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Book 3 of The Cambion Chronicles
Finding your soul mate is the ultimate dream come true. But for Samara Marshall, it's a matter of life and death. . .
After falling for a Cambion and then turning into one herself, Samara never thought her senior year could get more complicated. The gaps in her memory, the mysterious deaths, and the constant danger that threaten her once quiet town have a common thread: Tobias,...
Book 3 of The Cambion Chronicles
Finding your soul mate is the ultimate dream come true. But for Samara Marshall, it's a matter of life and death. . .
After falling for a Cambion and then turning into one herself, Samara never thought her senior year could get more complicated. The gaps in her memory, the mysterious deaths, and the constant danger that threaten her once quiet town have a common thread: Tobias, a demon with a lot of enemies. He's also Samara's other soul mate and he's suddenly disappeared.
Samara knows the key to finding Tobias lies with her inner demon, who has her own agenda and threatens to take over completely. But Samara isn't the only one who wants to find Tobias. His enemies are getting closer, and their plans for retribution could mean deadly consequences for Samara and her true soul mate, Caleb. . ..
"Jaime Reed's books are irresistible." --Ann Aguirre, author of Enclave
Praise for The Cambion Chronicles
"Sexy and snarky! I dare you not to laugh while reading this fantastic debut." --Kody Keplinger, author of Shut Out
"With a sassy, kick-ass heroine, Jaime Reed's Living Violet will keep readers turning pages late into the night." --Eileen Cook, author of Unraveling Isobel
"Jaime Reed's books are irresistible. They couldn't be more delicious if they were made of cake and frosted in chocolate." --Ann Aguirre, author of Enclave
This is a handy rule of thumb, but secrets are unstable and require way too much maintenance. Every lie has to be reinforced by two more, and on it goes until eventually the secret implodes, and then everyone's day is ruined. It's a fitting punishment for dishonesty, just as long as you aren't both the liar and the person being deceived. That's when shit gets confusing.
So for the sake of honesty, I had to admit that these blackouts I kept having were getting worse. Much, much worse. They weren't daydreams anymore, or some momentary trance, but a complete displacement of time and space. Some sloppy editor had cut and pasted two separate scenes, hoping the audience wouldn't notice the lack in continuity. But there were some clues that gave away this manipulation.
The locale, for example, had changed. Instead of the child sweatshop known as James City High School, I was now at home, in my room, lying on my back on the ceiling. Yes, the ceiling. It wasn't the first time that I'd experienced the phenomenon of levitation, and my heart rate hadn't appreciated it then either. In fact, it was more alarming now since I had no memory of getting here.
I probably would still be asleep if it weren't for the sound of knocking on my front door. It could've been a neighbor, the UPS guy, or a Jehovah's Witness for all I cared. I needed a rescue, STAT. The knocking stopped and I soon heard a car start and back out of my driveway. I went into panic mode, desperately scrambling for control and some sense of reality.
My arms and feet dangled in the air, but my torso was trapped in some invisible harness. I rolled from one end to another and tried to use the corner wall to walk toward the floor, but my efforts were wasted. I had no power up here and I was just as afraid of floating as I was of falling. My entire body shook, my tears dropped on the floor below, and all my cries for help had gone unanswered.
Even if the person at the door had heard me, how would they get in? Even if they called the cops and they rammed their way inside, how would I explain why I was stuck on the ceiling? I could barely understand it myself, and I owned a higher knowledge of weird than the average person. Seeing as I wasn't going anywhere any time soon, I took in the aerial view of my room.
Four poster covered walls, two small windows, and the overflowing closet had never looked so alien, and the green color scheme added to the extraterrestrial feel. My computer desk and dresser sat on the opposite wall under an avalanche of books, soda cans, dirty laundry, and beauty products. I wouldn't have been surprised if something was living in my room making a nest for the winter, but I could sense no life energy in the house apart from my own.
In addition to my defiance of gravity, I was in pajamas and smelled of body wash. My hair hung around my face in wet, tangled clumps to where my fingers caught on the tight curls. It too had been cleaned, but managed by someone who had no skill in how to handle its texture. Since this was no doubt Lilith's fault, I didn't expect her to reveal full details of her deeds. My "internal roommate" went through a lot of effort to cover her tracks, but it was still a rush job, evidence that had to be removed quickly.
There lies the penalty of possession, what Cambions like me feared most. The sentient being living inside us was shady on a good day and could turn on its host if the wind blew wrong. I'd been told numerous times to be careful, to never lower my guard and never underestimate her power, but did I listen?
