Forgotten Storm: Revised and Extended Edition
Storm Series Book 1
by A.R. Vagnetti
Genre: Paranormal Romance
His piercing regard slowly drags down, then up, the length of my body and seems to pulse with an inner light the higher they go. Everywhere the blazing gaze travels, my skin tingles like a physical caress.
Too much. Logan’s presence is too overwhelming. Confusion bites at my insides. I don’t know whether to jump his bones or yell at him. Instead, I turn away and peer out the windows over the length of the piano into the dark night beyond.
The heat of his regard penetrates my backside, and I’m not sure this position is any better. Gulping down one more calming swig of wine, I set the glass on the piano and flatten my palms along the smooth black surface. Strangely enough, it’s the one meaningful object in my life I haven’t named yet. The perfect label will pop into my brain. I just have to be patient.
Without turning around, I throw my first question. “Do you know Dimitri Giordano?” A lengthy silence greets my husky inquiry.
“Look at me, Nicole.”
I shake my head.
“Look. At. Me.”
Unable to deny the low command, I swallow the lump in my throat and spin to peer into his eyes. “Do you?”
“Yes,” he grates out between clenched teeth, brow furrowed.
Yes? Holy Christ. I gape at him for an entire minute, my mouth hanging open and eyes wide with disbelief. Even though my subconscious knew the answer, it still shocks the shit out of me he’s admitting it.
“What the fuck, Logan?” My stare never surrenders his, even as the trembling begins anew. There isn’t enough alcohol in the world to dull these emotions. Every traumatic moment plays through my mind. It screams to shut down, to never remember.
“Did you watch?” I whisper, my anger rising, my hands clenched so tight, the tips of my nails pierce flesh. The slight sting does nothing to center me.
Logan’s jaw clenches even tighter. Fingers dig into the arms of the chair. “What are you talking about?” He growls low. “Watch what?”
The rage and bitterness scorch through me like a forest fire burning rapidly from the inside out, igniting with a sudden rush.
“Did you watch while Dimitri made me suffer?” My fists squeeze harder at the words. “Enjoy every sickening touch? Every painful invasion? Did you get off on my cries from the burn as his nails pierced my skin? The sounds of my screams as my bones broke?” Guttural and low, my voice projects the shame and pain suffered. I’m not even aware I’m crying until a tear splashes on my fists clenched in front of me.
“No!” Shock and horror stamp his face as he leaps to his feet. “Not possible. We safeguarded you. Protected you. I pulled you out of there before he found you. You should not even know who he is.” The despair in Logan’s expression gives me pause.
“What are you talking about, Logan?” I unclench my fingers and swipe the humiliating tears away with a loud sniff.
Logan steps toward me with the fluidity of a lion. His pain and anguish seize my lungs, and I gasp to inflate them. My chest rises and falls with every harsh, erratic breath in response to his agony.
He halts two feet from me, head bowed, eyes on the floor in front of him. Like he can’t bear to meet my gaze. What the hell is going on here? Where is the confident, cocky man from earlier? And what did Logan mean I was protected? That’s so far from the truth it’s laughable. And he didn’t get me out of there. I did.
“Nicole. I… I am at a loss. Words cannot express how deeply I failed you.” The broken whisper pierces the barriers around my heart. “I thought… assumed I made it to you in time. I did not know. I swear. Please. Forgive me. Forgive me for not protecting you when you needed me the most.”
Logan’s pain and torment ring loud and clear, and I falter. My anger eases at his obvious suffering, at the sorrow emanating from him in waves. It slices through me like a dull dagger across my abdomen. What is happening?
After several tense minutes, Logan lifts his head, and the blinding light startles me. What the hell? The glow pulses with the raging emotions warring within him, flaring and subsiding in time with the clenching and unclenching of his fists. Every muscle is tense, ready to snap as he fights for control.
“You are my mate. It was my responsibility to ensure your protection. To keep you safe.” The agony in his voice generates an answering ache in my chest. I want to wrap my arms around him, reassure him everything is fine. That I’m fine.
But I’m... not fine. I’m broken. Damaged. Beyond repair, I think. So, I say nothing. Merely watch him with an expression utterly barren of emotion. At this moment, I have nothing to offer him. Everything inside me is gutted, and it’s all I can do to remain standing. To not collapse in a sobbing heap at his feet.
Storm Series Prequel
Escape Became The Fight Of Her Life.
When Nicole Giordano's dream Guardian materializes on the night of her 17th birthday, preventing her from ending her abuse-riddled existence, everything changes. Her life morphs into a roller coaster ride of dive bars, false names, and strange towns with bizarre encounters. Her one constant—Logan. He maps her course, provides her identities, and protects her from unseen enemies. Over time, Nicole's fledgling desires escalate, and their fantasy time transforms into an erotic dance she can't live without.
