Undying (Clare Point Series #2)

( 11 )

Overview

The Kahill vampire clan has lived among humans for hundreds of years in the peaceful village of Clare Point. In Undying, V.K. Forrest introduces readers to Arlan, a fierce clan member who must fight his desire for a love most forbidden. . .

Undying

As part of the Kahill clan's special operations "kill team," Arlan is devoted to ridding the world of its most depraved human members. He's been asked by fellow clan member and FBI Agent Fia Kahill ...

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Overview

The Kahill vampire clan has lived among humans for hundreds of years in the peaceful village of Clare Point. In Undying, V.K. Forrest introduces readers to Arlan, a fierce clan member who must fight his desire for a love most forbidden. . .

Undying

As part of the Kahill clan's special operations "kill team," Arlan is devoted to ridding the world of its most depraved human members. He's been asked by fellow clan member and FBI Agent Fia Kahill to assist in one of her investigations: the notorious Buried Alive Killer case. When Arlan meets with one of Fia's key informants, Macy Smith, he's completely unprepared for his response to the young woman. Achingly beautiful, Macy is everything Arlan wants in a woman--and the attraction is mutual. Although Arlan vowed he would never again fall in love with a human, he surrenders to his overpowering desire for Macy. . .

But Macy is a drifter with a past far darker than even Arlan can imagine. And when the Buried Alive Killer strikes again, he learns that she has a deep connection to the case--one that will put her in the crosshairs of the killer if Arlan can't find a way to protect her. . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Forrest mates an FBI thriller with an erotic paranormal, producing a hybrid that works better as fang-fantasy satire than urban fantasy. Back for their second outing (after Eternal), the colorful Kahill vampire clan of Clare Point, Del., have for ages vowed to "rid the human race of its foulest members," hoping that God will release them from their vampiric curse. The foul member of this installment is the Buried Alive Killer, who's slaughtered more than 10 families and for 14 years has stalked the lone survivor, Macy Smith (from the first family of victims). Using the Internet screen name Teddy, he claims always to be watching her. FBI Special Agent (and vampire) Fia Kahill has been fielding Macy's complaints about Teddy's unwanted attention; after the latest family murder, Fia calls in Macy to meet Fia's helpful vampire pal, Arlan Kahill. As they work to foil Teddy, the love triangle that develops among them is predictable, the suspense limp and the serial killer one of the most cartoonish in recent memory. Still, Forrest excels whenever things get steamy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758217172
  • Publisher: Kensington
  • Publication date: 12/1/2008
  • Series: Clare Point Series, #2
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 424,774
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

V.K. Forrest lives with her family in Seaford, Delaware. Undying is the second book in her Clare Point series.

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Read an Excerpt


Undying


By V.K. Forrest
KENSINGTON BOOKS
Copyright © 2008

Colleen Faulkner
All right reserved.



ISBN: 978-0-7582-1717-2



Chapter One He stood beneath the lengthening shadows of the Acropolis, high on the hilltop over the city of Athens, and watched as the last rays of sunlight faded. With the coming of darkness, he could feel the evil of the night slither in on its belly, much like the quarry he sought tonight.

Arlan walked quickly through the Agora, keeping his head down, leaving behind the noisy tourists boarding their tour buses.

Two weeks ago, thousands of miles away in the little U.S. town of Clare Point, the vote had gone against a human by the name of Robert Romano. With the plunging of twelve daggers into an ancient oak table, the man's fate had been sealed. For more than a decade, the pedophile, a monster who dealt in the underground sale of child sex slaves, had been pursued across several continents by law enforcement. Robert Romano, known by multiple aliases, had recently made the FBI's most wanted list after the abduction of a five-year-old from a grocery store in the suburbs of Detroit. At the present time, the FBI did not know his whereabouts. Romano was careful, and he was clever.

Not clever enough.

In twenty minutes, forty-six-year-old Romano would be waiting at a designated spot on the southern end of the Agora, a spot that came to life after dark, both with ghosts of the past and the haunts of the present. The human would be there to accept a cash payment for the delivery of two male children, ages six and nine, who were currently being held in an apartment two blocks away. Delivery of the children was to be made once Romano received his cash in small currency euros. The unfortunate buyer would not receive his merchandise because Arlan would be waiting. A clean-up crew would rescue the children and see that the buyer was arrested by local police. Romano would no longer be the authorities' concern.