In my defense, I figured I'd have more time to adjust, to learn more about the Cambion world and the peculiar diet that came with it. After all, I wasn't born with this parasite like the rest of my kind, but got it as a crummy inheritance from a dearly departed friend. Her untimely death dropped a succubus on my doorstep along with a butt-load of responsibility.
Only my death could evict this evil tenant from her new abode, and I wasn't the suicidal type, no matter how bad my poetry got. It just wasn't how I handled problems; not how I rolled. Plus, my mom would kill me. But Lilith's recent stunt was enough to make me reconsider.
"How did I get here?" I asked her in a stern yet calm voice, not expecting an in depth answer. Lilith was a "Yes" or "No" kind of being, a ghostly Magic Eight Ball with limited responses. When she did respond, it would come in fragments of memories or a sharp zing up my spinal cord. But she remained still, tucked in her little corner at the base of my skull.
I struggled for composure, then continued. "Lilith, you need to stop doing this. I mean it! I'm sorry you got a raw deal in all of this, but you gotta let it go. This is my body, my rules, my choice."
Still no motion, which meant "No."
I rolled on my stomach and tried to do push-ups, belly flops, anything to demagnetize myself from the ceiling. No dice.
"Lilith! Let me down now!"
Before I could complete the command, gravity kicked in and my stomach jerked at the sensation of falling. The drop lasted longer than it should and the terror of weightlessness seized my heart. I could only manage a gasp as I drew further away from the ceiling, and the soft mattress broke my fall. Catching my breath, I pushed my hair from my face and noticed an important prop was missing from the set. My bracelet. It was gone.
It wasn't some arbitrary trinket, more like a handcuff with no key that required a band saw to remove. Its tracking system would've reported my whereabouts to my mom's laptop, and that security measure had now been breached.
I climbed out of bed and combed the floor in vain hope that I might have dropped it nearby. Pacing the floor, I recapped the last few moments I could remember, which consisted of a whole lot of nothing. What happened between 1:09 P.M. and 3:34 P.M. was a span that had no frame of reference. Only one person could fill in the blanks.
"What did you do?" I asked Lilith again.
That got her attention and she perked up. An image appeared behind my eyelids, a memory of me holding a jar of Caleb's "I love you" quarters that sat on top of my dresser. I remembered dancing and shaking the jar next to my ear like a maraca, one of the many embarrassing things I did in private while thinking about my boyfriend. Cake Boy and I were weird about the L word, so he allowed the accumulation of pocket change to speak for him. The image just popped in my head and I knew the vision was a clue from her.
I went to the dresser and checked the coin jar for anything out of the ordinary. Lying underneath was a note addressed to me on a white index card. At first I didn't recognize the handwriting—it was too sloppy. It reminded me of the way writing looks when you're learning cursive as a kid and using the lines on the page as a guide. At least I didn't have to worry about her forging my signature, although the bubble-like swoop of the Ys, Qs and Gs was spot on. Lilith had been living inside me for nearly six months with access to all my memories, so she was bound to pick up on a few things. I shouldn't have been shocked at her intelligence, her knowledge of the world around her, but I was. Even more so when I read the message on the card.
Samara, I've hidden these memories from you. Don't pursue this, don't question it. Accept the peace that comes with not knowing. You're safe now. Forget it ever happened. I'm sorry. Lilith
Was she for real? She really expected me to sweep this under the rug after reading a creepy haiku on a flash card? What was she trying to hide? Was it so bad that it was worth blocking out an entire afternoon of my life? Lilith made it clear that she wasn't going to budge on her decision, so I would have to do my own detective work.
But first, I needed to find that damn bracelet.
I checked the hall bathroom and found my clothes in the hamper along with my house key in my jean pocket, but no bracelet. In a frenzy, I searched Mom's room then went downstairs to check the kitchen and dining room. Unsuccessful, I crossed the foyer to the living room. My feet worked on their own accord as the rest of my body tried to drag out the inevitable. There was no getting around it now—it was the only place I hadn't checked.
I felt like that character in Pulp Fiction who had to get his father's watch back by any means necessary. My bracelet held a similar personal value, but without the really gross back story. Instead of a crime boss, I had a ghost to confront, a phantom by the name of Nadine Petrovsky, Lilith's former host.
