in
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Feature and Giveaway: The Untamed Vampire by Kate Baxter


Chelle is not your typical vampire. Turned not with a bite but an age-old magic, she’s the only one of her kind—and more powerful than most. Still adjusting to her endless thirst and lethal fangs, she’s desperate to discover what sets her apart. When she encounters a brutally virile alpha werewolf, she soon learns that she’s not immune to the mating call—and her own primal longing…

The leader of the ancient Forkbeard pack, Gunnar is stunned by Chelle’s lush beauty. The wild wolf inside him howls for her, but unions between vampire and werewolf are strictly taboo—even if their clans weren’t on the verge of war. Desire has never been so dangerous…but, as a malevolent new power rises, Chelle and Gunnar face an even more frightening threat. Together, they might find a way to save their clans. But can they claim their passion?

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

    

“Siobhan will see you now.”

One thing was certain, Siobhan’s coven had become more formal since Chelle belonged to it. She followed Carrig, Siobhan’s most trusted confidant and protector, through the ruins of the dilapidated building that served as the coven’s home. Security seemed to be more of a concern than it had been in the past, with dhampirs standing guard at various points throughout the building, most of them armed in one fashion or another. Had the coven’s numbers grown? Chelle certainly couldn’t remember there being so many dhampirs in Siobhan’s fold, even though hers had already been the largest coven in the city.

It was possible another coven had merged with Siobhan’s. Los Angeles was home to thirteen dhampir covens. It served to reason that with the vampire race’s rebirth, there would be those who would side with Siobhan in seeing that rebirth as a threat.

She’s turned . . .

Two sets of fangs. The better to tear out the throats of her prey.

Dangerous.

She doesn’t smell like the other vampires. Not like Ronan at all. What is she?

Chelle turned her head as she caught wind of that last thought and her gaze met that of a dhampir thirty or so feet away who studied her with intense curiosity. The female’s dark brown gaze locked with Chelle’s and her lips curled into a wan smile. That the dhampir recognized the difference in Chelle’s scent piqued her curiosity. She committed the female’s face to memory. One to keep an eye on for sure . . .

Chelle turned forward and kept her gaze focused straight ahead as she did her best to block out the thoughts of the dhampirs who didn’t know any better than to project them right at her. Her skin pricked as their curious gazes followed her, the scent of their fear both repelled her and ignited her thirst. Chelle was a predator and they were her prey. She swallowed against the dry fire in her throat and focused instead on the sound of the thick soles of her boots as they made contact with the cracked industrial flooring.

It wouldn’t do to lose control on her first official outing. Especially when there was so much at stake.

Siobhan looked very much like a queen holding court, perched atop an elaborate chair on a high dais. She waited for Chelle to approach, a pleasant but not altogether friendly expression affixed to her beautiful face. Her emerald-green gaze narrowed as Chelle came to a halt a few feet away. A hiss issued from between Siobhan’s teeth.

“Vampire.”

The one word was spoken with open hostility and disgust. Chelle bristled and a warning growl gathered in her chest. One dark brow arched over Siobhan’s eye, a silent challenge, daring Chelle to become hostile.

Chill out, Chelle. Play her game, get what you need and GTFO.

She’d never minded playing to Siobhan’s ego in the past.

But now, it caused Chelle’s hackles to rise. Chelle answered the dhampir’s hostility with a pleasant smile. Not too wide, though. She didn’t want to appear antagonistic by revealing her new set of fangs.

“I am a vampire,” Chelle replied. “But that’s the only thing that’s changed.”

Siobhan let out a soft snort. “You treat the absence of your soul with such triviality, Chelle. Your physiology isn’t the only thing that’s changed.”

The reminder of her untethered state might have caused Chelle pain if not for the absence of her soul. Siobhan thought to rattle her, but Chelle was too numb for deep emotion. Too empty to be anything but indifferent. Upon her turning, her soul had been sent into oblivion. The only way it would be returned to her was the moment her soul tethered itself to her mate’s. Fat chance of that happening anytime soon. “Oh, come on, Siobhan.” The formality between them was beginning to make Chelle twitch. “We’ve known each other for too long to play the whole frenemy angle.”

Siobhan’s haughty fa├žade dropped for the barest moment and a corner of her mouth hitched into a half smile.

“Frenemies. Is that what we are, Chelle?”

Chelle laughed. “Not by a long shot.”

Siobhan’s gaze once again became serious and shrewd. “Mikhail is not your maker.”

A statement of fact. Chelle knew what Siobhan suspected. She couldn’t find any point in trying to deceive her. Siobhan was much too cunning for that. “No.”
“Then the legends are true.”

Chelle gave a slow nod of her head.

Fear chased across Siobhan’s expression. “I should take an axe to that coffin. Chop it into a million pieces and burn it to ash.”

Chelle hiked a shoulder. To be honest, she wouldn’t mourn its loss. Anything with the power to transform dhampirs to vampires and humans into demons probably wouldn’t be so easy to get rid of, however. “You won’t, though.” Siobhan would no more destroy a relic than she would cut off her own arm. She might have reviled the vampire race, but she recognized her heritage and sought to preserve their history just like Chelle. It was one thing they’d always had in common. History was meant to be remembered. The second you allowed yourself to forget, you were doomed to repeat the mistakes of those who came before you. Besides, knowledge was power. Siobhan collected relics and studied their history for exactly that reason.

