Caressed by Moonlight (Rulers of Darkness #1)
The cabin was in complete disarray. The fine hand carved desk was toppled on its side, the armchair before the window was upside down, paper acted as rugs on the floor, and deep claw marks marred the walls. Victoria traced the gouges with the tip of her finger.
“What are you doing here?”
Victoria reeled around to find her husband huddled in a corner, his knees to his chest with arms wrapped tightly about them. His eyes glowered up at her as his hair fell disheveled across his face.
She slowly crossed the floor to stand just out of his reach knowing that if he wanted to grab her he easily could. She had witnessed his speed before.
“I didn’t summon you,” he said, his voice gruff.
“Falcon saved you,” he snapped, his lips curling back over his teeth. “Why are you here?”
“I want to help you.”
“You want to help me?” He snorted. “Leave Victoria, I don’t want your help.”
“But you need it,” she countered.
He laughed, the sound was chilling, but she ignored it and began to unlace the ties of her robe.
“What are you doing?” he rasped, his eyes fixed on her hands at her breasts as she loosened her laces.
“Removing my robe.”
“Don’t,” he begged on a whisper as the silk fell to a pile on the floor.
“It is stifling in here.”
Her lavender scent was overwhelming and the sound of her steady heartbeat was maddening. She had to go.
“No,” she protested.
“You don’t know what you are…” his words stopped as her thoughts drifted through his mind. “Or perhaps you know exactly with what you are dealing. But,” in a flash he stood behind her, “can you handle it?”
“Yes.” She would not let him scare her off.
“No,” he whispered, his breath tickling her ear. “You can’t possibly know. My dear friend, Falcon, even leaves the room every time I change.”
“I want to help you, Dorian. Let me,” she pleaded, “I need to help you.” She wanted to scream the words. She had felt so useless the past two weeks. He was her husband and he needed her even though he would not admit it. Knowing he was in pain and being unable to aid him had been insufferable.
“I will kill you. Leave!”
She did not move. He roared, snatching her by the shoulders, he spun her around and slammed her back against the wall, trapping her with his body. He held her arms over her head, his fingers like shackles about her wrists. His eyes burned black, his fangs stood long and prominent. His voice was low and hard. “Is this what you want to help?”
She could not speak. Her voice was gone, vanished. He shook her.
“Answer me!” His black eyes captured and held hers as his grip tightened.
“Yes,” she squeaked.
He snarled and spun away from her. She brought her hands down and began rubbing the pain away. Dorian sighed and ran his hands through his hair as desperate exasperation washed over him.
“What can I do to make you understand?” The question was directed to himself. In that brief moment, he was again the man she had married and not the vampire she’d just faced seconds before. But his eyes were still clouded black and those fangs still flashed. He looked so vulnerable and she wanted nothing more than to wrap her arms around him.
He must have heard her thoughts for he turned his deadly gaze back to her and snapped, “I don’t want your pity. If that is why you are here, I suggest you leave before I throw you out.”
His threat was empty she knew, his voice did not hold any menace and neither did his eyes. She shook her head stepping away from the wall.
“Then why do you insist on helping me?”
“Because I care for you,” she confessed. “And because it pains me to see you like this, suffering when there is no need.”
“No need?” he laughed. “I could kill you if I took your blood.”
Victoria shrugged. “You could, but I know you wouldn’t.”
He took a threatening step toward her. “How can you be so sure?” he challenged.
“The man I married would never allow it.”
“If you hadn’t noticed,” he advanced again, “he is not here.”
“Maybe not,” she conceded, closing the remainder of the space between them. She brushed her fingers along his knuckles. “I want you, Dorian.”
His eyes sparkled with devilish delight.
“Those are bold words, kitten,” Dorian warned.
