After being betrayed, Sienna falls into the arms of her surly protector; a demon with a secret of his own. But can she face her destiny knowing she's more dangerous than those Nash was protecting her from?
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"I don't believe you."
"You don't believe what?" He made himself comfortable in the ratty looking seat and turned to her, his eyes already dismissive of anything she had to say.
"About the hunter thing. Why would you tell me that?"
"I don't lie, Sienna. Your family has been doing this for many years." He turned to look out of the windscreen. "Too many years. And they've hunted a lot of creatures." Nash turned to face her once more. "And even a human or two. Not that your family seems to have many qualms about that." His face had hardened, she noticed, lines appearing around his eyes as he glared at her.
Sienna looked at him hard before actually making herself jump when a gurgle of laughter erupted from her mouth. He frowned at her which made her laugh harder.
"I'm sorry, I really am. But I think you might have inhaled too much gun smoke." She wiped her right eye where a tear had started to form. "I appreciate the save earlier on and obviously we need to get to the bottom of why I was chased, but I really don't think it was ghosts that were behind it all."
Nash looked like he wanted to throttle her. It sobered her slightly but the mirth still hovered. This sexy man was seriously cuckoo. Why were all the pretty ones gay or nuts?
"Ghosts weren't behind it. I believe Strix were."
"And what are Strix, may I ask?"
He hesitated for only a moment before speaking again.
"Vampires who eat flesh with animal ferocity."
Now, that was what she needed to snap her out of her sense of humour. He was talking blood suckers now. Did the police force know he should be suspended on medical grounds? She thought about her dilemma. Here she was, stuck in the middle of nowhere with a cop who thought vampires were real. Although she was pretty sure he wouldn't hurt her – hell, he'd saved her from certain death earlier on – he was still a tad unpredictable. Maybe she could talk to him about it all? Make him think she believed him until he dropped her off at the nearest police station? Mind made up, Sienna smiled sweetly.
"Tell me about these vampires then. Are they like the ones in the movies?"
"They are much, much worse. Believe me." He smiled at her and if she didn't know better, he had figured out she was just humouring him.
"So... can I see one?"
"That wouldn't be your smartest idea, Princess." Sienna nodded, pretending to be deep in thought and ignored the Princess quip.
"Are you one?"
"But you are human though, right?" Nash chuckled again, looking back towards the front windscreen.
"Do I look human, Sienna?" Nash turned towards her and whatever she was about to say went out the window. Her breath caught in her throat and she stumbled away from the car door.
Eyes that were once green now shined in a golden hue, his pupils dilated into slits, reminiscent of a cat. But that wasn't what had caught her attention and made her hair stand on end. As she watched, the once tanned face that she'd admired minutes before was changing. No more was his skin clear but intricate markings had appeared in a line along the side of his face and disappeared down under the collar of his t-shirt. The hand that held the steering wheel caught her attention then and she watched in horror as the nails grew into small points and turned a deep black.
Nash was a... he was a...
She didn't know what he was.
Sienna's brain finally gave her two choices. Faint, which she longed for to put her into a state of unconsciousness. Or, run.
Her feet made the decision for her.
Luka was a bounty hunter who just wanted to do his job and get paid. Being a banished Shadow, he'd learnt the bitter lesson long ago that he was alone, after he was expelled from his home world by his own blood. Now, he needed to understand why he was wanted dead whilst his desire for the fiery haired witch erupted, out of control.
As a rare moon-witch, all she'd ever known was a life of misery under the oppressive Fae-Guard. Nine years ago Cerys escaped the Meta-World after regretting the forced banishment of a Shadow. Now, she leads a normal life without her abilities and all she wants is to blend in. When a bounty hunter wants to take her back for a crime she didn't commit, she's willing to take a chance on her future by trusting the man who had no idea she'd wronged him years before.
