Chains of ice, p.1
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       Chains of Ice, p.1

           Christina Dodd
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Chains of Ice


  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright PageDedication

  Acknowledgements

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Chapter 44

  Chapter 45

  Chapter 46

  Chapter 47

  Chapter 48

  Chapter 49

  Chapter 50

  Chapter 51

  Chapter 52

  Chapter 53

  Chapter 54

  Chapter 55

  Chapter 56

  Teaser chapter

  Praise for the Novels of the Chosen Ones

  Storm of Shadows

  “Christina Dodd has a knack for tense, heart-pounding action with a dash of quirky humor.”

  —Errant Dreams Reviews

  “A well-rounded cast, an exciting story line, and a romance that’s as sweet as it is steamy. This book offers something for everyone who enjoys paranormal romance, and is a must read for fans of the series.”

  —Darque Reviews

  “A riveting new series . . . the action and romance are hot! I have no idea what is next in this series, but . . . the suspense is killing me.”

  —The Romance Readers Connection

  “Fabulous urban romantic fantasy . . . a stupendous thriller.”

  —Midwest Book Review

  Storm of Visions

  “The taut, suspenseful plot, intriguing characters and a smooth, natural style show that Dodd has earned her place on the bestseller list.”

  —Publishers Weekly

  “Ms. Dodd plunges readers into a fast-paced tale with intriguing paranormal elements, and treats them to a deliciously steamy romance that’s sure to grab the reader’s attention . . . suspenseful, packed with danger-filled action, and never slows as the story unfolds.”

  —Darque Reviews

  “Storm of Visions definitely hooked me . . . quirky, unusual, fun, tense, surprising, sexy, and wild!”

  —Errant Dreams Reviews

  “An action-packed paranormal romantic suspense that sets the stage for what looks like what will be a terrific series.”

  —Midwest Book Review

  Further Praise for Christina Dodd’s Novels

  Into the Flame

  “Alluring and intriguing.”

  —Fresh Fiction

  “Sizzling sensuality and dark emotions. A book by Dodd is always worth reading, but here’s hoping she ventures into the paranormal again.”

  —Romantic Times

  “[A]n explosive page-turner.”

  —Eye on Romance

  “Once again Christina Dodd weaves her spell . . . real and sexy . . . full of suspense and adventure.”

  —Fallen Angel Reviews

  “[A] stunning tale of love, of sin and redemption, of exciting adventure.”

  —Romance Reviews Today

  Into the Shadow

  “Ms. Dodd has once again created an amazing novel.”

  —Eye on Romance

  “Another stellar book from a most talented author!”

  —Romantic Times

  “I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat . . . a gorgeous book.”

  —Errant Dreams Reviews

  “Sexy and . . . darkly appealing.”

  —Rendezvous

  “[A] fantastic read.”

  —Romance Roundtable

  Thigh High

  “Offbeat characters and undeniable charm . . . a joy to experience!”

  —Romantic Times (4½ stars, top pick)

  “[C]harming and likable characters . . . an enjoyable read.”

  —Fresh Fiction

  “A master romantic storyteller.”

  —Kristin Hannah

  “Christina Dodd is a master. . . . Thigh High is a winner I highly recommend.”

  —Romance Reviews Today

  Touch of Darkness

  “A sweeping saga of good and evil. . . . This latest promises to be one of her best to date.”

  —Library Journal

  “Enthralling, intense.”

  —The State (Columbia, SC)

  “Christina Dodd demonstrates why she is such a popular writer, in any genre. . . . Readers will be riveted until the final page.”

  —A Romance Review

  Scent of Darkness

  “The first in a devilishly clever, scintillatingly sexy new paranormal series by Christina Dodd.”

  —Chicago Tribune

  “[A] satisfying series kickoff . . . [a] fast-paced, well-written paranormal with a full, engaging mythology and a handful of memorable characters.”

  —Publishers Weekly

  “Multigenre genius Dodd dives headfirst into the paranormal realm with . . . a scintillating and superb novel!”

  —Romantic Times (4½ stars, top pick)

  . . . and Her Other Novels

  “Dodd delivers a high-octane, blow-out finale. . . . This romantic suspense novel is a delicious concoction that readers will be hard-pressed not to consume in one gulp.”

