printed copy

Phantom Shadows: Immortal Guardians #3

Dianne Duvall

ISBN 9781420118636
Publish Date 10/2/2012
Format Paperback
Categories Zebra, Immortal Guardians, Paranormal
List Price: $6.99

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Dianne Duvall lures readers into a world of romance and suspense, where love can mean the difference between life and death…

Dr. Melanie Lipton is no stranger to the supernatural. She knows immortals better than they know themselves, right down to their stubborn little genes. So although a handsome rogue immortal seems suspicious to her colleagues, Sebastien Newcombe intrigues Melanie. His history is checkered, his scars are impressive, and his ideas are daring. But it’s not his ideas that have Melanie fighting off surges of desire…

Bastien is used to being the bad guy. In fact, he can’t remember the last time he had an ally he could trust. But Melanie is different—and under her calm, professional exterior he senses a passion beyond anything in his centuries of experience. Giving in to temptation is out of the question—he can’t put her in danger. But she isn’t asking him…

“These dark, kick-ass guardians can protect me any day!” —Alexandra Ivy on Darkness Dawns

“Whizzing along at light speed…this sophomore effort sizzles.” —Publishers Weekly on Night Reigns

“Utterly addictive.” —Romantic Times

Chapter One

The desire to commit violence rose up within Bastien, almost irresistible in its intensity. Was this how vampires felt, he wondered, when the virus that infected them wreaked havoc in their brains and eradicated their impulse control? Because right now he would like nothing more than to plant his fist in the face of the immortal who lounged beside him. “I hope you know what a sickeningly sappy grin you’re wearing,” Bastien muttered, his eyes on the students stagger­ing about in front of the frat house across the street.

“Bite me,” Richart replied as he continued to text away on his cell. Bastien sighed. The jackass wouldn’t even offer up a good fight. Bastien had been baiting him for a couple of hours now in an attempt to relieve some of the frustration spawned by Seth requiring him to have an escort. A babysitter. A guard.

“Fucking immortals,” he muttered. They all wanted to kill him now that they knew he had slain one of their own almost two centuries ago. All of them but this one apparently.

“You’re an immortal yourself, dumbass,” the Frenchman reminded him.

Sometimes Bastien really missed the company of vampires.

Movement in the shadows north of the frat house caught his eye.

Speaking of which . . .

Bastien watched as two young couples, clearly in their cups, stumbled off the front porch and wove their way down the sidewalk. Pulsing music penetrated the house’s closed win­dows, rumbling through the neighborhood and piercing Bastien’s ears as silhouettes gyrated on the windows’ curtains. The foursome argued drunkenly over which path to take to the dorm, then chose one and started down it, completely unaware of the dark predators who mirrored their every movement.

Bastien opened his mouth to give Richart the heads­up, then closed it again when he realized Richart was already returning his cell phone to his back pocket. The two stood.

When Richart reached out to touch Bastien’s shoulder, Bastien dodged the contact and stepped off the edge of the roof, dropping three stories to land with only a hint of sound on the sidewalk in front of the building. Richart appeared out of thin air beside him half a second later. “You risk discovery when you do such,” he commented blandly as they set off in pursuit of the humans and their vampire shadows.

“And you don’t, teleporting?”

Richart shrugged. “If they see me, they’ll think me a figment of their imagination, a trick of the eye or light. If they see you, they’ll think you’re a jumper or some student who’s drunk off his ass and come over to investigate.”

True. The point was moot, however, because humans couldn’t spy them in the darkness. The moon was absent, cloaked in the heavy clouds that had rolled in around sunset. And the streetlights above them had been shattered, either by vampires wanting to escape notice while they observed their prey or by students with too much time on their hands. Bastien tuned out the human couples’ inane conversa­tion, the frat party’s booming base, and the rumble of the occasional passing automobile, and zeroed in on the conver­sation of the vampires, inaudible to mortal ears.

The plan seemed to be to drain and dismember the men in front of the women, then torture the women, maybe keep them as toys from which the vampires could feed and extract screams for a few days until the vamps lost interest and sought new victims.

That plan changed when the men parted company from the women after a brief bout of sloppy kisses and ass­grabbing. The men staggered off down one sidewalk. The women tottered up another, their high heels clickety­clacking on the pavement.

The vampires hesitated, then followed the women.

Bastien looked at Richart. “Do you want Beavis or Butt­head?”

Richart nodded to the blond vampire. “I’ll take Beavis.”

