THE PUREST OF THE BREED (THE COMMUNITY SERIES #2) – TRACY TAPPAN
Plagued by enemies from above and below ground, a group of Vârcolac warriors fight a desperate battle to keep their secret town safe from invasion
A different place to find her dreams…
The night Marissa Bonaventure is saved from vicious kidnappers by special operative, Dev Nichita, her life is changed in ways she never could have imagined. Brought to the safety of an underground “research institute,” she’s offered a hefty sum of money to stay on and work for a year, money that will allow her to fulfill her lifelong dream of owning a restaurant. But the surreal events that unfold in the strange community of Ţărână soon make her wonder if all is what it seems. When the shocking truth about Dev is exposed, Marissa faces an impossible decision. She loves Dev deeply, but committing to a Vârcolac is a forever proposition, and the only way she can be with Dev will require her to throw away her one chance to redeem a miserable past.
The man he wants to be…
The night Dev Nichita rescues Marissa from the claws of the Om Rău demon race, he knows she’s meant to be his mate. Lying to her about his true nature feels wrong, but he needs time to make her fall in love with him before he reveals that he’s a different breed of human being. When that secret finally comes out, their relationship is shattered in ways Dev hadn’t predicted. A 100-year-old betrayal rises up to endanger their future together—devastating every member of his family—and Dev’s own angry withdrawal becomes a nearly insurmountable obstacle. Then the Topside Om Rău enemy threatens a catastrophic breach of the hidden community, and Dev must call upon all his power as he races against the clock to save the most important people in his life.
** THE PUREST OF THE BREED is a dark paranormal romance. It contains profanity and strong adult situations**
June, 2:36 a.m.
Marissa Bonaventure sat bolt upright in bed. Wood cracked and splintered, a door banged, furniture scraped. She gulped for air, her heart galloping in her chest. A hovering silence followed. She waited, the thundering of her heart trying to outrun her fast breathing, but there was only silence. Okay, Jesus… She squeezed her lids tight then peeled them open again. Only a nightmare. She blinked groggily at the dim numbers on her digital clock—2:36 a.m.—her mind slowly registering that she’d only been asleep for about an hour. She’d worked late cooking at Bleu Boheme restaurant tonight, some lactose intolerant asshole endlessly chewing her ear off about all of the cheese on the menu. Well, yes, sir, this is a French restaurant, after all, and generally—
A gruff voice growled a command, and then her roommate, Lila, started screaming. Holy frick! Not a nightmare.
There were men in her apartment!
Coming fully awake on a searing blast of adrenaline, Marissa vaulted for the cordless phone on her nightstand. Her wildly groping fingers knocked the receiver out of its holder and sent it skidding across the thin synthetic carpet. “Oh, God, crap.” She threw herself after the phone, and crashed off her mattress, the sheets tangled around her legs. Air drove from her lungs. “Crap,” she gasped again.
“Crap.” Darts of pain shot through her elbow.
The report of heavy boots in the hallway vibrated through the floor beneath her, the footsteps thundering toward her bedroom. Panic shot through her stomach and clawed up her spine. She stretched one arm toward the phone by her hamper, scooting her body across the floor like an epileptic caterpillar trapped in its cocoon.
The door slammed open.
She jerked to a sitting position, her heart lurching to a dead halt. A broad-shouldered shadow loomed into her doorway, the light from her digital clock offering only a vague impression of dark, baggy clothing, the cut of a hard jaw…and the most sinister eyes she’d ever seen in her life. A scream launched up her throat but stuck there, unable to make it past the strangulation of terror gripping her larynx.
“In here!” the intruder shouted down the hall, his head turning to reveal what looked like stripes of gangrene on his jaw. No…a black flame tattoo.
Another man entered, and her mouth sagged. And she thought Gangrene Face’s shoulders had been broad. The man who’d just shoved into her room was twice as big, his shoulders size Incredible Hulk, and a hundred times scarier. She saw him clearly as the lights from a Navy helicopter on its weary way home to NAS North Island raked through her organza curtains like a prison searchlight. A body clothed in a black leather jacket and dark cargo pants was revealed, along with the man’s shaved head, sporting tattoos—same black flames as Gangrene—climbing from above his ears to the top of his bald head. He looked like an Aryan Nation sociopath, brutal and violent and…what could he possibly want with her?
