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Ryder's Storm (Scanguards Vampires #13)

Ryder's Storm (Scanguards Vampires #13)

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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 #1

When vampire hybrid Ryder Giles is assigned to protect introvert trust fund baby and PhD candidate Scarlet King, whom other bodyguards call difficult and manipulative, he believes he’ll be able to calm the waters. After all, he’s the cool-headed bodyguard Scanguards assigns when all others throw in the towel.

Little does he know that Scarlet is the hot-blooded seductress who gave him a false name the night before during their wild sexual encounter at a nightclub, an encounter that turns out to be life-altering for Ryder.

When secrets and intrigue collide, Scarlet and Ryder have to find the courage to trust each other to avert the coming tragedy, or lose each other before their love has a chance to blossom.

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About the Book

Excerpt

1

Ryder stepped out of the shower and dried off. He’d slept well and had woken two hours before sunset. His parents, Gabriel and Maya Giles, were still sleeping. As vampires they had to avoid daylight, but Ryder and his younger siblings, twenty-nine-year-old Ethan and twenty-seven-year-old Vanessa, were hybrids and had a crucial advantage: the rays of the sun couldn’t hurt them.

In most other things they were like their parents. Silver could burn them; drinking human blood made them strong, though they also ate human food; they stayed young forever; and only a few things could kill them: silver bullets, and a wooden stake through the heart. Ryder stood in front of the full-length mirror in his room. While a full-blooded vampire didn’t have a reflection, a hybrid did. Ryder averted his eyes. He knew what he would see. Yes, he had a muscular body and a handsome face—his mother kept telling him so, and he knew many a woman turned her head to give him a second look—but there was a part of his body he didn’t like to show to anybody.

He’d grown up with it, as had Ethan. Their father had told them early in their childhood not to be ashamed of the trait they had inherited from him. Ryder knew that the mass of flesh and skin that sat a little over an inch above his cock would change one day. It would become a fully functioning second cock. When he and Ethan had asked how long it would take until it happened, their father had cast a loving smile at their mother.

“When you meet your mate, your body will change, and the satyr in you will surface and make you whole.”

“You always said that there aren’t a lot of satyrs in this world. What if my mate doesn’t even live here? What if she lives in Europe or Australia or Africa, and I never cross her path?” Ryder had wondered.

“Your mate doesn’t have to be satyr. She can be human, or a witch, or even a vampire. It doesn’t matter.”

“And how and when will I get my second cock?” Ethan had blurted.

“Shortly after you make love to her for the first time.”

Ryder had immediately realized what this meant. His future mate would have to see the deformity and agree to sleep with him despite the ugliness of it. It reminded him of the Grimm fairy tale The Frog Prince, where the princess had to kiss an ugly frog who would then transform into a handsome young prince.

While Ryder was still thinking about the fairy tale, wondering what would make a girl kiss a frog, his father had added reassuringly, “Your mother accepted me, and I’m only half as good looking as the two of you. You’re both handsome, and you can thank your mother for that. You’ll never have to jump over the hurdles I had to.”

His father had turned the left side of his face to them, emphasizing his point. An angry-looking scar ran from the corner of his left eye down to his chin. His first wife had cut him on their wedding night believing him to be the devil incarnate. The scar had formed long before he was turned into a vampire, and thus was permanent. Gabriel Giles had thought himself ugly and unlovable for over a hundred-and-fifty years. Until he’d met Maya and won her love.

Ryder shook his head. His father was an attractive man despite the scar, or maybe because of it. And there was no doubt that Ryder’s mother loved him deeply and unconditionally. But his mother was an extraordinary woman who’d overcome insurmountable obstacles herself. What if Ryder’s future mate wasn’t as strong and as tolerant as his mother? What if she took one look at him and ran? What then?

Ryder shook off the thought and zipped up his low-riding pants. Feeling a pang of hunger, he went to the tiny fridge next to the comfortable couch in his over-sized bedroom, which was more like a suite than just a bedroom. Inside the refrigerator were several small bottles of fresh blood, all marked with AB+, his favorite blood type. He took one bottle, unscrewed the lid, and gulped down the viscous liquid. It coated his throat. As a response, his fangs descended, and his fingernails turned into sharp barbs. He enjoyed this moment where his vampire side gained the upper hand and reminded him that he wasn’t human. Ryder felt his cells infuse with strength, his senses sharpen, and his mind become more focused.

He was a powerful preternatural creature. But with this power came responsibility. He’d sworn an oath to his father, and to everybody at Scanguards, the security company his entire family worked for, that he would never use this power to harm an innocent. All of the vampires and other preternatural creatures who worked for Samson Woodford, the powerful vampire at the helm of Scanguards, had sworn the same oath. And they were all determined to keep it.

It happened more often lately that Ryder thirsted for blood shortly after rising the same way a full-blooded vampire did. Not all hybrids like him and his siblings, or the sons and daughters of Samson and the other vampires in his employ, experienced the same kind of thirst for blood at the same times in their lives. The thirst was as individual as their personalities. Ryder had always thought himself above such a base need, but it appeared that at his core he was just as much a vampire as he was a satyr. Two strong needs, one for blood, the other for sex, would one day collide. When they did, he had to exercise all his restraint in order not to hurt anybody around him, because once he met his mate, he had to hold back the urgent need to mate with her, until she was ready to accept him. But he had no way of knowing when this would happen, whether it was tomorrow or in a hundred years.

Ryder went back to his closet and pulled a casual shirt from it. He put it on, when the door opened.

“Hey Ryder, can I borrow your brown leather jacket?”