The women passed in and out of pools of illumination as they walked beneath campus lights, then under the branches of ancient oak trees. They turned toward the brightly lit en­trance of one of the dorms.

The vampires drew closer to their backs.

Richart touched Bastien’s shoulder. The world around him went dark. A feeling of weightlessness engulfed him, not unlike that one sometimes experienced in an elevator. Then Bastien found himself standing a foot or so behind the vampires.

He frowned at Richart. Bastien may not have the aversion to teleporting that some immortals did, but he still liked to have a little warning first.

Two figures, moving so swiftly they blurred, suddenly darted around the corner of the building, swept up the women, and sped away.

“What the hell?” the brunet Bastien had labeled Butthead spouted.

“Hey, those chicks are ours!” Beavis shouted.

Bastien met Richart’s glowing amber gaze. “I’ll take the newbies.”

Beavis and Butthead spun around.

Richart nodded. “I’ll get rid of these two.”

The vampires’ eyes began to glow as they bared descend­ing fangs.

Bastien took off after the new vamps and their female victims, running so swiftly that humans would not even be able to follow the movement with their eyes.

The vampires took him from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to neighboring Durham, dodging this direction, then that, pro­viding quite a chase.

Did they know an immortal hunted them? Or did they simply want to avoid a confrontation with the enraged vam­pires from whom they had snatched the women?

The vamps stopped in the deserted loading zone behind one of Duke University’s buildings. Each clutched a woman. Neither human made a sound.

As Bastien halted a hairsbreadth away, he saw bite marks on both women’s necks. Their hearts still beat, so neither had been drained. But the glands that had formed above the fangs the vampires had grown during their transformation had already delivered the chemical that acted like GHB, leaving the females sluggish and willing to accede to any­thing the vamps wanted to do to them. Tomorrow morning, if the women lived, they would have no memory of this.

The vampire closest to Bastien started violently when he realized they had company. He dropped the woman he held. “We saw ’em first.”

Bastien caught the woman’s blouse in a fist before she could hit the ground, then plunged his other fist into the vam­pire’s face.

Blood spurted and bone shattered as the vampire flew backward and hit the building with enough force to crack the brick and produce a cloud of sandy mortar.

Bastien gently lowered the woman to the ground and zipped over to the vampire’s gaping friend. That one tried to lock an arm around his victim and use her as a shield . . . until Bastien broke said arm and sent the screaming vamp flying through the air to form more cracks in the building’s exterior.

Bastien placed the woman beside her friend and charged the vampires, guiding the battle away from the humans.

Both vampires drew weapons: hunting knives with serrated edges and bowies as long as his forearm.

Bastien drew his katanas and faced them without a qualm. He had been born two centuries ago and, at the insistence of his noble British father, had trained with a master swordsman. If that weren’t enough to lend him confidence, the fact that he had trained with Seth and David, the eldest and most power­ful immortals in existence, for roughly two years did. The blond vampire swore, fear filling his glowing blue eyes. “He’s an Immortal Guardian!”

Bastien thought for a moment the other one would cut and run. Then the brunet roared and dove into the fight.

Blades clashed. Wounds opened. Blood flowed.

On the vampires, that is.

Bastien remained relatively unscathed. Disarming the blond, he sheathed a sword and grabbed the blond vampire by the neck. As Bastien continued to battle the brunet, the emotions of the blond flowed into him at the behest of Bastien’s gift. Malice. Chaos. Madness. He couldn’t be saved. The virus that infected both vampires and immortals had been with this one too long.

Shoving the vampire back, Bastien slashed the brunet’s chest, then swiftly decapitated the blond.

The brunet stilled and stared at his fallen comrade.

Bastien used his preternatural speed to disarm the second vamp and took him by the throat as well.

Richart appeared in the distance, perhaps forty yards away, turned in a circle, spotted them, then teleported to Bastien’s side. “The women?” he asked.

Bastien nodded to them. “Alive, but bitten and disoriented.”

Richart motioned to the vampire Bastien held. “And this one?” Richart’s clothing—black pants, black shirt, long black coat (standard garb for immortals)—bore numerous wet patches that would have been obvious bloodstains on material of any other color. “Are you planning to keep him as a souvenir or what?”

Bastien scowled. “I wanted to see if he was salvageable.”

If the vamp were newly turned, the madness that afflicted humans after they transformed may not have infected him yet.

“And?”

Bastien eyed the vamp with disgust. “He isn’t.”

