Because I received so many wonderful comments, I decided to award two prizes this time. As with all my drawings, each comment equaled an entry. Congratulations to Liberty Ann Ireland and Sydney W, your names were drawn from the hat! (and it only took me two draws – I was expecting repeaters) I will be contacting you shortly.
Thank you, everyone, for making this event special for me. I look forward to the next one.
Learn more about me and my work here:
Writing about Haven has become one of my greatest joys. I’ve developed a set of characters both endearing and enduring. While each book is written, as best I can, to be read independently, they build on an overall plot that is escalating as I begin work on book six. (Yes, there will be more.)
In Twilight Destiny, I introduce readers to the Community and the Council of Elders at a time when a hunter has taken down two of their most important members. While most of this story is told through Catherine’s point of view, readers learn of Rogues (the criminally insane element of the vampire world) and a hunter who appears to be killing vampires indiscriminately.
The Darker Path takes a side-step from the direct Community path. An empress from another world is brought to New England, where she’s faced with the puzzle and mystery that is Colton Graves, an unwilling and remorseful vampire. Her search for answers to explain his unusual condition lead her into the arms of the Community, where her first and most desperate task is the assistance of the most unusual birth on the planet. Thanks to her evolving powers of healing, she saves lives and makes herself a permanent friend of the Community, and leaves behind some unusual gifts.
In Dragon Lord, a new kind of vampire is introduced to the Community. To keep this short, what you don’t learn until Haven’s King is, Ronan inherited the soul of the first Dragon, the father of all dragons, when he became a vampire before written human history began. Over eons become countless with their passage, he struggled to control his beast and protect the world from its murderous lust. His involvement with Courleon was in covert response to the disappearance of vampire servants – specifically, those belonging to the Community. As he and Tyler, the woman he finds in Courleon’s Consortium, flee in search of the Community, they begin a series of events that strengthen the Council as never before. One question remains unanswered – Courleon dealt in information. Who was it that hired him to investigate Haven?
The fourth installment, Haven’s King, takes a step back to the beginning, back to the time when Catherine and Joshua were first learning to trust each other. Jason, vampire from ancient Greece, falls in love at first sight (thanks to Cupid’s recurring interference) with Carrington police officer Mirissa Wellston. This sets in motion a chain of events that returns us to information we received in Twilight Destiny – Devon, an Englishman who is well loved and respected, is slain, and Jason is poisoned and in a coma. The events that follow result in changes that affect the Bargain itself.
Secrets & Promises is the fifth in the Haven’s Realm saga. At the end of Haven’s King, you watch Jason and Mirissa capture at last the hunter who has been killing them indiscriminately. Vincent steps in at the end, to the surprise and shock of his peers, and postures himself to defend her against them. While their romance is the largest theme in this story, what I want to focus on is the sub-plot, so I’ll tell you that, when all is said and done, the Community gains new allies and identifies the possibility of a new threat.
I know you’ll enjoy reading the Haven’s Realm saga. While I’m marketing the series as a three-flame romance, there is much more to the stories, an ongoing struggle to survive in an increasingly uncertain future.
Don’t forget to comment for your chance to win an e-novel from Haven’s Realm!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
I just realized I shared the wrong part of Vincent’s role in The Darker Path. Oh, well. You got a good look at his basic character. The excerpt I wanted to show you is after Ki’ara’s meeting with the Council, while Vincent is leading her to meet with the MacAarons.
And so, here is Ki’ara’s observation regarding Vincent’s trials.
Don’t forget to comment for your chance to win an e-novel from Haven’s Realm! I’m already to the point where I will be awarding two books this weekend. Thank you all for visiting with me!
“Thank you all,” she said, rising to her feet. She took the arm Vincent proffered in her direction, and he led her from the library with a kind smile. She walked beside him in silence, but when he moved to open the MacAarons’ door, she put her hand on his and met his gaze. “You are under a great deal of stress,” she said softly. “I can feel your pain. You bear a private burden that is of paramount importance to the Community, but it’s taxing you dangerously. The pain you bear is both fresh and old, but I can also sense your desperation to keep your feelings closed. They’ll tear you apart if you don’t let them out.”
He lowered his gaze, his face inscrutable. “You are exceptionally perceptive. Even my closest friends don’t suspect…” His voice broke, and he closed his eyes for a moment. She sensed a major struggle going on inside him. More softly, he said, “Our losses have cut me deeply. I strive now to prevent another.” He raised his gaze to hers, and she saw the edge of his control burning in his eyes. “I appreciate your concern, but I ask, I beg you, leave this alone. My sacrifice to the Community will become known in its own time. My friends…they have their own pain and duties to worry about. I’ll not have my personal trial added to their concerns.”
She studied him solemnly for several moments. “Very well, I won’t pry. I only mentioned it because I can sense how close you are to failure.” She put a companionable hand on his shoulder and offered a soft smile. “Confide in your brother, Vincent, if with no one else. I feel the familial bond you share, perhaps he can at least lend moral support. No one should bear trials this severe alone.”
He smiled then, a soft, hesitant gesture which helped calm the turmoil in his eyes. “Only he and Jason know my deepest pain, but Jason fights his own battle, and it’s for his cause I now suffer. Rest assured, if I feel the end of my strength draw near, I shall seek aid. For now, it’s best for all concerned that I keep my knowledge private.”
She felt deeply impressed with his fortitude. “I admire you. You are a brave and loyal man. I’ll respect your need for privacy.”
His smile brightened slightly in appreciation. “They’re waiting,” he said as he opened the suite door for her to enter, then turned away silently and retreated down the hall. She shook her head sadly and turned to meet the MacAarons.
