Felicity is hosting a Facebook release party for Tempted by a Rogue Prince on August 17th, so join her then for amazing giveaways, Q&A, teasers and more. All the details at: https://www.facebook.com/events/532238736898993/
Tempted by a Rogue Prince and the Eternal Mates series is set in the same world as the Vampire Erotic Theatre series, so if you’re a fan of that series, you will love Eternal Mates. Throughout this series, you’ll have a chance to catch up with the cast of the Vampire Erotic Theatre series and learn more about their world. In Claimed by a Demon King, you’ll get to visit the theatre, and some of the favourite characters in the Vampire Erotic Theatre series.
Here’s more about Tempted by a Rogue Prince, including an excerpt from this paranormal romance novel.
Vail lay face down on the black ground, each hard breath stirring dust that choked him, fighting to muster the strength to push himself up and find his feet again. He pressed his hands into the sharp rocks but his muscles turned to water and his bones ached so fiercely his head swam with the pain. He squeezed his eyes shut and focused on breathing instead, but even that was a struggle now.
He tilted his head to one side and stared at his left hand as he curled his fingers into a fist, clawing at the dirt.
He couldn’t stay like this. He couldn’t give up. Even when he wanted to surrender and find an eternal end to his suffering. If he stayed like this, he would fall asleep and the hold the nightmares had on him would grow stronger. Those terrible memories overwhelmed him too often now, dragging him deeper into insanity, until he found it hard to distinguish between reality and the past.
He couldn’t sleep.
Vail gritted his teeth and growled as he pushed himself up, his arms shaking violently with the strain, causing his entire body to tremble and his heart to race from the effort. He snarled and kept pushing, refusing to give in to the lure of sleep. His arms gave out and he hit the dirt again. The taste of blood on his tongue mocked him. He would have been strong enough to stand if he had been feeding.
He didn’t want to eat.
He didn’t want to sleep.
He just wanted to keep walking.
He didn’t care where, as long as it was away from his past.
Vail shoved his hands against the sharp tiny rocks and grunted as he forced himself up, not relenting this time, pushing past the pain and the fatigue, and the weakness invading him. Sweat dotted his brow and trickled down his back beneath the skin-tight scales of his black armour, and white spots winked across his vision, the exertion threatening to render him unconscious and deliver him into the arms of the mad beast waiting within him. It wanted out.
It wanted blood and violence.
Vail managed to make it onto his knees and slumped, his breath sawing out of his lungs and his head spinning, sending the ugly world around him twirling with it.
He clawed at the ground, bloodying his fingertips, aching for the connection to the earth that this despicable land refused to give to him.
Nature hid here, buried deep, shying away from the darkness and the demons.
He longed to feel her again, to sense her warmth flowing through him and the peace that came with being connected to her.
He shifted onto his backside, crossed his legs with effort, and laid his hands in his lap. He couldn’t have the link to nature that he craved right now, but he could find a sliver of peace through a different connection.
The one with his older brother, Loren.
Vail closed his eyes as they stung, the bridge of his nose burning with them and his throat tightening. He shoved aside the pain and focused on his blood, on his brother, and lifted the barrier he normally kept in place between them, shutting Loren out and making it impossible for his brother to find him.
The connection bloomed between them like warm sunshine, infusing him with peace and calm, with the constant affection his brother held for him despite all his sins and all the pain he had caused him over the past four thousand two hundred years they had been at war.
Four thousand two hundred years in which Vail had been a slave to a dark witch, forced to do her bidding against his will, whether it was massacring innocents, igniting wars between kingdoms, attacking his brother and his people, or things that were far worse. Unmentionable.
He rubbed at his arms, subconsciously scrubbing the feel of her hands from his body, the sickening lingering touches and the caresses.
And the other things.
Cold engulfed him, darkness rising from the pit of his soul as his mind travelled black paths that led him downwards into madness. He clawed at his arms and his armour covered his fingers, transforming them into sharp serrated black claws.
Vail brought his hands up and clutched at his head, digging his claws in deep and drawing blood, using the pain in the present to battle that in his past. His fangs grew longer, stabbing into his lower lip, and his pointed ears flared back against the sides of his head.
The warmth inside him increased, chasing back the icy cold, and he trembled with relief.
