The Order of The Senary Series Book Two
Genre: Dark Paranormal Romance
Not even his past life as a former marine and FBI agent could prepare him for the battle against the monster inside him, struggling to take hold. After an old nemesis of the Senary surfaces in Brooklyn, unleashing chaos and terror in the battered borough, Jon sets out to take him down. Instead, he ends up with far more than he bargained for when he clashes with the beautiful half-vampire hybrid, Lawan Knight.
After escaping near death and suffering unspeakable horror at the hands of vampires, Lawan trusts no one, regardless of species. In between bouts of drunken stupor, her only goal is to exterminate all those who've wronged her, including every member of Jon's vampire bloodline. But Jon’s soulful eyes and quick smile crawls under her skin, transforming her black and white world into a hazy shade of gray.
As the days rapidly grow darker, Jon and Lawan turn to one another, but their inner demons threaten to tear them apart. The only way either of them will survive is if they overcome their greatest fear—love.
His opponent was female, wearing a slim-fitting black battle uniform and carrying enough artillery to outfit a small army. Her jet-black hair was tied in a long braid and a black mask covered the lower half of her face. Her dark, almond-shaped eyes revealed her Asian heritage, her skin the color of caramel. A scabbard stretched across her back, strapped to her chest, along with the M16 she’d used to tear up the warehouse.
Jon took a step back, but she didn’t hesitate, launching at him with the blade. Metal clashed and sparks flew as he parried the long sword’s quicksilver arcs with his dagger. Although she limped from her injured leg, her strikes were hard, fast, and precise, each blow intended to kill. He nearly tripped over the pirate’s body as she backed him against the wall of the refinery, and he ducked as the blade screeched along the brick.
Before Jon straightened, he jabbed the butt of his KA-BAR into her knee and she yelped, stumbling backward. He slashed at her and caught nothing but air as she lurched away from him. She swung the Kris at his head and he raised the KA-BAR to engage and bind the sword. Both of their weapons trembled as their eyes locked on one another across the tangle of deadly metal.
And as her smoldering gaze drilled into him, he smelled it.
Dama de Noche.
The Lady of the Night, a nocturnal blooming flower he’d first smelled years ago in Nepal, when he was a human soldier. The scent was unmistakable, underlying the incense of vampire. The stench of leech didn’t belong to her, but the floral aroma was all her own.
She’s not a vampire.
Stunned by the revelation, Jon wavered, and she quickly took advantage of him. She sidestepped and lunged at him, sinking the blade in his shoulder. He shouted, dropping his KA-BAR as pain erupted from his dominant limb. Moving lightning fast, she yanked the blade out and sliced an arc across his chest. Luckily, she only scored his Kevlar, and as the sword swooped around again, Jon caught it with his gloved hands, silver biting into leather.
“You’re a hybrid,” he ground out. “I’m on your side!”
She pushed hard against him, drawing blood. “Bullshit.” Her voice was a rich contralto, edged with a growl. “You reek of Temhota.”
The Dama drew back and chopped at his belly, but Jon blocked her with his forearms, metal jarring against his bones. Finally, he managed to kick the blade out of her grip and it spun away, clattering to the ground. She somersaulted backward to retrieve it, but Jon caught hold of her braid in mid-air and wrenched on it. She cried out and landed face-first on the pavement, her breath audibly whooshing from her throat.
Jon wound her braid around his hand like a rope and straddled her, pinning her down. He tore the M16 off and tossed it as she writhed beneath him, fighting hard. Yanking her head up, he leaned close to her ear. “I’m not your enemy,” he hissed.
Her already shallow breath quickened and her struggles intensified, her sweet scent pumping from her pores in cloying waves. Panic. Fear. Restraining her like this completely terrified her.
Jon let up, knowing it was a mistake, but the shred of humanity still left in him couldn’t resist. The Dama slammed the crown of her head into his face and his retinas exploded in a staggering palette of reds, whites, and grays. His nose caved in, but not so far as to bury the bony shards into his brain. Blood poured out of him like a leaky faucet as he fell back, propping himself up on the wall of the refinery.
