But love waits…
After Asa ran from the lover who betrayed him, he vowed revenge. Now, years later, a powerful vampire wants him to steal seven necklaces from the king of the Ellowyn—or murder him. When Asa discovers that the king is his long lost love, he stumbles into a web of secrets and dark power plays he might not escape, because Asa isn’t the only one who wants the king dead.
A promise he made long ago is tearing Zeveriah apart. He’s a false king, haunted by his past and despised by many of his own kind. When a new employee, who looks uncannily like his old love, appears at the royal manor, Zev thinks he’s found his fated one again. But this lookalike calls himself Emek and can’t hide his horror of vampires. Zev longs to woo him back, but the annual coven meeting and threats to his life demand his attention. Though he escapes a mysterious attack, one of the lesser princes isn’t so lucky, and all signs point to Asa as the killer.
Now with a murderer running loose and enemies surrounding him, Zev has one last chance to save his love.
But time is running out.
Are you looking for a romance that smolders with passion? Then you’ll love A Vampire’s Promise, because it’s an intense, enemies to lovers, second chance romance that will stay with you a long time. You’ll get vampires, mystery, and fated love. Plus, it comes with a satisfying conclusion to the love story and a central mystery that weaves the trilogy together. Don’t miss it!
This is book 2 of the trilogy. Please note that the previous book, A Vampire’s Heart, should be read first for full enjoyment.
- 2 To Be Read lists
Six years after the Upheaval…
Asa didn’t know his dad was experimenting on vampires until one of them broke into their house.
The bang of the front door flying open and Lady’s barking jerked him awake. His dad’s yell boomed. “Stay upstairs!”
But he crawled out of bed despite the order, patting at the air until his palm landed on Lady’s neck. She sniffed at the bottom of the door, whining and pulling when he dragged her away.
She pushed against his leg, but he squeezed past her, the hair on the back of his neck rising at the eerie cry that came from below. A vampire sound. Like an ululation.READ MORE
Trying not to make any noise, he crept downstairs, crossed the entrance hall to the living room, and hugged the edge of the doorframe. A vampire crouched in a corner by the entertainment center that still held their TV and family photos. It spat at them, bloody tear tracks on its cheeks, staring out of a gaunt, hollow-eyed face.
Nothing about it resembled the vicious creatures that had swarmed out of sewers and gutters and holes in the earth after the fracking accident that had destroyed their cities. Crushing every human life was the only thing they lived for now.
Asa’s dad and three of his private cops stood around the cowering vamp. It hissed at them.
His dad put his hands on his knees and bent closer to it.
“Careful,” said Larry, one of the cops. All three pointed their guns at it.
Asa had no reason to feel sorry for a vampire. None of them did. The quakes and floods after the Upheaval had killed more humans than vampires, but it was vampires that ruled the rubble. Still… His stomach twisted when the thing pushed itself back into the corner. Its chattering teeth clacked out a strange chitter.
“I can make you feel better,” said Asa’s dad.
“You… kill me.”
“I have food for you. Which is generous, given you broke in here to kill me. Now lie down on the floor with your arms at your side.”
“I… serve… the true heart.”
“And who is that?”
“You take ours. We take… yours,” it said, its bloody finger pointing at the same time it turned its gaze on Asa.
He stared, wide-eyed, as his dad swung his head around.
But Asa didn’t have time. Not that he would’ve gone. The vampire wasn’t a fighter. It was… sick. And they didn’t get sick. Something wasn’t right and—
The vampire leaped.
His dad’s cops fired, and the thing jerked and crashed into the entertainment center, shattering one of the doors before it crumpled to the carpet.
His dad’s mouth moved, but Asa’s ears rang with the sound of the gunshots. One of the cops glanced back at him.
A vein swelled in his dad’s temple, and Larry nodded.
Strange that they still wore their old uniforms. They drove their old patrol cars too.
Larry approached him. “Why don’t you go upstairs? Let us clean this up.”
As though a trashcan had fallen over and spilled garbage everywhere.
The vampire had bled red the same as any human. “We take… yours,”it had said. Yours what? Had the vampire had a family? A kid?
Larry took Asa’s arm at the elbow and nudged him around. Asa’s gaze swept across the entertainment center and dropped to a photograph on the floor.
“Need help up?” asked Larry.
He shook his head. “What was wrong with it?”
“It needed to feed.”
“It was starving.”
“That’s good. Means we’re winning.”
But that wasn’t true. Every day was borrowed time before the vampires won.
Asa brushed past him and returned to the living room. “Dad?”
His father grimaced and stepped in front of him. “Don’t look at that. You shouldn’t be down here.”
“What’s going on?”
“It got through the lines somehow.”
“You knew it.”
I can make you feel better. I have food for you…
His dad gave a short laugh. “It’s a monster. I didn’t know it. Now go to bed.”
“I know how old you are. I’m trying to protect you.”
“Some of the sentries are seventeen.”
His dad scrubbed his face with his palms before letting out a sigh. “Can we talk about this in the morning?”
