The Stone Warriors: Gabriel

The Stone Warriors: Gabriel

by D. B. Reynolds

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611948905
Publisher: BelleBooks
Publication date: 10/30/2018
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 263,779
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

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CHAPTER 1

GABRIEL FOUGHT TO free the rest of his body, feeling every piece, every ounce of stone as it loosened and fell away from his head, his chest, his arms and legs. Air touched his skin for the first time in hundreds of years, maybe thousands. He had no way of measuring the passage of time after he'd been trapped by Sotiris's curse. He knew only that more than two centuries had passed since he'd been unearthed from a volcanic cave by Hana's grandfather's grandfather and brought to rest in the Himura gardens. Not this garden, where magic seeded the very earth, but a garden. One with trees and sunlight, with birds singing, men arguing, and lovers trysting. It had been a great boon and enough, for a time, but now ...

Now Hana had freed him. He'd known from the moment he'd first seen her, the moment she'd seen him, truly seen him, in a way that no one else had since his imprisonment, that she would be the one to break the curse. Her grandfather had known it, too. Himura-san had come to this place and spoken to Gabriel almost apologetically, explaining that he didn't know when it would happen, or what events would bring it about, only that he knew it was Hana who would finally free him.

And Gabriel had been content to wait. Because it was Hana, and she was his. And now it had happened. He'd known only a crisis would bring her to say the necessary words, to weep enough tears to soak into the stone of his prison, but even he hadn't imagined this. Himura-san was dead. Gabriel grieved the loss of his friend, for all that it was bittersweet because that same loss had brought about his freedom.

Another explosion thundered over the garden, causing tremors beneath his feet and shaking the impenetrable hedge that surrounded him. Sporadic gunfire followed, a last-ditch defense by the loyal, but doomed, Himura soldiers. That was bad enough, but what followed was far worse. The stink of magic drifted through the air and over the hedge. Gabriel was no sorcerer, not like Nicodemus, under whose leadership he and his warrior brothers had fought. But one couldn't spend decades on those ancient battlefields without knowing when magic was being used, and in this case, for what. Someone out there had cast a seeking spell.

Himura-san had warned him of this. They wanted Hana. Gabriel's Hana.

"We have to go." He reached down and scooped her up, her waist so delicate beneath his arm that he eased his touch for fear of hurting her.

She'd been staring at him in shock and a little fear, but she recovered quickly enough, slapping at his arm and saying, "I can walk, you know."

"Yes, I know." He smiled absently, not surprised by her reaction, or her fast recovery. He'd spent hours and weeks replaying every visit she'd ever made to his garden. He didn't know which visits he'd loved the most — the ones where she'd been silent and meditative in martial exercises, flowing from form to form with a grace that was a gift to witness — or the times when she'd sit on the grass, leaning against his legs as she read to him, taking up the task from her grandfather and his grandfather. There'd been books, magazines, newspapers, and more recently the internet, which was far more wide-reaching in its scope, and sometimes puzzling to a man who'd been born in a time when ink and parchment had been rare and expensive. It had never mattered what Hana had read to him, however. It was the sound of her voice that had kept him sane, given him hope.

The first Himura, the one who'd brought Gabriel out of that cave, had been a sorcerer, albeit a minor one. But he'd had just enough magic to know what he'd found, and enough curiosity to search for the origins of the curse that had created Gabriel's stone prison. He'd never found it, but he'd passed the task on to his descendants who'd discovered the purpose of the curse, along with the core of what it would take to free him. But curses were tricky things. There'd been no way to accelerate Gabriel's freedom. It wasn't as simple as bringing in any woman to weep and say the words. The eldest Himura had died, and his son after him and on down the line, each successive generation taking up the task of Gabriel's safety and education, until finally a daughter had been born. A daughter who'd come to Gabriel's garden and seen him in a way no one else had.

Now that he was once more a free man, he didn't care how much longer he lived. If it was long enough to make Hana safe from her enemies, he would die content.

