King of Darkness (Chronicles of Yavn Series #1)

King of Darkness (Chronicles of Yavn Series #1)

3.7 46
by Elisabeth Staab
     
 

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ETERNAL COMMITMENT IS NOT ON HER AGENDA...

Scorned by the vampire community for her lack of power, Isabel Anthony lives a carefree existence masquerading as human—although drifting through the debauched human nightlife, she prefers the patrons' blood to other indulgences. But when she meets the sexy, arrogant king of the vampires, this party-girl's

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Overview

ETERNAL COMMITMENT IS NOT ON HER AGENDA...

Scorned by the vampire community for her lack of power, Isabel Anthony lives a carefree existence masquerading as human—although drifting through the debauched human nightlife, she prefers the patrons' blood to other indulgences. But when she meets the sexy, arrogant king of the vampires, this party-girl's life turns dark and dangerous.

BUT TIME'S RUNNING OUT FOR THE KING OF THE VAMPIRES...

Dead-set on finding the prophesied mate who will unlock his fiery powers, Thad Morgan must find his queen before their race is destroyed. Their enemies are gaining ground, and Thad needs his powers to unite his subjects. But when his search leads him to the defiant Isabel, he wonders if fate had gotten it seriously wrong...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mismatched vampire lovers find romance and danger in the midst of a secret war against genocidal wizards in Staab’s debut. Newly anointed vampire king Thad Morgan is appalled to find his prophesied mate, Isabel Anthony, orphaned and estranged from her racial community and hiding among Orlando’s ravers and kinksters. Not thatIsabel has little desire to be a vampire queen, but her connection to Thad makes her a target for wizard assassins who gain power through blood sacrifice. Though the vampire society is somewhat shallowly depicted and its centuries-old denizens’ dialogue jarringly modern, Thad’s struggle to protect his remaining subjects and his awkward courtship of independent Isabel are engaging. A strong cast of supporting characters includes Thad’s powerful half-human sister, Tyra; Lee, his buddy and bodyguard; Isabel’s human friend Alexia; and Anton, estranged son of the wizard leader. They broaden the focus and provide intriguing teasers for further books in this promising new paranormal series. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"They broaden the focus and provide intriguing teasers for further books in this promising new paranormal series. (Feb.)" - Publishers Weekly

"Action-packed and sexually charged, this book will draw you in from the opening scene. 4 1/2 Stars" - RT Book Reviews

"This is a complex superb romantic urban fantasy in which the first venture into the Staab mythological universe seems genuine due to anchoring places like Orlando and the fact that innocent humans are collateral damage in the cross-species war. Filled with action from the moment a stunned Thad enters the late night human bar and never slowing down, readers will enjoy the vampire king seeking his soul mate in order to save his species from the wrath of the wizards." - Alternative Worlds

"King of Darkness has one tough heroine and an absolutely sexy hero, along with an interesting host of supporting characters you're going to love. 4.75 Stars, Reviewer Top Pick!" - Night Owl Reviews

"I am looking forward to the next book in this series because it was very well written and the plot was a genuine success!" - When Pen Met Paper

"Kudos to author Elisabeth Staab for this debut novel, I will be looking forward to reading the next installment in the Chronicles of Yavn series." - Book Savvy Babe

"High steam rating makes this a perfect read for these cold winter nights. 4/5 Stars" - TheRomanceaholic

"If you are looking for a novel that will hook you with so many elements, from anger to happiness to laughs and thrilling suspense, then look no further than Ms. Staab's fantabulous 5 Book worthy novel. It will hook you start to finish, and leave YOU crying at the end when you realize you have to WAIT! I can't wait to see what Prince Of Power, Anton and Tyra's story holds for Ms. Staab's readers! Can't wait until 2013 for that one!" - Reviews by Molly

"This is a complex superb romantic urban fantasy in which the first venture into the Staab mythological universe seems genuine" - Genre Go Round Reviews

"The sexual tension between the characters, and I don't mean just the main couple, is fantastic. Thad and Isabel steam up the pages, and the connection between a few of the supporting cast is thick enough to cut." - Grave Tells

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402263156
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
02/07/2012
Series:
Chronicles of Yavn Series, #1
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
511,749
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

"Jesus, T. What is this place?"

