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Grayson's Challenge (Scanguards Vampires #15)

Grayson's Challenge (Scanguards Vampires #15)

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⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Lara Adrian, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Midnight Breed series: "I'm addicted to Tina Folsom's books! The Scanguards® series is one of the hottest things to happen to vampire romance. If you love scorching, fast-paced reads, don't miss this thrilling series!"

Scanguards Hybrids #3

Grayson Woodford, the stubborn heir to the Scanguards empire, resents the fact that his father, Samson, is trying to play matchmaker and set him up with the daughter of an old friend.

Vampire hybrid Monique Montague is just as pissed off with her father, Cain, the vampire king of Louisiana, for trying to trick her into dating Grayson, whom she only remembers as spoiled and arrogant from when they were kids. She refuses to attend the party where she’s supposed to meet Grayson, and instead, picks up a stranger in a bar for a night of wild sex, not realizing that the stranger is no other than Grayson.

After their night of passion, a kidnapping suddenly turns their world upside down and thrusts them back together. Forced to work with each other, they have to set aside their prejudices in order to save their families.

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About the Book

Excerpt

1

Monique put her last dress on a hanger, before closing her blue travel bag and placing it on the bottom of the closet. The room was large and luxuriously furnished. Her parents, Faye and Cain Montague, had rented this vampire-proof Victorian mansion in Russian Hill, a ritzy neighborhood in San Francisco, because a stay in a hotel wasn’t possible for them. As full-blooded vampires they had to stay out of the sun, and this house had been retrofitted with all amenities to ensure a vampire’s wellbeing.

As a vampire hybrid, Monique didn’t have the same weaknesses as her parents, and she was glad for it. It gave her more freedom, something she craved. Living in her parents’ palace just outside of New Orleans came with restrictions: the King’s guard, an elite troop of security personnel, was ever present, and she could barely take a step without feeling the shadow of one of the bodyguards on her back. Cain had insisted on three bodyguards accompanying them on their New Year’s vacation to San Francisco. However, she had no intention of letting the guards get in the way of her enjoying the city. She was no stranger to ditching her bodyguards, which was something her father constantly kept scolding her about. But at age thirty-one, she wanted to live an independent life, and not the life of a literal princess. She wanted to be normal, or at least as normal as a vampire hybrid could be.

Monique looked out of the big sash window and gazed at the lights of the city. She had a perfect view of Coit Tower, which was illuminated in multiple colors that changed every few seconds. Farther beyond, to the left of it, she could make out Alcatraz Island, the erstwhile maximum-security prison that had been turned into a museum. It too sparkled with bright lights.

At the ringing of her cell phone, Monique walked to the nightstand. When she saw who was calling, a smile curved her lips upward. She clicked to accept the videocall.

“Hey, Zach,” she greeted her brother, when she noticed that their brother David was right next to Zach. “Hey, David.”

As triplets they’d always been close, and spent as much time as they could in each other’s company, even as adults.

“Hey, sis,” Zach and David greeted her cheerfully.

“Where are you guys?”

“Still in Gstaad,” Zach said. “They’ve got fresh powder here. You should have come.”

“You know how much I hate cold weather,” Monique said with a shake of her head. “Besides, I’d rather hang out in a city where I speak the language.”

David laughed. “Trust me, half the people here are Americans. In fact, we just got invited to spend New Year’s Eve with some hot chicks from New York.”

“Yeah, in a remote cabin!” Zach added. “You know what that means.” He winked.

She didn’t have to be a genius to figure that out. “I’d just be the third wheel.”

The video froze, and she heard a crackling noise. “Zach? David? You’re breaking up.”

“Yeah… connection… There’s a storm coming in,” David finally said. “We won’t be able to ski tomorrow because of it. Just as well that we’ll be switching to indoor sports.” He exchanged a look with Zach, and both grinned.

She decided not to comment on that remark.

“A storm?” Monique asked instead. “Are you sure you’ll be safe? What about avalanches?”

“Don’t worry,” Zach said quickly. “It’s safe here. They have an avalanche warning system. It’s just a winter storm. We might get snowed in for a couple of days, but it won’t be an issue.”

