Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Elfin Blood by Gracen Miller
Scorned by her own kind for her half-breed elf status, Julija lives a lonely existence among her Ivory Elf kin. She is the only one the elves can trust when a magical book in elf lore is stolen. Relegated to steal the Book from the vampire thief, Landau Jamieson, she's surprised to discover he has the ability to walk in daylight. Refusing to be deterred by developing setbacks, she’s committed to executing the heist for an Ivory King who grows more desperate to possess the Book. Nothing about the vampire is as it appears and Julija begins to doubt her mission. Worse, she begins to worry she won't have the strength to guard her heart from her sworn enemy.
Landau is fascinated by the elf stalking him and baffled by the potent hunger she elicits after ten thousand years of celibacy. Soon he discovers the lovely sprite is a pawn in a dangerous game--orchestrated by none other than a reviled enemy from his past. While blind-sided by her beauty and her magical powers, the least of which is the spell she casts on his heart, the sinister plot unfolds. What started out as folly to catch a thief, blossoms into a love that casts aside bloodlines and forges all boundaries.
Julija squinted against the sun’s harsh rays. Not even her darkly tinted sunglasses entirely cut the glare. The frames slid down her sweat-slick nose. She pushed them back up and looked around, her impatience rising. For the fifth time in as many minutes, she glanced at her watch. Two minutes left. She resettled her gaze on the odd looking house across the street.
The structure looked more like a fortress than an actual home and gave her the creeps. It was too gothic, too dark, and contrary to her light-imbued life. Made from slate, the house reached high into the sky like a castle with its domed ceilings. Gargoyles carved from stone rested above the windows, as if offering protection from demonic entities. With a vampire in residence, perhaps they did.
She shuddered to think of it as a home, but the richest, most powerful man in the city of Veil—Landau Jamieson the IV or V or something along that order—considered it such. The man was the sole reason she stood here, or rather the vampire disguised as a man was the sole reason. Ironically the city’s residents considered him royalty. Hell, more like Batman of Gotham in these parts.
Priceless. Absolutely priceless. For no other purpose other than to make herself feel good, Julija rolled her eyes beneath the thick shades.
The vampire had stolen the Ivory Elfin Book of Lore. The ancient tome detailing every creature in existence, including the fey, had been entrusted to the Elves at the dawn of creation. Whoever possessed the book also possessed great knowledge, expertise that could be dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands. Ownership of the book also ensured great power, power she could not allow a vampire to keep.
For a week now, Julija had watched him and tried to gauge the best time to strike. Failure was not an option for the best thief among the Elves. Secretly, she was proud of her talent; it had served her people well. Elves were renowned for their light step, and it just so happened her fingers were stickier than most of her kind.
Security systems could not deter her; she possessed enough magic to nix the best system in the world.
She would retrieve the book, once she figured out how to bypass the perceptive vampire and his minions. One thing still puzzled her—how had the vampire stolen it to begin with when only Elf Royals were allowed to touch it? Another dilemma for her since she was not an Elf Royal.
Her best chance to retrieve it would be in two days when the vampire attended the depot dedication of Veil's newly renovated train station. Feeling melodramatic about the event, she rolled her eyes again. How humans loved to waste money. The homeless lived near the train station, beneath the bridges in cardboard boxes. Died there too, while the station went through elaborate renovations for the wealthy and elite.
Julija glanced at her watch again as the black limousine rolled to a halt in front of the vampire’s home. Like clockwork, the man left for work every day at precisely the same time. Talk about being a creature of habit!
The vampire in question strode about as blatant as he pleased in daylight. Daylight! Vampires and daylight mixed like metal and acid. Daylight and acid were supposed to vaporize vampires and metal, but apparently not so with this vampire.
Every cocky step he took reeked arrogance. While she pondered how he managed to keep from melting beneath the sunlight, he lifted his head. Their gazes locked.
Cool as ice, and trained for confrontations, she returned his gaze. While not the most skilled fighter, she possessed some ability in that area.
Landau’s stylishly cut, dark blonde hair gleamed like gold beneath the bright sun. The man was tall, broad shouldered, and athletically built. The charcoal gray business suit, tailored precisely to fit his frame, bespoke wealth—not money, but wealth. Even from this distance, he oozed pheromones and drew her like an addictive narcotic. That could be dangerous for her elfin libido—inordinately high in comparison to other fey creatures.
The vampire tossed her a crooked grin before sliding into the back seat, leaving little question in her mind he’d spotted her. Unmoving, she watched as the limo pulled away.
Perfect. He knows he's being watched.
Although gone from the residence, unfortunately that didn’t mean Landau left his home unguarded. Oh, no, nothing could be that easy.
Flagrant to her elfin eyes, his home embodied magic. Translated, that meant he’d opened the Ivory Elfin Book of Lore and was, in fact, utilizing the spells in the book. In all likelihood he’d used the same witchery to protect himself from the glaring sun.
Because of this, she’d have to kill him once she had the book in her possession again.
* * * * *
Landau adjusted the black sunglasses on his face and glanced out the limousine window.
The woman on the bench appealed to him with her pale, almost white, blonde hair. Through her thick shades he’d assessed her eyes to be pale blue with barely a hint of color, rather albino in nature. Her milky white complexion had looked softer than satin. He wondered how such delicate skin would bruise.
But she had an agenda. Either she was a reporter—not likely—or up to no good. Bingo! Landau couldn’t wait to find out the no good part. A long time had passed since he’d enjoyed himself.
Although he’d tried, he couldn’t read her mind. She possessed one of few human minds he couldn’t penetrate. Or she wasn’t human. The phenomena lent her an air of mystery. Even though he couldn't glean her thoughts, he knew her mind worked at top speed, planning, scheming, and devising until a perfect little blueprint had been mapped out in her mind. Her eyes were too shrewd to suggest otherwise.
He’d tossed her a snarky little grin before entering the limo, just to let her know he knew she was stalking him. That should leave give her something to think about. He chuckled then addressed his bodyguard. “Find out who she is.”
“Immediately,” Edward, an Abecedarian—a fledgling, in human terms—agreed and then tipped his nose in the air and sniffed as if in disdain over being assigned such a menial task.