Dr. Manning is a vampire, medical doctor, in love with single-mother Elizabeth Lockspier, currently being forced to mate with Christiana, the new commander of the Philadelphia Allegiant.
Interviewer: Dr. Armand Brunell, vampire scientist, has been conducting theoretical experiments to turn a vampire back to human.
Location: Private research lab, north of Princeton, New Jersey.
Armand: (sets up the camera) I will have to explain why I did this, Alexander. People need to know this was your choice.
Alexander: Because it will look like you killed me? (flinches at the light in his eyes)
Armand: I’ve told you the probability of success of this procedure.
Alexander: (briefly looks in the camera and snorts) Yes, I hold Armand harmless. Is that better?
Armand: You know who I’m worried about.
Alexander: (nods) Loren knows what is happening to me.
Armand: Doesn’t mean he won’t kill me.
Alexander: You’re already dead. We all are.
Armand: Alex, tell me why you want to turn away from this gift of forever we’ve been given. For the record.
Alexander: I didn’t want to be vampire. If Loren had bothered to ask me, I would have said no.
Armand: Why didn’t he ask your permission to turn you?
Alexander: Okay, I was unconscious. Loren told me later, he was impressed with my medical skills and it would have been a waste for me to die.
Armand: You had a wife at the time, though.
Alexander: (snarls) No. I was forced to marry Katherine. That’s what rich families did in the in eighteen hundreds. More than a century later and I’m being forced again to…
Armand: That’s what’s really burning you isn’t it?
Armand: And it has nothing to do with Elizabeth?
Alexander: If I make this about Elizabeth then I am beholden to her. Not that I wouldn’t mind that. (Smiles briefly)
Armand: Is there anything you want to say to her in case…
Alexander: (growls) No. This will work, Armand. I have faith in you.
Armand: I appreciate that. For the record. (looks in camera). We will be removing most of Alexander’s vital organs and replacing them with fresh human organs. Removing the lesion we found in his brain, which we believe controls the vampire venom. The theory is, when we remove everything vampire about him, he will be human again.
Alexander: It doesn’t sound very promising. But I trust you. Make me human. I want my freedom and this is the only way. If I’m not vampire, Christiana has no use for me.
Armand: Francisco will be disappointed to lose you.
Alexander: He’ll get over it.
Armand: Do you plan to keep in touch with any of us? (laughs)
Armand: Something tells me Loren Tagaris won’t let you go so easily. I’m sure he’ll have some use for you.
Alexander: If I am human again, I become the enemy. Vampires fear humans. Besides, Loren has enough on his plate. New York is hunting for Julianna. With me gone, she becomes his sole progeny. He’ll guard her at all costs.
Armand: Loren vs New York. (whistles)
Alexander: Which is why I can’t be mated to Christiana from Philadelphia. The allegiants will have to stand again Loren, the most powerful deadly vampire. I’d rather be sitting on the sidelines for that one.
Armand: It’s not something I’d like to see happen.
Alexander: You’re smart, Armand. Now let’s do this.
Dr. Alexander Manning has drawn too much blood from his beautiful patient. Overwhelmed with thirst for her, he drinks it immediately. But when she catches him and passes out, he must report what happened to his allegiant’s Commander. Or…he can deal with her himself. When he breaks into her house and enters her bedroom to wipe the incident from her mind, he reads her thoughts first. She wants him as much as he wants her.
BE DRAWN IN
Elizabeth Lockspier discovers the man she’s so drawn to is a vampire and fears for her safety and the well-being of her daughter. When Alexander tracks her down and assures her she’s in no danger and then kisses her, making her feel like the world has slid off its axis, she has to make a choice. Turn him away. Play it safe. Deny how she feels. Or…take a risk where the reward is night after night of blinding ecstasy.
WITHOUT A FIGHT
But Alex’s past catches up to him when the new Philadelphia Commander chooses Alex to be her mate. He must decide...go obediently into the arms of the woman who blackmailed him into years of sex. Or...fight back. With some magical powers he’s been keeping a secret or with a little science experiment a colleague is cooking up in a private research facility.
My skin tingled reading Alexander’s text on Thursday.
Are you available Saturday afternoon?
He must be as desperate as I am to figure out what the hell that kiss was about, the other night. Sooner rather than later. Or, he could want to meet to have a more thorough discussion of my review of his class. Something we technically never got to Wednesday night.