In The Darker Path, Ki’ara, empress from another world, takes a step back from her impossible situation with Colton, unwilling vampire living in New England, and visits northern Georgia with her earth friend. While they share an evening of beverages and conversation at a tavern in Fulcrum, she attracts the attention of a vampire.
Don’t forget to comment for your chance to win an e-novel from Haven’s Realm!
They sat in a tavern in the small town of Fulcrum, Molina sipping a drink curiously called a Bloody Mary which, to Ki’ara’s relief, did not contain blood. Molly nursed a glass of white wine and she sipped ginger ale. In the center of their table lay a tray of hors d’oeuvres they’d been working on for almost an hour. While Molly and her mother talked on every subject from why Molly should move from Stone Ridge to why she had yet to be remarried, Ki’ara listened in silence. She didn’t realize her mind had wandered until Molly poked her arm.
“What? I’m sorry,” she said when she realized both women were looking at her expectantly.
“Mother asked what you think of America,” Molly told her.
“Your mind is far away,” Molina observed. “Thinking of home, eh?”
“Not exactly,” she answered self-consciously. “I have a problem to solve. I didn’t mean to be unsociable.”
“Ah, it’s a man, isn’t it?” Molina gave her a knowing smile. “Men can be a trial. But, as I’ve always said, they are worth the effort.”
“Sometimes I wonder.”
She realized suddenly they were being watched. She straightened in her chair and swept the room with her mind while she gave Molly a questioning look.
“Yes. I know,” she said softly. “He’s been watching you for half an hour.”
“I think he’s a…”
“He is,” she interrupted. “I’ve been blocking him since the moment he arrived, but you, I think, were too preoccupied. He knows you know.”
“What are you two talking about?” Molina asked as she motioned to the waitress to refill her drink.
Molly flustered for a moment. Obviously, Molina was not in on all her secrets. “A man is giving Ki’ara the eye. He’s sitting at the other end of the bar.”
Molina waited until the waitress returned with her drink before she took a look around the bar. Ki’ara mentally applauded the woman’s discretion. “He is handsome, eh?”
“You may as well turn around and look. He’s coming this way,” Molly said uncomfortably.
She took another sip of her ginger ale in an attempt at casualness while raising her protective mental shield, turning her head only when he appeared in the corner of her eye. He was handsome, she supposed, tall, well built, with dark chestnut hair and a sensitive face. His vibrant, deep blue eyes were pinned on her too intently. Seriousness in those eyes belied the gentle smile he put on his lips.
“Excuse my intrusion, but I simply cannot help myself. What must a lonely creature like me do to convince such a graceful beauty to join me in a dance?”
He spoke in a voice as smooth and light as refined honey, with just enough undertone to communicate threat. Although his stance and mannerism reflected nonchalance, his mind worked to break the wall she’d erected around hers.
“You could promise to behave like a gentleman,” she responded with enough sharpness to make him stop his mental assault. Molly kicked her under the table in warning, but she gave her a slight smile, hoping to tell her friend without word or thought she knew what she was doing.
“You have my word,” he responded, his hand extended in invitation.
She allowed him to lead her onto the dance floor, and winced inwardly when he swept her in his arms and held her too close to him.
After little more than a minute, and in a voice meant for her ears only, he commented, “You know what I am.”
“And yet you are not afraid.”
“Do you mean me harm?”
The rhythm of his steps faltered, as if her question took him by surprise. “We shall see,” he said at last. “Your friends do not appear to share your knowledge, though one has the smell about her.”
“It’s not hard to sense if a mortal has fed a vampire.” He spoke his words so close to her ear she could feel his lips move in her hair.
She shot a quick glance at Molly while suppressing her surprise. “I didn’t know.”
He shrugged. After another minute, he said, “We cannot talk freely here. You will come with me. I’d prefer you do so willingly.”
“Where will you take me?”
“I have some friends who will want to question you.”
His tone of voice, while still soft, held the undercurrent of tension already evident in his muscles, as if he were preparing for battle. Her defensive alarms switched to high alert. “What about?”
“The knowledge you hold is forbidden. Of this we will know how and why. Also, someone has been hunting us, a mortal woman with an unusual level of psychic awareness. I’m afraid you fit that description.”
She pushed herself back so she could look at him, but he continued to hold her close. She met the power of his gaze with equal resistance. “Your friends may examine me if they must until they are satisfied I am not the one you seek. Only promise me I will be returned safely to my friends once your curiosity is satisfied.”
The surprise on his face was instantaneous. “Why will you submit to me so willingly?”
“Because I have questions of my own.”
He lifted one eyebrow aristocratically. “We definitely need to talk.”
She nodded once and disengaged herself from his arms. “I’ll get my things.”
“Tell them nothing,” he warned. “You will only place them in danger.”
“I know how to be discrete,” she countered indignantly. She returned to the table and picked up her purse. “There’s something I have to do,” she told the women. “It might take a day or two.”
“Ki’ara, be careful,” Molly warned, her voice carrying many meanings.
“I think this is the best way I can solve my problem,” she said, keeping her voice light. Pulling a note pad from her purse, she added, “Write down your mother’s address. Wait for me there.”
Molly jotted down her mother’s address and handed the pad back to Ki’ara with sorrow building in her eyes.
“Going off with strangers is not wise,” she heard Molina comment.
“I’ll be all right,” she assured them both. She turned around to see the stranger standing right behind her. “Won’t I?”
He gave the seated women a bright smile. “I will be the model gentleman,” he told them.
She sensed a wave of mental energy passing from him to her friends. They instantly smiled back at him as if he were an old friend. He turned, sweeping her along with him as he exited the tavern.
She seated herself in his shiny black car and fastened the belt while he brought the engine to life. “Tell me your name.”
