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Shift of Fate [Dark Promises Series #3] [MultiFormat]
eBook by Elisa Adams

eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
eBook Description: It's been Royce's driving force for months, since Merida walked out on him without even saying goodbye. When a friend presents Royce with the perfect opportunity to settle the score--in the form of evil stalking a small New England town--he thinks it's fate. Drawing Merida to Vermont is easy, but keeping his hands off her when she gets there proves to be more than he can handle. The possibilities are endless--until the same evil they've been stalking decides to stalk Merida back. Escape. It's been Merida's plan all along, ever since she ran out on Royce after their last encounter and their battle with evil. When Merida takes the call from Royce, asking for her help in solving the paranormal problem in Caswell, Vermont, she hopes this is what she needs to get him out of her thoughts and dreams. She has been on the run, not only from her overbearing boss and from the passion she still feels for Royce, but from the destiny she dreads. One that would change her life forever. Neither counts on fate or destiny getting in the way of their plans.

eBook Publisher: Ellora's Cave/Ellora's Cave, Published: Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc., 2004
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2005


2 Reader Ratings:
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Chapter One

Merida lounged in her favorite chair, her eyes closed, the sounds of the gulls flying overhead and the waves breaking against the shore a hundred feet from the patio surrounding her. The scents of warm saltwater and hot sand filled her senses, the heat of the May sun warming her tanned skin.

She let her eyes drift open and scanned the length of the beach. Not a soul in sight. Just how she liked things. For the first time in her life, she felt completely--and peacefully--alone. No older brother to tell her to behave herself, no domineering boss to tell her what to do ... and best of all, no vampires to mess with her head and play havoc with her emotions.

"Can I get you anything before I leave for the day?"

She glanced up at Brett, the housekeeper too sexy for his own good. Okay, so she wasn't that alone. He stood over her chair with his feet apart. The way he had his hands clasped behind his back pulled his emerald green shirt tight against his well-built chest. Brett was muscular, but not overly so, like a certain vampire she knew, with chocolate-brown hair and eyes, and features too smooth to be called rugged. Her brother's mate had called him "pretty" the last time she'd visited, and Merida had to agree. The description fit. She'd never asked, but he couldn't be more than twenty-one or twenty-two. A baby. But old enough to take to bed--which seemed to be why everyone thought she kept him around.

She didn't.

She'd considered it--she'd have been a fool not to--and he'd proved time and again to be ready and willing, but she couldn't bring herself to go through with it. Her mind refused to look past a certain man she'd rather forget.

"No, thanks. I'm all set. I'll see you tomorrow?"

"Are you sure?" He raised an eyebrow as he spoke, his tone laced with innuendo. If he knew how old she really was--or what she was--he'd run as fast as he could in the other direction.

She opened her mouth to accept what he offered, but her mind wouldn't let her answer. She sighed. "Sorry. Not tonight."

"Okay." He gave her a killer smile, one that would have had her doing anything he wanted if she'd been a few centuries younger. "Maybe another time?"

"Definitely."

His smile widened. "Cool. Remember I have an early class tomorrow morning so I won't be able to get here until a little after noon. I can stay late, though, if you'd like."

She resisted the urge to groan in frustration. She had an amazing man right next to her, offering her something she should want, and she couldn't take him up on the offer. "Maybe. We'll see what happens."

"Okay. See ya later." He hesitated for a few seconds before walking toward the gate that led to the front of the house. She stared at his fine ass as he walked away, half wanting to call him back. But she let him go, as she did every afternoon, and regretted the moment she'd introduced herself to Royce Cardoso.

"Damned vampires," she muttered. "Always going and messing everything up."

If she could go back in time to when she'd first met him, that night almost a year ago in a small New England town, she'd change everything. She never would have announced her presence to him. She would have let him walk by, never knowing he wasn't alone in his hunt for the killer they'd been searching. But, on impulse, she'd stepped out of the shadows and offered to help him look. At the time, it had seemed like a good idea. They were both working toward the same goal, so why not work together? She hadn't expected the chemistry that had caused an explosion between them. The one night they'd spent together had been one of the things to cause her to flee to Florida and the solitude of a private estate.

But there were other, deeper reasons, ones that kept her awake at night. If she could stay here for the rest of her life, maybe she'd be able to forget all that had happened.

Not likely.

She'd been in Key West for three months, and images of her old life still haunted her at night with the world quiet and sleeping around her. She drew a deep breath and pushed her sunglasses up her nose. Nothing would ever be the same, and she needed to get used to it. Florida seemed the perfect place to start over. She had all the heat and sun she wanted, all the time, a private beach attached to the mansion she'd purchased, and plenty of space and privacy. Life was sweet. Except...

She shook her head, not willing to go there, not yet. She'd left behind everything she'd known when she'd left New England--her home, her family--she wouldn't put herself through the hurt of thinking about it again. Not when it still felt so fresh in her mind. If Sam had just fired her after that last little mishap, she might have been able to handle it. But he'd gone and dumped a whole bunch of unwanted responsibility on her shoulders.

She wouldn't bow down to what he wanted, what he'd asked of her. She didn't want it, never had, and she wouldn't let him get away with pushing her into a job she had no interest in assuming. So she'd packed her things and moved away. In time, she'd forget her anger and contact Sam, but not now. It was too soon after the confession that had changed her life, and she had more important things to do than worry about his feelings.

Like deny her destiny.

Sam's voice floated through her mind, lingering as it had for so many nights. "Fate is too important to ignore, Merida. You have to accept what you are, and what you're destined to be. You can't fight it."

"Bullshit," she muttered. "The ability of denial is my biggest asset."

The cordless phone on the small metal table next to her chirped, dragging her from depressing thoughts. She snatched the phone up and answered it, hoping against her better judgment that he'd finally decided to call.

She let out a sigh when she heard her brother's voice. "Hey, sis."

"Eric."

"Nice to talk to you, too." His tone mirrored all the anxiety and irritation she felt, but for much different reasons. On his last visit, Eric had told her he thought she needed to get professional help. She hadn't been very nice in her reply.

"I'm sorry for snapping. I thought you were someone else."

"Sam? Or Royce?"

She almost blurted Royce's name, but she held it back. No sense giving Eric any more ammunition to taunt her than he already had. "Neither."


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