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Once Upon the Longest Night is an anthology of romantic vampire that will release in a couple of days.
The longest night. A vampire’s delight.
The winter solstice, a time of birth and rebirth, life and death, waning light and rising darkness. A time when those who flee the sun and crave the taste of blood find their greatest solace.
But one never knows what the longest night might hold.
Once Upon the Longest Night, a collection of adult paranormal romances, features eight novelettes of lovers and their battles against one of the greatest legends of our time: the vampire. A 15th-century seaman and the love of his life come face to face with a vengeful manjasang. In ancient Rome, a hunted priestess captured by a loyal centurion offers her aid to the enemy. With the help of a handsome Royal courier, a reluctant Romanian princess braves the curse flowing within her noble blood. Danger awaits when a vampire in the far reaches of North Dakota must endure the lethal cold to protect the woman she loves. And in a future New York, a broken general returns home for the Longest Night Ball where he meets a young male witch who might change his life forever.
This anthology combines vampire mythos and affairs of the heart with the sacred symbolism and magic of the winter season.
Sit back and let us tell you a tale. Welcome to the Longest Night.
Heat levels: Sweet to erotic.
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Memories of Stone by Elizabeth Vaughan: Ercula is weary, tired of fleeing, considered a monster by the Romans. But the Solstice is sacred to her goddess, and she will worship at the forgotten shrine, whatever the risk. The centurion who captures her has other plans.
Silver Heart by Charissa Weaks: 15th Century Italy. After a decade at sea and with an inheritance in hand, Cristiano Del Valle returns to his childhood home of Venezia in search of a new beginning. What he finds on the longest night is an ancient enemy who not only threatens the life he’s long desired but the love he thought he’d lost.
Elisabetta stood before the hearth of Pietro’s drafty workroom, unraveling her braids. She wore a silken nightrail and slippers, her wavy hair loose down her back. She turned away from the fire Milosh had kindly started and ran nervous hands along Pietro’s worktable. She knew her brother’s space as well as the main house, from every mortar and pestle to every brush and painting.
Her fingertips drifted atop jars of pigments, counting until she reached number eight. Indigo. She’d always loved that color. She wished to dip her finger into bright paint and draw her name across Cristiano’s skin, to mark him as hers, for in her heart, he always had been. No other had ever given her such desires or made her heart flutter or her body ache. None had ever stolen her every waking thought.
Footsteps approached in the entrance hall a moment before the door creaked open and the iron lock latched behind. She imagined Cristiano stepping into the room, dark skin gleaming under torchlight, a midnight-colored mantle draped over his broad shoulders.
“Elisabetta.” Her name rolled off his tongue with as much desperation as she felt coursing through her veins.
She went to him. He smelled like winter and felt like it, too. She brought his hands to her mouth, blowing warm breaths across his shaking fingers.
“Something amiss?” she said. “You’re trembling.”
“Nothing’s amiss,” he assured, though she wasn’t sure she believed him.
“Is it because I’ve brought you to Pietro’s workhouse? Would you rather return to our rooms and forget all this?”
He hugged her close and kissed the top of her head. “No, my love. All is well. Unless you’ve changed your mind.”
She shook her head. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Don’t be troubled.”
He tugged one hand free and touched her locks, placing a thick handful over her shoulder. “I’ve never seen your hair like this. I’m without words.”
Her face and neck warmed. Attempting to change the subject, she turned toward the workroom and gestured. “Pietro comes here when the house is too noisy for him to think.” She smiled. “So do I, sometimes.”
His hand slid across her stomach and closed on her waist; his mouth brushed against her ear. “Have we come here to think, then?”
Her eyes drifted closed. Her heart fluttered. “No.”
He pulled her to him and kissed her more deeply than any other kiss they’d shared, a ravenous kiss, brutal and greedy.
Heat consumed her. She untied his mantle and tossed the garment aside. He stripped her with deft hands, and she him, until they stood bare.
“You are so beautiful.” He touched his forehead to hers, his hands roaming over her body until they settled heavy on her naked hips. “Are you certain?”
She teased his bottom lip with her teeth. “Nevermore.”
The Lobster Trick by Dan Stout: Jacqueline doesn’t mind her job as an overnight security guard. After all, what’s the worst that could happen at a blood bank? But when an armed group invades the building, Jacqueline is forced into action to save a handsome lab tech… and discovers that his shy smile might hide a shocking secret.
Her Blood to Bind by Alice Black: To escape the vampire who made her, a former dominatrix takes a job in Costa Rica as an English tutor to the children of a wealthy widower. What she discovers is that her new employer is just as dangerous as her pursuer…and twice as tempting.
Blooded by Linda Robertson: Miriana Jorgeta rejoiced when her distant and cruel mother, the Queen, sent her away from Romania to attend a girl’s school in England. For years, she lived a life so perfect she almost forgot about the duties of her heritage. But curses rarely remain hidden, and soon, with the help of her mother’s royal courier, Miriana must face the truth about what really lurks in her blood.
His Last Battle by Sara Dobie Bauer: Suffering from PTSD, vampire general Devlin Frost returns home from the war on Lycans and attends the historic Longest Night Ball. Here, royal witch Elijah Crow must choose three immortal suitors to compete for his love and power. When Devlin is shockingly chosen as one of the three, his immediate attraction to the young witch coaxes him into entering the fray, but this battle is for more than Elijah’s love. The broken general might also win back his ruined heart and bruised soul–if he survives the night.
Everyone knew Westwyck Coven threw the best Longest Night Ball. Devlin had been there before, six years prior, before heading off on another successful tour to battle the Lycans in Africa. Ever since they’d butchered all the humans on that continent, the werewolves had been trying to invade upon the rest of the world.
He’d only been home for a matter of weeks and had yet to remember how to be normal, although “normal” was difficult to quantify within the bounds of fae high society. As a soldier, the aristocracy frustrated Devlin. He’d spent hundreds of years fighting bloody battles with wolves, yet it was the wealthy that scared him most—with their passive-aggressive posturing and sickly sweet smiles. At least werewolves came at him with teeth bared. Now that he was back in New York, it was impossible to know who wanted to be a friend and who wanted him dead.
And, there was the matter of the posadh.
Some royal witch had apparently just turned eighteen, and as per custom, she was forced to choose three possible vampire mates to compete over her for the duration of December twenty-first’s darkest hours. Deflowering a virgin witch gave vampires increased power—whether that be physical, influential, or financial. That power could last upward of one hundred years, so competition was famously fierce. At least one of the three “suitors” usually ended up dead. It was a disgusting business but part of fae high society. The union benefited vampires, but it also granted witches a vampire’s immortality, ensuring the secrets of magic lived on and on, all part of the treaty’s give and take. Devlin wanted nothing to do with it. Already, he missed the war.
A Breath Between by Jodi Henry: After a century of killing her own kind, Arianna Guerri retired to a place no other vampire dare go. In the deadly cold of North Dakota, she built a life for herself and fell, secretly, in love with her best and only friend, Lila Ward. When someone from her past burns her small town, Arianna must face the mistakes of her past –and her feelings–if she hopes to survive the longest night.
One Night In December by Melinda S. Collins: NYC artist, Micah Price, never believed in vampires or immortality. But after a year of researching Daniel Savoy, her family’s enigmatic annual houseguest and the only man she’s ever loved, the options surrounding the truth of his past are slim at best. When a bloody Daniel arrives on Micah’s doorstep, she refuses to leave any stone of the mystery unturned. But accepting that vampires exist is the least of her worries. Because sometimes it’s not the monsters we should fear. It’s what hunts them.
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