Lord of the Vampires (Royal House of Shadows Series #1)

( 246 )

Overview

Once upon a time?the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs?and time is running out?.

Nicolai the Vampire was renowned for his virility, but in a twist of fate "The Dark Seducer" had become a sex slave in the kingdom of Delfina?stripped of his precious timepiece and his memory. All ...

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Lord of the Vampires (Royal House of Shadows Series #1)

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Overview

Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out….

Nicolai the Vampire was renowned for his virility, but in a twist of fate "The Dark Seducer" had become a sex slave in the kingdom of Delfina—stripped of his precious timepiece and his memory. All that remained was a primal need for freedom, revenge—and the only woman who could help him.

In her dreams, a wanton vampire called to Jane Parker, drawing her to his dark sexuality and his magical realm. But for a human, all was not a fairy tale in Delfina. Jane was the key to Nicolai's memory…but exploiting her meant dooming the only mortal he craved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373618668
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 8/23/2011
  • Series: Nocturne Series , #119
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 601,008
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Gena Showalter
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than thirty novels in a thrilling blend of genres: breathtaking paranormal and contemporary romances, supernatural humor, and cutting-edge young adult novels. Visit her at GenaShowalter.com.

Biography

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance, and Young Adult novels from a multitude of publishers. She has appeared in Cosmo and Seventeen magazines, on MTV, and has also been featured on many regional and national news programs.

Good To Know

Gena credits much of her success to her wonderful fans, amazing family, and the three slobbery English bulldogs who sleep under her desk. She is a self proclaimed coffee addict and when she's not writing she likes to...well, we're not sure. We've never seen her do anything but write.
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Read an Excerpt

"I need you, Jane."

Frowning, Jane Parker placed the note on her kitchen countertop. She studied the scarred, leather-bound book resting inside an unadorned box, surrounded by a sea of black velvet. A few minutes ago, she'd returned from her five-mile jog. This package had been waiting on her porch.

There'd been no return address. No explanation as to why the thing had been left for her, and no hint as to who "I" was. Or why Jane was needed. Why would anyone need her? She was twenty-seven years old and had only recently regained the use of her legs. She had no family, no friends, no job. Not anymore. Her little cabin in Smallest Town Ever, Oklahoma, was secluded, barely a blip in the neighboring expanse of lush green trees and wide-open, blue sky.

She should have tossed the thing. Of course, curiosity far outweighed caution. As always.

She carefully lifted the book. At the moment of contact, she saw her hands covered in blood and gasped, dropping the heavy tome on the counter. But when she lifted her hands to the light, they were scrubbed clean, her nails neat and painted a pretty morning rose.

You have an overactive imagination, and too much oxygen pumping through your veins from the run. That's all.

Cold hard logic—her best and only friend.

The book's binding creaked as she opened to the middle, where a tattered pink ribbon rested. The scent of dust and musk wafted up, layered with something else. Something…mouthwatering and slightly familiar. Her frowned deepened.

She shifted in her seat, a twinge of pain shooting through her legs, and sniffed. Oh, yes. Her mouth definitely watered as she caught the slightest trace of sandalwood. Goose bumps broke out over her skin, her senses tingling, her blood heating. How embarrassing. And, okay, how interesting. Since the car accident that ruined her life eleven months ago, she had experienced arousal only at night, in her dreams. To react like this in daylight, because of a book…odd.

She didn't allow herself to ponder why. There wasn't an answer that would satisfy her. Instead, she concentrated on the pages in front of her. They were yellowed and brittle, delicate. And beaded with blood? Small dots of dried crimson marred the edges.

Gently she brushed her fingertips along the handwritten text, her gaze catching on several words. Chains. Vampire. Belonged. Soul. More goose bumps, more tingling.

Some blushing.

Her eyes narrowed. At last the sandalwood cologne made sense. For the past few months, she'd dreamed of a vampire male in chains and woken to the fragrance clinging to her skin. And yes, he's the one who had aroused her. She'd told no one. So, how had anyone known to give her this.journal?

