Léopold's Wicked Embrace (Immortals of New Orleans)

LÉOPOLD’S
WICKED EMBRACE

 

Immortals of New Orleans

 

 

 

By
Kym Grosso

 

Copyright © 2014 by Kym Grosso

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

 

MT Carvin Publishing

West Chester, Pennsylvania

 

Edited by Julie Roberts

Cover design by Cora Graphics

Formatted by Polgarus Studio

 

 

DISCLAIMER

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, locations and events portrayed in this book are a work of fiction or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual events, locales, or real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

 

 

NOTICE

This is an adult erotic paranormal romance book with love scenes and mature situations. It is only intended for adult readers over the age of 18.

Acknowledgments

I am very thankful to everyone who helped me create this book:

~My husband, for encouraging me to write and supporting me in everything I do. I love that we can laugh and learn on our journey. I look forward to reading you more naughty passages from my books and getting your feedback. You are the most amazing husband and father, and not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for your support.

~My children, for being so patient with me, while I spend time working on the book. You are the best kids ever!

~Julie Roberts, editor, who spent hours reading, editing and proofreading Léopold’s Wicked Embrace. I really could not have done this without you!

~Cora Graphics, for designing Léopold’s sexy cover.

~Romance Novel Covers/Jimmy Thomas, for shooting the custom image for Léopold’s cover.

~Polgarus Studio, for formatting Léopold’s Wicked Embrace.

~Claire, for helping me to correctly translate and utilize French phrases within Léopold’s book.

~My dedicated beta readers, Denise, Elena, Elizabeth, Gayle, Julia, Julie, Kassie, Katrina, Leah, Maria, Rochelle, Sharon, Stephanie, Sunny, and Tanner, for beta reading. I really appreciate all the valuable feedback you provided.

~Gayle Latreille, my admin, who is one of my biggest supporters and helps to run my street team. I’m so thankful for all of your help!

~My awesome street team, for helping spread the word about the Immortals of New Orleans series. I appreciate your support more than you could know! You guys rock!

Chapter One

Léopold’s lips curled in restrained amusement. If it weren’t for the acrid smell of burnt flesh emanating from his silver-cuffed wrists, he might actually enjoy schooling the wolves in what it meant to fight with a thousand-year-old vampire. When he’d made the decision to confront Hunter Livingston, Alpha of the Caldera Wolves, he’d fought the desire to kill the leader without hesitation. It was true that the death of adults came as naturally to him as piercing the skin of a delectable human on a warm summer night, but even Léopold had hard limits. It was only yesterday that he had pried the small infant wolf out of the arms of the lifeless woman. The sight of the helpless child had shaken him to his core. He’d many times witnessed children die during his lifetime, but the loss of an innocent life never got easier to stomach.

An eye for an eye; he’d considered penetrating the cold walls of their den and ripping out the Alpha’s throat without mercy. Yet he’d known his friend Logan, Alpha of the Acadian Wolves wouldn’t approve. Nor would Logan’s beta, Dimitri. After he’d saved the Alpha’s mate, Wynter, it appeared a bond had been forged between him and his newfound friends. Ever since Dimitri had made the long trip with Léopold to Yellowstone to retrieve Wynter’s frozen blood, the two had grown closer. Out of respect for Dimitri, he’d grant the Alpha the opportunity to explain before he killed him.

Earlier in the evening, he’d approached the den peacefully, allowing the distrustful wolves to cuff his hands. The sting of the silver was worth enduring for the pleasure he would get from draining the Alpha. Unlike younger vampires, Léopold stood calmly, easily enduring the bite of the poison. His eyes scanned the room, taking in the sight of the growling wolves who’d gathered to watch their Alpha. Had he been any other supernatural being, he should have been concerned. Yet anger flowed through his psyche, not fear.

His patience wore thin as he observed the Alpha transforming into man. Hunter Livingston rose from a crouched position. Reaching above the fireplace, he snatched a silver claymore off the wall. The air in the room crackled with tension as he deliberately stalked toward his prisoner. He growled and his eyes locked on Léopold’s. Sweat dripped from Hunter’s forehead as he sliced the sword through the air.

