Hi, Everyone! Welcome to Obsidian Flame, the fifth book of my Guardians of Ascension series featuring winged warrior vampires in a world of ascending dimensional earths.
For a hundred years, Marguerite has been imprisoned and used for her powerful psychic abilities. Her only relief comes from her regular visits with Thorne, her vampire lover. His every touch leaves her hungry for more..and aching for their next encounter. When Marguerite is finally set free, she returns to Mortal Earth to begin a new life for herself. She dyes her hair white-blonde, paints her nails blood-red, and seduces a sexy-hot stranger. Why can’t she stop thinking about Thorne?
Now that Marguerite is gone, Thorne craves her more than ever..and follows her to Mortal Earth. Unfortunately, he is not the only vampire who wants her. As one of three powerful women with obsidian flame abilities, Marguerite is a valuable treasure—and a dangerous weapon. For Thorne, she is a soulmate he must protect at any cost…even his own life.
Who can change,
But the one ready for magnificence.
Collected Proverbs — Beatrice of Fourth
Excerpt Chapter One
Thorne, out of ancient Britain in AD 11, stood outside a vile smelling dive, a real shithole, somewhere in El Paso One, Mortal Earth. He took deep breaths trying to calm the hell down so that he didn’t draw his sword, go back inside, and impale a beefy-looking mortal who was more innocent than guilty in this little flirtation drama.
He whipped his Droid Ascender from the pocket of his jeans, a sweet inter-dimensional piece of technology that allowed him to call home. He all but punched the screen. Shit, his hand trembled. He had so much adrenaline and testosterone flooding his system, that yeah, he was shaking like a drunk off a bender.
The phone rang several times.
“Pick up, pick up, pick up.”
Finally, Alison’s voice came on the line. “Sorry. Had to get out of Endelle’s office before I answered.”
“Okay, good.” In the past three weeks since he’d left Second Earth, he’d grown dependent on Alison for a couple of reasons. She helped him keep his head screwed on straight and she kept him informed on that little detail called the war against commander Greaves.
He was about to launch into his current dilemma, as in what to do about his woman who was making moves on another man, when Alison cut him off. “Thorne, there’s something you’ve got to know right away, and it’s bad.”
His body stilled. Alison wasn’t given to drama of any kind. From the day of her ascension over a year ago, she’d been an equalizing force among the Warriors of the Blood and especially with Endelle, serving as she did as the scorpion queen’s executive assistant.
His hearing became focused, laser-like, on exactly what Alison would say next. He took another deep breath. “Let me have it.”
“It’s been all over the news for the past hour. In three days, Greaves is conducting a spectacle-grade military review that will last four, maybe six hours. Rumors are that he’s marching an army of two hundred thousand troops, his ‘Ascender Liberation Army’, down the Moscow Two avenue, the one that forms an arc in front of that newly constructed stone edifice. Do you remember I told you about that a couple of days ago? It’s the one that’s been worrying Marcus for the last three weeks.” Marcus split his time between battling at the Borderlands with the rest of the Warriors of the Blood, and serving in an administrative capacity at Endelle’s HQ.
Thorne’s lips parted because he needed to keep breathing but he wasn’t sure his lungs were working at all.
Greaves had just upped the stakes at the same moment that Thorne had gone AWOL to chase after a woman who wanted nothing to do with him.
“Are you there?” Alison asked.
“Thorne, did you hear what I said?”
“Yes. Processing. Shit.” He shook his head but like Alison could see that. “This is a completely illegal maneuver. COPASS can’t let this slide, not this time. ‘No entity shall engage in a public display of military prowess’. The rules are clear.”
“Marcus has been on the phone non-stop to the international COPASS HQ in Prague. Every answer he’s been given goes something like, the committee has the Commander’s request for permits under review. But we all know what that means.”
“Exactly. I hate to ask this, but can you come home? This news has got all of the High Administrators still aligned with Endelle jumpy. Three shifted their alliance to Greaves just because of the announcement. Three.”
He turned back to face the run-down building that blared some lively Mexican music; trumpets, guitars, and a quick beat.
Marguerite, his woman, his vampire bond-mate, was in there, getting one huge motherfucker of a Mexican all worked up with her long, blood-red nails and short platinum hair.
He’d followed her to Mortal Earth because he’d had no choice in the matter. Much to his surprise the goddamn breh-hedden had hit him flush in the jaw and torn all his good sense from its usual strong footings. All the warriors had thought the breh-hedden was a myth, then Alison had shown up and knocked Kerrick on his ass, the one who had vowed never to marry again. Three other warriors had followed, like dominos; Marcus, Medichi, and just a few weeks ago, Jean-Pierre.
