paranormal vampire romance book
genre: paranormal vampire romance book
length: 157000 words / long novel
released: January 2011
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Rescued from werewolves by the most breathtaking man she's ever seen, Lauren is dragged into the fight of her life and a dark world she never knew existed. There, she discovers that she's the latest reincarnation of a goddess and must drink the blood of her immortal protector, Julian, in order to reawaken and continue her three thousand year old mission to defeat Lycaon, the original werewolf.
With the help of Julian and an organisation of people with supernatural abilities, Lauren fights for her life, their future and the fate of mankind against Lycaon and his deadly army, but can she succeed when Lycaon has killed all of her predecessors?
Can she crack the armour around Julian's heart and seize her happily forever after with him? And can Julian bring himself to trust Lauren with the fragments of his heart after everything he's been through?
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Some of the books on this site contain material of a sexual nature or graphic violence and are only suitable for adults. By reading the excerpt below you release me as the author of any responsibility.
Lauren had always suspected it to be true, and now she had all the evidence she needed.
One was standing twenty feet in front of her.
It towered over her, yellow eyes glowing in the dim alley between the old redbrick houses of her neighbourhood. Tufted black wiry fur covered it from tail to pointed ears, from the long claws on its colossal paw-like hands to the thick trunks of its hind legs. Her fevered mind said that it was only an escaped wolf from London Zoo, but Lauren couldn’t bring herself to believe it. She’d seen the wolves once. This creature was nothing like them. This was something else.
Its mouth opened to reveal jagged teeth, each the size of her thumb.
Why Grandma, what big teeth you have.
All the better to eat you with.
Icy fingers clutched her heart and Lauren trembled, cold sweat trickling down her back beneath the skinny-fit brown t-shirt. The mad rush of her pulse made her dizzy and unexpended adrenaline stole her strength. Whoever had said that adrenaline made you invincible was a liar. Her legs were shaking so much that they were close to buckling, the gym bag on her shoulder was too heavy, and her thick black winter jacket felt impossibly tight, as though it was squeezing the air from her lungs.
Instinct told her to run.
If only her feet would cooperate.
Her shoulders slumped when the monster took a step towards her and her kit bag dropped to the ground. The shinai case slid down her other arm but she caught it at the last second. The feel of the bamboo sword through the black canvas bag was reassuring and instilled a strange sense of calm in her. Lauren tried to remember her kendo training and everything she had just practiced in class but nothing came to her. She stared at the monster, still trying to comprehend what was happening.
Instinct changed its mind.
Her other hand automatically reached across and undid the ties on the shinai bag. Lauren swallowed and kept her movements slow, not wanting to startle the beast into reacting. The end of the bag flapped open and she reached inside, locking her right hand tightly around the white leather hilt of the bamboo sword. She drew it and let the carry-case fall to the ground.
This was insane.
Her shinai would last five seconds against such a huge creature.
It didn’t matter. Her only chance of escape was to stun it with a direct hit and run for her life. Her knees wobbled. That was, if she could run.
Taking deep breaths, Lauren shuffled backwards as the beast advanced and moved into a fighting stance. She brought her shinai around in front of her, clutching it so tightly with both hands that her knuckles turned white.
One breath. Two. Three.
With a loud cry, she launched herself at the creature. It reacted slowly, glowing yellow eyes widening. Lauren struck it between its ears and it yelped. The sound brought a smile to her face.
It was a short-lived smile.
The monster lashed out, flinging a heavy paw into her stomach and sending her flying into the wall of the alley. Her breath left her on impact and pain blasted through every inch of her. She grunted and fell onto the hard tarmac. Another huge paw flew at her and she rolled forwards to avoid being pulverised. She turned at the last moment and grabbed her shinai, desperate to protect herself. She was too damn young to die.
A low snarl sent a shudder down her spine and fear stole her breath away. Lauren scrambled to her feet and backed off, her bamboo sword trembling in front of her. The moon peeked out from behind a cloud and lit the world. Her heart stopped.
