Graves of Wrath

Graves of Wrath

by Lina Gardiner

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Overview

“Reading a Lina Gardiner book is like riding an out-of-this-world roller coaster with your favorite people in the world.” —Joyce Lamb, USA Today bestselling author



DEATH DEFINES HER . . .



When Jess Vandermire, Captain of New York City’s Vampire Hunting team, learns that her brother, Regent, has been sent to Paris for three months by the Vatican, she’s devastated. Regent’s been too involved with vampires as a priest to go to Paris without fearing vampire retribution. He’ll need backup. Lucky for him, Jess and her partner, John Brittain, have some vacation time coming.



Once Jess and Britt arrive, they know something’s not right in the city. Women are being murdered, and the vampire population is on the edge of revolt. But worst of all, the City of Lights is home to a lot of shadows, ones that move—and kill—of their own accord. But Jess’s existence is rocked to the core when Regent comes across a life-changing, long lost family secret.



It’s starting to look like there’ll be no rest for the wicked.



City of Bones—some secrets don’t stay buried . . .



Lina Gardiner, award-winning author of the Jess Vandermire Vampire Hunter Series, has writing in her blood. Winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Paranormal-Time Travel-Futuristic and winner of the Prism Award in Best First Book from FF&P (Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal Chapter of RWA). Her books have been well received by reviewers such as Kirkus Reviews and USA Today’s HEA blog, including a 4.5-star rating from RT Book Reviews and nomination for Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award 2013, finalist in the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Awards, and 2017 Epic eBooks Awards finalist.



Lina enjoys the daily routines of being an author: from conceiving an idea to writing and revising, from networking with other authors to attending workshops and learning sessions. And, of course, holding that bright and shiny, newly published book in her hands—always the best experience ever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611948769
Publisher: BelleBooks
Publication date: 03/30/2018
Pages: 222
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

LESS THAN A MONTH ago, Jess Vandermire, Captain of an NYPD Vampire Hunting Team, would have said her job was one of the most significant things in her life. It gave her a reason to rise from her death-state each evening and face her dark existence. She lived and breathed hunting the undead.

Strike that. For all intents and purposes, she didn't exactly live or breathe, which made the fact that she had a wonderful, warm-blooded soulmate in John Brittain even more crazy.

How'd she get so lucky?

Still, a part of her would always be a vampire hunter, regardless of how much she loved being with Britt. It was in her blood ...

But, her beloved brother, Regent, had been sent to a church in Paris for a three-month assignment. Although he knew the timeframe, he hadn't been given any details about the job. Even though Regent didn't appear to be overly concerned, she chewed on her lip as she stared, unseeing, out the window. The pieces didn't fit ... and her cop's gut didn't like it.

Suddenly, Jess felt Britt's radiating warmth behind her before soft lips caressed the back of her neck. "Britt, not in the office," she said weakly.

"I shut the door." He spun her around and kissed her until she started to feel actual warmth.

When she sighed, he released her. "Still worrying about Regent?"

She reluctantly stepped back from his embrace. "None of it makes sense, Britt. Why are they being so vague about his duties in Paris?" She didn't mention her fears to him, but then again, she didn't have to. Both of them knew that the church had been using Regent's talents with ancient vampires. They'd all just barely survived their last encounter with an olde one. Now they were sending Regent to France, alone. Jess was afraid for her brother.

"There's always the chance that they don't actually need his expertise with vampires. Maybe they simply need a priest?" Britt said.

"Is that what your gut is telling you?"

He cleared his throat. "Not really."

"At least the church doesn't know the full extent of Regent's abilities," she said.

"After last year's encounter with Cardinal Vasilli and Uriel, the church probably has a good idea," Britt reminded her softly. "I don't trust Vasilli one bit. Think about it. He turned Uriel, an angel, into a voracious vampire. What kind of man of the cloth would do that? Here's hoping he doesn't have a hand in Regent's new assignment."

