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I’m the guy who never fit in until I got mixed up with a gang of beasts from Hell. But there is one problem. Humans don’t come back from the dead.
My only goal is to seek revenge against the man who’s preying on tall, dark-haired women. I prowl the streets at night, determined to bring him to justice. But in the Otherworld, plans never go as expected, especially when you’re only a human playing with monsters.
That’s when I met Rowan. From the moment I laid eyes on her, I was hooked. She’s hot, funny, and just the right mix of innocence and deadliness. She’s also the devil’s favorite daughter, and his rival’s ticket out of the Underworld.
It turns out the drama and backstabbing between immortals is worse than any soap opera. There’s infidelity, secret babies, power plays, and a constant battle for dominance.
Then there’s me. I just want the girl.
In order for us to ride off into the sunset on her ghostly horse, we have to navigate the underworld politics threatening to tear us apart before our second chance at love ends up being the one who got away.
The darkened park looked dangerous. Sinister. Then again, so had the back alleys. Considering this was a city plagued with crime, however, Trevor O’Connor was having a hard time finding any criminals. Or, more specifically, a druggie who could tell him about the newest player in town, a guy in his late twenties who resembled the fucker who had tossed Trevor into the faerie realm.
Seven weeks had passed since his little stint in the screwed-up magical realm. Tonight was his first chance to get revenge. Considering he couldn’t even find a homeless person, his plan of getting his hands on Craig, one of the three redcaps who was hidden from the power of the Wild Hunt, wasn’t looking promising. Once the sun rose, those humans who’d sold their souls to the Unseelie Faeries would slink away with their army of sluaghs, the walking dead, hiding until nightfall and their next opportunity to feed off the pain and fear of their victims.
The familiar anger and frustration gripped him. The emotions always did when he thought about the nightmarish creatures. He wanted to wipe them from the earth. As a human, his ability to do so was limited. Not impossible, though. He had the advantage of knowing firsthand the dangers that lurked in the shadows. He also had the means to kill them—a small dagger infused with faerie blood.
Hands loose at his sides, Trevor headed toward the rear entrance of the park. Overgrown and dense, the area offered a perfect spot for muggers to hide. At six-four and leanly muscled, he didn’t exactly fit the victim stereotype, but the outfit he’d chosen would lure the desperate. At least that was the reasoning behind donning the expensive suit, watch, and gold cuff links. The partially exposed wallet in his back pocket would add to the temptation.
Somebody was sure to take him up on his unspoken offer. If not, he’d go shopping for a hooker tomorrow night or hit the scummiest bars he could find. One way or another, he was finding Craig. Once Trevor had his hands on the redcap, he’d make the bastard wish he’d never sold his soul to Dar, the leader of the Unseelie Faerie Court. An eternity of damnation awaited both. Trevor wanted to be the one to deliver Craig’s one-way ticket to Hell.
A quick glance at his watch told him he had a little less than three hours before the Huntsmen—the bastard children of Arawn, the Lord of the Underworld—realized he was gone. It didn’t give him a lot of time, especially considering he had a two-hour drive ahead of him, but it was enough to take a detour through the park on the way to pick up his car. If he was lucky, he’d get mugged, coerce the information he needed out of his attacker, then make it back to the estate before the Huntsmen returned.
While he’d healed from the knife wounds he’d sustained in the faerie realm, he’d kept track of the Hunters’ routines. They unleashed the Wild Hunt an hour or so after sundown, riding unseen on their ghostly horses, feet above the treetops or buildings, and searched for any sign of the Chaos that clung to the members of the Unseelie Court.
Depending on their success and how far away they traveled, they returned to their mountain retreat, nestled in the Catskills of New York, during the hour or so before sunrise. Yeah, he was cutting it close, but he hated giving up, even if it was only for the day.
His cell phone vibrated with a new text. Great. Someone had come home early. He shouldn’t be surprised. His luck had sucked for months.
For a moment, he considered ignoring the message, but that would just guarantee the Huntsmen would sic their hounds on him with an order to bring him home. Doing so would take the vicious dogs away from hunting the Unseelie creatures. Nope, not an outcome he wanted. The hounds had a duty to protect the innocent and helpless. He was neither.
He paused near a burned-out lamppost and pulled out his phone. Ian’s profile pic showed on the screen. Trevor’s best friend had known he’d been itching to get out of the house and had probably come home early to check on him.
Trevor sighed and tapped the screen to read the text.
I knew we should’ve ordered some dogs to stay with you. Where did you go?
Trevor typed his reply. Out for a walk. I’ll be back soon.
Less than thirty seconds passed before Ian dropped the ultimatum. You’d better make it quick or Calan won’t let you out of his sight without protection.