Now almost dark, the warm evening air had grown thick with the sounds and scents of the ancient city. It was funny how cities all smelled the same, sounded the same, when Arlan closed his eyes. This could have been any street in any city in the world in the last thousand years.

He inhaled deeply, lifting his chin, flaring his nostrils. Someone was roasting meat in one of the nearby restaurants that catered to the tourists ... lamb. Elsewhere, sewage overflowed. He caught the hint of a woman's cheap perfume on the air, although he walked alone in the twilight. Embedded in the night air was also the sour scent of human body odor. The fetid bouquet of fleas feasting on rodents.

In the distance, beyond the ruins, Arlan heard doors opening and closing. Footsteps, both heavy and light, echoed through the gathering fog. Over time, the sputter of car and motorbike engines had replaced the rhythm of wooden cart and carriage wheels, but in his mind, they were still somehow the same.

These were the sounds and smells of humanity. For better. For worse. Despite the ugliness of much of it, Arlan longed to be a part of this world. He was jealous of the man roasting lamb for gyros on the street corner, the woman slamming the window to muffle the harsh words she flung at her cheating lover. Arlan would never know the mundane life of a mortal.

At the sound of shrill laughter, he tensed. Despite the cover of darkness, standing here in human form, he was vulnerable. He gazed intently in the direction of the noisier, busier Plaka, blocks away, where tourists flooded the streets eager to sample the moussaka and ouzo. Eager to buy their trinkets to mark their journey, they had no idea of the evil that lurked in the shadows or the salvation about to descend on two helpless children.

Arlan's partner was late. He checked his cell phone, noting the time. No call and Regan was twenty minutes late.

Arlan worked his jaw in indecision.

The plan had been for Regan, pretending to be the "customer," to meet Romano at the Areopagus. Arlan would serve as the lookout. Regan was to lure Romano into a secluded area amid the ruins and there, the execution would be carried out as ordered by the High Council. Arlan and Regan would carry it out together. Two daggers. Two were required by primordial sept law.

But Regan wasn't here and time was running out. If Romano slipped out of their hands, there was no way to say when the planets and moons would align again. There was no way to know when the opportunity to catch him would offer itself again, or how many more children would lose their innocence in the intervening time.

The coarse laughter of the woman grew louder, closer. Arlan heard a second woman's voice. They were speaking Greek. Both were drunk, or high, or both. He caught a flash of short skirt and long bare legs. Prostitutes. After dark, when the museums closed and tour groups were led to the safe streets of the Plaka, the Athens underworld came to life here. From the shadowy Areopagus situated beneath the lights of the Acropolis, one could see the whole city. In this place, one could buy drugs, sex ... and even children.

Arlan made the decision. There was no time to call the council. No time to await further instructions. The sept had been watching this bastard for eighteen months. They couldn't afford to let him go. The Kahill sept's duty to God would not allow it.

One moment Arlan was a thirty-something guy in jeans and a black leather jacket and the next he transformed into a hundred-pound canine with a mangy spotted coat and yellow eyes. The physical morph came easily to him, like slipping on a worn leather glove.

The moment the morph was complete, Arlan felt the change in his psyche. Judgment grew hazier. In this animal body, he lived for the moment. Surrounded by the scent of dangers, he had to force his man-brain to remain in control of the beast. He could feel that control stretched taut, thin and tight as a wire.

Arlan slinked behind a rock and darted across the footpath, behind the women, his tail brushing a skirt. One of the prostitutes cursed him, first in Greek, then Italian, but they continued walking. Hundreds of packs of wild dogs roamed the streets of Athens. The locals gave them no notice. Arlan knew he could blend in with the others.

Knowing he had a few minutes before Romano would appear, Arlan had time to assess the area and determine how he could fulfill the mission alone. He wondered if it would be safer to appear as a man or as he was now, a four-footed predator. He trotted lightly up a slight, rocky incline, skirting the silvery light cast from the Acropolis, blending into the shadows of the olive trees.

