook it around his elbow – at his invitation. Some of his men look puzzled when they see us, one of them raising a questioning eyebrow, as if he’s never expected such display despite our engagement. I recognize him as Stone Mask, one of the Marquis’ personal bodyguards. I still wonder why he needs security; it’s not like anyone in Northville stands a chance against him, and I doubt even Jeremy with his steroid-pumped muscles would really pose a challenge. Then I think of Ivan Basarab, the Slayer. But then again, Basarab doesn’t dare take on the Marquis head-on either . . .

We ascend back to the ground floor and soon we’re in front of the ballroom. The Marquis makes a show of our entrance, the pool of men in black suits behind us, our slow walk among the crowd attracting stares and whispers. The golden locks I managed to arrange my hair in before the party are now dishevelled, and my make-up surely patched and smeared, which makes me want to crawl away from sight, but the Marquis presents me like the trophy most worthy of having.

I identify Jeremy looking hard at us from amidst a group, his eyes furious, his overdone muscles clearly tense under his suit. I glance at the Marquis and notice the two have locked glares. I realize Jeremy has been hidden in the dungeons all along, heard and maybe witnessed what happened between the Marquis and me. The challenging grin on the Marquis’ face confirms, and I wish the earth would split and swallow me.

Nevertheless, what the Marquis does as he becomes ever more aware of my embarrassment is take me on a slow round of small talk with respectable families, one possessive hand on the small of my back, and pressing his cheek to mine all too often. His displays of affection – if fake or not – make me feel halfway good, but the measuring of the men from head to toes and the envious daggers the women shoot me add to my unease. Some of the men even prove unable to refrain from remarks such as,

“Yours is sure a fiery love story,” – accompanied by lecherous ogling when they think the Marquis and I are not looking – or, “Now, here’s a couple that can’t keep their hands off each other.”

I don’t believe there’s anyone at the engagement ball that can’t tell the Marquis and I have unleashed our passion recently, and probably also picture us ravishing each other in some hidden corner behind heavy velvet curtains. Luckily for me, the Marquis soon decides he’s shown off enough and ends my mandatory attendance.

“This was necessary,” he explains, and I almost take it as an apology until he reprimands through his teeth, “because they saw you follow Simmons out earlier, which made me look bad. Real bad. But the show just now should’ve made matters right.”

He leads me up the spiralling stairs to my chamber in the tower, and my heart drums wondering if he’ll take me again.

The heavy black door that starkly resembles the door to a medieval jail opens into the tower chamber with its few and rather gothic amenities. I walk in but the Marquis doesn’t follow me inside. When I realize this I turn to see him standing in the door, hand on the knob, looking at me as if he wants to eat me alive. We stare at each other for moments until he resolves to speak.

“Change of plans,” he says. “You’re no longer required to do . . . any of the things you’ve been required to do before.”

“You’ll no longer use me in your revenge?”

“I don’t know yet. But if I do, it’ll be in a different way.”

“Does this mean the engagement is off?”

“Wouldn’t you like that? But I’m afraid the engagement is still on –” an uncertain pause “– I still need you.”

“For what?”

“For now all you need to know is this – I won’t hear of you being alone with a man again, or I’ll have him skinned and roasted like a rabbit.” He stares hard at me to make his point. I catch roots in the ground.

“And you will not leave this place unencumbered,” he concludes. “Anything you need, Zed and his boys are at your disposal.” He motions at Stone Mask, and for a moment there I’m actually glad the Marquis has finally attached a name to the expressionless, steely-eyed face. I don’t know what to say, my heart beating like a rock in my chest, but soon after the heavy door falls shut my wit springs to life with a shot of despair – How am I supposed to meet Jeremy tomorrow?

***

Enjoyed this? Check out episodes of the prequel, Saphira, here, or the whole prequel in the Christmas Story Book for Adults, available here. Stay tuned for a further episode on Tuesday and, until then, enjoy all the quizzes, stories and goodies available here especially for you.

(Previous episodes of “The Marquis”)

Oh, and Big Announcement: Stay tuned for a new book presentation on Monday, elegant COMEDY, perfect for the fans of Sherlock Holmes and parodies. Especially if you’re a guy with a thing for engines, no fear of rats (no matter how giant) or dangerous sensual women (meet Vittoria Donna Gina), you’ll totally love Mr. Christopher Milner’s, “The Giant Rat of Sumatra.” Details and goodies coming up Monday 🙂

NEXT EPISODE Dangerous Plans – Ep. 6 of The Marquis

PREQUELSaphira in the Christmas Story Book for Adults

Pic source.

