Read Forever Online

Authors: Jacquelyn Frank

Tags: #Romance, #Fantasy, #General, #Paranormal, #Fiction

Forever

BOOK: Forever
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His lips touched hers, the contact so light it was barely there. They were both working hard for breath, both tense and troubled just as much as they were burning with craving.

“I just need a moment, Marissa. Just one little moment where who and what we are doesn’t matter. Because it has been just as hard for me to accept all the things you are trying to accept right now. But in all this upheaval,” he breathed, the softness of his mouth brushing over hers as he spoke, “the only thing that comes crystal clear to me is the way I burn for you.”

Then he swept up her mouth with his, holding her so tightly to himself with the wrapping strength of his arms, his hands running fiercely hot across her back.

She should have pushed away from him, but there was no strong, instinctive desire to do so. In fact the ultimate opposite desire was in play, until it felt as though her actual soul was craving to feel him kiss her.

Forever
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

A Ballantine Books eBook Edition

Copyright © 2013 by Jacquelyn Frank

Excerpt from
Forsaken
copyright © 2013 by Jacquelyn Frank

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

B
ALLANTINE
and colophon are trademarks of Random House, Inc.

This book contains an excerpt from the forthcoming book
Forsaken
by Jacquelyn Frank. This excerpt has been set for this edition only and may not reflect the final content of the forthcoming edition.

eISBN: 978-0-345-53890-1

www.ballantinebooks.com

Cover design: Lynn Andreozzi
Cover illustration: Craig White

Contents
GLOSSARY
AND PRONUNCIATION TABLE

Apep: (Ā-pep)

Asikri: (Ah-SEE-cree)

Chatha: (Chath-UH)

Docia: (DŌ-shuh)

Hatshepsut: (Hat-SHEP-soot)

Ka: (Kah) Egyptian soul

Kamenwati: (Kah-men-WAH-ti)

Menes: (MEN-es)

Odjit: (Ō-jeet)

Ouroboros: (You-row-BORE-us) a snake or dragon devouring its own tail, a sign of infinity or perpetual life.

Pharaoh: (FEY-roh) Egyptian king or queen. This is used in reference to both male and female rulers.ent="applicati

PROLOGUE

Agincourt, Friday, 25 October 1415

“Here is war at its most profound,” Menes mused as he leaned forward from his seat high on horseback and peered down at the vast field below. “An army of so few making bold against an army of so many.”

“Methinks you are seeing parallels, my friend.”

Menes turned to look at Ramses, who was a befreckled, redheaded adolescent boy. More of a young man, in truth, but he had yet to fully grow into his body and his looks. Although, with one of the greatest pharaohs of all spetuisayharing possession of that gangly frame, it lent an air of surety and power that had no doubt been lacking before. An air that forced others to obey his commands, even if they weren’t always sure why they felt compelled to do so. The fact that he was ever at Menes’s right hand made it very clear to other Bodywalkers exactly who he was and exactly why he should be obeyed at all times. And in the event of utter stupidity, Ram had his ways of making himself very, very clear on a matter. Ramses may have conceded the throne of the Bodywalkers to Menes, long ago acknowledging him to be the better ruler of the Nightwalker breed, but Menes did not count himself above Ramses in any way other than by
Bodywalker law. They were as equals. They had always been so. Always would be so.

“You only say that because the Politic is outnumbered by the Templars four to one at the moment.” Wry amusement touched his lips. Their war, the civil war between the Templars and the Politic, would never end, it seemed. Century after century, death after death, it always turned the same, grinding like millstones. But for the first time the Politic was in danger of losing everything. If that happened the Bodywalkers would fall under the feverish rule of Odjit and her followers, who would rule the Bodywalkers with a zealous fist.

“You know their prophecy as well as I do. The day the Templars wrest power from us, Amun will rise to champion the underdog Templars, gifting them with power and rule for their devoted service to the gods.”