Thad Morgan scanned the sparse industrial interior of the massive warehouse turned dance club. From just inside the doorway, he passed his preternatural vision over the writhing crowd of humans. Most of the populace bounced in time to bass-heavy techno music, stopping only to grope their nearest neighbor. Some gazed upward in awe at a raised platform of fire-eaters, and still more worshipped at a DJ stand opposite the entrance as if it were an altar. A scrolling sign overhead announced something called the Crystal Method. The humans partied with abandon and apparently little regard for their eardrums.

"I think they call it a rave," Thad murmured to his friend.

And apparently at 3:00 a.m., the night was still young for the party kids in Orlando.

Thad's hands clenched and released. How were they going to do this? The club was friggin' huge and packed to the gills, from the crowded floor full of scantily clad dancers with glow sticks to the teeming balconies where couples and even groups were involved in more intimate acts such as massage and... whatnot. It was hard to fathom how in the hell they were going to find the female they were looking for in this place.

Already overheated, Thad pushed up the sleeves of his leather jacket and fingered the scar on his forearm, tracing slowly over the two intersecting lines that flared into a Y at each end, like a crude Armenian cross. The small patch of skin was even hotter than the rest of him and throbbed in time with the pounding electronic music that was drilling a hole in his skull. He could almost swear the scar was glowing, but the haze of laser lights and cigarette smoke made it tough to be certain.

"She's in here, Lee. I can feel it," he said tightly.

But what would his queen be doing in this... den of iniquity?

They had been traveling for weeks now, searching for the female who would, according to the prophecy, help him lead the vampire race. Finally, his senses told him that they were closing in. They had to be. The whole of their kind needed him to find her. He continued to look over the crowd, hoping for a sign to jump out at him from amidst all the sweaty bump-and-grind.

Next to him, Lee Goram also studied the undulating club-goers, not bothering to hide his disgust at the near-orgy playing out in front of him. It didn't seem to make sense: Thad had never been sure where their needle-in-a-haystack quest might lead them, but he hadn't expected a place like this.

Maybe he just didn't get out enough.

"I dunno, man," Lee grumbled. "This doesn't feel right. I smell at least four kinds of drugs. I see sweaty humans all but fucking on the dance floor. Doesn't exactly seem like the kind of place you'd find your destiny in."

Thad's aggravation was piqued, and he turned on Lee so that they were almost nose to nose. "I know, but I'm telling you, Lee, this thing on my arm is like a hot coal. That's gotta mean something."

Lee slowly hiked his shoulders in a vague shrug. "Maybe those Oracles are all just wacko. I mean, who knows what's up with that incense they burn, right? I've heard it's some kind of hallucinogen."

Thad leveled a glare at him. "You know, I realize it's gonna take time to adjust to our roles being reversed, but my nerves are pretty fried and all your negativity is not helping. You know as well as I do what's at stake here. So would you kindly stop the bullshit and help me look around?" A deep breath failed to untangle the giant knot in his stomach. The real bitch of it was that his father's advice would have meant the world right about now, but he and Lee might not have even been here if his parents were still alive.

Lee growled and waved away a glassy-eyed, glittery young thing who seemed intent on climbing him to give him a back rub. He clapped Thad on the shoulder. "All right. I've got your back, you cranky bastard. No one in here is wearing much of anything anyway, so it should be easy to look around. Just keep an eye out. I don't sense any danger but it'd be real easy to hide a wizard in here, and finding your queen doesn't mean dick if you get dead."

***

Isabel Anthony relaxed in a red velvet armchair in a dark corner of the VIP section of Club Insomniac. Her gaze met the dove-gray eyes of the blonde female who sat astride her lap, looking every bit as lovely as Botticelli's depiction of Venus.

She was the DJ from the last set. DJ... something...

Isabel was terrible with names. Great with humans, though. Cool air from a nearby vent skated over her skin, leaving a trail of tingles in its wake. It nicely accompanied the sensation of the female's deft fingers as they kneaded overwrought muscles in Isabel's shoulders. So relaxing, in fact, that the half-drunk glass of red wine dangling from Isabel's loose fingers nearly slipped to the floor.

