To celebrate, I’m giving away two e-copies of this latest release at the end of this event. I will select a winner via drawing from among the comments to this post. Because this is a special event, I have sister posts on other blog sites. Each one contains different information, so you’ll want to visit them all! Their links are listed below. Comment on them as well to increase your chances to win!
Vincent began his life as a wandering minstrel, earning his way by singing for his supper. His travels brought him to the camp of wandering Hungarians, where he fell in love with their future shaman. When she dies a week later as a result of attacking brigands, her grandmother curses Vincent to relive her death in his dreams for the rest of his life. Five years later, he meets a Romani band and a beautiful vampiress named Antonia. He eagerly accepted the dark gift she offered, believing his mortal death would end his curse. He was wrong.
Charlotte “Chari” Vinetti has been researching vampires ever since her best friend with benefits was taken by one before her very eyes. As a doctor of genetics, she hoped one day to develop a serum that would change her neighbors back into mortals. She believed vampires were little more than mindless killing machines until the night she was captured by one she recognized, one she’d tried one of her serums on almost five years earlier. This one was intelligent, sentient–and pissed as hell! Just when she’s sure she’s about to die, and die horribly, one unusual man steps in inexplicably to defend her.
As this unique couple struggles to satisfy the Council’s demands, another couple is captured by an enemy clan, the Savant, in their longstanding wish to possess the vampiress Hope. The discoveries made by this secondary couple lead to some surprising changes to Haven’s Realm.
A heavy blanket of unparalleled sorrow fell over Vincent. Obviously, his contemporaries were asking more of him than he was willing to give. The thought sent a fresh surge of terror through her heart. He turned at last to give her his full attention.
Chari couldn’t meet his gaze. She withdrew, turning her eyes down and away, terrified of what he might do. He touched her cheek with his fingers. The icy tips should’ve made her recoil. Why her heart chose to skip a beat instead was beyond her. Warmth spread on her face. Over a vampire?
Without moving his eyes from her, he asked softly, “Will the Council grant me five minutes alone with her? On my honor, I won’t act in your absence, nor will I release her bonds, painful though they are.” He slid his hand around her head, his thumb resting lightly on her cheekbone, his fingers threading through her wild curls. A faint tremor swept through her at his caress. “She does not possess the understanding required to make this choice.”
She sensed Jason was torn between the Council’s anger and Vincent’s needs. It took him a few moments to respond. “You have your five minutes, Vincent. We will withdraw.”
The vampires left, leaving her alone with him. The air around them cleared of psychic activity. They had their privacy. He sighed in apparent relief and stroked her cheek with his thumb. “Please don’t fear me.” The tenderness she caught in his voice added painfully to her confusion. The events of this night had taken on the surreal colors of a nightmare, one she was certain she would never wake from. She reluctantly raised her eyes to his and allowed herself to become his captive.
“What is your name?”
Her terror level spiked. “P-p-please…”
For a moment, something sinister rose inside him. She sensed the change somehow, just as she sensed the practiced control he exercised as he quelled it. “Don’t be afraid. I can never bring you harm. Somewhere deep inside, I know you believe this.”
Then, just then, she did know, without doubt, that this creature, whoever or whatever he was, would defend her with all his power. An indefinable part of her awakened at his touch, from a place buried too deep within her, unrecognizable and unbalancing, casting even more terror into her struggling heart. She moistened her lips. Drawing as much breath as her position would allow, she responded, “My name is Charlotte Vinetti.”
“May I call you Charlotte?”
She stared at him uncertainly. Part of her wanted to take him at face value, an unusual savior in a tragic opera. Another part wished she would wake up safely ensconced in her lab. Her voice trembled as she answered, “Most of the people I know call me Chari.”
A slight smile softened his lips. “Chari is a charming nickname. I believe I’ll use it.”
He wore his amusement like a veil too thin to disguise the tension in his eyes. She lowered her own. “You’ll do what you will, vampire.”
“Vincent,” he insisted softly. “My name is Vincent. Look at me Chari. We haven’t much time.”
She returned to his gaze reluctantly. “Please, I…I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
“Sh-sh-sh. Quiet now. Do you understand what the Council is asking of you?”
A tear fell from her eye, caught in the sweep of his thumb and trickled along the heel of his hand. He smoothed away the moisture, the gesture tender, gentle. Her bottom lip trembled. “They want to kill me.”
“You don’t understand at all, do you?”
She studied the care and concern glowing in his sapphire pools. “No.”
He placed his index finger on her lips to calm the flood of nonsense threatening to spill from her at any moment. “Listen carefully. We’ve been offered a chance, but it’s conditional upon your acceptance. Refuse, and I will defend you, but I won’t stand long against my friends. They will destroy me, and then you will be left to their anger.”
Her lips fluttered voicelessly for a moment. “If I agree?”
“If you surrender to me, I’ll take you in thrall, command control of your will.”
Shock and dread swept through her at his words. Becoming a mindless vampire slave was not tops on her personal hit parade.
“I know. I don’t want to, but I’ve sworn to do whatever I must to preserve you. Even that you own the power of choice does not relieve me of the pain this necessity will bring. I promise you will not be treated ill at my hand.”
She didn’t want the answer to her next question. “Then what?”
“Then we make our case to the Council. I don’t yet know what the Reckoning will demand of us. For that we must wait, but at least you’ll be alive.”
“What…what’s a Reckoning?”
“Your only means of rectifying the wrongs you’ve committed.”
She gaped at him. “They’re giving me a chance? Why?”
The smile he offered was filled with sorrow. “Because I stand with you.”
Another tear dripped from her eye. He caught the hot drop on the pad of his index finger and brought it to his lips. Moisture of his own gathered in his lashes. Why did he care what happened to her, a total stranger? Why would he risk his life for someone unworthy of defense? “Why do I feel as if…as if I should know you?”
“I will answer your questions when we have more time. For now you must understand one very important fact, and one alone. I am your only hope from this point forward. You must be willing to trust me if you wish to see another sunrise.”
He’d laid the facts on the table. She could deny him and die the most horrible death imaginable, or grasp at the straw he offered, take this leap of faith. He leaned forward, hooked his finger under her chin to adjust the angle of her face, and paused a hair’s breadth from her lips. Her breathing stalled, her heart-rate doubled. “Do this for me. I swear I’ll do whatever I can to help you through what is to come.”
* * * *
Don’t forget to visit these other blogs and read more excerpts and information about Secrets & Promises!
Mark Love, interview – http://marklove024.blogspot.com/
Denise Bush, excerpt 1 – http://spreadingtheword319.blogspot.com/2013/04/secrets-release-blitz-4-26-13.html?spref=fb
Lindsey Downs, excerpt 2 – http://ajessicasalesnovel.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/havens-realm-5th-book-in-the-series-is-released/
Flossie Benton Rogers, Excerpt 3 – http://wp.me/p2ts5R-xw
Tamara Monteau, excerpt 4 – http://havensrealm.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/release-day-blitz-secrets-promises-havens-realm-5/
Davee Jones, excerpt 5 – http://finless.blogspot.com/2013/04/are-you-bloodthirsty-welcome-tamara.html?m=1
Where to find Tamara:
Secret Cravings Publishing
Barnes and Noble