Saturday, October 3, 2015

Saturday's Series Spotlight: The Fire Trilogy by RJ Scott

Kian's Hunter #1
Kian has crossed over from his world to ours to seek revenge. His plan is to kill the monster who murdered his Uncle. The same monster who used magic to escape to our world and is hiding here and growing in strength.

Regan Campbell is a hunter of Demons. The first son, of a first son, he is the one who protects this world from the monsters that no one else knows are here.

When Kian reaches this world, he knows Regan is the perfect man to fight alongside him, but Regan trusts no one.

It isn’t until they are facing death and a terrible evil that will be let loose, that Regan finally realises he can trust another...his fated partner, Kian.

Darach's Cariad #2
Darach Gravenor is a keeper of blue Fire. He is alone in his world and he wants to rescue his friend Kian from the horrors of the Other World.

Ceithin Morgan is Cariad. Strong with Ancient magic he teaches Darach that not all children's fairy stories should be believed. Ceithin has his own reasons for helping Darach and shows Darach that there is magic that he never even knew existed.

They are living on borrowed time. Guardian knows what they are doing and he is coming for Ceithin. Darach and Ceithin have two choices -- do they run, or do they make their stand together?

Eoin's Destiny #3
Eoin is faced with the end of times.

With his friends at his side, can he rescue the prisoner that might hold the secrets to winning the battle between Cariad and City as well as the key to his heart?

His bond brothers, Kian and Darach, probably hate him for his necessary lie and two-thirds of the Council wants him dead. Against all this he has to rescue a prisoner whose Amber Fire is killing him.

The third book in the Fire Trilogy discovers more old Guardians, ancient Cariad magik, and not least of all the other half of Eoin: Trystyn.

Overall Trilogy Review:
The Fire Trilogy satisfied all kinds of reading pleasure for me.  Romance, magic, supernatural, mystery, intrigue, bordering on science fiction but not enough to add to that sub-genre, it really has a little bit of everything.  All the characters are well written and will definitely leave a lasting impression.  Watching the bond brothers, Kian, Darach, & Eoin, meet their other halves, Regan, Ceithin, & Trystyn is enjoyable and sexy.  Watching the couples interact with each other and find their place in the quest for peace in both worlds is fun, sexy, and heartwarming.  In my experience, fun, sexy, heartwarming are all things that can often be attributed to supernatural/paranormal fiction but to have all those emotions at the same time is rare and not easily done but Miss Scott has done just that.


Kian's Hunter #1
Chapter 2
Regan Campbell ordered one of everything from the menu. He loved diners like this that served breakfast all day, with waitresses who knew everything and short-order chefs who cooked the food he adored. The diner had the quickest service he had seen in months; he had coffee almost immediately, and in the space of ten minutes, he had a plate placed in front of him piled high with bacon, eggs, and pancakes.

This particular diner sat on the outskirts of Enner Falls, a small town in the foothills of Wolf Mountain, the peak of the Gallatin National Forest. He had traced little more than rumors to end up in Enner Falls, and here he was, a week before All Hallows’ Eve, a few days from a full moon, wondering what the hell he was going to find. At this time of the year it was difficult to pull out the real threat from the sugar-high hype, and he expected more than the average crazy Demon to come out and play.

“You okay there, honey?” Rita, his waitress, topped off his coffee, and he smiled up at her.

“I’m fine, thanks,” he said quietly. No sense in drawing attention to himself by ordering more bacon even though he was tempted.

“Shout if you want more coffee.” She walked off to the next customer, and he could swear he heard her humming, although it was fairly tuneless.

His detailed and painstaking research had led him initially to the town across the valley where there had been ten unexplained disappearances in this area over the last year. Classic Demon shit right there. But the town was a bust. No signs of a Demon infestation, now or even in the past. Hunger made him stop in Enner Falls, but instinct had him keeping his back to the wall and facing the door. Electricity sparked in the air and Regan was on edge. His instincts hadn’t let him down before. Something was wrong here.

Halfway through his bacon, which incidentally was the sweetest yet saltiest bacon he had ever tasted, the door opened, a blast of frigid air swirling into the warm inside. Regan looked up. That same instinct that made him stop in Enner Falls had him categorizing every newcomer, analyzing seating, and being very aware of each vehicle in the lot outside. Everyone so far, from police officer to teacher, had passed by him and nothing about them flagged his concerns. The new arrival, though? He was a different story.

The stranger was tall with blond hair, windblown and tousled and falling in disarray around a young elfin face. He didn’t fit in in his long black coat, not in this diner full of men in jeans and plaid shirts, and every red warning light Regan had inside switched on full. Deliberately, Regan placed his knife and fork to the side of his plate. He chewed his mouthful of bacon and swallowed before slipping his hand under the table to close around the knife he had on his lap under his jacket. Details about this stranger screamed wrong, and Regan was a master at following his gut feelings.

The new arrival cast his gaze around the diner, resting briefly on Regan, offering the other man a chance to see a flash of green in intensely colored eyes. Green Eyes couldn’t be any more than twenty and was clearly some kind of model wannabe or an actor, maybe. Whatever he was, he stuck out like a sore thumb in his black duster and dark pants. The long coat seemed to be leather, but not rigid cowhide. It was supple, molding against the newcomer like a second skin, then flowing out to just above knee length.

He didn’t seem uncomfortable as the hum of casual conversation dropped and everyone just stared; he simply looked back at everyone who looked at him. Regan tensed as that impossibly green gaze swept back towards him and stopped. The other man blinked steadily and offered a small smile, but Regan wasn’t in the mood for smiling. The smell of a possible hunt tickled his nostrils.

Green Eyes wasn’t the kind of thing he’d been tasked to kill—Regan knew the signs for one of those bastards—but the newcomer wasn’t normal either.

Regan pushed his chair back a few inches, giving himself room to move should he need to, as the other man ordered water and some breakfast. He was ready to act, analyzing the distance between a potential kill and a subsequent run to his car. It wasn’t far, but he wondered how he was going to get out of this one without people recognizing him as that guy who killed the man in the long black coat.

The unfamiliar man moved to his corner of the diner. He stopped dead center in front of Regan. A moment of charged silence followed as he focused intently on Regan and then frowned.

“Regan Montgomery Campbell?” The words were softly spoken, and there was an air of uncertainty around the stranger; the question in his words screamed that he wasn’t entirely convinced of what he was asking.

“Sorry?” Regan was very cautious with his words, his fingers flexing and tightening around the handle of his blade. The other man tilted his head questioningly and then flicked a glance towards the empty bench across from Regan.

“Can I sit down?”

Regan said nothing. Evidently the stranger took this as a tacit invitation to sit, folding six feet of lean male and long black coat into the booth opposite. He placed the water in front of himself and extended a hand in greeting.

“Kian ap Rhys,” the stranger offered in a soft lyrically accented voice. Then he waited. Regan didn’t immediately take the hand; he tried not to touch any Demons before he killed them, his reaction a mix between self-preservation and distaste. He suddenly wasn’t certain he didn’t have something like a Demon sitting opposite him. They were at an impasse. Regan didn’t want to shake his hand, and this Kian guy was evidently not getting the hint.

Close up, Regan could see that Kian’s eyes were not just green, but an intriguing mix of greens and silver flecks, bright right-in-your-face jade and mesmerizing sea green. There was something there in those sea and starlight eyes, something akin to innocence or trust. Abruptly compelled to respond, Regan found himself switching his knife to his left hand and extending his right. He wasn’t one to play games, and clearly this Kian guy knew his name, so there was no point in either of them pretending he didn’t.

