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Etched in Bone [Mass Market Paperback]

Adrian Phoenix
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 22 2011 Maker's Song
SON OF A FALLEN ANGEL. FORGED IN VAMPIRE’S BLOOD. SWORN TO A MORTAL WOMAN. IF DANTE FALLS, THE WORLD FALLS WITH HIM. . . .

THREE LEGACIES ETCHED IN BONE

More beautiful and powerful than any creature the world has ever seen, Dante Baptiste has become the supreme target of the three worlds that spawned him. The mortal agents of the Shadow Branch have tried to control his mind through psychological torture. The vampire elders who guide nightkind society have plotted to use him in their bloodthirsty bid for power. And the Fallen have waited for millennia for Dante to claim his birthright as their Maker. But Dante belongs to no one—except the woman he loves. . . .

ONE PASSION SWORN IN BLOOD

Determined to face the Fallen and the world on his own terms, Dante hopes to piece together his shattered past and claim his future, with FBI agent Heather Wallace at his side. But in Heather’s human family awaits an unexpected enemy. One who could rip Heather from Dante’s heart and fill the holes with bullets. One who could force Dante to choose his darkest destiny—as the Great Destroyer. . . .

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Etched in Bone + On Midnight Wings: Book Five of The Maker's Song
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Product Description

About the Author

Adrian Phoenix lives in Oregon with three cats and travels to New Orleans whenever possible.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1
DIRTY BUSINESS


NEW ORLEANS
CLUB HELL
March 30

“HEY, PUMPKIN.”

Just two simple words spoken into air fragrant with the homey scents of toast and cantaloupe, yet they fractured the club’s late-morning peace and iced Heather Wallace’s spine.

Never expected to see him in New Orleans, let alone Club Hell. Did he come on his own or did the Bureau send him?

Heather finished rinsing her plate in the sink behind the bar, turned off the water, then, pulse pounding, swiveled around to face her father. The weight of the Colt snugged into the back of her jeans did little to comfort her.

Special Agent James William Wallace stood in the entrance beneath the neon BURN sign, red light winking from the lenses of his glasses and gliding along the shoulders of his tan trench coat. Shadows cast by the dim overheads hollowed his cheeks, making him look older than his fifty-seven years.

The last time Heather had seen her father had been at the FBI field office in Seattle, where he’d tried to convince her to abandon the truth and sell her soul to the Bureau, and where Heather had also learned that the lying bastard had used Annie to spy on her, promising his long-ignored bipolar daughter that they’d be a family once more.

Of course, Annie hadn’t known he’d sell Heather’s secrets. Or that he’d lied.

But Alexander Lyons had known, and had shared the information with Heather before he’d held her at gunpoint, before he’d triggered Dante’s programming, before Dante had remade him into something . . . else.

Your dad contacted a member of the Shadow Branch and told this person that Dante Baptiste saved your life without using his blood. So the SB decided to bring you in for tests to determine what he did to you and how.

“Whose dirty business are you doing today?” Heather asked, wiping her hands dry against her jeans. “The Bureau’s or your own?”

“The traditional greeting is still ‘Hello, good to see you,’ I believe,” James Wallace replied. A sardonic smile slanted his lips. His gaze slid past Heather. “I admit, I’m disappointed in you, Annie,” he said.

The cold icing Heather’s spine deepened. She turned her head to look at her sister. Wearing a fuzzy purple bathrobe, her blue-black-purple-colored tresses bed-mussed and pointing in all directions, Annie sat perched on a stool at the polished counter, her blue eyes wide with shock. She lowered her cream cheese–slathered bagel from her mouth. “How the fuck did you get in?” she asked.

“Well, given that you didn’t leave the door unlocked like I asked, I had to find my own solution,” James Wallace chided, his tone a wagging naughty-naughty finger.

Heather stiffened. “You called him?”

Mingled guilt and defiance flashed across Annie’s face. “I didn’t think it’d be a big deal. Fuck.” She looked down at her bagel, then pushed the plate away. She seemed to find the bar’s surface suddenly fascinating.

“Jesus Christ! He asked you to unlock the door and you didn’t tell me?” Heather stared at her sister, her pulse pounding at her temples. “Didn’t tell any of us? What the hell were you thinking?” She slapped both palms down on the counter in front of Annie’s shoved-away plate. The abrupt, harsh sound echoed throughout the club. “Look at me, dammit!”

Annie lifted her gaze. Defiance had won the war over guilt in her blue eyes. “But I didn’t unlock the door,” she protested, “so I thought that ended it. I only called him to let him know we were okay. In case he was worried or something.”

