The third book in the Mark of the Vampire Series
Since feeding her his blood, Lucian Roman has struggled with his obsession with Bronwyn Kettler-fighting an uncontrollable desire to kill her, if he has to, and the vampire she has sworn to wed. But when a dangerous enemy threatens Bronwyn, only Lucian can save her life. Even if it means sacrificing his own…
Excerpt from Eternal Captive
Mark of the Veana
Her fangs had been inside him only once, and yet they had left an unseen mark on his skin, his blood, even his breath. In consuming his blood she had consumed his very soul and now – every day, every moment he existed, she moved inside him, her unending hunger deafening as she searched and slithered through his veins, circled his muscles, squeezed until his brain threatened to explode.
Lucian Roman sat perched, as he had for the past seven nights, on the snow-crested roof of Bronwyn Kettler’s brownstone. Still and menacing as a gargoyle, he ignored the vibration of his cell phone in the pocket of his coat and stared without purpose into the heavy snowfall, which dropped bride-white over the silent Boston credenti landscape. An hour ago, the streets had been alive with Impures, running about, adorning the doors of their master’s dwellings as well as the gates, fences and lamposts leading up to the Gathering Hall. The tasteful bunting and subdued winter flowers were a testament to how the Boston community viewed the binding ceremony of its true mates; with serious and reverent celebration.
Now, the streets were empty and silence reigned, as did the snow, and Lucian sneered in appreciation as the decorations for tomorrow’s Veracou were quickly being buried in heavy white frosting. Would a blizzard annul the binding ceremony between Bronwyn and the paven who claimed her mark? Lucian thought not. But he would remain, affixed to the roof to watch. To wait. To see the binding done and over. Or – if his blood had its wish – to see Bronwyn run from her true mate, reject her body’s choice.
As another wave of longing, of desire-ladened torment pulsed in his bones and brain, Lucian’s fangs slowly descended and the blade in his fist trembled.
There were only two ways to stop this madness.
Fuck her or kill her.
And yet, he could do neither and remain free. The former would turn him into a Breeding Male one hundred and seventy-five years before his time; a rutting animal with no conscience, no control – only a hunger to claim. While the latter would send him to Mondrar, the vampire prison, for all eternity.
Again, he felt the vibration of his cell phone and again, he ignored it. He knew Alexander would never give up looking for him, and in fact had seen the brother walking the streets below once already this week. But the eldest Roman had never looked up, and down below had found only snow and the censure of a community who reviled anything with a matching set of Breeding Male brands.
A sudden rush of sound, a faint cry, like air released from a balloon stole Lucian’s thoughts and left him with nothing but a raw, feral craving. He sprang to his feet, his entire body going forest-fire hot as a growl sounded in his throat.
Damn her. With one bite, she had made him into this, this animal, this creature of destruction, and though perhaps it hadn’t been her intention to ruin him, he would make her.
His hand fisting the knife, Lucian moved like a panther down the pitched roof and over the edge, dropping to the small balcony attached to her room in near silence. The window was a large square and in the handful of times he’d stood there watching her sleep, he’d surmised rather easy to maneuver through.
Darkness blanketed her bedroom, the only light coming from the streetlamps below. But to Lucian’s keen gaze, it was enough to make out the furniture, the artwork on her walls and the veana lying in her bed. As usual, she was on her back, her dark hair spilling out over her stark white pillow. In nights previous, she had slept soundly, unmoving, like the princess Lucian had insisted on labeling her.
But tonight, she moved.
Leaning closer to the glass, his insides still blazing with heat, Lucian narrowed his gaze on her lower half, specifically on her legs as they stirred beneath the white coverlet. It was as if she were running a race in her sleep, and yet as his gaze trailed upward to her thighs, to the outline of her hips, he realized that the race she was running was the one that ended in climax.
Madness splintered his mind once again, and instead of pushing away from her window and returning to his rooftop perch as he normally did, he quietly broke the lock on her window, eased up the frame and stole inside her room. Instantly, the scent of her yet unclaimed orgasm washed over him, and he flew to the bed and coiled over her like a snake, any last shreds of stability he may have had upon entering now dead, drowned, forgotten.
