The Eden Series
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Rhenna Morgan
Date of Publication: October 11, 2016
ISBN: Print - 978-1-945361-03-6 /
ISBN: E-book - 978-1-945361-02-9
Number of pages: 277
Word Count: 98,794
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Fate is the life we’re given. Destiny is what we do with it.
Captured as a child and forced into slavery by the Rebellion’s leader, Brenna Haven was raised in near isolation with the utmost cruelty. She knew nothing of kindness or compassion until Fate orchestrated her rescue. Finally free, she wants nothing more than to return to her home. To reconnect with her human family and live a simple, quiet life. But her newfound powers demand an entirely different future. One fraught with danger and a terrifying role in an ancient Myren prophecy.
A battle-hardened warrior and sworn bodyguard to the king, Ludan Forte wields a powerful, memory stealing gift. But his skill comes with a price. A torturous burden he’s hidden since his awakening over a hundred years ago. He never dreamed he’d find relief, let alone be tempted to forgo his vows to the king. Yet in Brenna’s sweet beguiling presence, the weight he bears is lifted. And when her role in the prophecy threatens her life, he’ll stop at nothing to keep her safe.
This is the final book in the Eden Series.
Ludan tightened his grip on the castle’s thick mahogany door until he thought the wood would snap. He’d fed himself the same damned mantra since the first time he’d seen Brenna, over and over in an endless loop.
Along with all the other voices.
Ian ambled up beside him and stared down the veranda in time to see Brenna disappear around the far side of the castle. “What the hell did you say to her?”
“I didn’t say anything.” Forcing his fingers free, Ludan let the door slip shut. The land on the far end of the castle was quiet. No other energy patterns registered near the ocean where Brenna had headed, nor in the forest beyond. Only blinding midmorning sun and the bold blue Myren sky filled the quiet landscape in between.
He still didn’t like it. Too much weirdness had gone down in the last few months. Serena and Angus’s page, Sully, disappearing. The Spiritu. The prophecy. He glanced at Ian beside him. “Go find Lexi. Have her take you to Evad today. I’ll find Brenna and bring her back.”
“You sure that’s a good idea?”
The bite in Ian’s tone cut through Ludan’s focus. “Why wouldn’t it be?”
“Because you looked like you were an inch away from ripping her head off.”
Hardly. A hopeless junkie would surrender his fix before he’d hurt Brenna. Not that Ian would know that. None of them would. Ever. “I had things on my mind.” Like how anytime she got within fifteen feet of him the nonstop racket in his head downgraded to a more tolerable decibel.
Ian cocked his head and anchored his hands in the pockets of his jacket, studying Ludan with a level of scrutiny that probably came in slow-mo precision. The son of a bitch was too damned perceptive. Cops—or former-cops turned PI in Ian’s case—usually were.
“Track down Lexi,” Ludan grumbled before Ian could latch on to any ideas. “The sooner I find Brenna and you’re in Evad running reconnaissance, the sooner I can get back to guarding Eryx.”
He strode away and shook the weight of Ian’s stare off his back. This whole damned place was one giant microscope lately. Suspicious stares. People digging into his personal life and asking questions they had no right to ask. Ian could think whatever the fuck he wanted. Tracking Brenna and making sure no other shit storms were on the horizon was just common sense, nothing more.
Justify it however you want, but you’d follow her with or without a prophecy.
His conscience’s uppercut nailed him square in the gut and yanked him to a halt at the castle’s edge.
Beyond the stone safety wall, Brenna stood staring down at the cove. Her dark hair whipped in the heavy ocean winds while the rest of her stood still as a statue. In the past few months, he’d watched from the sidelines as she’d fought her way back from near death. Seen her creep from the timid shell she’d survived behind after fifteen long years with Maxis. Studied how every day her posture got a little taller, her shoulders squared, and her chin had raised a fraction higher.
Today was different. Something in her near-black eyes seemed fractured. Broken. Off in a way that tripped all kinds of warning bells.
Pushing his Myren senses out along the cove, he gauged for any disturbance he might have missed. A larken swooped and sang high overhead, his deep blue body a near perfect match to Brenna’s gown. Except for the bird and Brenna, no other forms of energy stirred. No visible threats, which meant whatever plagued her had already happened, or originated in her head.
He should leave her be and get Lexi. Combat and stealth were all he had to offer. If either were worth a damn when it came to emotions, he’d have slain his own demons years ago. Histus, even Ian would be better at this than him. At least Ian shared something in common with her. Two humans whose lives had been turned upside down by Maxis Steysis.
A memory surged to the forefront of his mind, and his knees nearly buckled. His mother, bloody and battered. Defiled and broken in a way no woman should ever know. Her screams roared above all the other memories battling for space in his head, sending painful shards between his temples.
He shook his head and focused on the grass beneath his boots. How the silver on the bold green blades sparked on the morning sun. How the rich, dark soil beneath it was still damp from storms the night before. It was just a memory. The worst of all the ones he had to relive, for sure, but in the past. This was now.
Brenna still hadn’t moved. She probably just needed time alone, a concept he of all people understood, but he could check on her without making her uncomfortable. Pulling his mask into place, he blended with the elements, hiding his presence as he took to the sky and circled up and over the cove. A desperate, almost palpable propulsion urged him faster, directing him no more than twenty feet in front of her.
She stared out at the sea, her gaze empty and unfocused. He knew that look. Resignation and defeat. Had staggered beneath the weight of both for too damned many years. Her hands were fisted tight at her sides, and her toes touched the bluff’s edge. Surely she wouldn’t try to take her life. Not now. Not after all she’d survived.
As if in answer to his thoughts, Brenna’s head snapped up, and her focus sharpened on the horizon.
