Happy Friday! This week I present to you Shelby Rhodes and her Vampires of Vadin series!
Vampires of Vadin 1
Vampire King Adrian Bloodhart has faced many challenges in the thousands of years he's been reigning. However, he had thought he'd moved past the stage of his life that was littered with assassination attempts. And, as if the attacks weren't irritating enough, he finds himself saddled with a personal bodyguard he doesn't feel he needs or even wants.
When Xavier Dayden had agreed to guard King Adrian, he had expected to be guarding a mature adult, but what he got was a petulant child. Adrian is odd as hell and too sexy for Xavier's peace of mind. When Xavier finds his control slipping, he's conflicted. Giving in could lead to so much more than a one night stand, but was it worth the possible heartbreak?
The choice is made when tragedy strikes where it is least expected and, as Adrian's walls crack and fall, Xavier is there to pick up the pieces. Through the heartache, love is finally in their grasps.
Xavier Dayden stood back and watched as King Aiden composed his thoughts. There was going to be an argument for sure. However, his kings fully intended to win the fight that was about to happen.
He briefly wondered how he had never met King Adrian. He had met the man’s father at the age of twenty-five—the man had been as much of a bastard as the previous Arcadian king, Davin.
It made sense, he supposed. When Adrian’s father, King Kade, stilled ruled, he avoided venturing into Vadin, as it was a mess to say the least. When Adrian Silvermore Bloodhart took over, he had just been named the captain of the guards. For years he mostly remained in the castle. Then when King Rand died—murder by his own twin brother—King Davin started a war with the Kingdom of Vadin. At the time, he had been forced to be Davin’s personal bodyguard. He had been stuck in the castle being King Davin’s “faithful” bodyguard—or so Davin believed up until the moment he allowed Tristan to remove the bastard’s head.
It was quite a shame that he hadn’t met the man earlier, he mused. He did find it a bit odd that Adrian was barefoot. However, it was easy to ignore when Xavier examined the rest of him. Adrian was beautiful and had a voice that was pure sex. It was causing an alarming amount of sexual scenarios to run through his head, so much so that he had been forced to adjust himself.
Forcing the thoughts away, as they were seriously inappropriate considering the current situation, he turned his focus back to the conversation going on around him.
“Yes, rumors. We ignored them at first, as rumors more often than not are just that. However, the rumors started to multiply. When more tales of attacks reached us, ones more violent than the previous, we decided it was time to investigate ourselves if there was any truth behind them. What we found, Adrian, was not reassuring. Many of your people are worried about the future. They fear what could happen. They fear for your safety.” King Aiden paused and then asked, “Adrian, is there a reason for them to fear for you? Are the rumors true? Have there been multiple attempts on your life?”
The Vampire King appeared uneasy with the line of questioning. After a moment of uncomfortable silence, he said, “I think it would be best to have this conversation in the privacy of my throne room.” Adrian turned without another word, scurried through the gate, and hurried back down the path that led to the entrance of his castle.
Xavier almost laughed at how quickly he retreated, but held it in, as he doubted his kings would find any humor in the situation. They considered King Adrian one of their closest friends, and the situation worried them.
Both the twins and the guard—who had been standing behind King Adrian—sighed as they watched him retreat.
As the man disappeared into the castle, King Aiden murmured, “I suppose we should follow…”
The guard grimaced and motioned them forward. “Yes, please follow me, King Tristan, King Aiden. I apologize for his rude behavior. He has been unusually stubborn about this whole mess.”
“It’s fine, Baylin. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy when you informed us of the situation. Obviously, he’s a bit out of sorts. Considering the situation, it’s understandable. You have nothing to apologize for,” King Tristan demurred, speaking at last.
Out of the two, Tristan was the peacekeeper. He was more levelheaded than his twin and was unlikely to let his temper get the best of him. King Aiden, however, enjoyed a good fight and usually was the first to jump in. He also tended to be a bit harsher with his words.
