When a personal assistant’s perfect life is shattered by a forty-year-old secret, will she be able to pick up the pieces and resurrect her world?
Recalling the past is the only way to repair the future…
For Sub Rosa personal assistant, Eden Freberg, kissing men is like making out with a mannequin—cold, lifeless, disconnected. That is, until she meets alluring geneticist Rick Hartman. From their first touch, they connect like long lost lovers, fitting together like missing pieces of a puzzle.
Eden is on an express train to beyond-this-world bliss—married, and with twins in less than a year—until Rick derails their perfect life, revealing corruption at the heart of Sub Rosa. The transnational corporation plans to wipe the Jade and Violet vampire clans from existence, even though they pose no significant threat to humans. And Rick’s determined to make things right.
But that’s not the only problem.
On their journey of discovery, Eden and Rick unearth a forty-year-old secret that shatters their identities and threatens their lives. Will their pasts catch up to them before Rick has a chance to gain retribution?
Reader advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a trilogy. This book has multiple references to planned genocide and eugenics, as well as scenes involving abduction, torture, experimentation, captivity and group sex.
General Release Date: 31st December 2019
Sub Rosa basement lab, Hobart, October 1965
“Help! Help us!” Eva screamed, but no sound came out. Her breath caught in her throat. She had to be dreaming.
Wake up. Wake up! She closed her eyes, opened them again. No! She was still in the Sub Rosa basement. In hell…but not the biblical fiery type. It was stark and sterile, lab-like, the pungent odor of bleach stinging her nostrils.
We’ll find a way to get out of here, she wanted to tell her husband, but she couldn’t. They had an audience, a black-radiation-suited audience, their shielded inhuman-looking eyes peering at them—studying, analyzing, deciding whether to keep them alive.
Do I know them?
Does my husband?
None of the frightening figures had said a word.
The one in charge held up a fluid-filled syringe that glinted in the grim light. Her gaze darted between the man and the needle. The man and the needle. The man and the… He squeezed out a drop and she gulped down frenzied gushes of air. In one swift move, he stabbed the syringe into her IV. No no n…
She roused. Still a prisoner, strapped down to a stone-cold gurney. She should be petrified. It had to be the injected drugs that dulled her fear.
Adrenaline lay dormant in her system, her heart droning on and on and on. Thrump. Thrump. Thrump. Her circulation slowed, shunting her lava-like blood through her veins and clouding her brain.
Hazy, scattered thoughts swirled about, mostly out of conscious reach. She tried to open her eyes, the lids hanging heavy, almost immobile, as though each lash were weighted with a ten-pound dumbbell.
Artificial calmness enshrouded her, further dulling her sense of reality—not bad, but not good. Floaty, relaxed…but she was trapped, with no way to escape.
She tried to turn to see the love of her life and her body slammed against the steel table. “Ugh,” she groaned. Thick black rubber bands encircled her chest, hips, knees, ankles and wrists, holding her in place, keeping her prisoner.
Craning her neck only got her a glimpse of her husband’s golden-brown hair. The agency had made sure of that. They’d made sure to sever the connection to her soulmate.
Her husband, Richard, had discovered stuff—things, sensitive information and now…
He wasn’t at fault. He’d tried to do the right thing and had convinced her to join him, but they’d gotten intercepted.
They hadn’t been married long. The twenty-third of July 1965. Three, short amazing months. They were still in the honeymoon phase.
Mesmerized by Richard’s light green eyes, his tender passionate lips, his sexy whispered words, she’d made love with him day after day, night after night. And each morning, she would wake up snuggled into him, safe and secure in his strong arms.
But he wasn’t just a wonderful lover, he was a romantic, considerate man, frequently leaving her a sweet sentiment or poem in different spots—on the notepad by the phone, on her bedside table, on a coaster, on her dinner napkin, pinned to the fridge by a fluffy cat magnet and even on the steamed-up mirror for her to see when she got out of the shower.
Just when she thought he’d run out of places to hide them, he’d find a new one. Richard—always so thoughtful, loving and full of surprises…
His slurred words jolted her out of her drowsy state and she snapped her eyes open to brightness. Interrogative-spotlight intensity. She squinted, furiously batting her eyelids in an attempt to adjust to the glare.
She’d been moved, and her precious heart engagement ring, wedding band and gold marcasite watch were gone. Would she and her husband be disposed of next?
She sucked in a sob-like breath, choking on noxious air, and her womb cramped. Still sore, stripped, raw, she tried to focus her blurry, tear-filled eyes on Richard’s handsome face. He lay only a few feet from her, but she could hardly make him out. If this formed part of Sub Rosa’s torture plan, it worked a thousand times better than any physical suffering.
If only she could reach out and touch her husband, tell him she loved him, reinforce that she didn’t blame him for any of this and they’d make it through. They’d be together again, stronger than ever. However, she struggled to form words in her head, let alone speak them, her tongue numb, heavy, defective.
The same black-suited man walked over and prepared a syringe with a blue liquid. “Nooo! Pleease don’t dooo this… Leave him alooone!” she pleaded, her words slack and slurred.
The faceless man jabbed the syringe into her husband’s drip. Tears sprang from her eyes and a burst of adrenaline kicked her heart into overdrive, frantic beats thrashing against her ribcage.
Within seconds, Richard’s eyes fluttered and he went as limp as a puppet with slashed strings. She strained at the obstinate ligatures, desperate to break free to reach her lifeless husband, but the man approached and stuck the same needle into her IV.
Black, bright, black, bright, black, bright. The flickering fluorescent lights blacked out and her pulse plummeted, her scream barely a whisper.
Sandra Carmel is an Australian author of racy, flirty and downright-dirty romance novels, novellas, short stories and poetry, who enjoys stimulating herself and others with words. An obsession with classic romance novels, particularly Jane Eyre, and her infatuation with Mr Rochester were key motivators in commencing her romance writing journey. So far, she has taken the scenic route from steamy paranormal to sci-fi to contemporary, creating provocative stories that delve beneath the surface of desire. She reads and writes a lot, frequently disrupted by her ever-attentive, cheeky cats, and sinfully amorous array of book boyfriends.
You can follow Sandra on Instagram and Bookbub and find her on Amazon.