Rising Darkness by Cynthia Cooke, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Rising Darkness

Rising Darkness

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by Cynthia Cooke

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Demon hunter, vampire and member of the Cadre, Damien Hancock has come to Wolvesrain to help Emma McGovern defend herself against a powerful demon. For if Emma finds love—and consummates that love—the demon Asmos will fulfill a generations-old curse and claim her soul. Damien knows just how powerful the ancient demon is, but he never anticipated the


Demon hunter, vampire and member of the Cadre, Damien Hancock has come to Wolvesrain to help Emma McGovern defend herself against a powerful demon. For if Emma finds love—and consummates that love—the demon Asmos will fulfill a generations-old curse and claim her soul. Damien knows just how powerful the ancient demon is, but he never anticipated the all-consuming effect courageous Emma would have on him.

Having led a sheltered life within the walls of her ancestral estate, Emma senses that Damien, like her, carries too much pain and loneliness in his heart. But as their attraction proves impossible to resist, Emma fears it is the curse that is drawing them together. Can the love she has found in Damien's strong arms now help her fight the rising darkness?

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Dark Enchantments , #2
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Present Day, England
Desperation bordering on the edge of insanity filled Emma McGovern as the wolves'howling broke through the stillness of the early evening. She stood at the window, looking out onto the bleak countryside, the raucous baying bringing a tremble to her fingers and a burning sensation to the scars along her cheek. Phantom pains, she'd been told, but that didn't make them hurt less, or make the memories any less vivid.
"They're back, Lucia," Emma said without turning to look at the woman who was bending into the oven and basting the roast. The rich aroma of tender pork and glazed vegetables wafted through the kitchen but couldn't warm the chill in Emma's bones, nor mask the underlying scent of fear.
Lucia closed the oven with a sharp thud, then turned and opened a cabinet next to the stove and pulled out an antique tin. She removed the lid and took out a brooch fashioned with dried heather and gardenias. "Here, put this on," she said.
"It's beautiful," Emma murmured, then lifted the brooch to her nose and breathed deeply. Instantly, she pulled away, her face twisting in revulsion. "Eww. What is it?"
"Fish oil. It will protect you from the beasts. Now put it on and wear it, at least until the night of the Equinox has passed," Lucia insisted, and returned the tin to the cabinet.
Reluctantly, Emma pinned the brooch to her lacetrimmed top, knowing deep down that nothing would protect her from the beasts. Her destiny was catching up with her. "It will never end, will it, Lucia? Every year I think, this year will be different, but then the wolves come back." She stepped over to the window, watching, waiting for the inevitable.
Luciashook her head. "I will find a way to break the curse. Gypsy magic created it, gypsy magic can destroy it. In the meantime, you must take precautions."
"I know." Emma gave her a half-hearted smile. "You don't have to worry on that front. Love isn't in the cards for me." Emma took a sip from her tea, and quickly averted her gaze. She didn't need a curse to keep love from her doorstep. Even if she could find love out here in the middle of nowhere, love would take one look at the scars on her face, turn and run.
Lucia's voice softened. "You can still have companionship, Emma. Friendship and a deep mutual caring are very important in any relationship. But you'll never find even that if you don't ever leave the house. Take a chance. Venture into the village. Meet people."
"So I can have what Mum and Dad had?"
How could Emma explain that she wanted more than a half-hearted relationship based on mutual interests? She wanted…she blew out a sigh. She wanted what she couldn't have.A deep passion and a forever kind of love.
"Have you seen Angel?" she asked. "That stubborn dog hasn't come to my calls."
"No." Lucia's voice filled with concern as she moved to stand beside her at the window. "Has she been gone all day?"
Emma nodded, the worry gnawing at her. "She's usually back by now. She'd better come home soon, before—"
"I'll find her," Lucia assured her, patted her on the arm, then walked back to the stove and opened the oven door. She put on her mitts, and took the roast out of the oven.
Part of Emma knew it was foolish to worry. Angel often ran off in the late afternoon. The silly dog would catch a scent of some rabbit or squirrel, and off she would go, chasing it through the countryside. Always before, she'd come home by dark. Tonight wouldn't be any different, she thought, trying to reassure herself as the sun sank below the horizon.
Only, before now, the dog had always returned when she'd called for her. The scars set deep in her cheek burned. She touched them, rubbing gently.
"Is the pain getting worse?" Lucia asked, the worry back in her eyes.
Emma nodded. "It always does this time of year." And not because of the cooler days and nights, as Dr. Callahan liked to say, but because it marked the return of the Equinox, of the wolves, of hopelessness.
"I'll make the salve," Lucia muttered. "In the meantime, take this tray up to your father, but don't let him see your fear." She ladled a hefty serving of potatoes and carrots onto a plate.
Emma pulled her fingers from the jagged edges of the scar tissue. "I know. Dr. Callahan told me to keep him calm. I won't upset him." She took the tray, and walked upstairs to her father's room. For a moment, she stood outside his door, trying to compose herself. She didn't want him worrying about her. Not now, not when his heart was so weak.
