When Princess Vilhelmina Dragomir is awakened from her hellish sleep with a blood kiss from a handsome stranger, she learns that much has changed while she
Read an Excerpt
Briar Rose cut an eerie silhouette in the moonlit night. Sharp turrets and massive battlements would be formidable to scale and climb for most men. And vampires. But not for Mikhail and his four brethren in the Bloodguard. They'd watched from the woodlands since sunset. Watched and waited.
Mikhail flicked a hand, signaling his men. As one, the hooded vampires melded with the shadows and flashed to the eastern gate. Gregoravich cracked the neck of the first Legionnaire guard, then severed his head with a clean, deep slice. Dmitri, the second. They dropped the bodies along the inner wall.
There were two ways into the well-guarded eastern tower, which most assuredly held Princess Vilhelmina. Either through the palace itself and likely two dozen guards, or through the tower window. They'd opted for the path of least resistance.
The heavy concentration of Legionnaires clad in red-and-black dress — denoting King Dominik's men guarded her rather than her own — was like a beacon shining a spotlight on her location within the castle.
Dmitri had asked Mikhail at sunset, "Incapacitate or kill?"
There was only one answer Mikhail could give with icy conviction. "Kill."
They would show no mercy to these brutal bastards who'd imprisoned the princess. Especially since they were under orders of the nefarious butcher king himself. The evil Queen Morgrid's announcement that her eldest son would take the captive Princess Vilhelmina as his bride set the members of the Black Lily into action. Friedrich, the Duke of Winter Hill, had told Mikhail why it was imperative that he save her at all costs. "The fate of us all depends upon the success of your mission. She cannot come into the hands of King Dominik or Queen Morgrid."
And so here they were, embarking on said mission. Beyond Friedrich's warnings, Mikhail had another reason for saving the Princess of Arkadia. One that bore so deep his blood hummed with the possibility that she could be the key to avenge the wrong done to him and his family. A wrong that still pricked with sharp teeth upon that tender organ beneath his ribs.
Slipping through the shadows to the wall beneath the eastern parapet, Mikhail gave a swift nod. Together, they climbed, finding the notches and grooves of brick to hoist themselves up in swift silence. With claws extended, for they'd all summoned their inner beasts to the surface, they made quick work of the wall. Upon their leap over the top ledge, they fell upon the unsuspecting guards with deadly swiftness.
Mikhail unsheathed his serrated dagger as a Legionnaire attacked. With little effort, he gutted the vampire and opened his throat before he'd even drawn his longsword. By the time Mikhail turned to his men, there was a pile of seven eviscerated Legionnaires. His men faced opposite directions to await more who would come when they smelled the blood. The only sound was the whipping of the Arkadian flag atop the corner battlement — the white dragon sigil roaring upon the forest-green backdrop.
Without delay, he slipped a sleek black rope from within his coat and looped it around a jutting square along the parapet wall. He'd estimated this post would serve well for his purposes hours earlier when they'd watched from the woodlands. He'd been right. Looping the other end of the rope around his waist and tying it with a slipknot, he stood backward on the edge of the parapet and leaped over the edge into the night.
His feet made contact with the wall, then he repelled with ease down the tower to the window. Peering through the mottled pane, he noted there were no guards within the chamber. With both feet on the ledge, one hand holding the rope, he pulled his razor pick from the leather strap across his chest, securing his tools of the assassination trade. Scoring one square pane along the frame, he then slid the pick back where it belonged. With one, two, three taps of his finger, the pane cracked then fell free, shattering a second later on the stone floor. After sliding his hand through the opening and popping the lock free, the casement doors swung open.
Once inside, he untied the rope from around his waist and looped it over the window latch to keep it from slipping away. No candles burned in the room. No fire, either, leaving the chamber in a wintry chill. Heartless bastards.
The circular room bore few furnishings. A table with a bowl and ewer along the wall, a chair, and a bed.
He approached the bed, where gossamer curtains framed the woman within. His heartbeat reverberated in his ears, a quickening drum as he beheld the princess entombed in her bloodless sleep. The Princess of Arkadia was known for her grace and beauty. Still, his breath caught in his throat when he pushed aside the bed sheer.
Resting upon her back with her arms draped across her abdomen — an unnatural position for one in sleep — she still appeared at peace. Dressed in a white nightgown and a green velvet robe that was fastened with a row of black buttons down the bodice, her lithe body appeared too thin. As any vampire would be, having been starved with only one drop of blood per week to keep her in this torturous state.
And yet, her face.
Mikhail inched closer. The darkness could hide nothing from his vampire senses. Waves of the palest yellow hair, like sun-bleached wheat when it's tall and ripe, draped down to her waist. High cheekbones, delicate nose, full lips. Overly full. He dragged his gaze upward to her lashes, black against her pale complexion. What shade of blue would her eyes be? All born vampires had blue eyes. Royal born, the bluest of all. A marked trait.