They touched, Kian’s grasp firm, and Regan was startled at the connection in the warmth of the other man’s grip. Unnerved, he released his hold and sat back. His fingers tingled with the spark of electricity that had passed between them, and he closed his hand into a loose fist. What the hell was going on that his body was pushing through the flight-or-fight he usually focused on and experiencing sensations he wasn’t ready to let in?

Kian placed his hands flat on the table on either side of his water. “I need your help, or rather, I think we need each other’s help. I don’t know yet,” Kian offered firmly.

Regan narrowed his eyes. He didn’t leave trails; no one knew who he was or what he did, so how the hell did Mr Actor-Model here think he could be of any help and how did he know who Regan was?

“You want to explain what you mean?” Cut to the chase was the best way.

“I know some things about the Demons you track down. I could give you some new ideas of how to track them.” Regan tried to hide the combination of shock and disbelief that shot through him behind his schooled expression of I don’t care. This guy not only knew him, but he knew about the things Regan collected and dispatched? Something was seriously wrong here, and instinctive barriers sprang immediately into place. Defense. Avoidance. Get the fuck away.

Disgruntled, Regan didn’t even answer, simply swallowed the remainder of his coffee in two gulps and stood, grabbing at the jacket and ensuring the knife remained hidden. He didn’t even say goodbye. He just left without a word, nothing to indicate he had been there except the money he placed on the counter. Kian whatever-his-name-was didn’t follow, and it was only as Regan drove away from town that he realized he was shivering. Well, that was a new one—he wasn’t even cold. Pure emotion coursed through him, concern and distrust and the faint hint of fear.

He didn’t know who the stranger could be, but Regan added another emotion to the list of things he was feeling after he had touched him. Attraction.

I’m fucking stupid. Desire was unwelcome baggage on his back. Okay, it had been at least two months since he had seen any action, but fuck, there was no way he was lusting for a man he had met perhaps ten minutes ago. He palmed his dick, half-hard at the memory of those striking eyes and that soft hair. Since when were blond models who knew too much his kind of thing?

Firmly dismissing his body’s interest, he ruthlessly pushed down the tension in him. He needed to hole up for the day until dark took hold of the town and he could return to hunt the Demons he had been tracking. He followed battered wooden signs for the falls he assumed gave Enner Falls its name, and they took him down a short but convoluted gravel road out of town and up towards the base of Wolf Peak.

This was as good a place as any to regroup.

Regan pulled off the road and parked the Jeep behind some trees in a small roadside picnic area that was closed for the winter. Anyone passing would not be able to see him and feel compelled to stop and ask if he needed help or was lost. He checked the time. The sun hung at least an hour off noon, and he sighed. Waiting around in this job was sometimes close to soul-destroying, but it was necessary for success in everything he did.

Why the Demons fed at night was a mystery none of his ancestors had ever managed to solve, but as a result, the dark was as much his hiding place as theirs. Why they only fed on adults and not children was another enigma. On the run up to Halloween, it was something he was grateful for. He shuddered to think of what the actual Halloween night could become if the Demons fed on the young. It would be a horror movie.

Boredom and then irritation had him pulling a folder of papers out of the Jeep and stomping over to a small circular clearing that smelled of autumn. The leaves on the ground and what remained on tall strong trees were a tumble of gold and red. Snow had filtered through the straggly canopy of nearly bare branches and evergreen pine trees to leave a dusting on the wooden tables in the picnic area by the falls. It made for a comfortable, if slightly damp, carpet to sit on, and he settled at a table. The constant roar of the waterfall curtain was a welcome friend. There was intel to be rechecked, his blade had to be sharpened, and he desperately needed to find his center after his brush with the strange guy in the diner. He spread the papers, a mix of his own notes and newspaper reports, on a piece of plastic bag from the Jeep.

People had been disappearing all along the base of Wolf Mountain starting about ten months before and, for some reason, peaking each month at the full moon. Of course, rumors of a werewolf abounded, but that was as ridiculous as blaming it on vampires, because neither of them actually existed. All the signs pointed to a Demon infestation, and in a few days, All Hallows’ Eve, the next full moon on the chart, he needed to clear them out.

“See, I really need to talk to you.” The voice was crisp and slightly accented.

Regan sprang to his feet, his knife in his hand and adrenaline sparking in his body, to face the man he had last seen in the diner, his arms crossed and a patient expression on his face. Regan looked past him. He couldn’t see a car. He would have heard a car even over the noise of the falling water. Fuck, he should have heard footsteps or something. How the hell could he call himself a Hunter? Then the thought came to him. How exactly had Kian managed to catch up to him some six miles out of town in the space of a few minutes?

“What the fuck?” To be honest, that was the most coherent response Regan could manage while facing the man who had somehow achieved the impossible—tracked him down, caught him, then surprised him.

“My name is Kian ap Rhys,” the stranger introduced himself again. “I know you’re Regan Campbell. I know you hunt monsters that suck the life out of people and make them puppets that kill. I know you do this the same as your father did before you and his father did before him—”

Regan didn’t want to hear the whole great-grandfather crap timeline and stopped Kian with a raised hand. A strange fear curled inside him as he listened to the movie-set-reject’s words. He twisted the knife in his hands, the intricate scrolled words on the hilt sparking, gripped it tighter, and took one step towards the tall, slim stranger. Regan’s legs were slightly bent at the knees and he assumed a fighter’s stance. His lips thinned as Kian held his ground and seemed not at all disturbed by Regan’s aggressive step forward.

“You clearly know who I am.” Regan had two questions and he needed answers now. “How do you know and why the hell would you want to know?”

Kian nodded. He’d evidently been expecting the questions. “The how is easy. My family has known of your family for many years. The why…well, I think that is much harder to explain.” Kian stopped. He shook his head and sighed, and Regan grew irritated at the silence.

“What are they? Hunters as well?” That didn’t make sense. Regan only knew of one cousin who trawled through Canada doing what Regan did in the continental US.

“My family? No.”

“I’m listening,” he prompted impatiently.

“I have my own reasons for being here. I have something I need to do, and I only have one night to do it in.”

“That doesn’t answer the question. Could you be any more cryptic? How the hell does what you need to do connect with what I do?”

“Look, it’s simple. I need you. You need me.”

“I kill the monsters fine on my own. I don’t want or need someone else.”

“There is a stronger evil here that even you can’t kill.” Kian looked uncomfortable, worrying his lower lip with his teeth before crossing to the nearest tree and sliding down the trunk to sit cross-legged at its base. Not only had he laid two wicked-looking knives on the ground in front of him as he sat, he’d actually turned his back to Regan as he walked over. Those two actions caused Regan to relax, by just the merest fraction, his tight hold on the knife. He abruptly felt like he should do the same as Kian, so he crossed to the next tree over, close enough to Kian to talk. He rested a hand on the rough bark, then used it to lever himself down, stretching his legs in front of him. The concessions he made to the Hunter inside him were basic: his knife remained in his hand and he maintained a hyperawareness of his surroundings. He didn’t understand why he had bothered to give Kian the time of day, but he had, and for some strange reason it felt safe to do so.

“Keep talking,” he insisted.

“My uncle died slowly. Then on the Gate Day last year, the Danio made its move.”

“Gate Day?”

