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Authors: Delilah Devlin

Tags: #Paranormal, #Vampires, #Romance, #Occult & Supernatural, #Fiction, #Erotica, #General

Darkness Captured

BOOK: Darkness Captured
5.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub





Delilah Devlin

For my sister, Elle James aka Myla Jackson,
who has shared this journey
with me every step of the way.



Title Page






















About the Author

By Delilah Devlin


About the Publisher


oonlight filtered through the dense canopy of the oaks surrounding the estate, offering a camouflage of light and shadow to break up the silhouettes of the silent predators creeping through the darkness.

Already in position, Guntram Brandt had a few moments to reassess his plans, reconnoiter the landscape—and time to think about the South-Central clan’s dilemma. Not
clan, however, for his loyalty lay with only one person, bought and paid for long ago, reinforced through blood and sacrifice, and cemented by a stifling yearning that threatened to overpower his stoic resolve.

Fear was a luxury Guntram couldn’t afford. Not now. Not while the stakes for the battle he was set to wage loomed so high.

Still, fear’s bitter taste burned his tongue and the back of his throat. Because he’d rarely allowed himself to indulge in the powerful emotion, he swallowed it down, letting it bathe his stomach in scalding acid. Almost as curious as the taste, his body felt as if it were gripped in a vise, held immobile for long, precious seconds while his frozen mind completed endless, pointless loops of indecision. He had only moments to linger in the chill, allowing the hairs on the back of his neck to prickle and lift.

Fear was rare for him, something that gave him pause and dulled his razor-sharp focus. Not something he should indulge, especially now that he needed all of his senses, even the intuitive ones he often ridiculed because they weren’t visceral, weren’t concrete. He didn’t like acting on instinct or gut. He acted on threats he could see, hear, feel, and
Scent being the most important and dominant power for his kind.

The faint rustling sounds around him stilled, pulling him back. He breathed deeply through his nose, inhaling the air, calming his racing heart and setting his face into a grim mask—at last suppressing the anxiety that had built steadily over the past few hours while he’d waited for word.

Impatient with the other emotions roiling inside him—fury laced with bloodlust—he forced himself to grow as still inside as the woods around him.

Disquiet, as dense and cloying as the humid night, pressed around him. The thick, dank atmosphere, with earthy under-tones made more pungent by the dew that had softened his footsteps, held scents longer than the crisp, dry mountain air of his own home. Good for surveillance, but just another reminder of how far outside their own territory they’d roamed. And for what? To give aid to the enemy?

Guntram curled his fists at his sides. He and the warriors he led despised them all. So, a day walker was rumored to exist in New Orleans, and a malicious demon targeted the cloistered coven they surrounded. Let them both feast. What did it matter to their kind?

He hated being here, hated sneaking around like a thief, but he’d promised to watch from a distance and not interfere. His contingent was meant only as a weapon of last resort should anything happen to their emissary. A weapon he was very near to unleashing because they hadn’t seen or heard from her in too long.

While his men quietly surrounded the pristine estate with its thick carpet of freshly mowed grass, beds of roses, and creeping honeysuckle, he didn’t miss the significance of the tall brick and iron gated walls, high-state security system, and vigilant soldiers. Appearances mattered to the bitch who ruled Ardeal, but the beautiful, civilized estate was only a façade. She prized power most of all. Strength gloved in gentility. He hoped their emissary hadn’t been gulled by the opulence of the old Victorian mansion into believing anything else.

The fact he couldn’t simply rush the compound to find her rankled.

He was a simple man with a straightforward agenda—his true nature as unlike the manipulative, parasitic creatures he stalked now as a dog is unlike rats. He’d earned his name, Guntram—
War Raven
—for his skill in battle centuries ago. He’d rather test muscle and steel against them than wits. He’d rather fight like a wolf.

The plan they’d laid out when the invitation came had been just as simple. Enter a hunt for both of the foul creatures in return for a relaxation of relations between their nations. Now he wondered if the clan had entered a trap.

