Wednesday, July 9, 2014

'Fire and Blood (The Immortal Firewalkers)' by Cadence Denton


Jeannette’s life sucks. An outcast orphan addicted to junky blood, she is desperate for a chance at redemption. She’s the most powerful of her Firewalker race, but that’s not saying much since the Firewalkers are on the verge of extinction ̶ thanks to Jeannette’s disastrous mistakes. For centuries she’s searched for her personal unicorn, the elusive Fecund, the Firewalkers’ human mates. He’s out there…somewhere.

She lost everything ̶ family, fortune…her future when the ruling Council of Seven declared her a traitor for her part in the genocide of the Fecund race. Her desperation is understandable simply because the Council refuses to believe that she was set up by the Revenant vampire, Alexander the Great.

Devin McIntyre’s life imploded eleven years ago when his twenty-first birthday celebration collided with a blood sucker named, Alexander. With his parents slaughtered and his twin sisters taken by the psychotic vampire, Devin turned to the ultra-secret Society for Eternal Illumination for training in urban warfare and help with confronting his demons.

In a dilapidated hotel in Jackson, Mississippi he sets a trap, certain he’s tracked down his old, old enemy. Finally, he’ll get vengeance and find his sisters. Instead, Devin uncovers a myth.

When a long-legged beauty walks through a wall of fire, Devin’s beliefs are shattered.

When Jeannette tastes his Fecund blood after centuries believing his race extinct, she knows she has found a priceless treasure.

From their first kiss, their first intimate touch, Jeannette realizes that in Devin, she’s found salvation. This human male can save a race that is balancing on the precipice of extinction.

But, when allies become enemies and havens become traps, she suspects her “treasure” has his own agenda.

Read an excerpt:
“What happened to your shoes?” 
She blinked. “Shoes?” she repeated. 
He swept a hand towards her bare feet and raised a brow, “Well, it would be ungentlemanly of me to mention your lack of…ahem…attire.”

Jeannette shied away from the carnal heat flaring in his eyes. Richard was Revenant, a quasi-immortal created by one of the Zha’Ignisiin through a blood rite, and as such, was beneath her. But he had never allowed that cultural taboo to hinder his pursuit of her.

Revenants were carefully chosen from the inexhaustible supply of humanity. The cream of a mortal crop, to become a Revenant, a human must be deemed so special, so unique that to lose him to a single, human lifetime would be counted a loss of catastrophic proportions. Although valuable allies and useful servants, alas, a Revenant could never be her mate. She was Zha’ Ignisiin, a child of the People, a Firewalker and daughter of those who created Revenants. In a word, she was royalty. Richard was livestock. He was also her very best friend.

The way her friend’s eyes crawled over her made her feel antsy, jittery. Vulnerable. She curled her arms over her breasts, the sudden desire to become invisible, overwhelming. Jeannette shrank back a step. 
Richard quickly shrugged and became the friend she knew. Barking a short, soft burst of laughter he continued, “The designer shoes…Stella McCartney design, I think Helen called them. You said you must have them, remember?” The ones that cost as much as a month’s tithe to Kah’tahriin… 
The last went unspoken, but Jeannette heard it as clearly as if it had been shouted. Her jaws flexed, the only evidence that he had struck a vulnerable spot. Kah’tahriin was the sole Zha’Ignisiin she could trust, the last Firewalker who would have dealings with a pahraiyii, an outcast. Jeannette owed her. A lot.

The call Richard had received, the one giving the tip about Alexander’s whereabouts, it had come from Kah’tahriin. Her mother’s older sister. 
“Flame throwers,” she murmured and watched Richard shudder, the lust-tinged humor evaporating from his face. 
“Richard…” she began. “Did you…I mean, I thought I saw you talking with…” she hesitated, uncertain how to broach the subject but unable to let it go. Alexander had seemed so…so real. 
Richard wrapped long fingers around her arm and yanked her sideways.

Gunfire exploded, echoing through the room and the column she’d hidden behind seconds earlier was torn apart by the firestorm. Richard lay atop her, inserting his wide back between her naked flesh and the flying shrapnel. Jeannette cowered beneath him for a breath, thankful for the solid comfort of his weight. 
The fire gave the room a mid-day brilliance. It had become a living thing. Lapping greedily at the ceiling, it sent another pillar to the floor in a crash of embers that sparkled like fireworks.

“You must leave,” Jeannette said, trying to squirm out from under him. 
“What of you?” he asked, his lips warm against her ear. 
She shoved him off her and rose to her feet. “Burning buildings I can handle. You, on the other hand, cannot.” 
Richard’s expression turned hard, mutinous, igniting her temper. “Do you argue, sirrah? Will you, then?” Her words were ancient and formal, her tone, frigid and imperious—they had the desired effect: Richard bowed. 
“As you will, my lady,” he replied grudgingly, then added, “But take care. Should these humans harm you I will see them destroyed. Every single one.” 
Jeannette gave him a level look then pointed at the unconscious Chris. “Take this one and leave.” 
“Better the mud race should burn with this filthy rats’ nest for their funeral pyre. Better they should all burn,” he hissed, a sneer marring his handsome face. 
“I will not condone the murder of innocents.” Her voice was silk-wrapped steel. 
Richard paused, dipped his head in a sketch of a bow then knelt, lifting the hunter as easily as though the man was little more than a babe. 
“Don’t take too long, Jeannette,” Richard warned with a backwards glance. She watched his dark eyes sweep across her in a final caress before he disappeared into the shadows, and she gave in to her own shudder. She loved the Revenant, but not in the way he desired. The gods knew she had explained this to him. Over and over. She sighed again. 
Shouts and the thunder of running feet signaled the Society hunters’ flight from the furnace the ballroom had become. “There will be no innocent blood on my hands. Not this time,” she said and stepped forward to begin her search for fallen humans.