He stalked toward her, and her stomach iced. She scuttled sideways against the wall like a crab, her teeth set in a grimace, her eyes darting toward her bedroom window. Only a few feet away, but…five floors down equaled lots of bone breakage on the streets of San Diego.
“She must be the bit o’ skirt we’re lookin’ for,” Gangrene told Hulk in a British accent which really didn’t fit this scenario.
Hulk drew up right in front of her, six-feet-umpteen-inches of darkness, chilling, ruthless power emanating from him.
She kicked violently at the jail of her sheets and found a scream, finally, belting it out as loud as she could.
“Shut your gob,” Hulk snarled.
Like a genie being commanded into its bottle, her voice obeyed immediately and rammed back down her throat. Yes, yes, upsetting a man like this is an extremely bad idea.
He reached for her.
She pressed backward so hard, she wondered the drywall didn’t crack against her spine.
Grabbing her shoulders, Hulk jerked her out of the wrap of her sheets and onto her feet, the violence of the gesture jolting a cry past her lips. With a bruising grip still on her upper arm, Hulk hauled her at a stumbling pace from her bedroom into the hallway.
“Please,” she gasped, hot tears spilling down her face. “What do you want from me?”
They passed her roommate’s bedroom, and Marissa glimpsed Lila peeking out from behind the door, a bed sheet wrapped toga-style around her body. Not such a good night to get caught sleeping in the nude.
Lila’s lips trembled. “Oh, Marissa,” she breathed.
Her roommate’s you’re doomed tone turned Marissa’s legs to pudding, just, squish, down she went onto her knees.
Hulk made a guttural sound of impatience and yanked her to her feet again.
“P-please,” she stammered. “D-Don’t hurt me, please.” She pulled against his hold, but it was like trying to stop a Kodiak bear. Her feet skidded along the length of the hallway, carpet burning the soles of her feet.
“Cow,” Hulk snarled. So much for not upsetting the man. He tossed her over his shoulder, the chains on his biker jacket biting into her skin through the thin fabric of her pajamas. The rounded position of her back pulled painfully at her spine, and she choked on her next breath. The fragility of her body, something she usually so successfully ignored, roared dead-center into her consciousness. Panic greyed the sides of her vision at the feel of hard, solid muscles beneath her. This man was massive. He could do anything to her, anything, and she’d be utterly helpless to stop him.
“Lila!” Marissa screamed, more tears dripping off her nose. “Call 911!”
“Oh, shit!” Lila lurched out from behind her door.
With a careless backhand, Hulk swatted Lila across the mouth, the blow, shockingly, lifting Lila off her feet and rocketing her all the way back onto her bed. She thumped onto her mattress with a frightened cry, her makeshift toga breezing above her waist and her legs flinging wide, giving everyone a full-on shot of her muff.
Gangrene leered at the sight. “Hang about, Mürk. I want to give this one a stuffin’.”
“There’s no time,” Hulk—apparently, Mürk—retorted. “We’ve got to leg it, Tëer, everyone else is at the warehouse by now.”
Tëer grumbled something foul, but tramped out of the apartment along with Mürk, thankfully for Lila’s virtue, and got into the elevator.
Fingers tangled into the back of Mürk’s jacket, Marissa prayed for some late night partier to come home conveniently now and find her upended on this behemoth’s shoulder. She filled her lungs with a potential scream just in case, but no such luck. The parking lot was equally Judgment Day deserted and dark. The scratching together of palm fronds in a mild June breeze was the only sound besides the clomp of both men’s heavy boots on the asphalt.
They stopped at a rusted-out blue Honda Civic, one headlight-eyeball dangling from the front by wiry veins, and then screech, metallic hinges wailed for oil as Mürk hauled open the trunk. He flung Marissa off his shoulder with all the care he’d show a dead body, and—the trunk!
She fastened cat claws into his T-shirt and clambered back up his body. “No!”
He peeled her off and thrust her toward the dark opening again.
She crammed her foot against the edge of the trunk, the metal sharp and cold against her bare flesh. “Don’t put me in there!”
With a growl, he folded her into a ball and slammed her inside.
Ribs met spare tire in a dizzying blast of pain. Her spine throbbed. She wheezed a breath and shoved upright, ignoring the pinpricks of light sparkling across the field of her vision.
