From the desk of Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
Halloween looms just ahead. Whether we’re marking All Halloweens Eve, the ancient Celtic Samhain, All Saints Day, Day of the Dead, or are just out for a good time with some trick or treating and a few good scares, almost everyone adores Halloween. The modern celebration evolved out of many cultures and rituals. These days, I write a variety of romance, everything from contemporary to historical to a wee bit of the paranormal. My most popular paranormal books so far are my Love Covenant series from Evernight Publishing…Love Tattoo, Love Scars, Love Knots, and Love Shadows.
And everyone loves a vampire, don't they?
Now my vampires – Will Brennan and his lady Cara…don’t sparkle.
I don’t know about you but I don’t want my vampires to sparkle. I want my vamps to be sexy, sensual and a little exotic but please, no sparkle. Sparkle makes me think about glitter and glittery makes me think, well, never mind it’s probably best if we just don’t go there.
Now some die hard vampire authors (mostly those who pen horror rather than romance) don’t want vamps to be sexy either. They prefer the old school blood thirsty killers who thrive at night.
Somewhere in between the sparkling vampires created by Stephanie Meyer and the blood sucking evil vamps following the tradition Bram Stoker began, the modern vampire hero tends to be much more approachable and very sexy.
I love how we can create our own vampire realities and each author does a little different take on our vamps. In my Love Covenant series from Evernight Publishing, my vampire Will Brennan is uber sexy but he’s also very sweet, tender, and loving.
The Love Covenant series didn’t begin as a series, just a single novel about the dark, sexy vampire who drove an eighteen wheeler and the sassy mouthed Texas gal he ran across. Their kiss sparked something more and for the first time in centuries, Will Brennan broke down the barriers to let someone else into his heart. At the end of the first edits for Love Tattoo, my editor suggested there might be room for a sequel. I wasn’t sure but I thought about it and Cara started talking again (Cara tells the stories in first person). Four books later, my Irish vampire and his lovely lady have found a place in the hearts of so many readers.
Here’s the blurb for the most recent novel:
Cara couldn’t be happier now that her sexy vampire husband Will Brennan located his long lost brother Seamus. Her new found brother-in-law even has a theater where she can sing - until a vampire named Henri shows up in the audience. He covets Cara but not for a happy ending. The old vampire, far more powerful than Will or Seamus has a bad reputation among the undead.
Back in Memphis Henri demonstrates he can make them suffer at will. A cat and mouse game begins and takes them back to Missouri, then onto Texas for what they hope will be a happy family holiday.
A last minute grocery store run puts Cara in Henri’s hands and leaves Seamus near dead. When Henri takes Cara deep into the mysterious back waters of Caddo Lake, it’ll take more than just Will Brennan and his brother to save her – if they can.
Here’s an excerpt from the newest, book four of the series, Love Shadows:
“Are you still cold, Cara?” he asked, his breath soft against my face. I could smell the alcohol from the drinks and the smoke of his many cigarillos. “Let me warm you up.”
I answered him with my lips, latching onto his mouth with the finesse of clasping a delicate filigree chain yet with the strength of a snapping turtle. I stroked his lips with mine, claiming my right and he responded with power. He kissed me back until my head whirled and I appreciated the heavy bed beneath and above me, a stable place in a spinning world. Bold as the highwayman he’d once been, he ran his hands over my body, awakening each nerve, notifying every cell of his need. My want answered it and we came together, touching, stroking, biting, and even licking with the force of the mighty Mississippi River that flowed not so far away.
His body moved over me like a raging floodtide, sweeping away my worries and leaving nothing but this sensual moment between us. I felt my nipples harden even as my hand, stroking his cock, which strengthened in my grasp until it had the solid feel of stone. Within, my body prepared for him by easing the passageway with wetness and as he fondled me from throat to my cleft, my body refused to wait. I pushed upward until my body bumped against his and strained with the overwhelming need for release. As our skins touched, our bodies savored the feel of one to another, Will’s patience eroded. He drove into me with such speed and total impact that I crashed, my body dropping back against the mattress, helpless against his invasion.
As the essence of his loving poured into me, I drowned in it, delighted in the immersion and opened to him, all defenses down. At that second of total connection, I cried out, my voice a wordless shriek to express my overwhelming pleasure. Will silenced me with his mouth, his tongue entering my mouth to move in the same rapid in and out sequence as his penis. When I came, it happened with shuddering and with such total awareness that nothing outside this room that bed mattered. I clung to him so that I wouldn’t fall into oblivion and he filled me even as he held me tight.
Love flared between us, the emotion as potent and strong as the musk that filled the room around us from our physical pleasure. We were one, body and soul, in those moments and together in a way that I’d never been with anyone else and would not ever be. Such intimacy must be rare, I thought, as I lay wrapped in his flesh, his smell on my skin and I treasured it.
