The Story Thus Far
This is not a stand-alone novel, and you will want to begin the story with Alive and Slave before reading it. Also, there is a short, six-chapter story available called Avenge, which outlines the history of the artifact and gives insight into its role in this tale.
Below is small refresher of the previous books in the Cambria trilogy, if you need. Otherwise, skip ahead to Chapter One.
Thank you and enjoy! - Joseph Stone
When Kristen Cole’s father is found dead in his Cambria home, she journeys to bury him and settle his affairs. Choosing to renovate his house before selling, she hires a young carpenter, Tony De Luca, to oversee the work. From the start, the project is marred by inexplicable accidents. When Kristen insinuates that Tony’s inexperience is the cause, their confrontation ends in an angry sexual encounter. Both agree to keep the event confidential as she insists it will lead nowhere.
When Kristen experiences wildly vivid erotic dreams, she begins to recognize the repeat appearance of an unfamiliar man with steel-blue eyes who makes love to her until the moment she wakes. One morning, though the dream ends, the stranger continues to make love to her for moments after she is awake. As the stranger vanishes before her eyes, Kristen screams in horror. Because she is a clinical psychologist, she presumes she is hallucinating due to poor sleep, the result of her self-medicated grief.
At the same time, Kristen begins to date Ryan Hoffman, a wealthy entrepreneur and protégée of her father’s. When the man sweeps her off her feet, she invites him to spend the night with her. The following morning, Kristen finds him dead on her bathroom floor. Ryan has died from a blow to the head, attributed to an unfortunate fall. His injury mirrors the precise manner in which her father died a month earlier.
When questioned by the police, Kristen refuses to acknowledge her experiences; the accidents, the dreams, or her delusions. Despite her scientific training, she has become convinced that the stranger with steel-blue eyes is a ghost. Kristen continues to experience dreams that show her the lives of people she’s never met, people who lived in the house before her deceased parents. Daring to prove her dreams right, she locates a previous owner and learns from the woman there is a ghost in the house, that he is a demon and a liar, and that his name is Valon.
On the advice of local paranormal podcast hosts, Kristen attempts to speak with Valon while she is awake via an Ouija board, but he does not answer. Desperate to understand her living nightmare, Kristen again finds comfort in the arms of her carpenter, Tony. That night as they sleep, Kristen is shown a dream of how Valon was murdered by an unseen force hiding in an artifact he stole from his job at the local museum. Valon hears a dark, brooding voice that calls him a slave, and traps his spirit in the house to become its sentry.
Tony wakes to the sound of an explosion. Fumbling for his clothes, the young man finds Kristen asleep beside him with her Ouija board lying on her chest, the indicator moving across the letters to spell something he cannot read. An unseen force accosts Tony, entering the room where they lay. The entity assaults his senses, and the young man passes out from the pain.
Waking early the next morning, Kristen finds her lover safely asleep by her side. She sets aside her quiet fears of Tony falling victim to Valon’s jealous designs and rises to start her day. In the living room, Kristen finds the scene of a disaster waiting. The glass door to the back yard has been shattered. The wood of the closet door is scattered everywhere, as if it exploded outward. At Kristen’s feet, her silver and white Husky lay lifeless on the floor. The dog’s muzzle is stained with blood.