Authors: Delia Colvin
Tags: #Paranormal Romance
The Sibylline Oracle
The Beginning of the Sibylline Trilogy
A Novel by Delia J. Colvin
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author
The Sibylline Oracle
Published by arrangement with the author
All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 by Delia J. Colvin
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Paranormal Suspense Saga
an love defy time?
When she’s rescued by handsome Alex Morgan, Valeria thinks she’s found her happy ending —but Alex knows the terrifying truth; time is running out! And unless they can discover the source of an ancient curse, fate will take her life...again. Greek Mythology and modern romance intertwine in this addictive trilogy.
THE SIBYLLINE TRILOGY
A love more enduring than life...than death...than destiny.
For Delia’s blog, FAQ, and more of her books, go to:
or contact her at [email protected]
Jen—my original Rory, my best friend and daughter
Your unconditional love, wisdom, and absolute faith in me have been an extraordinary gift in my life.
This story might not have been told except for your encouragement, editing, and demand for more.
I love you kiddo!
Delia J. Colvin
Author of The Sibylline Trilogy
The Sibylline Oracle
Voted Goodreads Best Book of June 2012
Voted Best Romance set in Italy
Nominated Best Book of 2012
Nominated Best Romance
“A mix of the easy charm and undying love from
the intelligence, wit, and mystery of
The Da Vinci Code.”
Author/Blogger C.M. Albert
What Amazon Readers are saying…
“Absolutely no putting it down!”
“I have a new favorite author!”
“One of the best books I’ve read in years!”
Personal message from Delia Colvin
As much as I love writing, what I love even more is hearing from readers. If you enjoyed this or any of my other books, it would mean the world to me if you would send me a short email to introduce yourself and say hi. I always personally respond to my readers.
I would also love to put you on my mailing list to receive notifications about future books, updates, and contests.
Please email me at [email protected], so that I can personally thank you for trying my books.
here’s this place in me where your fingerprints still rest,
your kisses still linger,
and your whispers softly echo.
It’s the place where a part of you will forever be a part of me.
The sky was a perfect cornflower blue, deepening to almost black. Alex loved this time of year, the coolness, and the clearing of the summer heat and haze through the coastal mountains north of the Adriatic. Though all of the leaves had fallen, the evergreens and underbrush of the forest left it a dazzling, emerald green. Perhaps some of his pleasure was in anticipation of his destiny—knowing that he was closer to
now than at any other time of the year.
Over the raised roots of a tree, he saw the movement first. The size and pattern left little doubt that this was his target. Alex moved quickly to brush his dark blond bangs away from his face, revealing brilliant blue eyes beneath. His angled jaw tensed with concentration, barely diminishing the deep, dimpled lines in his cheeks. Although it had been hard won from years of slave labor, he was pleased with the strength his arms now possessed. Kneeling, he drew an arrow from his pack and set it in place as he lifted the bow into position. A beam of unfettered sunlight
broke through the branches above and danced on the edge of a decorative carving just above the bow’s grip and his thumb affectionately brushed the adornment. Alex realized that at thirty-four, he was probably older than his father had been when he chiseled the design onto the weapon.
Permitting himself a moment of melancholy, Alex felt the familiar tug in his chest when he thought of his father, mother, and little sister; he wondered if they had ever guessed that they would never see each other again. Alex had been only a young boy when his family had helplessly watched the soldiers carry him away, kicking and screaming. Still, he could feel the spirit of his family in these woods. And, sometimes, if he listened carefully, he could almost hear his mother’s joyful laughter in the house. If the gods smiled on him, he might someday be here with his own family…with
The visions he’d had gave him hope that, someday, he’d know more than the loneliness he’d experienced for most of his life. But the visions had also caused the loneliness, along with many other hardships for him and his family. Alex remembered hearing the story of his first vision; he had been only two years old and was incapable of properly communicating what had happened. Although they never said it, Alex was certain that his family had feared for his sanity. Eventually, they discovered that, when heeded, these visions seemed to reliably produce wealth; particularly in the form of crops. They showed him what, when, and where to plant. The visions had also protected them against invaders. Well, most invaders. They had provided Alex with a vision of his life as a man with Cassandra. Even as a young boy, he could feel the joy and fullness of that life. In fact, that was the only reason he was still here in these woods…and why he had been taken away.
