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Authors: Tracy Cooper-Posey

Byzantine Heartbreak

BOOK: Byzantine Heartbreak
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Byzatine Heartbreak

 

by

Tracy Cooper-Posey

 

Can they love again? Is it too late?

Nayara Ybarra is one of the most powerful vampires alive in the 23rd century. Ryan Deasmhumhain is the other. Ryan and Nayara, former lovers, head the Chronometric Conservation Agency, welded together yet held apart by grief that won’t heal, their lives on hold.

Cáel Stelios
is intrigued by the pair, but despite being politically powerful, rich, smart and sexually potent, Stelios has a overwhelming disadvantage: He’s human. “No” is not a word he accepts without a fight, however.

The psi-filers and Gabriel have plans, though, that will make fighting very real and bloody indeed...

Other books by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Eyes of a Stranger
, Contemporary Romance

Chronicles of the Lost Years
, Romantic Mystery

Case of the Reluctant Agent
, A Sherlock Holmes Mystery

Dare to Return
, Romantic Suspense

Diana by the Moon
, Historical Romantic Suspense

Forbidden
(writing as Anastasia Black), Erotic Historical Romance

Red Leopard
, Erotic Romantic Suspense


Solstice Surrender
” in
Winter Warriors
, Erotic Paranormal Romance

Heart of Vengeance
, Historical Romantic Suspense

Dangerous Beauty
(writing as Anastasia Black), Historical Romantic Suspense

Silent Knight
, Romantic Suspense

Lucifer’s Lover
, Contemporary Romance

Black Heart
, Erotic Romantic Suspense

Thief in the Night
, Erotic Romantic Suspense

Masquerade’s Mate
, Erotic Historical Romantic Suspense

“Cameo Role,” Erotic Romance/Horror

Beth’s Acceptance
(Writing as Teal Ceagh), Erotic Urban Fantasy Romance

Ningaloo Nights
, Erotic Romantic Suspense

Betting With Lucifer
, Contemporary Romance

Solstice Surrender
, Erotic Paranormal Romance

Mia’s Return
(Writing as Teal Ceagh), Erotic Urban Fantasy Romance

Sera’s Gift
(Writing as Teal Ceagh), Erotic Urban Fantasy Romance

Eva’s Last Dance
(Writing as Teal Ceagh), Erotic Urban Fantasy Romance

Dead Double
, Romantic Suspense

Carson’s Night
(Writing as Teal Ceagh), Erotic Urban Fantasy Romance

Dead Again
, Romantic Suspense

Kiss Across Time
(Writing as Teal Ceagh), Erotic Urban Fantasy Romance

Beauty’s Beasts
(Writing as Teal Ceagh), Erotic Urban Fantasy Romance

Destiny’s Trinity
(Writing as Teal Ceagh), Erotic Urban Fantasy Romance

Blue Knight
,
Erotic Romantic Suspense

Kiss Across Swords
(Writing as Teal Ceagh), Erotic Urban Fantasy Romance

Blood Knot
, Erotic Urban Fantasy Romance

Fatal Wild Child
, Romantic Suspense

Bannockburn Binding
,
Erotic Futuristic Urban Fantasy Romance

The Royal Talisman
, Erotic Historical Romantic Suspense

Delly’s Last Night
, Erotic Romantic Suspense

An Inconvenient Lover
, Contemporary Romance

See
http://TracyCooperPosey.com
for details on each title.

Byzantine Heartbreak

 

by

Tracy Cooper-Posey

 

A Stories Rule Publication

 

STORIES RULE PUBLICATIONS

A sole proprietorship owned and operated

by Tracy Cooper-Posey

This is an original publication of Tracy Cooper-Posey

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are 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. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for third-party websites or their content.

Copyright © 2012 by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Text design by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Cover design by Dar Albert

Wicked Smart Designs

http://wickedsmartdesigns.com

All rights reserved

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

FIRST EDITION: February 2012

Cooper-Posey, Tracy

Byzantine Heartbreak/Tracy Cooper-Posey—1st Ed.

