Authors: Natalie G. Owens,Zee Monodee
: A Prequel
Urban Fantasy Romance
Zee Monodee and Natalie G. Owens
Copyright © 2011-2013
Zee Monodee, Natalie G. Owens.
All Rights Reserved.
Rose of Atlantis Press
: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Book cover design by Zee Monodee.
Cover photos courtesy of:
by Fotokastic and Vukvuk.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. This book cannot be resold as a used file, and that purchase and download is a one-time final use of this product.
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the copyright owner is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
Adrasteia 'Adri' Dionysios, daughter of a Greek god, has lived for twenty-eight centuries and her existence as a flighty, conniving, and wicked creature is starting to get tedious. Can a heathen like her ask for something more, and deserve it?
When her prayers are answered, all plans for any future change. For the best? Time will tell.
is a prequel to INESCAPABLE (Eternelles: The Beginning, Book 1). About INESCAPABLE:
“You won’t regret reading this series; you’ll regret missing it!”—Rebecca Royce, bestselling author of
The Westervelt Wolves
An immortal born from an unlikely alliance...
Beautiful mythic Greek heiress Adrasteia 'Adri' Dionysios has roamed the world for millennia, taking her pleasure where she wanted. Until one night, when Fate drops a baby wrapped in fire into her arms. Motherhood is a formidable challenge, but so is figuring out the identity of a mystery man who makes her pulse race.
A vampyre’s obsession…
éraphine 'Sera' Dionysios' origins are shrouded in mystery. Torn between a mother whose blood saved her life, and a man who now possesses her soul, the only thing Sera can still cling to is her heart.
One rule matters above all others: Always protect the portal…
When Evil comes to Adri and Sera’s hometown of Shadow Bridge, a place where the mortal human world ends and the supernatural realm starts, it’s up to them to stop a prophecy as old as time itself...or die trying.
Look for Zee Monodee on
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Natalie G. Owens
Look for Natalie G. Owens on
Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.
Adrasteia “Adri” Dionysios laughed as the open gig came to a stop outside the mews of her country château nestled in the vineyards of Champagne in the northeast of France. At this time of the night, the stables were deserted. She had convinced Marcel, the faithful stable master, to take the night off, since she didn’t know at what time she would be getting home and she wanted the now frail old man to rest when he could. Easier to pass for a spoilt heiress with tantrums and illogical requests than a caring employer; Marcel would never tolerate pity.
At another lurid whisper in her ear, she doubled over with laughter. “Stop it!”
Her tall, darkly handsome companion released the reins and turned to her.
“Why?” he asked. “I was enjoying myself.”
She shook her head. “A bit too much, in fact.” Adri settled her back against the plump cushion of her seat.
He chuckled. “Tell me you didn’t love it when Madame de Bergeron’s eyes nearly popped out of her head as she watched us dance?”
In a lightning-quick move, she rushed forward and shoved him out of the carriage. “You dirty bastard! Thank goodness I introduced you as a family friend, and not my brother. Even I am above rumors of incestuous liaisons.”
He yelped as he landed on the dirty cobbles, and drew to his full height of impressive seven feet when he stood again.
Adri simply cocked an eyebrow, not impressed by his display of superior power. Ares, the Greek god of War and the formidable warrior, had nothing over her. She’d broken through his shell when she’d been barely five years old; he wouldn’t make her cower in her shoes two thousand, seven hundred and ninety-five years later.
Ai sto diaolo
,” he mumbled as he returned to a more reasonable six-foot-something height and dusted the mud on his coat.
She stifled a giggle.
Go to Hell
? Seriously? He came to stand next to the gig, and she squinted as she tried to make out his features in the darkened exterior. The only burning torch flamed too far to shed proper light around them. His long dark hair, slightly too shaggy to be considered fashionable, brushed his collar. Everything from his wool coat, velvet evening jacket, dark silk waistcoat, and pristine white shirt with the necessary white bow tie screamed of money and Old World splendor. The taut body brought danger and adventure to mind, and the rugged face made one too many women swoon. Tonight, she’d been glad to have him on her arm to attend this ball at the residence of the most loathed society matron in the region. She had wanted to rock the boat, as usual, but somehow, the thrill of creating a stir in society brought none of its usual pleasurable release.
In fact, she hovered strangely empty. A hollow shell....
“Hey.” Ares drew closer and lowered his voice. “What’s going on inside that pretty head?”