The human kids had their party-favor club drugs: their weed and their meth and their little purple pills. For vampires, the sweet essence of red wine produced that lovey-dovey, buzzy high. The wine made it okay to crave connection with others.

She brought one hand to cradle Venus's jaw, swiping a thumb over an errant tear. "What's going on in there, sweetheart?"

The blonde didn't answer, but simply rolled her head back and sighed.

This was usually the best part of Isabel's evening. The one where she took an infinitesimal chip out of her lifetime supply of guilt over all the damage she had done by sharing comfort. By listening to tales of woe and trading back rubs. By being a friend that wouldn't be remembered in the morning. Because more than for the music or the drugs or the wicked-cool performance art, everyone in that club was there because they desperately needed to belong.

But she was restless tonight in spite of the mellowing effect of the red wine. Distraction was her middle name, and an odd ache in her lower back intensified with each passing minute despite the soothing shoulder rub from Venus. Isabel blew off the discomfort and returned her full attention to the human in her lap. Certainly the pain would abate soon, whatever it was. She was a fast healer like all of her kind, even if she did feed exclusively from humans.

Until then... Isabel set her wineglass on the floor and gently nudged the DJ off her lap so that they could trade places. "My turn, hon," she said quietly.

The blonde smiled sweetly when Isabel's hands worked their way under all that hair to reach the oft-overlooked muscles under the human's occipital ridge. Within minutes Venus's body went slack, head and neck dropping onto shoulders to fully expose a creamy column of throat. Canines extended, Isabel licked her lips and buried her face in the crook of the female's delicate neck. All the while, her hands never missed a beat.

***

Lee pushed past a Gordian knot of apparently malnourished and questionably legal females, none of whom seemed to know that they needed to pull their pants up to cover their thong underwear. Damn, he was ready to call it a night. Then again, he'd been ready to call it a night weeks ago.

As Thad's longtime friend and now bodyguard, he would maintain his vow to serve faithfully, but he was beginning to question the sanity of their mission. Even if the mate Thad sought was actually somewhere in this place, there were too many crowds and dark corners, and so far he and Thad had come up with exactly jack.

The risk of danger made him edgy. The telltale aura of malevolent evil given off by their enemy could easily be missed in this sort of environment. Speakers that towered over his six-foot-four frame seemed to be sprinkled about every few feet, and they were cranking out the kind of core-shaking vibrations usually produced by major construction equipment.

In Lee's personal opinion, Thad was putting too much weight on this prophecy business. Thad felt he couldn't rule properly if he didn't find his queen, but they were equally screwed if anyone found out that the newly ascended king was off on a wild-goose chase and technically nobody was at the helm just now.

They had taken all possible precautions to ensure a safe departure. They had even been teleported outside the zone of known wizard and vampire communities to avoid detection. Florida was far from home so the risk was minimal, but still the uncertainty bothered him. As he and Thad moved along a dark and narrow wrought-iron balcony-slowly, so as not to hip-check an unsuspecting party-girl right over the railing, Lee's hands remained poised in case he needed a weapon. The bouncers at the door had been easy to manipulate into letting them pass without being searched.

"Last floor." Thad's words at Lee's ear jarred him out of his thoughts. The balcony dead-ended at a steep roped-off stairway. Thad peered up into the murkiness and then stepped casually over the flimsy velvet-rope barrier. Lee followed suit.

"Good deal. And listen, man, if we turn up dry here, there are some restaurants and hotels on the block we can check out."

Thad nodded solemnly as they tromped up the stairs past the meatheads guarding what looked to be some kind of VIP area. Another brief flex of Lee's mind, and the guards didn't as much as glance in their direction.

Holy... mother. This area was a different animal altogether. Softer music and no dance floor to speak of, but lots of dark alcoves, a selection of top-shelf liquors, and a display of human behavior that made the activity on the main floor look practically G-rated. All around them on couches, chairs, and stretches of carpet were humans in different states of depravity. To Lee's left, a Goth girl was being trussed up on a pool table by a guy in shiny, black vinyl pants who obviously knew his way around the business end of a rope.

