Wing Slayer Hunters Series, Book 4
Jennifer Lyon Books (November 16, 2016)
A FORBIDDEN LOVE WILL FULFILL HER DESTINY
Roxanne “Roxy” Banfield refuses to be like her mother, a fertility witch who uses sex as nothing more than a magical weapon. Roxy rejects that life and is determined to become mortal to pursue her dream of real love and a family. All she has to do is avoid meeting the one man whose sensuality can release her powers. But steering clear of this magnetic stranger is easier said than done.
Wing Slayer Hunter Kieran “Key” DeMicca channels the dark violence that lives inside him into a popular comic book series about an ancient dragon named Dyfyr, but only Key knows that Dyfyr is real. Lately he finds himself drawing images of a young woman in peril, and assumes that she’s just a product of his imagination—until he meets Roxy. Struck by her beauty and her resemblance to his sketches, he feels compelled to protect her. As steamy magic, lethal danger, and timeless love collide, Roxy must become what she swore she would never be—and inadvertently awake a part of Key that will threaten to destroy them both.
Read an Excerpt
She was the image of sex.
No, she was more than sex. She invoked wild feelings, untamed ardor mixed with protective…
Shit, he didn’t know! Kieran DeMicca kept drawing, desperate to reveal her.
Each line he stroked on the wall of his hotel room made his cock ache and harden. He was drawing beauty. Passion. Sensuality.
Normally he drew vigilante justice in bold charcoal splashed with red. That was his medium, his art, what he was famous for: Dyfyr, Dragon of Vengeance, exploding from the charcoal lines to spew his blood fury. Dyfyr had no restraint or moral boundaries; he only dealt in vengeance on behalf of those who couldn’t fight back for themselves. He had a personal grudge against his sire, the demon dragon that had created him. That was what Key lived and what he drew.
Not this. Sweeping lines of sex and woman. Not a girl, not a lady, but a woman.
Still couldn’t see her! Sweat ran down his back into the waistband of his jeans. He could see only the parts: the sweep of her shoulder, the curve of her waist, the sweet contour of her thigh, the heart-shaped face.
He had no choice, no ability to control what he drew. It came from his soul; he drew because he had to. Her breasts were full and spilling over her arm. She wouldn’t let him see her nipples and that infuriated him. But then he captured the enticing curve of her hip, with the one thigh turned and shielding her mound.
“Show me, damn it!” he snarled, needing to see all of her.
She refused, but his attention was on her stomach now. She wasn’t anything like the other women he drew. Her stomach wasn’t cut to rigid muscles, but rather, she had a slope that made him want to press his face into the softness of her belly.
More sweat slid down his chest. The air was cranked up high, but the heat came from within.
From the woman. But it was more than lust. He drew to drain off the fiery heat of violence writhing within him, leaving him cold and empty. But every line of this woman created a reverse flow that made him burn with lust, and made him feel. Wild feelings, possessive feelings, tender feelings.
Who was she?
Key picked up another pencil and unveiled her face.
Stroke by stroke.
And when he was done, his breath caught. He’d never seen her before. The dragon tat on his chest shifted in his skin. His entire body went tight with red-hot, fierce, ball-exploding lust. She appealed to the man in him on a visceral level. He wanted to protect her, screw her, and soothe her all at the same time.
Her tilted green eyes stared back at him and told the story.
A shiver raced down his spine. Oh fuck! The witch appealed to something much darker within him, and a hell of a lot more dangerous. He was a witch hunter, cursed to crave the power in witch blood. If he killed a witch, his soul would be gone. He’d go rogue, turning into the murdering jackals his father, uncle, and half brother had been. He’d refused to let the curse turn him, fought it every day since puberty.
Was he losing the fight? Was that what made him draw her? A witch he’d never seen before? Just looking at her fractured him, part of him desperate to stroke, pleasure, and protect her, another part wanted to destroy her by cutting her and letting the warm spill of her potent blood cool the burn of the curse on his skin.
His arm twitched and when he looked down, he saw that he had picked up another pencil. Red. For blood.