Now it was his turn.
And Greaves had decided this was the hour to let the world know that he’d built an army, worthy of victory, and was getting ready to launch his takeover bid of both Second Earth and Mortal Earth.
He turned again, to once more face away from the bar. He felt the call of his world, of Second Earth, and of something more, something vast that had begun pulsing in the center of his brain. He lived with two aches now, the heavy pounding in his head and the stiff pulsing in his groin.
He was a man torn, now more than ever, because of the implied threat of a spectacle-based military review. Damn, there’d be fireworks and massive orchestral music as well as hundreds of DNA altered swans and geese. Second Earth lived for spectacle and Greaves knew it. The damn thing was genius.
He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to think. Alison, thank God, had fallen silent, giving him space, the usual. She’d been a counselor before she ascended. She knew how to let a moment breathe.
Finally, he said, “I’m going to do everything I can to move things along here. But I can’t leave Marguerite right now and it isn’t just because of the breh-hedden. Because she’s obsidian flame, Greaves wants her dead. She’s unprotected if I just take off. You know Endelle was counting on her emerging power to make a difference in the war. At the very least, I need to bring her home with me.”
“You’re right,” Alison said, some of the tension leaving her voice. “I’d gotten so wrapped up in this review, I’d forgotten about Marguerite’s power. Don’t worry. I’ll talk it over with Marcus. He’ll understand. More than anyone, he’ll understand.” Marcus was four thousand years old and had only recently returned to Second Earth and to the Warriors of the Blood after a two-hundred year absence, his own form of desertion.
Yeah, if anyone would understand all the dilemmas facing Thorne, Marcus would.
Alison puffed a sigh into the phone. “On the other hand, Endelle won’t be nearly as rational but she’ll just have to deal with it.”
Endelle. Thorne so did not want to think about her. He’d been blocking their shared mind-link from the second he’d jumped into the Trough and headed to Phoenix One. She was pissed as hell that he’d left. Thorne had thought about contacting her at least a dozen times, but each time, that pulsing in his brain got stronger and some part of him got really mad, even though honestly, he wasn’t sure exactly why. But yeah, he was pissed.
“I’d better go,” he said.
“I almost forgot, what did you call for?”
“Nothing. I mean, I’ll work it out.” He laughed as he pushed a hand through his hair and all but dislodged his cadroen. “I may be calling you later. I’ve got a situation in El Paso Two.”
Alison’s voice dropped. “Oh, shit, Endelle just walked into my office. Gotta go.”
The line went dead.
A military spectacle review. Jesus H. Christ.
He returned his phone to his jeans. He lowered his chin and went back into the bar. He sure could use a drink right about now, but for this ride, he’d stopped with the Ketel One. Everything was coming to a head fast and he needed to see things just as they were, not through a vodka haze. But it sure didn’t help that Marguerite was flashing a smile at that goddamn, good-looking Mexican.
He drew his mist in tight. He was good at creating the preternatural disguise that kept him invisible to anyone around him, especially here on Mortal Earth. Anyone, of course, except Marguerite. She could see him even though she’d been ignoring him all night. By now she was used to his hovering presence since he’d been dogging her heels from the first night he’d touched down on Mortal Earth.
They’d argued plenty, but this was the worst she’d been, sitting as close as she was on a tall stool next to her current prey. It looked as though she’d made up her mind that tonight was the night.
He took up his former station, leaning against the wall, close to the door. He crossed his arms over his chest. His biceps flexed involuntarily. His nostrils flared. His breathing was still pretty uneven especially since, even at this distance, he could smell her rose scent, rich red roses. It was the one sure sign that this woman was meant for him.
Yet he had no real claim on Marguerite, even though they’d been lovers for over a century. She’d broken with him, needing to go her own way, but his brain just wasn’t getting the message. He was too hopped up on some kind of primordial caveman juice to really figure things out. So, here he was, his back pinned to a goddamn wall in a stinking bar and he couldn’t leave her alone, he couldn’t pull back, he couldn’t let her go.
He stared at the new Marguerite. She was as beautiful as ever, an almost perfectly oval face, strong arched brows, and large brown eyes, eyes he’d looked into ten thousand times while making love to her. She used to have really long straight brown hair that he would hold wrapped around his forearm when he would take her from behind. Now, she had short platinum blond hair, white blond, and blood-red fingernails about an inch long.
She sipped a very crimson cosmo, her current favorite drink, the same color as the lights flashing in his head. She had her elbow on the bar, her long nails flicking the feathered spikes and layers of her hair.
