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Dark Embrace (Masters of Time Series #3)

( 54 )


Aidan, the Wolf of Awe, has abandoned the Brotherhood and forsaken his vows. Feared by all and trusted by none, he hunts alone, seeking vengeance against the evil that destroyed his son. He has not saved an Innocent in sixty-six years—until he hears Brianna Rose's scream of terror across centuries, and leaps to modern-day Manhattan to rescue her.…

Brie is a gifted empath who spends her time fighting evil from the safety of her laptop—and fantasizing about the medieval Highlander...

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Aidan, the Wolf of Awe, has abandoned the Brotherhood and forsaken his vows. Feared by all and trusted by none, he hunts alone, seeking vengeance against the evil that destroyed his son. He has not saved an Innocent in sixty-six years—until he hears Brianna Rose's scream of terror across centuries, and leaps to modern-day Manhattan to rescue her.…

Brie is a gifted empath who spends her time fighting evil from the safety of her laptop—and fantasizing about the medieval Highlander she met just once. Still, her life is pretty ordinary—until she awakens one night consumed with Aidan's pain and rage. When Aidan suddenly appears and takes her hostage, Brie cannot believe how dark and dangerous he has become. She knows she should be afraid, but instead, she will fight across time for his redemption…and his love.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373773343
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Series: Masters of Time Series , #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,083,819
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Brenda Joyce is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels and novellas, including the popular and critically acclaimed de Warenne Dynasty Saga, a series of novels set in Regency and Victorian England. She lives on a ranch in Arizona with her dogs, broodmares and the year’s current crop of foals. If she isn’t on the back of a reining horse, she can be found madly at work in her office, penning her latest romance novel.

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Read an Excerpt

The Present

September 2008, New York City

The roar of human pain awoke her.

Brianna Rose sat bolt upright, awoken from a deep sleep, horrified by the sound. It was filled with rage and anguish and disbelief. And then the pain cut through her.

She doubled over in her bed, clutching herself as if someone had actually slid a butcher's knife through her chest. For one moment, she could not breathe. She had never experienced that kind of anguish in her twenty-six years. Panting hard, she prayed for the pain to end. Then, suddenly, it did.

But as the torment vanished abruptly, a man's handsome image flared in her mind.

A new, terrible tension began. Carefully, Brie sat upright, shaken and stunned. Her loft was silent, except for the sounds of the cars and cabs driving by outside on the street, and the accompaniment of blaring horns. She trembled, glancing at her bedside clock. It was ten after one in the morning. What had just happened?

All the Rose women were empathic to one degree or another. Their empathy was supposed to be a gift, but too often it was a curse, like now. She had been consumed with another human being's pain. Something terrible had just happened, and she could not shake the dark, handsome image she'd just seen from her mind.

Brie trembled, tossing aside the covers. Was Aidan in trouble?

She became very still, her mouth dry, her heart thundering. She'd met him exactly a year ago, perhaps for two whole minutes. Her best friend, Allie, had been missing for weeks and she'd returned briefly to New York—from the Middle Ages—with Aidan's help.

He was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. Allie had explained about the secret Brotherhood and the men belonging to it, men who called themselves the Masters of Time. All were sworn before God to defend mankind from the evil in the night. Brie hadn't been surprised—there had been rumors of such warriors for as long as she could remember. In fact, like Allie, she and her cousins, Tabby and Sam, had been thrilled that the whispers were reality.

Brianna had no personal delusions. He was absolutely unforgettable, but she knew a man like that would never look at a woman like her twice—or think about her twice, either. She didn't blame him. She didn't even mind.

She was really good at wearing baggy clothes to hide her curves, and she never wore her contacts. Her eyeglasses were downright ugly. She knew that if she had her dark hair cut and styled properly, if she dressed fashionably and wore makeup, she'd probably look exactly like her mother, Anna Rose.

