The Final Three Books of the Cora’s Choice Vampire Serial
In a world where vampires are born, not made…
He saved her life. He demands her soul.
Blood-bonded to the billionaire vampire Dorian Thorne, Cora Shaw enters a world of unimagined sensuality—and unimagined danger. With the hold he has over her, he can exert absolute control over her body and mind, even to the point of erasing her completely. And Dorian has already shown a willingness to use his power to force her to do his will.
Cora is determined to find a way out of her bond, no matter what the price. But even as she seeks an escape, she wonders if she can really let him go….
Mesmerizing and thought provoking, this series keeps you on the edge of your seat. Once I started reading this set I had a hard time putting it down and finished it in just over a day. Ms. Black is definitely on my list of favorite authors and I will always pick up anything she writes.
The whole Cora’s Choice series keeps you guessing right up to the end. V.M. Black had me on an emotional roller coaster. Each story in this series is pain and pleasure, lust and passion.
V.M. Black has exceeded my expectations for this series. The suspense, the intimacy, and the relationship that was built between Cora and Dorian were fantastic. The writing is descriptive and eloquent.
Shadows crowded in the corners of Mr. Thorne’s office, spilling toward the center of the room. The marble tile of the reception room gave way to elegant parquet, laid over with a thick rug that I knew was worth every penny of my student loans and more. The paneled walls were hung with oils of hunt scenes, and the ceiling, at least a dozen feet above my head, was intricately coffered.
No, it did not seem much like a biotech company at all.
“Ah, Ms. Shaw.” The voice came from the shadows at the far end of the room. It was rich and masculine and dark with some private humor.
I stepped forward, feeling the heat rise in my cheeks. “Cora,” I offered.
“Yes, I know. Please, take a seat.”
I could make out the shape of the man behind the enormous, gleaming desk, but the discreet lighting seemed designed to conceal his face. Two massive, armless chairs crouched on their lion’s paw feet in the center of another thick rug. Cautiously, I took one, sitting on the very edge of the brocaded seat. The recessed light above me shone directly into my eyes. I squinted to see beyond it and could only get the impression of wide shoulders and dark hair.
“Mr. Thorne, I’m sorry. I think there must have been some kind of mistake,” I began.
“There has been no mistake.” That voice again—warm and amber. It was effortlessly intimate while being entirely polite.
I shivered slightly and wished that the door was still open to the reception room.
“I have your medical record here, Ms. Shaw,” the man continued. Hands emerged from the shadow—strong and masculine, with long blunt fingers. He flipped open the laptop in front of him with a carelessly graceful gesture, and in the sudden glow, I could make out his features.
I swallowed hard. His dark hair was swept immaculately to the side, a long jaw and broad forehead balanced by an elegant, slightly aquiline nose. It was a face of a Renaissance Italian aristocrat, and it was every bit as handsome now as it would have seemed then.
I wished suddenly that the gorgeous rug under my feet could swallow me up.
“Cora Ann Shaw. T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia. Terminal. Is that correct?”
The cold summary hit me like a blow. I opened my mouth, and for a moment nothing came out. He raised his gaze to meet mine. His eyes were icy blue, and they seemed to look right through me.
“Yes,” I breathed. “That’s right. Dr. Robeson said you could help me.”
“You must understand that you must first pass the initial tests,” he said, his brow low and stern.
“I understand,” I said, even though I didn’t.
Mr. Thorne opened a drawer and took out a small black case. He stood and circled the desk until he stood above me, so close that I might have reached out and touched the hem of his pinstripe suit jacket. He was, I thought inanely, quite tall.
He set the case on the edge of the desk and unzipped it, opening it to reveal a kind of blood collection kit. I sat up straighter. With the alemtuzumab, I had become used to regular injections, but I still wouldn’t say that I was exactly blasé about needles.
“The results of the screening will indicate if you are a good candidate for the procedure,” Mr. Thorne said. He selected a needle from the array inside the case, locking it into a holder. “But you must understand, even if the outcome is encouraging, the treatment is only successful in a small minority of cases.”
“How small?” I asked, as much to distract myself from his preparations as out of a desire to know the answer. I could always Google for details later.
“One in a hundred,” he said. “Perhaps less.”
“Oh,” I said in a little voice. “That is small.”
“And if the procedure is unsuccessful, it always results in death,” he continued.
“Wait, what?” I was taken aback. “So a one percent chance of cure, and a ninety-nine percent chance of death? That doesn’t sound like smart odds to me.”
