The Trihune Series # 1
By- R.B. Austin
Genre- Paranormal Romance
Killing Fallen to save mankind is Cade’s redemption for murder and only one human—mouthwatering and absolutely forbidden—stands in his way.
Cade committed himself to saving lives before he learned the full consequences of his life-altering decision. It wasn’t until he was tending his sick wife that he learned the enormity of what he’d done and he was unable to save her from the monster he had become. Consumed with guilt and praying for absolution, he threw himself into killing every Fallen he could find to save the humans he’d sworn to protect. But then Emma, deliciously mortal and completely forbidden, swept into his world, stirring an overpowering desire. Now he’s not only fighting soulless creatures, but also his inner cravings, trying to maintain his distance and continue on his path to forgiveness. He won’t lose control again and lose another love.
Emma woke in a dark room that was not her bedroom. Moaning, she clutched her head with her hands, rubbing the temples with the pads of her fingers. Her head was killing her and her body ached. Did she have the flu?
“The headache will pass soon.”
A small scream of terror burst from her lips. She jerked to a sitting position. Her gaze bounced around the dark and she saw absolutely nothing. No light from underneath a door. Nothing from a window. It was couldn’t-see-the-hand-in-front-of-her-face dark. “Who’s there?” Emma’s voice shook as she uttered the stupid line. If someone had to ask who’s there they’d better start running because nine times out of ten they weren’t going to like the answer, especially if they were in a horror flick. With the night’s events rushing back in rapid succession, she was the main character in this scary movie.
Adrenaline kicked in and she rolled to the side to get off the bed.
He. She. It moved, too. Emma quickly backtracked. The noise—not footsteps, more like a rush of air—also changed directions. On hands and knees, she crawled, hopefully, to the edge of the bed. Stumbling on it quicker than planned, Emma pitched over the side and fell to the floor with a grunt. Surging to her feet, she stumbled, legs deciding to take a break for a moment. Bastards. Light suddenly filled the room. It blinded her. Her hands shot up to cover her eyes. Shooting pains erupted in her skull like a knife stabbing her temples.
“I know,” the deep voice said softly. “Light will make the headache worse. I’m sure with Lucas’s interference and the bump on your head, the pain is doubled, but I can’t have you bumping into the furniture or falling off the bed anymore, can I?”
The speaker was a man. His voice was closer to her than she’d have thought with the light just flicked on. Near enough that his breath brushed across her face.
Her eyes snapped open. She gasped and stepped back. It was the man from downstairs. The one who’d felt the bump on her head. He was supposed to do something to her. Erase her memory? No that can’t be right. Emma took another step back and tripped on the corner of the bed.
The man caught her by the arms. “Are you always this clumsy?”
“No.” Shit. Don’t give any information. No matter how insubstantial. Concentrate on getting out of here.
Inhaling, she tried to get her bearings. To calm her ragged breaths. She wouldn’t faint. For the second time, apparently. The light still played with her temples like sticks to a drum, but not as intense as the knives. Did she have a fever? She was chilled to the bone and weak.
“More blood has been taken than we’d hoped. Lie down. It will help your head as well. And,” his gaze traveled to her arms she’d wrapped across her torso, “keep you warm.”
Emma shook her head and grimaced when the knives returned.
His eyebrows drew together. “I will shut the lights off.”
“No.” She grabbed his arm before he could move. Emma didn’t want to be in the dark anymore. The memories swirling just below the surface would be worse than the pain in her head.
He froze, gaze locked on her hand squeezing his arm.
She snatched her hand back. What was the matter with her? Emma took a couple steps back, this time making sure to spot the corner of the bed. Relief spread. A part of the bed was in between them now. Except the door was way across the room. In the opposite direction from which she moved. Awesome job, Ace.
“How long have I been here?” She shivered and tiny beads of sweat pooled on her forehead. Excellent time to get sick.
“Two hours.” His voice low and soft.
The tone was meant to calm, soothe, and crap, it was working. Little shocks of electricity also coursed through her body causing blips in her “he’s dangerous” radar. Emma remembered when his hands felt her head. She’d been pleasantly surprised the trained killer look-alike touched her so gently.
He was tall. She reached the tops of his shoulders and had to tilt her head back to meet his gaze. His black T-shirt did nothing to hide the muscles in his arms and shoulders. Emma wouldn’t be able to overpower him. But how fast could he run?
Shoulders back, feet planted, legs spread, indicated he was ready for anything. His body language said he was in charge, but the tilt of his head contradicted the attitude. Black, shoulder length hair covered half of his face. What was he hiding?
Didn’t matter. She shook her head. Ugh, bad move.
Running was out. What was left? Distracting him with her womanly wiles then escape. Ha. The fever must be messing with her brain.