Liam! he thought. Shit! His half brother was dead. It had been eleven years since Key had plunged his knife into Liam’s chest and sliced out a chunk of his heart, then walked away. He had to be dead. Yet . . . the name Liam burned deep into his brain, as if he had an artpsychic connection with his half brother.
Had he survived? Or was the insanity of bloodlust claiming Key?
He fought the need to keep drawing, resisting the urge to destroy this beauty with his bloodred pencil. He struggled, hurling the pencil against an adjacent wall. No. He wouldn’t draw the brutalization of this witch! Every time he’d slipped into his frenzied drawing mode, he’d been drained, dispassionate, pissed off on an intellectual level. Not this! Not feeling the agony of emotions, of caring. Goddammit!
He was in a maelstrom that he could only vent by drawing. His hand shook with the need, the compulsion to draw and destroy. His muscles popped and burned, his veins swelled with bloodlust. From the first time he’d held a thick crayon in his hand at three years old, art had been his refuge, his solace. His sanity. Drawing drained off the core of violence inside him. Left him calm, reasonable, able to live.
But if he picked up that pencil and decimated this sensual creature that embodied everything female, he would feel it. Feel too much: hatred, rage, anger, grief, disgust, horror—and it would drive him closer to the edge. Closer to losing control of the bloodlust, and going rogue.
Clenching his fists, he fought, struggled, and sweat coated him, pouring down his naked chest, soaking his skin. Shakes began from his bones and rattled outward.
Rage and violence exploded inside his chest. His dragon tat roared in his head. And Key lost.
He picked up the pencil.
And he began to destroy her.
* * *
Roxanne Banfield moved through the crowded room, feeling the energy buzzing through her. The excitement of the fans, the creativity of the talent, practically took on a life of its own. The meet and greet was the opening event for the Comic Expression Conference.
Her stomach fluttered in excitement. She was confident that she was going to find exactly the right project for her dad’s company, Spectral Productions. She had a comic book series and a graphic novel in mind, but she really wanted to see the authors mixing with their fans.
If she was going to work with them to develop their project into a movie or TV series, she needed to see how they interacted. Temperamental artists could make her life a special kind of hell. She moved through the milling folks, some in costume, some looking starstruck, many young women dressed for sex and obviously on the prowl.
Spotting the siblings Perry and Nina, creators The Eternal Assassins, she headed toward them. They had an intriguing graphic novel series going of a shadow world empress who offered murder victims a chance to kill their murderer. The souls didn’t know the cost of that deal until after they agreed and found themselves in a new body. If they made the kill, they became Eternal Assassins.
That voice! She narrowed her eyes and spun around. Standing there, an expensive digital camera hanging off his neck, was Mack Daemon. What the hell was he doing here? Humiliation and fury burned up her fair skin. “Look what the scuzz pool burped up.” She was proud of her restraint. What she wanted to do was shove his camera in a place that would take intimate photos of his colon.
He spread his hands out in a see-I’m-harmless gesture. “Look, I’m sorry, all right? I was just intrigued, and I couldn’t help myself. My camera is like an extension of my hand.”
She stepped toward the five foot eight, gym-bulked man. “Not during foreplay,” she said in a low voice. Her birthmark on her inner thigh, the one that fascinated him enough to grab his camera and take a picture, felt cold and dead as ever. She hated that mark, wanted it gone.
Mack’s voice hardened. “This isn’t the place. Meet me for a drink later and we’ll talk.”
She had trusted him. He was a freelance photographer; they’d met at another conference and dated for a few weeks. When she was sure he wasn’t her Awakening, the man who would unlock her fertility magic, she’d agreed to have sex with him. Roxy didn’t want to be a witch, not the kind of witch her mother was, using sex only to feed her magic. Sex was a super big deal for her, and this guy broke her trust with his fetish. “Nope, I don’t drink with perverts.” She lifted her chin and turned to go find Perry and Nina.
“I know what the birthmark means.”
She whipped back around and stared at him. His dark eyes looked calculating. Mack was smart, talented with a camera, and he had a kinetic energy she’d interpreted as a drive for success. She had liked that in him, liked that he had his own life and wasn’t clingy or demanding of a long-term relationship.