She took a deep breath, then walked in with the tray holding his dinner and medications balanced in her hands. "Ready for supper, Dad?"
"Emma," he said, his eyes narrowing as he smiled at her. "Have you been avoiding me?"
"Don't be silly. Why would I be avoiding my favorite dad?"
"Oh, do you have another dad I don't know about?"
She grinned and placed the tray on his lap. "Lucia's made pork roast with carrots and new potatoes. She's really outdone herself tonight."
"You should have brought a tray for yourself and eaten with me," he said, and gave a small pout.
"I should have, you're right," she agreed, reluctant to tell him she couldn't eat. How could she, with her stomach all tied up in knots? She busied herself turning up his light to chase the shadows back into the room's deep corners, then sat in the Queen Anne chair next to the bed.
He took a bite of the meat and chewed thoughtfully. "The Cadre called again today."
Emma stilled as her heart tensed in her chest. "And you talked with them?"
"They were very persuasive."
"I'm sure they were last time, too, and look how that turned out. Mum is dead." The bitterness in her voice almost choked her. The Cadre, an organization that for centuries had protected people from evil, had promised to protect her mother against the curse plaguing their family. Instead the agent they'd sent had ignited the flames that killed them both.
She would have continued railing about the injustice of losing her mum when she was so young, and how she blamed the Cadre for it, but the sadness filling her father's face made her stop. "I'm sorry." She hated to see him looking so lost and vulnerable.
His gray-blue eyes caught hers. "It's not good for us to be living out here all alone. I couldn't bear it if anything happened to you, too."
She forced a conciliatory smile. "That's why nothing will."
"I think we should take them up on their offer and move to St. Yve Manor. We can start a new life there. You can meet people, go to school, make friends."
A ripple of fear shimmered through her heart at the thought. "Wolvesrain is our home. I—"
"This isn't a home," he insisted. "It's a foxhole where we've both been hiding for far too long."
Emma stood and walked toward the window that faced the long drive stretching in front of the house. She heard him set down his knife and fork and push away the tray.
"I love you, Emma, but we both know I'm not going to live much longer. I need to see you settled before I go. The Cadre can help you."
"I can't leave," she said, her voice breaking. She hated to hear him talk this way. She wanted to appease him, but they'd tried before. She left once when he'd sent her to boarding school. Nightmares had plagued her sleep, but worse were the days when she'd been tormented by the taunts of the other students, because she was different and didn't fit in, because of her face.
Rage, forever simmering below the surface, surged within her. "I can't go through that again. Not to mention the curse. I'm better off here away from—"
"Don't even say it. There is no curse. I've told you time and time again. What happened to you and your mother was a horrible tragedy. Not a curse."
She turned and faced him. "Wolves attacked us, Daddy. Without provocation. Wolves that aren't even supposed to exist in England. And now they're back, can't you hear them?"
"Did you call Animal welfare? The RSPCA?"
"Of course! They say there are no wolves. They can't find them. Nor any sign of them. They think I'm insane—the poor daft woman who's spent too much time locked up in her old crumbling manor." Her hands clenched into fists at her side.
"I'm sorry for that, but that doesn't mean there's a curse, it just means they're not very good at their jobs."
"They're right! There are no wolves. They're demons, called by some jilted gypsy two hundred years ago to rain terror down on our family."
"Don't you hear how ridiculous you sound? This family is not cursed. Now I don't want to hear any more about it, is that clear?" Her father's face flushed as he said the words, and he started to cough and wheeze.
Emma sucked in a breath and rushed forward. "Daddy?" She knew better than to upset him. She grabbed a glass off the bedside table and filled it with water, then handed it to him.
He took the glass, then waved her away as he took a long drink. "I'm okay, really."
Relieved, she dropped into the chair next to the bed. She knew better than to bring it up. But she was the one who'd seen her mother die. She was the one who'd heard her last words. Don't ever succumb to love, Emma. Promise me.
The howling started again, creating a nasty racket.
Emma blinked back the burning in her eyes and the bitterness in her throat. She stood and once more returned to the window. "They've been coming closer and closer to the house lately," she whispered, as a rash of shivers puckered her skin, prickling the three deep gashes cut through her face.
A figure on horseback moved out from behind a cluster of trees and looked up at the house. Her breath caught in her throat and she quickly stepped back from the window.
"I know you're afraid," her father said. "It's almost the Equinox. As soon as that bloody night passes, they'll leave again. They always do. And then things can get back to normal."
"Yes. Normal," she murmured.
"Until then, just to be safe—"
"I know. I won't leave the house." She couldn't even if she wanted to, even if she did have somewhere to go.
"Enjoy your supper, Dad." She turned on the television to the evening news and left the room. She wasn't up to a long visit with him, not tonight.
"Emma?" he said, stopping her.
She turned back. "When he comes, don't turn the Cadre agent away."
She closed her eyes, and tamped down on her growing frustration, then nodded. She might have to invite him in, but that didn't mean she had to talk with him.