Holy God, the monster was more frightening in the light than it had ever been in the darkness. Long strings of saliva rolled down its fangs and dark fur tufted down its spine, raised like hackles. It wasn’t a wolf, but it wasn’t a man either. It was somewhere in between. An abomination. Something straight out of her dreams.
She’d dreamt of wolves and monsters before, and each time she had ended up fighting for her life.
It lowered its head and snarled again, hunkering down. It was going to attack.
This wasn’t a dream. It was a living nightmare.
Lauren’s fight left her and she moved backwards, faster now. Her heart started at a pace, thumping erratically in her throat. She clutched her shinai and glanced around. It was only just gone ten at night. Someone would pass by. Her neighbourhood wasn’t normally this quiet. Any moment now, someone would come and help her. She’d only left her kendo class fifteen minutes ago and she’d been first out of the door. A couple of the men in her class lived near her. One of them would come. Someone would. Anyone? Thirty-four was definitely too young to die. She didn’t want to be killed in the night as her parents had been.
She opened her mouth to call out for help but no sound left her lips. Her voice had died the moment her eyes had locked with the monster’s ones. She saw her death reflected in them, saw how easily it would tear her to shreds and how she wasn’t going to make it out of this alive. Emptiness settled in her mind, ringing in her ears.
Cold stillness shrouded the world.
The beast leapt.
Her heart leapt too.
Shrieking, Lauren raised the bamboo sword to defend herself and flinched away, screwing her eyes shut. Only sound came to her.
The sing of metal cutting through air, an ear-splitting howl of pain, and then a wet slapping noise.
Lauren breathed hard, hunched up with her bamboo sword still held in front of her face. Her rough gulps of air filled the night. When everything had been quiet for a minute, she realised that something had happened to the monster and that she wasn’t dead. She cracked an eye open.
The first thing she saw made her retch.
Spread across the alley were guts, blood and the two halves of a naked man. Her stomach rolled in response to the gruesome sight and she took a step backwards. It hadn’t been a man a moment ago. Her eyes hadn’t been lying to her even though her mind had. It had been a monster—a wolf that could stand on its hind legs, over six feet tall, and had tried to kill her. She looked at her bamboo sword. Splatters of blood covered the length of it, soaking into the white leather cap at the end. She couldn’t have killed him with it. It wasn’t possible.
The sound of steel sliding against something made her look up.
Her eyes widened and she dropped her weapon.
A tall man stood opposite her on the other side of the dead person. His long black coat fitted snugly to his slim frame and the stand up collar rose so high that it created a funnel that masked the lower half of his face, held closed by two thick bands of bright gleaming metal across the front. The wind tousled the finger-length spiked strands of his dark hair, shifting them across his pale forehead.
Shimmering silver eyes stared at her, pupils wide in the low light.
Her heart thudded in response to the jolt she felt when her eyes met his.
How many times had she looked at someone and not felt anything? Every day she met the eye of people on the Tube or at work, or even her opponent in kendo, but she’d never experienced a jolt that shook her to her core.
Never had she been so aware of making eye contact.
The longer she looked into his eyes, the calmer and warmer she felt, until she wanted to stare into them for forever. Something about those eyes, about this man, was so familiar. She was sure that she didn’t know him, but at the same time, she was certain she did.
He stood unmoving, a sense of resolve about him. Everything suddenly felt like nothing but a nightmare, a vivid dream that this man had roused her from. His eyes narrowed. Invisible arms wrapped around her, holding her as soothing whispered words filled her mind. She was safe now.
Instinctively, she took a step towards him.
He lowered his head, giving Lauren the impression that he was bowing to her, awaiting a command or perhaps something else.
The man raised his head a fraction, so his eyes met hers again.
She snapped out of her trance when, without any sign of emotion, and with precise and practiced grace, he slid the long curved katana he held into the sheath hanging at his waist. The blade was clean but blood splattered his hands.
Lauren swallowed her heart and the fear that rushed through her again. Lost in his eyes, she’d forgotten what had happened. Everything had seemed so normal and the monster hadn’t existed. Now she was back in reality, standing in an alley with a dead man at her feet and the man who had killed him opposite her.
His silver eyes flashed in the moonlight.