“No,” Siobhan said as a matter of fact. Storm clouds gathered behind her eyes. “I won’t destroy it.”

And I’ll probably live to regret it.

The thought rang loud and clear from Siobhan’s mind as she pushed herself from her makeshift throne and approached Chelle. Chelle sensed the dhampir’s unease. The slightest bit of fear that soured her scent. Chelle did her best to remain calm and unassuming. Nonthreatening. It wasn’t easy. Her very nature urged her to capitalize on Siobhan’s unease. To make her prey. To sink her fangs into the creamy flesh of the female’s throat. The fire of thirst ignited in Chelle’s throat and she willed the flames to die. She’d feed from Lucas when she got back to the cottage. Until then, she could keep her shit together.
She had to.

Siobhan’s eyes lit with mischief. “I suppose Mikhail will think that allowing me to see you proves he’s a magnanimous king?”

Chelle let out a gentle chuff of breath. “You really think he’s responsible for me being here today? He hasn’t wanted me to leave the house, let alone come and see you. He doesn’t want me here. I insisted.”

Siobhan studied Chelle for a brief moment and took a measured breath. Scenting the air for any sign of a lie. She must have been satisfied by what she smelled because she smirked. “I knew you wouldn’t fall to your knees and pledge allegiance as easily as Ronan did.”

It was true that Chelle hadn’t exactly pledged loyalty to Mikhail. But only because her agenda didn’t run parallel to his. She had more important business than the fate of the race to weigh on her. There were other, more pressing mysteries that needed to be solved before Chelle could pledge her loyalty to anyone or anything other than herself and Lucas.

“I came for the Alexandria key.” She didn’t see any point in beating around the bush. Time to get down to business.

Siobhan’s eyes widened a fraction as realization dawned. She’s found the other two thirds. Chelle forced away the amusement that threatened. No one could ever say Siobhan wasn’t sharp as a tack.

“I’d forgotten about that . . .” Siobhan purred. Chelle could practically hear the gears cranking away in the female’s brain. “You wouldn’t be asking for it if you didn’t already know where the other two pieces are.”

Siobhan had in her safekeeping only one third of the key. If the legends were correct, the key wouldn’t work unless all three pieces were joined.

Chelle allowed a wide smile this time. She leveled her gaze on Siobhan. “Exactly.”

Siobhan’s own expression became hungry. No doubt Chelle would have to strike a deal to get the key back even though it was technically hers to begin with. Whatever the price, it would be worth it.

Siobhan’s smile grew as well. “Tell me more.”

The clean scent of freshly cut grass invaded Gunnar’s nostrils as he filled his lungs with the cool night air. His bare feet moved silently over the immaculate lawn that stretched out beyond the mansion that housed the pack. Pasadena was far enough from L.A. to offer him respite from the political turmoil stirred up by the vampires and Sortiari, and his estate was close enough to national forest land to allow the pack a place to run and hunt when the moon was full.

Apparently, though, Pasadena wasn’t far enough to avoid being drawn into a war he wanted no part of. Despite Aren’s advice that they choose a side, Gunnar knew that forming any alliance would only lead to disaster. He didn’t trust Ian Gregor. But neither did he harbor any love for the guardians of fate. It seemed only logical that the vampires would be forced to side with their enemies and fight alongside the Sortiari if the berserkers declared war. Whatever happened would have a ripple effect that would spread throughout the supernatural community. In the end, would any creature be left standing?

What a clusterfuck.

A blur of movement caught Gunnar’s eye. Almost too quick to track. The breeze shifted and he brought his nose up to sniff. A delicious scent wafted over him, waking the wolf that slept in his psyche. The animal tugged at Gunner’s consciousness, anxious and on edge. It urged him to investigate, damn near howling with impatience.

His cell buzzed in his pocket and he pulled it out to find a text from Aren.

Motion detectors tripped. North end of the property. Nothing on the cameras, want me to investigate?

Gunnar’s fingers moved over the screen as he typed a quick response. I’m outside. I’ll look into it. For some reason, instinct urged him to go it alone. It could have been his wolf’s arrogance. The pack Alpha shouldn’t need backup. But he sensed there was another reason for exercising caution and not alerting the pack to the possibility of an outsider being on the property. Gunnar only wished he knew what that reason was.

His phone vibrated again. I’ll join you.

A warning tremor raced down Gunnar’s spine. No need. He fired the text off quickly. I’ll call you.

Aren replied, 10–4. Gunnar rolled his eyes. Did his second have to channel his inner long-haul driver?

With silent steps, Gunnar stalked across the vast lawn toward the north end of the property and the mysterious streak of movement that had caught his eye. His heart picked up its pace, pounding against his rib cage. The scent that drove his wolf wild intensified, clouding Gunnar’s thoughts. The full moon was still two weeks away and yet he found himself give way to the animal in a way that shouldn’t have been possible.

