Ancients of Light Series by Heather Fleener (paranormal romance)
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In the beginning…there were Vampire.
Man’s fall from grace sparked the birth of the Dark creatures from the underworld. To counter the explicit threat to mankind, divinely-created immortals were brought forth. The Witch encompassed seven Castes of power; their magic was most effective against the nefarious agenda pursued by the evil ones.
The war has raged since the beginning of human history. Ancients of Light is the series detailing the stories of the immortals that will fulfill an arcane prophecy and bring about the conclusion of the supernatural conflict.
(Ancients of Light, #1) by Heather Fleener
She is Chosen
Kaitriana’s gift of magic is unrivaled. A descendant of the most powerful Ancient in existence, her birth was foretold ages before her time. Destined to lead the Witch faction, she is betrayed by her own kind, destroying her birthright and all hope of delivering the Realm from the sinister shadow of the Ancient Dark.
He is the Key
Lorcan is a mighty warlord in the Vampire species. His animosity towards the magical immortals is personal – his mother was their Queen. Having long since severed all ties with his former kin, his existence remains plagued by the repercussions of her treachery and a secret that threatens to be his downfall.
They are the Prophecy
An arcane prophecy from the time of the Ancients proclaims that only two in all of creation can bring peace to the Realm. When Kaitriana miraculously appears seeking his protection, Lorcan must forsake his duty and disregard the dictates of his breed to shelter the female. Together they must combat the Ancient Dark and surmount the forces within their own factions that would oppose the Prophecy. Their fates have always been entwined and only when joined can they triumph over a blood feud that has shadowed the Light for millennia.
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Though the scene was being witnessed by hundreds of warriors, at this moment none existed but the two before the gates. Lorcan’s tone was icy, “What know you of my mother?”
“Apparently more truth than you….Lorcan.” Her inability to locate Myrrdyn had caused her to seek the Vampire warrior; she instinctively trusted him and she needed his protection. Kaitriana had not intended to insult him nor broach the subject of his Witch mother, but the pain, fatigue and hunger plaguing her now made her testy. She was not in the mood to argue vampires and the falseness of their beliefs.
Anger rising, apparently she knew her enemy by name while he had no inkling of her origin or purpose, Lorcan still managed to check himself and he stepped no closer in response to her taunt. She had kept her head down, the curtain of her hair continued to hide her face from him. His ears and all those within the yards of the keep were keen enough to hear her sharp intake of breath, accompanied by an ever so slight moan of pain. The girl’s hands extended shakily from the skirts of her gown, still tightened in a claw-like grip as though in reaction to immense suffering. Her fingertips scraped over the snow, raising dirt as she hunched slightly forward.
He witnessed it at the same time a faint trace reached his senses; a smattering of blood was on the bodice of her gown, much more of it smeared over her arms. Anger abated slightly for the moment with the realization that the creature was suffering. Lorcan released his hand from the sword and in direct opposition to his cautionary nature he squatted closer to her level. He scooped up a handful of the powdery snowfall, patiently sifting it through his fingers. He provided her a minute, attempting to allow her to regain some composure before he pressed, “You are injured?”
Her head remained lowered and Kaitriana eased back as the wave of pain slowly subsided. She refolded her hands demurely in her lap and followed with a short, rueful laugh. “I have been tending my injuries for nearly half a millennium, Milord. At this moment I am in pain, yes… but this blood is not mine, nor have I been injured during all the bloodletting that has left me in such a state.”
Lorcan was appreciative of the response she gave though her words were a bit odd. ‘Milord’…her language was dated. Damn, if the creature would just push those curls back so that he could see her eyes and ascertain her intentions. Lorcan did not lie to himself; he was curious and cared to see if she was as pretty as he was imagining. How he could feel such intrigue towards a supposed threat he could not gather, but there was something about her that pulled at him on an instinctive level.
He could not garner a clear scent of her either, which perplexed him further. She did not reek of any of the Witch Castes. Her scent might be masked somewhat by the blood that marred her skin and gown, but to be undetectable to one with his senses was odd indeed. In order to be responsible for the death of the magnitude described by Jortha, the little thing must be Ancient and of one of the stronger Castes.