His arm slid from around her waist, but he remained close, nose to the air, senses on high alert. The enemy hadn't yet found this hiding place. The multiple twists and turns of Himura-san's gardens had been designed for more than beauty. They'd been crafted for just this, to thwart discovery of Gabriel and whoever stood with him, especially by magical means. Keeping his body between Hana and the enemy's most likely approach, he followed her to the far corner of the garden, where a long escape path tunneled through row after row of seemingly impenetrable hedges, coming out at a never-used door in the back wall of the estate. He'd never seen it before, but both Himura-san and Hana had described it to him in exquisite detail, his warrior's mind seeing it laid before him as if he'd walked it personally. The door at the end had been kept in perfect condition — its wood treated, hinges oiled — against the day any member of the Yakuza knew would come eventually.

"Stop," he now ordered softly, reaching a hand around and placing it on her belly, holding her in place, his body curling around hers in automatic protection. To her credit, she didn't fight him, but froze in place, listening, just as he was doing. He inhaled slowly, testing the air. "Quiet as a mouse," he said, finally urging her forward.

"What do you know about mice?" she muttered under her breath, but did as he suggested, every foot precise in its placement, so that she moved nearly as silently as he did. Which was saying something, because Gabriel was one of the finest warriors who'd ever lived. Granted, he'd been better known for his berserker performances on the battlefield, but war was a multi-faceted endeavor. He and his warrior brothers had been as skilled off the field as on it.

Her rejoinder made him smile again. His Hana was the very picture of a delicate maiden, but she was anything but. He didn't know about the "maiden" part and didn't like to think about it, but she was most definitely not delicate. And for what it was worth, he knew about mice. Rodents had been around far longer than this modern society of hers.

HANA DIDN'T NEED Gabriel's whispered "slowly" to approach the secret door with caution. She'd tended it for all the years since she'd come home from university in the U.S., but that only meant it was well maintained — the wood solid, the hinges silent. It was primarily mundane in nature, but her grandfather had placed a minor concealment spell, the most his modest talent could muster and with no guarantee it would work, in case one of his many gardeners happened upon it and became curious. But a magical sensitive could have found it easily enough. And so, she paused while still under cover of the hedge tunnel, searching for any sign of an unwelcome presence.

"Nothing," she whispered, for Gabriel's sake. She didn't know how much he understood about magic, but he had to have the basics. He'd known of their enemy's seeker spell, which meant he was sensitive to its use. Not to mention that he'd offended a powerful sorcerer enough to have been the object of one of the cruelest curses she'd ever come across.

Her grandfather had shared what he knew, what he and his ancestors had been able to uncover after decades of trying. To have been trapped in stone for centuries and probably longer, while seeing the world pass by. To hear everything, understand every language, and yet be unable to react at all, not even to let the world know he was trapped. She couldn't begin to imagine his torment. How was he still sane? Maybe he wasn't, although she didn't believe that. She couldn't have explained how or why, but she'd known he was aware of her from the very first day. He'd listened when she'd read to him, learned of the world through her eyes and, she hoped, found solace in her company.

And now he was free. Her grandfather had never told her the specifics of Gabriel's curse, although she was sure he'd known at least some of it. While he'd had little magical talent, he'd been a dedicated magical historian. His collection of magical books and devices was unparalleled, and thankfully not stored on the estate, or it would all have belonged to Sotiris after tonight. He'd moved it to a private vault some time ago. Not all at once, but a few pieces at a time, using business trips and vacations as cover. It was almost as if he'd known this day would come sooner rather than later and wanted to be prepared.

He'd been a hard task master, his life one of uncompromising honor and discipline — traits he'd pounded into her on the mats and in the classroom. But he'd also held her when she was sick and comforted her when she cried, before setting her on her feet and pounding her on the mats one more time.

She inhaled deeply. There would be a time to remember, to honor his memory. But that time wasn't now. Her grandfather would understand this better than most.

Reaching back, she brushed her fingers over Gabriel's forearm. His muscles flexed reactively, and she frowned. She didn't know the intricacies of a spell that could maintain such powerful, toned muscles over centuries without nutrition, but now that he was free, he was going to need food. And lots of it. Hana had dated big men, had observed some of her grandfather's soldiers. Men like that, like Gabriel, ate a lot. Like a lot. If he wasn't starving already, he would be soon. So, first order of business, escape the estate with no one the wiser and make their way to one of several bolt holes she'd set up in the city. After that, Gabriel could eat while they made some plans. They couldn't remain in Nagano. It wasn't a small place, but it wasn't huge, either. A gaijin of Gabriel's size and appearance would draw unwanted attention.

"Safe?" he whispered, his warm breath sending shivers over her skin. The good kind of shivers.

