By Book One
Release Date: October 10, 2016
Anna Frost had a bad feeling when her twin sister, Liz, told her she’d run off with a member of the notorious Otherworld biker gang, the Blood Ravagers. And her unease skyrockets when her sister subsequently vanishes. The police have no authority and little interest, so Anna decides to take matters into her own hands by infiltrating the group to discover for herself what happened to Liz, where she meets…
Dante, half demon, half human. A mix of two worlds, accepted by neither, he’s had no choice but to learn the hard way how to play whatever side of the fence kept him alive during his nearly 500 years of existence. Now, as second-in-command of the Blood Ravagers biker gang, his survival depends on keeping his humanity a secret. Dante’s ultimate goal is to fulfill the vows he made over two centuries ago to create a world where half-breeds can live in safety and equality.
But when sheltered schoolteacher Anna finds unexpected, white-hot passion in the arms of Dante, will her quest for the truth cost him more than he ever bargained for? Or will they find a way to save Liz – and their love – together?
Sneak Peek - Opening Scene From Seven Seals Series Book 4 by Traci Douglass
One look around Rick and Serpent’s should have been enough to make any rational person turn tail and run. From the sweaty press of overly sexed bodies to the awful disco music booming overhead, the place reeked of bad booze and even worse decisions. Not exactly the way she’d choose to spend a Saturday night, if she’d had a choice. Too bad they were paying her damned good money to bring this bastard in.
Thana Girgis weaved her way through the crowd of drunken revelers and headed toward the makeshift bar at the back end of the narrow structure. She’d been all over the world, seen way more of life’s underbelly than any twenty-six-year-old should, yet this was the first time she’d celebrated Mardi Gras in a double-wide.
A jacked-up, pimped out double-wide but still.
Tiny hairs on the back of her neck stood at alert and she sighed.
He was here again, watching her. At first she’d thought she’d picked up a stalker. Wouldn’t have been the first time. Then she’d seen him intercede during a convenience store robbery and recognized the finely tuned moves of a former covert operative. Which meant someone had hired him to follow her.
Plus, there was the strange fact that the first time Thana had locked gazes with his feline green stare, a connection between them had been formed—dark and strong and needful. That had been almost six months ago and nothing—not work, not distance, not time—had diminished the link.
She stood on tiptoe and searched the room as best she could from her five-two-inch height, but didn’t spot him anywhere. Just as well. Distractions of the sexual kind weren’t needed. Not when she was so close to trapping her prey.
A flash of movement drew Thana’s attention back to where it firmly belonged and she pushed her way up to the bar. “Shot of Jack, please.”
“You bet, chere.” The bartender’s warm southern drawl hinted at deeper creole roots. He placed the small glass before her and filled it to the rim. “Hunting tonight?”
“No.” She knocked back the liquor in one swallow then gestured for another. “I’m working.”
The bartender eyed her up and down as he poured her another shot then took her money. “Be careful, chere. Bad juju in the air.”
Thana ignored his warning and swiveled to survey the crowd once more.
“Aw, shit.” A large, heavily tattooed guy shouldered in beside her at the bar.
Dressed in tight jeans and a skimpy top, Thana didn’t resemble her normal staid self, but then again, that was the point. Considering her new neighbor was practically staring a hole in the side of her head, it was time to get this party started.
She turned and gave him her best deadpan look, silent.
“I lost my fucking keys.” The guy made a show of checking his pockets, then stopped and grinned at her, his mouth a mix of bad teeth and gold caps. “Can I check your pants?”
“Has that line ever gotten you laid?”
“Most times I beat the bitches off with a stick, but tonight’s your lucky night.” He held his arms wide, showing off a bushy set of hairy armpits beneath his stained Sons Of Anarchy tank. “Now c’mon over here and give us a kiss.”
Thana burst out laughing.
Mr. Rico Suave didn’t seem take kindly to her giggles because he smashed his beer bottle against the metal wall. The surrounding crowd continued to party, unaffected as shattered glass tinkled to the floor. Thana remained relaxed against the bar, waiting.
His first mistake came when he wrapped a beefy hand around her upper arm. He didn’t have a chance to make a second.
Within seconds, she’d grabbed his wrist and twisted, maneuvering him down to the bar while hoisting his arm behind him. She lodged a knee firmly between his spread legs to nudge him square in the balls. “John Barbour, you are under arrest for the death of Dr. Martin Dreben.”