He glanced at her briefly as he swung onto the road. “Vincent. You?”
“I am called Ki’ara.”
“You possess mental skills uncommon among mortals.”
“It runs in my family.”
“Where are you from? Your accent is unfamiliar to me.”
“You wouldn’t believe me.”
He cast her another glance, a faint smile on his face. “Try me.”
“I am not from your world.” She held her breath in anticipation of his scorn.
“You’re right. I don’t believe you.” He shifted the car again, accelerating the vehicle at an alarming rate. “How long have you been in this area?”
“Not long. Almost a week. I’m visiting.”
“From where? And don’t say another planet this time.”
She took a deep breath and let it go slowly. “I’ve been staying in Stone Ridge, Massachusetts, in the home of a vampire.”
He downshifted and swung the car off the main road and into the woods, spraying dirt and gravel in his wake. “I will know more of this vampire,” he said tightly. “He will be disciplined for leaving you uncontrolled.”
“Why is that important?”
“You really don’t know, do you?” His voice held a note of confusion.
“Vampires don’t exist on my world,” she answered.
“Still clinging to your extraterrestrial story. Forgive me for being skeptical, but you insist on keeping your mind closed from me.”
“My people are extremely psychically sensitive. The power of the vampire mind is painful to me. If I open my mind to your scrutiny, you will damage me.”
He thumped the steering wheel with his thumbs while he considered her words. “All right, assuming your story is truth, I will enlighten you. Vampires have existed for more centuries than anyone knows. No one existing today remembers our origins. We exist outside of society, keeping our presence a closely guarded secret. Throughout time we’ve been hunted by fanatics because of a misguided belief we are all inherently evil. We are always in danger of discovery and annihilation, so I guess in that way you might call us hopelessly paranoid.”
“I see. My knowledge of your kind places you in danger.”
“That all depends on what you intend to do with your knowledge. Of course, we cannot be certain your motives won’t change in the future. This is why all mortals with knowledge of vampires are carefully kept under our control.” He slowed his car and pulled off onto an ill-used dirt road filled with ruts and potholes. After several minutes, he aimed the car at a thick crop of underbrush and pulled to a stop. “This is as far as we go.” He got out, leaving the lights on.
“Here?” She followed him and took in the midnight black surroundings with growing unease. “What are you going to do to me?”
His smile was alarming. “I’ve sent a summons to my friends. They should arrive momentarily.”
“They will question you. Once it’s certain you are not our enemy, you will be released, after we remove your memories of us and our kind.”
She shook her head. “If you attempt to do so, you will damage me. I may not recover. And I need to know as much as I can about your race. My future depends on it.”
“That we cannot allow.”
Before she could restate her need, a very large black man stepped from the shadows. His body was thick with heavy muscles, his coloring so dark he stood out among the shadows of the woods, and he had great power. She felt the waves of mental energy swirling around him in a carefully controlled storm. “This is not a good time to call me away,” he said to Vincent, his voice a deep, booming bass.
“Forgive me, Trey. It couldn’t be helped. Where are the others?”
“Open your mind and you will know.” His voice sounded as tight as his bearing.
Vincent focused his gaze at a distant point in the woods. A look of intense pain sweep over his features. “By the gods,” he whispered. “How long?”
“Carter gives Catherine an hour, two at most. All of Haven stands vigil.”
Vincent took in a deep breath and swallowed hard. “Her child?”
“He is doing all he can.”
“Excuse me,” Ki’ara interrupted. “What’s going on?”
Trey shot her a gaze filled with power. “The mate of one of our members dies in childbirth.”
“Go back now while there’s still time,” Vincent said tightly. “Bring her across.”
“Maybe I can help,” Ki’ara offered.
“Carter insists to do so will kill the child,” Trey said.
She heard a hint of deep grief in his voice.
“Feed her then. Sustain her.”
“I said I might be able to help,” Ki’ara insisted more loudly. Neither man paid attention to her.
“I’ve given all she can hold. She loses more than she gains. Her pain is great.”
“How is Joshua handling it?”
“As expected–not well.”
She felt a desperate need to help the woman they were discussing, but neither seemed to consider her important enough to listen to what she had to say. She appraised both men carefully for a moment before deciding on the best course of action to gain their attention. She grabbed Trey’s wrist with one hand, gripped it with all her strength, and scraped her nails hard on top of his forearm with the other, bringing bleeding welts to his dark skin. “She fights. Hold her,” Trey bellowed.
As she anticipated, Vincent grabbed at her. She thrust him back with the power of her mind while reaching again for Trey’s wounded arm. She almost missed her aim. Vincent reacted more quickly than she expected, and Trey moved with more agility than his size indicated. His efforts to free himself from her grasp were nearly successful. The moment her free hand covered the wound, a flash of light almost blinding in the darkness surged down her arm and into Trey’s. She released her grip and allowed Vincent to take her. “Hold still or I’ll snap your neck.”
“What did you do?” Trey asked, staring at his arm in disbelief.
“I am a healer,” she said, breathless from her exertion. “I may be able to help.”
He studied her, his gaze as dark as his skin. She could see the torrent of conflicting thoughts behind his midnight eyes. “Bring her.”
“Trey? To Haven?”
“We’ll concern ourselves with the consequences later. Come.” His command hung in the air after he disappeared.
She looked around in confusion while Vincent turned off the car’s headlights and secured the doors, then he put his arms tightly around her from behind.
“I hope you’re not afraid of heights.”
Vincent is a man of deep caring, as becomes clear in the following excerpt from Haven’s King. Jason has been struck down, and all of Haven has been searching for him while Mirissa lies in Jason’s unresponsive arms on her kitchen floor. This segment answers some of the darkness in one of my most dynamic characters.
