—Gena Showalter on The Cin Craven series
“Sexy, adventurous…a highly entertaining series!”
“Filled with danger, passion, and magic…sure to please fans of paranormal romance.”
—Romance Reviews Today
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As the Civil War rages among mortal men, Cin Craven is locked in an epic battle of her own—fighting the renegade vampires whose unquenchable appetites she knows all too well. At her side are the immortal warriors of The Righteous—among them her husband, her lover, her soul-mate Michael. With a passion bordering on possession, Cin's love for Michael
As the Civil War rages among mortal men, Cin Craven is locked in an epic battle of her own—fighting the renegade vampires whose unquenchable appetites she knows all too well. At her side are the immortal warriors of The Righteous—among them her husband, her lover, her soul-mate Michael. With a passion bordering on possession, Cin's love for Michael knows no bounds. But when a ruthless plantation owner kidnaps Cin's cousin, the most terrifying battle of all awaits. Cin is drawn to the irresistible lure of dark magic to stop their enemies, while Michael staunchly opposes it—putting their love and loyalty to the ultimate test.
RT Book Reviews raves that Jenna Maclaine's Bound by Sin drops "more hints about a dangerous future ... ensuring that readers will want to stick around for the whole ride."
—Gena Showalter on The Cin Craven series
“Sexy, adventurous…a highly entertaining series!”
“Filled with danger, passion, and magic…sure to please fans of paranormal romance.”
—Romance Reviews Today
There is darkness inside all of us, though mine is more dangerous than most. Still, we all have it — that part of our soul that is irreparably damaged by the very trials and tribulations of life. We are what we are because of it, or perhaps in spite of it. Some use it as a shield to hide behind, others as an excuse to do unconscionable things. But, truly, the darkness is simply a piece of the whole, neither good nor evil unless you make it so. It took a witch, a war, and a voodoo queen to teach me that.
Le Havre, France 1862
The House of the Crescent Moon was a brothel where the blood whores plied their trade. For a few coins a vampire could get a quick meal. For a few more, one could buy an evening's entertainment. I had no need for the latter but it was nice, on occasion, to drink from a willing donor — someone who wasn't a rapist, cutthroat, or thief who had the misfortune to accost the wrong woman, namely me, in a dark alley.
Buying blood certainly didn't carry with it the same thrill as hunting in the aforementioned dark alleys, but the drinking was undeniably more pleasant. Instead of a rank, filthy alley, tonight I was reclining on a chaise lounge in a private parlor that was sumptuously decorated in silks and satins of varying shades of blue. The young man whose blood I had purchased was no ruffian smelling of sweat and gin. He was beautiful, blond, and shirtless — and perfectly willing to let me to sink my teeth into any vein of my choosing. Yes, quite a departure from my usual fare.
I looked at the young man again as he silently ran his fingers through my long, curling, blood-red hair. He was undeniably lovely but I knew that I could never grow accustomed to drinking from a blood whore on a regular basis. Many vampires do but, to me, it was rather like feeding a tiger in a cage. The tiger will live, it may even thrive, but it will always miss the hunt. Sometimes, however, a change of pace was nice and the vampire brothels were convenient.
The blood whores actually commanded quite a lucrative trade. Even in the smallest cities, vampire brothels are on par with the most exclusive houses of prostitution in Paris or London. Vampires, as a rule, have expensive taste and are willing to pay for the luxuries these houses provide. The men and women who serve in such places are the most beautiful creatures that money can buy. And why wouldn't they be? If selling your body was your chosen profession, you couldn't find a better place to do it. The houses were magnificently well-appointed, the money they made was ten times better than what they could have earned in even the best human brothels, vampires carry no diseases, and the clientele was ... well, suffice it to say that there are humans who would pay a high price for the pleasures to be found in a vampire's bed.
Thoughts of such passions made me turn my attention from my human to the vampire lounging on a sofa across the parlor. I watched as his sensual lips moved against the lovely, pale throat of a buxom brunette, searching for the perfect spot to strike. She clung to him, her head thrown back, and when his teeth slid into her flesh she clutched his dark blond hair and let out a moan of pleasure. I felt a twinge of jealousy at the sight. He was my husband, after all.
Let her enjoy it while she can, I thought.
