Dark Assassins Book One
by Valerie Ullmer Genre: Paranormal Romance
There are two words that described Kai.
Remote and Deadly.
And until six months ago, he was fine with that description. But when the vampire assassin spots a curvaceous woman, a human no less, who would come to fill his thoughts, he would gladly shake his persona for a moment in time with her. Instead, he kept his distance, watching out for her and learning more about her every time their paths crossed. But he had yet to speak to her. When a turn of events thrusts her into his solitary life, he must decide whether to complete his assignment, or protect her.
Olivia Sabin had dedicated her life to her work; finding a cure for cancer. She had hidden behind the mask of a scientist who cares little about anything beyond her laboratory, and for a long while she believed it herself. But when a mysterious man came to frequent the diner she visited nightly, her awareness of him devastated her concentration, and she came to look forward to the glimpses of him, however brief.
When she stumbles upon a horrific experiment at work, she knows he’s the only one she can turn to. She’s willing to sacrifice everything in order to protect him and others of his kind from the same fate. But first, she needs to find a way to get him to hear her explanation.
***Paranormal Romance featuring HOT Vampires and Shifters. Contains explicit sex scenes and each book in the series ends with a HEA.***
That was the moment he spotted her from the corner of his eye.
Her mass of cascading dark, curly hair bounced against the burgundy mid-length trench coat wrapped tightly around her to ward off the chill of the late September night. But with her head tilted down, he was unable to see her face. Even from the distance of over two hundred yards, he could hear her mumbling to herself. As hard as he listened, he couldn’t quite make out the words. The coat did nothing to cover her curves hidden underneath, and he found himself enthralled by the sway of her hips. His gaze traveled down her curvy body, and his groin tightened with every step she took.
Before he could contemplate his actions, he leapt from the deck and flew down the mountain, stopping when he stood, hidden in the darkness, a few feet from her. He forced himself to widen the distance between them, and started trailing her.
Experience and his enhanced senses kept him out of sight from her and the others who ventured out on the cold night. He soon found that she was so absorbed in whatever happened to be on her mind that he could have stood right in front of her, and she would’ve ignored him and kept walking.
He trailed her as she closed in on the diner on the corner, learning that the small eatery was her destination on most nights. She chose that moment to brush her long hair out of her face. With that tiny movement, her fragrance of lemongrass and green apple drifted back toward him. A low snarl erupted from his throat as his body stiffened in shock; the unexpected reaction to her scent was so fierce, he was torn between his instant desire for her and self-preservation. The sound he hadn’t managed to smother must’ve reached her, because her head turned toward him and her brows drew down in confusion. A split second before her eyes landed on where he stood, he stepped back, pissed at his infinitesimal loss of control. A silent sigh of relief passed his lips as she shook her head, not able to spot in him the dark, and continued on her way.
In his over two hundred year existence, he’d never been attracted to a human. Blood was the one reason that he interacted with humans, and even that could be taken from a donor without him having him drink from the source. But as he tried to pass off a reason he reacted to her in such an elemental way, he continued to follow her, finding himself outside the door that read Blue Plate Diner. Obscured by the door, his eyes tracked movement as the waitress greeted her as if they were old friends. For a reason he couldn’t fathom, he felt a surge of jealousy. He was still a stranger to this captivating human, and she intrigued him.
Without quite knowing why he had followed her, he opened the door and walked into the chrome and tiled cafe, taking the time to pull up the hood of his sweatshirt. He scanned the place and settled for a booth at the back of the restaurant, where he could watch her without being detected.
By the time he’d sat down and scanned for any possible dangers, she had pulled out a laptop along with a sheaf of papers filled with formulas he couldn’t decipher. Between typing and writing in the margins of the already filled pages, the concentration on her work was total.
He found himself mesmerized by the play of emotions on her face as she worked. A smile for when she figured out a problem, or a frown when something didn’t quite fit, and everything in between. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her. When she bit her lip in concentration, it took all of his control to keep his distance from her. He found that he had to grip the table to keep himself still, when all he wanted to do was devour her.
The spell was broken when the waitress had placed a club sandwich with a side of fries on the free space next to her elbow. He forced himself to relax, but kept his eyes on her when she reached for the sandwich absently and ate without really paying attention to anything else but the work in front of her.
After several hours, her hand covered a small yawn. She glanced at her watch, and he felt the side of his mouth tilt as she rolled her eyes. Thanking the waitress, she reached for two tens in her pocket and dropped them on the table before she packed up and left.
From that night on, he made a point to arrive at the diner minutes after she was seated, and spent hours scanning her face as he watched her work. And every night, he slid into the shadows as she walked home to her small cottage, with its bright white siding with cornflower blue shutters that matched her perfectly. Each night, he waited until she was safely inside with the door locked, before he made his way back to his home on the mountain.
