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Series Book #
Stephanie & Thorne
Apr 26, 2022
The Argeneaus are back! Filled with love, passion, and adventure, New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands returns with another sexy romance about everyone's favorite immortals.
Stephanie McGill was attacked and turned when she was just a teenager. Worse, her abilities are unlike any other immortal. Now 13 years later, with the help of her adopted Argeneau family, Steph has carved out a new – if not lonely – life for herself. Until a new neighbor arrives…
Thorne is also one-of-a-kind. The result of a genetic experiment, he’s not an immortal, but he’s not mortal either. He’s looking for a place to hide, to get some peace and quiet so he can figure things out, and Stephanie’s sanctuary is perfect. In fact, Stephanie is perfect. For the first time, Thorne is free to be himself and he’s falling for her.
But if they’re going to have a future together, they’ll first need to deal with their past…because the mad scientist who created Thorne is now after Stephanie.
Prologue "How many?" That question from Lucian Argeneau made Stephanie open her eyes. She'd closed them to concentrate on the many voices sounding in her head, but now glanced around at Lucian and the group of rogue hunters awaiting her answer. It was predawn on a warm fall evening, the sun sending streaks of orange and vermillion out to pierce the night sky ahead of its arrival. But it was still pitch-black in the copse of maples they stood in. Even so, she didnâ€™t have trouble making out the twelve people ranged around her, or the overgrown yard of the somewhat run-down seventies-style bungalow on the other side of the trees. The benefits of night vision, Stephanie thought grimly, and ground her teeth as she tried to block the flow of thoughts and memories pouring through her head from the men and women around her, as well as the people in the house, and pretty much everyone else within a mile radius of her. Not that she was sure it was a mile. It could be that she was picking up the thoughts and memories of people as far away as two or ten miles for all she knew . . . So many voices in her head. "Stephanie? How many?" Lucian repeated, sounding impatient now. "There are thirty-two rogues in the house," she responded calmly, unconcerned by the grumpy manâ€™s irritation. "And one more somewhere behind the house." "Behind it like in the backyard?" Mirabeau asked, moving closer to her side. Stephanie glanced at the tall woman with fuchsia-tipped hair, and shook her head. "Farther away. Past the woods behind the backyard." "Probably just a neighbor on the next street, then," Lucian said dismissively, and turned away to begin giving his orders to the others. Stephanie scowled at his back, but waited until he finished with his orders before saying, "I donâ€™t think itâ€™s just a neighbor, Lucian. The feeling I get is the person isâ€”" "Your feelings do not matter. Whoever it is, itâ€™s not someone we need worry about now," Lucian interrupted. "We will check it out after we take care of this nest." "Butâ€”" Stephanie began in protest, only for him to cut her off again. "Stay here until we clear the house." Stephanie turned to where Mirabeau had been a moment ago, intending to enlist her aid in getting Lucian to listen, but the other woman was gone. Sheâ€™d already melted into the dark trees to head around the property to the spot where she was to take up position before the group closed in on the house. All of them were now gone, Stephanie realized as she turned back to where Lucian had been, only to find empty space. She was alone in the woods. Stephanie threw her hands up with an exasperated huff and then lodged her fists on her hips and surveyed the situation. Despite the darkness and trees, she could make out several different hunters moving through the woods around the house, finding their spots. After having worked with them for several years, she knew the routine. Theyâ€™d basically surround the property, and then approach at a signal from Lucian, closing in like a net drawn tight around the house. Each person had their orders. Some would guard windows or sliding doors while others would charge through the back and front doors, the idea being that no one inside should evade capture once the house was breached. Stephanie watched the group maneuver, but her mind was elsewhere. She could hear that other voice from beyond the woods behind the house. The owner was responding to a beeping sound, going into a small room to checkâ€” "Cameras!" Stephanie barked the warning as the thought entered her mind, and then scanned the front of the house for the security cameras. She couldnâ€™t see them, but knew they were there. Fortunately, either Lucian could see them or he was just trusting her, because he immediately barked an order and the