Her chest rose and fell steadily, even after being in this cursed slumber for months. He'd heard of powerful warriors being induced into the bloodless sleep who died within a fortnight. Wandering the darkness of their minds, confronting and reliving the nightmares that await there, had been enough to stop the heart of bigger, stronger men. Yet, here lay this pale beauty, soft and serene as if in a natural sleep. He hoped she survived the transition to reality. He'd heard of those awakening with their minds unhinged, never regaining full control of their sanity.
He and his brethren had discussed when to awaken her, but Mikhail had rejected all votes that they should wait until they'd carried her to safety. Mikhail had heard tales from survivors of the bloodless sleep. The dark agony of sensing everything going on around oneself but never being able to speak or open one's eyes or make any move at all. And all the while, an aching pain stabbed the sleeper's gut, ricocheted out, and rattled bones.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, he lifted a lock of her silken hair, sliding his fingers till it fell away. The sensual caress striking a vulnerable cord in his chest. He clutched his fist together. Her beauty made him breathless. The fact that she lay imprisoned in her own body cut through the tough veneer of the captain to the man beneath. No way in hell would he leave her in such a state of agony a second longer.
Awakening a victim from a bloodless sleep was a precarious job. He must be gentle, careful not to overpower her system and jolt her body to full wakefulness. She could go into shock. Friedrich had suggested the best-known method — the blood kiss.
Leaning close to her ear, he whispered, "Princess. If you can hear me, listen well. I must awaken you from this deep slumber. Pardon the intimacy and have no fear. I mean you no harm."
His canines fully extended, he bit into the fleshy part of his palm and smeared his lips with his own blood. Wrapping his other hand behind her slender nape, he leaned close, inhaling the fragrant scent of white jasmine and sunshine. He paused, faltering at the sweetness of her, an unexpected punch to his senses.
With tight control, he swept his lips over hers, wetting them with his blood and coaxing them apart. The slightest relaxing of her mouth gave him entry. Raising his palm, he licked a swath of his own blood across his tongue then angled his mouth over hers with firm possession, delving in to awaken her starving body. Sliding his tongue over and against hers, he slicked her thoroughly.
His pulse pounded an erratic beat. He heard hers quicken in timing with his own. Her senses stirred.
Unexpected arousal crashed through him, hardening every inch of his body. His fangs extended to their most painful length, demanding succor.
He'd come to offer his own lifeblood, not take what little she had. And yet his body trembled with bone-shaking hunger.
Stifling his rebellious body's needs, he sucked a few drops of blood from his palm wound and pressed his mouth to hers once more, letting the blood seep inside and down her throat. He couldn't help delving back in, licking the delicious taste of her onto his tongue.
A low moan emanated from her throat. He jerked away, remembering himself. By God, his thoughts spiraled down a dark, wayward path when his mouth was on hers. Panting, he leaned farther away, giving himself some distance.
She lifted a slender hand, her brow furrowing as she moaned a second time, rousing from her deep, paralyzing sleep. Her eyes shot open, and she sucked in a deep lungful of air. Her wide-eyed gaze landed directly on his. Mikhail was sure he'd slipped and fallen off a cliff, flailing helplessly.
Fathomless pools of blue, burning brightly. His father used to take him to the ocean shore during the summers as a boy. They'd walk along the sandy beach collecting shells. Once, he'd found the most beautiful clear gem washed upon the sand. Sea glass, his father had told him. A broken piece of bottle or jar that the ocean had tumbled and smoothed into the clearest, purest blue he had ever seen. That was what he thought of when he looked into the eyes of this princess who smelled like sunshine and tasted like heaven.
"Welcome back, Princess Vilhelmina." Steel clashed against steel on the battlement above. Footsteps pounded on the staircase leading to the tower. "Time to go."
Mina's pulse thundered in her ears, as she stared up at the most stunning vampire she'd ever seen. Midnight-black hair. One blue, one green eye flaring bright in the shadowy room. His face cut too sharply to mark him as beautiful. Mesmerizing, more like. A memory flitted over her mind, a repetitive dream from her deep slumber. One where a dark prince would one day save her.
But this was no dream. Her skin burned, her muscles ached, her heart raced with his blood coursing through her body. She slid her tongue over her bottom lip, tasting the sweet tang of a drop left behind. His otherworldly eyes followed the movement, sparking with new fire.
"Who are you?" she demanded, voice cracking.
"No time, Your Highness." He leaned close, and before she knew what he was doing, he lifted her against his broad chest and carried her to the open window. He set her on her feet. "You'll have to forgive me, but we have approximately twenty seconds."
"For what?" she asked, her legs trembling as he steadied her with a hand at her waist.
He lifted the end of a rope looped onto her window latch, tied it around her waist, and tightened it into a complex knot with deft fingers. He wrapped his hands around her waist, nearly spanning it completely. She hitched in a breath as he leveled his gaze on hers, lifted her, and slipped her out the open window. She should've been afraid, but some new powerful force inside her pushed all her fears away. Had it been him? This dark savior's blood kiss?
