Excerpt for Lion Blood Love In A Time Of Vengeance Book One by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

This page may contain adult content. If you are under age 18, or you arrived by accident, please do not read further.




LION BLOOD

LOVE IN A TIME OF VENGEANCE

BOOK ONE


BY A.J. JONES


COPYRIGHT 2016 A.J. JONES


SMASHWORDS EDITION





This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

###

I would like to thank all of those who have supported me through my writing endeavors. It was a great pleasure.



The fictional story presented in this novel is loosely based from the Greek myth of Theseus and Phaedra



Cover art by SelfPubBookCover.com/Ravenborn



References

Wikipedia

Werewolves.com

Predator Conservation

LongRidge Writers Group

Lions.org

World Of Baby Names by Teresa Norman

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Herbs

Roses For Love/Rose Color Meanings

Geology.com

Grammarly

Word Porn

The Writer’s Circle

Writer’s Digest.com



TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN





CHAPTER ONE

Leander De Le Coeur watched the five foot two mahogany toned woman. He sat incognito in a corner booth. She stood at the counter waiting for her order. Her black kinky twists pulled atop her head. Some had fallen from the deep purple hair tie. They draped lazily on her shoulders. He noticed her brown eyes scanning the screen on her phone.

He didn't want her to see him just yet. His uncertainty of how she’d react after leaving her three years ago kept him from approaching her. He knew of other reasons as to why he couldn’t make an attempt at re-entering her life. Most of them pointed to her death. But Hhis main reasonsing wereas the broken heart he’d let her with and clearing his name. Even though he knew his absence was for the best. The guilt gnawed at him daily.

She looked up from her phone. She made small talk with the blonde aged waitress. She flashed a smile. It was evident the waitress liked to talk. The mahogany woman politely entertained her conversation.

He stretched his six foot four frame and adjusted his long legs for comfort. His pecan brown hands embraced a small white cup of coffee. He turned his attention to the wall on his right. His light brown eyes looked over the vintage posters and license plates that decorated it. The restaurant had a warm friendly feel to it. Even the waiters and waitresses made it feel like home. He shook his head sadly as he glanced over the wall once more. He knew he could never go back to his real home. His blood family. At least not yet. until he found the truth to clear his name.

The aroma of breakfast hung in the air. His sensitive nose picked up on that. Evening fell upon him and the other patrons. His keen hearing focused on the ringing bells tied to the handle of the glass doors. As an elderly couple took their regular seats a few feet away from him. The nightfall breeze stole in the scent of rain. His soul ached for the impending precipitation. He loved a good downpour. It washed away things seen and unseen. He looked down at the ring on his right ring finger. The gold lion head setting had been designed to look ferocious. In its roaring mouth sat a large ruby. In the stone the family crest was etched. A lion headed man with a human body. He held a gold bow in one hand and gold shackles in the other. Staring at the ring brought back the a memory of of the first time he met his brother. He thought about the day his father gave it to him him the ring.

August 21, 1819. Briar Creek, NC. De Le Coeur Manor.

Leiandros De Le Coeur stood at the head of the round dining room. He held a glass of absinthewine in one large pecan brown hand. He held firmly to his golden lion headed cane with the other. The sun’s rays laid on his bald head. Their light heat caused his skin to glisten. He pulled a white handkerchief from his breast pocket. With the hand that held the cane, hHe wiped his head. The cloth fell over his scarred eye as he did. The angry markIt ran from the top of his right brow down to the top of his right cheek. That and his leg were a clear reminder of how brutal life could be for their kind could be.

He placed the cane back to the floor. He looked to the right. His son, Leander, stood next to him. He stared back at him with the same light brown eyes. Even though he was the size of a teenage boy, something older and wiser lived within him. In human years he was fifteen. In pride years he was only a year old. Leiandros couldn’t help but smile proudly as Leander was almost a splitting image of him at fifteen years old. Leiandros smiled proudly.

