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By Sara Reinke. Augustus Noble is a man with secrets. His entire life has been built on half-truths, betrayals, and lies--desperate measures ot keep the woman he loves, Eleanor Trevilian-Noble, as his own. The patriarch of the Brethren, he has struggled for centuries to create an empire of wealth and prestige for her. Now all that he has fought for is in jeopardy--his grandson Brandon has risked it all in a desperate bid for independence and freedom.
And just as Augustus can't allow Brandon to escape the ages-old traditions of the Brethren race, he also can't let the Brethren--and especially his longtime nemesis--discover a truth that, if revealed, would see them all killed. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author. The average rainfall in South Lake Tahoe, California, was only slightly more than eight inches a year, but Eleanor was willing to bet that they were getting it all in one fell swoop, judging by the full-fledged downpour that beat a heavy, thunderous beat against the roof of the Range Rover.
A willowy brunette with shadow-cast eyes, Eleanor sat in the passenger seat, seatbelt still latched in place, her thick cascade of hair drawn back, fastened with a faux tortoise-shell clip at the nape of her neck.
Her body was thin, her complexion pale, her fingers wiry as she twined them together restlessly against the nest of her lap. Her body was long and strong, all elegant lines and muscular curves. She, too, was beautiful, her features chiseled, nearly regal. A housekeeper pushed a wheeled cart, heavy with stacks of folded white linens and paper-wrapped rolls of toilet paper, along the awning-covered walkway.
No one else had yet to venture out and brave the weather. The woman had ducked into one of the motel rooms, but emerged now, nearly twenty minutes later, redressed in blue jeans and a long-sleeved fleece pullover. They watched as she followed the walkway to a neighboring door some distance from her own, then raised her fist and knocked loudly against the wood.
Who is that, do you suppose? Eleanor murmured, as the windshield wipers slid against the glass in sweeping arcs, awarding her a brief glimpse of the girl that was quickly obscured by a fresh pelting of raindrops.
Her name is Angelina Jones, Naima replied as the motel room door opened and the young black woman ducked quickly inside. She used her telepathic abilities with an abandon that would have been frowned upon among the Brethren of Kentucky. They call her Lina. She cut a glance at Eleanor. The motel room door opened again, and a man stepped briefly past the threshold.
He panned his gaze, looking around the parking lot, his brows drawn, his mouth turned in a frown. It was obvious in her voice. It must. Eleanor asked as, again, the wipers cut a clear path on the windshield. Eleanor reached for her seatbelt, unbuckling the latch. I never promised anything. The rain was on her immediately, pounding the top of her head, beating against her shoulders, soaking her, and she drew the back of her parka up vainly by the collar, trying to shield herself as she scurried across the parking lot.
When she reached the shelter of the covered walkway running the length of the motel, Naima caught her again. Winded and drenched, the two women stood together, shivering, puddles of rain pooling on the sidewalk beneath them. We have to go back, Naima said, water spattering from her lips.
Michel made me promise—. Michel is a mother hen. Peck, peck, peck. The man in that room… Naima cut her eyes toward the motel room door, her expression grim.
He has a gun. No, but I should, she muttered as she followed, loud enough for Eleanor to hear. As Eleanor raised her hand to knock on the door, it flew open wide, startling her. It took her a wide-eyed, surprised moment to realize she stood face to face with the business end of a pistol, one that was aimed with lethal emphasis squarely between her eyes.
Beyond his shoulder, Eleanor caught a glimpse of the young woman, Angelina Jones, and another girl, pale-skinned and dark haired, sitting against the edge of the bed, looking as weak and exhausted as Eleanor felt. Bang, Rene said, his fingertip against the trigger, flexing inward to fire.
Naima was on him before his finger finished folding. He sailed across the motel room, crashing into a large mirror over the vanity sink, shattering the glass. With a breathless grunt, he crumpled face-first onto the ground, surrounded by a shower of tinkling, glittering shards, the gun knocked from his hand.
As she whipped her head around to face Lina and Tessa, her jaw snapped open wide, her fangs distending. Lina grabbed the nearest, closest approximation to a weapon she could find—a brass floor lamp. Tessa, get behind me! Lina skittered backwards, her eyes wide with shock and fright, and she blinked at the lamp dangling in the air, whirling in sharp, snapping circles above her head. What the…?
What the fuck—? She might have said more, but her voice cut short in a startled yelp as Rene staggered to his feet and tackled Naima, breaking her concentration.