She slid her hand down to grip his wrist and would have started forward, but he twisted his hand until he was the one doing the gripping and slid past her. Sneaky bastard. She tried to remember if she'd read anything to him about modern women and feminism. Maybe she should have.

Coming up behind him, she waited while he laid a hand against the thick wood. He went perfectly still as he searched for sounds beyond the gate, for any scent or sign of the enemy. But his eyes remained open, because no warrior would close his eyes in the midst of battle. There were other ways of concentrating one's senses.

With a sharp nod, he stepped aside, watching her back as she traced the runes necessary to open the gate, knowing the small amount of magic would be undetectable against the many vines of spells woven into her grandfather's gardens over the years.

Once the gate opened a fraction, however, Gabriel pulled her behind him once more and exited first. She shoved him ahead of her so she could close the gate. Or she tried to. The man was like a fucking statue. She rolled her eyes. Bad choice of words. He seemed to understand what she wanted, though, and after a quick scan of the narrow alley they'd come out to, he moved enough for her to close the gate behind them.

She took the lead after that, and he let her, since she was the only one who knew where they were going. Hell, he'd never been outside the bounds of the secret garden which had been his hiding place. It was one thing for him to memorize the route and parameters of a hedge tunnel, but another entirely to navigate the frequently numberless, nameless streets of a Japanese city.

She started off with him beside her, moving quickly, but easily. Anyone noticing them would see an ordinary young couple walking down the street. Or maybe not so ordinary, but hopefully the shadows on the unlit street would conceal Gabriel's foreignness, not to mention his blatantly anachronistic and military clothing. She needed to do something about that, too. Not his appearance — most of that couldn't be fixed — but his clothing. Why hadn't she thought of this? She'd stocked clothing for herself in her bolt holes. But why hadn't she thought of doing the same for Gabriel? Well, probably because no one — like her grandfather! — had ever told her the fucking statue was going to come to life. Although maybe that was what her grandfather had been trying to tell her all those years, when he'd told her the statue was life-sized. He'd been very stingy with details, obviously afraid she might foil Gabriel's release if she knew too much too soon.

They crossed two unmarked intersections without pause, but as they approached the third, Hana slowed. It was decision time. The sky was already beginning to lighten on the horizon, and she wanted to be well under cover before dawn. She had two hiding places within safe distance, but they were in opposite directions. She studied the buildings around the intersection. Few lights were on already, but those few would be joined by more and more as people woke to prepare for the day. It was a workday in Nagano, but then, what wasn't?

Looking left and right, and seeing no difference in terms of safety, she slid her arm through Gabriel's, in case anyone happened to glance out a window, and turned left, which would take them to a condo in a small complex that she'd purchased years ago, under one of her several well-established pseudonyms. She'd expended a lot of effort over that time, establishing herself in the complex as a quiet professional who worked nights and slept days. She was unfailingly polite and reserved to her few neighbors, and they were the same. Neither they nor she offered anything more in the way of friendship, which wasn't unusual in her country.

She wasn't sure why she'd chosen this particular bolt hole until they got there. She climbed the single flight of stairs to her condo, with Gabriel moving so silently behind her that she almost looked back to make sure he was still there. It was remarkable that such a big man could move so stealthily. It made her wonder what he'd done in his previous life, other than his obvious role on the battlefield, before he'd become the enemy of a sorcerer powerful enough to trap him in a living prison. Opening the door, she stepped quickly inside, looked around, and smiled, knowing what instinct had brought her there. It was bigger and newer, with higher ceilings and better construction, which meant Gabriel's every footfall wouldn't threaten to crash through the floor, and his head wouldn't brush the ceiling.

She watched as he closed the door then turned to study the lock mechanism with a frown. Understanding, Hana reached over, and while he watched intently, flipped the thumb turns on the double deadbolts, then armed the security system. Both were upgrades she'd installed herself, working during the day when her neighbors were gone and she was supposedly sleeping.

Gabriel looked around, and for the first time since he'd been free, she saw his eyes cloud with confusion and ... not fear. She had a feeling there was very little that frightened her ancient warrior. But something close to despair. She didn't blame him. Hell, she was sure she'd have been curled in a corner if she'd survived the way he had, only to find freedom in a world that no longer made sense, no matter how many hours she and her grandfather had spent reading to him. For that matter, if she'd known he was literally going to come to life, she might have made different reading choices, with a lot more pictures. But that wasn't what he needed from her now.

