Morgan Rice - [Vampire Journals 04] - Destined

Morgan Rice - [Vampire Journals 04] - Destined

Caitlin Paine wakes to discover herself back in time. She finds herself in a cemetery, on the run from a mob of villagers, and seeks refuge in the ancient cloisters of Assisi, in the countryside of Umbria, Italy. There, she learns of her destiny and her mission: to find her father and the ancient vampire Shield needed to save mankind. But Caitlin's heart still pines for her lost love: Caleb. She desperately needs to know if he has survived their trip back in time. She learns that her mission requires her to go to Florence, but if she wants to pursue matters of the heart, she must go to Venice. She chooses Venice. Caitlin is overwhelmed at what she finds. Venice of the eighteenth century is a surreal place, men and women dressed in elaborate costumes and masks, celebrating an endless, lavish party. She is thrilled to discover and reunite with some of her close friends, and to be welcomed back into their coven. And she is excited to join them in Venice's Grand Ball, the most important costume dance of the year, where she hopes, once again, to find Caleb. But Caitlin is not the only one who can travel back in time: Kyle soon arrives, too, and is determined to hunt her down and kill her once and for all. Sam, too, arrives, determined to save his sister before it is too late. At the Ball, Caitlin searches everywhere, and finds no sign of Caleb. That is, until the very last dance. She dances with a masked man who takes her heart away, and she feels certain that it is him. But as the partners change, she loses him again. Or does she? Caitlin soon finds herself torn between the two loves of her life, and discovers that she has to be careful what she wishes for. Her joy at finding what she wants might just come mixed with tragedy and heartbreak. In a climactic, action-packed ending, Caitlin finds herself up against true evil, Rome's ancient vampire coven, and the most powerful vampire coven that ever existed.


Assisi, Umbria (Italy)


Caitlin Paine awoke slowly, completely enveloped in the blackness. She tried to open her eyes, to get her bearings on where she was, but it didn’t do any good. She went to move her hands, her arms—but that didn’t work, either. She felt covered, immersed in a soft texture, and she couldn’t figure out what it was. It was heavy, weighing her down, and with each passing moment, it seemed to get heavier.

She tried to breathe, but as she did, she realized her passageways were blocked.

Panicking, Caitlin tried to take a deep breath through her mouth, but when she did, she felt something get lodged deep in her throat. Its smell filled her nose, and she finally realized what it was: soil. She was immersed in soil, covering her face and eyes and nose, entering her mouth. She realized it was heavy because it was weighing down on her, getting heavier by the second, suffocating her.

Unable to breathe, unable to see, Caitlin entered into full-fledged panic. She tried to move her legs, her arms, but they, too, were weighed down. In a fit, she struggled for all she was worth, and finally managed to dislodge her arms just a bit; she eventually raised them up, higher and higher.

Finally, she broke through the soil, and felt her hands make contact with the air. With a renewed strength, she flailed with all she had, frantically scraping and clawing the soil off of her.

Caitlin finally managed to sit up, soil pouring all over her. She brushed at the dirt clinging to her face, her eyelashes, pulled it out of her mouth, her nose. She used both hands, hysterical, and finally, cleared enough to be able to breathe.

Hyperventilating, she took in huge, gulping breaths, never more grateful to be able to breathe.

As she caught her breath, she began coughing, wracking her lungs, spitting out soil from her mouth and nose.

Caitlin pried open her eyes, eyelashes still caked together, and managed to open them enough to see where she was. It was sunset. The countryside. She was lying immersed in a mound of soil, in a small, rural cemetery. As she looked out, she saw the stunned faces of a dozen humble villagers, dressed in rags, staring down at her in utter shock. Beside her was a gravedigger, a beefy man, distracted by his shoveling. He still