Author(s): Melissa Treglia, Nicole Harvelle
Release Date: June 15, 2021
Genre: Horror, Urban Fantasy
Available for pre-order at select retailers.
Toronto's latest vampire detective returns in a new adventure that examines the bonds of family and the endurance of the human spirit.
Even as he begins to adjust to his strange new life and the dark power within him, the ghosts of Griffin's past have not found rest. The memories of a family long lost to him return, in the flesh... and in ways he could not have predicted.
His tormented twin brother walks the streets, driven insane from years of torture at the hands of the corrupt vampire Council... while the Council that ruined both their lives is now in disarray and on the run, its surviving members seeking revenge for their fall from power.
Griffin's father, meanwhile, comes back into his life unexpectedly. With him, he brings news that their lifetime of suffering is merely the opening volleys of a civil war that's been bubbling under the surface, concealed in the shadows that have kept the world of the vampires safe from scrutiny.
Interested? Here's a sneak peek at what's inside:
Lugh stood before the witness stand, his hands shackled before him. He stared up at the eleven pairs of amber eyes, all in a row in front of him and staring unerringly back.
“Vampire!” one Elder bellowed. From the self-satisfied and mocking voice, Lugh knew it to be Juntas.
“How does it feel to sit in my chair, you bastard? I see it didn’t take long for you to fill it!” Lugh spat.
“Silence, mortal lover!” came another disdain-filled voice, this one female but with a thick Irish brogue: McCraddock, the magic-wielding right hand of Juntas. “You have been denounced from your designation as Elder, ejected from your position on this Council and exiled from our Community. So you have no rights, nor any say as to what we choose to do or not do. You can, however, tell us how you would like to plead.”
“Plead?” Lugh snarled, barely able to control his anger. “How do you expect an innocent man to plead? I have done nothing wrong, nor has my family. You cannot just drag us in here –“
“Innocent?” Juntas sneered, his condescending tone interrupting Lugh before the other vampire could continue. “Innocent?! That’s quite a laughable suggestion. We have a vast collection of quite damning evidence of your participation in the so-called resistance against this Council, taken over the past two hundred years. And if that weren’t enough, you have even gone so far as to take a mortal into your bed and mate with it, producing a progeny of a most repulsive and abhorrent class! How, in any way, is that innocent?”
Lugh growled, as he balled his hands into fists. The more he listened to the trash spewing from the Council members’ mouths, the more he feared for his wife and sons.
“You can not try me against outdated codes and laws from millennia ago that we do not even follow anymore!” Lugh snapped, his blazing eyes glaring at Juntas with a ferocity only an angry father could match. “Our Community has evolved since then. Or so I thought.”
“Ah, wrong again, vampire. Your little family is the reason for half of this. And they will not be leaving. At least… not alive.”
Lugh’s eyes widened and his sluggish heart froze. Before he could react, a set of chains snaked out of the railing of the witness stand and wrapped tightly around his already shackled wrists, effectively restraining him to the spot. He gave a mighty roar, the sound booming through the cavern, and then tugged upon his binds, but neither flesh nor iron gave.
At the same time Lugh heard Samantha give a broken yelp from directly behind him. His boys also began to cry, calling out for him, but he could not see any of them because he was now closely tethered to the podium. Lugh felt his world crumble around him. Those sounds were filled with hurt and pain and fear, things he tried so hard to shield his family from. He gave another tug upon his restraints, his shoulder and elbow dislocating in the process, but that hardly stopped him. He gave an infuriated snarl of pain and desperation as he whipped his head towards Juntas, his furious gaze wild and inhuman. “I’m going to kill you all for this! And if I can’t, my sons will!”
Juntas cleared his throat. “Have it noted within the records that this traitor, refusing to cooperate with the Council’s demands, will have his sentence carried out as follows: The offspring of Lugh and the mortal woman, twin boys known as Kernaghan and Aodhagán, will begin the marking ceremony of the Pureblood. They will have their memories wiped clean and will be raised properly by the Council, to be used as we see fit.”
Enforcers grabbed each of the boys from behind, who in turn cried out for their parents. They forcibly held the boys wrists and clamped hands over their mouths to cease the racket of the twins' screaming and crying that had filled the chamber.
