Heart of Darkness
It’s great to be back here at Romance Book Junkies for my blog tour with Heart of Darkness, my new vampire romance novel that comes out today!
Before I share an excerpt from the book with you all, I’ll introduce myself. I’m a paranormal romance author and I’ve been writing since 2005, and turned indie in 2006. In that time I have written over forty stories under the names Felicity Heaton and F E Heaton. Most of my stories are released under my full name, but I write the Vampires Realm series as F E Heaton. My paranormal romances are usually focused on vampires and werewolves, but I do also write other shape-shifters like black panthers, and also demons and witches, and a whole bunch of sexy angels.
Heart of Darkness is a long vampire romance novel packed full of action, passion and intense emotion with characters you’ll fall in love with. It comes complete with a tissue warning like so many of my books. You have been warned. If you like a hero who will steal your heart and a heroine who gives everything for the man she loves, then this is a story for you!
Heart of Darkness is released on October 22nd 2011 and is currently available in e-book from my website, Amazon Kindle Stores, ARe, and Smashwords. It will soon be available from Barnes & Noble, Apple iBookstore, Kobo Books and Sony. It will also soon be available in paperback from Amazon websites, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers.
Heart of Darkness
A vampire prince on a four hundred year old mission to avenge his murdered sister...
Aleksandr Nemov won’t stop until the last of the vampire hunter’s progeny is wiped from the Earth. Each kill has stolen a piece of his humanity, pushing him towards the black abyss all vampires hold within their hearts. Now he is teetering on the edge, close to devolving into a beast, and time is running out as he tracks the last hunter to Prague. There he finds a beautiful woman who could be his one chance for salvation, but is it already too late for him?
A vampire guard who will do whatever it takes to protect those she loves...
Elise is dedicated to her duty. It’s the only thing she has left. All that changes when she meets Aleksandr in Prague and her master grants him permission to stay at her bloodline’s mansion. She knows all about Aleksandr but none of it prepares her for how she feels when the legendary prince’s hunt becomes one for her heart. Elise battles him with all of her strength but can she stop herself from falling for the handsome hunter? When he reveals the depth of the corruption in his soul, will she have the strength to face the pain in her past and do whatever it takes to save him?
Available in e-book from:
Author's website: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/ebooks.php?title=Heart%20of%20Darkness
Author's website: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/ebooks.php?title=Heart%20of%20Darkness
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WK6E58/
Amazon Kindle UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005WK6E58/
Amazon Kindle UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005WK6E58/
Amazon Kindle Germany: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B005WK6E58/
Amazon Kindle France: http://www.amazon.fr/dp/B005WK6E58/
He put his coat on, picked up his black bag and slung it over his shoulder. When he turned to face her, she was looking at the dead hunter again. The way she stared at it, studying it closely, made it clear that she hadn’t seen a fresh kill in a long time.
Or she hadn’t seen anything quite like the butchery that had happened tonight.
Aleksandr clenched his fists and reined in the dark hunger that the memory evoked. He was in control now, not his instincts. The hunt would continue until he had avenged her and had rid the world of her murderer’s progeny.
He would not surrender until then.
For four centuries, he had tracked and killed them, his anger still fresh in his heart, the pain of losing her still raw. He would not surrender until he had killed the last of the hunter’s line and protected his people.
The woman stepped forwards and his attention was back with her. The second his gaze locked with hers, the darkness inside him receded, washed away by the light in her eyes and her beauty. He had thought of nothing but the hunt for four hundred years, had closed himself off to society and focused on his duty, but the woman before him stole his attention away from it so easily. It drifted to the back of his mind with the darkness, unknown to him in this moment while her eyes held his. She wasn’t afraid of him. She had fought him without fear, and with strength and skill that he had never expected to find in a female. She enthralled him.
Looking into her eyes, Aleksandr realised something dreadful. He was too close to the edge. The feelings she evoked in him were ones he had long forgotten existed. It was strange to feel warmed inside by happiness to have met her, desire to make her belong to him, and hunger for the feel of her bare body against his. He had not felt such positive emotions in decades.
He was losing himself.
“Follow me,” the woman said and he did, using her as a distraction from his dark thoughts.
She was young. He placed her at barely over two hundred years old, her appearance somewhat of a human in their mid-twenties. She was at least six inches shorter than him, and slender. Her strength had surprised him because of those facts alone. Young females were often weak and needed protection. She had strong blood in her veins.
Aleksandr ran a hand over his matted long dark hair and then rubbed the several months’ worth of beard on his face. What did he look like? He felt like a mess now, both inside and out. She had definitely caught him at his worst. If he had looked as he had back in his days at court, he was sure she would be looking at him differently.
He was sure that she would recognise him for who he was.
