Eternal Flame by Valerie Twombly
Release Date: October 2, 2013
When guardian Marcus Dagotto, discovers the Gods have gifted him with a mate, he is pissed. He has no room for love and even less for a human who has no idea he exists.
Cassandra Jensen, has a shattered heart and has given up on men. Only one man can set her body on fire, but he is a fantasy that haunts her sleep.
Two worlds, one desire.
When the two collide, fate will rip them apart and test their resolve. Will darkness and evil prevail? Or, will love conquer all?
Excerpt from Eternal Flame
Tears stung Marcus’s cheeks when he raised his sword. “I am so sorry, love. I have failed you. It should be I who dies this day.”
Eliza’s cocoa eyes looked at him but didn’t see him. Dead inside, her soul was lost. She would never again be the woman he loved.
He sucked in a breath and flexed his arms, the sword swung, slicing across her neck. The blade tore through sinew and bone and sent her head rolling across the stone floor. Reality nearly sent him to his knees, but there wasn’t time to mourn the death of his mate. The fighting outside echoed in his ears, the demons were strong and put up one hell of a fight.
Marcus advanced down the corridor of the abandoned castle. The scene played out the same in every direction. Blood bathed the floors, and his brethren’s heartsick screams echoed off the walls as they killed their mates.
A demon jumped out from behind a door. Its claws tearing the flesh on his arm. He wielded his sword and sent another head flying across the room. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a Draki dispatching another demon. The shifter, a friend who also searched for his mate. Not even the dragons were immune to Drayos and his fucking misery.
The dragon turned his head. “Be careful, my friend. My brethren will soon be setting this place on fire.” Caleb’s cerulean body shimmered as he shifted back to human form.
“Have you found your mate yet?” Marcus asked as he searched the adjoining room. Empty.
“Not yet, you?”
He stepped beside his friend. “I killed her.”
Caleb laid a hand on his shoulder. “I am sorry, my friend. Drayos will die this day for what he has done.”
Marcus nodded and moved forward in his search for the demon Drayos. He opened up the psychic path leading to his prince. Aidyn.
Marcus, did you find my sister?
He closed his eyes, so many hearts broken today. She is dead, I am sorry, my lord.
I will kill Drayos with my bare hands.
Aidyn had already lost his brother and father in this battle. His pain ripped through Marcus. No doubt the other guardians felt it. It was a blessing and a curse to be connected to each other.
He tried to pinpoint the prince’s position, but something blocked him. Aidyn, where are you? Do not engage Drayos. The prince would die as well if he tried to kill the Demon Overlord. Aidyn was far too young; his two hundred years were no match against a thousand-year-old demon.
He took our women, used them to carry his spawn. He has killed everyone I love.
Tired muscles carried Marcus up a flight of stairs. He stormed from room to room, kicking in locked doors only to find them empty. I know my lord, and he will pay, but it is not wise for you to confront him. He knew Aidyn wouldn’t listen. Perhaps the gods would help.
“Zarek!” Marcus summoned the god, nothing. No surprise. After all, the gods could have stepped in and saved the women, but they had all been left to fate. Fuck fate, he was sick to death of it.
The sound of clashing swords filtered in from the hallway. He flashed into the room, not caring what he stumbled across. His vision filled with Aidyn and Drayos, they were face to face.
Drayos had morphed into a full demon and stood at least three feet taller than Aidyn. Blood seeped from the wounds that covered the demons blackened skin.
Marcus tried to run toward them but found himself behind an invisible barrier. “What the fuck?”
He balled his hands and banged on the wall. “Aidyn!” The prince ignored him. He was stuck, helpless as he watched the events unfold in front of him. Thoughts of telling Daria, his queen, she had lost her entire family in this battle sat like arsenic in his stomach. He pressed his palms against his prison. Aidyn, my friend, I can’t bear another loss today.
The air behind him shifted, a cool breeze lifted his hair. He moved his gaze over his shoulder and found Zarek towering over him in a Scottish kilt rather than his beloved Egyptian shendyt. His raven hair held a beaded braid on one side. So this is why he ignores us? He is busy playing dress-up with the goddess Quadira.
“Get me out of here!” he demanded.
“You will not interfere, my son.”