“Well, I wouldn’t want to chance it. Just as well that I decided to come to San Francisco with Mom and Dad. We have clear weather here, no rain in the forecast. I’m just about to go exploring.”

Again, the video pixelated, then froze, and Monique could hear only fragments of a sentence.

“… party at Scanguards …”

“What?” Monique asked. “You guys are breaking up again.”

The video finally restarted, and Zach said, “Can you hear us now?”

“Yeah, now I can hear you. What about the Scanguards New Year’s Eve party?”

David exchanged a conspiratorial look with Zach.
“What?” Monique asked, impatient now.

“You’re probably okay with it, right?” Zach asked then glanced at his brother.

David grunted under his breath. “Leave it be.”

She stared at her brothers. “Okay with what?”

“I mean, you probably already guessed why Mom and Dad wanted you to go to San Francisco with them,” Zach continued, while David rammed his elbow into his brother’s ribs.

“They knew I didn’t want to go skiing,” she replied, but the hackles on the back of her neck rose. Something was off. “So why wouldn’t I come to San Francisco with them?”

“’Cause you’re being set up with Grayson,” Zach said bluntly.

“Fuck, Zach!” David cursed and glared at his brother.

“What?” For a moment, Monique didn’t even know who they were talking about. Then it clicked. “Grayson? Grayson, the arrogant jerk, Woodford?”

Zach made a grimace. “So he’s still an ass twenty years later?”

Monique assumed as much. “I haven’t seen him since he visited us in New Orleans when I was eleven. You can’t possibly think that Mom and Dad would try to set me up with him. That’s ludicrous. They know I never liked him.”

“Well, I overheard Mom and Dad talking about it a few days before the trip,” Zach said and shrugged. “For what it’s worth, Mom wasn’t keen on the idea, but Dad insisted.”

She was pissed. “How could he? Why would he do that? I can find my own boyfriends!” In fact, she was rather good at picking up men whenever she wanted male company.

“I guess Dad doesn’t like your taste in boyfriends. No offense, but most of them were doormats,” Zach said.

“Hate to agree with Zach,” David added, “but you can do better than the guys you’ve been dating lately.”

“You, too?” Monique glared at her siblings. “And you think Grayson is an upgrade from my previous boyfriends? Yeah, right! He was a little prick when he was twelve, and I bet he’s gotten worse since then. What the fuck was Dad thinking?”

“I’m sure he meant well,” Zach replied.

“He meant well?” she ground out, pressing her lips together tightly. “I’m not gonna date Grayson Woodford even if he’s the last man on earth, and the survival of our species depended on it. He’s an arrogant fuck!”

David jabbed Zach in the side once more. “See? You shouldn’t have told her. Damn it, Zach!” Then he looked back into the camera. “Sis, you could still fly out to Gstaad and join us, though you’ll probably miss the New Year’s Eve party here. We’re nine hours ahead of you.”

“I’m glad you told me,” Monique said. “At least now I won’t be running into an ambush.”

“So you’re coming to Gstaad?” David asked.

“No, I’m still not interested in freezing my butt off in some remote cabin and feel like the third wheel.” She wasn’t in the mood to listen to her brothers fuck the women they’d just hooked up with.

“You’re gonna have it out with Dad, aren’t you?” Zach asked.

“He won’t know what hit him. If he thinks he can control me, he’s got another think coming.”

Both David and Zach grimaced.

“Do me a favor,” Zach said, “don’t mention I was the one who told you. Or I might have to stay in Switzerland indefinitely.”

Monique huffed. “You should have told me before I got on the jet to San Francisco.”

“Sorry, sis.” Zach looked almost crushed. “Why don’t you go out and let off some steam, huh? You’ll feel better afterwards.”

“That’s a brilliant idea,” David added. “There are some great bars in San Francisco. The Black Velvet is a really classy pick-up joint in the Financial District. I was there two years ago when I visited, and every time I went there, I scored. It’s just what you need right now. Trust me.”

She let out a breath. “Hmm.”