Had she laughed out loud? He looked concerned. The color of his eyes, well eye since she could only see one of them, was unusual. She’d have to mix cyan and green in order to get that exact shade of blue . . . when she did a sketch for the police . . . with her paints.
Suddenly the eye was extremely close. Blinking, she jerked back from the man who was only inches away and banged her head into the wall.
“Ow.” That did not help her head. No wonder he considered her a klutz. Not that she cared what he thought.
The man raised his hand. Froze. Retreated a step. “Are you all right?”
He was staring at her like she was a museum piece. The man didn’t fidget or twitch. Didn’t blink from what she’d detected. His chest wasn’t even mov—oh, no there it went. So he was a breathing statue.
Emma licked her lips and cleared her desert-like throat. She’d kill for a glass of water. Stupid alcohol. Stupid sickness.
“When can I leave?”
“Soon, chemda. I promise.”
She paid attention to the movement of his eyes, the gestures of his hands and lips for telltale signs he was lying. He portrayed nothing. The man was either telling the truth or he was a psycho killer. Emma hoped for the former, but kind of suspected it’d be the latter.
“Soon as in a few minutes?”
The corners of his lips twitched. “Come. Lie down. I’ll have Jeeves bring you food and drink. You need to counterbalance what’s been taken from you.”
Emma made no move toward the bed. There would be no discussion about what was taken. “Jeeves?”
“Our butler.” How about half an aspirin? Exhaustion suddenly plagued her. She leaned back against the wall.
“Come, chemda,” he demanded. “You’ll feel better after you’ve rested.”
The bed did look inviting. The longer she stood, the more blood fought against gravity to pool in her head. Pump. Pump. Pump. She closed her eyes for a moment. A quick reprieve from the pain then she’d go for the door.
She was in the man’s arms. Her eyelids flew open. “Put me down. Put me . . .” The man walked two steps, pulled down the bed covers, somehow still holding onto her and deposited her onto the bed. He left her side and the lights went off.
Total. Complete. Darkness. No!
Small blade. Panic.
Blood. Pain.Emma shot up. “No.”
Cade advanced a step.
Emma retreated. “I want to go home.” Needed to go home. For her sanity.
“Don’t you like it here?” He spread his arms to indicate the pool.
“Yes, this is beautiful and I like not being cooped up in the room with nothing to do, but I want to go home. I want my own bed, my own clothes.” She lifted the black T-shirt. It grew at least two sizes since she entered the water. “I don’t like being a prisoner.”
“You’re not a prisoner. Consider this your hospital. A place where you’re receiving the best possible care. I’ll take you home when you’re better.”
“Why should I believe you? All I know is that you’re a kidnapper.”
Cade ran fingers through his wet hair, frustration evident. “Would a kidnapper call for a doctor, bring you food, make sure you have clean clothes, watch over you, give you medication, never raise his voice to you even when you order him around?” He’d been advancing. She hadn’t realized. He was an inch from her body.
Emma inhaled shakily, raising her hand to ward him off, unintentionally or maybe not, pushing against his bare chest. “Stop it,” she whispered. Although who she was speaking to? She stared down at her hand that touched a body cooler than the water. It was not the right moment to notice he was built like a god.
Was that a tattoo on his upper arm? Mmm, sexy.
No. No it wasn’t. Emma willed herself not to move, not to glide over to the left until her fingers rubbed over his nipple. Stop. She jerked her hand away. He grabbed it and brought it right back. With his hand on top guiding hers, his gaze never leaving her face, she rubbed muscled chest, an erect nipple, slid down his side and underneath the water to ripple along the ridges of his abdomen. A whimper escaped as her fingers danced over the tops of his swim trunks.
She lifted her gaze, not sure if she was going to plead for him to let go or not to stop.
“I want to kiss you, Emma.” His voice was husky and oh, God, what it did to her insides.
She opened her mouth with no idea of what to say. A small half-squeak, half-moan emerged.
The Trihune Series # 2
By- R.B. Austin
Genre- Paranormal Romance
The war between Apollyon and the Trihune has begun.
Lucas scours the street in need of a fix. He captures his enemy instead of kills. Spins lies instead of truth. Seeks darkness instead of light. So close to the edge with no concern for the fall.
The map was foretold. Its key long lost.
Sent on a mission to find the key necessary to defeat Apollyon, Lucas meets Kate. Fiery, powerful, unable-to-touch-any-object Kate. As his feelings for her grow, the addiction inside him wanes.
Until he learns she is not meant for him.
Find the key. Find the way and triumph.
His future with Kate is bleak. The darkness, too hard to control. The key, still lost.
Can Lucas win the battle raging inside his body in order to win the war rising on the streets?
For the first time, Kate allowed the fear she’d felt in the priest’s house to trickle in. She’d kept it under wraps after making her decision to work for him.