Stepping close, she wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him, rooting him in the present with touch and emotion. His arms circled her in return, slowly at first, then tighter. And if he held on a bit too tightly, she understood and didn't complain. What was there to complain about? He was hers. Her Gabriel was holding her in his arms, something she'd only ever dreamed of, never believing it was possible.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Gabriel"
by .
Copyright © 2018 D. B. Reynolds.
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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The Stone Warriors: Gabriel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Absolutely love this series!! Everyone of them have been so full of excitement and adventure. Gabriel kept me hooked from beginning to end, and having Raphael and Cyn included was a fantastic twist. Can’t wait for Dragan and Maeve’s story.. Thanks D. B. Reynolds for the wonderful stories: Stone Warriors/ Vampires in America!!
LynnLTX 12 months ago
4.5 Stars In this third entry for the Stone Warriors series, Urban Gabriel Halldor has spent millennia as a cursed statue. In more modern recent times, he has been ensconced in a Japanese secret garden owned by a powerful Yakuza mobster whose granddaughter has grown up at the feet of this compelling and fierce statue. In this action filled, fast paced story, Hana Himura and her grandfather knew Gabriel is a magically trapped warrior and that one day, he will be set free. After an attack on the Himura compound and Gabriel’s release by Hana, they flee the ancient enemy who ensorcelled him in the first place. Hana has been trained as a warrior all her life so she knows how to play to go on the run in battle mode. Gabriel has an unusual characteristic for one of the Sorcerer Nicodemus’s warriors. He is also vampire who once wakened from the curse, starts to suffer and fall ill. Hana realizes that she trusts only one vampire, Raphael, who is the most powerful of vampire lords, to help them. This sets up a new dynamic between Raphael and Nico who have a long history of rivalry and hating each other fervently. And though they must all work together with the other two released warriors to combat their common enemy who desires Hana for her near unique magical talent, that much combined arrogance and power causes a lot of fireworks. Fans of the Vampires In America series will enjoy seeing Raphael, his own warrior mate, Cyn, and his vampires welcome Gabriel to his fold and do battle, however reluctantly, with Nico as an ally against the very evil Sotiris. One warrior remains to be found and released so much is coming together in this book for the ultimate battle to decide the fate of the magical world.
Anonymous 26 days ago
Can’t wait to get the next book.
closkot 7 months ago
My Thoughts - 5 out of 5 Unicorns - I loved it!! ***I choose what I read and review based on what intrigues me!! Yes, I received a review copy of this book, but no one tells me what to think, feel, or write about any book! The cover is beautiful and matches the series well! This is the 3rd book in this series, but it also overlaps in the Vampires in America series because my favorite couple Raphael and Cyn are also in this book. This is for adults only due to the vampire violence and steamy content. I do highly recommend reading both series in the order intended to get all the glorious details and become so wrapped up in this world that you want more! This book is Gabriel and Hana’s story! As always in D.B.’s books, it is full of action, trouble, and passion. Hana has a unique gift that has the evil sorcerer after her. Hana has always loved Gabriel as he has loved her. They are both running to stay ahead of trouble, but Hana knows they need help. She turns to Raphael who knew her grandfather for help. There are battles, injuries, trouble, and more. I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. I highly recommend to any paranormal fans who love passionate vampires, magic, curses, and more!!!
TammyE44 7 months ago
This was a fabulous addition to "The Stone Warriors" Series. Hana is the granddaughter of a Japanese mob boss that has been raised like a warrior. Gabriel is a warrior that has been trapped in stone for over a thousand years. He was placed in the Japanese garden of Hana's grandfather where he watched Hana grow into adulthood. When Hana's grandfather's house is attacked Hana runs to the garden and Gabriel is freed. Needing someone powerful to help them they escape to America to seek the help of Raphael the Vampire Lord of the Western Territories. I really enjoyed this book. It was well written with an engaging storyline and interesting characters. Hana and Gabriel were likable and had great chemistry. I loved that we got quite a bit of Raphael and Cyn in this story. We also get to visit with Nik, Damian and Kato. This is definitely a must read for anyone who enjoys reading about magic, warlocks and vampires. Highly recommend. I received an advanced readers copy of this book via Net Gallery and am voluntarily leaving a honest review.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Love all of DB Reynolds’s books.