Marcus growled; his fangs elongated; he wanted blood. Yes, he would take the blood of his god if it ended the pain and suffering of his brethren. “You would let the prince die?” He tried to lunge toward Zarek but found his feet pinned to the floor. You are our creator, we your warriors. Why would you do this to us?
Zarek gave him a leveled gaze. “What makes you think the prince will die this day?”
He looked back toward the fight. Aidyn had lost his sword; a small dagger was clutched in his hand. Both the demon and the vampire bore bloody wounds.
He turned back to Zarek. “The prince is too young to fight one as strong as Drayos.” Marcus dropped to his knees, he would beg the god if he had to.
“Send me in his place…please.” He was three hundred years older than Aidyn and could defeat the demon. “We have lost so much today.” Death haunted him like a fucking plague. He was a healer, but today, he healed no one. The anguished cries of his brethren still echoed in his ears. They had slain their mates then turned on each other to end their misery. Marcus would like to end his suffering as well, but he would continue on; his skills were needed.
Zarek laid a hand on his shoulder. “I am sorry, my son, for all the pain you will encounter this day. However, today must shape the future.” With those words, he vanished.
The future? Aidyn was their future, the line that tied them all together. They all hoped the prince would persuade the gods to find a cure for the curse Drayos had placed upon them.
The curse would devour them, creating an imbalance that would darken their souls. When Zarek created his vampires, he used light and dark, good and evil. The light fueled the guardian of humanity, the darkness the warrior. A perfect balance, but once Drayos’s curse took full effect, the light would fade, the darkness turning them into pure evil, destined to destroy everything in their path. Not even the humans they guarded would be safe.
He jumped to his feet but found the shield still erected around him. Aidyn’s body lie still on the floor, and Drayos stood over him, sword poised for the fatal blow.
He beat on the invisible wall. “Aidyn!” He sucked in a breath, his heart trapped in a vice that squeezed the life out of him. He could do nothing but watch his prince die. A tear slid down his cheek for the death of his mate, his brethren and now his prince, his best friend. I am no guardian. I am a failure. I have failed them all.
Drayos swung his sword. Everything moved in slow motion as Marcus waited for the blade to connect with Aidyn’s neck.
Lightning sizzled from the sky and sent debris flying in different directions. The room crumbled around them as the earth shook. Drayos’s head rolled across the floor. Marcus sensed the shield that encased him drop, and he rushed forward to where Aidyn stood.
“What the hell just happened? Are you alright?” Marcus asked.
“I am not exactly sure. I think I caused the lightning.”
“You?” He looked over the prince, his pants torn and his shirt missing. Dust from the debris covered his bleeding wounds. There was something different about the prince. He seemed stronger. Marcus noticed the dark marking on Aidyn’s chest and reached out to wipe away the gray dirt so he could get a better look. “Sweet deity!” He jumped back.
“What?” Aidyn looked at his chest. His jaw dropped. “I never felt it.”
Like many of the other guardians, Aidyn had been given his mark. An indication of his position and abilities. Marcus bore the Ankh, a pair of angel wings spread out over the top. The ancient symbol meant life or living. A healer, able to repair the sick or injured with his energy.
The naked skin over Aidyn’s left breast bore the mark chosen by the gods. The eye of Ra, the symbol of protection and power, sat atop a pyramid encased by a blazing sun. This could only mean…
His thoughts interrupted by the almost unrecognizable voice. Father?
Come to me, son.
Aidyn touched his shoulder. “I am fine, let us go help your father.”
Together they flashed to the position his father communicated. When Marcus arrived, his father was on his knees holding the bloody, headless body of his wife, Marcus’s mother. His sword lay beside him covered in blood. He knew what had happened. His mother’s belly heavy with child. Drayos’s demon spawn had been growing inside her, and like the other women, her soul had been darkened. There was no cure, Marcus had tried to heal Eliza, but it had proved fruitless. Like him, his father had taken the head of the woman he loved.
“Father.” He knelt next to the frail man and placed his arm around his shoulder, pulling him tight to his side. “I am so very sorry.” Tears welled in his eyes, he refused them escape. He would remain strong for the man beside him.
His father looked at him, his eyes rimmed red. “You will do the honorable thing.”
Marcus closed his eyes, again. He would have to mourn later. “Yes,” he whispered. How much more destruction could he take before he crumbled? Somewhere, he would find the strength needed to end his father’s misery and begin his own.