"Hold onto the window ledge for a brief second."
She gripped the ledge, knowing full well she couldn't hold her own weight. No matter. As soon as he let her go, he grabbed the rope with a tight grip. "I won't let you fall. Someone is at the bottom to carry you to safety."
She felt no dread even as she dangled from the tower while the sound of combat filled the night air. She gave a confident nod. Then she was gliding fast down the side of the outer brick wall. The chilly wind lifted her hair and billowed her skirts around her bare ankles. When she expected to hit the ground with a thud, her descent stopped just short of her feet hitting the ground. A vampire lifted her, a burly beast of a man, while another unfastened the rope around her waist. Then she was passed from the arms of the mountainous one to the other, who smiled at her. Something about the shape of his eyes was familiar. He looked like the one who'd just dropped her out the window.
"Pardon me, Your Highness." He tucked her tight against his chest. "I am Dmitri. You may want to close your eyes. My speed can be a shock to the system."
"I am an Arkadian princess." She heard the words come out husky but with confidence. "I can handle the speed of any vampire."
His mouth tilted into an infectious grin. "Let's get you the hell out of here then."
Three Legionnaires stormed from an archway and rounded toward them. The big vampire engaged all three at once with moves too graceful for a man his size. Mina had one second to recognize the Legionnaires wore the livery of King Dominik of Izeling, not her own colors or the queen's. Then Dmitri flashed into motion, moving in a head-spinning blur away from Briar Rose. Away from her home. And her prison.
Dmitri was right to warn her. Though all vampires had the ability of supernatural speed, even though she was too weak to do so on her own at the moment, he moved remarkably fast. She gripped around his neck and let her head fall to his shoulder rather than resist the force of the wind, too weak to do anything but allow herself to be taken away. While her body was weak, a vibrant pulse thrummed in her veins, shocking her senses with a potency she'd never felt in all her life.
She hoped these men weren't brigands, and that she hadn't exchanged one imprisonment for another. No. She reached out with her other sense, her vampire gift. The man who held her in his arms had no nefarious emotions swarming about him. Though the one who'd awakened her certainly kept company with darkness, he didn't resonate with ill-intent, either. Not for her, anyway. Of that, she was sure.
She held on tight as he flashed them deeper into the wooded Novak Mountains. The mountains kept some of their foliage, even steeped in winter. For now, the snow only reached the tip-top of the range that swept in a horseshoe around the seat of the Arkadian kingdom, Briar Rose.
The air was crisp, nipping at her ears and nose. When the queen had exacted her punishment, the trees of the Novak region had just begun to turn red and gold. How long had she been under? It seemed like an eternity.
Within an hour, she heard other vampires running parallel to them, but Dmitri didn't seem alarmed. It must be his brethren. She couldn't help but wonder who'd hired them. Her first order of business was to discover who'd sent them for her.
After a chilling trip higher into the foothills of the Novaks, Dmitri slowed to a human pace. Barely winded, he walked toward a mound of heavy brush then casually stepped behind it, where the entrance to a cave was hidden.
"Stop." Mina gripped the rough leather of his coat at the shoulder.
Dmitri stopped suddenly. "What is it, Your Highness?"
"I smell bear."
"Oh, that." He continued on, ducking his head at the entrance. The interior was much more spacious than it appeared. "Don't worry about him." He set her gently on her feet. "We moved the bear last night."
"You moved ... the bear."
Two more vampires entered. The hulking one who'd fought the Legionnaires so she and Dmitri could make a quick escape. And another she hadn't seen yet. Quiet with sharp, watchful eyes.
"Sure," added Dmitri. "Not much of a chore for us." He winked. "Eh, Gregoravich?"
"Just a wee cub," replied the big one, Gregoravich.
"That wee cub nearly snapped off your tree trunk of an arm," said a fourth vampire who entered the cave. His blond hair gleamed by the moonlight slipping in. He gave her a formal bow with a tilted smile that had most certainly charmed many a lady. "I am Aleksei, Your Highness. At your service."
"Bah." Gregoravich waved a beefy hand. "One punch to the jaw and he was out like a baby."
A fifth vampire moved into the cave on silent feet. The black-haired one who'd awoken her. Even while in the bloodless sleep, she'd heard his velvet voice whisper in her ear. She'd felt his fervent kiss. Her fingers went to her lips, then her legs wobbled. He was at her side, steadying her with a hand wrapped at her elbow.
"Enough," he ordered over his shoulder. "We'll rest for three hours. Gavril, you have first watch."
Excerpted from "The Emerald Lily"
Copyright © 2018 Juliette Cross.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Very good story
Whoo hoo! Quite the ending to this series. I noticed (probably by the third book because I’m slow and because of the heroine’s name: Brennalyn SNOW), that each book features a different fairy tale. #1 is Cinderella, #2 is Red Riding Hood, #3 is Snow White, and #4 is Sleeping Beauty. So if you’re into those kinds of stories with a bunch of sexy vampires, then this series is for you! I certainly enjoyed them all.