Read the background information on my latest book, Secrets & Promises, on my website, and prepare for its release on March 29th!
The Haven’s Realm series is available from Secret Cravings Publishing.
Don’t forget to comment for your chance to win an e-novel from Haven’s Realm!
The instant the sun set, Vincent took to the sky. He headed for the one place Jason would go to if he were in trouble, Gale’s house. But Jason wasn’t there, and no one there had heard from him. Max was sound asleep in one of the upstairs bedrooms, having searched night and day until exhaustion took him out of the equation.
He flew to Mirissa’s apartment to check on her. He pounded several times on her patio door before she opened it. He saw in an instant she was dying, but hard urgency sparked in her eyes. “Vincent!” She reached for him, caught him by the arm, and dragged him through the apartment. As he crossed the threshold, Tobias manifested himself. He watched with grave concern, but didn’t comment.
When he saw Jason lying on the floor of the kitchenette, he dropped to his knees beside him. “By the gods!”
“He didn’t wake up when the sun set,” she explained, her voice raspy from the misuse of tears. “I tried to make him feed. He just…”
“Did he say anything? Anything at all?”
She nodded. “He said he was poisoned.”
“Did he say by whom?”
“No. He only spoke three words before he lost consciousness. The way he looked at me…”
Vincent pried Jason’s eyes open, took in the clouded orbs with a groan, and turned his eyes on her. “He needs blood. Without it, he’ll die.”
“I tried. He won’t take me. He won’t even respond.”
“Then we’ll just have to force it on him,” he said, grabbing her wrist.
“Wait! What are you doing?”
He lifted her wrist to his mouth. His gaze pinned her. She resisted. “Don’t fight me, Mirissa.”
She pulled her hand away. “No. I’ll do it myself.” She reached behind her into one of the drawers and pulled out a knife. She held it over her wrist and met his gaze. Dark determination gleamed in hers. “I’m going to let him take all he needs,” she declared through her clenched teeth.
“If he kills you…”
“You won’t let him. Stop him before I’m gone. I want you to finish the job.”
“You want me to kill you?”
“I want you to turn me.”
He stared at her for a few moments in silence. Tobias remained stoically observant. “I can’t do that.”
“You vowed your life to me, Vincent. You promised to protect me.”
“I didn’t think I’d have to protect you from yourself.”
“Jason could be down for a while. That’s if he lives at all. I don’t want to be an old woman or dead in my grave when he wakes up. Please. Promise me you’ll do this.”
“Are you sure this is what you want?” Tobias asked her, his voice thick and tight.
She lifted pleading eyes to her guardian. “I’m sorry, Tobias. I’m too deeply committed to just let him go. I want to be here to help him though this.”
Vincent shook his head. “This goes against my better judgment.”
“I’m asking you,” she whispered, desperation evident in her voice and in her eyes.
“Very well, Mirissa. I vow I will not let Jason end your life.”
She nodded, clenched her teeth, and drove the point of the blade deep into the underside of her wrist. Blood instantly spurted from the wound. She dropped the knife and applied pressure to the cut until it touched Jason’s lips. Vincent held his head up and back, allowing the blood to pour down his throat.
Jason woke with a start. His fangs drove deep into her flesh. She cried out in pain, but didn’t withdraw. He clenched her arm tightly and drew from her hard and fast. She lost consciousness very quickly.
Vincent wrestled her away from Jason’s grasp. He lay on the floor on his back, sweating profusely, his body convulsing. Vincent put a hand on his head and ordered him to sleep. Then he lifted her wounded wrist to his lips and prepared to drain her.
“No, Vincent,” a soft voice filled with power said from behind. He spun around in surprise and stared at the beautiful woman standing in the open space between the kitchen and living room. She was dressed in shimmering white silk. A gold crown rested among mountains of golden curls that tumbled down in front of one shoulder. “Her time has not yet come.”
“Who are you?”
“I am the one whom the Greeks named Athena.”
He felt himself shrinking back in awe. “Athena!”
“Mirissa has a destiny to fulfill. It is not yet time for her mortal life to end.”
“She’s bound to Jason,” he argued. “He will drain her life force if I don’t turn her.”
“You must bind yourself to her, Vincent. You vowed your life for her, now your life force must sustain her.” She extended her hand, and when he held his out, she dropped a golden pendant into it. He recognized the figure of an owl for its cultural significance. “This charm holds my favor. Warn her she must never be without it. It will protect her from supernatural forces.” She knelt to the floor and placed a kiss on Mirissa’s forehead. “You are to be his perfect mate,” she said to the unconscious Mirissa. “Remember this, if you remember nothing else.” With that, she vanished.
Vincent indulged in a relieved sigh, lifted Mirissa’s open wrist to his lips and drank only as much as he needed before sealing the wounds, then carried her to her bed. After securing the pendant to her neck, he sank his fangs into his own wrist. While his blood flowed down her throat, he felt the bond form. She drank weakly while he carefully kept her mind at rest.
Once he made it past her mental block, he issued the instructions required of him by the Bargain. “Vampires do not exist. Forget all you know about the Community, and anyone you know connected with them. Jason, your…your husband, had to leave suddenly to offer his talents to the aid of his homeland’s financial crisis. He…” He choked back a sob and swallowed hard. “He may be gone for quite a while, but he will return for you just as soon as he’s able. Hold on to that hope. For now, you must go on with your life as though everything is normal. You’ll keep the fact of your marriage secret until Jason returns.
