Wings of Fire [NOOK Book]

Overview


Experience the danger and desire of a secret race of vampire warriors?and the powerful women they are sworn to protect?

IN THE HEAT OF BATTLE

By night, the winged warrior Antony Medichi fights the death vampires who threaten his world. By day, he hunts the rogue vampires who invade Mortal Earth. But deep in his heart rages the fiercest battle of all?his soul-searing passion ...

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Wings of Fire

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Overview


Experience the danger and desire of a secret race of vampire warriors—and the powerful women they are sworn to protect…

IN THE HEAT OF BATTLE

By night, the winged warrior Antony Medichi fights the death vampires who threaten his world. By day, he hunts the rogue vampires who invade Mortal Earth. But deep in his heart rages the fiercest battle of all—his soul-searing passion for the one mortal he is sworn to protect…the one woman he is doomed to love.

ON THE WINGS OF FIRE

Parisa Lovejoy is so beautiful, and so powerful, that Antony cannot fight the feelings she arouses. But his unexpected love only intensifies his strength as her Guardian—a strength that is put to the ultimate test when Parisa is abducted. Her captor, Commander Greaves, enslaves mortal women for their blood. If Parisa hopes to survive—and ascend—she must forge an even deeper bond with Antony…in the flames of eternity.

 

“Sexy, cool, edgy romantic fantasy…Prepare to be enthralled.”

—Lara Adrian on Ascension


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429986960
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/30/2011
  • Series: Guardians of Ascension , #3
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 56,680
  • File size: 453 KB

Meet the Author


Caris Roane has authored over fifty published Regency romance novels and novellas under the name Valerie King.  In 2005, the Romantic Times honored her with a Career Achievement award for her Regency work. Ascension is her first paranormal romance.


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Read an Excerpt


The search is futile
When carried out by the avenging heart.

