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In the dark, Glen seemed even more familiar to Fia. The gait of his walk. The rhythm of his breathing. When they passed a red maple tree growing against the side of the walk, his hand brushed the sleeve of her jacket.

She tried to breathe slowly, deeply, as she walked beside him. She’d only had the one pint, but now that she was on her feet, outside, she felt a little off-kilter. Overly warm. Slightly disoriented. It made no sense to desire him, but she knew the sensation entirely too well and it was dangerous. Dangerous for her. More dangerous for him.

He smelled like her Ian…

His hand brushed her arm again and this time she knew he had done it on purpose. He was feeling it, too.

Against her will, that familiar tease curled low in her groin. Tendrils of desire. Her blood quickened. Blood…

Books by V.K. Forrest




Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation




Kensington Publishing Corp.



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 1

They walked in single file, heads bowed in the silent, velvety darkness. Twelve hooded figures, one purpose. Down the long, narrow hallway and into the gathering room they proceeded, the magnitude of their responsibility as heavy on each man and woman’s cloaked shoulders as the ancient daggers they carried.

At times, she felt an aching separation that could not be breached between her and the others, but on this special night, she was one of them. Tonight, all acknowledged that she was a member of this sept…this clan that had existed since the beginning. Fifteen hundred years they had walked the earth side by side, apart from mortals and more powerful. Knowledge and immortality that, she knew, came at a terrible price.

As the twelve judges entered the room, candles hissed in a black oak chandelier and then ignited abruptly, casting light across the deeply scarred table that had come centuries ago from the green land that mortals called Eire. Macabre shadows of the tall hooded figures fell against the recesses of the four wainscoted walls. Near the door, the ship’s bell clanged hollowly, sounding of its own accord, and she felt an inner thrill remembering how, long ago, the illusions had seemed so wondrous and magical.

As she moved to her appointed place at the judgment table, she felt a slight breeze off the bay. No matter that there were no windows in this sealed room, her senses were so keen that, even half a mile from the inlet, she smelled the tang of the salt air. She heard the sand fleas’ endless digging and a hermit crab’s footfalls in his moonlight stroll. And there was the scent of blood carried on the wind. Always, always the scent of blood.

The hooded council members gathered around the table, and she looked down at its marred surface, each scar as familiar as those she bore on her own immortal flesh. Instinctively, she tightened her hand on the hilt of the silver dagger tucked inside the sleeve of her cloak.

“Caraidean, we gather tonight in solemn accordance with the laws established by this sept…”

The chieftain uttered the words of the sacred ritual. As always, he spoke in the old tongue, their native Gaelic, his gravelly voice crackling in the night air. With each ancient word, the circle seemed to grow smaller, the lives of those who gathered more tightly woven, until the energy in the room crackled and a faint blue light arced between them.

He chronicled, by rote, the establishment of the sept in the fifth century of recorded time. Those were the days when Rome was in decay and the great tribes of Ireland and Scotland struggled with old and new ways, battling for their faith. Christianity was on the ascent, but not without violence. It was a time when the sept developed a taste for power and for blood.

Then came the mallachd.

They were all damned by God for their refusal to reject their pagan gods, for their refusal to accept St. Patrick’s message of the new faith. They were cursed for the blood of mankind they spilled.

With all the skill of a trained Shakespearean actor, the chieftain continued his time-honored speech. He reminded the council members of the vow taken only a short time ago. Only three centuries ago, a blink in the past. He warned of the nearly unbearable weight of the decision the High Council would make tonight.

She listened carefully as a human name was formally brought to the table of judgment, the sole reason for the gathering. Another voice quietly spoke. Specific details of the charges against the accused were given.

Stark. Cruel. Gruesome.

There was no doubt in her mind this human was a pestilence beyond redemption, one known as a serial killer to this generation, but she listened to every word. Carefully, she processed the information, refusing to allow her emotions to rule. There was a time for questions, but few were asked. Those around the table already knew of this man’s heinous crimes. They had read the humans’ newspapers. Watched CNN. The accused was clever, very, very clever and had evaded arrest for years, but it was

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