Annie’s father picked her up from school on Friday and drove north to his parents’ house in Connecticut for an anniversary party, which freed up my weekend. In my reply to Alexander, I didn’t mention all those details; just that I would meet him in his office at the university Saturday afternoon. If that turned into dinner, or something else, well he would get a pleasant surprise.
On Friday late afternoon however, I experienced flu symptoms that hit me like a wrecking ball. I barely made it through my last class and felt dizzy as I walked to my car. Thoughts of Alex kissing me flooded into my brain so often, I thought I brought on my own fever and chills. When I got home Friday after school, I placed a cold alcohol-soaked compress on my forehead. It reminded me of Alex’s lips when he kissed me a couple of days ago. In my flu-induced feverish sleep Friday night into Saturday, I dreamed of him touching me and more.
I woke up this morning, and the fever has not broken. I have to cancel my meeting with Alex. I text my situation with an apology and add, that I’ll be at his class next Wednesday.
He texts me back in a flash and his reply makes my jaw drop.
I’m coming to your house. What’s your address?
Stunned, I type my address into the phone and crawl to the shower. I’m pale and weak, but my hair will be clean.
The several successive knocks on my front door suggest anxiety. As if I see him for the first time, Alexander’s beauty takes my breath away. Before I say hello, he hurries past me.
“What is your temperature, Elizabeth?” he asks and places a shiny leather bag on my coffee table. He actually owns a little black doctor’s bag!
“I don’t know, Annie’s thermometer got lost in the move and she hasn’t been—” I’m silenced by a digital thermometer he pulls out of his bag and wedges into my ear.
“One hundred and two.” He shakes his head. “That’s pretty high. Have you taken anything?”
“No, I figured I would ride it out.”
Alexander sniffs the air and in a tone laced with concern, asks, “Where is your daughter?”
“Annie is with her father this weekend.”
“I have something I could give you.” He rakes over the entire lower floor of my house. “Where would you be more comfortable?”
Before I can think of the impropriety, I say, “My bed.”
His eyebrows inch upward. The kiss we shared created an intimacy between us and neither of us knows what to do with it.
“Show me.” He keeps a cautious distance from me as we climb the stairs.
At the top, I close the door to Annie’s room and when I turn toward my bedroom, Alex and I awkwardly collide.
“Sorry,” he says softly. “After you.”
I’m painfully aware, the presence of my bed might make me forget I have a fever. There’s so much I don’t know about this man, yet here he is. In my bedroom. Good thing I changed the sheets.
Gingerly, I approach the edge of my bed, turn and sit with my hands in my lap. Alexander takes out a number of items from his bag and places them on my dresser.
The empty vial with a long thin tub attached, like he used in the doctor’s office, turns my stomach like it did that day. Next, he removes a wider tube and something that resembles a meat thermometer, only instead of a dial on top, it’s a round glass globe. His fingers touch each instrument several times before he turns around.
Crouching before me, he says, “I want to give you my blood, Elizabeth.”
“You want to give me your blood?” I ask innocently surprised.
I figured he would take a sample of mine to confirm this was the flu or some other common bug buzzing around these days.
“Yes, Elizabeth. Let’s not pretend anymore. I know you know what I am.”
I swallow, fear and panic rise in my throat and make me forget the pounding in my head. “But, that’s not possible,” I whisper.
“There’s nothing for you to be afraid of.” He takes my hand to rest against his chest; hard and cold. No movement beneath his dress shirt.
“Why what?” His attention focuses on a tendril of hair that fell over one of my eyes and his nostrils flare.
“Why should I not be afraid?” I sweep it behind my ear.
“Because I may be a lot of things, but I don’t murder indiscriminately.”
Deborah's childhood on Long Island, NY can be described as Cinderella meets Carrie. A latch-key kid, she spent her days after school, cooking, cleaning and looking after her younger brother to help out her very strict working parents. Those hours of nothingness sparked a wild imagination and a few invisible friends.
After years of doing the whole corporate thing, it was finally Deborah’s turn to make the dream of being a published author come true. Her 2017 debut novel, Must Love Fashion, was a 2018 Golden Leaf finalist for Best Contemporary Romance. She writes strong and witty heroines and the heroes fall hard for them. Her novels have received words of praise from RT Book Reviews, Kirkus Reviews, InD’tale Magazine, Library Journal, and Uncaged Magazine. In addition to a great book, she loves pugs, chocolate, and eats her bacon cheeseburgers with a Grey Goose Cosmopolitan.
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