Type: Paranormal Romance
A hundred years after vampires revealed themselves to the masses, the world is still recovering from the hysteria and war that devastated much of the Earth. And though peace has been brokered between the human and vampire nations, it is tumultuous at best.
Orphaned at the age of ten, Coraline Conwell has struggled to survive a turbulent existence growing up alone on the harsh streets. Until a wealthy man provides an escape from her vagrant life by offering his hand in marriage. Out of place in the upper-crust world, Cora has done her best to adapt to her new role as wife, but when her husband is brutally murdered, she is ripped from her secure life at the hands of the Vampire Enforcement Agency.
Now her survival teeters on the whim of a brutally handsome vampire named Mason as she is hunted by those who would see her dead. She must keep unwanted desires for the sexy vampire from leading her down a dangerous path while she discovers there is more to this world, and herself, than she could have ever imagined.
“Can’t I at least get my suitcase from out of my trunk?” Cora pleaded, wanting more than anything to change into normal clothing.
She stood, hopelessly, in the police station garage, next to the same black car that had brought her here.
Mace opened the passenger side door for her. “Your car and everything inside it is considered evidence at the moment. I’m afraid it will take some time to clear it.”
She glanced longingly to her left, down the sidewalk that fronted the police station. A brief, ridiculous fantasy of making a run for it trickled through her mind.
She wouldn’t even make it a step.
Mace waited, seemingly patient, for her to get into the car. Something in his expression told her he knew the way of her thoughts and was somewhat amused.
As she settled in the car, she wrung her fingers nervously while Mace walked around the front and took the driver’s seat. The engine roared to life with the turn of the key. The sound was like an ominous prelude to an execution.
She wondered briefly where Trent was. He’d allowed Mace alone to escort her out of the police station while remaining behind with the human authorities.
In the small space of the car, sitting so close to Mace, Cora automatically reverted back to the mindset that kept her alive during her time with Edgar. She forced her lungs to work slow and even. She tilted her head down, and went as still as a possum. From the corner of her eye she saw Mace shoot her a sidelong glance before putting the car into drive.
“Put your seatbelt on,” he ordered.
She yanked the strap across her body and snapped it into place, then returned her hands to her lap just as he pulled onto the street. A moment of silence followed. She kept her eyes on her hands.
She felt the car speed up, slow down, stop, then speed up again, but never looked up, never glanced out the window.
After a long while of quiet driving, Mace said casually, “Are you trying to make me forget you’re there?”
Her chin jerked slightly, but she made no response.
“Believe me. Nothing could accomplish that.”
She swallowed, keeping her eyes downcast.
“Where did you learn to do that, anyway?”
Her heart stuttered, and silence crushed the space around them.
“Well, anyway, you don’t have to do that. I’m not a threat to you.”
He took the highway on-ramp, heading out of town. She prayed he would stop trying to engage her in conversation, but she wasn’t so lucky.
After another stretch of silence, he said, “Don’t you have questions about where we’re going? Why you’re with me? How long we’ve been watching you? You can ask me whatever you like.”
She was sick with curiosity, but she shook her head.
“It’s going to be a dull ride then, and we have a ways to go.”
He paused as if that should have been enough to entice her into asking. He obviously wanted to tell her, so why didn’t he just get on with it?
He sighed. “I have loads of questions for you, but I don’t want this to feel like an interrogation. You’re a witness, not a suspect. You’re no one’s captive.”
“Then let me go,” she heard herself reply, instantly regretting her desperate tone.
“She speaks,” he said on a chuckle. “And where would you go?”
She thought about that for a moment. There was only one place she could go, the large home she had shared with Winston. Thinking of him now sent a flurry of mixed emotions through her heart.
“You can’t go home,” Mason said, as if reading her mind. “Aside from the fact that assassins broke in with too much ease…specifically to murder you, I might add—”
“Why me? Weren’t they just looking for Winston?”
“They knew exactly where Winston would be. No, they were looking for you. Still might be. These people, whoever they are….well, it’s like they’re cleaning up their entire operation, or perhaps eliminating the competition. We’re not quite sure yet. Whatever the reason, they left no loose ends. None but you.” He shot her a look. “It was more than Winston and the Montgomerys. All our suspects were targeted, and then some. Entire families were executed, children included. You can’t go back there.”
He allowed her a moment to take that in.
“But aside from all that,” he continued, “Winston wrote you out of his will the moment you said ‘I do.’
Her head snapped up. He met her bemused expression with one of complete seriousness.
“That prenup you signed waved away any claim you might have had to Winston’s wealth. He had already prepared his will before the honeymoon was over. In case of his death, the money, the cars, the three homes? It all gets split between his blood relatives. You get nothing.”
A deep chasm of despair crashed in her chest. “You could be making that up.”
“You know I’m not. Not after all you’ve learned today about your rat-bastard husband.”
The venom with which Mason ended his sentence was shocking. Almost as shocking as the realization that she was now back where she’d started. Street urchin. Worse, actually—a street urchin who’d drawn the attention of the largest vampire organization known to man.