A war is about to begin.
Sophie Ford has a secret. Fear for herself and her friend has her running to the vampire council in search of protection.
And she is bonded to a vampire.
Robert Valentine knows Sophie is hiding something, but what? She tempts him as no little human ever has in his whole life. He is the eldest son of the most powerful family in the world.
Forces they cannot control are fighting against them. Time is running out. Sophie’s secret is about to be exposed. Is there time to save the ones they love? Can Robert and Sophie move on and survive the war that is about to begin?
The Council of Vampires, somewhere in Beyer West.
“You will allow this match to go through.”
Robert Valentine glanced over at his father—head of the Valentine Corporation and leader of his family—feeling bewildered and angry.
“It is just another human family on the verge—”
“I don’t care,” his father yelled at him across the room.
Robert watched his mother flinch. His three brothers turned away, not wanting their father’s wrath directed at them. Robert understood. These were perilous times and his father had no room in his life for arguments. His two sisters were not even allowed access to the Council’s chambers. Instead, old traditions said they must remain outside at all times. One day, Robert wished to banish the old ways and start afresh. Rose and Dawn were equally affected by what happened in this place as he was.
Robert looked at his father. He respected him but there were times when he despised the way in which the man worked. The laws that governed their society were archaic. If they didn’t change their ways soon, Robert believed it would get them all killed.
“What have they offered?” Robert asked, trying to take some interest in the situation, since it was likely to affect his future. At the moment he had no power to change the outcome of tonight’s events.
His father nodded to the guards to open the connecting door leading out to the human visiting room. This allowed humans a place to sit and wait, and offered protection against the abuses of the outside world. Vampire protection, among the humans, was considered a last resort, and only the most degraded and those without pride accepted such an alliance.
A man and a woman entered the great hall. There was nothing fantastic about their appearance. They were dressed in business suits, neat and tidy, and he noted that they appeared to be in their late fifties. One of them carried a folder, which was odd. He assumed the folder contained information, but the Council usually had all the information it needed about human visitors petitioning for help. Beyer West might be a small town, but it was a Valentine-run town. His father was pedantic in his dealings with the human public. Every deal and alliance must be well-documented and sealed away for future reference.
“Mr and Mrs Ford, allow me to introduce my oldest son, Robert Valentine.”
Robert acknowledged the couple, bowing, as was the protocol among his family. He kept his attention on the Council and his own family, though. He knew of the Fords from his own company dealings. They were a prosperous family who should have no need of the Valentines’ services. Only last week Robert had checked the profit margins for the town’s most affluent families. It all seemed rather odd to him.
The couple glanced nervously around them.
“We need the kind of protection you are notorious for offering,” Mrs Ford said.
Robert noticed that Mr Ford was scratching his head and felt like doing the same. How could this company need their help? Last time he checked, Mrs Ford stayed at home with the children while her husband ran the company. Robert couldn’t think of a single reason why they would be at the Council.
“We are not a security company, Mrs Ford.”
“I’m aware of that, but we can meet the price that you have set.” She handed over the file. “We’ve stumbled into some financial difficulty and we would also like assistance with this.”
Robert Valentine opened the folder. An A4 picture of a beautiful young woman stared up at him, an innocent and carefree smile shining from deep within her.
“Pretty girl,” he complimented her.
“That is Sophie. My only daughter and not a girl but a woman of twenty-one,” Mr Ford corrected him.
“With all due respect, Mr Ford, I’m more than five hundred years old. To me, she is a child,” Robert snapped, looking up to glare at the couple.
He couldn’t deny the intrigue he felt about the girl, just from the picture he’d seen, but she was still a child. Her picture and family situation should not concern him or his family. Why did he suddenly have a bad vibe about the whole meeting? Robert glanced back at the file. The innocence clearly expressed in her beautiful features said that this girl hadn’t yet been tainted by the real world. He felt a tug at his heart, knowing that within months the smile would be gone, replaced by a frown and wary features. That was just part of life, but something within him didn’t want this girl to be affected by it.
This meeting was getting odder by the second.
Mr Ford retreated, leaving his wife to deal with the proceedings.
“The protection you offer is that no harm will come to the family, as well as you supplying money to cover our debts?” she asked.
His father nodded.
“The deal would be between Sophie and me,” Robert interrupted. He found that he wished to see the real-life vision of the girl in the photo. To witness her innocence himself and to see her reaction to him. Would she be as affected by him as he was by her?
Time is running out.