He suspected magic might be in play. In which case, he’d need Aren and the entire pack to combat it. A witch or mage powerful enough to sway his wolf was to be treated with a certain amount of caution. And yet, Gunnar exercised none. He let his senses guide him as he tracked the intruder, past the south-side patio, the pond, and the garden. Gunnar whipped around as another flash of movement drew his attention and he looked up at the towering, three-story main house looming above him. The place was downright ominous in the low moonlight, its windows gazing over the property like watchful eyes. Whoever was brave enough to break into this fortress must’ve had a death wish as well. Because there was no way the intruder would make it out of here alive.

A warning growl gathered in Gunnar’s chest. But that cautionary sound wasn’t meant for any potential threat. No, Gunnar’s wolf was warning him. The suspicion that foul magic was at play grew within him and a chill raced down his spine. In all the centuries he’d walked the earth, Gunnar had never encountered a force that could create such divisiveness in his dual nature. He and the wolf lived in synchronicity. And yet he felt like an outsider in his own skin. As though he were the usurper of his form, and not the wolf.

Quiet the fuck down.

As though the command would carry any weight at all with the animal. Gunnar needed to get his shit together. Someone was on the property and not by any stretch of the imagination was the intruder friendly. Berserkers were fast. Faster than a werewolf. As fast as a vampire. And a single berserker in full battle rage could easily take out several foes without expending an ounce of effort.

Gunnar’s phone buzzed. He glanced down at the screen to see another text from Aren. Motion sensors, attic.

“Shit.” The word escaped from between clenched teeth. The only thing on the attic level was the safe. Someone thought to steal from him? Gunnar would rip the thief’s arms out of their sockets.

Gunnar didn’t bother with the front door. He scaled the trellis to the second story in a single leap and propelled himself onto the balcony. From there, he jumped up and grabbed the wrought-iron ladder on the third-story fire escape. His body swung in a graceful arc as he propelled himself onto the wide ledge of the bay window. The damn thing was latched but Gunnar didn’t waste any time putting his fist through the pane. The alarms on the property were programmed at a frequency that only a werewolf would hear. Pack members would be alerted to a forcible entry, but their thief would assume no one was the wiser.

Until Gunnar showed up to tear the fucker’s throat out.

Steal from him? Another growl rose in his throat. Gunnar willed his wolf to the back of his mind. He’d show the son of a bitch how he dealt with those who tried to take what belonged to the Forkbeard pack.

Gunnar climbed through the broken window. A jagged edge of broken glass caught his biceps and slashed the skin open. The pain barely registered through the haze of anger that washed over him. He’d heal. One of the benefits of being a werewolf. A warm trickle of blood ran down his upper arm and dripped from his elbow, marring the ancient tattoos that marked his skin to his forearms.

Gunnar’s bare feet padded with silent grace over the hardwood floors as he made his way to the safe room. The door was cracked, a sliver of light cut through the darkness like the slash of a well-honed blade. That delicious scent he’d tried to ignore slammed into him and Gunnar’s wolf howled in his psyche. The damned animal practically ran circles in his subconscious, eager as a pup on its first hunt.

Gunnar didn’t know what annoyed him more, that someone had the audacity to steal from him, or that his damned wolf refused to settle down.

Adrenaline dumped into his bloodstream as he neared the room. He eased open the door, and his anger flared as he noticed the thief had already managed to crack the safe door. Gods damn it. First thing tomorrow, he was replacing the entire unit. The pack owned too many invaluable assets to lose one because a crafty burglar could crack the safe. Fort Knox would have nothing on this place by the time he was done with it.

The safe door had been left wide open. Stupid mistake. The slender form of his thief, clad from head to toe in black, searched through the drawers, discarding one treasure after another. A frustrated sigh rent the quiet and Gunnar used the momentary distraction to pounce. He took the thief to the floor, slamming the bastard’s beanieclad head to the floor. A grunt of pain answered the blow but it didn’t faze the asshole. No. This one was damned strong.

He lifted the bastard up again, prepared to put his dome through the gods-damned floor. His wolf rose up with a snarl and Gunnar froze. His nostrils filled with the sweetest aroma, like a summer meadow after the rain. He snatched the beanie from the thief’s head to reveal long flowing locks of tawny hair. Deep green eyes that swirled with cold silver stared back at him.

Her eyes went wide and her jaw slack before she replaced her expression of awe with one of aggression. “Get off me, werewolf. I haven’t eaten today and it won’t take much to convince me to drink you dry.”

By the gods. A vampire. And female.

His wolf yipped in his psyche and a single word resonated in Gunnar’s mind: Mine. A worse omen, he couldn’t conceive of.

Copyright ©2017 by Kate Baxter and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Kate Baxter is a die-hard romantic with a thing for Shakespeare. She lives in the great northwest where she hides away to write about all things fanged, furry, and undead.


Up For Grabs:
  • 1 Print copy of The Untamed Vampire

To Enter:
  • US shipping ONLY.
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Good Luck!

Special thanks to St. Martin's for sponsoring this giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

0 comments :

Post a Comment