Fallen Embers

Fallen Embers

by PG Forte

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Overview

Fallen Embers by PG Forte

Marc Fischer is desperately searching for Elise, determined to find her. But what will happen when he finally has her back in his arms? His single-minded focus on her is just one of the things consuming his thoughts. Unlike his newly single twin. Julie is hooking up with everything that moves—at least, that’s how it looks to a jealous Armand.

But the twins’ unusual abilities are growing stronger, and Marc makes the mistake of trying to protect Julie from what he’s learned about their true nature, unsure of whom he can trust with the knowledge.

Meanwhile, Conrad’s relationship with Georgia is about to change yet again. They’ve both been keeping dangerous secrets. Secrets with the power to destroy. But with Julie’s life threatened, the Fischer-Quintano vampires will learn that no lie is hidden forever.


Each book in the Children of Night series is a standalone story and can be enjoyed in any order.
Series Order:
Book #1: In the Dark
Book #2: Old Sins, Long Shadows
Book #3: Now Comes the Night
Book #4: Ashes of the Day
Book #5: Fallen Embers
Book #6: To Curse the Darkness

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640630901
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 07/31/2017
Series: Children of Night , #5
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 380
File size: 426 KB

About the Author

PG Forte inhabits a world only slightly less strange than the ones she creates. Filled with serendipity, coincidence, love at first sight and dreams come true.

She wrote her first serialized story when she was still in her teens. The sexy, ongoing adventure tales were very popular at her oh-so-proper, all girls, Catholic High School, where they helped to liven up otherwise dull classes...even if her teachers didn't always think so.

Originally a Jersey girl, PG now resides with her family on the extreme left coast where she writes contemporary and paranormal romance in a variety of sub-genres.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

There is a very simple reason for all the myths and misconceptions regarding vampires, one simple truth beneath the falsehoods and the fears. The truth and the reason is this: there is nothing simple about vampires. They are amazingly complex creatures, an amalgam of man and mystery first spawned on some dark, forgotten dawn in some dim, forsaken corner of the globe.

Every vampire carries the mark of both parents within its cells — or upon its soul, if you believe in such things. Each is stamped in the image of the man or woman it once was and infused with the essence of that creature who sired it.

It is fashionable these days, among humans, to say that when you take someone to bed, you are bedding not just that one person — or the two, or three, or however many your personal taste dictates — but everyone they have ever bedded as well.

Vampires have always known this to be so.

Somewhere along the eastern coast of Britannia Early Twelfth Century

The salt air stung Quintano's eyes as he made his way through the woods that skirted the deserted coastline. It burned in his nose and the back of his throat, and with each breath he drew came memories. Of his youth. Of his childhood. Of those halcyon days when he was but an ordinary man living an ordinary life — before The Dark claimed him.

These unlooked-for reminders were just the latest bit of misery afforded him by this misbegotten mission on which he'd been sent. In their own way, those memories were every bit as unpleasant as the hungry weeks he'd spent lost in the mountains, or even the near-fatal trap he'd walked into tonight and from which he'd only narrowly escaped.

Hardship didn't bother him, nor did bloodshed. The six or so murders he'd added this evening to the scores he'd already committed over the past few centuries, certainly had not concerned him. Had he seen a way to avoid tonight's deadly adventure, he would probably have ignored it. Those he'd killed had been vampires. They were beasts like himself and therefore better off dead.

The fact that his mission had failed so spectacularly was also of no importance. It was unfortunate, he supposed, that among the deceased was the very vampire he'd been sent here to meet, the reputedly powerful leader with whom his mistress had been hoping to form an alliance. But, if he were honest, he'd have to admit he derived an odd sense of pleasure from having thwarted her. Lavinia would be displeased with him. No matter. She'd been displeased with him before.

Either she'd get over it, or she would not and, frankly, one was much the same as the other. If the worst punishment she could think to mete out was to send him away again, out of her sight, out of her bed, making his way alone in the wilderness for months at a time on one all-but-hopeless mission after another, then Quintano would welcome her continued displeasure.

He despised himself for craving her as he did. The fact that his body still longed for her even now, even knowing what she was, that he physically ached for her touch, was repugnant and further proof that he had sunk beneath any hope of redemption. Being banished from her presence for whatever reason, or none at all, was a blessing, albeit a painful one. It was a torment, yes — but one he embraced and would most willingly endure.

At last the small harbor town he'd been seeking came into view. He paused and glanced at the sky, gauging the time. It was just on midnight. He had hours yet to pass before he could hope to find someone he might convince to give him passage across the channel. In the meantime, he'd do well to try and find someone to eat. He had no wish for a reprise of the near-disaster that had marked his voyage here.

The sea spray had sharpened his appetite to an unexpectedly dangerous edge on that earlier crossing and several times he'd been on the verge of taking the entire crew. It was ironic that it was his mistress's cruelty that allowed him to survive. The months of near-starvation she'd subjected him to had given him the mental discipline needed to keep his inner beast in check. Once they'd reached shore, he'd quickly found a more suitable victim, someone who needed killing as badly as Quintano needed to live. He could only hope that tonight's hunt would bring him someone equally deserving of a quick and merciless death.