Meet the Author

Cynthia Cooke is an award-winning author who has published several books with Harlequin, Love Inspired and Entangled Publishing. She has a deep affection for romance, thrillers and all things that go bump in the night. So if you choose to delve into one of her stories, don't forget to turn on the lights. Cynthia Cooke's books aren't sweet and they aren't for the faint of heart.

For latest news visit cynthiacooke.com

or follow on Twitter @cynthiacooke5

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Rising Darkness 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cynthia Cooke's RISING DARKNESS, the second book of the Dark Enchantments paranormal romance series, is a splendid addition in an exceptional multi-author series. Suspenseful, touched with ancient history and secret organizations, and a moving romance, Cythnia Cooke's writing is magnificent! Emma McGovern lives a lonely life, walling herself up in her ancestral home, the crumbling castle at Wolvesrain. Her face is scarred. Emma fears love, knowing no one will care for her because they will only see her face. If that was not enough, if she ever discovers her heart's true love, an ancient gypsy curse will destroy them both as it has done for generations. Damien, a vampire at the Cadre, an organization that studies demons and imprisons the evil ones, plans to protect Emma from the demon Asmos. Damien prides himself that he is different (and pure) than all the other vampires--he is a guardian and protector and never drinks human blood. The curse unites Emma and Damien in their efforts to fight it but as their hearts open, the risk magnifies. Can each of them face their past? Is the growing attraction between them enough to conquer the curse and all those who threaten them? Can Emma remember the past in enough time to protect the two? This second book of the Dark Enchantments series takes the world created in the first book, Michele Hauf's FAMILIAR STRANGER and adds the dimension of a fairy tale, or what Emma calls a Grimm Brothers fairy tale with an underbelly of malice, and a delightful touch of history. The hero and heroine must learn to face the dark side within and without. Cynthia Cooke had a tough job ahead of her coming after Michele Hauf's exceptional first book in the series but this author took the heart of the Dark Enchantments series, ran with it and created her own story. Not only is this romance wonderful in and of itself but it also magnifies the scope of the entire series. RISING DARKNESS reaches to the very depths of the heart. The Cadre, the society that studies demons without killing them is explored to the reader's delight as the noble rules, the moral codes and above reproach tone also reveal an underside. Cynthia Cooke's RISING DARKNESS is magnificent!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Cadre vampire Damien Hancock is a demon hunter. He is sent to Wolvesrain to protect cloistered innocent Emma McGovern from Asmos, a powerful demon, who will own her soul if she ever makes love with her soulmate. Damien knows that Asmos is as dangerous of a demon as there is. He knows he must be at his best, but is distracted by the courage Emma displays as she struggles to prevent the family curse from being activated. However, she is attracted to Damien and him to her neither can prevent what she assumes is the inevitability of the curse while Asmos salivates in anticipation of owning another soul one that Damien believes belongs to him out of his love for her. --- Using a wonderful twist in which the heroine knows that love is futile and short term as the connotation is eternity with a demon not her beloved. Thus Damien the vampiric demon hunter has his work cut out to keep Emma safe, but wonders who will keep her safe from him because if he acts on his needs, only Asmos wins. Paranormal romance fans will enjoy this fine Hobson¿s choice as abstinence seems to be the only way to insure the demon fails to get his Emma. --- Harriet Klausner