I had no delusions that this part of the house was haunted, either by an actual substance or by a product of my neurosis. Seeing a close friend die in your living room will do that to you. Either way, bad times were to be had if I so much as stood in the entryway.
In a moment of courage, I rushed to the center of the room, looked for anything shiny, then jumped at the sharp chirp that broke the silence. Slowly, I turned to see the house phone sitting on the end table; the numbers of the incoming call glowing in the tiny display.
It rang again, and I could almost feel Mom's impatience on the other end of the phone. Just like the woman herself, the ring had a nagging persistence, demanding an answer whether I liked it or not.
I reached out as far as I could and snatched the phone off the charger, not moving any closer to the couch than necessary, and avoiding eye contact with the beautiful blonde sprawled on the floor. From this angle, I could see the length of her golden hair, the extended white arm, and the delicate wrist.
If I tried hard enough I could pretend that she was just taking a nap, the Sleeping Beauty after pricking her finger on the spindle. But Lilith knew better, I knew better, and a part of me hated Nadine for leaving me with this burden. Maybe this was her punishment, trapped in the plane of the living, forever beautiful, eternally young, and irrevocably dead.
Focusing on one mental meltdown at a time, I took a deep breath and put the phone to my ear. "Mom?"
"Hi, sweetie. I'm glad I caught you before you went to work. Your father just called my office and he said he's picking you up tomorrow to get your new car."
My car? It took a few seconds to decipher her meaning. "Oh! Yeah, right, thanks," I said when it finally dawned on me. "Wait, I have to work today?" I looked at the clock on top of the fireplace, which began to stretch and twist like saltwater taffy. The wall pictures and love seat joined the distortion, which was my cue to get the hell out of this room. I moved to the foyer while Mom ran off details about warranties and prices in my ear.
"Samara? Are you listening to me?" Mom asked.
"Yeah, cars are great. They go 'vroom,'" I replied, still trapped in my own thoughts. "This may sound like a weird question, but did you pick me up from school today?"
A long pause dragged through the line. "Uh, no. You called about an hour ago and said that you caught a ride from Caleb so you didn't need me to pick you up."
And she was cool with that? Ms. Julie it's-dangerous-for-the-two-of-you-to-be-alone-together Marshall allowed my boyfriend to take me home?
"Caleb?" I repeated.
"Yes, Samara. Caleb: tall, skinny, in desperate need of a shave, the boy you can't seem to live without," Mom said carefully as one would to a kid with special needs. "I figured since you both have to work today he can give you a ride. I'm a bit swamped here at the office. A lot of work piled up from the holiday and I need to play catch up."
I was still stuck on the 'Caleb taking me home' part. And the grim fact that I had to work today. Was he really at my house? Maybe he could give me some answers.
I raced to the door, and stopped at the security alarm. It was activated, which required a four-digit security code whenever the door was opened. I wondered what else Lilith had memorized. My locker combination? My Social Security number? My ... real dress size? I shuddered at the thought.
I opened the door and flinched at the cold gust of air, a rude introduction to the winter season. The foliage was now brown, and most of it littered the lawn along with shattered glass and debris from the supernatural storm on Thanksgiving night. My next door neighbor untied a pine tree from the roof of his minivan. A woman in a pink velour jumpsuit jogged across the street with her enormous German shepherd. A group of kids strolled from the corner bus stop, hauling book bags and lunch boxes. On the surface, my quiet town seemed normal, yet everything was far from it. One only had to look hard enough.
To my disappointment, there was no sign of Caleb or his black Jeep, but I found what I was looking for. There, hanging on the doorknob, was my bracelet. I examined it for any damage, noting Lilith's name engraved on the gold plate. The chain was wet and dirty, and the link had been broken by something sharp, leaving a clean, even cut.
"Are you feeling all right, honey?" Mom asked when I didn't reply.
"Huh? What—no, I'm fine. I'm just a little out of it. I gotta go. I'll see you later."
I hung up and stared into space, feeling more confused than when I woke up. Lilith was right; there was a peace that came with not knowing, but there was also that gnawing, ferocious ache called "What the hell is going on?"
This wasn't fair! I had every right to know what happened to my body. Anything could've happened. I could've robbed a bank, murdered a bus full of nuns, or flashed the entire football team. For all I knew, somebody might have videotaped it, and the footage was now getting hits on the Internet. I couldn't, wouldn't let this go.
I slammed the door, no doubt scaring my neighbors in the process, and got ready for work and what I knew to be the beginning of another unpleasant holiday.