His curses were muffled by the sticky bar top, but she still understood the words ‘whore’ and ‘die’. Unfazed, she slapped a pair of handcuffs on him and jerked him to his feet. “C’mon, Johnny. Someone’s expecting you.”
She used his big body like a battering ram, shoving through the crowd toward the front door. Once outside, she glanced sideways before heading to her car.
Shit. There he was again, her watcher, and even more gorgeous than she remembered.
Beneath the purple neon lights, his smooth caramel-colored skin seemed to glow. And those lips—full and lush and just begging to be kissed. The material of his dark cotton shirt clung to his tall, solid form in all the right places, accentuating the muscled torso beneath. But it was still his eyes that caught her, held her captive, made her think he could peer into her very soul.
“Bitch, can we get this over with? I want my phone call so I can make bail.”
Dammit. She pushed her quarry across the street toward her small Ford Fiesta and clicked the unlock button on her key fob. She never lost focus, especially during a case. What the hell was wrong with her tonight?
She opened the back door and crammed Barbour inside then slid and locked the door before slipping into the drivers seat and jamming the keys in the ignition. Whoever the guy watching her was, the man scrambled her brains and that was unacceptable.
A blow to the back of her seat jarred her back to the task at hand. She glared at Barbour in the rearview mirror. “You break it, you buy it, asshole. And forget about bail. They’re going to lock you up tight for a long time, scumbag.”
“Fuck you. You don’t know nothing.” Barbour tipped backward and prepared to ram his feet into the back of her seat again, but never got the chance.
Something bulldozed into the side of her car, knocking it sideways. The force caused Thana’s head to collide with the side window and the glass spider-webbed from the impact. She vaguely noticed Barbour tumbling off the backseat and onto the floor with a grunt.
Time slowed and she struggled to clear her blurry vision. A blast of humid air breezed past her face and she regained her composure in time to see Barbour finagle open the back door and sprint toward an alley nearby, away from the crash.
At least she thought it was a crash.
“Son of a bitch.” Dizzy and disoriented, she fumbled out of the car and peered around the area. No fleeing cars in sight, no squealing tires. She pressed her fingers tight to her throbbing temple and made her way slowly to the other side of the vehicle to assess the damage. She stopped and squinted at the gray exterior.
Nothing. Not a scratch anywhere on the Focus.
Yet it’s current cockeyed position straddling the roadway and the curb clearly showed the car had been moved, forcefully, from it’s previous position.
Thana slumped against the passenger door. If her pounding headache was any indication, she had a mild concussion. Fantastic. Not only would she have pissed off clients to contend with, she’d have medical bills. Bills she couldn’t afford.
The world tilted before her eyes and she would have face-planted on the asphalt if it hadn’t been for a set of strong arms that came around her, pulling her tight against a warm, muscled chest.
She opened her eyes and raised her head to peer into the face of her savior.
Up close, he was even taller than she’d first thought, towering at least a foot over her.
Then he smiled and all her instincts went into overdrive.
Thana Girgis did not lose her shit over men, injured or not.
Not now, not ever. Period. Amen.
“Uh… thanks for the help.” She pushed away from him and this time he let her go. His expression looked as unsettled as she felt, but that didn’t matter. She had to get out of here and find Barbour. Now. She steadied herself against the vehicle as she walked back to the driver’s side. “Excuse me, but I’ve got a bad guy to catch. Again.”
She jerked the door open. Barbour would hopefully be more conspicuous with his hands trussed behind his back, but it would still be hard to find him in the all the Mardi Gras revelers.
Shit. Just shit.
She had started the engine and was about to take off when the passenger door opened.
“Mind if I join you?”
Thana blinked at him for a moment. If she’d thought his looks were deadly, his voice was lethal. Deep and smooth and laced with some exotic accent—the man was a thousand orgasms waiting to happen.
Her phone vibrated in her pocket and she fished it out without looking. “Girgis. No. I…uh…I had a little accident. Give me a few more hours and I’ll have him in custody.”
The line went dead while she stared at her uninvited guest. “Listen, I appreciate your assistance, but you need to get out of the vehicle.”
“I’ll help you.” He smiled pleasantly and crossed his arms. “I can handle myself.”
“I’m sure you can, whoever you are, but I work alone.” She cut the engine. “Get out or I’ll have to throw you out.”
