Absolution – Penton Legacy #2 – Susannah Sandlin

Absolution

This is the 2nd book in the Penton Legacy series and I’m getting pretty involved in the plot and the characters.

The first book was an introduction to the town of Penton, Alabama which is an actual town in Eastern Alabama near Georgia. I Googled it but I think the author changed things up a bit to make things interesting. The book version of the town has it being a virtual ghost town, a textile mill town that has died out thanks to the textile industry moving overseas. A master vampire named Aidan Murphy has made it his new home and has brought the town back to life.

A pandemic flu has hit the world and a wreaked havoc on the elderly, sick and very young but scientist were quick to invent a vaccine for it and almost everyone in the world has been vaccinated against it. The Pandemic Vaccination has made the blood of anyone vaccinated with it poisonous to vampires which, of course, humans are unaware of. There are very few humans left who are unvaccinated so vampires are starving and fighting over the ones they can find…mostly drug addicts and the homeless who were too high or down and out to bother going and getting the vaccine.

A master vampire named Aidan Murphy has come up with a solution. He has built up a scathe, vampires bonded and loyal to each other, and has recruited humans to live in the town. He believes that humans should be treated as equals and with respect instead of as food as most vampires treat humans. He has taken unvaccinated humans from the streets and homeless shelters and helped them withdraw from drugs or helped them with whatever problem they had and then made them an offer to live in the tiny town of Penton for the exchange of blood with the vampires who live there. If they refuse, he simply erases their mind of their encounter with him and lets them live their lives but if they agree, they can have a great life in Penton. All humans are bonded to a scathe member which makes it impossible for other vampires outside the scathe to feed off of them. If they ever want to leave, he will erase their minds of their time in Penton and take them to wherever they want to live. It is a great setup and the town is doing well.

In the last book, Matthias Ludlum, a member of the Vampire Tribunal which is the organization that makes and enforces the laws of all vampires, became obsessed with Aidan Murphy and the town of Penton and wants to destroy it. His son, William, is one of the scathe members loyal to Aidan and Matthias hates it. His son ran away from Matthias and avoided him for decades but Matthias learned that William was hiding out in Penton and he wants him back. Matthias is not only a member of the Tribunal but also the head of the Justice Council and he used that position to release Aidan’s crazy brother, Owen, from imprisonment in Ireland where he was scheduled for execution for killing and draining humans and carelessly leaving them for authorities to find on the streets of Dublin. Matthias told Owen if he killed Aidan, he could live and then feed off the humans in Penton.

Owen and a bunch of desperate vampires wreaked havoc on the town, attacking Aidan and shooting one of his lieutenants with buckshot covered in the vaccinated blood, bombing a restaurant which killed fifteen humans and almost killed Aidan’s mate before they were able to kill him. Aidan had to turn his mate Krystal into a vampire in order for her to live which was against Tribunal law. The Tribunal made it illegal to make any new vampires until a new generation of non-vaccinated humans grew up…and nobody is even sure if children born to vaccinated humans would also be poisonous to them. It was just too soon to tell.

In this book, one of the humans whose husband was killed during one of Owen’s attacks wanted to leave Penton so Mirren, the only other master vampire in the Penton scathe, took her to her desired location and erased her mind. He left her with plenty of money to start over again and then headed back towards Penton. He stopped at one of their safe houses along the way to get his day sleep but Matthias had people watching the house and six of them kidnapped him.

Mirren has a dark past. In his human life he was a warrior who fought most of his life. As a vampire, he worked for the Vampire Tribunal as their assassin until they asked him to kill a child. He was known as the Slayer because he always got his target, he tortured for information and he could kill twenty men with his sword or battle axe easily. He realized the Tribunal was more evil than the people he was hunting and faked his death and hid from them for a very long time until he hooked up with Aidan and his scathe and Matthias’ intel exposed him.

Glory Cummings was working at Circle K when Matthias stopped in to get cigars. He smells her and knows she is unvaccinated but what interests him more is when he touches her hand, he feels power coming off of her. He entrances her and tells her to meet him outside. He kidnaps her and takes her to a house, locks her in a room where he shoots her up with heroin and gets her hooked. He passes her around to his vampires who are not careful with her. Vampires can make feeding off a human pleasurable and unpainful but these vampires scar her neck and make it as painful as possible. Matthias keeps asking her what her powers are but she refuses to answer him even when he enthralls her.

Matthias is keeping Mirren downstairs with his hands tied in silver which weakens a vampire and his cell has silver bars so there is no escape. Mirren is being starved. Matthias thinks he can get Mirren to turn on Aidan’s scathe and work for the Tribunal again…or better yet…for him personally so he can help get his son William back. He knows just how to break him too.

When Glory continues to refuse to tell Matthias anything, he throws her in the cage with Mirren expecting for Mirren to rip her apart which Matthias thinks will turn him back into the Slayer but that doesn’t happen. Glory who is high as heck talks and talks to Mirren. When Glory is nervous, she talks. She unties Mirren’s hands and talks or slurs because she is so high. Mirren feeds off of her but is gentle with her. He puts her in a trance to help her withdraw from the heroin. It is how he and Aidan were able to get so many of their Penton residents off of drugs.