Trevor gripped his cell tighter and fought the urge to toss the brand-new phone on the pavement. He cracked his knuckles, then typed: He can make me a rider if he’s so damn worried about me dying.
A minute passed, then another. Finally, Ian’s response popped up. Give it a couple of months.
Trevor turned off his cell and shoved it in his back pocket. He had given it a couple of months, and he was still waiting.
Long strides took him deeper into the park. He kept his gaze down, but nobody jumped in his path or attacked him from behind. What the hell did he have to do in order to get mugged?
He kicked a beer bottle out of his path, then smashed a soda can with his foot. Neither act eased his frustration. No, guilt added to the emotion tensing his shoulders. He stopped walking and fought with his conscience, which urged him to go back and pick up the garbage.
It was his friend Allie’s fault that he was like this. All her talk about saving the environment and how little actions had the biggest impact when everyone did their part. She’d even convinced a couple of businesses near his mom’s bookstore to go green.
If he had to guess, though, their agreement stemmed more from their reluctance to say no to Allie than from their concern over global warming. It was that look she got in her eyes, a mix of hope and excitement. Just the thought of squelching it made people feel like assholes.
Exactly how he felt right now.
He gnashed his teeth but spun on his heel and retrieved the trash some lazy-ass person had dropped on the ground. The garbage can a couple of feet away made the act worse. Whoever had left the mess hadn’t even bothered to look for a trash receptacle.
Trevor walked past the can and headed toward the playground. There’d be recycling stations there. He might as well accomplish something positive tonight. It wasn’t as if his attempts to take out the threat to his fellow neighbors were meeting with any success.
The jarring squeak of a swing stopped him in his tracks. Who in their right mind would take their kid to a city park at night to play?
He dropped the bottle and can in the recycling bin along the path and turned the corner. A third time, he froze. The sight of the woman swinging, her raven hair streaming behind her and her skirt riding high on her lean thighs, stopped his heart. His groin tightened a moment later.
Rowan always caused the same immediate reactions to seize him—awe and lust. Of course, every guy had the same response in her presence. If Trevor had to guess, she was hoping to capitalize on the effect she had on the opposite sex. Probably for the same reason he was wandering around. They needed a lead on the redcaps.
Seven weeks had gone by without finding Craig or his brothers. Every day that passed benefited the redcaps, allowing them to build up their army of sluaghs. They had to be stopped. That didn’t mean he wanted her mingling with the city’s scum in order to do so.
Trevor closed the distance between him and Rowan. After a few feet, her grip on the chains tightened, showcasing the sleek muscles in her arms. Thin with a chest that made his mouth water and legs that went on forever, she was probably one of the most beautiful women he’d ever laid eyes on.
Who was he kidding? She was fantasy worthy. If she could keep her mouth shut, she’d be the perfect woman.
“I didn’t know Hunters took breaks.” He met her gaze on the upward part of her arc so as to avoid looking up her skirt. “Or is this what Arawn’s children do all night? Play?”
One corner of her mouth lifted in a condescending smirk. She stretched out those incredibly long legs and leaned farther back so her hair skimmed the ground on her next swing. Her heeled sandals slipped from her feet, and her skirt bunched, exposing the dark panties he’d been avoiding looking at. Green. Dark green. The color matched her eyes.
He widened his stance to give his dick more room. “Aren’t you going to say anything?”
Her silence surprised him. Normally, she didn’t miss an opportunity to argue with him.
She swung a few more times, then hopped down, landing easily on her feet. With her signature fingerless gloves covering her hands, she smoothed the black skirt, then tugged on the hot-pink, short-sleeved top until a healthy dose of cleavage showed. Then she bent, giving him an even better glimpse of her boobs, and picked up her shoes. She hooked a single finger around the straps and sashayed toward him.
Hunger showed in her eyes. It wasn’t the first time he’d seen it, but something about the predatory glint tensed his muscles. Whereas before the look had held a teasing edge, as if she knew what her presence did to him and enjoyed seeing him react, this expression spoke of raw need. Lust.
Rowan dropped her shoes and stroked a finger along his cheek. He’d shaved before coming out tonight, something he rarely did if he wasn’t going into the office. Since he’d been laid up for weeks recovering from the wounds that would’ve ended his life had he been attacked in the mortal world, he hadn’t bothered making the trip down the mountain. He had a competent staff working for him, and most of the work he normally did for the security firm he and Ian owned was easy enough to accomplish remotely.
“You should shave more often. Actually…” She stood on her tiptoes and rubbed her cheek against his jaw where the first hint of his beard showed. “It’s a shame you can’t stay just like this. Enough stubble to tease a woman, but not enough to distract her.”
“The next time I have a lover’s spread thighs in front of me, I’ll have to ask her if she agrees with you.”