Those delicate shoulders raised, just enough to send snow cascading from them as he watched, “I am not an Ancient…nor nearly so old as you…”
Lorcan stiffened; was she probing his thoughts?
As if to confirm, Kaitriana slowly lifted her head, raising her face to his view. The effort cost her. The splitting in her head amplified immensely with the slight movement and her body felt as though it were being torn apart on the inside. Her nails began shredding the fabric of her skirts in earnest again as she attempted to control of the shrieks of agony that wanted to escape her.
Lorcan took in the pain etched in her face, the tears gathered at the corners of her eyes and the pallor of her skin. He understood immediately her issue, noting the tips of tiny white fangs and the marks they had had left on the bottom of her lower lip. Those observations registered with him simultaneously through the impact of a shock that nearly knocked him back physically. Lorcan’s gaze locked on her. Those eyes swimming behind the pools of tears appeared as shards of ice. There was no sparkle within them at this very moment but those eyes had haunted him for centuries. He knew them well and only one in the Realm had ever possessed that amazing look.
Lorcan’s entire body weakened in a rush, requiring all his brute strength to keep himself steadfast. The air expelled rapidly from his lungs as he began counting; Lorcan realized he was crazed even as he did it. Eighteen…eighteen little freckles smattered across the beauty’s face. The creature at his feet was the very image of the beautiful witch that had been burned to memory nearly five hundred years before when she had fled at the Festival of the Moon. Kaitriana. Did he whisper it aloud?
Maybe he did, he thought a smile was taking her lips before she gasped in pain again. The fang on the right side pierced her lower lip as she arched back in agony. There was a rumbling among the men behind him. They were aware too that she was near the end of transitioning. The pain of the process that changed one into the Vampire form could cause a strong warrior to beg for death. Blood traced from the corner of her mouth and this time he could scent her. Lorcan reacted, his fangs extending sharply.
He closed the distance between them in less than a blink. The streaks of light in the sky were nearly unceasing now and Lorcan thought it may be connected somehow to the pain she suffered. Heedless of the female’s current state, he knelt down in front of her; his hands tightened around her arms and he gave her body a hard shake. He was uncaring when she responded with a tortured cry. Lorcan was greatly tormented now too, the brief feeling of relief and hope that had risen in him had been extinguished just as quickly. The despair he had felt earlier this night increased tenfold as he gazed down at the being.
Lorcan dragged her writhing form flush against the metal plating on his chest, demanding through gritted teeth, “What treachery is this? The witch is dead!” His mind was not making sense of her appearance and fury ensued. Lorcan shook her again, harder, before tossing her bodily ten feet from him to the snowy ground. A bolt of sizzling light flew from the sky and pierced the ground but a few feet from him, accompanying her shriek of pain. He was oblivious to the threat but his men began to shift uneasily as Lorcan ground out “Answer me!”
She moved not from where she landed but only drew her knees towards her chest. Kaitriana was panting through the pain, tears freely flowing down her cheeks. She lifted those watery eyes to him, hearing the crunch of his boots over snow as he approached, and extended a trembling hand in his direction.
Was she attempting to ward him off or reach for him? Having seen enough transitions to know that she was in the final stages, he also knew that in such state, no matter how powerful, she would be in no condition to fight him. He crouched on a single knee next to her, using her extended hand to jerk her roughly to him. Supporting her torso on that bended knee, he encased her upper body in the steel bands of his arms. Lorcan’s fangs extended further, his eyes blackening with his rage. He leaned to put his face in hers, his voice deadly cold, “Tell me, you deceitful bitch, why I do not tear your throat wide and end you now?”
Her lids lowered slowly, she thought the pain must have made her daft. The blackness of his eyes, induced by his Vampiric traits when his emotions were heightened, was ringed in vivid blue. She experienced a rush of cool breath from his mouth as his fangs touched the vein of her neck in warning. She would not give him the pleasure of witnessing her fear, just as she had not with those evil vampires of the Dark that fateful night long ago. In the throes of her misery she was too beleaguered by it to spend energy imagining her death at his hands. Death would be a welcome escape from the relentless agony that had arrived so suddenly. Overwhelmed by it, she had possessed barely the strength to take leave of the last of Rhydach’s manors that she had destroyed.