William Ludlum, Matthias’ son, is basically a genius. He can hack almost any computer system and is good with puzzles and architecture. When Mirren doesn’t show back up in Penton for a month, Will is sent out to rescue him and he does but Mirren refuses to leave without Glory so they take her with them back to Penton.

Man, I love Glory. She is hilarious when she gets to talking. I do the same thing when I am nervous. I just start talking and talking. I do it when I try to lie too. I’m just a horrible liar. I end up telling on myself or putting my foot in my mouth or offending someone. Glory is one of those. Mirren won’t admit it but he likes her. He decides to sponsor her while she is in Penton which he has never done for any other human. He keeps to himself and not even Aidan knows much about him except he is a man of few words and he used to be the Slayer. Melissa drops Glory off at Mirren’s house while he is in his day sleep and tells her that she will be staying with him until they find her a permanent house or she decides to leave.

Glory loves to cook and has a dream to be a chef or open her own restaurant one day. She borrows money from Melissa and insists on paying it back even though Melissa tries to explain to her that Mirren is rich and is sponsoring her. Glory will not allow anyone to pay her way. She buys a big pot, cooking utensils and groceries and makes herself at home in Mirren’s house while he is asleep. She makes a big stew and puts on one of his movies from his mega Western movie collection. When Mirren wakes up, he hears gunshots and races out into his living room to find the gunshots came from his expensive entertainment center that he doesn’t like anyone touch. In fact, he never lets anyone into his house yet here is Glory wearing one of his shirts and cooking in his kitchen. He grumbles around while she talks away, telling him that Melissa let her into the house and even came in herself to see if he had motorcycle parts spread around his house but she tells him she realized the parts are stored in the kitchen drawers. She talks and talks until he tells her, “Stop!” He has to say that a lot to her. She also gets on him every time he curses. He tells her, “It’s my f—ing house and I’ll f—ing curse if I want to.”

They end up really liking each other. Mirren was scared to hurt her at first but she tames him. They accidently become mated. To mate, the vampire has to really like someone and have all kinds of chemical responses going on. An exchange of blood has to happen too and it did because Glory bit his finger and drew blood when she was playing around with him. Oops! They don’t even realize they are mated until Aidan smells it on them. I guess vampires can smell that kind of thing.

Glory gets a job at the local grocery store and at the encouragement of Hannah, a vampire who was turned when she was a child and who is psychic, she practices her telekinetic powers and starts to get control of them.

A supposed ally to Aidan on the Tribunal named Lorenzo Caias or Renz who we met in the first book, went after Matthias and exposed his dealings with Owen to the Tribunal which got him kicked off the Justice Council and a pending investigation into the other accusations of supplying Owen with Pandemic blood and kidnapping Glory and Mirren. Aidan trusts Renz but Mirren does not. Mirren turns out to be right. Renz visits Penton again and tells them what he did and warns them that Matthias will be out to destroy anything or anyone who may be able to connect him to any wrong doings. He suggests that they give Glory to him so he can record her statement and keep her safe while the Tribunal decides whether or not to kick Matthias off the Tribunal. He knows that both Aidan and Mirren are mated but he does not know to whom.

When Renz asks Aidan about Krystal because the last time he was there, he knew Aidan was with her, Aidan tells her she died and he is mated to a vampire. They don’t trust Renz enough to tell him that Krystal was turned into a vampire. They ask Melissa to prepare a room below the clinic for Renz to spend the rest of the night and use it for his day sleep and they go have a meeting. While Aidan and Mirren are in the meeting, Renz goes to Mirren’s house and forces his way into the house. He sees Krystal and knows she is a vampire. He also knows Glory is mated to Mirren. He tries to kidnap Glory so Krystal tries to fight him but she is no match for him and he knocks her out. Glory uses her powers to take Mirren’s huge flat screen television and throw it at Renz but he is so powerful that it barely hurts him.

By the time Mirren and Aidan get to Mirren’s house, Renz is long gone and has Glory with him. They know Renz owns a lot of home in the South and have to figure out which one he would go to and how to get Glory back. Renz has the power to destroy them now that he knows about Krystal so this could be the beginning of the end for Penton.

Nine out of ten books, I don’t really like the leading lady either because she is too good to be real or she does stupid things like run away from the good guys straight into the bad guys grasps. I just don’t like perfect people. I like people who make mistakes and are able to laugh at themselves when they do it. I like people who are sarcastic and make jokes. Let’s face it, goody-two-shoes are boring and in real life, they are judgmental and condescending. I really liked this leading lady, not only because she talked a lot but because she knew Mirren had a bad past and that he killed people for a living and accepted it. She even accepted that he would have to keep on killing to protect her and the people of Penton and was okay with that. She helped Mirren with some of his inner demons like how he tattooed himself with something by using acid and ink every time he killed someone. She showed him different ways to deal with it instead of mutilating himself. I also liked that she didn’t panic and freak out over everything. She went into self-preservation mode instead of panic mode when things got scary. I just thought she was someone who I would like to be around and liked her character.

This story is getting deeper and more complicated and the people of Penton are facing an unsure future. I am gobbling these books up and will probably finish too soon since there are only one or two more books left. I’m not sure if there will be more written in the series or if the series actually ends. Maybe I should look it up.

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