  —Publishers Weekly

  “Warm characterizations and caperlike plot make Dodd’s hot contemporary romance a delight, and the cliff-hanger ending will leave readers eager for the sequel.”

  —Booklist

  “Dodd adds humor, sizzling sensuality, and a cast of truly delightful secondary characters to produce a story that will not disappoint.”

  —Library Journal

  “Sexy and witty, daring and delightful.”

  —Teresa Medeiros, New York Times bestselling author of After Midnight

  Novels by Christina Dodd

  Danger in a Red Dress

  Thigh High

  Tongue in Chic

  Trouble in High Heels

  In Bed with the Duke

  Novels in the Darkness Chosen Series

  Scent of Darkness

  Touch of Darkness

  Into the Shadow

  Into the Flame

  Novels in the Chosen Ones Series

  Storm of Visions Storm of Shadows

  SIGNET SELECT

  Published by New American Library, a division of

  Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,

  New York, New York 10014, USA

  Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,

  Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

  Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2,

  Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

  Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124,

  Australia (a division
of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

  Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,

  New Delhi - 110 017, India

  Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632,

  New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

  Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue,

  Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

  Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:

  80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  First published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library,

  a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  First Printing, July 2010

  eISBN: 9781101436332

  Copyright © Christina Dodd, 2010

  All rights reserved

  SIGNET SELECT and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

  PUBLISHER’S NOTE

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

  The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

  http://us.penguingroup.com

  For Kerry Donovan.

  Here’s to the future!

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  Leslie Gelbman, Kara Welsh, and Claire Zion, my appreciation for your constant support, and more appreciation to NAL’s brilliant art department led by Anthony Ramondo for the unique covers. As always, I value the work of the publicity department with my special people, Craig Burke and Jodi Rosoff. My thanks to the production department, and, of course, a special thank-you to the spectacular Penguin sales department.

  THE SEVEN CHOSEN

  ❖ Jacqueline Vargha: Gifted with the ability to see the future and an eye on her palm to prove it. With Caleb D’Angelo at her side, Jacqueline must take her adopted mother’s place as chief seer to the Chosen Ones.

  ❖ Aaron Eagle: Raised by Native Americans and marked with the wings of an angel, Aaron has a talent for melting into the shadows that surround him. But he can only be truly whole once prim and proper librarian Rosamund Hall enters his life.

  ❖ Charisma Fangorn: A young Goth with tattoos on her wrists and the gift of hearing the earth song in crystals and stones.

  ❖ Isabelle Mason: One of the upper-class Boston Masons, Isabelle is a physical empath with the ability to absorb the pain of others and heal them.

  ❖ Samuel Faa: A lawyer with the ability to control minds; he has a mysterious connection to Isabelle.

  ❖ Aleksandr Wilder: Aleksandr is a college student; he has no mark, no discernible gift, and is blessed with a loving family, yet he is drafted into the Chosen Ones because of his connection to the Wilder family of Washington State (from the Darkness Chosen series).

  ❖ John Powell: Former member of Gary White’s team, he is famous for the strength and power he wields . . . as well as for the dark and dreadful secret that torments him and has driven him into exile.

  FRIENDS AND ENEMIES OF THE CHOSEN ONES

  ❖ Irving Shea: The ninety-plus-year-old retired director of the Gypsy Travel Agency and the owner of the mansion the Chosen Ones now use as headquarters.

  ❖ Martha: Dedicated Gypsy servant of the Chosen Ones.

  ❖ McKenna: Scottish butler, chauffeur, and aide to Mr. Shea.

  ❖ Vidar Davidov: Owner of Davidov’s pub located deep in the tunnels under New York City, where the Chosen hang out. Davidov sports an inexplicable knowledge about the Chosen Ones and their descendants.

  ❖ Osgood: The mastermind behind the destruction of the Gypsy Travel Agency and the devilish director of the Others.

  ❖ Gary White: A former team leader and one of the most trusted Chosen Ones, Gary has awoken from a coma that claimed four years of his life . . . and his soul.

