Christine Feehan Earth Bound (Sea Haven)

ISBN 13: 9780349405636

Earth Bound (Sea Haven)

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9780349405636: Earth Bound (Sea Haven)

The #1" New York Times" bestselling author of" Air Bound" returns to the mysterious coastal town of Sea Haven where six sisters of the heart are bound by the elements, and one is stalked by an inescapable past...
After escaping from a cult, Lexi found refuge with her sisters on the farm that more than sustained her body--it nurtured her soul as well. But she never forgot the terror she left behind or the always present fear that the cult would find her again, and claim her. Then her nightmare came true.
Lexi was discovered and threatened--only to be suddenly saved by a stranger. He is Gavriil Prakenskii, and he's awestruck by the woman he's rescued. She is destined for him. He can feel it in his soul. But how can Lexi find happiness with a man steeped in secrets and shadows, one intimately acquainted with violence, and whose very love could be the death of them?
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About the Author:

In addition to her Dark Carpathian novels, #1 "New York Times" bestselling author Christine Feehan is the author of the Ghost Walkers series, the Leopard series, the Sea Haven series, and the Drake Sisters novels.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

FOR MY READERS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

1

PAIN was a strange entity. It could live and breathe, existing in every cell in one’s body. It could cripple, rob one of breath, of dignity, of quality of life. Pain could be the first thing one felt when waking and the last thing one felt when falling asleep. It was an insidious enemy. Silent. Unseen. Deadly. Gavriil Prakenskii had decided some time ago to make pain his friend.

If he was going to survive, if it was even possible with pain as his companion, he would come to terms with it—and he had. Until this moment. Until pain wasn’t about the physical or the mental, but all about the emotional. That was an entirely different kind of pain, and one he was completely unprepared for.

His life was one of absolute discipline and control. He planned his every move, and his contingency plans had backup contingency plans. There was never a moment that he wasn’t ready for. There was never a time when anything shocked or surprised him. He stayed alive that way. He had no friends, and he thought of everyone he encountered as an enemy. The few people he had ever allowed himself to feel even a drop of friendship with had eventually betrayed him, and he simply counted those painful moments as important lessons to be learned.

He was used to deceit and betrayal. To blood, torture, pain and death. He was used to being alone. He was most comfortable in that world because he understood it. He was thirty-seven years old and he’d been in that world since he’d been a child. He knew more ways to kill or torture a human being than he could count. It was instinctive, automatic and a natural part of him. He carried death with him the way others might carry their identities, because he was death. If he came out of the shadows, even for a moment, it was to deliver that killing blow.

Few ever saw him. He lived in a shadowy world, and moved through it like a phantom, a ghost in the night, leaving dead bodies in his wake. He wasn’t real, was nothing more than a shadow someone might catch a glimpse of. Insubstantial. Without substance. He hadn’t been human in years. Yet here he stood in the early morning, dawn streaking long rays of light through the velvet black of night with his well-ordered world crumbling around him so that he felt the earth actually move under him.

His palm itched. Not a small nagging itch, but a full-blown do-something-this-minute-to-alleviate-it itch. Gavriil pressed his hand tightly into his thigh and held it there, his heart suddenly beating hard in his chest. Life sometimes threw curves at the most unexpected times—yet he should have known this might happen.

He had walked into a place of power. Energy rippled in the air and came up through the ground. It was in the wind and in the very water he felt flowing beneath the ground. This place, this farm he had come to, was dangerous and yet he hadn’t heeded the warnings—hadn’t expected the danger would be to him or what form it would take. He had come, and now someone would pay the price.

A young woman came toward him through a field of corn, the stalks taller than she was. She moved with grace, a fluid easy manner, occasionally stopping to pull one of the ears down and inspect it.

He couldn’t take his eyes from her or the way the plants leaned toward her, as if she were the sun, not that bright ball beginning its climb into the sky. She was dressed in vintage blue jeans, frayed, full of holes and faded light from many washings, and a carelessly buttoned dark blue plaid shirt. He knew she’d buttoned it carelessly because the top and bottom buttons were undone, and he had a ridiculous urge to slip them into the closures for her—or maybe open all the rest.

Her auburn hair was very long, probably past her waist, and very thick, but she had it pulled back away from her face in a careless ponytail. Her face was oval and rather pale, but her eyes, as they surveyed the cornstalks, were a striking cool, forest green. Even in the dim early morning light, he could see her intriguing eyes, surrounded by long dark lashes. Her mouth was full and luscious, her teeth white and small.

Even dressed in her working clothes, there was no hiding her figure. Full breasts and a small tucked-in waist emphasized the flaring of her hips. She was a pixie, ethereal, just as unreal as he was, and she was so beautiful it hurt.

He knew her. He had always known her. He’d known she was somewhere in the world waiting, and the itch in his palm and the pain paralyzing his mind told him this woman belonged to him and only him. How completely unexpected and unacceptable was that?

He’d come to the small town of Sea Haven off the northern California coast to warn his youngest brother, Ilya, that he was on the same hit list as the rest of the family and to see his other three brothers who had settled there. Seven brothers, stepping-stones, their parents had called them, torn apart when they were children. They’d been forced to watch the murder of their parents, and then they’d been taken and kept separated in the hopes that they would forget all about one another. Now, all seven were on a hit list. Gavriil had known it was coming, he just wished they’d had more time to prepare.

He watched the woman as she continued toward him. He was deep in the shadows and utterly still so that there was no chance of drawing her gaze. She had just changed his entire plans. His entire existence. As she stepped out of the cornfield and the light bathed her face, he could see her flawless skin, the curve of her cheek and high cheekbones.

She looked far too young for a man like him. It had nothing to do with age and everything to do with who and what he was. Still. His palm itched, and that sealed her fate. He wasn’t about to throw away the only thing in the world he could truly call his own. He didn’t have much to offer her. He was hard and callous and damned cynical when it came to the world around him. He could be ruthless and merciless as well and he would be, he knew, if anyone tried to stand between this young woman and him.

He didn’t even care in that moment, with the dawn breaking, spilling a fire of red into all that glorious hair, that he didn’t deserve her. Or that he didn’t even know her or she him . . . He didn’t care that he was far older and as lethal as hell and had no business with a woman like her or that his body was in pieces and he looked like a rag doll sewn together. None of it mattered to him.

She belonged to him, this woman. She was created for him. She was the one woman he could bind to him. Gavriil pressed his thumb into the center of his palm. He was broken, and there was no fixing him. He was a killer, and there was no taking that back either. He didn’t get a do-over—and that emotional insight, that pain, was far worse of a burden than the physical one he bore.

She was the youngest woman on the farm where his brothers lived. Lexi, they called her. She turned her head abruptly toward the back of the property and just as suddenly switched direction.

The moment he’d stepped onto the property, the large farm with his brothers and the six women living on it, he’d felt the ripples of power and knew the farm was protected, not only by his brothers, who were dangerous, but by elements. Earth. Air. Water. Fire. He even felt spirit.

Had he been less powerful in his own right, without his own gifts, he would have been far more cautious about following her through the thick foliage along a broken path. Nothing could deter him from his chosen course. He was stalking his prey, moving like the ghost he was through the heavy foliage as she made her way toward some secret destination.

Gavriil knew she was going somewhere important to her, and that she didn’t want anyone to know. She moved stealthily and occasionally darted little glances around her, as if she suspected someone watched her. He knew he wouldn’t set off her radar. He didn’t give off enough energy to do that, not even when he was slipping up on his prey and about to deliver the killing blow.

He glided rather than stepped. He had learned to walk softly in his school as a young boy, but pain was an even better teacher. Taking heavier steps jarred his body. She was moving faster now, heading straight for a vehicle, a small open wagon, and she’d gone quite pale.

Something was wrong. He glanced around him, looking for wildlife, a bird, a squirrel, anything at all. The skies were suspiciously empty. He didn’t trust it when a forest was silent in the early morning hours. Even the insects had ceased their continuous racket. Something was terribly wrong. He felt it with every step he took. He could tell she felt it as well, but she didn’t believe.

Lexi Thompson hurried along the faint path leading to the back of the property where she’d left the little trail wagon parked. She wanted to take another look at the adjoining property that was up for sale—now in escrow. Thomas and Levi had put a bid on it, and the owners had sold quickly without negotiating too long. She was very excited about the possibilities the acreage represented.

The farm was doing so well. The new greenhouse was already producing far more than she expected the first year out. The orchards were yielding large crops, and the fruit was fantastic. Her lettuce field had been ruined by a helicopter landing right in the middle of it when some men had come to kidnap her sister Airiana, but she still had managed to save some of the crop and Max had managed to save Airiana.

The bottom line was Lexi needed more space—and someone to help. All the other women had jobs away from the farm. In the beginning those other businesses had been necessary to support the farm, but this year they’d gone from running in the red to being comfortably in the black, and she intended it to stay that way. She worked hard every single day, from sunrise to sunset and sometimes more. She poured herself into the farm, and at times it was frustrating, backbreaking work. There was only one of her and she needed help if the farm was to continue to sustain them.

She sighed softly. The problem was her sisters loved living on the farm and eating the food, but each of them had their own business—ones they loved—outside the farm. She wasn’t certain how to approach the others to tell them she needed more full-time help.