She remained silent for a few moments. Then she squared her shoulders. "That settles it, then. We're going to Paris, Britt. Regent is going to need us."

"Just like that?" Britt said, less surprised than she'd expected. "What about the vampire-hunting team?"

"I have a lot of time off coming. And so do you. You haven't taken any leave since you started with my team four years ago." She should have noticed that. Humans needed vacations for their health. She looked him up and down. The question being — was he still human, or had he become more angel?

"Oh, I'm coming, doll. Besides, you'll need someone to help get you through the airport and to the hotel, just in case things go sideways."

"To be honest, I hoped you'd say that," she said. "Let's go talk to the chief."

"Poor man isn't going to know what hit him," Britt said, pulling her office door shut behind them.

"Let's not tell Regent we're going to follow him to Paris. He'll think we're babysitting him and try to make us stay here. So we'll sneak over a few days after he leaves."

THAT EVENING, WHILE Regent got ready to board the red-eye flight to Paris, Jess put on her best tough vampire persona. She hated the thought of him going to Europe without her as backup. Something wasn't right about this whole thing.

Regent toyed with the handle of his carry-on bag, barely making eye contact with Jess. "I know you'd prefer I stay here, dear, but the church has only given me two choices," he said. "Either I go, or I retire."

Retire? He'd never mentioned that part to her before, and it made her even more suspicious. Why was it so important that Regent be in Paris? Who had initiated this trip and what were they up to?

"Holy hell, Regent. I didn't realize they'd blackmailed you into going. Are you sure you want to do this?"

He stared into nothingness. "I'm doing it. And don't worry, dearest. I've always been able to hold my own, and we've been through a lot, Jess. So don't worry about me. I'll be fine."

She'd never dream of shaking his faith in his abilities. But due to the fact that Regent now looked decades younger than his seventy-three years, Jess knew that everyone forgot that her brother was indeed, a senior citizen. Including Regent, himself.

"Of course you will be fine," she said forcing herself to sound like she meant it. Thank God she'd be in Paris in the next couple of days, and would be able to keep an eye on him.

Meanwhile, Britt wrapped an arm around Jess's tense shoulders. She leaned into him. "And, I'll keep an eye on Jess. You don't have to worry about her."

Regent didn't exactly look appeased. "I know you will, my son, but what if there's an outbreak of — you know what. ... Don't forget, Jess literally died when she tried to save Uriel from vampirism," he said under his breath then looked over his shoulder in case someone was listening. "I'll be worrying about both of you."

"In case you haven't noticed, I'm already dead," she whispered back. "And, with Britt's angelic DNA, we'll both be fine."

"Don't joke, dearest. You nearly didn't come back to us last year," Regent said.

"But I did come back. I'm hard to kill." She tried to joke again, but it was obvious Regent wasn't having any of it. "Besides, the team is fully trained now. And truth be told, they don't need me as much, now that Jane's on board. I'd probably be stuck behind a desk more often than trolling the streets."

"I doubt that," Regent said, rolling his eyes.

Jess ignored his comment. "Jane's like a ninja when she's hunting vampires. And she's got a whole team of highly trained people behind her. She's been taking her team out without us for a few months now. Britt and I don't get to see as much action as we used to."

Most of what she'd just said was true. Jane had been a weak, tiny vampire on the brink of self-annihilation when Jess had found her and had given her a reason to go on. But she had taken on the mantle of vampire hunter with a gusto no one had expected. Jess's little prodigy had done very well, and Jess had no worries about her taking over while she and Britt were in Paris.

"If this new lieutenant is as good as you say, maybe you could come and visit me for a couple of days?" Regent said.

Jess slipped out from under Britt's shoulder and wrapped her arms around her baby brother, giving him a rare hug. Regent blinked back tears and she pulled away quickly. "You never know," she said, trying to hide her concern for him.

