Edge of Winter
Book Two in the Guardian's Realm series

Available now at your favorite online retailer

Balin Renforth has served the Guardians loyally for six hundred years, protecting innocents from vampire scum like Fitch Galloway. But he cannot deny the nagging familiarity Fitch inspires, any more than he can deny the irresistible curiosity stirred by the other man.

Without his weapons, Balin knows the odds are against him. To make matters worse, the human female at once goes into crippling withdrawals from the vampire’s evil drug, Tourin, a concoction used to make her sexually biddable. The only thing that will stave her withdrawals is sexual contact, and to share a blood bond with their nasty vampire companion. But indulging her needs goes against everything Balin believes, as well as the Guardian’s Oath.

Fitch Galloway recognizes Balin immediately, though he never knew of the man’s ties to the magical Ancient Fae which gave him the powers to transport them to the outer limits. The Guardian has clearly grown up with a stick up his ass, and his rigidly unbending morals quickly grow tiresome. Yet Fitch cannot deny that saving the little boy more than six hundred years ago was the only good thing he ever did, and Balin has grown into an honorable man he cannot help but feel proud of. And those aren’t the only feelings the handsome Guardian stirs in Fitch...

If it weren’t for her painful addiction to Tourin, former Palace slave Gladiolas would think she’d died and gone to heaven. Finding herself in a remote castle prison with two drop-dead sexy men is like a dream come true. They’re both so fiercely protective it feels like she is no longer slave, but master. Now if only she can get them to stop fighting, and start loving...

"This immensely creative and twisted tale is filled with enough action, both physical and sexual, to keep readers well entertained."
Heather, Fallen Angel Reviews, 4 Angels

"Full of emotion, Gladiolis, Balin and Fitch carry the story themselves rather than the underlying plot. The author spared no expense with rich imagery needed to make the reader see the world of outer limits. Scorching hot Edge of Winter is a great book and one you need to read."
Brynna, You Gotta Read Reviews

"The world Crystal Kauffman created is rich, vibrant and utterly enjoyable... This one is going on the keeper shelf..."
5 Stars -Just Erotic Romance Reviews

"...another delicious story... It is all here, red-hot love scenes, tender emotions, vulnerable heroines, alpha heroes, villains that make your skin crawl."
5 Blue Ribbons - Romance Junkies Reviews

"Crystal Kauffman has created a whole new fantasy world with a lot of excitement. Crystal takes three characters and turns them into something magical, with lots of intrigue...A great story line here, well done Crystal."
Joann, Howling Good Books - 5

"...The characters are all well rounded and likeable."
4 Stars - Night Owl Reviews

"If I could describe this book in two words, I would have to say, “Erotic Magic”, because that is just what The Collision is. Crystal Kauffman created a magical world rich in vivid detail..."
5 Delightful Divas -Dark Divas Reviews

Read an Excerpt:

The Guardians flew down the elevator shaft, and Molin jammed his crowbar between the doors at the second-lowest floor. It was as far down as they could go with the cab sitting at the bottom.

Once parted, the doors slid open on their own. The assault team rushed into the cavernous room. Balin stood center point, his weapon of preference the crossbow. Molin and Wendell flanked left and right, full attack mode. The rest of the Guardian assault team would enter through different points, surprising the vampires from all sides.

Destroy all challengers. Spare only those who surrender without resistance.”

The bloodsuckers lounging nearby on expensive furniture stared numbly, as though they couldn’t believe their impenetrable fortress was under attack.

A moment of calm lingered, and then the first scream sliced through the erotic music throbbing within the macabre playhouse.

An enormous purple demon turned from the male slave who was sucking its cock and locked eyes with Balin. The creature shoved his slave away, let out an unearthly growl, and charged.

Balin loosed a quill from his bow. The arrow hit the vampire’s shoulder and sank deep. The beast ripped it out and flung it aside without breaking stride. He charged on like a steam engine, his blazing eyes focused on Balin with deadly intent.

