Bloodborn Series Book 1 by Sydney Winward Genre: Paranormal Romance
Adam Degore's personal need to find a cure for vampirism drives him to ensnare a vampire, but the creature he captures is Dracula's daughter. Worse yet, he's drawn to her—a monster he's vowed to kill.
Despite her father's wishes, Willow chooses to live among humans instead of the vampire conclave where she would be safe. She wants a life filled with more than shadows. Being captured by a human, not to mention falling in love with one, is not part of her plan.
With vampires and blood hunters closing in on their chosen prey, Adam and Willow need to trust one another. But will that trust come in time for them to survive and find a future together?
The sounds of a trickling stream turned into a raging waterfall, silver like the moonlight that waited to shine as dusk fell into something darker. The thunderous water was almost too much for her overly sensitive ears, but she would bear it. At least for a time.
The waterfall drew her nearer until she stood on the edge of the cliff, looking down. White spray shot downward into a pool far below. There was something…mystical about these waters. It looked too clear. Untouched. And she couldn’t tell where the water originated from. Higher on the mountaintop, perhaps? It almost appeared from thin air.
She took another step forward and hissed as the spray hit her skin, stinging her like a sharp needle. At first, she assumed a stabbing rock hit her, but learned the truth when the water left glaring red marks on her skin.
Her eyes widened as she realized where they were—the Throat of Druxix. The clearest, purest water in all the kingdom, uncontaminated by human hands. She had heard many stories about priests traveling days, weeks, even years to acquire the smallest vial of the water, assuming they knew the location of the falls. The water was coveted next to coin.
She snapped her head in Adam’s direction, only to find an iron sword pointed right at her breast. He betrayed her. He lied to her. He used her! And he played her for a fool. Somehow, she had allowed herself to hope that given enough time, something beautiful might blossom between them. She now understood it had been a vain hope, and she had been a fool.
She took a step back, away from him, putting as much distance between them as she was able.
“How could you?” she gasped, taking another step backward, but to back up much further would result in falling over the edge of the cliff and into the holy waters below. However, he was blocking her escape, a menacing sword close to penetrating her skin. Any false move would result in an iron sword through her heart. “How could you take me here?”
“I couldn’t tell you,” he answered, his voice thick with emotion. “It’s the only way. It’s the last thing I could do. For Zachariah.”
She felt numb. After everything that had happened between them, he still meant to kill her? But he was her mate. Mates were supposed to look after one another.
“Don’t do this,” she whispered, taking yet another step backward but stopping in her tracks when the roaring of the falls crashed into her ears like the loud toll of a bell signaling a vampire getting burned at the stake.
She would meet the same fate, except the only audience she would have was Adam and it was holy water instead of fire. She didn’t know which was worse. “I care for you, Adam. I want you to give me a chance.”
“I don’t have a choice. I need my brother back. He’s the only family I have left.”
Her heart ached badly, and she almost wished he would run her through with the weapon, finishing the deed. It might hurt less.
“I could be something to you,” she whispered in earnest.
His only response was to press the tip of his sword closer to her heart. “You’re a vampire, Willow. I’m a blood hunter. Why can’t you understand? This is the way things have to be.”
“No, it’s not! Past mistakes can be forgiven.”
He shook his head, his expression hard. “It’s time for me to end this.”
A tear escaped her eye and trailed down her cheek. “You want me to die?” If he asked it of her, she would do it. He was her mate. Mates looked after one another. They had the other’s best interests at heart. But he wasn’t a vampire, which was why choosing him had been a gamble.
“Your death will benefit no one at the moment,” he said. “I need to find a cure. Before the crusaders find Zachariah and kill him.”
“That’s what this is about? But Adam—”
Her words were cut off as the ledge crumbled beneath her feet. She screamed as she fell. But when she expected to be consumed by fiery water, he grabbed her hand and she found herself dangling precariously over the edge, silver spray soaking her hair and stinging her skin. The world stopped for a moment. Her legs dangled, and the only thing keeping her from death was the hand of a misled blood hunter.
“Just do it!” she screamed. “End it!”
He hesitated. Why did he hesitate?
She shrieked as the water burned her. Pins and needles.
“Isn’t this what you wanted?” she shouted to him. “Let me go and end it!”
“It was what I wanted! Is.” He emphasized the last word. “If you are cleansed, maybe my brother can be too! Willow, you can be cured.”