“The same as your Halloween.” Kian paused and closed his eyes briefly. Regan wriggled uncomfortably at the naked grief that crossed Kian’s expression. “My uncle was…hurt…by the Danio, and something was taken from him…” Kian kept stopping in his explanation and casting glances up at Regan.

Regan didn’t have to be an expert to sense there was more to this whole thing than Kian was telling him.

“Something? Someone? You’re gonna have to be more specific. What was taken?”

Kian shook his head. “I can’t explain yet. Just without it, he was inevitably going to die. Nothing could save him. And the Danio was strong after he stole it.”

“Okay, stop there.” Regan held up a hand, the hand with the knife in it, pushing threat into his voice. “Start again, and this time leave out the mysterious bullshit mumbo-jumbo.”

Chapter 3
Kian didn’t know what to say. Regan deserved the truth if there was any expectation of getting his help with the Danio and getting back his uncle’s Fire. So it was essential to start explaining this, in detail, with reasons why Kian needed help and why Regan had to join Kian in his quest. He considered carefully the words he needed to use and they flowed fine in his head. Thing was, when he actually came to vocalize what he needed, he blurted out the one thing that was guaranteed to drive Regan away in a matter of seconds.

“We are destined to be bonded.” Gods. Why did I say that? Now Regan would just think him mad. “Together,” he attempted to explain by adding more. “Only together, bonded, can we hope to…” He stopped talking when he realized he was making even more of a hash of it.

Regan didn’t move. Not one muscle. He just stared, and Kian dropped his gaze, uncomfortable under the steady scrutiny of deep brown eyes. He looked up again. Those eyes held a myriad of emotions, including disbelief, if Kian read it right. It didn’t help that the longer Regan sat still, the more Kian could take his fill, memorizing the face and features of his intended bond-partner, and the more confusion filtered into his brain.

Regan was the diametric opposite of himself, shorter where he was tall, dark-haired where he was blond, settled and focused where he couldn’t concentrate on something for more than a few minutes at time.

On the day of his birth, the Council had told his father of the destiny that awaited his son. His father had mocked the seers. No son of mine will cross to the other world. Destiny had a nasty habit of biting when you weren’t looking, though, as evidenced by the fact that he now sat in the one place his father swore he would never go to, opposite the very man he had been promised to twenty-one years ago.

Kian sensed the movement even as energy coiled inside Regan, and Regan’s knife moved through the air towards him, Regan uncurling and following in a millisecond.

“Stop!” he shouted, but it was too late. The Fire was there in that same instant, a barrier of emerald and sea green that blocked knife and man with an impenetrable wall, thrusting both back until Regan, knife by his side, was thrown bodily away from Kian.

Pushing the Fire away, Kian scrambled over to Regan who lay unmoving, his eyes open, staring up at the canopy of trees.

“Regan, I’m sorry, are you—” Kian touched the stunned man, wincing at the spark of energy that still coursed through him.

“What. The. Fuck?” Regan bit out, his entire body trembling and his gaze fixed on Kian.

“Can you sit?” Kian needed to get Regan up and breathing correctly. The Fire had hit him dead-on; Kian knew a lesser man, a man not his partner, would have been struck dead. Regan grumbled his annoyance as he allowed Kian to help him up, and Kian was never happier to hear the threats that Regan muttered under his breath. At least coherency proved he was alive.

“What just happened?” Regan spat out as he moved to a sitting position using the nearest tree as a leaning post, then slumped against the rough bark and drew his knees up to rest his hands on.

“It’s Fire,” Kian began. Regan examined his hands as if he was checking for burns. “Not hot fire, it wouldn’t have burned you. See, I have no control. When my Fire thinks I am being threatened, it just…” Kian trailed off, and instead, he shook a hand in a gesture that he hoped Regan would see as a combination of apology and explanation.

“Fire.” Regan’s voice remained steady, but Kian could see past that to the man beneath, the man who had a healthy amount of fear swirling inside him. Kian shuffled the few feet towards Regan and sat cross-legged to one side. Feeling more nervous than he thought he would at exposing this part of him, he held out a hand. As natural as breathing, he allowed a small amount of Fire to travel inside of him to light a small flame in his palm. Regan stared, fixed and focused on the green flame.

“We call it Fire. It’s part of us, and when we reach twenty-one, it kind of happens to us naturally between one day and the next.”

“Power?” Regan ran an unsteady hand through his short, spiky hair, gripping at it like that would help him understand.

“I’m not from your world, Regan Campbell.” Kian said the words gently, and to Regan’s credit, the man didn’t move or run screaming to the hills.

“Like that wasn’t obvious.” Regan’s voice held a derisive quality, sarcasm layered over fact. “What are you? A Demon?” he asked, suspicious.

“There’s another place, another world that sits just out of alignment with your reality. On Gate Day the worlds align nearly perfectly, and it’s possible to move from our world to this one a week or so on either side of that date. This”—Kian waved expansively at the forest around them—“is what we call the Other World, and we watch you as much as we can manage. My world, my time, is…” Kian had practiced these words so many times, but still they felt like ash in his mouth. “I guess the easiest way to explain is that it’s parallel to this world, a phase step away from your time and place. It’s this place, but it’s a shared space.”

Regan still listened, and he wasn’t stopping Kian. That was a good sign. Right?

“In my world, when you get to be twenty-one you get your Fire—”

Regan interrupted. “Twenty-one, Fire, so you said. And?”

“It’s a mark of maturity, for want of a better word. The Fire stays with you until you die. If I ever lost my Fire before my natural span of years is crossed I’d die, Fireless and too soon. That is what happened to my uncle, but he didn’t just lose his Fire. It was stolen from him by a Danio.” Kian emphasized the sound of the letters, Dan-yo.

“Okay, so this Danio stole your uncle’s Fire, meaning your uncle then died. And?” Regan had clearly focused on the bad guy in the wash of confusing explanation, which was definitely a good sign. “What is it? Like a Demon?”

Regan tilted his head as he asked this. Kian watched for mockery but there wasn’t any. Obviously Regan seeing things others would never see was enough for him to believe there could be something else out there.

Kian continued, “It’s a beautiful world, Regan, my world. Full of the power of Fire. Peaceful. For every bright place, though, there are those that are darker. The Danio is evil to the core.”

“The bad guy,” Regan inserted helpfully.

“A remnant of a much older time, before we had peace.” He moved closer, now only inches from touching Regan with his fingers, craving that contact. It was near impossible to be this near to his mate and not to take him into his arms. In his world, they would have bonded already.

“Keep talking,” Regan pushed, and Kian realized he had stopped and just stared at Regan’s mouth. Kian shook his head to clear it. He couldn’t let the call of his destiny pull him away from what he needed to do. He needed to focus, concentrate on telling his story, no matter how much distraction the need to touch Regan caused.

“Last Gate Day, your Halloween, the Danio used the stolen Fire to cross to this world.”

“My world?” Regan closed his eyes briefly, then opened them, determination in his expression. “This Danio thing is in my world? Why?”

Kian shook his head. “It had been doomed to die in my world. It was a prisoner, but it escaped and came here. But its energy would have been low and it wasn’t its Fire it used to get here, it doesn’t have any Fire of its own. Cut off from my world, it couldn’t recharge.” He searched for a word that made sense and used the closest he could think of. “In the next few days though, when the connection is strongest between this world and mine, it will be able to draw power from my world and then it will have enough Fire to control.”

Regan narrowed his gaze. “Control what exactly?”