Evampire9 12 months ago
A fierce warrior, Gabriel Halldor is trapped in stone and lying in darkness for thousands of years. Raised to the life of a warrior. Hana Himura is sent to the one guardian courageous enough to protect her from a sorcerer. They can only be saved from slavery by the most powerful vampire on earth. This powerful and gripping romance pulls readers in and refuses to let go as Gabriel, Hana and Raphael take on the evil sorcerer who turned Nick’s men to stone with a curse. The story is brings the two series, Vampires in America and Stone Warriors together and as usual with this author, readers are compelled to the pages as they hold on to their seats in anticipation of what thrilling event will take place next. The characters are bold, vivid and the stuff fantasies are made of, Gabriel and Hana have strong, electrical chemistry and passion burns hot throughout the story as they give into the desire that’s been simmering between them for years. The readers easily connect with these characters ensuring that they want to know every last detail of their story while the fast page and smooth flowing plot keeps them glued to the pages with lots of exhilarating action, intriguing suspense and witty dialogue that adds depth to the characters and adds a sense of realism to the story. Nick and Raphael add even more enjoyment to the story with their hot as sin selves and their antagonistic attitude toward each other that causes some very heated discussions while planning on how to keep Hana and Gabriel safe. There is not one moment of boredom to be found in this explosive story that includes some spectacular battles and sizzling romance.
Sunshine1006 12 months ago
Gabriel is one of four warriors cursed by a sorcerer and trapped in stone and darkness for over a thousand years. He is one of the fiercest warriors ever known. When he is finally released from the curse by the granddaughter of a Japanese Yakuza, there was more danger than either knew. The sorcerer who cursed him is after Hana who has a special gift of her own. She has been planning for their escape since she was very young. Her family knew it would be needed one day. It becomes clear that Japan is not safe and they fly to California to an old friend of her grandfathers. Raphael is the strongest vampire in the world and he lives in Malibu. Hana knows he will be able to help Gabriel who is getting sicker everyday.. This story ties directly into the Vampires of America series. I loved the way it all fit together. This is my favorite so far in the the Stone Warriors series. It has action, magic and of course, Cynthia 's old flame, Nick makes an appearance. It is definitely a must read. There is so much more in this book and I don't want to give anything away. The author has absolutely outdone herself with this book. I received this book from Net Galley and Bell Bridge Books for a honest review and no compensation otherwise.The opinions expressed are my own.
Marta Cox 12 months ago
Wow just so much coming together here that will have fans squealing ! I’ve actually held off writing this review because honestly I’m not sure I can do it justice. Yes this continues the Stone Warriors books but it also incorporates this authors Vampires in America series with a unique crossover that works beautifully. Hold on to your hats fans of Raphael because he’s about to almost ( who am I kidding with almost ?) take centre stage but fear not because Gabriel is definitely no slouch ! I was truly unsure how this would go but it’s a blend that absolutely makes sense. Gabriel is woken from his curse by Hana when her life is in danger from a powerful and vicious Sorcerer . Oddly enough the fangs his stature sported disappear as the couple go on the run but it’s soon clear that something is terribly wrong with Gabriel and Hana remembers her grandfathers friend in America. Taking a huge chance they go to Raphael only to realise that Gabriel is dying and it’s only by embracing his magically hidden Vampire nature that he will survive. As if that wasn’t enough to contend with there’s still the problem of the male stalking Hana and ironically it all connects back to Gabriel’s past with Nico ! O boy not one hot and heavy romance but two for the price of one and personally I think the author is more than a little in love with her own creation Raphael. Not that I blame her and let’s be honest she is fast approaching the role of Alpha writer when it comes to Vampire romance. Yet Gabriel and Hana are never overshadowed and quite rightly prove that their relationship is based on love . I adored that Gabriel understood his place in the world finally after despising what he is for so long. Seeing him embrace his new reality and then somehow still showing those from his past that he will always be there was truly emotional. Although please don’t think that Hana is some shy retiring sort because she is absolutely as fierce and independent as the lovely Cyn. I loved the romance, the snark , plus the action that thunders through this story and with one Warrior still to find I’m so looking forward to more particularly if Nico and Raphael butt heads ! This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair.