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Chosen by Fate (Para-Ops Series #2)

Chosen by Fate (Para-Ops Series #2)

4.4 12
by Virna DePaul
Although he keeps company with a vampire and a were, human Shaman Caleb O'Flare can definitely hold his own. But neither his psychic ability nor his healing powers can help his sexy-as-hell teammate, Wraith-a ghost with no memory of her human existence, who cannot experience touch without pain. No wraith has managed to exist past its tenth year, so her time is about


Although he keeps company with a vampire and a were, human Shaman Caleb O'Flare can definitely hold his own. But neither his psychic ability nor his healing powers can help his sexy-as-hell teammate, Wraith-a ghost with no memory of her human existence, who cannot experience touch without pain. No wraith has managed to exist past its tenth year, so her time is about to run out. She wants only two things before accepting her fate: to learn her human identity, and experience one night with Caleb...

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
A Para-Ops Novel Series , #2
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.92(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt


Several weeks later
An abandoned warehouse
Washington, D.C.

Caleb’s hands moved swiftly and efficiently as he set up the mobile radar equipment he’d spread out on the roof. The building below his feet had been swept and a perimeter established. Now all Caleb had to do was determine who was in the room with Mahone and whether Mahone was still alive.

Briefly, he glanced at Ethan Riley, leader of Hope Restored Team Blue, and the four men, skilled in entry and perimeter surveillance, who’d accompanied them here. Only hours had passed since Caleb had left his teammates in the Vamp Council’s chambers in Oregon and, despite the grueling activity of the last few days—which had included parachuting into North Korea, hiking miles in the snow, rescuing several Otherborn, and tracking down what just might be an antidote to the vamp vaccine—Caleb felt the same focused energy he always did when on a mission. “Did you get in touch with the Para-Ops team?”

Riley looked up from checking his rifle. “They’ve detained the vampire Dante Prime. Devereaux tried to teleport here, but he’d depleted his powers in Korea . . .”

Caleb snorted. “No shit.” Although vamps could teleport to and from anywhere in the world, provided they’d been there before, that kind of travel drained them. Before Knox Devereaux and the rest of the team had interrupted the Vamp Council to question Dante Prime for treason and conspiracy to commit murder, the dharmire had spent several hours teleporting between North Korea and the U.S. Each time, he’d carried a wounded Otherborn or one of his team members back with him. Beat him how the vamp was even capable of talking at this point. Add everything else that had happened to him—

“Is it true you found his father? And that he’d been turned into a vampire?”

Caleb didn’t even look up. The Para-Ops team had trained with Team Blue’s aerial experts before dropping into North Korea. At the time, Knox’s father hadn’t even been on their radar—and for good reason—since everyone believed he was dead. How the hell news of Jacques Devereaux’s return had spread so fast, Caleb didn’t now. Still, Riley had to know how fruitless his question was. “No comment.”

He sensed Riley wince. “Sorry.”

Caleb shrugged. Just because a person expected a particular result didn’t mean he shouldn’t try to get around it. Caleb was always trying to get a different reaction from his teammate Wraith, regardless of how unlikely that was. For one horrific moment, Caleb felt the same fear that had constricted his chest when he’d realized Wraith planned to blow herself up to get them inside the North Korean compound. It wasn’t easy, but he pushed the feeling away.

Wraith was okay. He’d seen that for himself. He’d felt it when he’d pushed her down and covered her body with his. He’d savored it when she’d kissed him back, right before she’d kneed him in the balls.

Clearing his throat, he returned his attention to Riley and the other man’s apology. “No worries. I’m as human as you, remember?”

Now it was Riley who snorted, prompting Caleb to smile tightly.

Okay, so maybe he wasn’t quite as human as Riley. They shared the same DNA, but being able to communicate with his ancestors, hear the Great Song, and occasionally walk the Otherworld made him a little different.

Different didn’t always mean better.

His fingers moved faster. Almost there. Glancing at his watch, Caleb clenched his teeth. A bead of sweat trickled down his temple. He knew they couldn’t go in blind, but—

“What about your wraith? Was she what you expected her to be?”

