Click on image to enlarge.
by Bianca D'Arc
Description: As the new Gal Friday at Atticus Maxwell's winery, Kelly is grateful for the much-needed job, and delighted to be working with her best friend Lissa. What she doesn't need is the exasperation brought on by Marc LaTour's constant flirting. Yet she can't deny she is drawn to the mysterious, unsettling Master vampire. After six hundreds years of searching, Marc has resigned himself to the fact that he'll never find his One. Kelly is under Atticus and Lissa's protection, and therefore off limits. Yet the desire to possess her is too strong to resist. Curiosity leads to lust--and the surprising discovery that they indeed could be destined mates. But a dark cloud hangs heavy over them. A rival vampire has challenged Marc for leadership--a challenge that involves a fight to the death. The cost of survival could forever poison any hope for a future together, but if they can both pass the final test, they could find love that will last for eternity.
[This book has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.]
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2009
eBookwise Release Date: February 2009
140 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [151 KB]
Reading time: 89-125 min.
Kelly sat back in her office chair, staring at the computer screen. A heavy sigh ruffled the wisps of hair fringing her forehead. Things at the vineyard had been in upheaval since the Master vampire of the region, Marc LaTour, had moved in. Well, at least for her.
The blasted man seemed to be there every time she turned around, watching her with those dark, mysterious, ancient eyes. Since she worked in the evenings to be on call during most of the hours when her best friend, Lissa, and her new husband, Atticus, needed her, she had precious few moments of daylight when Marc couldn't corner her.
Just last night he'd dangled that damned yellow Lamborghini in front of her again, revving the engine as he brought it out of the mansion's twelve-bay garage.
"Just taking your car for a spin, ma petite," he'd called to her from the driver's seat. "Wouldn't you like to join me?"
"No, thank you." She'd been as firm as possible and turned away as he laughed. The hardest part was she'd have loved to take a drive in the expensive machine. It was the man she needed to avoid if she wanted to keep her sanity.
She'd heard the sports car roar down the driveway a minute later. Marc infuriated her. He'd attempted to give her the car as a gift, which she'd flatly refused, but he persisted. He was like a dog with a bone, and she was the one whose nerves were being chewed on.
Kelly had moved in to one of the many guest rooms at the mansion a few weeks after Atticus and Lissa were married. Her lease on a small apartment in the city had come up for renewal, and she took the opportunity to move out. She'd never enjoyed the hour-long commute each way from the city to the vineyard. She'd been working for Lissa and Atticus since shortly before their wedding as the couple's assistant. It made sense for her to move into the mansion where she worked and one of her best friends lived. They certainly had plenty of room in the grand building.
Things had rolled along well until Marc showed up with the yellow sports car and a suitcase in tow. Marc had apparently decided, in his high-handed way, that he needed to move in with his friends while his own house was being renovated. Atticus and Marc were long-time associates and close friends.
They were also both immortal.
They'd known each other longer than Kelly had been alive. Centuries, in fact. It still boggled her mind to think that her best friend, Lissa, was now as immortal as her new husband. The thought of living forever was intriguing--even mildly tantalizing--but not practical for Kelly. Just the thought of drinking blood made her shiver. No, she preferred to live a normal life without the need to drink blood. Well, as normal as it could be when one of her best friends was a vampire.
Kelly returned to work, whiling away the hours until sunset when Lissa and Atticus would awaken. Marc, too, unfortunately. Not that he was unattractive. In fact, he was one of the most devastatingly handsome men she'd ever met, but he was way out of her league.
She sat back, staring at the screen again, lost in thought. Kelly jumped when a breath of warm air sizzled past her ear.
It was Marc, of course. He was hovering close, just over her shoulder. She could feel him, though he hadn't made a sound as he approached. Only now did she hear his slow breaths and the deliberate way he inhaled her scent as if he was smelling a rare perfume.
"I thought they made it clear to you that I'm not a snack."
"Mmm, I quite agree." He dipped his head lower, his stubbly cheek rubbing along her neck, raising goose bumps. "I imagine you'd be a full seven-course meal." He punctuated his words by licking the sensitive skin just over her rapidly beating jugular. "Ah, l'aparatif c'est marvelieux. A very satisfying feast for the senses at that."
The man had licked her! She could hardly believe it. She was barely suppressing shivers that wanted to course down her spine. It was devastating to realize they were shivers of excitement, not revulsion.
This had to stop. The man was a steamroller and if she wasn't careful, she'd end up flat. Flat on her back, that is, with him possessing every last inch of her body, her blood and her sanity.
"Mr. LaTour!" She twirled her rolling office chair around, making him move back. "For the last time, I'm not on the menu."
His dark gaze blazed down at her, humor in its depths. "My proper title is Master, but you can call me Marc, ma cherie."
She rolled her eyes, putting on a brave front. "I call no man master."
"Ah, but, ma petite, I'm not just a man. For centuries now, I've been something more ... and less." He turned thoughtful as he reflected on just what he was at this point in his long, lonely existence.
"I know what you are." Kelly jumped to her feet, emphasizing her words with a rudely pointing finger, but he liked her fire. "You're a womanizer, a scoundrel and someone who believes rules don't apply to him."
She was working up a fine head of steam, and Marc enjoyed the show. Kelly was adorable when she was in a temper. It was just one more thing that fascinated him about this petite, complex, mortal woman.
"Sadly, you're right about some of that. I've never followed rules, cherie, because for many years, I've been the one who makes them. Alas, I admit to being a bit of a scoundrel as well, but I do object to the term 'womanizer'. While it is true I enjoy taking my sustenance from females more than males, I always leave them well satisfied and with no complaints. In fact, they rarely even remember me." Again, that odd pang of something that could be regret sounded through him. He shrugged it off and stepped into her personal space, crowding close and tipping her chin up so he could look deep into her pretty eyes.
"I bet you would remember me though, ma petite. It would be difficult to cloud your fascinating mind, and I believe I like the idea of you thinking of me years into the future, for I will most certainly be thinking of you. You are..." his voice dropped to a low whisper, "...eminently memorable, mademoiselle."
He leaned in, dipping his head as if to kiss her. Her eyes widened, but she didn't pull away. She was as trapped as he was. He'd been dreaming of her for weeks now--wanting to know the taste of her lips, the feel of her tongue and the passion of her kiss.