Collected Proverbs, Beatrice of Fourth

CHAPTER 1

 
In the last three months, since the abduction of his woman, Antony Medichi, out of Italy in the late Roman era, had become a killing machine. He had steel for bones and molten iron for blood. He rarely slept. He battled death vampires at night, sending to perdition any who crossed his sword. But during the day, when most of the pretty-boys were asleep, Antony bled his wrists on his altar and hunted rogue vampires on Mortal Earth, searching for the woman he’d lost.
Those hunts also ended in death. Not his.
He stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon, Mortal Earth, looking down, tracking a death vampire flying in the shadows. Even though he was far from the touristy areas, he still cloaked his presence with a heavy concentration of mist, a preternatural creation designed to confuse the average human mind. Most mortals simply couldn’t see him, and right now he didn’t want to be seen.
Antony stared into the abyss. The profound silence across the canyon formed a strange juxtaposition to the visual feast. The Grand Canyon was all for the eyes, not for the ears. But he hadn’t come to admire the view or embrace the quiet.
His predatory gaze followed the death vampire flying below, legs straight back, glossy black wings glinting in the early-morning sunshine. He’d been hunting this particular bastard for weeks now. All clues had led here. This pretty-boy had known both Eldon Crace and Rith Do’onwa, two sons of bitches who had harmed women belonging to the Warriors of the Blood. Both vampires deserved death. Crace had already gotten what he deserved, and within the depths of Medichi’s mind Rith Do’onwa, the fiend who had kidnapped his woman, was a death waiting to happen, nothing more.
Three months ago, Medichi had served as Parisa Lovejoy’s Guardian of Ascension. She’d entered his world as an anomaly, a mortal-with-wings, a woman of extraordinary preternatural power in need of protection from the enemy. No one, except the first ascender, had mounted wings on Mortal Earth. But Parisa had. She’d also arrived with the ability to voyeur, a power that allowed her to focus on an individual or a place and see what was happening in real time, even in an entirely separate location, or a different dimension.
So much power, and beauty, and a strong analytical mind.
But all these immense gifts and abilities paled in comparison with the call of the breh-hedden, the myth of vampire mate-bonding, that had proved as real as the air he breathed. She was his breh, his mate, the one destiny had selected for him, the one he craved.
He hadn’t asked for a mate. He hadn’t wanted one and he sure as hell didn’t deserve one, but she’d come, he’d served as her guardian, and she’d been abducted on his watch.
So here he was, a wrecked shell of a warrior, struggling to find his way back to her.
When Rith had abducted Parisa, he’d not only blocked his trace—which indicated an enormous amount of power—but also deceived Medichi with a hologram of Parisa that lasted for at least half a minute. Medichi didn’t know anyone, not even any of his warrior brothers, the powerful Warriors of the Blood, who could create a hologram. So, yeah, Rith had power, which made him a clever, dangerous opponent.
But the death vampire working the airstreams of the Grand Canyon had known Rith. He had answers, and Medichi meant to have them. Right now. This morning.
His heart pumped hard in his chest.
The death vampire flew close to the canyon walls as though trying to hide in the shadows. Medichi smiled the hard smile that tended to work his jaw at the same time. Did the death vamp actually think to hide in a place this size?
Medichi bound his hair not in the ritual cadroen as he was supposed to, but with a narrow leather strap over his forehead, tied at the back of his head so that his long warrior hair flowed free. He was uncivilized now, a wild beast hunting for what was his by right, for what had been taken from him.
He had his wings at close-mount, tight to his body; any breeze would send him off the canyon’s edge otherwise. But now it was time to take care of business. With the practice of thirteen centuries, he spread his wings to full-mount, adjusting with infinitesimal shifts to balance the air currents, then launched into the empty airspace over the canyon.
A rush of pure adrenaline shot through his heart then sent dizzying endorphins into his head. There was nothing like flight, nothing like falling off a cliff and knowing that spreading his wings to their farthest span would catch, hold, then carry him where he wanted to go.
With a slight adjustment, the barest drawing back of his wings, his body shifted at an angle that meant down, and down he started to fly. Down and down, into the varying degrees of cool shadow and warm light as the canyon walls jutted and receded.
He was close now, his quarry an eighth of a mile away, less, less, a hundred yards now.
The bastard looked up. Shit. Maybe Medichi’s shadow had crossed him.
Panic seized the pretty-boy’s eyes and he banked left, then drew his wings into close-mount. He threw his arms forward as though diving, his body now aimed in the direction of the Colorado River.
Medichi didn’t hesitate. He folded his wings close to his body and, instead of flying in long pulls through the air, became a missile and headed with fierce intent after his prey.
The bastard was good and he was old, which meant he had power, speed, and lots of fucking skill.
But then so did Medichi. He had never mounted his wings during battle, but he flew, a lot. He practiced, a lot. And now he smiled, his jaw twitching.
The mile-deep canyon walls sped past him, the striated layers of rock blending into an orange-beige fusion as he jetted toward the blue-and-white ribbon below. Closer.
He could almost touch the bastard’s foot.
Closer.
If he could wrap a hand around his ankle.
Closer.
The waters rose up and up.
Shit.
The death vamp leveled off just three feet above the water but Medichi took a huge risk, kept his missile shape for a split second longer, and just as the death vamp started to plow air Medichi caught his ankle and jerked him down, straight into the frothy rapids of the river below. At the same time, with the steel of his bones, the molten iron of his blood, and a swift mental command, he snagged his levitation ability and threw his wings into parachute mount, cupped at the top, to keep from plunging into the frigid water.
The death vamp wasn’t so lucky. His wings went under, and he surfaced screaming because the water had trashed them. The mesh superstructure that held the feathers in place was fairly fragile, and the smallest injury hurt like a bitch. This tumbling in wild waters would be a form of torture. As the current dragged him in a heap, tossing him over and over, the death vamp screamed each time his head breached the water. He landed back-first against an enormous rock. Medichi heard the crack as well as another shriek.
Medichi flew after him. When the pretty-boy would have slid into the heavy currents that swirled at the base of the rock, the warrior grabbed him by his long, dark hair and hauled him out of the water. He threw him facedown on the rock. How many mortals had this motherfucker drunk to death? How many ascenders? Death vamps didn’t differentiate when it came to dying blood. Any human, ascended or not, would do.
Medichi wafted his wings slowly to keep his balance against the air currents that streamed through the canyon.
God, the bastard’s wings were a mess. The vamp shook hard, maybe from the icy water but probably from shock and a mountain of pain.
“Where’s Rith?” he asked. Time to keep the questions simple.
The death vampire shifted slightly to cast one dark, beautiful eye up at Medichi. Calling death vampires “pretty-boys” was more than accurate. He was exquisite, chiseled features shaped by the effects of dying blood, porcelain skin with a faint bluish cast, enhanced no doubt by the freezing water. Medichi felt the pull of attraction, an allure that created a swelling of ease within his chest. Fuck. Even shaking with pain and approaching death, the bastard was trying to enthrall him.
