Sebastian's Fate (Etherya's Earth #7.5)
Sebastian's Fate (Etherya's Earth #7.5)
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- Mistaken Identity
- Alpha Hero
- Virgin Heroine
- Paranormal Romance
From USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Hefner
Book #7.5 in the Etherya's Earth series
She was in love with a man who didn’t know she existed…
Vampyre aristocrat Celine has eyes for one man: a handsome council member who barely knows she’s alive. Determined to change her destiny, she secures a date with the enigmatic man, even if he won’t know her identity at the masked fete.
Council leader Sebastian considers relationships a waste of time—until a gorgeous stranger accompanies him to a ball. Suddenly, he can’t stop thinking about the woman behind the mask who sets his body aflame.
Consumed with uncovering the tempting stranger’s identity, Sebastian observes similarities between his phantom lover and the quiet aristocrat he’s barely noticed for centuries. Could his mystery woman actually be…Celine?
Fueled by passion and anger, he confronts the stunning aristocrat, never realizing their fiery encounter might cement Sebastian’s fate for eternity…
Dear readers, this book is for all of you who requested Celine and Sebastian’s story after meeting them in Garridan’s Mate. If you love a sizzling romance about an oblivious but honorable hero and the heroine determined to gain his affection, this book is for you. Enjoy!
Celine, daughter of Handor, stood atop the ladder in her sprawling back yard, reaching for the juicy peach that was just out of reach. Her father had instructed their landscapers to plant a row of peach trees several years ago, and she loved the succulent fruit. Although Vampyres only needed Slayer blood for sustenance, they still ate food for pleasure.
Grunting, she reached further, gasping with excitement when she clutched the fruit. Tugging it from the branch, she wobbled on the ladder before slowly climbing down. Thrilled with her successful conquest, she sat on the soft grass and brushed the skin of the fruit with her hands. Satisfied, she took a bite and slowly chewed, savoring the taste.
“Look at you out here picking fruit like a laborer,” Mila called as she approached. “Handor would have a fit.”
“We all know I’m his favorite since I’m the only girl,” was her cheeky reply as she took another bite. Swallowing, she grinned when Mila sat beside her. “Three brothers, but I’m the baby girl. What can I say?”
Chuckling, Mila rested her forearms on her bent knees. “Everyone underestimates you, Celine. It’s a damn tragedy. They all think you’re just some vapid aristocrat with a pretty face, but you’re always plotting under all that beauty.” She circled her hand over her face. “It’s not fair to the rest of us normal-looking immortals.”
Sighing, Celine leaned back, resting on her palm as she gazed over the rolling hills. “What does it matter anyway? No one seems to notice me in this stupid kingdom, and I might as well be an old spinster at this point.”
“I think most men are intimidated by your wealth and looks—”
“I’m not wealthy,” she said, lifting a finger. “My father is.”
“True, but you’re his responsibility until you find a mate and bond. So, technically, you’re wealthy too.”
“I guess.” Sliding her hand over the soft grass, she frowned. “It also doesn’t help that I’m determined to catch the eye of someone who doesn’t even know I exist.”
“Ah, Sebastian,” Mila said, stretching out her legs and crossing one over the other. “He’s determined not to notice any woman, believe me. I just had the most annoying conversation with him.”
Celine’s ears perked at the mention of the man she was slightly obsessed with—and who barely ever acknowledged her. “Do tell,” she said, trying not to sound too interested.
“You know we always take each other as dates to the stupid galas we hate, but I want to attend the Christmas gala solo. There are a few ladies I have my eye on, and I don’t want to squander the opportunity to secure some one-on-one time with them. Being by Sebastian’s side isn’t going to cut it.”
“Oh,” Celine said, trying to tamp down her excitement that he needed a date. Was there some way she could maneuver herself into the position? “That’s lovely, Mila. I want you to find love.”
“I want you to find love too, but you insist on pining for a man who isn’t interested in anything but his council position.”
“I’ve tried to get him to notice me so many times,” Celine said wistfully, glancing down at the functional clothes she’d worn to pick fruit. “I never wear anything like this when I know he’s going to be near. I always put my best foot forward, make sure my gown and makeup are perfect, and he still doesn’t have a clue I’m alive.”
“He’s an idiot, Celine,” Mila said, shrugging. “Most men are.”
“Garridan even tried to help me. He thinks I’d be a good match for his brother. Remember when he took me to the fundraiser? We tried to make Sebastian jealous, but he only stayed for an hour and then went downstairs to his office to work.”
“He’s married to his job and too stubborn to open himself up to meeting a mate. It’s no way to live, but you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to change.”
Celine’s eyebrows drew together. “Why was your conversation with him annoying?”
“Because he wants me to set him up with one of my clients for the Christmas gala.”
“Oh…” Swallowing thickly, Celine tried to tamp down the jealousy that immediately swelled at the thought of him taking someone else. “What did you say?”
“No, of course,” Mila said, bristling. “My clients want a relationship, and he doesn’t. It wouldn’t be fair to them.”
“I wish my father would let me sign up for your matchmaking service. He says it’s beneath my station.”
“My dear,” Mila said, leaning closer, “your father is a stick in the mud.”
Tossing back her head, she laughed. “I guess he is. He’s consumed with tradition and proper etiquette, but he tries. Still, I might wither away if I don’t employ some new tactics to find a mate.” Lifting her gaze to Mila’s, Celine slowly cocked her eyebrow.
“Oh, no,” Mila said, showing her palms. “I’m not falling for that. I can’t set you up with Sebastian. You remember what he said to me, right?”
Her lips formed a pout as she nodded. “He told you he wasn’t interested in me and thinks I would’ve been a better match for Garridan.” Glancing over, she said, “Which isn’t true. Obviously, Siora is Garridan’s perfect mate.”
“Sebastian is a proud man, Celine. Rumors were rampant about your possible betrothal to Garridan, so he’ll never see you as a viable option. He doesn’t want to be seen as the man who ended up with a woman his brother didn’t choose. It’s completely ridiculous, but he’s hardheaded.”
“Men,” Celine huffed, cocking her arm before tossing the peach far into the meadow. “Screw him and his stupid pride. If he’d just be open, I could show him I’m not the bumbling idiot he thinks I am.”
“I want you to be happy, Celine, but he might not be worthy of you. Perhaps there’s someone better-suited for you out there. You’ll never know unless you release this infatuation with a man who doesn’t want you back.” Covering her hand, she squeezed. “I’m not trying to be harsh, but I want the best for you.”
Inhaling the fragrant air, Celine stared toward the horizon, wishing with all her might she could be open to someone else. It would be infinitely easier to focus on someone who actually liked her and didn’t see her as a boring, empty-headed aristocrat.
Unfortunately, she was rather consumed with Sebastian. His broad shoulders, thick hair, and deep brown eyes should’ve appeared quite normal, but to her, they were gorgeous. His features were austere and aristocratic, and she often daydreamed about lying in his arms and trailing her finger down his nose. It may seem silly to others, but she craved that intimacy with a mate…with him.
Deception leads to desire in the immortal realm!