It was fully dark now and while Arlan was not a superstitious man, mentally, he crossed himself. At night, in ancient places like these, the haunts came out. A man or beast could do his best to ignore them, but there was no denying their presence. The coarse yellow hair along his spine bristled and he caught a whiff of something that was not living, but not quite dead. Out of the corner of one rheumy eye he saw a misty human form floating just above the pathway.

Some said ghosts held no real presence, that they were only impressions left from the past. Arlan didn't know what they were; he only knew that he did not like this feeling of being watched. He had experienced similar encounters in several places in recent months; the Coliseum in Rome, Stonehenge in England, and the blood-soaked battlefield of Culloden in the Highlands of Scotland.

Bypassing the wispy spook, Arlan kept his head down, letting his long tongue loll. His yellow eyes took in his surroundings. With his long muzzle and enhanced sense of smell, he observed as only God's four-footed creatures could observe.

Stones pinched the pads of his feet as he followed a path tread heavily by tourists in the daytime. The Agora had once been a marketplace, a public area that served as an integral part of the ancient Greek city-state. It had not only offered a place to trade, but it also served as a forum to its citizens. Here, men once gathered to buy and sell commodities and also to discuss business, politics, and current events. Here was where Greek democracy first came to light, setting an example to other great cities in the ancient world.

At the far end, the rocky hill overlooking the Agora was where Arlan would meet Romano. The area of the Agora known as the Areopagus had been the sacred meeting place of the Greek prime council, which had once combined judicial and legislative functions in the sixth and fifth centuries BC. Much later, the apostle Paul was said to have stood on the same rocky hill and preached to early Christians.

A holy place. A haunted place.

Arlan caught the scent of another dog on the night air and thrust out his muzzle. He twitched his black nose. Two dogs, three. More. A pack.

The muscles in Arlan's rear haunches tightened as the dogs approached. Arlan could become any of God's creatures, although he was better at some manifestations than others, and some were much more difficult to keep in check. Despite his experience, there was always a moment of panic when he encountered a creature of the species he'd manifested into. There was the chance they would know him for the charlatan that he was and attack him. It would be impossible for them to kill him because he had to be beheaded to die, but dog bites could lay a man up for weeks.

A whine and then a growl halted him. Out of a grove of stunted olive trees came three, four, five dogs, all his size or larger. A big gray with the pelt of a wolf led the pack of three females and a sullen young male. Animals did not speak, but they communicated. Members of the Kahill clan had some form of extrasensory perception; they could all, on some level, communicate with each other without speaking. Arlan's accompanying gift was the ability to communicate with animals.

The dogs' thoughts floated around him. They were simple. Primal.

Fear. Distrust. Hunger.

But there was also an inquisitiveness, particularly from the young male who hung back, guarding the rear.

The big gray parted from the pack, leaving the others behind to wait for his command. If he so ordered it, they would all attack at once. Arlan would not have the opportunity to morph back into a man before he was seriously injured.

The gray approached.

Arlan's hackles rose. He froze, eyes downcast. His breath came in short pants as he attempted to stifle the twinge of fear he felt deep in his canine bones.

One of the others, a black bitch with a torn ear, whined. She seemed to be the first to understand he meant them no harm. That he had no intention of usurping the pack leader's authority or taking his females.

The gray bared his teeth but made no sound. He wondered what Arlan was doing there. He recognized the stranger as one of them ... and yet not one of them.

Arlan communicated that the pack had nothing to fear from him. That he was merely a traveler. He attempted to seem casual although he wasn't quite sure how that translated in dog language.

The gray met Arlan muzzle to muzzle and sniffed. Arlan kept his gaze downcast. To look into the leader's eyes would be a direct challenge.

I mean no harm, Arlan communicated firmly. While he had to make it clear he had no intention of taking the gray's place, he could not cower. To cower would show weakness, and the way of God's creatures is to kill the weakest. A form of natural selection, he supposed. I simply wish to pass.

Our territory. Why are you here? What do you want? Barely enough food for us.

