Forces of Beauty Series

The Cougar and Her Vampire

BLURB:

Recently divorced Payton Fleming vacations in Crete, looking for a quiet resort to get away from the chaos of the death of her best friend, serial killer, and an ex-husband. The adventure at the resort brings more than she expected—a young man with a story to tell. Concerned with the age difference, Payton knows there is something else he is keeping from her.


Christian MacKenzie is an entrepreneur in the hospitality and entertainment business, owner of Nocturnal Entertainment and Hospitality Corporation (NEHCNEHC), luxury resorts and nightclubs around the world. He escapes to his favorite resort on Crete, and meets his vision of a Greek goddess, a mysterious beauty, but fears she will reject him because of what he is, a vampire.


After returning to Miami, and a rival from his past threatens their happiness, will their love survive all the obstacles along the way?

 EXCERPT:

Chapter One


Las Vegas, Nevada
 
     Christian J. MacKenzie, known as C.J. to his closest friends, owner of Nocturnal Entertainment and Hospitality Corporation, or NEHC, walked into the dimly lit bar of The Purple Tulip. From the outside the nightclub appeared like any other Las Vegas style establishment—glitzy and glamorous. Inside, another entire world flourished. Veiled in black gossamer, fabrics draped throughout with accents of various shades of purple. The décor of the large expanse reflected the tone of a macabre sanctuary, the newest creation of Black Heart Entertainment and Ian McAlester, Christian‘s former friend and latest business rival.
     Ian catered to the young, up-and-coming Hollywood types such as actors, musicians, models, producers, and general human vampire wannabes. Not interested in the luxury Christian gave his clientele, Ian‘s craved the dark and Gothic. Getting them addicted to the lifestyle, as well as the benefits of a vampire‘s blood, became Ian‘s sole purpose. The power he had over the rich and famous humans fed his hunger just as much as their blood.
     Christian made his way to the bar, a round, black, polished granite and brass area at the center of the club. He sat and surveyed the establishment. Several dimly lit VIP niches in the upper level offered anonymity for the celebrities. The dance floor was small but adequate. However, probably not much dancing took place. No doubt, it was a gratuitous item Ian added
for the aesthetics. The eerie music played loud and reverberated through the state of the art sound system.
     After gaining the attention of the bartender, Christian ordered the house special, a concoction of whiskey and synthetic blood, called Vegas Spitfire.
     "Hey, old man, checking yer competition out?" Ian asked as he came up behind Christian and slapped him on the back.
     Christian spun around on the barstool and gave Ian a glare, showing his fangs. "Nice place, but it willna last," he said in a deep, throaty tone.
     "Ye think? I hate to disappoint ye, C.J., but my clubs are hot. Ye may have succeeded in running all the other vamps out of business, but ye haven‘t got me yet."
     "Ye‘r right, I‘m no‘ finished with ye. I‘ve been easy on ye because of our past, but ye‘r going too far, Ian, and endangering us all."
     "I use and exploit humans for what they are. If they want what I have to offer, they‘re taking the risk, not me. If more find out about us, I say bring it on. I‘ll be a rich man. I doona like ye, and ye doona like me. I‘ll have no regrets when I take ye down."
     "I see that‘s the way ye want to play it. This venue of yers will burn out its appeal eventually, but not before it does severe damage. The mortals want the glamour and privacy I provide them, not this dark, morose style. Ye‘r endangering the safety of us all with what ye‘r doing." He swallowed the last of his drink and slammed the glass down on the bar.
     "Yer clubs have lost their edge. You‘ve lost yer edge. My clubs are the hottest and latest thing. The young mortals love them, and they drive this industry. Ye‘r catering to the old rich bastards, and they‘ll be leavin‘ their money to their young. They doona want what ye offer, they want what I have. Ye‘r dead and doona know it."
     Christian didn‘t continue arguing. He stood and glared, the blood burning in his veins, and knew his emerald eyes were greener than usual. It always happened with the onset of anger, right before they turned brilliant red.
      Christian turned to leave, not saying a word.
     "Go ahead, walk away. Ye know I‘m right, yer nights are numbered. When I take ye down, it will be too late for ye to do anythin‘ about it."
     Ian‘s laughter followed him out. As of tonight, they were enemies in more than the entertainment world. Ian‘s policy of open membership at his clubs threatened possible exposure of vampires to the human world, tipping the balance beyond their past friendship. Christian vowed to take Ian down at any cost.
                                              * * * *
     The limousine ride back to the Nocturnal Desert Rose, his latest resort in the United States, offered Christian the opportunity to think hard. What happened between them that led to this showdown? Christian missed his friend, but Ian changed after he lost his mate, Cassandra. She betrayed him with another vampire. After killing both of them savagely, he was never the same, becoming a bitter and dark vampire bent on destroying anything that crossed him. Christian could no longer be around him. Their paths went in separate directions, and he didn‘t hear from Ian until about twenty-five years ago when the Vampire Rage came into fashion. They were rivals in the entertainment business of vampire sex and blood exchanges, and quite possibly the delicate balance of humans and vampires co-existing.