Caleb paused for only a fraction of a second before continuing his task. “She’s not my wraith. She’s a wraith who decided to keep the name ‘Wraith’ just to be ornery. And she’s exactly what I expected her to be.” What he didn’t say was that she was also far more than he’d expected. A heinous bitch, yes, but one whose attitude and mouth was designed to hide something textured and complex and—

Disgusted with himself, Caleb pressed his lips together and once again pushed thoughts of Wraith out of his head.

Get Mahone out. That’s all he could think about right now.

“Finally!” Snapping the last wire in place, Caleb flipped on the power and adjusted the radar settings, then scanned the building’s interior until the radar picked up body heat. “Bingo.”

Caleb immediately zoomed the camera in and got a good look at Mahone.

Dear Essenia, he thought, automatically invoking the name of the Earth Goddess to give him strength. Although humans believed Essenia was an Otherborn deity, few knew Earth People—like Caleb’s own Native American tribe—had prayed to the same deity for centuries. Besides, from what Caleb saw, Mahone needed all the prayers he could get.

With his wrists shackled to chains hanging from the ceiling, Mahone looked like he’d gotten into a fight with a chipper machine and lost. His face and body were covered in blood, and what was left of his clothes hung in shreds from his battered body. From his position on the rooftop above, Caleb once again adjusted the settings on the mobile radar equipment. His adjustments made the image on the screen zoom out, losing detail and focus until it captured the entire room, providing grainy outlines of Mahone, a desk, a table, and one other individual whose silver hair, height, and slim build proclaimed him to be a vampire.

When Caleb and the five members of Hope Restored Team Blue had arrived at the isolated warehouse twenty minutes earlier, Caleb had figured Knox, leader of the Para-Ops team, had made a mistake by not sending any Others with him. That, or Knox simply had faith in Caleb’s ability to take down anything that got in their way, human or not. Either way, Caleb was getting Mahone out, and he planned for both of them to be breathing when he did it.

Caleb thought of the first time he’d met Mahone and the vision he’d had. He’d had the same vision several times since, and the moment he’d met Wraith, he’d become convinced that the black-and-white aura that hovered near his own had to be hers. Upon their meeting, he’d felt a sizzling arc of connection that had only intensified with time. Apparently she hadn’t. In fact, she seemed to have no use for him and spent most of her time pushing him away. Maybe the aura belonged to Mahone, instead, and the vision had been a premonition of this very moment—Mahone straddling the line between life and death, waiting to see whether Caleb could save him.

Luckily for both of them, Caleb had come prepared.

He looked at Riley. The man might be a little chattier than Caleb liked, but he’d had no problem taking Caleb’s lead on the current mission. He was smart and he was a clean shot. That’s all that mattered right now. “Mahone’s in bad shape. We need to get in there fast. I’m hoping the vamp will teleport as soon as he knows he has company, but I need you and your team to cover me in case he decides to stick around. Are your shooters set up around the perimeter of the room?”

“They’ve all checked in and are in the crawl space with their weapons ready.”

“Obviously your bullets won’t kill him, but along with the Hyperion gas, they may buy me enough time to get to Mahone and extract him.”

“How long does it take for the Hyperion to immobilize a vampire?”

The Hyperion was something Caleb had developed toward the end of the War. The government hadn’t known about it, and he’d only used it a few times before peace had been declared. The testing he’d conducted had been limited, but he felt fairly confident it would work.

At this point, he figured his odds of getting out with Mahone were only slightly below average. “Usually about sixty seconds, but that’s with a vamp who’s been weakened by the effects of the vampire vaccine. From the looks of this one, he’s had pure blood recently. Still, he might not be at full strength.”

“If the vamp’s immobilized by the Hyperion, how do we keep him contained while we take him in?”

“We don’t. That’s not what we’re here for. Our sole objective is to rescue Mahone.”

Riley nodded, but looked troubled. “You said he’s doing bad . . .”

