Authors: Morgan Rice
(book #12 in the vampire journals)
Morgan Rice is
the #1 bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of the epic fantasy series
THE SORCERER’S RING, comprising seventeen books; of the #1 bestselling series
THE VAMPIRE JOURNALS, comprising twelve books; of the #1 bestselling series THE
SURVIVAL TRILOGY, a post-apocalyptic thriller comprising three books; of the
epic fantasy series KINGS AND SORCERERS, comprising six books; and of the
vampire paranormal series VAMPIRE, FALLEN, comprising one book (and counting).
Morgan’s books are available in audio and print editions, and translations are
available in over 25 languages.
epic fantasy series, OF CROWNS AND GLORY, will publish in April, 2016,
beginning with book #1, SLAVE, WARRIOR, QUEEN.
(Book #1 in the
(Book #1 of the
A QUEST OF
(Book #1 in the Sorcerer’s Ring) and
RISE OF THE DRAGONS
Sorcerers—Book #1) are each available as a free download on Amazon!
Morgan loves to
hear from you, so please feel free to visit
to join the
email list, receive a free book, receive free giveaways, download the free app,
get the latest exclusive news, connect on Facebook and Twitter, and stay in
Acclaim for Morgan Rice
“A book to rival
TWILIGHT and VAMPIRE DIARIES, and one that will have you wanting to keep
reading until the very last page! If you are into adventure, love and vampires
this book is the one for you!”
“Rice does a great job
of pulling you into the story from the beginning, utilizing a great descriptive
quality that transcends the mere painting of the setting….Nicely written and an
extremely fast read.”
--Black Lagoon Reviews
“An ideal story for
young readers. Morgan Rice did a good job spinning an interesting
twist…Refreshing and unique. The series focuses around one girl…one
extraordinary girl!...Easy to read but extremely fast-paced... Rated PG.”
--The Romance Reviews
“Grabbed my attention
from the beginning and did not let go….This story is an amazing adventure that
is fast paced and action packed from the very beginning. There is not a dull
moment to be found.”
“Jam packed with
action, romance, adventure, and suspense. Get your hands on this one and fall
in love all over again.”
“A great plot, and this
especially was the kind of book you will have trouble putting down at night.
The ending was a cliffhanger that was so spectacular that you will immediately
want to buy the next book, just to see what happens.”
--The Dallas Examiner
“Morgan Rice proves
herself again to be an extremely talented storyteller….This would appeal to a
wide range of audiences, including younger fans of the vampire/fantasy genre.
It ended with an unexpected cliffhanger that leaves you shocked.”
--The Romance Reviews
Books by Morgan
DAWN (Book #1)
OF CROWNS AND
QUEEN (Book #1)
RISE OF THE
DRAGONS (Book #1)
RISE OF THE
VALIANT (Book #2)
THE WEIGHT OF
HONOR (Book #3)
A FORGE OF VALOR
A REALM OF
SHADOWS (Book #5)
NIGHT OF THE
BOLD (Book #6)
A QUEST OF
HEROES (Book #1)
A MARCH OF KINGS
A FATE OF
DRAGONS (Book #3)
A CRY OF HONOR
A VOW OF GLORY
A CHARGE OF
VALOR (Book #6)
A RITE OF SWORDS
A GRANT OF ARMS
A SKY OF SPELLS
A SEA OF SHIELDS
A REIGN OF STEEL
A LAND OF FIRE
A RULE OF QUEENS
AN OATH OF
BROTHERS (Book #14)
A DREAM OF
MORTALS (Book #15)
A JOUST OF
KNIGHTS (Book #16)
THE GIFT OF
BATTLE (Book #17)
SLAVERSUNNERS (Book #1)
ARENA TWO (Book
TURNED (Book #1)
LOVED (Book #2)
VOWED (Book #7)
FOUND (Book #8)
FATED (Book #11)
Copyright © 2016 by Morgan Rice
All rights reserved. Except as permitted
under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be
reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored
in a database or retrieval system, without the prior permission of the author.
This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If
you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an
additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not
purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it
and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this
This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are
the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Jacket image Copyright Subbotina Anna,
used under license from Shutterstock.com.