Ram snorted derisively. “That’s the prophecy as told by
their
oracles … not by any oracle we have ever known. If it held any truth, Cleo or one of our other powerful oracles would have concurred.”

Menes nodded. He knew that as well as Ram did. However, part of what made him a good pharaoh was that he never dismissed anything out of hand. Over his many lifetimes, while sharing bodies with a great variety of hosts, he had learned that there were rarely any absolutes in the world. Even death was not an absolute. Not to their kind anyway. It was to humans. Which proved another point. One man’s absolute was another man’s maybe. To the Templars, Amun’s prophecy was an absolute. To them, it was a big maybe. Or in Ram’s assessment, a huge “not bloody likely.”

“The longbow,” he said, shifting attention back to the war between the French and the English. The English king, Henry, was proving to be a master tactician. Or perhaps just a dogged one. Menes could not decide. But watching the English decimate the French from a distance
with the impressive use of the longbow in spite of having an undermanned army riddled with dysentery and other illnesses, he thought it was perhaps a healthy dose of both. “I once thought it an awkward instrument. But I see in proper hands there is much to be said for it.”

“You could say the same about Bodywalker rule,” Ram teased him.

Menes reached out to cuff him but froze mid-action. He took in a sharp breath, drawing Ram’s quick attention.

“She’s here,” he said on a rushing exhalation. There was no need for him to explain. Ram knew whom he meant just as assuredly as Menes’s quickening heart and soul did. Menes had waited so patiently these past few months, his life feeling void and half present even as he spent the time Blending with his new host and familiarizing himself with the state of Bodywalker affairs after a century of his absence …

He had always known her. Lifetime after lifetime they found each other,">Then he swept up her mouth with his, holding her so tightly to himself with the wrapping strength of his arms, his hands running fiercely hot across her back.

He could feel her now, her presence like sunshine burning through full armor, and a bead of sweat rolled down the channel of his spine. He felt like a child anticipating the sweetest of sugar, all gap-toothed and
silly grins and grasping, eager fingers. Oh yes, his fingers would be grasping and very, very eager.

But softly now …

He whispered the warning into his eager brain, using more forceful methods to quiet his libido. She was newly born, not even begun to Blend with her new, unsuspecting host. And that was perhaps the best of it. Every time he got to coax a new woman with an old soul inside of her to love him. He would woo and romance her, convince her to love him while the soul he loved was being reborn inside of her.

“This is the part I love best,” he said softly.

“I am well aware,” his friend said with amusement. “One day she will be born into a woman who will not fall for your charms so easily,” Ram said.

“Oh, I but live for the day!” With a whoop he kicked his steed into motion. Over his shoulder he shouted, “Where would the fun be in an easy conquest?”

Ram looked down at the forces at war below.

No doubt King Henry would have enjoyed an easy conquest right about then.ent="applicati

THE LOST SCROLL OF KINDRED

… And so it will come to pass in the forward times that the nations of the Nightwalkers will be shattered, driven apart, and become strangers to one another. Hidden by misfortune and by purpose, these twelve nations will come to cross-purposes and fade from one another’s existence. In the forward times these nations will face toil and struggle unesheet" type="

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CHAPTER ONE

Dr. Marissa Anderson sat tapping a pencil against the corner of her desk with a very uncharacteristic fidgetiness that reflected the utter turmoil of her thoughts. She was trying to figure out what had so unsettled her. Her life, as a whole, was going along swimmingly. She had settled into her position as the precinct’s head psychiatrist very well. She was even learning how to balance that difficult line between professional relationships with her coworkers and the extension of it into personable, casual ones. Making friends in a predominantly male precinct full of alpha-type personalities who hated being reminded they had emotions … yeah, that had its difficulties. Especially when she often stood between them and their reinstatement or continuation of their duties. But they were beginning to get the picture that she didn’t take some kind of sadistic pleasure in holding that kind of power over their heads. Quite the contrary. As long as they confronted and dealt with whatever issues they had, she was happy to be a strong advocate for the continuation of their careers.

BOOK: Forever
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