Jess didn't know how she'd manage, even for a short time. She'd always been able to see Regent whenever she needed to. His prayers had saved her partial soul, over and over again. He'd been strong for her his whole life, but now, with the changes in his physiology after being kidnapped and secretly regressed from being a seventy-three-year-old senior to a man in his mid-forties, they were all left wondering about his physical health. She feared that his youth might merely be superficial.

If he was being sent to Paris because they had a vampire problem, he'd need backup. And they'd always worked as a team.

But she couldn't go yet. They still had a snag to get past. In order for her to follow her brother to Paris, they had to figure out a way to get her through security without anyone realizing she had no pulse. That meant her amazing forensic vampirologist, Sampson Case, only had a few days to finish up the tiny machine that mimicked a pulse rate without setting off any alarm bells when she went through the metal detectors.

And if they managed to get past that hurdle, she could only hope that Britt's prayers would be strong enough to let her survive the sunlight long enough to reach her hotel. Because it would be morning when they arrived.

Being able to withstand sunlight for a short time made her unique amongst vampires, a residual effect from Regent partially saving her soul through prayer and baptism when she'd first been turned. Because of him, she'd managed to maintain a tiny shred of her humanity. But it was a shred that constantly teetered on a precipice, ready to tumble over into the darkness at any moment.

A FEW DAYS LATER, Jess leaned forward and stared out the window of their jet. In the darkness below, tiny pinpoints of light dotted the ground. Before she knew it, they were over the ocean and the plane had risen above the clouds until there was nothing to see. Who knew flying would be so liberating?

Would she come face-to-face with vampires in France? No doubt, they'd be sophisticated, compared to the vampires she'd come across in North America. And much older. But that didn't matter. She wasn't there to fight them.

In fact, she wanted to stay beneath the radar. No fighting on this trip, unless she was forced to defend herself. At home in New York, her ability to withstand sunlight had made her a target by vampires who wanted to usurp her ability to walk in daylight — improbable at best. And there were others who wanted her dead, simply because she killed vampires for a living. Now that, she could understand.

Hopefully, the European vampires would be unaware of her abilities, as well as her job. She could use a break.

She settled back in her chair. For the first time, she fully embraced the word vacation. That is, if embraced meant admitting she was scared as hell. What would she do with her time?

Hours felt like days before they'd landed and grabbed a taxi to their apartment, which was tucked into a hidden recessed courtyard in the old part of the city. She'd found the apartment online. It had boasted a darkroom for photography — which meant no windows. She'd immediately found construction workers in the city and paid them a bundle to put in a heavy door with locks, turning it into a bedroom, before she arrived. She'd miss her specially designed window on the city in New York, but at least she'd have a safe room.

Britt had been saying extra prayers during their flight. The poor man had to be exhausted, but she'd needed the added protection. Praying for herself had little to no effect.

As added security from the sun, she'd worn a heavy, hooded jacket, a scarf, dark sunglasses, and gloves. She stood out on the summery Paris morning, but she had no choice.

The taxi driver had been instantly weirded out by her attire. He spoke in French at first, then switched to English when he realized they were American. "What is wrong with your girlfriend?" he said to Britt.

"She has porphyria," Britt said. "She gets burned if she goes outside without protection. It's an autoimmune disorder." "Man, that sucks," he said, then turned his radio up in order to avoid any further discussion. Twenty minutes later, he'd dropped them off, handling the cash they'd paid him carefully, as if one of them had something contagious.

"If he thought porphyria was bad, imagine if he knew the truth," she joked, standing in the middle of the sidewalk directly in front the building that housed her apartment. Having never been in another city, let alone another country, she didn't realize a place could smell older than New York.

Britt slid an arm around her shoulder. "Let's get you inside. You've already been out here too long."

That's when she realized his gaze had focused on her wrist, which had started to steam. She adjusted her hood, then pulled her hands under her sleeves for cover and climbed the stairs to the front door.