“Then what are you . . . ?” Richart trailed off.

Muffled noises carried to Bastien’s sensitive ears. Boots traversing grass and pavement. Several pair, each bearing a man’s weight. The faint rattle of equipment.

The immortals shared a look.

Facing the corner of the building from around which the sounds approached, they both drew in deep breaths.

No cologne. No scented soap. No deodorant. No lingering hint of clothing detergent or scented fabric softener or dryer sheets. Nothing an immortal would ordinarily detect on an ap­proaching group of humans.

The sole human­oriented scent that reached them was . . . gun oil. Bastien frowned at Richart. Whoever approached bore the MO of a hunter. What the hell would they be hunting on a college campus? Unless . . .

“Take the women to safety,” Bastien ordered too softly for humans to hear.

Richart reached the women in an instant and tossed one over each shoulder. “I shall return shortly,” he promised, then vanished. The vampire in Bastien’s grasp began to struggle.

Bastien tightened his hold and waited to see who or what would come around the corner.

Had his vision not been preternaturally sharp, he would have missed the tiny mirror—barely bigger than a thumbnail— that appeared first and gave the man who held it a glimpse of Bastien and his captive.

Breath sucked in. The mirror slipped out of sight.

Something round and metal, the size of a tennis ball, bounced and jounced across the pavement toward Bastien. Light as bright as the damned sun engulfed him in a brief flash, blinding Bastien and making the vampire howl in pain.

About Dianne Duvall:

Dianne Duvall earned a BA in English from the University of St. Thomas (Houston) and currently lives in Texas with her husband. Information on her books and the latest news can be found on her website.

Average Customer Review

Based on 4 reviews


Customer Review

Addicting Series! (Sunday, November 4, 2012)
Reviewer: Kelsey O.

Oh, Dianne, you love to torment me with your boys! Duvall has done it again with another great addition to her Immortal Guardians series. I was so excited when I found out this was Bastien’s story I was excited and Duvall did not let me down.

Bastien’s past with the Immortal Guardians is not a good one. Before Bastien knew that he himself was an Immortal Guardian, he thought he was just a vampire and using his vampire army he was going to overthrow the Guardians. Now he works with the Guardians trying to figure out how to retain a vampires mind after their conversion. Working alongside Melanie is very distracting for Bastien. He wants her so bad but doesn’t want to admit it. Melanie has a soft spot for Bastien. She just wishes he would quite antagonizing some of the Guardians and just start getting along. It is hard for Bastien to get the chip of his shoulder but with a little help from Melanie he just might become part of the “team”. Both Bastien and Melanie are very strong characters and complement each other very well. I like that there is vulnerability in the tough facade of Bastien and when Melanie is around he lets it show.

The story line moves fast and the reader is caught up in the emotions of the characters. The world building that Duvall creates keeps the reader intrigued in where the next book will take them. With so many characters that I want to know more of, I am sure Duvall will keep me glued to her series. These books are a must read but beware...it is addicting!!

(ARC was provided by publisher for an honest review)

Series just keeps getting better! (Tuesday, October 30, 2012)
Reviewer: Kelsey O.

Oh, Dianne, you love to torment me with your boys! Duvall has done it again with another great addition to her Immortal Guardians series. I was so excited when I found out this was Bastien’s story I was excited and Duvall did not let me down.

Bastien’s past with the Immortal Guardians is not a good one. Before Bastien knew that he himself was an Immortal Guardian, he thought he was just a vampire and using his vampire army he was going to overthrow the Guardians. Now he works with the Guardians trying to figure out how to retain a vampires mind after their conversion. Working alongside Melanie is very distracting for Bastien. He wants her so bad but doesn’t want to admit it. Melanie has a soft spot for Bastien. She just wishes he would quite antagonizing some of the Guardians and just start getting along. It is hard for Bastien to get the chip of his shoulder but with a little help from Melanie he just might become part of the “team”. Both Bastien and Melanie are very strong characters and complement each other very well. I like that there is vulnerability in the tough facade of Bastien and when Melanie is around he lets it show.

The story line moves fast and the reader is caught up in the emotions of the characters. The world building that Duvall creates keeps the reader intrigued in where the next book will take them. With so many characters that I want to know more of, I am sure Duvall will keep me glued to her series. These books are a must read but beware...it is addicting!!

(ARC was provided by publisher for an honest review)

I am in love with this series! (Tuesday, October 2, 2012)
Reviewer: Crystal @ RBtWBC

Dianne Duvall has created an intriguing paranormal world with alluring romances in her Immortal Guardian series that is heightened with its newest release, Phantom Shadows.

