In my world, King Arthur is still alive – and he’s a vampire. So are Lancelot, Galahad, and all the other knights of the Round Table.
Six years ago, Berkley Editor Cindy Hwang asked me if I’d be willing to write an erotic vampire series for Berkley Sensation. Not being an idiot, I said, “Ohhhh, yeah.” I’ve been a vampire fan for years, and I had written a series of vampire novellas for the small press Red Sage, which publishes the Secrets erotic anthology. I’d also been reading every vampire novel I could get my hands on, and I had definite ideas about what I did and didn’t want to do.
One of the primary things was that I didn’t want to do the standard brooding vampire who hates being immortal and is riddled with guilt over the people he’s killed. What kind of good guy kills people because he’s hungry? I wanted to do seductive vampire heroes who have a completely different origin, who don’t have to kill, who keep the rest of us safe. I wanted women who were the match of those men, with magical talents the men didn’t have, so they were the equal of their powerful heroes. And I wanted the stories to sizzle with sensuality. To me, vampires have a built-in eroticism and aura of danger.
But my books are about more than sex, so I also gave my heroic couples villains who were as powerful and deadly as they were vicious. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to kill those bad guys off, which means I had to pause after the last bloodbath to figure out what to do next. Having figured that out at last, I wrote “Vampire’s Ball,” the novella in the anthology Hot for the Holidays which also features stories by Lora Leigh, Anya Bast and Allyson James.
In this story, Kat Danilo’s childhood turned tragic when her sister become the victim of a serial killer. Years later, she gets a chance at justice when she discovers she’s the daughter of Lancelot, vampire knight of the Round Table.
But first, she’s got to convince a handsome vampire warrior that she’s worthy to gain the magical powers that are her birthright – powers that might help her find her sister’s killer. If the murderer doesn’t find her first....
I love both Kat and her gorgeous vampire, Ridge Champion. Kat has spent years gaining the physical skills she needs to hunt her sister’s killer, while simultaneously taking care of her mother, who suffers from clinical depression over her child’s death.
Then there’s Ridge, who is seductive, handsome – and not sure Kat has any business becoming a witch. And since the only way she can gain those powers is by making love to him, she really needs his cooperation…
Here’s an excerpt.
She rose on her tiptoes, caught the back of his neck, and drew his head down until she could reach his mouth. It was a surprisingly tender kiss, less an act of passion than an offer of comfort. Her lips felt exquisitely soft as they brushed over his, a delicate seduction. She started to draw back.
Ridge caught her nape, felt the cool silk of her short hair against his fingers, impossibly soft. Opening his lips, he deepened the kiss, drinking in her taste, savoring the sweet comfort she offered. Kat responded with a tiny moan, a whimper of breath against his mouth. She leaned into him, the silk of her gown warm from her body, her breasts lush and full against his chest. Her long legs moved restlessly, brushing his thighs.
Her scent filled his head, some delicate perfume tinged with jasmine. And beneath that, the heady musk of female arousal. He hardened in a hot, sweet rush, his balls going tight. Vampire hearing picked up the rush of her pulse, the sea tide of her blood. His fangs slid from their housing in his jaw. He bent his head, nuzzling, and she tilted her chin, giving him access to the big, pulsing vein . . .
What the hell am I doing? The thought blew through the smoky heat of his arousal, chill as a sudden draft. Ridge blinked.
Oh, hell, he was losing it. If he didn’t stop this, he’d be balls-deep in her and coming before he knew what hit him.
And that was a really bad idea. Tempting, yes—Merlin’s Cup, he was tempted—but there was no way he could maintain his objectivity if he banged the girl.
No, not banged, a voice whispered from the back of his brain. Nothing with this woman would be as simple as a bang. Kat Danilo wasn’t the kind of woman a man used for meaningless physical release. She might draw you in with that pretty body, but she’d snare you tight with her intelligence, with her questing mind and dry wit. Not to mention the subtler temptations of shared grief. That might be the most dangerous snare of all.
Hot for the Holidays hits the shelves September 29. I hope you’ll take a look.