As if he sensed my gaze on him, Michael looked up. His need for blood almost quenched, there was now lust in his eyes. And it was directed at me. He pulled back from the brunette's neck and a trail of crimson blood flowed down her white skin. Never taking his gaze from me, Michael caught the trickle of blood on his tongue and licked his way up the side of her throat in one long stroke. A shudder ran through me as I imagined taking him back to the hotel and letting him fulfill the promise that was evident in that one smoldering look.
"Come to me," I said to my human.
The young man sat up and I rolled onto my back, stretching out across the velvet-upholstered chaise. He leaned over me and I admired the way the muscles in his arms and shoulders tightened as he moved closer, exposing his neck. I stared into his chocolate brown eyes until I felt the familiar click in my head that meant he was now under my control.
You could certainly drink without bespelling a human but I didn't want him to feel the pain of my bite, only the pleasure. When you take someone's blood you make a mental connection with them, sharing their thoughts and feelings. It could be horrifying, pleasant, or downright erotic, depending on whom you were drinking from and to what degree you allowed that connection. I think of it as a door inside my head and I control how far I open it. Considering the caliber of men whose blood I generally took, I was used to keeping that door firmly closed. When I was a young vampire I'd learned very quickly that I didn't want to know what went on inside their minds.
Tonight, though, was different, and I thought it only polite to allow this human to experience some measure of the satisfaction I felt in drinking from him. I opened the door in my head, wanting him to feel what I felt as his hot blood poured down my throat and filled me with life. I was not prepared for the reciprocating emotions and images I received from him.
Hot pleasure rolled over me in waves and I was aware of him moving between my legs, pushing against me. As I drank from him, I closed my eyes and was overwhelmed with flashes of what he was thinking. He was imagining me on top of him, moving down his naked body with the cat-like grace of a vampire, parting his legs and sinking my teeth into his femoral artery. I quickly severed the connection, pulling away as he threw back his head and shuddered in rapture against me. I let out a shaky breath as he looked down at me with glazed eyes.
"Buy me for the night," he pleaded. "Let me make love to you."
Suddenly his weight was pulled from me and Michael was standing between us. My husband's blue eyes glittered and his sharp cheekbones seemed even more pronounced when he clenched his jaw that way. I smiled up at him, my body humming with excitement at the predatory look on his face.
"Sorry, boy," my husband said sharply as he held his hand out to me. "The lass has other plans tonight."
I placed my hand in his and let him pull me up from the chaise. When I'd gained my feet he snaked one strong arm around my waist and pulled me against his body.
"Tonight and every other night," I promised.
He kissed me swiftly. "For eternity, mo ghraidh," he whispered against my lips.
As we left the house I turned my face into the cool breeze, which carried with it the salty scent of the ocean. It was a clear, crisp night and the Hotel Frascati was a few blocks away. It seemed longer, though, with Michael whispering naughty things in my ear every few minutes. I was strolling along, happily contemplating the rest of my evening, when my vision began to blur and a sharp buzzing sound took up residence in my head.
"Dear Goddess," I mumbled, stopping short and pressing the heels of my hands to my eyes.
"What's wrong?" Michael asked.
"I don't know," I replied. "It feels like there's a nest of bees in my head."
I stumbled backward, as if I could somehow get away from the sound.
Michael grasped my upper arms to steady me. "Is it the blood?" he asked worriedly. "Was he tainted?"
"I don't think so," I replied, shaking my head as I tried to clear the buzzing sound from it. I'd often fed from drunks and several varieties of drug addicts. The aftereffects of taking in tainted blood varied, but you could always tell if a human was ... polluted in any way ... the minute their blood hit your tongue.
I pulled away from Michael and staggered off the sidewalk. I had the feeling that if I could keep moving I could somehow dislodge that horrible sound. Michael plunged into the street after me, catching my arm and pulling me back just before I walked in front of an oncoming carriage. I hadn't even heard the rumble of the wheels on the cobblestones over the racket that was in my head. As I stood in his arms, facing the opposite side of the street, the sound lessened.
"I'll hail a carriage and we'll drive back to the hotel," Michael said.
He put his arm around my shoulders and began to steer me back onto the sidewalk in the direction we'd been headed. The buzzing sound returned, violently. I stopped again and glanced across the street. Grabbing Michael's hand, I looked both ways and marched across the street.
Better, I thought. This is better.
"Michael, what lies in that direction?" I asked, pointing to the darkened row of shops lining the street in front of me.
"The harbor is in that direction," he replied. "Why?"
I pinched the bridge of my nose between my fingers. "When I performed the summoning spell that brought you to me when we first met ... what did it feel like?"
