Authors: Kym Grosso
Immortals of New Orleans, Book 6.5
Copyright © 2015 Kym Grosso
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
MT Carvin Publishing
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Editor: Julie Roberts
Formatting: Polgarus Studio
Cover Design: LM Creations
Photographer: Golden Czermak
Cover Models: Justin Keeton & Tamara Summers
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, locations and events portrayed in this book are a work of fiction or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual events, locales, or real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
This is an adult erotic paranormal romance book with love scenes and mature situations. It is only intended for adult readers over the age of 18.
~My husband, Keith, for encouraging me to write and supporting me in everything I do.
~Julie Roberts, editor, who spent hours reading, editing and proofreading Lost Embrace. You’ve done so much to help and encourage me over the past two years. As with every book, I could not have done this without you!
~My Alpha readers, Rochelle and Maria, who help give me such important feedback and insight during the editing process. You both are awesome!
~My dedicated beta readers, Elena, Gayle, Denise, Janet, Jessica, Jerri, Leah, Laurie, Stephanie, and Rose for beta reading. I really appreciate all the valuable feedback you provide.
~LM Creations, cover artist, for cover design.
~Golden Czermak, for image and photography.
~Justin Keeton & Tamara Summers, cover models.
~Nicole, Indie Sage PR, for helping me with promotion and supporting my books.
~Gayle, my admin, who is one of my biggest supporters and helps to run my street team. I’m so thankful for all of your help!
~My awesome street team, for helping spread the word about the Immortals of New Orleans series and my new erotic contemporary romance Altura series. I appreciate your support more than you could know! You guys are the best. You rock!
The demon gored its claw into her belly, boring through her organs. She fell to the ground, and the thump of her skull cracking on the pavement reverberated in her ears. The black tunnel closed in as the beast spat into her wound, its acidic saliva burning her flesh. Clutching the cavernous gash, her bloodstained hands slipped from her skin as the life drained out of her.
Never wanting to be vampire, her love of her humanity had superseded all else. Despite having been guaranteed immortality by her vampire lover, she learned that such promises were relative to the manner of death. Though age and disease would not come for her, the demon’s talons would prove to be fatal. Unlike everything she’d been told about death, her life didn’t flash before her eyes. Only
was omnipresent in her thoughts. With her last breath, she called for him to save her.
She’d always been a fighter until her final moment when hope was lost. As light turned to darkness, she accepted the inevitable. Giving in to death’s embrace, she smiled, knowing that she’d loved, was loved.
Sydney braced for the seizure, her body tensing, readying for the barrage of spasms it would endure. It had been a month since she’d been attacked. She’d been protecting an innocent child from the monstrous demon who sought to claim her. As a police officer, it wasn’t the first time she’d been in danger. But that day, she’d been no match for the evil beast who impaled her with his fist. As death reached for her soul, her fiancé, Kade Issacson, had saved her from its finality. Turned her without consent.
Sydney loved Kade more than life itself, but they’d always had an understanding; she’d remain human. She’d agreed to drink miniscule amounts of his blood, allowing her the benefits of immortality. As Kade’s singular source of sustenance, she’d always known that if she were to be turned, he wouldn’t be able to feed from her. Having been transformed into a vampire, no longer could she serve that role in his life. In the blink of an eye, her life had been destroyed, promises crushed.
The first round of chills racked her body, and she bit her lip raw. She curled into the corner of the room, the hardwood floor grounding her. She’d watched through the window as the donor approached the house. A healthy pink tinge on the woman’s cheeks told her she’d rushed to her appointment. Even though Sydney knew Kade wouldn’t partake of the stranger’s blood, it didn’t matter. Jealousy clutched at her gut. He’d feed eventually…sometime, somewhere, from someone else…but never from her. He’d need a human, and human she was not.
A tear rolled down her cheek as her muscles relaxed. She and Kade had barely spoken over the past month. She knew he loved her, had done what he thought needed to be done. Yet being turned had rocked her world, shattering the delicate life they’d built together.
Weak, she had been unable to feed without causing the donors excruciating pain. It was as if her fangs were intoxicated with the demon itself. Screaming herself awake had become the only relief from her nightmares of the beast. She’d convinced herself that Rylion had infected her with his saliva. Now her own fluids had brought terror to anyone she’d touched.
When Kade brought donors to her, Sydney would wait for him to sink his teeth into their wrist. She’d be forced to watch the woman shake with desire caused by her lover. At one time, his bite was meant only for her. On this dark night, however, another stranger would quiver at his touch.
A knock sounded before the doorknob creaked. Sydney shoved herself to her feet, and found a chair. Wiping the tears from her face, she took a deep breath, trying to find the courage to proceed. She struggled with thoughts of suicide, yet today the fight to survive prevailed. Reluctantly she’d accept the nourishment.
“Sydney, are you ready for us?” she heard Kade ask. The door edged open an inch.
“Yes,” she whispered.