“The mortal woman, known as Samantha McCray, will be disposed of.”
Samantha’s shouts continued to mingle in the air with her sons' keening, as she tried valiantly to escape the grip of the vampire holding her captive. She was quickly grabbed and dragged to stand before the row of Council members, her face anguished and streaked with tears as she met her lover’s gaze.
“And the vampire Lugh, denounced Elder and exiled vermin…you will be held captive until the dawn. Then you will greet the day and meet your final end.”
Lugh tugged against his restraints relentlessly, feral growls erupting from deep within his chest. All that he cared for in this world was being destroyed before his very eyes, and he was powerless to stop it. Their cries burned in Lugh’s mind and seared into his memory.
Lugh then met Samantha’s gaze as she was dragged to the Council stage. Despite all that was happening and the fate that they were facing, all she held for him was love. There was no regret, no anger; she did not blame him.
Lugh suddenly snarled through his blinding rage and fell to his knees, exhausting himself from all the futile thrashing but refusing to take his eyes off of her. “Tabhair dom logh!” he cried out hoarsely. “Beidh mé grá duit go deo, Samantha!” (Please forgive me! I will love you forever, Samantha!)
Samantha gave a slight nod, unable to do much more within the vice hold of the Enforcers. Abruptly, the entire witness stand dropped into the ground, taking her beloved Lugh with it. She knew that was the last she would ever see his face and his words echoed in her ears. She whispered back even though she knew he could not hear her: “Tá a fhios agam, mo ghrá.” (I know, my love.)
A strangled sob caught in Samantha’s throat. She could not see her sons any longer but she could hear them struggling, the bodies of the now standing Council members surrounding her and blocking her view of anything else. She had nowhere to go, no way out. Juntas, in his ceremonial robes, stepped before her and removed his hood.
“You have my promise Samantha, that your boys will be brought up well,” Juntas whispered, his voice soft. “We’ll make them into the world’s best and most brutal killers, and they can help us cull the human problem.” His hand rose to brush gently against her cheek, tucking a wayward strand of curly blonde hair behind her ear. Samantha could only stare at the vampire before her with tear-filled eyes. Then she spat in his face.
“I hope you burn in hell, you son of a bitch!” she snarled, pounding her fists against his chest. He did not seem fazed by it in the least, grinning at her words even as she began to yell. “I hope you burn, forever paying for every evil act you've ever committed! And I hope my boys bite the hands that feed them and rip you apart! You’ll get yours, you rotten bastard!”
Juntas chuckled, snaking an arm out to clutch Samantha’s throat, cutting off her diatribe as well as her air supply. “Time for you to die, mortal,” he whispered. “And we will end this farce.” He wrenched her head back by a savage grip upon her hair and sunk his fangs into the human’s throat without hesitation. As one, the rest of the Council members swarmed like a pack of starving wolves and bit into Samantha as well, each ripping into any patch of tender flesh they could find. The human’s agonized screams resounded through the Council chambers, startling even the other vampires present with its anguish.
Kernaghan clutched his left arm, the limb bloody and darkly bruised… and permanently marked with the symbol of the Pureblood vampire, a griffin in flight in thick black lines. His young eyes were wide and streaked with tears, the sound of his mother’s scream jerking him out of the pain-induced daze he had entered. A tall form abruptly moved before him, blocking his view before he could fully comprehend what had happened through his confusion and hurt.
Kernaghan saw her standing there, her ankh necklace catching the firelight.
It was Sekhmet. She had just arrived, a few precious moments too late to save her oldest friend’s beloved family. She crouched, pulling the boys protectively into her arms. Kernaghan burrowed his face into her shoulder as he wept.
Aodhagán stood rooted to the floor beside his brother, unable to move or even cry out. He gazed now in quiet horror, body trembling from shock, his eyes above the level of Sekhmet's shoulder. His mother’s blood pooled onto the floor, dripping down from the numerous grotesque wounds that marred her limp body. The vampires let her lifeless body fall unceremoniously to the ground, her glazed eyes staring sightlessly across the chamber at Aodhagán.
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