She made no move to run, or to look away, not when he approached her and not even when he stopped two feet away, towering over her. She couldn’t move. His eyes had mesmerised her again. They melted from brightest silver to ice blue and she didn’t even try to convince herself that she’d imagined it. They had changed. Ribbons of black hair caressed his forehead and her fingers itched to brush them away, to stroke his skin in their place and sweep them from his eyes so she could see them more clearly. A strange wave of calm washed over her again, only this time the feeling went deeper. She felt at peace with the world.
Because no matter what happened, this man would protect her.
He extended his hand to her. Before she could consider what she was doing, she was reaching for him.
“We must leave.” His voice was smooth and sensual, deep and accented in a way she couldn’t place but she knew that she liked it because the sound of it added to her boneless feeling.
Without hesitation or fear, Lauren placed her hand into his. His fingers closed over hers.
A sense of connection filled her.
“It is not safe here,” he said and, without thinking, she nodded.
His hand left hers and claimed her upper arm. He strode at a pace so quick that she was almost jogging. Lauren gazed at the back of his head, catching glimpses of his profile.
It seemed right to go with him. Something inside her said that she knew him and she knew he would never hurt her. He had saved her from the monster.
She didn’t care where they were going. She ran with him, empty and unable to think clearly. Her mind raced over everything that had happened, darting back and forth through her encounter with the monster. The man was right. It wasn’t safe. A monster had attacked her and she had a feeling that more were coming, some sense of imminent danger that she couldn’t ignore. She had to run and she had to stay with the swordsman. Only he could keep her safe.
“What was that thing?” she said between breaths and tried to look over her shoulder towards the dead man. The world wobbled so much she couldn’t focus.
“They are after us.”
Her stomach fluttered and she looked at the swordsman. It was worth asking, even if it would only confirm that she’d gone insane.
“Who are they?” Her voice trembled enough that she was certain he would know that she was frightened of asking that question.
He stopped and looked at her, his pale blue eyes narrowing with his frown. Lauren wished she could see the rest of his face, could open the collar that obscured the lower half of it. She hadn’t realised until now just how much of what a person was thinking showed in their expression. His eyes betrayed nothing.
“The monsters?” he said and her heart skipped a beat. “I almost lost you in the alley. I was foolish but I will not allow it to happen again. We must hurry.”
When he looked past her, she glanced over her shoulder. Two men were coming down the street. She stepped towards them, convinced that they were from her kendo class, but the man held on to her arm, stopping her. She looked at him and then back at the two men. The streetlights highlighted their faces and she realised that she didn’t know them. The sense of danger inside her worsened and the voice at the back of her mind told her to keep running. They were coming for her.
Before she could speak, the swordsman was running with her again. His grip on her arm was unrelenting, his pace so fast that she struggled not to trip.
Lauren looked over her shoulder. The men were following them. She rushed on, her thoughts running at a million miles per hour now. Was she really safe with the swordsman? She wasn’t so sure, but he did seem to be the lesser of two evils. If the two men that were following them were actually monsters then she’d probably chosen the right side.
A flash of silver eyes crossed her turbulent mind.
Perhaps she hadn’t. The swordsman was possibly as much a monster as the wolf-man had been. She glanced at the man’s hand and then at his face. He had his eyes fixed on the distance, his jetty eyebrows knitted tight. She had to get away before something happened. The man had said they were after them, but she couldn’t believe that. What reason would they have to be after her? She hadn’t done anything in her life to enrage monsters or make a single enemy. It had been quiet and safe. Now she felt as though she’d fallen into someone else’s life and she wanted her own boring one back. She had to get away.
It wasn’t far to her house now.
The man turned down a side road between two houses, heading towards her street. He knew where she lived? Sodium lights flickered on the walls high above. The heavy stomp of boots echoed in her stomach and she turned as the swordsman stopped. The men had caught up with them. They came to a halt a short distance away and the swordsman moved to stand in front of her. Lauren had the terrible feeling she was about to witness a showdown.
“Stay close,” the swordsman said.
