Read Tale of the Century Bride Complete: Historical Vampire Paranormal Romance Box Set Online

Authors: Susan G. Charles

Tags: #Vampires, #paranormal vampire romance, #Paranormal, #immortal, #Norway, #vampire books, #Brides, #vampire, #battles, #Romance, #Supernatural, #War, #conflict, #warrior, #Medieval, #New Adult Romance, #vampire romance, #Coming of Age, #Royalty, #bride, #Historical, #castle

Tale of the Century Bride Complete: Historical Vampire Paranormal Romance Box Set (3 page)

BOOK: Tale of the Century Bride Complete: Historical Vampire Paranormal Romance Box Set
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Tale of the Century Bride Book One: Chapter 6

“Wait. Quiet all… Listen!” The fourth speaker, Alrik, the one with the skinned head said, raising a hand to silence all his companions. He drew in a long, deep breath. “Does anyone else smell that?” He looked around the gorge and inhaled deeply again. The other vampires followed suit. “That smells like…”

“An unclaimed maiden – and my new wife!” Mattis finished his companion’s sentence. “This one is mine! You have three brides at home, Santu, and Laurence already has his first heir.”

Just then Catherine heard the vampire’s voice rise in tone, taking on a seductive, almost siren-like quality.“Come here sweet girl, come here to me.” And in one jump, Mattis was across the river, now firmly standing on Dalmarn land. He took in another series of deep breaths, all in several directions before turning towards where Catherine still lay on the overhang, frozen in the growing darkness. The other vampires swiftly followed him, crossing the river and fanning out on either side of Mattis.

“Come here to me, my beloved. Come out. I will not harm you.” The vampire called out to Catherine through the darkness. As he got closer to her, his voice became harder to resist. An enflamed, terrifying heat surged through Catherine as Mattis steadily approached her hiding place, one step at a time.

Life and death seemed to be her two choices though, as she crouched there in the darkness, one seemed more probable than the other. What mere human had ever managed their ground against the onslaught of a single vampire, let alone a seasoned group hell bent on destruction? Still, Catherine refused to let them have her without a fight. She managed to slowly move her crossbow into position as he continued to call for her. She clutched the trigger of her crossbow, slowly aiming the weapon for his heart.

“Do not be afraid, my darling,” Mattis cooed to her again.

The voice came again and again, the one calm object inside a terrible storm. Something about his voice soothed her, lulling her deeper into submission. Against her will and all reason, she could simply not bring herself to pull the trigger, try as she may. All she wanted now was to be close to him, to touch him, to be his lover.

Mattis continued to slowly draw closer to Catherine’s hiding spot, a mystical quality about him that Catherine couldn’t resist. The tender glow of his dark eyes, soft features of his face, and soothing rhythm of his voice – all of it suggested that she might find a paradise with him – some place far away where women were not sacrificed to reigning lords. Everything was beginning to make sense to her now. And going away with the vampire named Mattis seemed the most logical choice she might ever make.

Just then, an enraged shriek from up river broke the spell that Mattis’ voice had on her. Regaining control of her will, Catherine now loosed the crossbow bolt straight toward the chest of the vampire Mattis. In an instant she heard the familiar sound of a bolt tearing through flesh, but reeled backwards ever so slightly to see that she had missed her mark. Unfortunately the bolt barely missed his heart, being several inches too low.

“You will surely pay for that”, he growled and lunged in Catherine’s direction. However, he took no more than a single step before a huge dark figure in shining chain mail fell downwards out of the sky and directly in the path between both Catherine and Mattis, in fact, blocking the trail between all the vampires and Catherine.

“Cornelius!” Santu yelled as he pulled his sword from its sheath. “Your dominion over your precious Dalmar ends now! We are here to take control from you this very night!”

Santu rushed forward, slashing rapidly in what Catherine could only discern as every direction as once. Count August’s body moved like wildfire, so fast all she could comprehend was a shimmering light, yet seemingly impenetrable by Santu’s wayward blade. Santu never made contact with the new figure even once. In no time at all, Cornelius grew weary of the game he was playing and extended an arm so fast it was almost as if it had always been that way, tightening his muscular fingers around his adversary’s throat.

