Read Shattered Circle Online

Authors: Linda Robertson

Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Urban, #Contemporary, #Romance, #General

Shattered Circle

Praise for the Persephone Alcmedi novels

by

LINDA ROBERTSON

Wicked Circle

“Plenty of layers for readers to slice through. . . . Themes of love run throughout this novel from passionate to familial, keeping everyone guessing as to just what choices will be made.”


RT Book Reviews

“A fast-paced urban fantasy with an extended family drama theme.”


Alternative Worlds

“The ending of
Wicked Circle
had me immediately wanting more. I love this kind of gritty urban fantasy.”


My Keeper Shelf

Arcane Circle

“Took the various aspects of urban fantasy I love, threw them all together, and created a masterpiece of discovery, devotion, and desire.”


Bitten by Books

“Urban fantasy at its best, with lovable characters and the perfect mix between action, romance, and magic.”


Book Lovers Inc.

“Action filled, sexy, and full of promises for future installments.”


Scooper Speaks

Fatal Circle

“Well written, fast moving, and fueled by a mix of romance and paranormal influence. A must read!”


Darque Reviews

“Packed full of action, intrigue, and events that would not let me put this book down. . . . This book was a wild pleasure to read.”


Fangtastic Reviews

“I love this series and this book did not disappoint. . . . I’m hooked, baby!”


Book Lovers Inc.

Hallowed Circle

“Robertson brings back the magic and the mayhem. . . . Twists, turns, and narrow escapes keep the pages turning.”


RT Book Reviews
(4
1
/
2
stars)

“An instant classic, featuring a refreshingly wise and likeable heroine.”


Affaire de Coeur
(5 stars)

“Readers will find themselves swept off their feet, without the use of a broomstick, and into a dangerous world that is teetering on the edge of a war between the non-humans. Very entertaining!”


Huntress Book Reviews

“Exciting characters with a good story line that equals . . . pure magic.”


Fallen Angel Reviews

“An enthralling supernatural urban fantasy filled with mystery, romance, and intrigue. . . . Loaded with action and a cast who make the paranormal seem normal, so much so that readers will believe that they exist. . . . ”


Alternative Worlds


Hallowed Circle
is near perfection.”


Book Lovers Inc.

“Make sure you don’t overlook this series.”


Mondo Vampire

Vicious Circle

“A breath of fresh air . . . I read the novel almost straight through.”


Urban Fantasy Fan

“Another new entry into the urban fantasy genre—with an interesting twist to it.”


SFRevu

“Well-developed supernatural characters, mystery, and a touch of romance add up to an out-of-this-world thriller.”


RT Book Reviews
(4 stars)

“Refreshing and unusual.”


Fantasy Literature

“An adventure filled with strong characters and their tangled human emotions.”


Darque Reviews

“All you could look for in an urban fantasy, with witches, werewolves, and vampires mixing it up and each adding their own uniqueness to the story.”


Romance Junkies

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CONTENTS

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Chapter Forty

Chapter Forty-One

Chapter Forty-Two

Chapter Forty-Three

Chapter Forty-Four

Chapter Forty-Five

Chapter Forty-Six

Chapter Forty-Seven

Chapter Forty-Eight

Chapter Forty-Nine

Chapter Fifty

Chapter Fifty-One

Chapter Fifty-Two

Chapter Fifty-Three

Chapter Fifty-Four

Chapter Fifty-Five

Chapter Fifty-Six

Chapter Fifty-Seven

Epilogue

About Linda Robertson

For Deb and Steph,

friends long lost and then refound. When life is bad—and even when it’s good— you make it better.

Also, in fond memory of Heather.

You are missed.

THANK-YOUS

Red-Caped Hero Thanks:

Shannon and Missy for beta-reading partials on short notice. And, additionally, Audra, Beth Anne, and Michelle for carb-a-licious Mock Nights and witty repartee.

It keeps me sane. . . .