He threw his arm out, sending his long coat swirling from the waist down and revealing his katana. In one swift, graceful move, he drew it and was in a fighting stance. Lauren backed into the wall, fascinated but frightened.
A low growl caught her attention. Her knees threatened to give out when the men tore their t-shirts off and dark fur erupted in waves across their skin. Their bodies twisted and distorted, limbs elongating as their noses and chins pushed outwards and became muzzles. Ears sprouted from the top of their heads and their eyes changed to yellow. They snarled in unison and she pressed hard into the wall.
It was real.
The swordsman changed position, raising his katana. He looked over his shoulder at her. His silver eyes gleamed as brightly as his blade in the streetlight.
Oh God, it was real.
The swordsman disappeared. A loud cry split the silence a moment later. No, he hadn’t disappeared. The monsters and the man were both moving so fast that it was hard for her to keep track of them. They were a blur in her eyes, shifting violent shapes as they passed her. Turning, she clung to the wall and watched the fight. She had never seen a man move with such agility or fight with such astounding grace. Each attack was beautiful and polished. Each counter by the monsters just as fluid. A deadly ballet.
A perfect chance.
He couldn’t stop her and the monsters at the same time. They wanted him, not her. She hadn’t done anything to upset them. If she just left quietly, perhaps they would leave her alone. She could go the long way round to her house, get some things and then leave before the swordsman could find her. She could go to her friends’ house and hide until everything was sane again.
Backing away into the shadows, Lauren breathed slow and shallow, afraid that even that sound could alert either the man or the monsters to the fact that she was leaving. Her hands trailed along the brick wall, rough under her fingertips, a feeling that grounded her and kept her going. The darkness engulfed her but she didn’t take her eyes away from the blur of the fight, not until the very last second when her hand finally ran out of wall.
With a sigh, she turned away and then froze.
Black tufted fur filled her vision. Her gaze rose to take in the massive bulk of the wolf-like monster and stopped when it reached its jaw. Sharp teeth greeted her as its jowls peeled back in a snarl.
She began to shake her head.
The monster backhanded her, sending her crashing into the wall. Pain erupted across her skull as her head hit the pavement and a trembling sickness passed over her. She pushed herself up on unsteady arms and looked towards the man where he fought the other monster, keeping it at the other end of the alley, and then behind her at the one that had hit her.
It was coming.
Vivid yellow eyes filled the darkness. She couldn’t look away. The sound of fighting swam in her ears and then drifted into the distance, replaced by the noise of heavy feet pounding the tarmac. She threw a glance back towards the man to see the other monster coming for her. Her stomach heaved. She had been wrong. The monsters weren’t after the man at all.
Lauren froze right down to the marrow of her bones.
They were after her.
Turning back to face the one nearest her, she screamed when she saw that it was almost on her. Its sharp jaws opened.
Blood exploded up the wall and the monster tumbled to the ground. Lauren shuffled backwards, away from it, not even thinking about the other monster that had been coming at her from behind.
Her hand hit a puddle.
Only it hadn’t been raining.
And puddles weren’t warm.
Sick to her stomach, she snatched her hand back and retched when she saw the blood covering it. She frantically wiped it on her jeans, her heart fluttering against her ribcage. Both men were dead, cleaved cleanly in two. Her stomach heaved but nothing came up. Bending over, she grasped the pavement with both hands and tried to be sick again. Nothing.
The swordsman grabbed her arm and hauled her to her feet. The motion jarred her vision and made her headache worsen.
“Are you hurt?” he said, voice soothing. Lauren looked up at him, instantly lost in his silver eyes.
He frowned when she didn’t respond and then touched her forehead above her right eyebrow. It stung and Lauren flinched away. His touch lightened, becoming so tender that it felt like a lover’s caress rather than a simple concerned touch. She stared into his eyes as he inspected what she presumed was a cut. The pain seemed so distant. Everything did. His eyes gradually changed from stunning silver to icy blue again and she found herself wondering why he worried so much about her safety.
And why she felt as though she knew him.
His hand caught her wrist and they were moving again. She almost tripped when they passed one of the bodies and it began to disintegrate before her eyes.
