Alpha Draike Weatherby has enjoyed many years of peace in his districts. He’s made agreements with the various shifter races as well as the Vampire Lord of London to keep crime down and their existence safe from human knowledge. Until now. A loyal gang of nonhuman runaways are systematically losing members. Rat shifters have grown bold, increasing crime in his area and risking their secret. Then there’s Olivia. Naked, bleeding, and fleeing a trio of unsavory characters, she runs straight into his arms…and stirs his most protective instincts.
As he digs deeper, he discovers an interconnecting web with a single common thread: Olivia. To uncover the truth, he must gain the trust of the terrified woman who entices his fox. But she guards a secret that could destroy or save her.
He eased his large frame into Draike’s chair behind the large executive-style desk, propped his feet on the polished mahogany surface, and smiled—showing off a pair of sharp fangs. “You see, I too am a creature of legend. Like most legends and myths, most of what you’ve heard about my kind is false. We’re not bloodthirsty killers preying upon humanity to slake our unnatural thirsts. Although, now I think about it, there is a veritable plethora of solicitors amongst us. Maybe that myth isn’t too far off the mark, hmm?”
“You’re a-a vampire?” Her voice escaped her with a squeak. Olivia gripped the door handle, torn between the urge to remain with the amiable creature or run screaming into the streets. “Like, rising from the dead, turning into a bat, drinking blood and…and, oh my God! That’s not wine, then, is it?”
She stared at the crystal wineglass. The viscous liquid clung to the sides and pooled at the bottom. It stained the vampire’s lips and tinted his fangs. The room seemed to spin as she struggled to breathe. Her pulse pounded in her ears.
“Please, child, calm down before you give yourself a heart attack. I don’t fancy trying to explain that to the old battle-axe. Terrifying woman, prone to violence.” He gave a melodramatic shudder. “And then there’s Draike. When he gets riled, he can be more than a bit frightening. I mean, what if he doesn’t have all of his shots?”
“So, you’re not going to bite me? Drink my blood? Turn me into a vampire?” He shook his head. His smile showed perfectly even, perfectly normal, white teeth. Olivia ran a shaky hand over her face. It was official. She had finally gone insane. “Why not?”
“It’s a long story, but let’s just say human blood is on the restricted list. Besides, even though Draike delights in driving me toward the final death, I’d never betray him that way.” “But it’s daytime! Shouldn’t you be turning into dust or bursting into flames or something?” She inched toward him, curiosity drawing her to the ancient creature who cast no shadow.
“Miriam would never forgive me if I made such a mess.” His easy grin slipped from his face, and he pinned her with a serious look. “Our ability to walk in the sun is not known, Olivia. For our protection, vampires have encouraged that belief. You now hold knowledge that could be very valuable to my enemies, human and nonhuman alike. But even with that, I’m not a danger to you, child. I never will be.”
“Why should I believe you?”
“Because of my stunning good looks and keen wit?” He grinned and Olivia found herself returning it. It was insane, but she did believe him. She crept toward the chair, lowering herself to perch upon the very edge. Maximus’s smile was warm and kind, with a hint of relief. “Thank you. I was getting a kink in my neck looking up at you.”
“None of that, now.” He dismissed her apology with an elegant wave. “As for why you should believe me?” He shrugged. “There’s little reason why you should at the moment. I have my reasons, of course. The main one being I owe Draike a great debt, one I can never repay. Granted, he’d take a stake to me if I hurt a single hair on your lovely head, but it changes nothing. I owe him and I always repay my debts. It’s an added bonus to find you’re a shadow seer. Quite remarkable, really.”
Her mouth dropped open. “Would he really stake you?”
“He’d try. It never ends well. The boy sulks when he loses. Most unbecoming in an alpha if you ask me.” Maximus swirled the liquid in his glass with a sniff. She shook her head in wonder. A silly vampire? Yep, it was time for the huggy coat. “I confess I’m teeming with curiosity about you. I have a million questions, but if I make you uncomfortable or frightened, I’ll go pester Miriam in the kitchen. Draike told me you’ve had a hard time of it lately. I don’t want to add to that.”
“I think,” Olivia began, but had to take a sip of her drink to wet her throat. “I think I’ll be okay. You’re not what I would’ve expected from a v-vampire.”
“Forgive me, my sweet, for being such a crushing disappointment. I fear I left the cheesy cape and fedora at home.” “In your coffin?”
“Where else would it be?” He arched one brow and looked down his nose at her. She grinned despite her lingering fear. “I don’t know. A closet?”
They shared a laugh, and she eased back onto the plush upholstery. Maximus Petreius was as attractive as she would have expected from a vampire, but not nearly as frightening. She knew it was deliberate on his part; he was working hard to calm her fears. He was succeeding too. With his goofy grin and casual slouch in Draike’s chair, he reminded her so much of her father her heart ached.
Title: The Fox's Mate
Author: Elaina M. Roberts
Genre: Urban Paranormal-Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Taliesin Publishing
Organized by: The Muses Circle
Release Date: 5th June 2014
Elaina Roberts grew up in the wilds of Alabama, wearing garments sewn of squirrel hides. She saw her first motorized vehicle at age ten and was amazed and terrified at the giant, iron behemoth that ate and spat out people with impunity. She also makes up a lot of stuff, which propelled her to become an author.
Truthfully, though, Elaina did grow up in a rural area just outside the city limits of a small Alabama town. She spent many long afternoons running through untamed woodlands, even if she doesn’t care for squirrel regardless of how you cook it. As the youngest of four, there were few luxuries purchased by her textile factory parents, but they provided her with something even better: an intense love of reading. Her early loves were the mysteries of Earle Stanley Gardner, the fantastic worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and the action-packed adventures of Don Pendleton. When she discovered romance, she sought books that combined the genres she already loved with this new promise of happily ever after. Not long afterwards, she began her own tentative steps into writing.
Today, she writes Urban Fantasy with a romantic flair, the genre guaranteed to offer her the greatest opportunity of creating fantastic words of action, adventure, and mystery, coupled with romance’s heart-lifting happily ever after.
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