Sickos.

Only thing missing was a nervous pizza-delivery boy asking what he should do with his extra sausage. The only humans who were fully clothed were the bartender and the bouncers, all of whom seemed oblivious to the porn show going on around them.

Thad had stopped short. He made a slow 360 with his mouth agape. "This can't be right. I don't know, Lee. I'm beginning to wonder about this whole thing. I think I'm about ready to move on. Lee... Lee?"

Lee barely heard him. With his back to Thad, he stood in stunned silence, unable to move. His jaw worked back and forth while he tried to determine whether or not his eyes were playing tricks on him. Or if maybe the place was distributing psychedelics through the air vents. Holy cow...

"Lee... you okay, man?"

"I don't think you're going to want to leave just yet, Thad." He gestured to a chair full of girl-on-girl action in a dark corner across the room. No question, the dark-haired female in the driver's seat was into that blonde's neck like it was feeding time and she was starving. Shit, they had finally struck gold. Lee let out a bark of laughter. He couldn't help himself. "Okay, man. I know this isn't supposed to be funny, but dude... of all places..."

Thad flicked his eyes in the direction Lee had indicated, clearly not getting it. "Kind of hot, I guess, but I don't see the funny part."

Lee sobered up and cleared his throat. "No. Seriously, man. Look."

***

Thad swept his gaze over the scene that Lee had pointed to. Though he had gotten an instant soft-on from the muscleman by the bar wearing nothing but a leather thong and a dog collar, his dick woke up and took notice when his stare fixed on a pair of long, peaches-and-cream legs that disappeared under a plaid skirt that stopped just shy of broadcasting her preferred brand of underwear. Hands roamed, and the red-painted toes of the bottom female's bare feet curled tightly. While the angel-faced blonde arched her back and parted her lips in ecstasy, the pigtailed brunette lapped at her neck. And... ah, he would be damned if she wasn't feeding.

The realization kicked Thad's pulse into high gear. How on earth had he missed that before? Granted, he wouldn't have pegged her for a vampire at first. His own skin was a shade of dark tan, and contrary to the popular movies humans loved to scare themselves with, that pastel skin of hers was something of an anomaly. Thad stood rooted-mesmerized-while the blonde's fingernails dug hard into the naughty schoolgirl's skin, pushing up her cropped top, and suddenly there was no oxygen left in the room.

She bore the mark.

Nestled just above the schoolgirl's waistband in the small of her back, surrounded by a swirl of tattoos, was a scar identical to the one on his forearm. No question-it was the same crudely depicted cross that Thad had been seeing etched on his own skin for nearly a century. The mark that was, at that very moment, throbbing like it had its own pulse.

"Holy shit, Lee." Thad tried to lean against the nearest wall and wondered why the fucker was moving. No, wait... the entire room was moving. "Lee... this can't be happening. All the time we've been searching... I've pictured this moment happening a thousand different ways..."

Lee cracked another grin, the bastard. "Not like this?"

"Not. Even. A little."

"T, man, I've got to agree she's not what I might've thought you'd find. And this sure as hell isn't where I would have expected you to find her. So your Oracle didn't bother to mention your destiny digs the ladies?"

Jackass. Thad's future was hanging in the balance here, and his friend was cracking jokes. "You know, once I'm done picking my jaw up off the floor, I'm going to kick your ass or die trying for that comment."

"I'm sorry, buddy, but you've got to admit it's pretty surreal. Seriously, though, what's your next move?"

"I... I have no clue." Thad scrubbed his face with his hands and blinked rapidly at the female whose scar was supposed to mark her as his destined life mate, for God's sake, but the scene playing out didn't change. None of the ways Thad figured on approaching this seemed to mesh with the scenario he'd been handed. He could only hope that her gate swung both ways. And how the hell should he approach this? "I mean... Shit, Lee... I have no fucking clue."

