by Jordan K. Rose
2012 Golden Leaf Finalst, New Jersey Romance Writers
Fate is cruel. Especially when the one you've sworn to love for all eternity, the very soul who changed your destiny, is the last person you should trust.
After more than three hundred years of running, Lucia Dicomano must make a choice.
Forced to take her place as a Pharo of Redemption, the divine slayer needs to master her forgotten powers. Lucia turns to Vittorio, the one vampire she's failed to deliver from eternal damnation. But overcoming smoldering remnants of love, lust and anger aren't their only obstacles.
Samuel, who may know Lucia better than she knows herself, hunts her with a fervor stoked by a thousand years of vengeful hatred. His plan-capture and enslave the weakened Pharo then take control of her elusive power.
Can Lucia trust Vittorio long enough to reclaim her powers? Or will she have no choice but to kill him and battle Samuel alone?
Copyright © Jordan K. Rose
All rights reserved — a Crescent Moon Press publication
"L'amore e dolcissima corrispondenza degli spiriti,
che di due anime ne compone una sola."
Love is the sweetest joining of spirits, when two souls become as one.
April 11, 1667
The Abyss hovered, waiting to take me.
More time, I need more time. He's coming.
The raspy sounds of my own breathing filled my ears. With each jagged gasp, pain shot through my body straight to my core.
Pressure, cold and heavy, weighed on me. The Abyss called.
The next breath held the scent of sun-kissed grapevines, and I knew he was near.
"No. God, no." He sobbed as he lifted me into his arms. "Lucia."
My eyes opened.
He was changed. His skin, tanned from years in the vineyard, was now gray, and deep, dark grooves circled his eyes. Gone were the beautiful green and gold flecks of his hazel irises, replaced with the crimson glow of one who walked in shadows.
He needed me.
The Abyss stretched forward, reaching for me, its frigid tendrils swirling as souls trapped within its depths screamed for salvation. Cold burns whipped across my aura as the angry void attempted to claim me.
No. Not yet. I concentrated on Vittorio, steeling myself against my bitter destiny. Another moment with him was all I needed.
Gazing into his eyes, I found his trembling soul, hidden within him. Without hesitating my power wrapped around him, hiding his presence from The Abyss.
Tortured and terrified, he stared back at me, unmoving, his heart hammering in his chest.
Calm, my love.
A scream pierced the air. The Abyss grew impatient.
My very essence quaked as the angry void surrounded me. But I called on my powers and captured his soul, holding it in the warmth of eternity, caressing it, loving him.
Drink from me. Drink and take my gift. Keep me with you forever. It was all I could offer, the only way I knew to keep him safe, to keep us together.
He shook his head. "I don't want to hurt you, cuore mio." A single red-tinged tear rolled down his cheek.
No, you cannot hurt me. I will give you strength. I will give you the light you need. Drink.
I lifted my chin and pulled him to my neck, muffling his sobs against my skin.
His fangs penetrated my flesh, and he drank.
And The Abyss howled at my return.