Léopold’s face remained impassive as the blade seared a trail of blood in its wake across his abdomen. He gave a devious smile a second before he launched himself at the Alpha. The snap of metal was the only sound alerting the wolves that the vampire was freed. Léopold rushed the tall wolf, smashing him against the stone wall. Clutching his right hand around Hunter’s neck, he applied pressure with his other until the weapon clanked onto the floor. His fangs descended, scraping against the rough skin of the Alpha’s shoulder.

“Where is the child?” the Alpha sputtered, surprised by the vampire’s strength.

“Let me be clear, Alpha. It is I who will ask questions. And it is I who shall grant mercy. Nod, if you understand.” Léopold fought to keep his rage at bay. Answers would be forthcoming before he sated his desire for revenge.

Dimitri heard the commotion and immediately sensed danger. He exited the shower and tore off his wet towel. Transforming to wolf, he ran toward the source of the melee. As he rounded the corner, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Léopold had Hunter jacked up against a painting. Hunter’s eyes glowed red; his claws were embedded into the vampire’s arms. The pack wolves growled but didn’t attack. Even though Léopold wasn’t wolf, his attack on their Alpha was seen as a challenge, one that had to be fought alone. But Dimitri knew that whatever was going on had nothing to do with a challenge to Hunter’s role as Alpha. He charged the pair to break up the fight, shifting back to human in the process.

“Jesus Christ, Leo. What the fuck are you doing?” Dimitri placed his palms against their chests in an attempt to separate the dominant males. “Alpha. Hunter. Please stop.”

“The child,” Hunter spat out, never taking his eyes off Léopold.

“Yes, the child,” Léopold hissed in return. His fangs descended, readying to strike.

“Fucking stop it. Both of you. Whatever’s going on, it’s not what it seems. Leo, release him,” Dimitri commanded.

Dimitri knew that both the Alpha and vampire could kick his ass, but he wasn’t about to let them kill each other. The vampire’s gift of life to his Alpha’s mate had secured his friendship with Léopold. But he’d known Hunter his whole life, and he’d stake the ancient one before letting him kill the Alpha.

Upon hearing Dimitri’s words, Léopold reined in his anger. In doing so, he was taken aback by his own acquiescence
. Since when the hell do I listen to anyone, let alone a wolf? It’s official. I’ve gone soft.
He’d known that the past few days with Dimitri had changed him. It was as if someone had pounded a crowbar into his cold dark heart and poured in warm honey.
Goddammit, this is exactly why I don’t have friends.
He’d freely chosen his solitary life, made a deliberate choice to keep both humans and supernaturals alike as mere acquaintances. It was true that he was close to a few vampires that he’d sired, but they weren’t friends. Rather, they were relationships borne out of necessity and respect. A growl brought him back to the situation. Resigned to the fact that he needed the Alpha alive if he were to get answers, Léopold tossed Hunter to the ground.

“Fucking wolves,” Léopold grumbled. He glanced up to Dimitri and gave him a look of disgust, realizing his friend was once again naked.

“Get over it, asshole,” Dimitri growled in return, raking his hand through his hair. “Goddammit, Léopold. Whatever the fuck your problem is, you could have come to me. I realize this concept may be foreign to you, but use your fucking words instead of killing first.”

Léopold rolled his eyes at the admonition and shook his head. He didn’t want to admit that the wolf was right. But trust wasn’t something that came easily to him nor was he used to having someone who would willingly help him.

“And you,” Dimitri gestured toward Hunter, who’d pushed up off the floor. “I told you I came out west with the vampire.”

The Alpha limped over to the bar and began pouring himself a scotch. He threw back a shot of the amber liquid and slammed the glass onto the bar. “Yes you did. But you didn’t tell me everything.”