The next instant, the beast stumbled and looked down at his chest. Blue flames licked outward from the small hole where the tiny glass reservoir of holy water had shattered upon impact. The demon stopped and let loose a bloodcurdling shriek. Flames engulfed him, and he exploded in a dazzling spray of blue sparks.

Balin threw his arm up to shield his eyes from the explosion. He charged on, careful to avoid sighting humans. If the vampires weren’t in demon form, it was hard to tell them apart from the slaves. Thankfully, the slaves were dressed in seductive clothing: the women in sheer strips of gossamer cloth and the men in skimpy latex that appeared sprayed on. Many of the slaves were bound to the circular support columns identifying the now-luxurious room as a former garage.

Balin rounded a cement column and halted in his tracks, horror-struck. The biggest fucking demon he’d ever seen was about to kill a young slave girl.

The monster held her by the ankles and was lifting her into the air as though she weighed nothing. His beastly cock jutted forward, as long and thick as a salami log capped with a gnarled fist.

The demon would tear her apart. Thankfully it hesitated, looking around as the screaming increased.

Chaos surrounded Balin; he knew only that the Guardians had spread into the room and stunned the vampires with their swift surprise attack, but he’d lost all other sights and sounds.

The girl in the beast’s grip was a tiny, flaxen-haired beauty, almost pixie-like. He couldn’t let her be so cruelly sacrificed, not when the Guardians were seconds away from destroying this wicked den of iniquity.

Power surged through him before he consciously realized he’d summoned it. He flew across the area separating them, using only the ancient power passed to him from his ancestors.

Too late, he realized he should have used his wings.

Balin was unpracticed in the ancient magic, and was able to call it forth only in frantic situations like this when his adrenaline raged.

He collided with the beast, surprising it into dropping the girl. Balin tumbled once before regaining his balance. He jumped to his feet, lifted his crossbow, and aimed.

The demon flung out his enormous arm and backhanded Balin across the jaw. Lights swirled in his twisting vision. He bit down on his tongue and tasted the coppery tang of his own blood. His crossbow flew out of his hand.

He collapsed on top of the slave girl and breathed in a wisp of flowers.

She squeaked out a scream and struggled beneath him, crushed by his much larger frame. The demon straddled them both, his inhuman phallus swinging like a baseball bat.


Even as he fought unconsciousness, Balin knew he had one chance to save himself and the girl.

But would the ancient spell even work, or was it truly just a legend?

The demon bent toward them, reaching with a beefy hand.

“No!” A human shout came from somewhere far away, and Balin had the sensation of soaring just as he drew the magic forth.

* * * * *

Fitch felt a moment’s confusion as he flew into bright light, only because his thoughts were aimed at the scorching pain in his ankle as Boragnis’s claw swiped him bone deep.

Then, almost calmly, he understood what had happened. Magic.

As quickly as it started, it was over.

They crashed down on a cold stone floor. The Guardian landed in a heap, and the girl tumbled away.

Fitch hit his shoulder hard and heard a crunch, but it was nothing compared to the pain in his ankle. He struggled into a sitting position and gripped his calf, afraid to look at the damage.

“Son of a bitch!”

He inched up his pant leg. The half-severed limb knit slowly before his eyes. His stomach rolled. Despite his healing abilities, it still hurt like hell.

He gritted his teeth as the pain faded in waves. Finally, the red curtain of agony faded from his vision. He glanced around, looking for new dangers. They appeared to have transported to a dark castle somewhere.

“No fucking way.”

Compared to the chaos in the Palace, the silence here echoed startlingly. Frigid cold bit at his hands and face.

This was a dead place.

He glanced at the blond Guardian sprawled a few feet away, then to the slave girl. She pushed to her hands and knees, wriggling the sweetest ass he’d ever seen, and looked around, apparently as confused as he was.

One of them was an ancient fae.

Holy shit. He’d thought they had all died out.

Fitch glanced between them. The girl? She was a golden nymph with impossible beauty, and she wasn’t crying or screaming like most humans would be after being transported by magic.

