The Impassioned Choice (Etherya's Earth #5)
The Impassioned Choice (Etherya's Earth #5)
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- Vampyre Falls for Human
- Enemies to Lovers
- Hackers on a Mission
- Paranormal Romance
From USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Hefner
A new villain emerges, threatening the peace the immortals crave…
Heden, the youngest Vampyre royal, has always strived to live up to his sovereign duty. As the most gifted programmer in the immortal world, he applies his skills to protect the kingdom and the family he adores. But his siblings have all settled down with families of their own, and Heden often feels like a perpetual third wheel.
Racked with guilt after her grandfather’s violent death, Sofia Morelli made a sinister pact with an unknown ally. Utilizing her tech ingenuity to plan the ultimate attack against the immortal royals, she begins to realize they might not be the nefarious enemies she believed them to be.
As Heden discovers the new adversaries and learns someone on the Secret Society shares his hacking prowess, he realizes the human, Sofia, might actually hold the key to defeating them. Determined to turn the feisty woman to his side, he employs his jovial nature and seduction skills to win her over. But when their tentative connection turns into something more, Heden understands a coding war isn’t the only thing he could lose to the spunky human. For, he might just lose his heart to someone who can never share his immortal future…
Intro Into Chapter 1
Intro Into Chapter 1
Sofia Morelli stood atop the old stone bridge, watching the river flow beneath. A narrow boat approached, slicing through the water, two men inside working in tandem to circulate the oars. Through the water they rotated, again and again, in a synchronized dance of skill and speed.
Neither of the men noticed her as they passed under the bridge, and that suited Sofia just fine. She’d learned long ago that being inconspicuous held great value. It was one of her more polished skills, helping her navigate through life on a journey with one singular purpose: to avenge her murdered grandfather.
She’d learned other skills along the way. Skills that made her invaluable in the Secret Society’s quest to eradicate the immortals from the planet she called home. Before she exhaled her dying breath, she was determined to succeed.
The large man approached, his movements sure but unhurried. As she stared at the sunlit water glistening from the fresh morning sun, she waited.
“Everything is in place?” he asked, his baritone voice latent with assumed authority and the hint of arrogance that always slightly nagged her.
“Yes,” Sofia said, nodding to the water. “Surveillance is embedded at all seven compounds including Takelia, although it wasn’t easy. The red-haired bitch sees everything, and since that compound is new, it’s extremely technologically secure.”
“It’s imperative that we’re able to access the servers at all compounds. If you need more time—”
“I don’t,” Sofia said, turning to face him and sliding the hood of her sweatshirt to rest on her shoulders. Dark, springy curls bounced in its wake, falling just past her shoulder blades. Lifting her chin, she spoke with confidence. “I told you, I’m the most competent hacker you’re going to find, human or immortal. The youngest Vampyre royal thinks he understands tech, but he has no idea. I’ll run circles around him before he even understands what hit him. It’s pretty late in the game for you to start doubting me, Bakari.”
“I don’t doubt you, Sofia,” he said, his tone sincere. “We only have the element of surprise once. It’s imperative we take advantage of it. The immortals are most powerful when they band together. We saw this when they defeated Crimeous. It’s best for us to attack them separately, as they navigate their lives, before they become aware of us.”
“And once they’re aware?” she asked, arching a raven-dark brow.
“Then it will be all-out war,” he said, solemn. “So, let’s seize the opportunity of their ineptitude while we can.”
“Agreed,” she said, blinking up at him as she nodded.
“Once you gather the intel we need, we will contact the others to strategize our attack. You’ll supply us with their schedules, daily routines and information regarding where we are likely to do the most damage.”
Sofia’s heart squeezed as it always did when she thought about the children of the immortal royals. Although she hated the red-haired Slayer-Deamon, the children of the immortal sovereigns were innocent. Bakari was intent on killing them as well—a part of his plan she vehemently disagreed with.
“The children aren’t responsible for the sins of their parents,” she said, knowing her argument would fall on deaf ears but determined to try. “Tordor is only seven, and Adelyn is barely six years old. Jack isn’t even seventeen yet. Your sister has a young daughter and is pregnant. You really wish to kill her? Perhaps she can be turned.”
“We’ve discussed this, Sofia,” he said, his tone resigned. “Although Arderin lives in the human world and is less of a threat than the others, she chose to bond and procreate with a child of Crimeous. It’s disgraceful. Etherya did not place us upon the Earth to denigrate bloodlines. There is an order to the world, and I will see it restored. This means innocents will perish. You must get over your childish wish to save those you deem worthy. Calinda and the spawn Arderin carries in her belly have Crimeous’s malicious blood, the self-healing strength of my parents, and the power bestowed upon Valktor as Etherya’s own child, created from her womb. They are abominations.”
Sofia sighed, her strict Catholic upbringing precluding her from wanting to contemplate murdering a child, no matter how great the possibility of its future evil machinations. “It goes against everything I was taught.”
“And what about your grandfather’s murder?” he asked, a slight hint of anger lacing the words. “Did you forget that he was gutted in his own home and left for dead?”
Rage flared inside her, as it always did when she thought of the death of her beloved grandfather Francesco. Evie had squashed his light with her blood-soaked hands, and Sofia would ensure she paid for it…a thousand times over, until she begged for mercy.
“No,” she snapped, feeling her nostrils flare. “I’ll never forget. She destroyed the one person I had left in the world. There are consequences for that.”
“Good,” he said with a tilt of his head. “Clutch onto your hate. Use it to tamp down your feelings of mercy. They have no place in this mission.”
“I will.” Resolved, she pulled the folded papers from the large pouch in her sweatshirt, situated above her abdomen. “Here is the report on the human woman you asked me to investigate.” When Bakari reached for the folder, Sofia held it back. “Tread lightly. She only appears human. I’m convinced she’s something else entirely. Her blood runs thick with the secrets of her Native American and Creole ancestors. Tales of her presence have circulated through the parish where she lives for centuries, although she appears to only be in her thirties. If you go to Louisiana to surveil her, be careful.”
“Thank you,” he said, grasping the sheets and placing them into the black bag that sat upon his broad shoulder. “And where will you be over the next few months as you gather the intel we need?”
“I have a place here in Florence, but I also keep my flat in New York. Both are equipped with everything I need, but I believe Italy is where I’m supposed to be right now.” Closing her eyes, she lifted her face to the blue sky. “I feel him here, as if he were by my side.” Slowly, she exhaled a reverent breath.
“You will avenge him, Sofia.” Bakari cupped her upper arm in a show of support. “We all will have our revenge. Stay firm in that knowledge. Call me when you have enough to move forward.”
With one last nod of ascent, the massive Vampyre drew his coat closed and turned, his loafered feet quiet against the stone walkway of the bridge.
Once he was out of sight, Sofia pivoted back toward the river, resting her forearms against the rocky surface of the bridge wall. Lacing her fingers, she prayed to God, asking for His help in avenging her grandfather, and asking His forgiveness for the carnage that would result from her quest to accomplish that goal.
A Vampyre falls for a human who can never share his immortal future...