His attraction also came with a somewhat unwanted reaction. Protectiveness. He estimated her height at under five and a half feet tall, and although she walked everywhere in their relatively safe little town—to her job at Standard Biotech and her home, several blocks from the diner—he had to tamp down his need to protect her. From what, he couldn’t explain, even to himself.
Dark Assassins Book Two
A wolf-shifter and his powerful human.
Reaper had expected it to be an easy assignment. Break into a biotech facility with minimum security and rescue a group of immortals who were subject to deadly experiments and eliminate those who might try to fight back. But the moment he walked into the glass prison and spotted a human woman being held with the immortals, his mission changed.
She became his mission.
Before Reaper had a chance to explain that he was there to help her, she blinded him and the rest of his team and slipped away. Although she had escaped him, a protectiveness that he'd never felt washed over him, and he became determined to find her.
Ara has always depended on herself, but there was something about the shifter that made her want to trust him. She recognized him as someone who was capable of protecting her as well as understanding her secrets without turning her away, but before she could allow herself to trust him, she ran.
But with no resources and running out of ideas about how to protect herself, will she be able to lower her defenses and allow the shifter to help her?
***Paranormal Romance featuring HOT Shifters and Vampires. Contains explicit sex scenes and each book in the series ends with a HEA.***
It had been close to a month since he last spotted the curvy brunette who had come to occupy his waking thoughts, and if it weren’t for his flawless memory, he would have thought she had been a figment of his imagination. An emotion he couldn’t pinpoint clawed inside him, a sense that he needed to find her before another danger presented itself. That feeling led him to stand outside a deserted neighborhood, his breath visible against the cold night, at close to midnight. If he didn’t find her soon, he would have to give up his search and go back to work.
Every night since he had lost her trail, he would scout a different neighborhood in the mountain town of Snowfall, Colorado that contained vacation homes, empty because of the off-season, hoping to catch a glimpse of her. He had found evidence of her overnight stay at several, but he hadn’t been able to track her until after she’d left. Although he sensed that he had been getting close, the time he’d spent searching passed with excruciating slowness with no trace of the woman.
Reaper had first spotted her when his team had raided Standard Biotech to rescue several immortals who had been imprisoned, and to his surprise, the make-shift prison also contained…her.
Hell, he didn’t even know her name, but he knew her to be human.
The moment he walked into the glass enclosure that held her and the other prisoners, he smelled her fear. It took him a moment to locate her with her back pressed against the opposite wall, trying to hide in the shadows. A low growl escaped his throat as the guard in the room reached for her arm, wrenching her closer, as he walked backward toward another exit. Reaper took a step toward her, ignoring the insignificant human with the weapon. At his advance, the guard released his hold on her to grip the gun with both hands. Reaper’s mouth twisted into a smile that promised pain.
The guard reached blindly for her the moment he spotted Reaper’s sneer, but she held herself out of his reach, and at that moment he realized that her fear had nothing to do with their raid. Her eyes darted to the door, as if she expected someone to walk in and kill her. Protectiveness swamped him, and that unknown feeling had him wading through his own thoughts, too slow to reach her before another tried. I got her. Kai started forward. The guard flinched at the quick movement, and he emptied the magazine into the vampire’s chest. Kai grunted in pain, but kept his progress until he reached the woman. Reaching an arm out, Kai gripped the hem of her shirt. Before he could yank her close, the guard smashed the butt of the gun down on Kai’s forearm, breaking several bones and the vampire dropped to the ground.
Reaper darted forward and grabbed the guard by the throat, easily crushing his windpipe, before he tossed him to the side without any further thought. His eyes scanned the area because he expected the woman to be right in front of him, close enough to touch, but when he searched, there was nothing. Mine! He raged inside his own head, not letting the others know about the fear shivering over him at the thought of her gone.
“Fuck, Kai, can you see her?”
The vampire grunted as he righted himself, bleeding profusely from close to a dozen bullet wounds, but he glanced around and he shook his head, confirming that the woman disappeared.
“I can smell her. I still sense her fear,” Reaper said.
After searching for close to a half hour, Kai hadn’t healed enough to continue, and Reaper had been forced to give up his search for the woman.
They carried Kai back to his house where he could drink from his mate, Liv, and regain his strength, but every instinct inside him told him to keep searching for the missing woman. But without an idea where to start, desperation and hopelessness made his muscles and brain lethargic.
Destiny had given him a second chance later that same night. Liv had been kidnapped by the now dead Dr. Ames, the one who had captured and tortured the immortals. Reaper tried to suppress any thoughts about why they’d captured the human woman and what they might have subjected her to during her captivity. It was the only way he could keep his instincts sharp as they raided the warehouse to save Liv.