     Had Ian spoke some truth? Am I losing my edge? His vampire resorts were world renowned among the famous and infamous celebrities who loved to hobnob with vampires. Cavorting with vamps became the chic thing to do, drink vampire blood for the healing benefits and have hot sex. Blood, the new drug of choice, like cocaine in the 1980‘s, led to his business success. With a couple of his human and vampire friends, he formed a joint venture and developed private resorts around the globe catering to the rich and famous and their 'thirst‘ for vampires. After a few successful years, he bought out the partners and became sole owner of one of the most successful vampire entertainment businesses. Other groups of vampire entrepreneurs had tried to muscle in on Christian‘s territory by bringing in a more unsavory, darker side of the business with Goth-style clubs and resorts, but they didn‘t survive. He put them out of business, except for one—Ian.
     The patrons of Christian‘s clubs had at least a net worth of tens of millions. Many of those in the local governments, where the resorts were located, played in the inner circle of the Vampire Rage with financial benefits. For the general populace, vampires were nothing more than a legend, a myth for the macabre-minded people who fantasized about them. The elite circle of select humans liked it that way, and Christian eagerly accommodated their desires. He and his vampire friends and colleagues didn‘t want their existence to be known to the general population for fear of being hunted down to be used for medical experimentation and eventual extermination. They, the vampires, had survived for centuries and intended to continue for centuries more. Ian changed the rules by making his clubs available to a younger, less affluent crowd. A move, which could lead to exposure of their kind with an outcome Christian didn‘t want to contemplate.
     Some carefully selected young mortals patronized Christian‘s establishments in addition to the older ones. Revenues were up, and he thought about opening a new club in the future. They were less expensive to develop than large resorts and his board of directors was more likely to approve a smaller venture. The only decision he had to make was the location. Viable locations were Berlin, Hong Kong, Ibiza, and even Buenos Aires, or maybe another location in the States, but none of the locations he‘d considered seemed right. This time, he wanted a location in a warm climate. The resort theme in Vegas had a small club on-site, but nothing on The Strip. To put one there to compete with Ian, didn‘t make sense. Another location, perhaps in the south would be more viable, maybe even on a Caribbean Island. Was Ian correct? Was he losing his edge and couldn‘t make a simple decision like choosing a new club location?
     Christian needed to clear his head. He wanted to be the best at what he did, always had been, and always would be. Ian wasn‘t getting away with filling his head with bullshit.
     The Nocturnal Desert Rose came into view, and Christian made a decision. He required rest and relaxation, time to collect his thoughts, and choose his next plan of action. His favorite resort rested in Crete, Greece. To him, the Elounda Resort remained the most peaceful place on earth. There, he could find himself and regain self-confidence. A visit during the peak season of July
with the international crowd would make for vibrant conversation and pique his creative juices. He‘d spend a couple months relaxing and getting his edge back before thinking about his next project. After finishing his business in Vegas, he would leave for Elounda.
     "Sir, we are here," the driver announced.
     As the limousine came to a halt at the front entrance, Christian spied a pair of unaccompanied tall and lanky women, one blonde and the other a brunette. The doorman opened the limo door and Christian stepped out, immediately making his way to the women. He needed companionship and a blood-fix tonight—no synthetic blood. The real thing remained the only cure to sate the bloodlust.
     "Ladies, are you here unaccompanied?" he asked as he put his arms around their waists.
     "Not anymore," one of them said, giggling.
     "My name is C.J., the owner of this establishment. What do you ladies say we have a party in my suite?"
     The two women smiled as their eyebrows arched and pupils widened with excitement. They made their way to his penthouse suite where he had his way with them, sexually and by taking their blood. He sent them on their way before dawn.
     Closing his eyes, he felt the weight of three hundred lonely years. As the sun began to rise over the desert sands, Elounda called to him.
     Two more weeks.

video 


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A Vampire in Paris

 Blurb:

For over two hundred years, London-based security and private investigator, Ramsey Weiss has existed as the quintessential confirmed bachelor. New Years’ Day he is dispatched to Paris, France, to rescue an abducted cosmetics company heiress. In the melee, he butts heads with an unexpected woman.

Camille du Bassin is the head chemist at Institut de Beauté Biologique and her niece has been kidnapped. She teams up with the private security investigator with special skills hired by her brother. The two unlikely pair work together playing a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse not only with each other, but battle an evil ancient vampire determined to take Camille as his consort. Somewhere along the journey, Camille and Ramsey are surprised by the physical attraction that develops between them, denying the powerful pull.

Just when the two lovers think their love can be forever...Fate steps in to challenge the power of their love.