With a palm on her shoulder, Mürk rammed her back down. “Bloody hell,” he hissed.
“Not in the trunk!” She opened her mouth to yell for— He stuffed a ball gag into it, then flipped her onto her stomach. The stench of brake fluid assaulted her nostrils; a lug wrench ground into her cheek. Liquid fear clutched her lower belly as Mürk secured the strap of the ball gag tight against the back of her head, then bound her wrists.
She bucked and flailed, whipping herself back over. She gnashed on her ball gag and tried to scream around it. Not in a trunk!
“Stop throwin’ a benny, you split arse.” Mürk’s gaze was tundra cold, black as the end of the world.
She sobbed in panic, her nostrils pinching and releasing, pinching and releasing. She couldn’t breathe! She kicked her legs up.
“You keep givin’ me trouble, ducky, and I’ll sock you in the turnip so many times you’ll never find your way back from ugly, savvy?”
His voice was deep and dark like first generation Hell, but also incongruously laced with that touch of British culture. He braced a hand on the open lid of the trunk, his Guns & Roses T-shirt hiking up to reveal a peek of gnarled scar on his belly. Somebody had tried to gut this maniac jerk? Shocking!
The trunk lid started to come down…
She shook her head wildly at him, trying to scream again, her chest and throat tightening.
He slammed the lid shut, interring her in black. She thrashed her head from side to side, her heartbeat erratic, her eyes bugging and rolling as she tried to see anything…anything…
Action packed from start to finish! I was gripped within the first few pages and although I had not read the first book within the series it was easy enough to catch onto what was going on within the plot; who was who and the history between the The Topside Om Rău , Underground Om Rău and the main breed of “Vampire” the Vârcolac.
It begins with Marissa Bonaventure being ripped from her bed in the middle of the night by a group of large scary men with distinctive flame tattoos on their faces. Murk & Teer upon snatching her proceed to force her into the trunk of their car which brings back unwanted memories of an experience she had with her sister when she was drowning and she stood there with pure dislike on her face and did not move a muscle to help her. At that point in her life she had never felt so helpless. Her sister and her have had a difficult past to put it mildly with Marissa giving up everything in her life to look after her mother when she became ill. She never really had a start to begin with, having scoliosis as a child she suffered from terrible spinal problems which she eventually had fixed via surgery but the “birth mark” she sported also on her lower back she could do nothing about. Natalie began campaign to take everything she could from Marissa, whether it be sleeping with her boyfriends right through to the biggest deceit of all – taking away her dreams. Marissa dreamed of being one of the Worlds Top Leading Chefs, but quit collage to look after her mother, where Natalie carried on and went off to France to a prestigious school to learn the art of culinary cooking, only to come back years later taking the job she had applied for recently. That was the final straw! But all this was a flash in her mind as she was shoved in that trunk, trying to fight back, a ball gag is placed in her mouth, her hands and feet tied up and driven off to an exchange.
At the Warehouse she discovers she is not alone, there are two other girls. One is huddled in a corner and another is bent over a table being abused. A new type of sheer fear lances it’s way through Marissa. Upon meeting the new men who have come to the exchange to take them she notices they are very similar, they smell awful and they too have tattoos but instead of flames they have what looks like interlocking teeth.
Dev Nichita is a Vârcolac Purebred or what we would consider a Vampire, with a body you could worship all day and night long for that matter, silver eyes and a sexy gold hoop in his ear. I didn’t even know any more information about him at this point other than he wanted to take a team up to the surface form their cave compound called Ţărână , to save 4 women he had heard (through discovered communication between the Topside Om Rău & the Underground Om Rău ) had been taken and were going to be used in an exchange – Just this information alone and his description had me weak at the knees, both hot and passionate about caring! Now that’s a heady combination! The Vârcolac, they are of the night, they drink blood, they are sexy as hell, stacked, know how to kick ass, fly and are the nicest people you could know. A far cry from those that are either Topside or Underground Om Rău because they are evil style vampire, the type nightmares are borne of, half demon they commit heinous crimes, do not believe in treating anyone with any type of care in any way, everything is violence based or styled – your worst fears come to life and they are vampires on top of that! Dev manages to convince the Varcolac council to allow him to go topside and attempt a rescue. The main reason to rescue these women and the reason they were taken in the first place is because they have a unique signature in their blood (Peak 8). The women are Dragon women – All blonde, slim and share a similar dragon scale “birthmark” on them. It is with only them these groups can Mate Bond with to continue their races with because Purebred Vârcolac mates had been non producing in the child department for many years now and would face extinction without the introduction of these Dragon Females. Saving this 4 is important to the Vârcolac race as a whole.