He looked up from the needle. His gaze pierced me, his eyes deep and hollow. As handsome as he was, he didn’t exactly look the picture of health, either. “What are your chances now?”
I opened my mouth, then shut it. My chances were exactly nil. Put that way, gambling on an outside chance didn’t seem quite so insane.
“That is why we only select terminal patients,” he said, pulling out a glass blood collection tube.
“What about relapse?” I demanded. As a cancer patient, I’d learned that the disease could lurk in my body for months or years, undetectable until it spread out again to kill me.
“There is no risk of relapse. If you are cured, you are cured.” That mesmerizing gaze caught me again. “Forever.”
He dropped to one knee next to my chair, and my heart did an unexpected backflip. Oh, God, he was a beautiful man, more beautiful than he had any right to be. I tried to think about something else, anything else, because this certainly wasn’t the right kind of response of a patient to her doctor. But this close, I could smell him, all sandalwood, leather, and musk, and my mind refused to obey my order to find something else to dwell on. Pink elephants, pink elephants, pink elephants…
How old was he? I wondered. He carried the authority of an older man, but this close, I could see that his pale skin was almost inhumanly flawless, not so much young as…perfect.
At least it was too dark for him to see my furious blush.
He held out a hand. I stared at it for a moment before I realized that he wanted my arm.
“Shouldn’t you be wearing gloves?” I asked.
“I am not at risk of blood contamination,” he said, sounding unaccountably amused.
For some reason, I believed him, even though I had no reason to. I gave him my arm, inner wrist facing upwards. His fingers touched my skin, cool and commanding, as he slid the sleeve of my sweater up to bear the crease of my elbow. It sent a deep shiver through me, a tightening in my center that made me blush even harder. My jacket slipped from my lap to crumple on the floor between us. I tried not to look at him, but I could not stop myself from staring at the top of his head with such intensity that I was half-surprised that his impeccably combed hair did not combust.
He’s about to stick you with a needle, you idiot, I snarled at myself. Don’t you have any sense or dignity at all?
He looked up at me, one side of that delicious mouth quirking, and my breath tangled in my lungs. No, no I don’t, I thought distantly. No sense or dignity at all.
Mr. Thorne wiped the inside of my elbow with an alcohol-soaked swab. The smell of evaporating ethanol turned my stomach a little.
“It won’t hurt,” he said, discarding the swab and taking up the needle. “I promise.”
I started to protest such an absurd assertion, but just then, the needle met the skin above my vein. Something else happened at the same moment—some sensation that came from the touch of his hand against my wrist. It spiraled outward, up my arm and deep into my center, rippling back up into my head so suddenly that I gasped. The needle pushed through my skin at the same moment that a hot wave came over me, carrying the pain of the needle and turning it into a deep, twisting sensation that sent my heart racing as heat flooded my groin.
I stared at the needle as the shivering reaction swept over me. My skin was burning, my body flushed against the impossible coolness of his fingers. The blood collection tube was almost full. Swiftly, Mr. Thorne pulled it free, then slipped the needle from my vein.
“No—” I said involuntarily as the sensation was cut off. I needed—I needed it back. I needed him.
What was wrong with me?
I turned my bewildered gaze to Mr. Thorne. His face was still as pale as ivory, but there was a dark glitter in his hooded eyes that matched my need and sent my heart skittering out of control.
“What did you do to me?” I whispered.
“You would say yes,” he said, the dark hunger of his voice tinged with an infinite sadness as he stood and discarded the used needle, setting the blood collection tube upon the desk. “If I told you right now that I knew you would die, you would still say yes.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said, even as my body said, Anything, anything at all…
He bent over me, and I tried not to breathe the scent of him. He touched the drop of blood that had formed upon the needle’s exit. I could hear his breathing now—irregular as mine had become. With the tip of his forefinger, he scooped up the droplet. Mesmerized, I watched as he lifted it to his mouth. Holding my gaze, he parted his lips just enough for the blood to reach his tongue.
He shuddered, reaction seizing his frame, and suddenly, he seemed to grow larger, stronger.
“Go,” he ground out. “Go now, before I damn my best intentions.”
It was as if some invisible bonds that had been holding me to my chair had been broken. I sprang up, snatched up my jacket, and fled, banging through the tall mahogany doors and not stopping until I jabbed the down button on the elevator.
“Goodbye, Miss Shaw,” the secretary said unconcernedly from behind her desk. “You can expect the results within a week.”
The door slid open, and I stumbled into the elevator compartment, slapping at the ground floor button frantically until the doors finally, reluctantly closed.