Samuel Faa is a Gypsy lawyer with the power to control minds. Isabelle Mason is wealthy, privileged, and refined, and has the gift for healing. Two of the Chosen Ones, they share a past filled with love and betrayal, and a future denied by fate-until the day they're trapped underground. No way out. No way to deny the passion that still burns beneath the surface. And when danger threatens, Isabelle has only one choice: to place her trust in the power of the one man she could never forgive...or forget.
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Martha’s information about the security in the Swiss Bank was dated. Samuel went through not two metal detectors, but five, and two full-body scans. The guards politely requested he remove his shoes, and they examined them with a machine that had so many warnings printed on its side and made such ominous noises Samuel wanted to cover his balls or step behind a lead wall or something.
He intended to have children someday.
He was contemplating the lineup of shoes from the poor schmucks who didn’t get theirs returned to them when the guards very politely requested his pen, his belt, his tie clip, and his watch. They placed them in a safety-deposit box, had him lock them inside, and gave him the key.
Then they frisked him.
The Swiss took their security very, very seriously.
Don’t make a joke. Don’t mess up now.
He heard the woman so clearly, he turned to see where she stood.
But she wasn’t here. She was in New York, in a hospital, sitting at Irving Shea’s bedside, smelling of cigarettes and passing on Irving’s instructions in that freaking spooky telepathic way of hers. Dina was in her sixties, short, bitter . . . and a mind-speaker, one of the most talented ever born.
She was also one of the Others. She held an old and towering grudge against Irving, and why any of them were trusting her, Samuel didn’t know. Why he was trusting her, he didn’t know. If he got caught trying to pull this off, he’d be the one rotting in a Swiss jail for the rest of his life.
Life’s full of tough choices, isn’t it? that rough female voice asked.
“Damn it!” he said.
The guards looked up inquiringly.
“Stubbed my toe,” he explained.
Inside his head, Dina laughed.
He didn’t react to her amusement, but only because he knew cameras followed his every move, and somewhere a computer was analyzing his features, looking for his resemblance to any known criminal.
Not that the Swiss banks didn’t allow known criminals to hold accounts in their hallowed vaults, but they liked to make sure those criminals didn’t have designs on other criminals’ money.
He knew how this operation was supposed to work. They—the Chosen Ones, aided and abetted by Martha, their Gypsy Travel Agency adviser—had set up Samuel’s schedule. He was to go into the bank, talk to the bank president (the bank president and no one else, Martha warned), and convince him to open the Gypsy Travel Agency accounts, frozen since the explosion of the headquarters almost three years before. Because with Irving in the hospital and deemed incompetent by his doctors, the Chosen Ones’ funds had dried up and they were in danger of losing their shirts, not to mention Irving’s mansion and their ability to perform the task for which they had been recruited—rescuing abandoned children from the Others.
Samuel couldn’t carry a wire or have any mechanical way to remain in touch with the Chosen Ones, so he had memorized script after script of what to say, what to do, whom he might meet, plus the Chosen would occasionally give him a surprise setup and have him wing it. He was a natural. As a child, he’d learned to be fast on his feet—it was a matter of survival—and law school had honed his talents.
Mostly, he had been picked for this mission because he was a mind controller.
He found it a useful talent for a lawyer.
He had also used it to destroy his own happiness. Because yes, everyone knew he was blunt to the point of rudeness, abrasive, impatient with fools, and he was fine with all that.
But he was also a monumentally stupid ass.
That hadn’t turned out so well for him.
When all of the Chosen Ones had been satisfied he was as prepared as he could be and he was on the way to the airport to catch his flight to Switzerland, he went to the hospital to say good-bye to Irving . . . and Dina was there.
The old man struggled to communicate in words, but he made himself clear in other ways—through Dina’s interpretation, through the few instructions he could manage aloud, and with gestures that indicated approval or rejection. Irving intended that she help Samuel with little reminders.
Samuel thought it was a bad idea.
Dina thought it was a bad idea.
But for some reason, Irving was intent on getting his way. He was ninety-four. He had fallen down the stairs, broken his hip and his shoulder, started rehab, had a small stroke, spent months in the hospital . . . and he was insistent on this point.
Samuel gave in.
Because it isn’t like you have a choice. If I want to talk in your head, I will. I know the way.
Knock it off.
Samuel accepted his shoes back from the guard, put them on, and walked directly into the elevator. You’re a mind speaker, not a mind reader.
She was quiet for so long, he began to relax, thinking she hadn’t heard him.
Then she said, You’re a strong receptor.
It’s not like I have a choice here, he snapped back.
You’re a strong sender, too, probably part of your gift. And I don’t know why, but . . . if I listen, I can hear your thoughts. Sometimes. Lately my abilities seem to have expanded.