Lexi stuck her thumbnail in her mouth and bit down on it repeatedly, a long leftover habit she continually vowed she’d quit. When she realized what she was doing, she snatched her thumbnail from between her teeth and rubbed her palm down the side of her jeans.

She was suddenly uneasy, and she stopped and took a careful look around. She spent most nights sitting on her porch swing, apprehension growing in her. She knew she was paranoid, especially ever since her sister of the heart Airiana and her fiancé, Max, brought home four very traumatized children.

The children’s parents and a sister had been murdered and the children abducted by a human trafficking ring. Had not Airiana and Max rescued them, they would have been killed.

Knowing children were on the farm, that they were vulnerable and at any moment something terrible could happen to them, had made her more paranoid than ever. She realized her thumbnail was between her teeth again and she blew out her breath in total exasperation.

She detested being the weak link on the farm with her panic attacks and paranoia. She tried to make up for her failings by working long hours and making a success of their family business. She couldn’t sleep in her house, or bed. She’d tried, and she just couldn’t do it.

To her everlasting shame, when she was so exhausted she knew she had to sleep, she would sleep in the porch swing, or in the sleeping bag she had stashed in the corner of the porch, out of sight. Sometimes she even slept on the roof. She knew it was silly, but the house didn’t feel safe to her. Nothing felt safe.

Fortunately, she lived alone, so nobody knew how truly paranoid she was. There were weapons stashed all over her house, taped under tables and down the cushions of the furniture, so many she was afraid to have the children visit her home—but she wasn’t actually certain she could harm another human being. Well—she had—but it had made her sick.

She lived on the farm with warriors, yet she, the most paranoid of all, felt powerless to harm others. She could barely kill a snail eating her precious crops. She felt weak beside the others, the weak link they all had to rally around and protect. Things were tense on the farm and it seemed as if they needed warriors more than breadwinners.

The trail wagon was right where she’d left it when she took her early morning walk through the gardens and various crops, the keys still in the ignition. She slipped inside the open vehicle and paused with her hand on the keys to take another long look around her. She was even more uneasy than usual.

Dread filled her. She could feel the emotion as if it was an actual being, pouring inside her like an insidious monster, robbing her of her ability to breathe, to think, to do anything but sit still, her mouth dry and her heart pounding too fast. She jammed her fist into her mouth for a moment—the absolute wrong thing to do.

When she was in a full-blown panic attack she couldn’t even move. She was frozen to the spot, useless to her family. A liability. She worked out every single day. She went religiously to self-defense training. She could shoot a gun and throw a knife accurately at any target—even moving targets. What was wrong with her that she couldn’t be like her sisters?

She swallowed a sob and forced her mind to work properly. Nothing was wrong. Nothing. No one could get on the farm with their warning system. Each of her sisters of the heart was bound to an element, and the three men residing with them were just as gifted. Should anyone wishing them harm come to the farm, Air would call to Max and Airiana. Earth would tell her. Water would summon Rikki. Judith, bound to spirit, would feel any disruption at all. Fire called to Lissa. And Blythe just knew.

No one could possibly slip through the power rippling throughout the farm, not with the men, Judith and Blythe amplifying it, she reminded herself.

She forced air through her lungs, always grateful her family rarely witnessed these moments of weakness. She’d been certain the addition of the men to their family farm as well as all the self-defense and weapons training would help her through the panic attacks, maybe even make them stop altogether. It hadn’t happened.

“What’s wrong with you?” she murmured aloud, and started the ignition. “You’re such a freakin’ baby.”

Straightening her shoulders, she drove determinedly toward the back entrance, the gate that led to the road that came into their property virtually through a forest. She felt as if the towering trees were guardians watching over those living on the farm. She loved that they were surrounded on three sides by forest. Some of their acreage remained part of a mixed forest, but behind them the trees were thick and untouched. She drove down the road to the entrance to the next property. She coveted that acre...

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Book Description Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan returns to the mysterious coastal town of Sea Haven where six sisters of the heart are bound by the elements, and one is stalked by an inescapable past.After escaping from a cult, Lexi found refuge with her sisters on the farm that more than sustained her body-it nurtured her soul as well. But she never forgot the terror she left behind or the always present fear that the cult would find her again, and claim her. Then her nightmare came true.Lexi was discovered and threatened-only to be suddenly saved by a stranger. He is Gavriil Prakenskii, and he s awestruck by the woman he s rescued. She is destined for him. He can feel it in his soul. But how can Lexi find happiness with a man steeped in secrets and shadows, one intimately acquainted with violence, and whose very love could be the death of them?. Bookseller Inventory # KNV9780349405636

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