Gothic Blood

~ A Serialized Novel ~

The intriguingly beautiful recluse, Valentina Wells doesn’t know a life beyond her estate. When her mother dies, leaving her without family, alone with servants, her instincts of survival take over—thrusting her toward the perilous needs of her once bridled nature. Then she meets a stranger—a man she is drawn to—a man she can use to help her seek out the answers to long buried secrets. As her heart warms to Nathan’s presence, she wonders if he can be the savior of her broken heart too, or is her thoughts of love a state of mind for the want of companionship?

The more Valentina surrenders to Nathan, the more she discovers about herself and she begins to fear she won’t be unable to keep Nathan safe from the evil from which she had spawned.

When roguishly handsome, Nathan Hathorne meets the mysterious young lady, Valentina, he sets his sights on bedding her as he has with all women he has coveted for his pleasure. Then, as he spends time with her, he finds himself interested in a darker objective—her fortune. But there’s something more intriguing then her wealth that keeps him captivated. It turns his thoughts from self-serving to protective, and he soon finds himself falling for Valentina as he never believed possible.

In the deadliest journey of his life, helping Valentina learn the secrets to her existence, Nathan realizes that his love might not be strong enough against an immortal’s dangerous desires.

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Not much over the years had upset the tranquility in Valentina Wells’ life. Her family’s large estate gave her room to roam without much occasion to run into anyone. She knew every rise and hollow in the pasture. Exploring was a way of passing time. She needed that, since she had grown up an only child in the rural outskirts of Salem, Massachusetts. Alone time gave her a chance to learn about herself as well. But some of what she had discovered had to be kept secret. Her mother insisted. Eventually it became second nature.
Her daily horseback ride over, Valentina rode her stallion, Thunder toward the stables. He was a large animal with a glossy black coat and a silky black mane. He carried her slender frame easily, as if she weighted nothing. His smooth strides made even galloping a pleasure.

“Whoa, boy.” She brought him to a halt at the barn.

Her groundskeeper, Harold rushed out the aisle doors to greet her.

But Harold wasn’t energetic kind of man. He wasn’t the kind to show such exuberant excitement. Then his solemn expression changed her initial conclusion.

“Miss Valentina,” Harold panted as if had run down to the stables from the house.

His anxious appearance, with haggard face and deep frown, disturbed her. She remembered a time he didn’t look so old, so worn out. Today he had aged greatly. Whatever he wanted to say wasn’t good news.

In response to her mounting fear, her insides were awash in warmth. She enjoyed that sensation and a smile tugged at her lips. Then she cringed at the inappropriate reaction. Now wasn’t a time to think of personal indulgences and pleasures.

She gave thanks for her attire hiding any out of place, outward delight in her expression. Matching her ensemble of heavy black damask gown and leather riding gloves, the thick veils of her hat hid her face.

Harold wheezed as he struggled to speak. “Pardon, Miss, but Mary says you’re to get to the house as quick as possible.”

Panic spread through her. It chilled the influx of heat within her and made her cold again.

She spun Thunder around and galloped him up the slope of the hill to the house. He barely came to a halt when she leapt from the sidesaddle and landed firmly on the ground. In her discordantly quick pace, she ran up the slate steps to the front door.

She maintained a hasty stride across the marble foyer. It was the only area inside the house that had the imported stone. Cool to the touch, the gray-veined surface felt so natural when she crossed it in her bare feet.

Unusually breathless, Valentina paused at the foot of the wide staircase. The severity of stress immobilized her. She labored to inhale. Then struggled to exhale.

Under her grip, the smooth polished mahogany reminded her she was equally strong.

“Mary!” Valentina shouted for the only servant in the house as she lifted her foot to the next step.

Mary Garnett had been with them for a long time. She took care of the house and of them. When Mary appeared at the top of the landing with the same grim expression Harold had had on his face, Valentina raced up the bare oak treads two at a time.

“Is she...” Valentina couldn’t finish the sentence. Her mother’s death was imminent.