Medichi punched back with a shot of mental power that acted like a blow, pushing the death vamp’s face into the rock. “Even at this hour,” he shouted, “when you face death, you’d try to enthrall me?”
A smile curved the side of the pretty-boy’s mouth. Blood dribbled from his lips onto the wet black rock beneath his face. “Fuck you,” he whispered.
“Where’s Rith?”
The death vampire just smiled. Yeah, questions would be futile, but he always gave them a chance because what he intended to do next would hurt like hell.
He retracted his wings then dropped to his knees beside the death vamp. A bone jutted from the bastard’s thigh, shiny and white. Blood ran in a rivulet down his ruptured skin, but the water, still shedding from the nearest feathers of his broken wings, kept washing it away.
“You sure you don’t want to just tell me?” Medichi asked. One last chance.
The same reply returned, this time a much stronger “Fuck you.”
“Fine,” Medichi said. “We’ll do it the hard way.” He put his hand on the vamp’s forehead.
The struggle began as the pretty-boy’s mind bucked against Medichi’s touch as though trying to cast him out of his head. He put up a good fight, too, but more than just Medichi’s body had grown tougher over the forced separation from Parisa. He’d been working his mental powers as well, trying to find his woman telepathically. In doing so, he’d gotten stronger.
He shoved hard, and the vampire’s mind gave way. The death vamp screamed but Medichi ignored him and began the real hunt.
He cast aside memories like batting at flies until Rith’s strange face emerged, the Asian cast to his features, the broad forehead and wide nose. He focused on those memories and gained a portrait of the man as a powerful servant of Commander Greaves—but then what else would he be? Greaves was the acknowledged enemy of all that Medichi held dear on Second Earth, in this beautiful dimensional world. Darian Greaves had ambitions to rule both Second Earth and Mortal Earth and was creating a powerful army of death vamps to back up his efforts. Rith was a favored servant.
Within the death vampire’s mind, he saw Rith’s lairs, sometimes in great caverns, sometimes in tents, sometimes in suburban homes, but all in separate geographic locales. He kept picking through them, trying to feel the presence of his woman. All the while the death vamp screamed at the invasion.
Medichi came across the memory of one of Rith’s properties that was shrouded in a mental shield. What the fuck was that? This death vampire didn’t have enough power to create a deep mental shield like this, which meant that Rith had done it himself.
He tried punching through the shroud but couldn’t and then the preternatural sensation stole over him, of simply knowing. He knew. He could feel that this was where Rith held Parisa captive, cloaked even from Central’s advanced high-tech grid system, which could locate anything on two earths.
Parisa.
Parisa.
Sweet Jesus. He felt light-headed. He struggled to breathe.
At last. He’d found a connection to her at last. He focused on breathing for a moment. He had to get command of himself if he had any hope of extracting the information he needed.
When he was calmer and while he was still inside the pretty-boy’s mind, he moved around the shrouded entity as though walking a mental circle. The death vampire sobbed now, but Medichi didn’t give a rat’s ass. He’d witnessed too many of the bastard’s memories, those that involved securing dying blood, and the women he’d killed to get to it—always women because they were easily subdued physically.
So, yeah, let the bastard feel some pain. Let him feel a lot of pain because it wouldn’t be even a fraction of the devastation he’d created in the women he’d killed and the families left behind to deal with all those losses.
He focused once more on the shrouded dwelling and from deep within the death vampire’s mind a location at last came forth: Burma, Second Earth.
Medichi couldn’t quite grasp the sensation that plowed through him, but it popped a firework in his mind until glitter rained in his head. Relief flowed, pure exhilarating relief. After three long horrible months of hunting, he had just limited his search to a single country, located on only one of two dimensional earths.
Finally.
His entire body sagged and his throat tightened. He had a chance now of finding her, his woman.
Parisa on Second Earth and in Burma.
Even so, given Rith’s level of preternatural power it would take a few days to find the lair that held her captive. With Rith’s ability to create shields, no doubt the dwelling in which Parisa was kept was under some crazy-ass mist. The grid would have to search for an anomaly, something nonspecific and unidentifiable—in other words, something vague that didn’t belong.
But what were a few more days after searching for three long months and finding nothing? Yeah, he could wait for the grid to uncover an anomaly.
He closed his eyes. He took a long, long moment to offer thanks to the Creator, lifting his face to the heavens, his heart almost floating in a chest that had been constricted from the moment when the hologram of Parisa had disintegrated in front of his eyes.
He felt the pretty-boy’s life fading. He withdrew from his mind. The death vamp vomited blood, a lot of it.
Medichi sat down beside the creature that had once been a proper vampire youth. He put his hand on his shoulder, and kept it there. His touch calmed the shaking.
Medichi lowered his head to his knees. He despised what the death vamp had done, but he’d also seen that as a young ascender, a Twoling born on Second Earth, he’d tried dying blood on a dare, offered not from a body but from a goblet at a party. He’d been promised no ill effects, just pleasure. Well, pleasure he’d gotten, but he’d also gotten about three centuries of addiction, killing, despair, and no way back from a stupid teenage mistake. He hated all this shit, the treachery of Greaves and his forces, the resulting mortal victims. Still Medichi remained close to the vampire, as much a victim as those he’d killed, until he felt the final breath.
Stillness overcame the broken body. Medichi looked up. How far away the rim of the canyon seemed. The rush of water was loud in his ears and dominated his impression of the space. Above, complete silence. Below, all this rushing noise.
With his hand still on the death vampire, he repeated the words that had been his ritual for centuries. He was a man of faith if not a believer in structured religion, so in certain situations, like this one, he did what he thought was right, even necessary.
He looked at the now empty shell beside him and spoke against the hurtling water: “May the Great Spirit help you atone for these your terrible sins. May you be forgiven and may you find peace in the arms of the Creator. Amen.”
He released a heavy sigh.
So much death in their ascended dimension when it wasn’t necessary. Vampires were essentially immortal, or had the potential to live forever. But the addictive nature of dying blood, which seduced every death vampire who partook, made it necessary to kill mortals and ascenders alike for more.
In turn, Commander Greaves, bent on the domination of two worlds, used dying blood as one of his weapons. He not only encouraged the creation of death vampires, but built armies made up of them. There were even rumors that he provided the blood not just to his armies but to those High Administrators around the globe that he’d persuaded to join his faction.
Medichi had no qualms about being the sword of justice.
He left forgiveness to God.
Still sitting, he pulled his phone from the pocket of his black leather battle kilt and held it to his ear. He thumbed it. The phone was the size of a credit card and was a direct line to Central. For all other calls, he had a BlackBerry.
“Hey, Warrior Medichi,” Carla said. “Did you get him?”
“I got him.”