Ride along with Nicole as she fights for her life in the prequel to the award-winning Storm series, A.R. Vagnetti's steamy paranormal romance series.
Content warning: references to sexual abuse, explicit sex scenes, blood and gore. 18+ ONLY
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Green fire freezes me in place. My heart stops at the visual of the monster controlling the man I assumed was a loving, gentle person. The emeralds burn bright with violence. Huge fangs—fucking fangs—glisten in the moonlight as his upper lip lifts in a snarl I can only describe as a sheer predator.
“Baby, stay right there. Do not fucking move.”
Christ. What the hell is he? Wide-eyed, I ignore his command and shuffle backward, away from whoever, or whatever monster, I somehow aligned with in my dreams until my back hits another tree.
Logan immediately ceases his torture. The irises dull, and the fangs disappear. My rapid breath intensifies the pain in my side. I ignore it as I watch wide-eyed as Logan lifts his sword with a careless gesture and severs the man’s head before striding toward me, blood coating his hands and chest.
Every nerve ending lights up like an electrical wire at the sight of him. Am I turned on by the gore? By his alter ego? The violent animal willing to defend me with such ferocity? Something sinister lives within me, and I’m terrified to analyze it.
When he’s a mere foot from me, he takes the tip of his sword and lances his palm open before lifting it to my mouth. “Drink, Nicole. It will repair your wounds.”
Is he fucking kidding me? “No,” I exclaim and turn my head. “No fucking way?”
He grips the back of my neck to hold me still and shoves his bloody palm against my lips. “Drink,” he barks. I clamp my jaws shut even as my lids lift to his in astonishment.
Logan’s never taken such a harsh tone with me. He’s always gentle with his touch and manner. Even his sexy orders in our dreams are not as militant as now.
But you’ve also never witnessed him eviscerate a man before, either.
The green-eyed beast lowers his head until we are eye to eye. I freeze at the fury smoldering in his glower. “Drink on your own, or I will force my blood down your throat.”
“Logan,” his brother admonishes gently. “Give her a minute. She has been through enough already.”
“They hurt her. I can release her pain,” he growls, glaring over his shoulder.
Even though I’m petrified—at the blood and gore, the realization Logan isn’t human, and that my step-father is still searching for me—the scent of Logan’s blood hits my nostrils. I inhale as deeply as my ribs will allow. The dark substance should repulse me, but instead, a powerful urge has me leaning forward and taking a tentative lick. Bright irises swing back to me in surprise.
Shit, I’ve scandalized myself with my sudden desperation for blood. His blood. As Logan’s essence crosses my tastebuds, my lids lower. Oh, my fucking God. What should be abhorrent, downright nasty, tastes like sweet, dark cinnamon. I swipe my tongue across the wound again, moaning low. Logan’s irises ignite with an inner fire.
“That’s it, love.” His voice breaks, and he moves closer. “Take as much as you need.”
A blazing inferno builds in my center with each drop of his precious gift. Sharp bursts of discomfort radiate across my broken ribs and bruised spine before the pain vanishes completely. Good Lord. Did his blood actually heal my injuries? How is that possible?
The dark red ambrosia does more than heal me—it sets me on fire. Desire dampens my panties, and I close the meager distance between us, keeping my lips locked on his palm, my gaze glued to his, forgetting the violence and gore of minutes before. Warm lips brush my temple, and I long to mold myself to his frame, glory in the hard planes of his body pressed into my softer ones, and lose myself in his embrace.
But the permeating stench of the spilled blood streaked across his massive chest halts my progress. And in an instant, the wrecking ball of reality slams me in the forehead. I retreat, dropping the palm I didn’t realize I’d clutched like a lifeline.
So many emotions, questions, and fucking chaos reside inside me right now, but I go with the one most prevalent. The question scorching my brain the second I witnessed his fangs.
“What are you?” My wide-eyed scrutiny bouncing between him, his brother, and the other dark outlines lurking in the shadows.
“Do you trust me, Nicole?” he asks, and my observation swings back to him.
“If you’d asked me that yesterday, I would’ve said yes, without hesitation.”
“I…” I swallow, afraid to utter the words. “I’m not sure.” My whisper seems loud between us. “You have fangs, your eyes glow, and you enjoyed disemboweling that man.”
“I would destroy anyone or anything to keep you safe and unharmed.” No regret, shame or remorse dwells in his bearing. “I would burn the fucking world for you.”
A.R. is an American writer who grew up in the scalding Tucson desert. She does her best writing while camping, traveling, and on the beautiful shores of Lake Huron, where she is now blessed to spend her summers away from the Arizona heat with her supportive husband and Labrador.
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