The stars were barely visible in the sky overhead, obscured by wispy clouds. All the same, perhaps they heard his silent pleas, for as though in answer to his prayers, the sound of armed conflict reached his ears. At this time of night, and in so isolated a cove, it could be nothing honorable.

Quintano crept closer, following the sounds that emanated from the seaward side of a nearby dune. The scene that met his eyes once he'd reached the top and peered over the rise was everything he'd been hoping for, and everything he hated. The battle that raged in the lonely campsite was stacked — four against one — and the one a mere girl, armed with only a blazing brand she'd pulled from the fire and with which she was valiantly attempting to fight off her larger and better-armed foes.

The thrill of battle rose within him and the anticipation of a heavy meal filled Quintano with satisfaction. He pulled out his sword in preparation of joining the fray. His excitement turned dull, however, when he got a closer look at the combatants. All five were vampires.

His mood soured. Their blood would not provide him with the sustenance he sought and he could not care less if they all killed each other. Indeed, he hoped they would. The world could only be made better by their deaths. He was on the brink of re-sheathing his sword and resuming his lonely trek when something about the girl stopped him.

Perhaps it was her determination that caught his eye. Her refusal to give in to defeat, even despite the overwhelming odds, struck an all-too-familiar chord. She faced her attackers bravely, with her head held high, wielding a weapon that was every bit as much a danger to her as it was to her opponents — maybe more so.

Her long, blonde hair had come loose during her struggle and the wind gusting off the water kept catching strands of it, blowing them across her face, into her eyes and perilously close to the business end of her torch. It was surely a matter of "when" not "if" her locks would catch fire and set her ablaze. He was half-tempted to stay and watch out of nothing more than morbid curiosity. How long before she finally managed to immolate herself? How many of the others could she succeed in taking down with her?

As he watched, the woman lost her footing in the loose sand. Her opponents closed in. Quintano was surprised to find himself holding his breath until she'd righted herself. Once she was back on her feet, her attackers quickly retreated.

Quintano rubbed absently at his chest. He was disgusted by the men's cowardice. Had they really wished to end the girl's life, they should have been more willing to risk their own in the attempt. He would have termed the odd pang he was feeling to be a mix of pity and admiration had he believed himself still capable of such emotions. More likely, it was nothing more than simple regret. What a waste of potential. She was a comely thing, trim and well-formed, above average in height. She must have been little more than a girl when the change had been forced upon her. Had she been allowed to live, she would probably have made someone a very capable wife. She fought well too. The soldier in him couldn't help but appreciate that.

Again he thought to turn away. Again he found himself unable to do so. He cursed his indecision. Neither the conflict, nor its almost certain outcome concerned him in the slightest. But he was a man of action. It was not in his nature to do nothing. The next time the woman's foot slipped and she fell to one knee, he found himself charging out of the woods without giving the matter a moment's thought. He reached her side just in time to deflect the blade that would likely have severed her arm.

Before his opponent had time to recover from his surprise at being so suddenly thwarted, Quintano swung his sword again and relieved the man of his head. The three remaining males immediately reoriented their attention on him, but by then the woman was once again on her feet. When Quintano's sword felled a second vampire, the remaining two turned and ran — like the cowards they were.

Grunting in satisfaction, Quintano tore a piece of cloth from the tunic worn by one of the dead vampires and used it to wipe his blade clean. "Well, I guess we've seen the end of them."

The woman made no reply. She was breathing heavily, still holding the blazing branch defensively in front of her and eyeing him warily. Perhaps she was in shock and had not yet realized she was safe?

Casually, so as not to alarm her any further, Quintano stepped away, putting a little more distance between them in an effort to reassure her. He sat on one of the logs that had been washed up on the beach and continued to tend to his sword. "You might want to put the torch down," he suggested calmly. "Before you accidentally set yourself alight."

"You might want to tell me what you think you're doing here, before I set you alight — not by accident."

Quintano chuckled, too caught between amusement and disbelief to take offense. "Is this how the inhabitants of Britannia are wont to express their gratitude? It seems a strange sort of custom to me." It would explain a lot however — his failed mission, for example. Perhaps what he'd taken to be an ambush had been meant as a convivial gesture, a party, hosted in his honor. "I should think it was obvious. But as it seems to have escaped your notice, allow me to explain it to you. I just saved your life."

"Yes, well, perhaps you did. And I thank you for your courtesy. But I did not ask for your assistance and I'd likely be more grateful if I knew why you did it. What do you expect to receive in return for your gallantry?"

"I seek nothing in return." As to why he had done it, he couldn't even explain that to himself. "And I'd hardly term it gallantry. It was a bit of exercise, no more. I stumbled across your dispute quite by accident and didn't favor the odds."

"Didn't favor the odds?" The woman's voice held a hint of amusement. Her eyes twinkled in the firelight. "What precisely do you mean by that, I wonder?"