Kian shook his head slowly. “That’s the problem. It stole the Fire. It wasn’t born to use and care for it. Once it recharges, its attention will shift between the wild Fire inside it and the lure of energy and life-force in the world—your world—around it. It’ll be unpredictable malice with a weapon that is controlling it as much as it is controlling the Fire.” Until he’d said the words aloud, Kian had refused to consider the rampaging danger the Danio posed. Once spoken, he had no choice but to face it.

Regan spoke stiffly, obviously keeping his emotions at bay. “Okay.” He blinked steadily, staring at Kian. “So you’re here with your powers, and you can take it out, go home, end of story. What do you need me for?”

“You’re my bonded partner.”

“Yeah, so you said, alongside all the other crap you have been laying on me. What does that mean exactly?”

Kian winced. He could see Regan was skeptical. Perhaps going back to the beginning would be a good thing? “Sometimes who you’re supposed to be with is obvious and sometimes there is choice. Other times there seems to be no choice at all. My father was told I would be bonded with a Hunter in this world. That Hunter has to be you.”

“Bullshit.” Regan snorted his disbelief, and Kian felt physical pain snap inside him. He needed to make Regan see.

“The Danio and I, when we meet, we will have equal Fire. There is nothing I can do to stop it. We would just stand behind identical barriers and I wouldn’t be any stronger than it. I wouldn’t have enough to send it home where it could be dealt with. However, with you at my side—”

“What? You want me to throw my knife at it? Yeah, ’cause that went so well last time.” Regan rubbed at his elbow and grimaced. Kian felt shame heat his face. His Fire had just been trying to protect him.

“If you were there with me,” he continued, “I would be stronger and could push it back through to the other side where my kind will be waiting to deal with it.” Kian hoped that was true. He’d left Darach a clear message to go and find the Elders who would be able to deal with the returned criminal. He just hoped his best friend wasn’t still angry with him and had instead read the note and understood it.

“So what you need is for me to be at your side, when we find this…Danio, because that will make you stronger. Then you will go back home, end of story.” Regan looked half-hopeful, and that same pain that had started inside of Kian surged to a new level. What did Regan want to hear? Should Kian tell him he’d made a one-way trip to this side of the gate and that he could never go home?

If Regan was next to Kian, then the being would be defeated by their joined strength and sent back and the Gate between the two worlds could be closed and spelled shut. What he didn’t tell Regan was that he would remain fully in Regan’s world. He had broken ancient rules to come through to this world. To go back would be to face certain death as punishment.

“Yes,” he finally lied. “End of story.”

“This sounds like something you’re making up as you go along.”

“I wish I was.”

“Tell me how you got from the diner to here without a car.”

Darach's Cariad #2
Chapter 1
The room Regan and Kian rented was in a small motel off a main road, one that supplied beds by the hour. The accommodation actually tended toward clean for this type of place, creating a paradox in Regan’s head. It was in his nature to be suspicious of something that looked too good to be true.

“Stop it.” Kian’s voice sounded tired, verging on irritable, and Regan straightened. He checked outside the drapes, unsettled and worried, and then looked back at his lover. Great. Miserable Kian had stood up from the bed and was pacing.

“Stop what?” he snapped back, scratching at the bandaging that covered the cuts on his arm from the alley fight. “All I’m doing is checking the parking lot.”

“For what? Random Demon drive-bys?” Kian sounded waspish and spoiled and just this side of fucking rude.

In a flurry of motion, Regan had Kian up against the wall, holding Kian’s hands above his head securely. Both men knew Kian could get away; in fact, for a few seconds, Kian did struggle. Then he stilled, pressing back against the faded wallpaper and waiting. Regan couldn’t have held back his temper if he’d tried. A hunter was only good as long as he kept surviving each fight, and today could have gone bad so many ways and so quickly Regan refused to consider them.

“What the hell is going on with you, Kian? Where the holy fuck were you tonight?”

“I was there,” Kian defended himself quickly, ineffectively tugging at Regan’s secure grip.

“You. Were. Not. There.”

“I was just behind you—”

“Don’t lie to me. I may be just a human in your eyes, but my Fire is growing strong enough to sense when you are and aren’t there.”

“You’re not just a human—” Kian started.

Regan tightened his hold in temper and saw the instant discomfort in his lover’s eyes. Guilt flooded him and warred with his irritation.

“I’m sorry, Regan, please. I wasn’t well. I tried to follow, but I couldn’t. I wish I could tell you—”

“Kian, I swear to Gods, if you don’t pull your head out of your ass and tell me what the fuck is going on, I will dump you here and leave before we both get killed by whatever’s distracting you.”

“You can’t leave me… our bond…”

Jeez, Regan thought, trust Kian to focus on the reality of the threat rather than the general menace Regan was trying to convey.

“I wouldn’t leave you, but bond or not, you’re screwing with my head. Talk to me, Kian. What’s going on? What’s wrong? We’re hunting, then you just lose consciousness, and I’m left five against one staring at you laying on the fucking ground.” There was a staring match; Kian’s green gaze ran the gamut of emotions from utter and complete determination to the rise of temper and then—shit—the most pathetic puppy-dog gaze Regan had ever seen. His stomach clenched.

Kian had his moments of introspection, and Regan always gave him space. He imagined the pain of Kian leaving his life, his family, his world, never to return. It must have been the most difficult thing any person could do. Kian needed time to process. Regan tried to be supportive and as damned understanding as he could be. In turn, Kian inevitably reassured him he wanted to be there with Regan, that he wanted to stay. That day, though? This whole collapsing moment was just another in a long list of things unnerving Regan to the point that he was thinking of finding Kian a way back home if that’s what he wanted.

“Do you want to go home?”

“I don’t want to go home.”

“Do you maybe need to go home?” That was the question he hadn’t yet asked. Kian looked momentarily confused.


“I don’t know. Jeez, Kian, is there something wrong, with you, with your Fire?” Regan kept his voice low and attempted to contain his fear. In Regan’s worst imaginings, Kian staying there with him was destroying him. He had an intense and real fear that his world, his version of Earth, was somehow toxic to Kian, stripping him of the Fire’s identity. Gods, maybe even killing him.

Kian stared directly into Regan’s eyes and spoke firmly. “I don’t need to go home. I promise you, my Fire is strong.”

“Then what the hell is wrong? Kian, you’re scaring me.”

Kian dropped his gaze, then let his whole body slump until Regan found himself holding Kian up. Shocked and concerned, Regan followed his instincts. He scooped Kian up into his arms and carried him to their bed. After settling his lover under the covers, he crawled between the sheets himself and moved Kian until the smaller man was curled into him. Kian lay stiff until Regan pulled him close. Then, muscle by muscle, Kian began to relax.

“It’s the dreams,” Kian offered quietly. Regan nodded; Kian’s sleep was broken and nightmares gripped him every night. Kian woke from them tossing and muttering and panicky, breathing normally only after Regan calmed him. “Some of them are coming to me in the light, when I’m awake, and they’re so real. More like visions.”

“Can you tell me more about them?” Regan was trying the gentle approach, stroking Kian’s back, doing what he needed to do to make his lover feel safe. He had asked about the dreams before and received some information, although Kian inevitably lost a lot of the dreams as quickly as he wakened.

“The same ones. Home, the Council, and the City where I lived.”

Regan would never know them, but he wanted to hear more about the dreams so that maybe, between the two of them, they could thrash out their meaning. He’d had enough of Kian dismissing the nightmares; he wasn’t going to let him do it anymore, especially now that Kian was getting visions.