Types of Lovers – the Hades and the Abuser

A few days ago I promised a comeback of the discussion on Hades and the Abuser (read part one of the article, “In love with the Abuser”), two types of lovers that can easily be mistaken for each other. So let’s take a closer look at them, and start with the main differences.

First of all, the Abuser is a deceiver. Hades is not. How come? Simple. Because we know Hades is the god of the Underworld, we already imagine him sitting high on a black spiked throne in Tartarus, and we don’t expect him to act all lovey-dovey. He does not hide what he is. On the other hand, the Abuser comes all dreamy-eyed, he listens and he smiles, he caresses and gives the impression he’s totally there for his beloved. The Abuser seeks to draw in, to create a mirage like a deadly spider, only to inject his venom into his prey at the climax.

The Abuser is weak and bitter, which is why he needs to exercise the abuse. Hades is powerful, there’s no arguing that. We, women have an archetypal concept of Hades, the Dangerous, Dark and Powerful. And it takes only two examples from modern literature to support this thesis, both of which have spread like wildfire, having found fertile ground in the female sub- and unconscious: 1. Christian from “Fifty Shades of Grey” (E.L James). 2. Gideon from “Crossfire” (Sylvia Day).

I don’t believe I have to argue whether Christian from “Fifty Shades” is dark, dangerous and powerful or not. He has a dark secret (his sexual preferences), which are dangerous (BDSM can go mighty wrong) and he’s mega rich, which means he’s powerful (makes a show of it in the books too). Gideon from “Crossfire” is extremely handsome, even richer than Christian Grey, and he’s obsessed with his heroine. The heroine even describes Gideon simply and effectively, “Dark and Dangerous,” often calling him that instead of his name. Imagine the effect of it in the female sub- and unconscious, imagine how Hades’ seed bloomed.

Oh, and let’s not forget example number three, the Father of them all: Edward Cullen, hero of “The Twilight Saga”. Edward Cullen is a vampire, therefore a killer, therefore both dark and dangerous; he can read minds, an intoxicating kind of power that fascinates. Oh, and he’s filthy rich too.

There has been passionate discussion on whether these characters impersonate the Abuser Typos or not. Even though there is little to save Christian Grey from that Typos (he certaintly has some Abuser in him, although he’s mainly Hades), please notice that all of these characters display Hades’ main traits: dark, dangerous and powerful.

One more thing all these heroes share: they are obsessed with the heroine, and they are overprotective. The hero has nothing on his mind besides the heroine. Women desire to feel protected even more than they desire obsession. So you see, all these three iconic characters – Christian Grey, Gideon Cross, Edward Cullen –, which have ‘fathered’ countless similar characters out there, are based on the Hades Typos, NOT on the Abuser Typos. The Abuser Typos is not protective, he’s monopolizing; what he feels is not sensual craving, but greed; he does not seek deepest intimacy, he seeks complete mastery. He is not the Guardian Angel; he is Monopoly.

The Abuser is NOT Hades. He’s not obsessed with his woman, he’s obsessed with his power over her; he does not admire her, he wants her neck beneath his boot, he wants her stripped of all options; he’s not a fallen angel in love, he’s a slave master with a whip; he’s like those luminous fish in the deepest depths of the ocean, where no sunshine reaches, those fish that put on colorful little lights to draw prey to them.

It’s not that the Hades type of men aren’t available in the real word, they most definitely are. Problem is, they’re mostly taken since a fairly young age; they are loyal (they’re everything we talked about above), so they stick to one woman. In the absence of Hades availability, the Abuser has turned into the next best thing.

The authors of the characters we talked about above (Grey, Cross, Cullen) have merely built on an archetype in their female unconscious, I dare say, an archetype rooted deep in the collective unconscious. In plain words, they have merely built on many a woman’s wet dream. I do the same in my novels and stories, because I too am fascinated with the Hades type, and I live with one. (Been with an Abuser before, many years ago). I would love to hear your take on this. Do you feel attracted to the Hades type, or ARE you the Hades type? What are the most attractive, compelling traits to you? What is it in a potential partner that gets you hooked? For men – Are you into the “bad girl”, or rather “the girl next door”? – an article on this one will follow next week, so I’ll need all anecdotes I can get, hehe.

Pic source.