Exclusive Excerpt: Runaway Vampire by Lynsay Sands

RUNAWAY VAMPIRE by Lynsay SandsIf you're a vampire romance fan, you probably already have Lynsay Sands's Runaway Vampire, preordered. Who can resist her fun, romantic Argeneaus? To hold you over until pub day, we've got an exclusive excerpt for you to check out!

Dante's brother has been kidnapped and he's just outrun the same fate ... only to be run over by an RV. Fortunately (and surprisingly) Dante's life mate Mary is behind the wheel! 

Dante finished stripping, and then picked up the clothes Mary had set on the corner of the couch-bed and shifted them to the table before climbing between the sheets. He preferred sleeping nude. The only time he wore clothing of any kind to bed was when he was on one of those protection gigs he’d mentioned to her. The possibility of having to wake up and jump directly into action was enough to make him wear his leathers to bed in those instances.

He was pretty sure that wouldn’t happen tonight, however. They had lost his kidnappers today when she’d turned off the highway onto the road where this campground was situated. Dante had no doubt that his kidnappers were searching for them by now, but he’d walked the grounds while out with Bailey and the camp was situated in the curve of the river with just the front facing the road as a possible approach.

However, that was lined with a high, barred fence with the entry gate in the center and the owners had apparently closed and locked the gate after their arrival. At least, it had been closed by the time he’d led Bailey that way. And it was a good sturdy gate that had to be opened from inside. There were also cameras trained on the gate to discourage anyone trying to force it open. Dante was quite sure that his kidnappers wouldn’t want that kind of attention, especially when they couldn’t be certain he was in here. They’d probably go check out the other camps first if they were easier to enter, and then simply come back to wait for them to leave. At least, that’s what he was hoping for. Dante was sincerely hoping they hadn’t given up on him completely. He needed them to tell him where Tomasso was.

Frowning, he shifted to his side and slid one arm under the pillow his head rested on. Today had been a roller coaster ride for him. Waking up in the cage, escaping, having to leave Tomasso behind, getting run over, and then realizing that the woman who had run him over was most likely his life mate. His emotions had been up and down like a yo-yo.

Blinking his eyes open, he glanced toward the door to the bedroom. His life mate. He’d never expected to find her so early in his life. Many immortals waited centuries or even millennia to find their mate and yet here he was with Mary. Dante had found in life that God often gave even as He took, but sincerely hoped this was an exception. Finding Mary was the best thing to happen in his life, but at the same time, losing Tomasso would be the worst and there was no way one could balance out the other in his mind.

Sighing, he closed his eyes, trying not to feel guilty for doing so. He felt like he should be out driving around trying to find his kidnappers to draw their attention. However, Lucian had said it would take until dawn for the hunters he was sending to reach them, and that they should remain at the RV camp for the night. A fortuitous order in a way, since Dante couldn’t control Mary and make her leave the campground, as he would otherwise have done. He suspected he’d have had a battle on his hand had he tried to force the issue. Mary had been amazingly accepting of everything so far, and hadn’t even pestered him with questions about his abilities as he’d expected. But he knew she was exhausted and suspected that was the reason why. He’d put her through a lot tonight, and that after she’d spent the day driving the monster presently housing them.

Actually, Dante was rather impressed with how she was handling everything so far. She was obviously a strong woman not given to hysterics and that could only be a good thing. He suspected they’d both be grateful for that before this was all over.

Grimacing, he rolled onto his back and closed his eyes, trying not to think of all the things that could go wrong when they left this campground tomorrow. The worst scenario was one where Mary was hurt and he was taken out by another drugged dart and unable to help her. The very thought of that was enough to scare the crap out of him and Dante began to wonder if he shouldn’t convince Mary to wait here while he drove out alone, promising to return for her.

He was contemplating how to convince her to let him do that when he felt sleep overtaking him. Dante drifted off to sleep with a little sigh, then was startled awake by the sound of the bedroom door sliding open. Opening his eyes, he rose up on one elbow, and peered at Mary uncertainly as she stepped into the room. The RV was dark as could be, but his eyes were made for darkness and he could see her clearly in the overlarge T-shirt he’d caught glimpses of earlier when her robe had parted slightly. It looked surprisingly sexy for a man’s shirt, clinging to her breasts and hips and stopping halfway down her thighs, leaving her shapely legs on display.

Forcing his gaze back to her face, he asked with concern, “Is everything all right?”

“Yes, I’m sorry,” Mary said softly. “I just wanted to be sure you were all right. I know you’re worried about your brother.”

