Who says a vampire can’t live in sunny Florida in winter?
When I submitted my proposal for Unwrapped, a novella that was released last year in HQN’s Christmas with a Vampire anthology, I envisioned a lonely, scarred vampire named Adrian living in an oceanfront mansion in posh Palm Beach. There, six green gremlins dressed as Santa Claus give Adrian a doll that turns into Sarah, the heroine. Sarah is the werewolf he needs to restore his lost honor and return to his clan.
My editor thought the premise was great. There was one problem. She wanted the location changed because Florida and vampires seemed incongruous to winter holidays. So Adrian and Sarah ended up shivering on the rocky shores of snowy Maine.
Unwrapped was a fun story. A Christmas story with a hot, sexy vampire. But you know what? I still wanted a vampire in Florida. I live in Florida. I know there are vampires here, especially in South Beach. I may not see their fangs, but they’re here, lurking in the shadows, eyeing the super models and the stylish people, thinking how nice and yummy their blood would taste after a long night of fashionable club hopping. Well, maybe not a super model. They might be too anemic. But there are lots of tasty people for vampires to graze upon in Florida.
South Florida is a smorgasbord for vampires. International cuisine! The fanged ones have a choice of American, Latin American, Asian, European, you name it. Even Chinese, though a vampire may get thirsty an hour later.
Why should vampires be limited to frozen, wintry climates?
And thus, when I agreed to write a trilogy of novellas called The Ancients for Nocturne’s new, sexy Cravings line, I decided to write a vampire story set partly in South Beach.
Bitten by the Vampire is a novella about Lucian Marcello, a vampire who knows it’s his destiny to claim Mara Fuller as his own. She is a Darklighter, half demon and half angel, and has sworn to destroy the man who almost killed her. If she succeeds, her demon side will take over and she will turn evil. The only way to save Mara is for Lucien to mate with her and absorb her dark powers. But though tempted by a shared erotic vision, Mara is resistant to his charms. It will take all Lucien’s powers of seduction to make her surrender to his dominance and desire. For if he fails, her life will be forfeit.
Now, although Lucien DOES make his home in Michigan, he comes to South Beach to claim Mara as his mate. She’s a Florida gal. He has to take pills to tolerate sunshine. When she quips that she thought vampires sparkled in the sunlight, he responds, “We haven’t sparkled since the era of disco lights and mirrored balls.”
Lucien likes Florida. He stays at a swanky South Beach hotel, where he plans his seduction of Mara. And to wear down her stubborn defenses about mating with him, he shows her the pleasure of sunbathing by a sparkling pool. Lucien teaches Mara to unleash her passion, using his considerable talents as a lover.
The heat between them isn’t merely the burning Florida sun. Lucien craves Mara in his bed, but the sexy combination of sweet innocence and devilish passion tugs at his heart. He’s in danger himself… of falling in love with her, as what happens in this scene from Bitten by the Vampire.
“Another crack shattered his cold heart. Lucien smiled, melting at the adorable expression on her heart-shaped face. Damn, she was lovely, and sexy and so tempting. Mating her was dangerous because she had the power to unravel his cold restraint. Mara was getting to him.
“I usually bite their neck. I am a vampire,” he teased.
A pulse beat wildly at the side of her long, slender throat. His fangs ached as he longed put his mouth on her, mark her by taking her blood. She’d taste hot and sweet sliding down his throat.
He toyed with a strand of her silky hair, his gaze heavy-lidded as he regarded his charge. He envisioned sinking his fangs into her soft skin as she clung naked to him, screaming as they copulated in lusty, sweaty sex on his feather mattress.
Or the floor.
Or this sofa.
Those blue eyes pierced his. “Vampires are supposed to be powerful. I’ve heard stories about Lucien the Ancient, who can kill with a single thought. And no one can kill him.”
“No one is totally invincible.”
“You seem so strong.”
He felt a fragile bond of trust grow between them. “Not when I’m headless,” he attempted to joke. “Or facing fire. Both can kill me. Which is why I keep the dinner knives locked up and many fire extinguishers handy.”
“I’m feeling kinda hot myself. Very hot.”
Mara wrapped her arms around his waist. Startled, he realized she pulled his shirttails out.
Her palms slid up his bare back. Lucien’s body tightened with pleasure as she touched him.
As he sank into the yearning in her blue eyes, he only wanted to hold the moment between them, like a glass snow globe. Mara with her angelic sweetness and her demonic passion…”
Eventually, Mara and Lucien work things out and make their home in Michigan, where they will live happily ever after. Michigan is a great state. I have good friends in Michigan. The summers are lovely and in the winter, the snow sparkles like diamonds. But you know what? I bet Mara and Lucien sneak back to Florida for winter visits.
Because vampires do love Florida. We have fun and sun. And face it, where else could a vampire find such an international feast for the palate and get in a little beach time as well?
(To find out more about Bonnie Vanak’s sexy vampire and werewolf romances, visit http://www.bonnievanak.com To celebrate the holidays, she’s giving away an electronic download of Bitten by The Vampire to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment on this blog to enter. Good luck!)
Web site: http://www.bonnievanak.com/