“A trust will be opened for you at Freedom National Bank in case of emergency. Wear this pendant close to your heart. Never be without it. Think of it as a magic charm that will protect you from evil.” He stroked her cheek softly. “I will always be near, Miri. Though you cannot know it, I will support you to the end of my strength, and when the time is right, I’ll come for you.” He placed a soft kiss on her forehead and left her room.
He lifted Jason and cradled him in his arms. Once on the balcony, he paused, looked into the now empty living room, and said, “I charge you with her protection now, Tobias. The Community will have no contact with her from this moment on. She is your responsibility alone until Jason wakes.” A faint shimmer flashed for an instant across her threshold before the doors closed and the lock engaged, Tobias’ nonverbal way of acknowledging his control. With a nod, Vincent soared silently into the night and carried Haven’s King home.
Check out these great reviews by Rhonda Valverde and Theresa D. about my Haven’s Realm series…
Joshua and Catherine are the central characters in this romantic story. I loved the two of them together. Their personalities are very similar, and they made sense as a couple. Both are quiet, thoughtful, and traditional in their beliefs. Joshua, being a vampire, has been around for ages. As a reader, you get the impression he has learned some hard lessons in life and love. Catherine is only seventeen when the reader starts to really know her character. She is so responsible and mature, that it is hard to grasp that she hasn’t yet graduated high school. It is apparent that she had to grow up much faster than her peers.
Monteau wrote the perfect love story to fit her character’s personalities. In the beginning it was a traditional courtship, and very innocent. The budding relationship was caring and sweet, and as it progressed it grew more passionate. She also did an outstanding job with the character development, she gave readers the history of both Joshua and Catherine and we learned how they became they people they are presently. The story isn’t an extremely fast paced book, but it does capture your attention and imagination from the start. Monteau builds on to the story in a way that keeps you right there with her throughout the whole journey.
I previously read other books in the series, and I am happy to have the opportunity to start them from the beginning. Twilight Destiny isn’t my favorite of the Haven’s Realm books, but for me the first book in a series seldom is. Please don’t take that to mean I didn’t like the book, because that is not the case at all. Twilight Destiny is an enjoyable paranormal romance that centers around two beautiful and endearing characters, and a great start to the series.
**Reviewed by Teresa D. for VampireRomanceBooks.com**
The Darker Path is the second book in the Haven’s Realm Series. Ki’ara is about to become empress of her world. In order to lead her people it is imperative that she find a mate, but she is discouraged by her choices. After searching for advice to guide her she is given the choice of two paths. The path she chooses leads her to earth and a vampire named Colton.
Ki’ara is a beautiful woman who has great responsibility to her people. I felt a little sorry for her character because it seemed she had to live up to the expectations of everyone else instead of seeking her own happiness. Colton was made vampire against his will and lives secluded only with his servant and the ghosts of his past. He hates what he is, and is very self-loathing. The reader’s heart will go out to him because his loneliness is so apparent, even underneath his surly demeanor.
When I started reading the book I was really thrown off by the whole alien world thing. I will admit my heart kind us sunk a little, because I just couldn’t see how it tied in with what I knew of the Haven books. The more I read, the more I got into the story, and before I knew it I was totally engrossed and very much enjoying the book. Monteau took every expectation I had and turned it upside down. I enjoy her style of storytelling and her attention to detail. I also feel that through her words you learn everything about the characters inside and out. I liked the fact she included my favorite characters from the first book, and tied them into the story without it feeling forced.
The Darker Path is a novel that can stand quite well on its own. I still recommend starting from the first book so you will know about the other characters that make an appearance. I must say that I have had a good time with the series so far. I find the stories to be easy reads that I can curl up with and get lost in. I will definitely continue reading the Haven’s Realm Series.
**Reviewed by Teresa D. for VampireRomanceBooks.com**
Ronan is the only vampire of his kind. Owing somoone a favor, he is sent to protect the beautiful spy, Tyler. He has lived a life of seclusion, but he is immediately taken with Tyler and places her in more danger than he could ever imagine. Ronan must seek out the vampire community he has tried so hard to avoid to keep Tyler safe.
I loved Ronan from the beginning, first appearing in the story so bold and mysterious. Choosing to live in seclusion for reasons soon revealed, I felt a sad for him and I found his character even more endearing. Tyler feels herself incapable of love, and she lives solely for her job. She is tough and fearless, except for when it comes to matters of the heart. Necessity makes it so she must give herself over to trust Ronan, which is unfamiliar territory. Together these two have to explore new feelings of love and trust.
I really enjoyed Monteau’s storytelling. This was a very exciting and fast paced read. From the first pages the action was non-stop and I couldn’t seem to tear my eyes from the pages. It was a fun read, I didn’t have to put a lot of thought into it, and I just sat back and allowed myself to be entertained.
Dragon Lord is the third book in the Haven’s Realm series, but it is able to stand on its own. I enjoyed this read and look forward to learning more about this intriguing vampire community.
**Reviewed by Teresa D. for VampireRomanceBooks.com**
Haven’s King is the fourth installment of the Haven’s Realm series. Jason, an ancient Greek vampire, falls in love with beautiful police officer, Mirissa at first sight and decides he must have her. To win her he cannot use his vampire influence and his affections can place them both in great danger.
One of the things I liked about this book was that it had such a colorful list of characters: vampires, gods, angels and dragons. I felt strongly for Jason’s character. He is an ancient who has been through so much love and loss, but remains a very strong force. Another character that I was really drawn to was Vincent, a vampire who swears his loyalty to Mirissa in Jason’s absence. It is implied, to me anyway, that he has had a hard existence and there is a certain sadness to him. I am really curious to read more about him and I look forward to his book.