He heard a whoop and a shout and then Medichi smiled. Thank God for the women at Central. They were chosen for their calm tempers and positive outlooks even in the face of nightly death. They also did clean-up through a sophisticated inter-dimensional process that was more technology than preternatural power.
“Has Jeannie gone home for the day?” Carla and Jeannie overlapped their schedules. Carla had the day shift, while her best friend, Jeannie, had the night shift. The women were gold and served seven days and nights a week, just like the Warriors of the Blood.
“Yeah,” Carla said. “I kicked her out an hour ago. She has a brunch this morning with a Militia Warrior.”
He bristled. As a Warrior of the Blood, his protective instincts were always in overdrive, even where Jeannie and Carla were concerned. The Militia Warriors, though less powerful than the elite Warriors of the Blood, were still strong hombres and carried a shitload of testosterone in their own right. “Is he treating her good?” he growled.
“He’d better if he wants to stay alive,” Carla responded, but she was chuckling. “Hey, don’t worry. Not only can Jeannie handle herself after so many centuries as a vampire, but our Militia boys aren’t stupid. They know the Warriors of the Blood would be all over their asses if either of us got hurt.”
“Damn straight,” he cried, but more softly he added, “You still dating your man?”
She giggled then sighed.
“I take that as a yes.”
“He’s gorgeous,” she cooed. “Almost as pretty as you.”
Medichi found himself smiling all over again even though he was exhausted and had a torn-up and really dead pretty-boy beside him. Yeah, this was his life, finding small measures of comfort while sitting next to a corpse.
“I need a little cleanup action,” he said.
“I see him. What a mess. Oh, God, look at those wings.” In recent months, satellite imaging had enhanced the grid’s capacity as well. Medichi wondered if Carla could see the scars laced down his back, although right now his hair hung almost to his waist. Well, if she’d seen his scars anytime in the last three months, she hadn’t said anything. One more reason to love her. “Close your peepers.”
Medichi let his eyelids fall. Damn, he was tired, because it felt good to shut down like this, on a wet rock in the middle of the Colorado River. “Ready,” he murmured into his phone.
He saw the flash of light behind his lids. He felt the air move beside him. He opened his eyes. The death vamp was gone as well as any traces of blood, bone, or other feathered debris. “Clean as a whistle as usual, Carla. Thanks.”
“I know you’ve been after this death vamp for weeks. Please tell me you have some news for me? Anything I can use to find our girl?”
Our girl. That’s why he loved the Central staff. They made everything feel like a team effort; no matter what you went through, you had backup.
Relief flowed through him again, like a cool breeze on a hot day. “Actually, I have the best news.” He explained getting inside the pretty-boy’s head and finding the shrouded dwelling.
Carla squealed several times in the telling. He could hear her tapping on her keyboard. “I’m reconfiguring the grid to Burma, Second Earth, even as we speak. If I find so much as a flyspeck out of place I’ll call you. Just remember that this will probably take two or three days. Jesus, this country is so frigging big. Did you know it’s the size of Texas?”
“Do what you can do,” he said.
“If we were looking for a power signature, it would be different, but we’ve already searched both worlds and didn’t find one, so expect some near-misses.”
“Hey. Trust me. I know the drill.”
“I know you do but oh, how I want this to go fast and it just can’t but holy shit—” Carla rarely used profanity. “Burma, Second Earth. This is fantastic news. Have a limoncello on me. Now head home, Warrior, and for the Creator’s sake, get some sleep. You’ve earned it.”
Aw, hell. Carla was such a sweetheart. “Can’t. Not yet. I’m heading over to the Cave. Some of the brothers might still be there having their morning bullshit session, and I’ll want to talk to Thorne. I’ll let him know about the shift in grid coordinates.” Thorne was in charge of the Warriors of the Blood, including all communications with Central. But once the warriors had checked in from a night of battling, searching for Parisa took priority.
Medichi wasn’t alone in his despair. All the warriors had been wrecked by a disappearance on their watch. If it could happen to Medichi, it could happen to any of them.
Carla’s voice dropped to a whisper. “And you’ll let us know about … well, you know.”
“Of course.”
“Good. Now give me a second to reconfigure the grid.” The tapping started.
He sighed as his heart pulled into a hard knot.
Every twenty-four hours he had contact with Parisa, and everyone knew it. What they didn’t know was the personal way in which it happened. And like hell would he ever reveal that truth, because it was like having phone sex without the phone. Once a day, and always in the morning after he’d battled all night, he’d go home, shower up, and sit on the side of his bed. That’s when he’d hear Parisa’s voice in his head, only once, Antony. A sweet telepathic whisper that fired his heart and kept hope alive.
That was the only form of communication he had with her. She wasn’t even ascended, so not all of her powers were developed. And for whatever reason, even though she was a mortal with wings, she couldn’t communicate with her mind, at least not yet.
Despite this critical lack, she had another preternatural power that was considered a Third Earth or third dimension ability—that voyeur’s window she could open. If she was indeed in Burma, she was halfway around the globe when she sent her single telepathic communication. It would be night to his day.
If that were true, then she had enormous telepathic capacity. She just hadn’t learned how to use it yet.
Whatever.
It still meant that in half an hour or so, he would go home, get ready for bed, and discover whether his woman was still alive.
His heart tightened a little more. He both dreaded and longed for the experience because honest to God he didn’t know what he would do if he didn’t hear her say his name today within the depths of his mind. If he thought for even a minute that she might be dead, he’d go mad.
Carla’s voice came back on the line. “The grid’s on Burma, Warrior, and you’re in my prayers.”
His eyes burned. “Thanks,” he said, but his voice sounded hoarse. “Later.”
“Later.”
He thumbed his phone and with a thought, folded to his villa to change out of his kilt and weapons harness. He still hadn’t revealed his scars to his brothers. Only Marcus knew that his back was covered in a basket weave of silver scar tissue, and he’d promised his silence. There was no way he was going to the Cave to meet with the brothers while wearing only a kilt and a weapons harness. The latter, though broad enough in the front to support two daggers, had only a heavy narrow strip of black leather running down his spine.
Shit. He knew the time had come to reveal this hard truth about what had happened to him and to his family thirteen centuries ago, just before his ascension. But he dreaded speaking about the why of his scars. Dreaded letting anyone get that close to him.
Well, he wasn’t ready to talk just yet.
He changed into his usual: a black tee, black cargoes, and steel-toed boots. He thought the thought and headed to the Cave.
*   *   *
Parisa Lovejoy had run out of time.
She didn’t know the how or why of it, but something in Rith Do’onwa’s demeanor toward her had darkened. When she was around him now, shivers chased down her neck and shoulders.
She stood outside on the lawn, barefoot, a few feet away from the enormous tamarind tree in Rith’s large side yard. She stared up at the double dome of mist and as usual, was amazed.
She could see both layers. The exterior dome was the usual fine crochet-like composite, but the interior swirled in beautiful colors of aquamarine, sea green, blue, and gray … magnificent. The mist kept the master’s home invisible to Central’s electronic surveillance grid. She had learned at least that much in the three months she’d been held captive: The Warriors of the Blood couldn’t find her because Rith had concealed her location under not one but two powerful domes of mist.
