Kiss of Vengeance: A True Immortality Novel
Fionn Mór was once a high king of Ireland; a fierce warrior who led his tribes against the invading fae. It was a war he couldn’t win and to save his family he turned consort for the Fae Queen. Fionn escaped as the thing he once despised, and the people he loved betrayed him for it. Now, centuries later, it’s time to reopen the gates to Faerie to take his revenge against the Faerie Queen.
At sixteen Rose Kelly discovered family secrets that changed her forever. Years after, she’s still lost, traveling across Europe in search of that elusive missing ‘something’. When she’s attacked by a vampire, not only is she wrenched into a supernatural underworld she never knew existed, a knock on the head releases a spell on her mind and unlocks powers beyond her wildest imaginings. And with them more questions. Questions Fionn Mór claims to have answers to.
Following the powerful and enigmatic Fionn to Ireland, Rose quickly realizes she’s a pawn in his plan for vengeance. What begins as a passionate battle of wills leads to an inexplicable but undeniable connection. One that will force them to face an impossible choice between the deepest love… and the darkest revenge.
Release date: March 3, 2020
Publisher: Samantha Young
Print pages: 402
Content advisory: fantasy violence; sexual content; explicit language
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Kiss of Vengeance: A True Immortality Novel
Beams of light—green, purple, blue, red—bounced in frantic rays above the heads of the dancing crowd. The music pumped so loudly, the building vibrated with it. Rose, used to the pounding bass, the explosions of color that broke up the dark, glancing off stone walls and vaulted ceilings, mixed the mojitos a young clubber had requested.
Sweat glistened on Rose’s skin as Croatians and tourists filled the space with their body heat. A wild freedom tinged the air with sex and recklessness.
Having bartended in different bars across mainland Europe, Rose was indifferent to the heady abandon of late hours in thudding nightclubs. She mixed drinks, served, and moved on to the next customer to ensure agitated, drunk clubbers didn’t cause problems at the bar.
The only bodies that drew her attention were those of her colleagues, and that was only because maneuvering around them in the tight circular bar was something akin to a dance.
Fewer than three hours into her shift had passed, and Rose was already longing for the small bed in the tiny room she was renting above a bakery. The mattress was lumpy, there was no A/C, and the bakery opened just as she was getting to bed, but at least the place smelled like warm bread. Which was a million times better than what most places she rented smelled like.
Focused on making four Cuba Libre cocktails, it took Rose a moment to realize the hair on her arms had risen as though there was static electricity in the air. She stilled, frowning as goose bumps shivered across her skin.
What the …
The music cut, and a new track played.
A thudding, prolonged bass, followed by electronic pop filled the club. The ethereal voice of Ruelle echoed around the room. Rose knew the song. It was called “Live Like Legends.”
She looked out into the crowd of dancers to see they were writhing together, their movements becoming more sexual as the music built to a crescendo. Wondering at the strange feeling that had descended over her, Rose searched the dancers for something—she didn’t know what. Perhaps for something that was out of place in the sixteenth-century building turned nightclub.
“Hej, ti, naša pića!” A customer snapped his fingers in her face.
It successfully yanked her from her study of the dancers. “Don’t snap your fingers at me.” She didn’t care if he couldn’t understand her. Her tone was of the universal language of, “I don’t take shit from anyone.”
He sneered but thankfully shut up.
She’d just finished serving the rude guy when the music hit its peak, the bass and drums deep and booming, strings—most likely violins—frenzied, beautiful, and the electronic pop sound Ruelle was known for building to a climax in the same style of an epic movie trailer. Awareness scored her spine, turning the damp, warm skin of her nape cool. It felt like strong fingers clasping her neck.
The feeling was so ridiculously powerful, for a moment Rose thought there was someone touching her. She spun away from the cash register, nostrils flaring as she took in the space around her, finding not even her colleagues near. Both Petra and Josip were on the other side of the circle.