Michael frowned and then the tension eased from his body as he realized what was happening. "It felt exactly like a nest of bees in my head and it only stopped when I went in the direction that would take me to you."
"I didn't know what it would feel like," I said. "I'm so sorry to have put you through this."
Michael cupped my face with his hands. "Don't ever apologize for that. It brought me to you, did it not?"
I smiled up at him, able to think more clearly now that I knew I wasn't losing my mind. "I suppose we must go to the harbor," I said.
Michael shook his head. "I am not running after some witch powerful enough to do this to you without first knowing where we're going and why."
He was right about that. At this point I'd have run headlong into no telling what sort of danger, just to get this infernal buzzing to stop.
"Let's just go have a look," I suggested. "First we'll see where the magic wants me to go."
A muscled ticked in Michael's jaw but he finally relented and hailed a carriage to take us to the docks. The harbor was filled with all manner of vessels, from small fishing boats to larger steamships. I appreciated the convenience of the new steamships but, in my opinion, nothing could match the grace and beauty of a sailing vessel. I laid my head on Michael's shoulder and closed my eyes as I nestled against his chest. He put his arms around me and we sat in silence as the carriage lumbered along. The buzzing, which had diminished from a dull roar to a soft hum the closer we'd gotten to the harbor, suddenly softened until I could barely hear it at all.
"Here," I said and Michael rapped on the roof of the carriage. The driver brought the conveyance to an abrupt halt and I peered out the window, taking in the sleek lines and tall masts of the ship that someone's magic wanted me to board.
A sailor passed by the carriage, an Englishman by the sound of his voice as he softly sang a rather vulgar ditty.
"Pardon me," I called out to him. "Do you know this ship?"
"Aye, miss," he replied, smiling at the sound of my English accent. "That's the Charlotte Ann."
"Where is she bound?" I asked.
"London on the next tide, miss," he answered.
I thanked him and sat back with a sigh. "Well, that's a relief," I said. "We should return to the Frascati and find Devlin and Justine."
Michael frowned. "Cin, just because that ship is headed for London doesn't necessarily mean whoever is summoning you is a friend."
"You're right, of course. But how many witches do you think there are in Britain who would not only work a spell to summon me specifically, but are also powerful enough to do it?" I gazed out at the silent harbor, the water silver in the moonlight, and keenly felt the pull of the spell. "Someone is calling me home."CHAPTER 2
It felt good to be home, if for no other reason than that maddening buzzing grew weaker the closer I got to Ravenworth. I no longer needed the humming compass in my head to gauge my direction. Now that I was back in England the magic that called to me was stronger; it was an inexorable pull that drew me home. I knew where I needed to go. What bothered me was why.
It had been nearly a year since I'd been back to see Fiona. She was an old woman now, nearly fifty years having passed since that autumn when I was turned. To save us all from a demon bent on destroying the world, I had become a vampire. I had given up my life so that my friends would live. Fiona had inherited my property and part of my fortune, and had gone on to have the life I should have had.
They're all gone now, all but Fiona and Archie, I thought sadly as I watched the scenery change outside the carriage window, the tall buildings of the city giving way to more pastoral scenes.
Mr. Pendergrass, who had owned the apothecary shop in London and had been so helpful to a young witch unsure of her power, had died of old age two years after my turning. Fiona's mother, Lady Bascombe, had succumbed to influenza twenty years ago. Even my Aunt Maggie had been gone for nearly a decade now. Archie, who had been Mr. Pendergrass's apprentice and who still owned the apothecary shop, and Fiona were the only ties I had left to my human life.
I ran my fingers absently over the smooth skin of my cheek and then down through my dark red curls. The lines of age would never mar my face; silver would never streak my hair. I would forever look twenty-two, exactly as I had in the autumn of 1815 when I had died and been reborn as a vampire.
"I don't even need to ask what you're thinking, lass," Michael said as he leaned across the carriage and scooped me up, settling me comfortably in his lap.
I rested my head in the crook of his neck and breathed in the scent of him. "I'm worried about Fiona," I said. "She looked so frail when we were last here."
"She is nearly seventy now, mo ghraidh," he said softly. "But she seemed in good spirits."
I shook my head. "I don't understand why I'm being summoned home and, moreover, who would be powerful enough to do it. Fiona has no magic."
"Don't worry so," Michael said. "We'll be at Ravenworth in a few hours and then we'll see."