“Farewell, sir,” Cornelius whispered sympathetically and then squeezed until the entirety of Santu’s head dislodged from his shoulders. The guardian of Dalmar flung what was left of the decapitated head off the ridge’s overhang and into the river flowing below. Realizing that not one of them could single-handedly kill Cornelius, those who remained of the group attacked all at once. All except for Mattis, who used the sudden conflict as a cloak for his continued approach. The lustful vampire hung about the girl like a plague, bearing down on her with burning eyes, Mattis pulled his sword from its sheath and engaged the mailed figure from behind.

“Oh, my dear, I hope you did not think I would forget about you,” Mattis said. Catherine screamed as soon as he spoke, so much closer to her now than he was before. “But you’re beautiful enough that I may forget your show of rebellion.” He laughed awkwardly. “ Provided you can behave yourself from now on.”

Bending over her now and staring directly into her eyes for a quick moment, Mattis immediately scooped Catherine up from where she lay, and threw her over his shoulder. His touch, cold as it was, still instantly made Catherine shiver with a heat and a terrifying lust that she had never encountered before in her life. In less than a instant, Mattis had carried her down the side of the gorge, and far, far away from the raging battle above between his band of vampire brothers and the stranger.

“Let the others carry on the fight against Cornelius for his land, I do not care for it. But I now have exactly what I came here for,” Mattis muttered, more to himself than her. He looked about, still carrying her over his shoulder, then he changed direction, fully intending to carry her across the river and back to his lair, and completely abandoning his fellow vampires.

Things changed again in an instant from Catherine’s point of view. Before Mattis completely landed on the riverbank, while still in mid-air, Catherine found herself torn free from Mattis’ grasp and being held close to the stranger, completely cradled in his strong arms. She instantly got a whiff of his odor, that is just how close she was to him – he smelled of pipes, and wood and smoke. It was a wonderful combination.

“You above all should know that the people of Dalmar are untouchable, Mattis, son of Ellis,” the stranger said to Catherine’s abductor. “I will not condone encroachment of any type onto any of my lands, and especially not the plunder of even one of my citizens – man, woman or child.”

Count August quickly glanced at Catherine, even smiling at her for an instant, before he gently placed her on the ground directly behind him. That one gesture put him directly between her and her abductor, just as an added measure. Now this gesture alone should have been enough to get the message across to Mattis that he should stop his plans before they went any further – but Mattis was young and stubborn and did not take the threat at full value.

“I have already killed all of your companions while you attempted to sneak away you unscrupulous, filthy creature,” Count August yelled at Mattis. “Go now, return to your father’s land, you cowardly, duplicitous thief. And give him this message for me when you get there – in six months, my bride is due. The heir I beget will own these lands one day, should ever I perish. My claim is accredited by the council of Overlords. Any attempt of any kind to wrestle these lands away from the house of August Cornelius shall be met with the full force of my wrath. Now go, cowardly cur! Go, quickly, before I change my mind.”

Exactly as he was instructed, Mattis gave not a single objection to August’s declaration and immediately disappeared from their sight. It all happened so fast Catherine was not quite sure exactly if this were real or if she might be dreaming. She kept waiting to wake up from her dream.

Tale of the Century Bride Book One: Chapter 7

Count August, happy that the matter was over, sighed at the affair then turned all his attention to Catherine. Now smiling, he spoke to her, “You were really, very brave, my maiden of Dalmar. There are very few amongst the living with the gift of such a strong will, a will capable enough to break the hold of a vampire’s glamour. You, my dear maiden, were as fierce… as an eagle in flight. Yes, that is it exactly. Come now, before any other carnage happens. I must now take you safely back to the village, little eagle.” He then held out his hand to beckon her to join him in the trip back to Dalmar.

Catherine stood there for a second, gathering her wits about her. So much had happened in the last hour she was not entirely sure she should trust the stranger. After a few minutes she gathered her courage and instead stood right where she was. She looked at the new figure, Count August was his name she knew now, thanks to the events of a few moments ago.

“Wait, my lord. Please. Just a moment. Please? Is what those vampires said true?”, Catherine quietly asked, hoping not to make him mad, but with a new courage growing in her small frame she decided to ask anyway. “Can the overlord committee really remove you from power if you have no heir?”

