The Brethren Series
Publisher: Bloodhorse Press
Date of Publication: 11/2011
Number of pages: 155
Word Count: 62,640
Brandon Noble thinks the worst is behind him and is ready to begin a new life with the woman he loves. Lina Jones is more reluctant to let bygones be bygones, but agrees to try for Brandon's sake. But just as they look forward to a promising future together, new danger arises -- and Brandon's very nature could threaten to tear them ruthlessly apart.
Lina had never seen Brandon so fully enthralled by the bloodlust before—not without him feeding from her or finding sexual release. It had left him exhausted, flustered and—she realized suddenly—frightened.
Because he’s never seen himself like this, either.
“Brandon,” she whispered, reaching up to press her palm to his cheek. God, he was burning up, his skin hot like the side of a glassworks furnace. “Feed from me.”
Don’t ask me that, he gasped, shaking his head. God, Lina, please. I can’t!
“Yes, you can,” she pleaded. “You have to try. This isn’t working.”
It has to! he cried. Shaking his head his head to dislodge her hand from his face, he then seized hold of her, locking his fingers through hers, pinning her hands down against the bed. You don’t understand, he seethed, his brows furrowed. He leaned down enough for her to see herself—her sudden, visible alarm—reflected in the obsidian pools of his eyes. This has to work—it has to. If I bite you now, I won’t be able to stop. Do you get it? Do you hear me? I won’t be able to stop myself!
The Brethren Series
Publisher: Bloodhorse Press
Date of Publication: 6/2014
Number of pages: 212
Word Count: 130,860
From the beginning, it's been the two of them: Brandon Noble and Lina Jones, against the world...against all odds. But in the end, Brandon couldn't resist his true vampire nature, and the relentless pull of the blood lust drove them apart. Now he's disappeared without a trace and his life may very well be in danger. Can Lina put aside her broken heart to help find the man she loves? Or does Brandon's salvation lie in the hands of the most unlikely hero of all?
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/3KIlWNhpZmk
Smashwords Amazon BN
Brandon lay spooned against Lina, his chest facing her back, the curves of her body resting in perfect complement with his own. Her hair, a tousled mess of dark, springy curls, tickled the underside of his nose. He had his hand draped lightly over the slim indention of her waist, his fingers loosely twined through hers.
I don’t understand this—any of it, Brandon thought. But he found he no longer had the heart to question it. Because this is what I want—you’re what I want, Lina, he thought, breathing in the scent of her perfume, and kissing her lightly through her hair. You’re what I need.
Although he was loath to leave her, he slowly drew free from their embrace and slipped out of bed. Leaving her curled on her side, her body draped in blankets, he pulled on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. Grabbing his cell phone, Brandon padded softly toward the bedroom doorway. Here, he paused, glancing over his shoulder, watching as she dozed, cat-like and comfortable, in a sunbeam.
God, you’re beautiful, he thought, the corners of his mouth lifting in a soft smile. I want this every day, for the rest of my life. I want you.
He wandered through the chateau, and everything was just as he remembered. It had come pre-furnished, courtesy of the Morins, but Lina had added her own touches here and there to the décor: a tabletop sculpture of a moose made from old paint cans, springs and cogs in the living room bought during an outing to an art gallery with Tessa; a framed photograph of her and Brandon taken outside one of the gaudy casino exteriors on the Nevada side of the lake; a bowl of giant pinecones—each bigger than a softball—she’d collected from the yard outside. He gazed out the bay windows in the living room and found everything outside just as he’d known it, too—flawless azure sky, clustered stands of towering evergreen trees, the distant but distinct cerulean plane of Emerald Bay below.
It was a beautiful place, a peaceful place, and as it always did, it made Brandon feel at ease simply to be there, bearing mute witness to its splendor.
He sat down on the couch and looked down at the cell phone in his hand. Again, it occurred to him—floating to mind, as if something rancid bobbing briefly to the surface in a murky pond—that the phone was supposed to be lost.