The white coverlet blinded him from the act she performed, but Lucian could imagine her hands working her core, just as he could scent the dance of her fingers inside her cunt.
He snarled softly at her, at the pale, perfect face that was framed with long black hair.
No veana had the right to be this beautiful.
No veana had the right to hold him captive.
Held in her own state of captivity, Bronwyn’s eyes remained clamped shut, but her cheeks held the delectable stain of desire, and her pink lips were parted, just enough for the ragged breaths of desire to escape. Like a dog in heat, Lucian leaned in and took one long sniff.
The mistake of it hit him instantaneously.
His fangs dropped to needle sharpness against his lips and all he could see was blood, all he could taste was sex.
All he could do was place his blade to her throat.
Bronwyn’s eyes slammed open at the feel of cool metal. “You.”
“Not who you were thinking about, Princess?”
Her arms shot out from beneath the covers, her fingers wrapped his wrist. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Get off me, you bastard!”
The scent of her fear did nothing to stall him, only pushed his madness further. “Don’t talk. Even your breath on my face makes me want to scratch at your skin to get inside.”
Her gaze narrowed on his. “What’s happened to you? You look–”
“I said don’t talk!”
“If you’re here to kill me,” she said, her nails digging into his skin, “don’t expect me die easily or quietly.”
Her lips pressed together, fear tensing her jaw and the skin around her eyes – though the scent of arousal still lingered temptingly in the air.
The blade still held to her throat, Lucian’s fangs dropped even further as he uttered, “I hate you.”
She stared up at him, unblinking, her nostrils flaring as she breathed in and out. “Hate me or yourself?”
He leaned in closer. “You’ve turned me inside out,” he whispered near her mouth. “Do you understand that? I can’t feed, I can’t fuck.” His head began to pound, his muscles too…Dammit, he wanted her mouth under his, her blood rushing over his tongue – her death on whatever was left of conscience. If he pressed the knife just a hair closer, he could have it, have it all… “That night you came to me–”
“I didn’t plan it, Lucian,” she interrupted fiercely. “Goddamit! I didn’t plan to feed–”
He cut off her words, pressing the blade nearer to her throat. “Another word and I will be feeding from you.”
RELEASE THE VEANA, LUCIAN. NOW.
Before he even had the chance to respond, the knife was ripped from Lucian’s fist. For one brief moment, the cold, metal hovered in mid air, then shot past Lucian’s face and disappeared behind him.
Lucian whirled around to face his intruder, in the back of his mind hearing Brownyn slip from the bed, taking her freedom. But his gaze, his focus was pinned on the hooded figure lurking in the shadows near the window. He hissed, “What do you want?”
“To keep you from harm,” replied the ancient paven.
Lucian sneered at his father; the Breeding Male – the Order. “Too late.”
“It will be if you continue on this path.” Titus raised his hooded head toward the corner of the room. “I am sorry for this, Mistress Kettler.”
Lucian turned and narrowed his eyes on the veana who, even in her fear, stood tall and imperious.
“I thank the Order for its help in this matter,” she said, nodding at Titus. “Now, pray get him out of here before my parents awake.”
Instantly, Lucian felt the pull of his father, magnet to iron. “Come with me, Lucian.”
It was a solid yank, and yet Lucian was immobile, his eyes locked on Bronwyn. He uttered a pained, “I cannot.”
Bronwyn turned to look at him.
“She is to be mated in the morning,” Titus said tightly. SHE WILL FEED FROM ANOTHER AND HE WILL FEED FROM HER.
“Shut up!” Lucian roared.
YOUR TORMENT WILL PASS.
“My torment has only begun!”
Lucian’s gaze caught on the mark near the base of Bronwyn’s thumb. The paven’s mark – her paven. Feral rage slammed through him and he shot across the room, forcing her deeper into the corner. She belonged to him. Her mouth, her gaze, her neck, her vein, her voice, her cunt. He grabbed her hand and pulled it to his lips. But just as his fangs entered her marked skin, he was yanked back, slammed into the one who had given him not only life, but the curse of the Breeding Male.
No blood met Lucian’s dry tongue, but Bronwyn’s cry of pain ripped through his black soul as Titus flashed him away.