The House of the Rose is ruled by memories handed down lifetime after lifetime. Those memories are sacred, inviolable truths...or are they?
As events threaten to spin out of her control, Lady Cecilia uses her powers to conceal the secret that Dominic has discovered in his desperate quest to restore his beloved Michel to the immortal existence of the vampire Protectors. She deliberately alters their memories, hoping to tame them and keep her position as the eldest and most powerful vampire.
Her actions, combined with Dominic's recklessness in abducting Michel and forcibly Transforming him into a vampire Protector, poison Dominic's chances for reconciling with the one who has been his soulmate and spouse in nearly every lifetime. And the people of the House of Rose, uncomfortably aware of Dominic's often bloody recent history, begin to question whether he is fit to continue serving them as Protector.
Meanwhile, Michel, his ability to recall the memories of his past lives damaged by Cecilia's meddling, finds himself struggling to maintain his identity--and his sanity. Honoria, the identity from his immediate past life, is proving particularly troublesome. She wants her husband Dominic back, and isn't about to let a little thing like being male in this incarnation stop her. Can Michel prevail against the dangerous temptations offered to his own damaged soul by his past self?
An Awe-Struck ReleaseComing Soon...
Michaela August is a writing team composed of two Northern California authors, Marian Gibbons and Karin Welss. Despite living 90 miles apart, they've been collaborating for years, using telephones and the Internet.
Marian, a native of Northern California, lives in the wine country with her multi-talented husband (who after many years has gotten used to hearing, "Honey, do we have some wall space left for another bookcase?") As well as being able to make plum jam and chocolate chip cookies, she is a member of Romance Writers of America, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
Karin was born in Montreal, Canada. She grew up in California and has traveled extensively in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia (including a stint in Sydney for two-and-a-half years, first as a university exchange student and then while working for a well-known software company). Besides traveling, Karin's other great interests are anime, baking, reading, history, and archaeology. Family members accuse her of writing historical fiction as an excuse to buy books and do research! Karin currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is owned by a small but very bossy parrot. She pays for the birdseed by working as a technical writer.
"...an extremely detailed, and fascinating, historically-based fantasy. The characters are deeply realized and the plot twists constantly intriguing."Annie -- ECataRomance Reviews
"...as confident in imagination and detail as Laurell K. Hamilton, and as emotionally rich as Marion Zimmer Bradley...[a] fantasy novel of distinction..."Contra Costa -- Sunday Times
"... an innovative mix of genres... Expertly mixing vampire lore, paranormal fantasy, medieval historical and Goddess myth, the second book in August's House of the Rose series...offers a lot for readers to feast on."Carole Genz -- All About Romance
"... intense, riveting, full of intrigue; plot twists, history, and romance..."TCM Reviews (http://tcm-ca.com/)
With an effort, Michel started toward the other djinn. He's no longer Menelaos, as I am no longer Honoria. And both of us must make peace with that. As he came close, the great bronze wings of Dominic's aura drew in protectively. Michel realized that he, too, had drawn in his wings, and with an effort, relaxed. He came within touching distance and reached out, palm up.
"Hail, Ninshubur," Michel said, in the ancient language of the House. Like so many things in the past two weeks, it felt strange and at the same time utterly familiar. "It is good to meet again."
Dominic's aura pulsed, and then, slowly, as if he expected Michel to attack, he grasped the proffered hand. "Hail, Ea, and the morning light shine upon you. It is, indeed, good to meet again." His fingers curled around Michel's hand and would not let go.
Michel felt a surge of pity. Dominic looked hopeful, desolate, and very lonely. "Peace be with you," he said. Surprising himself as well as the other djinn, he leaned forward to give a quick, chaste Kiss of Peace.
Dominic flinched. "Don't feel sorry for me."
"I don't. In fact, I'm very angry with you," Michel snapped. "But I hope we can come to a truce."
"Can we live amicably?"
"I mean you no harm," Dominic said, touching the spot on his cheek where Michel had kissed him. His gaze was hungry.
Michel stepped back. "Not any more than you have done?"
Dominic forbore saying whatever else he had planned, and said instead, "Very well, if it is a truce you want, I will make a truce with you. Furthermore, I beg your pardon, most humbly, for forcing your consent to be Transformed, Michel de la Roche-en-Ardennes."
Michel dipped his chin, his back rigid. "Then we have a truce between us, for the good of the House. And I--" The next words were difficult to speak. "I beg your pardon for--" kissing you, "--attacking you unjustly, when I awoke. I was...confused."
"Has your confusion passed?" Dominic asked, ironically.
Michel, stabbed by Honoria's memory of Menelaos, who would never have shown such raw hurt or anger to her, did not reply.
Dominic's nostrils flared. Then he said, "I accept your apology." As if he couldn't help himself, he went on. "I have one question for you. Have you chosen simply to deny that you were once Honoria?"
"Honoria is dead," Michel grated. Liar, she whispered in his mind.
"Dead to me, I see," Dominic said, his face averted. "Well, but you are alive, and that is worth more than any penalty I might be called upon to pay."
"Even your own life?"
"There is no torment in the Underworld, nor any care, nor love. I would die for you with more joy than I have lived without you." His aura fluttered like a dying heart.
Michel covered his eyes. He could not bear the other's suffering, nor dredge up any part of the fury he had felt on waking and realizing the luck of the Underworld had deserted him. Them.
Damn, agreed Honoria.