Marcella Burnard graduated from Cornish College of the Arts with a degree in acting. She writes science fiction romance, urban fantasy, paranormal, and any other thing that might go bump in the night. She is a Seattleite living in exile among the mosquitos and alligators of south-central Florida where she is active in feline rescue work. Anyone want a kitten? Her first book, Enemy Within was a National Best Seller. It won the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice award for Best Futuristic of 2010 and was a double finalist in that year's RITA awards. Marcella has six novels published, one novella and a smattering of short stories. Some of them even feature cats.

The Blood Knife by Marcella Burnard

Someone is sacrificing innocent people in the Seattle Underground. The murderer is trying, and succeeding, to raise a rogue vampire assassin. Rose Buchanan has the magic and the will to stand toe to toe with Vampire Magic. Including that possessed by the gorgeous blue-eyed vampire assassin who kidnaps her in a bid to pull a suspect list from her mind. When he can't overcome her will, he releases her and sets out to woo it from her instead.

When she's freed, Rose is more than ready to stake herself a vampire, but he's a witness to the three murders. She can't destroy him. Yet. Worse still to have to try to work with him when he keeps dialing the charm to 13.

Gethin is a vampire assassin forged long ago to police the Vampire Nation under the control of the Vampire Council. Now, the council believes the time of the assassins has passed. One by one, Gethin's fellow assassins and their Blood Knives have been destroyed. Only he remains, his Blood Knife in the hands of a murderous, unhinged human.

Rose has a choice to make. Destroy Gethin or find a way to free him and make the entire Vampire Nation her enemy.


Marcella is a wry writer with a fine eye for detail and I'm delighted that her story is exclusive to Story Bundle. Blood Knife brings us a vampire who must choose between duty and freedom and the witch who will make that choice hurt. Rose is the strong, stalwart heroine we all need on our side. – Michelle Fox




Every nerve in my body pinged. I shivered.

"Gorgeous and alluring?" The silk and butter voice of the vampire caressed my nerves.

Adrenaline flushed me with heat. My pulse took off, prey recognizing predator. Except this time, he'd come for me on my territory. His mistake.

Gethin leaned against one of the gazebo columns, a smile playing on his face. "You are an enigma, Rose, and a woman of unsurpassed will."

My breath wobbled when I drew it. I flicked a glance at the sky. Blood red shot through with long, reaching fingers of gold flooded the sky. Yet there he stood. Not a care in the world. "Okay, that makes you old."

"And powerful? Perhaps. Not enough to pry answers from your mind, however. Vexing. Would it help to know that not all of us are what you believe?" he inquired.


He straightened and made a show of looking around. "I am concerned that you are alone and unprotected here."

I burst out laughing, then clapped my hand to my mouth because I didn't like the sound. Turning my back, I measured my footsteps to the porch, making certain I stayed within my circle. Now that I'd drawn vampire attention, I'd have to conduct a few rituals to shore up my boundaries.

"Let me take you to dinner," he said behind me. "You must be starving."

I spun and jabbed a finger at him. "The door on that slammed shut when you opted for kidnapping and torture, you colossal asshole. At this point, all you'll get from me is a stake to the heart. Get off my property."


I stomped up the two steps to my back door. It had a shiny new lock embedded. An expensive, magically attuned one, if I wasn't mistaken, but the door wasn't locked.

Great. So now I had to clear the house of human intruders, random elementals, and possibly an imp or two.

Door closed and my mundane locks run home, I went to my altar in the living room and gathered up the bundle of sage, sweet grass, and lavender, all from my garden.

My phone rang with a number I didn't recognize. The message indicator flashed at me as well, and the date on the face of my old-fashioned phone dropped the bottom out of my empty stomach. Two days.

I let the call go to messages and lit my bundle of herbs, so they sent a tendril of sweet smoke crawling into the corners of the room.

The phone rang again. Same number. I ignored it. I needed food and tea. The gas lit beneath my kettle. At least I wouldn't have to argue with a fire elemental in the form of a salamander curled up around the clicker or at the opening of the natural gas line. I'd had to replace the entire stove the last time.

I grabbed open the fridge. Hooray for leftovers. A container of bean soup came to hand.

The phone started in a third time.

"For the love of the gods." I clicked the line open. "What?"

"Rose, please don't hang up," the vampire said. "Listen."

The 'please' caught me. So, too, did a faint burr in his voice that sounded almost human, almost concerned. "The Vampire Council will come for you tonight. Do not leave the house, no matter what you believe you hear. Reinforce your defenses. The instructions for your new locks are on the kitchen counter. I've programmed Branwen's number into your phone. Mine as well. Call or text at any hour."

My breath would barely trickle past fear for a moment Then a whiff of sage, sweet grass and lavender restored my courage. "Sure. Because I'm so safe in your company. No problem. Will it take a bind spell to force you to tell me what's going on, Dr. Jekyll?"

Rich laughter traced warmth down my spine and straight into my core. "A man could die happy bound to so beautiful a woman as you, Rose. Come. Let me feed you. We'll talk."

My kettle boiled. I poured the water over the chamomile in my cup.

He'd dipped back into his sensuous as sugar-spun-in-space tone. My body lit up with enough hormones, I was surprised I wasn't glowing in the dark. Damp heat settled between my legs.

Chewing bitter shards of anger, I stuck my soup in the warmer and set the timer. "Aw. Flattery and a vampire-y come-hither tone. Such a tempting offer, being seduced out of consecrated ground by someone who's already tortured me to get what he wanted. Let me think. No."