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Blood Price: Cora’s Choice 6

Filed in Vampire Romance by on November 24, 2014 0 Comments • views: 13370

The Final Episode of the First Billionaire Vampire Serial

Saved from death by the billionaire vampire Dorian Thorne, Cora Shaw is bound to him, body, mind, and soul. She can free herself from his eternal demands—but only by breaking everything that is between them, forever. Never again will she feel what only he can do to her, never again touch him, speak to him, be with him—and never again must she give her blood or fear her will being overcome by his.It is a decision that can be made only once. Does she want her old life enough to give up Dorian and his new world? Or is the cost of losing him too high?Even while she hesitates, there are those who are hatching schemes that will tear both her worlds apart….

Reviews

Perfect ending to the beginning of Cora and Dorian. I’m definitely re-reading the entire series.

G.H.

I love this entire series, but this book was the best by far! Cora is a strong and smart character and you can’t help but root for Dorian. I highly recommend this book and this series if you are looking for a new and intriguing vampire story line. I can’t wait to read more from this author!

I have read all six books in the series, not once, but twice. I absolutely loved each of them, but Blood Price was great!

KDLW

Excerpt

I emerged from the dressing room carrying my purse and hat to discover Dorian lounging in one of the armchairs near the window, a laptop on his knee. His broad forehead was creased in a slight frown as he tapped at the keyboard, his sharp blue eyes fixed on the screen and his mouth pressed in a line of concentration.

Working. Working on part of his life that was outside of his relationship with me.

If I chose him, could I have the same?

He flipped the screen shut when he saw me and stood, setting the laptop aside. “Good afternoon, Cora.”

Damn, but he looked good—today in camel-colored pants, a lighter jacket, and a dress shirt with a textured brown silk tie. As always, not a single black hair on his head was out of place, and he exuded aristocratic wealth and elegance. I wondered how many years it would take for me to look like I belonged at his side.

Probably never, I decided. Hopefully never, because if I looked like I belonged with him, I wouldn’t look like myself.

His eyes raked across me, hungry as always and shadowed with the memories of what we had done the night before. His body on mine, in mine, his mouth everywhere at once.…

I cleared my throat.

“Is it past noon already?” I asked. I was usually an early riser.

“Jane came up with the tray at ten,” he said. “So yes, it is.”

“Oh.”

“Are you ready to go?” he asked. Leaving the laptop, he crossed to the door that led onto the mezzanine.

“Why not?” I said. No was definitely not the answer he was looking for.

And, I realized, it wasn’t the one I wanted to give.

Why did I suddenly feel so invincible? Dorian could obliterate my mind with little more than a thought, stripping away absolutely everything that was me. I knew this. I’d felt his will upon me before—I always felt it as an undercurrent, behind vast walls of restraint. Walls that could be broken.

But he hadn’t destroyed me yet, and though one day he might, either in a moment of wrath or a slow erosion of my very self, he wouldn’t do it today. And today I could choose my tomorrow.

Dorian waved me through the doorway and offered his arm, one of his peculiarly outdated mannerisms that seemed perfectly natural coming from him. I took it with my free hand, the thrill of touching him going through me. And I wasn’t invincible anymore. I was small and frail—not frightened, not exactly, but at the very edge of fear, knowing what strength was beside me.

There was so much I wanted to say as we walked down the mezzanine corridor, so much that crowded in my brain and my throat. Just two days before, I’d learned that I could break the bond between us if I slept with a human man, and I’d almost done it, almost claimed my freedom and my old life.

I was half-certain he already knew, but I wanted to tell him myself what I’d almost done with Geoff. I wanted to explain how badly I’d wanted to be free of the demands he put on my body and my mind. How badly I still wanted it.

And how I still couldn’t let him go. Not then. But maybe, maybe later.…

But I couldn’t say any of it. And yet the energy of those words, of the elaborate dance I had placed us in, seemed to sizzle between us.

“Do you ever get tired of dressing up all the time?” I asked instead.

“Dressing up?” He raised an eyebrow, his expression so bland that I knew that he was teasing me right back. His steps, always so measured, had a restless kind of energy in them. If he were anyone else, I would call it a nervous excitement.

I looked askance at him. “Your three-piece suits. And your oxford cloth shirts. And your smoking jacket, for goodness’ sake.”

“I was at the office when I came to get you yesterday,” he pointed out as we reached the head of the stairs. “And today, we’re going to a party.”

“You wear a three-piece suit to work.”

“One must look one’s best. It’s a good way to put others off their ease.”

Another joke. He was in an unusual mood today, and the sense of restrained impatience seemed to zing off him. I could feel it spilling over, onto me. My breath came faster, my step hitching a little as I matched his quicker one, the echoes of our footsteps too loud and the texture of the sweater against my skin suddenly almost intolerable irritation.

