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Her Secret

Promise Me Series, #6

Author(s): Tara Fox Hall

In a desperate effort to halt her transformation to vampire, and stop her longing for the sultry Devlin, Sarelle willingly takes a drug to kill her desire, even as Danial prepares for the introduction of their son Theoron at a Vampire Gathering on New Year’s Eve. Faced with Theo’s betrayal at the eleventh hour, Sarelle must either trust in Danial to save her, or join forces with Devlin, revealing her secret desire for him.

Excerpt


Chapter One

“Get moving!” I said anxiously over my shoulder. “We have to hurry today.”

My white German Shepherd, Ghost, looked over at me, then buried his head back in the high grass, searching eagerly for mice with Darkness, my black German Shepherd. I walked off without him, striding fast. My feet tangled in the tall pasture, slowing my passage and making me curse. Darkness bounded up beside me before I’d gone ten strides. Ghost followed, eager not to be left behind.

It was a beautiful October day, about fifty degrees or so. Despite the dark sky, the winter sun was out, its weak warmth barely registering. Yet I closed my eyes and basked in it anyway, thinking sadly of Danial. He would never feel the sun on his skin again.

Danial was vampire. I’d met him a little more than three years ago. From the moment he’d entered my world, everything had changed.

We’d had our ups and downs, especially when I’d chosen his best friend Theo over him. But when Theo was taken right after we’d become engaged and my world had collapsed, it was Danial who’d seen me through, and helped me raise Theo’s daughter, Elle. We’d also had a child of our own, a son named Theoron. Despite we weren’t together now, I still wore Danial’s fang marks on one side of my throat, and the choker he’d given me with his symbol of the golden fox head around my neck, its twin ruby eyes twinkling. Most of my reasoning was security. I’d been hunted by one vampire or another the last few years. Manir, the vampire who’d attacked Danial’s home a month ago in an effort to kidnap Theoron and me, was still at large.

Manir wasn’t what had me upset today. I was worried about seeing Danial and spending the night with him, wondering how my husband Theo was going to take it.

Theo had survived his overseas capture and torture, which had lasted more than a year. I’d discovered him living in Wyoming six months ago in a tumultuous relationship with a werecougar, one of his own species. We’d married soon after, and he’d returned to New York with me, going back into business with Danial. But what had seemed so simple had quickly become a mess of epic proportions.

Elle had a hard time accepting Theo’s return. Danial was her dad as far as she was concerned, and she didn’t want another. Theo and she had grown closer in the months that he’d been back, but she still favored Danial.

Theoron had remained with Danial when Theo and I moved back into my old house. I could hold my son now, and he no longer tried to bite me for my blood, but he was still aging much quicker than a human child, faster even than Elle was as a werecougar. He was the only dhamphir known to exist. Vampires were sterile by nature. Though a potion existed that had been formulated to let male ones become fertile, it almost never resulted in a pregnancy, and had never before worked well enough to produce a child. Because of Danial’s success with me, many vampires were now very interested in our baby and me.

One of those was Devlin, Danial’s brother. When he’d saved me from an evil gangster a month ago, sustaining wounds I’d given him blood to heal, he’d turned on me, seducing me with the threat of force. Sometime in that day we’d spent in pleasure, he’d fallen in love, or so he swore. He was in South America now, waiting for me to join him wearing the choker he’d sent me. But I wasn’t going, even though the thought of him still weakened me with desire.

Aside from the fact it was morally wrong, I couldn’t risk it. I’d developed symptoms of turning in the last month, either from the years with Danial, the intense lovemaking with Devlin, or some mix of the two. What that meant was I’d become afflicted with wantonness as soon as I was around a vampire, my body’s only thought on how to finish the turning process. Worse, any vampire capable of turning me was also drawn to me in this state. A week ago that had become apparent, when uncontrollable desire struck Danial and I, compelling us not only to have sex but exchange blood.

Afraid, we’d consulted Terian, Danial’s half-demon sorcerer. He’d suggested weekly sessions for me with Danial, and round the clock guards, so I’d not be able to find any unscrupulous vampires to bed or give my blood to. Danial himself would sate my desires with sex while making sure not to exchange any blood or bodily fluids with me. Supposedly, I’d change back fully to human when enough time had passed, though the actual time span wasn’t known for certain.

Theo wasn’t happy about this at all, but I’d told him I was going ahead with it. Tonight he was going to give me his answer on whether he was going to stay with me, or wanted a separation. I wasn’t worried, upsetting as that option was to me. Danial had already asked me to stay with him if Theo left. We’d gotten through something similar years ago when I was pregnant, and I had faith in him...

I put my foot squarely in a mud puddle. Swearing under my breath, I yelled again for the dogs. “Hurry up, guys!” They bounded up beside me, and then passed by, trotting alertly down the woodland path. I followed them, trying to let the peacefulness of my surroundings calm me down.

The forest was serenely beautiful. The last leaves had fallen in a huge rainstorm last night, and the cloudy sky could be seen through their bare branches. Instantly the blue reminded me of Theo’s eyes. I let out a sigh.

Asking my husband for permission to bed his best friend made me ashamed, no matter the reason was logical. But what worried me most was that this crisis I was going through would drive Theo back into the arms of Aspen, the woman I’d found him with in Wyoming. My only relief was in knowing that the other woman he loved named Tasha was already the wife of someone else, and with the way he’d left things with Aspen, she was unlikely to ever take him back.

Ghost came running up. He was carrying a soggy mouse nest in his mouth. “Drop it,” I said and kept walking. He promptly did, then picked it up again when he thought I wasn’t looking. I smiled, despite myself, then the smile dropped from my face. I was home.

Resolute, I crossed the yard and walked up the steps. Theo was there waiting for me, his expression serious. “Can you come inside?” he said. 

“Sure,” I said uneasily, and followed him in. I gave the dogs each a Cheweez, and then sat beside him on the couch, tense as a spring.

“Sarelle—” Theo began.

He was using my whole name, not my nickname. This was probably going to be bad. I steeled myself. 

“I thought a lot about this, and I don’t want to share you. When we first got together, I told you I only had one condition, that you be only with me.” He took a breath and let it out. “But I understand this isn’t you wanting him, not the real you, anyway. This is something you don’t have any control over. Most of all, I get that unless I say yes, it’s going to be the end of us.”


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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 9781612357591
Genre: Paranormal
Date Published: 01/08/2014
Publisher: Melange Books

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