“What is it you’re dreaming about when you’re awake?” Regan realized what he said didn’t make much sense. “I mean, what’s in the visions?”

“Darach is in there, awake or asleep.”

“Your friend?” Kian spoke often of Darach, the one thing, the only person he never wanted to leave behind.

“He wanted to come with me, but his Fire wasn’t born. Remember I told you? He had nothing in him.”

“Yeah.” Regan remembered the softly spoken story and the grief that had filled his lover’s eyes.

“His destiny is in the world I left, not here in yours.”

Regan’s belief in a preordained destiny wasn’t as clear-cut as Kian’s, and so he listened with the cautious approach of skepticism. He had to admit Kian’s foretold destiny of bonding with a Hunter was fairly spot-on, but there was also such a thing as cosmic coincidence, which, in Regan’s opinion, was far less weighty and much more likely than destiny.

“Go on,” he prompted. What he thought at the moment didn’t matter; what mattered were Kian’s feelings.

Kian didn’t reply at first. He was clearly searching for the right words. Kian swallowed and half rolled to face Regan. His face was so serious. “When I was born, my father was told my Fire bond was a Hunter, a man. Not of the world we knew but of the world here.”

“I know. Me.”

“You.” Kian went deathly quiet, and Regan could feel the tension in his lover’s body. He gentled the younger man with a firm hold and soft caressing touches with his free hand. He was getting a little fed up with Kian’s half-finished stories, and he wondered if maybe he should push Kian to talk more. Or should he possibly just kiss him until he relaxed and was pliable enough to keep talking. He struggled with the decision as only a lover could. Finally Kian’s faint trembling made Regan prompt for more. Kian was upset, and Regan didn’t know enough about Kian’s Fire to chance him turning into some kind of supernova or shit if he didn’t calm down.

“And Darach’s destiny? What was it?” His prompt was gentle but firm.

“I can’t… I don’t know how to explain. There isn’t a pronouncement for every child born. The seers only choose a certain few whose destinies are foretold. Special families.”

“Okay. And?”

“There were three of us—you know that—all born close together. Eoin first, the eldest, the responsible one, then myself, and then Darach. We were close friends, and we grew up together. Our infant Fires were as different as they could be, but we were brothers in all but name.”

“I still don’t wholly get this different Fire thing.”

“I have green fire.”

“Nature, protection, nurturing, I know.”

“Darach had blue, a sapphire so brilliant everyone knew when he came of age he would be special. Then there was Eoin; his Fire was stunning and it shimmered.”

“You never told me in detail about what your Fires meant.”

Kian buried his face in Regan’s neck. His voice was muffled, and he rested a little before repeating what he had said a little louder this time. “I wasn’t so sure you would want to hear all the explanations of magik or even understand them.”

Regan huffed a laugh, curling one hand into Kian’s mop of soft hair. “Wanna try explaining the whole thing to me in words of one syllable, then?”

Kian looked directly at him and smiled, his green eyes sparking with humor. That simple gesture filled Regan with a lightness he hadn’t had in a while. They exchanged a kiss, little more than a touch of reassurance, and Kian settled back into Regan’s embrace.

“It’s all tied up with destiny, much as my destiny is tied with yours.” Regan listened carefully. He wanted to understand this and wanted to help Kian if he could. “Eoin was told his world would align with another only known as the Guardian, but Eoin died so his destiny could never be fulfilled.”

“I’m sorry,” Regan offered as he always did when Kian talked about Eoin. It seemed like the thing to say. Was Kian ready to tell him about how Eoin died? Regan decided now was a good time to ask. “How did he die?”

Kian didn’t answer immediately, shifting slightly and running a hand up Regan’s leg to rest on his hipbone, his thumb setting a steady rhythm of movement on the skin stretched taut there. Regan’s cock took notice, but he really tried hard to listen to what his lover was saying. Now was not the time to let their Fire out to play. Things were much too serious.

“It was horrific. How he died, I mean. I can still see the—” He shook his head slightly, the movement of his thumb stopping briefly. “He was the eldest by a few weeks, and didn’t we know it! He was always the sensible one, the mature one. He received his Fire first, but when his Fire was born, he was… consumed by it.” Kian said the words matter-of-factly, but Regan’s heart twisted at the mental image, not so much because of this Eoin he didn’t know, but at the thought of Kian burning to death in his Fire.

“Jesus. That happens?” Regan wished he could pull the question back as soon as it left his mouth, but Kian just reacted to his shock with a sad nod.

“We were there, Darach and I. We had been three for so long, and then suddenly, we were two. To lose Eoin, one of us, one of the three, was the hardest thing I’d ever known. Darach and I had each other, and we were strong, but we mourned Eoin. He was our friend.”

“I’m so sorry,” Regan offered again, still wondering where exactly Kian’s disjointed tale was going. So far it wasn’t so much about destiny and dreams but about horrible deaths in flames. He couldn’t help the shiver that chased down his spine.

“Darach was told he would fall from grace and his mated Fire would be the crimson and scarlet of a healer.”

“Like me? My Fire?”

“The same.”

“My Fire has something to do with healing? I thought you said it was passion and a warrior or something.”

Kian nodded his agreement. “All Fires have so many different things to them. Scarlet is rare as well.”

Regan couldn’t have stopped his response even if he’d tired. He smirked. “Of course it’s rare. I’m too special to have common green or blue.”

Kian pinched the skin at Regan’s hipbone in retaliation, and in revenge Regan twisted until Kian lay under him, kissing him lightly. This was the good side of them, the passion that edged into everything they did. The kisses deepened. Regan couldn’t take away talk of destiny or death in Fire, but he could kiss away the nightmares for a short time. A sudden thought had him lifting his head, Kian reaching up to chase for the kiss he was clearly enjoying.

“Wait. This Darach, mating with red… Jeez, was he supposed to bond with me?” Was that what Kian was trying to tell him? Gods no. There was no way he was going to bond with another. Kian was his as much as he was Kian’s. There would be no one else, could be no one else. Regan was confused, and Kian reached up and gripped the back of Regan’s head with strong hands.

“No, Hunter.” Soft laughter came with the word. “You were always all mine.”

“Good,” Regan offered, supporting his weight on his elbows, pressing against Kian’s fingers. His own Fire answered Kian’s green, fitting and starting in him, sparking behind his eyes. They meshed together so perfectly. He wanted to kiss more, but Kian kept talking.

“When I left, I had to leave Darach, and it broke my heart to see him standing there, watching me go. He tried to stop me, wanted me to wait for him. But I couldn’t.”

“So, why do you think you have the dreams? And what did the seer mean about a fall from grace? The way you say it… I mean, is Darach some kind of angel?” Regan thought it was a fair question, but all Kian did was snort along with his laughter, then shake his head.

“No, he is no angel. But if I believe my waking dreams, he is attempting to do something damned stupid. He is searching for a tribe of rebels called the Cariad. If or when he finds them, his fall from grace will be complete. He will be hunted like a thief and a murderer.” Kian’s tone changed from soft to hard, and the sparks from his fingers stung, causing Regan to wince and pull away.

“What the hell is a Carry-ad?” he asked, shaking his head to dispel the spark that had sizzled painfully against his skin.