While they waited for Ghost’s signal to breach, the familiar scent slammed into him, stealing his breath. The stiffening of his spine alerted Jade, who stood next to him in formation. What? Jade’s surprised outburst rang in his head.
He looked down and something on his face had alerted Jade to scan their surroundings. The scent of fear lingered in the air, and although the fox shifter understood what it meant, her brows drew down in confusion at the intensity that must’ve shown on his face. Ghost, the woman is here. Reaper needs to protect her, Jade communicated through their mind link. Go. We’ll call if we have problems. Ghost’s gruff voice gave him permission.
Reaper didn’t wait; he took off at a run, desperate to reach her before she could be spotted or killed.
A Dark Assassins World Novella
Immortals have been a part of Seth's world since he barged into Kai's life at the age of twelve. And having a group of shifter and vampire assassins he considered family, he thought that he'd seen it all and that nothing would surprise him. But the one night he met Aubrey changed his world, and he'd never been so happy to be wrong.
Aubrey was used to seclusion, even before she had been turned into a vampire. She'd never dreamed of a life outside her tiny little world, but that was until she met Seth. Before she could understand her reactions, she ran from him. But she couldn't stay away. The more she gets to know him, the stronger the connection between them solidifies.
When Seth tells Aubrey that he is her mate, will she take a chance and keep him forever?
***Paranormal Romance featuring HOT Shifters and Vampires. Contains explicit sex scenes and each book in the series ends with a HEA.***
Seth kept his head down as the pen in his hand absently wandered over what used to be a blank piece of paper, trying to ignore the group of girls near the front of the classroom who had been trying to get his attention for the past fifteen minutes. He could hear his name randomly thrown into the conversation, but chose not to engage them; he knew where that would lead. Each time he’d turned down their offers of getting coffee or an invite to a campus party, they seemed more determined to find something he wouldn’t refuse. It wasn’t as though he didn’t want to find a girlfriend. But when he had tried dating a few times throughout the years he’d been in college, he been unable to find any woman who attracted him for very long.
He’d made the mistake of asking Emily for a date, the one who had been trying the most to get his attention several rows away since he’d walked into the classroom, and it had been a disaster from the moment he’d picked her up for dinner. She had taken a picture of them together at her front door and then proceeded to text her friends through the entire date, clicking pictures of her hugged to his side, until he’d called off the date and drove her home. After that one time, he had no desire to do it again, but he couldn’t seem to escape her and her friends’ presence.
Although he’d been excited when he’d first started college two years ago, he was glad to be graduating after this last semester so he could start working full-time with Liv in the lab. Along with Hunter, Liv and he hadn’t gotten any closer to figuring out what made an immortal unique. An immortal’s blood—whether shifter or vampire—could fend off diseases and had the ability to regenerate, but there was no clue in the cells as to why. It intrigued Seth, although he hadn’t wanted to or planned to become immortal. But if they could find out the specifics, then he could protect those closest to him, those he considered family.
And although he chose to concentrate on his career instead of trying to meet the right woman, he couldn’t help but feeling lonely from time to time. He knew that the possibility of finding someone for him at school was slim. With his future his top priority, he could push those thoughts aside and concentrate on graduating. And after watching Kai with Liv and Reaper with Ara, he knew that he couldn’t settle for anything less than what they had.
But in order to move on, he needed a couple of classes that he’d put off until the last semester of his senior year. He had no interest in economics, but he needed it as a requirement to graduate. Determined to keep his head down and concentrate on studying, he blew out a breath as he leaned back on his chair and hoped that this semester would pass quickly.
Picking up the sound of the back door closing, Seth glanced to his right. His eyes narrowed as he scanned the woman who started down the stairs of the auditorium classroom and took a seat a couple of rows down from him. A hoodie covered her hair and her face but something about her movements, quick and efficient, drew his eyes over her. She must’ve sensed his scrutiny because once she was seated, she glanced up and met his gaze. Beautiful. It was the one word that came to mind when he gazed into her silver eyes. He had suspected when she had walked into the classroom, but her eyes confirmed his suspicions. He watched as she scanned her surroundings before she settled her gaze back on him. He couldn’t help the tilt of his mouth, a smile that was for her alone. He widened his smile when he could hear the audible intake of breath from the short distance away.
He found himself disappointed when the professor walked in and started class, grabbing her attention away from him. Over the next hour, he couldn’t have recited one word of the lecture and right before class ended, he slipped out the door she had come through. He leaned against the opposite wall and waited for her exit.
Time seemed to stall for several moments before the noise of shuffling feet reached him. Most of the class exited through the main doorway near the front of the classroom; for a moment, he thought she had gone with the crowd. He breathed easier the moment the door in front of him swung open. He watched as she raised her hand to readjust the hoodie over her hair but froze when she spotted him leaning casually against the wall. She dropped her hands to her side, and he was able to see her without obstruction for the first time.
