Authors: Brenda Trim,Tami Julka
Tags: #Romance, #science fiction romance, #Warrors, #Series
Copyright © 2015 by Brenda Trim and Tami Julka eISBN: 978-1-63452-581-7
Editor: Amanda Fitzpatrick Cover Art by Patricia Schmitt (Pickyme) *****
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writers’ imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the authors.
This book spun from the amazing life and unfortunate death of one very important man. John Andrew DeCaprio will always be loved and remembered. Thank you for your love!
We want to send a special thank you to Brenda’s husband, Damon Trim, for designing our website.
This book is the beginning of a new journey for us and we want to thank all of our family and friends for joining us on this E-ticket ride!
Dalton lay in an ever-widening pool of crimson, questioning reality. Mental inventory…throat shredded, chest riddled with holes, and too many bite wounds to count. What the
had Jag become? Dalton had never encountered more strength in a man before, and when he had seen the sharp, pointed fangs protruding from his mouth, he knew he was in trouble. One look in those haunting and eerie eyes said it all. Jag was definitely a vampire
Dalton’s limbs were lead bricks at his sides, and he could not lift them to staunch the blood seeping out of the wounds on his neck, stomach, and chest.
Fight this, Elsie needs you!
The rattle with each breath turned what little blood was left in his veins to ice. He wasn’t going to make it out of this. The drum-beat in his chest slowed and the pain lessened. An image of his wife, Elsie, and her beautiful heart-shaped face swam into his mind. He loved her more than anything, and didn’t want to leave her. He managed to inch his fingers across the floor and dragged the phone closer.
He dialed and closed his eyes when he heard his wife’s sultry voicemail greeting. He realized he didn’t have enough words left in him to adequately warn her of the dangers that existed. “I don’t have long...I love you, Elsie...I’ll always love you...Bye, baby.”
He worried about his wife. Who would protect her from the evils he now knew roamed the night? He wanted to protect her and couldn’t. His very soul cried out at the injustice of it all.
an all-encompassing sense of peace enveloped Dalton and the most brilliant, white light filled the room. This is what dying felt like. His eyes slipped closed and his last thoughts were of his beautiful wife the day they married. He saw her long, wavy, brown hair curled with tiny, white flowers flowing around her face. Her clear, blue eyes displayed the depth of her love for him. She held a small bouquet of jasmine and wore a simple, white, strapless dress. She was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. As he looked into her eyes and they exchanged their vows, he knew he’d love her until the day he died.
He just didn't know that day would come so soon.
Elsie woke, drenched in sweat with a scream trapped on her lips and her sheets tangled around her legs. Her sister stirred next to her on the queen-sized mattress. She didn’t want to wake her and shoved a fist into her mouth, stifling the scream from clawing its way out as the images from her nightmare continued to consume her. No matter how long and hard she fought it, the visions and memories refused to leave her.
It always started the same, with her standing on cracked linoleum in the long hall of the group home where Dalton was murdered. She had relived that entire night countless times over the past eighteen months. She squeezed her eyes shut as the images flooded her aching brain for what seemed like the millionth time. An abattoir surrounded her. The walls were sprayed with blood, and there were pools of the crimson liquid congealing on the black-and-white checkerboard floor. She gagged when she saw a lump of bright, red meat on the floor. Flesh. Yellow flags and cones lined the walls and floor, amidst the carnage. Her stomach revolted while her body went numb.
In between heaving, she had whispered a plea for help. No one responded and she fell into a heap on the floor. Mindless of the blood she sat in, she gazed at the sight of her husband lying in a pool of blood, his sightless eyes trained on her. His neck had been torn open and shredded. How long she sat there screaming she didn’t know. But, finally, a police officer escorted her away from his body and out of the house where her nightmare was made worse when she came up against a mass of news media shouting questions about her husband being the latest TwiKill victim. Her world came to a crashing halt that night. At that moment, a huge black hole imploded into an endless ache in her chest.
Now, eighteen months later, that black hole had grown thorns and pierced her heart. The pain forced her to curl into a ball on her bed. She hated how much power the memories had over her. Joining SOVA had been a way to gain some of that power back. Still, she longed to be a normal college student again.
You haven’t been normal since you were three years old
, she thought wryly.
Not even thoughts of her childhood could suppress the pain of loss. No matter how much time had passed, Dalton’s murder still seemed unbelievable. The police still didn’t know who was responsible, and the detectives in charge had been spouting the same bull-shit excuses to the press for eighteen months. Not that she was able to tell them what she had learned. She wouldn’t risk herself or her friends being charged with a crime.
