Hanging in the Balance

In Life and Blood 1

eXtasy Books

Heat Rating: Sizzling
Word Count: 29,000
2 Ratings (3.0)

Snatched as a human baby and turned vampire at age eighteen to serve as a chevalier for a sadistic queen, Julian is forever alone and waiting for his destiny to be fulfilled. While on watch one night in San Francisco, Sebastian, an elder vampire of immense strength, comes to him, intent on killing him. Instead of bringing Julian to death, this stranger turns Julian's life upside down, exposing secrets that have kept him bound in his torturous life. Can Julian accept the truth and free himself of his bonds to find the love he's always yearned for or will he find he can't betray the queen he's sworn to protect?

Hanging in the Balance
2 Ratings (3.0)

Hanging in the Balance

In Life and Blood 1

eXtasy Books

Heat Rating: Sizzling
Word Count: 29,000
2 Ratings (3.0)
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Cover Art by Christine Freseman
Excerpt

A man, bathed in the light from a streetlamp, stepped out from beyond the corner of the decrepit building on the other side of the street. His black hair hung in shaggy waves over the shoulders of an elegant trench coat. He took an abrupt stop and examined Julian, tilting his head to the side. A black, thick-brimmed hat hid his face in shadow. His frame was taller than Julian's and slender.

Julian sniffed at the air. The tang of eucalyptus trees from the nearby Golden Gate Park caught his senses along with the faintest tinge of blood, fresh blood. The being across the street had newly fed. Hunger rose up inside him like a whirlwind of ache and need. Damn, why didn't I feed with the others? He tightened his hand around the grip on his sword, still sheathed at his side.

All at once, the tall vampire vanished.

"What the—" His guitar flung off his shoulder to the sidewalk, making a twang as it hit the ground. A warm body slammed against his back. Hard hands with long fingers seized his neck and the hand on his sword. Hot breath whispered over his ear, rich with the scent of blood. The pointed tip of a cold and sharp instrument rest against his neck at the carotid artery, the pressure hard, but not enough to break skin. Still, a searing pain burned from where it touched him. Silver. "Please…" His heart pounded and sweat formed on his useless palms. I'm at his mercy.

"You know my finger-dagger is made of silver," a deep voice whispered. It held the accent of some Eastern European country.

Julian gulped hard. "Y-yes. Do you mean to kill me?" Such a thing pierced into the carotid artery meant death to his kind. His gaze darted around the street and brick buildings. But what could he do? This vampire was obviously much older and stronger than he. They'd never prepared him for this.

The elder vampire loosened his hold at Julian's neck and brushed over the sensitive skin with the tip of the finger-dagger.

A shiver raced down Julian's spine. The smell of blood made him oversensitive. Arousal swam inside him, just under the surface of his control. Stop, he can smell it. Soft warmth pressed against the back of his neck. Was that a kiss? The thought made him swoon though he fought against it. What's happening to me? Did the elder vampire have powers unknown to him? "Who are you?" His voice was unusually solid for the moment.

The tall being's hand slid from Julian's sword to his stomach, caressing as it went.

Another, more solid kiss graced Julian's neck. He bit his lip, drawing blood from a fang. A soft gasp escaped him. Why would this vampire do these things? Heat filled his groin against his will. I must escape. I can't let myself submit to this. He jerked his body, attempting to jar himself loose. Strong arms and hands held him in place. "Who are you? Answer me."

"I am the one you should not fear." The arms wrapped around his body, embracing him, and more soft kisses shivered over his neck.

"Ah…" I must escape. Even as he struggled not to succumb, he melted into the embrace. An overwhelming hunger and confusion muddled his mind. But my queen, I can't submit to this. "Wh-what are you doing to me?" As if in a trance, he tilted his head to the side, exposing the skin on his neck further. "Is this some form of magic?"

"I assure you, it is not," the deep voice said inside a sigh. "Your scent, your taste—"

A prick punctured his neck. A soft, wet tongue slid over the wound. He shuddered in response and his cock jerked. A stinging sensation grew from his wound, signaling healing, and a low groan swept over his ears.

"I was sent here to kill you, but I find I cannot." The elder vampire's one hand roamed up and down Julian's chest, unbuttoning his shirt and slipping inside to brush over bare skin. His hard cock pressed against Julian's buttocks.

Julian's eyes closed and he stifled a moan. "Wh-why were you sent to-to kill me?" Need and hunger raged in every fiber of his being. Escape. I'm meant for my queen. But feelings of lust and something more, just under the surface, kept him still. His chest heaved with deep breaths.

"You are beautiful, my angel."

The hands and lips continued to tease and explore over Julian. "But what do you want?" His voice faltered. The strong hands turned him around. He peered up into the face of his would-be assassin. His breath caught in his throat. The elder vampire appeared no older than he, maybe even younger, though he stood a good three inches taller than his almost six-foot frame. "Y-you are…"

"I am Sebastian and that is all you need to know."

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