Brie had no desire to resemble her beautiful, passionate and rebellious mother in any way. Anna had been that rare Rose woman who had not been handed down any gifts. She had been destructive, not constructive; her touch and beauty damaged instead of helped others. In the end, she had hurt those she loved the most, and she had destroyed not only her own family, but herself. Brie didn't want to recall finding her mother dead on the kitchen floor, shot by her jealous boyfriend, with her father weeping over Anna's body. Being a retiring nerd was way better than following in Anna's footsteps.

But Brie had other gifts, making her a lot less nerdy than she appeared. She had been gifted with the Sight. It was the greatest gift a Rose woman could have, handed down from grandmother to grandchild. Brie had been terrified of her visions at first, but Grandma Sarah had explained that the Sight was a precious gift, one meant to be cherished. It was a great resource, meant to help people, which the Rose women were destined to do—and had been doing for hundreds of years. Grandma Sarah had taught her almost everything she knew about good, evil and life.

By now Brie was almost accustomed to the wiles of Fate. Life wasn't easy and it wasn't fair, and the good died young every single day. She didn't blame Anna for her uncontrollable passions. She knew Anna hadn't been able to help herself. She'd resented her sisters for having their gifts and their lives, and her own simple marriage hadn't been enough for her. She'd been an unhappy woman. She had been selfish, but not cruel—and certainly not evil. She hadn't deserved an early death.

It was all ancient history. Dad had remarried—the best thing that ever could have happened to him. Anna was dead and buried, but not forgotten. Brie was determined to be as solid, dependable and trustworthy as her mother was not. Her life was helping others, giving selflessly—perhaps to make up for all the hurt Anna had inflicted. She was thrilled to be employed by the Center for Demonic Activity, a secret government agency dedicated to the war on evil. There, she fought dark forces throughout the ages from the basement, at a computer.

Her cousins claimed she was doing her best to hide from men. They were right. The last thing she wanted was for a man to notice her. She would probably die a virgin, and it didn't matter.

Aidan hadn't noticed her, she was certain, but she had taken one look at him and had fallen hard. She was hopelessly infatuated. She thought about him every day, dreamed about him at night and had even spent hours on the Web, reading about the medieval Highlands. The Rose women came from the northern Highlands originally, so she'd always been fascinated with Scotland's history, but now she foolishly hoped to learn more about him. When he'd brought Allie back to the city from 1430, he'd appeared to be about twenty-five years old. Allie had returned to her lover, Black Royce, at Carrick Castle in Morvern. Brie wished she'd asked her friend about Aidan, but their visit had been too brief. So she kept returning to Carrick's history, yearning for a mention of a man named Aidan, but that was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Still, there were many references to the powerful Earl of Morvern and his fair Lady of Carrick. Brie was thrilled. Even across time, she knew Allie and Royce were fulfilling their destinies together.

She would probably never learn anything about Aidan, and she was sensible enough to realize it, but that didn't stop her crush. A fantasy was harmless. She hadn't even tried to talk herself out of it. If she was going to fall head over heels in love and never act on it, why not do so with someone absolutely unattainable? Aidan, a medieval Highlander with the power to time travel and a mandate to protect Innocence, was a really, really safe bet.

Brie was feeling sick now. It was one thing to have visions and empathy, but she had just heard Aidan roaring in anguish, as if he'd been in the same room with her. How close by was he?

What had happened to him?

Afraid he was in the city, and hurt, Brie got up. She was clad in a simple pink tank top and briefs. It was Indian summer, and even at night it was warm and humid. She hurried across her large, shadowy loft, hitting lights as she went. She'd half expected Aidan to be present, maybe unconscious in the shadows and sprawled out on her floor, but the loft was empty.

At her front door, which was triple locked and had multiple alarms, she peered through the peephole into the hall. It was lit and empty, too.

