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Beyond The Darkness: Guardians of Eternity #6

Alexandra Ivy

ISBN 9781420128758
Publish Date 12/13/2011
Format Paperback
Categories Zebra, Guardians of Eternity, Paranormal

He Would Do Anything To Claim Her

Salvatore Giuliani is not a happy werewolf. It’s his duty as leader to track down the pureblood females who can keep his people from extinction. But the moment he catches scent of Harley, a pureblood held by a pack of mangy curs, his savage need for her obliterates all other instincts. And the only thing worse than being captured is finding that beautiful, independent Harley defiantly refuses to become his mate.

And Everything To Keep Her

Harley has been taught to distrust all Weres, especially their arrogant king. She won’t be used for breeding or bonded against her will, not even to a man who makes every nerve tingle with awareness. Yet Salvatore is her key to saving the family she never knew she had—if she dares to succumb to his dark, predatory desire, and face a vicious enemy sworn to destroy them both…

Praise for Alexandra Ivy

“Captivating, sexy, and with a sinful bite like rich, dark chocolate, Beyond The Darkness kept me riveted! The Guardians of Eternity series is highly addictive, the dialogue clever, the characters woven with subtle complexity. Alexandra Ivy has made me her fangirl!” --Larissa Ione, New York Times bestselling author

“Oh, so hot and wonderfully dangerous.” --Gena Showalter on Darkness Unleashed

“A darkly erotic adventure with a vampire hero who can bite me anytime!” --Angela Knight on Darkness Revealed

Chapter One

It wasn’t his finest day, Salvatore Giuliani, the mighty King of Weres, had to admit.

As a matter of fact, it was swerving toward downright shitty.

It was bad enough to regain consciousness to discover he was stretched out in a dark, nasty tunnel that was currently ruining his Gucci suit, and that he had no clear memory of how he had gotten there.

But to open his eyes and use the perfect night vision of his werewolf heritage to discover a three-foot gargoyle with stunted horns, ugly gray features, and delicate wings in shades of blue and gold and crimson hovering over him was enough to ruin a perfectly horrible mood.

“Wake up,” Levet hissed, his French accent pronounced and his wings fluttering in fear. “Wake up, you mangy dog or I’ll have you spayed.”

“Call me a dog again and be assured you’ll soon be chopped into bits of gravel and paving my driveway,” Salvatore growled, his head throbbing in time to his heartbeat.

What the hell had happened?

The last thing he remembered, he’d been in a remote cabin north of St. Louis to meet with Duncan, a cur who’d promised information regarding his traitor of a pack leader, and the next he was waking up with Levet buzzing over him like an oversized, extremely ugly butterfly.

God Almighty. When Salvatore got out of the tunnel, he was going to track down Jagr and cut out his heart for sticking him with the annoying Levet. Damned vampire.

“You will not be doing anything unless you get up and move,” the gargoyle warned. “Shake your tail, King of Slugs.”

Ignoring the grinding pain in his joints, Salvatore rose to his feet and smoothed back his shoulder-length raven hair. He didn’t bother knocking the dirt from his silk suit. It was going in the nearest fire.

Along with gargoyle.

“Where are we?”

“In some nasty tunnel.”

“A brilliant deduction. What would I do without you?”

“Look, Cujo, all I know is that one minute we were in a cabin with an extremely dead Duncan, and the next I was being dropped on my head by a gorgeous but très ill- mannered woman.” Bizarrely, the gargoyle rubbed his butt rather than his head. Of course, his skull was far too thick to harm. “That female is fortunate that I did not turn her into a beaver.”

“It had to have been a spell. Was the woman a witch?”

“Non. A demon, but . . .”

“What?”

“She is a mongrel.”

Salvatore shrugged. It was common among the demon world to interbreed.

“Not unusual.”

“Her power is.”

Salvatore frowned. He might want to choke the gargoyle, but the tiny demon possessed the ability to sense magic that Salvatore couldn’t.

“What power?”

“Jinn.”

A chill inched down Salvatore’s spine and he cast a swift glance up and down the tunnel. In the distance he could sense the approach of his curs and a vampire. The cavalry rushing to the rescue. His attention, however, was focused on searching for any hint of the jinn.

A pure-blooded jinn was a cruel, unpredictable creature who could manipulate nature. They could call lightning, turn wind into a lethal force, and lay flat an entire city with an earthquake. They could also disappear into a wisp of smoke. Thankfully, they rarely took an interest in the world and preferred to remain isolated.

Half-breeds . . .

He shuddered. They might not possess the power of a full-fledged jinn, but their inability to control their volatile energy made them even more dangerous.

“Jinn have been forbidden to breed with other demons.”

Levet snorted. “There are many things forbidden in this world.”

“The Commission must be told,” Salvatore muttered, referring to the cryptic Oracles who were the ultimate leaders of the demon world. He reached into his pocket, coming up empty. “Cristo.”

“What?”

“My cell phone is gone.”

“Fine.” Levet threw his hands in the air. “We will send a memo. For now we need to get out of here.”

“Relax, gargoyle. Help is on the way.”

With a frown, Levet sniffed the air. “Your curs.”

“And a leech.”

Levet sniffed again. “Tane.”

Expecting Jagr, Salvatore’s brows snapped together. One vampire was as bad as another, but Tane’s reputation for killing first and asking questions later didn’t exactly warm the cockles of a Were’s heart.

Whatever the hell a cockle was.

“The Charon?” he demanded. Charons were assassins who hunted down rogue vampires. God only knew what they did to lesser demons. And in a vampire’s mind, every demon was lesser.