This exciting story takes place in modern times, but is blended with Greek mythology. I really like the way these two elements blended together seamlessly. The author makes sure there is more than enough action and romance to keep the reader entertained. This book stood pretty well on its own, but being the third book in the series, I felt like I was missing some information and regretted that I hadn’t had the opportunity to read the first two books.
Monteau has created a series that will appeal to fans of the paranormal genre. It is well written with marvelous storylines. Another thing that I really find appealing is that Monteau’s writing style really makes for a fun and easy read.
**Reviewed by Teresa D for VampireRomanceBooks.com**
The Haven’s Realm series is available from Secret Cravings Publishing.
Vincent has been a regular in all Haven’s Realm stories. Throughout the series, he’s presented himself as somewhat enigmatic and brooding. He wasn’t always this way, but over the past four years, his resources have been taxed to the limit. In fact, by the time I reached Dragon Lord, Vincent was so weakened by his ongoing struggle, he managed only to be mentioned a few times. In Haven’s King, some of the reason for Vincent’s ongoing trauma is revealed. In Secrets & Promises, you’ll learn the whole truth.
Because Vincent’s story is still in editing, I can’t share excerpts. So, for the rest of this event, I’ll be sharing excerpts from my earlier works in which Vincent interacts with my other characters. The following excerpt is the first time we meet Vincent. In it, Joshua MacAaron is on his way to Catherine’s house, to follow up after leaving her a gift. He hasn’t heard from her yet, and decides to confront her.
During the half-hour drive to her home, he contemplated the prospect of seeing her again. He almost turned the car around more than once, feeling strongly he was making a mistake. “Why am I doing this?” he asked himself out loud. “I’m not that lonely.” He knew full well that wasn’t the truth. In fact, he realized how lonely his existence had become the moment he’d laid eyes on her.
An unexpected pang of anxiety struck him in the chest with all the force and pain of a wooden stake when he turned up the dirt road to her home. He slammed on the brake, skidded to a stop on the soft shoulder and killed the engine. He didn’t have to look in the mirror to know his eyes were glowing red–the urgent need to feed and the sudden sharpness of his fangs told him that much, as did the feral growl that escaped through his clenched teeth.
He jumped from the car, moved to sit on its hood, and slumped over until his head was level with his knees. Still, the pain in his heart persisted, giving him the unreasonable urge to draw in breath he didn’t need. Even the sighs that escaped him on occasion were mere affectations–some of his mortal habits had refused to die.
“I’ve never seen you this out of control, brother.” He was on his feet in an instant at the sound of the familiar voice. Vincent stepped from the shadows and leaned casually against a nearby tree. “It must be a woman,” he observed evenly. “Some tender mortal has drawn your attention again.”
“What are you doing here?” To his own ears, his voice sounded rough and menacing.
“I was in the neighborhood,” he replied smoothly, moving to stand beside him and place a familiar hand on his arm. “I sensed your presence and thought I’d pay you a visit. I had no idea you’d be so…entertaining.”
“I don’t need this right now.” He turned away sharply and glared into the woods.
“Sorry,” Vincent offered half-heartedly. “I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there too many times myself.”
“I know you have,” he said, not without sympathy. He felt himself calming and affected a long sigh in relief.
“I know you’re unwilling to repeat past mistakes. Still, you’ve been alone too long. You really should consider returning to Haven. We’ve missed you.”
He snorted his disgust. “Antonia no doubt has plenty of other toys to play with.”
“Our Mother in Darkness has her appetites, but once she takes a creature to heart, he stays there.”
“Well, I’m not interested in her kind of affection.”
“No, you were always the serious, devoted type,” he reflected, offering his own sigh. “Do you intend to pursue this new mortal?”
“Are you asking as my brother and oldest friend, or as a member of the Council of Elders?”
Caution and sorrow dimmed his sapphire eyes. “That all depends upon who you need me to be.”
He closed his eyes, drew in a deep breath, and pushed it out along with more of his anxiety. He knew too well Vincent’s responsibilities. It would never do to lose control in front of a Council representative, friend or no. “What I do here does not concern the Council. I won’t endanger the Community. I’ll take the girl before I let that happen.” He put his hands on the roof of the car and lowered his head. “I remember too well what happened last time.”
Vincent put a supportive hand on his shoulder. The familiar gesture evaporated what was left of his inner turmoil. “Don’t worry, Josh. I won’t tell the others about the girl. No Enforcers will be hounding your movements. Just promise me you’ll be careful.”
He turned around and rested against the car door. With his fangs safely retracted, he felt much more like his usual, calm self. “You know I will.”
Vincent smiled. “I’ll be in the area for a while. I don’t plan to return to Haven until next month. Perhaps I can stop by your home later. We could share a drink and catch up.”
He returned his old friend’s smile and felt more calm flow through him. “I’d like that.” With a nod, Vincent took flight, leaving him alone to slide behind the steering wheel of his Sebring. He sat there for a moment, gripping the wheel tightly with both hands. “If you’re not going to go through with this, now is the time to turn back.” He waited, but the urge to return home didn’t come. No, he had to move forward, see this through to the end. For good or ill, he’d give it his best effort, to Hell with the consequences. He turned the key and gunned the engine, letting the sudden roar express for him his frustration before continuing his journey to her home.
Jason has just told Mirissa that he really is the man who once lead the Argonauts, and that Hera wants her dead. Now he’s told her why he’s over three thousand years old – he’s a vampire!
“Do I look like I’m joking?”
“Vampires aren’t real.”
“Then explain me.”
Mirissa licked her lips. “You are not a…you can’t possibly be…”
Jason sighed again and shook his head. “Step inside your apartment, and I’ll prove it to you.”
“Prove it right now.”
He shook his head at her challenge. “I’ll scare you. In there, you’re safe from me.”