Her mind flashed to the high metal gate closing behind them. She hadn’t heard the clank of metal as it latched, but, now, in her head, she did.
Trapped. There was no way to climb the gate. It was too high. The surrounding trees were tall, but not close enough to use to get out. She hadn’t seen a fence on the drive up to the house, but she’d known it was there. No one installed an entrance like that unless it connected three other sides.
Always have a way out. It was the first part of her plan. More often than not she needed that escape.
Kate jumped when Lucas touched her arm, just above her gloved hand. She jerked back. Heard a loud, quick rasp fill the car and realized it was her. She was breathing heavy. She tried to slow it. To quiet it.
“Kate.” He spoke quietly. “I promise you’ll be safe.”
Her gaze latched onto his blue one’s. She’d trusted him. She never trusted anyone. But for some reason she’d trusted him. Had willingly got into his car. Allowed him to drive her across the country.
She was the kid taking candy from the dirty, perverted old man. For her own idiocy, Kate deserved whatever happened to her. She was street smart. Proud of it, ‘cause she never made it through high school.
She was a fool. And this place would be her downfall. She’d never get out. Never see Stacy again.
It was hard to breathe. The frickin’ heat was finally off but it was so hot. She had to get out.
She grappled for the door handle. Spots danced in front of her eyes. Panic swarmed in full force.
Don’t faint. Not here. Don’t lose consciousness.
Noises sounded from her left. Lucas was leaving the car.
What would happen to her? They could do anything to her. She’d be helpless.
Her door opened and she’d have fallen out if Lucas hadn’t caught her by the shoulders. The urge to pull away from his touch was strong, but she’d fall flat on her face if she did. Cold air blasted her. She lifted her head. Allowed it to push back the spots. Clear her vision. She sat in her seat sideways. Lucas’s hands were still on her shoulders supporting her as she half leaned out of the car. She sucked in gulps of air. Her gaze sought his through no will of her own and stayed.
Kate didn’t know how long she sat. Lucas never once shifted or acted like his arms were getting tired. Slowly her breath evened out. She braced her arms on the door jam and slowly leaned back against the seat.
She wasn’t going to pass out now, so that was better. But the fear was still there. She was still trapped.
Her gaze darted around the grounds, searching the perimeter. Hurry. Find a way out.
“Kate, look at me.”
Again, her eyes found his.
“What can I do to prove you’ll be safe here? No one will hurt you.”
She made her own safety. Didn’t rely on others to provide it for her. She jumped from the car, making him back up. Spots danced crazily in front of her eyes. Maybe she was still going to pass out? Kate reached out, clutched something. She would not faint. Her gaze latched onto Lucas’s and she used him as a focal point to steady her breaths. When the dizziness passed and her vision had cleared she realized her hand was in his, squeezing it tight. She dropped it quickly. Leaned back against the door.
“Come on,” he said softly. “Let me show you. No one will harm you in any way. If you’re still afraid afterward I’ll take you anywhere you want to go.”
She stiffened. “I’m not afraid.” Was that her voice, weak and high-pitched? She pushed away from the door, making herself stand on her own. Then had to lock her knees to keep from falling back against the car.
His lips twitched like he was going to smile, but he didn’t. He just offered his arm, as if she were some damsel in distress and he was the dashing hero ready to save the day.
“Let’s go inside,” he said.
She ignored his still raised hand and walked past, keeping her arm out near the SUV in case she had to catch herself. For the moment, the dizziness had fled. The cold wind battering her cheeks helped. From the number of trees surrounding the place, she’d thought it would act as a buffer to the elements, but it seemed to have the opposite effect. Lucas stopped at the back of the SUV and retrieved his bag.
Her heart pounded faster as they neared the door.
Calm down. She could get out of anything. She wasn’t helpless. Would never be that way again. This was a job. Just a place to make money. Nothing more.
So why did it feel like if she walked into the mansion, she’d never leave?
The doors opened as they headed up the steps. Kate jerked, falling back two stairs until Lucas’s arm came around her. It was comforting. She moved to the side, breaking contact. Her heart slowed at the old man wearing a suit standing in the doorway. She could definitely take him. If it came to it.
“Welcome back, adohn,” he said and bowed.
Kate’s gaze shifted from the old guy to Lucas. What the hell?
Inside the kitchen Lucas reluctantly let go of Kate’s hand and pulled open the fridge.
“What are you hungry for?”
Kate snorted, reaching around him to open a drawer. She pulled out two plastic bags. “Do you even know what’s in the fridge, Rich Guy? When’s the last time you were in here? Probably to ask Martha to pour you some coffee?”
He growled low, spinning to trap her between his body and the island. She gasped. It wasn’t in fear. He placed one hand on either side of her, close but not touching.