His younger brother waltzed into the room without as much as a knock or a perfunctory apology for barging in. Ethan had no boundaries, no sense of personal space. Still, they were brothers and would kill for each other if it came to it. It didn’t mean that Ryder didn’t occasionally get annoyed with him.

“Given that you’ll take it anyway the moment I leave the house, why even ask?”

“You’re the best,” Ethan said and opened the closet. He reached for the jacket in question. “Wanna come out with me tonight? It’s your night off, right?”

“Yep. And no, I don’t wanna go out.”

“You don’t even know where I’m going.” Ethan put on the leather jacket and admired himself in the mirror.

“Let me guess: a nightclub.”

“Not just any nightclub. It’s ladies’ night at the Mezzanine. It’s gonna be a crush!” Ethan grinned from one ear to the other.

Not only was he handsome in a boy-next-door kind of way, he had the charm to go with it. People who didn’t know him would never guess that he was a predator, a hybrid vampire with an insatiable appetite for sex and blood. When Ethan had hit puberty, he’d become restless and made one conquest after the other, sleeping with any girl who’d have him. Ryder, on the other hand, had never gone through that rebellious teenage stage, nor was his appetite for sex as pronounced as his brother’s. He was in control of himself at all times.

Ryder rolled his eyes and calmly buttoned his shirt. “I’m planning on getting a bite to eat at Carlito’s in North Beach and then read. Baldacci’s latest thriller just released—”

“Oh my God,” Ethan said with disgust in his voice. “Could you sound any more like an old college professor? Nobody would ever guess that you’re one of the best bodyguards at Scanguards.” He shook his head. “You want to read on your night off? Are you for real? You sound like you’re decades older than me, not just a year.”

“It has nothing to do with age,” Ryder said.

“Come on, don’t be so boring. Don’t you wanna get laid?”

“I’m not like you.”

It was true. Where Ethan was impulsive and carefree, Ryder was thoughtful and responsible, just like an older brother should be.

“You can’t tell me that your sex drive isn’t just as high as mine. You’re thirty, look decent enough”—Ryder scoffed at that—“and are free to fuck whomever you want. So why aren’t you bedding a different girl every night?”

Ryder snatched his brother by the lapels of his jacket and pushed him against the wall. “Because I…” He sucked in a breath and tamped down the anger that was churning up inside him. “… because I don’t want to subject every girl in San Francisco to… to… you know what I mean.”

He let go of his brother and took a step back, regretting his sudden outburst already. It wasn’t like him to get physically violent.

“So you’d rather pay for the pleasure?” Ethan spat.

Ryder’s eyes widened.

“Oh please! As if you could fool anybody. I know you’ve been going to Vera’s for years.”

Stunned that his brother knew that he’d been frequenting Vera’s club, an upscale brothel run by a vampire whose girls were kind and looked past the fact that Ryder sported an ugly deformity. He felt comfortable there, because none of the women had ever looked at him with disgust. They’d helped him slake his lust. But if he was honest, he’d never felt a true high with any of them, even though all of Vera’s girls were beautiful and well-versed in all kinds of carnal pleasure. His orgasms had stilled his need temporarily, but he’d never felt the kind of satisfaction after sex that he’d heard his friends talk about.

“It’s none of your business,” Ryder said and turned away.

“Come on, bro, don’t be like that. Honestly, most of the girls I sleep with really don’t care what I look like as long as they get what they want. Hey, some of them even find it cool. And if a girl really rejects me because of it, then I just glamor her so she won’t remember what she’s seen. Besides, most of the girls at the club will be half-drunk anyway.”

Ryder scoffed. “You think sleeping with girls that are too drunk to care makes it any better than sleeping with prostitutes?”

“Trust me, I make sure they have their fun. I’m not a selfish lover,” Ethan claimed. “Plus, the more girls I sleep with, the better my chances of finding my mate, right?”

He had to admire his brother’s optimism despite the questionable methods he employed. His own ethics prohibited him from taking advantage of a girl, whether she was half-drunk or not. “Guess that means you can’t wait until you finally have two cocks. Good for you.”

A chuckle from the door made Ryder snap his head to it. Vanessa stood there, giggling. She was as beautiful as their mother, with long dark hair and expressive eyes. And even though she was the youngest of the siblings, she seemed more mature than her brothers. It was true that girls grew up faster.

“Men! At least you get something out of it once you find your mate, while I’m in heat at least four times a year. Do you hear me bitching constantly?”

She walked into the room and looked at Ryder. Then she shook her head. “That button is loose. And that shirt doesn’t look good on you anyway. Why don’t you wear the linen shirt?”

Ryder let out a breath. “I’m not going anywhere special, so it doesn’t matter.”

“Take it off,” she insisted and pulled out a different shirt from his closet.

Ryder hesitated. “Fine. I’ll get changed. If you both leave my room.”

Ethan and Vanessa exchanged a look.

“Now,” he added.

“You’re a hopeless case,” she said.

Ryder took the shirt from her hands, then ruffled her hair. “Thanks, Nessie. Now get lost, before I lose my patience.”

“Yeah, I wanna see that,” Vanessa joked.

“No, you don’t.”

Vanessa looked at Ethan. “I bet he doesn’t even wrinkle the sheets when he has sex with a girl.”

“Good one, Nessie,” Ethan said, laughing.

“You do know that I’m right here, and there’s nothing wrong with my hearing, right?” Ryder said.

“Then you should take some well-meant advice,” Ethan said. “Let loose once in a while, or that stick that’s up your butt will become permanent.”

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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