“Thus, with a
kiss, I die.”
Romeo and Juliet
From the roof of
the ancient Boldt Castle, Scarlet Paine could hear Sage’s agonized screams.
They echoed through the cold November night, each one feeling like a knife slicing
into her heart. She could not bear the thought of it, of Sage being tortured to
death by his own kind because he loved her, because he would not kill her in
order to live two thousand more years. Scarlet had never dreamed she would be
loved so fiercely by someone, so fiercely that they would actually die for her.
And yet here she was, about to do the same for him.
cousin, had lured her to Boldt Castle. The Immortalists’ two-thousand-year life
span would be over once the moon waned, and Lore was desperate to take her
life—the only way to save theirs. She, the last vampire on Earth, had to be
sacrificed. Even though Scarlet knew it was a trap, she had to come. She knew
her life would end here tonight, yet it would be worth it for a chance to save
Another one of
Sage’s screams pierced the night. Scarlet couldn’t bear to listen to his agony
any longer. She drew herself to standing and flapped her wings so that she was
hovering an inch or two above the castle’s old, sloping slate tiles. Then,
heart pounding, she flew down through the window.
The room was at
least a hundred feet high. Scarlet swooped through the shadows of the vaulted
ceiling and perched on one of the old wooden ceiling beams. She felt a wave of
heat coming from below her and glanced down. The hall was filled with an
agitated, angry crowd of Immortalists. There must have been at least a thousand
of them in here. The crowd looked like a swarm of insects from this distance,
some pacing back and forth whilst others were swooping a few yards above the
ground. They were far enough below, at least, for them not to notice her hiding
Scarlet clung to
her perch, feeling her palms grow slippery with anxious perspiration, waiting
for her chance, psyching herself up to jump.
Down below, the
Immortalists were fixated in one particular direction: a slightly raised
platform that stood at one end of the room. There was an impossibly tall man on
the stage, holding a long staff. He seemed to be jabbing the staff against a
her head in confusion as the cross appeared to move. It was then that she
realized there was someone shackled to the cross, someone who writhed in pain
every time the man’s staff was jabbed into him.
lurched as she realized: Sage.
through every fiber of Scarlet’s being. The man she loved was strung out by his
arms and legs. His head was drooping forward onto his chest with exhaustion and
his hair was slick with sweat. Blood had dripped down his torso and pooled at
his feet. Scarlet wanted to scream out for him but knew she had to keep quiet
or risk being spotted by the braying crowd. She felt sick to her stomach
knowing that Sage’s torture was on display, that he was at the center of their
in horror as the man in the long crimson cloak on the stage brandished the
staff with a cross at its end before slamming it against the floor. The stone
tiles made a loud noise that reverberated through the cavernous space.
relinquish?” the man screamed. “Will you give the girl up?”
He appeared to
be the instigator of the torture and Scarlet concluded that he must be the
Immortalists’ leader. She remembered Sage telling her about the man who
commanded his race. His name was Octal and from what Sage had told her, he was
a violent tyrant.
The crowd joined
in with a loud jeer.
not hear Sage’s answer from this distance but she knew that whatever he had
said was not what Octal wanted to hear, because he leaned forward and pushed
the metal staff into Sage’s chest. Sage let out a blood-curdling scream.
hold herself back no longer. She leapt from the beam she’d been crouched on and
screamed at the top of her lungs.
As she began
soaring down toward the crowd, the Immortalists below turned their gazes up to
her in one sharp, sudden movement. Scarlet faltered and her wings suddenly
seized up with terror. She began plummeting through the air on a collision
course with the angry mob below.
From far away,
Scarlet could hear Sage scream her name. It was the scream of a desperate man
in love, a man whose heart was being torn from his body, a man whose pain at
seeing his lover race toward death was far greater than the pain of the torture
he’d just been enduring.
her wings frantically, but it was no use. The terror she felt had overwhelmed
her powers. She was falling faster and faster toward the angry crowds. She knew
that when she reached them they would rip her to pieces, for her death was the
only way they could survive. Their jeers and shouts grew louder the closer she
raced toward them.