Two exquisite domes that meant she couldn’t count on a rescue.
Yesterday, Rith had treated her with his usual indifference, but when she had awakened this morning and met him over the breakfast table, displeasure, perhaps even hatred, had rolled from him, a living writhing thing. And just like that she knew she had run out of time. Whatever mantle of grace had kept her safe in his home these past three months had just been obliterated.
She had to escape. She just didn’t know how to get the job done.
She had struggled with the question all day. Now night had fallen and she had a decision to make. Should she take flight and bust through the double dome of mist that protected the property, or should she take her chances and stay put? She knew that the nature of mist would allow her to easily reach the sky beyond, but her flight skills were untested. It was one thing to practice in the gentle environment of the garden protected by the mist, but another to be in the open air where unpredictable wind shears could turn her upside down.
She truly didn’t know what to do—but just in case inspiration struck at the last moment, she had begged for one last flight before bed.
She hadn’t expected Rith to allow it. He kept a very strict schedule for her throughout any given day. To her surprise, however, he’d agreed to her request. Given his attitude toward her, she’d found his acquiescence suspect.
As she stared up into the inner domes, swirling with a pattern of blue-green mist, her heart hammered in her chest. Should she take her chances and fly through both domes, right here, right now?
Even as the thought entered her mind, she felt tendrils reaching toward her, whispering for her to do it, to go, to leave, to break through.
She looked around. Was she hearing Antony at long last? Had he found her? Was he encouraging her to leave? Did he wait for her beyond the mist?
She trembled. She wanted to leave. Oh, how she wanted to leave. More than anything in the world, she longed to see Warrior Medichi.
Again, the whispers drifted over her: Go, leave, run away, now.
Antony, she sent from her mind. Nothing returned to her.
Was it possible he had found a way to reach her telepathically?
She wore a long halter gown of beautiful amethyst silk, the same color as her eyes. From the beginning, Rith had kept her in beautiful clothes. But in this case, the halter meant that her back was bare and she could mount her wings. She knew that if she took to the skies she might get her legs tangled up in the skirting, but she believed Rith had wanted her hampered. Rith always had a reason for every action. He was the most careful man, or rather vampire, she had ever known.
She stepped farther away from the enormous tamarind tree, away from Rith, away from his three Burmese slaves who had come to watch the show. The women loved to watch her fly. As far as she knew, none of them had wings—yet they’d been ascended for centuries. She found the absence of wings very strange for second dimension vampires, unless of course Rith had found a way to prevent them from gaining normal flight capability.
Whatever.
Rith was a monster, a quiet, dedicated, harmless-looking monster. He had ways of hurting her, and probably his slaves, that left no marks: His torture skills involved the piercing of the mind with his superior mental power. If she escaped his home tonight and he caught her, at the very least he would fill her mind with the equivalent of whirling knives. At the most, he would find an excuse to take her life.
So what was she to do? Take her chances and attempt to escape the mist or remain and risk staying one more night in the power of a man who now radiated a desire to kill her?
Her arms trembled as she prepared to mount her wings. She closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath, forcing herself to relax, an exercise that required a full minute of firm concentration.
She took a final deep cleansing breath, leaned forward slightly with her hands on her waist, then released her wings. She couldn’t hold back the moan of pleasure. Her nipples drew into hard beads. For whatever reason, mounting her wings had always been for her an experience akin to sexual release.
The feathers flew in perfect balance through the small weeping apertures in her back and at the exact same moment joined with the mesh superstructure that also emerged and held the incomprehensible mass together. She would never understand how her body produced the glory that was her wings, but then how could she open the windows of her preternatural voyeurism and see what others were doing? How could the ascended vampire dematerialize? How did Rith create the extraordinary mist that appeared in visible domes over his home? Power then more power.
These were the mysteries of her world, her new world, the world of ascension.
She moved in a slow circle, wafting her wings up and down, practicing the combined movements of her back, her arms, and her wings. She was new to flight, having flown for the first time three months ago, though she’d had her wings over a year before that. Her friend Havily Morgan, an ascended vampire, had been teaching her to fly before the abduction. In one early session, Parisa had almost gotten herself killed by launching into the air without enough training, but Havily had pulled on her feet and brought her out of a deadly forward roll.
Because she was alone here in her garden prison, all her practice had been done with great care. She feared falling and breaking her wings more than anything. She didn’t heal at lightning speed like normal vampires did, which was part of the reason she feared attempting an unsupported escape. One huge gust of wind would probably throw her into an uncontrolled spin or roll; she could easily fall to the ground. In her mortal state, she didn’t want to think what that would feel like. She could end up paralyzed or even dead.
Yeah, this really wasn’t a simple decision.
She looked up into the swirling dome and drew her wings back. She launched into the air, brought her wings forward, caught air, and began to fly. A collective gasp came from the three women on the porch. She flapped her wings and smiled. She understood their delight. She had seen Havily fly. It was a sight to behold.
She had seen all the Warriors of the Blood in flight at one time or another, all except Antony, of course. She knew the reason why he didn’t mount his wings. She had voyeured him for over a year, so she had seen the secret he kept hidden from those closest to him. What she didn’t know was the why of it.
Antony.
Now she was here, struggling to find a way to escape. The truth was, even if she did escape she still didn’t know which path she would choose: to stay on Mortal Earth or ascend.
She tilted her wings slightly to the left and began a turn. She had to keep her movements small or she would start a rolling maneuver from which she would have a hard time recovering. Maybe impossible.
Her heart pounded as she approached the upper reaches. She flew in an arc and raised her arm straight over her head, carefully controlling the shape of her right wing as she dragged her fingers through the blue-green mist. A wonderful ripple of power flowed up her arm. The women below applauded since the dome reacted to these movements by swirling in enormous patterns to reconfigure over and over again, an oversized kaleidoscope.
Parisa dove toward the ground. Yes, her skills had improved. The women gasped again but at the last moment, she fluffed her wings into parachute position, brought her feet up, and floated to earth. She touched her toes to the grass, bent her knees, drew her wings close to her body, then once more launched upward.
The whispering grew louder from deep within her mind. Yes, leave now. Make your escape.