She'd worked in quantum physics for years, as well as what was considered fringe science, sometimes studying creatures of "myth" and "legend." She'd conducted controlled interviews with actual blood drinkers and even dissected the corpses brought to her lab.

She knew that vampires, shape-shifters and other creatures of the night existed, even though her coworkers on the quantum physics side of the equation had not been privy to the truth. So, maybe someone had found out and this was a simple joke. Maybe her dreams had no connection. Except, forever had seemed to pass since she'd had any contact with those coworkers. And besides, who would do such a thing? None of them had cared enough about her to do anything.

Let this go, Parker. Before it's too late.

The command from her self-preservation instincts made no sense. Too late for what?

Her instincts offered no reply. Well, the scientist in her needed to know what was going on.

Jane cleared her throat. "I'm reading a few passages, and that's that." She'd been alone since leaving the hospital several months ago, and sometimes the sound of her voice was better than silence. "'Chains circled the vampire's neck, wrists and ankles. Because his shirt and pants had been stripped away, and a loincloth was his only apparel, there was nothing to protect his already savaged skin. The links cut him deeply, to the bone, before healing—and slicing open again. He did not care. What was pain when your will, your very soul, no longer belonged to you?'"

She pressed her lips together as a wave of dizziness crashed through her. A moment passed, then another, her heartbeat speeding up and hammering wildly against her ribs.

Raw images tore through her. This man—this vampire—bound, helpless. Hungry. His lush lips were pulled taut, his teeth sharp, white. He was surprisingly tanned, temptingly muscled, with dark, mussed hair and a face so eerily beautiful he would haunt her nighttime fantasies for years to come.

What she'd just read, she'd already seen. Many times. How? She didn't know. What she did know was that in her dreams, she felt compassion for this man, even anger. And yet, there was always that low simmer of arousal in the background. Now, the arousal took center stage.

The more she breathed, the more the sandalwood scent clung to her, and the more her reality altered, as if this, her home, was nothing more than a mirage. As if the vampire's cage was real. As if she needed to stand up and walk—no, run—until she reached him. Anything to be with him, now and forever.

Okay. Enough of that. She slapped the book closed, even though so many questions were left dangling, and strode away.

Such a strong reaction coupled with her dreams utterly nixed the idea of a joke. Not that she'd placed much hope in that direction. However, the remaining possibilities upset her, and she refused to contemplate them.

She showered, dressed in a T-shirt and jeans and ate a nutritious breakfast. Unbidden, she found her gaze returning to the leather binding, over and over again. She wondered if the enslaved vampire were real—and okay. If she could help him. A few times, she even opened to the middle of the book before she realized she'd moved. Always she darted off before the story could snare her.

And perhaps that's why the stupid thing had been given to her. To hook her, to send her racing back to work. Well, she didn't need to work. Money was not a problem for her. More than that, she no longer loved the sciences. Why would she? There was never a solution, only more problems.

Because when one puzzle piece slid into place, there were always twenty more needed. And in the end, nothing you did, nothing that had been solved or unraveled, would save the ones you loved. There would always be some dumb guy throwing back a few cold ones at the local bar, getting into his car and hitting yours. Or something equally tragic.

Life was random.

Jane craved monotony.

But when midnight rolled around, her mind still hadn't settled in regards to the vampire. Giving up, she returned to the kitchen, grabbed the book and stalked to bed. Just a few more passages, damn it, then she'd start craving monotony again.

Jane's oversize T-shirt bunched at her waist as she propped the book on her upraised legs, opened to the middle of the story, where the bookmark was still set, and returned her attention to the pages. For several seconds, the words appeared to be written in a language she did not understand. Then, a blink later, they were written in English again.

O-kay. Very weird, and surely—hopefully—an I-just-need-sleep mistake on her part.

She found her place. "'They called him Nicolai.'" Nicolai. A strong, luscious name. The syllables rolled through her mind, a caress. Her nipples beaded, aching for a hot, wet kiss, and every inch of her skin flushed. She thought back. She'd never interviewed a vampire named Nicolai, and the one in her dream had never spoken to her. He had never acknowledged her in any way. "'He did not know his past or if he had a future. He knew only his present. His hated, torturous present. He was a slave, locked away like an animal.'"

