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today 6/2/16 on aobibliosphere™ [aobibliospotlight™: A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart]

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Paranormal Pandemonium 2011 Blog Tour: heart of darkness by Felicity Heaton + giveaway

Heart of Darkness

Firstly I would like to say a huge thanks for having me back here at aobibliosphere™ as part of the Heart of Darkness leg of my Paranormal Pandemonium 2011 Blog Tour.

Before I share an excerpt from the book with you all, I’ll introduce myself. I’m a paranormal romance author and I’ve been writing since 2005, and turned indie in 2006. In that time I have written over forty stories under the names Felicity Heaton and F E Heaton. Most of my stories are released under my full name, but I write the Vampires Realm series as F E Heaton. My paranormal romances are usually focused on vampires and werewolves, but I do also write other shape-shifters like black panthers, and also demons and witches, and a whole bunch of sexy angels.

Heart of Darkness is a vampire romance packed with action, passion and intense emotion that will have you falling for the characters. If you like strong heroes who change in order to win their heroine and an equally strong heroine who doesn’t bend to the will of her hero, then you’ll love this story!

Heart of Darkness is currently available in e-book from my website, Amazon Kindle Stores, All Romance eBooks, and Smashwords. It will soon be available from Barnes & Noble, Apple iBookstore, Kobo Books and Sony. It is also available in paperback from Amazon.com and will soon be available from other Amazon stores, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers.

Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness
A vampire prince on a four hundred year old mission to avenge his murdered sister...

Aleksandr Nemov won’t stop until the last of the vampire hunter’s progeny is wiped from the Earth. Each kill has stolen a piece of his humanity, pushing him towards the black abyss all vampires hold within their hearts. Now he is teetering on the edge, close to devolving into a beast, and time is running out as he tracks the last hunter to Prague. There he finds a beautiful woman who could be his one chance for salvation, but is it already too late for him?

A vampire guard who will do whatever it takes to protect those she loves...

Elise is dedicated to her duty. It’s the only thing she has left. All that changes when she meets Aleksandr in Prague and her master grants him permission to stay at her bloodline’s mansion. She knows all about Aleksandr but none of it prepares her for how she feels when the legendary prince’s hunt becomes one for her heart. Elise battles him with all of her strength but can she stop herself from falling for the handsome hunter? When he reveals the depth of the corruption in his soul, will she have the strength to face the pain in her past and do whatever it takes to save him?

available in e-book from:
available in paperback from:


Elise didn’t understand him.

Last night on the Charles Bridge, she’d had him figured out. Aleksandr was an egocentric womaniser. Then, he had become a different person entirely. In Ladislav’s private room, Aleksandr had shown no interest in the women and no pride in his legend.

When they had started talking about his past victories, she had thought he would revel in the attention and the glory of his kills. He had denied it all and had seemed uncomfortable about having to listen to it.

It didn’t make sense.

And then he had left abruptly. Ladislav had been almost as bewildered as she’d felt.

Everything about Aleksandr confused her.

And everywhere she went, people were talking about him. From the second floor where she and the higher ranked soldiers and families lived, right down to the basement where the servants worked. In every room she had entered tonight, his name had been on someone’s lips. It was driving her insane. Everyone was talking about why he had left his family and forsaken the throne, or telling tales of his victories, and each account was different. It seemed the only person who knew the true record of events was the one person who didn’t want to talk about them.


Then there were those in the house who were still talking about the ball and her dance with him.

It all combined to irk her. She would rather not hear his name wherever she went.

Was she the only person not completely diverted by his presence?

Her heart reminded her that she couldn’t seem to stop thinking about him either.

Her head reasoned that it was because he kept forcing himself on her life and she couldn’t escape him.

Perhaps she could. Elise smiled as it came to her and went through the ballroom and out of the garden doors. The golden gravel crunched beneath her feet, quick noises that marked her pace. She didn’t head towards the garrison. Instead, she followed the lamp-lit path towards the stone stable block down from the west wing where Ladislav’s private reception room was.