Their apartment was on the third floor, and took up the whole level. Knowing apartments in Paris were notoriously small, she hoped it would be as big as it had seemed online — the benefit being that they allowed renovations. And, she'd be near her brother, and make sure he was safe. That was what was important.

BRITT BIT BACK a yawn and followed her into the apartment. During their flight and the drive to their new digs, he'd been silently reciting the required prayers for her soul. Now that he could stop praying, he guessed this so-called vacation would test their togetherness to the full extent.

He wasn't sure Jess was ready to be unemployed. She had too much energy to be content sitting around and doing nothing. He'd have to find ways to keep her occupied, physically and mentally. A few ideas immediately came to mind.

"How did Regent sound when you talked to him before we left New York?" he asked, following her as she checked the rooms. Her safe room had been completed on time and her fridge had already been installed and filled with blood. She'd given the contractor a medical reason for the blood, and the man had bought it.

"He sounded a little lonely," she said. "But I'm sure he'll be happily surprised when we show up at his place tonight."

"It'll definitely be a surprise." Britt took her hand in his, stalling her for a moment. "Has he started working at his new church yet? Does he know why he was sent here?"

"He was a little vague about that. I'm pretty sure he's still unaware of the role the church wants him to play in Paris."

Britt frowned. "That's a little odd, given that they threatened to make him retire if he didn't come."

"I thought so, too. I'm glad we'll soon be able to talk to him in person. Then we'll find out what's going on."

"It'll be nice to see Regent," Britt said. "And I've heard that, like New York, Paris is a city that never sleeps. You and I will have fun seeing the sights at night." He searched her face for signs of how she was feeling.

She actually grinned at him. "You already sound like a tourist. Where should we go first? The Eiffel tower?"

"But, of course!" he said with a fake French accent.

It was only when they found her medium-sized darkroom that he cringed. It was nothing like her palatial bedroom in New York. The Parisian contractors had replaced the door with heavy-grade steel and a coded lock, but the inside of the room was brutally dark and more crypt-like than anything he'd seen in a cemetery. Even a bed and a table with a lamp couldn't change that. He didn't have to ask if she liked it. He already knew the answer.

Even though his prayers had allowed her to stay awake during the day, she looked as if the heaviness of death encroached. She'd have no recourse but to let it happen, and it would have to happen in that mausoleum of a room. Even though it was the safest place for her, he hated to see her go inside.

"I'm going to try out my room, Britt," she said, her voice giving nothing away. He was sure she must hate it, too.

And, if he knew Jess — and he did — she'd find another solution to that dark, windowless so-called bedroom, and soon.

He smiled into her eyes and brushed a few locks of silky brown hair behind her ear. "I think I'll take a nap, too. I'm sure we'll have lots of exploring to do when you wake up." His lips brushed hers and he wanted to wrap her in his arms and protect her from the realities of her existence. That's what really bothered him. He couldn't help her, even though he had some angelic abilities. But they were still foreign to him, and for the most part, consciously inaccessible.

Somehow Britt had been able to save Jess's friends, James, Terry, and baby Sephina, from vampirism, but he'd failed the woman he loved. How many times had he despised himself for that?

Jess shut the door and clicked the lock. He turned away. He wasn't tired, but he wouldn't leave her alone, even though she was locked in her safe room. So, instead, he decided to set up his Wi-Fi and do some virtual sightseeing, looking for places for them to visit whenever she was ready.

The Realtor had arranged to have things set up when they arrived, and the man had left the Wi-Fi password on the dining table. All Britt had to do was set up his laptop and sign on. Before he started surfing, his stomach rumbled, and he looked in the cupboards. Too bad they hadn't thought about arranging to have the place stocked ahead of time. Luckily, he had some snacks left in his carry-on bag. He munched on a granola bar then went back to the computer.