He didn’t flinch beneath her gaze and added, “Meet me at nine in the bar.”
What was this? Blackmail? Or did he think she was some kind of genie he could get three wishes out of? What could he do to her? So what if he told the world she was a witch? No one would believe him; mortals rarely believed. Her powers were latent anyway, locked in her dying chakras.
But if rogues found out . . . that would be bad. “This is the only way you can get a date? Blackmail?” She aimed her best pity-the-pig look on him, but she knew she had to show up and see if he really was trying blackmail or something else.
“Just be there.” He turned and walked off.
The energy of the room suddenly escalated. Dragging her gaze from Mack-the-worm, Roxy turned toward the door. A man walked in. He wore jeans, a black T-shirt, and so much attitude it prickled her skin. As he passed, people stopped what they were doing and stared. Even her hot-meter gonged. Hard. Beneath that shirt, his muscles rippled as if nothing could contain his strength. The guy gave off vibes of sex and danger.
The silence broke with hushed whispers.
He moved through people with panther grace, heading toward the end of the bar, zeroing in on a group of women.
She knew who he was: Kieran DeMicca, creator of the comic book series she was interested in possibly developing; Dyfyr, Dragon of Vengeance. She kept watching and evaluating, while ignoring the attraction that quivered through her.
Her interest was strictly professional.
And right now, her professional opinion was that Kieran DeMicca was a chick magnet. What she needed to know was if he had his priorities straight. If she optioned his series and he retained any creative control, Roxy wasn’t going to play mommy and pull him out of a tangle of naked females to work.
She tracked his progress as he chatted up the growing group surrounding him, when he suddenly shifted his gaze and looked right at her.
Her stomach clenched and a strange tingling ran from her pelvis to her throat. The inside of her left thigh began to burn. It felt like every cell in her body sparked to life. Her heart started to race and her head spun for a second.
Reaching out, she grabbed the back of a nearby chair. His eyes narrowed on her as if he’d made an earth-shattering discovery. Then he took a step.
Her inner thigh still burned. Right where her birthmark was. It should feel dead, not—
The closer Kieran DeMicca got, the more her thigh reacted. Her heart hammered and she had to escape. Now! Roxy fast-walked out of the large conference room, down the hallway and hit the door to the
Her heart was slamming against her ribs, blood pounding in her ears. Her hands shook and her palms were wet with sweat. Going into a stall, she yanked down her slim black pants, and looked at her inner thigh.
“Oh hell, no,” she whispered, staring in disbelief.
The two-inch schema was coming to life. Fertility witches were born with a round reddish birthmark somewhere on their body. At puberty, it took shape. For most witches, it turned into half of a fertility goddess: a woman with her arms raised over her head in a circle, her breasts full, her hips rounded, then tapering down into a point. For some reason, Roxy had the full mark, not just half like the others did. But for all fertility witches, their magic was latent, waiting to find their Awakening, usually between the ages of nineteen and twenty-six. When that happened, the mark began to change, taking on color, and once the witch and her Awakening had sex, her magic was released. But if she didn’t find her Awakening, the mark faded and the witch’s chakras died off. Roxy’s mark had been rapidly fading.
Now she saw faint blue as if someone had brushed barely tinted watercolor over it.
“No,” she whispered again, unable to believe it.
She was going to turn into her mother; choosing magic over those she loved.
“I won’t,” she said, determination firming her spine. Pulling up her pants, she thought quickly: Only one thing brought out a fertility witch’s magic—her Awakening.
It wasn’t Mack, she knew that. They hadn’t actually had sex, since she’d thrown his ass out when he’d taken the picture, but her mark hadn’t reacted to him at all. She’d been in a room full of men, but no one had affected her until . . .
Kieran DeMicca. She’d felt the reaction when he’d walked into the room, and it had grown stronger the closer he came to her.
Was it possible Kieran was her Awakening? She was so close to reaching her goal of her chakras dying and becoming mortal. All these years she’d waited and now it was all threatened.
If it was Kieran, then she had to keep her distance from him.