Dark Ghost (Dark, #24) by Christine Feehan Read Online (FREE)
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The mountain range was high. High enough that Andre could reach the lonely, craggy places others avoided. The higher up he went, the more fog swirled, enclosing him in a soft, wet, gray veil. He was the “Ghost,” and he could easily disappear into the cool gray world he knew so well. He never used a last name if he could help it because the only name that mattered to him was not his own, and unless he found a lifemate, he would not chance ever dishonoring it.
Situated a couple more miles up, almost at the very top of the mountain, was the monastery, the one that had been there for centuries. Built on the precipices, the monastery was shrouded in mystery and the ever-swirling clouds. It was a sacred, protected place and few knew of its existence, although word had gotten out over the years that such a place existed. Only the bravest ever attempted to go there. Had he been inclined, he could have sought sanctuary there to recover from his latest battle.
The monastery, known as the Retreat in the Veil of Mists, held a virtual army of ancient Carpathian hunters – men who had not yet sought the dawn, but who, like Andre, could no longer trust themselves around others. They stayed strictly to themselves, avoiding all humans, all battles, and lived their lives simply until they were able to let go and seek the dawn.
For men who had lived centuries with honor, it wasn’t easy to let go of life. Even without emotion and color, some felt it was cowardly, and without sustaining a mortal wound in combat, they couldn’t just lie outdoors and allow the sun to take them. It felt… wrong… to too many warriors. Andre would have been welcomed among them, yet he had been too long away from others. He had thought to go there, but in the end realized he couldn’t even accept the sanctuary and the camaraderie he might find there.
Andre didn’t bother to stanch the flow of blood coming from various wounds. He knew he should. It was a trail leading straight to him. Still, it was also an invitation, pure and simple. Anyone who came near him was going to die. He would awaken – that was if he awakened at all – starved for blood, his body writhing with the craving, with the need, and that was the most he’d feel or ever could feel.
One didn’t take blood from the ancients, not unless the need was dire, and certainly not without permission. Andre wasn’t the type of Carpathian who ever asked for asylum or permission, not even from his own kind. He would find what he needed as he always had done on his own. His way.
Some things were a matter of honor. Andre had lived more centuries than he cared to count. He’d held out against the darkness with honor and served his people, hunting the vampire over several continents. He’d battled the undead so many times he honestly couldn’t keep count of the numbers any longer, nor did he care to. There seemed so many more of them and so few hunters. They were losing the war.