Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
He is a Prime Warrior of the Dragon Clan. An alien to Earth. Fighting a battle that could tip the balance between two seperate worlds. But now his greatest mission isn’t the battle, or the blood of the enemy. It’s the love of one woman’s heart. One he’s lost once already and vows he will not lose again…
St. James Estate
Lynn Carstairs tossed restlessly within the light nap she was taking. She could feel him. It was a bond that made her nervous, almost frightened. The invisible path between her force and his had been forged, and she couldn’t break it. Hell, break it? She couldn’t even make a dent in her need to weaken it.
She had known the connection most of her life. That faint force, that sense of something or someone reaching out to her. But several weeks ago, it had suddenly begun strengthening, as though some cosmic power had shifted, opening the psychic window she had kept firmly locked on the strange being reaching out to her. But now he had her and it seemed to only grow stronger each day. She cursed her powers now more than ever, certain that they were the reason she was being tracked, stalked by the presence.
The psychic powers that had slowly grown over her lifetime had become the bane of her existence, her career, but also her salvation. In the gifts she carried she could lay the blame for her nightmares, her fears and a knowledge she had never wanted. Yet, at the same time, she knew they had saved her life countless times. Hers and her brothers and those she had fought to protect.
Times like this, though, she cursed them more than most. Not sleeping and yet not awake, shifting knowledge moved about her unconsciousness, creating nightmare visions, images of blood and death and monsters too horrifying to remember when she awakened.
She fought each one; terrified it was her own future death coming to her. She didn’t want to see it. Didn’t want to know it.
She whispered a name then frowned. Whose name did she whisper?
“Where are you?” That question, so often asked of her, was easily enough understood.
“I don’t want this,” she whispered as she fought to pull away. The force remained strong. “Leave me alone. I’m not who you want me to be.”
You were before. You are now. The warrior’s woman. Bound heart and soul, mind and body. The dragon arose before her, the air around her becoming heated, sensitizing her body as she gasped in fear. Her nipples peaked. Her thighs clenched as the tender flesh between them began to throb. She saw him, just for a moment; so handsome it was nearly blinding, so wickedly sexual that the sight of him alone was nearly orgasmic. And he brought death…
A strangled cry escaped Lynn’s throat as she jerked herself awake, staring around the small sitting room, fighting for breath. For life. Wide-eyed, shaking from the effects of the dream and the sudden knowledge that had tried to overwhelm her, she fought to assure herself she was indeed awake.
She dragged her fingers wearily through her tangled hair as she pushed herself shakily to her feet. It was the stress, she assured herself. The fight to protect Ariel St. James’ life was becoming more trying with each attack made against her. Both psychic and physical strikes had been made against the young woman, and despite Lynn’s advanced abilities, she felt as though they were slowly losing the battle.
She paced through the rose and cream room, frowning, trying desperately to come up with answers. They couldn’t fail. She didn’t know why this one mission held such personal importance to her. She couldn’t understand the feeling that this job was the most dangerous one she had ever undertaken in her life.
She was jerked rudely from her thoughts at the low ring of the phone on the small table across from her. Striding quickly across the room, she answered it before it could awaken her client, taking a seat on the small brocade chair beside it.
“Hello.” It would be one of her brothers, she knew.
“Lynn, I’m sending you reinforcements.” Lynn closed her eyes tiredly as her brother’s voice seemed to attack her overloaded brain through the receiver of the phone. “Three men are headed in. Dragon, Gryphon, and Phoenix. They’ll help hold down the fort until we figure out what the fuck is going on here.”
Dragon. She’d dreamed of a dragon. Dreamed of a warrior with wings unfolding as a dragon’s cry echoed around her. She fought to assure herself it was coincidence, nothing more. But she couldn’t still the sudden sense that her life was getting ready to change irrevocably and that, somehow, this job would change it.
She tried to discount the fear. Tried to push it back where she locked the dreams and images that often tormented her. Dragon. Lynn hoped the code names were a bit more reflective of ability than the last two had been, if nothing else. She had lost three men so far and Blackthorne was getting steadily closer to breaking the shields they had placed around the estate to protect their client.
“I don’t like this, Zachary.” She held the phone between her ear and shoulder as she glanced back through the open bedroom door to assure herself Ariel St. James was still resting peacefully. “They’re breaking even our most advanced security measures. I had two attempts last night and the last one almost made it to the house. We can’t afford to lose any more men.”
It was the most concentrated attack against any one person that Lynn had seen out of the terrorist group. Silent, deadly, they moved like wraiths through the night and struck with such fatal intent that the battle to hold them back was taxing the entire force of agents Zachary possessed.
Breach Control Inc. was designed specifically to protect against even the most technologically advanced covert terrorist attacks. Armed with the latest in weapons and security gadgets, they had never needed more than a handful of the men and women assigned to a job at a time. Their full force was on this one. Over two dozen of the most experienced, well-trained and psychically aware agents they had on the payroll. Each night, the attacks came closer to the house, and each one was more deadly.