Caleb tried to keep his expression blank. “Doing bad” was an understatement. Mahone probably had less than five minutes of life left in his broken body. “Just get me to him. I’ll take care of it from there. You ready?”

Riley communicated with his men, then nodded. “It’s a go.”

Slipping the small gas pellet from his pocket, Caleb held it up. “Remember, you have to stay back. Help me hold back the vamp, then get your men out. You’re maintaining the perimeter, not going in. This gas immobilizes vamps and weres, but it does far worse to humans once enough of it is absorbed in the bloodstream.”

“What about you?”

“I’ve built up a resistance. It’s not extensive, but it’ll give me the five minutes I need. If we don’t make it out, it’ll take two hours for the gas to dissipate. Don’t come into the room until that much time has passed. Understood?”

Riley nodded and held out his hand. O’Flare shook it, then strode to the door that would lead him from the roof to the room below. He moved quietly, his breathing low and shallow, his gun held at the ready with the gas pellet in his other hand. He’d activate it as soon as he got close enough that it could work its magic on the vampire.

When he entered the room, he immediately saw Mahone. Even the radar’s enhanced imaging hadn’t prepared him. The vampire wasn’t touching him, but Mahone’s facial features were contorted in agony, his body writhing and jerking even as he remained silent. Fuck, Caleb thought when he saw the blood seeping out of Mahone’s eyes and ears.

“Hey, vamp.” He shouted at the same time he threw the pellet, which would emit a toxic but invisible gas. The vampire whirled around, his eyes flashing red the instant he saw Caleb. The vampire bared his fangs and came at him, his feet gliding above the ground. Caleb fired a round directly at his chest, causing him to fall back. At the same time, Riley and his men fired, as well. As the vamp jerked with the impact of the bullets, O’Flare ran for Mahone. He reached up and felt his pulse.

It was barely there. Caleb felt the man’s life literally bleeding out of him.

Laying his hands on Mahone’s bloody chest, Caleb closed his eyes. Bullets still fired around him, some coming too damn close. Damn it, Riley’s men had to get out before the gas reached them in the crawl space. “Get out!” he yelled.

“The vampire teleported,” Riley shouted. “We’re clear.”

With a sigh of relief, Caleb willed his consciousness into a trance and called to his ancestors for their healing help. He saw them in the colors that swirled behind his eyelids and felt their presence in the heat that immediately suffused his body. Their voices chanted, low and soothing, directing him to keep one hand directly over Mahone’s heart and the other over his eyes. Caleb willed the healing heat building within his body to transfer to Mahone. As it did, he took some of Mahone’s pain into himself.

He felt his own heartbeat slow.

His limbs weakened.

His body began to shake with the effort of remaining upright, and he forced even breaths, sensing he needed to maintain contact far longer than he ever had.

Come on, come on, he urged himself. Hang in there.

The dizziness came next. Then the nausea. He could feel his lungs filling with the gas that swirled around them and knew his time was running out.

His body jerked as he coughed, and the movement threatened to pull his hands away from Mahone.

They had to get out of there, but if he disconnected too soon, it would all be for nothing. Mahone would die. Hell, Caleb would probably die, as well, too weak from the healing to get out on his own.

But then he felt Mahone’s chest rising strongly and his pulse beating regularly, and he knew the healing had worked. The heat slowly left his body, and the voices of his ancestors faded. Caleb whispered his thanks, then opened his eyes. Swiftly, he reached up and unhooked Mahone’s chains from the manacles around his wrists. Mahone groaned and slumped over just as Caleb caught him and threw him fireman-style over his shoulder.

Caleb staggered a few steps before he turned, intending to carry Mahone to the doorway. Halfway there, his knees buckled. He lost his grip on Mahone, and the man slipped and rolled a couple of feet away. Grunting, Caleb fell on all fours, his head hanging, his lungs seizing up.

He’d waited too long. They were both going to die in this warehouse, just like the FBI scientists who’d discovered the vamp antidote only to be killed because of it. He looked up, eyes watering, searching the room, thankful that Team Blue had obeyed his orders even as he regretted the fact no one was going to be able to help him.