“Sorry,” Kian apologized with a rueful expression on his face. After offering a kiss, he continued. “Not a Cariad, the Cariad. They are a tribe of people who have a connection to old magik.” Kian stopped and closed his eyes, appearing to recall the rest of his dreams and visions. “I see other things—it’s a jumble of random nothings that scare me. I can’t help Darach or warn him to be careful, to contact the Cariad, but to be discreet, and it terrifies me. And I feel guilty, because I left him behind to cross to this world.” He opened his eyes again. Confusion flickered in their depths briefly.

“And he couldn’t come with you because he didn’t have his Fire yet, I get that.”

“Yes, he wanted to, but the Fire protects you as you pass the veil. A normal person would die instantly, even with infant Fire in them.”

“These Cariad then, if he finds them, will they hurt him?”

Kian shook his head. “No, it was the Cariad, well, one of them in particular—Ceithin Morgan—who assisted me in crossing to here. He was a good person—they are good people, just misunderstood. They practice old magik, and it goes against everything the twelve Primary Edicts of the Council stand for. They have a home, but they are called a wandering tribe. What’s the word you use?”

“Gypsies? Travelers? Nomads?”

“The same idea. When I was a child, my mom would tell me stories of the Cariad and what she called ‘their wicked ways’. It was always whispered as bedtime stories; you never mentioned the Cariad outside of the home. When I grew, I learned there was a lot I didn’t understand about the old magik. Stories are just that, and I don’t believe them to all be true. But the Cariad are traditionally outcasts from what is perceived to be normal society, and for Darach to be involved with them is bad. He’s a reckless idiot, and he isn’t as strong as I am, and it scares me.”

“Why would it scare you? If you went to them for help, why can’t Darach?”

“It isn’t that he is in danger if he goes there. I spent time with them, and the Cariad are a peaceful tribe. Others don’t know that. They just accept what they are told and blame the Cariad for everything that goes wrong in my world. What people think, what the Council thinks about his actions? That is what worries me. If anyone knows he is associated with the outcasts, he is open for censure, imprisonment, maybe even death. The Cariad are a part of our society that is taboo.”

“It’s that serious?”

“More than. Like I said, to even speak of the Cariad outside the home is forbidden.”

Regan listened to the explanation, realizing he didn’t know enough about the world Kian had called home. He resolved to learn more, because he wanted to understand. “Can we somehow go to your world?”

“Not until All Hallows. Only then is the barrier thin enough for me to pass through without extra magik and power that I have no hope of accessing before then.”

“For us to pass through, you mean,” Regan corrected quickly.

“Us. Of course—us. And your Fire would need to be trained.”

“So if we can’t go over, and you’re this worried for him, can we find a way to help Darach from here? Seems like we should take some downtime and see what we can find out.” Unspoken were the added words I love you, Kian, and I’ll help any way I can.

Kian raised his gaze, his eyes wide, his expression hopeful. The four words he spoke sent warmth coursing through Regan’s body as his Fire responded to the energy within Kian.

“I love you, Regan.”

Chapter 2
Ceithin Morgan had no energy left to scream.

His vocal cords were shredded, and the shudders wracking his body were impossible to control. The Council wanted information from him. They wanted his Fire. They were torturing him. And he would not give them his magik nor tell them anything they wanted to know.

A combination of ancient magik and his own stubborn determination meant he would go to his grave with his Fire intact. His scarlet Fire was weakened by what they did; no Fire could stop all the energy they threw at him. But he had protected himself with magik as old as time and in such a way that nothing they could do would break him.

They tried everything they knew, pulling at the silver-tipped crimson magik tangling around him in a messy scramble of light. Whispering words in their own magik, they ripped and pulled until his skin tore into Fire-laced shreds.

Still his skin. Still his Fire.

He knew he was bleeding; he could smell it and taste it in his mouth, hot coppery rivers, and feel it running into his eyes, half blinding him. The skin peeled away from him, and it was an agony he had to force himself to bear. He focused on the Valley, on home: the grass beneath his feet, the trees and pathways, the rainbows glittering in the waterfalls. The visions kept him centered. They couldn’t touch his memories.

Eoin's Destiny #3
Chapter 1
Ceithin paced the cabin floor, sparks of red in a flurry of motion around him. Guardian or not, Eoin had no idea what he could say to make any of this any better for his friend Darach's lover. Ceithin probably thought the minute they passed through the gate Trystyn would be there waiting for them. It was made even more difficult because he couldn't get a firm reading on much at all because of Demon imprints. The Demons teemed in the Otherworld. Hundreds of years ago, adults with magik fought against the Cariad and the City and passed to the Otherworld. The only way for these adults to survive in the new world was to leech emotions from the inhabitants. There were so many of them, and now their imprints clouded his view.

"I don't know where he is." Eoin emphasized the 'where' firmly. If they were to have any chance of finding Ceithin's brother then they needed level heads. That was one thing in short supply. Darach wasn't even in the cabin. As soon as they passed through the gate, he had stalked away from them, his temper heated and heavy in him. Eoin could see Ceithin was torn between following his bonded Fire or staying to question Eoin as to what the hell was going on.

The passing over itself had been easy. Ceithin and Darach had held hands, and it had taken very little of Eoin's amber Fire to make the transition as smooth as it could be. They arrived at the cabin and found the wards in place. Each of them could sense where Kian had been, and another, who Eoin assumed was the Hunter. But there was no sign of anyone now. Nothing.

"You said he was here," Ceithin said for possibly the third or fourth time.

"You need to give me time," Eoin said softly. Deliberately, he lowered his voice and pushed as much concerned understanding into it as he could.

"Don't patronize me," Ceithin snapped. He crossed to the window and looked out at the tangle of forest. "You said there was someone here. A prisoner. It's Trystyn. I know it is."

"I'm not trying to patronize you. Please, Ceithin, if it's Trystyn then I swear we will find him. If it isn't Trystyn, it's still someone from our world who's being used. One way or another, we will find that person."

"It's Trystyn. I can feel him." Ceithin was adamant, and Eoin didn't argue. "The connection between us… it's like the connection between Darach and I." He placed a hand over his chest where his heart was. "It's him."

"Your connection to Darach is strong," Eoin commented for want of something better to say.

Ceithin turned to face Eoin abruptly. "How could you hurt Darach and Kian like that?" Clearly the subject was being changed, and Eoin could see the distrust and anger in Ceithin's eyes. The bond between Ceithin and Darach was so new Eoin could see sparks of Darach's blue in Ceithin's eyes. Eoin could dissemble, could ask what Ceithin meant as if he didn't know. But it would be a waste of everyone's time.

"You mean not tell Darach I was the Guardian?"

"For a start, yeah. I mean that's a pretty big one. But let's get to it after. I mean how in Hell could you let them think you were dead?"

"I had to."

"It broke his heart." Ceithin's statement hung in the air with a sense of finality. Eoin didn't even try to answer. He didn't really have one that would make any sense to anyone. He just immediately knew any conversation about what he had done and why would have to be with Darach, not with the Cariad who had bonded with his friend.

"I need to talk to him about what I did and why," he finally offered gently.

Ceithin sighed and gestured to the space beyond the dusty glass. "Then go talk to him."

"We need to find Kian, track down the person who—"

"None of it will start until we get this sorted." Ceithin clenched his fists across his chest, right over his heart, and blue Fire sparked on his fingers. "He's hurting. Nothing we decide now will make any sense unless you help him stop hurting."

"How am I…" Eoin had no words to finish the thought. Ceithin leaned back against the wooden wall and dropped his hands to his side. He shrugged, and Eoin felt a momentary disappointment that someone else didn't have the answers for him. Nodding, he knew Ceithin was right.