As she fell,
time seemed to slow down and the faces of her friends and family flashed
through her mind’s eye—her best friend, Maria, her mother, Caitlin, Ruth the
dog. Even Vivian flashed into her mind even though Scarlet had hated her.
Then a beautiful
face appeared before her eyes, one that made her gasp. It was Sage’s face. In
her odd slow-motion plummet, Scarlet managed to tip her head to the side and
lock eyes with the real life Sage. Though he was covered in sweat and blood and
grimacing with pain, he was no less beautiful to her than the perfect memory
her brain had conjured up. As they made eye contact, Scarlet felt a surge of
love race through her. Though she knew she was mere seconds from dying, she no
longer feared it, because she knew she would die loved.
She closed her
eyes and prepared for impact.
Scarlet hit the ground, Octal stepped forward and affixed his translucent eyes
on her tumbling form. Effortlessly and without emotion he rose into the air and
reached out for her. She felt his hands tighten around her arm. He pulled her
into him as though plucking her from the air. All at once the rushing, racing
sensation she’d been feeling was replaced by a gentle lull as they began
floating in a controlled manner to the ground.
her eyes, almost unable to believe that she was not in fact dead. But whilst
the immediate fear of death drained from Scarlet’s body, she knew the danger
had not passed. Octal may have saved her from dashing her brains against the
hard tiles of the church but she knew he hadn’t saved her life out of
compassion. He was a torturer. It dawned on Scarlet that he had saved her only
in order to kill her in a more unpleasant manner.
She peered over
Octal’s shoulder at Sage.
Scarlet down. The crowd surged forward but Octal held his arms up as if to keep
them back. The crowd obeyed. Scarlet didn’t know why, but Octal was giving her
and Sage one last chance to be together, one last chance to say goodbye.
With the eyes of
a thousand seething Immortalists on her, Scarlet ran toward Sage. Her eyes
blurred with tears as she flung her arms around him and buried her face into
his neck. His skin was searing hot, as though fighting a fever. She held him as
tight as she could, fearing it may be the last time she ever would.
murmured into her ear.
She drew back
and held up his head. His eyes were puffy and bruised, and his bottom lip was
split and swollen. Scarlet’s heart ached to see him like that. She wanted to
kiss him, to kiss away the pain and heal him, but she knew she had no time.
Instead, she swiped a tendril of hair from his face and placed a delicate kiss
on his forehead, the only part of him that did not look bruised or broken.
“How did you
find me?” he asked.
“Lore. He left
me a note telling me you were here.”
Fear flashed in
Sage’s eyes. “It’s a trap. They will kill you.”
Scarlet gasped. “But I had to see you. My life is in ruins anyway.”
She thought of
her parents and their constant arguing, of her mother’s promise to eradicate
her, of her house turned upside down by Lore, of Vivian who hated her guts and
her friends who seemed to have turned on her.
“You’re the only
good thing left in my life,” she added with sincerity. “Don’t you remember me
saying that if you died, I’d die with you?”
She tried to
smile reassuringly but the look in Sage’s eyes made a pit of pain open up
inside her stomach.
He shook his
“I wanted you to
live, Scarlet,” he gasped, wincing from the pain of Octal’s staff. “Don’t you
understand? The only thing that comforted me through my torture was the
knowledge that you would get to live out your life once I was gone.” He sighed.
“But now we will both die.”
Sage’s heavy head up in her hands. “And what about what I want?”
Sage said with a grimace. “You don’t know what you want. I’ve lived two
thousand years and the only thing that’s ever made sense to me is you. I don’t
want you dying for me!”
“Was Juliet too
young?” Scarlet replied sternly, remembering the magical night they had spent
together watching Shakespeare’s tragedy.
At that moment,
Scarlet felt the surging crowd on her back and knew that Octal was not prepared
to hold them back any longer.
said, flashing Sage a bittersweet smile, “it’s too late now to change my mind.”
“It’s not,” Sage
contested. “Please, Scarlet. Fly away. There’s still time.”
responded by pressing a fierce kiss against his lips.
“I’m not scared
of dying,” she said replied, firmly. Then she slipped her arm around his waist
and turned to face the murderous crowd. “As long as we’re together.”