Quintano shrugged. "Four against one? I enjoy a brawl as well as the next man, but that didn't strike me as a very fair fight."

"You are correct, of course." The woman tossed the branch back into the fire, then brushed the dirt from her hands. "Though there were six to start." She gestured at two smoldering piles of ash that Quintano had failed to observe. "It was not at all fair, for they were hopelessly outmatched. Perhaps I should have taken a moment to tie one of my hands behind my back before responding to their attack?"

Quintano smiled. "I see you think well of yourself. As is your right, for I confess I've never before seen a woman wield a weapon so proficiently." He took off his boots and shook the sand from them before adding, "I suppose I should apologize for having spoiled your evening's entertainment. Had I but known you were merely toying with these men I would have left you to your own devices. What was your argument with them anyway?" He glanced around at the isolated cove and barely managed to suppress a shudder when another wave of memories rose up to torment him. "And why choose this locale for a battleground?"

His companion shook her head. "I never said I was displeased with your intervention. Indeed, you saved me a good deal of trouble." She nodded at the blaze. "It was the fire that lured me in. I was hungry and cold. I hoped to find sustenance here, but I fear whoever had made this camp had fled by the time I arrived."

Quintano frowned at this reminder of the woman's true nature — and of his own growing hunger. "How lucky for them."

"As to the subject of our 'argument' as you've termed it, it's a common enough story." The woman fisted her hands on her hips and gazed challengingly at him. "These men very kindly offered to lay with me, an offer I politely refused. They took offense and attempted to convince me otherwise."

"They must have been most surprised when you resisted them so strenuously."

The woman's voice held a warning note as she continued. "Apparently so. But lest it's crossed your mind to make me a similar offer, stranger, I beg you to reconsider. Despite any gratitude I might presently feel toward you, you may be assured that this is a point I will argue with you as well. Just as strenuously. I choose for myself what I do and with whom. You'd do well to remember that."

"I have told you once already; you have nothing I want." However pretty and spirited she might be, she was still a vampire, still a monster. It was bad enough he was already forced to bed one of those on too regular a basis; bedding two of them was more misery than even he deserved. "And even were that not the case, even if I desired you most ardently, I'd still take nothing from you that was not offered to me freely."

The woman's gaze turned curious. "Would you give your word on that?"

"You would take the word of a stranger? I would have credited you with more intelligence. But, aye, for what it's worth. You have my word. Do not think of yourself as special, in that regard, however, for I would give the same assurance to anyone."

He'd been on the opposite end of that equation far too much of late and he did not take pleasure in coercion. There were those, no doubt, who would claim turnabout was fair play, that he should do unto others what had been done to him, but he had no stomach for such games. His conscience smote him, though, quite suddenly, and he sighed. Honesty forced him to amend his previous statement. "Hold. Let me make two exceptions to that rule lest I brand myself a liar. Those I meet in battle and those upon whom I feed — I have taken their lives without apology, and will continue to do so. In that I have no choice."

"How very strange you are." Cautiously, the woman retreated a few steps to seat herself on a boulder, still keeping herself within easy reach of the fire. "Why would you take the lives of those you — Wait, what are you called, soldier?"

"Called?" Quintano stared blankly at her.

"Yes. How are you addressed? By what name or title are you known? I realize we have not been properly introduced and perhaps you consider it unseemly for a lady to be so bold as to ask outright, but given the manner of our meeting it seems foolish for us to stand on ceremony with one another. Will you not tell me what I might call you?" "I'm known as Quintano."

"Even more odd. You do hail from the lands across the channel, do you not?"

"I do."

"Well then, that can hardly be the whole of your name. I know something of the language and customs of your people — not much, but enough to serve me. I believe 'Quintano' means fifth, does it not? The fifth of what, exactly, are you? Or were you perhaps named for that strange device I've heard tell of, the one the French use for training jousters?"

Quintano shrugged. "My mistress must have found it fitting for some reason, I suppose. Although whether she considers me a number or a tool, I neither know nor care. Perhaps it's both."

"Were you born a slave that your mistress should have had the naming of you? Did your parents never refer to you by anything else? Or were you taken so young that you can no longer recall your previous life?"

Quintano glared at her. "Of course I remember it — though I do so to my sorrow. Neither slave nor monster was I at my birth. I was a free man once upon a time."

"Then, as I said, surely you must once have been called something else. Why will you not tell me what name you used to go by?"

"Because I am no longer the man I once was. That man is dead. It is fitting his name die with him."

"Oh, nonsense. Surely, there must be something left of the man you used to be?"

"No. He is deceased entirely. And if I choose not to dwell on his memory any more than I must, that is my right. I pray you will cease speaking of it also, 'fore I lose my temper and repent my decision to save you."

The lady tossed her head. "Oh, very well. Quintano it is. And, since we're doing away with all formality, you may call me Georgia, if it pleases you."

"I thank you, but I doubt our acquaintance will be of sufficient duration to warrant my calling you anything."

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Fallen Embers"
by .
Copyright © 2015 PG Forte.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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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Fallen Embers 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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