EXCERPT:

Bloody bollocks! What the hell is wrong with this woman? He kept his eye color from changing as well as maintaining a pleasant smile with no fangs showing. No sense scaring the woman, although she could use a fright and lose the stick up her arse. Keep calm. 

Ramsey’s stamina quickly began to falter. He didn’t have much time left to do his preliminary interrogation of Camille du Bassin, Mademoiselle du Bassin, and the biggest Be-atch of Paris. No wonder she was unmarried at her age, she probably nagged any poor guy to death before he’d consider walking down the aisle with her.

“Monsieur Weiss, since your time is limited, I believe my sister can take you to my daughter’s flat and she can answer your questions along the way,” Étienne suggested as he sternly regarded Camille. 

D’accord?”

Bien. But, an hour eez all I can spare. I have work to do.” She glared at him, the green of her eyes glowed, intriguing and unique. Anger oozed from every pore on her skin and he sensed it, smelled her blood.

An hour with her is all I can stand. “Sounds good to me. Is the flat far from here?” Spending much more than an hour or even two would be too long, but to find Julliana, his Giselle, he’d make the sacrifice spending time with the exasperating woman standing before him. Women were his passion, he loved women, but this one he’d make an exception. 

Vas-y, Monsieur Weiss.” The be-atch turned on her spiky heels to leave. 

“Oh please, call me Ramsey.” 

With a haughty attitude, she peered over her shoulder. “You may call me Mademoiselle du Bassin.” 

More like bitch. This is going to be one hell of a long hour. 

The unlikely pair left the executive offices and entered the elevator, taking the four floor descent in silence. They made their way to the outside and after hailing a cab, and twenty minutes later arrived at an apartment building in the Le Marais District. After climbing three flights of stairs, they stood at the door of Apartment 3C. 

“After you, Monsieur Weiss.” The emphasis on his name by the irritating aunt of Giselle made him grit his teeth. A slight upward curl of his lips was the extent of what he mustered. Their short trip to the flat had been nothing but silence between them, except for the one question he attempted to ask before getting cut off. 

Merci and I insist on Ramsey,” he enunciated succinctly. The politeness level wore thin. If Braedon got pissed with his attitude, so be it. He wanted to do his job, but sometimes the politics involved with each assignment rubbed him the wrong way. 

Ramsey couldn’t read the woman, neither body nor mind. What ax did she have to grind with him? He believed as Giselle’s aunt, her family, the woman would be cooperative and want him to do everything possible to find her niece. After all, he was one of the best investigators at GSIS and considering his past relationship with the victim of the case, he’d have an advantage in finding her. But, maybe Miss du Bassin doesn’t know who and what I really am? 

The nuisance named Camille pushed closer. “What are you doing? Can I help?”

After drawing attention away from scanning of the small living area of the flat, he met the unusual emerald green eyes, which now had softened to a few shades lighter. Still intense and sparkling, he recognized no anger deep inside this time. “No, but I do have a few questions for you.” 

Bien. What do you need to know?”

What you are hiding is more like it. Through half-hooded eyes he tried piercing the armor erected around her mind. Small glimpses of symbols and steel, sterile rooms brightly lit materialized in his mental visions. She worked at the Institute, maybe she worked in a lab. “When did you last see Gis—Julliana? I don’t think I’ll get used to calling her that.” 

“I had lunch with her two days ago.” She wandered over to the brown and cream striped couch, sat, and continued to ask, “You never answered me at my brother’s office. Where do you know Julli?”

With narrowed eyes, he stared intently at her delicate facial features wondering why she cared. She already suspected him of being a stalker and a young punk, what difference would it make to her how he knew Giselle. Regardless of his previous relationship, this was a well-paying job and he’d treat the client no differently than if they were strangers meeting for the first time. But, he answered without thinking one more reason not to answer. “We met in Elounda, Crete several months ago. We were close…for a while.” Turning away from her, he continued to survey the room, searching for any clue that might lead him to Giselle. 

“Hmm, I remember. I spoke to her right before she got on a plane to Hong Kong with a new man.” She paused, cocking her head as he turned to face her. “It was you?”

“I guess it was.” 

Merde! Vous avez rompu son coeur. Vous, vous êtes un vampire.” Inching off the sofa, she leaned forward, and then stood. “Julli told me everything.” 

“Calm down. She told you I’m a vampire and I broke her heart? What else did she tell you?” 

“You speak French. Oh mon Dieu!” She stared at him with intense green eyes. “I’m not telling you anything, nothing! You are a monster and addicted her to you creatures! You did this to her!” Camille lunged at him with the flower vase she picked up from the coffee table. 

Dodging the arm clasping the crystal glass container filled with roses and cloudy water, his reactions were too fast for her to recover. He grabbed one of her flailing arms as she stumbled, losing balance, and ready to crash head first onto the hardwood floors.


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Book #3~Jason's Story~Lex Aeterna ~ Work in Progress

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