Antony? she sent, hoping. Was her guardian warrior communicating with her? The whispers were so faint, she couldn’t tell.
Antony?
But nothing returned.
She drew close to the top of the tamarind tree and once more assumed the parachute position. This time she stared down at Rith. He had moved to the edge of the porch, his fists clenched at his sides, his eyes dark and glittering as he stared up at her. She wafted her wings slowly to maintain altitude.
She met his gaze.
Fly through the mist. Hurry. Escape now!
Then she knew and her heart plummeted. She wasn’t hearing Antony’s whispers at all. Rith was in her mind. These were his words, his commands, and he had but one purpose—he wanted her to make a run for it. If she did, she knew she would die.
She understood now that though Rith wanted her dead, he couldn’t kill her outright. He must be under orders to keep her alive, which meant he’d have to make her death look like an accident. His master, Commander Greaves, was the one truly in charge of her. Rith was just her keeper.
What better way to create an accident than to hurt her high in the air, beyond the mist, and send her into a deadly spin?
Yet what exactly had changed for Rith that he now wished for her death?
Her heart sank farther, a rock dropping into a pond. She turned slowly and wafted her wings, gliding down to the lawn below. She didn’t look at him or the women. Once she felt the grass beneath her feet, she closed her eyes and retracted her wings.
She ignored Rith as she made her way onto the porch then into the house. The female servants followed her.
Time for bed.
She showered and slid on a soft white cotton nightgown trimmed with lavender lace. Yes, everything of the finest quality had been provided for her since the first day of her captivity.
The women put her to bed because that was one of their duties, even though she was perfectly capable of pulling back the patchwork silk coverlet and sliding between the sheets all by herself. Ridiculous. But Rith insisted that they tuck her in, like a child, every night, which was of course more about control than kindness. Shortly after her arrival, she’d become aware that the women were as much captives as she was. To her knowledge, they never left the house, and they were forced to sleep on mats in the hall outside Parisa’s bedroom. It sickened her.
Once she was alone in her bed and she could hear the women rustling on their mats, she glanced at the clock on her bedside table. The hour was too early for her to voyeur Warrior Medichi. He would not come to her for at least half an hour, perhaps more.
Over the course of three months, he had developed a routine of hunting down rogue death vampires on Mortal Earth—but not until after dawn. He did this searching for information about Rith and following leads to places she might be held captive. But he couldn’t engage in these solo hunts until after a night of battling death vampires at one of the Mortal Earth Borderlands.
Her guardian warrior was utterly exhausted. The only contact she had with him occurred when he’d completed his final runs to Mortal Earth in pursuit of whatever leads he’d garnered the previous afternoon. He rarely slept, just a four- or five-hour block that crossed the noon hour. The afternoons prior to his night’s usual work were spent pursuing rumors of rogue vampire lairs on Mortal Earth.
She turned on her side and stared at the slim brass Buddha on the table near the door to her private bathroom. She sighed heavily. She opened her voyeur’s window, then thought of Antony. When she saw that he was in conference with Warrior Thorne, she closed the window quickly. She had set certain rules for herself in order to preserve her sanity. She didn’t voyeur anyone but Antony, and only when she could be with him in the privacy of his bedroom.
So she waited. Every fifteen minutes, she opened her window again, until she saw him at last showered, naked, and sitting on the side of his bed, waiting for her.
Antony had been her Guardian of Ascension, assigned to protect her during her rite of ascension to Second Earth. Not everyone who began a rite of ascension needed a guardian, but she had been a mortal-with-wings, something that had apparently happened only once before on Mortal Earth.
Though she had been voyeuring him the entire year preceding her rite and knew what he looked like, meeting him for the first time had been an extraordinary experience. She had been standing in the kitchen of his villa, chatting with Havily. He had appeared in the doorway, like a god, dripping wet from the shower, his muscled chest on display, and only a black towel around his hips.
The towel had been completely inadequate to disguise that he’d been in a full state of arousal. His scent, a beautiful, musky, sage fragrance, had already been heavy in the house, but at that moment clouds of sage had billowed toward her. As always, the scent had teased every tender place of her body to a ripeness she’d never experienced before. Through her voyeurs, she had been completely attracted to him, but standing in the same room her attraction had turned into an inferno of pure sexual need and desire.
Then he had done the unthinkable: He’d dropped the towel. Her gaze had wasted no time in sliding down his chest, down and down, until her eyes found what she needed. She remembered putting her fingers to her neck and stroking her vein. In her voyeurs she had seen him take women into the booths at the Blood and Bite, the club the Warriors used for R&R. She’d been just voyeur enough to stay and watch as well, which meant she’d seen him take blood.
She had wanted nothing more, standing there in that kitchen, than to take Antony somewhere private and give him what he needed.
Havily, bless her, had rescued the situation. Marcus, too, since he’d arrived and punched Antony in the jaw with a solid right hook. Parisa had wanted to go to him, but Havily had taken her outside until she could calm down and think things through.
She’d done a lot of thinking over the next few days, while death vampires were after her. She’d also seen the war up close, and it had frightened her. The whole experience, however, had led her to believe that despite her insane attraction to Antony, despite the tender feelings he aroused in her, she didn’t want to complete her ascension. She wanted to return to her Mortal Earth world, to her cloistered job as a librarian, to her solitary life, to peace and serenity.
She knew Antony would be sad, even angry that she’d decided against ascension, but her choice was made. She’d just been about to tell him when Rith intervened and changed everything.
She couldn’t help the tears that leaked from her eyes, slid over the bridge of her nose, joined with more tears, and splashed into the hair on the side of her head. At least she would be with him again soon, but she couldn’t even share with him that when it was morning for him it was evening for her. Surely he could have found her by now if he’d had that one scrap of information.
And right now, she wished more than anything that she could tell him of her present danger, ask for his advice, his help, anything.
Oh, God, would she even be alive by morning?
But no matter how hard she tried to create a telepathic link with Antony, she simply couldn’t. Only at the point of release, when she would touch herself and experience an orgasm, could she whisper his name in her mind and know that he heard.
She had tried countless ways to talk to Antony short of standing on her head. She had attempted to scream his name inside her head, scream it aloud and in her head at the same time, whisper his name, cry out his name when she was having an orgasm all by herself. Nothing worked. Only in this one special moment, when they connected through her voyeur’s window, could he hear her, and then only once. Everything else had failed.
She hated that she was so weak in this way. She hated that she was a prisoner. She hated that she still knew so little about ascended life and her powers. The only thing she had accomplished in three months was improving her flight.

