Madeline Raynor
December 05, 2016 AT 06:59 PM EST

The second book in J.R. Ward’s vampire romance series Black Dagger Legacy is out Dec. 6, and it promises a thrilling new love story.

Before its release, EW is excited to exclusively share an excerpt from the book and audiobook. The Black Dagger Legacy series is a spinoff of the best-selling Black Dagger Brotherhood books. When the second novel picks up, the Black Dagger Brotherhood is training for the battle against the Lessening Society. A threat to his new family sends Rhage back to the front lines, while the loner vampire warrior Axe falls for Peyton’s witty aristocratic cousin Elise.

Good news for fans: there’s already a date for the next Black Dagger Brotherhood book: The Chosen is out April 4, 2017. See below for a print and audio version of this tantalizing excerpt, in which Axe and Elise meet.

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Excerpt from Blood Vow by J.R. Ward

The way Elise saw it, having already been caught sneaking be­hind her father’s back, it wasn’t as if she could get in any worse trouble by going out one last time before the sehclusion ham­mer fell and she was locked in. Besides, Peyton was going to be with his fellow trainees. What could be safer than joining him?

The bottom line was that he was the only person she could think of to go to. Maybe there was a way out, a way to . . . she didn’t know.

“Let me introduce you,” her cousin was saying as he indicated the people sitting in a circle of heavy chairs.

Elise would have preferred to catch him alone, but she wasn’t going to miss her chance. Besides, they could always step off into a corner together.

“This is Craeg—and you know Paradise.”

Elise lifted her hand to the female. “Hi, wow, hello.”

Paradise was the daughter of the King’s First Advisor, a high-bred descendant of a Founding Family—and yet she had somehow man­aged to talk her way out of traditional roles and into the Brotherhood’s training program. As a soldier. A fighter.

Maybe she could give some advice?

“That’s Boone, Novo . . . and Axe.”

Elise nodded at each of the trainees—until she got to the last one. Then she wasn’t sure what she did.

Maybe she had a seizure? Or a spontaneous concussion? Because sure enough, she forgot about everything and everybody the instant she met his eyes, with the cigar bar, the humans around them, and even her reason for coming out disappearing as if someone had hit the world with a dry eraser.

He was extraordinary.

Or maybe . . . extraordinarily dangerous was more like it.

However she defined the effect of him, she had a sixth sense he was going to change her life.

The male was sitting outside the dim pool of light that fell from the ceiling, shadows blanketing him as if protecting one of their own. He had dark hair, black hair, that was thick and spiky, and a huge body that was arranged like he could spring forward on an attack in the blink of an eye. The tattoos that ran up half of his neck and piercings that marked his left ear and brow made him seem even more sinister. And then there were his clothes, black and draped over him, suggesting there could be weapons underneath.

With his chin dropped to his chest, he was staring at her from under his brows, his pale yellow eyes glowing as they locked on her and her alone.

Her first cogent thought was that he was a predator.

Her second . . . was that she wanted to be caught.

“Elise?”

As Peyton said her name and stepped in between them, she shook herself. “Sorry, what?”

Her cousin’s frown suggested he’d noticed the connection, and—no surprise—he didn’t approve. Then again, with the way that male in the corner was looking at her? You didn’t have to be a possessive blood relative to not want any female anywhere near the guy.

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