The bastard next to her had his left knee about a millimeter away from hers. His eyelids lazed low.
Shit. Thorne knew exactly what that look meant, that the only thought running through the bastard’s head would be just how soon he could get this woman on her back, or settled on his hips and riding him hard. He shuddered through a few more deep breaths.
He wasn’t entirely to blame. The breh-hedden had him hooked in deep, forcing him to look at Marguerite not just as a woman but as his mate, his fucking mate. His mind swirled with a variety of impulses that kept shouting things like use your fists and beat the shit out of that asshole or worse, use your sword and take the smile off his face permanently.
This particular mortal wasn’t half bad looking if you liked a scruff of a beard, a scar on the right cheek, thick black hair combed back straight, and tats on the neck, shoulders and forearms. He was big, too. Warrior big.
This was so not going to end well.
Even through the stench of beer, smoke, and male bodies, all he could really process was a light floral scent that kept his dick in an uproar, a sure sign that this woman was meant for him.
The bastard made his move. He reached out and grazed Marguerite’s elbow with the tips of two fingers, then moved away, a smooth quick testing of the waters.
Marguerite smiled. She leaned in toward him and reached out with her hand to stroke his bicep.
Stroke his bicep.
Stroke his bicep.
The red strobes in his head spun faster. His fists balled. Creator help him. His palm itched for his sword. He spread his fingers wide, ready to catch some steel.
For a split second, he almost completed the mental sequence that would have brought his sword into his hand. He saw the carnage as plain as day; one asshole with his head split wide, one woman caught up under his arm and hauled out of this hellhole kicking and screaming.
He was so close.
His fingers trembled.
He wanted his sword in his hand.
He wanted the bastard dead.
He didn’t so much as have the thought as he acted because in the next split second, he dematerialized out of the smoke and re-formed in the deep night shadows, well beyond the bar, well away from temptation. He bent over. He shook. He came within an inch of puking his guts out.
Shit. He’d almost killed an innocent man. Thorne, Warrior of the Blood, protector of the innocent, preserver of life, keeper of the peace, and he’d almost killed an innocent man. Creator help him.
So, here he was, almost losing the Buffalo wings he’d gorged on, tortured because his woman, who was not his woman, was pursuing her favorite hunting-sport: men.
There was only one real question to answer: how the hell was he supposed to keep from killing this man if she succeeded in taking him into her bed?
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I hope you enjoyed this brief excerpt. Let the Guardians of Ascension become a new journey for you.
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And now, have a wonderful day and an even better night! For more information about my books, keep scrolling! Live the fang!
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Be sure to look for your welcome letter which has the link to your free e-book!
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Most Recent Releases:
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More about Caris Roane and her books!!!
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THE GUARDIANS OF ASCENSION SERIES
(After Ascension, Burning Skies, Wings of Fire, Born of Ashes, Obsidian Flame and Gates of Rapture)
Includes Sub-Series: Dawn of Ascension and the Rapture’s Edge Saga
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For decades, Warrior Duncan has had an on-again, off-again relationship with a woman opposed to his warrior lifestyle. When Rachel shows up in his life again, he wants to keep his distance, but the infamous breh-hedden, the myth-that-isn’t-a myth, bears down on him keeping him in a perpetual caveman-like state.
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The Blood Rose Tales, are much shorter stories than the “Embrace” books of the Blood Rose Series. Each ‘tale’ highlights one particular aspect of the world of the Nine Realms as well as a mastyr vampire in pursuit of his Blood Rose.
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Enter a world of blood-starved mastyr vampires and the rare women who can satisfy their deepest needs…
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Mastyr Vampire Ian never wanted to see Regan again. He blamed her for the massacre at Raven’s Overlook, an attack that killed his sister and her children. He’s convinced Regan enthralled him, using her extensive fae powers to keep him by her side. If he’d been in his realm that night, he could have saved 200 people.
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Mastyr Vampire Griffin hates his enslavement in Margetta’s fortress. He sought death a thousand times because of it, but was denied when the Ancient Fae brought him back repeatedly, forcing him to train her evil army. When a beautiful fae-slave, Sandra, tells him to live, he begins to believe his life could have more meaning…
Caris Roane is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-seven paranormal romance books. Writing as Valerie King, she has published fifty novels and novellas in Regency Romance. Caris lives in Phoenix, Arizona, loves gardening, enjoys the birds and lizards in her yard, but encourages the scorpions to inhabit elsewhere! Her motto: Live the Fang!
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