It took him awhile to drag his gaze from silver eyes that were similar, yet completely different. His gaze traced over her long lashes that brushed against her skin as she blinked in surprise. There was a sprinkling of freckles across her nose and cheeks but what drew his gaze was her mouth. Her lips were full and two-toned, peach and pink. They opened as he continued his silence while assessing her. Her reddish-brown hair framed her face, and something deep inside Seth’s chest kicked, hard.
When he thought that she might not be interested, her gaze dropped to his lips before continuing down. Her eyes scanned him until he felt as though she was already intimate with his body. He was grateful for the assassins and their training regimen over the past couple of years because he had managed to fill out a bit and added muscle to his mostly tall, gangly frame.
“Hey gorgeous, I’m Seth.”
He wanted to reach out and have some tangible proof that she was real and standing in front of him in that moment in time, but he knew that she would run from him before he learned anything about her. And it was crucial that he got know her.
Instead of reacting to his endearment or his introduction, she leaned closer as her eyes roamed over his face. Before she pulled back, she took a deep breath. “Why do you smell like vampire and several species of animal?”
Dark Assassins Book Three
Xander has secretly yearned for a mate for most of his immortal existence, and yet after three of his friends found exactly what he’s always wanted, he’d come to believe that he’d missed his chance at happiness.
Until he heard her voice.
Frost is a wildlife biologist and tracker and she has been assigned, despite her adamant protests, to lead mercenaries into the mountains of Snowfall, Colorado for the sole purpose of killing immortal shifters. In order to protect those who have no idea the kind of danger they are in, she agrees. As she leads the armed men on a wild chase around the snow-covered pines, she could sense that she was running out of time.
Until she heard his voice.
Xander understands exactly who Frost is the moment he hears her thoughts. With the help of Kane and Gunnar, they eliminate those in her group as they try to keep her safe. But during the fight, she is hurt and all of his protective instincts flare to life. As Xander learns more about her, he realizes that Frost might be the key to the creation of the immortals, both vampire and shifter.
But when she becomes a target from those who want to destroy the Dark Company and Xander’s family, how far will he go to save her?
***Paranormal Romance featuring HOT Vampires and Shifters. Contains explicit sex scenes and each book in the series ends with a HEA.***
Xander glanced up from the thriller he was reading when he’d heard the sound of car tires turning onto his driveway, realizing that time had gotten away from him. Gunnar and Kane were coming over for weapons training Ghost had scheduled on New Year’s Day, for a reason that escaped all three of them. Xander had designed and built the gun range deep into the woods behind his newly completed house and Ghost had designated it the training center for all of the assassins. And he couldn’t fault Ghost for wanting his assassins to train. There had been another threat to Dark Company that Ghost had downplayed, not giving any of them details, but Xander could tell that he’d worried about it.
Besides, Xander had bought a Sig Sauer P226 over the holidays and it would be his first chance to test it out. And although he would never admit it aloud, he was grateful for the company so soon after the holidays.
Seth and Aubrey had gotten married back in November and although he was happy for them, and for Kai and Liv, and Reaper and Ara, he felt the stark loneliness acutely. Shaking off his melancholy, he opened the door. But before he could greet them, the three of them froze. They could hear the distinct crunching of snow and pine needles under heavy boots.
“About two miles north. Are you expecting anyone else?” Gunnar asked.
“No.” Xander closed the door behind him and engaged the lock before he followed the other two as they moved toward the sound at a quick clip. He hadn’t even bothered to grab a coat, but the snow and cold barely registered, even in his thin pullover and jeans. At least he had his shoes on before his friends arrived.
His eyes searched for movement, sensing the other two close, as they approached the origin of the sounds.
“I hear seven different strides…no, wait, make that eight. The last one has a lighter footfall than the others. Woman, possibly?”
That was when they heard the sound of metal slapping against a palm, as if they were getting ready to fire a gun.
Split up and we’ll surround them. He used their mind link so no one could overhear their conversation.
Gunnar and Kane met his eyes and nodded, once, before they disappeared into the pines.
Xander heard the distinct steps, those trudging through the knee-deep mountain snow at an almost prohibitive pace, grunting as they grew tired from their trek. He knew that if they engaged them, the assassins would have the advantage of stealth, along with their ability to move freely.
Xander received a flash of an image. Kane had gone for higher ground and had a view from miles around.
Yeah, on three of them. Dressed in white camo. They don’t seem very coordinated and they are dragging the barrels of their AR-15s through the snow. Dumbasses. Xander heard Kane’s sarcasm and bit back a laugh.
