"As fantastical as the first three volumes, this fourth book in the series tells the much-expected (at least by me) story of Vesper, the carnivorous bunny shifter, and Count Vlad Dracula who is, of course, a vampire. Both these men have some very peculiar characteristics and habits, and they're right in the middle of a lot more adventure than they can handle without getting themselves into trouble. Both Vesper's warren and Vlad's parents and coven are not happy with the men's choice of partner, but the two are actually an excellent match. Vesper is the third friend of the very tight group of three, two of whose stories have already been told. His friend Dineiro, the dragon shifter needs his help, and Larue, the pixie now grown to human size, wants to support him too, but it's his biological father whom they have to convince. Vesper is an interesting guy. He prefers his shifted form, just like Dineiro, and even though he is a carnivorous rabbit, his hunting skills are abysmal, much to his distress. He wants nothing ore than to bond with his mate, but the vampire is oddly hesitant. Once they figure out their issues? Get your ice packs and cold drinks ready! Vlad is an ancient vampire who fled from his homeland (Necro Valley) with his three sisters and now lives in a castle in Merlinia. He likes things done a certain way, but he fears his mate, as much as he admires Vesper, will not be able to satisfy his thirst for blood – and Vlad is scarred to death of hurting him. His reluctance almost costs them everything, but luckily, he is able to change his mind and do what he does best: dominate the heck out of Vesper (in the bedroom only, Vesper is quick to emphasize) and take the blood he needs to let his magic blossom to full strength. If you enjoy a few paranormal creatures added to your fairy tale heroes, if you enjoy reading about mates who seem to different to stand a chance but are actually made for each other, and if you're looking for a read that contains lots of magic, and is sweet as well as hot, then you will probably like this novella. As always, I'm already looking forward to the next one." -- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
I looked up, only to find a tall, dark-haired woman standing in front of me. I had no idea where she had come from. She seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, which startled me greatly. My shape-shifter senses should have registered her approach.
Even more disturbingly, she wiggled her fingers at me and continued to baby-talk. “Such a precious thing you are. So gorgeous. Don’t worry. You don’t need to be afraid. I’m your friend.”
She reached for me, and I guessed she probably meant to pet me. Taking advantage of her rash actions, I waited until the last possible moment. Then, when she was within the perfect distance, I struck. I buried my fangs in her hand, biting her with all the anger and frustration that had gathered up due to my unfortunate situation. No. I refused to be petted. Petting was off limits. Goddess, what did these people think, that because I was a bunny, I had a permanent “pet me” sign pasted on? Did they not know that our fur was quite sensitive to the touch? Did they have no concept of personal boundaries? Sheesh.
The woman let out a loud cry and pulled her hand back so abruptly that I didn’t even release her. I ended up stubbornly hanging onto her, my fangs still embedded into her flesh. The situation would have probably grown even more difficult, but a tall, muscular man walked into the room, his gaze zeroing in on me and my foe. Behind him, three other girls followed.
“What in the world are you doing, Monica?” the man asked.
The woman released a small, breathless chuckle. “I seem to have upset our guest.”
She didn’t seem to be angry that I had attacked her. Meanwhile, the other three females gathered around us, making soft cooing noises. “Oh, isn’t he adorable?”
“Poor thing, his fur looks a little ragged.”
“It must be because of the storm. We could wash him a bit. I’m sure those new oils would make him just glow.”
Since I was still holding onto the first woman’s hand with my fangs, I could only let out a muffled, distressed whimper.
The man sighed heavily and walked to our side. Slowly, he took me in his arms and said, “Come on now. Let go. It’s safe.”
There was just something about his voice that felt truthful, but I was still a little wary. After all, how could I not be? I’d been kidnapped and thrust into a lair of abusive females who seemed intent on attacking me with more violence than I could ever muster.
Nevertheless, the man was less likely to make any attempts to make my fur glow with bathing oils, so I did let go. Even as I did so, the wound on my victim’s hand already started to close. She was pouting, though, and throwing the man a disgruntled look. “Come on, Vlad. Don’t be like that. We mean well.”
“I’m sure you do,” Vlad replied calmly. “But the gargoyles didn’t bring him here for you.”
That was the only warning I got before the mysterious Vlad buried his hand in my fur. A shiver coursed through me, and not an entirely unpleasant one. My instinctual reaction was to cuddle closer to his chest, but then, I realized what I was doing. Just as Vlad tightened his hold on me, I bit him. Hard. He yelped as my fangs struck his nipple. I hadn’t really intended to do that, but somehow, I actually managed to draw blood.
He hissed in pain and something more, a feeling my nose identified as arousal. At the same time, though, I must have surprised him through my attack, because he dropped me.
I fell onto the floor on four paws and instinctively took off running. Vlad cursed and started to follow me. As we abandoned the foyer, I heard the four women burst into laughter, their twinkling giggles reminding me of the sound of bells as they echoed against the walls of the castle.
Vlad was laughing, too, but his dark chuckles were more like a sensual threat than anything else. I kind of wanted to get caught, but I didn’t slow down. That strange feeling confused me. I didn’t know any of these people. I didn’t understand why I’d been brought here. I was worried for my friends who had been trapped in the storm with me. Right then and there, there were so many thoughts and emotions coursing through me that I couldn’t even differentiate between them.