“Come hereCome here,” his his regal voice echoed. HeLeiandros placed the wine glass down on the table. He glanced down at the wooden scarleta mahogany box. It sat next to the glass. He returned his attention back to Leander. “There’s something I want to show you.We need to talk.”

Leander came to him. came to him jovially. Leiandros scooped him up in his arm. With the help of his cane, Leiandroshe limped toward his study. His son trailed behind obediently He entered and closed the door behind him. He sat Leander leaned againston the enormous oak desk. He watched his father as he searched the book shelf.

“I always forget what book it is. The centuries are catching up to me,” . he grinned. He placed a finger on a bookThe centuries are catching up to me. ,” he grinned. “Ah, Tthere it is.”

He pulled on ita book. It had a red cover with a black lion headed statue on the front. Gold cuffsshackles encircledwere on its wrists. In its hands were gold shackles and a gold bow and arrows. “I have something to show you. It’s time you know about your family history.”

The book didn’t fully pull out. Leiandros slid the book back in place. Suddenly the entire shelf slowly opened as if it were one of the books on its shelf opened. A gust of old wind blew against Leander as if signaling its happiness at finally being free. He moved hopped down from the desk. He walked toward his father. He grabbed his hand. He peered into the openingopening. He saw nothing, but darkness. He watched his father step into the blacknessfelt his father moving forward. He realized he was taking a step forward. He stayed close and hesitantly followed.

“Don’t be afraid,” his voice resounded in the blackness. Each step his father took was followed by the tap of his cane.

Leander realized, as he trekkedailed behind his father, he was going down spiral stairs. He breathed deeply. He coughed. The dank earthy smell mixed with dust didn’t sit well with his lungs. The cold chill that ran down his spine caused him to shiver. He reached out to the right of him. He felt the frigid hard roughness of stone.

It seemed as if they were going down the dark abyss for some time. His legs ached from the numerous stairs. A sigh of relief escaped his lips when his father stopped.

“We’re here,” he released a deep breathreleased Leander’s hand. “Don’t move. I’ll get some light.”

He did as his father told him. Even though he heard his father’s footsteps and tapping cane, he was frightened. His father’s prescencepresence was already a powerful one, but he felt alone. Suddenly, candles and torches sparked alive causing the place they were in to illuminate. He looked around in amazement. The room they were in was covered in white stone. He noticed some grey mixed in. He extended his hand out. He touched the smooth cold wall. It was a sharp contrast from the earlier barrage he felt. He looked up at the ceiling. It was covered in gold. He noted ancient markings written on it.

“Come here, son.”

Leander observed in front of his father standing next to two shiny blackwhite coffins. The edge of the lids and side were lined in gold. He hesitantly ambled closer. He noted the two covers. One was carved in the shape of a man. He was naked except for what seemed like a black carvedwhite sheet over his sculpted midsection. He seemed to be at peace. The other was a woman who looked the same. Her carved sheet cover her midsection and breasts. Two gold handled swords were stood in the chest of each coffin. He squinted his eyes and saw strange symbols carved on the blades. They were like the ones on the gold ceiling.

“What are those,” he pointed to the swords. “Who are they?”

“They are our history,” he looked at strolled over to him. He motioned with his hand for Leander to come to him. took his son by the hand He and lead him to the shadowed far right wall. “Those symbols are hieroglyphs. They are very sacred and powerful. Those swords are never to be removed. Do you understand?”

“Yes, father,” he glanced back at the coffins. “Are they dangerous?”

“More than you’ll ever know,” he said nostalgically. Leiandros pointed to a black stone wall. At the top was a golden sun. Within the sun was the carving of the same statue that was on the book cover. The sun’s rays turned to roots as they grew further down. “Here.”

“Are these hieroglyphs too,” Leander stepped closer.”

“Yes. They are our names.”

Leander watched as his father told him each name. He noticed he skipped twoone. When he was finished, he turned to him.

