Authors: Renea Taylor
Book one in the Ancient Blood Series
by Renea Taylor
Copyright 2015 Renea Taylor
All Rights Reserved
This edition has an updated cover and interior of an edition first published in 2012.
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This book may not be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Author.
This book is written to be read strictly as a work of fiction, and though some areas of its contents are non-fictitious or resemble non-fictitious work, the presentations were used strictly to carry forward the story and none are meant to be taken as anything other than for their intent, entertainment. All characters in this book are fictional and only in the imagination of the author, the views and opinions in this book do not necessarily reflect those of the Authors.
This an Adult Paranormal Romance, intended for those Eighteen+ years due to language and adult content.
A Paranormal Adult Romance Series
Incantations (book two, coming soon)
From a young age, Kira Trousseau knew she was different, she just didn't know how different! Her parents had abandoned her as an infant, and she grew up in the system, being passed from foster home to foster home in her youth, as it seemed, not only did her parents not want her, neither did anyone else, for she had a tendency to frighten those that took her in since she suffered from horrible nightmares, and things had a way of becoming mysteriously incinerated within the homes she occupied. The orphanage had almost given up placing her though, when at the tender age of twelve, beaten down by life and disillusioned by the injustice of the world, she found herself placed within yet another foster home, this time it was within the home of a man named Miles Lambros, a home where she acquired a loving father figure, as well as three, noisy, irritating brothers that she looked upon as true siblings, that was all except one, for something different simmered between Dante Lambros and Kira, something that had ignited from the moment she'd laid eyes on him, a something that several years later caused areas of her body to flare with a heat that had nothing to do with the ability she'd kept secret. Then, one hot and steamy night in the Bayous, things spark out of control between her and Dante, only when she awakens the next morning he's gone, mysteriously disappearing without a word to anyone. For six months she's left to grieve and wonder if he's alive or dead, for he has contacted no-one, then just as mysteriously as he left, he returns, and as for what he started and walked out on six months earlier...well, let's just say temptation is female.
Every sweet has its sour, every evil its good.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
2010 Baton Rough Louisiana
The darkened wash of gray sky lit with intense bursts of light as tiny minuscule fingers reached out and divided the heavens into a dozen different pieces from bolts of lightening.
The feel of their static charge was rich and thick in the air as fat drops of rain pounded the earth, the soil, greedy in its need, soaked up the moisture, having been thirstily awaiting Mother Nature's gift as loud claps of thunder rumbled, voicing exultation at the earth below.
The storm, so magnificent in its glory, left me feeling small and insignificant beneath its power as I stood on the bank peering down at the stream flowing in good imitation of my own agitation, and the smell of the falling rain intermingled with the musty scent of foliage lay heavy within the air as I slowly drew my eyes away from the water.
Turning with the increase of the wind, I found a low sigh escaping from between my lips, for again, as had been the case so far every time, there was no sign of Dante.
Half a year had passed, and yet I found myself still drawn to come, though less and less over the past few months, and not at all in the last four weeks since my heart and mind had been forced again, to heal from another loss of a Lambros loved one.
A mending that had placed no desire within me to visit this area during the time I'd been in mourning. A desire that was, that had been lacking until today, and though the pain had dwindled somewhat, I still hadn't found a way to end the insane hope I'd one day see him again, for as yet, I'd found no closure.
With a tiny frown furrowing my brow, I began to make my way back down the path. A path that had become overrun by weeds and vegetation as it returned to its natural state in its lack of use, and as I stepped deeper and deeper into the trees, the vegetation begun to dance within the storms moist breath, playing a childish game of peek-a-boo.
It twisted and turned in its teasing, making the return trip back through the abundant growth even more precarious than the one I’d made coming in.
Quickly becoming frustrated with the wind and the growth's antics, I heedlessly began pushing my way through the swaying arms of the trees, brushing off the clinging vines and limbs that moved merrily within the current of air as they grabbed at my arms and legs with groping, flirtatious fingers.