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"King of Darkness was one of those surprise good books that smack you right in the face with their awesomeness." - Books Like Breathing

"All in all, King of Darkness was a good debut for the author; the action, romance and suspense kept me turning the pages and the different characters kept me captivated. I would definitely say that author Elisabeth Staab is a bold new voice in vampire romance and I look forward to reading more from her." - Reading Between the Wines

"King of Darkness is a great read. Full of sexy alpha males, sassy females and plenty of action. I completely enjoyed it and can't wait for more." - Michelle's Book Blog

"This first book in a hot, edgy, dark paranormal romance series from a debut author has all the right stuff: a deep urban fantasy feel, a take-no-crap tough heroine and a sexy, arrogant vampire king who gets his comeuppance." - Proserpine Craving Books

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Meet the Author

Elisabeth Staab still lives with her nose in a book and at least one foot in an imaginary world. She believes that all kinds of safe and sane love should be celebrated but she adores the fantasy-filled realm of paranormal romance the best. She loves to spend time with good friends, good music, good beverages, and good books (when she isn't making characters fall in love, that is). She lives with her family and one big scaredy-cat in Northern Virginia.

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King of Darkness 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
RBtWBC More than 1 year ago
After her parents were shunned by their own kind, Isabel Anthony and her family moved to the human world. At the tender age of thirteen though, Isabel loses her parents in a tragic accident and is orphaned, leaving her alone as a young vampire among humans. Now, years later, Isabel lives one party at a time. Hopping through clubs and raves, imbibing in red wine and drinking from humans she is free from responsibilities and attachments. Until the King of the Vampire’s shows up in the club with some farfetched idea about her being his destined mate, turning her life upside down. Thad Morgan is the new and somewhat reluctant King of the Vampires after the recent passing of his father. Now he is traveling across the country searching for the mate an oracle foresaw unlocking his powers and helping him rule when Thad was first born; the female vampire that he finally catches up with at a rave if Florida though is a far cry from the mate he expected to find. Now Thad must convince Isabel that she is destined for more than just that party girl life style and woo her into a future with him by her side. Can Thad keep Isabel from running or will she fall right into the arms of their enemies? The basis of the plot in King of Darkness really intrigued me. Thad is a new king, unsure of himself and his abilities as king searching for his destined mate. The author takes a new path in the paranormal romance genre with a hero that is not your typical alpha male vampire. The vampires themselves keep separate from humans and drink from each other for strength as human blood holds no power for them. Also, each vampire has their own unique gift though some never come into them, like Isabel’s parents. The enemies of the vampires are wizards who are a power hungry group that gain their abilities by consuming vampires and absorbing their powers. A unique twist for vampire romances but the icing on the cake is that drugs and such don’t affect vampires but red wine intoxicates them and has the side effect like ecstasy would for humans. This provided an interesting setting for the romance in the story. Thad is a strong yet vulnerable character, uncertain in his ability to live up to his father’s name as King. When Thad meets up with Isabel his confidence is thrown another curve. Their relationship starts off pretty rocky and I had a hard time seeing these two jive together, the attraction was there with plenty of spark but there was nothing solid beneath it. As the story progresses though and misunderstandings are corrected and communication more opened, their relationship begins to flow. Two sub-romances between secondary characters are interwoven into the main plot giving the story another layer of depth and I look forward to reading more about these characters in future installments. As with most debut novels in a series, there was a lot of world building and the first half of the book was an introduction to this dark new world but I found it well written. All in all, King of Darkness was a good debut for the author; the action, romance and suspense kept me turning the pages and the different characters kept me captivated. I would definitely say that author Elisabeth Staab is a bold new voice in vampire romance and I look forward to reading more from her. I waffled between a 3.5 - 4 with this one because of the main character's shaky start but lean more towards a 4.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love these kinds of books and am always searching for a new and exciting author and book to come up! This story line was good but the story was choppy and hard to understand at times. Her vampires were kind of mushy and did not act immortal enough for what I have read in other books. When I finished the story I was left wondering way to many things with the secondary characters! I think it could be a good series so let's see what happens next, I may or may not read the second book, depends on who is in it???
bookowl828 More than 1 year ago