 
Copyright © 2011 by Caris Roane
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 65 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(40)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 66 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Just OK, not as good as the first two in the series. I just co

    Just OK, not as good as the first two in the series. I just couldn't warm up to Parisa. She did nothing but whine and complain during the first half of the book and the second half wasn't much better. She kept having "epiphanies" and was going to change, but then went right back to whining and complaining. I really wanted to like her cause I loved Medichi in the first two books. Parisa was like watching a ping pong game going back and forth. First she's complaining how she doesn't want anything to do with the vampire life, then she's all about becoming a warrior. Then she wants Antony, but doesn't want him and sleeps in the guest room. It was like watching a schizophrenic argue with herself. Yes, No, Maybe, I Don't Know... and then starting all over again.

    In some places, the storyline seemed to drag, too much whining from Parisa and not enough actual story. The battle sequence was kind of anti climatic to me. Out of the blue, there's suddenly this big battle that's supposed to decide everything (in the Grand Canyon of all places), then it's over, and everything goes back to how it was. No real changes, just a lot of people dead. And why is it Luken who always seems to get demolished? I wonder sometimes if he will survive to make it to his own breh-hedden story.

    It seemed to take forever to get through this book. I finished it just so I could move on to the next in the series. I'm hoping that Jean-Pierre and Fiona's story will be better.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The latest Guardians of Ascension vampire romantic thriller is a terrific tale

    Three months ago the winged Warrior of the Blood Antony Medichi lost his woman who was abducted. He knows she is special as he is her Guardian of Ascension who failed to protect her. Antony realizes his beloved breh haden soul mate Parisa Lovejoy is an anomaly with her beauty, intelligence and power. He vows to find and rescue her from the malevolent Roth, agent of even more evil Commander Greaves.

