He awakens encapsulated in dirt with no knowledge of how he came to be there. Riddled with injuries, he can remember neither his past nor who he is. Nor can he remember what he is. But surely no mortal man could survive being buried deep beneath the earth. All he knows with certainty is that the soothing voice and presence of the woman moving around above enables him to endure the agony of his wounds. And he will do whatever it takes to be with her.
When Susan first sees the old two-story house for sale, such warmth and longing fill her that"against all reason"she makes an offer. It will take years of hard work and money she frankly doesn"t have to fix up the place. So she can"t explain why she bought it. She also can"t explain what compels her to spend hours one night, digging in the basement until she unearths a man. A man who still lives and breathes despite having been buried alive. A man whose intense brown eyes glow amber with pain, declaring him far more than ordinary. Susan knows she should keep her distance. He has no memory and possesses gifts that would make most fear him. But as the two work together to unravel the mystery of his past, she finds herself drawn in by his teasing nature and tender touch. So much so that she loses her heart to him even as they find themselves hunted by unknown enemies who are ruthless in their quest to capture them.Books in Series:Immortal Guardians Series by Dianne DuvallBooks by Author:Dianne Duvall Books
"Hoooooooly shit!" Ethan exclaimed.
Stanislav glanced at Ethan, an American immortal who was around three hundred years younger than his own four hundred and thirty-seven years. Ethan"s eyes were wide as he took in the men and machines in front of them.
A new vampire army had arisen. One more skilled and armed with the only sedative known to affect immortals and vampires. An army aided by an immortal betrayer they had yet to identify. But the Immortal Guardians had finally located the new vampire army"s base and discovered"much to their astonishment"that the betrayer had given the vampiric virus and the sedative to a huge mercenary group that had already begun infecting their own men.
No wonder the damned vampires he and his brethren had been encountering recently were so skilled in battle. An army of men with superspeed, superstrength, perfect night vision, and accelerated healing abilities that left them nearly unstoppable on the battlefield would bring the mercenary group billions of dollars. And all evidence suggested this group didn"t care who hired their vampire army. They would make it available to the highest bidder worldwide.
Vampire mercenaries. Stanislav shook his head. After hunting and slaying psychotic vampires every night for centuries, anything new"particularly if it offered a challenge"he usually embraced with eagerness, happy to escape the same-old, same-old. But this would irrevocably change the world in dangerous ways. It had to be stopped. They had to be stopped.
Stanislav followed Ethan"s gaze.
And it sure as hell looked as though he and his brethren would stop them today.
Chris Reordon, head of the East Coast division of the human network that aided Immortal Guardians, had chosen the rendezvous point for immortals, their Seconds, and the humans he commanded: a dense forest several miles distant from the mercenary compound, well beyond the sight of the compound"s surveillance equipment and far from any isolated country homes that might produce curiosity seekers. It also bore a heavy enough canopy to protect the immortal warriors from the sunlight that gleamed above them.
Since half the mercenaries they would be fighting were vampire, the immortals had decided to attack in force that afternoon. Vampires couldn"t withstand any sun exposure at all. Immortals could. Youngsters like Ethan, not so much. At full strength, Ethan could probably only withstand a few minutes of direct afternoon sunlight before his skin would begin to pinken with a burn, then blister and worse. But the older the immortal was, the more daylight he or she could tolerate. Yuri, a hundred years older than Stanislav, could tolerate half an hour. Stanislav could withstand fifteen minutes or so. More if the sky bore a few clouds. David, who had seen thousands of years, could stand in the sun for hours. And Seth, the eldest amongst them and leader of the Immortal Guardians"
As far as Stanislav knew, Seth could stand in the sun all day without suffering any ill effects.
How they all envied him.
"What"" Chris asked belatedly as he spread a large map on the hood of one of many Humvees outfitted with a variety of mean-looking weapons.
"You think you have enough men"" Ethan asked, motioning to the multitude of rough-hewn Network special-ops soldiers garbed in camouflage.
"This is just half of them," Chris responded absently. "The other half are already in place, observing the compound"s perimeter."
Stanislav shared a concerned look with Yuri. If even one Network soldier"s presence had been detected, the mercenaries would know they were coming.
"None have been discovered," Seth said as though Stanislav had spoken the thought aloud. "I monitored their approach myself."
"What the hell is that"" Sheldon"Richart"s Second"asked as he pointed at something atop the Humvee.
Stanislav was a bit curious about that himself.
Chris followed his gaze. "A TOW missile."
Yuri caught Stanislav"s eye and raised his brows with a smile, his expression saying Cool!
Stanislav grinned. It was cool. Neither of them had seen such up close before, since immortals tended to use blades to hunt and slay vampires.
"And that"" The French immortal Lisette pointed to a weapon atop another Humvee.
"Flamethrower," Chris answered.
Bastien, the British black sheep of the Immortal Guardians family, stared up at it. "What"s its range""
"It can light up vampires two hundred and fifty feet away," Chris said. "But since it"ll also light up immortals, we plan to use them primarily on the gate and on the grounds away from the main structures."
The other military vehicles all boasted high-caliber automatic weapons. Stanislav would have thought it overkill if the compound they intended to destroy didn"t encompass four thousand acres.
"Now," Chris said, pointing to an area on the map, "these are the training fields that will be active. Live ammo is used on the target ranges, so you"ll face a lot of firepower there. The gates will be heavily guarded. Patrols walk the fence. There will be a changing of the guard in half an hour, so the soldiers on duty now will be tired and likely not as vigilant. Surveillance cameras are mounted on the fences here, here, and here, near the main structures and training fields. But they"re sparse on the rest of the grounds. These red circles indicate where you"ll find them.