Great and complete conclusion to a magical series!
Love it so much!!! this book had me nonstop reading it. This book had me laughing out laud, crying, stressing & stopping me from breathing!!!! I loved Grant so very funny. Excellent Book Juliette Loooooooove it.
The Emerald Lily is the utterly awesome action-packed, heart-pounding conclusion to Juliette Cross’ Vampire Blood series. The entire series is magical and pits epic romances and dominion in an epic battle of good versus evil. Every installment in this wonderful series is a sensual paranormal fractured retelling of a popular fairy tale. The resulting new versions are no longer tales for children. As a recap, The Black Lily retold Cinderella. The Red Lily was the author’s parody of Little Red Riding Hood complete with wolves. The White Lily recounted Snow White. Now, The Emerald Lily features a revised Sleeping Beauty. LOL! Who knew that vampires and favorite childhood fairy tales would mix so jaw-droppingly well? I can’t decide which cover in this series that I love more. Each has been breathtaking. I’ve read this series out of order and can attest that each of the books works well as a standalone, if that is your preference. The story evolves chronologically if the series is read in order. You are going to want to read them all so, if you’re just starting the series, I’d elect to read them in order, if possible. This is the tale of Princess Vilhelmina Dragomir and Romanov, Captain of the Bloodguard. Princess Vilhelmina Dragomir was cursed by an evil vampire queen at birth because her father would not acquiesce to promising her to be the bride of the evil queen’s son. Thanks to an old woman with the power to do so, the curse was twisted into a prophecy of hope. Evil has taken over the land and the small band of Black Lily resistance who stand in opposition to the heinous vampire hierocracy has grown into a formidable rebel force. As the Emerald Lily opens, we find the Bloodguard – an independent army aligned with the Black Lily resistance - preparing to storm the castle where the Princess was being held in a cruel bloodless sleep by the queen. The Captain has taken on the task of wakening the Princess from her slumber. The Captain has forsworn any entanglements as his vow to avenge the wrongs done to his family is paramount. Little does he know that his kiss will ignite the prophecy and start the assault on the impregnable fortress he’s erected around his heart. I am hard-pressed to decide which of the books in this series that I love the most as each one has stolen my heart. The Princess and the Captain are fabulous characters joining the wonderful ones that have preceded them. I am in awe of how the Princess develops into a surprising stronger persona and of how the honorable Captain’s heart didn’t stand a chance after that one kiss. In addition, all the previous characters we’ve grown to love and to hate play supporting roles in this marvelously well-plotted tale. I was so looking forward to this finale and happily wasn’t disappointed - not one teensy bit. Juliette has done an amazing job with each of these books reframing childhood fairytale favorites into grown-up nail-biting, enchanting, steamy, breath-taking romances. The Emerald Lily is a beautiful story on its own – but, in this series, it’s also the perfect wrap-up - tying up all the loose ends with a magnificent bow. My one complaint is that I’m sad that it’s all come to an end. I highly recommend this entire series to anyone who enjoys fun, exciting and passionate paranormal fantasy romances! My full review is published at Reading Between the Wines Book Club. Please check it out there!
I’ve admired the covers of books in this series but I’m kind of over the whole vampire as hero trope. Too much, too quickly I guess. But I was entranced by the cover and intrigued enough by the blurb to request this book. Am I glad I did! This was a bodice-ripping, fang-dripping rollercoaster of a novel complete with princesses, evil witches, cute moppets, secret rebellions and shifters. Loosely based on Sleeping Beauty (and maybe Snow White), the vampire Princess Mina is locked into a perpetual sleep caused by blood deprivation, punishment for refusing to sleep with the evil Queen Morgrid’s despicable son Dominik. She is awakened by the blood kiss of Captain Mikhail Romanov, leader of the Black Lily, a group of noble vampires united against Morgrid’s reign of terror. It’s fast-paced, there’s the obligatory “mine” and lots of fangs and I loved it. Although it is not the first book in the series it can easily be read as a stand-alone as I did. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Noooooooooo, why does this have to end?????!!!!!!!! What an epic finish to an epic series! While this was a fantastic way to part with this amazing saga, I kept hoping Ms. Cross would find a way to sneak in some other stories. Still, I’m counting on a Bloodguard spinoff coming soon. The Emerald Lily is definitely a book you want to read after you’ve gone through all the other Lilies (Black, Red and White) as the Vampire Blood series is one you must read in order to better appreciate the encompassing story arch. Each story involves a different couple but the evil plans of the Vampire Queen and her psycho-evil son, and the atrocities they commit in order to further their agenda start from the very first book until this last one. This installment presents Princess Mina, originally intended to marry Marius (from the Black Lily), who has been put under house arrest in a bloodless sleep until further needed. The resistance, knowing the crown’s nefarious plans for Mina, set a rescue mission lead by the Bloodguard. As this is a Sleeping Beauty cover, Mikhail, Captain of the Bloodguard must not only release the