Although this was his land, he had seen the squatters—Trojans who looked weary from years of battle with Sparta. He wouldn’t deny them. The ground was fertile and there was plenty to share...and one of them could be
Without removing his concentration from the boar, he strained the string back, expanding the triangular tattoo on his hand. The target moved into view—just a few more inches for a perfect shot. Slowing his breathing, he focused as the boar moved out from beneath the brush. Patiently, he sucked in his breath, waiting for the shot. Then, he felt something on his neck. An insect? He attempted to ignore it. It hit his neck harder this time, just as the boar was about to move into range. The third time, it hit him with enough force that his hand involuntarily lowered the bow and reached toward the sting. He turned around to see an attractive, redheaded woman taunting him with a pea shooter and a handful of pebbles. Alex rolled his eyes and returned his focus to his target. Then he watched as a larger stone moved over his head and dropped a few feet behind the boar, causing it to squeal and dart away. Daphne’s teasing laugh echoed through the woods.
“Daphne!” Alex said, almost patiently.
“I could have had that shot eons ago!” she said.
With a seriously flirtatious glint in her eyes, that Alex didn’t notice, Daphne took off running through the thickly covered forest, daring him to follow. Alex sighed. He had no real interest in her games. She could be a real annoyance sometimes! Still, a part of him would always be grateful to her. Alex rolled his eyes again and took off after her. She was fast and strong, he had to give her that. As he ran, his sandaled feet sank deeply into the decaying leaves and ferns. On his next leap, his foot caught a root and held him as he twisted and slammed into the hard earth. Alex breathed out heavily and moved a fern out of his face. He checked his smarting ankle. No sprain.
Then he noticed a sudden, surreal shift of light as the sun was obscured by the edge of a cloud. The wind had picked up,
and there was something in the air…an electricity? Something had changed. He pushed up on his elbows and began to assess his surroundings. He searched for the shaft of light between the boughs from the early morning sun, and found it to his left. Alex looked up and saw a single cloud placed almost perfectly between the tree tops, just as it had been in his vision. All the years of waiting and planning came down to his actions now!
He pushed himself up with all of his strength; his heart thundered with a mix of adrenalin, hope, and a desperate need to remedy what he knew would be the outcome if he didn’t arrive in time. He blocked the last thought from his mind as he ran down the heavily wooded hill.
“Daphne!” he called, knowing that she wouldn’t answer. She wasn’t in the vision.
As Alex pressed through the brush and ran down the mountain, he recalled the first time he had seen this vision. He had been only eighteen and was working in Myrdd’s candlelit cave when the kaleidoscope effect had begun at the outer edges of his range of vision. Recognizing the effect, he had crouched down against the cool surface of the cave’s wall before he lost his balance. Myrdd had noticed, but simply continued working on the tablets that had obsessed him since leaving Troy. He tossed his long beard, of white and the darkest gray, over his shoulder to blend with his uncut, alabaster hair. His ancient face and faded blue eyes never wavered from the tablets.
The kaleidoscope effect broadened and blinded Alex as it began to reveal the future. While most of his visions had been innocuous, this vision was different and had terrified him.
“Myrdd!” Hearing the panic in Alex’s voice, Myrdd looked up and narrowed his eyes. “It’s the girl!”
Myrdd rushed to him and kneeled, patiently placing a hand on his shoulder. Alex had been especially grateful for Myrdd’s presence during that vision.
“Details, boy! Observe the details—time of year, smells, sounds, light. What do you see?”
“I…I don’t know! I can’t…” Alex’s heart was racing so hard that he couldn’t think.
“You do not have the extravagance of not knowing! You must observe!” Myrdd demanded. “How old is she?”
“I don’t know…” Alex forced himself to take a breath. “She…she’s a woman.”
Myrdd’s eyes narrowed, calculating, and his voice softened. “How long ago did we leave her, boy?”
“I was…fourteen. We left Troy four years ago.” Alex’s nerves calmed slightly. “She was young then. I have time to reach her. I have time to change it!”
When it had finished, Myrdd retrieved a ladle of water to help Alex with the nausea that could accompany harsh visions.
“Myrdd,” Alex said, between thirsty gulps, “
can I change it?
During the sixteen years that had passed since then,
had been the critical question. Over the years of trying to return to her, through his capture and enslavement and escape, never did Alex think of any other purpose. That was what had brought him back here to his home; the opportunity to change their fate from that vision to the destiny promised by Apollo. His future depended on finding her in time and discovering the answer to the question; c
ould he change the vision
Running down the mountain, Alex’s heart raced as much from his speed as from the panic rising within. The branches and thickets whipped against him, leaving deep scratches on his limbs but he focused only on his quest toward the sea.