“An arrogant, condescending donkey,” Levet muttered.

Salvatore rolled his eyes. “Jackass, you idiot, not donkey.”

Levet waved a dismissive hand. “It is my theory that the taller the demon, the larger his conceit and the smaller his . . .”

“Continue, gargoyle,” a cold voice cut through the dark, abruptly lowering the temperature in the tunnel. “I find your theory fascinating.”

“Eek.”

With a flutter of his wings, Levet dashed behind Salvatore. As if he was stupid enough to think Salvatore would keep him from certain death.

“Dio, get away from me, you pest,” Salvatore growled, swiping a hand at the gargoyle even as his gaze was warily focused on the vampire rounding the corner of the tunnel.

He was worth focusing on.

Although not as large as many of his brothers, the vampire was dangerously muscular, with the golden skin of his Polynesian ancestors, thick black hair shaved on the sides, and a long Mohawk that fell past his shoulders. His face was that of a predator, lean and hard with faintly slanted honey eyes. At the moment he was wearing nothing more than a pair of khaki shorts, obviously not sharing Salvatore’s own fondness for designer clothes.

Of course, the big dagger he was holding in his hands made sure that no one was going to question his taste in fashion.

Not if they wanted to live.

There was the sound of footsteps and four of his curs came into sight, the largest of them rushing forward to drop to his knees and press his bald head to the ground in front of Salvatore’s feet.

“Sire, are you harmed?” Hess demanded.

“Only my pride.” Salvatore returned his attention to the vampire as Hess rose to his feet and towered at his side. “I remember nothing after entering the cabin and finding Duncan dead. No, wait. There was a voice, then . . .” He shook his head in aggravation as his memory went blank. “Damn. Did you follow us?”

Tane absently stroked the hilt of his dagger. “When we found the cabin empty, Jagr assumed you were in trouble. Since your clueless crew seemed incapable of forming a singular coherent thought, I agreed to come in search of you.”

Not surprising. Unlike purebloods who were born from full Weres, the curs were humans who had been bitten and transformed into werewolves. Hess and the other curs were excellent killers. Which was why he kept them as guards. Using their brains, however . . . well, he did the thinking for them. It solved any number of problems.

“So what happened to our captors?”

“We’ve been gaining on you over the past half hour.” Tane shrugged. “They obviously preferred escape over keeping their hostages.”

“You never caught sight of them?”

“No. A cur escaped through a side tunnel a mile back, and the demon simply disappeared.” Frustration flashed through the honey eyes. Salvatore could sympathize. He was anxious for a bit of blood and violence himself. “There’re only a handful of demons capable of vanishing into thin air.”

“The gargoyle thinks it’s a jinn mongrel.”

“Hey, the gargoyle has a name.” Stepping from behind Salvatore, Levet planted his hands on his hips. “And I do not think, I know.”

Tane narrowed his eyes. “How can you be certain?”

“I had a slight misunderstanding with a jinn a few centuries ago. He zapped off one of my wings. It took years to grow back.”

Tane was supremely unimpressed. “And that’s somehow relevant?”

“Before the demon dropped me and did her disappearing act, she left a little present.” Turning around, Levet revealed the perfectly shaped handprint that had been branded onto his butt. Salvtore’s laughter echoed through the tunnel, and the gargoyle turned to stab him with a wounded glare. “It is not amusing.”

“That still doesn’t prove it was a jinn,” Tane pointed out, his own lips twitching with amusement.

“Being struck by lightning is not a sensation you easily forget.”

Tane instinctively glanced over his shoulder. No demon in his right mind wanted to cross paths with a jinn.

“How do you know it isn’t a full jinn?”

Levet grimaced. “I am still alive.”

The vampire turned to Salvatore. “The Commission must be warned.”

“I agree.”

“This is Were business. It’s your duty.”

“I can’t lose the trail of the cur,” Salvatore smoothly pointed out. Ah. There was nothing better than getting the upper hand with a leech. “He’s proven a danger to more than just Weres. I’m sure the Commission would agree that my duty is to put an end to the traitors.”

A blast of frigid air filled the tunnel. Salvatore smiled, releasing his own energy to counter the chill with a prickling heat.

The curs stirred uneasily, reacting to the power play between two dangerous predators. Salvatore never allowed his gaze to stray from Tane. Few Weres could best a vampire, but Salvatore wasn’t just a Were. He was king. He wasn’t going to back down from any demon.

At last, Tane snapped his fangs in Salvatore’s direction and stepped back. Salvatore could only assume that the vampire had been ordered to keep the bloodshed to a minimum.

“This will not be forgotten, dog,” Tane warned, turning on his heel and silently disappearing down the tunnel.

“Good riddance, leech.”

Waiting long enough to make sure the vampire didn’t have a change of heart and return to rip out his throat, Salvatore turned back to his waiting curs to discover them battling back their urge to shift.

He grimaced. As a pureblood, he had the ability to control his shifts unless it was a full moon. Curs, on the other hand, were at the mercy of their emotions.

With a shudder, Hess at last gained control and sucked in a deep breath.

“Now what?”

Salvatore didn’t hesitate. “We follow the cur.”

About Alexandra Ivy:

Alexandra Ivy is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of romantic suspense, paranormal and erotic romance. She has also written Regency historicals under the name Deborah Raleigh. A five-time RT Book Award Finalist, Ivy has received much acclaim for her Guardians of Eternity, ARES Security, Immortal Rogues and Sentinels series. She lives with her family in Missouri and can be found online at AlexandraIvy.com.

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