Dammit, Annie. Shit.” Anger Heather didn’t have time for—not now, but later, oh, hell yes, we’re going to have it out—burned a hole in her gut. She blew out a frustrated breath, then looked at their father. “Trust me, he wasn’t worried,” she said, voice grim.

James Wallace shoved his hands into the pockets of his trench. “That’s where you’re wrong,” he replied. “I’ve been worried since the moment I learned you’d disappeared. And before that—from the moment I realized you’ve been protecting a vampire. Lying for him. Covering up for him.”

“That’s pretty damned funny coming from a pathological liar,” Heather said.

“That’s not you talking, Pumpkin.”

“I’m pretty damned sure it is.”

“No. It’s not. It’s that bloodsucker, not you. And I plan to free you from Dante Prejean and his influence. Help you redeem yourself.”

“His name isn’t Prejean, it’s Baptiste. And you’re wasting your time,” Heather said, her voice tight, knife-edged. “I don’t need or want your so-called freedom or your goddamned redemption.”

“You don’t get it—of course you don’t,” her father said, stepping down from the entrance’s mouth and into the club proper. “That bloodsucker has messed with your mind and your loyalties. You no longer know what you want. You’re no longer in control of your own life. You’ve even destroyed your career because of him.”

“You’re so far from the truth, I don’t even know where to begin,” Heather said. “But I’m not going to bother, because you’ll never understand that every action I’ve taken has been my choice. So . . .” She reached back for her Colt and locked her fingers around the grip. “You need to leave. I have things to do.”

It was nearly noon, and Heather kept expecting to hear the thump of the streetside doors as Jack or Eli or Emmett Thibodaux arrived to add more warm bodies to their daytime security detail.

C’mon, guys. Now would be good. Before things escalate.

She’d be even happier if Lucien De Noir were present, but he’d gone to the fire-bombed plantation house to meet with the insurance adjuster. But some things could never be compensated for—not even in blood. When Guy Mauvais had orchestrated the house’s destruction, his henchmen burning it to a smoldering pile of rubble and ashes, Dante hadn’t just lost the home he’d shared with Von, De Noir, and the others, he’d also lost Simone, his chère amie, in the gasoline-fueled blaze.

“You’re right,” James Wallace said, voice strained, “I don’t believe any action you’ve taken since meeting Prejean has been your own. You’re lying to yourself, Pumpkin. You’ve chosen nothing.” He walked across the wood floor, headed for the bar. The clean scent of his Brut aftershave preceded him. “That’s just what Prejean or Baptiste or whatever name the bloodsucking bastard goes by wants you to think. But I’m going to put an end to that.”

“No, you’re not.” Heather slipped the Colt free and swung it around in a two-handed hold, leveling the muzzle with her father’s chest. Her aim was steady despite the hollow feeling in the pit of her stomach. “Hold it right there. Not another step.”

“Heather,” Annie breathed.

James Wallace halted and lifted his hands into the air, palms out. One eyebrow quirked up. “Is this necessary?” he asked.

“Sadly, yeah,” Heather replied. He might be her father, but he was also the man who’d sold her out to the SB.

“We’re blood, Heather. Family,” her father said, his words calm and matter-of-fact. “Human. That should count more than a roll in the sack with an inhuman, bloodsucking scumbag. He’s not human, and never will be.”

“Right now, that’s a point in his favor,” Heather replied. “And you’re wrong about what he is.”

Von’s words, spoken a lifetime ago, were etched into her mind: He is the never-ending Road.

And that never-ending Road Slept upstairs in the bed he and Heather shared, his hair a silky night-black spill across the pillow, with Eerie nestled beside him on the red velvet comforter in a fluffy orange kitty-ball.

Silver and Von Slept as well. All three nightkind lost to the narcotic embrace of Sleep. All vulnerable. And all beyond her ability to awaken.

Heather flicked the Colt’s safety off, her heart drumming against her ribs.

“You can’t shoot Dad,” Annie said in an incredulous near-whisper.

“His choice,” Heather said. “If he turns around and leaves, then I won’t have to.”

Resolve tightened her father’s jaw, deepened the lines bracketing his mouth. He touched a finger to the base of his ear. “I can’t leave without what I came for,” he said.

Com set. Lying bastard isn’t alone. The sound of heavy boots against wood echoed from the entrance hall. Tac team.

“Annie, get your ass upstairs,” Heather snapped. She kept her gaze locked on their father. Sweat trickled between her breasts. “You’re not taking Dante,” she told him.

“It’s not Dante I want,” James Wallace replied as black uniformed and masked figures armed with assault rifles dashed into the club, red neon from the BURN sign flickering over them as they passed beneath it and spread out. “I’ve come for you, Pumpkin.”

Heather stared at her father, her pulse pound...