“Promise you’ll calm down before confronting Dad,” Zach added. “Don’t be emotional about it. Just tell him that you can make your own decisions, and that you don’t want his interference. I hate to agree with this idiot next to me, but going to a bar and hooking up with somebody is probably the best thing you can do right now.”

She hated to admit it, but her brothers were probably right. Having sex with a stranger always helped her see things clearly and get rid of the tension that was coursing through her body.

“All right.”

“Okay then,” Zach said. “Happy New Year, sis!”

“Yes, Happy New Year,” David added. “And I hope you get everything you wish for.”

“Happy New Year. I love you both.”

Monique disconnected the call. She tossed the cell phone on the bed, still seething.

Why was her father trying to trick her into a relationship with Grayson Woodford, the presumptive heir of the Scanguards fortune? It couldn’t be for money or connections, since the Louisiana kingdom was already connected to Scanguards. In January, a new Scanguards branch was going to open in New Orleans, and it would be staffed by select vampires from Louisiana and San Francisco. Who would actually be running the branch hadn’t been announced yet, but Monique was hoping that she was on the shortlist of candidates. This position would enable her to finally get out from under her father’s thumb, and prove to him and everybody else that she was ready to lead.
But clearly, Cain didn’t have enough confidence in her, or why else would he decide that she needed a boyfriend or husband, and in particular one he had chosen?

Getting more annoyed by the minute, Monique opened her closet. Zach and David were right. She needed to let off steam first before she confronted her father and told him what she thought of his plan.

She chose a figure-hugging black cocktail dress that showed off her cleavage but was still understated enough so she wouldn’t look out of place in a bar. She opted for simple diamond stud earrings, leaving her bracelets and necklaces in the jewelry box she’d brought. She didn’t want to attract the wrong man by flashing expensive jewelry. There was no need for make-up. As a hybrid she was blessed with flawless skin.

When she was ready, she slung a small black handbag over her shoulder, and walked downstairs. Arriving at the foot of the stairs, a shrill sound startled her.
Cuckoo, cuckoo.

She looked in the direction of the sound and found a kitschy clock hanging on the wall. She shook her head at it. Some people had no taste. Taking a breath, she crossed the foyer. From the corner of her eye, she saw William, one of the King’s guards sitting on a chair in the living room of the large Victorian. He rose and joined her in the foyer.

“William, have you seen my parents?”

“They left earlier to visit with John and Savannah.”

Monique remembered that her parents had mentioned that they wanted to get together with John, who’d been Cain’s King’s guard many years earlier, and had saved his life when Cain’s brother Abel had tried to usurp Cain and steal his kingdom and his fiancée, Faye.

“Do you want me to drive you to John’s house so you can join them?”

“No, thanks, William. I’m going out to meet friends for a drink.”

“I’ll come with you,” William announced.

“That won’t be necessary. I can take care of myself.”

“But –”

“I said no,” Monique interrupted. “Or would you like me to tell my father that you made sexual advances toward me?”

William glared at her. “That would be a lie.”

He was right. “Do you really want to risk my father believing me rather than you?”

He narrowed his eyes. “Is that what you threaten all your bodyguards with so they let you go out without protection?”

She shrugged. “It works. Why change it?” She sailed past him. “Enjoy your free evening, William.”

He didn’t stop her from leaving. Outside, she hailed a taxi and got in.

“Where to, Miss?”

“The Black Velvet in the Financial District. Do you need an address?”

“No, I know it, Miss. No problem.”

Monique leaned back in her seat, and the taxi drove down the hill toward North Beach and the Financial District.

About the Scanguards Vampires series

The Scanguards Vampires series is full of fast-paced action, scorching love scenes, witty dialogue, and strong heroes and heroines. Vampire Samson Woodford lives in San Francisco and owns a security/bodyguard company, Scanguards, which employs both vampires and humans. And eventually some witches. Throw in a few immortal guardians and demons later in the series, and you'll get the drift! Each book can be read as a standalone and always centers around a new couple finding love, but the series is more enjoyable when read in order. And of course, there are always a few running jokes - you'll understand when you meet Wesley, a wannabe witch. Enjoy!

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