Then he heard from Gunnar. He and Jade were the best trackers he knew. I got the others. There’s a smaller figure, but whoever it is, their features are obscured by a hood and bulky jacket. That one doesn’t have a weapon.
Another image flashed and this one showed the clearing where the entire group sprawled out without any thought to formation or protection. Some had guns strapped to their backs; others held the guns loosely in their hands, unprepared to shoot at any sound or movement.
Xander soon moved into position and had eyes on them. He spotted an older man with short cropped, dark hair sprinkled with gray as he turned toward the small figure Gunnar spoke about.
“What animals made those tracks?”
Xander rolled his eyes. The snow was too deep for any definitive answer. It could have been anything from a bear to a fucking moose. He paused to hear the answer, but the mumble that came did nothing to clarify who the person was with these armed men. But something clicked and it made perfect sense.
I think they are looking for us. They have magazines clipped to their belts, handguns within easy reach, and knives for hand-to-hand combat. They are looking for animal tracks, and they are way too fucking close to where Reaper, Kai, Seth, and I have houses. There’s nothing else up here that they could be searching for.
Xander froze when he heard a feminine voice carry over to him. She sounded closer than she had been even a few moments before. He should have sensed her coming closer. But the only question on his mind was why the fuck she was tagging along with a group of mercenaries. He heard the voice again, a tinny version of her voice, and for a long moment he couldn’t understand the words. Until she stepped forward.
No, no. Not that way. Not that way.
Something warmed his chest as he heard her in his head as clearly as if they were speaking aloud. A familiarity washed over him and he felt connected to this woman in an elemental way. A feeling of a peace settled over him. He knew this was the first time he’d ever heard her voice. He was so stunned and happy that he didn’t even question how they were able to mind link.
Can either of you hear the woman’s thoughts?
Woman? Gunnar sounded confused.
Kane’s reply was quick and clipped. No.
Xander tried to get her attention. Can you hear me?
He held his breath when he heard her distinct gasp, knowing that their mind link worked. His chest filled with dread at the thought that she gave herself away, until he heard her next words.
“I spotted a grizzly bear in the trees to the west. Sorry, I startled him and he ran off.”
For long seconds, the men in the clearing stared at the woman before they were ordered to keep searching.
Xander stood close enough that he could see her curves underneath the heavy white parka. And having the worst timing in the world, Xander felt himself harden. He took a deep, cleansing breath of sharp mountain air that instantly cooled his overheated body.
Yes, I can hear you. These men, seven in total, are looking for immortals. They have been contracted by my boss at US Fish and Wildlife to kill them. Apparently the immortals are supposed to become animals. Can you help me without hurting yourself? They are heavily armed.
Dark Assassins Book Four
Jade never wanted a mate. She loved being an assassin and she had a family in her fellow assassins, their mates, and little Silas. She truly had everything she needed. But when Ghost assigned her to track the same immortals who tried to kill Xander’s family, she couldn’t refuse.
But the complication arises when Ghost requests she partner with Noah, a human and ex-special forces soldier. Jade has never worked with a human before, much less one that hated her from the moment he laid eyes on her. But she was a professional and if she could play a part in destroying the immortals who threatened her family, she could accept the human. If only she knew how to fight her attraction to him.
All Noah Hale wanted was to kill the immortals who lured his best friend and fellow ex-Navy SEAL to his death. He had no desire to be teamed with a beautiful tracker who mesmerized him the moment she turned her emerald eyes his way. But in order to stop other soldiers from pursuing the same fate, he needed to swallow his pride and work with a group of immortals he didn’t trust.
As Jade and Noah track the group of shifters through the mountains of Colorado, the danger lurking around every corner threatens everything they both hold close. Will they be able to find a way through, together?
***Paranormal Romance featuring HOT Vampires and Shifters. Contains explicit sex scenes and each book in the series ends with a HEA.***
Jade caught a scent of a human as she entered the fourteen-story building in downtown Snowfall. It wasn’t just any human scent, but something that made all of her instincts flare. She knew that she’d never caught this particular scent before, but something told her that this human might be important to her. She tried to brush it off as quickly as the thought came, but she couldn’t find it coincidental she smelled it in the same steel building owned by Ghost and housed the headquarters of Dark Company.
As she dismissed the fleeting thought of searching for the scent, her heart thumped once, hard, in her chest at the thought of not finding its owner. She forced herself to walk toward the elevator bank, ignoring the unwanted perusals she received from the men in the lobby. Even in an unassuming hoodie and black yoga pants, she drew unwanted attention. A side effect of being an immortal.
The elevator opened as soon as she pressed the up-button and she kept her gaze down as she walked into the elevator. She entered the code to get to Ghost’s private floor, her movements too quick to be caught by the human eye, before she squeezed into the corner. Jade used her other senses as three men in suits and two women entered the enclosed space with her. There was no need to glance at the glass interior that covered the back wall to see what she looked like.