The Buncha Books sign glowed in the low afternoon light, the neon letters drawing the unsuspecting into its snare. I followed its beacon and trekked through the crowded prison yard of torture and overpriced retail.
The outlet center sprang to life this time of year and the bookstore was no exception. Everyone and their mother was taking advantage of the holiday sales. The company tech nerd stood behind his booth by the door, demonstrating the latest apps on electronic reading tablets. Children broke free from their parents' leashes and ran around the store.
The aesthetics appeared to have changed overnight at the J-O-B. Jazzy Christmas music blared through the PA system, red bows and wreaths decorated the floor displays, pillars, and bookshelves. A group of historical actors in their Colonial garb sat at a folding table, gift-wrapping presents for customers. The aroma of coffee grounds, pumpkin spice, and peppermint made the air so thick I could almost chew it.
I raced through the center aisle to the customer service desk with the hope of avoiding my superiors. Luck wasn't on my side today, because Linda, the store manager, stood behind the desk helping an elderly customer. While she was distracted, I slipped past her and clocked in on the opposite computer. Just when I was about to make my great escape, she spoke.
"Sam, you do realize your shift started at four, right?"
I paused mid step. I was so close. "Yes, I'm sorry. Something came up."
When the customer left the counter, Linda turned to me. "A lot of things tend to come up with you these days. The Christmas run is beginning and I need reliable people to handle the crowds. If that's a problem for you, then I'm afraid—"
"Her car got wrecked in a storm, Linda. Come on, you never had car trouble before? Cut her a little slack." A low voice said behind us, and I didn't need to see who it was. I felt his presence as soon as I entered the store, the second the cab pulled into the shopping center.
I turned around and saw Caleb leaning against the desk, with a bear claw doughnut in one hand and twirling his name tag necklace with the other. He wore his standard uniform: tan khakis, white polo shirt, and a cocky smirk. The five o'clock shadow around his jaw looked more like twelve-thirty. The light brown strands of his hair fell over his eyes, bending at the jaw.
Yep, Caleb Baker, king of extreme bed hair, was on the mend and back in action. Having influence over the opposite sex was one of the few perks of being a Cambion. He could look like fresh road kill, yet Linda's clouded vision only saw the man of her dreams.
Excerpted from FADING AMBER by JAIME REED Copyright © 2013 by Jaime Reed. Excerpted by permission of DAFINA KTEEN BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted January 1, 2013
This was a stellar conclusion to Caleb Baker and Samara Nicole Marshall's love story. The book was full of unexpected twists and plenty of action and romance.
I couldn't wait to see what will happen to Sam and Caleb after Tobias' interference. You can't help but feel for Tobias and also hate him at the SAME time.
I enjoyed the alone Caleb and Sam time. I enjoyed Lilith, Tobias and Capone. I also appreciate the love Caleb has for Sam. When I finished reading this book I did NOT wait to end.
I need to know what will happen to Caleb and Sam, Mia and Doug, Ruiz and Sam's mom, Robbie Ford, and of course Mr. Marshall himself AFTER the conclusion of this book. I loved Sam's narrative voice and I wanted to know what her future will be after the book wraps.
For new fans of the Cambion Chronicles you gotta read this book because it serves a stand alone book as well. But for fans of the Cambion Chronicles you will appreciate all the little nods to Living Violet and Burning Emerald.
Jaime Reed did a AMAZING job writing this beautiful love story.
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Posted May 12, 2013
This book was AMAZING!!! Samara and Caleb's love for each other is really sweet and special.... when i first read Living Violet, i was sooo into it and i wish that there were even MORE books in this series!!! Jamie Reed.... I LOVE UR BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :D
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Posted June 7, 2013
irst of all let me say how much I loved this series!! I cannot believe that it does not have the huge following that it deserves! There is nothing that I can think of right now that I didn't love about any of the books. It is based on a different type of paranormal twist called Cambions, I had never heard of them before, and it was really cool. Also, this is one of the very few YA novels that I can think of that has the main character as bi-racial, Samara's Dad is African American, and her Mom is Caucasian, we NEED more of this, this is a normal family dynamic now.
The action in this book took off right from the beginning, and did not end at all, there were some new characters introduced that we had not seen yet, and I really enjoyed how they all added something different to the story to bring it to an even higher place than the last ones had.