On a journey. A mission. Passing through. I do not take what is not mine.

The gray looked Arlan directly in the face. Arlan slowly lifted his gaze. The powerful male's nose twitched. He was still attempting to assess Arlan, but he seemed to sense that Arlan was no threat to his pack.

I only wish to pass, Arlan repeated, lifting his gaze slightly. He still wasn't making direct eye contact, but now he was studying the gray in the same way that the dog was studying him.

The alpha male continued to stare, reminding Arlan of a game he used to play with other boys in the sept during mass or at a particularly boring family dinner. A version of Chicken. They would stare at each other until someone broke the spell; the first to look away was the loser and would later be subjected to juvenile name-calling and a healthy dose of shoving.

Pass, but continue on your way, the gray warned. I see you again and I'll rip your throat out. My bitches will eat your innards.

Ouch. Arlan choked down the growl that rose in his throat and remained where he stood until the pack leader walked away. The other dogs slowly turned and loped after him.

Arlan exhaled heavily, his hot breath stinking in his nostrils. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He waited until he saw the last swish of tail disappear into the olive grove and then continued in the direction he had originally set out. His tongue lolled, testing the night air.

He only had time to circumnavigate the meeting place once before he had to get into place prior to Romano's arrival. As he peered over a rock, taking care with his footing, he silently cursed Regan. His partner had not been himself for the last year. This was not the first time he had not shown up at an appointed time and place on sept business. Arlan had been trying to cover for him longer than he knew he should because he was Fia's brother.

Thoughts of Fia made him smile. At least on the inside. He didn't think dogs could really smile.

Arlan loved Fia Kahill. He had been in love with her for at least a thousand years, but it was unrequited love. Or so she said. Right now she had a boyfriend. A human boyfriend. She told Arlan that although she and Arlan were occasionally lovers, she wasn't interested in a relationship with him. With any man in the sept. But Arlan was sure he was slowly working a chink in her iron resolve, had been for at least a century. Fia loved him. She just didn't know it yet.

So ... to protect her, he protected her kid brother. As did Fia's other brother, Fin. As did other young men in the sept.

Arlan wondered now if he had been remiss in not calling Regan's shortcomings to the attention of the council. His irresponsible behavior was not only affecting him now, it was affecting others. It was affecting the sept's ability to do its job efficiently. They could not afford to have one of their own so far out of step.

Maybe it was time Arlan talked to the council, or at least Fia. It was time he stopped trying to talk to Regan. The warnings had obviously gone unheeded.

Arlan shifted his weight on his haunches and eyed the place where Romano would come for his money. It was a good spot for a man dealing in the human slave trade to make a transaction. The cover of darkness. No police around. Few people present and those who were would turn the other way if they saw anything suspicious. There would be no good citizens loitering in the shadows of the Areopagus, waiting to give their statement to the authorities.

Arlan smelled the human before he heard the footfalls. The stench of his evil flesh pierced the air even sharper than the intense, smoky aroma of his cigarette.

This was, indeed, an excellent place to commit a crime. But it was also a dangerous place for a man being hunted by a dog.

Or a vampire.

Chapter Two Macy stood at the picture window and stared into the darkness. Into the nothingness. It was a little after midnight. She had a prestigious assignment for Home & Garden tomorrow. She should be asleep. But she couldn't sleep.

Not tonight. Not when she knew he was out there, restless. Agitated. She could feel his anxiety building and knew that when it reached its peak he would act.

She hugged herself. In the dark, there was barely a glimmer of her own reflection in the glass. A soft, humid breeze drifted through the pines, filtering through the open windowpanes.

She lived alone. The nearest house was half a mile away. She did not lock her doors at night or close her windows.

A death wish?

Macy studied the magnolia tree in her front yard. Her mother had always liked magnolias.

There had been a branch of magnolia blossoms on her mother's white coffin. No lilies or gardenias or the usual funeral flowers. Only magnolias.

Daisies on Mariah's.

Peonies on little Minnie's.

No flowers on her father's coffin. He hadn't been a flower kind of guy.