Then again, she’d been a slave girl to an illegal vampire Palace. She’d seen and heard things that would make even him cringe. Experienced things that would make him cringe.

But why would an ancient fae be a vampire plaything? Unless she was some sort of bizarre sexual deviant, she would possess the power to escape the vampires.

No, it had to be the man. He also possessed an unusual, ethereal beauty. And more than likely, a fae would serve the Guardians.

Like most Guardian warriors, he wore protective leather pants. Très tacky. A clingy black T-shirt showed every ridge and hollow in his muscled chest beneath a tight-fitting jacket Fitch knew had specially tailored slits to allow his wings to expand.

“Where are we?” the girl asked.

Fitch caught his breath. Her voice was like silver bells, and the innocence in her gaze made him ripple with chills.

Daylight, Fitch thought. She reminds me of daylight, with that golden hair as brilliant as a ray of sunshine and eyes the color of the sky on a summer’s day.

“I don’t know.” He pulled his pant leg back over his boot as the pain faded to a dull throb. “You’ll have to ask him. He brought us here.”

She glanced at the man on the floor. A silken fall of hair tumbled over her shoulder. She crawled to him and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“He’s hurt.”

Fitch took a punch to the gut. Her tenderness was a foreign thing, so strange that he almost couldn’t fathom it, and the wave of jealousy he felt watching her bestow it on the other was bewildering.

For eight hundred years, he’d been alone, daring to risk love only once—to disastrous results. Even simple friendships were too much anymore. Mortals died so quickly.

Fitch pushed to his feet, gritting his teeth against a shock of pain. It flared and drifted away. He tested weight on the ankle, and then limped to a blackened hearth.

He summoned a burst of energy and threw a ball of fire into the petrified logs. The fire roared to life. Still the act felt embarrassingly weak compared to the power the fae Guardian had used to bring them here.

He glanced back at the girl. She wore nothing but a draping, diaphanous cloth designed to look like a Roman toga. As she bent over the unconscious man, her delectable little ass pointed at him. Fitch saw the dark golden hair between her legs and a tantalizing glimpse of pink nether flesh. The gown teased the eye, more sensual than if she were naked—which she practically was against cold like this.

Even her feet were bare. She must be freezing.

“Come to the fire. You’ll catch your death.”

“What about him?” she asked without turning around.

“He’ll be fine.”

“Boragnis hit him hard.”

He hit me hard too, but you don’t see me whining about it, Fitch wanted to say. Instead, he grumbled under his breath and crossed the stone floor to the Guardian.

He knelt beside them. Had he not been crouched, the look she gave him with those watery blue eyes would have brought him to his knees. She possessed rare beauty he’d not seen matched in over eight hundred years.

Fitch took her gently by the jaw. She blinked but didn’t resist. Wasn’t it said the fae were a special breed who rejoiced in their sexuality and gave everything to their lovers?

No, she’s 100 percent human, he realized by sensing her. Simply trained to be compliant by her vampire captors.

But a special human. It almost seemed electrical current ran into his fingers where he touched her.

He pulled his hand away. He didn’t have time to be distracted by a beautiful human nymph. He’d been within reaching distance of the vampire demon he’d hunted through centuries, only to lose him in a blink of magic.

He slapped the Guardian. “Hey. Wake up.”

The girl clutched his wrist, igniting those strange quivery sensations all over again. “Gentle,” she scolded, but she smiled, and her eyes absolutely twinkled. “I could have done that.”

The Guardian’s brow wrinkled, and he turned his head. A low moan rumbled deep in his chest. The sound rolled over Fitch, making him prickle from the top of his scalp to the soles of his feet, with a strange tightening of his balls in between.

He sat back on his heels. Just what I needed; to be cast into obscurity with a blond Adonis and a golden slave girl.

The Guardian’s eyes snapped open and blinked several times. They were as green as emeralds, which confirmed any doubts Fitch still had.

The man was an ancient fae.

They locked gazes, and Fitch would swear he heard a click.


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