Nine Hundred years before Christ, God has cast his wife, Asherah, out of heaven and condemned her to roam the earth as the first vampire.
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About the Book
by Ian Conner
Published 1 June 2022
Black Raptor Books
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 321
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Nine Hundred years before Christ, God has cast his wife, Asherah, out of heaven and condemned her to roam the earth as the first vampire. Over the centuries, she created other vampires. There are also those that she left for dead but survived her attack without being completely turned into vampires. These survivors are called Cardinals. Scottish Countess Kellena Donnachaidh and Lady Suzette Allard, our protagonists, are among these cardinals. They are searching out Asherah for a final conflict.
Asherah has discovered a way back to heaven so she can exact her vengeance. Using the Amulet of Cassiel she can call the Flaming chariot of Israel to return to heaven and exact her revenge on God.
Now, 3000 years later, the Vatican and other groups are working to destroy Asherah and the vampires., fearing their own destruction if she ascends, simply want to stop Asherah using the Amulet of Cassiel to re-enter heaven. The race and intrigue to recover the Amulet is full of intrigue, betrayal.
A completely new twist on Stoker’s tale.
“Do you want some backup for your visit with Nalia?” Sharit asked, pausing before exiting the car at her apartment.
“No, I can handle it.”
“Perhaps there is some part of the relationship that can be salvaged?”
The pain was visible in Yasmeen’s eyes. Betrayal is caustic, scarring the soul like acid. Only two days ago, Yasmeen was the happiest that Sharit had seen her in years.
“I find it hard to believe that was completely a farce. Contemplate your next move, is all I’m saying.” Sharit told her.
Sharit exited the vehicle and was met by a security detail, who ushered her into her building.
“Two-Five-One Tower Bridge Drive, please,” Yasmeen told the driver.
She touched the hilt of her khopesh as they pulled away.
She faced the grim task of planning abductions, eliminations, and robberies in the coming days. Yasmeen would rather spend a month of that rather than face the next two hours.
She took out her phone and texted Nalia. “On my way.”
Arriving at Two-Five-One Tower Bridge Drive, Miss Sloane met Yasmeen at the entrance.
“Miss Khoury sent me down to assist you in.”
Sloane’s eyes widened, seeing the khopesh and other weapons hanging from her waist. She took her bag, but said nothing.
Yasmeen said nothing, including the ride up to Nalia’s apartment. It was an uncomfortable silence.
“I’ll take it from here,” Yasmeen said, taking her bag and leaving Miss Sloan in the elevator. The nerves and doubt disappeared as her training kicked in.
Nalia opened the door. She gasped as Yasmeen’s bag struck her hard, knocking the wind out of her. Yasmeen kept pushing and slammed Nalia into the wall hard.
“Ow! What’s wrong?” Nalia screamed.
Yasmeen kicked Nalia’s feet out, slamming her back to the floor. Her khopesh was out in a flash, drawing blood as she pressed it to Nalia’s throat.
“Do you understand how close you are to dying horribly?” Yasmeen shouted at Nalia. “Truth is the only thing that can save you. Nod if you understand.”
The blood ran slowly, staining Nalia’s white silk shirt. She nodded slowly, carefully.
“I trusted you. Gave myself to you.”
Yasmeen’s cheeks were wet with her tears. They fell on Nalia’s face.
“Do you work for Santino Kennaway and The House of Estries?”
Nalia hesitated before answering, earning her the khopesh cutting a little deeper into her neck.
Both women were crying. Tears running in rivers down their cheeks.
“Why?” she screamed. “I TRUSTED YOU!”
Yasmeen dropped her khopesh. It clanged on the floor as she cried and embraced Nalia. Her blood stained both their shirts.
“So, what do we do now?” Nalia whispered.
Yasmeen kissed her.
“First, you are done with Santino Kennaway and The House of Estries.”
“He will kill me.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll deal with Kennaway. Second, you go to this castle. You will be safe there. Tell Iain McCaulley I sent you.”
“Scotland? And the Highlands at that!”
“Trust me. The only place you’d be safer is next to me. The Highlanders will protect you.”
“And third?” Nalia asked.
“Take the time to think about what you’ve done and what you want us to be. Clear the betrayal from your heart.”
The tears rolled down Nalia’s cheeks again. Yasmeen disappeared into the bathroom and returned with a wet towel. She dabbed at the blood on Nalia’s neck. She gently wiped it away. Nalia took her hand and kissed it, still crying.
“I’m sorry,” she choked.
Yasmeen smiled and kissed Nalia.
“Go change your shirt and pack a bag.”
She took out her cell and dialed the driver.
“Ten minutes. Be out front.”
Next, she dialed Iain McCaulley. She did not exactly trust him, but she had limited options at the moment.
“I know we just met but I need a favor.”
“Sure. What can I do for you, Yasmeen?”
“A room and protection for a friend.”
“The flight attendant?”
“How do you know about… never mind.”
“Send her our way. She’ll be safe.”
Yasmeen clicked off as Nalia emerged with a small bag and a clean shirt for Yasmeen.
“Thank you. Don’t be frightened. You will be safe in Scotland.” she said, changing her shirt.
“Sloan will rat us out to Kennaway. She is on his payroll, too.”
“No… she won’t,” Yasmeen said coldly.
The driver arrived, and Yasmeen tucked Nalia into the back seat with a kiss.
“Wait. Are you not coming?” Nalia asked.
“I’ll be along soon enough. I have got a few things to attend to.” she glanced at Sloan.
The second car Yasmeen ordered pulled up as the one with Nalia pulled away.
“Miss Sloane, can I borrow your phone?” Yasmeen asked.
Her car pulled up. The blacked-out windows ominously hiding the two men inside.
“Of course.” Yasmeen took the phone.
A man exited the car and none-to-gently pushed Miss Sloane into the back seat car.
“Ow! Hey! You can’t…” Sloane’s protests were cut short as the rear door slammed.
Yasmeen made a slicing motion across her throat to the man in the front seat. She did not want Sloane to be a problem now or in the future. He understood. He saluted and drove off.
She looked at Sloane’s phone a moment and then noticed the other valet staring. She put her hand on her blade.
“Did you see something?’ she asked.
“No, ma’am,” He said, closing his mouth and looking away.
Another car pulled up. Yasmeen opened the door and got in. Pulling away, she dialed Sharit.
“She’s on the way to Kùltbraggen.”
About the Author
Ian Conner is retired and spent most of his adult life as a Marine and Army Infantry Sergeant. Now living near San Diego California with his wife Bonnie, a cellist, and their two dogs, Cookie and Issabella. Conner spends his days fostering kittens, gardening, crafting beautiful stained glass and creating worlds on the page.
Conner has authored other novels The Price of Partisanship, The Long Game, Coopers Ridge, Solaris, Cardinals and Ghost Witch.
After a lifetime of destruction the thought of creating something tangible and lasting holds great appeal. He found art cathartic and a way to redefine himself both in his eyes and the eyes of others.
Blitz-wide giveaway (US only)
A signed copy of Cardinals
A signed copy of “The Long Game”