Romance—Fiction

Paranormal – Fiction

For Katherine Rebecca.
You’ve got Nia’s strength, too.

Acknowledgements

 

Dar, always.

 

Chapter One

 

Spetsopoula. Private island in the Aegean, 70km from Athens, Greece. 2263 A.D.

Even in the twenty-third century, Christos was intimidating. Cáel Stelios looked up at the man standing in his private study and wondered what the Persians had made of the giant before them when they had faced him on the field of battle, for when Brendan Christos had stood amongst the ranks of his Spartan brothers three centuries ago, he would have stood a head and shoulders above most of them.

Stelios didn’t offer a drink, or a chair. “Do you know why you’re here, Christos?”

“You ordered me to report to you on the double. I reported,” Christos growled. Despite being nearly three thousand years old, Christos looked like any modern Greek man. Dark eyes, dark unruly hair and a chin dark with growth, along with the pale olive skin of his heritage. He was just big. In scale, height and in muscles.

“You didn’t jump here on the double,” Stelios observed. “I sent my request six hours ago. You people have the ability to arrive anywhere around the world virtually instantaneously, do you not?”

Christos’ jaw rippled and his eyes narrowed. “If we know where we’re jumping to. I know Athens well enough and we have an agency there with a secure arrival chamber. The helo flight from Athens is what took up the extra time.” His gaze flickered over Stelios. “Next time, if you want me here faster you should be somewhere I know better. We don’t jump blind, not even for the likes of you.”

Stelios rubbed his jaw, feeling bristles under his fingers. He had traded time zones three times already this day and it was catching up with him. Unlike the vampire standing in front of him, he didn’t have the ability to jump through space or time. He had to use the g-trains or semi-ballistic, or beg a ride from the vampires themselves and he didn’t like to abuse that privilege. It was one few humans got to enjoy.

“I’ll bear that limitation in mind in the future,” he said mildly. He slid his fingers over the soft controls on his desk top to bring up the window shielding. As the glare from the sun dropped down to a dim twilight, he pointed behind Christos toward the projector embedded in the wall opposite his desk.

Christos looked down as the images played out on Stelios’ desktop in perfect scale replicas. It was a silent piece of video. The camera had been too far away to capture sound as well. But the three dimensional focus of the lens had caught crystal clear images.

Christos looked even bigger next to the petite brunette he was talking to. They were standing outside the back of a rundown building that looked like it was made of old concrete, with pipes running up the outside and unpolarized, non-generating windows smeared with dirt and posters in a language that Stelios didn’t recognize plastered over the glass. The building was clearly abandoned.

The girl was painfully young and human in appearance. She looked cold, for her breath escaped in frosty exhalation and her cheeks wore twin slashes of pink. She had a bright white beret perched on the back of her straight, long black hair. She wore fingerless gloves and a short pea coat in a mulberry colour. But despite the cold, she was standing stock-still on the ancient paving stones, staring up at Christos as he spoke. Her eyes were wide. Trusting.

It was some sort of hypnotic trance, induced by mental domination, Stelios knew, for he had seen this clip more than once.

Christos—the one standing in the room with Stelios and watching the clip—made a small sound. Something like a choking cough. Shock? Surprise? Horror? He stared down at the figures on the desktop, his expression mixed. He wasn’t a happy man.

Stelios let the clip play on. The Christos in the clip leaned forward in a snake-quick movement, almost too fast for the camera to capture. His mouth battened onto the girl’s neck just above the open collar of the coat.

And he fed.

The blood dripped onto the girl’s sweater, staining it, as she stood docile and let Christos sup as he wished.

“Turn it off,” Christos muttered.

Stelios didn’t move. He let the images complete the dance. The vampire finished his business then stood back and gazed into the human’s eyes and spoke to her. She kept watching him, unblinking. She nodded, her wide eyes almost vacant.

Christos shifted uneasily on his feet, then moved away, toward the windows. He looked out across the dimmed view of the Aegean, letting Stelios watch the end of the clip alone.