She was off duty tonight and was going to use the time to get her head straight at last and get Aleksandr out of it.

The arched wooden gates to the stable block were open. She passed through, nodding a greeting to the stable-hands. The household kept around thirty horses, most of them owned by the highest ranked vampires of her bloodline. She had a horse though. It belonged to her mother.

The moment she neared its stall midway along the row to her left, the white mare stuck its head out of the open top half of the stable door. It whinnied and she smiled. It had been too long since she’d had time to ride.

Elise ran her hand down the horse’s cheek and patted it softly. It turned towards her, nudging her, and she giggled.

“Eager,” she whispered and stroked its nose, feeling more relaxed already. It looked at her with dark eyes, and she gently cupped its right ear, her mind wandering. “I hate hearing the way they talk about him... some of them adoring him while others fear him and speak vile rumours.”

The horse nudged her and she almost managed to smile again but the weight in her heart was too heavy now.

“What am I to do?” She kept her voice low so only her horse would hear her. The last thing she needed was stable-hands overhearing her and spreading what she had said to her horse around the mansion. “I’m not sure what to do. He wants me without a doubt, but... do I want him? He’s going to kill a hunter here and then he’ll be gone. What would I do then? I doubt he’s serious about me. It’s just a game, and I don’t want to play it.”

Elise sighed again and rested her cheek against the horse’s nose, holding it. She closed her eyes and tried not to think about Aleksandr. It was impossible.

“I can’t give in to him.”

The horse’s warm breath washed over her, carrying the scent of oats and hay.

If only she could talk to someone properly about her feelings. It felt good to voice her worries but her horse couldn’t offer her the advice she needed. She opened her eyes and drew away from it, idly stroking its nose. She couldn’t give in to Aleksandr. There was no future for them and she wasn’t going to enter into a doomed relationship, especially one where there were probably only feelings developing on one side.

Certainly, Aleksandr was pursuing her, and was doing so with more intent than a man had ever shown towards her, but it didn’t mean that he had feelings for her beyond lust.

She wasn’t interested in lust.

She had been there and done that, and no good had come of it.

And no good would come of this.

“You look as though you could use a ride.”

Elise’s gaze snapped to her right. Andrej stood there holding the reins of the black stallion he rode as a captain of the guard.

“I think we could both use some time away from the house.” He walked over to her, his horse’s steps echoing around the stable block. “Everyone appears to have gone insane.”

She smiled. She wasn’t the only one to have noticed the fever that had swept through the bloodline then.

Elise nodded. Riding with Andrej cleared her head. He was a good listener. She often spoke to him about her worries and he always found solutions for her. She wasn’t sure if there was a problem with Aleksandr though, or even a solution if the problem did exist. Besides, she had come out here so she didn’t have to think about him.

She led her white mare out of the stall, saddled and mounted it, and then headed out of the gates with Andrej riding at her side, towards the hill at the edge of the estate to the north, where they always rode.

Andrej kept pace beside her. Cold air bathed her skin and eased her tension. It was a beautiful night. Twinkling stars dotted the clear black sky and the moon was just past full, rising slowly from the horizon to light the world in blue hues, bright enough that she could see her surroundings clearly.

They slowed to a walk as they reached the foot of the hill.

“What do you know of Aleksandr?” Elise cursed herself for thinking about him again.

Andrej’s fair eyebrows knitted tight together and he stared at his black horse’s mane.

“I know little more than anyone.” He looked across at her. “You seemed bothered by his attentions.”

She shrugged easily but was bothered in her heart. Whenever she tried not to think about Aleksandr, she ended up with him on her mind. It was impossible to escape him.

“Last night, he didn’t seem very proud of his achievements. I can’t understand why not. He’s done a lot for our species and sacrificed a great deal. He should be proud.”

“Perhaps he is not that sort of man, Elise.” A hint of a smile tugged the corners of Andrej’s lips. “Some of us do not shout about our glories, while others will tell any who will listen.”