In her quest for the death of a killer she had destroyed any and all of Rhydach’s possessions and people that stood in her way. She had found the other bastard responsible for her parents’ murder and had exalted in his torment and the horror of his allies before she had ended them all. The pain that had come upon her immediately afterwards was crippling; although she had called desperately for Myrrdyn, he had not come to her rescue. Her memories had pushed her here and God had answered her prayers. Lorcan was in residence this night.
Another series of knifing pains shot through her entire being and the moan of misery escaped despite her best efforts. In response she rolled her body tighter against Lorcan, as if seeking comfort in the fold of his arms, rather than away from the threat he currently presented. Buried under that pain, in the recesses of her mind, she still had a tenuous grip on the deep-rooted belief that he would protect her. Her action exposed the slim column of her neck to him only more fully.
He found it odd that she offered no defense. Was there no fight in her? To him her silence was an admission of guilt, treachery. Lorcan tucked her up higher against him as he readied her neck for his bite; he wanted her tormented and he wanted her fear. Her blood stained hands splayed across his chest, but she did not push, she did not resist. Damn it, he wanted her to fight and he wanted to relish in the victory of her death. Lorcan grazed his lips over her ear and paused there to whisper as she shivered, “I will have you begging for my mercy.”
His mouth slipped downward and his fangs found the top of her throat, under the jaw line. He pressed only hard enough to drag sharp tips roughly down the entire length, leaving two thin trails of blood glistening against her pale skin. This evil would cower to him. By all that was Ancient, the creature would be begging for the end when he decided to deliver it.
(Ancients of Light, #2) by Heather Fleener
Fire is her Destiny…
Ella long ago determined she would not live a life where magic defined her. Feeling no kinship with her Caste, she walked away from the Realm and its conflicts. She found acceptance and fulfillment in her life amongst the mortals and is on the brink of achieving her dreams.
Darkness is His Curse…
Nicholas is the most revered warrior in the Darks’ army. His personal animosity towards the Light drives his existence and draws him to the one Witch he is set on controlling. Nicholas knows the reasons that Ella never found acceptance within the Fire Caste of Witch and he will use that knowledge to pursue his Dark agenda.
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He was certainly sin, wrapped in chocolate with a sprinkle of naughty. Visions of him would keep her happy in fantasy land for months. Ella felt a stabbing tingle of power again and dismissively tamped it down. Lifting her gaze to find his riveted on her, it became important to her only just then that he had robbed her of her wine. To interfere with a witch and her consumption of brew was a no-no indeed. Her brow creased in mild vexation, “Are you attempting to cut me off? Because I am a big girl and I can handle…”
His finger found her lips, cutting off her rant before she could work herself into a lather over the stolen drink. Leaning in close enough that his breath caressed her cheek, he confirmed that the attraction was not one-sided, “I am merely making certain that later, when I taste your lips, they will not be tainted with that plonk.”
Ella swore he shuddered with the characterization of her aforementioned drink before turning and nodding his thanks to the tender for the bottle of wine and glasses deposited on the bar. He swung that piercing gaze back to lock meaningfully on hers and murmured in the same smooth tone, “Your head needs to be clear enough to focus only on me when I kiss you the first time, Witch.”
His words – both his claim to her attentions later and the call to her immortal nature – had the desired effect. A sharp intake of breath and quickening pulse accompanied the rapid rise of color to her cheeks. Her eyes flared wide before narrowing with animosity. An unnatural spark of green swirled in their depths, evidence of a rise in magic, and this time Ella let it go unfettered.
Her intoxication had been enough to muddle her instincts and cause her to dismiss the warnings her magic had been screeching at her. Now that she had been clued in, it was easy for her to gain a sense of his nature as well…Vampire. Her lips curled in distaste, only to be answered by his smirk as he ignored her obvious ire to attend to their glasses. His unconcerned manner made her furious. He knew her to be of the Witch breed so he should be fleeing in the opposite direction, not pouring her a beverage…the arrogant bloodsucker.
