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Sacred: The Guardian Series, #2

Sacred: The Guardian Series, #2

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Sacred: The Guardian Series, #2

Lunghezza:
198 pagine
2 ore
Pubblicato:
Jun 1, 2016
ISBN:
9781524276294
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Sophie has been attacked by demons, destroyed a nest of vampires, and lived through the death of someone close to her. Now she and her friends have been rescued by the Society and taken to a secret island base to train. While they desperately search for leads on where Akeldama may be holding Lilli prisoner, Sophie tries to keep Tristan at arms-length. She doesn't need anything to distract her from finding her best friend, or so she tells herself. Then the unthinkable happens. One of the Society's own has betrayed the Guardians, selling their secrets to the demons and attacking them where they should feel safest. In the end, Sophie's greatest enemy could be her own fears, and she faces a decision that could push Tristan and her friends away forever. Will she let that fear overcome her and let everything die in the process?

Pubblicato:
Jun 1, 2016
ISBN:
9781524276294
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

I'm a multitasking mom of four. When not writing/doing laundry/changing diapers, I like to catch up on episodes of Supernatural and Castle. If you can't find me in front of the computer, I'm most likely watching my DVR.​ ​ I've been writing since the first grade, where I wrote a one page story titled "If I was an Indian". My warrior husband was going to be the best hunter, I was going to live in the best teepee and apparently, I was having an affair with the Chief. Racy, I know. ​ Of the things I'm addicted to sweet tea, movies, and books top the list. My favorite authors include Nora Roberts, Lauren Kate, Kresley Cole, and Gena Showalter. Few of many I love. ​ Thanks so much for reading! ​ Sam :)

Correlato a Sacred

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Anteprima del libro

Sacred - Samantha Long

Works:

Sacred

\ˈsā-krəd\

(Adj.) 1. Connected with God (or the gods).

2. Dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.

3. Dedicated to some person or purpose.

Sacred

Copyright© 2014 Samantha Long

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Dedication

This book is dedicated to my husband. Thank you for pushing me to keep going, even when I wanted to pull my hair out. ;)

I love you, baby!

Acknowledgements

Thank you to my beta readers: Nina, Autumn, and Rachel! Y’all helped me so much with this book. A big thank you to my Booktrope team: Chelsea, Laura, and Samantha for making this book the beauty it is! I couldn’t do it without you!

Chapter One

The first thing Sophie noticed was that she wasn't caked in mud, blood, or soaking wet. The bed she was in would've been cozy in any other circumstance, but the bruises and aches covering her body made it impossible to get comfortable. She winced as she slowly sat up. The room rocked, her stomach rolled, and it took her a second to realize it wasn't only because her head was spinning.

She remembered reaching the ship and being taken to the infirmary where a few doctors had taken care of all their wounds. From there, she and the other Guardians were given rooms so they could shower and collapse in bed. After being chased by Akeldama and her minions last night, Sophie's panic was only slightly lessened by the few hours of sleep she'd gained.

The porthole window allowed soft, pink sunlight to trickle in, brightening the dark wooden furniture and white linens. The scene seemed so tame compared to their harrowing escape the night before. Her tense muscles were still poised to run, not accustomed to safety since she and the others had found out who they really were.

Her breath hitched when she caught sight of Tristan. He was sprawled over a bench on the far side of the room, one leg hanging off the side, and the opposite arm slung over his eyes. His brown hair stuck out everywhere. She watched him, struck by the fact that they'd survived so much together. There was an undeniable pull between them.

She pushed back the covers, her body weak. Sometime before falling into bed, she'd changed into sweatpants and a black t-shirt. The memories of boarding the boat were hazy at best.

A seagull called outside the window. She rose onto her knees and peeked out the porthole. Greenish-blue water rolled gently by the ship, a mockery of the way her emotions undulated inside of her. Where were they being taken? How long would it take for them to find Lilli?

At the thought of Lilli being in the hands of demons, Sophie rested her forehead on the porthole sill. She wondered what was happening to Lilli right then, and if she was even still alive. A fresh wave of despair crashed over her. Akeldama was taking everyone she cared about. Who would be next? The bed dipped beside her.

You're awake. Tristan's voice was deep and husky from sleep. It rumbled from his chest, slipping through her despair.

She turned and leaned back against the wall, light-headed from the small movement. Her heart jumped when she felt Tristan's heat and closeness.

How are you feeling? He brushed a stray strand of hair off of her forehead.