And that’s when she felt it.
Like all the air had evacuated the room.
Chest tight, Rose gasped as her gaze shifted over the parting crowds. Her feet moved without her command, stumbling toward the bar counter—as though someone had tied a rope around her, lassoing her. Holding her captive.
Then she saw him.
Head and shoulders above everyone else, she saw a hulking figure, hair of indiscriminate color illuminated every few seconds by the dancing beams of light. The crowd parted for him as he glided through the sea of bodies. For such a big man, he moved gracefully, light as air, impossibly so … almost otherworldly.
Longish hair framed his bold face, the ends tickling his angular jawline. His nose was a sharp blade to match the sharp angles of his cheekbones. Thick stubble covered the lower half of his face, surrounding a mouth pressed tight with concentration as his head swung from left to right, as though he were searching for something or someone.
Rose swallowed hard, her mouth dry. The man was mammoth. He had to be over six and a half feet tall. If his height wasn’t enough to draw attention, the way he dressed was. The club was hot, yet he swept through the rabble wearing a dark three-piece suit and a long, black wool overcoat.
He paused, his heavy brows drawing together. His body language reminded her of an animal catching a scent, alert, rigid—a hunter beneath that civilized attire. Then his head snapped in her direction and their eyes locked.
An invisible weight slammed into Rose’s chest, and she wheezed. Thankfully, the loss of breath lasted seconds, and she sucked in a huge gulp of air. “Fuck,” she whispered, shaking as the stranger continued to stare at her.
The lasers of light bounced off his face, highlighting eyes so green they couldn’t be human.
It’s the lasers, Rose told herself. No one’s eyes are that color unless they’re wearing contacts.
Nothing, however, explained the intensity of feeling that held her still beneath the man’s regard.
Abruptly, something caught his attention to his left, and he released her from his captive gaze. He waded through the parting dancers, slowly disappearing into the dark. Straining to see, Rose walked along the bar, wanting to stay with him, but Josip stepped in front of her.
“Where are you going?” he said, his accent thick. “Are you all right?”
The interruption seemed to untie the invisible rope around her body. Rose shuddered and her limbs were her own again.
What the fuck was that?
A bead of sweat slid down her temple and she wiped at it with a shaky hand. “I’m okay,” she lied.
Josip was unconvinced. “Take your break. You look like you need it.”
Confused, thirsty, and uneasy, Rose agreed and left the bar area, her attention drawn toward where she’d last seen the hulking, well-dressed stranger. But he was gone. Disappointment flickered through her, but since that was a familiar feeling, it barely marked her. Instead, she was grateful. His absence allowed her to think clearly about what had just happened to her body.
It had been attraction.
Nothing more. Nothing … unexplainable.
Pushing through the dancers, needing distraction from the weirdness at the bar, Rose approached the Staff Only door and grinned at Ivan, one of the security guys. “Kako si?”
His lips curled with flirtation. “I’d be better if you’d let me walk you home tonight.”
Rose smirked. This was a dance of theirs and had been for the past two months. Ivan had made it clear he wanted in there, but Rose had rules. She stayed in one city for a few months, hoping to find something that would make her want to stay permanently. So far, she hadn’t found that elusive place.
She had rules to protect her emotions. If she found a guy she was attracted to, Rose waited until she’d decided to leave the city before she slept with him. Kind of a farewell treat for them both. Ivan was the chosen one this time. He had been for a while. He was Rose’s type to a T. Not traditionally good-looking, but charismatic, sexy, and a big ol’ flirt. Rose loved a flirt. She didn’t have time to guess if a guy was into her. She wanted one who made it clear that he was.
Rose wanted Ivan, and there was a bonus to denying herself something she wanted until the very last second. It could lead to pretty great sex. Not always. But enough to make denying herself worth it.
“Not tonight.” Rose slid by him, deliberately pressing her breasts against his side as she did.