Though, Tristan’s temper was a sight to see when unleashed. Overall, the two seemed to balance each other out, making up for each other’s faults.
Xavier followed them in and through the castle to the throne room. The rest of the entourage, who arrived with the kings, were shown to their rooms.
There were two guards stationed outside the throne-room doors when they arrived. The throne room itself was empty aside from King Adrian. Two thrones, sitting side by side, faced King Adrian—thrones he would bet were not there earlier. As his kings sat down, the doors closed behind them, sealing the three kings, the guard Baylin, and himself inside.
They all remained quiet as the sound of the doors closing echoed throughout the room.
The hairs on the back of Xavier’s neck stood—someone was watching him. With so few in the room, it was easy to figure out who.
Adrian was examining him closely. “And who is this?”
King Aiden started to answer, but stopped when King Tristan grabbed his shoulder. Tristan seemed quite aware that now was not the time to reveal why Xavier was here. He would have to agree with the assessment, as King Adrian looked ready to bolt already.
“We’ll tell you why he’s here in time. Please take comfort in the fact that we trust him with our lives. Now, Adrian, please tell us the truth. What is going on?” Tristan pushed gently.
With a heavy sigh, Adrian admitted, “The rumors are true. There have been multiple attempts on my life, but it’s really nothing to worry about. I can take care of myself.”
King Aiden narrowed his eyes, anger building. “What about the rumors that each attack is more brutal than the last?”
Adrian began to fidget on his throne. “That rumor may also be true…”
Aiden slammed his fist down on the arm of his chair. “May be true? Adrian, it’s a yes or no question. What is being done to guarantee your safety? Is anything being done? Also, why weren’t we informed of this when it first started? Not only are you our friend, but you also rule a country that we share borders with. This is a serious matter. We could face major diplomatic problems if you are unseated. Citizens of both countries could get hurt. Why are you being so foolish as to refuse a bodyguard? Have you lost all common sense?”
Xavier winced—in his outburst, King Aiden had revealed too much. The slip-up was not one King Adrian was likely to miss.
“And how do you know I’m refusing a bodyguard?” the man asked coldly, and turned to glare at the guard Baylin. “You dirty little fink! You couldn’t win an argument, so you went and tattled on me?”
Jayden knows he’s a monster. The people he killed were horrible, but it didn’t change what he was. And being taken in by Stephan Everwood at fifteen hadn’t changed his homicidal tendencies. Yet ten years later he finds himself struggling to be someone he's not. Then, despite thinking he lost most of his emotions years ago, Jayden discovers that not only is he not as empty inside as he thought, but that his monster is more present than ever before.
Stephan freely admits he has some issues. His self-doubts could be unrelenting and Stephan’s need to fix things tended to go too far. It blinded him to Jayden’s struggles. In the end his refusal to listen to what Jayden was trying to tell him has unfortunate results. When Stephan finally accepts who Jayden is, he must also face all that he had locked away inside.
Their difficulties brought them together. Their love healed them. And when the past tries to tear them apart, their darkness saved them.
Clutching tightly, the man pulled him back around. “Let me help!” His voice was rushed, higher than before, and slightly panicked. “We can turn him over to the authorities, the Zaytari. Evidence! We can find evidence and turn it in. You’ve been in his head, haven’t you?”
Jayden scowled at the hand on his arm—he wasn’t a fan of being grabbed, and Stephan seemed to be doing it a lot. “I have.”
“Then we’ll know where to find proof,” he insisted, completely ignoring Jayden’s irritation.
“Stephan, if you haven’t noticed, poor Richard here is a little banged up. A bit hard to play it off as nothing, don’t you think?” Jayden nodded toward the bloody man.
Nose wrinkling, Stephan hesitantly said, “I can fix that…the only issue would be his memories. We would need someone to get rid of them.” He nibbled on his bottom lip. “I may be able to hire someone. I just need time.”