Ravenworth, I thought as I closed my eyes and settled against the hard wall of Michael's chest. I wondered, when they were all gone, if it would still feel like home.
All three stories of Ravenworth Hall were lit up like a beacon in the night. It was a welcoming sight, even if the reason I was here still bothered me. Before Devlin had the chance to pull the horses to a complete stop, I flung the carriage door open and bounded to the ground. I heard Justine call my name as I rushed up the front steps. Without bothering to knock, I opened the door and stepped into the foyer. The house was silent and empty except for the dark gray cat with white markings that sat on the steps of the grand staircase and watched me with interest.
I rushed through the house, knowing instinctively where a witch would cast such a spell. I knew because I had done it once myself. When I reached the closed double doors of the ballroom I paused, waiting for the others to catch up to me. Glancing behind me at my companions, I shook my head and smiled. I hoped that Fiona had prepared the witch for the sight of us because we looked like what we were — The Righteous, four of the most feared vampires in the world.
My masculine attire perhaps made me look more threatening, though that hadn't been my intention. It wasn't that I didn't have trunks full of beautiful dresses; it was simply that I preferred to wear my boots and breeches these days, if I could. Unlike the less complicated fashions of my youth, today's gowns with their corsets, crinolines, hoops, and petticoats required more dressing time than I thought was reasonable. Tonight I was wearing all black, from my silk pirate's shirt with its falls of lace, to my leather breeches and boots. My pale skin and blood-red hair made a startling contrast against the dark garments. Dressed like this I would never be mistaken for what I once was, a viscount's daughter. I was now Cin Craven, the Red Witch of the Righteous, though some simply called me the Devil's Witch in deference to Devlin, the leader of our group.
I couldn't help but feel his massive presence behind me, nearly six and a half feet of solid muscle. Devlin, the Dark Lord, with his black hair and eyes, his chiseled features, had once been one of Edward III's champions. He truly had been a knight in shining armor and I would always think of him as such. When I had been a scared human, hunted by vampires, he had helped save me.
Excerpted from Bound By Sin by Jenna Maclaine. Copyright © 2010 Jenna Maclaine. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Jenna Maclaine is the author of Wages of Sin and Grave Sins (available from St. Martin's Paperbacks). She has a degree in history from North Georgia College&State University. When she isn't writing she spends her time caring for the eighty-plus animals that share her family farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Jenna Maclaine is the author of Wages of Sin, Grave Sins and Bound by Sin (available from St. Martin’s Paperbacks). She has a degree in history from North Georgia College&State University. When she isn’t writing she spends her time caring for the eighty-plus animals that share her family farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
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In 1862 France, the Righteous vampire team consists of Cin, Michael, Justine and Devlin. Their mission is to hunt down rogue vampires who kill humans. Of the quartet, Cin is the unique one as before she was changed she was a hereditary witch. She and Michael are lovers and have been for a while. Adrien Boucher kidnaps Claire Gordon; taking her from her home in London to Savannah. He makes it clear to Cin's witch ancestry that the ransom is the Greek urn the vampiress refused to hand over to him. Rushing across the Channel to obtain information on her third cousin's abduction, Cin promises the victim's mother Raina Macgregor Mahone to rescue Claire. She and her three allies sail across the Atlantic to the United States where the Civil War is raging as Adrien awaits them in Georgia. The third Cin historical fantasy (see Wages of Sin and Grave Sins) is a deep moving tale that not only brings the quartet across the Atlantic, but provides a profound look at death during the short stay in London. Her second cousin Raina looks just like Cin's Aunt Maggie (Raina's late grandmother) who died a decade earlier and she last saw her back in '28. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action, but also provides enough tidbits like the time to cross the ocean to anchor the era. Jenna Maclaine provides her audience with a super entry as Cin's sinful world seems to be getting increasingly dangerous. Harriet Klausner
Easy, fun reading. This series of books allows you to learn a little history, painlessly, since they are each set in a different time period. It has honor-bound vampires and witches with nasty villians who get what they deserve. Cannot wait for the next book and/or short story to come out. Read her other Sin Craven stories!
This series gets better and better, I love how each book you feel that these characters are immortal :) and that they will live forever. That everything doesn't happen in one decade but across multiple decades. That each character changes slowly :) Each book you read, this being the third you can't put it down. Can't wait for the next one.
This book was the best. The plot of the story is very good can't wait for the next book.