He is the most feared immortal in Esria...And now Kaderil the Dark plans to invade the human realm. He's on a mission to steal back the stones of power that they possess, and kill a small band of humans immune to Esri enchantment. But in the human realm he meets Autumn McGinn, who holds the means for him to claim victory--if only she'll betray her people. Something about this vibrant beauty's sweetness and gentle kindness moves him, and though Kade vows to stay away, he must protect her from other Esri hell-bent on destroying the human race. Torn between duty and conscience, can Kade overcome his sinister desires--or will he find redemption in Autumn's vibrant embrace?
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May 31, 2008
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Excerpt from Dark Deceiver by Pamela Palmer
Autumn McGinn grimaced with embarrassment as she crawled through the rain-soaked grass, frantically searching for the lighter she'd accidentally sent flying for the third time.
"You okay, Autumn?" Larsen Hallihan's voice darted across the rainy Dupont Circle Park, cutting through the gloom. Light poles bordered the concrete circle at the center of the grassy park, illuminating the huge marble chalice that stood in the middle--the beautifully carved fountain that shared real estate with the invisible gate into Esria.
"I'm fine!" Autumn called back.
Why couldn't she have left her inner klutz home just this once? For four months, she'd angled for an invitation to help guard the gate, ever since the first Esri, Baleris, had found his way through. For four weeks, Baleris had terrorized the nation's capital, raping young women and enchanting armed cops while he tried to destroy the handful of humans immune to his magic. The humans the Esri called Sitheen. In the end, the humans had won. Baleris was dead.
But the gate remained unsealed. Apparently, it had always been unsealed, but the Esri hadn't known about it until Baleris had stumbled upon it by accident. Unfortunately, after Baleris died, one of his slaves had escaped back through the gate before they could stop him. Chances were good he'd told others and the Esri would invade again.
Fortunately, the gate only opened during the midnight hour of a full moon. One hour a month, four humans who could resist the spell of enchantment guarded the Dupont Circle Fountain. That is, they had until this month, when two of the four Sitheen had been called out of town.
Autumn had been invited to help, finally, though not quite the way she'd wanted. Ordered to stay far back from the fountain, she'd been enlisted as an extra pair of eyes. If one of the creatures came through, her only job was to watch where he went. Not the greatest responsibility in the world, but she wasn't Sitheen. Even though she wore a bracelet of holly which supposedly gave her immunity, they still feared she could be enchanted.
She sighed as she crawled through the soaked grass. If only she could do something truly important for once. But considering she was spending most of her time on her hands and knees, watching was probably the safest job for her...for everyone's sake.
Her numb fingers finally brushed against something hard as the rain beat a tattoo against the raised hood of her jacket. With relief, she grabbed the renegade lighter and scrambled to her feet, her soaked jeans clinging to her legs.
Fire, combined with the Esri death chant, was the only known weapon against the Esri. Logically, she knew her little lighter wasn't going to do an ounce of good in the rain, especially since she didn't know the death chant, but she felt safer with it in her hand. If she could just keep hold of the darned thing.
"What time is it?" Larsen called from the other side of the park. Larsen Vale, now Hallihan, had been her roommate in college and one of her best friends for years.
"One-thirty," Larsen's husband, Jack, replied. The two of them stood on opposite sides of the fountain, each a distance from Autumn. "We'll give it another ten minutes, then call it quits for the night."
Autumn sighed. She hadn't really expected to see an Esri tonight--none had come through the gate the past three full moons. Still, she'd hoped. As a curator for the Smithsonian, she was too much of a history and folklore buff not to be excited by the prospect of other-worldly creatures, even if they were armed with powerful magic and malicious intent.
"I'm heading straight for a hot bath when we get home," Larsen said.
Autumn couldn't hear Jack's reply, but knew it was something suggestive. Jack and Larsen had only been married a couple of months and couldn't seem to keep their eyes--or hands--off one another. Autumn was happy for her old friend, but sometimes life was so unfair. Larsen was blond, beautiful, married to one of D.C.'s hottest cops, and Sitheen. Autumn was six foot four with flaming orange hair, two million freckles and a gene for klutziness. Where was the fairness in that?
The rumble of thunder shook the ground as the rain turned to a downpour. Cold and miserable, Autumn huddled beneath the hood of her raincoat while heavy drops beat at her shoulders and back. Okay, now she was ready to call it a night. Clearly, the Esri weren't coming.
Jack's shout made her jump. She jerked her gaze to the lit fountain just in time to see a large, dark-cloaked figure leap from the marble base as if he'd been encased in stone all these years.