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Blood Brothers: A Short Story Exclusive

Blood Brothers: A Short Story Exclusive

Blood Brothers: A Short Story Exclusive

4.5/5 (11 ratings)
76 pages
1 hour
Oct 22, 2013


From New York Times bestselling authors James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell comes a dark story of murder, mystery, and a brotherhood steeped in a bloody past.

As a young reporter, Arthur Crane exposed the secrets behind the Orchid Killer, a cult murderer from the late '60s whose crimes blackened the end of the Summer of Love. Half a century later, Arthur wakes to find an orchid resting on his pillow, a symbol of death from a killer connected to his estranged younger brother, Christian. To discover the horrifying truth, Arthur will risk all-even his very soul-for Christian may not be the brother that Arthur remembers…

Included with this chilling story is a sneak peek at Innocent Blood, the second book in the Order of the Sanguines Series.

Oct 22, 2013

About the author

James Rollins has a doctorate in veterinary medicine and his own practice in Sacramento, California. An amateur spelunker and a certified scuba enthusiast, you’ll often find him either underground or underwater.

Book Preview

Blood Brothers - James Rollins

Blood Brothers




Blood Brothers


An Excerpt from Innocent Blood



Chapter 2

About the Authors

The Order of the Sanguines series by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell



About the Publisher

Blood Brothers

Summer, present day

San Francisco, California

ARTHUR CRANE WOKE to the smell of gardenias. Panic set in even before he opened his eyes. He lay still, frozen by fear, testing the heavy fragrance, picking out the underlying notes of frangipani and honeysuckle.

It can’t be. . .

Throughout his childhood, he had spent countless hours reading in the greenhouse of his family’s estate in Cheshire, England. Even now, he remembered the hard cement bench in a shaded corner, the ache in his lower back as he hunched over a novel by Dickens or Doyle. It was so easy to lose himself in the worlds within those pages, to shut out his mother’s rampages and threatening silences. Still, no matter how lost he was in a story, that scent always surrounded him.

It had been his childhood, his security, his peace of mind.

No longer.

Now it meant only one thing.


He opened his eyes and turned his nose toward that scent. It came from the empty pillow next to him. Morning sunlight slanted through his bedroom window, illuminating a white Brassocattleya orchid. It rested in an indentation in the middle of the neighboring pillow. Delicate frilled petals brushed the top of his pillowcase, and a faded purple line ran up the orchid’s lip.

His breathing grew heavier, weighted by dread. His heart thumped hard against his rib cage, reminding him of his heart attack last year, a surprise gift for his sixty-­eighth birthday.

He studied the orchid. When he’d last spotted such a flower, he’d been a much younger man, barely into his twenties. It had been floating in a crimson puddle, its heavy scent interwoven with the hard iron smell of his own blood.

Why again now . . . after so many years?

He sat up and searched his apartment’s small bedroom. Nothing seemed disturbed. The window was sealed, his clothes were where he’d left them, even his wallet still lay on the bureau.

Steeling himself, he plucked the orchid from his pillow and held its cool form in his palm. For years he’d lived in dread of receiving such a flower again.

He fought out of the bedsheets and hurried to the window. His apartment was on the third story of an old Victorian. He picked the place because the stately structure reminded him of the gatehouse to his family’s estate, where he’d often found refuge with the gardeners and maids when the storms grew too fierce at the main house.

He searched the street below.


Whoever had left the flower was long gone.

He took a steadying breath and gazed at the blue line of the bay on the horizon, knowing that he might not see it again. Decades ago, he had reported on a series of grisly murders, all heralded by the arrival of such an orchid. Victims found the bloom left for them in the morning, only to die that same night, their bloody bodies adorned with a second orchid.

He turned from the window, knowing the flower’s arrival was not pure happenstance. Two days ago, he had received a call from a man who claimed to have answers about a mystery that had been plaguing Arthur for decades. The caller said he was connected to a powerful underground organization, a group who called themselves the Belial. That name had come up during Arthur’s research into the past orchid murders, but he could never pin down the connection. All he knew was that the word belial came from the Hebrew Bible, loosely translated as demonic.

But did that mean the past murders were some form of a satanic ritual?

How was his brother involved?

Chris­tian . . .

He whispered his brother’s name, hearing again his boyish laughter, picturing the flash of his green eyes, the mane of his dark hair that he always let grow overly long and carefree.

Though decades had passed, he still did not know what had happened to his brother. But the caller had said that he could reveal the truth to Arthur.


He glanced at the orchid still in his hand.

But will I live long enough to hear it?

As he stood there, memories overwhelmed him.

Summer, 1968

San Francisco, California


Morning light from the stained-­glass windows painted grotesque patterns on the faces of the young choir at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. But their ethereal voices soared to heaven—­clear, beautiful, and tinged with grief.

Such grace should have brought comfort, but

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What people think about Blood Brothers

11 ratings / 3 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    In Blood Brothers, a short story exclusive by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell, journalist Arthur Crane receives an orchid on what he assumes will be the day of his death. Back in the late 60's he was tracking a killer who left an orchid with the person who would be his next victim. Arthur knows who the killer is, his blood brother Christian, and thinks he knows why the killer is coming for him - again.

    This short story is a prequel or back story for the latest release, Innocent Blood, by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell that is due our in December. The previous book was Blood Gospel. This series contains the action/adventure that Rollins is known for combined with a supernatural element. It is well written with excellent characterization and a sharp focus, or in other words, a wonderfully tantalizing glimpse into part of the mythology for the Sanguine series.

    very highly recommended

    Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of HarperCollins via Edelweiss for review purposes.
  • (5/5)
    Arthur is searching for the truth. The truth about the White Orchid murders in the late 1960s, and the truth about where his brother, Christian, disappeared.Even though this is a short story, there is plenty of action and mystery.The narrative is full of time overlapping mysteries and complex characters. While not all of the mysteries are fully resolved, as this is a series, they do come to enough closure to bring satisfaction.Emotion, passion, and the pull of investigation are major influences on the characters, which present themselves well with authenticity and heartfelt compassion.Overall, a compelling read.
  • (4/5)
    This short story is numbered 2.5 in the Order of the Sanguines series. The story centers around Christian, a young Sanguinist we met in Innocent Blood. I understand why the authors decided to give Christian a more detailed backstory as he is a very interesting and charismatic character. Unlike the prequel short story, City of Screams, this additional story does seem to fit with the main story and provides more character depth. This story should be read as a supplement to the rest of the series as the reader would miss some of the nuances if it was read as a standalone. Rating 4