Neo Manos, son of Zeus, was to become King of the Realm, governing the Blessed Creatures that roamed the earth. Everything changed when Neo was kidnapped and tortured for over four hundred years at the hands of a vampire. After being turned into one of the monsters he'd come to despise, Neo refused to take his rightful place as king. How could he fairly govern the Realm if he hated what he'd become?
In an attempt to make amends to his son, Zeus created a perfect mate for Neo. Michael was everything Neo had ever wanted and everything he knew he didn't deserve. With blood designed only for Neo, Michael quickly becomes the target of Neo's enemies.
Soon it will become a daily battle to keep his mate safe and deal with his increasing addiction to the blood flowing from Michael's veins.
For over four hundred years, werewolf mates, Kern and Haig fought and loved side by side. Although they've had a few rocky moments along the way, their love for each other has never wavered. That is, until Kern is kidnapped and forced to mate with the outsider, Audric. Hurt and confused, Haig runs from Neo's Realm and, most especially, Kern. How is Haig supposed to accept another man in his marriage, especially when that man isn't a werewolf at all but a vampire?
Centuries spent as the whipping boy to the other vampires in his coven have left Audric hungry for affection. His goal isn't to come between the mated pair of werewolves, but to become part of their family. Unfortunately, his yearning for love and companionship soon threatens to damage that which he desired.
Kern hates that his unwilling actions have hurt the only person he's ever loved, but with Haig gone, he's left alone to introduce Audric to a new life on the vineyard. Kern didn't expect to like the puny vampire, but Audric begins to ease his way under Kern's skin. When Haig returns after a two month absence, Kern is afraid his newfound love for Audric might tear apart his marriage with Haig.
Three men, two species, one bed. Is it possible to put aside jealousies and establish a new kind of family or will this forced union destroy everything?
General Release Date: 14th March 2011
With Paganini playing in the background, Neo Manos sat in his study in front of the large window, looking out over the vines he loved. After nine hundred years, the grapes had become his lover, the wine his offspring.
“It’s almost time,” he whispered to the rows of fattening grapes. Harvest was a rebirth of sorts, the plump juicy fruit he and his workers had spent an entire year preparing for would be picked, washed and sorted before the pressing. Neo hummed to the music, taking its energy and using it to replenish his soul.
He took a sip of his special wine, and immersed himself in the music, his eyelids becoming heavy.
Images flashed before his eyes—chains, blood, so much blood, him on a table, iron stakes driven through his body to hold him down.
Neo woke himself with a scream, sweat pouring from his face and chest. The door flew open and his long-time butler, Joseph, stepped into the room.
“Are you okay, Your Highness?”
Wiping his brow with the sleeve of his shirt, Neo didn’t bother to turn around. “I’ve told you for over six-hundred years not to call me that,” he growled.
“You are what you are. You will have to kill me before I stop treating you with the respect of your position.”
Neo waved his hand. “Leave me.”
He heard the door shut as he reached for his glass of wine. How many centuries would have to pass before the nightmares stopped?
* * * *
Nights spent in the vineyard meant everything to Neo. Outside, walking amongst the rows of grapes he’d helped plant, was his religion, his church, his sanctuary. His vineyard, Le Uve del Regno, or Grapes of the Realm, was his everything.
The mourning howls of several of his employees filled the brisk night air. Neo looked up at the full moon and smiled. He knew his hand-selected men were hunting in the hills. There were times, like tonight, when Neo longed to join them. What would it be like to be part of a pack? To feel the pull of companionship?
He glanced across the rows of vines to the werecats working with only the moonlight to aid their harvest. Cats truly made the best workers in his opinion. All they asked of Neo were days to lounge in the sun in their cat form, and they were more than happy to work the entire night in human form, harvesting and tending to his grapes.
The wolves were needed but not for production. Their bigger hands tended to crush more than they harvested. No, Neo needed the wolves for protection, and they were a fiercely loyal pack.
A movement at the end of the row caught his attention. Neo started to call out for his guards but stopped when a cloud moved, uncovering the full moon, casting the man in a glow of light.
Spiro. How long had it been since he’d seen his brother?
Spiro stepped closer. Once again, Neo was reminded of how different they were. Where Neo was dark, Spiro was pure light, with shoulder-length white hair and pale-gray eyes.
“Brother,” Spiro greeted.
“What are you doing here?” Neo asked, wiping his hands on his pants. Even after all the years they’d been apart, Spiro’s presence still made Neo uncomfortable. It wasn’t a lack of love for his sibling. After all, they had shared the same mother, but Spiro made Neo want for things that simply weren’t possible since he’d been changed.
Spiro stopped. His expression took on a hurt quality. “I’ve missed you.”
