SHELTERED The Cities Below Book 4 by Jen Colly
Genre: Paranormal Romance Pub Date: 1/9/2018
Only love can save her from certain death. Too bad, she doesn’t believe in love . . .
When Bette Dautry comes to him, seeking his protection, Guardian Rollin Casteel suspects the mysterious beauty has an ulterior motive. Unable to resist her seductive charms, he soon hungers to mark her as his. Only Bette disappears before he can sink his teeth into her tender flesh, leaving Rollin with one mission: to find her—and to claim her. . . .
Bette seduces Rollin intent on conceiving his child, believing the mother-child bond to be the only kind of love she can sustain—the only kind of love that can keep her alive. But she never expects to feel so much for her strong and silent lover. Then she discovers Rollin is none other than the heir to the Balinese throne—a man too noble—too dear—to play a role in her dark scheme. A man she would willingly die for, if only he would set her free. . . .
Bette woke from a sound sleep, consciousness returning with a burst of adrenaline. Eyes open and searching, she could barely make out a single object within her dark bedroom. She sat up in bed, perfectly still and listening intently for the noise she thought she’d heard. Had she imagined the footsteps? She heard nothing now. But if she’d truly heard someone walking, had they only passed by her door? Or were they inside her home?
No, she couldn’t pinpoint what had woken her, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was inside her home. Bette dove for the lamp at her bedside, and when she switched it on, the soft click echoed through the room. Her hand trembled in the glow of the light, and she drew in a shaky breath, afraid of who she might see standing in here with her.
Bette glanced around her bedroom. Everything was in its place. Nothing moved. No sound carried to her from outside her bedroom door, or even beyond, but she couldn’t dismiss this fear.
Something thrummed inside Bette, an intuition, a warning. Reaching to her nightstand, she curled her fingers around the handle of her jewel-encrusted letter opener she kept within arms’ reach. She poked her bare feet from the covers, then gingerly touched her toes to the soft carpet and stood, the hem of her satin and lace nightgown sliding down her legs to brush the tops of her feet.
Tiptoeing across her bedroom, she reached out a hand to her highbacked green and gold chair, steadying herself as she stepped around it and headed for her bedroom door. She slowly opened the door, but hugged the frame as she peeked into the great room. A part of her wanted to call out, to ask if anyone was in her home, but fear blocked out the words, choked off her voice.
Several nerve-wracking moments passed without a whisper of a sound, but Bette couldn’t put her mind at ease until she checked the locks. She would have to cross the great room. The soft glow of her lamp behind her did little to give her courage, but she dare not look back, not now that her eyes had adjusted to the darkness ahead.
Crossing should be easy, just put one foot in front of the other. She could do this. Bette stepped into the great room, and suddenly something moved beside her, a shadow shifting in the darkness, visible from the corner of her eye. She jumped, unable to suppress her gasp of surprise, and scrambled back into her bedroom. There was no thought behind her reaction. It wasn’t as if the dim light at her bedside could save her, but somehow seeing what was coming seemed less terrifying than being attacked by the unknown.
Bette covered her mouth to keep silent, and to stop her lips from quivering. Her other hand held the letter opener, her grip tightening in preparation. The edges of the makeshift weapon weren’t necessarily sharp, but the tip was pointed enough to damage flesh. Would inflicting an injury be enough of a distraction for her to escape the intruder? She wasn’t sure. By the size of the shadow, she assumed a man had entered her home, and men were indomitably resilient.
With long, deep breaths, she forced her breathing to calm. She needed to hear beyond her own panic and listen for movement in the next room. If she could hear the approaching steps, she might be better prepared to strike. Excruciatingly long moments passed with no sound, no hint of movement. Had anyone been there? Had she imagined the shadow, and perhaps even the sound that had woken her?
Bette no longer trusted her senses, but this instinctual, driving need for self-preservation was difficult to ignore. With no further proof of a trespasser, she decided she needed some clarity.
The light switch to the great room was close. She needed to dash down the short hall and reach around the corner. Bette stepped from her room, and that shadow moved with her, followed her… It was her shadow.
She pressed her hand to her forehead. Lack of sleep had finally taken its toll. Sounds woke her, kept her on edge. Catnaps no longer sustained her energy, and now she was jumping at her own shadow. When she could no longer slumber soundly through the day, she’d tried to sleep at night, but sleep was not only illusive, it left her vulnerable, to both real and imagined dangers.
It was all in her head. Again. Bette loathed her fears, her confusion, and the lack of control over her life. Could she even classify this existence as life? Babette, the wealthiest woman in Valenna and the last of the illustrious Dautry lineage, had been reduced to cowering inside her home, fearful of the people living within her own city.
Beneath the Night The Cities Below Book 3
Sometimes survival means surrendering everything . . .
Lord Navarre Casteel wakes from a long sleep to find the vampire city he rules forever changed and his future in the hands of a mysterious beauty who offers her life for his. Fiery-haired Cat survives his feeding, fueling Navarre’s body and mind—as well as his suspicion that she is one of the Forbidden—a lethal mix of vampire and human blood. Yet that doesn’t stop the throb of Navarre’s desire, the feeling that she is destined to be his mate, to hell with consequences. . . .
