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Enter to win your chance at a signed book from the author and a chance to win $150 in book money from the online retailer of your choice…Read on for details…
Assassin’s Heart by Monica Burns
The laser hit his skin again from his ear down to his jaw. The pain pulled a pitched scream of agonized terror from him, and he fell backward into a black pool of nothingness—his last thought was of Ancient Rome and Phaedra running to meet him. He was home again.
He had no idea how long he’d been out, but when he awoke, everything was silent and dark. Was it nighttime in the Elysium Fields? He tried to sit up. The slight movement sent fire streaking through every cell in his body. He started to cry. The Praetorian bastardo had left him here to die. Alone. His own son.
He grew still with horror. He wasn’t Sicari. He was Praetorian. The obscene thought pulled a cry of denial from him. His mind hovered on the brink of despair. Impossible. It couldn’t be true. But they shared the same birthmark. The whisper of truth curled through his head. He wouldn’t believe it. The bastardo was lying. A teardrop rolled over his skinned cheek, and it pulled a sob of anguish from him.
“Fotte. Fotte. Fotte.”
It was a roar of fear and helplessness, as well as a cry of agony. More tears flowed over his bared muscles, until the pain sent him back to that dark place again.
Voices filtered their way down into the pit, and he shuddered with terror. They’d come back for him. Like a wild animal anticipating more torture, he tugged at his restraints ignoring the fire that consumed his body. He wouldn’t be able to keep the figlio di puttana out of his head this time. He heard running feet, and then he smelled the soft scent of a woman. Marta?
“Sweet Juno.” Cleo leaned over him, her cool hand brushing across his forehead. Horror widened her eyes as she stared down at him. In the next instant, she spoke into her mic. “Lysander’s alive, but I don’t know for how much longer. He needs the Curavi. Now.”
He couldn’t hear the response she got, but a sudden image of Phaedra filled his head. She was here. A subtle warmth filled him as her fear and worry for him whispered sweetly across his mind. Deus, he needed her right now. Needed to feel her touch. Her hand in his, her healing—no.
The sound of feet pounded on the warehouse floor once more, and first Ares then Phaedra came into view. He’d never seen a more beautiful, yet terrifying, sight in his entire life. He couldn’t take part in seeing her lovely face marred by his injuries. Couldn’t let her see the monster inside him. Terror lanced through him as she reached for his hand. Tormented, he tugged at his restraints.
“No. No Curavi.”
Cleo clamped down on his arm. “Merda, he’s out of his mind with pain.”
“For the love of God, Cleo. Tighten those restraints.” Panic laced through Phaedra’s voice. “I can’t heal him if he’s fighting me. I’ll heal the lesser injuries first. Then we can transport him. When we’re home, I’ll…I’ll do what I can for his other wounds.”
He saw her swallow hard and recognized her fear. The idea of her taking on his injuries was a nightmare, but he knew without a doubt that when she touched him she’d be able to see all the darkness inside him. He was too weak to keep her locked out of his thoughts if she touched him. She’d see. She’d see everything because the pain was too horrible to prevent her from learning the truth.
“No,” he roared. “No Curavi.”
The strength of his voice echoed loudly in the room, and he heard Ares utter a vicious curse while Cleo grasped his hand in a death grip. Fear and horror darkened Phaedra’s eyes as bent over him. Her mouth brushed across the ear on his unmarked cheek.
“Let me do this for you, carino,” she whispered in a sweet, gentle voice. “I’m not afraid.”
“No. Refuse the Curavi.”
He tried to shake his head as he forged through the pain and ground out the word forcefully. Couldn’t let her see. Her parents’ murder…hated Praetorians…couldn’t bear her hatred. He felt himself slipping off into oblivion and climbed up the cliff back into the pain. She’d heal him without his permission if he didn’t protest.
“Listen you dumb son of a bitch.” Cleo’s voice was harsh. “You let Phaedra heal you or I’m going to rip you a new one. You hear me?”
“No…dead already.” And he was. He was Praetorian, and if anyone found out…he’d rather die.
“Give me your hands, Lysander. With your permission, I must touch you to heal your injuries.” There was a frantic desperation in Phaedra’s voice, but it only made him clench his hands into tight fists.
“I. Refuse. Curavi.”
His voice wasn’t loud, but it was strong and determined. He heard someone nearby release a vicious sound. Ares. His Legatus pushed Cleo aside to grip his arm with force.
“Take the goddamn, Curavi, you sorry bastardo.”
Something wet hit his unscarred cheek and his gaze shifted from Ares to Phaedra. In the dim light, he could see tears clinging to her lashes. He wouldn’t hurt her. Wouldn’t let her see he was everything she hated. He loved her too much. He released a sob of pain.
“Is. My. Right. Refuse. Curavi.” Each word was a labor of effort to say.
“No,” Phaedra exclaimed violently. “I’m not about to let you die, you dumb bacciagalupe.”
Visit’s Alison’s Blog…next up in the September Sizzle’s contest…
Would you like to win a signed book from Monica’s available backlist*? Just leave a comment to enter. Commenting also enters you to win a $150 GC to the online book retailer of your choice (we must be able to purchase a gift certificate from within the US.) If you visit each participating author’s blog and comment, that increases your odds of winning. Visiting/commenting at each participating author blog will get your five entries. However, only one comment per blog.
- Contest runs through 9/17/2010
- One comment/entry per blog
- Winners to be posted by 9/30/2010 on the participating authors’ blogs
- You must check back at the authors’ blogs to send if you have won-if you don’t claim your prize within one week, you forfeit your prize.
- Void where prohibited
- Please make sure to abide by hosting author’s standard contest rules.
ETA: *please note… the contest isn’t for this book… it’s for a title from Monica’s backlist-one of her older releases… thank you!