The lamp toppled to the floor, causing Lina to dance clumsily out of its path while Rene and Naima landed heavily against the carpet. Like hers, his pupils had swollen, swallowing his eyes with blackness, and his fangs had fully dropped.
They grappled together, and Rene straddled her, one hand clamped heavily against her throat, the other drawn back, his fist poised to strike. Eleanor cried, just as Naima gathered her wits and telekinetically shoved Rene from atop her, slamming him up against the ceiling and pinning him there, nearly spread-eagle and immobilized against the plaster.
Her eyes widened, the alarmed color that had risen in her cheeks draining abruptly to ashen. His face was riddled with cuts and scrapes from the broken mirror, rivulets of blood streaming in thin lines down his forehead from his scalp.
Lina…both of you…run! Naima met her gaze coolly. The lamp base had busted open her bottom lip and she brushed her fingertips gingerly against the wound, dabbing at the blood. Rene gasped, still pinned above her head, his face flushed with the effort to move now. His eyes rolled desperately toward Tessa.
Lina, put the gun down. Lina stared at Tessa, dumbfounded, not lowering the pistol. Are you crazy? Tessa, get out of the way! Lina, please, Tessa said. Put the gun down. She turned to the doorway, to Eleanor and again, Eleanor had no accounting for the anger, bright and apparent, flashing in her dark eyes. This is my grandmother. At this, Brandon, who had lapsed into a state of semi-lucidity induced by blood loss and pain, opened his brown eyes wide, staring up at Augustus in bright, startled awareness.
It would be so easy, Augustus thought as Brandon struggled weakly beneath him. The boy had been shot; his right arm was all but immobilized, his shirt and the sheets beneath him soaked in blood. It would be so easy to watch you die, Augustus thought, because Brandon could hear him, sense his thoughts telepathically and see the murderous fury in his eyes.
He felt his face flush with blood, his gums throb with sudden, hot engorgement, and his canine teeth extended, dropping into wickedly hooked fangs long enough to force his lips apart, his lower jaw to dislocate from its hinges. Augustus jerked his hand back, leaving Brandon to gag for sodden breath, writhing against the bed, clutching weakly at his throat. He wiped his palm against the dark wool of his Armani slacks.
That moment of rage, of brutal impulsiveness, was all he would allow himself. The world slipped back into its customary shades of light and darkness, his pupils shrinking once more. His gums ached, his teeth receding as he reclaimed his wits and forced his anger—and the bloodlust it had provoked—to subside. Do it… Brandon croaked in his mind. Kill me then. Just…just like you did with Grandmother Eleanor…. Although his face betrayed no hint of emotion, within him, it felt as if all of the blood had just abruptly drained into his feet, leaving the rest of his body leaden and cold.
What did you say to me? You killed her, Brandon said, shuddering with the effort to prop himself upright. So kill me, too. Go on…do it, you…you son of a bitch. He crumpled against the bed, his consciousness fading. Stupid boy, Augustus thought, then turned and left the room.
You know nothing about what I want. He left the bedroom and locked the door to the adjacent lavatory aboard the Boeing BBJ jet. As he closed the door leading to the main cabin, he ignored the sideways glances from his fellow Brethren Elders as they relaxed in cream-colored leather benches and seats, leaning together and murmuring to one another, quiet conversations to which Augustus had no desire to be privy.
The son of a bitch was enjoying this. Every last goddamn minute of it. Once alone, Augustus leaned heavily against the sink basin.
Dark Passion (The Brethren Series, Book Three)
Dark Passion. Sara Reinke. Augustus Noble is a man with secrets. His entire life has been built on half-truths, betrayals and lies-desperate measures to keep the woman he loves, Eleanor Trevilian-Noble, as his own. The patriarch of the Brethren, he has struggled for centuries to create an empire of wealth and prestige for her.
By Sara Reinke. Augustus Noble is a man with secrets. His entire life has been built on half-truths, betrayals, and lies--desperate measures ot keep the woman he loves, Eleanor Trevilian-Noble, as his own. The patriarch of the Brethren, he has struggled for centuries to create an empire of wealth and prestige for her. Now all that he has fought for is in jeopardy--his grandson Brandon has risked it all in a desperate bid for independence and freedom. And just as Augustus can't allow Brandon to escape the ages-old traditions of the Brethren race, he also can't let the Brethren--and especially his longtime nemesis--discover a truth that, if revealed, would see them all killed. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author.
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