slow approach was abandoned in favor of a much swifter one. Stephanie watched as Lucian led the rogue hunters Decker and Bricker through the front door. There was no sudden shrieking or sounds of chaos. The rogues in the house were all either already asleep, or settling down to sleep at this hour. It was why the hunters struck at dawn, so that they could catch the whole nest and not miss any inhabitants who might be out and about during the evening. It was also always easier to take them by surprise, Stephanie thought, and then closed her eyes and focused on that lone voice again. Sheâ€™d known about the cameras because this person had been checking them and had seen the hunters closing in on the house. He wasnâ€™t just a neighbor. He was connected somehow to this house. Sheâ€™d gotten that feeling earlier, but hadnâ€™t been sure how exactly he was connected to it and the people inside. Now she tried to sort through the personâ€™s thoughts for an answer. Stephanie sifted through the multitude of voices in her head until she zeroed in on the one she wanted again. The individual was in something of a controlled panic now, if there even was such a thing. His thoughts were urgent, but he had planned for the possibility of this raid, knew exactly what he had to do, and was doing it. He was gathering the things important to him and preparing to flee the area. Heâ€™d have to set up somewhere else. It was inconvenient, but not unexpected. It was always best to know your enemies, and he had plans in place. There wereâ€” "Bombs!" Stephanie shrieked, her eyes shooting open as she began to move. Running for the house, she yelled, "Bombs! Get out! Get out! Get out!" She spotted Mirabeau at one of the side windows, with Tiny at the next one over, and felt a momentâ€™s relief as they, along with the others who had remained outside, began to back warily away from the house. But only a momentâ€™s worth. Three men had entered through the front door, and three men had no doubt entered the back as well. More importantly, Deckerâ€”her brother-in-lawâ€”was one of those men at the front. If anything happened to him, her sister, Dani, wouldâ€” A relieved sob slipped from her lips when she saw Decker coming back out through the front door with Bricker on his heels. Her brother-in-law was looking toward her with a combination of confusion and question. Obviously, theyâ€™d heard her shouted warning from inside the house, but werenâ€™t sure what to make of it. Stephanie opened her mouth to tell him and everyone else that the house was about to explode, but the words never left her lips. Like lightning before thunder, the blast hit her first. Stephanie experienced a jolting sensation like nothing sheâ€™d heretofore known. She imagined it was similar to how it would feel to be hit by a freight train. Since it was the blast wind that picked her up and threw her backward, the fact that there was suddenly no oxygen for her lungs was a bit confusing. Stephanie had no time to ponder that, and was sailing through the air before her ears picked up the boom of the explosion. She landed hard on her back in the overgrown grass, and found herself briefly staring up at the brightening sky before she could find the wherewithal to move. But then Stephanie gathered herself enough to stumble to her feet again. She was vaguely aware that she was swaying as she scanned what she could see of the yard and the people in it. Most of the hunters in her view seemed only mildly injured. There were a few moans and cries of pain from those who had suffered broken bones, or head wounds, but more were on their feet and checking the injured than were down. Mirabeau and Tiny were among those up and about, helping the others. Decker, she saw, was crouched over Lucian. Obviously, the head of the North American Immortal Council and unofficial leader of the rogue hunters hadnâ€™t got out of the house before the explosion, but she presumed heâ€™d been close enough to the door to be tossed out by the blast. Judging by the smoke wafting off him, heâ€™d also caught fire if only briefly, which suggested the bombs had been incendiary in nature. Stephanie waited until she saw Lucian move before turning her gaze toward the woods in back of the house again. This time she didnâ€™t have to work hard to hear the thoughts of the lone man. He was a calm mind amid the pained and upset hunters in the yard, and the chaos and agony of the panicked rogues trapped in the now burning house. He was glued to the camera monitors, his focus on her as he wondered how she had known there were bombs. Her brain not yet firing on all cylinders after the shaking it had taken, Stephanie burst into a run toward the back of the property. Her only thought was to catch the bastard before he made his escape. The woods behind the house were much deeper than those at the front, but there was something