Authors: Lilian Roberts
Arielle Immortal Struggle
Seattle, WA 2015
COPYRIGHT 2015 LILIAN ROBERTS
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Cover Design by Shari Ryan
Edited by Jacy Mackin
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to similarly named places or to persons living or deceased is unintentional.
PRINT ISBN 978-1-62015-640-7
EPUB ISBN 978-1-62015-654-4
Library of Congress Control Number: 2015901859
I would like to thank the people that supported my efforts to get through the seventh book in the Immortal Rapture Series.
Thank you to my husband and all my family for their continuous patience and encouragement. They never stopped believing in me and my ideas.
Many thanks once again to my amazing editor Jacy Mackin, for guiding me through the challenging parts of the manuscript.
Thank you to my Booktrope proofreader Lydia Johnson and cover designer, Shari Ryan.
Thanks to Sarka-Jonae Miller for her ongoing, tireless support with all my books.
Sarka-Jonae Miller, for taking a manuscript of more than 81,878 words, and crafting a brief synopsis that would give readers a vivid peek into the story.
And finally, sincere thanks to all the friends and fans who enthusiastically supported me, motivating me to get the next volume ready for publication.
To the Booktrope friends who provided superb edits, proofreading, and cover design. Their research and support helped me achieve a successful series with strong, believable, and likable characters. I love you all!
THE LAST COUPLE
of days had crawled by, lasting forever. Worse, Sebastian knew that this fight was not nearly over. Jorrit was getting ready to unleash a horde of goons with the sole desire to hurt Sebastian, his business, and those he loved. And then there was Annabel, Sebastian’s ghastly immortal ex who had vowed to make him miserable by destroying anything that made him happy. Arielle made him happy so she was going to die, a promise Annabel planned to keep. He felt like he was being dragged under, deep into a helpless place and desperate for resolution.
He leaned his forehead against the steering wheel and closed his eyes. There was absolutely nothing that Sebastian had ever loved or wanted in his five hundred-plus years on this planet more than he desired Arielle. Memories flickered, pounding against his brain, like watching a horror film being played in slow motion right before his eyes. He was facing two evils and Arielle was right in the middle of both. His mind was muddled, unable to believe what was happening. The thought of her being captured by the Russian Mafia and tortured until Sebastian released the information they wanted drove fury straight into his bones. And Annabel succeeding in her promise to kill Arielle drew the breath out of his lungs. Anger took over and he increased the pressure of his grip on the steering wheel. Troy’s eyes narrowed worriedly.
Sebastian felt something nudging his senses and snapped out of his horrid thoughts. He realized that he was sitting in the car at the airport parking lot, lost in thought while Troy and Nathan watched him carefully. Silence wrapped all three in a thick blanket for a long moment.
Sebastian sighed vastly and shook his head in frustration. He swept a quick glance over his friends and muttered under his breath, “Sorry.” He didn’t clarify any further. Nathan opened his mouth to ask a question, but noticing the expression on Sebastian’s face, he let his mouth snap shut. Troy gave him a quick stare and Nathan shrugged his shoulders; he had no idea how to make Sebastian break out of his quiet mood.
“Anything wrong?” asked Troy.
Sebastian scoffed. “I wouldn’t know where to begin,” he replied, and his mouth fell into a fierce scowl.
“We just had a successful outcome against some of Jorrit’s goons,” Nathan said, trying to improve Sebastian’s mood.
After a few moments of staring into the distance, he nodded in agreement. “Yes, we did, but they will come back for more.”
Sebastian pushed on the gas and the car roared to life. He pulled away, a fretful expression on his beautiful face, as though his thoughts weighed him down. Silence stretched again inside the small space and Troy’s mouth settled into a hard line. He knew that Sebastian was worried about Arielle and her safety. He didn’t need to read his mind to understand his concerns.
By the time they pulled into Nathan’s driveway, all Sebastian wanted was to get home to Arielle as soon as possible.
“Sebastian, I understand the issue here,” Nathan said, “but you must have some positive reaction to the events that took place in the last two days. We did deliver a hard hit to Jorrit and Rainer.”
This time Sebastian nodded in agreement and a satisfied glare danced in his eyes. Troy laughed out loud, happy to see Sebastian snapped out of his dark mood.
“Thanks, Nathan, I appreciate your help,” Sebastian said sincerely. “Please tell Jasmine hello and I hope she feels better soon.”
Nathan nodded and looked immensely relieved at being home. “I’ll make sure to tell her. I’ll see you both tomorrow.” Shutting the door, he tapped the roof of the car with his hand and, turning away, he strode toward the front door.
When they reached Troy’s house, Sebastian turned and gave him a grateful look. He cleared his throat and managed a smile. “Be sure and say hello to Gabrielle for me,” he muttered. Troy stepped out of the car and shut the passenger door. He hesitated long enough to take a deep breath and, bending down, he motioned for Sebastian to lower the window. Sebastian tilted his head to the side to glance at his friend’s face as he was given a meaningful stare. Sebastian raised an eyebrow quizzically and, quickly, he glanced at the rearview mirror, muscles clenched.
“What’s bothering you, man?” Troy asked with clear concern.
Sebastian dropped his eyes to his lap and sat as motionless as a stone wall.
“Sebastian!” Troy persisted. “I can see something is really wrong, so come out with it. It’ll make you feel a lot better, man.”
He finally turned, gave Troy a restless stare, and grimaced. “Ugh… Troy, I’ve made a mess of Arielle’s life,” he said brusquely. “I feel guilty for being so selfish. I’m a selfish man. I should’ve never come to Brighton. I would have just been a guy she met on her holiday and nothing more. She would have forgotten about me. And she would now have a carefree life with no anxieties, without crazy people trying to kill her because of me.”
Troy saw a shadow of discomfort on Sebastian’s face. “Sebastian, Arielle loves you,” he muttered quietly.