Finally, I burst outside into a large garden. It was quiet now, impossibly so after the intense storm. The Merlinian night settled over the castle like a thick veil, but the light of the moon did drift through the clouds, giving me a glimpse of what lay ahead of me. The ornamental bushes and the strange statues looked threatening in the dark, and for a few moments, I froze in apprehension. It probably wasn’t safe out there. The Goddess only knew what could be hiding in this place. But even so, I refused to be such a scaredy-rabbit. I would not back down. This could be the only way I had to find my friends again.
As I ran through the garden, though, it became obvious that my escape wouldn’t be so easy. The place was simply labyrinthine, and even if my shifter senses were pretty advanced, I was largely a creature of daylight.
Before I knew it, I was lost amidst the odd shrubbery, leaping wildly around the statues that seemed to fix me with peculiarly alive eyes. My heart raced, and I was seriously beginning to panic. For the nth time that day, I cursed my blasted luck. How was it that I’d ended up such a disaster at everything my people were generally good at?
His hand snaked between our bodies, gripping my cock in a nearly ruthless hold. I gasped as he rubbed his thumb over the leaking tip, the sound muffled by our lip-lock. I was already impossibly close to coming, and he’d only just started to touch me. Writhing in his embrace, I wordlessly tried to convey my need for him, hoping that it would make him give me some relief.
As it seemed, my mate had other plans. He bit down on my lower lip, and I tasted blood as his fangs broke the skin. The action was a warning and a promise, a reminder of who was really in charge. It excited me more than I’d thought was possible, and I’d have undoubtedly found my peak if he hadn’t suddenly pushed me away.
“No, you don’t, my sweet,” he said. “Not just yet. I want to taste your pleasure.”
As he spoke, he squeezed the base of my dick, an unforgiving touch that pushed my orgasm back, while oddly adding to my pleasure. I didn’t know if it was the physical compulsion, or merely the sound of his voice and the look in his eyes that bound me to this sexual torment, but there I lingered, on the edge, unable to climax, a slave to his will.
“That’s it,” he purred in my ear, almost sounding like a large feline. He pinned my hands above my head with one strong fist. “Submit to me. You are mine. Isn’t that right, Vesper?”
His eyes glowed red as he spoke, and there was something hypnotic in it. Was this what he had meant when he’d said I didn’t understand what it would be like to mate a vampire? Perhaps. Some people might have thought it scary, but not me. To me, those crimson orbs looked beautiful, like twin suns threatening to burn me whole, to brand me as forever belonging to Vlad.
“Yours,” I said, somewhat marveling at the fact that I was even able to speak. “Yours forever.”
Vlad released a low growl, which I could translate as a sign of arousal and possessiveness. My nostrils were invaded by the scent of his desire for me. I needed to touch him more than I did my next breath, but I was held captive by his gaze. He didn’t even necessarily have to maintain his hold on my arms, because I couldn’t have fought him if I’d wanted to.
Obviously realizing my complete and utter surrender, Vlad released my wrists. “Good,” he said. “Now, my sweet, you absolutely mustn’t come until I tell you to.”
I whimpered, but nodded. Vlad shot me a satisfied smirk, and crawled down my body. Without giving me a single word of warning, he took my cock in his mouth.
Pleasure exploded through me as wet heat engulfed my engorged dick. I had thought that I knew what ecstasy meant, but I’d been a fool, because up until this moment, I’d never truly understood the extent of it. Now, my whole sense of self focused on the bliss that my mate offered, on the maddening suction that tortured me in such a beautiful way. He had told me not to come, and I wanted to keep my promise toward him, but it was just so hard—no pun intended. He licked my cock from the base to the tip, then suckled the head, exploring the tiny hole in the glans. He teased me with tiny flicks of tongue, mapped my balls with his talented fingers and that sinful mouth, and just as I thought I was going to lose my mind, he once again started his previous ruthless pace. I was lost in it, lost in him, hanging onto sanity by a very thin thread.
And then, Vlad did something completely unexpected. Sucking my prick all the way into his throat, he swallowed around the head and bit down. His fangs pierced the sensitive flesh of my cock. It should have hurt, and, to a certain extent, maybe it did, but my body seemed hardwired to translate that pain into pleasure. The rapture that exploded over me was simply indescribable. I tried to hold myself in check, not wanting to fail my mate, but I had no hope of withstanding the onslaught of ecstasy that assaulted me. Crying out Vlad’s name, I came, filling his mouth with my spunk.
For a few moments, I wasn’t aware of anything except the bliss that Vlad had coaxed out of me. I might have actually blacked out, except Vlad decided he wasn’t done. Even as he released my dick from his mouth, he licked it clean, making renewed heat flow through me. And when he finally lifted his gaze, he grinned almost evilly. “I didn’t tell you to come.”
I refrained from pointing out that he couldn’t have said anything, because he’d had his mouth full of cock. I very much suspected that whatever I said wouldn’t make a difference. Besides, I didn’t think I could speak. My orgasm had only made the overpowering heat worse. My senses felt both muddled and a million times more focused. I couldn’t register any of my surroundings, but I saw Vlad clearer than ever before, marveled in the ways different shades of red danced with utter blackness in his eyes. I drank in the sight of his gorgeous body that almost seemed sculpted out of the purest marble, aching to touch him, to hold onto his hair and test its softness. But he was the one in charge of this, and I was completely at his mercy. I had already come without being allowed to, and moving again would be a terrible idea.
“What punishment do you think you deserve?” Vlad asked me almost idly. As he spoke, he gripped my dick and jacked it slowly. “Tell me, my sweet.”
I let out a tortured noise, but couldn’t really focus on what he’d asked me. “V–Vlad,” I stammered instead. “Please.”