of a path through it. Just a dirt trail wide enough for a person to slip through the densely growing trees. Stephanie took it at a dead run, using all the speed her body could give her. It made the trip much faster than it would have been for a mortal, so fast that she was caught a little by surprise when she suddenly burst out of the woods into a clearing around a second house. This yard was no better kept than the other. What had probably been a beautifully manicured lawn at one time was now overgrown with waist-high grass and weeds. Stephanie slowed as she approached, her gaze sliding over the light shining from the windows of the dilapidated old Victorian two-story house as she neared the dark wood door. It was solid, without a window to see inside. She was reaching for the door handle when the chaotic thoughts from the scene sheâ€™d just left faded enough for her to catch the thoughts of the man inside. He knew she was there. He was waiting. Stephanie released the handle and retreated a couple steps as she reached around her back for the gun tucked into the waistband of her jeans. It was loaded with darts full of a drug that had been developed specifically for rogue hunters to use. It was the only thing that could take down a rogue immortal with any certainty. "Steph?" She jerked around in surprise to see Mirabeau sprinting out of the woods and hurrying toward her. The fact that sheâ€™d left the scene of the explosion rather than staying to help with the wounded had obviously not gone unnoticed. Neither was the fact that she now had her gun out. Mirabeauâ€™s expression was both surprised and concerned as she focused on the weapon. Which was completely understandable, Stephanie supposed. She usually left the actual capturing of rogues to the others. Her presence at these hunts was generally to tell them how many rogues they had to deal with and where they were. She also helped with the questioning after, pulling the answers Lucian was looking for from the captured roguesâ€™ minds like plucking cat hair off a sweater. But despite her years of training alongside the hunters, she was always kept back from the actual takedowns. "Whatâ€”?" Mirabeau was halfway across the overgrown yard when she began to ask her question. The one word was all the woman managed to get out though before her gaze suddenly shifted past her. Mirabeauâ€™s eyes went wide with alarm a heartbeat before she suddenly stumbled and fell. Stephanie instinctively started to move toward the other woman, but then just as quickly whirled back to the house. The door was now open; a man stood in the doorway, tall, blond and attractive. He had a gun aimed at her, and even as she recognized it as one the hunters used, like the one she was holding, he pulled the trigger. She felt a sharp pain in her chest, and glanced down at the dart piercing the edge of her left breast just over her heart, then she too fell as a warm wave rushed through her and every muscle in her body suddenly abandoned her. Stephanie didnâ€™t lose consciousness, though, nor feeling, and would have winced if she could have as she slammed to the ground and her head bounced off the hard-packed dirt path. She came to rest on her side with her eyes closed, but her mind still functioning. Stephanie heard movement and tried to open her eyes, but didnâ€™t seem to be able to manage that. All she could do was listen to the sounds he made as he approached. He must have squatted next to her, or bent over to reach her, but whatever the case, she felt his hand on her shoulder and then was turned onto her back. "You knew about the bombs. How did you know about the bombs?" her attacker muttered as he took the gun from her lax fingers and then tugged at her clothing, no doubt to check for any more weapons. "And how did you know there was a house back here? Or that I was in it?" Stephanie didnâ€™t even bother to try to answer. Not that she thought he expected her to. She suspected he was muttering to himself, and might not know she was even conscious. She shouldnâ€™t be, and wasnâ€™t exactly sure why she was. Like the gun he held, the dart had been easily recognizable as rogue hunter paraphernalia. That dart should have knocked her out. Yet she hadnâ€™t lost consciousness and could feel a tingling in her fingers and toes that suggested the drug was already wearing off. This was unexpected. "Steph." She was so startled that heâ€™d used her name that her eyes shot open, and for a moment Stephanie was sufficiently distracted by the fact that they actually would open, that she forgot what heâ€™d said. "Thatâ€™s what she called you: Steph." Stephanie peered at him to see that he was looking off toward Mirabeau and not at her. Even as she noted that, he turned his gaze back to her. His eyes immediately widened when he saw hers were open. "You shouldnâ€™t be awake," he said, sounding nonplussed. "The