“These three rate off the scales, Lynnie,” her brother promised her. “Dragon is the strongest of the three. He was able to put Blaken, Matthew and me in a hold we couldn’t even attempt to break, all while he was loading the van with supplies by mental force alone. The other two are nearly as strong. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Lynn’s brow lifted in surprise. Such powers weren’t supposed to exist. But then again, the powers Breach Control’s agents normally possessed weren’t supposed to exist, either.
“What’s their ETA?” she finally asked him with a tentative hope that she could catch a few hours of sleep when they did arrive. If they were that strong, then the rest of this assignment should proceed rather easily.
Protect the girl until she healed. That was their job. But Lynn worried. If Ariel St. James was strong enough in full health to protect herself, then how had Blackthorne kidnapped her the first time? Not just that, though. How had they inflicted such damage to her that now, weeks after her rescue, she was still so weak she could barely care for herself?
“Lynn…” A note of warning crept into Zack’s voice.
Lynn stilled. She knew her brother. Knew that tone of voice and that it didn’t bode well.
“No…” she moaned tiredly. “No bad news, Zack, please. This assignment is going to kill us all at this rate.”
A tense silence filled the phone for long seconds.
“Lynn, they’re Guardian.”
Shock whipped through her body. The Guardians were the worst sort of help. Aliens. A mysterious group of psychic warriors who worked with only select humans in the war against Blackthorne. They were deceptive, powerful, and often too undependable to count on. She did not need this.
She wanted to rap the phone on the antique oak desk and tell her brother just how little she was enjoying herself at the moment.
Guardian. Dammit. Every time she turned around anymore the paranormal aspects of this job were raising their creepy little heads. Aliens. Fucking aliens. Dammit. She didn’t need this any more than she needed a resurgence of the nightmares that had haunted her most of her life.
“Lynn, you’re not screaming at me.” Zack sounded worried. “Listen, these men are good, sis. I promise. They came with Devlin’s seal of approval and they’re strong. Stronger than anything we’ve ever seen. And they’re willing to help.” Which was rare. The question now was why were they willing to help? Lynn had her own suspicions where the Prime Warriors were concerned and none of them were comforting.
“Have you ever thought, Zach, that you’re not doing anything but dealing with the same things that head Blackthorne?” she snapped. “Every piece of information I have on Jonar leads back to the Guardians. How the hell do we know we can trust any of them?”
Years of working with psychic phenomena as a weapon had taught Lynn to gain as much information as possible concerning those she fought against. The files she had accumulated on Jonar and the select group of Guardian warriors were horrifying. Her first meeting with one of the exceptionally beautiful, powerful beings had been enough for her to know that their powers were too similar to the terrorists of the Blackthorne organization that she had come up against that same year.
“I don’t know, Lynnie,” he snapped back. “All I know is they are the best I’ve ever seen or heard. I called Devlin myself and he approved them. He seemed more than relieved they were coming in. That’s enough for me.”
Devlin was human, but he wasn’t normal. Lynn had met him only once and her psychic barometer had gone off the scale the moment he stepped into the room. His power alone was exceptional. And it was his warrior, Shanar the Savage, who claimed Ariel as his woman. Devlin had hired Breach Control to protect her until they could make arrangements to do so themselves. That alone made Lynn suspicious.
If these men her brother was sending her were stronger, then they were in a shit load of trouble if they weren’t the good guys. And Lynn couldn’t be certain they were the good guys.
“Yeah. Yeah,” she sighed as she pushed her fingers restlessly through her short brown hair. Arguing wouldn’t help. Her brothers trusted Devlin’s word implicitly. “Okay. Devlin trusts them, then we trust them. I know the score, Zack. Who’s in charge?”
Her question brought a moment of tense, charged silence.
“Of those three? Dragon is in charge. Of this mission, that hasn’t changed. You’re in charge, Lynn, and he knows it. He didn’t seem to have a problem with it.”
Most male psychics of the type Breach Control hired had an instinctive problem taking orders from a woman. The whole alpha deal, she snorted silently. As though because she had breasts she didn’t have a brain.
“Fine. When will they arrive?” She began making a mental note of the best place to put them.
“I believe we are already here.”
Lynn stilled in shock as the voice, pitched low and filled with amusement and power, whispered from behind her. She turned slowly in her chair, her eyes widening, her chest tightening with some unfathomable emotion that she couldn’t put a name to.
“They ride the waves, sis.” Zach’s voice was little more than a murmur in her ear. “And I’ll be damned if they ain’t good at it.”
The phone clattered to the desk as she rose warily to her feet, staring back at the three huge men. Huge was the only word for it. Six and a half feet tall or better, with wide chests and bulging arms and thighs. They were dressed in black, hair long and flowing, expressions fierce, faces lean and eyes penetrating.
“Fuck!” she wheezed out in shock.
The tallest, his silver eyes glowing, gave her a smile of such sensual threat she felt every nerve ending in her body stand up and scream out in warning.
“Not yet,” he murmured, his voice so deep, so powerful, it vibrated through her body. “But soon, Lady Lynn. Very, very soon.”