From New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks comes the next adventure in the Love at Stake series, featuring a Master vampire and his love affair with a woman of many secrets . . .
Vampire Zoltan Czakvar is on the hunt for the truth about his father's death. He's been searching for a very long time—since 1241, in fact. And he is not about to give up, even when he's attacked by a woman with striking blue eyes and a hell of a right hook!
Neona is also on the hunt. She's looking for a mate and she thinks muscled Zoltan will work just fine. After all, men are good for only one thing. Soon, though, she realizes there's more to this handsome vampire than just sexual prowess. But she's keeping a secret from Zoltan, something so big that it will rock the vampire world.
Can their newfound love survive . . . even if their passion means the destruction of her world?
“Kerrelyn Sparks has done it again, she enriched her world and expanded it beautifully all while giving us a fantastic love story.”
Sheri Vidal, For the Love of Bookends Review 5 stars
“With Kerrelyn Sparks usual brand of humor present and the return of many beloved characters, including Howard, everyone's favorite were-bear, this is a book fans will be clamoring for.”
Rosie Bindra, Fresh Fiction
“Kerrelyn Sparks again brings us a charming, sexy, book that combines humor, great characters, a little suspense and lots of love.”
Kitty Angel, Guilty Pleasures Review 5 stars
“Make sure you have several hours to spare as you will not want to put this book down. Oh yes, and make sure your hanky is accessible; you will need it to wipe away your tears of laughter!“
Michelle LaRose, Happily Ever After
“In How to Seduce a Vampire Without Really Trying, Sparks as able to breathe new life into this fantastic world and I for one and dying to read more.”
Larissa, Larissa’s Bookish Life 4.5 stars
“The first chapter lured me in with a giggle. The second ensnared me with a noble quest and by the third chapter I was getting dizzy from delight.”
Xeranthemum, Long and Short Reviews
Hidden deep in the Himalayan Mountains is the valley of Beyul-La, inhabited by a secret cult of warrior women. No men (or sons) are allowed in the valley. Then one night, on a quest to solve a mystery, Zoltan Czakvar unknowingly crosses into their territory. The warrior women are dispatched, and one finds him. After Neona knocks him out, she must decide what to do with this impressive invader...
“Good kitty.” Neona rubbed the young snow leopard’s ears. “Although I should fuss at you for breaking that twig. You ruined my surprise attack.”
The eight-month-old leopard butted its head against her leg.
“Well, you did make up for it, so you’re forgiven. That was very clever of you, pretending you were going to pounce on us.” She smoothed a hand down Zhan’s spotted back.
The snow leopard had become her companion after she’d found him seven months earlier while on guard duty. She’d taken the kitten home, where two of the women had been able to communicate with him. Zhan’s mother and littermates had been killed by a pack of wolves, and he had managed to survive by crawling into a rabbit hole.
Even though Neona didn’t possess the gift of communicating with animals, Zhan clearly preferred her to the other women. Probably because she was the one who had rescued him and nurtured him back to health. She suspected the cat still had enough wildness to dislike the other women’s ability to read his mind.
Right now, she wouldn’t object to having someone to communicate with. She had to decide what to do with the man who called himself Zoltan.
He was still lying on his stomach, unconscious. She winced at the size of the goose egg on the back of his head. She’d hit him hard with the blunt end of her knife, suspecting he possessed an extra hard head.
Her gaze drifted past his broad shoulders, down his back and legs. He had a powerful build, yet he was nimble on his feet. The way he had evaded her attack was amazing. He was an excellent specimen, as Winifred would put it.
Gently Neona turned the man over, and her heart squeezed in her chest. She’d called him fair of face, but that had been a huge understatement. She’d never seen such a handsome man in her life. Nor a man this fast and strong. The men who lived near their territory were either poor farmers or Buddhist monks, not the type of man who could sire a daughter who needed to be a warrior. And since the area was remote and snowed in half the year, outsiders were rare. A man like this Zoltan was extremely rare. Strong, fleet of foot, and incredibly handsome. When he had smiled at her earlier, she’d forgotten how to breathe.
What a beautiful daughter she could have. If only she dared. The daughter could inherit this man’s courage, too.