Caressed by Night (Rulers of Darkness #2)
Kerstyn fought her way through the mass of people. Denise had texted her, demanding she come home, something had happened. All kinds of horrible images played in her head as she struggled to gain her freedom. The apartment could have caught fire, someone could have broken in, or worse. She had to stay calm. It couldn’t be as terrible as she was imagining. Or it could be good news. Maybe Denise had finally broken up with Bobby. Denise had refused to go to the club, claiming she and Bobby had something important to discuss.
She smiled as she recalled what happened earlier that day. The pig had thought he was being sneaky while spying on her in the shower, but she spotted him in the mirror. She threw the shampoo bottle as hard as she could and laughed until her sides hurt when it nailed him in the head.
He deserved worse, she thought with an evil grin.
She finally broke free of the crowd and ran up the steps to the exit. Slipping between the two monstrous bouncers guarding the entrance to Dark, she rushed down the street. She had to find a cab. She hated being without her car, but she and her friends had all planned on drinking tonight.
Kerstyn began to walk down the street hoping a taxi would drive by or maybe she could get one at a hotel. The sound of footsteps thudding behind her sliced through her thoughts. Glancing over her shoulder, she groaned. The three men who had been trying to pick her and her friends up in the club were following her. Apparently, they didn’t know what “not interested” meant. She hated persistent out-of-towners who strongly believed in the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” motto.
She crossed the street and quickened her pace when they followed. Her heart began to pound as her eyes darted across the parking lot searching for a cab. It was unlike cabbies to not be circling the area on a Friday night. She looked back again; the men were getting closer.
Kerstyn headed toward the mob of people standing outside the line of bars. She got tangled in one group of drunks. Once free, she glanced back. The men were closer. Not knowing what else to do, she rounded the corner. Kerstyn’s breath came hard and fast as she ran down the alley. She wished she had not worn her tallest heels. Her feet screamed with every step and sent painful shocks up her calves.
“Quit being a tease, honey,” one called out.
The men’s laughter echoed in her ears, they were getting closer. She tried to run faster, but her shoes would not allow it. One stiletto snapped and she went crashing to the ground. Panic choked her as she scrambled to her feet. Her heart thundered in her ears as she began to run again. There was one right behind her; she could hear his breathing and feel his menacing presence.
She took a deep breath, preparing to scream just as a meaty, cold hand clamped over her mouth.
“You smell so sweet, little redhead,” he hissed in her ear, “a delectable strawberry treat.”
Kerstyn blindly fought, striking out behind her. She kicked back and slammed the heel of her foot into her attacker’s groin. He released her and crumpled to the ground. Without looking back, she sprinted as fast as she could down the ally. The other men ran after her, shouting threats and taunts. Grasping, greedy fingers brushed the back of her jacket. She swung around. Hands fisted, ready to defend herself, and froze.
They were gone. All of her would-be rapists had vanished.
“Are you all right?” a man asked from behind her.
She relaxed when she realized the voice sounded nothing like her attackers; it was warm, deep, and comforting.
Slowly turning toward the voice, relief flooded her body, her breathing began to slow, and her limbs went limp. She stumbled and prepared to meet the pavement again, but her rescuer caught her. He tenderly held her to him, supporting her. Kerstyn knew she ought to protest and shove him away, he was a stranger after all, but his touch was soothing and reassuring. She had never felt so safe and calm in her life.
Calm was the furthest thing from her savior’s mind.
Dimitri had heard the vampires’ thoughts as they followed the woman from Dark. He knew he had to protect her from the depraved creatures who intended to make a meal out of her. When he materialized in the alley, the weaker vampires caught his scent and fled, leaving him alone with the woman. Instead of feeling anger as he expected, an entirely different emotion settled over him.
Lust. It was no ordinary lust, but a heart racing, blood raging, sexual yearning, and it turned his body into a blazing inferno of need. Then hunger like he had never known slammed into him. It gnawed at him relentlessly as it mixed with his unmerciful lust. The torturous combination attacked both his body and his mind. He had never wanted any woman with this kind of intensity.