Sebastien Newcombe use to fight against the Immortals with his army of Vampires, now he fights alongside them but no one fully trusts him. And why should they when he killed one of their own? Bastien doesn’t seek acceptance though, or so he tells himself. But when Dr. Melanie Lipton enters the picture and ignites feelings inside him that he hasn’t felt in centuries, Bastien can’t help but worry how others will react to their relationship. So Bastien denies his attraction to the Network’s beautiful doctor and buries his feelings. But Melanie isn’t going to make it easy for him. She’s seen through Bastien’s ‘I don’t give a shit,’ attitude since their first meeting and has been infatuated with the Immortal from the get-go. And now that Melanie knows that her feelings are returned, she isn’t going to accept the ‘You’re too good for me,’ line that Bastien is trying to feed her. Can Melanie convince Bastien that he is more than enough for her or will the danger that he inadvertently exposures her to push him away for good?

We were first introduced to Bastien in the first book of the series, Darkness Dawns. Believing that he was a vampire and hell-bent on revenge for the death of his sister, Bastien led a vampire army against Roland and the rest of the Immortals. But when the truth about his existence was finally revealed to him, Bastien joined the Immortal Guardians. However, that doesn’t mean him or the rest of the Immortals are happy about their new camaraderie. This sweet and sexy bad boy has not just a chip on his shoulder but an entire cement block and I loved his story. There’s just something about the quintessential bad boy. Bastien has a tendency to rub others the wrong way with his sarcastic retorts and the vacillating dialogue between him, the other Immortals and even the Seconds added some fun, acerbic humor to the storyline. But even when Bastien was seemingly bad, he was still good, and Melanie is the only one who could see this. I thought that she made the perfect match for Bastien. Both stubborn but Melanie gives him a run for his money.

There was plenty of action and suspense in Phantom Shadows to keep readers turning the pages. The build up to the big, bad show down had me on the edge of my seat but when that final scene rolled around I found myself teetering on that edge because it felt a bit rushed. I think this was because the story-line jumped forward a few times and I would have liked for it to be expanded on more. A HUGE bomb (figuratively speaking) is dropped at the end for a previous couple in the series though and I am really looking forward to how this will affect them and the author Immortals as well as the Immortal Guardian’s world in general.

The Immortal Guardian series introduces a new breed of Vampires that you can’t help but be captivated by. The nuances and secrets in Duvall’s mythology make me eager to explore more alongside her Immortal and Vampire characters, and I can't wait for the next installment. I’m still waiting with bated breath for news on Seth’s book...

Phantom Shadows (Friday, September 21, 2012)
Reviewer: The Jeep Diva

The Immortal Guardians is a series that you really need to read in order. Dianne does a little rehashing on key points as refreshers so you’ll easily remember some of the details from the previous two books. Bastien started as in the first book Darkness Dawns a man who thought he was a vampire. He is hell bent on getting revenge against the Immortal’s who he believed killed his sister. He is now within the network of immortals that are fighting the vampires and a new unforeseen foe.

Bastien may be one of the special gifted immortals, but he still feels like an outsider. His attitude towards his fellow immortals leaves him constantly at odds with them. He has been with them for two years and remains the black sheep. This is all around everyone’s fault. His life among the vampires has him keeping himself on the outside. His lack of trust in people does not allow for them to see who he really is. (I absolutely loved his meltdown when he threw certain things at the bus!)

Melanie is one of the few people who don’t harbor any animosity towards Bastien. She in fact is infatuated with him. The moment she finds that he shares the attracted with her leaves her with no choice but to pursue him. I loved the fact that every time he tries to push her away with the I’m not good enough for you excuse she not so subtly reminds him that she wants him, he wants her and that is all that matters.

The fight scenes (yes, a couple of big battles!) were intense, shocking, and amazing. They were overflowing with tons of kick ass. Readers got to see past books couples in the mix of the fights. We also got to learn more about the characters who have not gotten their own books.

I found myself giggling a lot with this book. I don’t remember the others being quite this humorous. Bastien gives his fellow immortals hell, and they all dish it right back at him. The quick wit and snark also come from the seconds as well. Phantom Shadows quickly became my favorite of the series thus far. I love this series and cannot wait to get my hands on the next book. The surprise for one of the characters at the very end was an excellent addition and I’m looking forward to seeing where that goes.


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