She walked swiftly ahead of him, not once looking back to check if he was still there. She had mastered her senses then. He could feel them fixed on him. How strong were they? He had honed his to perfection through years of training and hunting, but he hadn’t sensed her approach. He had been too lost in the darkness.
His gaze slid down to her small backside and the way it moved as she walked mesmerised him.
He hadn’t really wanted to meet her master, but saying that he did seemed like the easiest way of remaining near to her.
Aleksandr lost track of how long they had been walking. He looked up when he sensed the presence of more vampires. Black wrought iron gates punctuated an endless grey stone wall ahead. Beyond them stood the extensive bleak façade of a mansion. Light emanated from many of the rectangular windows marking the three storeys, at least on the left side. On the right, they were mostly dark hollows. Two male guards at the gate saluted the woman and then eyed him with suspicion as he passed through.
Who was his escort? She was strong, spirited, and these men ranked lower. If she weren’t dressed as a guard, Aleksandr would have placed her as a lady of the bloodline. A female guard. He still couldn’t quite comprehend it.
He followed her up the gravel drive to the house, walking on the left side of the wide expanse of frosty grass that stretched into the distance in both directions. It was a habit of his to mask his footfalls. It had saved his life more than once. The long grey stone front of the mansion was imposing and cold even in the moonlight. The size of it told Aleksandr that this bloodline held the power in the city, or they were the only one resident.
They crossed the large parking area in front of the house, passing a fleet of identical black Mercedes-Benz limousines. This bloodline was definitely doing well for itself. Judging by the fact that the woman had been in the city whilst wearing her uniform, it had to be masquerading as a military school of some sort. Many bloodlines bought privacy from the local government by donating large sums of money and setting up such a front. The humans never questioned them. It had been the easiest way to keep their species secret for many centuries. At least some things hadn’t changed since he had left society.
The moment she entered the house, Aleksandr’s attention was back with her. She hurriedly smoothed her warm chestnut hair back into the tight knot, fixing her appearance. In his opinion, she didn’t need to fix it at all. The slight wanton edge her messy hair gave her was alluring to say the least. His gaze drifted to her throat and he frowned when he spotted her bloodline’s mark on the back of her neck. It was an elaborate black ink crest with a stag incorporated into the design.
They passed another pair of male guards and Aleksandr glanced at the back of their necks. The mark was visible above the collar of their short black jackets. A strong bloodline.
He had forgotten who ruled Prague. Perhaps they would be able to help him after all and his coming to their master would prove beneficial in more than one way.
His grey eyes slid back to the woman. She looked over her shoulder at him, her aquamarine eyes briefly fixing on his before she turned away again.
Aleksandr quickened his pace and fell into step beside her. She glanced at him again and then looked forwards. His gaze remained on her as they walked along the elegant gallery at the front of the house, heading towards the lit area he had seen on the left of the building. She had soft features—youthful and graceful. Her oval face, pale skin, and rosy lips set his heart racing again, quick enough that it almost matched a human heart rate. A flicker of a frown wrinkled her brow and her eyes darted to him and then away. He steadied his heart, aware that she could hear the effect she had on him. Her heart was beating at a restful pace, a soothing patter in his mind.
She moved ahead, entering a large red drawing room. The vampires relaxing in it were powerful but none of them were stronger than he was. He carried on without glancing in any of their directions, following his temptress. She turned right in the room, heading towards a guarded set of dark wooden doors. When she reached them, she faced him, her expression stern.
“Wait here,” she said and the guards stationed on either side of the doors opened them for her.
Aleksandr lowered his black holdall from his shoulder. The two dark-haired male guards eyed him. He smiled but it didn’t relieve the tension. It only made it worse. The one on his left cast a glance over him and Aleksandr was thankful that his long coat hid his dagger from view. The female’s voice drifted through the open doors to him and he looked at her. She stood in the middle of a dark green room, the back of a gilt-framed green velvet couch in front of her. A male spoke to her in Czech, his voice a lazy drawl.
Tired of waiting, Aleksandr walked into the room, his knee-high boots heavy on the polished wooden floor. The woman’s blade was at his throat again in the space of a breath. Aleksandr halted and looked at the man her body had shielded from view.
He was young to be leading a bloodline, only in his late twenties in terms of appearance, meaning he was little more than four hundred. He would have been born around the time that Aleksandr had begun his hunt.
The man leaned back into the green couch opposite the one near to Aleksandr and the woman and crossed his long black-clad legs. He smiled without any trace of charm or meaning and preened his short sandy hair back.
“This man desires an audience with you, Master,” the woman said and Aleksandr glanced down into her clear blue eyes. She looked away, towards the leader of her bloodline.
“Then allow him to introduce himself so I may know with whom I speak,” the master said in English.