Dante let his breath out on a sigh, his body releasing the tension that had suddenly claimed it.

“Yes. Thank you,” he added softly. “I am worried about him, of course, but we will find him.”

“Of course we will,” she said, but her voice sounded distracted now. Noticing that her eyes had dropped, he glanced down to see that the sheet had slipped down, leaving his bare chest on show. Resisting the urge to flex his muscles to try to impress her, he instead held out his hand and said her name softly.

Mary gave a start at the sound of her name and glanced to the hand he held out. After a hesitation, she took the couple of steps necessary and took his hand lightly in her own.

When Dante smiled and squeezed her hand, then tugged gently, urging her to sit, she didn’t fight, but sank slowly to sit on the side of the couch-bed. Trying not to rush her and scare her off, he toyed with her hand briefly, then glanced up to her face and said, “I would like to kiss you.”

“Yes, please,” she murmured, and that’s when Dante realized he was dreaming. He was quite sure that in reality, Mary Winslow would not come out to check on him in nothing but an overlarge T-shirt, would not cross willingly to the bed to take his hand, and would not agree to his kissing her. This was one of the infamous shared dreams immortals and their mates enjoyed when they found each other. Mary wouldn’t realize what it was, that he was here with her. She would think it was just a normal dream, the result of her desires, which meant she wouldn’t be held back by fears or anxieties. She would do as she truly wished without being held back by all the morals and societal pressures that normally affected behavior. But this dream was also an opportunity for him to show her what she could have with him.

Nodding to himself, Dante released her hands and sat up, noting the way Mary’s eyes followed his sheet as it dropped to pool around his waist. Smiling, he slid his hand around her head and pulled her forward to claim her lips. She went still at first, but when he slid his tongue out to urge her lips apart, she opened to him and the moment he deepened the kiss a moan sounded deep in her throat and she melted against him like butter on a warm muffin. The moment she did, Dante slipped his arm around her waist and twisted his upper body on the bed, dragging her across his lower body to lay her on her back on the inside of the bed.

Mary gasped in surprise at the action, her arms instinctively closing around him and holding tight. Once her back touched the cool sheets, though, she began to kiss him back. She also eased her panicked grip and began to run her hands over his shoulders and then up into his hair.

Dante moaned his pleasure as her nails scraped across his scalp. He was leaning on one arm to keep from crushing her, but let his other hand begin to move then, following the curve of her side and hip, and then following that curve back up, before allowing it to slide over to cover one breast.

Mary moaned and arched into the caress, her hands tightening in his hair. But in the next moment, she released that tight grip to begin moving her hands over the skin of his back again. Mary alternately massaged the muscles of his back and pulled at him, her body shifting and arching as he kneaded and squeezed first one breast then the other through the cloth of her overlarge T-shirt.

It wasn’t long before that wasn’t enough, and Dante wanted the T-shirt gone. His kiss growing more demanding, he slanted his mouth over her one way and then the other as his hand dropped away to find the bottom of the T-shirt. He started out thinking to slip his hand under and snake his way back up to her breast so that he could touch her without the cloth between his fingers and her flesh, but when his fingers brushed between her legs as he started to move his hand up and he realized she wasn’t wearing panties . . . well, that, combined with the way Mary cried out into his mouth, her hips bucking in response, immediately changed his plans. Instead of continuing upward, his hand paused and then he cupped her there.

Mary tore her mouth away on a gasp and twisted her head from side to side. Her gasps quickly turned into mewls of sound as he began to caress her. Dante watched her thrash beneath him, fascinated. She was incredibly beautiful to him, glowing with passion and need and . . . suddenly gone. He didn’t know if it was her sudden disappearance from the dream or the sound of her voice that startled him awake, but he opened his eyes to the dark RV and sat up, listening to the sound of her murmured attempts to soothe her dog.

“It’s okay Bailey. Mommy’s fine. She was just dreaming. It’s okay. Stop licking my face, sweetie. Mommy’s fine.”

Dante let his breath out on a sound that was half amused and half frustrated, and then sank back on the bed. Mary must have been moaning and perhaps even thrashing in her sleep as they’d had their shared dream. It had obviously alarmed the dog to the point she’d woken up her mistress . . . bringing an end to the lovely dream.

He listened to Mary as she continued to soothe the dog, but when the dog apparently settled and she fell silent, he closed his eyes, eager to return to sleep and the dream they’d been sharing.

Runaway Vampire will be available in print and digital on February 23. Preoder a copy: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance | IndieBound. And for more paranormal romance reads, be sure to stop by our Everything Paranormal page.