Elise smiled at his thinly veiled reference to himself. Andrej had never made a deal of anything he’d done. He had killed several hunters and always dismissed any praise it gained him.

“Do you think it noble of him to do what he has done?” Andrej’s tone turned serious and Elise looked across at him. He was watching her, his eyes dark in the low light. When he looked at her like that, he reminded her of Aleksandr.

She had always been good friends with Andrej. He was kind to her, almost affectionate, and there had been a time when she’d thought that he might like her as more than a friend, but he had never taken any steps to change their relationship, so she had decided that she had been wrong.

Elise remembered the way that Aleksandr had stared at Andrej last night with a promise of death in his grey eyes. Could she have been right after all and Andrej had feelings for her and Aleksandr had seen it?

Suddenly, being alone with Andrej felt as stifling as being around Aleksandr. She wanted to turn back to the house and go to her room where she could be alone and away from men.

“Well?” Andrej prompted.

“I do.” Her voice was a bare whisper. “I do think it’s noble of him to protect us and use himself as a weapon for peace. He risks his life for us, for his people. It must have taken a lot for him to give up everything. I couldn’t imagine being apart from my bloodline.”

Andrej’s expression soured. He looked away from her and geed on his horse as they neared the top of the moonlit hill.

Elise turned her attention to the mansion below, trying to distract herself from the cold atmosphere that had fallen between them. It had been wrong of her to talk about Aleksandr like that. If Andrej had feelings for her, it must have hurt him to hear her speak so highly of another man.

She tugged the reins to turn her horse around.

“Where are you going?” The strained edge to Andrej’s voice stopped her.

Elise battled her fear of seeing affection or desire in his eyes and looked back at him. “I just remembered I have some things to do.”

He didn’t say anything in response to her lie. His eyes remained fixed on hers and then he stared past her, towards the stables. Her stomach twisted. She wanted to bolt down the hill and keep riding to escape the madness that had fallen over the house since Aleksandr’s arrival. She hadn’t meant to upset Andrej by wanting to leave. She wished he would speak.

“You will have to wait a moment now.” Andrej pointed. “We have company and it would be rude to leave.”

Elise looked over her shoulder and frowned at the approaching riders. Five of them all on black steeds that blended into the darkness. Three of them were women, judging by their shape.

The other two were Ladislav and Aleksandr.

The still night air carried the sound of the women’s laughter. They rode closer to Aleksandr as the group approached, their eyes only for him, flattering him with their smiles. Elise clenched the reins and gritted her teeth. She couldn’t have looked more different to them. They wore fine dresses and coats with their hair tumbling down around their shoulders, and had their faces made up. They rode side-saddle, as ladies should, and affected an air of delicacy.

Elise wore a man’s uniform and sat on her horse like one. She had her long brown hair drawn back into a neat ponytail and no trace of make-up touched her face.

She had never cared before, so why now?

Aleksandr smiled and said something to the ladies. They giggled on cue.

Elise didn’t want to consider why the sight of Aleksandr showing attention to the ladies upset her. She had no right to think about Aleksandr and she was certain he didn’t see her as anything but a potential conquest, just as he saw these ladies.

They rode closer.

Elise went to turn her horse away but Andrej grabbed the reins.

“You must wait until they pass,” he said and she had the terrible feeling he was enjoying watching her suffer over Aleksandr. “Show some respect.”

Andrej wanted her to see that Aleksandr had no feelings for her, and that she was nothing to him. It hurt to remain. She had come here for clarity and she had it. A part of her had enjoyed Aleksandr’s attention, had started to seek and welcome it. She crushed that part of her, intent on facing reality. She was a guard, one of the lowest ranks of the bloodline, and had no right to seek a noble vampire’s attention.

Andrej saluted. Elise followed suit, keeping her eyes on the horizon so she didn’t have to witness the way the ladies flirted with Aleksandr.