Her loft was thoroughly fortified with Tabby's spells and prayers and Brie wore a Celtic cross that she never took off. A small page from the Book handed down through generations of Rose women was also framed and nailed to her door to keep evil out. But Brie said a silent prayer to the long-ago gods, anyway.

She could feel evil, very close by, drifting about the streets, preying upon anyone foolish enough to defy Bloomberg's voluntary curfew. But she didn't want to think about the city's problems now. She had to somehow find Aidan and make sure he was okay. Maybe Tabby and Sam could make heads or tails out of this. The other person who would probably have a clue was her boss, Nick Forrester, but she was hesitant to call him. She kept a very low profile at CDA. He knew nothing about her gifts—or her cousins and their extracurricular activities.

Brie grabbed the phone as she went to her computer and began logging onto HCU's immense database. The Historical Crimes Unit was a part of CDA. She spent her days—and even her nights—looking through two centuries of case files, searching for historic coincidences. Her job was to find matches between their current targets and demons operating in the past. It was amazing how many demons terrorizing the country today came from past centuries.

Because searching for coincidences involved comparisons with active cases, she had access to current criminal investigations, including federal, state and local NYPD records. Multitasking, Brie began to search for the most recent reported criminal activities as she dialed her cousins' number. She pictured Aidan lying hurt on a dark, slick city street, but she knew it was only her imagination responding to her worst fears.

Tabby answered, sounding as if she'd been deeply asleep. She'd divorced well over a year ago. It had taken her a long time to recover from her husband's infidelity, and she had just begun dating again. But she was very conservative, and Brie had expected her to be alone and asleep.

"I really need your help," Brie said swiftly.

"Brie, what is it?" Tabby was instantly awake.

"Aidan is in trouble—and I think he's nearby."

Tabby paused and Brie felt her trying to recall just who Aidan was. "You don't mean the Highlander who brought Allie back last year?"

"I do," Brie whispered.

"Can this wait until morning?" Tabby asked.

It wasn't safe for anyone to tool around the city after dark. "I don't think so," Brie said grimly. "It wasn't a vision, Tabby. I felt his pain. He's in trouble—right now."

Tabby was silent, and Brie heard Sam in the background, asking what was wrong. The sisters shared a loft just a few blocks away. "We'll be right over," Tabby said.

Brie hung up, slipped on her jeans and sat down to seriously go over the cases she'd pulled. She was immersed in files when the doorbell rang twenty minutes later. She'd found nothing, and she supposed that was a relief. What she didn't want to find was a dead victim with Aidan's description. For all she knew, though, he was immortal. She hoped so.

Maybe the worst was over, she thought as she went to let the girls in. Maybe he'd gone back in time, where he belonged.

Tabby entered first, a willowy blonde in slacks and a silk tank top who always looked as if she were on her way to or from the country club. No one would ever guess from looking at her that Tabby was an earth mother. Sam followed, shockingly gorgeous even with her short-cropped platinum hair—but then, she had a Lara Croft from Tomb Raider body. Brie admired her immensely because she was so fearless and so open about her sexuality. She happened to know that Sam's messenger bag was loaded with weapons, and she carried a stiletto strapped to her thigh beneath the denim miniskirt she wore. On anybody else it might be corny, but on Sam it was darned serious.

Tabby took one look at Brie and rushed to hug her. "You are so worried!"

Sam closed and locked the door. "Did you find anything?" she asked, nodding at the computer.

"He's probably gone back to his time," Brie said. She wet her lips, aware of an absurd disappointment.

"Don't look so happy about it," Sam said wryly, striding across the loft to the computer and peering at the screen. "I don't think a man like that is easily hurt."

"I think he was tortured. I have never felt so much pain," Brie said.

Sam didn't look up from the screen, scrolling through files she had no right to view.

Tabby put her arm around Brie. "You're so pale. Are you all right?"

"I'll survive," Brie said, forcing a smile.

