My third paranormal romance in the Blood-Vine series is due to release very soon. I wanted to share the cover art, done by the most talented April Martinez, the blurb and an excerpt from Chapter One.
So, without further ado, here is your first taste of Traian Komar in Bound By Obsession.
In his long life, Traian Komar has managed to escape the mating noose. Being bound forever to a female isn’t anything he’s ready for. However, when he runs into Bethany, a woman from his past, every bonding instinct within him surges to life. Bethany’s the one who got away and he’s never forgotten her. Traian’s sudden obsession with her is all-consuming. But, he can’t do a damned thing about it. Dr. Bethany Miles is a mere mortal, and Kan Asma aristocrats are forbidden to mate with humans.
For several long years, Bethany, a child psychologist, has devoted her life to her work. When a request for an appointment with an adult comes in, she’s ready to refer the case to her colleague … until she notices the patient’s name, Traian Komar. Beset by memories, Bethany agrees to see him. When he shows up, she doesn’t count on the passion he awakens within her.
The moment they’re face-to-face only intensifies the burning lust they’d always resisted. This time, Traian doesn’t hold back. His lack of restraint turns both their lives upside down and uncovers secrets that could jeopardize their growing bond. Because of his refusal to conform to his people’s traditions, Traian risks losing Bethany and any hope they have for love. He must conquer the threat to their mating and find a way to make her his … forever.
And now an excerpt:
Traian’s hunger propelled his long steps and brought him closer to his destination. Beside him, Tray’s brother, Mikhail, matched the quick pace, keeping up with his typical swagger. They rounded the corner and automatically slowed down. The floor-to-ceiling glass windowpanes of the storefront caught their reflections. Tray didn’t need the reminder that they stood out with their tall height and muscular builds. The differences between them were stark. Mikhail was the thick-necked, dark-haired one. Tray looked more lean and fair with shoulder length blond hair. Mikhail reached out to open the door. Tray entered first and came to stand in the back of the busy room. Mikhail followed him a second later.
“It’s a benefit to us that California has such early sunsets in winter,” Traian said as he turned to face Mikhail. Tray had been looking forward to this meal all afternoon. Sundown couldn’t come fast enough.
“True, it’s a fortunate advantage for a hungry vampire.” Mikhail smirked, showing the slightest hint of sharp fang tips.
“We’ve definitely come to the right place. I see plenty of options that’ll hit the spot.” Tray bit down into his lower lip, flashing Mikhail a bemused look.
“That particular one would be enough to satisfy even my cultured palate.” Mikhail lifted his finger and pointed across the space, indicating just what he wanted to dine on.
“Only you, kardes, would indulge in such a pig-out.” With a chuckle, Traian reached over and smacked his brother on the shoulder. “Better watch the calories; you might end up with a bit of pudge around your gut.”
Sniffing derisively, Mikhail quirked an eyebrow and cocked his head to the side. “Well, I already know what you’re pigging out on, and I’d like to warn you against such a mistake. All carb, no protein… Really, brother, how do you intend to keep that girlie shape you’re sporting?”
“By kicking your scrawny ass,” Tray flashed a wicked smile before stepping forward. He cocked his head over his shoulder and muttered jubilantly, “Looks like I’m going first.”
Mikhail only swore in Turkish and shoved his brother before saying, “Well, hurry your bony butt up, I’m starving here.”
Tray shrugged and ignored Mikhail. He turned his full attention frontward and met the bored look of a young, college-aged girl. Mousy features framed by multi-hued hair, in varying lengths, showed off the oval shape of her face. A silver barb, pierced through her upper lip, muted the sweet innocence of her youth, a bit. When she noticed him, her pale gray eyes widened and she moistened her lower lip with the tip of her tongue. Yup, another piercing there, too. Before he’d moved near, she was slouched over and tuned out. One earbud, from her IPod, hung over her shoulder and the other fit in her ear. She straightened and yanked the headphone out. Tray leaned closer, crossing his arms over his chest. He watched her stare flick down, roving across the outlines of his torso, tracking over his rounded biceps.
Clearing his throat, he effectively redirected her attention back to his face. Her dreamy expression deepened and Tray almost rolled his eyes. “Ma’am?” he said, just to seem polite.
“Yes,” she replied rather breathlessly.
A nudge in his ribs made Tray flinch, “Hold your horses, youngling.” He forced into his brother’s thoughts.
“Stop flirting with the human, I’m famished,” Mikhail replied tersely.
Fine, his own stomach growled in protest at his stalling, as well. Tray blinked and pulled back a bit. Time to sate one of his most basic needs: food.