She shrugged. A thought crossed her mind, and she opened her mouth to voice it aloud.
“You’ve never wanted more?”
He frowned as he reached for her hand. “More of what?”
“Life. This. Everything.”
She wasn’t making much sense. How could she have gotten so overwrought all of a sudden? She had lived for nearly twenty-eight centuries on this earth, notwithstanding her first hundred years spent on
Mount Olympus in the home of her foster father, Zeus. Living—thriving more than surviving—had always been a piece of cake. Adri didn’t kid herself; she wasn’t a saint. She loved manipulation, plots, secrets, affecting potential outcomes. Yes, she loved to play, and with people, at that. She didn’t run away from her maenad side, embracing it instead. Maenads held mystic power over crowds, able to bend the will of groups and mobs alike whenever it suited them.
She closed her eyes. The reality she refused to face most of the time, the one of her origins, slammed straight into her consciousness, and the energy to brace for the shock couldn’t be summoned. No way out of facing her truth.
Adri winced. Her mother had been a maenad. A human woman who had become a follower of the Greek god of wine and revelry, Dionysos, and who had achieved power over crowds as a result. Usually barren to the god’s seed, this maenad had miraculously borne him a child. A baby daughter he’d wanted sacrificed on the altar of his greatness mere minutes after her birth. Had the mighty Zeus not stepped in to save her, she would have died that day.
Or would she? Because in her nearly three millennia of existence, nothing had managed to kill her. Fine—she hadn’t tested the guillotine, but maybe that, too, wouldn’t have worked on her.
She’d never known her mother, had never even found out her name, and her biological father had only sought her out once in all these years, and that, too, to taunt her about possessing as vile a heart as his. She shivered as she remembered his words.
“You’re cold,” Ares said.
Adri snapped out of her thoughts and blinked her eyes open. The rasp of goose bumps against her opera-length gloves shouldn’t have happened, and this told her how cold the night had gotten. She glanced toward the stables. The orange glow of a fire seemed to shimmer in the interior. Dear Marcel who loved the animals had begged her to install a protected fireplace inside the stables. A door connected the stables to the servants’ quarters, and from there they could access the kitchens of the château. This cold—somewhat unusual on a summer evening—was getting to her and she refused to have to walk all the way back to the front door while she froze gloved fingers, tired limbs, and scalp under the delicate hat and the hood of her light cloak.
She clasped Ares’ hand and alighted from the gig. Her shoe slipped on the step, and she landed with a thud against his hard chest.
“I told you you were having too much to drink.”
“Bugger off, will you? I had a couple glasses of punch, is all.”
She glared at him. “And who brought me the damn drinks in the first place? My ‘delightful, handsome companion’.” She mimicked the simpering voices of the women who had drooled all over him at the ball.
He shrugged and pulled her to his side. “I was only looking out for you. Father did ask me—”
She froze. “Stop! I don’t want to hear about him.”
Ares sighed and rolled his eyes, but she chose to ignore him. Childish attitude of hers, she knew. But how else should she act toward the one she had loved above any other and who had then thrown her out on her arse in a fit of petty rage? Zeus had pushed her off Mount Olympus, her only home, and she’d landed on Earth, a realm she hadn’t known existed.
“Someday, you’ll have to make your peace with him.”
Adri snorted. “When Hell freezes over.”
He sighed, and she sighed, too, albeit for different reasons.
“Never mind. Let’s go in. This cold is making me crave a warming brandy.”
Ares matched his steps to hers. A feat, given how, at five foot three inches tall, she didn’t have long legs. Her new shoes, a treat she hadn’t been able to deny herself while at the shops, pinched her toes to an inch of mush. As she steered him toward the stables, he laughed.
“Slumming it, are we?”
“With you on my arm? Most definitely.”
“That’s not the impression I got at the ball.”
She snorted. “You’re a little too full of yourself. But seriously, Ares. You held me so close on the dance floor, everyone must’ve thought we were about to do the deed right there. And if they knew you’re my brother—”
“You are so uptight, Adri. I swear I’d never believe you have lived for centuries as one of the most notorious courtesans of European courts if I hadn’t introduced you to the demi-monde myself.”
“Yes, well, courtesans are no longer what they used to be. It’s just another word for ‘whore’ now. Not the exalted, intellectual existence I thrived in with the likes of Veronica Franco.”
“So you’re going respectable now? That’s why you were annoyed when I was having fun with the audience there?”