dose in that dart would have knocked an immortal out cold for at least twenty minutes." Stephanie wanted to tell him to go to hell, but unlike her eyes, her mouth still wasnâ€™t working. She wasnâ€™t able to move her jaws, and her tongue was a useless thing in her mouth. Then he was suddenly leaning over her, his fingers forcing their way inside her mouth and pressing on her palate behind her canine teeth. Disgusted and furious, Stephanie tried to bite him then, but her mouth still wouldnâ€™t work. "You have metallic-tinted eyes like immortals, but no fangs," he muttered, retracting his fingers and eyeing her with fascination. "And if the drug from the dart is wearing off this quickly, you obviously have a stronger constitution than immortals. What are you?" Unable to punch him in the face or claw his eyes out as she would have liked to do, Stephanie just glared back at him. "This is fascinating. Perhaps I should take you with me," he murmured thoughtfully, and glanced toward the open door to the house behind him as if considering the logistics of doing so. "Beau? Steph?" Stephanie instinctively tried to turn her head toward that shout in the distance, but unlike her eyelids, her neck muscles didnâ€™t suddenly start working and she was unable to. "Damn," her attacker muttered with what sounded like frustration. Shifting her gaze back to him, she saw him look briefly toward the woods and scowl in the direction the shout had come from. He then shook his head and stood. "It looks like Iâ€™ll have to leave you behind. But I sincerely hope we meet again, Steph whoever-you-are. I should like to get you on my table and find out what makes you tick." A cold smile of relish crossed his face at the thought, and then he turned and moved unhurriedly into the house and closed the door. Stephanie stared at the oak panel, almost afraid it might open again and heâ€™d return for her, after all. While her first response to this man had been fury and disgust, the emptiness in his eyes and that smile of his as heâ€™d announced his desire to get her "on his table and find out what made her tick" had wiped out both emotions and sent an icy flood of fear through her veins. She was more than relieved to hear a curse sound much closer just before Tiny raced into view as he rushed to Mirabeauâ€™s prone body. "What the hell happened to them?" Stephanie recognized Deckerâ€™s voice before she saw him speeding toward her. "Steph? What happened?" Decker repeated when he dropped to his knees at her side and saw that her eyes were open. Apparently, finding her lack of response alarming, he reached toward her and then hesitated. She read the worry in his mind that he had no idea what her injuries were and didnâ€™t wish to aggravate them or hurt her. "Mirabeau has a dart in her neck," Tiny growled, sounding seriously pissed. "A dart?" Decker glanced toward the other man with amazement. "What kind of dart?" "One of ours from the looks of it," the big man said grimly, and she saw him pluck the dart from Mirabeauâ€™s neck and examine it briefly before tossing it aside. Tiny peered down at his life mate briefly, and then looked toward her and Decker. "Steph must have been shot too. Look for the dart." Decker turned back to Stephanie and she saw his eyes travel over her body before shifting to the ground around her. When he suddenly cursed and reached for something in the grass beside her, she knew it must be the dart before he picked it up to examine it more closely, moving it into her view. It must have been dislodged from her chest when sheâ€™d fallen, she thought. "Damn. It is one of ours," Decker growled before slipping it into his pocket. He cast a quick, wary gaze toward the house, scanning the windows and door, and then turned his attention back to Stephanie. His expression was troubled as his gaze narrowed on her open eyes again and she didnâ€™t have to be a mind reader to know he was concerned as to why they were open, and what that meant. "Her eyes are open!" Stephanie shifted her gaze over Deckerâ€™s shoulder at that surprised exclamation to see that Tiny had scooped up Mirabeau and carried her over to join them. "Yeah," Decker said unhappily. "But she canâ€™t seem to move or speak." "The effects of the dart must be wearing off, then," Tiny said, sounding relieved as he peered down at Mirabeau, limp in his arms. "That means Beau should wake up soon too." Decker grunted what sounded like agreement, but the way he was looking at her made Stephanie think he didnâ€™t really believe that. But then she could hardly blame him. She doubted more than five or six minutes had passed since sheâ€™d been shot and it certainly hadnâ€™t been twenty minutes since the explosion and her racing back here. With his life mate unconscious in his arms, Tiny was too upset to have taken note of that. However, she wasnâ€™t Deckerâ€™s life mate, so