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He watched as she looked incredulously at him and spun on her heel to march down the road in the direction they’d just come from. Her ass—the same ass he’d fantasised about when he hadn’t known it belonged to Cerys Bailey earlier—taunted him. So did that wavy red hair of hers. Luka had a thing for redheads. Who knew?
Cerys turned back to him, a fiery glint to her eye and stalked back toward him, standing toe to toe, “I was happy. For the first time in my life, I was happy. I wasn’t Cerys Bailey, moon-witch. I was Julie Travis, Ms Normal. And then you came along—”
“Technically, you’d already been busted. I was doing my job.” Luka tried not to grin, he really did, but she just looked so cute, all small and angry.
She spluttered for a few moments, the moonlight making her look wild as her hair fell in waves around her face and anger fisted her hands at her sides.
“I could tear you apart, inch by stupid inch if I wanted to.” She stood on tiptoes to face him almost eye to mouth, and Luka was temporarily distracted by the flowery smell that emanated from her hair. “I’m dangerous. Didn’t anybody warn you of that?”
Luka chuckled then laughed as steam practically erupted from her ears. “Sweetheart, if you could do more than heal yourself and look pretty, you’d have done it. I know that. Right now? You’re stuck with me until we get out of the situation that you’ve got me into.”
“That I’ve got you into? Weren’t you listening? It’s you they want. I’m just a happy little bonus for them.” Luka scratched the stubble on his chin and shook his head.
“Either way, you’re still my bounty until I can figure out exactly where I stand.” Luka watched as Cerys’s mind ticked over and waited for the inevitable reaction, whatever that might be. She wasn’t a natural redhead, but she sure had their passionate temper, and that thought excited the hell out of him.
What he wasn’t expecting from her was a kick to his groin and for Cerys to hightail it back along the track through a cloud of his pain and a mass of her hair. Any blood that had amassed down there retreated to his face and ears.
Luka staggered and he sucked in his breath, pain shooting into his stomach. Moments passed, and he couldn’t move.
“Bitch!” The word was wrenched from the depths of his soul.
As soon as his eyes began to clear from the tears that threatened to fall, he began to run like a drunk chasing a ten pound note in the wind with little focus at first, but slowly he gained on her. She glanced around in panic and stumbled, allowing him to gain precious distance.
And then he switched.
Luka knew the moment it dawned on Cerys that he was no longer playing fair. The look of horror spread across her face as the inky blackness in front of her enveloped her and brought her down to the ground.
Although Luka preferred his human form, his Shadow made him feel alive—allowed him to become one with nature. He couldn’t touch her in his Shadow form but he could manipulate the air around her. It also wouldn’t stop his nuts from throbbing for the next few hours.
Appearing back to her in his human form, his mouth was inches away from hers. Cerys opened it to scream, but Luka took advantage and kissed her hard and fast. The woman was a menace. To herself and to him. The quicker he got to the bottom of all of this, the better.
She moaned beneath him, and any thoughts of resisting her charms, drifted away.
Luka didn’t want to feel anything from the kiss. He was scratching an itch that had been there since the moment he’d met her as far as he was concerned. Yet the more he tasted of her, the more he wanted. And that just wasn’t good.
Her skin was flawless, and he was momentarily taken aback by its perfection as he looked down at her. Luka swallowed as her tongue darted out to moisten her already damp lips. There was no way he should be doing this.
Pushing her away from him, he looked deep into her gorgeous green eyes and saw exactly what he was feeling—a deep longing desire.
Now, older and wiser, she's got the opportunity to project her slightly dark and wacky, British sense of humor onto others, whilst still writing the hot bits - bonus!
When not writing, Xandra is thinking of excuses as to why she shouldn't be doing the housework, looking after a husband and cats that refuse to pick up after themselves and climbing the mountain in her house that's affectionately called her tbr pile.
She currently holds the crown for Queen Procrastinator – something she's very proud of – so you can usually find her online, somewhere, when she really should be writing.
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