When Jackson moved out of his mother’s house in Florida, he thought. His head hurt, a sudden burst, a throbbing ache just behind his eyes, and with a frown, he pinched the bridge of his nose. Only I didn’t go to Florida. So I couldn’t have lost my phone there. Besides… He opened his eyes, blinking down at the iPhone in his hand. …I have it right here. That’s proof I didn’t lose it.
He opened his messages as Lina had done, and felt his heart quicken with excitement as he saw Sebastian’s name and number pop up. If losing his phone had been just a dream, then…
Then losing my dad must’ve been one, too, he thought, tapping on the touchscreen keypad, and typing a message: Hey, Dad—are you busy?
For a long moment, he couldn’t send the message, even though he knew it was ridiculous to hesitate. The idea that Sebastian was gone had been so powerful and poignant within him; to realize now that he wasn’t, that Brandon could have another chance—countless chances—to talk to him, text him, interact with him was damn near overwhelming.
But almost as soon as he pressed send, the phone vibrated in his hand, not because Sebastian’s response had been so quickly forthcoming, but because a dialogue box had appeared onscreen: Signal lost. Message not sent. Please try again.
What? With a frown, Brandon held up the phone: no bars, no signal, no reception. He rose to his feet and walked closer to the windows, but still had no luck. He moved around the house, going from room to room; he turned the phone off and on again, but no matter what he tried, he couldn’t get a transmission signal. Shrugging on a lightweight jacket, he stepped out onto the deck to see if the reception was any better. But it wasn’t.
Damn it, Brandon thought with a deepening frown, as he glared, frustrated, at the impotent phone in his hand. It had apparently worked last night—there was the conversation he’d had with his father right there on the screen to prove it. But still, Brandon had no memory of that conversation, not even the distant, dream-like sort in which Sebastian had died, or that he had lost his cell phone. That utter lack of memory did more than trouble Brandon. It pained him.
Because I feel cheated somehow, he thought, as ridiculous as it sounded. He felt desperate now to get in touch with Sebastian, to prove to himself that this was reality, and everything else—all of the half-memories bobbing and percolating in the back of his mind—were dreams. I want to talk to my dad. Even if it’s only through a stupid goddamn text, I want to talk to…
All at once, Brandon’s attention snapped from the phone in his hand to the woods, his brows narrowing, his entire body growing instantly tense. He could sense another Brethren, that distinctive, tingling sensation that meant another like him was nearby. Normally at the Morin compound, this wouldn’t have alarmed him because the only ones there were Brethren. But in that moment, as he felt that unmistakable awareness of other Brethren within his proximity, he realized he hadn’t been feeling it all along as he’d grown accustomed. It was like the entire area was completely empty, at least of other vampires—until now.
Below him, through the tangle of trees, Brandon saw him, a Brethren man looking up at the bungalow—most specifically, at Brandon. His eyes were a clear, nearly lucent shade of blue, like the waters of Lake Tahoe. He reached for Brandon as if desperately imploring, his fingers splayed wide, and his arm had been stripped of any visible flesh, flayed so that the bright red meat of his muscles lay gruesomely exposed. Blood spattered in fat droplets onto the floor and the stark white sheets beneath him were stained scarlet.
Please… the man gasped, and Brandon knew his face, his eyes—his name.
Please… Aaron begged, his eyes glassy with pain, wide with alarm. Don’t…!
Character Name: Angelina (“Lina”) Jones
Character Bio: Lina is twenty-five years old and a former police officer. Raised by her single mother, Lina grew up familiar with American Sign Language because her brother, Jackson, is deaf. As an adult, Jackson became a tutor for hearing impaired youngsters, and through him, Lina is introduced to Brandon Noble, a former student with whom she feels an instant and undeniable attraction. When she and Brandon fall in love, she learns the terrifying truth about him—he’s one of the Brethren, an ancient species of vampires. Brandon has defied the laws of the Brethren by being with Lina, and throughout the Brethren series, Lina and Brandon must work together to try and stop the vengeful wrath of his people—and his own bloodthirsty nature—from tearing them apart. In Dark Vengeance Part 1, they think the worst is behind them and they can look forward to a long, happy future together. But a trip to Florida that was supposed to be their dream getaway turns into a nightmare neither one could have foreseen, and in Dark Vengeance Part 2, Lina must accept help from the most unlikely of people if she hopes to save Brandon.