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Book 4 of 5 Just as exciting as book 1 Jan. 31 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Adrian Phoenix has spun another amazing book. I can't wait to read book 5. It's a series that I will read over and over again. Once again she is able to hold you and make you feel like you are there with in the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Aug. 10 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Amazing!!! <3
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  48 reviews
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed and unsatisfied Feb. 24 2011
By KHensley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'll start by saying how much I've enjoyed the other Maker's Song books. They were interesting, well-written, creative and thoroughly enjoyable. I was very much looking forward to this installment. Sadly, I was not satisfied that the story moved forward in any meaningful way. I was also disappointed that the myriad of hosts, groups, agencies, and rogue individuals who hate/have dastardly plans for/want to control, own or kill Dante has only grown (needlessly). The way it's going, we'll soon be following the pizza delivery guy and mail carrier's assassination plans in agonizing detail.

I feel as if I've been clobbered over the head many, many times with the same elements. I really, really do get the following: Dante has a lot of pain (add migraines, nosebleeds and seizures here, too); Dante has trouble with staying in the present; Heather can help stabilize Dante; a lot of different groups are plotting against Dante and Heather for many different reasons; other factions want to "help/protect" Dante for their own benefit. I won't demean either of us by counting all the pain episodes, flashbacks or groups and their subplots, but I can tell you that 1/3 of the way into the book, I was exhausted by them and already muttering, "I get it, I get it".

The Maker's Song series reminds me of a favorite TV series I watch - so interesting, so intriguing that I can't wait to see what happens. But then December rolls around and the "phoned-in" episodes are run - you know, where the writers go on hiatus and basically reword past takes, string them together and call it "new". Or the main characters sit around musing about the past and show partial re-runs. My point is that "Etched in Bone" is the equivalent of the filler episodes usually run in December; the flavor is stale and the texture is rubbery.

I sincerely hope that the reason for using 380 pages to give us 3 days of story is because we need a bunch of backstory or set up for whatever happens next; perhaps including it all in one book would have made it too long. This was so disappointing that I will get out of the series if the next one follows this same path.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Convoluted, Not Clever March 11 2011
By Infernari - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This series, which started so promisingly, is taking a rapid downward spiral with this book. The number of would-be assassins increases with every page and none of the sub-plots ever get resolved. Furthermore, the characters are becoming more and more stock, rather than fleshed out, realistic characters. Dante and Heather, who in the first book of this series had actual personalities, have devolved into charicatures. Dante has become no more than a stubborn jerk with PTSD, who's absolute refusal to listen to anyone endangers everyone in such needlessly unrealistic ways. Heather, who once was a clever character, is little more than an equally stubborn love-sick moron who refuses to accept her sister is dangerous. The book is full of way too much scheming, but the scheming is so entirely uncreative that the entire set of every scheming subplot can be broken down into either "must kill monster" or "must use monster". The unrealistic events are becoming ridiculous as well. A fleet of bloody angels consider Dante the most important person living, and none of them bother to follow him back to earth to help? Really? And Dante and Heather know for certain that everyone on the planet is trying to kill them, but they decide to camp out in the most obvious place possible, when they know that only one person with a gun, who's obviously going to be exhausted from running around all night, will be the only one guarding the front door while every other person with any capacity to protect themselves is completely comatose? Is there a more obvious and terrible plot device somewhere in your bag, Ms. Phoenix, or does that pretty much tap out your "let's make it unbearably easy for the bad guys" repertoire?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Love the idea, but this is a short story! May 12 2011
By R. Daily - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love the idea of this book, but you could literally read the first pages and skip to the end. This is the book with the least plot of all of this series. I want to know more about these characters, but this book is a cheat!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Such a waste April 19 2011
By crg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have really enjoyed the Maker Song series. It's gritty and unusual. Unfortunately, this book doesn't really add anything new to the story. The entire book is a setup for the next one and depressing to boot. Not a fun read. I'll pick up the next one, hoping the author moves the story line, but I didn't bother finishing this one.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, Dark, Smart Read March 8 2011
By Cheystar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I love the Urban Fantasy genre, and I completely enjoy The Maker's Song series. Etched In Bone is no exception. Filled with action, and many twists and turns, it kept me turning pages until the end. I looked forward to the release of this book, and it did not disappoint.

Dante is part Fallen, part True Blood and only wants his own life with his love and the one who anchors him, Heather. Of course, any great read has to have some twists to keep us coming back, and Etched In Bone pulls you in and holds you, and has you wanting the next book as soon as your finished.

This is one of my favorite series, and Etched In Bone is a great addition to the series. This is such an intelligently written series, that I can't wait to read more.
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