Born To Love & Protect Her
I hope you are all well and staying safe. This post is a cover reveal about another Astor Steele title. Knight of Swords is a Young Adult/New Adult Victorian Vampire Romance. It is the first book in the Vampire Swords series. It is to be released on the 26th March.
I had so much fun when I originally wrote this book a few years ago and again when I recently added to it. Lord Nathan Valancourt is one of my favourite heroes and on the book's release I will be posting an interview with him.
The book has many elements to it, twin flame romance, handsome vampires, a touch of horror, demons, sword fights, a deadly seance, Druid sacrifices and so much more. Check out a small excerpt.
I stared at the two men coming up the stairs towards us, frantically wondering at our best option. A backward glance at Edward confirmed there was no clear avenue of escape. Edward closed in behind us and grabbed my shoulder. I struggled to hold on to a collapsing Juliet. She gave a startled cry of fear, shouting, ‘He’s coming. God help us, he is coming.’
A piercing shriek echoed around the large hallway and staircase, diverting my attention upwards. A cawing raven circled the room and flew straight at our group on the stairs. As it did so, a large, heavy black mass engulfed the air.
We all froze. We stood motionless, watching above our heads with a mixture of curiosity and terror. Juliet tugged on my hand, but I remained transfixed. The black cloud began to form and shape behind the raven. The bird completed a circle of the room and suddenly dived towards us. The mass began to separate. Out of its being spurted a hundred or more additional ravens. I felt Juliet again tug hard on my hand – she shouted to me, ‘Don’t look at them, whatever you do don’t look at them.’
Her voice was high-pitched, desperate for my safety. But I was hypnotised by the strange sight, as seemed everyone else around me. The birds raced towards us, diving at our faces. The two stable grooms each put a hand up to protect their faces as the dark forms swooped low to peck and claw at their eyes.
Chaos and screaming ensued. I shoved Edward backwards and put up my arm to shield myself. One of the birds clawed viciously at my hand, drawing a flurry of blood that soaked my sleeve. The young man holding the pitchfork suddenly tumbled backwards down the staircase as a nest of ravens covered him like flies, pecking at his eyes and skin until they were bloodied and shredded. His piercing screams of terror echoed around the hall, chilling my very bones.
Juliet pulled on my arm once more. This time, she succeeded in distracting me from the mesmerising sight. We hurried past Edward and the other groom. They were vainly attempting to swat away the birds, crying with agony as the flesh was torn from their hands and faces.
The ravens had not touched Juliet; even their attack upon me had been limited in its ferociousness. We hurried on, passing the wailing housekeeper. A shout from William at the top of the stairs made me glance back just before we slipped through the door and out of the house.
Freed from my hold by my distraction through the pandemonium on the stairs, William batted at the birds with his horsewhip. He was full of rage and thunder and bellowed at us, ‘Valancourt, I will hunt you both down and kill her if she doesn’t give me my inheritance.’
I stared at his struggling figure and fought hard to maintain my composure. Every fibre inside me ached to race back up the stairs to make him swallow his words. There was no way I would allow him to take Juliet from me, even if it meant ending his life.
We ran out of the portico onto the gravel. I was suddenly conscious that Juliet looked fit to collapse. I glanced around expecting to be followed, but no one was behind us. The carriage was nowhere to be seen, and I confess I began to wonder if we were not stranded. But thankfully Juliet appeared to have other ideas.
‘We can use William’s horse. It will be saddled and ready. He always rides at this time of day,’ she breathed. I nodded, and we ran to the stables. Sure enough, a groom was just finishing saddling William’s horse, anticipating his master’s arrival. I grabbed the reins from him, and pushed him out of the way, quickly mounting the horse. Reaching down, I lifted Juliet up into my arms, ignoring the protestations of the bewildered groom who sought to retrieve the reins from me.
Juliet put her arms around my waist and held on for dear life as I broke the horse out into a gallop. We left the stable yard in a hurry, scattering the chickens and ducks that dared to cross our path. The horse’s hooves clattered noisily on the cobbled yard, announcing our hasty departure as I guided the horse out onto the drive.
The Camerons were now finally spilling out of the house. I knew it would be only moments before William had another horse saddled and was close on our trail. I glanced back and saw the ravens escaping from the portico door as though mimicking a colony of bats. They rose into the sky, swirling away from the house, and disappeared into the distance with a shriek.
I had little time to contemplate the scene I had witnessed with the birds, or the words of warning Juliet had uttered in my ear as they approached on the stairs. Had she summoned them? Was she indeed, a witch? Was I? There was no time. I decided that I would debate the answers to those questions when we were safely back in London, out of William Cameron’s reach.
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