The muscles along his shoulders uncoiled, and he huffed out a relieved exhale. Whatever had gripped her was gone now. Even her energy sparked brighter than moments before, as if the ocean’s breeze had slipped beyond the confines of her skin and swept the sleeping monsters from her soul. Still, he’d be smart to keep an eye on her.
The dark, untamed presence inside him lifted its head, ears perked. The clawing hunger and compulsion he kept hidden and buried from everyone else rippled to the surface. Too close. An animal scenting the most succulent prey.
He forced himself an extra twenty feet away. Being closer to Brenna was a bad idea. Blissful in the way she dampened the backlash of his gift, but far too risky with the beast. That ugly, unpredictable part of him was only fit for battle. He’d mention his concerns for Brenna to Lexi or Galena. Brenna would be more comfortable with them anyway.
He turned for the castle, the memory of her soulful, near-black eyes and the way they’d focused on his lips this morning superimposing on the brilliant sunrise in front of him. For the sweetest, most torturous moment, he could have sworn she wanted him. Craved him the way he wanted her. But that couldn’t be right. She was afraid of men. All of them.
Beneath him, the tossing seas transitioned to the plush green grass surrounding the castle. He had a job to do. The job he was born to do. The sooner he got back to it, the sooner that taut, insistent tug that stretched between him and Brenna would go away. At least he hoped it would. Either that, or he’d have to spar and drink himself into a stupor like he had the last few weeks.
A shriek rang out behind him, the sheer terror of it searing white-hot shrapnel inside his chest.
Before his mind had fully registered Brenna as its source, his body acted on instinct. The distance he’d created between them swept by in a blur. The only object in perfect focus was Brenna, her fingers digging into the loose clay and her slender arms pushing with all she had.
The slick, moss-covered edges crumbled.
Brenna’s fingers slipped through the clay, and she dropped out of sight.
The beast roared and lashed him from the inside out. Fear supercharged his powers and shot him through the air so fast the wind burned his face. The powdered sand and black boulders rushed closer, Brenna only two arm spans away.
Three feet from the ground, he swooped beneath her and angled up at a sharp pitch. His heart slammed an angry protest, and his lungs burned for air, but Brenna was flush against him. Shaking violently in his arms with a brutal grip on his shoulders, but safe.
He held them there, high above the ocean, and cradled her closer.
Her breath chuffed against his skin, and something wet trailed down the side of his neck. Tears. A river of them mixed with gentle sobs.
And he could hear them. Each raspy inhalation as clear as a whisper in the dead of night. The ocean and the larken, too. No voices clouding the sounds around him. No memories trampling each other for headspace. They weren’t just dimmed the way they normally were around her, they were gone. Absolute silence. His first reprieve in over a hundred years.
His arms tightened on instinct, as though she might somehow fly away or dissipate into nothingness. Rubbing his cheek against the top of her head, he savored the silk texture against his skin and lowered his voice to a near whisper. “You’re safe.”
She huddled closer, drawing her knees to her chest as her whimpers continued. The ocean tossed bold and loud beneath them. Probably not the most reassuring view from a non-flying human’s point of view.
Fuck, like she’d have any other response. She’d nearly died. He couldn’t exactly expect her to lift her head and beam sunshine and roses.
He drifted to a flat-topped boulder at the cove’s base and settled with the bluff wall behind him. Leaning back, he gave the wall his weight and pulled his knees in to angle Brenna closer.
Damn, but she felt good. So tiny and soft. Her hand opened and closed against his chest, dragging the slick-rough fabric of his drast against his adrenaline-soaked skin in a way he probably shouldn’t enjoy, but abso-fucking-lutely did. Considering Brenna couldn’t get a solid breath in, it was also entirely the wrong thing to think about. There had to be something he could do. Something to help her find her balance.
For once, a decent memory came to mind. The day he’d tried to imitate his father by jumping off their cottage roof in an attempt to fly. He’d been too little to comprehend that flight required an awakening, something that didn’t happen to eight-year-old boys. His mother had healed his wounds and held him in her lap while he cried, rocking slowly side to side.
He’d liked that. A lot. So much so, he’d pretended to cry longer so he could stay.
Gently, he imitated the movement, albeit more clunky than his mother. He stroked a hand from the top of her head to the small of her back, her glossy hair slick against his callused palm. Since the first time he’d seen her, he’d been fascinated by it. The darkest chocolate to match her eyes.
Wind whispered through the cove, wrapping a faint vanilla scent around them. He dipped his head, his nose only inches from her temple, and inhaled deep. It was Brenna, either her hair or her skin, but whatever it was, was perfect. Comforting and soft.
The darkness inside him settled. Stilled in a way he hadn’t felt since before his awakening. Countless battles he’d fought, and bone-chilling memories he’d absorbed in the name of protecting his malran and his race, but no act felt as important as this moment. This was what armies fought to provide. What men died to protect.
A native Oklahoman with two beautiful girls and a fantastic husband, her resume reflects her passion for new experiences. Since graduating with a Bachelors in Radio, Television, and Film at Oklahoma State, she’s racked up positions ranging from on-air radio talent, skip tracer, and promotions director, to real estate agent, project manager, and business analyst.
Like most women, she’s got obligations stacked tight from dusk to dawn. That’s where the romance comes in. Reading, or writing, romance has been her happy place since she cracked the spine on her first Christine Feehan book years ago. Nothing thrills her more than the fantasy of new, exciting worlds, and strong, intuitive men who’ll fight to keep the women they want.
Whether it’s contemporary, paranormal, or fantasy you’re after, Rhenna’s stories pack romantic escape for the women who need it.
1 Eden Series Prize Pack – Signed copy of Eden’s Deliverance, Tote, Coffee Mug, Stylus/Pen, Post-its
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