She was on him in an instant, chopping the edge of a flat hand into his trachea before smashing a fist in his ear. She wobbled to her feet as he struggled desperately to breathe—remember Jon, you don’t have to—and she gave him a vicious kick to his solar plexus, doubling him over. The pain was terrific, a cacophony of agony echoing from every corner of his body.
Jesus Christ, she was beating the shit out of him.
The Dama stood there, shaking, the fabric of her fallen mask fluttering to the ground. Jon blinked, trying to clear his blurred vision as she picked up her sword. He stole a glimpse of her face as she flung the mask up with the blade and caught it. A tattoo marked her cheek, the black symbol unmistakable but jagged, as if she’d thrashed during the process.
The same mark he’d painted on his chest lay branded on her face—the emblem of the Temhota.
Jon yanked down the neckline of his shirt, much like he had with the pirate, but this time he wiped at the mark, smearing it. The Dama paused in front of him, eyes narrowed, a gash marring her forehead. Even with the mark of his enemy on her face, she was breathtaking, and he didn’t have much breath left to spare.
“Not real,” he said past swollen lips, lifting trembling fingers stained with both paint and blood. “No mark.”
“But you are a leech.” She pointed the serpentine blade at the hollow of his throat.
He nodded, swallowing iron. “I work with the Senary. I used to . . . I used to be human. I’m not what you think I am.”
“You stink of them.” Her lip curled in a snarl.
He nodded again, every muscle in his body screaming. “Because I’m one of them. Yet I’m not.”
Brilliant. Maybe a few of those bony shards made their way into his brain after all.
She flipped the sword deftly and held it in a two-handed grip, the sin qua non of impending decapitation. Her dark eyes didn’t have the cat-like gleam signature to vampires, but hate and anger bled through them anyway.
“Makes no difference to me.”
Snapping into action, she sprinted as fast as her legs would carry her, taking sharp turns and cutting across debris-ridden alleyways. She leapt over dumpsters, scaled chain-link fences, and stomped over the carcasses of long dead cars. The blood gave her an extra boost as she blew past the library—bookless, thanks to her—and blazed a trail through Coffey Park, heading straight for her church.
The presence faded as soon as she passed the decrepit playground. Hope swelled in her chest. Maybe she lost them. Maybe they kept going down Dwight Street instead.
Her blessed church came up fast and Lawan didn’t slow down as she jumped the iron fence and burst into the side door. She skidded to a halt on the crimson carpet, practically tumbling into the main room in front of the ambry. Doubling over, she struggled to catch her breath before she sat down hard on the floor. She slipped off her bag, pulled off her mask, and flopped back, chest heaving as she stared up at the vaulted ceiling.
Oscar trotted over, purring loudly and shoving his furry head into her hand. She couldn’t even speak, her breath sawing in and out of her lungs as she closed her eyes with relief.
Yes. She made it.
For the second time that night, Lawan let her body settle down as Oscar nuzzled her hand and licked her fingers, the same fingers she’d lapped at earlier. Her bag rested beside her and she patted it, feeling the cold blood through the nylon.
“That was a hell of a run for getting nowhere.”
The all-too-familiar timbre stabbed Lawan’s eardrums and wrapped around her throat, yanking her into a seated position. The leech who wasn’t a leech, the hybrids’ vampire stood at the archway, leaning against the jamb. He wasn’t fully geared up, wearing plain clothes and an exposed shoulder holster beneath his open bomber jacket.
His obsidian eyes sparked with amusement as she swiftly pulled her nine and aimed it at his forehead.
“Glad I wore my sneakers,” he added, not the least bit perturbed.
Lawan gaped at him, slack-jawed and stupid. Oscar leapt between them and hissed at him, black fur raised along the length of his spine and claws digging into the carpet.
A vampire had just strolled into her sanctuary, onto hallowed ground. Impossible. Unbelievable. Unreal.
Oh my God. He really isn’t a leech.
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