RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 19
I am a Killer. A Rapist. A Monster.
I know only pain and survival.
That is until the Cappo’s sister walked into my life.
And changed everything.
She’s a light who makes my darkness darker, her smile makes my heart turn to ice, and I can’t escape the fear her seductive looks instill–knowing it’s only a matter of time before I fail–again, and take her for myself.
This is the story of my redemption.
But it’s not pretty…I died, and now I’m alive, but not living, breathing but not surviving. I am Phoenix De Lange, son to a murdered mob boss, estranged brother, horrible friend, monster in the making, newest leader to one of the most powerful families in the Cosa Nostra.
And I will have my vengeance.
Or die trying.
I am Phoenix De Lange.
Death is all I know.
Until she offers me a piece of life–I can’t resist taking.
I wasn’t sure how to act. Wasn’t sure if I should apologize for attacking him or thank him for not laughing in my face. Embarrassed and irritated that he was most likely going to ignore whatever it was between us even if it killed him, I stared hard at the cement floor.
“How are you feeling, little girl?”
“I’m not little.”
“You want me to call you fat?”
“No.” I lifted my head. “Call me gorgeous like you did last night.”
“Well, shit.” Phoenix ran his hands over his face then grabbed my arm and dragged me down the hall into a darkened corner. “You remember?”
“You kissed me.”
“What’s wrong with you?” I pushed against his chest. “You like me! Admit it!”
Phoenix made a face. “You were drunk, launched yourself at me, and I caught you. Did we kiss?” His eyes went completely black. “Yeah, we did, but it meant nothing.”
“Really.” He hissed out a breath through his teeth.
I pushed him against the wall. “Prove it meant nothing. Let me kiss you now, and if it meant nothing it will be like… what? Kissing your sister.”
“I’ve sworn off women.”
“So this should be an easy test then, right?”
“Bee…” Phoenix’s face was pained, as if I was holding a gun to his head rather than offering to kiss him. Was the idea so abhorrent? “Please…” His voice had a pleading tone I’d never heard before. “Don’t do this.”
“One. Little. Test.” I rose up on my tip toes and kissed him full on the mouth.
His lips refused to move against mine.
I wrapped my arms around his neck.
He stiffened even more.
Irritated, I bit his lower lip. He gasped, and I slid my tongue inside his mouth. He pushed me away with a curse then wiped his lips. “Done. Your little test is done. I didn’t respond. Happy now?”
His eyes were furious; the blue flashed like lightning against his skin. His fingertips shook as he made a fist.
“You like me.”
“Bee…” Phoenix pinched the bridge of his nose with his fingertips. “…find someone your own age, someone who’s interested in you in the way you deserve, alright?” His tone was gentle, and maybe that was what hurt the most.
It was like he was letting me down slowly, hoping I didn’t break.
But the joke was on him.
Because I was already broken.
I didn’t want boys my age — I wanted him.
“You’re a good liar.” My eyes narrowed. “And you’re lucky I’m patient.”
“Lucky?” He sputtered out a laugh. “That you like toying with me?”
“No, lucky that even though you constantly push me away…I keep coming back for more. But, Phoenix… everyone’s time eventually runs out.”
“Go to breakfast, Bee.”
“Go to hell, Phoenix.”
How has married life been treating you guys?
Mil: Pretty good…as good as can be considering I married a killer..
Chase how hard is it having all of your best friends and your wife as heads of the Families?
Chase: It’s not too difficult, I mean I always knew this was in my future I just wouldn’t have guessed my wife would be a boss…
Mil, you took over at the helm of the DeLange Family, a Family that was ready to sell out the other five Families. How hard has it been to bring them back in line and build trust with YOU and the rest of the Families?
Mil: It hasn’t been easy..first off being a woman, the men tend to balk at my orders, then I pull out my gun and people get a lot more friendly. It was a lot of hard work in the beginning and it still is, all you can do is invest that time in your family and hope they see they can trust you.
So, I don’t know if you all know – but we are kinda telling everyone about Phoenix’s story this week, we call it Ember, is there something about him that you can tell us that we may not know. Something he may not want us to know 😉
Chase: He’s petrified of Elephants.
Mil (Slaps Chase’s arm)
Chase: (Shrugs) What? It’s true! Ask him what happened last time he watched Dumbo…just ask….
Mil, how did you feel when you found out your brother (Phoenix) was still alive?