“Because I haven’t invited you in.” Suddenly that part made sense. “You can’t go into someone’s home uninvited.”
“Only certain homes give me trouble. Max’s home is not protected. Yours is.”
She jumped to her feet, almost upsetting her chair, and backed away. “I’ve seen you in daylight,” she argued over the growing dread in her chest. “I’ve seen your reflection.”
“You’ve only seen me in the early hours of morning. You noticed how I kept to the shadows inside Gale’s home. The older I become, the more sunlight I can tolerate. I’m a solid being. I reflect light and cast shadows just like you do.”
She took another step backward. One more step, and she’d be inside her apartment. She tried hard to think of something, anything, that would prove him wrong, but she couldn’t recall one instance when he put food in his mouth. And his hands were awful cold. She swallowed hard and stood her ground. “Show me.”
He leaned forward on the table and clasped his hands tightly together. “Promise you won’t scream or anything. It could be embarrassing, trying to explain me to the neighbors.”
She put her hands firmly over her mouth and nodded.
He closed his eyes and bowed his head.
For a moment, she thought he might be praying. When he raised his eyes to her, a scream tore from her throat. She was instantly glad she’d clamped her mouth shut. His eyes were red and glowing.
“This is what I am,” he said gently, his impressively long fangs peeking from his lips.
“Oh my God,” she whispered.
“I’m nobody’s god, Miri, nor do I wish to be.”
She nervously took a step backward and felt the carpet compress beneath her feet. The feeling of security wrapped itself around her like a blanket. The sorrow on his face brought her more tears.
He blinked, bringing his eyes back to their normal deep brown, and rose to his feet. “Please don’t be afraid of me. If I really wanted to hurt you, I would’ve tried to by now.”
“I don’t want to be afraid of you. I think I’m just having trouble processing all this.”
He stopped just short of entering the apartment, and stood in front of her with a look that tore at her heart. “I have loved you practically from the moment I first laid eyes on you. What you feel for me now is from your own heart. I’ve never compelled you or influenced your heart in any way. I won’t do anything to you, or with you, without your informed consent. I can’t.”
He shook his head and looked past her into the dark corner of her apartment. A pained look crossed his face. “I’d be destroyed for attempting it.”
She felt more confused. “What are you talking about now?”
He turned away abruptly. The grip he put on the balcony rail looked strong enough to splinter the wood. Tension pulled at the muscles in his jaw and shoulders. “Tobias, stop this. You know she needs to know.”
“Tobias? Jason, what…?”
“You’re protected,” he grated. He grunted tightly and dropped to his knees.
She wanted to go to him. The alarms in her head were warning her loudly to stay put. “Jason, what’s wrong?”
“Ask your guardian,” he gritted.
“Are you having some kind of attack?”
“No, Miri, I’m under attack.”
She looked around her apartment, searching for whatever could be doing him harm. Everything looked perfectly normal. She took a deep breath to steady her nerves and went to him while the alarms rose to a painful pitch. By the time she reached him, her head felt ready to split. “Stop it. Please,” she cried, pressing the heels of her hands to her temples. The pain continued. Pressure built in her chest until she thought she was going to suffocate. “Damn it, quit attacking me!” She felt irrational, yelling at the air while her head pounded.
“Go back inside,” Jason whispered. “It’s the only way to silence him.”
“He thinks he’s protecting you from me,” he said through gritted teeth. “He’s angry with me for revealing his presence to you. He’s a warrior, Miri. His name is Tobias.”
Tyler Jenkins has just survived the most bizarre interrogation (and torture) she could ever imagine, and has been returned to the cell with Ronan, who she believes is dead, where she collapsed and passed out beside his drying pool of blood. Before he submitted to restorative rest, Ronan hypnotized Tyler, changing her language and her name so their captors wouldn’t learn her secrets. Now she must face truths no sane person would believe…
“Spider, get up.” Tyler tried to reply, but her throat refused to respond. She lay surrounded in a warm mist nothing could penetrate. It was seductive, compelling. She wanted to stay in the safety of the mist. She didn’t want to wake.
“Tyler.” The soft voice filtered into her mind, but she couldn’t make herself react in any way. She really didn’t want to. Then she felt a hand on her shoulder.
She surged to her feet, ready for battle.
“Whoa now, girl,” Ronan said quickly, using the language he had given her. “You’re back in the cell.”
She stared at him for a moment, reconciling reality against the disjointed imagery of her dreams. Then she started to sink to her knees, but he quickly put his arm around her and led her to the bunk. More than a minute passed before she trusted herself to meet his concerned gaze. His eyes were blue again, but instead of stark light-blue rings around his pupils, he had bright flecks of gold. She thought she saw hints of actual flames burning inside his pupils, but when she blinked and looked again, they were solid black and fathomless. A look of understanding flickered across his face.
“Most people don’t notice my eyes,” he said in an odd tone.
“Why aren’t you dead?”
It seemed to take him a few moments to realize why she’d asked that question. Seating himself on the edge of the bunk, he said, “I’m a very sound sleeper, as you’ve no doubt noticed.”
“No,” she insisted. “You weren’t breathing. When they came to take me, I yelled loud enough to…to wake the dead, no pun intended.”
“I am sorry,” he said. He put a cool finger on her chin and studied her face, then tenderly touched the bruises on her cheekbone, temple and jaw line. “I meant to protect you, and it seems I can barely take care of myself.” He lifted one of her hands in his and examined the swollen wrist. “Was it bad?” he asked softly.
The feel of his hands on her flesh, the coldness of his skin on hers, sent a shiver up her arm. “Bad enough,” she answered, retrieving her hand.