The tenderness in the gesture had Sophie struggling against tears. I'm okay. At his look, she sighed. I'm not okay, but I'll survive. We're alive, right?

His intense gray eyes watched her. Akeldama didn't win last night. We got away.

She still has Lilli. We aren't winning until we have her back. Alive, she whispered.

We'll get her back. The certainty in his gaze boosted her resolve a little.

Have you seen the others?

No, but Aidan and Jackson have both let me know that they, along with Morgan, are okay. He tapped his temple to indicate they told him through the telepathy they all shared.

She couldn't think about Jackson without thinking of how hard it had to be for him. If his and Lilli's connection was anything like hers and Tristan's, then Lilli being gone had to be unbearable.

What is it?

Her eyes closed, and she focused on the feeling of his essence around her. She remembered how, after her brother died and she'd treated him so crudely, he'd kept his distance. She'd never been that lonely. She'd allowed herself to become dependent on him to feel okay. She couldn't do that again.

Sophie...

Her eyes snapped open, then fluttered closed when his lips brushed hers. Tell me what's wrong.

It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him she desperately missed her family and Lilli when someone knocked on the door. Knowing they weren't going to finish their conversation, Sophie sighed and told the person to enter. The door slowly opened, and a young woman stepped in.

Sophie immediately felt self-conscious in her disarray. Not only was the girl gorgeous, with red hair falling softly on her shoulders, but she devoured Tristan with her big blue eyes. Sophie managed to stay seated and not claw the girl's eyes out.

The girl hummed softly under her breath while she set a stack of clothes on a dresser. Her hips swayed a little more than necessary, and she kept looking over her shoulder at Tristan.

That interest twisted deep in Sophie's stomach.

Tristan's fingers intertwined with hers. Her heart stuttered, and she turned to meet his gaze. His aura enveloped her in a soft caress, calming her.

The girl smiled at them. I'm Vanessa. I've brought you some clean clothes so you can shower again if you need to. After that, Demetri has requested to see you in the conference room.

Sophie nodded. Demetri and Ruth were the ones that had found her and her friends in Boston, who told them about their destiny.

Vanessa smiled brightly, casting her come hither eyes at Tristan and then walked out the door.

I don't like her. Sophie watched the door shut.

Don't worry about her. She's after the wrong guy.

It's not just that. I think she may cause us a lot of trouble. Sophie tried to focus on the weird feeling crawling on her skin. There wasn't a specific feeling associated with Vanessa, but a mixture of apprehension and danger flowed into Sophie.

***

The ship was bigger than Sophie thought, and she and the others explored what they could before the conference with Demetri. They passed the galley, and hearty voices and laughter rang out from the open door. Warriors passed them, dressed in tunics and leggings, eyes wide or faces split in smiles. The attention was uncomfortable, and Sophie knew it was only going to continue. The five of them stumbled a bit when the seas would roughen. Out of their group, Jackson had the easiest time walking.

A flash of him in armor, a crown on Jackson's brow as he stood at the prow of a ship, a legion of warriors behind him, went through Sophie's mind. She kept it to herself for now.

When they were done, Sophie took a seat at the conference table located in a room on the top deck of the ship. Sophie's ribs ached as she leaned back in the chair.

Ruth cleared her throat.

I think it's time we give you a little more history about the Society and its Council now that it's calmer. A small cut ran over the side of Ruth's lip, and she spoke slower because of it. The Society is, for all intents and purposes, a warrior one. We eat, drink, and breathe as one. We exist on an island that has been hidden from the world for centuries. Most of us live and work in the Manor, which is the main building. There are several other buildings and a mausoleum.

Rory continued for her, We have funerals regularly, all cremations in order to keep the dead, if possessed, from rising. Too many die in our battle against the Demoness.

We are ruled by the Council, twelve people chosen throughout each generation to surrender themselves completely to the Source of Light. Sophie, they are like you, but are entirely passive. They can only use their Light for guiding us in the right direction.

Sophie frowned. What did he mean by they were like her?

They resemble each other uncannily, no matter what family they are born into. Don't let their appearances make you uncomfortable. Their hair is so white that it almost blinds you; their skin so pale it's translucent. Once they've ascended to Council status, there's a faint glow of the Light underneath their skin. One eye is brown, one blue. Ruth sent Sophie a quick glance.

Creepy, Aidan muttered.

He winced when Morgan made a half-hearted attempt to slap his arm. Don't interrupt.