Exciting start to the series! Characters that you care about and enough threads left open for more books in this fresh and exciting series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well i got through 99 pages ( in 5 days ). I just could not get into it. So sick of of cavemen and blubbery women.
Lovely_Lady_Rose More than 1 year ago
It had a slow start and I had to make myself finish it just so I didn't feel like I completely wasted my money. Whoever the editor is should have never let this book go to print because the plot is really choppy in some places and just plain unbelievable in others. Despite the ending being open-ended with Tyra and Anton, Lee and Alexia I will not be finishing this series. Staab is an unskilled writer who still needs more practice and I could find out what I would want to know about the other relationships by skimming the books in a bookstore.
danatwnsnd More than 1 year ago
This book was amazingly well written. I love how the author's words flowed throughout the entire book. From the beginning to the end of the book there was always something going on that grabbed your attention and made you want to read more and keep going. I wont compare this book to the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series because the storylines and characters are very different. Each character draws you in and make you want to know more about them each sub plot keeps you going through till there is no more book to read!! I read a review saying that the book had alot of sex in it. Which it has scenes but in my opinion it is far from a sex vested full on lust book. It is Risque but very intriguing. The scenes were in exactly the right place of the book and it couldnt be more perfect. Bravo Elisabeth Staab for your first novel it is a total win. I cant wait for the sequel to come out and very excited to see where this debut ends up on the best sellers list.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not finish it. I bought it again during a boring moment, and still could not finish. It seems like it would be a great book but after a few chapters, it bogs down badly.
amandangnt More than 1 year ago
This book was an ok read, but I found myself bored at times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice vamp romance with a little twist. A refreshing break from the same old vampire romance without straying so far from the norm that the story suffers. I enjoyed this quick read and will purchase and read the next book in the series as soon as this review is sent!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boring. It was a childish read with the characters acting like high school freshmans in their first throes of a romantic relationship. Mad that i purchased the book. Skimmed several pages before i just gave up before chapter 12. Had high hopes since the premise sounded good but very lackluster in both the storyline and character development
ElizabethT More than 1 year ago
very enjoyable, and entertaining. I loved this book and I can't wait to read more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. All the characters mesh really well. You can tell there are multiple threads going on. It was nice that not everything was wrapped up nice and pretty at the end and not all stories should end prettily. I am looking forward to reading about the rest of the group.
DarkScot More than 1 year ago
King of Darkness by Elisabeth Staab! I'M HOOKED!!!! This book has vampires , wizards and a ton of twists and turns! Thad and Isabel's story was painful for me at times, I wanted to jump in and smack them both! No seriously,from the first page to the last page I was enthralled by them and the secondary characters in this book. If you love sexy vampires like I do you won't be disappointed in this book! Can't wait to read book 2, which I'm starting today! Thanks Elisabeth! Lucinda Jester Smith
sadlerfan More than 1 year ago
I loved it! It has an awesome plot and it was fast pace. Never a dull moment. If you want to start a new vampire series give this one a shot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HealthyEscape More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much. Purchased on a whim after a review by a blogger who I read often, and I loved every minute of it! I found myself sneaking breaks just to read a few pages. The characters were well developed and easy to relate to. Just enough romance, mystery, and action; very well balanced. Vampires (and steamy vampire sex), wizards, and magic. I don't think you can ever go wrong with that! I can't wait to read the next book!
Basista More than 1 year ago
Great start to a new series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting story line yet a good mix. To short but make u want to get the next book to find out
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GtzLstNRding More than 1 year ago
When I got this book wasn't sure if I even wanted to read it because I just came off 2 other vampire series books. I'm glad I didn't blow the book off. Its got a great plot of a New King and Queen, and the best part - its a little different because this one includes wizards. There are battles being faught throughout the book, mysterious circumstances as to why the kings sister and his lead guard are missing. I can't wait to get the next book int he series to see what happens. Really liked the phrophecy on how the king would find his king and the results of each of them coming to their powers. Staab has a great writing style that makes this book easily read and difficult to put down.
MThomas1975 More than 1 year ago
Great beginning to a PNR vampire series. Think Heroes with fangs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago