Sunday, November 06, 2011

Caveat Emptor: Forgotten Lover by Zenobia Renquist

Caveat Emptor: Forgotten Lover

by Zenobia Renquist

Cover art: Marteeka Karland
ISBN: 978-1-60521-681-2
Genre(s): Paranormal
Theme(s): Interracial, Vampires, Magic
Series: Caveat Emptor
Length: Novella
Page Count: 43

Captured by mages, Medusa is more upset at her own weakness than the mages' idea of torture. Once free of them, she plans to slaughter them all. Except, there is one mage who awakens long buried memories of desire from a past best left forgotten. She knows this man to the depths of her soul, but she and Darius are on opposite sides of a war that has raged for centuries. It's more than her heart at stake if she gives in to her desires.
Caveat Emptor: Forgotten Lover
Zenobia Renquist
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2011 Zenobia Renquist

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The charm's magic might be strong, but she'd seen Theron fight it. If his will could overcome it, then so could hers.
"Get away from her!" That command was shouted by another mage who entered the room. The mage threw power at Medusa's captor, tossing the man against the far wall.
Her captor righted himself and lifted a glowing hand at his assailant. "You dare attack me, Darius?"
"Quincy, you are an idiot." Darius gestured to Medusa. "Look at her eyes."
Medusa managed enough control of her body so she glared at them both.
Quincy stared at her in shock. "That cannot be." He shook his head as though that would make everything better. "The charm is active. She should be nothing but a doll."
"She would have killed you the second you touched her. Obviously your magic isn't up to the task of containing her." Darius held up an envelope. "I'm willing to take her off your hands."
"How much?"
"Well over what you would get if you sold her through normal means." He tossed the envelope.
Quincy held out his hand and beckoned, making the envelope zip over to him. He thumbed through the contents. "You think your magic can overcome everything. Your arrogance will get you killed. Have her, then. When she disposes of you, I will laugh at your stupidity and take her back." Quincy left the room.
Darius watched the man go before facing Medusa. He sighed and shook his head. "Come, vampire." He turned and walked away.
Medusa didn't want to follow him. The charm overrode her senses again and made her walk. Rather than waste energy she might need later, she simply allowed the charm to function. Once night fell, she would have more freedom. She would leave this place, killing as many of the mages as she could in the process. Starting with the mage she followed.
This mage was shorter than she was by four inches. That would make him about five foot seven. He was lean, but she didn't mistake that for weakness. The way he moved spoke of a body trained for fighting. A martial art of some sort, possibly. Most mages were soft from depending on their magic for everything, but not this man.
Martial arts training would mean he had speed. Medusa remembered the way he had arced power at Quincy. The spell had moved quickly, not even allowing Quincy enough time to shield. This Darius might not have vampire speed but he would be a formidable opponent if Medusa didn't time her attack properly.
Some primal part of her cautioned her to be wary. The man walked with his back to her, knowing she could fight the power of the charm. That had to mean he didn't fear that she might attack him, because he knew his powers could overcome any attack she launched.
She sensed none of Quincy's stupidity in this man. That was dangerous. Darius stopped at a doorway, opened it, and then stepped back, waving her forward.
She walked to the middle of the room and then faced him. Now what? Would he continue what Quincy had started? If that was his plan, he better do it quickly. She could feel the sun moving across the sky. The man had less than two hours before sunset. She had no qualms about killing him mid-coitus if it meant she would be free.
He closed the door behind him before stripping off his floor-length mage cloak. The thick, black cloth fell to the floor with a soft thud. Darius rolled his shoulders and then his neck as though happy to be free of the burden. He said, "Now then."
Medusa readied herself to endure as he reached toward her. He touched the charm nestled at the base of her neck. A surge of power shot through her body and then he stepped back. "There."
Medusa lifted her hands. Her movements were her own. Her body obeyed her, and she hadn't had to wait for sunset.
She looked at Darius, instantly on guard. "What are you doing? What trick is this?"
"No trick."
"You're the idiot you proclaimed Quincy to be if you think your magic is faster than me."
"Attack me if it pleases you." He backed away from her and sat on his bed, giving her an expectant look.
She didn't trust his open invitation. It was a trick of some kind. He had a magical trap waiting that would damage her as soon as she neared him. "No."
He raised a questioning eyebrow and looked amused. "Really? Such a pity."
"Are you hoping for death, mage? Is that why you brought me here?"
"Death? No. I hope for something else entirely." He stood and walked over to her. "You would have been wasted on Quincy. I make a much better partner."
With a speed that rivaled her own, Darius grabbed her to him and laid his lips on hers. She stared at him, too surprised to pull back or push him away. He ended the kiss and smiled at her. "You are as sweet as I remember."
"What? I don't know you."
"How cruel of you to say you don't remember me. I remember you quite well. You were so shy in those days."
She pushed away from him then. "What are you talking about? What days?"
"When you were human, Medusa." He nodded at her wide-eyed shocked expression.
"My name. How do you know my name?"
"You told it to me."
"You're human," she whispered. "You cannot have known me when I was human. That was back in the eighteen hundreds."
"I am a mage, Medusa. Not only am I a mage, I am a mage lord. Immortality is child's play to me."
She could only stare at him. A distant memory tickled the edges of her mind. A memory from her time as a weak, subservient human who had cowered at the sight of her own shadow. She hated remembering those days. She wasn't that woman any longer.
But this man... His face triggered those memories.
Odd eyes, one blue and one brown, held laughter and mischief in equal parts. His brown hair riddled with streaks of blond and red brushed his neck and the tops of his ears. Not enough to pull into a ponytail but enough for a lover to run her fingers through.
Medusa knew the softness of that hair. It was like petting a cat. Hair so fine should never top a human's head. At the time she had thought he was some wild beast that had taken human form.
She stumbled back a few steps, not believing the direction of her thoughts. It couldn't be. The man she had known in the past was human. The man before her was human too. But he said he possessed immortality. If that fact had been true then as well...
She rasped, "Lord Arundel?"
"The same, sweet Medusa." He bridged the distance between them and pressed his lips to hers once more. "I will remind you of what you have forgotten."
One part of her fought against the memories his kiss invoked while another part reveled in their return.

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