She followed as far as she could but the thick slab of granite separating them prevented her from all out touching him. Tray rocked on his heels and lifted his gaze to fix on the far wall. “I would like two clubs on rye, with all the fixings. Add a side of that famous apple coleslaw, and peach cobbler. Also, two passion fruit iced teas. My brother here wants an egg salad on whole wheat, a large order of fries and the fresh fruit salad. As you can see, he is just as boring as his food choices. No sense of adventure, the poor bastard.”
The cashier dutifully entered each item into the register. When Tray rambled off Mikhail’s order, she focused directly behind Tray. Her smile grew almost flirty and that tongue came out again. This time, it brushed across her teeth while she appraised Tray’s brother.
“Hello there, doll.” Mikhail sidled alongside Tray. Mikhail’s cultured Russian accent deepened as he continued, “Is Tray here giving you a hard time? I could break his face with my fist, be your champion extraordinaire.”
The poor thing was dumbstruck. Her lips parted but nothing came out. Now, Tray indulged his urge and rolled his eyes. “Oh yeah, if he’s Prince Charming, then I must be the Big Bad Wolf.” He fake growled, hiding his fangs behind taut lips.
A quick flash twinkled in her eye at his statement. She tried to smother a laugh but it didn’t work. Tray noticed she diverted herself by plunking at the register keys, totaling their order.
“That’s gonna be twenty-two dollars, sir.”
Tray reviewed the sum and peeked at the menu board. After a quick calculation of each item, he grimaced. It didn’t add up. “I think you might be missing something,” he offered courteously.
She shook her head and stared at Mikhail. “His is on the house.”
Before he could utter a thing, Mikhail slapped Tray’s back and whooped with hilarity.
“Serves you right, big bro, a bit of chivalry goes a long way.” Mikhail swaggered to the dining area where he ass-planted it in a back booth. His big, soldier-like body took up the space of one bench.
Tray paid the total, tossed the change in a glass tip dish, and leaned against the partition. When their order was up, he grabbed the tray with their plates and sauntered over to join his brother. He set the food down with a hard clank and one of Mikhail’s melon slices fell off with a wet plop. Sliding onto the opposite bench, he scowled at Mikhail and said, “Who do you think you are? Cujo?”
Mikhail’s lips twisted in a paltry attempt to keep his amusement at bay.
Tray drummed his fingers on the tabletop, waiting for a reply. He hated having his back to the room. Even with heightened senses, he preferred to see danger coming at him. It gave him time to calculate his responses, to determine what he would do to the person posing the threat. And, it spared him the heebie-jeebies feeling that was presently crawling along his skin, prickling with gooseflesh. Tray hated the infernal sensation and would never again be caught unawares in any situation.
When he’d fled their village in Abkhazia, some twenty-odd years ago, it was only after several horrible weeks of agony and torture. He hadn’t been spared the suffering. Luckily, while he was trapped, his brothers effectively found a way to evacuate the survivors.
Tray had found them nearly a month later. His physical injuries limited his ability to move speedily. Despite his wounds, his mind was his greatest weakness. The atrocities he witnessed in the scientist’s lab scarred his soul in ways he never thought possible.
Lured by the lovely, Sascha, he’d been blinded by his growing hunger and never noticed her duplicity. She was his blood host, his Adak; he required her vein to sate his need, and her body to give him release. It had been a fulfilling relationship for many, many years. Until the bitch had betrayed him.
Before dawn, on the day of the invasion, she’d convinced him to let her tie his hands behind his back in a mock attempt at seduction. What male wasn’t up for a little bondage now and then? Traian shuddered. The memories of being ambushed from behind made his gut roil. Sascha knew his Híbe, the special talent of manipulating nerve endings, was no good to him as long as they restrained him. He was utterly powerless, like that damned Samson who was deceived by his lover Delilah. Tray had fought with every ounce of his strength but he couldn’t battle the drugs pumped into him. The massive elephant tranquilizer had effectively shut him down. He’d been unconscious through the brunt of the incursion.
And when he finally woke up, he was in hell.
“Those bastard quacks,” Mikhail sneered with a low growl. “It’s been almost three damn decades and your head is still scrambled, Bro.”
Tray realized he’d zoned out, totally ignoring Mikhail and the food sitting there waiting for him to dig in. Lifting his chin, he met his brother’s concerned stare. With an indifferent shrug, he picked up the first half of one sandwich. “Next time, I’ll just toss you on your ass so I can sit where I’m comfortable. That way, I can spare you my little traipse through memory-fucking lane.”