“Take care of your sister.” It was the last command his father would ever give him.
“I will. I love you.” He kissed the man on the cheek then stood, his sword flashed through the smoke-filled sky and sliced through his father’s neck.
Marcus dropped to his knees, the heartache so severe he nearly passed out. His lungs contracted as he screamed to the heavens. Another failure, so many broken hearts he was unable to heal. Why couldn’t he heal the broken hearts?
Strong arms circled him from behind and held him tight. “I have you, my friend,” Aidyn whispered.
Check out the Eternal Flame trailer:
Release date 3/12/14
Caleb is dark, hot, and commanding in human form. As a dragon, he’s a force to be reckoned with. When he witnesses the slave Lileta being beaten by his Overlord Odage, he nearly comes unglued. Without understanding why, he asks to take the slave as his own, but soon realizes his longing is more than an attraction to a beautiful woman. In a sick twist of fate, the gods have given him a demon as his mate—one he can never touch unless he wishes his own death. His only choice is to grant her freedom.
Lileta wanted to kill Caleb, but when she is freed by this tempting male, her anger turns to a desire that can only prove fatal. Even if she could claim him as her own, her dark past makes her unworthy of his love.
When their paths continue to intertwine, spiraling them to the brink of passion, can they resist the yearnings burning within them, or will they submit to their fatal desire?
Excerpt from Fatal Desire
Odage stood under the full moon; the desert wind blew through his hair and grains of sand danced past his boots. Finally, he’d found the other half of the amulet of Tobor.
“I am extremely pleased, Odage. You have done well and will be rewarded. However, you know this journey has only begun,” a sinister voice echoed through the night air.
“Yes, My Lord. I’m aware of what is to come next.” Odage sneered. He knew the dark demon wanted the amulet. The harmless stone tucked in his curled fingers would somehow open Hell’s Gate when combined with the blood of a guardian’s mate. His master would then be set free to rain terror on the earth’s occupants.
“Good. Then you will start preparations. I am most anxious to leave this realm.”
“Of course, My Lord.” Odage shoved the amulet in his pocket and headed toward Caleb’s tent. He wondered how the slave Lileta fared with his second-in-command. He’d been surprised when Caleb had asked for the slave himself. Odage planned to kill her for her betrayal but decided Caleb deserved a gift so had agreed. He grinned, knowing the other Draki could be as brutal as he was. She might die yet.
When he reached the tent, he flung open the door and entered. Caleb sat at the table gnawing on a chicken bone. Odage’s gaze moved across the room where Lileta was handcuffed to the bed. Her tight pink T-shirt showed every curve, causing his desire to stir. She pinned him with a death glare. It really was a shame their species were incompatible. She was a beautiful female, with flowing raven hair, golden eyes, and hips that would fit nicely in his grip. Fortunately for her, the gods saw fit to make her species, the Kothar Demon, poisonous to a dragon.
Caleb rose. “My liege, how may I assist you?”
“Sit; finish your meal.”
Caleb took his seat. “May I offer you something? Wine?”
“Yes, a glass of wine is in order.” Odage waited while Caleb got up and procured another glass, filled it halfway with the red liquid then handed it to him. He raised it. “A toast.” Caleb extended his glass. “To finding the amulet.” Odage pulled the red stone from his pocket and placed it on the table.
“My liege, this is wonderful news. I know how long you’ve been searching for it.” He leaned in closer. “What happens next? Do you sell it to the highest bidder?”
Odage smirked. “Perhaps.” He would keep his master’s plans close to his chest, not even Caleb would be entrusted with the information. “But first, we must rid ourselves of the vampires. Prepare to burn down Vandeldor if you must.”
Caleb tipped his head. “Wouldn’t it be wise to find their queen’s murderer? I’d be honored to clear your name.”
Odage narrowed his gaze. “Fuck them. They dare accuse me, Queen Daria’s closest ally, of killing her? You know as well as I that they will never stop hunting me. Even if they were successful in catching me, they wouldn’t stop there. They will massacre our race.”
“Perhaps, but we are stronger than they are.”
“Yes, but I fear they have the gods on their side.”
Caleb furrowed his brows then nodded. “As you wish then. I will devise a plan to take them out.”
“Good, I knew I could count on you.” He raised his glass again. “To the death of our enemies.”