Just like before, a wave of dizziness slammed through her. This time, Jane pressed on, even as her chest constricted. "'He was kept clean and oiled. Always. Just in case Princess Laila had need of him in her bed. And the princess did have need of him. Often. Her cruel, twisted desires left him beaten and bruised. Not that he ever accepted defeat. The man was wild, nearly uncontrollable, and so filled with hate anyone who looked at him saw their death in his eyes.'"

The dizziness intensified. Hell, so did the desire. To tame a man like that, to have all of his vigor focused on you, pounding into you…his participation willing… Jane shivered.

Lose the ADD, Parker. She cleared her throat. "'He was hard, merciless. A warrior at heart. A man used to absolute control. At least, he thought he was. Even with his lack of memory, he was patently aware that every order directed his way scraped his nerves raw.'"

Another shiver rocked her. She grit her teeth. He needed her compassion, not her desire. He's that real to you? Yeah, he was. "'At least he would have a few days' reprieve,'" she read on, "'forgotten by one and all. The entire palace was frothing over Princess Odette's return from the grave and—'"

The rest of the page was blank. "And what?" Jane flipped to the next, but quickly realized the story had ended on an unfinished cliff-hanger. Great.

Thankfully—or not—she discovered more writing toward the end and blinked, shook her head. The words didn't change. "'You, Jane Parker,'" she recited hollowly. "'You are Odette. Come to me, I command you. Save me, I beg you. Please, Jane. I need you.'"

Her name was in the book. How was her name in the book? And written by the same hand as the rest? On the same aged, stained pages, with the same smudged ink?

I need you.

Her attention returned to the part directed to her. She reread "You are Odette" until the urge to scream was at last overshadowed by curiosity. Her mind swirled. There were so many paths to take with this. Forged, genuine, dream, reality.

Come to me.

Save me.

Please.

I command you.

Something inside her responded to that command more than anything else in the book. The urge to run— here, there, anywhere—beat through her. As long as she found him, saved him, nothing else mattered. And she could save him, just as soon as she reached him.

I. Command. You.

Yes. She wanted to obey. So damn badly. She felt as if an invisible cord had been wound around her neck, and was now tugging at her.

Trembling, Jane closed the book. She wasn't searching for anyone. Not tonight. She needed to regroup. In the morning, after a few coffee IVs, her head would be clear and she could reason this out. She hoped.

After placing the tome on her nightstand, she flopped into her bed and closed her eyes, trying to force her brain to quiet. An unsuccessful endeavor. If Nicolai's story was true, he was as trapped by those chains as surely as she had once been trapped by her body's infirmities.

The compassion grew…spread…

While he was kept in a cage, she had been bound to a hospital bed, her bones broken, her muscles torn, her mind hazed by medication, all because a drunk driver had slammed into her car. And while she had been— was—tormented by the loss of her family, since her mother, father and sister had been in the car with her, Nicolai was tormented by a sadistic woman's unwanted touch. She felt a wave of regret, a crackle of fury.

I need you.

Jane inhaled deeply, exhaled slowly and shifted to her side, clutching her pillow close. As close as she suddenly wanted to clutch Nicolai, to comfort him. To be with him. Uh, not going there. She didn't know the man. Therefore, she wasn't going to imagine sleeping with him.

But that's exactly what she did. His plight was forgotten as she imagined him climbing on top of her, his silver eyes bright with desire, his pupils blown. His lips were plump and red from kissing her entire body, still moist with her flavor. She licked at him, tasting him, tasting herself, eager for anything and everything he would give her.

He growled his approval, flashing his fangs.

His big, muscled body surrounded her, his skin hot, little beads of sweat forming, causing them to rub and glide together, straining toward release. God, he felt good. So damn good. Long and thick. A perfect fit, stretching her just right. Rocking, rocking, faster and faster, taking her to the edge of sensation before slowing… slowing…tormenting.

She clawed at him, her nails scouring his back. He groaned. She raised her knees, squeezing his hips. Yes. Yes, more. Faster, faster still. Never enough, almost enough. More, please more.

Nicolai's tongue thrust into her mouth, rolling with hers before he bit down, drawing blood, sucking. A sharp sting, and then, finally, oh, God, finally, she tumbled over.

Ripples of satisfaction swept through her entire body, little stars winking behind her eyes. Her inner muscles clenched and unclenched, liquid heat pooling between her legs. She rode the tide for endless seconds, minutes, before sagging against the mattress, boneless, unable to catch her breath.

An orgasm, she mused dazedly. A freaking orgasm from a fantasy man, and she hadn't even needed to touch herself.

"Nicolai…mine…" she whispered, and she was smiling as she at last drifted off to sleep.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 246 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(115)

4 Star

(68)

3 Star

(29)

2 Star

(22)

1 Star

(12)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 247 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 3, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Hot

    I have been reading Gena Showalter books ever since Awaken me was released from the Alien series! I enjoyed reading the lord of vampires. it was so hard to put down. A must read for paranormal readers!

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    More paranormal than romance!

    Review by Jen:
    I'm a huge fan of Gena Showalter. Her Lords of the Underworld books are on my limited auto-buy list. So, when I saw she was doing a new series with a couple other romance authors, I snagged the book at NetGalley.

    The concept of this series is interesting. There are 4 siblings, children of a royal family. When their parents rule is threatened, their mother, a witch, casts a spell sending her children to the far corners of their realm with no memory of their royal lives. As they age, they have this compulsion of revenge. Each of the books, written by a different author, follow these siblings as they make their way home.

    Lord of the Vampires is the first book in the series and follows Nicolai, a vampire, the oldest of the siblings. he's been enslaved and using magic he learned from his mother, he summons Jane to help free him. Jane is all alone in the world and can't figure out the steamy dreams she's been having. And when she's suddenly face to face with the star of those dreams and he's asking for her help, what's a girl to do?

    Parts of this story I really enjoyed. I loved Jane. A strong, smart woman who has overcome a lot of adversity and is able to suspend belief and make her way in this magical realm she finds herself in. Nicolai is a little harder to like. He takes the alpha male role to the extreme at times. And I wasn't too keen on his, "after she helps me, I'll ditch her" attitude. Obviously since we're talking about a romance, he gets over that. But the romance aspect was very much overshadowed by the paranormal, borderline horror, story line.

    I was left wanting with this book. Gena Showalter is still on my favorite list, but this book didn't help her case. I am however, looking forward to the future books in the series. Up next is Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Be Ready to be Captivated!

    This was such a great read. If you have read any of Gena books you know she spins a good story. I thought I could wait until the book came out at the library but I was bored and opted to purchased it instead. I read this book in 24 hours. I could not put this down it was so riveting. I think I'm ready to bitten! Great Read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2011

    Wanted to LOVE IT...

    This didn't sound like a normal Gena written book, but a quick put together story. I even checked the cover a few times to make sure I downloaded the correct book. I know she had a blast with it...and that's great, but it truly lacked Gena's quick whit and bantering originality. [even with ogres, unicorns, snapping fish, biting tree limbs, naked servants & several-chin'd witches] The word "okay" was used more than was nesessary...seriously...and the characters just fell, well, flat. I HATE to admit I was actually bored...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Just ok

    I love Gena's books. This one was good, but i found it lacking something.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2011

    lacking something

    This is the first in the series so I am willing to give it a chance. The author is a really great writer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Disappointment

    I couldnt get into this book, had to force myself to finish it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    Disappointed in Showalter

    I actually LOVE Showalters series "Lords of the Underworld" and the "Atlantis" series. Both are fun, exciting, humorous, sexy and suspensful....BUT, the Lord of the Vampires was really none of those things. I never found myself unable to put my nook down or never wondered what was coming next. This book was just so-so. I may try another in this series to see if it gets better, because Showalter is a great writer. I just didn't like this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great start to a fun and imaginative series...

