Title: Caressed By A Crimson Moon
Author: Amanda J. Greene
Blurb:Consumed by madness and tormented by dark memories of blood and death, Hadrian Lucretius, King of the Validus Clan, has returned after living in self-imposed exile for nearly three hundred and fifty years.
To maintain peace with the vampires, Eva Maldonado is offered as a sacrifice to the crazed vampire king by her father, the alpha of the Silveria Shifter Pack. Hadrian’s reputation is both legendary and lethal; he is ruthless, bloodthirsty, lusty, and soulless. When Eva arrives at the ancient fortress high in the Carpathian Mountains, she is shocked to find a ravaged man with dark burning eyes filled with loneliness and dangerous desire.
Would she be his lover…or his prey? His savior…or his victim? Would Hadrian lure her into madness or would their perilous passion be their redemption?
Dear God, what had her father done?
He sacrificed me. She snorted. He couldn’t send one of his precious purebred daughters off to what was surely her death.
Eva pushed away from the wall and began to pace. Falcon had been gone for nearly fifteen minutes and her nerves were making her restless. Glancing about, she decided to take a little tour. She would not go far and, with luck, she may find the knight. Besides, if she remained immobile, consumed by her thoughts, she would soon have herself worked up into another fit of hysteria.
Deciding to head in the direction Falcon had, she did not enter the main hall though the large arched entrance was directly in front of her. She turned left and headed down a long, dimly lit corridor. She paused outside each door she passed, she knocked and tried their knobs, but no one called from the other side and every door was locked.
After the fifth door, she gave up her search and allowed her curiosity to take over. 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 reach 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 down, 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 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 about 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.
He 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, 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.
Eva sagged against the wall, her body feeling bereft without him. Shock pulsed through her body and she struggled to make sense of what just happened. Her initial reaction had been fear, but was quickly replaced by desire. She focused on her breathing, trying to calm herself as she gathered her scattered, confused thoughts.
He didn’t kiss her. Why did he not—
“Did I not ask you to remain in the foyer, because I distinctly remember doing so,” Falcon said.
“W-what?” she sputtered.
When she looked up at him, his expression was not what she had expected. His tone implied announces but his gaze was quizzical as he studied her, his brow furrowed in thought.
“Nothing,” he said with a shake of his head.
Falcon cursed a string of obscenities, some in English but most in an old form of…French?
“Come on, I’ll show you to your room so you can get settled.”
He turned and began back down the hall.
Eva shoved away from wall and jogged to catch up with him. Her legs were still weak and she feared they might give out. She caught his arm and Falcon stopped.
“Was that…I mean, he was—”
“Hadrian Lucretius, King of the Validus Clan of vampires,” he answered.
“I thought so,” she said, her voice a faint whisper.
Her steps faltered as she came to a bend. The hair on the back of her neck stood on end.
She was not alone.
Eva froze and strained her senses. Her hearing and eyesight was slightly better than a human’s but nothing compared to a full shifter or—she swallowed hard—a vampire. Unable to detect anything, she slowly crept forward. Placing her back against the twelve-foot tall hedge wall, she peeked around the corner.
A man sat on a white marble bench, his elbows resting on his knees, his head hung low. She could only see his perfectly hard profile and her heart skipped a beat as her breath caught. High, bold cheekbones and a straight, stern jaw descended to thin, yet enticing lips. His hair was black and buzzed in an extremely short military fashion. To her disappointment, his eyes were closed, but she knew they would be intense. He was dressed in all black, a stark contrast to the white that surrounded him.
Raw power radiated from him. He was pure unadulterated male. Lethal. She knew instinctively this vampire was the crazed king, Hadrian Lucretius. The man—no, the beast that had ensnared her in the hall.
His eyes remained closed as his lips pulled back from his long, white fangs tinted with red.
She knew she ought to be horrified but as before…he was making her lust. Her body was hot and heavy, her breathing came in soft gasps, and heat spiraled through her core as she recalled the feel of his powerful body looming over her.
“I know you’re there.” His voice was deep and heavily accented though his style of speech was modern. He spoke again, but she did not comprehend his words. She closed her eyes and savored his voice. Dark. Seductive. She shivered, not from cold, but from pleasure.
Nothing made sense. She knew her reaction was insane. She knew she should be terrified and run as fast as she could back to the castle and the safety of her room. But, she could not bring herself to leave, nor did she want to run. Her heart stuttered at the thought of him chasing her and something wild deep within her roared to life.
In a rush of movement, she was pulled forward and spun about. Her back slammed against the hedge, a cool, strong hand wrapped about her throat. Her cry of shock quickly faded to a gasp of delight. He stood before her, pinning her to the hedge. Her senses flared, taking in his fresh scent. He smelled of pine, wilderness, and male. His eyes gazed deeply into hers as if searching for her very soul. They were fathomless, obsidian pools that swirled with malice, grief, and…desire.
Her heart thundered in her ears as her lips parted, drawing in rapid breaths, filling her lungs with his irresistible scent. Again, she wondered at her response, but lust clouded her mind, blocking all rational thought.
She dropped her gaze to his broad shoulders and chest, which were covered only by a short-sleeved black shirt. Her fingers twitched at the thought of running her hands over the hard muscle. He was lean, solidly built, and tall, clearly over six feet.
He crowded her. Trapping her.
She loved it.