To the east, morning must be breaking. I could feel it now, a sense of danger, a feeling that my consciousness must soon fade to black and he knew it too. I fumbled to throw a cover over us both and as I began to sink into that darkness, Will whispered,
“Are you warm now, mo anam cara?”
“Oh, yeah,” I whispered back, my lips making tiny baby kisses against the base of his throat. I knew he liked it and his smile lit, tender, as we went to sleep together.
When I roused, come nightfall, the bed stretched large and empty around me. Will hadn’t been gone long and I could guess that wherever he was, he would be with Seamus. I knew he wouldn’t leave without me so I took my time. I enjoyed a long, leisurely bath complete with scented oil that left me feeling almost boneless. Since this was Halloween, I figured we’d be staying home the way I’d planned. But when I drifted downstairs, wearing nothing but a brocade dressing gown Will bought me last winter, barefooted, I found the brothers dressed to go out. Their dark heads leaned together as they sat talking in the flickering light of the fire I’d asked Malachi, Will’s faithful human servant, to light in the parlor but when I entered, without a sound, Will glanced up with a smile.
“There you are, Cara.” He stretched out his hand to me and I crossed to him, my hand straying across his broad shoulders when I leaned down for a kiss. He tasted of wine, not the Moscato that we both preferred but another vintage, tarter and less sweet. “I was about to come up to find you.”
And as a Halloween treat….one more:
“Then love me tender,” I whispered, quoting Elvis.
With the infinite patience of the stars, Will Brennan put his mouth over mine, as rich and sweet as the somnolent scent of honeysuckle on a summer night. His lips stroked mine with such slow heat that I burned, not the savage flame that hurt so much on Halloween but a gentle fever that moved through my blood like intoxication. That mouth cherished me as if my lips held the riches of all ages, a king’s treasure. Will’s kisses teased over me like a whisper, reminding me of a light wind that might fondle a cheek or toss a lock of hair. He handled me as if I might be as fragile as an exquisite antique of extreme value. He touched me with care as if I might break if he didn’t.
As his hands moved over my body like heat lightning on a humid night, elusive, my skin became so sensitive that each stroke sent a thousand nerve cells tingling. When his mouth left my lips, they mourned his leaving but I had no time to think because his lips tickled down my throat, nipping and licking where my veins ran. He followed the largest, using his tongue to trace its course until he reached my breasts. Will used his thumb to rub against each nipple, one at a time, in a circular fashion that brought the buds to bloom. He cupped my tits in his hands as if he held eggs, delicate and easy to break, and the weight of his hands against my flesh tortured me but in such an exquisite way that I wanted more. Then he ran his hands down my sides, palms against my body, in a slow rhythm that filled me with a music that rang in my head.
When I raised my hand to touch him, he stayed it.
“Let me,” he said, his voice just a faint rustle audible in the roaring I heard in my ears. “Let me do it all, mo anam cara.”
I yielded, slave to his master, and allowed to do what he wanted. My body became his to command, his to take and he did with such deliberate measure that I thought I might languish there, imprisoned forever. When he entered me, his rod stiff and hard, he burrowed into my warmth, my wet cave that waited for him without force or hammering. Instead of conquering with might, Will poured into me like a tide sweeping over a beach, natural and powerful. I felt the impact of his arrival and knew the sweet, sweet release as he covered me. He filled me to capacity and then he bucked, no longer able to control his own need, yet even then with a gentle consideration.
I rose to meet him halfway, drawing him deeper into myself so that when the moment we sought came, we rode it like a Fourth of July rocket into the stratosphere of our souls and let it explode over us with brilliant joy. The release brought me to such a brink of physical pleasure that I cried out, unable to contain it and Will stopped my noise with his mouth, with a kiss that gave me the remaining roughness I craved. He kissed me hard, his mouth all but raping mine as I gloried in the sensation, coming again in a breaking tide that consumed us both.
After, we basked together, sated and lethargic. I had no desire to move, curled into the circle of Will’s arm, my head against his chest. In that position, I felt whole and invincible.
“Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I never saw true beauty until this night,” Will crooned to me, his voice as low and tender as his earlier kiss.
I answered that lyrical poetry with more Elvis and I sang it, low and true, just for him.
“Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go.”
He lifted himself up on one elbow, gazed at me with an expression of love and said,
“I won’t mo anam cara, not ever, not in this world or the next, no matter what it takes.”
He meant to put my fears about Henri to rest but when he talked about this world or the next, I felt that trepidation creep back into my heart but I said nothing. Instead, I let him carry me downstairs and savored the experience; safe for this moment even if I wasn’t sure how long that sense of security might last.
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