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Authors: Clover Autrey

Tags: #Time Travel, #Vampires, #Historical Romance, #Magic, #Fairies, #Fae, #Empath, #Shapeshifters

The Vampire And The Highland Empath

BOOK: The Vampire And The Highland Empath
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The Vampire And The Highland Empath
Highland Sorcery [2]
Clover Autrey
CreateSpace (2012)
Rating:
****
Tags:
Time Travel, Vampires, Historical Romance, Magic, Fairies, Fae, Empath, Shapeshifters

Edeen, an empath from 13th Century Scotland, is caught in a sleeping enchantment for almost a thousand years. The venom of a vampire is the only thing that can wake her, but it turns out there are worse evils than vampires when she awakens in 1941 Scotland with a supernatural Nazi on her tail.

The Vampire and the Highland Empath

By Clover Autrey

Copyright 2012 Clover Autrey

A Highland Sorcery novel

 

Jump to Table of Contents

 
 

Scotland
, May 5, 1941

It felt like stepping into a tomb. Yet the woman laid out upon the stone slab was hardly dead.

She’d merely slept through the last seven centuries while nations crumbled and were reformed around her.

The darkness of the cavern was oppressive, the air stale. Outside, waves pounded the cliffs, rumbling through the enclosing stone like the pulse of a waking beast, its breath heavy with salt from the sea air that blew inside the cave. A place that had been forgotten, left untouched and spelled for nearly a thousand years.

Roque could hardly believe he found it. Found her.

More fable than legend.

A beloved sister, hidden away by a grief-stricken brother within the farthest fold inside an ancient smugglers nest. The recessed cavern hidden and all within was presented by an undying spell that humans would see and feel only as solid rock, never knowing the priceless treasure slumbering on the other side of illusion.

Yet Roque was far from human.

His preternatural eyes saw through the magic. Nor was the enclosing darkness a factor.

He made out slender arms crossed over slow rising and falling breasts, enclosed in pristine white fabric. His blood hungered, rising to the surface as it discerned the low hum of the woman’s pulse, sluggish in sleep. The predator in him surged to the surface, recognizing easy prey.

Roque froze, calming the beast within himself.
She is not yours for the taking.

Oh, but he wanted to. Beads of sweat broke out across his brow. His fingers curled at his sides, arms rigid. With one waft of the sleeper’s potent blood, impulses he’d strived years to keep under control roiled through him, making Roque feel once again weak-willed and out of control. His own feral blood roared to meet hers, to consume, to take all.

Vampire.

Monster.

No. He could be one without the other. He was strong enough to fight his urges. Had been strong enough for years.

With practiced exertion, he forced the rapid monster within back to the shadows like a lion tamer utilizing a whip.

Back. Back.

Ever watchful of the beast ready to pounce, he could never turn away from what slept in his blood.

He uncurled his fists. Found his calm. Ignored the hunger that throbbed through his veins. He had a job to do.

Whether this worked or not, the spell of illusion and the sleeper’s resting place would be destroyed. With one step, Roque passed through the barrier of hidden magic. Charged energy hissed across his skin, lifting the ends of his hair.

Just like that, the spell preserving the woman’s body—keeping her from aging, keeping her alive—disintegrated.

Even a spell as powerful as this withered beneath the force of that which sang through Roque’s blood.

She would have to be awakened now. Or die.

Which for the purpose Roque had come here, might be the less dangerous outcome for everyone.

His burden. His fault.

He moved into the back of the caves, a silent wraith. His blood surged as he neared the altar, reaching outward, hungering for the magic it sensed.

The creature within him was damn near salivating.

Which shouldn’t be happening. He had tamed the beast long ago.

He looked down upon her and his pulse flared for an entirely different reason.

By gods. Legend had spoken of her loveliness, but Roque had dismissed it as fanciful embellishments of the bespelled slumbering beauty.

Legend had no idea.

She looked as though she had fallen asleep only hours ago. Her smooth skin still retained a healthy blush. Dark lashes fanned over high cheekbones. Soft waves of hair spread across the quilt someone, most likely her brother, had placed beneath her head. Even in the darkness, he could see it was the color of deep crimson sunset.

His hand moved of its own volition to hover above her cheek, run his thumb upon petal-soft lips.

The beast growled to be released, his blood scalding beneath his flesh.

Magic pulsed upon the air—pure and undiluted with darkness.

In all the decades he’d survived, he’d never felt magic so pristinely untouched.

Take it. Take it. Clean your soul.

He stumbled back, horrified at the temptation rising up into his throat.

He could do it. He could succumb to the urges of the beast. His gaze dropped back to the woman, her serene features, her softly rising and falling chest, and he could not destroy her.

She had to live.

However, it was possible that by evaporating the spell she had been cocooned within, he had just signed her death warrant.

Roque took a deep breath, steadying himself for what he was about to attempt.

“Alex, I hope you know what you’re talking about,” he spoke to the shadows. It was a longshot at best. Her brother, the most powerful wizard known to history, had not been able to awaken her, what chance did a vampire from the lower east side of London have?

You’re more than that
, the beast inside his blood hissed, restless. Eager.
You’re the only one who can do it.

Roque leaned over the woman and smoothed back her hair with a tenderness he didn’t know he still possessed. Soft as silk.

“Wake up, Sleeping Beauty.”

Snaking an arm beneath her shoulders, he lifted her—

--and plunged his teeth into the vulnerable hollow of her neck.