"Are you sure it was Aidan?" Tabby asked, rather unnecessarily, as Sam sat down at the desk. Tabby glanced at the poster from the movie The Highlander, which Brie had framed and hung on her living-room wall, her amber gaze narrowing.

"One hundred percent. I saw him as clear as day. It wasn't a vision, but it wasn't my imagination, either. I can't empathize across time. I certainly can't hear someone cry out from far away. He was here, close by. He was hurt. Really, really hurt." Brie trembled, feeling sick again.

"If he's hurt and in the city, we'll find him," Sam said firmly.

Brie felt reassured. Sam always got what she wanted.

"When did you put that poster up?" Tabby asked.

Brie blinked at her. "I don't remember," she lied, flushing.

Tabby stared. Then she moved toward the living area. "Well, this looks to be an all-nighter," she said cheerfully. "It's almost three in the morning, and I don't think any of us will make it back to bed." She began laying out her mother's crystals on the coffee table.

And the roar of anguish began again, deafening Brie. She gasped, stunned by the bellow of rage. Her hands flew automatically to her ears. His pain sent her down to the floor, where she doubled over, crushed by it, consumed by it…imprisoned by it. This time, the sensation was unbearable.

Oh my God, what's happening to Aidan? Is he being tortured?

"Brie!" Tabby screamed.

Vaguely, she was aware of Tabby holding her, but it didn't matter.

Brie knew they were ripping his heart out now. They were ripping her heart out. She wept in Tabby's arms, her world spinning with shocking force and then going black.

Aidan, she somehow thought. He was dying from the torture, and she was dying, too.

Nick Forrester sat at his computer in his night-darkened living room, clad only in his jeans. He'd completely forgotten about the leggy blonde who lay asleep in his bed. In fact, he couldn't recall her name. He'd picked her up outside the Korean grocery, and maybe he hadn't ever known the name. It was late, but he didn't need more than a few hours of sleep—especially not after a long round of sex, which he found energizing. Sex always empowered him.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 54 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 54 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 30, 2009

    OH MY GOSH!!!

    This one is BY FAR the best one I LOVE by this author!!! Thought out, romantic, and sad.

    IT IS A PAGE TURNER, I couldn't put the book down, finished it in one day. I recommend!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2009


    I was hoping this would be as good as her detective romances but unfortunately though the plot was interesting, the writing was so awful I just could not get through it. I was unhappy with the writing style of her other series I read, but I couldn't stand it here...please don't read this series.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 25, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    OMG!!! I loved it!!!

    Ms. Joyce you have out done yourself. I loved the book and could not put it down. This is your best book so far. Can't wait until the next one comes out. I fell in love with Adian, all he went through and the pain of losing his son. I, like Adian would have done anything, I mean anything for my son and you played him out perfect. A parent could definetly relate to the hell Adian had to go through. I just can't say enough about how much I loved this book. You put the story together superbly!!!! Kudos to Brenda Joyce. I will be anxiously waiting for the next book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2008


    The storyline was good and had great potential but I found it to be very difficult to enjoy. It was incredibly frustrating and the way the story was woven was unbelievable. For example the g.p.s. on a blackberry would not work in the past because there were no satelights to pinpoint a location, you were just expected to believe it. I know it was just a fictional story but to me for a story to work you need to entwine the story around the era in which your charactors appear in. I also found very difficult to except was the hero in this story. I have read my fare share of tortured hero's but this seemed that his past was very difficult to overcome and towards the end of the book there was no remorse or anguish over the destruction of his past just tiny hints here and there and then quickly forgotten. The destruction was incredibly evil for a hero to have been a part of and simply leaving raped victims alive just wasn't enough for me when you read the countless children killed. The heroin however her faith and devotion kept me reading until the end hoping for a happy ending for her.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I was super excited to read about the Wolf of Awe - from his bri

    I was super excited to read about the Wolf of Awe - from his brief appearances in the first two books he really drew me in.  Unfortunately, he left me a little wanting, as did his leading lady, Brie.  Aiden has changed a lot since book two of the Masters of Time and is not quite the tormented soul - and feels the need to remind everyone of this quite often.  For a super powerful half-demon magic wielding immortal, there were times he came off a bit whiny.  Thankfully he improved as the book went on and grew to become the awesome character I'd hoped for.