“I can do it.”
“You can?” Stephan sounded surprised.
Running his fingers through his hair, Jayden grimaced. Apparently, he couldn’t keep his mouth shut tonight.
What was wrong with him? Jayden had no intention of letting Richard leave here alive. Ugh, his whole night of murderous fun had been shot to hell.
Who was Stephan anyway? Not to mention, why the hell was he believing everything Jayden said? Was the man really that naïve? It didn’t make sense. He shouldn’t be, not with what he had experienced. Was this a trap?
It would have been nice if Jayden had a way to find out. Unfortunately, the man’s mental walls were solidly back in place.
Eyeing him suspiciously, he asked, “Who are you?”
Jayden stalked closer and invaded the man’s personal space, brushing up against him. “Who are you, Stephan? What are you doing here?”
Stephan released his arm and staggered a few steps back. “I own this building. A construction crew is coming to tear it down in a few days. I wanted to make sure no one was living here. As for who I am? I’m not sure how to answer that.”
Stephan’s words were a mixture of truths and deceptions. “I don’t like being lied to, Stephan. I would suggest…” Jayden trailed off when something clicked into place.
He hissed, jerking as the walls and floors of the warehouse were suddenly drenched in blood with bodies scattered on the floor all around him.
It wasn’t real, just a phantom hiding what was actually there. A vision brought on by a memory—one that faded away moments later.
Jayden hated having these visions. They left him defenseless and unaware of his surroundings. While this one had been short, others had lasted hours. When he was locked into a memory, someone could stab him, and he wouldn’t even notice—until he pulled free, that is. And he knew that for a fact, as it had happened.
God, why couldn’t Jayden have been born just a little bit more normal? He was almost positive that the average vampire didn’t have to deal with shit like that. At least he didn’t think they did—Jayden didn’t really have any friends.
“This is where it happened, where they hurt you, where you killed them…”
“How could you afford to buy it?”
The man laughed bitterly. “My parents were rich.”
“I see.” He struggled to find something else to say.
Stephan’s shoulders slumped and his bottom lip began to tremble. The man seemed so sad, and for some reason that angered him.
Jayden glared down at the ground. Why was he angry? He shouldn’t be feeling anything. Was it the man’s past? Jayden rubbed his chest at the uncomfortable feelings running through him. He had the strongest urge to run away.
Maybe if he humored the man, he would leave—no harm in that, right?
Jayden gave Stephan a tight smile. “Let’s try it your way…however, if it doesn’t work, I will kill him. Though with how much blood Richard has lost, it’s probably too late anyway.”
“I can do it.”
Jayden stepped back and gave a mocking bow. “If you say so.”
Arms hanging loose, Stephan closed his eyes. He tilted his head back and took a deep breath. When he opened his eyes again, his pupils had been replaced by solid pools of lilac.
Jayden gasped, a cold shiver running through him as power swirled around the room. There was so much of it, and all of it was coming from Stephan. The very air was shifting—he had never felt anything like it. Hair standing on end, Jayden felt he should run away—to not trust the force around him.
Suddenly the air settled. The power hadn’t vanished, though. It was still thickening the air. His lungs stuttered as he struggled to draw in a full breath under its weight. Whoever Stephan was, he was dangerous.
Books have always been a big part of Shelby Rhodes’ Life. Unfortunately, growing up writing had been a constant struggle for her. So, even with her head filled with stories she never tried to write them down.
It took two degrees in painting, one a master’s degree, for her to finally gain the confidence to explore writing as a creative outlet. Now writing has become a way for her to dive into new adventures and explore new worlds.
With confidence she fully intends to explore everything that has been stuck in her head for years. It is her hope that others will join her on her adventures.
Mondays: Free post days where I post about anything I feel like talking about. Wednesdays: WIP Wednesdays where I post articles about my current works in progress and share a small snippet from one of them. Fridays: Author Spotlights. I share an author and spotlight their work!