* * * *
Lileta had listened to the conversation between Caleb and Odage until she thought she would vomit. She despised them both and, if given a chance, would rid the world of their stench. When Odage had finally exited their domicile, her body relaxed slightly. She recalled Caleb’s earlier actions and was dumbfounded by them. Why had he rescued her from the sure death Odage would have meted out?
The Draki leader had tied her to a post and whipped her. It was her punishment for freeing the guardian Marcus, who he’d held prisoner. When she thought he would end her life, Caleb had stepped forward. It wasn’t until later she learned he had requested her for himself. So here she was, in his tent, cuffed to his bed.
She gazed at the Draki while he finished sucking the meat off a drumstick. If circumstances were different, she would find the man downright sexy. His tousled dark blond hair and eyes that went from brown to green, depending on his mood, lent a sense of mystery to the dragon. Even his scent made her skin tight. Leather with a tinge of spice tossed in for good measure. When the goddess Qadira created the dragons, she had really outdone herself.
There had been a time when the Draki were allies with the guardians. Something happened in the years that she’d been gone to change that. The animosity between the species sickened her. Bile sat at the back of her throat, but she forced it down. It didn’t matter how attractive this man was. They could never be. She was a Kothar Demon and he a dragon. Everything about her was poison to his species.
Her chin lifted. “What do you intend to do with me?”
He looked up from the chunk of meat still left on his plate. His gaze studied her and filled with lust. She was accustomed to the reaction. Men found her species irresistible. It was why she’d been taken as a teen so many years ago and sold into slavery. She despised all those who’d used her.
“Whatever I fucking wish.” He went back to his meal.
“You know Odage lies to you.”
His lip curled into a snarl, and he tossed the bone to the floor. “I could kill you for that comment.”
Her nostrils flared. “Do it. You don’t frighten me, I welcome death,” she lied.
She would give anything to see her family one last time and tell them all how much she loved them. She would die with honor, but if ever the chance presented itself, she would fight.
Her body was tired, the only thing that kept her going were the other women. The humans Odage used to birth his spawn. She’d already lost Veronica, the first slave brought to her to care for. The woman had died in childbirth. She needed to find a way to save the others and prayed to the gods every day that Baal and Marcus would come.
“I think I’d rather watch you suffer than take the easy way out.”
She curled her lip. “Odage killed Daria. He so much as admitted it and has no intention of selling that amulet. He bargains with the spawn of Hell, and only the gods know what they’re planning.
Before she could exhale, he was in front of her, his fingers wrapped around her throat.
“Why did you save me, dragon?” she whispered, watching his eyes swirl. The green flecks came together and made the most beautiful emerald. He released his grip and grabbed a lock of her hair. Letting it slide through his fingers, he brought it to his nose. She held her breath and tried to steady her heartbeat.
Why does he affect me like this? I despise him.
She wanted to touch him in the most intimate way.
“I must protect you,” he whispered.
“What?” He must be deranged. Why in the hell would he want to protect me? There had to be an ulterior motive.
He let go of her hair, his eyes transformed back to brown, he reached for the handcuff and unlocked it. “We will be leaving here at dawn. Get some rest. Take the bed and don’t even think of trying to escape.” He stood and walked toward the exit. “I’ll sleep outside,” he announced before he disappeared out the door.
She rubbed her wrist, her brow creased in confusion. She had no intention of escaping, knowing as long as she wore the silver bands he’d find her. No, her only way out was to be rescued, or for Caleb to set her free. She laughed; he wasn’t likely to let her go. She pulled the covers back and crawled into bed, exhausted from trying to heal the wounds Odage had inflicted.
Check out the Fatal Desire Trailer
About the Author
As a child, Valerie would often get into trouble for peeking at her mother’s favorite TV show, Dark Shadows. She can still hear her mother saying “It will give you nightmares.” She was right of course, but that did not stop Valerie from watching. As an adult, her love of the fanged creatures never waned. She would watch any vampire movie she could find.
Being a true romantic, Valerie was thrilled when she discovered the genre of paranormal romance. Her first read was one of Lara Adrian’s, Midnight Breed Series and from there she was hooked.
Today, Valerie has decided to take her darker, sensual side and put it to paper. When she is not busy creating a world full of steamy, hot men and strong, seductive women, she juggles her time between a full-time job, hubby and her two German shepherd dogs, in Northern IL.
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