She sensed eyes on her. Instead of searching out the gaze, she whipped her long, straight dyed black hair into a bun on the back of her head with quick movements before sneaking her hands into the front pockets of her hoodie.
Jade waited patiently as the car traveled toward the penthouse, her ultimate destination, but she couldn’t help but try to find the intriguing scent from earlier. After my meeting.
All she knew was he hadn’t used the particular elevator she was in and the higher the lift took her in the building, the more his scent dissipated.
In her entire existence, or what she remembered of it, she’d never been attracted to…anyone. She’d never felt the pull to find someone either. But lately, she’d felt increasingly restless whenever she had any downtime and her skin tingled in a way that had nothing to do with signaling immediate danger. It was as though her body tried to convey something she didn’t understand.
Her thoughts were interrupted when a man who had gotten into the elevator with her on the first floor stepped into her personal space.
Jade rolled her eyes and raised her head to glare at the man. Of course, he wouldn’t take the hint that she wanted to be left alone. To emphasize the point, she crossed her arms and leaned against the wall, moving away from his intrusion.
The man decided to take this as an invitation and moved to wrap his arm around her waist. The move gave her a clear shot to his ribs and she took it, gently moving her elbow back and making contact. She flinched when she heard a distinctive crack, realizing she hadn’t been careful enough. Before she could apologize, the elevator door opened and he ran off without looking back, holding onto his side.
Jade had never told anyone, not even Liv, who knew more about her than anyone else. But she hated being the center of attention. She’d gotten so desperate to avoid it that she dyed her hair black in order to detract from her naturally soft ginger hair, green eyes, and freckles that made her look young. But instead of diverting attention, she somehow drew more.
She wanted to be known for her fierce fighting and being a good friend. She couldn’t care less what she looked like and even less if she had a mate. Xander had wondered about Frost for decades before meeting her, thinking he’d missed her. Reaper hadn’t discounted his own mate, especially after Kai found Liv, but the moment he laid eyes on Ara, he knew she was for him. It had taken Kai almost losing Liv to recognize what he knew all along. And their Seth had grown up and married Aubrey, the sweetest vampire and woman Jade had ever known.
She enjoyed her life with her family, and loved her job because she believed that she made a difference. But each time another assassin met their mate, their mates took one look at her and expected Jade to be the competition. She never blamed them, but it hurt her a little each time it happened.
Gunnar was right when he described her to Liv as needing a lot of contact and that she loved touch. But it wasn’t because she was seeking sexual pleasure. Being physically close to her family, being able to hold Silas and hug those close to her, made her red fox relax in contentment. It was why she loved it when Silas sought her out and they talked for hours about everything and nothing.
But being sexually intimate with someone required trust. She had ways to pleasure herself that didn’t make her vulnerable to anyone.
Jade shook off her thoughts as the elevator car came to a stop on her floor. She would find out what Ghost wanted and then head to Xander’s. She promised Silas that they could shift and run through the woods to Kai’s, where they would have dinner with the rest of the family.
As soon as the doors opened, she caught the scent again, only concentrated on this floor. Well…shit.
Whatever Ghost wanted, he had a human in his office, most likely her mate.
Dark Assassins Book Five
Half-vampire and half-shifter.
The one definitive belief panther-shifter Hunter and the other immortals understood about shifters and vampires; vampire venom is deadly to shifters and vice versa. But Hunter never worried about testing the theory because he never wondered if he had a mate, even after a few of his family had found their own. As he and two others stumble upon and eliminate several rogue shifters, part of a larger group determined to kill each of the assassins, Hunter also stumbles upon the one woman destined to be his. There’s only one problem. She’s part vampire.
All alone in the world.
Despite everything, Neri made a life for herself after she escaped from a facility using her as a test subject. She has no past, no family, and no connections to the world as far as she can remember. She stays to herself and finds a routine, telling herself she isn’t lonely. But everything changes when she spots Hunter and her first true memory revealed. He was there the day someone injected her with an experimental drug and changed into this cold being.
As Neri and Hunter navigate their newfound relationship, their journey becomes even more complicated when they learn Neri’s venom is deadly to shifters. But with help from the other immortals, Hunter and Neri reveal her past and realize the extent of the threat Dark Company has been dealing with for years.
But can their relationship survive with so much stacked against them?
***Paranormal Romance featuring HOTVampires and Shifters. Contains explicit sex scenes and each book in the series ends with a HEA.***
Neri burrowed closer to his warmth as it infused into her cold skin. She hummed as she clung to him. He let out a breath, and she remembered, too late, that her skin was cold to the touch and she tried to pull back. Hunter stopped her movements by opening his hand on her back.