Mil: Confused, excited, scared, so many emotions ran through me in that moment. I mean I thought I’d lost him and then to see him alive but not really….stable? That killed me.
And Chase, you? I know you are still struggling with him being back around you guys – though you do still seem to come through for him when it really counts.
Chase: I have my moments. Like yesterday, he looked at me wrong and yeah I wanted to punch him in the face just because he was breathing the same air as everyone, then Mil, my lovely wife grabbed my arm, pulled me into the bathroom and—
Mil (puts her hand over Chase’s mouth): Story time’s over.
Mil how hard is it juggling college and being the head of a Family?
Mil: Not hard at all. Chase does my homework. haha, kidding, but he does help a lot.
Have you bonded with the other wives (and Bee)? Especially now that you all go to school together too?
Mil: Yes, it’s been great to have girlfriends again and to be able to trust others….
Chase how are you and the guys doing? You all started as the best of friends but have had some rough patches along the way…
Chase: Ah, you want to know about my feelings don’t you? Well…me and the guys are doing as good as we can be doing based on the fact that we all run crime families and are trying not to lose our sanity….it’s hard when it feels like we keep getting attacked on all sides but hopefully things calm down a bit.
So yo….what do we have in store for the two of you in the future?
Mil: (rolls eyes) I married one.
Chase: She jokes.
Mil: (huffs) fine, yes we are planning on having kids, very soon….
Rachel Van Dyken’s Eagle Elite series is one for the record books. After five full length novels, we get to learn so much more about Phoenix in the sixth book, Ember. His rise from the ashes, his rebirth, his hope and with any luck, his redemption. I won’t lie – I kind of cringed at the thought of Phoenix, someone who did unthinkable things being redeemed, forgiven. But you know what? That’s why I read. I WANT to love all the characters. I desperately need to look at the bad guy and see the good. I want everyone to have their HEA. That’s who I am and if that means that a man who was so destroyed by his own father that he did unthinkable things, a man who tirelessly fought the demons within, and a man who would give up nearly everything that could potentially bring him a second of happiness, an ounce of pleasure ends up winning my heart in the end because of his struggles – well that’s just a sign of a beautiful writer.
Rachel has this incredible talent. We know this – she wouldn’t have the incredible list of published greats under her name if she didn’t have talent. But it’s more than just talent. Her gift of creating these characters that make you feel so raw, so deep within, so much heart break that you openly weep reading their stories –well thank goodness that she chose to share such a talent with us.
Phoenix and Bee’s story in Ember has everything you’d expect out of the Eagle Elite series. Their love is more than just forbidden – it’s not even in the same zip code as forbidden! But yet Bee, in her adorable, stead fast, determined way won’t let Phoenix go so easily. She grabbed that apple from the tree, cut it up and handed a slice to Phoenix. Bee, of course being Tex Campisi’s sister – THE Cappo. As in – one big scary man. Cross him? Well – just don’t. So when Bee gets her sights set on Phoenix – her body guard as appointed by Tex – let’s just say that Phoenix needs to pull every ounce of willpower he has in him to fight the desires, the need, the want – and those demons within – to resist his greatest temptation yet.
Phoenix is such a broken man. He NEEDS someone to believe in him. Not in the “oh yeah, Phoenix could take care of him” kind of trust. In the “I trust this man with my life” kind of trust. His father broke him – oh everyone can say that he had a choice but did he? Really? I don’t think so.
Bee is this quiet, beautiful and broken girl – she’s never been told her worth, never been encouraged to be the amazing person who she is meant to be. So as much as we all want to hate Phoenix and also think that she saved him, in my opinion he saved her too. They’re two broken souls – needing the other’s friendship.
The question becomes, can Phoenix allow himself to be more than a friend and body guard to Bee? Can Bee really truly understand the depth of Phoenix’s hurt, struggles and pain – and forgive him of his past? Can anyone move past the dark side and love anyway?
Ember isn’t just a story of a mafia war, of a forbidden love. It’s a story of forgiveness, of redemption, of finding someone – not only romantically – to love and be loved by who loves you DESPITE your past. Ember is a story of fighting your own past, conquering the ugly demons who live within and breaking those chains that bind your heart & mind.
Rachel has done it again, made me ache for more. I loved it… every. single. word. Congratulations on another amazing installment in the Eagle Elite series, Rachel! Elude can’t come fast enough. It just can’t.
Early copy was given for an honest review.
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Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at www.rachelvandykenauthor.com
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