They are the outcasts of humanity. Blessed with power. Cursed by fate. Driven by passion. The Sentinels have returned…
OUT OF THE SHADOWS
At six-foot-three and two-hundred-fifty pounds, Fane is a natural born guardian. A flawless mix of muscled perfection and steely precision, he has devoted years of his life to protecting a beautiful necromancer. But after she found love in the arms of another, Fane has been a warrior adrift. He swears allegiance only to the Sentinels. And no woman will ever rule his heart again…
INTO THE FIRE
Not only a powerful psychic, Serra is that rare telepath who can connect to minds through objects. When the daughter of a high-blood businessman is kidnapped, Serra agrees to help. But when she stumbles onto a conspiracy involving secrets sects and ancient relics, her life is in mortal danger—and Fane is her only hope. Is the warrior willing to risk his body, his soul, and his heart, for Serra? Or will one last betrayal destroy them both?
Serra felt like she’d been shoved back into the fog of confusion that had compelled her to drive from Valhalla to St. Louis. Only this time she wasn’t completely oblivious to her surroundings.
She knew that she was in an upscale hotel a few blocks from Bas’s office building. And that she was riding in a glass elevator up to the top floor. She even had a vague impression of the breaking dawn painting a beautiful pink glow over the nearby river. A sight that she might have appreciated any other morning.
But the only thing that seemed truly real was the feel of Fane’s hand that was planted at her lower back, the heat of his touch a welcome assurance that she wasn’t alone.
The elevator came to a halt and, following Fane to one of the two suites that composed the top floor, she waited for him to use the card key to push the door open.
With an effort she tried to shake off the strange sense of lethargy, glancing around the large sitting room with low, comfy furniture in browns and tans that were arranged to take advantage of the glass wall that offered a stunning view of St. Louis.
Against one wall was a fireplace with a large-screen TV suspended over the mantel and on the other was a wet bar complete with a wine rack. There were doorways leading to two bedrooms and another that offered a glimpse of a bathroom as large as her entire apartment at Valhalla. Serra forced a stiff smile to her lips. “I suppose there could be worse places to spend the last hours of my life—”
Her words were cut off as Fane placed his hand over her mouth, leaning down so he could speak directly into her ear.
Serra frowned, effectively snapped out of her weird fog as the Sentinel scoured the room, pulling out two hidden transmitters that he crushed beneath his feet before lifting his hand toward the chandelier in the center of the room. There was an electric prickle in the air as he used his powers to disrupt any hidden cameras.
He sent her a searching gaze, as if trying to determine if she was going to do something stupid if he left her alone. Then, giving a nod at her fierce scowl, he jogged into the attached bedrooms to perform a similar sweep. The bathroom was last, and much to Serra’s disgust he found two transmitters and a camera hidden in the overhead light.
She would have accused Bas of being a perv if she wasn’t certain he was more interested in keeping track of his guests than seeing them naked.
Destroying the last of the expensive equipment, Fane returned to the sitting room, and headed directly toward her.
“Happy now?” she asked.
“No, I’m damn well not happy,” he growled, astonishingly wrapping his arms around her waist and yanking her against his chest.
“Fane.” Serra tilted back her head. She couldn’t have been more surprised if he’d sprouted wings and begun flapping around the room. “What the hell?”
He lowered his head, burying his face in her tangle of dark hair. “I need to hold you,” he muttered.
Serra briefly allowed herself to savor the strength of his arms as they held her as if he was never, ever going to let her go.
God. It was . . . perfect.
Just as perfect as she’d always fantasized it would be.
His exotic, male scent that teased at her nose. The searing heat of his hands as they pressed against her lower back. The solid thud of his heart beneath her ear.
He was all man. And he made her very glad she was all woman.
The desperate urge to melt against him surged through her. To depend on him to support her, if only for a few minutes.
She released a small sigh. Her hands were already sliding up his chest when she remembered why she felt so damned vulnerable.
Bas, the assassin. Deadly toxin. Kidnapped a little girl.
“No,” she breathed. With a sharp shove, she was out of Fane’s arms, her chin tilted to a defiant angle.
Fane frowned. “What’s wrong?”
“I won’t be your damned damsel in distress.”
His eyes narrowed, as if caught off guard by her defiant words. “Is that what you think?”
“It’s not what I think, it’s what I know,” she corrected, wrapping her arms around her waist as her body trembled with an urgent desire to return to his embrace. “You were perfectly content to walk away when I was a capable, independent woman who could be a true partner.”
Something that might have been regret tightened his stark, mesmerizingly beautiful features.
“You could’ve been my partner, but we both know I could never give you what you need.”
“And what’s that?”
“Time . . . attention.” His dark, piercing gaze lowered to her lips before returning to meet her glare. “A life we could build together.”
She snorted. Fane had been using that wearisome excuse to keep her at a distance for years.
“You’re no longer bound to Callie.”
“No, but I am bound to my job,” he stubbornly countered. “It always comes first.”
Serra understood what he was saying.
Many hunter Sentinels had long-term relationships. Some even married. But guardian Sentinels found it much more difficult. They were mystically bound to the highblood they were protecting with an intimacy that might not be sexual, but was just as intense.
Few partners could bear to see their lovers that closely connected to someone else.
Still, no relationship was perfect. And if she was willing to accept the inevitable strain of being with a guardian, what right did he have to try to convince her that she needed more?
She gave an aggravated shake of her head. What did it matter? That was all in the past.
Fane had made his choice.
Even if her current . . . hmm, her current what? Situation?
The fact she was in danger was stirring his need to play knight in shining armor.
“Your problem is that you have a hero complex.”
His jaw tightened, but he met her gaze squarely. “It’s my nature to protect.”
“Well, I don’t want to be your latest victim that needs to be rescued.”
“Okay, I’m not stupid,” she interrupted his protest. “I know I need your help. But that’s all I want from you.”
His hand lifted, but he dropped it as Serra instinctively stiffened in rejection. “Serra, my decision to leave Valhalla was because I thought it would be better for both of us.”
She pointed a finger directly into her face. “You know what? You don’t get to decide what’s good for me.”
“Fine.” Moving with a speed that she didn’t have a hope in hell of avoiding, Fane lightly grasped her wrist, his thumb skimming over the pulse thundering beneath its skin. “Tell me how Bas managed to poison you.”
ALEXANDRA IVY graduated from Truman University with a degree in theatre before deciding she preferred to bring her characters to life on paper rather than stage. She currently lives in Missouri with her extraordinarily patient husband and teenage sons. To stay updated on Alexandra’s Guardian series or to chat with other readers, please visit her website at www.alexandraivy.com.