The Gates begins with Gavin and Camille prepared to elope after leaving Arianna with the devastating news about Joel. It is Camille who is insisting but Gavin is reluctant because of the upcoming uprising they are planning. They soon decide that it is unwise to marry right now when they are unsure of the success of the elaborate plan to get rid of Samira and free those in Amaranth including their friends. Gavin and Camille return to France to Arianna’s apartment and find a group of fellow resisters who are ready to plan the attack on Samira. It is at this gathering that Camille first meets Scarlet. Scarlet, she soon learns, is a former lover of Gavin’s. Immediately Camille doesn’t have a good feeling regarding her, but that is pushed aside due to the importance of the mission ahead of them. This one-act has incredible implications for the rest of the mission. One act no matter how small effects the outcome of the rebellion and forces it to look at different aspects never thought of before now.
Rachael Wade does an outstanding job continuing the story of the resistance and the love story of Gavin and Camille. I was quite impressed with how smooth the writing was and how many surprises that were packed into this book. This book was short in comparison to others that I read, but it didn’t lack any of the punch. I can’t wait for the third and final book, The Tragedy of Knowledge. I definitely recommend this book, but would suggest reading Amaranth first. You won’t regret picking up this excellent summer read.
Since I am lucky enough to be a stop on Rachael Wade’s blog tour I am privileged to offer up two excerpts. I hope you enjoy.
This first excerpt is right before a small group of resisters go back to Amaranth. This is one of more important scenes in the book.
The twelve vampires all joined together in a circle, waiting for Gavin’s direction, flashlights in hand, game faces on. Scarlet leaned back toward the magic oak, draped her arms across the rugged branch that held the key to our entry, sultry and comfortable in tight-fitting pants and a revealing halter top. Hussy.Must have read the wrong dress code. We weren’t headed for Studio 54, for crying out loud.
“As discussed, it’s imperative to keep your mojo bag on you, as close to your skin as possible, at all times. Keep it out of sight, under your clothes, and be sure to feed it with the oils I gave you intermittently, or the spells will wear out and we can’t have that.” Gavin spoke loud and authoritative. It was a tone I wasn’t used to hearing him take: one full of power, possession, and most of all, determination. He was such a leader. It was … hot. I smiled to myself, mesmerized as I watched him speak, dagger in hand, dressed in black jeans and a faded gray shirt, tousled brown hair as perfect as ever.
As I admired him, I noticed Scarlet staring intently, too, her eyes catching mine. There was a glint in them, an unspoken challenge that made me furious. Her coy smile made me even more agitated. Where was my jealousy coming from? It was so strong, so urgent, getting harder to contain by the second. Gavin had already assured me she was nothing to worry about. But something about her seared my skin, sank into my bones and settled there, leaving me on edge. I looked away, focusing again on Gavin’s pep talk.
“We’ve had an advantage, an extra defense against humans, against those who practice hoodoo—the ability to be unaffected by their magic. And yet, we can use their magic among our own kind. Their magic isn’t limited to Samira and Gérard’s use, although they love for us to think that. An original conjurer, a good friend of ours, has gone out of her way to help create these protection spells for us. They are just as strong as Samira’s magic, and will keep us safe when we approach her. They’ll also give us copious amounts of energy to thrive.”
My thoughts trailed to Vivienne and her haint blue shop behind the pizzeria, her cautious eyes and generous heart. She really wanted to help us, even though she wasn’t sure what it would mean for her people, and even though the frozen souls had disrespected her magic, her faith, for all of these years. I smiled at the thought, thankful for the sweet, wise old woman.
Gavin began meandering around the inside of the circle, locking vision with each vampire. “Samira has no idea we have a conjurer’s help, and no idea we’ve acquired this amount of energy. Even if she doesn’t reveal it, she’ll be surprised that our magic is able to withstand her own. Stand strong, and stand tall. Do not falter, because the time is coming, and her kingdom will fall. Remember to be on guard within the villages. We don’t know for certain the conditions we face. We must gain the peoples’ trust, even as we show Samira that she can trust us to restore her order. Our obedience is the only thing that will keep her unaware until the rest of the resistance arrives to help us.”
“What if we don’t make it past the moat?” one of the twelve stammered, shaking in obvious fear.
Gavin stopped in the middle of the circle and turned to him. “The moat? We will make it through the gates.”
The nervous vampire reluctantly shook his head, taking a deep breath.
“Of this, I am certain.” Gavin gave the vampire a firm nod, then shouted, “To strong will and sweet freedom!” He waved his hands to encourage his people. Everyone took the cue, shouting in unison, repeating his words, chanting them. He stormed toward me, eyes blazing, his fiery gaze taking me by surprise. It made me melt, witnessing him take such control, but then I shivered as I felt the bayou’s temperature begin to drop, calling us toward the portal, tempting us to pull the branch and unlock the gateway.
“You’re really ready for this, aren’t you?” I asked him as he grabbed his bag.
“This is going to work. I know it. My parents will finally have peace.” He reached up and ran his fingers over his mother’s locket around my neck, then gave me a breathtaking smile and pulled me into his embrace, kissed me hard and desperately.
The group’s energy buzzed, everyone chattering and pumping one another up. When Gavin let go of me, I surveyed the bayou and swallowed, realizing this was it. I’d somehow managed to entangle myself in the beginning of a vampire war. I was no longer that book-nerd loner girl from Louisiana, no longer the damaged girl from Seattle who once put up with so much abuse from men.