© 2014 Taria Reed www.thereedfiles.com
Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?
My best quality is my determination. When I set my mind on something, God help anyone or anything that gets in my way. Some people see me as being stubborn or bull-headed, but I’m not. I just don’t mess around when it comes to achieving my goals.
My worst quality would probably be my self-confidence. Or lack of it, I should say. I’ve never felt beautiful—even though Brandon tells me that I am. My ex-boyfriend, Jude, used to tell me the same thing, but then I found out he was cheating on me. He told me it was because I was too hard—inside and out, that’s how he put it. (Talk about doing wonders for my ego!) I don’t have the whole tits-and-ass thing that men want. I’m flat-chested and long-legged—there’s a reason my brother Jackson called me “Scarecrow” when we were growing up. Brandon says those things don’t matter to him, but I don’t know. They never mattered to me before either, but ever since Jude left me…I’ve started doubting myself more and more.
What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?
I’m not as tough as I act. I put on a good show—I’m a cop. I have to. But I definitely have a softer side, especially when it comes to the people I love. I put a lot of faith and trust into those who are closest to me, but I also definitely give a lot of devotion and loyalty in return. When my trust is betrayed, though, those tough walls go back up, and if you think it’s hard getting past them the first time around, just wait until you come begging for second chances.
What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?
I would love to have someone take care of me for a change. I feel like I’m always supposed to be the strong one, the fighter, and it would be such a change of pace, such a relief, to just let someone else be in control, to make what I want and need, priorities for a while.
What are you most afraid of?
Being betrayed by the man I love again. When Jude cheated on me, it devastated me. I swore up and down I’d never trust a man, never love one again. Finding Brandon was completely unexpected—my feelings for him totally blindsided me. But even though I know in my heart what’s between us is real, and meant to be, I can’t help but still be afraid in the back of my mind…afraid that he’s going to hurt me some day, break my trust, too.
What do you want more than anything?
To be happy, safe, secure, and loved by the man I love.
What is your relationship status?
I’m with Brandon Noble. He was once my brother’s student, but he’s definitely not a kid anymore. And while I was pretty shocked to learn he was a Brethren—a vampire, the truth about his nature has only strengthened that bond and attraction between us. When I imagine the future, I see Brandon in it—no doubt.
How would you describe your sense of fashion?
In a word: lacking. I’m not one much for dressing up or wearing make-up. I’m definitely a T-shirt and jeans kind of girl. And usually there’s a gun holster included instead of something like earrings or a purse. I don’t do heels unless it’s a wedding or a funeral—nine times out of ten, if not more, you’ll find me in my running shoes or barefooted.
How much of a rebel are you?
I never considered myself to be a rebel at all, but it seems like since meeting Brandon, all I’ve done is rebel. I mean, I was wanted for murder for a while, considered a fugitive from justice because of being with Brandon! I think more than anything, though, I stand up for what I believe in, what I feel in my heart is right. And when it involves Brandon or other people I love, I’m willing to take any risk, face any odds, to keep them safe.
What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?
Becoming a police officer. My grandfather, who has dementia, was one of the first black police officers in my hometown. I’ve always been so proud of that, proud to be his granddaughter, and I grew up listening to his stories about being on the force. I dreamed about becoming a cop, just like him. Following in his footsteps, making him proud of me—that was definitely the highlight of my life so far.
What is your idea of happiness?
What is your current state of mind?
For the first time in forever, I feel like I can relax and breathe—and for the life of me, I don’t know what to do with myself! For the past year, Brandon and I have been on the run, but now all of that is behind us. He’s reconciling his differences with his family (although I’m not convinced that’s such a great thing), and he’s finally come to a place both among the Brethren, and in his own skin, as far as his vampire nature, where he’s comfortable and confident. This complete change of pace has kind of taken us both by surprise. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak, for something bad to happen, for something to go wrong.