his upset wasnâ€™t as extreme as Tinyâ€™s. Oh, she could hear his thoughts and knew he was worried about her. Even if she hadnâ€™t been able to hear his thoughts, she would have known that. While Decker was legally her brother-in-law, in truth heâ€™d become much more than that over the last nearly thirteen years since heâ€™d rescued her and Dani from Leonius Livius, the no-fanger rogue who had turned them. Decker had become like a real brother to her, as well as a friend, and even a father figure at times. But that wasnâ€™t the same as a life mate, and Decker was still able to think much more clearly than Tiny at the moment. "Take Beau back to the vehicles and send as many hunters as are able to help search the house," Decker said suddenly. Tiny hesitated, his worried gaze sliding to the house. "I donâ€™t like the idea of leaving you alone here when thereâ€™s someone running around with a dart gun. Besides, wouldnâ€™t it be smarter to check out the house right away? What if whoever shot Stephanie and Beau gets away before we can search the house?" "What if whoever shot the girls gives us the slip and comes out and beheads the women while weâ€™re searching the house? Or what if they shoot us and behead all of us before anyone thinks to follow?" Decker countered, standing up now and turning to face the house, his gun at the ready. "Go. Quickly. Iâ€™ll guard Stephanie and watch the house until help arrives." Tiny didnâ€™t bother to respond to that. Deckerâ€™s pointing out that they could all be shot and beheaded was enough to have the man moving at once. Stephanie watched him go until he was out of her line of vision, and then shifted her gaze to Decker. The tingling in her extremities had been moving inward as the minutes passed. From her fingers to her hands and wrists and beyond, and from her toes to her feet, ankles, and calves. Her jaw was also now tingling, as was the tip of her tongue. Stephanie tried to move her fingers, and this time was able to do it. The same was true of her toes. She couldnâ€™t talk yet, though, but should soon be able to. "Can you blink?" Stephanie shifted her gaze back to Decker and then closed and opened her eyes. The sight made him nod grimly, but he cast another wary glance toward the house before looking at her again and asking, "Did you see who shot you? Blink once for yes, twice for no." Stephanie blinked once. "Was it a hunter?" he asked next. She wasnâ€™t surprised by the question. She and Mirabeau had been shot with hunter darts, and the man had used a hunterâ€™s gun. It wasnâ€™t surprising Decker would worry they had a rogue who was also a hunter. Stephanie also wasnâ€™t surprised by his relief when she blinked twice to tell him that wasnâ€™t the case. But his relief was short-lived as he then began to worry about how the rogue had got their hands on a hunterâ€™s weapon. While she read that in his thoughts, he didnâ€™t bring it up, but instead asked, "Did you recognize the person who shot you?" Stephanie hesitated. She hadnâ€™t recognized the man, but his thoughts had told her who he was. She couldnâ€™t convey that with a yes or no, though. "Is there more than one?" Decker asked when she was slow to answer. He barely waited for her to blink twice before shifting his gaze back to the house for another wary look. It made her wish she could tell him there was no need for him to keep checking the house. The man was gone. His thoughts were getting fainter in her head as he moved away from the vicinity. He was on foot, taking a trail through the woods on the other side of this house to where a vehicle waited, stashed there for just such an event. "So, one person," Decker murmured, and then glanced down at her again to ask, "Male or female?" That made her raise her eyebrows, which caught her by surprise. The drug was wearing off quickly if she could raise her eyebrows. She was pretty sure she hadnâ€™t been able to do that when heâ€™d first got here. Realizing the mistake heâ€™d made, and that she couldnâ€™t answer his question with a yes or no, Decker asked instead, "Male?" Stephanie blinked once for yes, but a lot of her concentration was on her mouth now. Her tongue was tingling like crazy, like sheâ€™d had novocaine and it was wearing off. Most of her jaw and face were tingling madly now too. She tried moving her tongue in her mouth and was surprised to find she could. Stephanie tried her jaw next and was relieved to find she was able to move that too. Decker had turned to look at the house again, but now peered back at her to ask, "Did this guyâ€”" "Dressler," Stephanie managed to spit out, although the word was somewhat garbled and with little air behind it. Apparently able to understand her despite that, Decker was staring at her with horror when the sounds of people crashing through the woods sounded. The other hunters were coming. Too bad they were too late.
