Sentries book #4
Freedom is within reach for Todd and Nick Ruger, but their dreams of Elk’s Ridge are dashed by Vice-Chancellor Raleigh’s troops. With his mate imprisoned, Nick searches for help and finds an unlikely and unexpected ally. But Todd’s release leaves them once again in debt to Chancellor Clarke.
Their mission sends them to the small village of Eldrid in search of a historic record of owners and slaves with unique abilities. Eldrid holds even more secrets from the past—including the origins of sentries—as well as conspiracies of the present that are set to launch a new battle that will turn lover helplessly against lover. Though Todd and Nick know the realities of war are hard lessons, it will be a fight to draw on the strengths of their bond, survive, and learn to forgive.
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Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Tropes: Arranged Pairing, Badass Hero, Coming Home, Criminals & Outlaws, Hero and the Great Quest, Hurt / Comfort
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
They were taken through the main entrance. The prison wasn’t one single building, but half a dozen set in a horseshoe. Each building was connected by a short wooden breezeway with small windows but no door to the outside. Those were the only places Nick could see that weren’t constructed of stone and iron. From where he was, it looked like no more than two or three people could be in one of the breezeways at the same time.
Their cuffs were left in place, but the ropes lashing them to the horse were removed, as were their packs hanging on the saddle. The mounted soldiers climbed off their horses and began leading them to one of the buildings near the right end of the cluster. It became clear to Nick that these people had been here often. Possibly this was also their barracks.READ MORE
Larry Witze stood near the doorway of one of the center buildings. Nick’s heart sank a little when he saw the expression on the man’s face. Witze was angry and making no effort to hide that fact from Captain Howard, judging by the glares they exchanged.
Captain Howard wiped her hands on her pants and strode forward, glancing sideways at the soldiers standing on either side of Todd and Nick. “Bring them,” she ordered.
Todd drew in a deep breath and took a long stride forward so he was in front of Nick. Taking his cue, Nick purposely checked his steps for a few feet and moved to the side, dropping behind Todd.
They were led into one of the buildings. Captain Howard going first, she unlocked the door using a key from a ring hooked to her belt, went through, and stopped a few feet inside. She turned and watched as the soldiers, one in front of Todd and one behind Nick, then Larry Witze filed through and into the building.
They walked down a narrow corridor, forced to stay in a line, and were taken into a room, which looked to Nick like some kind of intake area.
“Inform the vice chancellor we’re here,” Captain Howard said to one of the men already inside. It was difficult to tell if they were soldiers, guards, or both since they all wore the same type of uniform.
The man nodded, turned on his heels, and vanished down yet another corridor.
“Take their cuffs off,” Witze demanded.
“Mr. Witze, they’re prisoners. That’s hardly appropriate. Or wise,” Captain Howard said, rubbing the bridge of her nose with thumb and forefinger.
“It’s a prison,” Witze said flatly. “They have nowhere to go and are too smart to try an escape. Isn’t that correct, Mr. Ruger?” He looked pointedly at Todd. Had they not been in cuffs and in it pretty deep, Nick would have laughed at the looks Todd and Witze gave one another.
Todd shrugged and cocked his head to one side. “No reason to be stupid.”
“Ruger.” Witze growled the word, crossing both arms over his chest.
Todd heaved a sigh and turned to meet Nick’s gaze. “No, we will not try to escape. You have my word.”
A nod from Captain Howard, and their cuffs were removed, allowing Nick to rub his sore wrists. Todd dropped his hands to his sides and put on a very neutral expression, making Nick almost feel sorry for these people. When Todd wore that look, usually someone’s ass was going to get kicked--hard.
Vice Chancellor Raleigh picked that moment to arrive. “Well, Todd Ruger, I’ve been looking for you.” Raleigh rubbed his ribs and offered Todd a smug smile. Moving around Todd to Nick, he raised one hand, knuckles almost brushing Nick’s cheek. “And you.”
Nick jerked his head to the side and took a step back.
Todd’s hand came up in a move so fast he was a blur and caught Raleigh by the wrist while he snarled, “Don’t touch him.”
One of the guards took Nick by the arm and pulled him away a few steps. Two others positioned themselves between Nick and Todd.
A quick, almost nonexistent shake of Todd’s head, and Nick stood motionless and tense in the guard’s grip.
Chuckling, Raleigh pulled his hand free and let it drop to his side. He nodded to several of the guards. Standing close, Nick saw how their shoulders and the tense lines of their jaws relaxed only slightly. He stepped away and leaned against a desk with his hands together, wrists resting on his thighs.