    Brie was a little more fun at the beginning, but at times her blind devotion to Aiden grated on my nerves a bit.  It was fun to see her come out of her shell and become the person outside that she was inside.  I really enjoyed watching her psychic ability grow and can see her becoming quite powerful in future books.

    Once again Brenda Joyce was able to pull me into her story and I didn't want her to let go.  When the book was done I was so sad to leave the Masters of Time until I could get my hands on the next book.  While her characters may not be my idea of perfect, they did fit the story well and helped to carry it along smoothly.  Dark Victory is up next in the series and I can't wait to read about another hunky highlander.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Old Books, Made to Look Like New Books

    Hate to repurchase books that look familiar but you think that they are new. These books are from 2007, 2008. I bought them before I went and checked her list of books. My mistake - won't happen again. Why don't they list previous publish dates so you know they are not new!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2012

    Mistic tree


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  • Posted December 21, 2011

    Great paranormal writer!

    I just discovered Brenda Joyce's series of The Masters of Time and her books are awesome. I love the way she writes and each character is so memorable that you cannot wait to pick up the next book. She continues the stories in such a way that you hate for it to end, but want to start on the next right away. I will definitely be checkiing out any of her other books.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011


    I am a big fan of para-romance novels and this series was hot. I picked up the novel on my Nook for cheap and I just had to read all of them.

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  • Posted November 22, 2008


    This was an excellent book. Couldn't put it down. Now I'm going crazy trying to find the rest of the series. This is the first time I've read anything from this author, but you can be sure that from now on she's going to be one of my favs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2008

    strong dark thriller

    In the fifteenth century in Loch Awe, Scotland, being a Master of Time, Aidan the Wolf of Awe had pledged his life to keep people safe, but six plus decades have past since he saved an innocent. He had adhered strictly to his vow until he faced the worst dilemma of his life. Vicious Moray blackmailed him into breaking his oath or else Aidan's son would die brutally. Aidan committed the murder demanded by Moray, but the evil one took the child anyway. A distraught Aidan has since become an emotionally crippled hermit. --- In 2008 New York City, empathic Brianna Rose's pleads for someone to help her. Heeding the call, his first since Moray destroyed him, Aidan leaps to her. She has had visions and dreams involving Aidan and his son. Brie vows to help this tormented kind soul move on by finding a way to reunite father and son even as Moray has plans for the intruder. --- The latest Masters of Time romantic fantasy (see DARK SEDUCTION and DARK RIVAL) is a superb thriller starring a wonderful wounded warrior, a courageous modern woman with a psychic gift, and an odious villain who uses others¿ love as a weapon to destroy them. In some ways Moray the malevolent steals the show with his twisted usage of love, but his opponents this time include a modern day woman prepared to kick butt whose bravery moves the hero to action. Brenda Joyce provides a strong dark thriller that her fans will relish. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2008