“And I’ve missed you, but you know why it must be this way.” His emotions threatened to get the better of him. He and Spiro had once been inseparable, but things had changed, Neo had changed. He held his hand up to stop Spiro from coming closer.
Spiro did as commanded. “It’s time, Neo.”
Neo stilled. “It’s the same answer I gave you and the gods a hundred years ago. No.”
Spiro sighed. “The world needs you, brother. I have done all that I can for the past eight hundred years, but times are changing, and I can’t lead into this new century. I’m not strong enough.”
Neo snorted. His brother had been a fantastic leader to the entire non-human species they referred to as the Blessed Creatures. He looked to the fertile soil beneath his boots. He had to admit the world was indeed changing. Spiro was a kind ruler, probably too kind for the weres, fae and vampires. They had begun to take advantage of Spiro’s gentle soul. “What kind of leader would I be? I can’t even go outside during the daylight hours. LaMont made sure of that.”
“LaMont’s dead,” Spiro reminded him. “Killed by your own hands over six hundred years ago. You need to get past it.”
“Easy for you to say, brother. You’re not the one he tortured and turned into a monster.”
Spiro shook his head. “Maybe you were right. You’re not ready to lead. For how can you lead a race you’re ashamed to be part of?”
Neo returned his attention to the grapes at his side. “Are you finished?”
“No. I have a favour to ask of you.”
A noise woke Kern from a restful sleep. He instinctively reached over to Haig’s side of the bed but met with only the cold sheet. Kern balled his hand into a fist and slammed it against the empty spot where his mate should be. How long would Haig continue to punish him for mating with a vampire?
Kern didn’t even remember fucking and biting Audric. He’d been under the sadistic control of Richard, the last of Francois LaMont’s chosen minions, at the time. No, that wasn’t true. Audric was the last of the coven. It was a fact Kern had reminded himself of several times over the previous hours.
When he’d woken in the steel-lined underground chamber with a nude, and recently mated, Audric at his side, Kern hadn’t understood. Neo, his boss, had been the one to inform him of what had happened. Kern’s immediate response was to ask for Haig. It had also been Neo’s job to tell Kern Haig had been unable to handle the knowledge that Kern had mated with another.
Kern’s first inclination had been to get angry with Audric. He’d jumped to his feet and started yelling at the small vampire. The only thing that had calmed him was Audric’s reaction. Instead of defending himself, Audric had rolled himself into a ball, obviously awaiting the first blow. Suddenly Kern yearned to soothe the small, red-haired man with haunted green eyes.
Hours later, Kern’s heart had still been torn in two directions. The circumstances behind the mating had bound him to Audric. Although love hadn’t come instantly, Kern’s protective instincts had started to grow the moment he’d bitten the scared vampire.
Even now as he lay alone in a bed he’d shared with Haig for over four hundred years, he longed to check on Audric.
A noise outside his bedroom got Kern’s attention. He jumped up and crossed the room, hoping Haig had finally come home. Nude, he walked into the living room. The sun was coming up and the room was bathed in a soft pink glow. Unfortunately, that seemed to be all that was in the room—no Haig.
The noise sounded again, and Kern finally realised it was coming from the guestroom. Audric. Kern raced to the bedroom, prepared to risk his life to defend the vampire. When he opened the door, Kern was surprised to find the room empty and the bed still made. He glanced at the windows and realised Audric hadn’t even drawn the curtains.
Closing his eyes, Kern tried to zero in on the smell of his new mate. He knew it would take some time to acclimate his body to the addition of Audric into his life, but within days Audric’s scent would forever be imprinted on Kern’s wolf.
Kern’s gaze went to the closet. What the hell? He closed the curtains before opening the closet door. Although Audric was only around five-foot four, sleeping on the floor of the closet couldn’t be comfortable. He bent down and ruffled Audric’s tousled red curls. “Audric?”
Audric’s eyes sprang open. The look of fear in their green depths was something Kern would never forget.
“It’s okay.” Kern held up his hands. “I just came in to check on you.”
When Audric seemed to relax a bit, Kern sat on the floor. “What’re you doing in here?”
Audric’s head tilted a fraction to the side. “Sleeping?”
“Why in the closet? The blinds’ll keep the sun out if that’s what you’re worried about.”
Audric’s eyebrows drew together. “I’m used to sleeping in the closet. It’s where I’ve always slept.”
The admission angered Kern more than he could understand. “They wouldn’t even give you a bed to sleep in?”
Audric shook his head and scooted further into the closet. “I had a bed, but it was always safer for me in the closet.”
Kern stood and held out his hand. “I won’t let anyone hurt you. Come.”