His body had been dead for so long, no longer responding to sexual stimulus or blood-thirst. Thousands of years had passed since the last time he had fed. The desire and necessity for blood had abandoned him. None of that seemed to matter now. His fangs sprang free as his pants grew tighter about his throbbing shaft. This woman’s blood sang to him, beckoned him to have a taste.
Dimitri ruthlessly fought the temptation to seize her mind and take what he wanted. The dread of not being able to pull away terrified him. Realizing what precious little control he had, he shut down his senses, driving away her intoxicating scent and the warmth of her soft body against his. He forced the color from his sight, only seeing in black and white with shades of gray. Though he knew he would never forget the light fragrance of her strawberry blonde hair, the feel of her in his arms, and the sapphire color of her eyes.
He took in deep breaths and focused on the cool bite of the air. It washed over his body, rinsing away his desire leaving him as always, cold and unfeeling, like death. He was death: a true, pureblood vampire.
“I was being followed,” she panted.
He peered over her head, his eyes scanning the alley. “I see no one.” The vampires were long gone.
Nausea twisted her insides as she thought of what almost happened. Thank God, this man was here. If it weren’t for him–
“Do not think about it,” he said, his arms tightening about her. “You are safe now.”
She nodded, rubbing her cheek against his chest. He smelled absolutely wonderful, like dark spices. His voice felt like velvet brushing along her skin. She shivered and sighed in contentment.
“Do you need help with anything?”
His last question snapped her back into action. She stepped back, breaking the circle of his arms.
“I need a taxi.”
“A simple enough task,” he said with a shrug.
She scoffed. If it were simple, she would have been half way home by now. She turned her head up intending to face him and a broad chest greeted her eyes. She was forced to take another step back in order to get a proper look at him.
He was huge. Thick. Stacked.
He must be close to seven feet, she thought as her eyes traveled up his torso, over his wide chest, to his face.
Her heart stopped when their eyes met. They were a near colorless shade of blue. Like diamonds. His gaze was sharp, hard, filled with wisdom and strength. Intense. Warrior eyes. Yet, he could not be much older than her, around twenty-six. His golden hair glittered from the light of the neon signs and floated about his shoulders. His face was chiseled and impossibly perfect. His lips were full and Kerstyn wanted nothing more than to feel them against hers. Her eyes traveled back down his hard, honed body.
She stood, rooted to the cement, captivated by the Norse god before her.
Damn, he’s incredibly yummy.
Dimitri forced himself to remain still while she studied him. Again, he struggled against his urges, his heart thundering from the force of the shock of desire that still echoed in his mind.
He knew one day he would meet his mate, but he had underestimated the force of her seductiveness. He never expected she would spark such yearning deep within his soul. He wondered how Dorian had dealt with such overwhelming need when he had found his intended. Dorian had been the first and, until now, only vampire king to find his other half.
Dimitri’s breath caught as her small, pink tongue wet her lips and her sensual thoughts invaded his mind.
She had to go.
He forced the sexual haze from his thoughts, locking it away.
He waved his hand in the air and a cab promptly came to a stop at the curb outside the ally. He opened the door and Kerstyn slipped inside, her eyes never leaving his face.
“Goodnight, miss,” he said.
Caressed by a Crimson Moon (Rulers of Darkness #3)
The hall was lined with wood paneling decorated by sharply detailed paintings. Each featured a portrait of a man and was accompanied by a gold placard with his name. These were the kings of the Validus Clan.
The name of the last painting read Hadrian Lucretius, but the image had been savagely shredded. Stepping closer, Eva reached up, trying to place the pieces back together, wanting to get a look at the vampire.
A cool hand clamped over her mouth, stifling her scream as she was hauled back. Eva fought for freedom, twisting around, she jabbed her elbow in her attacker’s side then kicked back, connecting with his shin. He growled in response and spun her about, trapping her with his body. His hands slammed into the wall, cracking the wood, on either side of her head.