    A reviewer

    After his son Ian was killed by his father Moray, Aidan ¿ The Wolf of Awe has hunted alone. Betrayed and hurt by a Brotherhood he loyally served, he turned his back on Innocence and the greater good. Instead he embraces the darkness that surrounds him. But when an Innocent suddenly appears to him from the future ¿ he leaps to her aid and rescue, taking her back to the year 1502. Brie Rose spends most of her days in the basement at the CDA office fighting evil from her laptop. Like her sister Tabitha, she has magical powers she is able to feel people¿s pain. When Aidan¿s pain and outrage suddenly consumes her mind and body it almost kills her. She is then shocked to discover that all files in the CDA have Aidan dying in 1502 for high treason and no sightings have been reported in over a year ¿ the last time she saw him. When a group of deamans corner Brie in an alley, a Wolf leaps to her rescue and saves her. She realizes its Aidan and not the carefree and charming Aidan she remembers. He is now filled with hate and anger, she senses deep down that there is still good in him and is determined to save his life and soul. DARK EMBRACE is the start of 'The Rose Trilogy' in Brenda Joyce¿s The Masters Of Time¿ series. It¿s an exciting and thrilling introduction to the Rose woman sharing a destiny with these sexy and irresistible highland warriors. These two characters are powerful and passionate ¿ total opposites in personality, facing incredible odds, as their love story is seductive and remarkably tender. Aidan wants nothing to do with her she represents everything he¿s turned his back on. However Brie¿s undying love and relentless pursuit to discover and unravel the truth has an effect on his heart and he comes to trust her. Moray a vile character we all thought vanquished by Claire and Malcolm in DARK SEDUCTION returns with shocking secrets and stronger powers. The evil he possessed will make any reader gasp as he weaves his destruction and devastation around Aidan and those close to him. He truly is the most heinous and despicable character created by Brenda Joyce. I also enjoyed catching up with previous characters from the first two novels and felt the sadness and helplessness they all conveyed when Aidan turned his back on everything and everyone. In addition the old bonds and new friendships that are developed and explored throughout this novel and series leaves you anxious to read the next instalment in the series. DARK EMBRACE will not disappoint readers and fans of the series Brenda Joyce takes Aidan to the dark side with a captivating inner battle of good vs. evil.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2008

    Fantastic Intricate Time Travel Romance

    Paranormal fans are in for a treat with Brenda Joyce¿s DARK EMBRACE, Book #3 in her fantastic Master¿s Of Time¿ series for HQN 'Sept. 2008'. In present day New York City, 26-year-old, nerdy, myopic virgin, Brianna Rose is thrilled to be employed by the Center for Demonic Activity, a secret government agency dedicated to the war on evil and is content to fight dark forces throughout the ages at her computer. She works in the Historical Crimes Unit finding matches between current targets and demons operating in the past. As a Rose woman, Brie is gifted and extremely empathic to others pain especially highland warrior, Aidan, the Wolf of Awe, who she¿s met briefly, fantasizes about daily and dreams of nightly! When Brie wakes from a nightmare in great pain, she knows Aidan is in terrible danger and upon further research discovers he was hanged for treason and his stone effigy is atop a medieval tomb. In 1502 Scotland, Aidan is not only a fierce highlander but also one of the Masters of Time, sworn to defend mankind from evil. However, Aidan has turned from his god given calling and for years has been on a rampage of destruction seeking retribution for the death of his beloved young son, Ian by the hands of his evil demon father, Moray, who has convinced Aidan that he is also a deamhan. The hardened Aidan, who is also a shape-shifter wolf, has no feelings for women except to use them for sex to gain power that he needs to destroy his father. However, during some of his darkest moments he senses Brie, who wants to help him. When Aidan senses it is Brie, who needs his help one night from attackers on the streets of NYC, he time travels to her rescue. After Brie calls her boss, who shows up at her apartment threatening Aidan, Aidan sweeps Brie back to his time with him. Will Brie be able to stop Aidan from marching on Inverness with his men and ultimately being hanged? Will they find out what really happened to young Ian, who appears to Brie as a ghost? And finally, will Brie and Aidan¿s intense attraction for each other lead to her seduction and his salvation? Don¿t miss the enthralling DARK EMBRACE in Brenda Joyce¿s Masters Of Time¿ series which offers readers all they could want in a paranormal romance: extraordinary lovers and their fiery passion for each other woven into a uniquely intricate plot.

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    Posted June 11, 2011

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    Posted January 14, 2010

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    Posted February 5, 2010

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    Posted October 17, 2008

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    Posted July 4, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2009

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    Posted December 21, 2009

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