Swooping in to save the day Dev and his team ( Thomal, Gabor & Sedge) kick arse against the Om Rau snatching 3 of the women from them (the fourth had not been captured in the first instance), Marissa, Hadley & Kendra. When Marissa first sets eyes on Marissa she refers to him as Bat Man, her Bat Man as he came straight from the shadows, flying down to rescue her and the other 2 women with the help of his team. Boths side sustain injuries both physical direct contact and via being shot which confuses her on every level because no matter what is done to them they just don’t seem to be able to be killed! Nothing fazes them.
When they arrive in Ţărână , the women are taken under Dr Toni Parthen’s (Toni has Dragon’s blood too but is of the Royal Fey – Book 1 in this Series is about her), wing and go straight into the glorious mansion. They are taken care of and given time to get over their shock, beginning the process of sorting through what has happened to them. They are given a different kind of explanation as to what is going on around them and to why they are kidnapped, this way they do not get scared and refuse to stay and get to know the Vârcolac males to whom they hope will fall for one before the “Big Reveal” where they will be told they are in fact an ancient race of Vampires known as Vârcolac . Each woman meets with Kimberly, the communities lawyer who spends her time split between the outside world and the Ţărână city within the cave, much to her husbands dismay but he can not deny her anything as he loves her so much and it is a massive help to have a lawyer on hand, so it works well for everyone. Meeting with Kimberly the girls are offered a half a million dollar contract to stay for a year within the community, with the community providing them with anything they need – in Marissa’s case they are willing to build her her own restaurant allowing her to “cut her teeth” in the industry, which is an opportunity she could not miss out on given the fact of her sister stealing everything from her up in the “real world”. With this offer to stay Marissa jumps at the chance, so does Hadley as they appeal to her needs but Kendra declines, her rape at the hands of the Om Rău too much for her, she just wants to go home regardless the fact she is told that her safety is on the line.
Since the moment Dev and Marissa met that fateful night there was a spark between the two, and with Vârcolac males only mating for life, they are careful around women. Marissa mesmerises him, he can smell her scent anywhere and as the two begin dating and grow closer, her need for physical touch and interaction becomes clear, the only hick up is that without the mate bond, Vârcolac males and females feel extreme pain if they become aroused too much. In effect no blood equals no wood………..
When the final reveal comes and the women are told the truth about Ţărână, that the men they have been dating & the majority of the people around them are Vampires, and they they themselves are part of an ancient race of Dragon blood women who are the only ones who can breed with the Vârcolac (and Om Rău which is why they were targeted and without staying in effect would leave them hunted by the Om Rău for the rest of their lives), they are the future saviours of their race – Will they be able to see past what they perceive as monsters? What does this mean for Marissa and Dev?
I can truly say this book was exciting, from page to page you were whipped into a story that had you headed down the rabbit hole to a world that not only was filled with danger but was also filled with a sense of love, friendship and family. There is a perfect combination of past and present to explain each individual situation – Lies, secrets, manipulation, truth, justice, underhandedness, determination and devastation are just a small elements of this novel. It is packed to the pages with every emotion possible, a fully mind blowing thrill ride that will have you on your toes, and have you turning the pages with abandon!
A true must read, in fact I am headed off now to read Book 1 in the series and cannot wait for Book 3! 5***** are not enough!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tracy is the award-winning author of gritty romance, her books spanning genres across paranormal (The Community series), military suspense (The Wings of Gold series), and Historical (The Baron’s War trilogy). During nearly twenty-five years spent as a military wife, she lived all over the United States and in Europe, enjoying seven years overseas in the diplomatic community, first in Rome then in Madrid, until she settled back in San Diego. Tracy holds a master’s degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling, and has used this background to create a fan-based website called The Character Couch, where romance’s favorite couples are brought into a fun session with therapist, Regan Malloy. Her debut paranormal novel, THE BLOODLINE WAR, is a Bronze Medal winner for romance of the prestigious Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPY).
EMAIL HER AT: Tracy@TracyTappan.com