Jeannette had no one to blame but herself when she was shot. 
She’d been finishing up her final sweep of the ballroom, now fully engulfed in flames, and had yet to find a Society hunter. Obviously, they had sense enough to get out of a burning building. Who’d have thought it? She grimaced at her lame attempt at humor, her mind returning to her mental hiccup and, more troubling, the undeniable fact that she and Richard had run headlong into a trap. Whose trap? Could be anyone, she mused. Gods above knew she had no lack of enemies. She would make this last pass, gather Richard, and jhurnee home—to safety. After a shower, some sleep, and much needed nourishment she’d be better able to study the problem. Fresh eyes and all that.
She moved to the center of the room where a mound of debris smoldered, then leapt back, the sound of gunfire almost deafening her. 
She was not quick enough. Several rounds tore through unprotected flesh from hip to thigh. Hissing in pain, her legs withdrew their support tumbling her onto the ash-covered floor. Her vision narrowed to a dark-edged tunnel while her fangs pressed razor sharp into her lower lip. Warmth flowed across her hip, her thighs, pooling beneath her. Dear gods, she was tired. At this moment, she wanted nothing more than to lay here on this filthy floor and let the entire building burn down around her. It would be no more than what she deserved…jhuhstize of a sort. 
A pair of scuffed, black steel-toed boots moved into view. They stopped beside her head. She squinted, her eyes focusing as her wounds slowly closed and the blood flow ceased. Jeanette tilted her head and calmly studied the soot-covered face of the human vampire hunter. It was a hard face for one so young. A face that gave nothing away, hooded amber eyes beneath straight brown brows, sculptured lips thinned in determination, his high cheekbones rode above lean, squared jaws that flexed with some emotion. Anger, she surmised. Certainly not fear. 
“What the fuck are you?” he asked as though asking her for the time. 
“It was a trap,” she said, feeling she should explain, but her addled brains weren’t going along with the plan. “I didn’t come for you. It’s Alexander’s fault,” she continued sweeping a hand in a small circle.

He didn’t understand. She saw the frown between his eyes, his beautiful, brooding eyes—and tried harder to clarify herself, to explain what she meant, but it seemed impossible, and she was spent.

“You may go. I will not harm you,” she whispered, closing her eyes. 
“You know Alexander?” 
Her eyes popped open and she watched the human’s lips widen into a slow smile. Straight, even teeth white against his soot-smudged skin.

“Maybe you could find him for me, hmm?” he said. 
What was wrong with the man? Didn’t he understand she was being extraordinarily generous?

“Human, you are free to leave. Do you not understand? I do not want to hurt you!”
Her frustration grew when the stupid human didn’t move. He just stood over her, an imbecilic smile decorating his face. She became confused, thanks in large part to the blood loss, his fault, and tried to remember where she was, in what language she’d spoken. Jeannette repeated herself in French, then Spanish, and finally in Russian with no effect. The man remained rooted in place, a smirk firmly attached to that lean, handsome visage. 
The hunter raised his right hand revealing the handgun clutched in his fist. The silver stock, as big as a cannon, glinted in the firelight. It was a beautiful, deadly thing, filled with large caliber ammunition that would rip fist-sized craters in her body. And as weakened from hunger and blood loss as she was, it would make it impossible to jhurnee home.

“I understand a lot of things, bitch. The first being that I am here to hurt you, you blood sucking piece of shit. In fact, I’m here to kill your worthless ass.”

She recognized the human’s warm baritone an instant before the insult sank in. A mélange of outrage and incredulity sucker punched her and had her poor wits spinning for a breath. 
“Second, you should understand that I don’t take orders from a vampire slut.” 
The gun was ripped from his hand and flew away, disappearing into the swirling smoke. Jeannette snatched him tight against her, inches from fully descended razor sharp fangs. “Call me a slut, human trash, and I will leave you here to burn…after I drain you,” she snarled. 
She held him firmly, so close she could see the gold rings circling his amber irises, could smell fear’s sour tang rising from his skin like a cloud. She smelled something else, something tantalizing—something mesmerizing. The scent hypnotized her, her grasp loosened. He took advantage and shoved her. She stumbled back a step. 
“Vampire slut,” he sneered, throwing a punch. She dodged, pivoted, and backhanded him across the mouth. He fell to the floor unconscious, his mouth bleeding. 
Jeannette stood over the fallen man fighting to control the bone-deep need to abandon him to the fire. Richard was right; they should all burn. Her breath caught on a sob. The human’s words drilled into her soul like a rusty wire, made her eyes sting with unshed tears.

For strength and survival, she’d fought off countless sly seductions and outright rape attempts over the long, long years. 
For freedom and forgiveness, she’d denied herself intimacy and warmth—the comfort of physical closeness, tenderness, and release. She’d held herself apart from all men. 
For safety and security, she’d tolerated the chafing bonds of chastity.

She was no slut. 
Jeannette squared her shoulders and knelt beside the man. She wasn’t a murderer, either. 
Ignoring their persistent tremble, she wrapped her arms about the dazed man’s shoulders and jurhneed.

About the author:

Cadence Denton has worn many hats over the years—retail sales rat, dental assistant, fulltime mother, part-time cheer coach, and dachshund wrangler. You could say her cup runneth over. You could. She won’t. When she’s not chasing runaway dachshunds, you can find her at her desk devising ways to make her characters suffer.

Her current series include: The Immortal Firewalkers, a dark vampire saga with a twist; Wicked Palate, a tongue-in-cheek paranormal series based on a supernatural cooking network, and The Magic Bus, a YA time travel series.

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