There are twelve at one time? Jackson's bland eyes showed none of his normal curiosity.

Twelve ascended Council members. Depending on how old the eldest members are, there will be more waiting to ascend, Rory explained.

I don't understand, Morgan said.

Ruth leaned forward. At any one time, there are twelve ascended Council members. When the eldest dies, his or her Light passes on to a chosen and willing acolyte. The Light lives inside of them, taking over but not controlling the body.

That's even creepier, Aidan said and warded off Morgan's next slap.

They always travel in threes. Once they ascend into the Council, they no longer have names. They are just Council, and they share a collective consciousness, Rory said.

Sophie tried to store all this information in her brain, not including the fact that she was also a part of the Light and made from it. Was she going to become a part of them? Lose her individuality?

What is Akeldama trying to accomplish, besides the total destruction of mankind? And when are we going to get Lilli back? Jackson asked. His eyes had a determined glint to them when he spoke about Lilli.

She wants to open the Rift. It's a dimensional seal the Source of Light created to keep evil from pouring into our world. If she opens it, Lucifer will be freed and, literally, hell on earth will begin. And with Lilli, we have to figure out where she is. Akeldama isn't going to make it easy. We have to find some leads on where she may be.

Jackson's jaw hardened. He looked like he was going to crack. Sophie felt his frustration, understood it. She wanted to go after Lilli immediately, but they had to know where to look.

A knock sounded on the conference room door. Rory stood and opened it. Here is the first Council you will meet.

Three of them walked in, their skin glowing slightly in the darkened doorway. There were two males, one middle-aged and the other a wizened old man. The girl was young, maybe nine. They came to a stop at Rory's end of the table.

The Council stared at Sophie for a few seconds before inclining their heads. Their movements were disturbingly in unison. Welcome, Sister.

Sophie resisted the urge to shrink back in her chair. Their eerie eyes never blinked. Her body warmed. Um, thanks.

Sophie, Morgan whispered from across the table, her voice full of awe.

Sophie's brows furrowed, and she looked down. She glowed softly like they did, with the exception that her glow hummed with an undeniable power. Her gaze shot back to the Council. They didn't blink. She had so many questions to ask them but was afraid of the answers. They turned their attention to the rest of the Guardians and Sophie exhaled slowly. She could feel everyone's alarm but couldn't stop glowing. Is there anything we can do to make you more comfortable? the eldest asked. They continued to stand in a row.

What about our families? Aidan asked.

Guilt washed over Sophie again. What did it say about her if she hadn't thought about her parents yet?

We have already sent covert messengers out to let your family know you are safe and to discourage them from trying to find you. It wouldn't end well if they became mixed up in this war. Each messenger will stay to guard them.

The warriors don't mind protecting them? Tristan asked.

The three faced him. The girl spoke, It is an honor to protect the families of the Guardians. You can trust that the warriors take this honor very seriously.

Sophie's guilt dissipated at her words. At least her family would have reason to believe she was safe.

What about my mom? Aidan's voice caught. Morgan sent him a soft look.

Your mother has been moved to a safe location. She is being treated by the best doctors in the world, Ruth answered softly.

The Council quit moving. They kept their eyes closed, and their foreheads were creased in concentration. Sophie felt their power reach out, her Light reacting and moving with them as they sought the answer of his mom. Simultaneously, their eyes opened.

Miranda O'Brien is resting peacefully, the middle-aged one informed them.

The look of relief on Aidan's face brought tears to Morgan's eyes.

The Council gave them one more look, inclined their heads, and left.

Aidan asked when the door clicked shut, Sophie, are your eyes going to change colors?

Sophie shot him a glare. They haven't changed yet.

Tristan laughed. Sophie turned on him and he swallowed it. Do I creep you out, too? she growled.

His eyes warmed. No, you don't. You're completely different than they are.

But, apparently, cut from the same cloth, she ground out. She didn't know why she was being so defensive about this. She just didn't want her friends to think she was a freak. She didn't want to become a carbon copy of those people.

Sophie, no one is scared of you. You don't creep us out. Morgan smiled, the first genuine smile Sophie had ever seen. Don't worry about it. Aidan's just a dork.

Sophie returned her smile, feeling a little more soothed. Okay. Sorry. I don't know where that came from.

You need more rest. Ruth stood. The others followed suit. "You've had food and showered. Go relax and get some sleep. We can discuss all of your questions more when we reach the island.

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