He promised to keep her safe, he promised to protect her. William Valentine failed. On the night his father was murdered, the same wolf took Katie from him. The one and only surviving witch…or is she?
Katie White is going to die. She can feel it. Her determination and thoughts of William are what is making her fight to stay alive. But time is running out.
An old foe from William’s past is determined to see Katie finished.
Will William make it in time?
The Valentines-the war has only just begun.
Reader Advisory: This book is the second in a series and contains scenes of kidnap and violence.
The sound of glass smashing could be heard in every corner of the bar. The audience looked on at the spectacle in silence, each doubtless wondering if they would be the target of the vampire’s wrath.
“Where is she?” A fist was raised. Usually, bar fights were great sport, but in a predominantly vampire-filled bar there was no sport, just information gathering—and it wasn’t acquired over tea and biscuits. It always got bloody and it never ended well. A Valentine was on the prowl and no one was about to get in his way—even if the vampire William targeted was scared for his life.
The way the other customers saw it, the guy getting pummelled shouldn’t have earned a reputation for being a messenger to the wolves. A man supporting both sides of the war.
“I don’t know, man. No one has talked.” The guy covered his face, denying all knowledge. Adam stood and observed from the dark corner as he watched his older brother lose control. William was completely out of it.
Since another witch had been taken—Katie, the best friend of his brother Robert’s bonded mate—it was like he was losing his sense of reality. No one could reason with him.
“Tell me where they are,” William snarled in the young vampire’s face. Adam winced. He was here as a favour to Robert and he loved his brother, but this was too damn much. There was no thought, no consideration of the chaos he was causing. It had hit him worse even than losing Emma. It was like someone had carved out his heart and left him hurt and bleeding.
Katie White, the last remaining witch, was still alive, and that made it worse. At least Emma had been dead and he’d known there was nothing he could do to change that. But William knew that Katie was out there, and he was leaving a wave of destruction everywhere he went in his efforts to find her.
William wasn’t the same man. There was no mercy in this guy. Rage, anger and pain consumed him now. His was on a destructive path. No one—not even Robert—could stop him now.
Adam looked around at all the people observing the fight. Vampires, wolves…shit, even demons sat and watched William. Most of them looked terrified of the vampire who had clearly lost his mind.
Shaking his head, Adam turned back to watch his brother.
As much as he thought that this was wrong, he would never get in between his brother and what he felt he needed to do. The witch clearly meant something to him. No vampire went this crazy for a woman unless she was a bond mate.
Adam didn’t know much about her. He’d never met her. A few months ago, she had been taken by the wolf Alpha, James. The same night his own father—head of the vampire council and the most powerful vampire in all of Beyer West—had been killed. Murdered, actually. Taken from them by the same wolf.
Everything around them was going to shit and his brother was determined to go down the same path. At any time the other customers could jump them and finally be rid of the unstable Valentine boy. For decades, William had made himself a reputation for being the crazy brother, but now he was driving his ruthlessness to a whole new level.
Adam tensed as the barman approached his brother. The barman was a vampire and, from the look of it, one of the older generation. Adam moved closer. If it went the wrong way he would back his brother. Whether he believed what his brother was doing was right or not, family came first.
That was what made him a Valentine.
Adam watched as William raised his fist, ready to take another set of swipes at the guy he held. The barman stopped his raised fist easily, holding it in his, and span William around as if he were nothing more than a rag doll.
“Son, he said he didn’t know nothing. Leave him be,” the barman said.
William hissed and tried to hit the barman, a great insult amongst their community. Out of respect, no one attacked the older generation. Adam swore and moved forward.
The barman grabbed William and, using the full force of his upper body, threw him against the bar. The bottles rattled and the customers close by dispersed, not wanting to get involved in a fight that was clearly about to get worse.
Adam ran, going for the man who was holding his brother. The barman turned and sucker-punched him across the room before Adam could even land a blow. He crashed through the window, broken shards of glass spraying around him.
“Fuck,” Adam cursed. The only humans in the street were ones who had seen too much of this world and were pretty much crazy. Drunks, druggies and prostitutes who knew better than to talk about what they had seen. His fangs protruded as his anger rose.
Fuck protocol. Adam was pissed off and cruising for a fight.
He stormed back into the bar.
William was bloodied but he was getting in a few punches of his own.
“I’ve told you not to bring shit like this to my bar. I didn’t serve your fucking family to have you ruin my business,” the barman yelled as he pushed William away from him.
The Valentines: Adam
The Valentines: Rose