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|Undying Destiny -- Available now from Entangled Publishing
Kenric St. James is out for revenge. Over 300 years ago, an ancient female vampire turned him against his will and killed the woman he loved. He’s spent more than a century building an Enclave of warrior vampires who have sworn to defend humanity against his evil sire and her minions. But when Kenric finds a woman he finally burns to claim as his own again, Kenric knows loving her means giving his sire another target.
Emily Ross just wanted a fresh start. She’s a survivor, coming off the tail end of an abusive relationship, and craves time alone to learn who she is and to save the home that holds her heart. The last thing she needed was a controlling, alpha male calling all the shots.
Meeting Kenric might just have changed her mind, though. He is wrong for her in all the right ways. But in order to keep her heart from breaking, he first has to keep the hoards of evil vamps from stealing her very breath.
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Midnight in Elizabeth Bay, South Carolina. Prime feeding time for the bloodsuckers he hunted. Despite the weight of his steel-toed boots, Kenric moved like a ghost on the cobblestoned streets. The music from a nearby pub vibrated against his chest and rang in his ears. He grimaced as a heavy-metal guitar solo ricocheted off the brick walls of the alley.
His black leather trench coat billowed behind him as the cold wind coming in off the bay funneled between the buildings, carrying with it the sh-laced, briny smell of the Atlantic. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t also mixed in with the stench of rotten garbage and stale tobacco.
In a few hours, the bars along The Docks would close, emptying their drunken patrons. Most would stumble off to their vehicles, and if lucky in their state, would arrive home safely. A few wouldn’t be ready for the party to be over, and they would linger, joining others who loitered after midnight on the dark corners. It was a vampire-feeding wonderland of drunks, prostitutes, the homeless, and drug addicts—a bountiful mix of easy prey.
There was only one problem: a vampire who couldn’t control their urges and continued to feed until they killed their prey became addicted to Death Euphoria. From what he understood, DE was the exhilarating high received by the vampire at the moment their human prey died. DE-addicted vampires, or DEADs, were a menace to the human population, and had become an eternal pestilence for his Enclave.
Only one other thing competed with Death Euphoria for its addictive nature: the blood of an ancient or master vampire, the very thing that gave Marguerite control over her minions without the nasty side effect of turning their brain to mush like DE. He’d witnessed the effects of her ancient blood firsthand during the years he’d spent as her prisoner, watching as she used a vampire’s craving for it as a tool to ensure his devotion. The vampire would become addicted to her and would do anything for Marguerite as long as he got another trip to her vein.
Voices neared the mouth of the alley. Stepping into the shadows, Kenric stilled, allowing the darkness to envelop him. Moments later, a young couple turned into the narrow corridor. They weaved into the alleyway, drunk and oblivious to his presence. Not that they would have noticed him, though, unless it was his wish.
The man wrapped his arm around the woman’s waist, pulling her to him before whispering in her ear. She giggled and then kissed him, as if he held her next breath. Kenric rubbed a leather-gloved hand across his jaw. How many years had it been since he’d held and kissed a woman like that? Like he didn’t know that he had slept alone for more than three centuries.
His world held no place for a woman. He had the Enclave to motivate him each evening, and vengeance against Marguerite to warm his bed each day.
It was enough.
It had to be.
The couple meandered around the corner at the end of the building. He should have been able to hear their footsteps fade, but the music’s constant beat drowned out the subtle sounds.
Another gust of wind raced around the building. The chilled fingers of autumn worked their way along the exposed edges of his neckline. With a shiver, Kenric pulled his collar higher. The pungent scent of roses and musk from the woman’s perfume continued to ride the night’s breeze. He rubbed the back of a gloved hand across his nose and turned to leave. But a trace of a scent, hidden within the strong notes of the fragrance, sparked recognition. Anticipation kicked his heart rate into fast forward.
The heels of his boots pounded against the stone street. Rounding the corner with preternatural speed, he found two DEADs holding the young couple by their throats, their eyes and mouths wide with terror.
“You picked the wrong place to hunt for your prey tonight, boys.”