As he reached the flat lands, he took in his position and with irritation, realized that he had gotten sloppy. Over the years, he’d allowed himself to be further away than he should have. His foot slid on unsteady soil and he crashed on an upturned stump, falling straight forward and splitting his lip on a boulder. He pushed himself back up and, at last, reached the shoreline.
The waves crashed rhythmically against the gray-blue stones as the clouds darted across the sky and cast long shadows over the beach, blackening the waves. Alex waded knee-deep into the sea, allowing himself a moment to orient himself.
Why did it have to be water?
But it was, what it was, Alex thought with frustration. His legs were already going numb from the cold. He searched for the tree that concealed the boat he had hidden three years prior. Shoving the branches away, he found it at last. He gave it a strong shove off—trying to get enough inertia to move the boat beyond the incoming waves.
Alex jumped in and grabbed the web-coated oars. The water slapped roughly against the boat’s sides, pushing him back toward the shore, forcing him to paddle even harder. For over an hour he worked the oars with the sea slapping his body and burning his flesh with its cold. Salt began stinging the numerous scratches he had earned while racing through the woods until, finally, it dissipated into numbness. He stood up several times, wasting precious minutes, knowing it was too soon and he was too far away.
At last, the position looked right. While still paddling madly, Alex permitted himself hard glances, frantically looking left and right. His heart beat so loudly in his ears that he heard nothing else. Not the soft sobs of the woman with her gentle, brown curls and bright, blue eyes. Not the scraping of the boulder, tied to her ankle, as she pushed it toward the dark, gray water. He never heard the splash the boulder made as it yanked her body off the boat, capsizing it as she was swallowed by the sea.
While paddling, he thought about the many years he had dreamt of her and only her. Myrdd had told him to never give up—as if he ever could! She was his heart, his life. His heart sank as his mind involuntarily replayed the awful last moment of
the vision and he struggled to keep his hope alive.
How many times had he asked Myrdd if it was possible to change the result of a vision? If he couldn’t, then the visions were simply a curse, despite the financial wealth that they brought.
It always seemed that Myrdd was avoiding the question. But the last time they parted ways, Myrdd had taken Alex’s arm and said, “Boy, know this—I have always supposed that if a being possessed the power of vision, he should also possess the power to change the outcome.”
Carrying that piece of hope in his heart, Alex spotted something white between the waves and said a silent prayer to Apollo, for his intervention. He paddled harder until his boat crested a swell. Alex’s heart sank as he saw the capsized boat tossing about. Perhaps it had only been a few minutes, he thought. He pulled the knife from his belt and dove. He knew the sea would be cold enough to force an involuntary breath but, in his hurry, he dove and choked in water anyway. He coughed it out and then swam toward the bottom once more.
Through the dark, churning water, he saw only black. He felt the force of the current and worried that he would be moved off course or that he would find her and not be able to return to the boat. Then, he saw the rising bubbles that would lead him to her.
His lungs felt as if they were about to burst, forcing him to return to the surface. He quickly gasped for air and then dove back down. He followed the bubbles until he saw the white flesh of her hand reaching for the surface, her hair curling delicately around it. He touched her fingers, giving him a new sense of hope. Her face reflected shock, but calmed as her fingers grasped his. Then, her face contorted in pain as she choked in the seawater. Alex held onto her wrist as her body continued to descend through the depths. He felt the pressure on his lungs again, but he ignored it as he began his work to free her from the
boulder that might end them both. He would gladly die with her if that was the only choice. But he had to believe that she could still survive, and he’d be no good to her if he were to drown.
Alex worked his knife on the cloth around her ankle, trying to ignore his pain from her blank stare. At last, she broke free. He frantically kicked, trying to reach the surface before he ran out of breath. Just as his lungs reached their limits, his face broke the surface; he gulped in air, along with the wave that threatened to smash them both against the side of the boat. Alex protectively twisted his body in front of hers. With his arms losing strength from the cold, he momentarily lost his grip on her when his skull hit hard on the edge of the boat.
He pulled her back into his arms, while coughing and vomiting the seawater that burned his throat. Then he rolled them both into the boat and held her in his arms, praying for a change of the fates.
Her body remained cold and blue. Alex looked at the face that he adored, willing life back into her—refusing to accept his failure. When his hope would no longer hold, he let out a long, anguished sob, rocking her body in his arms as a cold, hard rain began to fall.