princess from her confinement but first wake her from her sleeping punishment with a blood kiss (totally hotter than what it sounds like). That kiss changes everything for both Mina and Mikhail, but with the bloodguard comes an oath of fealty and a promise of no emotional entanglements. As such, Mikhail must resist this uncontrollable attraction he feels for Mina… if she’ll let him. Tired of being the perfectly obedient and sweetly meek princess, Mina is not only going to help the rebellion in any way she can, she’ll fight for everything she wants. And she most definitely wants Mikhail. With a new fire burning in her veins, this sweet, delicate and loving girl becomes a strong, fiery and battle-ready woman keeping in form with the kick-butt heroines of this whole series. I especially loved witnessing Mina’s transformation, how little by little she let shine through what she actually always had been. Mikhail was to die for. A trained fighter, alpha and bossy, he was totally sexy. His devotion to the cause and to his personal pursuit of justice was commendable. Fortunately, Mikhail and Mina’s chemistry was much too powerful to resist, and he eventually caves to temptation. He was also possessive, protective and had a seriously wide array of skills *wink*wink*. With lots of action, suspense and the mystery surrounding Mikhail’s past and Mina’s prophecy The Emerald Lily did not fall short in either intensity or sexiness. I completely loved this last installment and, it bears repeating, I’m hoping for a Bloodguard spinoff coming soon as there were a couple of loose threads left hanging here and there. This one is going straight to my top ten favorites of paranormal series, it has humor, fights, good vs evil, sexy vampires, kick-butt heroines, lots of feels all in a fantasy-historical world I’ll definitely be revisiting. The Vampire Blood series by Juliette Cross is one I recommend for everyone. *I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book*
SPECTACULAR BOOK, FABULOUS SERIES, ALL THE STARS!!! I have nothing but mad love for this series! Ms. Juliette Cross is my go-to when I’m in the mood for a dark, twisted fairytale with hot-as-hell vampires and intense action with nail-biting suspense. This journey was epic, and The Emerald Lily pulled out all the stops. The fact that it’s the last in the series makes me so sad, but I’m eagerly anticipating anything else this author will write next. The Emerald Lily is a play on Sleeping Beauty, and I was instantly transported into passion and adventure and lust. Mina’s been patient, biding her time until she can take her throne. Being captured and put into a bloodless sleep to be used by an evil Vampire Queen is not the wake-up call Mina had in mind. But she’s not willing to wait around and see what happens. Waking up in the arms of the ever-serious Mikhail and sharing a Blood Kiss is only the first step. Although…good God, was that one heckuva step… Mina’s discovering herself—her own strengths, her own future—while accepting and reveling in her appeal and appetites and desires all at the same time. The pace is ridiculously fast as she races to discover a prophesy and defeat the enemy. Her attraction to Mikhail, however, is only compounded by the tight quarters and nonstop action. These two lit up the pages. Mikhail’s storyline here is swoontastic. He’s got it bad for Mina, but there’s this secret he’s hiding…Oh, my gosh! I seriously clapped my hands multiple times while reading, giddy with anticipation, as everything was revealed. Gah, so good! But this was also tough to read in some parts, too. This one hit me hard and pulled my emotions right out of me. Then there were the many twists. Every time I thought I had it all figured out…yeah, I so didn’t. I loved that I was completely surprised. Honestly, I don’t know why you wouldn’t read this series. This whole series doesn’t pull its punches. You’ll laugh and cry, want to take up the battle, all the while you’ll get the happy feels. What a wonderful, engaging series. And as a last thought (and maybe plea…) I’m desperately crossing my fingers for a spinoff involving some of these secondary characters… 5+ stars!
I LOVE Juliette Cross' books, every single one of them. Her talents as a story teller, her character development, and her abilities to make me laugh and cry and swoon all in one book continue to amaze me. The Emerald Lily is the perfect desert to this four-course meal of sexy vampires, heroic deeds, heart melting love, and heroines who are much stronger than they know. Some series seem to fall apart the longer they continue --- that is NOT the case here! Cross is a master at building the momentum and upping the stakes in each installment of this series. By the time the all-out, "I've been waiting for this!" battle comes, your adrenaline will be pumping! The Emerald Lily is possibly my favorite installment, due to the dark, broody, "I'm not worthy of being happy" attitude of Mikhail Romanov, Captain of the Bloodguard, and sworn protector of Princess Vilhelmina Dragomir, our golden-haired heroine. From page one, Mikhail and Mina continually save each other from various foes, all the while trying to deny their feelings and "do what is right." Well, in the battle between the head and the heart, the heart always wins! Enter swoon-worthy words, passionate kisses, and a love so intense you have to look away from the page to get a grip on yourself! On top of this, Mina and Mikhail are working with The Black Lily, the multi-faceted army of humans and vampires and shifters, all fighting to overcome the evil Queen Morgrid, who wants to enslave all humans as sources of blood, and cover the land in eternal darkness. This series. This author. I cannot say enough good things. Love will always triumph over evil.