“Blake, take the pack for a run. I’ll be fine. Now go,” Hunter told his beta. He wasn’t about to have this discussion in front of the entire pack. Hunter waited only a few seconds after they’d gone before crossing the room to slam the door.

“Would someone like to tell me what the hell is going on?” Dimitri grabbed a throw blanket off the couch and wrapped it around his waist. He could have cared less if his nudity bothered the vampire, but it was winter in Wyoming. Even indoors, his human form couldn’t take the bone-chilling temperatures.

“Last night is what happened. Ask the Alpha.” Léopold sighed, staring into the flames that blazed brightly inside the stone hearth. Ironic that even though a mere lick of a flame could easily bring about his demise, he was still attracted to its warmth.

“Last night you were supposed to get the blood that Fiona had buried. Did you take care of it?” Dimitri’s eyes darted back and forth between Léopold and the Alpha, who’d already started pouring himself and his guests another drink. “Come on, what the hell am I missing?”

“Un bébé. A girl.” Léopold turned to stare into the eyes of the Alpha, who was handing him a glass. He took it, downed the caustic drink and sighed once again.

“What have you done with her?” Hunter seethed.

“A baby? You took a freakin’ baby?” Dimitri jumped to his feet and grabbed Léopold by his shoulder.

Léopold’s lips tightened in rage, and he seized the wolf’s wrist. “Yes, I took the damn baby. She would have died.”

“So she’s alive?”

“But of course she is.” Léopold shrugged him off, turning to Hunter. “Why, Alpha? Why would you allow a human to take the child into the woods? Had you ordered her death?”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Hunter yelled.

“What? Did you not deem her to be perfect?”

“We’d never do anything to harm a child,” the Alpha retorted.

“Really? ’Cause I just found one of your pups in the woods. Nearly dead, in fact. Don’t tell me that wolves haven’t ever tried to kill a child, one they didn’t want in a pack. You know it’s been done. Exposure. That’s what they called it in ancient Rome. An illegitimate child. A sick child. Tossed aside to the elements, they were. A barbaric practice seen in other cultures as well.” Rage coursed through Léopold, and he fought to remain calm. “Did you send the human out to do your dirty work? Where are the child’s parents? How could you let this happen?”

“I didn’t fucking know!” Hunter screamed as he began to pace wildly, rubbing the back of his neck.

“So you deny involvement?”

“I swear to the Goddess that I did not order this…I did not know. I would never do something like that. She’s just a baby,” Hunter fought back.

“Is she yours?” Dimitri asked.

“No, I’m not even mated.”

“Just askin’. But how the hell does one manage to get a pup away from its mama, anyhow?” There was no wolf more protective than a mother.

“Ava’s mother is dead. Ava. That’s her name. Her mama, Mariah, died during childbirth.” Hunter blew out a breath, rubbing his eyes. “She was a gentle hybrid, but Perry knew how frail she was when they’d mated. She could shift, but she couldn’t take the cold, couldn’t keep up with the pack either. Once she got pregnant, she deteriorated. The pregnancy was rough. And when she gave birth to Ava…” Hunter’s voice trailed off, unable to continue.

“What of the human doctors? If she was hybrid, surely they could have helped her?” Léopold inquired.

“She wouldn’t hear of it. Beside, her labor came fast. With the blizzard, it could have taken hours to get her there anyway. She hemorrhaged. And Perry, well, he was despondent. With the loss of his mate, he couldn’t take care of himself, let alone a baby. Two days after she was born, he went missing. Of course, we searched for miles, but he’d gone. As for Ava…ya know I’m a bachelor. But I took care of her anyway. Hired nannies… I don’t know how it happened…why it happened…one of them just took her.” Hunter’s cheek quivered in the lie.

Dimitri, sensing the untruth, got up off the sofa, approaching the Alpha. “Hunter, what the fuck happened? You and I know that wolves wouldn’t just let someone take one of their own, a baby, and walk out of the pack. You can tell me…him too. That vampire over there,” he gestured to and locked eyes with Léopold, “he saved the pup. You can trust us.”

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