A new life in New Orleans is all Jason Thorpe had hoped: his quaint little store attracts a devoted staff and his warm, loving heart grants him a loyal circle of friends. He's perfectly content, having left behind the chill of a confusing and danger-filled night in Washington, until he discovers something unbelievable lurking in the steamy darkness of the shadowy streets of the Vieux Carré, something that turns out to be terrifying... and utterly mesmerizing.
The prince of the vampyrs, Varic Maedoc, is visiting New Orleans when he finds out the man who once helped his counselor is there in the Quarter. He thinks to simply meet and thank Jason—until he lays eyes on him. Varic’s devoted himself to protect the honor of his race, and he's never wanted a mate before... but he immediately knows he must have this man, and no one else will do.
Varic may want to bring Jason safely into his world, but someone who doesn’t like the human's soothing influence on vampyrs has deadly plans that would disrupt Varic's dreams. Now, unable to tell friend from foe, Jason finds himself wondering how to hold on to the prince’s heart when he’s fighting for his life.
I WASN’T thinking when I ran out the cabin toward the scream, my father’s rifle and the biggest flashlight I owned in my hands.
The snow was deep, up to my knees, but it was February in Washington, and as I trudged through it and around trees, ferns, and thick brush, I tried not to think of every horror movie about the woods I’d ever seen in my thirty-two years. Not that I was scared—I was a former Marine—but then I heard another shriek and increased my pace. I had to get there faster.
Unfortunately, it had rained on top of the snow and then the temperature dropped to freezing, so moving was like chiseling through shaved ice with my legs. I took a step and sank, took another and sank—getting anywhere quickly wasn’t going to happen. The cold was trying to claw its way under my skin, so I zipped up my shearling-lined barn coat to try to keep it at bay.
What was going on, on the grounds of the estate owned by Mr. and Mrs. Rothschild? Ever since I’d arrived, I’d had questions.
The Rothschilds had contacted the company I worked for, Wild Wood Carpentry, after seeing pictures of previous work I’d done on the website. They were impressed and asked if I could come to their home and rebuild some built-in bookcases damaged in a fire. Money was no object, and they didn’t need an estimate.
I left Bellingham in the north Cascade Mountains, near the Mount Baker Area in Whatcom County, and drove toward a town called Glacier. I was on a lonely stretch of 542 for a while and then turned off in the direction of Church Lake. It got a bit desolate after that, nothing in front of me or behind as far as I could see but snow and trees. When I finally saw the driveway appear out of nowhere, it was a bit of a relief.
The long, winding two-lane road led to a ten-foot-high wrought iron gate. The high-tech cameras and security system were a surprise, and I had to get out and stand in front of video monitor while someone confirmed my identity. As I waited, I wondered why all of it was necessary. Why all the hoops to jump through out in the middle of nowhere?
It was another ten minutes of driving before thick woods thinned and then cleared. Their house—if you could call it that—looked more like a fortress than a home.
What appeared to be a medieval stronghold from the outside gave off the same austere, museum like quality once I crossed the threshold. It was as massive inside as it was…