He looked at her, his face practically inscrutable. She had the strangest feeling he could see into her soul. He turned his attention to his abdomen, relieving her of his gaze, and plucked at a piece of tape. “Tell me about Spider.”
“Don’t do that! You should give it time to…” She let her sentence trail off when she saw the unmarked flesh beneath the tape. He rubbed the irritation from his skin and picked at another. “How the hell…?”
“I heal quickly,” he commented as he peeled the tape from below his shoulder. “Spider?”
“People don’t heal that quickly.”
He heaved what sounded like a sigh of resignation. “I am unlike any person you’ve ever known. And you haven’t answered me.”
“That’s because I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She had a feeling he saw through her guarded tone.
He grunted, dismissing the subject. “What did they tell you about me?”
Her mind jumped to her recent nightmare while he picked at the tapes on his legs. “They were talking nonsense,” she told him. “Personally, I think Courleon is insane.”
He glanced up at her, then turned away without comment and motioned for her to remove the tapes on his back. As she fumbled with them, her wrists sent reminders of their trauma, along with the vivid memory of the most unusual interrogation she’d ever witnessed. After removing the last tape, she rubbed his skin with the backs of her fingers, taking in the firm, cool flesh and absence of even the slightest hint of injury.
“My God, can it be true?” she whispered.
He leaned toward the wall, braced his arm against it, and met her gaze. “That I’m a vampire? Yes.” His voice and manner were casual, matter-of-fact, as if his admission wasn’t unusual.
“There’s no such thing as vampires.”
“You only believe there is not.”
She scooted herself against the wall and drew her knees to her chest. After moistening her lips with the tip of her tongue to relieve their sudden dryness, she said, “Okay, then, show me your fangs.”
He leaned forward, bringing his face to within a foot of hers. The gold flecks in his eyes seemed to sparkle for a moment. He inhaled slowly, apparently taking in her scent, while her own breath caught in her throat. “You would rather I did not,” he said, his voice suddenly tight.
“Are you going to bite me?” she asked, her voice coming out barely louder than a whisper.
“Not if I can help it,” he replied, straightening again.
“Can you? Help it, I mean.”
“I don’t take the blood of innocents.” He stood up to retrieve his clothing. “Not unless they ask me to.”
“I’m no innocent.”
“You are strong and experienced. You have had a very hard life, and that has toughened you against the world. But you have not shared your bed with another. You’ve never felt the heat of passion. That makes you innocent.”
“How do you know so much about me? Damn it, get outta my head!”
“I need not get into your head, as you so delightfully put it. You are broadcasting your thoughts so loudly any human with moderate talent could hear them.”
“But your condition…If I understand at least half of what you’re saying, then you really, really need blood. P-probably a lot of it.”
“Yes,” he answered while buttoning his shirt casually. “Unfortunately, that is so. If it were up to me, I would starve rather than take your blood. I can’t tell you what would happen if my life came to an end. I promised to protect you, but if no other meal presents itself, in the end I’ll have to take you. I promise to hold off as long as I can.”
His manner and tone of voice were too casual, as if merely predicting the outcome of a sporting event. There was nothing casual in the way she took the threat. She relaxed against the wall, too much in shock to fully appreciate the gravity of her situation. “Great. I’m stuck in a cell with a hungry vampire.”
Learning the man you love is a vampire isn’t easy. Ki’ara, an empress from another planet, has just learned about vampires from her earthly friend and adviser, and is now walking the few miles to Graves Manor in thoughtful contemplation.
Don’t forget to comment for your chance to win an e-novel from Haven’s Realm!
Tamara MonteauHaven’s Realm
… She turned left and followed the side street to Plymouth Drive. To her left the main road led back to town, and to the right, the woods and the manor. She took less than half a dozen steps in the latter direction when she felt a sudden surge of fear.
A tense moment passed before she realized the fear wasn’t her own–it came from a man somewhere down Plymouth Drive. She hesitated, shook her head, and turned around to investigate. Every step brought her closer to the source of the fear. After she’d passed the first block, she realized she’d missed it, and turned back. In a darkened alleyway, she saw the silhouette of two people locked in a strange embrace. She took one hesitant step into the alleyway, another, and one more, until the men became clearer to her eyes. She gasped her surprise as Colton released the man he’d been holding and spun to face her.
“What are you doing here?” His voice was low and menacing, but his eyes caught and held her attention–they were aglow with feral red fire. “You followed me. I warned you not to interfere.” He closed the gap between them much more quickly than anyone should be able to move. “Why couldn’t you just stay away?”
She couldn’t move. Couldn’t think. With great effort, she pulled her gaze away from his and turned toward the man lying in the center of the alleyway. “You killed him.” Her voice came out a whisper and revealed her confusion.
“Yes. That’s what I do. Are you satisfied now?”
She saw the blood dripping from his anguished lips, the sharp fangs peeking from behind them. “Why?”
He laced his fingers in the hair at the back of her head and pulled backward sharply enough to bring tears to her eyes. “I need blood. This is what I am.” He pulled her closer, and she thought she saw a hint of regret on his face when he whispered tightly, “Oh, why couldn’t you leave this alone?”
He was going to kill her. She saw it on his face and felt it in his rage. Waves of torment and sorrow poured from his heart, mingling with a hunger both dark and insatiable. Instead of fearing for her life or the loss of her destiny, she felt pity for the man holding her brutally in his arms. She couldn’t hope to fight him. In his present state, he was far too powerful. Resisting him would only prolong the pain he’d surely inflict.
With surrender her only remaining option, she braced herself against the shock and opened her mind to him while he moved to her throat. His conflicting thoughts and feelings instantly flooded her mind, and just as it had the night she arrived, his power overwhelmed her. She lost consciousness before his fangs penetrated her throat.