“Stay close,” the swordsman said.
Lauren glanced at him and then down at his hand on her wrist. She didn’t think that she had much choice. The strength in his grip was incredible.
Why was he protecting her? What did he want from her? Why were monsters after her?
She had to be insane to be running around London with a man she didn’t know and fighting monsters that were after her for some reason.
The man turned down another street. Lauren yanked her hand free and started back in the opposite direction. This had gone on long enough. She wasn’t sure where she intended to go but she had to get away before it all got crazier. She didn’t think it could, but something deep inside said that it was going to if she kept letting the madman drag her around.
He grabbed her wrist again.
Lauren tried to tug it free but his grip tightened. When she hit his hand, he let go and backed away a step. Was he trying to calm her down?
Finding her courage, she avoided looking him in the eye and put her hands on her hips.
“I’m leaving and you’d better not try to stop me,” she said and it sounded quite convincing to her own ears.
The man stepped back again. His coat fell open to reveal the hilt of his sword.
“There is no going back,” he said. “They will find you again.”
Her head was splitting now that she’d stopped moving and threatening a man with a sword suddenly didn’t seem so clever.
She edged backwards.
“There is no going back,” he repeated, his tone as calm as a millpond, instilling a sense of peace in her. He was right. She told herself that he wasn’t. He was wrong and he could do strange things to her with his voice and his eyes. She had to escape. “If you do, you will die.”
Lauren’s head snapped up, her eyes locking with his. She wasn’t sure whether he was threatening her or insinuating that the monsters would kill her.
“But my bag,” she whispered, desperate for a reason to get away.
“Is there anything in it that could link you to tonight?” he said and she thought for a moment. She touched her jeans pockets and then her jacket pockets. Her purse, keys and mobile phone were all with her. The only thing in her bag was her kendo armour.
She shook her head.
“Forget it then.” With a move so fast that she didn’t even see it happen, he snatched her wrist and began walking. She stumbled along behind him, trying to prise his fingers off her. As a last resort, she slapped his hand again but this time he didn’t let go. “My duty is to protect you. We must leave before others come.”
Great, now she had her own Terminator and she wasn’t even sure how she’d come to have him. Was she someone important?
Important enough to protect?
The swordsman had fought to defend her. He’d killed three monsters for her sake and she got the feeling that he would kill more if he had to. Her gaze roamed over the strong line of his shoulders and up the funnel neck of his coat to his face. His eyes remained fixed on the distance. She had an overwhelming urge to pull down the collar of his coat so she could see what he looked like. His eyes were incredible but something told her that collar hid a face that was more than that.
“Where are we going?” she said, her voice weak.
Lauren was about to ask again when the redbrick Victorian houses of her street came into view. She’d never been so glad to see her home with its bay sash-windows and red door. Memories of her childhood and her parents came flooding back, filling her with a strange mixture of warmth and cold, and reminding her that no comforting arms waited for her in the house, not anymore. Her parents were gone and the pain of losing them hadn’t faded in the months since their deaths. At the door, Lauren fumbled with her keys and then breathed a sigh of relief when she finally managed to slot the key in and turn it.
The slam of her house door behind her was comforting and she leaned back against it. The house was quiet and cold, but it still made her feel safe. She glanced at the man where he stood to her right, looking around her messy living room. When his gaze came back to meet hers, her heart began to slow and her breathing came normally. He’d saved her and for some reason she didn’t feel threatened by him. She felt safe. A dry laugh pushed past her lips. She was definitely going crazy.
Or was she?
Everything that had happened seemed so incredible and impossible, yet she knew that it was real. She closed her eyes and tilted her head back into the door, sighing on an exhale.
The alley flashed across her closed eyes, the scene playing out again in the darkness of her mind. She’d never seen anything so horrible.
Her eyes shot open when she remembered all the blood. She raised her hands and stared at the crimson stains, her breathing laboured and throat dry. Her fingers shook, wavering so much that she couldn’t focus on them. If the blood was on her hands. She looked down at her chest. Black lines criss-crossed her brown t-shirt. Where else had it hit her? With trembling fingers, she touched her face and felt sick when she found wet patches.