“I like the feel of your cool skin on mine. We shifters run hot and it’s half the reason we live in the mountains.”
Neri must have had a look a disbelief on her face because Hunter cupped her cheek and continued.
“It makes you unique. You are perfect the way you are.”
“Odd, you mean. A freak.”
“No, no angel, you are not a freak. Each immortal is different, each with rare abilities and skill sets. There is nothing wrong with being you.”
She grew quiet as she mulled over Hunter’s words.
Although she had limited interactions and conversations with other people and trusted none, she trusted Hunter.
“Even though I remember nothing from before my transition, I can sense when I’m in danger. When it happens, I find myself in another place before I can blink.
“I sensed I never allowed myself to get close to anyone, even in the life I had before I found myself imprisoned, and I have no clue what normal behavior is. But the doctor said I was disposable, and I found no evidence anyone ever wanted me to bother enough to search for me, so I couldn’t help conclude he was right.”
Hunter’s expression grew sad as he stroked his hand up and down her arm, warming her skin.
“We always believed immortality is a second chance in life. Some remember their past and some don’t but all that matters is we found each other. So now you have a mate and by default, a nosy, loud, and deadly family who protects their own and will butt into our lives any chance they get, but they mean well. And we’ll find the answers you need. But know this…”
Neri, who had been staring into Hunter’s eyes and watching them spark with emotion as he spoke, blinked away tears that threatened to spill over. “What?”
“Nothing we find will change things between us. You are mine and I, my angel, belong to you.”
Overwhelmed by strange emotions that flooded through her, she took a moment to calm her emotions enough to speak. As she opened her mouth to respond, there was several loud clanks in succession. Each let her know something had tripped her motion sensors. The ten different pairs of flood lights surrounding her house and her workshop were illuminating the grounds.
Neri blinked and without thinking was out of the bed in the next second, opening the lid of her laptop and pressing the spacebar to wake it up. Once she logged in, she clicked open the surveillance system and moved from one camera to the other until she stopped at a group of men clustered around the front of her house. She counted fifteen men, all dressed head to toe in black.
With her eyes focused on the screen to see if there were any others around, she heard Hunter pulling on his clothes. She followed the group around the side of the house as they searched for a vulnerability in her security.
Valerie resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband and their dog, Maddie.
While she had been interested in writing a romance novel for years, it wasn’t until she wrote her first book that she really became hooked, and now she can’t stop. She has notebooks full of ideas, and she plans to write most of them in the years to come.
When she’s not writing or learning about the craft of writing, she can be found surfing the internet way too much, watching Investigation Discovery and thinking that her neighbors are up to no good, and finding new ways to get her husband to laugh.
What inspired you to write this book?
To be honest, there are a handful of paranormal/fantasy romance books I’ve enjoyed reading throughout the years. But the thought of writing one, developing my own world and giving abilities to my characters who didn’t have to stay in the realm of someone’s else rules, made me excited to write this series.
When I started the Dark Assassins series, I was new to writing. I had one novella and one novel under my belt, both contemporary romance and was looking for my next idea. I didn’t like the two ways vampires were portrayed in fiction; either they were blood thirsty monsters or the romantic, brooding hero who spent way too much time in the book denying the inevitable.
And the idea came from a writing prompt about a vampire who prowled New Orleans waiting for his next victim, but instead, fell in love. I liked the story, but instead of a typical setting, I moved my vampire to the mountains of Colorado. Then the idea developed into the vampire being an assassin, one of many immortals, who worked for Dark Company who were contracted by the government to eliminate enemies of the state. And because vampires and shifters don’t get along in most other books, the vampire in my book had to be friends with shifters.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in the series?
Hunter (A Dark Assassins Novel Book Five). Hunter, who is a black panther shifter, finds his mate in a half shifter half vampire named Neri.
The first book is Kai, who is the vampire protagonist who meets his mate, Olivia or Liv, a human working as an immunologist who is searching for the cure for cancer when she stumbles upon research that destroys immortals.
Reaper, the timber wolf, finds his mate Ara in the facility where Liv worked. She is a telekinetic who has more power after she transitions into a shifter. My first novella follows Seth, Kai’s next-door neighbor who was seventeen in that book, who meets a vampire during a college class one day. Aubrey is his vampire mate and they fall in love and she turns him.
Xander, a snow leopard, meets his mate Frost when she leads an expedition to track down and kill the immortals. She’s a half shifter and half human. She is able to get pregnant and after a few months, Silas, their son is born. Silas has his own powers and is a loving, happy baby.
And the fourth book is Jade, a red fox shifter, who meets her mate, a ex-Navy SEAL looking to avenge his best friend’s death at the hands of the same group out to kill the assassins of Dark Company. He is turned when Jade’s long-lost brother bites him.