In the space between heartbeats, Eoin took the first step to the door. In a minute he was out in the cool mountain air, the cloudless sky like the blue of Darach's eyes. Shame and guilt and grief curled inside him, and he stopped exactly in the middle of the small clearing. He could sense Darach and see his pathway in a scatter of embers, both red and blue. The anger in his friend, his blood brother, was intense, and for a moment, Eoin wished it was level-headed Kian he was dealing with, not Darach with his impetuous nature.

"Did Ceithin send you out here?" Darach's voice dripped with temper, and blue sparked around him.

"He said it was probably the best thing to get this out of the way first," Eoin admitted. He didn't even see the fist fly, not even his Fire sensed the snap of passion in time to erect a barrier. The crack of Darach's knuckles against his cheekbone was loud in the otherwise quiet forest. Eoin stumbled back, his Fire a delayed shield, and he held up his hands in protest. Darach did nothing. He made no move to hit him again or even to step forward into Eoin's space.

"Get it out of the way first?" Darach spat with venom. "Get it out of the way?" When he repeated the words, Eoin winced.

"If we are to track down Kian and—"

"Don't. Just. Don't." Darach spun on his heels, stalked off to the trees, and in an instant, he was gone. Eoin sighed. Darach had every right to feel angry, but equally he expected his friend to be able to listen to why he had done it.

"Darach! Wait." He strode after his friend, sensing the other man only a few trees in front of him. Eoin quickly caught him and held his hands out in front of himself in a gesture of peace.

"I didn't want to let you believe I was dead." He stopped when Darach's eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Wait, you think I would choose to do that?"

"Didn't you?"

"No. That isn't what happened at all."

"Then what exactly did happen, Eoin?"

"The Fire. When it came, it was intense." He stopped, suddenly weary, and he leaned back against the nearest tree. Carefully he used the trunk to lower himself to sit. "Will you sit down?" Darach frowned, but clearly he was in this for the long haul, and he too sat on the dry ground.

"Go on," Darach encouraged. Although Darach's expression showed very little in the way of welcome, nor indeed any compassion, at least he sat here listening.

"Amber is a special Fire and is very rare. There are maybe one or two children born each year with it. You know that. It's the strongest of the Fires." Eoin half smiled. Saying this brought back so many memories of teasing Darach and Kian when they were children. He was not only the eldest of the three, but he also teased that he had the best Fire. It seemed Darach had remembered the same thing, and for an instant, a smile quirked his lips, before being replaced by the condemnation. "Every child who has amber knows that one day, if they live, they will need to find a useful way to use their Fire, with the Council maybe. It's so rare though that a juvenile survives, and you know when some juveniles reach maturity and their Fire is born, they die."

"I know. Like you."

"They don't die, Darach." His voice was carefully modulated, and he could feel the shock in his friend before Darach said a single word. The fact the children appeared to always die was nothing but a cloak.

"We saw you die," Darach protested. He touched a single finger to his own face, a mirror of the scars Eoin had twisting down the side of his face to his neck. "It was horrific. I saw you burn."

Eoin nodded. "The Fire is real. It burns so hot, and the scars…" He touched them and then rested his hand back on his knee. "But the Council takes the child from the Fire. Sometimes it's too late to save him or to keep him unmarked."

"Were they able to control your pain?" Darach leaned forward, his eyes suspiciously bright.

Eoin wanted to lie. Every fiber in him wanted to make it easier to tell this story. He couldn't. "It was horrific," he began softly, "but somehow they dragged me free, magiked me away, I don't know. All I know is I woke up, and I was in the library."

"In the City?"

"The old library, in the rooms only the Council sees, and they were there."

"Did they explain what was going on?" Impatience filled his friend's voice, the whole cut-to-the-chase tone was doing nothing for his nerves.

"Darach, please, I'm trying here." Suddenly overwhelmed with everything in his head, he drew his knees up and wrapped his hands around them. "Can you just listen?" He tried to keep his voice level but could hear the misery in it. With a huff Darach relaxed back and gestured for Eoin to continue.

"The members of the Council are dying; all three are very old men. Human skin and bones decay as much as anything, but Fire can prolong life. It was simple. If they could track down amber Fire, they could use it, drain it, I don't know." He leaned his head on his knees briefly and then raised it to look at his friend. "All three of them we know—Ephraim, Sulien and Madoc—are at the end of their time. People like us thought the Guardian was the one who led the Council, but it was the other way around. Where we thought a man with the strongest amber Fire of that generation should become the Guardian and be there to govern and guide the Council, in fact, the old Guardian was being drained to keep the Council alive. I was left to heal in the library and I took to researching. Then it happened." He paused again. He wished he had brought out some water as his mouth was dry and forming actual words was hard. "Madoc came for me, the oldest and probably the strongest in the Council. He told me about what the Council did to the old Guardian, Wynn, and about the Otherworld, the prophecies, everything."

"What did they do to this Wynn?"

"Stole nearly all his Fire and magik, I don't know. All I know is he had amber fire, and it was time for the Council to change hands. It was Wynn's time to be one of three in a new Council, but no one was entirely sure whom he would be replacing. Sulien and Ephraim did not want to die."

"And Madoc?"

"Madoc trusted and helped Wynn, assisted him in moving to this world through the gate. The Guardian had promised Madoc he would live in peace and not seek revenge on the Council who had wronged him. This was so many years ago. He's trusting me to finish everything now."

"Finish what?"

"Wynn didn't keep his promise. Madoc and I think it is his intention to bring an army back to our world from this one. He has a prisoner, a boy from our world with amber Fire. He's using that child's energy to build his army, taking his hatred of the Council back to our world to rule in the Council's place."

"Uh huh. That sounds like a far reach." Darach looked thoughtful.

"There's rot in our world, Darach. So much fear and it all comes from a Council in decay. Anyone with any strength could take over the Council, have access to ancient magik, and steal Cariad magik. We wouldn't have a choice in this. It would be a rule of fear."

"And you're the only person who can stop this?"

Eoin hesitated. He wondered how far he should take this—how much he should reveal. "And Kian."

Darach nodded, and Eoin's heart turned. Darach never failed to think it was level-headed Kian who was important, but was it right to place so much on Darach by telling him he was one of the three who could stop the rot from spreading?

"Is this linked to why Kian chased after the one who stole his uncle's Fire? Did Kian know you were alive?" Shock filtered through Darach's words, and it was enough for Eoin to decide Darach needed to know it all.

"Kian didn't know. I promise you. The Danio was just another result of the disease spread by greed, jealousy, and lack of control over Fire. We need to try and stop it."

"You and Kian."

"No. Not just us. You as well, Darach."


"Only together can we fix all of this."

"Now you're talking rubbish. Do I look stupid? I'm not some soldier, or even really that clever with Fire."

"That is a lie, Darach. Your Fire is strong in you; it always has been. Look, I don't care if you hate me, or that you want to knock me out, but Madoc trusts me with something far bigger than all of us."

"He trusts you won't go off using your Fire for bad?" Darach said with a flourish and Eoin hung his head again.

Darach was not getting this.

"No. Madoc warned me in time. Instead of the remainder of the Council finding a weak child to manipulate, they found me. Not only is my Fire strong, it is reinforced by the blood-bond I have with you and Kian. I'm capable of being a strong Guardian." Great, now he probably sounded as if he was grandstanding. Darach said nothing. He didn't even smile the wry smile he. "So there I am, healed, but scarred, and stronger than the Council. Suddenly I can do something about things that happened in the past. Stop Wynn from causing chaos in this world and back home. Rescue this child who has the amber Fire. Go home and restore peace."