“Why did you skip thoseat name,” he pointed to the top.

“They areIt is a names we don’t mention. It’s not good for anyone.”

Leander said nothing.

“It’s time for you to know who and what you are. You’re a child of the sun. You are born from the ancient bloodline of the Nubian lion god, Apedemak.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means Apedemak has blessed you. Right now, the lion inside you sleeps. But, there will come a time when your lion will awaken. When that time comes, don’t fight it. Claim your power,” he placed his hand on Leander’s left shoulder. “Secrecy and discretion is very important. It is how we have survived all these years. Us and other families. There are those who wish to do us harm. They want to destroy us.”

Leander nodded his head.

“We don’t live by the rules of the humans. We have our own set of rules and laws. As long as we follow them, we will be safe.”

Leander nodded again.

“The ring you see me and your uncle wear are our family crest. Your aunt wears a bracelet. Your mother wears a necklace. You have a ring also. It’s upstairs. You must guard it with your life. It is who you are.”

“I will, father.”

“As you grow, my son, you will learn so much more.”

The voice of one of the waitresses greeting a customer brought Leander out of his remembrance. He glanced at his ring again before placing his hand on the table. When his father told him of his heritage, it was his birthday. He turned two in human years. Twenty four in lion years.

A foreboding presence swept over him. It caused a memory he tried to keep locked away to force itself to the front of his mind. It flooded hims mind like a raging waterfall. He tried to fight it as he took a deep breath. It angered him. A luxury he couldn’t afford. He had to keep all his senses in control. He took another calming breath. He glanced at the young woman again. He looked down at his coffee cup. He blamed himself for what happened that night. If only he’d listened to his instincts.

Briar Creek, NC. May, Two thousand thirteen.

The De Le Coeur French chateau styled red brick home stood tall and regal against the backdrop of the descending sun. The shades of night seemed to quickly chase away the chariots of day. The tall white columns stood like beacons against dusk. Each of the twelve tall rectangular windows held a candle on the sill. They flickered as if each flame waited for a visitor. Leander De Le Coeur waited at the front gates. His black Chevy Suburban purred. The tall spiked iron gates opened slowly. He stepped on the gas and he roared through. The gravel road leading to the front of the manor sent small rocks flying from under the tires. On each side of the driveway stood white magnolia trees. They towered like giants. He noticed the small white petals from neighboring flowering dogwood trees made the path look snow covered. When he got to the front of the manor he turned the truck off, he parked, and stepped out. He closed the door behind him. He proceeded to sprint up the five red brick stairs that lead to the heavy oak door. A large lion shaped knocker adorned it. Its ferocious snarl held a heavy metal ring in its teeth. Just as he reached for it he heard a soft voice behind him.

“Leander.”

He turned quickly. He saw Phaedra Shan standing a few feet behind him. He noticed her five foot seven frame emerged from the shadows like a phantom. Her brown hair hung wild to her shoulders. He noticed blood splatters on her cafe au lait skin and her white dress. Her brown eyes looked glassy and crazed.

“What happened,” he fully turned to her. He sniffed the air. The blood scent seemed familiar to him.

“Nothing,” she shrugged her shoulders. “I was hunting.”

“Either nothing happened or you were hunting. Pick a lie.”

“Fine,” her face went grim. “Your mother needs help in Amina’s garden.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” he sighed. He felt something wasn’t right. “She doesn’t go into the garden at night unless it for a family gathering.”

“Yes,” she shifted uncomfortably. “She asked me to keep a lookout for you.”

“I find that hard to believe. Since my mother barely parts her lips to speak to you,” he snarled.

“I’m just the messenger. Follow me, please.”