But then he saw her. Wraith. Running toward him. He tried to open his mouth. To yell at her to stop.

His heart squeezed. Damn her for putting herself at such risk. He didn’t know how the gas would affect a wraith. Since it worked so well on vamps, immortality had nothing to do with the effects. But he couldn’t make a sound, and Wraith kept coming. She knelt beside him and pulled him up. She was yelling something, and he tried to make it out.

“. . . have to walk! I need to get Mahone. Can you walk, O’Flare?”

She was glancing frantically between him and Mahone, the indecision on her face readily apparent. She couldn’t carry them both out of there before the gas ended them.

“Leave me . . .” he tried to say, but again no sound came out. It didn’t matter. Wraith understood.

She grabbed him by his shirt and shook him, hanging on when he began to slide, practically keeping him on his feet. “No fucking way, O’Flare. I didn’t survive Korea just to come back and lose you in the States. Stay on your feet and move. You’re walking out of here. Got it?”

The vehemence in her voice roused him enough to nod. She released him, and although he swayed on his feet, he didn’t fall. Quickly, she grabbed Mahone, carrying him in the same lift O’Flare had used. Then, amazingly, she positioned herself next to him and ordered, “Lean against me if you need to. Start walking. Now.”

Caleb walked. He didn’t know how he did it, but he managed to put one foot in front of the other. At one point, he did have to lean on her, and he sensed how it slowed her down, but she didn’t move away. She stayed with him.

Until they made it out into the open air. He heard shouts and the sound of stomping feet just as he collapsed.

When he came to, he was being loaded into an ambulance. Riley’s face hovered above him. “Mahone?” Caleb rasped out.

“Still alive,” Riley said. “But I don’t know if he’s going to stay that way.”

From the worried expression on the man’s face, Caleb knew his own chance of survival was also in question.

“Wraith?” he asked, grabbing on to the man’s shirt when he didn’t answer. “What about the wraith?”

Riley shook his head. “I don’t know. She passed out, same as you. No pulse, remember? No breath. No way to tell if she’s alive or dead. They took her in another cab. Your guess is as good as mine.”

Meet the Author

Virna DePaul was an English major in college and—despite a passion for Shakespeare, Broadway musicals, and romance novels—somehow ended up with a law degree. For ten years she was a criminal prosecutor for the California Attorney General’s Office. Now, she’s thrilled to be writing stories about complex individuals (fully human or not) who are willing to overcome incredible odds for love.

