Hump Day Hunk: Christina Phillips
I’ve always loved reading Regency romances but had never written one until a few years ago when a dark, brooding duke (yes, he was, of course, a duke :)) appeared from the shadows to haunt me.
Excited by this turn of events I let my Muse have a play to see where this new hero would lead me. Turns out he was no ordinary duke, but a two thousand year old vampire and a real badass with an attitude problem, who long ago lost the only woman he’s ever loved, along with his honour and conscience. He exists in a twilight world where he takes what he wants and appreciates nothing—until one fateful night when he finds his heroine, Morana.
At first I wasn’t sure Alexius was redeemable, but as I learned more about him I began to understand where he was coming from. Not only is he consumed with guilt over what happened in the past with his beloved, but he’s had to watch every single person he cares about over the years grow old and die.
His cold outer shell is an act of self-preservation – the only way he knows how to survive the interminable centuries without losing the tiny sliver of humanity that remains buried deep inside his shrivelled heart.
Not that he admits to having any humanity left, let alone a heart. But love is powerful and can stir the embers of a shattered soul, as Alexius finds out when his path collides with Morana—the only woman who’s ignited his interest in millennia.
Alexius has just abducted Morana from an assembly room, and they are in his carriage on their way to his country estate.
Pinning her in place with only one hand, he traced a finger along the outline of her face and across her parted lips.
“If you want to survive this night,” he said, and the words sent a sensual shiver across her naked breast. “You will do exactly as I say.”
Her fingers clawed, but his thighs were impenetrable. “And if I refuse?” Her heart pounded. Dark excitement thundered through her veins at the raw danger exuding from every measured word he uttered.
There was nothing he could do that could physically harm her. She knew it, and yet a thrill of alarm vibrated through her soul, warning her that this man had the power to destroy her in ways she could barely imagine.
“You’ll never see the sun rise again.”
His smile was predatory. He believed she was his prey and at his complete mercy. Had she been an ordinary woman, doubtless she would by now be begging for her life, acquiescing to all his demands and promising him whatever he desired in exchange for her continued mortality.
But she wasn’t. And his threats didn’t flay her soul or terrify her heart. Instead they stoked her lust and inflamed her desire. Because how easy it would be for her to break his arm that held her and grind his autocratic hauteur beneath her dainty heel.
She could still escape and return to Thanatos any time she wished.
“A threat, your grace?” She flexed her shoulder, to show him she wasn’t in his power as he imagined.
Ice coiled through her, chilling her heart as her shoulder remained immobile beneath his touch. She tried again, exerted herself, concentrated in using all her strength to throw off his hand, yet again it was as if she had scarcely attempted to shrug.
“No, my love.” The duke bestowed another mirthless smile at her. “A promise.”
Tired of the thin-blooded aristocrats in 1815 London, Alexius yearns for better sport. He is drawn to a dark-haired seductress who shows no fear and refuses to obey his commands. Entranced by such novelty, he denies his bloodlust and decides to keep her to warm his bed.
Immortal vampire hunter Morana has never mistaken her prey before, but the dark stranger mesmerizes her, enticing her to forget everything but the dangerous pleasure she finds in his arms.
Neither one can deny the pull of the other, but there is something beyond the lust—a recognition neither can put a name to. The past and present collide and unless they discover the truth behind the lies, Death will triumph once more.
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