“Little girls should not wander alone in the dark.”
She closed her eyes and swallowed hard. His voice, it was dark, threatening—pure sex. He leaned his head down, his lips brushed her ear and, God help her, she shivered. Whether it was from fear or something entirely sexual, she did not know. Confusion, terror, and desire fought for control of her brain, as she remained pinned between the large, solid male and the wall.
“Bad things prowl in the dark,” he whispered against her ear and Eva’s knees went weak. His words were heavily accented, his voice deep. It echoed with evil and was laced with lust. “Bad things, like me.”
Eva tried to speak, knowing she should demand he release her, or scream, but nothing came.
One of his hands dropped from the wall to encircle her wrist, the pad of his thumb gently brushed over her erratically beating pulse.
“Your scent,” he said, his voice rough, the sound sending waves of need crashing over her.
His fingers lightly traced up her arm to cup her nape, tickling her sensitive flesh.
Eva’s breathing grew shallow as her body began to burn.
Yes. Oh, god, yes.
The menacing male drew closer, his second hand dropping to her shoulder, pressing her firmly against the wall. Danger, it radiated from him, yet desire flickered in his cold, black eyes. Instinct took hold of her. Eva wrapped her arms around his waist. Her hands pressed flat against his lower back, urging him closer. She arched her back trying in vain to close the space between them.
“Sweet…warm vanilla.” His cool breath caressed the tender flesh of her throat, sending chills all the way down to her toes.
Was he going to bite her?
God, what was she doing? She had no idea who this man was let alone what he was doing to her. She should shove him away. She should bring her knee up and hit him where it counts. But she could not move. Her heart beat frantically, her blood rushed like lava through her veins as her body responded to this aggressive male.
Eva’s sigh was a mix of relief and disappointment when she heard Falcon’s voice.
The vampire’s mystifying obsidian gaze held her captive as he asked, “Do you want to be rescued?”
No, but her self-preservation cried yes.
The vampire gently brushed her bottom lip with his thumb and Eva shuttered.
“My king,” Falcon bellowed.
The stranger lifted his head and glared at Falcon for a long breathless moment. She could sense the tension that coiled in his body. Pure lethal power flowed from him like tidal waves.
Finally, he turned his attention back to her. Framing her jaw with his large hands, he bent his head down. Was he going to kiss her? Another rush of heat coursed through her and pooled at her core. She wished she could see his face. The shadows hid his features. All she could see were his dark as midnight eyes, which burned in the darkness, full of violence and lust.
He leaned into her, his solid chest brushing her breasts, causing them to ache as he sank his lower body against her. Surrounded. Hot, aggressive male surrounded her and—wild, she was wild with need.
His cool lips brushed against hers as he whispered, “Until we meet again, little one.” He disappeared.
I have really enjoyed reading this boxed set. I loved how all the females in this series are very strong and independent. Even though they have these big Alpha vampires protecting them they are still willing to put themselves in the line of danger to protect the ones they love. My favorite couple would have to be Dimitri and Kerstyn. Their story just made me smile the whole time I was reading it. Dimitiri was so loving and patient with Kerstyn, willing to give her time to come to know him and care for him before he dropped the bomb that she is his mate. Each book is very different but they all were absolutely wonderful. I absolutely fell in love with all the characters and really hope we see more of Gabriel and Gannon in future books!
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loved a good paranormal romance. I am going to go and purchase book #4 right now, I just can’t seem to get enough of this series!
I received an eARC of this set compliments of the publisher in exchange for my honest review and opinion. All ratings and opinions stated are my own.
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About the Author
Amanda J. Greene creates paranormal romance for ravenous readers. She lives in Southern California, where she enjoys escaping the rewarding but hectic world of writing by spending time in the sun and sand with her military husband and their two dogs.
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A special thanks to Reading Addiction Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book!