    The Royal House of Shadows is the brainchild of four bestselling paranormal romance authors, coming together to create a fantasy world for Harlequin's Nocturne series. Each subsequent book is written by a different author and Gena Showalter kicks it off with Lord of the Vampires, the story of Nicolai. Nicolai is the eldest of five royal siblings who are separated after their parents, the king and queen of Elden, have been murdered by the Blood Sorcerer. Each sibling is faced with their own obstacles to overcome, including their loss of memory, in order to be reunited with one another before time runs out and the Blood Sorcerer can't be stopped. Nicolai, after being stripped of his memories, has been taken against his will as a sex slave by witch princesses. His only chance to gain his freedom is by the help of a human scientist, Jane, who he has magically transported into his mystical world for his own gain. What he didn't count on was falling in love with her. I enjoyed Lord of the Vampires very much. Before diving in, I had perused a few reviews on it, most criticizing the book for its brevity. Yes, it was a fairly quick read but I in no way thought it took away from the great story. Nicolai is strong and sensual. You bare witness to his intense internal conflict over his insatiable need for vengeance and his new found desire to make Jane his own. Jane is smart, believably strong throughout and an overall well developed heroine, characteristics I crave in my female leads. I found myself pulling for this couple throughout their journey and hoping that the circumstances surrounding these two was not insurmountable in the long run. The book is at times graphically gruesome, but I myself enjoy the dynamic of gritty action and hot sex. I also think it showcased the excellent range at which Gena can write. The next book, Lord of Rage, penned by Jill Monroe, is the story of the lone female offspring, Breena. Jessica Anderson and Nalini Singh are the authors of the following installments. I would definitely recommend this series. I know I am looking forward to see how the story changes and progresses from author to author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2011

    Meh...

    I love Gena Showalter and I just assumed that I would like this book because she wrote it. I can't even describe what it is I don't like about it, all I know is that I had no desire to even finish the book. It was just boring I guess.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2013

    Gena Showalter? Really?!

    I'm a lord of the underworld fan andnthis is definitely below Showalter's usual standard of writing. I found the characters and plot to be underdeveloped as if they were hastily put together. Maybe she had to meet a deadline. That being said, I do like the twist mixing magic syphoning with vampirism. Bold. Which is why I give it 2 stars.

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  • Posted August 17, 2013

    I just completed this book, and am waiting for the next book in

    I just completed this book, and am waiting for the next book in the series...where is it??? Slow start, but then it became more interesting, I find the idea of transferring magic or absorbing it fascinating. Good job, but where is the next one??

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    Great Read

    Recommended. I loved it. It had a different twist to a vampire romance.

    I love all her books.

    I hope she writes about Nicolai's siblings next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2012

    Helping out others?

    I read this because i am a follower if hers a Singh's. Not a big fan of this book. Too basic and "me big man have small brain" and wasnt too fond of the female either. Will eventually read them all ... just to compare them and get to Nalini. I know why they bookended them. Showalter is awesome though.... this one just wasnt for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2012

    Nice

    Was a good read. Characters were solid, the plot was smooth and didn't make me have to backtrack to try to figure out what in the world is going on. All in all...i really liked it.

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  • Posted July 24, 2012

    Good read

    This book makes for a good weekend read. The story is different from Ms. Showalter's normal path, but is good just the same. Enjoy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    To any that didn't like!

    Any person who didn't like this book has no imagination! Please expand your mind and try again, this time use your imagination!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    Another winner

    I am loving this new series!!! I was hooked by the first chapter & read it in about a day! Good job on another amazing story Gena

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2012

    Fairy tales turn paranormal!

    Showalter takes a one of our favorite fairy tales and turns it into a steamy romance novel!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    Loved it!

    I love all books by Gena Showalter and this one was just great! The storyline was fabulous as always with her writing. I would definitely recommend reading this as well as the other 3 books in the series. It was awesome and refreshing to have a series that she collaborated with other authors, then they wrote their own book in the series. They all flowed together seamlessly.

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