Title: BLOOD ROGUE
Author: Linda J. Parisi
Genre: Vampire Romance
There is the blood and can only ever be the blood.
Vampire Charles Tower never knew anything sweeter than the taste of Stacy Morgan’s lips. He ever imagined anything crueler than her being marked for death by the only father he’s ever known. Mikhail reared him. Taught him how to survive. Now he’s gone rogue and it’s up to Charles to put the man down. But can he convince himself, and Stacy that love between them is impossible? That’s hard to do with a woman like Stacy Morgan, especially when she offers herself up as bait. Now they must fight against the centuries-old customs that bar them from being together and the rogue vampire who wants every last drop of Stacy’s blood before they can discover why Mikhail isn’t the only BLOOD ROGUE they’ll have to face.
“Who would be powerful enough to control vampires this way?” he asked.
Sam shook her head. “I don’t know, but somehow, I don’t think this is purely mind control. Even I couldn’t do something like that. And as you know, I’ve tried many techniques at Sanctuary.”
Chaz nodded. “What I don’t get is the danger. This is like playing with an atom bomb. Rogues cannot be contained. One wrong move and…why take that risk?”
Sam seemed to agree. “Because of the reward. We’ve been talking about single cells. What if this person, or more than one person, wants more. Perhaps, by creating enough chaos, they think they can take over all vampires.”
“All vampires?” Chaz stepped back to examine the possibility. One ruler? A vampire empire? The idea seemed beyond the realm of reality. Vampires were loners, singular; they only came together in cells for the right to feed. “That’s a major stretch, Sam.”
“And if anyone were powerful enough to do that, it’d be you.”
She threw him a look but agreed. “Only pureblood would make it possible.”
He frowned. “I’ve got another question for you. Why now, Sam? Why not twenty years ago? Or forty years from now? Or one hundred? Time is the one commodity we can use to our advantage.”
“I’m not sure. However, this is the age of technology. Human science has gone to great lengths to understand their own biology, but, in the end, it all boils down to power.”
She said the last word with such vehemence that Chaz asked, “How can you be so certain?”
Sam turned to him and gave him a look he’d never forget. Sam had been part of a race of vampires who were proud and honorable. Mixed deep inside her anger, he read sadness. Only a coward would use beings to further a goal. “The lust for power destroyed my people.”
It was a story he’d never fully heard. Only bits and pieces. Someday, Chaz thought, he’d like to know more.
She frowned and fell silent for a long moment. “All right,” she continued with a long sigh. “What we’ve discussed is certainly plausible. I’ll warn The Council. But I don’t want to create a panic. We have very little proof beyond a group of over-confident, arrogant, and newly made vampires who require severe discipline.”
“And one too many rogues.”
Chaz rubbed his face with his hands and slid his hair back off his brow. “So, you think I should go to her?”
Sam’s mouth quirked. “She needs you.”
“She needs a man, not a vampire.”
Sam shook her head at him, and he felt like a child again. “Should I let one of these imbeciles loose so they can kick some sense into you, or will you just listen?”
“She needs you, but you need her more.”
Did he, Chaz wondered? He’d been alone for so long. Could that ever change? “You think?”
She laughed. “Of course, idiot.”
Chaz sighed, reaching out to squeeze her shoulder. “Thanks, Sam. I owe you one.”
“As you pointed out, I’ll have plenty of time to collect. Go on. I can take care of these… imbeciles.” She gave his hand a squeeze back. I’ll let you know what I find out.”
He did. He ran to Stacy’s house using the exertion and the night air to clear his head. He liked her home. It was modern but homey. He remembered two bedrooms upstairs, especially the one downstairs, and what looked like a new kitchen. But the house had a feel to it, a vibe that made it quaint in spite of new siding and remodeling. She’d planted flowers in the front and placed little animal statues near them. Warmth and family, that was what he felt.
He found Stacy sitting in her car in her driveway under the carport next to the house. She lay slumped over the steering wheel, resting against her forearm, her face hidden until she turned her head. Her tears hurt him, tore through him like little knives. He knocked on the window, but she refused to acknowledge him.
“Go away. Leave me alone.”
“Please, Chaz just…leave me alone.”
“Stacy…don’t make me shell out to have your car repaired.”
“Have my car repaired?” she repeated in disgust. “Ooh, you are so annoying.” She opened the door, catching him in the shin.
“Ow. That hurt.” He lifted his leg to rub the abused area.
“Serves you right! You…you…”
Chaz only knew one way to shut her up. He kissed her.
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As a major in biochemistry with a minor in English literature, Linda has always tried to mesh her love of science with her love of the written word. Once a clinical research scientist, now a NJRW Golden Leaf, N.N. Light’s Book Heaven 2021 Paranormal Romance award, and the 2022 HOLT Medallion winner for Speculative Fiction, she creates unforgettable characters and puts them in untenable situations, much to their dismay. Choices always matter and love conquers all, so a happy-ever-after is a must. Linda is a member of the Board of Liberty States Fiction Writers. She has served on the boards of other writing organizations, and loves to teach the craft of writing at workshops and conferences. She lives in New Jersey with her husband John, son Chris, daughter-in-law Sara, and Audi and Archer, a pair of pooches who had her at woof!
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