Hadrian’s gaze focused on her pulse. Eva’s heart beat wildly, teasing him. His fangs felt heavy in his mouth and they ached to pierce her slender throat.
The run had helped him immensely, driving away those hateful memories. He thanked God he had recovered before his ward had stumbled upon him in the labyrinth. The memories always left his mind tainted.
He had wanted blood. No. Needed blood. Death. Yes, he had craved to taste death, to savor it. He had hunted in the forest and fed from a rabbit. It’s tangy blood and tiny life had brought him precious little relief. It was enough. It would keep him from tearing her throat open and gorging himself on the sweet elixir.
She would be spicy, exotic, and oh, so hot.
He ran his tongue over his fangs and Eva sighed. The scent of her desire grew stronger. He took in a deep breath and shuddered. Intoxicating. His erection strained against his pants as heat consumed him. He wanted to teleport her to his bed, feel her soft body beneath him, her hips rocking with his as he claimed her, filled her. Her lust sang to him like a siren’s song and fired his icy blood.
“We meet again, little one.” He brushed the elegant column of her throat with his thumb, pausing over her pulse with every stroke. “I did not expect it would be so soon.”
Hadrian kept his hand on her neck as he stepped back to appraise his prey. He had known she was small, but his mind had been completely consumed with lust and hunger earlier to focus on detail. She was barely over five feet and slight of frame. Fragile. He could snap the poor girl; easily break her like a doll. He eased the pressure on her neck at the thought. Her face was delicate with almond shaped eyes that were down caste, concealing their color. She also had well defined cheekbones and stubborn chin. Her luscious, pouting lips were peach in color. Hadrian shivered as he imagined their taste. He could not remember the last time he had felt another’s lips pressed against his. Never had he kissed the women he took to his bed…not since he had been a mortal man, not since his wife. But damn, her mouth was tempting.
He dropped his gaze to her body. She was tightly bundled in a thick jacket, the blue a perfect complement to her smooth sun kissed skin. Her dark brown hair was pulled back and fastened in a braid that came to her hips. He resisted the urge of freeing her locks, having the absurd desire to run his fingers through her hair.
He released her throat to press his hands to the hedge on either side of her head. Her gaze met his and Hadrian bit back a curse. Amber. Pure, amber stared back at him. Not yellow, as he thought before when he had found her in the hall.
For an instant, his gaze grew sharp. Eva tried to look away, but his hand caught her chin and forced her to face him.
“Look at me, little one.”
She raised her hands, intending to shove him away, like she knew she should. This was wrong. He was a vampire. No, he was a crazed vampire king and she was, well, a lowly half-breed, who was also his ward. Nothing could happen between them. As if I would want something to happen between us, she told herself.
His thumb brushed over her bottom lip, the caress was simple and yet completely erotic. He sank his body into hers and Eva lost her breath. .
Hadrian slipped his hand down her neck to her nape; his fingers began to play with the stay strands of hair that had escaped her braid. His ravenous gaze roamed her body. Despite the bulkiness of her jacket, he could feel her generous curves. The blue material covering her chest strained ever so slightly against her breasts as her hips cradled his, her stomach was flat and soft against his painful erection.
“Shall we continue what we started in the hall?”
Eva swallowed hard as she thought, Oh, God, yes!
His finger danced over her shoulder and her chest to the zipper of her jacket. She watched as he slowly drew it down, heat coiled in her core.
Eva couldn’t think. She couldn’t move. The heat of his strong hands burned through the thin material of her pajama tank top as he spanned her waist. She did not notice the cold but shivered in anticipation. His fingers slowly slid up her sides and paused at her ribs, just below her aching breasts. She arched her back and he hissed.
“Terror,” Hadrian whispered. “You should be feeling terror.”
Eva squeaked in response, unable to speak.
He leaned his head down, his breath brushed along the sensitive flesh of her throat.
“You should run,” he said. Would I let her escape? Yes, he would. He would use what remained of his will to remain still as she raced through the labyrinth. He should set her from him and demand that she go.
All Eva could do was nod. She knew he was right. She should be screaming. She should be praying that Falcon would come to her rescue. This dark vampire had her trapped. Hadrian, the mad king, had her at his mercy. She tried to remember the evil rumors, hoping they might be able to draw her back into reality. Nothing came. All she could think about was how much she wanted to feel his hands on her body, hips lips against her skin and his—
“Touch me,” Eva gasped. Desire controlled her mind as lust gripped her body.
His black gaze jumped with dangerous delight. He spun her about, forcing her back against his chest, his hands gripping her hips as he pressed her front towards the hedge.
Heaven help her, a bolt of treacherous excitement ran down her spine to curl her toes. She pressed her hips back and groaned at the feel of his hard cock against her ass.
“Do you know who I am?” he asked, his lips brushing her ear.
“Who?” His demand was rough and, God, she loved the anger that laced his voiced. On some level, she knew she must be losing her mind to desire this vampire. She did not care. She wanted him. Now. Primal, sexual need coursed through her in sweet agonizing pulsating waves.
“H-Hadrian Lu-Lucretius,” she answered.
About The Author:
When she is not writing, Amanda can found playing the role of a full time university student who works part time. She lives in Southern California with her very supportive husband and their sweet cocker spaniel. Doing all the above and being a military wife is not easy, but rewarding! Of course, she accomplishes everything with a strong cup of coffee in her hand.
Amanda J. Greene