I was now Gavin’s support, love and future, and he was mine. Better yet, he encouraged my personal dreams despite his all-consuming lifestyle. He didn’t want me to give myself up, even though I was lost in all of his madness. My new path was suddenly tangible beneath my feet, although I couldn’t quite see it brick for brick yet. Hope bloomed in me, and the same energy that now possessed Gavin filled me too. I was ready for this, ready to do anything for this man, for these people, for our friends. Purpose panged my stomach and I was overwhelmed with the need for justice.
“Scarlet,” Gavin called to her while taking my hand. She raised her eyebrows and smiled at him, slowly, lasciviously, keeping her eyes on his as she snapped the oak’s branch. My green envy flared at the sight.
The gorgeous violet light over the bayou began to illuminate the murky water, lighting up our surroundings more and more, the wind dancing around us with fury. The water churned, and it was time.
This second excerpt is one of my favorite parts of the book. Gavin and Camille have some alone time and get to use it to their own devises.
He clutched me in his arms and his fiery gaze danced across my body. “Can we talk about it after?”
“What? Gav, we need to talk about it now. What are we going to do—? And after what exactly?”
“After I taste you.” He dipped his mouth down to mine, letting his tongue slip between my lips. The panic I felt passed through me and a soft moan replaced the tension. I melted in his arms and slipped my hands around his neck, pressed my body harder to his, pulling down on his cloak to peel it over his shoulders.
He spun me around and pushed me up against the door, leaning his weight against my back to pin me to it with his hips. Angling my chin to the side so he could see my mouth, his other hand clasped the side of my waist and his breath flickered hot in my hair. “You don’t know how good you taste,” he breathed, finding my elbow and gently rubbing his thumb across my thick bandage. “This feeling okay? I’ll be gentle with it, I promise.”
“Mhhmm. It’s better.” I welcomed his soft strokes over the crease of my elbow and swiveled my head farther back, to bring my lips closer to his.
He leaned in and looked at my lips with wonder before he kissed them hungrily again, his hands gliding down the sides of my hips to clutch my rear. “I can’t promise the same for this delicious backside, though.”
“No safety pin today,” I whispered against his jaw.
He snatched up my skirt, tore it straight down the middle and gathered it near my waist. “Won’t be needing it.”
“Gavin! What’ll I wear home?”
“Cloak.” His voice roughened and he ripped harder, tossing the material to the ground. I felt his smile when he kissed my neck, and shivers ran down my back at the sound of his low growl.
“I made that! I don’t have many of those, you know.”
“Cam,” he snaked one hand around my stomach and made his way north, slipping one hand into my corset top to grope my chest. “You won’t be thinking about it when I’m inside you.” His hips shifted off my back and he separated my legs with his knee, his breathing ragged against my shoulder. “Now forget the damn dress.” Keeping my head pressed to the side of the door, I could see him pull at his shirt collar to loosen it, which instantly made my knees shake and my pulse thump with desire. Unsure if I’d be able to hold myself up as he had his way with me from behind, I knew the image of him there would be my undoing. There was nothing sexier than seeing this normally shy, composed man morph into a voracious creature with such insatiable, starved need in his rich, chocolate eyes. And the sleeves rolled to his elbows … that wasn’t helping.
I snuck a glance at his forearms. Nope, not helping at all.
He ran his fingers down my back and licked his lips, the sensations of his fingertips over my spine making my head spin. Before I had time to muster my strength, I heard his zipper and felt him jerk my slip aside. He slid into me and leaned close again, his jaw slack at the side of my face. I palmed the door with my good hand and reached back to latch onto the side of his hip with the other, his name spilling from my lips as he drove into me.
“I adore you, do you know that?” he murmured against my ear, his panting feeding my fervor and sending my desire into an irrepressible frenzy. “I’m yours always, baby.”
I gripped the door harder for support and dug my nails into his hip to return the passion, closing my eyes when his cries seeped into my ear. They were too much. “Gavin, please …” He thrust harder, a desperate urgency in each sharp charge, stirring my release, coaxing it into a ferocious delirium, spinning it out of control. He lifted a hand and trailed fingers over my lips, tilting and crushing his mouth on mine to silence my whimpering.
“Not yet,” he sighed against my lips and wrenched my hair back, forcing me to arch against his chest, tightening his grip on my waist before running his other hand down my front to cup it between my thighs. “Ask me again.”
“Please,” my voice hummed, barely audible as he skimmed his nose over my neck, his fingers kneading in front while he buried himself in me.
“Please, what. Tell me.”
“Please, Gavin. Let me go.”
I felt him slow and readjust his stance, then slide in deeper and pick up speed, pushing me farther and farther into luscious oblivion from behind, his fingers continuing to torture in front. “Mmm. I love hearing that.”
His forehead grazed my cheek and his sweat stuck to my skin, a sweet, heady aroma that sent my knees quaking. I cried out, feeling myself quicken, his strangled moan causing my body to cave against the door as I found my release.
“Cam … damn it.…” He pulled his hand from my thighs and braced the door next to my face, his palm spreading over the dark, battered wood, his fingers close enough for me to taste. My eyes fluttered and found his, their scorching warm glow penetrating me with crazed longing. His breath hissed and he reached his climax, hauling his fingertips through my hair and over my scalp as he stilled, my name escaping his lips one last time.
I let myself slump against his shoulder while he rested his forehead on the door, one arm drawn close around my waist to hold me upright.
“Love, making it out of this place alive is the least of my worries. If you keep making me crazy like that, you’ll be the death of me.” He snickered against my neck, his lips kissing my wet skin.
“Well,” I panted, “if you ravage me like that again, there’s a very good chance you’ll take me with you.”
As you can tell this is one awesome book. You should definitely pick it up! For more information about Rachael Wade and her books you can go to the following links:
Web page: www.RachaelWade.com
Finally a big Thank You to Bewitching Book Tours for allowing me to host one of their tour dates.