His grin deepened. “I’d like to see you try, canim.”
Turkish. The guy had just called her darling in Turkish. She hadn’t heard that term since her childhood in Cairo. A picture of her mother’s face, so happy, so carefree, wavered in her mind before it fractured into a thousand pieces.
Dammit. She shook her head and gripped the steering wheel tight as a fresh wave of nausea swept over her. Common sense said she should head to the nearest ER for a check up. Her bank account insisted otherwise. She needed to find Barbour and collect her fee.
“I really don’t think you should be driving with you head injury, canim. Perhaps I should take you to the hospital, have a doctor check your…”
“I’m fine. And I am not your darling. Stop calling me that.” She forced her fists to unclench. “This is your last chance. Get out now.”
“How about a compromise?”
“Yes. You wait here and I’ll get Barbour for you.”
She snorted despite her discomfort. “Really. You’ll just walk up and grab him, huh?”
“Sure. He’s lying right over there.” He pointed to a shadowed spot against a nearby brick building. “After I knocked him out, I put him there for safekeeping.”
“Safekeeping?” Thana felt like a brain-damaged parrot, repeating everything the guy said, but her mind felt sluggish. Not more than a minute could’ve passed between the collision and Barbour taking off. Even if her stalker had been poised and ready for the escape, there was no way this guy could have reacted fast enough to knock Barbour out and save her from hitting the pavement. No one had those kinds of skills. “I don’t believe you.”
“Check for yourself. I’ll wait.”
Grumbling, she shoved the door open and climbed out onto shaky legs. Ridiculous. She didn’t have time to play his ridiculous games. This was stupid. Insane.
What the hell? Propped up between a drainpipe and a section of chain-link fence, slumped John Barbour, out cold and drooling into his scruffy beard.
“Would you like help loading him into your vehicle, canim?”
Somehow, her watcher stood right behind her and she’d never heard him move.
She looked between him and her quarry, uncertain. She didn’t work with a partner. Ever. And she had no intention of splitting any of her bounty with this guy, superpowers or not. After all, she’d done all the hard work—tracking Barbour for days, watching him in this pathetic excuse for a nightclub, planning the apprehension.
Thana kicked Barbour’s foot with the toe of her combat boot. The guy had to be pushing three hundred pounds fully ambulatory. Unconscious, getting him into her compact car alone would be difficult, to put it mildly. She turned and gave her new acquaintance a hard stare. “Fine. Just don’t get in my way. Understand?”
Despite her less-than-hospitable demeanor, Luther couldn’t help but be impressed by his new target’s tenacity. She’d hoisted the criminal’s legs into the air and carried her portion of his heavy bulk all the way to the tiny vehicle, despite what must’ve been a monstrous headache. “Want to tell me who the hell you are and why you’ve been following for months?” Her questions broke him out of his reverie in time to avoid having his fingers slammed in the car door.
He stepped back and wiped his hands on his jeans, his gaze steadfast on the ground. The fact she’d spotted his surveillance didn’t bother him half as much as the fact that the strap on her barely-there top had slipped down to expose a dangerous amount of cleavage.
With her long, silky black hair and wide, dark eyes, she reminded him of an ancient Egyptian queen, only twice as shrewd and far more dangerous. Her dossier had prepared him for her military-grade training and tough bravado—being orphaned at thirteen and enduring the harsh training of the Mossad would do that to a person. What it hadn’t prepared him for was just how lovely she was, or his reaction to her. He took a deep breath and changed subjects. He didn’t want to reveal too much about his purpose. Not yet. “Why have you chosen such an unusual profession?”
“I asked you first.” She waited, arms now resting on the top of the car. “I don’t like to be followed.” She eyed him up and down. “Who do you work for?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” With her body safely hidden by the vehicle, he ventured another glance at her face. “Seems we are at an impasse, canim.”
“I told you not to call me that.”
“And I told you I would help you. Based on what happened to your vehicle tonight, I’d say you could use all the help you can get.”
“You saw the people who hit me?”
“I saw the creature responsible, yes.”
Traci is a USA Today Bestselling Author of Contemporary and Paranormal Romance. Her stories feature sizzling heroes full of dark humor, quick wits and major attitudes and heroines who are smart, tenacious, and always give as good as they get. She holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and she loves animals, chocolate, coffee, hot British actors, and sarcasm—not necessarily in that order.
Website and blog: http://www.tracidouglass.net
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