She jumped from the bed and made it to the bathroom where she promptly lost the measly contents of her stomach. It had been the same day in and day out for what seemed like forever. She had been wracked with unending grief, barely able to function.
Sleep was a thing of the past, interrupted by her nightmares. The dark circles under her eyes she could live with, but the muddled memory and irritability were another story. She lived on energy drinks and candy. She couldn’t remember the last time she had consumed a full meal. The grief created a barrier in her throat. Between the black smudges and her weight loss, she looked like a zombie. Hell, she felt like one too.
As the stomach spasms stopped, she wiped her mouth and flushed the toilet and prayed for the millionth time for a magic pill that would take the pain away. Sadly, science wasn’t on her side with that one.
After washing her face and brushing her teeth, she checked on her sister. Cailyn had always made sure she was safe and had what she needed. That was no different now with her daily calls and bi-monthly visits. Cailyn was her only remaining family and her saving grace. She loved her more than anything.
Thankfully, her sister hadn’t heard her in the bathroom and was still asleep. She didn’t need or want another lecture about her lack of eating and weight loss.
Quietly, she grabbed her robe off the back of her bedroom door and made her way into the living room. She stopped by the kitchen first for an energy drink before she plopped down onto the futon with her laptop. She needed to put the finishing touches on a paper before she turned it in on Monday. As she waited for her laptop to start-up, she grabbed her day planner and looked at her work schedule. In order to keep her apartment, she picked up extra shifts to make up for the loss of income. The reality of it was she used each of her activities as a diversion from the crushing grief.
Her head flopped back on the futon and she stared at the colorful Mexican blankets that served as one of the reminders of her life with Dalton. Tears gathered in her eyes. Would she ever be free?
Elsie hunched into her black coat and wrapped her scarf tighter when a breeze found its way down her back. Shivering, she flipped up the collar and pulled her pink beanie down over her ears. It was cold and to add to the misery, it had started to drizzle. Springtime shouldn’t be this cold, Elsie thought to herself, but that was Seattle for you.
“Let’s grab a burrito for dinner since I know your fridge is empty. You need to eat at least one meal today,” Cailyn said as she linked her arm through Elsie’s and they headed down the street.
“I do try and eat, you know. I just can’t get anything down, but before you go all maternal on me again, I will try,” Elsie replied, contemplating an umbrella to cover them. Since coming to live in Seattle, where it seemed to rain constantly, she had become accustomed to being damp like the rest of the city.
They hurried down the street and talked about what assignments Elsie had remaining before she graduated from college next month. Time had crawled by since Dalton’s death and Elsie still couldn’t believe she was almost done. She didn’t want to go down memory lane again today and focused on the fast food restaurant. Cailyn held the door for her and they walked inside. Warm, greasy, cumin-scented air hit her as they entered the establishment. Her stomach growled. She was hungrier than she realized. She removed her jacket and shook off the moisture then turned to contemplate the menu.
Cailyn leaned into her side and her warm breath hit her cheek as she whispered in her ear, “El, your high beams are on and there are two gorgeous guys who have noticed.”
Heat suffused Elsie’s cheeks. She had on an unpadded bra and it provided no protection under her Henley. “Oh God, and I’m mostly nipple too,” she whispered back.
“You aren’t wrong about that, sis. Doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoying the show.”
A deep, masculine groan had Elsie’s blush deepening. She glanced out of the corner of her eye and spotted a trim waist encased in tight, black, leather pants. Controlled by an unknown force, she was drawn to the sight and turned to appreciate the man more fully.
Her eyes followed the ropes of muscle up his abdomen and wide chest, locking with the bluest eyes she had ever seen. Electric currents ran underneath her skin as he devoured her with his gaze, as if she were a gourmet meal he intended to savor, slowly and thoroughly. Her stomach clenched with need. His full lips pulled in an erotic grimace. He was the sexiest man she had ever seen.
An unbearable ache bloomed in her core, followed by a strange pull. She wanted to perform sexual acts with this man that was illegal in some states. A wanton sex-fiend had just awoken, wanting this strange, sensual man and it was highly unsettling.
An odd fluttering and pain in her chest took her breath as guilt assailed her. She shouldn’t have these thoughts. In her mind, Dalton was still her husband, and she was betraying him with these urges. She made vows to be loyal and love her husband to the day she died and that was what she was going to do. There would never be anyone else for her.
She lowered her head and rubbed her temples, hoping to erase the image burned into her retinas. It was not right to ogle this hot guy. Flustered, she pulled her jacket back on and rushed to the counter, sputtering out an order for God only knew what food. She chanced a glance back to her sister. Cailyn, thankfully, was oblivious to Elsie’s desire for Mr. Blue Eyes. The last thing she wanted was for her sister to question her.