Java and Chocolate Thanks:

To the gals—and guy—at
www.word-whores.blogspot.com
for the fun weekly post topics.

Margarita Thanks:

Hagatha’s Bluff

Reverent Gratitude:

For the Many-named Muse. Keep rockin’!

CHAPTER ONE

G
iovanni Guistini sat rigidly before the fireplace in his private rooms, teeth clenched, seething.

Franciscus Meroveus and the Excelsior had made a damned fool of him.

He squeezed his hands into fists so tight that his fingernails pierced his own flesh.

Yes, I agreed to assume the Quartermaster’s duties; I took what glory had belonged to Menessos, just as Menessos once took my throat.

His pride had gotten the best of him; he saw that clearly now.

As an advisor to the Excelsior he was a man of wise counsel, accustomed to rank and privilege. He was not a bureaucratic nanny meant to settle childish quarrels between subordinate vampires who should be able to resolve a land dispute on their own. He was not accustomed to preparing paperwork, writing reports, or dealing with the many petty matters of managing a haven, let alone overseeing the havens in a quarter of the nation. It had become swiftly evident that the Quartermaster’s position was one for a businessman, not a warrior.

Giovanni had backed down.

He hated losing. Anything, even death, was preferable to admitting a defeat.

That trait had been with him in life, and remained with him yet.

Presently, drops of blood welled into his palms, but he noticed no pain. Neither did he note the wetness nor the coppery scent.

The Vampire Executive International Network—VEIN—had become weak.
Executives.
The word left a foul taste in his mouth.

The men of the modern world fight with words, with mandates and policies. The vampires have been lured into the paper power play.

VEIN needs warriors. But how can they have warriors when even the Excelsior himself—the “Supreme” vampire—is nothing but a corporate stiff? He plays their game when instead he should cast off his Italian suit and show himself to be the fearsome monster that all the mortal humans assume he is. . . . Then they would cower at his feet, and he could rule the world.

But he lacks the vision. He has no desire for true supremacy. He is guided by plotting diplomats like Meroveus.

I was a leader among men once, and all I needed was a sharp weapon to wield.

That ended in 1453, when Menessos set his fangs into the soft flesh of Giovanni’s neck, viciously tore it open . . . and left him to die.

It seemed the great failure of his past life had been reborn in his present. Nothing was happening as he’d hoped. The doom he’d envisioned for his enemy—Menessos condemned to a cell, locked in chains with only the corpse of his traitorous witch as company—had not transpired.

His already clenched teeth ground tighter as he brooded over his recent defeats.

Then a noise drew Giovanni’s eyes from the dying embers.

A shadowy figure lurked on his balcony.

He rose from his seat, intrigued.

Because of the lofty position he had held as a man, people often sought to appease him to gain his favorable influence. Even in service to the Excelsior, there were times when a vampire endeavored to befriend him for the sole purpose of leverage. Bitter lessons had calloused his heart, but the emotional disconnect enabled him to rise in rank and power. Suspicion and deception had enabled him to keep it.

Cautiously, he stepped toward the open French doors.

The cloud cover passed and the moon’s glow created an outline of quicksilver that highlighted a woman’s figure, chest heaving as if she couldn’t catch her breath. Giovanni might have thought her an assassin, but she was not even trying to hide her presence, and she was definitely
not
dressed for stealth. As she posed in a half turn, the lunar light created a satiny sheen across her evening gown.

It had been many centuries since a woman coveted him enough to assert herself—but this was clearly no ordinary woman: His balcony was nine floors above the street.

He yearned to be desired, but he well knew how revolting his disfigurement was. The heat of his longing cooled as wariness gripped him.
What woman would come to me for
me?

His doubt tripled as the silver-gray of the gown and the raven-black tresses clicked in his memory to reveal his visitor’s identity: Liyliy. The oldest, boldest, and most beautiful of the three shabbubitum.

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