His brother was aware of him.
Reaching for him.
Tears spilled down Vail’s cheeks and he held the connection between them for as long as he could without risking Loren discovering his location, savouring it and using it to ground himself and anchor him to the present. The connection grew stronger, his brother reinforcing it from thousands of miles away, flooding him with love and affection, with memories of being with Loren back in their kingdom, and then even further back, to the old elf kingdom in the mortal realm, laughing like fools as they played as children in the lush colourful gardens of the castle.
Vail severed the connection, swiftly bringing up the barrier to shut his brother out, unable to bear any more.
He clumsily stumbled onto his feet, almost falling on his face again when his knees turned to jelly beneath him, and staggered onwards, heading for the horizon.
The gods only knew where he was going. How many days had it been since he had seen his brother?
Since he had protected his brother’s sweet mate?
Since he had felt magic around him again and sensed the presence of a witch?
Vail snarled, his lips peeling back off his fangs. He should have killed her. His fingers flexed at the thought of shredding her flesh, peeling it from her bones slice by slice while she screamed for mercy. He had no mercy left in him. No goodness. No kindness. No hope. A witch had made sure of that.
A witch had made him the enemy of all her kind.
They all deserved to die.
For every life that witch had forced him to take, he would kill one of her own treacherous, vile breed. He would wipe out their entire species, freeing the realms of their trickery and magic.
His thoughts flickered back to that moment on the battlefield, when Loren had stood before him, offering his hand.
Gods, Vail had wanted to take it.
He had been so close to placing his hand into his brother’s one and taking the comfort he offered, the acceptance and forgiveness.
A small part of him had even dared to hope that he could return to the castle in the elf kingdom and things could be as they were before Kordula had enslaved him and he had turned on his people, making an enemy of himself in order to protect them all from her, thwarting her plan to set herself up as their queen and enslave them all.
A fool’s dream.
Vail shuffled forwards, barely able to place one foot in front of the other. His ankles wobbled with each step and his muscles screamed in protest. His stomach growled, hunger riding him hard, dragging up replays of battles where he had gorged himself on blood, making himself stronger.
He denied it, too lucid right now to give in to its demands and risk awakening the beast within him, but he knew there would come a time when he blacked out again and woke with the taste of blood on his tongue. Rather things happened that way than while he was conscious. He didn’t want to remember the terrible things he did. There wasn’t room in his soul for any more of them. It was filled with the hideous, despicable things he had done, so black with them that not a speck of light could penetrate it.
Vail had seen elves turn. He had seen them degenerate into monsters, tainted by darkness, craving blood and violence.
He knew that his own turning was overdue. He should have become the embodiment of darkness millennia ago, his mind warped by the things Kordula had done to him, his soul blackened by the lives he had taken, and his body contaminated by the pleasure she had wrung from it.
Bile blazed up his throat. He collapsed onto his hands and knees and vomited, dry heaving until he shook all over and his heart laboured.
He meticulously blanked his mind, killing thought after thought, memory after memory, image after sickening image, until nothing remained but cold emptiness.
His heart settled.
He stared at the black earth and his vision swam out of focus.
He needed to stop thinking about the past. He needed to stop courting the darkness, leading it on a dance as it did the same to him, luring him ever deeper into the black abyss within his soul.
He needed to think about something else.
Vail dragged himself back onto his feet and trudged onwards, staring at the ground. He recited sonnets in his head, filling it with words to keep the shadows at bay.
The terrain grew hilly, challenging his limited strength on every ascent and his ability to maintain his balance on the descents.
At some point, he crossed a border.
Vail became aware of it the moment three large bare-chested demon males teleported in front of him. Warriors. They were mostly human in appearance, but the painted black tips of the grey horns that curled from behind their ears and their vivid green eyes warned him that he had wandered into dangerous territory.
The Fifth Realm.
The three demons advanced.
Vail stood his ground. There was little point in running, and he didn’t have the strength left to teleport or call his swords to him. He couldn’t even muster a telekinetic blast to drive them away from him.
They eyed him suspiciously.
The largest of them, a black-haired brute with a thick scar that cut a diagonal line across his muscular bare chest, stepped forwards and curled his lip.
Vail bit back his desire to point out that the male was stating the obvious. No other creature in Hell shared the appearance of an elf, and none other had the black armour he wore.