Out of curiosity, he checked for an English news broadcast in Paris and found several. He started scrolling, looking for anything that might relate to the reason Regent had been sent to Paris. He noted that a few tourists had their wallets stolen by pickpockets near the Eiffel Tower. It was tourist season, so that wasn't a surprise. And a bank had been robbed. But again, that was fairly run-of-the-mill and nothing that required a priest's special abilities.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Graves of Wrath"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Lina Gardiner.
Excerpted by permission of BelleBooks, Inc..
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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Graves of Wrath 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
AmyWeidenaar More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent book in a new series but I deducted a star because I was a bit lost on a few things mostly involving timelines of events. I heard that it's a spin-off of another series so maybe that was the problem and it'll make sense if you have read the other series but as I haven't, it confused me. Since there were several references to events I was unfamiliar with like a year ago, the main character Jess' baby brother who was 73 was kidnapped by the Church (btw, he's a priest) and regressed to his mid-forties while Jess looks the 29 years she apparently was when she was bitten. Okay, I can sort of follow that. But when you throw in him saving part of her soul when she was turned by Uriel as they were trying to save him from vampirism and that Uriel told her that she can't tell her boyfriend things (btw, she recruited him four years ago), I was truly lost. Did she turn vampire at age 29 before she met her soulmate? Has she been a vampire for 50 some years? Totally lost. By no means are these spoilers to the story either. This is the background information you're given and is referenced many times. I did love the book though and the writing style was incredible. I read it in one sitting. It was fairly fast-paced. The characters were interesting. The suspense grew as you got toward the end. Honestly, I think I've found a new writer to follow but I think I'm definitely going to have to go find the other series and read it before I take on book 2 in this series. Thank you to Lina Gardiner, Bell Bridge Books, ImaJinn Books, and NetGalley for allowing me to read this story and share my thoughts and opinions with others.
AmyWeidenaar More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent book in a new series but I deducted a star because I was a bit lost on a few things mostly involving timelines of events. I heard that it's a spin-off of another series so maybe that was the problem and it'll make sense if you have read the other series but as I haven't, it confused me. Since there were several references to events I was unfamiliar with like a year ago, the main character Jess' baby brother who was 73 was kidnapped by the Church (btw, he's a priest) and regressed to his mid-forties while Jess looks the 29 years she apparently was when she was bitten. Okay, I can sort of follow that. But when you throw in him saving part of her soul when she was turned by Uriel as they were trying to save him from vampirism and that Uriel told her that she can't tell her boyfriend things (btw, she recruited him four years ago), I was truly lost. Did she turn vampire at age 29 before she met her soulmate? Has she been a vampire for 50 some years? Totally lost. By no means are these spoilers to the story either. This is the background information you're given and is referenced many times. I did love the book though and the writing style was incredible. I read it in one sitting. It was fairly fast-paced. The characters were interesting. The suspense grew as you got toward the end. Honestly, I think I've found a new writer to follow but I think I'm definitely going to have to go find the other series and read it before I take on book 2 in this series. Thank you to Lina Gardiner, Bell Bridge Books, ImaJinn Books, and NetGalley for allowing me to read this story and share my thoughts and opinions with others.
PenKay More than 1 year ago
This book is the first in a new series, but it is a continuation of the author’s other series Jess Vandermire, Vampire Hunter. While I believe you can read this series without having read the previous series, I think it would be better to have read the other one. I had forgotten how much I had enjoyed this author’s writing until I read this book. She makes her characters feel real, and she deftly weaves a great plot. However, I do have to admit that this book did have a little too much information in a couple of places, and sometimes I really wanted to roll my eyes where Jess felt too sorry for herself. But those two things aside, I think the author is trying to set up new readers for a great new series, and I for one can’t wait to see what comes next. I think we should trust the author, because I really liked the previous series, and I see some great things in this book that I saw in the other one. Highly recommend! Thanks to NetGalley and Bell Bridge Books/ImaJinn Books for the e-book which I voluntarily reviewed.