Lauren raced up the stairs in front of her, following them around the corner, and ran into the small peach coloured bathroom at the top. She slammed into the sink and grasped it with both hands.
Her dark brown eyes widened when she saw her reflection in the cabinet mirror.
Red streaks marked her face, matching the colour of her hair.
The monsters flashed before her eyes, followed by the swordsman.
Her gaze fell to her hands and she raised them palm upwards. The blood had seeped into the cracks of her skin, leaving dark jagged lines. Her fingers trembled and her stomach twisted. She turned on the tap and tried scrub the marks away with a nailbrush, rubbing her skin raw. A tight swirling feeling mounted inside her. The blood wouldn’t go away. Each glance at her hands revealed it was still there, coating them as it had in the street. It wasn’t going away. She wanted it to go away.
She didn’t want monsters to be real. They weren’t real. She clawed at the blood. It wouldn’t come off. A noise from downstairs made her tense and she stared wide-eyed into the mirror. The man was coming. He was a murderer. Any feeling of safety he’d given her was just an illusion. It was her mind playing tricks, just as the monsters had been.
She saw them again, bisected and dead.
Why wouldn’t the blood come off?
Lauren locked the bathroom door, yanked the shower curtain aside, turned the shower on, and stepped under the warm jet. It soaked her clothes through but the blood on her hands still wouldn’t go away. She sank to the floor and hugged her knees to her chest, burying her face in them as she sobbed, weak and tired. The water bounced off her back and trickled over her scalp. It dripped from the ends of her near-shoulder length red hair and masked her tears as she rocked back and forth.
Was it real or was she going insane?
Why was the swordsman so familiar and why did she want him to come to her, need him close by?
Her eyes widened and she stared at the water running down the plughole.
She had a horrible feeling that he was right.
The monsters were after her.
And only he could protect her.
"Felicity Heaton has outdone herself with her newest book. Love Immortal is an excellent paranormal romance. The story is exciting, it pulls you in. It is fast paced, filled with action and a romance that will bring tears to your eyes. Love Immortal is highly recommended to fans of paranormal romance."
-- Melinda, Paranormal Kiss -- 5 out of 5 (read the whole review)
"Love Immortal is a beautifully written love story of epic proportions. Full of stunning descriptions, legendary battles and inspirational relationships. Felicity Heaton achieved a uniquely harmonious balance between love and war in this novel... The writing style took my breath away. The characters jump right off of the pages, at times, I even felt like I was a part of their adventure. The emotional rollercoaster ride that they experience throughout this story is almost palpable, from the look in their eyes to their body language. I never doubted the depth of emotion that's between Lauren and Julian."
-- Carmel, Rabid Reads -- 4 out of 5 (read the whole review)
"I love the cover on this, dark and brooding with a hint of danger and lust. Love Immortal is fairly fast paced... I loved the storyline, and the mythology behind it... Lauren blossoms into a full blown butt kicking heroine - her journey to it is a wild ride which I enjoyed... I do like Julian though, a very strong character who goes out of his way to be with the person he loves, and manages to be a character of epic proportions who defies normal rules... A thoroughly enjoyable non stop read, with a fantastic jaw dropping hunk of a male character as well as an enjoyable heroine. I enjoyed the interesting mix of mythology and incarnation alongside the x-men type characteristics of some of the cast. "
-- Michelle, Clover Hill Book Reviews -- 4.5 out of 5 (read the whole review)
"This book has launched Felicity Heaton from being a yes-I've-read-her-books into a-must-read-author for me. She has truly bested all her previous books with the amount of detail, characterization and creativity that she has used to write Love Immortal. Yes, all her attention to detail is there, but her in-depth look into the hero and heroine is what brought her best out in this book. Ms. Heaton, please keep them coming!
This story went beyond what I expected. The journey these two characters take is a tale you do not want to miss. I wholeheartedly recommend Love Immortal and if the hints are anything to go by, I can't wait until the next book to follow."
-- Talina, Night Owl Reviews -- 5 out of 5 - Top Pick! (read the whole review)