Macy walked away from the window that had never had the drapes pulled on it since she rented the cottage outside Charlottesville, Virginia, more than a year ago. She had nothing to hide. Her soul had been bared to the bitter world a long time ago.

She walked barefoot, in nothing but a pair of panties and a men's ribbed sleeveless T-shirt, through the dark house. It was only June but June was hot in Virginia.

(Continues...)




Excerpted from Undying by V.K. Forrest Copyright © 2008 by Colleen Faulkner. Excerpted by permission.
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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 20, 2012

    ANOTHER AMAZING INSTALLMENT! Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's

    ANOTHER AMAZING INSTALLMENT!

    Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson:

    V.K Forrest continues the tale of the Kahill vampires, a Celtic sect of immortals cursed by God to be reborn lifetime after lifetime until they get it right.

    In book #1, we meet Arlan. Arlan is a Kahill vampire with the unique ability to shapeshift. He's also been in love with Fia Kahill, the heroine of Eternal, for centuries.

    When a serial killer continues his rampage across the U.S, Fia finds herself investigating the murders and enlisting Arlan's help. As members of the sect's Council, Fia and Arlan have a responsibility to keep the humans safe from monsters like this Buried Alive Killer, and so they are just as invested (if not more so) than the human authorities.

    Fia is also receiving help from an anonymous caller who has ties to the serial killer. Macy finds herself caught up in the disturbing life and activities of the psycho, and after seeing Fia on TV during the Clare Point murders the year before (the storyline of Eternal, book #1) she immediately feels a connection to her and knows that she can help.

    During the course of the mystery Arlan and Macy meet and sparks fly. Arlan knows that he's not supposed to be with a human female, but he can't deny the attraction he feels for Macy and Macy is a progressive woman - she knows what she wants and she's not afraid to ask for it.

    The action packed storyline of Undying was even better than Eternal. A nail-biting, gasp inducing thrill ride. It was dark, disturbing, and beautifully written.

    One thing I will say for V.K's books... they don't follow rules and they don't have expected happy endings. If you're looking for a series with 'guy meets girl, couple falls in love, everyone lives happily ever after' then these might not be right for you. :)

    LITERAL ADDICTION gives Undying 4 1/2 Skulls. I absolutely love this series - it's the best mesh of each of my favorite sub-genres and nothing like anything I've read before.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    This author and this series is fantastic!

    I think this is a superior vampire series, combining suspense with paranormal. The story moves fast and the mystery is intriging. Most of all, I loved the overall story of the Kahall Clan. These are vampires I can believe in. I read tons of paranormal novels and this one is great. I can't wait for the next book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    total disappointment

    I read this book in one sitting hoping it got better, but I ended up returning the book. The story line was ok except Macy was basically a bed jumper. Arlan was indecisive. And Fia comes off as a person that just causes more problems than solving them. Definitely could have been better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2008

    fascinating spin to the vampiric mythos

    They worshipped the pagan gods and when St. Patrick came to their shore to convert them, they fought him. As a punishment, God turned the Kahill Sept into vampires most of them were destroyed by slayers. The survivors fled to the New World and worshipped the One God, praying for redemption. They seek out and execute evil predators those the police cannot catch. --- Teddy, a vicious killer who murders entire families by burying them together alive, is stalking Macy. He has even contacted her via I.M. Macy meets Arlen Cahill and they have sex. She is drawn to Clare Point, Delaware where the Kahill Sept lives. Macy has given information on the killer stalking her to FBI Agent Fia, who is part of the Sept. What she sees at the Cahill compound seems surreal, but erased from her memory by a blood bite. However even with Arlan watching over her Teddy finds her. Knowing she is in danger, Arlan with the help of a teenage psychic tries to save Macy. --- This paranormal mystery is an enthralling work. The Kahills/Cahills are good people seeking to redeem themselves from their one blasphemous error centuries ago. They are the key that makes this thriller spellbinding as the UNDYING vampires seem genuine. Although psychopathic serial killers are an overdone predator, the stalking of Macy also appears real as her fears and desires come across as plausible. V.K. Forrest provides a fascinating spin to the vampiric mythos. --- Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 18, 2009

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