A solitary fighter sworn to protect the children in her charge, Cat never expects to feel so much for Navarre in the face of his savage feeding. Which is why his offer of protection is nearly her undoing. For how can she let down her guard when she has always walked alone? But Cat has never faced an enemy like the one she faces now, never felt such a powerful need to surrender to the force of love . .
The streets are a battleground for humans, vampires, and demons alike—where survival is a skill, love is a weapon, and the most dangerous act is to care for another . . .
Keir is an assassin devoted to Lady Arianne, the last of her royal bloodline. He is sworn to protect her, and that means eliminating any threat to her life. But while on a mission, he is set upon by a pack of demons, barely escaping with his life.
Cleopatra lives by a set of rules so rigid she no longer knows her true self. But her kind and loving nature resurfaces when she finds a man, bloodied and dying. Moved to help him, she risks her future and her life to save a stranger far below her aristocratic station.
Their attraction to each other is as powerful as it is forbidden. But even as their love grows, Keir keeps his true identity a secret—and this lie is not the only threat to their love . . . or their lives.
Demons have returned, a vengeful enemy waiting to strike. Soren and Faith must find a way to survive the evil and darkness.
Faith's spur of the moment vacation, meant to free her and boost her spirits, has left her lost on the streets of Paris. And apparently, Paris is populated with something more than just humans. Vampires, suave, seductive and oh so sexy, and one such warrior vampire has set his sights on her.
When Soren hears Faith's terrified screams, he rushes in and saves her life without considering the consequences. Two problems: one, she's a human and clearly aware of his vampire qualities, and two, the men who attacked her were not men at all, but demons. Their target, his beloved underground city of Balinese. He can never let Faith go home again, but can she learn to love his people. . .love him?
Jen Colly is the rare case of an author who rebelled against reading assignments throughout her school years. Now she prefers reading books in a series, which has led her to writing her first paranormal romance series: The Cities Below. She will write about anything that catches her fancy, though truth be told, her weaknesses are pirates and vampires. She lives in Ohio with her supportive husband, two kids, one big fluffy dog, and four rescued cats.
Authors are a strange breed, and over the years I’ve come to accept the fact that I am no exception. If you wander into our local coffee shop, Cabin Fever Coffee, and find me sitting alone at a table hugging the wall (because my laptop is a Megabyteasaurus and it likes to be where the electricity lives), then chances are you’ll catch me making faces or gesturing at my computer screen. I’m okay. Really.
When writing, my brain jumps into a different world. My scrunched noses, flinches, and fist shaking all correlate to whatever scene is running through my head. I might be mentally embroiled in a sword fight, a heated argument, complicated plot twist, a betrayal, or a deeply heartfelt commitment that promises to last forever. I’ve been known to twist in my seat to determine my left from right as I pivot through a battle. Occasionally I’ll scowl, completely angry with one of my characters. I laugh at their jokes, often out loud. I’ve even shed a tear or two when I discover their pain ran far deeper than I’d originally thought. And one evening, after finishing a particularly difficult chapter, I punched both fists into the air, startling a couple baristas. I imagine I’m quite amusing to watch.
So why write in the public eye when I could be curled up at home in my pajamas? Well, honestly, it doesn’t bother me to be seen doing what I love. I’ve been a mother for twelve years, which means very few things embarrass me, least of all my own awkwardness. I only have one day a week to completely dedicate myself to my books and I treat them as another job. I’m a notorious procrastinator, and if I don’t leave home, I’ll find twenty other things to help me avoid my goal. And…my Cabin Fever office has better coffee than any of my previous workplaces.
I’m the cliché author in a coffee house, but that’s about where the normal ends. Unlike a majority of my fellow authors, I hated reading, though I never struggled with phonics or understanding the subject matter. My nemesis was the BOOK IT! program in elementary, and my distaste for reading continued to grow throughout high school. Nothing could make me read, be it bribery with personal pan pizzas from BOOK IT!, or the promise of five dollars cash per book from my mother. Now that I’m grown, I’ve come to understand my grudge was not against reading, but with being told what to do and which books to read. When stripped of personal choice, there is no enjoyment. Luckily the joy has returned with the freedom to choose stories that move me, and this has led me to write the kind of books I personally savor.
I write paranormal romance… Now, don’t run the other way! Hear me out… My series, The Cities Below, features a unique society of vampires living beneath Paris in fully functioning cities. You’ll encounter brutal sword fights, political intrigue, demon attacks, an assassin, a panther, courageous children, a warrior woman, and men who will lay down their lives to protect their people and home. At times you can’t help but like the bad guy just a little bit, and once in a while you may find yourself angry with a good guy, even question his motives. In romance, love is the central theme, but there’s so much more to the story. You have the opportunity to watch a civilization break, rebuild, struggle to learn and grow, and in some instances, completely change their perspective.
Fair warning: Not every hero saves the day, not every heroine is tough-as-nails, and not everyone will live happily ever after in each book. Because that’s the truth of life.
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