Ecstasy flooded his veins. He hadn’t tasted blood in so long, the beast fully awoke. Hungry. So hungry.

Her blood was warm, sweet as honey, filling his mouth and throat as he drank. Power vibrated beneath his skin, ancient magic from when the world was young, before the darkness consumed the land and awoke creatures older than time that never should have been awakened.

Her magic sang, burned, scorched his throat. Had he been human, the rush of her magic would scald him, searing from the inside out.

Yet he was more than human.

More even than vampire.

The creature that lay within him was more ancient than that.

Which is why he was here, the only one who stood a whisper’s chance of shocking the woman out of her deep slumber. He felt the shift in himself, the stirrings of transformation, the cracking of bone and sinew. No!

Recalling his purpose, Roque slammed down upon his beast and quit drawing from the girl’s blood and magic—though it was the hardest thing he’d done in decades—leaving him overwhelmed and afraid.

He’d damned near lost control.

The beast roared, unsated.

Roque pushed back, breathing heavily, his lungs still on fire, his teeth still in the woman’s tender neck tissue. The urge to take and take and take throbbed through his body.

He never lost control, couldn’t afford to. Never loosened the hold he had on the beast, yet, with one taste of this girl’s magic…gods.

Shaken to the core, he reined in every ounce of will he had left…

…and gave.

Connected by flesh, mouth upon neck, connected by blood and magics. Roque tapped into that ancient part of himself. Tapped into the beast, the dragon, and let his magic pour through him. He released that overpowering dark force within his blood that he dared never touch upon, into the girl, hoping Alex had not been wrong. Also hoping the man had not underestimated Roque’s ability to pull the dragon back once it was loose.

He was afraid.

The dragon stormed past his barriers, vaporous jaws stretched to engulf the woman’s essence.

No.

Roque clawed at the serpent, torn. The dragon’s magic could awaken her…but it could also kill.

Flame erupted from his fingers. Horrified, Roque flinched back, dropping the girl back upon her bed of quilts. Blood stained her neck. The quilts caught fire.

Bloody hell. Roque pulled back on the dragon. Hard. Forced it away and the flames flickering off his hands extinguished.

He grabbed the woman up into his arms, patting out the fire that caught the edge of her frilly sleeve.

The woman convulsed in his arms. Her eyes flashed open.

Green. Intensely green.

From deathly asleep to fully alert in seconds.

Roque went utterly still.

The girl stared back at him and then took in the burning coverings on the stone altar, the dark cavern walls. Her brows pulled together in confusion and her gaze focused back on him.

She shoved against his chest. “Where are my brothers? Who are you?”

Her voice held the deep lilt of the Scottish Highlands and held him enthralled. He’d expected a dry rasp from disuse, but the spell that surrounded her for centuries had preserved her well. No aging, no need for sustenance, no atrophy of muscle tone. It was as though she’d slept minutes instead of nearly a thousand years. Even the quilts and her clothing had remained untouched by time.

She shoved at him again, squirming to get out of his hold. Her tone hitched with rising panic. “Where are my brothers? Where’s Charity?”

Roque’s response was to grip her more tightly and head toward the adjoining cavern.

“Let me down.” She twisted out of his arms, forcing Roque to stumble forward to keep her from hitting the rocky ground. He snagged her waist and pulled her to him so her face wouldn’t hit stone.

She froze against him.

Slowly she twisted around to study him, her eyes wide. His extraordinary reflexes made her re-evaluate who he was.
What
he was.

Her body shifted away. Her wariness hurt. It shouldn’t matter to him, but it hurt. She cupped her neck, brought her hand down and stared at the blood on her fingers. Dark brows drew together as she glared up at him, accusation hard in her eyes.

He let her go.

She backed away. “Get away from me. Who are you?” Her hands fluttered to her waist, undoubtedly searching for a blade she must have once kept there.

Roque glanced toward the fire on the altar. Smoke was filling the room, but the flames would be out soon with nothing left to burn. “You want to stay here?”

She flinched. Her eyes traveled to the low light spilling in from the adjacent cave and the only way out of the smugglers hideout. She would have to get past him.

“Ye’re English?” Her eyes tightened, seeing him instantly as the enemy from his accent.

He sighed. “I’m here to help you.” It suddenly seemed critical that she believe him. He frowned. Her trust wasn’t necessary. It’d be nothing to carry her out by force, but his every nerve jumped around inside him as she stared into his face. He had the vague impression she could uncover what was left of his tattered soul.

One eye squinted as though she could see him better that way. Perhaps she couldn’t see him well at all with the smoke and the darkness. She would not have the keen eyesight of his kind.

Her fingers scrabbled at the folds of her gown. “Are my brothers outside? Is this…” She glanced around. “Is this the Shadowrood?”

His mouth went dry. The mention of the otherworld of the Fae made his blood run cold. “No.”

She jerked and he immediately regretted his harsh tone. After all, she knew nothing of what her family had done. She couldn’t know that her brothers had destroyed the world.

Chapter Two

Roque extended his hand. “I’ll tell you everything once we’re out of here. It’s not safe.”

He wasn’t looking forward to explaining that everyone she’d ever known, everything she’d ever known, were gone. And there was no way he was saying anything now, not without knowing how she’d react. She could run, not that he couldn’t catch her. Or worse, go into hysterics.

BOOK: The Vampire And The Highland Empath
8.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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