Immediately Cornelius’s quiet face became rock solid stern. By the expression on his face, she knew that her question had left its mark. She knew that what they had said did have at least some truth to it.

“It is true, little eagle – I cannot deny the truth. What you heard is true. My next bride must provide me an heir to assure the security of the village of Dalmar and her people. Now come with me before it gets any darker. We must leave this place,” and with that statement, Count August did not give her a chance to ask any more questions. He simply scooped her up into his strong arms and flew her back to her home with a speed unimaginable – other than in her dreams.

Catherine’s recent excursion, her encounter with hostile vampires, her chance meeting with Count August himself, and then a flight back home was overwhelming to her in more ways than one. It would be very safe to say that it had left the young woman somewhat traumatized, by all the events she had witnessed. But the best part of all had to have been the fairytale ending – this single event, more than all others combined, did more than enough to balance out the distress she experienced at the hands of Mattis and his band of rogue vampires.

The villagers watched in complete amazement as they soared in overhead – they flew in! What human being flies? None! But Catherine had just done exactly that! And now she was just dropped off by the Lord of their land, who in turn was flying back to his own home immediately after he had set her down safely. The trip that had taken her two days worth of walking had taken him less than ten minutes!

Naturally, all the villagers who had seen this turn of events crowded about her with questions here and questions there, and all the villagers who had heard the news were just now coming to the crowd to ask more questions of their own. Catherine, still in shock just a bit, answered none of their questions, in fact she acted as if they were not even around.

But instead she simply walked directly over to the volunteer list still hanging on the board in the middle of the town square, upon which she scrawled her name in earnest. The crowd assembled could not believe what they had seen. Flying in with the Lord of their land was unbelievable. But for Catherine to freely volunteer to be a member of the century bride tribute court, that too was inconceivable – a miracle that none of them would have ever have expected to see in their lifetimes.

Tale of the Century Bride Book One: Chapter 8

After her strange experiences on the border, two things had become crystal clear to Catherine. The first was simple. The people had no idea the kind of danger they were in. The Dalmarn people desperately needed Count August Cornelius to defend them from such confrontations, battles and roving brigands of vampires and other supernatural forces that lived in the area. She completely understood that now.

The second fact was very easy to understand for her now too since the veil had been lifted from her eyes. No longer was she selfishly thinking of her fate, or perhaps the fate of just one girl, but she now thought of the fate of the entirety of all the people of Dalmar. She knew that their vampire lord needed an heir to make sure that the people were protected too. And in that very instant, Catherine promised herself, should Lord August provide her the opportunity, that she would do her best to provide him a suitable heir to keep Dalmar safe.

Catherine thought about the events of a few days ago out on the border of Dalmar repeatedly. It all still felt as if a dream. And Catherine’s daydreams were beginning to overwhelm her – but today she simply shook her head to clear the memory of that night from her mind as she stood in the semicircle, one of the seven, awaiting Count August’s appearance. It wasn’t long before the sound of approaching hoof beats quieted the crowd of onlookers. Everyone there turned to see that, from the direction of the castle, a familiar mailed figure approached, riding a massive black stallion at a furious pace. Right behind him, he was closely followed another black riderless horse. He would be here in just a few minutes.

Catherine nervously touched the fiery red amulet hanging around her neck again, slowly wiping the eagle symbol emblazoned on its face for luck. She took a moment and looked at the other tribute members to see what they were doing at that very instant – all of them looked scared, some looked nervous and a few even looked ill. For them, the thought that their fate was about to change forever was indeed overwhelming. And she completely understood that, but she could not hardly wait for the ceremony to begin.

Out of the corner of her eye, Catherine looked over and could see that her family was standing together right in the front of the growing crowd about 100 yards from where she stood right now. They looked both sad and proud as they watched this last event of the century festival. Moments later both of the huge black horse’s iron shod feet loudly rang out against the cobblestones of the square, drawing everyone’s attention to the rider and the riderless horse who was quickly approaching the square.

BOOK: Tale of the Century Bride Complete: Historical Vampire Paranormal Romance Box Set
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