"So. You, me and Kian. Easy then. Just like old times." There it was. The gentle humor Darach did so well. Eoin felt a weight lift from his heart.

"I want you to know I had no choice, Darach. I had to stay as Guardian. Had to stay dead. I wanted to tell you both every day."


Darach didn't sound convinced and Eoin pressed on. "I watched you both. I saw Kian receive his Fire, I saw him with the Cariad and then crossing to this world. I saw you in the prison talking to Ceithin. I helped you," Eoin added the last part softly.

"Helped me how?"

"I watched out for you in the prison, made sure no one touched you. You needed to find your Cariad."

"All that time…" Darach sounded do damned sad. "We mourned you. I mourned you. Then Kian left, and I was on my own. The last one." He was fingering the small scar each boy had on their left hands, probably reliving memories of a summer day and the blood bond three ten-year-old boys had made in the long grass outside the City.

"I am so sorry," Eoin said finally. There, he had said it. In reality he could say little else.

"That's enough." Darach's voice was more even, and he pushed himself to stand. He held out a hand to help Eoin rise, and Eoin took it gratefully. When they stood, close together, it was Darach who pulled Eoin in for a hug. They held each other tight. Darach spoke when they parted.

"Why couldn't you have an easy Fire like red, green or blue?"

Author Bio:
Writing MM Romance with a Happy Ever After...

I am in awe that people read my writing and thank you all for taking the time to read, rate and review. Rj xxxxx

About me...I live in the UK just outside London. I love reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror; however, my first real love will always be the world of romance. My goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and more than a hint of happily ever after.


Kian's Hunter #1
B&N  /  KOBO  /  iTUNES  /  ARe

Darach's Cariad #2
B&N  /  KOBO  /  iTUNES  /  ARe

Eoin's Destiny #3
B&N  /  KOBO  /  iTUNES  /  ARe

Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn by Linda Bennett Pennell

Title: Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn
Author: Linda Bennett Pennell
Genre: Historical suspense with strong romantic elements
Release Date: August 28, 2015
Casablanca, 1943 – a viper’s nest of double agents and spies where OSS Officer Kurt Heinz finds his skill in covert operations pushed to the limit. Allied success in North Africa, perhaps the outcome of the war, may hang on Kurt’s next mission. The nature of his work makes relationships impossible; nonetheless, he is increasingly torn between duty and the beautiful girl who desperately needs his help.

Sarah Barrett, U.S. Army R.N., is finished with wartime romance. Determined to protect her recently broken heart, she throws all of her time and energy into caring for her patients, but when she is given a coded message by a mysterious dying civilian, she is sucked into a vortex of danger and intrigue that threatens her very survival. The one person who can help Sarah is Kurt Heinz, a man with too many secrets to be trusted.

“I’m Heinz. What do you want?”

“Oh. It’s you.”


“From the restaurant on New Year’s Eve.”

Kurt was silent for a moment, then it came back to him. “I remember. Sarah, right? You’re the girl who refused to dance with me.”

A red flush crawled from her throat onto the apples of her cheeks. “Yes. I’m sorry if I was rude.”

“I’ve been cut dead before. I got over it.”

The girl’s eyes glittered. “I’m sure you did. Are you going to keep me standing here on the doorstep for everyone to see?”

“Why? I’m not expecting company. Would it be a problem?”

“It certainly might if the people who tore my apartment apart followed me here.”

Kurt looked into her eyes with complete attention for the first time since opening the door. Whatever had happened to this girl, she looked terrified and angry.Not a particularly good combination for the covert activities he and Phelps were up to.

Kurt made a quick decision. He stepped back and pulled the door wide while raising his voice. “You better come inside and tell me why you think what happened to your apartment has anything to do with me.”

When they stepped into the living area, Phelps had disappeared. Kurt gestured toward the sofa and the girl sat down.

Propping himself on the sofa’s arm, he looked down into her frightened eyes.

“Now tell me how I can help you, Miss, uh…”

“Barrett, Sarah. US Army. RN.”

“Well, Nurse Barrett, what can I do for you?”

The girl stuck her hand in her coat pocket and whipped out a scrap of paper that she waved in his face. “By telling me what’s on this paper and why it’s so important that somebody took a knife to my furniture.”

Author Bio:
I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother's porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.

As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to herself or himself, "Let's pretend."

I currently reside in Cypress, Texas with my sweet husband and a German Shorthaired Pointer who thinks she's a little girl.

Favorite quote regarding my professional passion: "History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up." Voltaire


Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel

Confederado do Norte

When War Came Home

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Finding a Way by TE Black

Title: Finding a Way
Author: TE Black
Series: Unexpected Love #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 1, 2015
I am finally free.
This is my chance for a fresh start.
My chance to live the way I want to.
Boston is my destination.

Just when I think things are going to get better from here, I meet him.

Malcolm Davis.

He is the image of masculinity, with rough edges I would love to soften. Although I wonder what it would be like to be with a man like him, I know it would never work. But, I do know two things, ever since I met him, I’m happy and he makes me feel safe. Both of those things lured me into taking a chance. I mean what’s life without taking any chances? It’s not much of a life without the risk of getting your heart broken.

I imagine that for Malcolm Davis, falling in love with someone would be akin to a hurricane; anything that stands in the path of what he wants; gets demolished.

Well, I guess my theory will be put to the test.

I think my cock was hard before I even met her in person. Sierra wouldn't shut the fuck up about how good looking her damn friend was the past two weeks. She kept making Evan promise he wouldn't even pass her a second glance. Me, I planned on giving her plenty of glances if she had any of the sexy attributes Sierra described. Who knows, maybe I'd even give her the night of her life.

When she walked out her front door though, My mouth hit her perfectly maintained driveway. Sierra's vivid description didn't even do this girl justice. She was beautiful. It's rare I use the term, but it was the only way to describe her. Light skin complemented by long auburn hair which cascaded down her back. Killer chest with a tight, flat stomach, followed by wide hips and thick short legs. She’s every man's wet dream. Those damn blue eyes drew me in the minute I saw them. A mixture of dark and light that reminded me of the ocean—or some other sappy shit. She’s the perfect woman, and I knew I would have to have her sooner or later.

What Others Are Saying:
“I’m so glad that I was introduced to this author. She has written an exceptional book with wonderful characters, a great storyline and endless possibilities for the future of this series.” ~ Author Emily Goodman

“This was a wonderful story. I loved both characters. Callie didn’t just roll over and be a coward; she fought for what she wanted. Mac was so caring, hot, and sexy.
I definitely recommend this book to read and I cannot wait to read book 2!!!”  ~ Hooked on Books

“We always have to find a way to become a success and you did it, the story is just perfect. Can’t wait for more! Well done girl! Hands Down!!!” ~ Goodreads Reviewer

Author Bio:
T.E. Black, also known as Tiffany, lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two dogs. She enjoys reading, coffee, writing, graphic design, camping, and has a weakness for designer purses and shoes.

Tiffany was inspired to write while she was reading her favorite romance novels. Her first novel, Finding a Way (Unexpected Love Series #1), was written within three months. Currently, she is writing her second novel, Finding Serenity (Unexpected Love Series #2), set to be released in late 2015 / early 2016.

Tiffany loves to hear from her fans through social media and encourages anyone who wants to gush about her favorite characters, Mac and Callie, to do so.


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