Her eyes met Kade’s as he walked into her bedroom. A rush of excitement filled her belly as he came into view. His blond hair had grown long, its shaggy edges brushing his collar. Sydney found his permanent five o’clock shadow every bit as sexy as his usual clean-shaven face. She wished she could hate him, leave him, but the deep burning love in her heart never ceased. It tore her apart to know she’d never be what he needed.
“Love, it’s okay,” he said, his warm voice attempting to calm her.
A petite blonde followed behind him. She knelt before Sydney and presented her arm in silence. Sydney glanced at her for only a second before meeting Kade’s gaze. She fought the moisture that brimmed in her eyes.
“We’ll do this quickly,” Kade promised.
“It’s okay,” she lied.
“Hey.” Kade cradled her face with his palms, his thumbs gently brushing the tears away. “I love you. We’re going to figure this out. I promise you.”
When he told her he loved her, it broke her heart. Sydney’s gaze fell to the floor, unable to look at him. His warm lips grazed over hers, and she swallowed the soft cry that bubbled inside her throat. As his hands fell from her skin, she gazed out the window. She wished she could pretend to be blind to his actions. She refused to watch his fangs descend, but the sigh of the donor’s arousal rang in her ears. Sydney thought she’d die another death, her chest heavy with emotion. By the time the blood hit her lips, she’d made a decision. She knew he wouldn’t agree, but it was of little consequence. One way or another, it was time to regain control of her life.
Kade snatched a bottle of scotch off the bar and fell back into his leather chair. He recalled the debacle of a feeding that had just played out with Sydney. He’d bitten into the strange woman, her blood like paint thinner on his tongue. In turn, Sydney had barely been able to choke down more than a few drops, and still wasn’t nourished.
Kade cursed the fucking demon that had stolen Sydney’s spirit. As she’d lain dying on the sidewalk, he hadn’t thought twice about turning her. He’d known the consequences, but like a doctor performing an amputation, he’d chosen to cut off the limb to save a life. In the process, he’d killed the human within the woman he loved.
He’d known it would be difficult for Sydney to accept her new lifestyle. But he’d anticipated that in time she’d grow to understand that it was a matter of existence. He’d explained several times that the sexual feelings induced by their bite was necessary, a survival mechanism for the vampire race.
Footsteps in the hallway thwarted his racing thoughts and alerted him to the fact that he wasn’t alone. His best friend, Luca Macquarie, stood watching him, his arm braced on the doorjamb. He’d known Luca would come, sensing his discontent.
“Scotch?” Kade poured a drink and slid a tumbler across his desk.
“Is that a question or an order?” Luca approached and took a seat.
“I’m running out of time.” He held up his glass to the light, studying the amber legs trailing down the sides.
“We’ve got nothing but time, my friend.”
“Did she feed?”
“What do you think?” Kade locked his tired eyes on Luca’s.
“Is that a no?”
“She ate…barely. She’s unable to control her bite.”
“Still causing pain?”
“Tried it two days ago.”
“Let’s just say I had to bite the donor a second time just to take the edge off her screaming. Needless to say, she won’t be back.”
“Can’t you just continue as is? You bite the donor then she feeds?”
“Let me ask you this.” Kade took a deep draw of the liquor, his lips drawn tight. “How would Samantha feel if you bit another woman? Another man for that matter? Had to rely on someone else for food?”
“She’d hate it. Look, I see your point, but you’re running out of options here.” Luca rimmed the edge of his drink with his forefinger. “What’s the great one say?”
Kade gave a small smirk, realizing Luca was referring to Léopold, the ancient vampire who’d turned him.
“Léopold believes it’s psychological but won’t rule out the possibility that the demon somehow mutated her. If that’s true, she’ll never be able to feed on her own…not bite easily, anyway. The human will struggle. Every time would be torture. She could end up killing them.”
“Okay, well, let’s assume the former, shall we? Have you tried male donors? It could give her an incentive…you know…make things more pleasurable for her.”
“Yes,” Kade bit out. The male had been every bit of a disaster as the woman.
“I take that it didn’t go well.”
“That would be correct. Not to mention that I know for damn sure you wouldn’t want your woman’s mouth on another man.” Kade plowed his fingers through his hair. “I don’t know…it’s not that I’m opposed to her eating from a man per se, but it was just all wrong. I didn’t know the donor. She didn’t know him either. Learning how to control the pleasure without it turning sexual is an acquired skill.”
“You let me bite her,” Luca noted, averting his gaze.
let you feed from her. Once. To save your ass. And if you recall correctly, I told you that I wouldn’t share her again,” Kade replied.
“Yes, I do, but now you may have to do the same to save her.”
“I’m not sure what you’re implying.”
“Let her feed from someone she knows. Samantha is pregnant so that’s out but perhaps one of the wolves…”
“Maybe. I’d have to ask the Alpha.”
“Think about it…their blood is strong. The Alpha’s mate, Wynter, she would be a good choice. She’s a woman. And she and Sydney are friends. The Alpha owes you this anyway. Sydney ended up in this predicament saving her and their child.”