Clingy in their affection, they wrapped their way around my appendages and held on tight with strong a tenacity as I pulled and tugged at the vines, feeling a sigh of relief escape from between my lips with each bothersome tentacle that loosened, for their surrender allowed me the freedom to move forward again towards my destination, emerging at last into the familiarity of the well-known clearing I'd sought.
My steps slowed, then ceased all together as my breath jerked within my lungs, and staring in stunned fascination, I felt a ripple of shock undulate throughout my body as the emotions of anguish, joy, anger, and confusion swamped me all at once.
Half a year I’d waited, half a year I’d needed to vocally express my hurt, my anger, my
However, now as he stood upon the open ground before me, his actions creating the impression of someone completely at ease, as though one with the elements dancing in the sky above him, I could do nothing!
My throat had seized and my feet held firm, frozen in place, as with eyes closed, face raised and arms outstretched above his head, Dante Lambros paid homage to the Heaven above him as the biting drops of rain bombarded the stunningly chiseled angles of his face, saturating the dark hue of his hair.
Unable to look away, I watched as small droplets of rain tracked their way down sculptured cheekbones, then swept past the curve of a strong jaw line before continuing their spiraling journey downward, where they followed the masculine arch of neck until pausing, as with a slight quiver, they pooled in the curve of his collarbone.
From there, they overflowed onto the broad breadth of his bare chest, as staying true to a gravity influenced path, they flowed over the muscled plains of stomach, before eventually coming to rest on the expanse of hardened abdomen muscles, where with only the minimalist amount of resistance, they disappeared into the already soaked waistband of his low slung jeans, jeans that clung in there wetness to the obvious bulge of a hard-on.
If I hadn't been staring hungrily in such stunned fascination, unable to draw my eyes away as I felt my own body respond with aroused dampness, and a low throb that made me wiggle a little, I would have missed the barely perceptible tilt of his head, missed the small flare of his nostrils as though picking up a scent within the air around him.
I would have missed as well, the twitch of his eyelids and the slight shifting of his facial features, in fact, if I hadn’t been watching so damn closely, I would have missed it all, missed in the barely discernible movements of he’d admitted his awareness of my presence.
Then slowly, and with a minor alteration of his stance as a slight shudder rippled through his tall frame, he opened his eyes and with disturbing accuracy, swung his head in my direction, gazing at me with intense blue eyes.
Six months, I thought achingly, months filled with pain, anger and disillusion, as well as need.
The avalanche of emotions continued to swell within me, and I found myself unable to quail a small utterance, a sound filled with everything I was feeling as his name slipped past my lips.
Then acting on impulse, I moved forward only to find a squawk issuing from between my lips as I felt the ground shift, then the rain-softened earth gave beneath my sneakers in an abrupt relocation that left me struggling for purchase in a slick puddle of muck, a battle of wills ensuing between me and gravity as I fought to stay upright, only to be quickly defeated as my legs flew out from beneath me, landing me none to gently in an ungainly heap in the sludge.
For a few seconds I floundered, the air growing scented with the flavor of the curse words that rolled from my lips, then I stilled, staring blindly at the coating of mud that covered my hands, arms and a large portion of my clothing, and reaching up, I raked several loose strands of hair from my eyes, leaving behind a thick layer of mud in the wake of my hands as I felt the moisture of pain and humiliation fill my eyes before I was able to stop it, for after having drawn a deep breath, I'd glanced up and found the area empty.
With the heat of the tears stinging my throat and eyes I breathed, “aw
Softly continuing to mutter to myself, I climbed to my feet and began brushing despondently at the leaves, twigs and mud that clung to my frame, my heart beating with emotions that, it seemed, I struggled in vain to dissipate, for they would not let me be.
I was so embroiled within the battle of the effort, it took several moments before I became aware of the lack of any sound around me.
With the fine hairs on the back of my neck rising to attention, I gazed at the swamp-lands around me. Their peculiar silence sent a chill over my body, for there was nothing, no sound of tree frogs, insects or even the wind rustling within the leaves of the trees.
Only an eerie nothingness that sent unease skating along my backbone.