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Chosen by Fate 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Chosen By Fate Virna DePaul Berkley, Oct 4 2011, $7.99 ISBN: 9780425243992 Wraith is a ghost who when touched feels extreme pain. Her ghostly time is soon to expire as wraiths never survive more than a decade. However, she could deal with whatever occurs if she knew who she was and if that person ever felt love when she was alive. Para-Ops mortal Shaman healer Caleb O'Flare is attracted to Wraith. He understands her agonies as he shares one of them; a deep need to touch and make love with her though he knows that will never happen. As they work an Otherborn case together, she prays for just one night with Caleb so that when she moves on she does so in bliss. The latest Para-Ops urban romantic fantasy (see Chosen By Blood) is a terrific thriller that nicely deploys on two fronts. First there is the exciting case that the Wraith and the Shaman work. Then there is the growing but impossible star-crossed love between the pair. Fast-paced, filled with action and loaded with angst, readers will appreciate this superb tale, which will be on short lists for sub-genre book of the year. Harriet Klausner
meggerfly More than 1 year ago
Wraith has a secret. She was about to die. It was a closely guarded secret that no wraith had ever lived until it's 11th birthday and her 10th had already passed. Her time was running out. There was only a few things that she wanted before she died. She wanted to know who she was and Caleb O'Flare. Caleb O'Flare had joined the Para-Op's team in order to clear his name. It was thought that he was responsible for killing his friend and he was bound and determined to find out who was really behind it. When the Felines - he's friend's race - started being attacked he knew that solving the issue would lead to some of the answers that he was looking for. In Chosen by Fate the relationship between Caleb and Wraith heats up. Because Virna Depaul is a great author, she had laid the groundwork for their relationship in Chosen by Blood and I was anxious to see how she was going to work it out. I mean, how were they supposed to get together if the simplest of touches caused Wraith pain? Not to worry though because Virna found a way around it by throwing us a few of her trademark curve balls to keep us on our toes. Caleb and Wrath gave off some mega sparks but those sparks never really created a fire for me. I consider that both a good thing and a... less than good thing. It was good because DePaul stuck to her guns about touch causing Wraith pain. That lead us down a BDSM path which was an idea that I really liked. It was based in "reality" and worked amazingly well within both the world that she created as well as the storyline. It was less good because I wanted more sex LOL! Virna can write one hell of a love scene when she sets her mind to it! I'm not too happy with who the Biggest Bad is. I like the Quorum as the villains. The Quorum are impersonal. They're just a bunch of bigots. This new puppet master however has the ability to devastate one of the team members. All that I can say (without spoilers) is that Virna has created a villain that I already HATE WITH A PASSION. I love it when an author evokes such a response from me. All in All this was a great addition to the series. I was happy to see Caleb and Wraith get closure to their issues as well as their HEA. I hope to see more of them in future books. On a different note... Dex!!!!!! OMG the scenes that had Dex in they have me sooooo wanting more of him. I can't wait to read his book! HOT DAMN! This book ended with a real cliffhanger!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was as good as the first book in this series. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book.
SmittenWithReading More than 1 year ago
My Review: This book was much more romance based than the first book. While I loved that in the aspect that this is a gorgeous romance, I really missed the full team aspect of the first book. In fact, Knox & Felicia hardly even make an appearance in this book and the overall feel of the book suffered because of that, in my opinion. What did work for this book, though, was the incredible romance between Wraith & Caleb...wow, it was sizzling!! As a wraith, Wraith cannot be touched without pain, which makes a relationship really difficult, if not impossible. Add to that, Caleb is a healer. His whole goal in life is to help, NOT hurt. He mentally cannot handle the anguish of knowing that any touch he shares with Wraith hurts her, even if there is some pleasure too. Oh, and yes, there is the added difficulty that wraiths never live to see their 11th year, which means that Wraith is really dying. She is seeing all the signs that this is happening sooner rather than later so she is looking at her last chance to enjoy some time with Caleb. Wraith is not an easy person. She has built up these walls around her over the last 10 years of her life that are incredibly hard to penetrate, but Caleb is just the guy for the job. He is so persistent and caring with her. It's really gorgeous the way that he handles her, both physically and mentally. He is such an amazing guy. I definitely fell in love with his character!! It's a beautiful, emotional love story and I really truly enjoyed it! In this book, the team is dealing with a threat towards the felines where the females are being drugged and raped. Because Knox & Felicia just got married, they are not participating in this mission. That leaves the other four: Wraith, Caleb, Dex, & Lucy to carry out the mission. The nature of the mission means that they aren't really working as a group much. As a reader, what you see instead is a lot of alone time between Wraith & Caleb and then to a lesser degree, Dex & Lucy. I enjoyed those moments, but missed the team dynamic in this book. There is a really interesting side story between Dex & Lucy and it will be interesting to see how much that story comes into play in the next book which is about Dex. While I missed some of the aspects that were so good about the first novel, this is still an amazing read. I thoroughly enjoyed it!! It absolutely would have scored a solid "A" for me (instead of the A- that I gave it) until the final 10 pages of the book, when the conclusion just seemed a little lacking or too easy and there was a clue that this team is dissolving even further...such a disappointment to me.
mrsgodiva More than 1 year ago
Caleb and Wraith rock as a couple. I liked and enjoyed reading Chosen By Blood, the first in the Para-Ops series, but I loved Chosen By Fate. Can't wait for the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the characters and the plot! This story is action-packed while still being very emotional.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Throughly enjoyed this continuation and looking forward to the next book. Found that the story grabbed me from the beginning to the end. A keeper!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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