“Someone has an admirer,” Cailyn half-sang, bumping her shoulder against Elsie’s.
“Shut up. I do not,” she hissed under her breath.
“You’ve clearly been out of the game too long. He is totally checking you out.” Elsie gritted her teeth as she listened to Cailyn. “He is hot,” Elsie snuck another peek of Mr. Stunning Blue Eyes, “and an opportunity waiting to happen.”
Her eyes widened when she noticed his
. Wow, his leather pants left little to the imagination. One word ran across her mind…huge. She felt that desire and pull once again. Her body was ready to throw back, spread her legs and welcome him in.
“Not going to happen,” Elsie declared, a kernel of shame blossoming alongside her guilt. She wasn’t this person. Turning away, she stuck to her vows and love for her husband, dead or not. The second her order was ready, she raced from the establishment without a backward glance.
Zander watched the frail, human female hurry from the restaurant. Something about her was familiar, but all he could focus on was how beautiful and intriguing she was. The cupid bow of her lips had thinned as she fled the establishment. The image struck him as wrong. She should always smile, and her lips would look best wrapped around his cock. He berated himself for obsessing over the female. Yes, she was sexy and he had never been so attracted to any female, but he’d never had sex with a human and didn’t plan on starting now. Besides, he didn’t care for one-night stands and that was all he could ever have with the human.
Humans were fragile beings, unaware that all legends of myth and fantasy were no myth at all. As vampire king of the Tehrex Realm, it was his duty to enforce the Goddess’ edict and protect humans from the demons and their skirm. That job didn’t leave room for much else.
He shook his head at the fact that he was tempted by the female, and was surprised at how difficult it was to stop from following her tantalizing honeysuckle fragrance. Sure, he could have sex with her and erase himself from her memory, but he wanted more. He was tired of having empty dalliances. He was one of the few in the realm who still held high hopes of finding his Fated Mate. Yet, his thoughts lingered on the female.
Put her oot of your mind, dumb arse!
The order fell on deaf ears. He was consumed by desire.
Like an addict, he replayed every moment from the second she had entered the establishment. Her face had been flushed from the cold and her nipples had strained enticingly against her top. She wasn’t far off about their size, but he found them absolutely perfect. With one glance, his heart had raced in his chest, sweat had beaded his brow, and static electricity zipped under his skin. His fangs had painfully shot into his mouth. For an instant when their gazes locked, his soul stirred. The enigmatic female had controlled his body in that moment, and he had been forced to close his eyes, lest the glow reveal his true nature.
Her sweet, honeysuckle scent had set an inferno ablaze in his veins. His shaft had hardened the moment the tendrils reached his nostrils. The urge to get naked and sweaty with her had become irresistible. So much so, that a groan had slipped past his lips. A groan!
He’d never hear the end of it from Kyran, who was at that moment, chuckling softly beside him. Not that his twisted brother had much room to talk, but Zander had never lost his focus. For the first time in his seven hundred sixty-five years of existence, he was struggling to control his mind and body.
Zander shook his head at his warriors. He had come to Confetti after encountering an enchanting human, seeking release. Problem was, nothing appealed to him. He wanted what his mamai and da had shared. Happiness. A true and lasting love. Completion. He wanted to find his Fated Mate.
That wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, seeing as the Goddess had not blessed anyone since he had become vampire king over seven centuries ago. He had tried so hard to please the Goddess, and had made strides never before seen in the Tehrex Realm. He had initiated and formed the Dark Alliance and established the Dark Warriors, the realm’s first army.
“I need a female so bad it’s not even funny. If it weren’t for their hair-scorching breath, I’d grab that sexy little dragon-shifter,” Orlando said as he searched the club.
Shoving aside his longing, Zander also scanned the crowd, only he was looking for Lena, one of his few preferred partners. He heard she was there and tonight he needed to ease the ache.
“You afraid of a little heat, O? Can’t handle the flames?” Rhys teased.
Orlando threw a pretzel at Rhys, “Fuck off, dick-head.”
A delectable, honeysuckle scent teased Zander’s senses, taking him to earlier that night. He had been obsessing over the human for the past several hours when it dawned on him that she had been all over the news eighteen months ago. Her husband had been murdered and every reporter in the area showcased her misery.
“Orlando. Do you remember the case where a group home counselor was murdered aboot a year and a half ago?” Zander asked, redirecting the conversation.
“Huh? Oh, uh, yeah. Why? What’s up?”