What is your most treasured possession?
I don’t know. Having lived out of a suitcase for the last year, I can’t really say that I have any possession I particularly value. Peace of mind—that’s what I treasure. I have it now for the first time in forever, and it’s like a huge weight’s been lifted off my shoulders. I feel free again, and that’s definitely priceless.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I call things—and people—like I see them. I don’t mince words, don’t beat around the bush. I’m blunt, but I’m honest. If that makes me seem like a bitch, then too bad.
What is it that you, most dislike?
Liars. People who betray my hard-earned trust.
Which living person do you, most despise?
That’s easy. Brandon’s grandfather, Augustus Noble. He’s the patriarch of the Noble family, the most powerful vampire among the Brethren. He’s mega-rich, mega-powerful, and thinks he can buy anyone or anything he wants. Including Brandon. And while once upon a time, Brandon saw through his crap, it seems like ever since his father died, he’s been so vulnerable—and Augustus is taking full advantage of it, playing him. I don’t trust that bastard as far as I could throw him.
What is your greatest regret?
My biggest regret is that I’ve disappointed my family. My mother, brother, and grandfather mean the world to me. And while I love Brandon with all of my heart, I know my relationship with him—and everything that it’s cost me so far—has really changed their perception of me. My mother, in particular, is disappointed, and that hurts a lot. In the last year, she’s had breast cancer, a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation…it’s taken a lot out of her. She hasn’t needed the extra stress my situation with Brandon has put on her, and I’m ashamed that it’s adversely affected her health. I wish I could somehow have my relationship with Brandon and not hurt my family in the process.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Honesty—even more than loyalty. People fall out of love. I get that. Things change, and breaking up may hurt, but sometimes it serves a greater purpose in the long run. But at least be a man and tell me you want to be with someone else. Don’t lie and say you love me when you know you’re playing me for a fool.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Strength. I hate weak-willed, spineless women who act like they need a man to do everything for them. There’s a difference between being in a partnership in which two people take care of each other, and being a doormat or someone’s arm candy. I want a man who appreciates me, cherishes me, and values my thoughts and opinions—I’d never settle for one who doesn’t! I don’t get any woman who does.
Who is your favorite hero in fiction?
Good God, I can’t even tell you the title of the last book I read!
Which living person do you most admire?
My mother. Like I said earlier, she’s a breast cancer survivor, and she’s still undergoing treatments after her mastectomy. When I was a kid, she worked two or three jobs at a time just to be able to afford a nice house in a good neighborhood where she felt me and my brother would be safe. She worked her way through night school to become a nurse, so she could afford the therapy and treatments my brother needed because of his hearing loss. She pushed us both, me and my brother, to always do our best and never settled for anything less, but as a result, I don’t expect or accept anything otherwise from myself either. She moved to Florida ten years ago when my grandfather first started getting sick with Alzheimer’s. She took care of him until he got to a point where he needed more help than she could offer, and she goes now to see him almost every day at the nursing home. She’s the strongest person I know—man or woman.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I’d be happier, more satisfied with myself and my life in the moment. I’d relax more, laugh longer, worry less.
What is your motto?
“Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal.” I always try to stay focused on my goals. I know that achieving them may not be easy, and the price I have to pay may be high, but in the end, it will be worth it.
“Definitely an author to watch.” That’s how Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine describes Sara Reinke.
New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards calls Reinke “a new paranormal star” and Love Romances and More hails her as “a fresh new voice to a genre that has grown stale.”
Dark Thirst and Dark Hunger, the first two books in The Brethren Series of vampire romance are available from Kensington/Zebra Books, while the third installment, Dark Passion, is available from Double Dragon Publishing.
The series continued with Dark Passages: Tristan & Karen, Dark Passages 2: Pilar & Elías and Dark Vengeance Parts 1 and 2, from Bloodhorse Press.
Learn more about Sara and her available titles at www.sarareinke.com