Asa glanced away as one of the other cops came back through the door with a ratty piece of duct-taped tarp and dropped it on the floor. They rolled up the scrawny vampire without a word and carried it outside where the surreal swish of sprinklers reached Asa’s ears. Mr Li had the neighborhood’s greenest lawn but sat by candlelight some nights when he ran out of gas for his generator.
Some people said that’s how vampires had lived—squatting in candlelit caves, drinking the blood of stolen humans. Inbreeding. Creatures who spoke in grunts and hisses, though this one hadn’t.
“You… kill me.”
And they had.
The slam of the patrol car’s trunk scattered Asa’s thoughts. Well, where else would they put it? Not laid out on the back seat. It was garbage.
His dad shut the front door.
“What will you do with it?” Asa asked.
A frown creased his dad’s forehead. “Do with it?”
“The vampire? Will you bury it?”
The impulse to lie showed in the curtain that fell across his dad’s face and smoothed his frown away. He looked like Asa, just older. Gray eyes, wheat colored hair gone light brown, and a strong chin and nose. Asa had his mother’s freckles on his cheeks though.
“I don’t know what involvement you think I have with this.”
“He knew you,” Asa said.
His dad worried his mouth for a moment, pulling his upper lip between his teeth, breathing out. “It. And no, I didn’t know it. It volunteered for some tests we’re conducting. I use prisoners. The choice is death or a chance at life. You know we’ve been looking for a vaccine.”
“I didn’t know about the vampires. You starved it.”
His dad’s face twisted. “Don’t be dumb, Asa. What would be the point in starving it? We have a synthetic blood. It was sick, and it ran away.”
But he thought it again—Vampires don’t get sick. Almost never.
He wasn’t going to get anywhere with his dad right now though, so he nodded and went upstairs.
Lady was waiting for him, whining and trying to nudge her way past, but he shut the door. “Later, girl.”
He lay down and dropped his head on his pillow. Lady jumped up too and circled a few times before settling down with her chin over his ankle.
“You hear that?” he whispered.
He thought he heard the rumble of an earthquake, but nothing moved. Maybe it was something downstairs, but then the voice murmured in his ear, Hey.
Lady lifted her head.
But she couldn’t have heard it. It wasn’t a real voice. The first time it spoke to him, it had sounded sad. Now it sounded tired and sometimes curious. Was it curious about him? Curious about why he kept up his routine—school, walks with Lady, Scrabble or chess with his dad—while vampires took over.
“Come get me,” he whispered.
But nobody answered. Of course not. He was talking to himself. The voice was nothing but his imagination.
Lady’s chin settled on his leg again, and he watched the light seep into the sky until it was time to get up and go downstairs.
His dad sat at the kitchen table with the Lakewood Times. Asa poured a bowl of cereal and got a spoon out of a drawer.
“It broke the entertainment center,” he said, remembering the sparkle of glass embedded in the carpet. He’d have to keep Lady away.
“It’s just glass. I’ll get it fixed.”
“We were lucky.”
His dad sighed. “I know, but I’d do everything the same. It’s my job.”
But Asa’s brain didn’t work that way. A switch had flipped when his mom didn’t come home after the Upheaval. The world had turned gray. Asa didn’t trust gray or the murky motives of everyone trying to survive. He trusted black and white.
Heroes and vil—
“I want to join the sentries,” he said.
“After you finish school, we’ll talk again. I was hoping you’d work with me.”
“What about after school? Work with you, I-I mean.”
A strange panicky feeling bloomed in his chest as though he’d lied about something, because he’d never wanted to work with his dad before. Not that Asa didn’t love his dad, but the vampire’s face appeared to him, its bones glowing under the stretched-tight skin.
Did it hurt to starve?
“You’d like that?” His dad’s eyes had lit up.
“I want to try.”
“Excellent. I’ll set something up for you. Maybe tomorrow afternoon?”
After school, Larry drove him home and idled at the curb. Asa got out, bent down to the window, and peered back into the car. “Thanks, Larry.”
The engine rumbled steadily, but the car didn’t move. Larry probably planned to report to Asa’s dad that he’d made sure Asa was safe inside the house before he left.All secure, sir.
Asa snort-laughed and opened the gate to the side yard. A black and white blur charged him, and he stooped and pounded on Lady’s sides, tipping his head out of the way of her tongue. Panting hot doggy breath, she scrambled back and wagged her tail.
“C’mon. Let’s get something to eat.”
He dropped his backpack on the kitchen table and opened the refrigerator. Bread, cheese, milk, and carrots. He broke off two pieces of cheese and tossed one to Lady.
Her teeth clacked as she snatched it out of the air, and an image of the scrawny vamp flashed into his head again. Wicked fangs. Deadly. But Asa and his dad weren’t the ones who’d died. You… kill me.
Cheese souring in his stomach, Asa went through the living room and peered out the narrow window beside the front door. No car at the curb now. No vampires either.
Stirring at the push of Lady against his leg, he opened the front door. “Okay, girl. Let’s go walk.”