His dark eyes hooded as he watched her. “You’re killing me, Rose.”
She bit her lip, walking backward through the staff door. “It’ll be worth it.”
Ivan lifted his chin in acknowledgement of her promise, satisfaction in his expression, and Rose was glad for the heat of it for it made her shiver with anticipation.
Just the distraction she’d needed.
The staff area was a dingy room with lockers, a table, some chairs, a small refrigerator, a counter with a sink, and a cheap coffee machine. It smelled of deodorant and cigarette smoke. Rose took a bottle of water out of the fridge and emptied its contents in less than a minute. She heaved for breath and then hauled open her locker to find her cell before slumping into a wooden chair with a wobbly leg.
The sight of a voicemail from her mom caused a flare of longing. Rose tapped the screen a few times and held the phone to her ear.
Soon her mom’s warm voice filled her head. “Hey, petal. It’s just Mam, checking in. I’m guessing you’re still in Zagreb. So … your da and I are thinking about getting a puppy and I need your opinion on that. You know us better than anyone. Can we handle a puppy? I think we can handle it, but your da is on the fence. Push him off the fence for me, petal, or I’ll be waiting another five years to get a damn dog. Okay. Call your mother back. It’s only polite.”
Rose grinned, hanging up. She knew why her dad was on the fence about a damn dog. Because her mother was flaky, and her dad would end up doing all the practical stuff, like taking it for walks and feeding it.
She missed them.
Just not enough to stop wandering.
Her parents were six hours behind in the US, so it wasn’t too late in the evening there to call them … but the dog was a trap. Once her mom had her on the phone, she’d pester Rose about coming home. The first year, her parents hadn’t said a word. They even understood and were excited (but terrified) for her as she traveled across Australia.
But when year two came around and she got a flight to Europe instead of heading home to Maryland, their patience dwindled. Now, it was year three of the nomadic life, and Rose’s parents wanted her to grow up and settle down. Preferably in Columbia, Maryland.
“I’m not ready,” she whispered to the room.
At twenty-five, she still hadn’t found what she was looking for, and she knew it wasn’t back in the US. Problem was she knew it could take people a lifetime to find that quintessential “something” that completed them. Sometimes they never found it. Rose was determined to keep looking until she did, which did not bode well for her loving parents.
The door to the staff room flew open, causing Rose to startle. She jumped to her feet as two strangers hurried into the room. “This is staff only,” she said, looking between the young man and woman. “Samo osoblje.”
“We don’t speak Croatian,” the young woman said in a lilting Irish accent.
“Okay, then you understood me when I said staff only.” Rose crossed her arms over her chest and eyed the man warily. Although young, he was tall and well built. The two were remarkably attractive—he was dark while she was fair. They shared the same tip-tilted aquamarine eyes.
Not averse to the sight of a gorgeous guy, Rose would usually be drawn to the man, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the woman. It was hard to explain the compulsion. It could be her appearance. She was a beautiful girl, perhaps around Rose’s age, with blond, fairy-princess hair, and she wore a long dress with billowing sleeves that cuffed at the wrist. It was a paisley print in bold fuchsia and aqua. Silver-and-moonstone rings adorned her fingers, and she wore long, silver-and-feather chandelier earrings. Her features were small and perfect, and she had a slightly pointed chin. There was something elfin about her.
For some reason, she reminded Rose of the man from earlier, which was ridiculous considering he looked like a Viking someone had put a suit on, while this woman was small, delicate, and stunning.
And staring at Rose with intense confusion.
“Well, get on with it,” the young man said to his companion. He, too, was Irish. “He’s here. We don’t have time for you to stare at each other. I wish you could see that bastard coming, Niamh, before he lands in the same city as us.”
“Guys, you can’t be in—hey!” Rose yelled as the young woman suddenly accosted her, clutching her head.
She’d moved fast.
No one moved that fast.