Samuel knew what was going on, and that comprehension made him want to thump his head against the stainless-steel walls of the elevator. He would have, too, except he knew the guards who observed him on the cameras would flag that behavior and escort him back down to the lobby and out the door.
Dina was not only one of the Others, the enemy of the Chosen Ones. She also shared a past with Irving. A pretty intense past, if the way those two acted proved anything. So she might be wicked. She might be cruel. She might have been stalking every single Chosen for the past two and a half years, delivering cryptic warnings into their minds and scaring the crap out of them. But because of the prophecy that affected the Chosen Ones—when a Chosen sacrificed his or her greatest fear for true love, that love expanded his or her gifts in ways no one could have foreseen—her talents had expanded.
Not that she was Chosen. Quite the opposite. But the Chosen Ones and the Others were flip sides of the same coin. All had been abandoned as infants. All had been given gifts. Some used them for good. Some for evil.
If Samuel needed proof that Dina loved Irving, this assistance was it.
But still it didn’t mean she wasn’t going to betray Samuel. Women had a history of betraying him.
Or rather . . . one woman.
Never mind her, Dina said in his mind. You can worry about her later.
If I live through this.
There is that.
If Dina wasn’t a lying, cheating, treacherous minion of the devil, he would almost like her.
She reminded him of himself: rude, conflicted . . . and tainted. Tainted by birth, tainted by living, tainted by dark blemishes on their souls.
No matter what they did, no matter what reparations they made, how honorably they behaved . . . they could never escape themselves.
The elevator doors opened and a man stood there, six-foot-six, fit, fair and blond, with long arms, broad shoulders, and no neck. Adelbrecht Wagner, bank president, looked like a billboard advertising the Aryan Nations.
Two guards stood behind him.
Samuel didn’t know what purpose they accomplished. He wasn’t going to attack Wagner. The guy looked like he could crush Samuel with one fist.
Wagner extended his hand. In precise, German-accented English, he said, “Mr. Faa, how good to meet you. I’m Adelbrecht Wagner. We haven’t seen anyone from the Gypsy Travel Agency for several years. In fact, we had heard reports that an explosion at their headquarters had killed everyone on their board.”
Samuel shook hands, did the male dominance thing by squeezing too hard and making sure his hand remained on top, and put on his solemn face. “Did you? The explosion was a tragedy that deeply affected our organization.” It was a nonanswer, one worked out ahead of time and given Irving’s nod of approval.
Samuel had learned a few things about one-upmanship, and he understood Irving’s position about this operation.
Just in case he didn’t remember, Dina repeated the instructions. Say as little as possible. Don’t explain yourself. Don’t defend yourself. Make it clear from the beginning you are the man in charge.
Samuel strode beside Wagner down the short corridor to his office and was ushered inside. The place was immense, luxurious, and windowless.
The guards took up their positions at the sides of the entrance. Wagner closed the doors, and they gave a thunk that all too clearly proved they were reinforced with metal.
Wagner’s office was a vault, protecting the bank president, everything he represented and everything he knew.
Samuel would either succeed here or die in prison.
Samuel didn’t even know who thought it first.
Pulling a two-by-two slip of yellow paper out of his inside pocket, he placed it on the desk in front of Wagner. “I need you to transfer control of the Gypsy Travel Agency accounts to this address.”
Wagner didn’t bother to glance down. “Without the necessary legal documents, I’m afraid that’s impossible.”
Which was exactly what Samuel expected him to say. So he removed the formidable set of papers from his manila envelope and placed them beside the slip with the address for Wagner’s perusal. “The originals of the documents we sent ahead.”
“Without the signatures of at least three of the Gypsy Travel Agency board members, I’m afraid this is impossible.”
“As you know, the whole board is deceased. As a former board member and former CEO, Irving Shea—”
“Has been declared incompetent and is therefore not a legal signer.”
Crap. Wagner knew it all.
They were getting nowhere.
So Samuel used his mind to take control of Wagner’s thoughts.
To his surprise, his intention skidded off as if Wagner’s mind were Teflon protected.
I can’t reach him. In a reasonable tone of voice, Samuel said, “But surely you’re not saying you intend to keep these not-inconsiderable accounts in your bank forever?” He reached out again, this time with more force.
Wagner appeared to be oblivious. “Perhaps you’re not aware, but we have hundreds of unclaimed accounts which will never be opened because the owners have lost their minds, forgotten their passwords, or died. There are fortunes that haven’t been touched for over a hundred years.”
Samuel took a breath, looked straight into Wagner’s eyes, and concentrated.
Wagner stared at him. “Will there be anything else?”
Samuel couldn’t believe it. This had never happened before. He had never failed.
Dina snapped, What is this? Mind-control dysfunction?
Is he one of you? Samuel snapped back.
Sarcastically: I don’t know. I’m not personally acquainted with every miscreant in the organization.