  Chapter 1

  Five years ago

  In the Andes

  Chile, South America

  “I’m not the psychic in this group, but this looks like a trap to me.” John Powell walked into the cave carved into the base of the retreating glacier. His breath hung white on the frigid air, and he had to duck to avoid the low stone lintel constructed to hold back the ice. He glimpsed the prehistoric paintings on the walls, showing bloodied intruders pierced by spears, crushed by boulders, and swept away by a raging river.

  Not good signs.“It smells like a trap to me.” Kim Sun Hee walked at his side.

  He glanced down at the diminutive Korean. “Is it the Others?”

  “What do you think the Others smell like? Fire and brimstone?” she mocked him gently.

  “Yes?” He listened to the creaks and moans of the man-made stone cave as the glacier pressed against its walls and ceiling. He flicked glances ahead, behind, and around the group before them, alert for the slightest sign that they needed to escape now.

  As he always did, Gary White led the way, forging ahead. Amina Berhane walked on his right—she exuded an ambient light that illuminated more of the shadowy passage than their flashlights and headgear. Max Novak walked on his left—get Max close to treasure, and the gold and gems called to him. Sophie Moore and Bataar Lohar walked one step behind them.

  Then there were Sun Hee and John, lagging ten feet back from the rest of the Chosen, acting as the rear guard.

  “There isn’t an Others smell. They’re people—they smell like people. If I could get close to them, I’d ID them”—she lowered her voice—“but I never get close. It always seems like they’re scooping up the Abandoned Ones while we’re having grand adventures.”

  Was that a complaint? John suspected it was. These people, Gary and his six compatriots, were the most powerful group of Chosen in the world today. The Gypsy Travel Agency sent them to carry out feats suited to Spielberg’s best action-adventure films. The way they lived was dangerous, exhilarating, and made them the rock stars of the Chosen Ones.

  But they never seemed to get to perform their modest and important mission statement: rescuing discarded infants before they could be taken and their special gifts used by the devil’s henchmen.

  Sun Hee turned her head from side to side, sweeping the area for scents. “Yesterday some people, I don’t know who, were walking near the entrance and came a little way inside. But last night’s wind and snow have confused the smells. Still, I don’t think we need to be concerned with an ambush.”

  John scrutinized the symbols cut into the slabs of stone that made up the wall, the way the ceiling arched overhead, then—like some amusement park optical illusion—curled downward to a vanishing point. “At least not from any living being,” he said.

  “You’re worried.” She glanced at his bare right hand, her brown eyes shadowed.

  He looked, too. In this dim passage, his fingernails glowed with a faint blue light. He flexed his hands, containing the power inside. “Yeah.”

  “Hey, back there, don’t be such chickens,” Gary called. “Max says we’re almost there.” His voice echoed along the long, dark tunnel and came back amplified, enlarged.

  Pebbles fell from the ceiling in showers.

  “Shit,” John muttered. “Not so loud.”<
br />
  “I’ll be as loud as I like,” Gary shouted.

  Again, the amplified voice. Again, the rain of pebbles, but more this time. Something immense thumped behind them, shaking the floor, rattling John’s confidence. He turned. Sun Hee shone her flashlight over the huge stone that now blocked their way out. Not totally; it was possible to climb over it and back to the outside world, but the easy way had vanished.

  Gary would be delighted—and that was the trouble with Gary. John respected him; he really did. Because Gary was older, in his early forties, and charismatic as all hell. Gary had joined the Chosen Ones when he had been a brilliant, handsome, fit eighteen-year-old. He’d been elected the leader—of course—and stayed at the top for the required seven years.

  Traditionally, after one term, most of the Chosen opted to become part of the real world again—bankers and ranchers and tour guides, people who knew more than they should about the battle between good and evil but who no longer served on the front lines.

  Not Gary. He had stayed to command a second team, then a third, and now he directed this group. In the last two years, John had seen Gary fly an airplane, discover a previously unsuspected Mayan ruin in Guatemala, trek across the Sahara Desert, and rescue a kitten for a grateful old lady. The man was impressive.

  But no challenge was big enough for Gary, no victory decisive enough. If he thought the mission was too easy, he looked for ways to make it harder.

  Before John had joined the Chosen, he’d been part of the military. You didn’t go looking for death; that wasn’t the way it was done. You prayed it didn’t come looking for you.

 

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