Kneeling beside him, she placed a hand on his broad chest. “He wanted to protect me even though I attacked him. He has a noble heart.”
The snow leopard butted her hand away with his head, and she smiled.
“Are you jealous? Don’t worry. Once I’m done with him, I’ll have to kill—” Her breath caught. How could she do that? It was one thing to kill a man in the heat of battle, but to lie with him and then kill him? That had to be wrong. Her mother, the queen, would disagree. She always said that nothing was more important than preserving the secrets of Beyul-La.
Neona closed her eyes as a wave of grief crashed over her. Her sister was more important than anything, but now she was gone. Minerva never would have taken a man’s seed and then killed him.
Drawing in a shaky breath, Neona made her decision. She would convince this man to leave and never come back. He might be hard to convince, given his questionable intelligence, so she would have to be firm. Threaten to kill him if she ever saw him again.
In order to succeed, she needed to remain in charge of this situation. After all, she was a warrior woman, so she could never submit to a man. Once he agreed, she would take what she needed, then send him on his way. She pulled a length of coiled rope from a drawstring pouch on her sword belt, then proceeded to tie the man’s hands together. Then she dragged him close to a tree and tied the end of the rope around the trunk.
Was he coming to? Her heart pounded in her chest as she knelt beside him. Was she really going to do this? Coward, her inner voice chided her. If one of the other women had found him, they would be finished by now.
Should she undress him? It wasn’t strictly necessary, but she suspected he was a glorious sight to see.
She lifted the slim piece of red silk that was knotted around his neck. “He dresses strangely.” She gave it a tug, but it only tightened around his neck.
“Sorry.” She slipped her fingers above the knot and managed to loosen it. As she pulled her hand back, she grazed his chin and felt the prickle of whiskers.
Curious, she touched his cheek. How odd a man’s whiskers were. How strangely...appealing. Her stomach fluttered with a peculiar sensation, and she quickly withdrew her hand.
The man was far too handsome. Even with the trail of blood that oozed from his temple. His hair was shoulder length, the color the deep, earthy brown of freshly tilled soil. His eyes were closed now, but she recalled their color--a golden brown like burnished amber. His nose was straight and strong. His brow wide and intelligent.
Seemingly intelligent, she smiled to herself, remembering how indignant he had looked. Apparently it mattered to him what she thought of him. Even that appealed to her.
She leaned close to look at the cut on his temple. It would be a shame if she left the poor man with a scar. Especially as handsome as he was.
He moaned again and she sat back, waiting to see if he’d open his eyes.
When he didn’t, her gaze wandered down his body. Was he still in pain where she’d kneed him? It was a regrettable move on her part, especially now when she needed his groin to be fully functional.
All the women of Beyul-La possessed a gift, and hers was the ability to heal. Unfortunately, in order to take away the pain, she had to take it briefly within herself.
She extended her hand a few inches above his pants. Was she really going to do this? She bit her lip. What choice did she have? The man was as close to perfection as she would ever find. When would a chance like this ever happen again? An image formed in her mind of a little girl with long dark hair and amber eyes. A brave, noble heart and dazzling smile.
Neona’s eyes filled with tears. She’d lost her sister, but she could have a daughter. A daughter to love.
Or a son to break her heart.
A tear rolled down her cheek. “Please, God, let me have a girl.”
She lay her hand on his groin, closed her eyes, and soon, a low, throbbing ache vibrated into her hand. The man would be all right. The worst of the pain had already subsided. She drew the remaining pain out of him, and it rushed up her arm.
Neona gasped, opening her eyes. Her hand flinched, tightening its grip on his manhood.
He gave her a wry look. “What are you doing?”
She jerked her hand away and winced as his pain spread through her body before dissipating. “I-I was—”
“What the hell are you doing?” he demanded, apparently just realizing that his hands were tied together and the rope was attached to a tree.
“I can explain--”
“Dammit!” He tugged at the ropes. “The leopard is right there! Release me so I can protect you.”
“The cat is with me.”
Stay in charge, she reminded herself. She lifted her chin and looked him in the eye. “Remain calm. This will not take long.”
“I plan to take your seed.”