He knew it. He knew Dina would betray them.
But I don’t think so. Samuel could almost hear her tapping her fingers on the table. He could be an undiscovered talent, hired for exactly this capacity.
“Mr. Faa?” Wagner stood. “I believe we’ve concluded our business.”
Samuel sent another shot at Wagner’s mind.
The mind was locked tight as a vacuum cylinder.
Wagner said, “In fact, I believe the Swiss police are waiting for you in the lobby below. They want to question you about your knowledge of and intentions for these particular accounts.”
A cold sweat trickled down Samuel’s spine.
Urgently, Dina said, I can distract him. Touch him. Touch him!
Samuel stood, extended his hand, and when his flesh touched Wagner’s, he heard Dina’s voice say, Look out!
Somehow the contact of their hands opened Wagner’s brain to Dina, and Wagner heard her voice, too.
His surprise gave Samuel his chance.
Samuel slammed a command into Wagner’s head. Do what I tell you.
Wagner blinked at him. “I apologize. I thought I heard a woman’s voice.”
“A woman?” Samuel raised his eyebrows as if amazed.
“A deep woman’s voice, hoarse, a smoker’s voice . . .”
“You’ve been working too hard,” Samuel said sympathetically.
“Yes. A temporary distraction.” Wagner blinked again, his defenses broken, his mind bending to Samuel’s will. “What was it you wanted?”
Samuel instructed him without words. Transfer control of the Gypsy Travel Agency funds to the account on that paper.
“I remember. You wanted me to transfer the Gypsy Travel Agency funds to this account.” Wagner indicated the yellow paper and sat down at his desk.
Samuel stood, barely breathing, as Wagner typed on his computer, checked the numbers on the paper, then pushed SEND.
Wagner looked up. “That’s that. Is there anything else you require?”
“Call off the police downstairs.”
Samuel heard Dina say, It is done.
Control of the funds had been transferred into the control of John Powell, the trustworthy leader of the Chosen Ones.
Samuel wanted to laugh in triumph. How he had enjoyed this!
Instead he spoke with cool composure. “There’s nothing more I require.”
Maybe a good stiff drink, Dina suggested.
“Very good. It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.” Wagner stood again.
Samuel walked toward the door. “It’s been a pleasure doing business with you, also.”
“I trust now that your business is concluded, you’ll have a chance to experience our magnificent skiing. It has been a record year for snow.” Wagner pressed the button on the wall. The doors swung open. “I’ve lived here twenty years, and I’ve never seen powder this deep.”
They walked into the corridor and toward the elevator. The guards fell in behind them.
“Tonight I’m going to Monastère for the party benefitting the World Children’s Literacy Foundation; then, alas, tomorrow I must return to New York,” Samuel said.
“Probably just as well. There’s a storm coming in. Just wind, they’re saying, but that always makes the slopes dangerous. Avalanche weather, you know.”
Samuel didn’t know, but he smiled and nodded, wanting nothing more than to clear out of here before Wagner realized what had been done and why. “That’s it, then.”
They shook hands.
The guard punched the elevator button.
The doors opened and Samuel stepped in.
The doors started to close—and right before they snapped shut, Wagner stuck his arm in.
The doors reopened.
“We should probably clarify one matter.” Wagner frowned.
Samuel’s heart stopped.
Wagner asked, “Will someone else return to claim the contents of the safety-deposit box?”
Samuel stepped back out of the elevator. “The safety-deposit box?”
Excerpted from "Chains of Fire"
Copyright © 2010 Christina Dodd.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great Series but takes too long to get the next set! I want to know what happens now not two years from now!