“You know this won’t hold up. Chancellor Clarke reverted Nick’s ownership back to Todd Ruger. You don’t have a leg to stand on,” Witze said.
“The papers are in my pack. It’s the black one,” Todd said quietly. He was speaking to Raleigh but kept his gaze focused on Nick.
Raleigh snorted a short laugh. “Those papers were drawn up after Mr. Ruger here left the Chancellor’s Estate with a slave who was government property. Your paperwork doesn’t change that fact, nor the fact that the same slave, while owned by Todd Ruger, may have been responsible for the death of Chancellor Shaffer, as well as another individual, while on the estate falsely impersonating an orphan slave. Legally, your responsibility.”
“You can’t—” Nick jerked his arm away from the guard and took a step forward.
Nick’s words were cut off by Todd snapping a harsh “Nick!”
At once Nick stopped, sucked in a harsh breath, and stood with his fists clenched at his sides.
Raleigh gave him a pained, bored look. “Yes, in fact, I can.”
“So, we’re under arrest?” Todd ground out, glaring at Raleigh.
“No, not at all.” Raleigh smiled at Todd, shaking his head. “I’m arresting you. Nick is being remanded over to the government and taken back to the estate.”
“What? No!” Nick knew he’d already been given an order by Todd to stay put. He was shaking with the effort not to lunge forward at the closest guard. Adam had died in part because of Nick losing control and trying to attack him. He wasn’t giving Raleigh the satisfaction of seeing Nick repeat his mistake.
Raleigh turned a cool gaze on Nick. “Did you really think I’d let you slip through my fingers?”
Witze stepped up, stood beside Nick, and gave a gentle nudge to the back of Nick’s arm. “I’m still in charge of the slave sanctuary. Any slave with ownership reverting to the government, orphan or not, comes under my jurisdiction.”
Nick turned away from Raleigh, looking to Witze. “Can he do this?”
“He’s not technically an orphan slave, though that can be arranged.” Raleigh looked from Nick to Todd and then Witze, evil smirk back on his face. He turned to the guards, motioning with one hand to Todd. “Put him in a holding cell.”COLLAPSE
Sammy on Gay Book Reviews wrote:
I loved that book four picked up just minutes from the end of the third book. It was so thrilling to jump right back into the story and know I didn't miss a thing! Other than the obvious reason that I adore this series, I was passionate about this book because it seemed from the description that Nick might have an opportunity here to spread his wings this time around. Nick really needs to get his self-confidence back and, frankly, Todd also needs him to, too.
Todd gets arrested by the nasty vice chancellor and ends up being rescued by Nick, Jimmy, and his dad, of all people. Now Todd and Nick are on a mission for the chancellor looking into the 'special' slaves, like Nick. Unfortunately, for Nick, this mission takes them back to Eldrid, the village where Nick was raised, and where so many of his nightmares come from.
This is where the story went so totally into awesomeness that I, literally, was making my husband mute the TV while I explained the whole story and read him parts as I came across them. It was incredible to get into the history behind the devastation that occurred and destroyed the world on such a global scale and how these early survivors banded together to live. There was also an explanation on how Sentries came to be and why the slave children program began.
Getting the information they needed and returning relatively unharmed to New Colorado City is an adventure. Now they have to match wits with the vice chancellor and his army of psychic vampires intent on destroying the New Colorado protectorate. Todd and Nick get help from an unexpected source and the grumbling between her and Todd brought some much needed humor to the tale.
I adored this fourth book and am eagerly awaiting the next installment. With Todd and Nick back in Elk's Ridge and away from New Colorado I am hoping a quieter and more peaceful life is waiting for them. Wait....what am I saying? I want more adventure, mystery, and hot sex. Bring on book five!
Oh My Goodness…this was, yet again, another compelling and action packed novel starring our favorite mated sentries, Todd and Nick. With each step in this novel, Todd and Nick get closer and closer to realizing exactly how Sentries came into being, what the cause was for the rise of slavery in their world and just how easily the “special” or “gifted” slaves and their masters could be used to wreak total and complete chaos in the controlling of the government.
Once more, author Elizabeth Noble takes us further into the inner workings of the amazing world she has created in her Sentries Series. In this installment, Collared Souls, we see more and more of the deep bond of love that sustains and saves Todd and Nick from losing their grip on each other’s hearts and souls while the world around them threatens at every turn to tear them apart.
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