Widening my eyes, I gazed deeper into the interior, trying to see through the deep purple shadows between the trees, searching for a cause, a reason for the strange occurrence.
Though I feared not seeing what might be there, I feared even more seeing what might, as I found myself uttering a curse with the apprehension of the unknown that stole away the small amount of bravery I'd finally gained to even return to the swamp in the first place.
A regeneration of courage that had taken a full four weeks after the loss of yet another of the Lambros, this time in the form of Luke, the youngest of the brothers, and now with the return of insecurity pounding full bloom at me, I broke into a run.
I'd managed however, no more than a hundred yards before I found myself forced to slow, the thickness of the trees closing in around me.
The scent of damp rot was pungent and strong in the air as small sprinkles of precipitation fell about my head and shoulders from where they’d been shaken loose of the shelter they'd attained within the leaves, leaves that had caught and gathered the raindrops within the cradle of their protection.
Unease settling deeply within me, I continued pushing at the low hanging limbs, plowing my way through the growth before suddenly finding myself unceremoniously brought up short, as my hair tangled within a groping branch.
Working hastily to free the strands from the limb, I sucked in air, then stilled as my breath rushed out in a harsh gust, chill bumps rising on my flesh as disquiet coasted through my system.
The sensation that I was being watched swam so strongly within me, I found myself breathing a strangled whimper of fear as the eerie echo of nothingness continued to surround me and further added to the heightening of my fear, at which I began to jerk and tug at the strands as they stayed stubborn, refusing to give into my insistent fingers, and becoming desperate, I gritted my teeth and yanked, my freedom coming with the expense of a stinging scalp.
Rubbing at the now tender spot as moisture again pooled within my eyes, I soon found the state of my scalp all but forgotten when I heard the distinct crack of a limb breaking under the pressure of something heavy moving within the trees, and turning, I ran.
My breath came in shallow, panicked pants, as eyes widening even further in fright, I became aware of what felt like a heated breath tickling its way down my neck, its touch giving off a strong and richly sinister impression of malicious intent.
I thought frantically, becoming aware of what felt like fingers riding just above the flesh between my neck and shoulders as they prepared to draw me within their clutches, and I felt my mind rebel against the possibility, for God help me, it was reality forming straight out of my most recent nightmares.
I found myself uttering a shrill scream as the grip inched its way around my neck, only to have the sound cut short as my breath became restricted, my lungs tightening as I fought suffocation.
I could feel my chest constricting, growing heavy, weighted with its lack of oxygen, and a white, hot panic rushed through-out me as I struggled to breathe.
Fighting my fear of the noose that seemed to be growing ever tighter, forcing my lungs to chug within the confines of my chest as they took on the resemblance of twin flames, I found myself falling to my knees.
I was losing consciousness, a yawning void of darkness encroaching upon me, and I knew this place, this awful sensation, might be the last moments I ever had, however if I was going to die, then I was going to die fighting, and closing my eyes, I made one last effort to retain life, as picturing an image that resembled the solar flares of the sun within my mind, I pushed forth the self protective shield I’d discovered I held the ability to discharge.
Maintaining the disbursement as it wrapped around me in a force field of heat, I allowed it to advance outward, touching the thing that held my throat within its suffocating hands with a sharp burn, and in an instant I found myself freed of its deadly hold, as my lungs, freed of their constriction at last, began to fill with life giving oxygen, and as I gulped air, and pushed onward by my fear, I began to crawl forward.
Even though I was making progress, dread consumed me, and mind frantic with the emotion, I continued with my advancement, a hand and a knee at a time I moved, intermingling the awkward motions with the occasional bunny hop, as I worked my way through the remaining area of trees.
I knew the swamps well, having spent years within their humid and mysterious depths, and I was in no doubt that whatever this thing was, that whatever had come to visit the swamps on this particular day, it was none other than a harbinger of death.
A portent that had visited the swamp only once before that I was aware of, and having ended the visit with the death of Luke Lambros, and as such, I wanted under no circumstances, to become better acquainted with it than I already had!