Isabelle Mason was the beloved adopted daughter of the rich Mason family of Boston. Raised in wealth and privilege, she learned to appreciate the sumptuous comforts associated with all the finer things in life. Yet, Isabelle was a loving, caring person and exemplified all that was good and decent. She was selected by the PTB at Gypsy Travel Agency to be one of the Chosen Ones because she was a powerful physical empath. With just her touch, Isabelle had the ability to heal people, but in return, she must take on whatever pain or illness they suffered from. That posed a real danger to her own life, but her giving and compassionate nature forced her to ignore the risks.~~~ After a hard start in life, Samuel Faa drove himself to get an education and become successful lawyer. Some might call him a handsome, charming, and intelligent man but in reality he could be blunt, sarcastic, and rude to the point of being deemed a jerk; and he was the kind of ruthless, unscrupulous lawyer that gave lawyers a bad name. For Samuel was gifted with the ability to control minds and often used his gift to gain whatever results he required, whether right, wrong or LEGAL to do so. And that breach of ethics was how the board at the Gypsy Travel Agency "persuaded" Samuel to join the ranks of the Chosen Ones; because there his special gifts could be used to perform good and noble deeds in the battle against the evil Others & the Devil himself. ***** In CHAINS of FIRE, the 4th installment in the popular Chosen Ones series, New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd brilliantly shows off her writing expertise in this genre by blending page-turning intrigue, a strong plot, and chilling paranormal elements, along with well developed cast of characters and a very healthy dose of steamy sexual tension... All aspects are ingeniously merged together to create a thrilling romantic tale that's guaranteed to captivate readers and take them on a wildly satisfying ride from start to finish.~~~ I've wanted to read Samuel and Isabelle's story for a long time and I'm happy to say it not only gives you brisk, edge-of-your-seat action, drama, danger and suspense, but it also highlights a heart-stopping romance between these thoroughly engaging characters. We learn all about the different paths their lives took and the troubles they encountered, and yet how they always manage to end up together. And as the reader we enjoy a front row seat as the action and tension heats up and they try to work out their problems as a couple, while fighting the temptation to seek solace in each other's arms and trying to stay out of harm's way. I loved the story and the characters were terrific. Isabelle is a lovely person and she impresses you with her innate goodness, but she's not a complete pushover as Samuel will learn many times over. There is some extremely funny, snappy dialogue between these two that's sure to entertain. I thought Samuel was one of the most refreshing bad-boy characters I've come across in a long time. The author successfully redeemed, as he clearly changed for the better throughout the story. Samuel was able to find "the hero" within himself, but he never quite loses his wicked-bad-boy-charm. Sometimes you just want Isabelle to smack him silly, but other times you understand why someone as classy as she is would drop her drawers for him. :)The story will make you laugh at times, and may make you cry, like I did, but in the end you'll cheer.
"Chains of Fire" is the fourth installment of Christina Dodd's new series of "The Chosen Ones". Samuel Faa is a "Chosen" with the power to control minds. He has not had an easy life and has had to struggle for what he has. Isabelle Mason is a "Chosen" with the gift of healing. Isabelle was raised with wealth and privilege. But what the others in the group do not know is that their past is filled with love and betrayal. First off let me say how excited I was to finally be able to read Samuel & Isabelle's story! I was so drawn to their characters when we were first introduced to them in "Storm of Visions". You could feel the tension and chemistry between them - but you didn't know why it existed. Their journey was by far the most extreme. I am not one for spoilers - I believe that one should find out about a book as the author intended. one page at a time. I never read the last few pages of a book first and I pride myself on that. I love suspense and it is wonderful to find yourself holding your breathe when an intense part happens. So when I say that I was actually TEMPTED to see how this story ended before I finished it.. Should tell you just how involved I got! LOL "Chains of Fire" was the most intense of the books so far. The battle between good and evil is at an all time HIGH and the stakes keep getting bigger! I absolutely LOVED this book! I cannot WAIT to see where Christina takes us next!!!!
Both are Chosen Ones. They have worked together on missions and had an affair that ended nasty with unfulfilled need. Each has learned now to never mix business and pleasure especially between a Gypsy and a socialite though they have known each for the longest time. Lawyer and mind-control expert Samuel Faa and healer Isabelle Mason remain angry with one another and especially their selves although each also remains attracted to each other. In Switzerland they bury their feelings in order to unfreeze the Gypsy Travel Agency funds, but also rescue a kidnapped child who was abducted by the Others as an expendable pawn to kill the two Chosen Ones in a man-made avalanche. The ploy works to a point as Samuel and Isabelle are trapped inside the ruins of a castle with a ton of ice burying them and the edifice; and the enemy patiently waits to insure the job is done. The latest Chosen Ones urban fantasy (see Chains of Ice, Storm of Visions and Storm of Shadows) is a superb romantic suspense thriller. The lead couple is a dynamic pairing as they have a long volatile history (told by Christina Dodd in flashbacks). Even with their past interwoven throughout the tale, Chains of Fire is an exhilarating entry as Samuel and Isabelle are trapped under a ton of rocks and under the even heavier burden of their love. Harriet Klausner
Too many characters are crammed into what is supposed to be Samuel and Isabelle's story. The climatic scene with the devil is an anti-climatic head game.
Lawyer and sometime-blackguard Samuel Faa, a butler's adopted son, and lovely Boston Brahmin-daughter Isabelle Mason have a lot of history between them - but do they have a future? Mind control and healing talents aside, this is really a fairly predictable romance featuring two star-crossed lovers with a family history and past hurts between them. Romance aside, a few revelations do move the underlying plot (Chosen Ones vs. Others) along. Charisma and Aleksander will apparently be the next pair featured, so for those awaiting a somewhat hairier tail (pun intended), your day is coming!
Love all the chosen books. Read them all. Can't wait for another one
It takes years for a book of this series to come out. You almost forget you are reading it. This author needs to finish one series before she starts another.