He turned to the door. He stopped. His instincts kicked him hard in the gut. The soft spring wind had a force to it as if telling him to go inside. Don’t follow her. He spun back and Phaedra was gone. He stepped down the stairs. Another shove of spring wind moved him back. His curiosity tugged at him more forcefully than the wind pushed him. He hesitated for a moment. He walked to the far left. The spring breezes danced occasionally through the pines and wisteria vines while the azaleas bushes swayed at the trunk of the trees. His search took him to a cobblestone stone path. It lead him deep into the forest. The breeze swirled and embellished the path with white and pink petals. He looked up at the wisteria vines. They formed over him like a natural ceiling. The purple flowers bloomed on them and hung like amethyst chandeliers. He walked further down the cobblestones. He approached a clearing. As he traveled further, he noticed Phaedra stood on the right side of an empty fire pit. It sat darkened by previous blazes.

“What do you want,” he shoved his hands in his jean pockets.

“A moment with you,” she took a step toward him. “I know you went to see Mtima today.”

“Yes, I did. But, it’s none of your business.”

“I know,” she took a step toward him. “But, I wish you could’ve been with me.”

“What,” he repressed a feeling of disgust.

“Mtima is not the woman for you. She’s not strong enough to be part of this family.”

“Keep her name out of your mouth. Mtima has been a part of this family since she was five. We raised her and she’ll be better for our family then you’ll ever be,” he growled.

“You don’t believe that,” she took another step toward him. He took a step back. “I can change your mind.”


“With all my heart, I truly do. You’ve already slithered your way into our family. There’s no way you’re going to get another chance to ruin us,” he clenched his teeth.

“I’m not trying to ruin anything,” her voice registered a childlike innocence. “Your father doesn’t think that.”

“I’m not my father,” he grumbled. “. What my father did was a mistake.”

“Are you saying your brother iswas a mistake,” she paused.

“The only mistake is that you’re my brother’s mother and my father was fool enough to fall for your treachery.”

“Don’t be so cold, Leander,” she strolled toward him like a cat on the prowl. “Let me show you how much I need your love. How much you need mine.”

Before he could move away she pounced on him. He fought her while trying to ignore her declarations of love.

“Love me, LeanderWe can rule the De Le Coeur pride together,” she said amongst the struggle. “We can have a pride“Or, have one of our own.”

“Stop,” he fought.

“I can’t control what I feel for you,” She placed her hands on his heart. “Tell me you feel it too. You desire me as much as I desire you.”

As much as his mother and father taught him to respect women he didn't see Phaedra as such. Especially with her past treacherous actions. He shoved her harder than he should have. His apologetic feelings came and went as she forced herself on him again. He shoved her once more. He witnessed her shocked expression as she tripped over her own feet. She fell to the ground hard. He watched her as she limped her way to a standing position. He straightened his clothes and waited for a moment. Their heavy breaths filled the space between them.

“I will tell my father of this,” he spoke. “Maybe, he’ll finally be done with you.”

An ear splitting scream pierced the stillness of the night. He looked toward the manor. Phaedra’s sinister giggling made him return his attention back to her.

“I don’t think your mother is going to make it to the garden.”

“You told me-,” it finally dawned on Leander. He finally focused. He sniffed the air. He tuned his hearing. “Mother.”

Another scream assaulted his sensitive ears. He ran with all his speed from the garden. He finally made it back to the chateau. He banged and knocked on the front door. No one answered. He darted to the right side door. Luckily it wasn’t locked yet. He pushed it open. He scanned the room and realized he ran into the kitchen. He sensed someone near, but he was more concerned about his mother. He noticed the hallway ahead. Before he could step foot towards it, a force yanked him up by the collar. He was thrownIt threw him against the right kitchen wall. He fell hard to the floor. He tried to regain himself. He was snatched up again.

“Your mother,” a familiar voice roared angrily. “You harm her and think you can walk back in my home as if nothing happened.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he roared back. He focused and saw his father staring vengefully at him. “I would never lay a hand on my mother.”