“What can I do to prove that I’m not some rich, spoiled guy?” He kept his voice low.
Her heart was beating fast, but, again, she wasn’t afraid. Her scent filled the air. Lucas stood in the middle of an orchard. His cock hardened and he tilted his hips back so not to scare her. He couldn’t lift his gaze from her lips, though. He wanted so badly to kiss her. Wanted it more than blood. More than another hit of darkness. Her lips parted on a soft intake of breath. He dragged his gaze upward, and sweet Creator, she was staring at his mouth. Then her gaze slowly rose to meet his.
She looked hungry. And not for food.
Her tongue flicked out, wetting her lips. He bit back a groan. Her eyebrows rose. She lifted her gloved hand, touched the outside of his right eye. “Why do they do that?” she asked, voice low.
His eyes had flared its blue light the moment his body responded to her nearness. It was because he wanted her, but that would be the wrong thing to say. “Have you ever been kissed, Kate?”
Lucas stumbled up the weedy driveway. The sun was setting. The moon meeting it halfway. Both on opposite sides.
Always apart. Never together.
His phone rang again. He silenced it, shoving it into his back pocket.
The steps leading up to the house were wooden. The second step had a huge hole in the middle and the third was completely dry rotted. The screen door hung off its hinges. Someone had torn off half of the bright condemned sticker from the window. Along with a piece of the trespass sign, complete with warnings of prosecution. Lucas didn’t need to check if he was alone. The nearest house on this back road, miles from town, was acres away. The dark sky, the uncut grass snow hadn’t been able to weigh down, and the cluster of trees prevented any chance of being seen from the occasional drive by.
The house was quiet, but Lucas expected that. One couldn’t talk if one’s mouth was stuffed with rags held in place by duct tape. The door creaked when Lucas opened it. He stepped inside.
The electricity had long since been shut off, as had the gas. He had no need for light or warmth. With a blink, his blue glow lit upon the five chairs set in the otherwise empty room.
Five pairs of eyes stared. Five hearts began to pound. He inhaled sharply. Artic ice rushed through his veins, chasing Kate’s pain away and he relished it. It was why he was here after all. To mute her agony. So he could focus. The last seven hours had been nothing more than the tick of his watch.
His stomach had churned with increasing velocity until he had to pull over and dry heave on the side of the road. With every beat of his heart, a knife twisted deeper in his gut. Each breath as hard to catch as a gnat. Screams, lodged so deep, were unable to surface.
Thoughts in his head were the worst. Their night together, on incessant replay.
The questions, why hadn’t he told her he loved her?
Scenarios where he found her and convinced her to stay. The others, where she was lost to him forever.
He was here to get rid of it all. So he could think. So he could find her. Once things were quiet he’d be able to find her.
The blue in Lucas’s eyes lit on his collection of Fallen, the five soulless monsters he’d tracked from the storm drain tunnel last night. All had their hands tied behind their back with chains. Another chain wrapped twice around their lower rib cage. Two more wrapped their legs to the chair that had been bolted to the floor to prevent tipping. Their clothing had been stripped. Their knives piled in a corner somewhere.
A discarded pair of boots lay in the middle of the room. He could feel their stares. Could see the semi-healed cuts and dried blood on their torsos. Their fright weaved through him, trying to paralyze him.
He walked to the one who’d breached the silence. The Fallen started to shake his head. Tried to speak. Its words were muffled.
Lucas smiled, his fangs descending. “Oh, don’t worry. You’re all participating tonight.” He pulled out his star. Its tips still bloody from the last time.
He struck. Once. Twice. A third time. Each sharp tip of the star was embedded into the Fallen’s chest and dragged down in a thick, jagged line. Blood oozed from the cuts.
Each Fallen received the same. Soon the smell of blood wafted in the air.
“Thank you for your gift. This will help immensely. Maybe if it brings Kate back, I’ll reward you.” He knelt in front of the first chair. Leaned forward, placed his hands in the blood that still flowed rapidly, closed his eyes, and began to use his gift to suck out the Fallen’s darkness.
About the Author-
RB Austin enjoys torturing dogs (dressing her Cairn terrier in knitted sweaters and booties), embarrassing her daughter (singing in the car . . . at the top of her lungs . . . with the windows open . . . at a stop light), and indulging in the second deadliest sin (chocolate, Swedish fish, chocolate, sour patch watermelons, and chocolate).
This author’s love of the sun puts in her in the more-than-likely-not-a-vampire category, unless you’re referring to the bloodsuckers in her Trihune series, then all bets are off.
Feeling stalkerish? Visit her website, www.rbaustin.com, and learn where she hangs out on the Interwebs.
Facebook page- https://facebook.com/authorrbaustin