His fangs itched with a need to sink into their flesh. It wouldn’t appease his hunger. Demon blood tasted wretched. Toxic.
The darkness in him began to push, filling his head with visions of attacking these three males. They couldn’t give him life through their blood, but they could give him something far sweeter. Something that had eluded him for so long now.
He snarled and launched himself at the leader, slamming into him and knocking him back into the other two. They immediately attacked him, pummelling him with powerful blows that only served to unleash his hunger for violence and bloodshed, giving it free rein. He turned and took on the weakest of the three, slashing across his chest with his claws and raking them down his arms, cleaving flesh and spilling blood. He laughed as the scent of it drove him onwards, pushing his fatigue to the back of his mind.
The demon blocked his next strike and delivered one of his own, a powerful punch that cracked the left side of Vail’s jaw and snapped his head to his right. His vision wobbled and pain blazed a path across his face, numbing it. The demon struck him again, harder this time, and Vail’s knees crumpled beneath him. Darkness encroached at the corners of his mind.
He shook it off and tried to shove to his feet, but large hands clamped down on his shoulders, two on each, and the third male grabbed his arms. Vail cried out as the leader twisted his arms behind his back, almost popping his shoulders out of their sockets with the force of his actions.
“We take him and put him with the others,” the leader growled in the demon tongue behind him. “The king will be pleased we have an elf. He will want to question him about the war and the Third Realm.”
They thought he was part of Loren’s army that had attended the war between the Third and Fifth Realms on the side of the Third, under the banner of King Thorne.
Vail struggled but it was useless. His strength gave way before he could wrestle himself free. The darkness rose within him again, the mad beast snarling for freedom, caged by his weak body just when he would have embraced it and used it to escape and goad these demons into killing him.
A black hole appeared beneath him and he dropped into it with the demons still holding him. They teleported him into a dark stone room that smelled of fetid things, the odour so foul that it choked his lungs.
“You think we should remove his armour?” one said and Vail growled and used all of his limited strength to fight their hold.
“It needs to go. He’s dangerous with it on.” The leader this time.
Vail shook his head and refused to relinquish it as the three demons set to work on him, trying to slip their fingers into the neck of the black scale-like armour. He snarled and mentally commanded it to form his helm, forcing their hands off him as the scales crawled up his neck. They thickened and smoothed as they covered the back of his head and chased across his forehead, forming a point above his nose and then sweeping back over the top of his head into a series of curved spikes that flared backwards like dragon horns.
“Get it off him.” The leader released his arms and pulled at his helmet, jerking his head with the force of his attempts.
Vail snapped and lashed out at him, catching him across his chest with his claws, adding more scars.
He wouldn’t let them take his armour. It was his only protection right now when he was so weak. As wrecked as it was because he didn’t have the strength to repair it, his claws were still intact and he needed this small connection to his people. His armour was his talisman. He had never been without it. He had always cherished it. It was his sole connection to his past.
To better days.
It kept him sane.
The leader grabbed a heavy black club and swung it at him. It connected hard with his left arm, fracturing the bone. One of the others followed his leader, picking up another of the clubs. Vail ground his teeth and desperately blocked their blows, snarling through his fangs as they beat him, stripping away the last of his strength as his tired body began to give out under the pain and damage.
The third demon, the one he had mercilessly clawed, punched him square in the face, breaking his nose. Blood streamed over his lips. His vision distorted. No. He couldn’t pass out. He couldn’t give in.
His mental link to his armour fragmented. He managed to muster the strength to call a pair of black trousers to encase his lower half before the scales peeled away, rapidly running over his body, and disappeared into the twin black and silver metal bands around his wrists.
Vail collapsed onto the dirty slick stone flags, a black void rising up to swallow him.
The last thing he heard was the leader ordering the others to take him to the cells and have him healed.
He snarled, but barely squeezed the sound out from between his bloodied lips before he sank into the black void, into nightmares filled with horrific replays of Kordula and the cruelty she had inflicted upon him, a torture of mind, body and soul.
Vail swore an oath.
If this healer was a sorceress…
He would kill her.
an eCopy of Kissed by a Dark Prince or Claimed by a Demon King (winner’s choice, international)