To save her people, she needs his blood.
A deadly sickness has been picking off the dwarven race one by one, and now that they are on the brink of extinction, Kirsa Frey must take desperate action. Even if it means risking her life and those of her people by trapping a vampire to use his immortal blood.
Luca Dragomir is plagued with the loss of many loved ones—friends, family, and even the woman he cared for. Unable to stand the daily reminder of his grief, he gives up his birthright, wanting nothing to do with the vampires he called family. When he leaves the only life he’s ever known, he is cornered and captured by a beautiful dwarf and taken back to her settlement.
He soon realizes there might be another way to save her people. And he is the only person who can do it.
But time is running out, and if he doesn’t succeed, he is in danger of losing the one person he comes to love more than anything.
“Chloe?” a voice called from within the room. His head darted toward the sound, and shock jolted through him as he remembered the voice from the night he’d almost killed the princess.
“Hide,” Chloe ordered, but he didn’t need any warning. He hopped down from the ledge and allowed his vampiristic transformation to wash over him, his feet turning into small black paws, his body into a furry red coat. As a fox, he easily hid behind a flowerpot and peeked his head around the corner just enough to watch the speaker walk out onto the balcony to join Chloe.
His heart caught in his chest, like his hair snagging tightly on a branch that wouldn’t come loose, but only managed to become more tangled. The female stood at a height shorter than Chloe, each of her movements careful and calculated. She walked on the tip of her toes as if ready to flee in the opposite direction at any moment. Although he’d never seen one before in his life, he recognized her for what she was.
His heart finally unsnagged and melted into a puddle as his gaze roamed over her heart-shaped face and across the bridge of her adorable nose. He couldn’t tear his gaze away from her golden eyes. They looked like small drops of sunlight, framed by long, dark lashes the same color as her chestnut brown hair. The clothing she wore was like nothing he’d ever seen either. Long, flowing pants tucked into a pair of boots, though her top was more revealing. It strapped over one shoulder, loosely falling over her upper arm and leaving her other shoulder bare, and nearly half of her stomach was visible to reveal a small and slender waist.
Not able to take his gaze off her mystifying eyes for long, he watched from his hiding spot, hardly able to keep from showing himself and demanding her name.
“You’re back,” Chloe said casually, but her rigid posture was anything but relaxed.
“I thought I’d find one by now,” the dwarf replied tiredly, loosening her braid little by little until her hair fell around her shoulders. He froze, startled by the searing heat rising to his chest. Another emotion, but one he couldn’t pick apart in time before the dwarf continued, “They were easier to catch several years ago.”
“That was before the war.”
He crept forward just enough to get a better glimpse of the two females, but then his canine eyebrows furrowed. War? Were they talking about the Crusader war between vampires and blood hunters?
Chloe’s rigid posture softened into concern, and she lightly touched the dwarf’s arm. “Get some rest. You need it.”
The dwarf shook her head. “I will rest when I’m either dead or watching my people prosper. There is no time to rest.”
As quickly as she’d come, she disappeared, and Luca couldn’t stop himself as he followed after her. He transformed back into his vampire form, hurried step after hurried step as a desperate need to meet her surfaced inside him.
And then Chloe blocked his path.
“Who was that?” he marveled, still staring after the spot where he’d seen the dwarven female last.
She smirked, amusement shining in her eyes. “Taken a fancy to my friend, have you? She needs a male admirer now and again.”
“Introduce me. I beg you.”
The word was simple, but it held an air of finality that crushed his heart to pieces. He hadn’t taken a true interest in any female since Laurel, but at the moment, his old flame was on the very back of his mind. How could he think of anyone else when the dwarf’s golden eyes burned so brightly in his mind?
He took another step toward her door, but when he tried to step into the room, blistering heat burned his skin. He hissed and jumped backward, cradling his arm to his chest. The wound throbbed, a painful reminder that he couldn’t enter a room without permission. He’d never felt so desperate to enter a room before.
“Luca.” Her tone sounded forceful enough for him to tear his gaze away from the door and meet the seriousness in her expression. With lips drawn tight together, she said, “I will never introduce you to her. Never.”
“But why?” A vampire whine escaped his throat before he managed to stop it. “Is she already mated?”
“Married,” she corrected, making him realize he knew nothing about dwarven culture. Was it similar to human culture then? “And no, she’s not. But I advise you to keep your distance.”
An ache settled in his chest, and he welcomed the feeling of his thawing emotions. But he much preferred the heat the dwarf inspired in his heart over anything else. “Give me a reason.”
Chloe sighed and touched his hand gently, the way a friend would console another friend. “Her name is Kirsa Frey. She’s the eldest daughter of the dwarven chief. And she’s a vampire killer.”