Publisher: Altiora Press
Date of Publication: 1/24/19
Number of pages: 278
Word Count: 60, 274
Cover Artist: Kim Killion
Tagline: Even cursed blood can fall prey to love’s bite.
Kenton Morley and Lawrence Derrickson have hated each other since they were feuding border lords in medieval England and Scotland…seven hundred years ago.
When their bloodlines were cursed, birthing the world’s first vampires.
Their feud has carried through the centuries based on an old argument: Kenton seeks to destroy the Cheld—the only line of humans capable of killing their kind—while Lawrence seeks to save them.
It’s said that men can forget, but never forgive. It’s also said that true love knows no bounds.
When the vampires move to Stone Haven, Pennsylvania, Alessandra Fiore will find out firsthand which of those old adages is true.
It doesn’t matter whether she believes in vampires or not…
Because they believe in her. And she’s on the very cusp of discovering her dormant powers as a Cheld—a potential vampire hunter.
With both of these strangely wealthy newcomers’ storming into her sleepy, peaceful town, warning her to stay away from the other, what is a girl to do?
Especially when Kenton—the one that supposedly wants to kill her—has a devilish twinkle in his eyes that she just can’t say no to?
No matter how dangerous she instinctively knows both men to be, strengths and powers of her own are beginning to bubble to the surface, encouraging her that she can take care of herself, thank you very much.
Love and Hate—two sides of the same coin. Literally.
The only thing left to do is flip that coin and hope for the best…to see which old saying is true. And how many innocents bet the wrong way.
Lawrence was here.
Taking a sip of a gin and tonic, Kenton stared out into the distance from the second-floor balcony of his new home. A train’s whistle broke the blessed silence, though “silence” wasn’t truly silent for him, and hadn’t been for some time. In still moments, he could hear shop owners in town putting out their trash and preparing to close for the evening.
Even so, the view was relaxing—the line of trees across from him was broken by only one discernible building, the courthouse that stood guard on Main Street. The downtown area of Stone Haven was lined with brightly colored Victorian homes and townhouses. He’d considered purchasing one of the latter, only to dismiss the idea.
Now, it would seem, the decision had been a good one. If his senses were accurate, and they always were, his temporary lodgings were located just next door to his nemesis. Purchasing the mansion had attracted attention, but no matter. He would be long gone as soon as the deed was done.
He sat, making a mental note to request that his maidservant purchase cushions. Apparently the previous owner had not found wrought iron as uncomfortable as he did.
Kenton took another sip of his drink as darkness fell. The maid he’d hired from the previous staff—the mansion had been a bed and breakfast when he purchased it—appeared around the balcony to his right. She’d not spoken yet, but Kenton could hear her breathing.
“Send him up,” he said without turning toward her. “But from the outside entrance,” he added. “He may not go inside. Ever.”
Whether the woman was startled by his knowledge of her presence—because he already knew a guest waited below—or because of the vehemence of his request, Kenton wasn’t sure. Nor did it matter. What did matter was the man who even now made his way up the winding outside staircase.
As Lawrence entered the room connected to the balcony, it struck Kenton that he’d made a critical error. He should have killed the girl—woman, more precisely—before Lawrence had arrived. Now his purpose in Stone Haven would be more difficult to fulfill.
“Beautiful, isn’t she?” Lawrence asked, walking around to stand just next to him. He didn’t need to ask who. The man wasn’t talking about his elderly maid.
“I’d offer you a drink, but regrettably, you’re not staying.”
“How long have you known about her?” Lawrence Derrickson had the sole honor of being the only person to almost make him lose his temper in over seven hundred years, and it would seem he still had the ability to get a rise out of him.
“Longer than you, apparently.”
He knew the barb would hit its mark, and it did.
“Yet you haven’t killed her?” “Regrettably not.”
Knowing it would anger Lawrence, Kenton took a slow sip of his drink and looked down at the town below them.
“A quaint little place. Didn’t expect as much, although I must admit, the only other time I’ve been to Pennsylvania, when—”
“I don’t give a shit when you were here last or what you think of the town that you plan to terrorize, Kenton.”
“Terrorize? A bit harsh, don’t you think?”
He didn’t give Lawrence a chance to answer. “Nice of you to move so close to me, though I wouldn’t have expected you to splurge on such a luxury.”
Two mansions sitting side by side in a town of this size. The irony wasn’t lost on him. “I won’t let you kill her,” Lawrence insisted.
He laughed, not to taunt the other man, but it did have that added benefit. “I will enjoy watching you attempt to stop me.”
“She may not pose a threat. Will you for once listen to reason?”
Kenton shot to his feet in an instant, so close to Lawrence he could stun him into silence if he so chose. Centuries of fighting this very same man had taught him not to attempt to kill the Scot. It couldn’t be done. But he certainly enjoyed trying.
“She is a Cheld,” Kenton said.
For Lawrence, that wasn’t enough. For him, it always would be. “She is,” the Scot agreed. “But you don’t know—”
He rolled his eyes, annoyed by the tedious predictability of the argument. “Nor do I care.” Lawrence narrowed his eyes and clenched his fists, telegraphing his intentions as clearly as if he’d punched him. “Are you alone?”
He could lie, but Lawrence would learn the truth soon enough—that his siblings were far away from this quaint little Pennsylvania town. Their kind could sense one another, an ability Kenton had more than most, so he did not need to ask the same question about Lawrence’s kin.
Clan Karyn consisted only of one man, for now. Odd, since Lawrence usually traveled with at least one member of his precious clan, although a four-person family could hardly be called a clan, truth be told.
Nothing like the hundred men Lawrence once led.
“I am,” he said. “And so it seems we will have a bit of fun here in”—he waved his arms around him—“Stone Haven.”
Lawrence ground his teeth. “Fun? If you call the murder of an innocent woman—”
“Innocent?” Kenton lifted his chin. “She is a Cheld,” he repeated. “And for that, she cannot be allowed to live.” He lifted his glass. “A toast to our little secret. And to Alessandra Fiore’s last days on earth, poor thing.”
He downed the remainder of his drink in one gulp, then set the empty glass on the table. Droplets of red remained. Mary was none the wiser about the real contents of his favorite bottle of sloe gin. Stepping around Lawrence, he gripped the railing of the balcony and looked down below. “Have fun attempting to save her,” he said over his shoulder.
Just as Lawrence turned to walk away, muttering a curse under his breath, Kenton added, “I hope you have better luck than you did in Caltabellotta.”
He wasn’t surprised when Lawrence pushed him from the balcony. Indeed, he allowed it. And laughed the whole way down to the ground despite the risk of discovery.
Taunting him had been worth it.
About the Author:
Cecelia Mecca is the author of steamy historical and paranormal romance that transports readers to another world.
Every heroine, from Lady Sara in the Border Series to Alessandra Fiore in Bloodwite, is your best friend– the one who kicks ass and takes names. When these ladies meet alpha-males who try to take control, sparks fly until the very last page.
Cecelia writes the Amazon bestselling Border Series which takes readers to an admittedly romanticized time of knights and castles in 13th century Northumbria along the Anglo-Scottish border. Next, she’s jumping into a new world which tests the patience of even the most steadfast romance heroine. After all, dealing with the ultimate bad boys– sexy, wealthy and swoon-worthy vampires– is not for the faint of heart. In other words, she’s releasing her first contemporary paranormal series in January 2019.
Our Highlander-loving, vampire-writing author can be found in Northeast, Pennsylvania, chai in hand, thinking up new ways to tame both medieval and paranormal playboys. She is firmly House Stark and Gryffindor.
http://www.ceceliamecca.com/Insider (Newsletter signup)