Aleksandr was familiar with both English and Czech. He had understood everything the master had said to the woman. He wasn’t interested in guests and wanted him gone. His opinion would change once he knew who Aleksandr was. It always did.
Aleksandr’s gaze met the guard’s again, holding it for long minutes. Whenever he set eyes on her, he was struck by her beauty as though it was the first time he had witnessed it. He willingly accepted her blade against his throat because it meant she was near him. Soon she would be this close to him without a weapon. He was sure of it. He would ask for sanctuary and the master would grant it. It would give him time to clean up his appearance and then he would start a new hunt. One for this woman.
His gaze slid across to the master and locked with his hazel one, silently showing the younger vampire that he wasn’t the most powerful in the room by a long shot.
“I am Aleksandr Nemov,” he said in a calm measured tone.
The female’s shock rippled through the knife at his throat, which was gone an instant later. She stepped back.
“You will not mind me requesting proof of that claim,” the master said.
Aleksandr smiled behind his beard. It was to be expected. He had been absent from society so long that many probably thought him dead.
With a flourish, he unsheathed and presented his bloodstained dagger. The curved silver blade caught the warm light of the fireplace to the left of the couches. That same light made the gold handle shine brightly. Only a Nemov carried such a weapon, and it had been given to him at birth, inscribed with his name so those who died by it knew who had taken their life. When the man nodded, he sheathed the blade and took hold of his black shirt above his right hip. He pulled it free of his trousers and revealed the mark he bore there on his pale skin.
The mark of royalty.
The woman’s eyes widened, fixed on the crescent moon on the shield of his bloodline.
Aleksandr lowered his shirt and she slowly raised her eyes to his. She blinked, fumbled with her own knife, and then looked away. The shy sparkle in her blue eyes added to her beauty and his desire for her, momentarily stealing his attention away from the other occupant in the room.
“You will stay a while with my bloodline. It would do us great honour.” The master stood and crossed the room to Aleksandr.
The woman stepped to one side, her eyes still downcast.
The master grinned and held his hand out. “I am Ladislav Cerny, and I welcome you to my home. I hope you will be able to enjoy our hospitality for a long time.”
Aleksandr shook his hand. Ladislav was young but wise enough to see a way to gain more power when it was standing in front of him. Being favourable to a royal would grant him more leeway with the law and more privileges in court. It was a shame then that Aleksandr had long since surrendered such authority. No matter how many times he reminded society that he was no longer royalty, it still insisted on treating him that way. In this sort of situation, he usually reminded them that he had given up his title, but this time he couldn’t bring himself to mention it. He wanted to remain here and pursue the woman, and for that reason alone, he would tolerate Ladislav’s mistake.
“We will hold a ball tonight to celebrate,” Ladislav said, his English thickly accented.
This man was no fool. He would serve Aleksandr well. His gaze slid back to the woman. Her eyes were on him again but darted away when his met them. How well would she serve him?
“Then I will need to freshen up.” Aleksandr removed his hand from Ladislav’s grip.
“Any room in the guest wing you desire, and I will arrange whatever you need.” Ladislav motioned to the woman. Her expression blackened for a moment, as though escorting a guest was beneath her, and then she saluted.
Aleksandr picked up his bag and smiled at the woman. She answered it with a frown and then walked out of the room. His smile widened and his gaze raked over her.
She was going to be an interesting hunt.
But he would be the victor.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to Heart of Darkness. Don’t forget to follow me on my Heart of Darkness section of my Paranormal Pandemonium 2011 Blog Tour too. I have some great posts about the book, more fantastic excerpts, and giveaways galore. Find out more at http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/paranormal-pandemonium-blog-tour.php
Felicity Heaton is a romance author writing as both Felicity Heaton and F E Heaton. She is passionate about penning paranormal tales full of vampires, witches, werewolves, angels and shape-shifters, and has been interested in all things preternatural and fantastical since she was just a child. Her other passion is science-fiction and she likes nothing more than to immerse herself in a whole new universe and the amazing species therein. She used to while away days at school and college dreaming of vampires, werewolves and witches, or being lost in space, and used to while away evenings watching movies about them or reading gothic horror stories, science-fiction and romances.
Having tried her hand at various romance genres, it was only natural for her to turn her focus back to the paranormal, fantasy and science-fiction worlds she enjoys so much. She loves to write seductive, sexy and strong vampires, werewolves, witches, angels and alien species. The worlds she often dreams up for them are vicious, dark and dangerous, reflecting aspects of the heroines and heroes, but her characters also love deeply, laugh, cry and feel every emotion as keenly as anyone does. She makes no excuses for the darkness surrounding them, especially the paranormal creatures, and says that this is their world. She’s just honoured to write down their adventures.
If you want to know more about me, or want to get in touch, you can find me at the following places:
My website: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk
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