Was she? Adri almost froze as she contemplated that notion, but Ares’ strong arm around her shoulders propelled her forward. Gentle warmth greeted them on the threshold of the stables. Still, the cold refused to leave her bones.
For the first time in very long, she grew scared. Something was amiss.
In this moment, or in her life? Was she going all uptight and posh now? With dismay, she recalled the many commands she’d formed and sprinkled recently when she was in public. Thoughts she planted in people’s heads, like how she was nothing more than the mysterious, aloof, and very private heiress of the Dionysios family from
Greece. In the past, she’d never hidden who she was and what business she’d been up to.
The heat around her suddenly grew stifling, and she shifted the cloak on her. In doing so, she dislodged Ares’ grip from her shoulder.
“Adri! Watch out!”
She blinked at him, but before she could form a word, a ball of fire erupted in front of her eyes and hovered before her. Was it her imagination, or did the flames wrap themselves around her while nothing—not even a strand of hay—burned at her feet?
Ares tried to reach out for her, but before he could even touch her, he pulled his hands back. Tendrils of smoke rose from his flesh.
How could she not be burning, not suffocating from the heat? She could now see nothing but fire, and a strange rumbling sound echoed in her ears. Like chants, in a language she’d long ago heard coming from the mouths of White Witches, the most powerful witches working in the name of Good.
Adri could only watch as her body heeded the call of that mystical message of which she understood not a whit. Her arms rose to form a cradle. Pain erupted from her womb, and her breasts grew tense and heavy.
Then before she could blink, a ball of fire formed in front of her, hovering above the dip of her extended arms. Surprise stung her when the flames leapt in the form of a phoenix’s wings, before they receded...to leave a screaming baby girl in their place. Other than a necklace with a tough-looking pendant around her neck, the baby bore no other identifying marks. Her body was still slick from the birth liquid, her hair matted on her head.
Adri tore her gaze from the infant. The fire still wrapped around her, but the flames didn’t burn nor sting. Across from her, Ares called her name with dread. He probably couldn’t see her beyond the blazing curtain.
Then, as suddenly as it came, the fire disappeared, leaving her with the squirming mass in her arms.
“Adri! What happe—” Ares jerked to a stop in front of her. “What is
“A baby,” she muttered.
“I can see that. But where does she come from?”
She glanced up at her brother. “I have no idea.”
He frowned. “Are you okay? How did that fire not burn you? I tried to pull you out but it singed my hands.”
She nodded. “I know.”
“Adri! You’re in shock! Who is this child, and where does she come from?”
That’s when she snapped out of her stupor. The events of the past few minutes flashed in front of her eyes again and she tried to make sense of them. White Witches’ chants, a newborn baby wrapped in flames that took the shape of a phoenix....
But the most astounding was her body’s reaction to this child. She’d seen many women give birth, had had many friends tell her how it felt like to bear life and bring it into this world. If she were to believe all their words, she was physically reacting like she had put this baby into the world herself. Her breasts hurt, pain like she had never experienced before, and wetness seemed to seep through the silk of her camisole and the bodice of her dress.
Instinct that chimed in from she knew not where directed her fingers to the front of her garment while she cradled the still-screaming baby with her other arm. A few seconds later, she had a breast exposed, and a part of her couldn’t believe it when she brought the baby to her chest.
“What are you doing?” Ares asked.
“Making her stop crying.”
That voice didn’t sound like hers. Competent and confident, yes, but regarding a baby?
The baby’s cries reduced to whimpers as Adri’s nipple brushed her soft cheek. A little hand with a closed fist rose, and she latched her mouth onto the offered nipple.
Adri yelped as the tiny lips closed on her breast. A surge of pain rushed through her, and her knees buckled.
Ares caught her before she could land in a heap. “We have to get you inside. What in Zeus’ name are you doing?”
“I...I don’t know.” The uncertainty didn’t sound like her, and when warm liquid started to course down her legs, making her drawers and petticoats stick to her skin, she shivered. Blood. Exactly like an afterbirth.
What was happening to her?
“Let’s get you to your room, quick.” He hustled her toward the doorway leading to the servants’ quarters.
On the threshold, Adri paused as a flash of sense sparked inside her. How could she explain all the signs of afterbirth and a newborn baby when she had never been expecting?
That’s what people would say, unless...she shaped their perception.
Pausing in the dark, drafty corridor of the living quarters, the baby still suckling at her breast, she closed her eyes and formed a thought inside her head.