Leander had no time to explain. His six foot four build compared not to the six foot five build of his father. Not because of his height, but his strength. The light from the hall gleamed on his father’s bald head. The rage in his eyes glared like balls of golden iridescent fire.e with an iridescence. He tried to run, but his father snatched him up. He pummeled him until Leander fell to his knees. Any attempts to block his father’s blows deemed useless.

His father grabbed him by the back of his neck. He dragged him from the kitchen to his study.

“You spilled her blood. Now, I’ll spill yours.”

He heard and felt the cracking of his ribs as his father gave him a blow to the left side. His insides jostled within his body. He felt his essence slowly spilling out from any lacerations his father caused. Suddenly it all stopped. He laid on the floor. His energy gone from futile fighting. He moaned in pain as someone lifted him up. He used what strength he had left to stumble with whoever helped him. He moved his lips. His words choked and gargled in his throat.

“I don’t know what happened,” his uncle’s voice found his ears. “But, we need to get you away from here.”

He thought he heard his aunt. He wasn’t sure. He passed out from the pain.


****


Leander felt the coolness of a soft breeze caresss him out of his torturous slumber. The softness of the sheets and comfortable bed soothed his aches. He tried to move his hand to his chest, but the pain wouldn’t allow him. He groaned annoyed at the fact he couldn’t move like he wanted to. He sensed someone near him. He opened his eyes. He noticed the room was bare except for some furniture and the bed he laid in.

“Leander.”

“Uncle,” he recognized the voice. He saw a tall shadow looming over him. He blinked a few times to focus. He looked to the left and right. He realized he rested in a safe place. He noticed the controlled rage and gloom in his uncle’s eyes. He saw the flicker of an iridescent glow as he leaned closer.

“You’re at my home,” he sat down on the edge of the bed. His locs draped loose. They outlined his face like a dark hood. “Your father evidently wasn’t as mad as he let on. He would’ve killed you if he were.”

“Why did he attack me,” he tried to sit up. His body reminded him of his agony.

“Rest, nephew,” he placed his hand on his shoulder.

Leander heard a menacing growl rumble in his uncle’s throat. He didn’t know if he should be afraid or cautious.

“She got into your father’s head. From what your father told me she said you raped her. Phaedra said you attacked your mother because she didn’t approve your relationship.”

“That’s a lie,” he grumbled angrily. “All of it. I never violated Phaedra. We never had a relationship.”

“I know. I sense no trace of falsities in you.”

“My mother. What happened to her?”

“You’re mother...” he hesitated. He hung his head low as if trying to conceal his emotion.

“I need to see her,” Leander tried to move. He groaned. “Where is she?”

“Please, wait until you’re healed,” he leaned back.

Leander fought as he sat upthrough his distress. He put his feet to the floor. His uncle helped him up. He stumbled his way to the door. He steadied himself against the doorframe. He looked over his shoulder at his uncle.

“I can sense her sadness. Her anger. Her heart is broken,” his breaths were labored.

“She’s in the room next to this one. To the right,” Issa motioned with a nod of his head.

Leander stepped out of his room. He used the wall to steady himself as he made his way to his mother. He rested midway. His condition made the trek seem endless. He noticed the door partially opened. He heard soft sobbing. He heaved himself closer. He finally made it. He swept the door wider. He stepped in the room. He saw it decorated for a queen. Shades of gold and red curtains hung from the ceiling. He parted them as he moved further in. He glanced around. He saw obsidian statues in the four corners of the room. They had the head of a lion and the body of a man. They stood protectively watching over his mother. Purple curtains draped from the large canopy bed. His aunt Amina was kneeling down by the right edge of it. Her head hung low. Her chocolate brown curls unkempt. She turned to him. Her brown eyes no longer human, but of the lioness which raged within. They were red rimmed from her sobbing. They also showed the deep pain she felt in her heart. The same iridescent glow that flashed from his uncle’s eyes flashed in Amina’s.


Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-13 show above.)