“You brought me here to blackmail me, human?” Christos asked, his voice low. Dangerously low, Stelios realized and he was very glad he had no evil intentions toward the big vampire.

“You’re the head of security for the Chronologic Conservation Agency,” Stelios replied. “Aren’t you even a little bit concerned about where I got this?”

Christos turned to face Stelios. His expression was calm. “Concerned isn’t the word I would use, Assemblyman. But you aren’t going to tell me where you got it and it’s not where you got it that worries me. That it exists at all bothers me.”

Stelios nodded. “We agree on that, at least.” He turned the projector off. “But the clip is evidence of a vampire feeding from a human who may or may not be unwilling—at the very least, her will has been suspended, because you used psi techniques to by-pass it. Then you scrubbed her memory, using psi techniques again. All caught by the camera.” Stelios grimaced. “Released among the news nets, that clip will cause an uproar. It will raise all the old vampire rights issues again.”

“I know that,” Christos growled.

“They’ll start talking about controlling vampires again,” Stelios added.

Christos’s brows wrinkled. “How about you get to the point I don’t know? Like, what is it you really want from me? You didn’t drag me here to lecture me on politics. That’s Ryan’s job, as my superior. If anyone gets to chew me out, he does. So pass your complaint on to him and get on with it. I’ve got work to do back at the station.”

Stelios grinned. Christos was cool in a crunch. Well, he’d survived for centuries, so this little crisis would barely raise his pulse. To Christos, Stelios would be nothing more than a petty human annoyance.

“Fair enough,” Stelios said. He opened the drawer of his desk and pulled out his reading board and threw it at Christos, who caught it one-handed. “The top document...book, I suppose. I had it commissioned several weeks ago and it was delivered last week. I’ve read it. It took me all week.”

Christos turned the board on and thumbed his way through the book. “There’s...fuck, there’s thousands of pages here!” He looked up at Stelios. “Did you sleep at all?”

“Not much. What I was reading gave me nightmares anyway.” Stelios grimaced and sat on the edge of his desk.

Christos frowned as he flipped through more of the book. “Why’n hell would you want to read something like this?” he asked.

“I have to work with them,” Stelios said. “I wanted to know them better and they weren’t about to tell me themselves.”

Christos snorted. “You don’t have a few years to spare for the telling, human.”

Stelios turned and poured himself an ouzo on ice from the supplies in the refrigerated cupboard. He held up the bottle. “I’d offer you one, Spartan, but...”

Christos tilted his head. “I’m not sure I’d take one from you, anyway. Not yet.”

Stelios tossed back the shot and poured again. “You know them. Better than perhaps anyone else in the world.”

“No one knows that pair well.” Christos placed the board back on the desk gently. “This research is just dates, facts. Timelines.”

“Exactly,” Stelios said. “It’s probably the first time those dates have ever been pulled together, but it’s still just resumes.” He sat on his desk again. “Ryan Deasmhumhain and Nayara Ybarra are both over two thousand years old. Together they run the most powerful vampire organization in the world. And nobody knows anything about them. You’re the closest to an expert on them.”

“I’m not an expert.” Christos crossed his arms over his great chest. “I’m a friend. And this friend is wondering why you’re so damned curious about them.”

Stelios put his hand on the reading board. “I’ve been working with them for weeks, Brendan. I can’t figure them out. And I can’t get anywhere with them if I don’t understand them. We’re going to be working together more in the future. I need to know how their minds work.”

“You do, huh?” Christos grinned. “You’re a lying sack of Greek shit, Stelios.”

Stelios drained his glass. “Am I?”

Christos jerked his thumb over his shoulder. Toward Athens. “I’m not one of your voters, Assemblyman. I don’t get a vote, remember? I’m not allowed to vote, because I’ve been around too long, and I know you’re laying it on thick enough to choke a lamb to death.” He pointed to the board. “You’ve read that and you’ve been up to the station and working with Ryan and Nayara for weeks, on and off. You’re a smart man, Stelios. You’ve already got more than half a picture about them by now. I know that because Ryan hasn’t gelded you, they haven’t drawn your blood and Nayara hasn’t tossed you out of the nearest airlock. You’ve figured them out enough to get along with them in all that time. So what do you
really
want?”

