Downfall (The Incorruptibles Book 1)
Release Date: January 7, 2016
From Amazon bestselling author S.D. Wasley comes her first work of new adult paranormal romance perfect for lovers of Lauren Kate’s Fallen and the Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines series.
Frankie’s cousin wants her to do three things this year:
- 1. Lose her inhibitions
- 2. Do something spectacularly stupid
3. Fall madly in love
Travelling was Frankie’s life. As the daughter of a big-name evangelist, she’s been able to feed her hunger for new sights throughout most of her teenage years. Then a hushed-up scandal gets her thrown off the tour circuit and stuck at her uncle’s house in the town of Augur’s Well.
Forced to repeat her failed senior year, it looks like a dismal existence for Frankie—until she’s invited to the bizarre meeting place of four mismatched people … and falls hard for the fascinating, secretive Cain Aleister.
Furtive meetings in an underground chamber … Latin words carved into a stone wall … intense desire … and a secret so elusive she’ll do almost anything to bust it open. Until now, Frankie never believed in grand passions—but that’s not the only one of her beliefs about to implode right before her eyes.
Looks like Frankie’s going to score three for three.
99c release special!
“Where are your friends?” He nodded toward the wall with the carven words. Somehow I’d missed it on my first look around the room, but now I saw a man stretched out asleep on a ragged sofa. “Who’s that?”
“Cain.” Jude took the chip bag out of my hands. “I’ll just put these cans in the cooler. You wake him up.”
Jude went down a dim corridor. I looked back at Cain, who still slumbered peacefully. Screw that. I wasn’t waking up this guy I’d never met. Jude could do that when he got back from his cooler mission. But an odd feeling of recognition came over me and I drew closer. Was it possible I knew this man? From school? No way. He was older than me by at least a few years. From Dad’s church? Seemed unlikely. I knelt beside the sofa, looking up and down the length of his body, from his tangled brown hair to his bare feet, lying one on top of the other. His left arm was exposed, palm up, and tiny scars peppered its crook. When I worked my examination back up to Cain’s face I found his eyes open, mirroring the shock and fascination I felt. We gazed at one another for a long, tense moment.
Finally his eyes flicked upwards, above and behind me. “Who is she?”
I hadn’t noticed Jude standing skittishly at my back because I couldn’t take my eyes off Cain. His face now he was awake was … well, there was no word for it but stunning. It wasn’t even something identifiable, like striking eyes or sensual lips. Just a face that could make you forget to blink until your eyeballs dried out. A face that could, and was, making my body react—despite my efforts to control it.
“Frankie. Francesca Caravaggio,” Jude stammered in reply. “An old school friend.”
“What is she doing here?” Cain’s voice was calm, a still body of water against Jude’s nerviness.
“I thought you might think she’s, uh … okay …”
Cain nodded. I felt a rush of air from Jude as he turned away, heading down that dark corridor again. Cain sat up and lit a cigarette, rubbing the back of his head. He offered me one and I shook my head in wordless distaste, although these cigarettes didn’t seem as bad as most. In fact, I couldn’t really smell it at all. He drew on it deeply and gave me a smile, fixing his eyes on my face.
“Hello, Francesca Caravaggio. I’m Cain. Cain Aleister.”
“Frankie.” My reply sounded lame, helpless, because I was seriously disturbed by that smile. It didn’t seem fair that he could keep climbing degrees of stunning like that. “Everyone calls me Frankie.”
He puffed on his cigarette. “The others will be here soon.” His voice. It was soothing, comforting, and intimately warm.
“Who are they?” I asked, more to distract myself than from actual curiosity.
“There’s Liz. She’s a nurse I met in the hospital when I came off my bike.”
“How old is she?”
“About thirty, I think.” Thirty? Jude was hanging out with thirty-year-old women now? “Then there’s Owen Zheng,” Cain went on. “He’s a university student.”
“What does he study?”
“You already know Jude.”
“Yeah, from school.”
“You were at high school together?”
“Yeah. Well, no. I haven’t always been in town. Not for the last few years.”
Okay, here it went. This was the bit where I admitted to this guy who was incredible in a way I had never—not in forty-five cities over three years—seen before, that I was Don Carver’s daughter. If I could have closed my eyes to get it over with, I would have.
“My father’s a well-known author,” I said in a rush. “He made it big in the last few years and I’ve been touring with him. It takes me out of town for most of each year. Took,” I corrected myself, the new reality coming back to me like a slap. “It took me out of town for most of the year, but not this year. I’m staying in Augur’s Well now. To study.”
He played with his cigarette for a moment before lying back on his sofa, positioning himself so he could still observe me. That’s it? I watched him, suspicious. He wasn’t going to ask why? He wasn’t going to ask my dad’s name? He wasn’t going to tell me he’d heard of my dad’s Saints Among Us book series and live shows and thought they were a load of bullshit?
“Have you always lived in Augur’s Well?” was all he asked.
“Uh, no. We lived in Land’s End for a few years. That’s where my mum comes from. Dad had a job managing the grocery store so we lived there till I started school.”
“Did you like that? Living on the coast?”
“I loved it.” He waited, but I hesitated to give him any more information about myself. I was already at a major disadvantage in this situation. I seized the questioner’s role. “So … you’re not at school, I guess?”
Cain gave a small smile. “Not for a few years now.”
“Been in Augur’s Well long?”
“No. Just a year. I lived in Revel City before that.”
“Did you get a job here or something?” I couldn’t think of any other reason someone would move from vibrant Revel City to the flat, anonymous town of Augur’s Well.
“Just knew I had to live here.” As he spoke he watched me closely. Was he trying to detect a particular reaction?
I didn’t give him one. “Okay.”
I wanted to ask how old he was but wasn’t sure that was something you asked a man you’d just met. It had never come up as an etiquette issue for me before. Cain reached for an opened soda can and shook it to see if any drink remained, and then dropped his cigarette into the can. It hissed as he turned his head back and smiled at me again, that terrifyingly beautiful smile. My whole body responded to it. I looked away, telling myself to get it together. Where the heck is Jude?