The rest of the group are unmated. Drew, Jade’s brother, Gunnar, a gray wolf, and Axel the lion. Along with Ghost, the boss and owner of Dark Company and a white wolf, and the vampires, Kane, who is featured prominently in book one, along with Thomas, and Isaac. All of the assassins who don’t have mates will all get their own story.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Hunter is consummate professional. After he was turned into a black panther in 1921, he was recruited by Ghost to become an assassin. He trains new recruits and he helps Liv in the lab as she investigates the origins behind immortality. Although some of them had found their mate, Hunter didn’t truly believe he had one. Until he met Neri.
Neri doesn’t remember anything beyond the four years she’s lived on her own after escaping from the same lab where Liv worked. She has created a successful business designing and creating wood furniture. She’s a loner who prefers not to interact with a lot of people, but that all changes when she meets Hunter and she’s introduced to the assassins.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I think every time you write a book, it’s a completely different experience from the one before it, even if you’re writing a series. The more you write, the more you get a feel for where the story is heading, how to structure your novel in a way that’s natural, and then the story takes you where the characters want it to go.
For this particular book, the fifth in the series, I learned that for my paranormal romance, I can’t outline. Don’t get me wrong, I have a pile of notes that reference everything that happened in the series, names, dates, scents, eye color, etc., but for the life of me, I can’t outline the book. I become a pantser instead of a plotter. It only took me five books and a novel to understand this concept.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been wanting to write since high school. Over the years, I would research the best way to write a book and then I would stall there. It wasn’t until a layoff in 2010 when I became serious about writing. My first book was, horrific is a great word to describe it. It will never see the light of day. After that, I wrote a duology and those two I did self-publish. Ever since then, I write full time and I love every moment of it. (Well, okay, not the editing. Or sometimes the middle, but I love writing nonetheless.)
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
Research is similar to studying the art of writing. It is beneficial, because to be honest, when isn’t knowledge helpful. But you can get bogged down with too much information that you forget to write. So I research the essentials, but I save the research for when I’m in the middle of writing and force myself to learn what I need and then move on.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I need noise. Silence drives me batty. Instead of paying attention to writing, I find excuses to investigate a foreign sound. I have to have something in the background, even if the volume is low.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I write one book at a time, but I have several books already planned. So, for instance, before Hunter, I had this idea for a completely different series and started outlining the first book and before I knew it, I outlined the entire book.
When I outline, I go scene by scene and write out what if questions. It might seem weird, but the best way I find to write out a complete book is what if questions. For instance, what if Hunter is training Drew in the woods along with Kane and after killing some rogue shifters, he spots a woman who stood there frozen, watching them? Which leads to, what if Hunter senses this woman is important to him? The questions always lead to other questions, if you have enough, it creates a scene.
But I can’t work on more than one idea at a time. When I do have a new idea, because there are plot ideas everywhere, I write them out in a notebook so I can explore the idea more at a later date. I have hundreds of ideas and while some I’ll develop into a book, others aren’t fleshed out enough to write a complete novel, so those might be a short story or novella.
A day in the life of the author?
Well, to be honest, I love structure but it’s a bit hard when you work at home by yourself. So instead, I’ll tell you my typical day. After I wake and send my husband off to work, I either walk my dog or take her swimming at a local dog pool with all of her friends. By the time I sit down in front of my computer, it’s usually ten in the morning. For about two hours, I post blog spots from several promo companies and author groups I work with and catch up on my emails. I eat lunch and by that time, I’m ready to write. I consider outlining writing, since my first draft comes from my outlines.
On days I’m not writing, I edit my books that are set to be released or I’m starting a new outline for a book. In between, I schedule promos of my upcoming books with online promotion companies, setting up marketing through social media, and trying to remember everything needing to be done. In the evening, whether I’m working on a new project, in the middle of writing a new book, or editing my finished work, I read. I love to read and when I have time, I’m reading something.
Advice you would give new authors?
The best advice is from Stephen King. Write.
If you want to be a writer, you write, every day. No excuses. If you don’t feel like it, write. If you’re tired, write. If you think your writing is horrible, write. If you have no ideas on what to write, find a writing prompt and then write. The best way to become a writer is to write.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
To be honest, you are never going to please everyone with your writing, so you write for yourself. You find an idea you can’t stop thinking about. You develop the characters, give them motivations and flaws, character quirks and a personality. Then you structure your story, make sure the plot and the conflict is valid, and write it. Not everyone is going to like your writing, just as a reader, you don’t love every book you read. But if you try to conform to one person’s ideals of a perfect book, you’re never going to finish. I write for myself and if others happen to like it, I’m happy. If they don’t, I don’t let it discourage me. I keep writing.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
On average, anywhere from two to four months, depending on how well the story flows and if I have a block sometimes.
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