4.75 stars--THE EMERALD LILY is the fourth and final instalment in Juliette Cross’s adult VAMPIRE BLOOD paranormal /fantasy, romance series. This is Princess Vilhelmina ‘Mina’ Dragomir, and Mikhail Romanov, Captain of the BloodGuard’s story line. THE EMERALD LILY can be read as a stand alone but I recommend reading the series in order for backstory and cohesion. WARNING: THE EMERALD LILY contains scenes of graphic violence and sexual situations that may be triggers for some more sensitive readers. Told from dual third person perspectives (Mina and Mikhail) THE EMERALD LILY is the culmination of four story lines and a plan set into motion to take back the throne, and bestow it to the rightful heir. With Princess Vilhelmina Dragomir forced into the bloodless sleep of a starving vampire, the Bloodguard mount a rescue of the rightful heir to the Arkadian Kingdom, of Briar Rose. Enter Mikhail Romanov, Captain of the Bloodguard-an army of vampire warriors who have sworn fealty to the rightful heir- and the man with whom Mina will fall in love. What ensues is the back and forth, yin and yang of unrequited attraction, and the fall out when Mina is recaptured by the Prince, facing a future without the man that she loves. Mikhail has sworn an oath as Captain of the Bloodguard, and in doing so forsakes all manner of family and a happily ever after but rescuing Mina Dragomir stirs something deep within our story line hero, something that calls to his hardened heart. Mikhail has a secret, that once revealed, may change the course of history including the rightful ascension to the vampire throne. The relationship between Mina and Mikhail is one of immediate attraction; a visceral reaction that Mina wants to explore but Mikhail refuses to acknowledge or accept. His duty is to the Bloodguard, and all that it means, and with the approaching war, falling in love is a weakness our hero never would have imagined. The $ex scenes are intimate and intense without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. Like all of the previous story lines in the Vampire Blood series, THE EMERALD LILY touches on and is loosely based upon a fairy tale, and in the case of The Emerald Lily the retelling of the story of Sleeping Beauty, the evil queen, a kiss to awaken, and the fiery conclusion befitting a powerful reclamation of power and the throne. There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including all of the previous story line couples; Brennalyn’s seven orphaned children; and an assortment of Bloodguard warriors who have vowed to protect Mina with their lives. The requisite evil has many faces including Prince Dominck, and his mother, the self-proclaimed Queen Morgrid. THE EMERALD LILY is a story of betrayal and revenge; of family and blood; of passion and promise. The premise is action packed, complex and imaginative; the characters are dynamic, colorful, and charismatic; the romance is consuming, inspiring and dramatic. THE EMERALD LILY is a stunning conclusion to an incredible series that adds a twist or two to our favourite fairy tales.
THE EMERALD LILY by Juliette Cross is book Four in the "Vampire Blood" series. This is the story of Princess Vilhelmina and Mikhail Romanov the Captain of the Bloodguard. I have read the previous books (and loved the!) but feel you can make this a standalone book if you choose to do so. Mina was placed into a deep sleep by the Queen until the time came to force her into marring her son, King Dominik. Mikhail rescued Mina with a blood kiss that has opened her eyes to more than just being a wake, Mina finds that she is drawn to Mikhail. Mikhail and his group getting read to do battle that will hopefully end all the torturing that has been going on. Mina is a distraction that he really can't afford but one he is helpless to stop. King Dominik isn't giving up easily what he wants too. I have been so in love with this series! I love the somewhat dark/ hot fairy tales that Ms. Cross has been writing. This was a great Sleeping Beauty type story. I am sorry to see this series end and hope that she will have other books out soon!
Couldn’t put it down! The Emerald Lily is book four in Juliette Cross’s Vampire Blood series. It’s the final book and it did not disappoint. In fact, it was freaking awesome. Somehow Ms. Cross makes blood sexy as hell. If you read The Black Lily you might be worried that Mina is too sweet to be an interesting heroine. Fear not! Mina is going to blow your mind. She is the perfect woman for the daunting job ahead. At the end… Oh no… No spoilers. Let’s just say the end was EPIC! And as fabulous as Mina is, Mikhail Romanov, Captain of the Bloodguard, is the sexiest, most alpha, sweetest hero you’ll ever read. Mikhail breaks the hero mold and remakes it in his own image. I have four words for you: Go read this book! I promise you will not be sorry. In fact, I predict you will want to read every word Juliette Cross has ever written.