She shook her head as she desperately clung to his hand, her feet trying and failing to find a hold in the cliff face. Tears streamed down her face, their reddish tint staining her cheeks. “The only cure is death! Adam, if you do this, I will die.”
Sydney Winward was born with an artistic brain and a love of discovery for new talents. From drawing to sewing to music, she has loved to explore every opportunity that comes her way. At a young age, Sydney discovered her love of writing and wrote her first book at twelve years old, and since then, she hasn't been able to stop writing. Her active imagination and artistic mind take her away to different worlds and time periods, making every new story a fantastic adventure. When she is not writing (or fawning over animals in the neighborhood) she spends time with her husband and children at home in Utah.
What are you currently reading?
I’ve been devouring the Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas. I just finished the fourth in the series, and I am in love with the characters, the writing style, and the plot. Chaol is my absolute favorite character. He had a few annoying moments in Queen of Shadows, but by the end, I loved him again. I definitely recommend this series to anyone who hasn’t read it, and I also recommend her other series, A Court of Thorns and Roses.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Each book in the Bloodborn series can be considered a side story, just about different characters. The order goes as follows (and yes, all paranormal romance!):
1. Bloodborn: The first in the series about Willow Ardelean and Adam Degore.
2. Bloodbond: The second in the series about Zachariah Degore and Laurel Covaci.
3. Bloodbane: The third in the series about Oriel Covaci (Laurel’s brother) and Cosette Dragomir).
4. Still untitled, can’t for the life of me figure out what to call it: The fourth in the series about Luca Dragomir (Cosette’s youngest brother and Laurel’s old flame) and Kirsa Frey (daughter of the dwarven chieftain).
5. Bloodscourge: The fifth in the series. This book takes place a thousand years before Bloodborn, and it’s about Dracula and Elisabeta.
6. Blood Heir: The sixth in the series, and the one I’m currently working on, about Jesper (Dracula’s grandson) and Alavara (a dark elf princess).
Do you have a favorite movie?
I have several that I consider 10s on a scale from 1-10.
Little Women (the old one as well as the one that just came out in 2019)
Stardust (I’ve never laughed so hard at a movie in my life!)
How to Train Your Dragon (all three movies)
Mission Impossible: Fallout
Cinderella Live Action
Spiderman: Far From Home
How do you find time to write as a parent?
Time to write? What’s that? Haha, but seriously. I have a 2-year-old and a 4-month-old, and there doesn’t seem to be a spare moment in the day. My toddler suddenly decided to stop taking naps, and we’re in the midst of sleep training the baby. When the baby naps, I stick my toddler in front of the tv. Did I ever think I would be one of those parents? Heck no! But you gotta do what you gotta do to maintain a little bit of sanity. I think my soul would die if I never had any time to write, so I somehow manage to squish it into my schedule throughout the day.
What are some of your pet peeves?
1. Losing something. I will tear my entire house apart to find it. I will go to Valhalla and back just to locate it again. What if I’m late for something? Doesn’t matter. I must find it or I will go absolutely berserk.
2. Getting my hair pulled. It doesn’t matter if it gets caught in a tent zipper, pulled by a toddler, or anything else. If you pull my hair, you will die.
3. A messy house. This one doesn’t make sense because I am a super messy person.
4. The sun in my eyes. I can be in a happy mood one moment, and then the next I will want to strangle someone if the sun is in my eyes, whether while driving, in the reflection of my abnormally shiny kitchen floor, or glaring back at me in the snow.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
1. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
2. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
4. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
5. Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas
6. Miss Kane’s Christmas by Caroline Mickelson
7. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
8. Hope Springs Series by Sarah Eden
9. Friends and Foes by Sarah Eden
10. To be determined
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I love reading. I’m not a very fast reader, but I do set a Goodreads yearly reading goal. This year’s goal is at 25 books. Hopefully I will be able to reach my goal, as I didn’t reach last year’s goal :( But I was closeish! 20/25 last year and I’m hoping to do better this year.
Some of my favorite books to read are in the fantasy/paranormal categories. Vampires. Witches. Shapeshifters. Dragons. Oh, and ROMANCE! It’s not an absolute requirement for the books I read to be romantic, but I do live for the cute.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
They come straight from my imagination. So don’t worry, Mom! Any likeness to any of my characters if purely coincidental.
