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From a "New York Times"-bestselling author comes the first edge-of-your-seat installment in a fantastically thrilling seven-book paranormal suspense series--a chilling saga based on the seven deadly sins. Original.
Allison Brennan is the author of ten bestselling romantic thrillers, including The Prey, , Speak No Evil, Killing Fearand Playing Dead. For thirteen years she worked as a consultant in the California State Legislature before leaving to devote herself fully to her family and writing. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Dan, and their five children.
It was the darkest hour of the night.
Fiona stood within the protective double circle that framed the perfect hexagram within a perfect triangle. Bowls of incense burned within triangles, six of which were perfectly and evenly cast between the inner and outer circles at the apex of each point of the hexagram, smoke slowly rising. Only when the fumes breached the invisible shield did the wind carry them off, swirling violently into the black night. The laws of physics did not apply to Hell’s gateway.
As it is below, so it is above.
The seventh bowl sat in the center, at the base of the altar. The trap was complete.
Her filmy, translucent white gown was unique in its meticulous and detailed silver embroidery. Woven through Fiona’s fiery hair was a knotted scarlet rope. Flames from the black candles at each point of the hexagram were virtually still, a testament to her careful preparation and growing power.
Seven of her coven stood sentry beside the seven triangles. They, too, wore white gowns with nothing beneath. Her obedient daughter Serena was at her left hand. Three men guarded the altar. And the key to the gateway to Hell lay naked upon the altar, covered with only a sacred red sheet. Abby was a beautiful sacrifice, her long, golden hair fanned out beneath her. She had no fear. She’d been taught well.
Fiona listened to Serena speak the ancient words from the Conoscenza, murmuring as if speaking to a lover. She’d searched her entire life for this book of knowledge, the book so many believed to have been destroyed. Fiona had never lost hope, never given up. And now it was hers.
Nine days of fasting, nine days of purification, nine days of denial culminating in tonight and the fulfillment of her promise. With power comes responsibility, and Fiona kept her word. With the knowledge contained in the Conoscenza, her gain would be far greater control and power over the elements, the spirits, the universe. One step closer to immortality. She saw it, tasted it, reveled in the electricity of the forces within her and around her.
As Serena spoke, her servants chanted their response. As she incanted, their voices swelled, fueling Fiona’s power. The energy grew, pulled into their sacred circle. She commanded the wind, she would command all!
This was only the beginning, and there was to be no end.
“Anoint our vessel,” Fiona commanded the three men.
Serena handed Garrett a gold chalice with a mixture of herbs, resins, and human blood. As he dipped his left thumb into the cup, Serena began to turn the supernatu?ral key by reciting from the book. Garrett marked the vessel, ensuring that the Seven would soon be under Fiona’s command.
“As it is below, so it is above,” Fiona intoned. “For every good there is an evil, for every virtue there is a vice.”
Garrett put his thumb on the vessel’s forehead and drew a triangle. One of the women entered the inner circle and lit one of the seven candles, reciting a prayer of obedience.
Fiona continued the ritual, moving from triangle to triangle, with Garrett anointing and Serena reading from the book. He looked at Fiona over the cup, his eyes on fire. His lust, his fever, inspired her and she summoned each woman in turn, each a chosen guardian of one of the Seven.
Serena stepped away from the altar in the middle of the ritual and Fiona whirled around. “No one breaks the circle!”
Fiona looked upon her coven, smiling victoriously. She’d told them the arca would come.
—And the blood of the virtuous will seal the seven, and thee who seals the arca will rule—
Lily Ellis stood outside the double circle. Her long, pale red hair whipped about her face, her fair skin nearly translucent. She was rai
Excerpted from Original Sin by Allison Brennan All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.