Energy tingled along Rose’s head, like bugs crawling across her scalp. She clutched at the woman’s wrists, trying to pry her off, shocked when she couldn’t.
Rose was strong. Naturally so. She always had been. It had held her in good stead during her time as a competitive gymnast through high school.
But this waif of a woman was stronger.
Inexplicable fear flooded Rose.
The woman let her go, her eyes round with shock.
What does she have to be shocked about? She isn’t the one who’s just been attacked!
“What the hell!” Rose shoved her away, and the man took a menacing step forward.
The woman held up her hand, stopping him, her attention never leaving Rose. “You have a block on you. A spell. Someone has blocked your access to your powers.”
Okay, then. Ignoring the woman’s freakish, unexplainable speed, Rose backed away from a person high on something or who took pranking people to another level. Or she was just plain old nuts. “Look, I will let it slide that you put your hands on me without permission and just ask you to leave.” She spoke slowly, calmly, so as not to cause agitation. “Now, please.”
“Don’t talk to my sister like she’s a lunatic.” The man glowered. “You need to listen to her, and fast. We don’t have much time.”
“You don’t know who you are.” The woman gawked at Rose. “Oh God, you need to know who you are.”
“I know who I am, gorgeous, and who I am is a slightly freaked-out bartender two seconds from calling security on your ass.”
“Niamh, we don’t have time to deal with an ignorant human. We have to go.”
“She’s not an ignorant human. Okay, she’s ignorant but she’s important, Ronan Farren,” Niamh snapped at him. She turned back to Rose, irritation changing to earnestness. “More important than anyone else in the world.”
Taking a step back, Rose’s earlier fear returned tenfold. Niamh was either a great actress or desperately believed Rose was the Second Coming. And how the hell did she know her name? Had she asked one of the other bartenders? Probably. Fear wasn’t a usual emotion for Rose, and the fact that this extra from the Lord of the Rings movies was freaking her out pissed her off. “Yeah, you two need to leave. Like, now.”
“There are two paths, Rose. I see them clearly. At the beginning of one, you die, and if you die, the world as we know it will be over. I don’t know why or how, but I know it’s true. The other path, the one where you don’t die, we all live.”
She was so sincere, so believable, a chill cut to Rose’s core. Anger immediately followed the unsettling feeling. “You need to get your tiny ass out of this club right now.” Rose charged toward her. “You think this is funny? Is this some shtick the two of you do to complete strangers? Well, not to me. Not tonight. Go fuck yourself and while you’re at it, get the hell out of this club.”
Ronan moved toward his sister, but she shook her head. “She’s strong, but she has no power. Not with that spell on her.” She bit her lip, studying Rose like she was a high school science experiment. “We have to remove the block.”
“Nee, we need to go. Does she die tonight or not? Because if not, we can come back.”
“Is that a threat?” Rose swallowed, trying to look unafraid as she searched the staff room for a potential weapon.
“No. I’m not here to hurt you and you’d know that if there wasn’t a bloody spell on your mind.” Niamh froze, eyes wide, her mouth open as if in a silent scream. Her head began to shake from side to side in small, frantic increments.
“What the hell …”
“Niamh.” Ronan grabbed his sister, pressing her close and turning his body toward Rose as if to shield Niamh from her.
Uneasiness held Rose in place. “What is happening? Is she seizing?”
He cut her a dark look. “She’s having a vision.”
An impatient Rose threw her hands up in the air. “Of course, she is. Why wouldn’t she be?”
As abruptly as his sister had started seizing—for lack of a better word—she stopped. Her small, elegant fingers curled into her brother’s biceps. She looked up at him, seemingly shocked. “He’s close. We need to go.”
“And her?” Ronan gestured to Rose as Niamh released Ronan and started backing toward the door.
“I understand now,” she whispered, staring at Rose in awe. “Only she can deliver us from him.”
Ronan glanced from his sister to Rose. “Are you sure, Niamh?”
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