I also found myself laughing aloud a few times at Caleb, he is a very funny guy. Also the romance between Samara and Caleb felt almost normal to me (besides the whole paranormal aspect), they are teenagers, they are going to bicker and make up, and get mad at each other for the little things, this is what we do at that age. I also really enjoyed the relationship that Samara has with her Mom in this book as her Mom is now aware of what the situation is, and she can speak to her openly about it, though her Mom does still rule with an iron fist sometimes.
Overall, I think that this was a perfect ending to this series, although I would not be sad at all if she added on one more to the series just to see how everything unfolds after the big event in this book. I give this book, and the entire series a 5/5.
Posted May 27, 2013
By: Jamie Reed
Published By: Kensington Books
Age Recommended: YA
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Book Blog For: GMTA
Series: The Cambion Chronicles #3
"Fading Amber" by Jamie Reed was a good paranormal romantic read and the ending to this book series. I found this read really filled with a lot of fun and action. You will find the plot well thought out and a ending that left you wanting more. From the read there will be 'love, lust and a fight till the finish.'
All of the characters were very well developed and colorful. This is where I say you must pick up "Fading Amber" to get the zest of a great ending story. Would I recommend? Yes, however, it would be best to have read all of this author's series: 'The Cambion Chronicles' for a better understanding of what the series leading up to this novel is all about.
Posted April 14, 2013
Posted February 17, 2013
Posted February 12, 2013
Posted January 29, 2013
Whoa, what a RUSH!!!
Listen up readers, the coolest YA couple are Samara and Caleb, better known as SNM and Cake Boy.
I had little doubt that Fading Amber would live up to my expectations, but it actually exceeded them! It was a rollercoaster ride from start to finish, and while Jaime Reed has brought The Cambion Chronicles to a satisfying conclusion, she’s got enough material to delve even further into this unique paranormal world. There are so many wonderful characters she could continue with and I would instantly purchase any future books. Besides, there’s always plenty of room for more diversity in the YA market.
Speaking of diversity, why is it that most YA authors of color (with some notable exceptions) understand that the world has changed and that kids of different backgrounds interact with each other on a daily basis? Why is it that Ms. Reed’s series prominently features teens of every nationality in a realistic setting? And yes, it is a big deal that YA is so slow to get this fact.
Samara is having one hell of a senior year. She’s got memory lapses, her Cambion host Lilith seems to like hanging out on the ceiling. Her former co-worker Nadine is still in her living room, a ghostly dead body that only she can see. Her best friend Mia still hates her guts, she’s still a guy magnet courtesy of Lilith, and Tobias is still loose and still in a very bad mood. He wants to get even, wants to claim his mate (who just so happens to be in Samara’s body and who just so happens to be in love with the guy he wants to destroy) and he doesn’t care about the body count. Unfortunately, the hunter is also the hunted as a rival Cambion clan seek his destruction, but that destruction has far-reaching repercussions for Sam and Caleb as well. Oh, and the urge of their respective Cambions to mate is beginning to overwhelm both of them.
And Samara’s mom is still a walking advertisement for overprotective.
I’ve said this in previous reviews, but truly Samara Marshall is such a refreshing change from the female helplessness so prevalent in some popular YA novels. It’s nice to encounter a smart, take-charge heroine who can actually tie one’s own shoes without needing the assistance of the hawt-boy-du-jour. It’s also refreshing to see a YA romance that doesn't read like immature wish-fulfillment which equates stalking and abusive behavior with “love”.
I don’t always want nor need a romance in my YA, but when it is done well and there’s actually a compelling reason for the relationship, I enjoy it. Caleb is a wonderful hero, perfect in his imperfections. He doesn’t have to belittle Samara (not that she would ever let him) nor hamper her in the guise of “protecting” her. When he declares her his soulmate, it’s believable. He may be the stronger of the two, but he also respects and honors Samara’s autonomy. And let's face it, the scenes of the two of them "feeding" from each other were OMG so very hot. Adult paranormal authors could learn a few tricks from Ms. Reed about what makes a couple sizzle. Few YA heroes make me swoon, considering, but yes I am firmly on Team Cake Boy.
I am sooooo bummed this is the last book. I wonder if I can bribe Ms. Reid to write another one...
Posted December 27, 2012
I effin' enjoyed this book.! It was funny at unexpected times and it made you love & appreciate Caleb that much more,,it also had me givin' Sam mad respect.! Mann, I loved this book.!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 30, 2013
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Posted January 19, 2013
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