Authors: Shannon Mayer
Tags: #Paranormal Urban Fantasy Romance
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PRAISE FOR THE RYLEE ADAMSON NOVELS
“Shannon Mayer’s Rylee Adamson paranormal romances keep me glued to the page. Rylee is a kick-ass character who loves with her whole heart and reminds me of my own Rose Gardner—a collector and protector of lost and broken souls. Every new book is better than the last and I always finish her latest book hungry for more.”
-Denise Grover Swank
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author
“The Rylee Adamson Novels are filled with a wonderfully detailed and rich paranormal world with engaging characters, a fast paced plot and lots of action. A must read for urban fantasy lovers.”
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author
“If you love the early Anita Blake novels by Laurel K. Hamilton, you will fall head over heels for The Rylee Adamson Series. Rylee is a complex character with a tough, kick-ass exterior, a sassy temperament and morals which she never deviates from. She's the ultimate heroine. Mayer's books rank right up there with Kim Harrison's, Patricia Brigg's, and Ilona Andrew's. Get ready for a whole new take on Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance and be ready to be glued to the pages!”
-Just My Opinion Book Blog
You’d think I’d run out of people to thank after this many books but the reality is each book takes a team, and a support network to bring it about. From my amazing editors (Tina Winograd, Shannon Page, Stephanie Erickson) to my fantastic ARC team (who always manage to find a few more typos for me to fix!) to my always amazing right hand gal, Lysa Lessieur, you all make this writing job continue to feel like an adventure of epic proportions.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking out the rough patches with me, you all deserve medals for laying in the trenches beside me as we fight side by side with the characters we all know and love.
Here’s to teamwork.
And my very own pack of kick-ass women.
THE DAYS BEFORE
the triplets fell ill were quiet, so quiet, without Rylee there and nothing but thoughts of her haunting my restless sleep. Wondering if she would come back, and if so, in what condition? Would the fear that hid behind her eyes be wiped away, or would it have burrowed in like a parasite that would change her forever?
Kav, Bam, and Rut had seemed to pick up on my worry, as they were increasingly quiet, sleeping longer, playing less. All of my concerns had made me a fool not to see that the triplets were growing pale, and I’d let Louisa’s words of calm reassurance make me ignore my instincts.
I knew something was wrong, and yet I’d kept my blinders on. Hoping I was mistaken, that I was seeing things that weren’t there . . . but I hadn’t been.
The new recruits Rylee had brought with her, Belinda and Levi, siblings with a hint of elemental blood in them, had gone with Rylee to get groceries and that’s when it happened. Almost as if the triplets had been waiting for Rylee. With her home, it was as if a light switch had flicked off within the triplets and they went downhill in a matter of a single hour.
Almost as if they knew I wouldn’t have noticed, so caught up as I was in my worry for her.
So they waited for their mother to be near, knowing she would save them. Knowing she was the one who would find the cure to their mysterious illness.
And then Rylee had sent me after the one thing that
save the babies. A female ogre, one willing to be a wet nurse for three babies.
I ran for my weapons in our bedroom, listening to Rylee give orders, listened to her call Doran and her grandparents to come and help her. I grabbed a bag from the closet and shoved in several knives, and a thick woolen coat. There wasn’t much else that would do me any good.
I looked around the room, breathing the space in.
Sending Rylee away on a salvage brought her back to me whole, at peace with her own nature. For her to stay home with the babies and send me on my own, I wondered . . . did she see the fear in my own eyes? I shook my head. No, I knew she hadn’t. I’d done everything I could to keep it from her. To give her the space she needed without her having to deal with me and my shit.
I slung the bag over my shoulder and ran through the house. Rylee had Kav in her arms. His eyes were closed and his heart beat at an unsteady rate. I didn’t stop, though, not even to kiss them all goodbye. Because I knew that if I thought about the triplets dying, I wouldn’t be able to move, I would freeze in place and hold them as if my love alone would save them.
If I stopped now, I wouldn’t be able to do what I had to do.
Time to put all the emotional shit on the back burner and get the job done. Time to put back on the visage of an FBI agent on a case.
Hurry, Liam . . . hurry.
Rylee’s words echoed in my ears as I ran along the driveway and jumped into the new Jeep I’d bought her only a week before. I jammed the keys in the ignition and turned them. Nothing. The engine made a vain attempt at a rumble that sounded more like it was laughing at me than actually trying to turn over. “Piece of shit.” I slammed my hands on the wheel, cursing my own stupidity. More than any other supernaturals, I tended to have that kind of effect on technology, shutting it down by just being within a ten-foot proximity.
Just another curse of being a Guardian who’d taken over a vampire’s body, I suppose. I shuddered, my skin all but crawling with the need to get away from itself. This was not the time to consider the fact that my body was not my own. That I had basically become a body snatcher. That I was no longer the man I once was, that the mirror didn’t show me a face I knew other than as someone I’d hated.