Instead of being irritated, Rowan chuckled and slipped her hand to the back of his neck. Her tug urged him to bend closer to her. He locked his muscles. Rowan’s attention focused on him wasn’t anything special. She flirted with any guy who had a pulse. He knew why too. Ian had clued him in. She used sex as a distraction and something to pass the time. Her heart belonged to her long-dead mate. All she had left for other men was mindless sex.
While Trevor didn’t normally mind being used that way, her connection to the Wild Hunt nixed his interest. The old advice of not getting involved with coworkers was one he adhered to, especially when he wanted to prove to her elder brother that he was worthy of being a Huntsman. Somehow, he didn’t think Calan would be too happy to learn that Trevor was banging his sister.
“When was the last time you had a woman in your bed?” Rowan asked.
“Don’t you know?” He cocked a brow. He wouldn’t admit to something she knew. Her next question would then be—why? Nope. Not going there. “You make a habit of being in the hallway when I step out of my bedroom every evening.”
He’d fallen into the same sleep cycle as the Huntsmen, at least the ones who slept. Being demigods, mortal habits such as sleeping and eating were optional. Sex, however, was one pleasure they indulged in. Not that anyone living at the estate would bring a lover there, including him, but he wanted to put Rowan on the spot. Fluster her a little. The woman was too damn moody. Seeing her blush would make his night.
“My bedroom is next to yours.” She moved her hands to his chest and undid the top few buttons of his shirt. “It’s completely coincidental.”
A wall separated her bed from his. A few inches. It drove him nuts, knowing she was so close. He couldn’t help wondering how she slept, if she wore clothes to bed, if she touched herself. Thinking of her always left him hard and achy, but he’d refused to jerk off. The Hunters had enhanced senses. How good, he wasn’t sure. He hadn’t wanted to find out. That was all he needed, for Rowan to hear him masturbating. She would’ve likely come over with an offer to help.
“You seem to enjoy sleeping.”
“I do.” She undid the remaining buttons on his shirt. “It passes the time.”
That was her reasoning behind everything she did outside of hunting the evil walking the earth. “Is that why you were playing on the swings tonight? Passing time when you should’ve been out looking for redcap activity?”
“My hounds are searching for me. You know how it is, I see what they see, and they haven’t spotted anything”—she tugged his shirt from his pants—“besides you.”
The inability to draw the attention of the city’s lowlifes made sense considering her revelation. She didn’t have to morph into her Hunter’s form in order to strike fear in the hearts of those close by. Her dangerous aura did it for her…if she let it trickle out. It didn’t bother him, though. Probably because he was used to it. Whatever the reason, he was glad he never feared her. Lusting for her was bad enough.
“So what? You were waiting for me to stumble over you.”
“I want you over me, under me”—she slipped one hand around his waist, the other to cover the bulge in his pants—“or maybe tied to my bed and at my mercy.”
He grasped her wrist and pulled her hand away from his cock. “Pity that’s not going to happen.”
“And why not? We’re both consenting adults.”
“True, but that last little qualifier killed the deal for me. I prefer my lovers begging me for my dick. It’s good for the ego, especially after they’ve ridden it a few times and know exactly what I can do for them.”
“Then you’ve never had a fitting partner in your bed. There’s a level of ecstasy that can only be found when you give your lover complete control over your body.”
“I’m sure there’s truth in that, but I haven’t experienced it. Have you?”
Her expression closed off. Her body stiffened. And the color drained from her face. She stepped back, breaking their connection.
“Yes, Trevor, I have.”
With those softly spoken words, she turned her back on him and walked away.
He debated going after her. It hadn’t been his intention to hurt her or remind her of her long-dead mate, the one she still mourned even after a millennium. He’d bet that was what he’d done too. A woman like Rowan would only surrender to a man she loved.
He picked up her shoes and headed back the way he’d come. He had to get home before the hounds, who were no doubt watching him from the shadows, had to fade into the Underworld for the day. Otherwise, Rowan would be back, and he didn’t need the reminder of how he’d hurt her. Once was enough.
Genre: Paranormal Romance – Gods & Demons, Fantasy Romance
Story Elements: Fated Mates/True Mates, Secrets, Betrayal, Second Chances
Book Length: Novel Plus: 70,000-90,000 words
Heat Level: 4/5
Main Characters: Trevor (human), Rowan (Demigod, daughter of the devil)
All Series Titles
What readers are saying…
Gripping story which will hold you to the end!!K. Son ★★★★★
I absolutely love this series. Each book gets better and better. Throw in the fact that this is a second chance romance, and I’m all in. It’s emotional, sexy, and action packed. Nancy just has a way with words.Tina ★★★★★