Advice they would give new authors?
Make each chapter count. If it doesn’t further the story, if it just adds more unnecessary words to your story, then take it out! The common pitfalls I see with new writers are as follows:
1. Adding scenes to their stories that don’t make sense or don’t need to be there.
2. Switching back and forth between past tense and present tense.
3. Adding too many dialogue tags.
4. Writing with passive voice.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Not at all. If the story or the scene or even the sentence isn’t coming, then SKIP IT! You can always come back to it. Either that, or trudge through it. I love the quote “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
I used to ride TRAX to my college every day, and one morning, I saw this man standing up with a large soda in his hand, the plastic kind you get from Del Taco. I thought to myself, “That guy is going to drop his soda.” I forgot about him and turned back to my book. A couple minutes later, I heard a giant splash and looked up to see soda all over the ground.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I have a “rollerblading gang”. When we were teenagers, the four of us would go on rollerblading trips across the city. Sometimes to the wetlands, other times to the library, and plenty of times we’d go out late at night when most of the city was asleep. We all still rollerblade ten years later.
What did you edit out of this book?
There was a part where Adam Degore was trying to woo Willow in order to get something he wanted, but I decided that it was completely against his character to even attempt to woo. I tore out the whole scene and rewrote it from scratch.
What does your writing process look like?
I am what they call a plotster (somewhere in between a pantser and a plotter). I have a basic outline in my head, though I never write it down. And then I write. And then it all comes together nicely in the end. Hey, if it works, it works, right?
What are you currently working on?
So I had five books written in the Bloodborn Series, the first of which is published and the second is coming out soon. I was in the process of writing a story about a princess and a druid with magic and dragons, but then the idea for #6 in the Bloodborn Series hit me like a brick. I tried my HARDEST to ignore the call of the book because I needed to finish my druid story. But the pressure built and built until I couldn’t handle it anymore. I opened a new document, and the story just exploded. I’m two weeks into the explosion and I’ve already written 25,000 words. The story was desperate to get out, and I’m absolutely in LOVE.
What is it about?
In the very first chapter, Dracula (the king of vampires) is killed in battle, and his grandson, Jesper, inherits the throne. Within the first month of his rule, he finds five armies on his doorstep, and after the battle when Dracula had fallen, the city wasn’t ready for another war. He is forced into a treaty to take the daughter of the elven king as his mate, but little does he know that she has deadly plans of her own. There is more at stake than just his heart… Or is there? An iron dagger can do a lot of damage after all.
Who are the characters?
Jesper Degore: He’s a vampire. He’s frightening and can be ruthless. He’s driven by his duties as the new vampire king, and thinks of little else except his work. He’s convinced he’s not able to fall in love, that his heart is only filled with cobwebs and echoes.
Alavara Elroris: Daughter of the elven king. He has honed her since birth to be a deadly assassin. Stealthy as shadows. Quick with her knives. She can take down eight male vampires without any weapons using her knowledge of the body’s weak points.
What is your most favorite character to write in Bloodborn?
I had a lot of fun writing Adam Degore because he’s so serious and his knowledge of herbs and how they can hurt or kill someone is entertaining.
I also loved writing Zachariah Degore (Adam’s younger brother). He’s been a feral vampire for half of his life, and he has to relearn what it means to actually live his life rather than waste away in a dark cellar. The second book in the Bloodborn Series is about Zachariah and his journey of self-discovery. Oh, and don’t forget the romance! He’s determined that his first love be his only love.
5 Things Adam Degore Can’t Live Without
1. A weapon. Doesn’t matter what kind. Sword, dagger, nails. Heck, he could probably even kill someone with a twig if he was determined enough.
2. A second weapon. In case the first weapon doesn’t work. But of course, he’d need to conceal this one. In his boot. Beneath his armor. Maybe even inside his glove. You can never be too careful.
3. His horse. Doesn’t have a name. Doesn’t need one. The blood hunter brand on the creature’s shoulder speaks for itself. If you steal his horse, he will hunt you down.
4. Several reliable herbs. Violet brittlebrush to knock a man out. Wolfsbane to stop lycanthropy just in case. Perhaps even a few healing herbs. Being a blood hunter is dangerous work after all.
5. His brother. Everything he has done up until this point has been for his brother. Becoming a blood hunter. Dedicating his life to hunting dark creatures. If only saving him was within his own reach.