Whooeee!!! This was an amazing ending to Juliette Cross’ Vampire Blood series!!! Princess Vilhelmina Dragomir is lost in a bloodless sleep. During her time spent locked away in tortured slumber, war rages across the land. And then the most amazing thing happens. A kiss. More specifically, a blood kiss. Mikhail Romanov has vowed his life and service to his brothers. At the root of his vow is the burning need to exact vengeance. The next step in doing that is to rescue the princess. But at what cost? Oh my gawd, I loved this couple!! Mina was always the dutiful perfect little princess, preparing to stand beside the man who would one day be king. When Mikhail awakens her body, her soul also begins to stir and she realizes that there is more to her than what she has been taught. Bit by bit she grows stronger as she reaches for what she wants with Mikhail as well as what her and her country require to be free from evil. Her growth was one of the highlights of this story and I literally cheered when she embraced everything that she was. Mikhail is drawn to Mina. He felt it the moment he first laid eyes on her. He tasted it when he awoke her with his kiss. Unfortunately, a wife and family are not permitted in his life and he struggles to keep his distance from her. But this is Juliette Cross so that effort isn’t going to hold out for long. I loved how protective he was over her even while he battled with his own feelings. And the comradery he had with his brothers in arms was entertaining as well as gut wrenching at times. This book is so full of twists and turns, excitement and action, and romance. It’s a fast paced, well written read that never gets bogged down or overwhelmed with unnecessary details or introspection. The action was realistic causing my heart to race and my breath to catch. (I’m not even going to talk about what happened to my fingernails!) A friend recommended the Black Lily when it was released and I timidly tried it. It’s safe to say I loved it and each book afterward. It’s a sad day that this series is ending but I can’t wait to see what this author is going to offer us next. This is an honest review of an advanced copy provided by NetGalley and Entangled Publishing.
Captain Mikhail Romanov and a few Bloodguards are watching Briar Rose in order to remove Vilhelmina Dragomir, Princess of Arkadia, from her prison and take her to safety. “Mina” was induced into a bloodless sleep for nefarious purposes, and Mikhail must rouse her with a blood kiss, which awakens all sorts of forbidden desires in both of them. Mikhail has a mission, he must not fall for the princess, as more than Mina’s life is at stake: Mikhail has a family to avenge, and being a Bloodguard forbids him family and marriage. Protecting a beautiful princess will be a daunting task indeed. This is book 4 in the Vampire Blood series, and I felt THE EMERALD LILY was a return to what I liked most about the series; there was more action than in the two previous books, and the prologue was quite intriguing. I’m still not crazy about the instalust; as in the previous instalments, it feels like there is some sort of a rush to have a sex scene very early on. Also, the four-letter words and curses still feel somewhat wrong; they sound too contemporary amidst the overall quaint historical tone of the story; it’s like someone saying “Yo!” in a regular historical romance; they’re unwelcome jolts. Anyway. The story arc began in THE BLACK LILY continues, and Ms. Cross succinctly provides all the details so that even a newcomer will not feel lost. In spite of my aversion to instalust, Mikhail and Mina are lovely characters, the chemistry is decidedly there, and the vampire sex is very erotically charged. The writing is absolutely gorgeous, the descriptions are enchanting; the hart wolves and the Silvane Forest seen through Mina’s eyes is an experience in itself; the magical feel is superbly conveyed. Mina is regal, serene, and dignified; she is a delight, and poor Mikhail who is torn between Mina and his duty! And it was all so lovely, romantic, and beautiful, THE EMERALD LILY, happily soaring towards that fifth star, when Mikhail turned into your average domineering alpha hero. I could have done without the tossing of the heroine on the bed, and especially that he binds her wrists for some oral play. I do not like surprise BDSM elements, and here it completely destroyed the mood, for me. Then Mikhail is off to a gory battle; I don’t remember if there was that much violence in the previous instalments, or if it was because it followed the sex scene, but I was somewhat stunned, and not in a good way. Then, Mina’s first time: Mikhail enters her with “brutal force”. My, isn’t he considerate. I think those two episodes disrupted my reading. Mina is formidable, she possesses a phenomenal presence, and she is a tremendously appealing heroine; King Dominik’s delectable malevolence (he is a fabulous villain), and Lord Rathbone’s unmistakable charisma diminished Mikhail’s lustre in my eyes. But it’s all relative. I also wondered if, in the previous instalments, there were so many mentions of “his/her beast”; it became tedious. The worldbuilding is astounding, and Ms. Cross adds layer upon layer to her already fascinating world. There is loads and loads of action, so much so towards the end that my attention began to wander a bit. But all in all, THE EMERALD LILY is a great paranormal romance. I read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The Emerald Lily by Juliette Cross is the 4th book in her wonderful Vampire Blood series. I am a big fan of Juliette Cross, and having loved the first three books in this series, I could not wait to read The Emerald Lily. As I have come to expect with Cross, this book turned out to be equally fantastic. What an awesome author, who if you are not reading, you should be. Now to my review. In each book of this series, the lead female character is based loosely on a fairy tale theme. The previous books were Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Snow White and now Sleeping Beauty. We met Princess Vilhelmina Dragomir (Mina), our heroine in the first book, but now she is in her homeland, forced (by the villains in this series, King Dominik and Queen Morgrid) into a bloodless sleep. Mikhail, our hero, who is the Captain of the Bloodguard, comes to rescue Mina, and awakens her from her deep sleep. He immediately feels the strong attraction, and forces himself to not act on his feelings. When Mina awakens, Mikhail and his Bloodguard swear allegiance to Mina, who is the rightful Queen of Arkadia. Mina is a strong heroine, who is determined to become Queen, and then offer her army to help The Black Lily defeat the evil Queen and King. Mina has also felt the strong attraction Mikhail, and though he tries to stop them going too far, their chemistry burns through the pages. There are some secrets and twists that answer our questions later on. One thing we learned early on is that when Mina was born, a good witch bestowed her with something that would stop the evil Queen Morgrid, who had cursed her at birth. Will Mina learn what and how to use this legend? Just when we think all is well, a surprise attack will destroy some of those supporting the revolution, including the kidnapping of a young girl. Mina will fall into a trap that will put her in terrible danger, and force the teams (The Black Lily, Arkadia & Bloodguard armies), to move fast to rescue Mina and the child and find a way to save the world as they know it. To say too much more would be spoilers, and you really need to read this book. What follows is a very exciting intense adventure that will have Mina, Mikhail, his men, the previous books heroes, attempt a rescue that will put their lives in danger. As we raced to the pulse pounding climax, I loved seeing all those we met in the first three books to join the battle. I loved Mikhail and Mina, as they were an awesome couple. The Emerald Lily was a heart stopping, pulse pounding slam bang of a last half of the book, that kept you glued to your seat. Every book in the Vampire Blood series was emotional, heart wrenching, intense, exciting, suspenseful, action-packed thriller; with a sexy & amazing couple. I must say I absolutely loved the epilogue, especially since this book ends the series. As I have said before, if you have not read Juliette Cross, you are seriously missing a fantastic author, who never fails to wow us each and every time. I do not know what Juliette has upcoming, but I will be there, as I will never miss any of her books.
“Beautiful things can often be the most deadly.” The Emerald Lily is the fourth and final book in the Vampire Blood series by Juliette Cross. I have been a fan of Juliette’s work from the very first book. This series has captivated me from the start as I followed this band of rebels through each story in their quest for freedom and equality. In the first book The Black Lily was but an unorganized spread out bunch who wanted to free the humans from their lives of servitude to the vampire hierarchy. Now, by the final book they are organized, stronger and ready for war. I have to mention that the prologue in each one of these books stole my breath away. This book centers on Princess Vilhelmina Dragomir, known as Mina. Mina was first betrothed to Marius in the first book but she freed Marius to marry his love, Arabelle. Now, against her wishes, the evil queen has decreed that Mina will marry her other son, the evil King Dominik. Mina had been kidnapped by the Queen’s army and imprisoned in a tower in her own kingdom where she was starved and forced into a bloodless sleep. When the Black Lily heard of this travesty, they planned her rescue. They would not allow Mina to be held in the clutches of the Queen and her son. Even the strongest of vampires cannot withstand the torture of the bloodless sleep. But in Mina’s dreams, she saw a dark prince that would awaken her with a blood kiss that would save her. So she was not afraid when such a man spoke softly in her ear and told her not to be afraid, that he was there to save her, and kissed her, feeding her his own blood to awaken her. Mikhail Romanov is the Captain of the Bloodguard, an independent army of a sort of mercenaries that are currently aligned with the Black Lily. It is Mikhail that led his most elite to rescue the princess and who himself climbed the tower and kissed her. Any member of the bloodguard has vowed not to allow himself in any committed relationship or marriage. Any such distraction could mean death to himself or any of his brothers in battle. But one kiss is all it took for Mikhail to fall. It felt like fate that he be the one that woke Mina. Mina had always been the perfect, complacent princess. But when she was awakened, something else within her awoken as well. Her beast. And her beast wanted Mikhail. “Time to put the sweet princess to sleep for good and let the passionate woman take the lead. She knew he included himself among the dangers that threatened her. What he hadn’t quite come to understand was that for once in her life, she yearned for a taste of danger.” This book was the perfect wrap up to this series. All of our beloved characters have come together for the final confrontation. Both Mina and Mikhail struggle with what is expected of them, and what they want which is each other. Their duty versus the passion building between them. This book is sexy and intense, beautiful and horrible, all at once. There are lives saved, and lives lost. This series needs to be read in order. Each book centers on a different couple but the story thread runs throughout. So if you haven’t already, start with book one and meet The Black Lily. You will fall under their spell just as I did. I think this series is a work of art. I can’t wait to see what Juliette Cross is going to do next! “We are the Bloodguard. Noble by birth, brothers by choice. We smite the evil ones. We avenge the innocents. We right all wrongs. We are