    Antony also continues to hunt down the invading death vampires and other rogue vampires who harm Earth. Meanwhile death vampire Commander Greaves, who kidnaps female mortals to drink their blood, vampire knows his latest captive Parisa is special due to her voyeur skills. Her only hope for salvation and saving other blood slaves resides with Antony if she accepts her Guardian as her eternal soul mate.

    The latest Guardians of Ascension vampire romantic thriller (see The Burning Skies and Ascension) is a terrific tale as Caris Roane provides more insight into the divided vampire culture though the actions and reactions of the cast. The three prime characters make a delightful paranormal triangle as the death vampire plans to drink the blood of the Ascension whose soul mate is coming in an enjoyable urban fantasy.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 4, 2011

    Awesome!

    Great series! The chemistyr between Parisa and Warrior Medichi is hot, hot and extremely hot! I did get irritated with Parisa's personal issues. I felt they were too weak and drugged out too long, in comparsion to others. Looking forward to the stories of the other Warriors and the story of Fiona and Warrior Jean-Pierre.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 1, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Good read

    interesting characters, good plot. Emotion, hot romance, a little suspense. One of my favourites.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2014

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2014

    &female

    &male

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2014

    To below

    YOU ARE SO WRONG IT IS IDIOTIC! TUI WILL NOT ADD ANY OTHER DRAGONS SPECIES AND IF YOU READ THE EPILOUGE YOU WILL KNOW WHAT THE NEXT BOOK IS ABOUT! THE PROPHECY IS NOT THE STUPID ONE YOU CAME UP WITH BECAUSE IT SAYS THE PROPHECY ON THE LAST PAGE! YOUR SUCH A BABOON FACED IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2014

    BOOK 6:THE LOST TRIBES PART 2

    At the rainforest, it was Clay's dream of everything to eat, but right now, he didn't feel very hungry at all. Jambu came up to Glory, smiling with glee, but his face fell when he saw Deathbringer. "Uh...don't worry! I'll get him to the healers!" See, they had been gone from the rainforest in the first place to work on the Jade Mountain School, but now, he didn't think they'd be working on it ANYTIME soon. He thought badly for the dead Fatespeaker on the cliff-she had tried everything for them...Clay should've been in Fatespeaker's place. That reminded him of his limp while he walked...it all came back, the endless pain, the snakebite, saving Sunny, Starflight, and Fatespeaker, and then...Peril. She had saved his and his friends lives 2 times...well, not really..."Get out of DREAM-MODE CLAY! We gotta get going here," Glory woke him up from his daydreaming. He followed her, still wincing from the limp and they flew into the sky. It looked as if it was about to rain...the clouds were all black."Wait...guys, you could stay here for shelter!" Jambu flew in front of them. "We've got an important thing to do!" Glory told him,"SAVE OUR FRIENDS!" Jambu winced and then he had concerned and worried colors on his scales. "Guys...just to warn you...there's a big storm coming that way...it may slow you down...but good luck." Clay felt bad for Jambu that...well, he didn't want to accuse Glory of doing anything either. The clouds got darker as Clay and Glory squinted through the mist and flew ahead. Suddenly, lightning flashed as Clay pushed Glory out of the way to avoid getting hit. Uh-oh! He saw Glory's wings flailing as she fell toward the ground and Clay's wings felt heavy as he dove foward...too late. Then everything blacked out. Clay woke up to be in a rocky wasteland. He groaned as he felt a slight bruise on his arm. Glory didn't have any injuries...or did she? But she had a large cut on her wing...this wasn't good. He looked around. All there was was abandoned landscape. He wished he had Starflight so he could...oh. He remembered his blindness. Well luckily, with his fire-proof scales, he had flew him to safety beforr getting totally burned. Then suddenly, someone tapped him on the shoulder. It was an unusual dragon, not a Nightwing, or any parts of dragons, like Sunny. "Hi, I am Jambaro," he said,"I am an Ironwing."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    Want a free ipad

    Kiss ur hand three times then poat this on a difrent book then look under ur pillow

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2013

    Narrator's Bio

    Name: Narrator, Duh!>> Age: I will slap you. >> Purpose in life: To Narrate the Adventures of Jet. 'Nuff said.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2013

    Jet's bio

    Name: Jet species: Nightwing personality: crazy hot heade nevrr give up never surrenders loyal age: same as the others so dragonet apperance: as a normal Nightwing would appear

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2013

    Sucks

    Sucks

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    Hunting grounds

    Catch your prey here. Spring: rabbit, mice, fox (rarly), squirrel, trush, vole. Summer: rabbit,mice,bird,squirrel. Fall: bird(rarly),mice, vole ,deer,fox.Winter: deer,trush,vole,mice(rarly),snow birds and other

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    Brightkit

    Listened

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2013

    Emeraldstar

    Sure!At uncle remus!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    B

    He silently watches, sitting still to try not to disturb the blind kit.


    ……=[Featherdust]=……

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2013

    Spiritash

    Caught the thrush and went back to camp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    Ironclaw

    He purred thanks..now lets go to camp..he smiled.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013

    Flameclan hunting ground

    A place of lush trees and a stream. Near the stream is a giant pine, known as Olde Pine.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2013

    Lovey

    If you dont like loveydovey dont buy it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 66 Customer Reviews

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