She knocked him sideways and sped across the lawn, spinning on the pavement and scuttling backwards as he approached. Her tongue lolled, one ear up, one bent. He’d gotten her when he was eleven, right after the Upheaval, from a soldier at one of the supply centers. “Think you can take care of this little one for me?”
His mom had only been gone a few weeks, and they hadn’t moved out of their old house yet. His dad still went to work, and for a long time, Asa had tutors until one of the schools reopened. Some places still held by humans had colleges, but not the Lakewood Refuge, which was named after the development Asa and his dad lived in now. It was safer than their old house, where they’d stayed for months before the vampires attacked. That had been proof to his dad that the Upheaval had nothing to do with the war no matter what the vampires said. They hadn’t reacted to their lost homes. They’d waited. They’d taken advantage, so when some of them called for peace, Asa’s dad hadn’t believed them.
“The filthy creatures don’t want peace,”he’d said. “They want our blood.”
But not all of them took it. And Asa wanted to trust. Maybe, underneath everything, vampires weren’t all bad. Or maybe only some of them were. He wanted peace. He wanted the world the way it had been before war fell over it. He’d dreamed about being a cop, or a teacher, or a psychologist like his mom. His dad had arranged a funeral for her a year after the Upheaval, but Asa suspected that had really just been for his benefit. Only his dad’s employees had come.
Asa lived a good life in a safe place. He had food and clothes and a dog and his dad. He ignored the voice, though sometimes it sounded so close he’d examine every face around him, looking for it. Excited, almost eager. But for what?
It was his imagination.
Because he was going crazy probably. Lakewood was stuck inside a circle of sentries and tanks, battling creatures that were supposed to have stayed made up. So most times, Asa ignored the voice, but othertimes, he swelled to bursting with a strange energy he had no way to get rid of. No more TV or talking to his mom. No more chess games with her or running ramps on his skateboard. No more baseball games to play.
“Come get me,” he whispered.
But where would he go?
He headed down the street to the bottom of the hill where a wrought-iron fence surrounded a lake. Some of the houses in the neighborhood had crumbled, and ivy covered the remains. Asa gazed at the flutter of washed-out sun in the leafy treetops—glad he had Lady with him—and shivered. Safe yesterday wasn’t safe today.
“They can’t help themselves,”his dad had said. “They have to feed.”
So the vampires plundered and bled people dry. One of them—a prince maybe—had condemned the murders, but Asa had seen some of the bodies.
A few yards ahead, Lady stopped and gazed back at him with a frown over her pale blue eyes. “I’m coming,” he said, and she bounded away again.
They circled the lake before heading back up the hillside. Soon the light slipped away, and the sky turned purple. Under the trees, the shadows thickened, and a shape stepped out of the dark.
It didn’t shock him. After all this time, Asa half expected it.
The vampire stared, and a second later, a shadow shot into the space between them.
The vampire disappeared as Lady broke into the bushes. Heart pounding, Asa rushed after her. His panicked eyes pulled in every detail—golden motes floating in the fading beams of light, the gilded edges of fringed leaves. He skittered down a slope of ivy to the fence around the lake. Footsteps thumped behind him. He scrabbled up the wobbly section of planks, thrashing and kicking as hands grabbed him and pulled him loose.
He sank his foot into somebody’s gut but only got a chuckle. “Kid’s feisty.”
He drove his elbow back into the ribs of the guy who’d grabbed him, and a breath exploded against his ear. “Fuck.”
The guy fell against him, and Asa collapsed, gasping into a mound of dirt and leaves. He spat and struggled to get his knees under him. A few feet away, the other guy yelped, and the one on top of him rolled off and tumbled down the slope. Asa got up and scrambled back through the bushes, tearing at the branches in front of him until he burst out on the pavement and ran.
And staggered to a stop. The vampire was back. It stood against the edge of the sidewalk, still sheltered under the trees, but this time, with Lady at its side. Was it the same vampire as before? Its long wavy hair fell in a tangle over a dirty T-shirt, and ratty jeans showed one knee. Lady tipped her gaze up at it, and the vampire stooped and patted her neck.
The creature jerked as though startled. Lady stepped out into the street, sat, and looked back.
Why didn’t it attack? It hid, staying in the shadows. Was this the one who’d chased Asa’s attackers away?
“Were those guys human?” he asked.
The vampire nodded as Asa’s heart slowed, and when the creature spoke again, warmth stole through him.
“I won’t hurt you,” it murmured. “I promise.”COLLAPSE
Amazon Reviewer wrote:
My...my...what a story! Filled with sensous scenes and sizzles but this story is more than that because of the solid characters and the plot that complement each one of them.
There was enough angst to make me keep on reading.
The story started with a superb beginning to the point I was simply immersed in the pages.
I felt like I was not reading but rather I was in front of a big movie screen.
I really like this author's voice in the stories.
I really enjoyed reading this book, it's as good as the first book. The journey continues with a promise that was made to Asa, and thought forgotten and broken by Zev, King of the Vampires. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.