Rave reviews from Goodreads fans Turned against her will as a teenager, Stephanie McGill relies on the famous and immortal Argeneau family to help keep her safe and sane. Her singular abilities forced her to seek solitude in the remote Canadian wilderness, while occasionally using her gifts to help keep their kind safe. The walls of her self-imposed prison are beginning to crumble, however, and Stephanie questions how long she can survive. That is, until the arrival of a stranger brings her a reprieve. Seeking his own refuge away from those who would take issue with his physical appearance and complicated genetics, Thorne soon realizes that his difficult past is not an issue for the quirky Stephanie. Drawn together by magnetism and a little bit of fate, Thorne and Stephanie begin to build a relationship. But they are soon forced to defend their safe haven and their unique traits against the man who tortured Thorne and seeks to use Stephanie's abilities for his own nefarious gains. VERDICT This 34th entry in the Argeneau series (after Mile High with a Vampire) adds to Sands's rich and vibrant world with a suspenseful and action-packed romance featuring two nontraditional immortals. Jenna Harmison from Library Journal Immortal Rising is an enthralling romance that takes hold of your heart in a way that will have you yearning for each touch and each connection that seemed to embolden the story page by page... get ready for an adventure to curl your toes, bring true emotion to the surface, and liven the story at the right touch. By AddictedToRomance.org. I liked this story, especially since it differed from the ones before it in that there are special circumstances with Stephanie being an Edentate (immortal without fangs) and Thorne being genetically altered. However, the book did get quite steamy pretty early on which I loved. I enjoyed the fact that even though Thorne was raised on an island cut off from the world, by the time he meets Stephanie, he is fairly worldly when it comes to women and a tech geek to boot. This book was one of my favorites so far in the Argeneau series. 5 out of 5 by ILikeBooksBest.com. I loved this story. I have read quite a few of Lynsay Sands' books, but it's been awhile since I've read any paranormal. Once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. By Carol B. Reviewer. This was my first time picking up a book in this series but I definitely don't think it will be my last. I have also never read a paranormal book by Lynsay Sands but she brought me to the dark side. I really enjoyed this novel Stephanie and Thorne were so good for each other, I liked how their romance blossomed. There was also a great balance between their romance and the mystery and action in the storyline… I'm so happy there are 33 other it will hold me over until the next books come out. Dania Z. In Immortal Rising Ms. Sands might have created the best Not-Immortal but Not-Mortal character ever brought to life through the pages of a book!… Ms. Sands Argeneau Vampires series has just upped the ante for her readers and produced the best of them all! So far, anyway IMHO. We also get to enjoy the company of some of the past characters from previous books in the series which is always a treat in and of itself! Anita F. It has been a while since I read a Lynsay Sands book. I had 6 of them to catch up on. I can tell you it was not a chore. It was like coming home again. I love her writing. It always brings me joy… I do not recommend reading this as a stand-alone. Stephanie's story had been a long time coming. And as we have seen her sister, Dani's, story and the island where Throne comes from you miss a lot of precious information about who Dressler is your n the beginning and why it is important that he is in the beginning of the book. Over all I think this is one of my favorite Argeneau story's. Blair W. The above are some reviews by readers on Netgalley.
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Stephanie & Thorne
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