Stelios felt the sudden urge for another drink. He cleared his throat and moved around the desk, back to the chilled cabinet.

Christos made a breathy sound behind him. Then: “No...! Tell me you don’t really hold some sort of...” Then he heard Christos laugh, low and long.

Stelios busied himself pouring the drink. By the time the drink was ready, his face was under control and Christos was silent once more. Stelios returned to the desk, staying on this side of it. He looked Christos in the eye.

Christos had the grace to not laugh again. But he was smiling. “Man, you aim high,” he said simply. “Which one?”

“Does it matter?” Stelios asked, glad to hear his voice emerge evenly.

Christos considered and shook his head. “In the end, no. You’ll never get either of them. They’re welded together, those two.”

“They’re not together romantically. Not anymore,” Stelios pointed out.

“Not since Salathiel died,” Christos agreed. He stepped up to the other side of the desk. “Got another one of those in that bottle?” he asked, indicating Stelios’ drink.

Surprised, Stelios nodded. He turned and poured another drink into a fresh glass, added ice and pushed it over the desk toward the Spartan. Christos lifted it and sniffed appreciatively. The glass looked diminutive in his big hand. “Aahh. Brings back memories,” he growled. He looked Stelios in the eye. “Now we have the measure of each other, human. I know what you want.”

“What do I want?” Stelios asked curiously.

“You want the key to unlocking them.”

Stelios considered that. “An odd way to put it, but appropriate.” He drained his drink, considered getting another one but didn’t move. “Of course, this stays between you and me.”

Christos smiled. “Just like that nasty little clip stays between you and me, right? I told you I had the measure of you now.” He swirled the glass so the ice circled and made a musical tinkling sound, but made no move to drink the ouzo. Instead, he raised the glass again and carefully inhaled.

Stelios waited him out. The cards were all face up on the table now. He could afford to let Christos take his time reaching the point he was clearly about to make. Stelios moved back around the desk and settled his butt back on the edge of it once more.

Christos put the glass down on the desk, dipped one big finger into the ouzo and licked it. He sighed. “Good stuff,” he judged and stepped back.

“Tell me why Ryan and Nayara are so welded together,” Stelios coaxed. “Salathiel died over two hundred years ago and they separated after that.”

“Physically, yes.” Christos crossed his arms. “Your problem is, you’re thinking in human terms. You have to start thinking like a vampire if you want to understand them.”

Stelios leaned back on his arms, feeling the weariness of a long day that was far from over pulling at his muscles and mind. “Explain it to me, then.”

Christos stared at him, like he was more than slightly mad. Then he rolled his eyes. “They were with Salathiel for hundreds of years.
Hundreds
. You don’t walk away from that and just...walk away. Not when you have perfect memories like we do. You humans, you heal. You forget.” Christos pointed to the reading board. “Neither of them get to forget any of that. They remember all of it every time they look at each other.”

Stelios recalled some of the blood and pain and drama he had discovered in the hundreds of pages of dry facts and dates and footnotes of speculation the researcher had compiled for him. His heart had skipped along uneasily just reading the data. What did it do to those who had lived through it, then remembered it perfectly every time?

“Why are they still together?” he asked. “Why do they stay where they remind each other?”

“That’s your key,” Christos said. “You answer that, you get what you want.”


What
is the answer?”

Christos lifted his shoulders in a huge shrug. “You think I know? I just work with them.”

Stelios swore and stood up. “Then this interview has been a waste of time.”

“If you insist,” Christos replied evenly. “But now we know where we stand.” He grinned. “And time has an impact on everything. You just don’t have the long term perspective to appreciate how it can change the future, human.”

BOOK: Byzantine Heartbreak
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