“I don’t think you need fancy clothes to help you do that,” I said as we started down the arching marble flight. “Do you dress up for dinner, too?”

“Of course,” he said.

“Every night?” I pressed. “Even when you’re alone?”

“Unless my routine has been disrupted, yes,” he said, looking bemused.

“I hope you don’t expect me to do that,” I said. “I’ve got better things to do than change clothes for a meal.”

“I consider that to be a negotiable point,” he said, the corners of his eyes crinkling with humor even as he kept his tone flat. “If we have guests?”

“I’ll dress then,” I granted him.

“And if we go out?”

“Okay, depending on where we’re going, I’ll change clothes for that, too,” I said.

“Then I’m satisfied.”

“I’m not,” I said as we reached the landing. “Do you have clothes that aren’t suits? Or dress shirts and blazers?”

“At the moment, not many,” he admitted, stopping as he pivoted around the corner, the hub to my wheel.

“Then go buy some. Or have your maid or whoever do it for you. It actually is okay to relax sometimes.”

“So you want to change me.” The words were light, so light that it was almost possible to miss the barb in them.

Almost.

Suddenly, I had the sensation of having two conversations at once: one a frothy banter, the other deadly serious.

I narrowed my eyes at him. Dorian was looking ahead, down the stairs as we took them together, but I could feel the tension in his body—and the darkness in his mind.

“You’ve already changed me,” I said, carefully matching his tone. “There should be some kind of balance. So that means that you need to do some changing, too.”

“And my wardrobe is of the greatest concern to you?” he asked, again the sharpness of daggers hidden in the words.

“It’s a start,” I said.

“That sounds ominous.” A joke again—and a question, because he was tossing back at me much of what I had said to him.

“It should,” I agreed.

He wasn’t going to talk about what I had almost done with Geoff, I realized then, however much he knew or guessed. That was too dangerous for either of us. Instead, we were having this not-conversation, this almost-conversation, shying away, glancing near, and never quite touching home.

I was grateful, because if anything could break the walls around his will.…

His answer broke into my thoughts. “I’ll notify my valet of the changes he should make.”

And that was his concession and also his acknowledgement of my need for control, for an influence over him, however voluntary it was on his part.

And however involuntary the changes he made in me.

His step had neither faltered nor slowed, as if we were talking about nothing at all, and we soon reached the front door, where we were met by the butler and two uniformed maids who held our outerwear.

I shrugged into my jacket, accepting the help of the butler, then set my hat on my head and took the sunglasses and scarf from the maid with a murmured, “Thanks.”

The first time Dorian’s staff had helped me at the door, I’d felt exquisitely self-conscious. Now it almost seemed, if not normal, at least appropriate. The thought was a little chilling that I could ever get used to something so foreign from my old life—my real life.

I looked up at Dorian. He had put on a dark brown pea coat over his blazer. With his hat and aviators, attention was drawn away from his piercing eyes, and my gaze was drawn irresistibly down to his sensuous mouth and long jaw.

That mouth. Oh, God.

I still didn’t feel at ease with him. Not really. But when I looked at him now, there was a piece of my soul that seemed to light up in recognition. With belonging.

The butler opened the front door, and I winced involuntarily against the burst of light even with the protection of the sunglasses. The courtyard was frosted in two inches of fresh snow that must have fallen the night before, but the paths were already swept clear. At the curb, the Bentley waited, warm and purring, with the chauffeur standing ready to open the rear passenger door.

“Not driving yourself?” I asked as I swung into my seat, still feeling the effects of the strange energy that seemed to push him on.

“Not today,” Dorian said before the door shut.

I wriggled out of my coat, pulled off my sunglasses, and sank into the leather’s warm embrace. Even Dorian’s cars were seductive. As I buckled up, Dorian settled into the seat next to mine, and the chauffeur got behind the wheel.

“So, an afternoon yacht party,” I said as the Bentley pulled away from the curb. “I assumed that a New Year’s Eve party would start at nine or ten at night and run into the next morning.”

Dorian glanced over at me. “I have other plans for tonight.”

His expression left no doubt in my mind exactly what those plans entailed. My pulse quickened, my lips parting involuntarily.

His eyes narrowed at my reaction, a dark amusement in them that made my heart beat even faster. I shook my head at him, hoping that I looked disapproving. Everything still felt like too much, like the world was too real—the strange kind of spillover from Dorian’s mood. This was something new, this direct, physical reaction to his moods, and it should have scared me, but instead, the force of it wound up my own brain until I felt like I had bottled lightning in my skull.

Definitely not a time for him to play teasing games in the back of his Bentley.

But also, I realized, definitely not a time that he could resist…even if I wanted him to.

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