(Storm series book 2)
Lucretia Bramen overcame a sordid and violent history to become the first female Guardian, but when old enemies threaten to expose her most intimate secrets, Lu faces the biggest choice of her life: reveal her past betrayal and risk execution or turn her back on a forbidden love offering everything she desires.
Kurtis Ruse's burdens weigh heavy on his immense shoulders; deliver peace to his people, manage his dojo among the humans, control his inner beast in order to uncover his mate’s treacherous mysteries. Kurtis fears circumstances will force him to choose between the enigmatic vampire who captured his heart and the only woman he trusts above all others.
“Thank you, Lu.” The warmth from Logan’s palm sears my shoulder. “Accepting you as a Guardian was the wisest decision I made. It eases my burden to know you protect what is mine.”
Oh, if he only realized. “With my life, my lord.” I present a slight bow even as guilt crawls up my abdomen.
The constriction on my chest lessens somewhat when Logan nods then strides away. The commander recruited me despite the fact the Guardians never had a female warrior in their history.
Vampire culture evolved with the times, along with the mortals, but throughout the centuries we remained a patriarchal nation. Females have their place: look beautiful, plan grand festivities, and service their males.
I’m an anomaly. As far back as I recall, I craved to be a soldier, to fight with swords, daggers, my bare hands. Corsets, frilly dresses, and tea parties would never be my destiny.
I stiffen as Kurtis’s aroma ignites my senses: raw and masculine. Before I can halt them, my fangs descend, throbbing to plunge into his flesh. Saliva pools in my mouth, anticipating the flavor of his blood. The overwhelming vision of his nude body appears in my mind. I inhale deeply, glory in my primal reaction for a moment longer, before cramming it to the background and ordering my canines to recede. My visceral response to his mere scent is disturbing.
“Lucretia.” I love the sound of my name on his lips. “Might I have a word with you?”
My eyebrow lifts. He’s asking? Since when? A desperate impulse to rush down the hall away from the tantalizing presence has my muscles straining, but as a prince, he outranks me. In this public venue, I must keep it formal.
I enjoy my head attached to my neck.
With a courteous smile plastered on my face, I spin to meet the bright blue stare. “Of course, my lord.” Attired in a black, pinstriped three-piece suite, Kurtis looks as if he strode out of GQ magazine for health and fitness fanatics. His wardrobe must be tailor-made to fit such a tall, muscular frame.
“I ah… I want to apologize for my remarks in the garden the other night.”
Whoa. What? “You need not apologize to me, my lord. You are a prince.” What the hell is he doing? I glance anxiously at a female banshee ogling Kurtis like candy. He doesn’t even acknowledge the little beauty.
“Well then, as a prince, I should obtain better manners, don’t you think?”
His deep husky tone, fused with the provocative grin, does weird things to my stomach. I gulp. Loudly. As much as I ache for this male, instinct demands I step back. Aggression and anger I can handle. This, not-so-subtle flirtation makes my head spin.
“Is there someplace we might talk in private, Lucretia?”
Oh, no. Being alone with Kurtis is a bad, bad idea. “The ceremony is about to begin, my lord,” I stall. “Perhaps you should….”
“I won’t bite.” Crap. The lopsided grin melts my insides. “Hard anyway.”
“No?” I overlook my breathy voice. “But I do.” Good grief, I’m flirting with the next shapeshifter king. What the hell is wrong with me?
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A.R. Vagnetti is an American writer who grew up in the scalding Tucson desert. Her debut novel, Forgotten Storm, is the first book in her Storm series and won the Top 20 Best Indie Books of 2019.
She does her best writing while camping, traveling, and on the beautiful shores of Lake Huron where she is now blessed to spend her summers away from the Arizona heat.
A.R. loves to transport readers into a fantastical world of paranormal romance where bold Alpha males will sacrifice anything for the strong, deeply scared, kickass females they love.
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