The group stopped and the chill atmosphere that had settled between her and Andrej changed. It darkened and the air thickened, just as it had done last night when Aleksandr had been staring at Andrej. It was a dark power that whispered insidious things to her, crawled over her skin and into her heart. She wouldn’t look and see it in Aleksandr’s eyes. She didn’t want to.

“What are you doing out riding, Captain Andrej?” Ladislav’s voice was light in the darkness, full of amusement. He was enjoying Aleksandr’s company.

The two of them had probably already bedded the women that accompanied them.

Her own sense of darkness opened in her heart and she dropped her gaze. She stroked her horse’s mane, seeking comfort.

“It was a beautiful night for a ride, Master, and we are off duty,” Andrej said.

“And do you often ride together?” Aleksandr’s voice was pure malevolence.

Elise said nothing. She pushed her fingers through the long flaxy hair of her horse’s mane, shutting the world out.

“We sometimes do when we are off duty, or walk the grounds. It is a peaceful way to pass the night.” Andrej’s tone had picked up a sharp edge.

“I see.” The ice behind those two words chilled her skin and the tension in the air worsened.

She could almost feel Andrej and Aleksandr glaring at each other, and she wanted to slink away and hide from both of them.

Without another word, Aleksandr rode on and the group followed him. Elise emerged, finding the courage to look at his back as he rode away, ahead of the others now, no longer a part of the group.

Andrej sighed. “It will be a shame to lose our quiet nights like this.”

Elise immediately faced him. “What?”

Was he leaving or would Aleksandr use his power over Ladislav to stop them somehow?

Andrej stared into the distance after Aleksandr. “I am losing you to that man. You will be a part of his guard for a full month.”

Elise’s jaw dropped.

Aleksandr’s guard?

“I hadn’t heard.” She glared at his retreating back.

“It is not official yet, but he has requested a guard detail and you specifically.”

Elise couldn’t believe his audacity. A desire to ride after him and give him hell speared through her but she bit her tongue instead. She had to follow orders and it was an honour to serve such a highly ranked vampire, but she wasn’t about to let him walk all over her, and she certainly wasn’t going to give in to him.

Her ride tonight had served its purpose. Her head was straight now, and she had found her resolve.

Aleksandr could chase her all he wanted.

She wouldn’t give in to him, and it wasn’t because she wanted to be more than just a conquest or because she felt unworthy of the attention of someone of his rank.

It was because a man like Aleksandr didn’t know how to love.

And she would only fall for a man who loved her.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this excerpt of Heart of Darkness. Don’t forget to follow me on my Heart of Darkness section of my Paranormal Pandemonium 2011 Blog Tour too. I have some great posts about the book, more fantastic excerpts, and giveaways galore. 

about the author:
Felicity Heaton
Felicity Heaton is a romance author writing as both Felicity Heaton and F E Heaton. she is passionate about penning paranormal tales full of vampires, witches, werewolves, angels and shape-shifters, and has been interested in all things preternatural and fantastical since she was just a child. her other passion is science-fiction and she likes nothing more than to immerse herself in a whole new universe and the amazing species therein. she used to while away days at school and college dreaming of vampires, werewolves and witches, or being lost in space, and used to while away evenings watching movies about them or reading gothic horror stories, science-fiction and romances.

having tried her hand at various romance genres, it was only natural for her to turn her focus back to the paranormal, fantasy and science-fiction worlds she enjoys so much. she loves to write seductive, sexy and strong vampires, werewolves, witches, angels and alien species. the worlds she often dreams up for them are vicious, dark and dangerous, reflecting aspects of the heroines and heroes, but her characters also love deeply, laugh, cry and feel every emotion as keenly as anyone does. she makes no excuses for the darkness surrounding them, especially the paranormal creatures, and says that this is their world. she’s just honoured to write down their adventures.

If you want to know more about me, or want to get in touch, you can find me at the following places:

international giveaway!!! 
author Felicity Heaton is giving away a Heart of Darkness swag pack that includes signed book cover postcards, bookmarks, trading cards for Heart of Darkness and her other books! simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below.

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