(Ancients of Light, #3) by Heather Fleener
Darkness Claimed Her Soul
The adversity of Kylie’s youth forged an indomitable spirit. A vibrant and strong woman determined to plot the course of her life with room for nothing beyond the next measure of success, Kylie believed in only herself, and most certainly neither destiny nor love. All those tenants were derailed with a single encounter, but the same man that tempted her to live again drew her into the middle of an aged war, the consequence being her own destruction, plummeting her into a hellish existence.
A Warrior Haunted by His Failure
Sayer’s mission was only to foil the latest plan of the Darks in the Outer Realm and return a few Vampire to Hell. Finding a perfect mortal that tempted him beyond all reason was unforeseen complication. Just when Sayer realizes that his eternity is meant for one alone, Kylie is destroyed by the Darks, and the loss drives him to the pits of despair, revealing events of the past that would best be long forgotten.
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When the man persisted in silence, Kylie gave a none too subtle yank to retrieve her hand. Arrogant ass. Negotiations, as far as she was concerned, were done.
In response to her attempted extraction, Sayer stepped closer, wanting to prick the fiery temper he could sense lurking beneath her icy façade. His thumb traced over her hand when he gave her his name, “I’m Sayer, and I know exactly where I want to be, Miss Jadewell.”
It was the way he said it, coupled with the drag of his thumb in intimate suggestion over the back of her hand, that flustered her. How anyone could make that answer into a steamy innuendo was beyond her, but his delivery was grandly sexual. Her mind plummeted to wicked depths briefly and his eyes told her that he knew it. Rather than encourage him, Kylie promptly renewed her efforts to pull free; she intended to be neither his amusement nor his late night quickie.
He thought he was in control here, and it was time to dissuade him of that ridiculous notion. Kylie nodded to him – not in answer – but in farewell, “Wanting and getting are two entirely separate things, Mr. Sayer.” She barely controlled her smirk when his eyes widened in disbelief. Taking advantage of his shock, she smoothly pulled her hand loose. Kylie retreated and pivoted towards the bank of elevators, not bothering to look when she called back, “I bid you good evening.”
Sayer glanced away from the enticing sway of her hips to catch an amused grin from Fred before the night guard nodded to him in a silent show of support. His guess was that he was not the first male to have been summarily put in his place by the beauty. The predatory nature of his breed made him love both a challenge and a chase and he was beyond eager to capture this one. Ms. Jadewell had him crazed with lust and irritated all at once.
In this instance, Sayer chaffed under the constraints of human rules of law and behavior, and was tempted to drag her back to the dungeons in the Realm just so he could have her under his control, in his space and on his terms. Her dismissive nature fired Vampiric instincts in him, the need to dominate and control. He would settle instead for a little revenge. Ms. Jadewell had never faced an opponent as stubborn as an ancient Vampire, and he was all too willing to knock her confidence down a good few notches. Little Ms. Superiority would not have the last word.
Just before she reached the open elevator Fred looked back down at his newspaper providing Sayer the opportunity he needed to close in.
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About the Author
Heather Fleener lives in Indiana with her husband, D.A. and their twins, Thomas and Alexandra. Professionally she has spent her career working in the area of Intellectual Property law.
Reading has been a passion of hers since she was young and she has adored romance novels her entire life. The romantic styles of Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood are her inspiration, though she has read and loved the stories of countless other authors. Her fascination with the paranormal began to form at the young age of six, watching late-night ghost and vampire movies with her Grandpa. Unfortunately, as a result, she also remains afraid of the dark to this day.
Combining her love of epic romances and the supernatural was a natural progression for her overactive imagination. When the idea for the Ancients of Light series began, it was an abstract story line rambling around in her head to help kill a few miles on the treadmill. As the stories and plotlines continued to grow, it finally became necessary to put the words to paper and build the characters that had been living in the Realm and having conversations in her head for months.
The series is a testament to many miles on the treadmill and lots of characters that insist on having their stories told.