The ancient one who ruled the vampires in the compound was a wily, secretive foe. Inanna had held the reins through cruel and unscrupulous acts, waging a war of attrition against his kind since they’d all arrived in this hemisphere. In recent decades, the friction that burned between them had cooled. The wolves had grown complacent, trusting the treaties carving up the territory into a patchwork of alliances that served their mutual needs to consolidate power and prosper.

Guntram had sensed the change in the air. Had quietly warned of the dangers of trusting their enemy. But the opportunity to gain access to seaports to further their own enterprises had been too attractive to ignore.

Still, the clan listened enough to ignore the stipulation that only one could enter their territory. A small, skilled, and experienced team infiltrated the region surrounding the meeting place in the bucolic countryside north of New Orleans, surreptitiously gathering on-the-ground intelligence about the strength of their adversaries, looking for weaknesses to exploit should things turn sour.

And they had—as sour as the bile boiling in his belly.

From where he stood just inside the tree line, he could make out the dark figures patrolling the lawn inside the compound. Being the predator he was, he lifted his nose and scented the air, waiting for the wafting breeze to bring him the intelligence he sought.

circled the mansion, their sweet almond odor wrinkling his nose and cramping his stomach with disgust. Vampires. And she was inside their fortress.

he sternly reminded himself. Even if their titles weren’t spoken in this New World, the castes that separated them made her forbidden fruit. And because he had to fight his attraction with ruthless diligence, he never let her forget their differing statures.

As her sergeant at arms, an archaic title she’d jokingly conferred long ago, he’d sworn allegiance to her above all others. He’d protected her, watched over her even when she grew restless and slipped away from the pack to wallow with humans.

He didn’t judge her. Didn’t question why she sought release for her deep passions in dark, sordid corners with men who thought they tamed her when she could so easily slash them to death with teeth and claws. Didn’t wonder why she’d never surrendered her mantle as alpha to her own pack when she could have shifted the burden to a stronger mate.

Aside from the wealth that came with leadership, she was beautiful, sexually voracious—and any were-creature would happily accept the burden of leadership for the privilege of covering her every night of his existence and breeding fierce cubs to replenish their dwindling numbers.

His body tightened at the thought, remembering the many times he’d stood outside a window or sex-club door, watching over her as she’d succumbed to needs so inexplicable to him he’d sometimes cringed and ached for her. Despite the perverse nature of her desires, he’d been tempted more times than he was comfortable admitting to disguise himself and enter that dark world to deliver the punishment her sexuality craved so that he could stroke her soft skin, inhale the fragrance of her lush desire, and sink deep inside her womanly body.

He breathed deeply, forcing down his arousal with an admonishment. He’d never acted on the impulse because he was a stern master of his own desires. Instead, he’d continued to give Gabriella the only things she wanted—obedience and protection.

A hand landed on his shoulder. “The men are all in place,” Udo whispered. “No one’s spotted her. The vampire called Nicolas, their head of security, set a fresh shift to guard the grounds. Stefan says he overheard that the visitors are imprisoned in their rooms.”

Which didn’t speak well of Gabriella’s fate if they’d taken their own leadership hostage. “Do we know if it’s Inanna, their queen bitch, who’s responsible?”

“I’m sorry. That’s all we know. What next, Raven? Do we wait for daylight, when they are all sleeping like bats in a cave?”

Guntram shook his head. “Gabriella’s scent is dissipating. Something’s wrong. We act now.”

Udo’s teeth flashed white in the darkness. He was as frustrated with their vigilance and as eager for action as Guntram was.

“Capture one of them,” Guntram bit out. “We need to know what’s happened.”

Fear was washed away by a wave of exultant rage. He’d offer them a taste of their own treachery. He’d strike hard and at the very heart of them—just as they’d struck the very heart of him.

Gabriella landed on her knees in the middle of the Persian carpet. Once again facing the crudely carved stone walls of Alex Broussard’s magical bolt-hole. “Alex, you lousy bastard, you can’t do this to me—”

Her shout was cut short when the object of her bitter tirade grabbed the hand of the pregnant woman who’d been resting on a deep sofa inside the cavern when they’d flashed inside. He cast Gabriella an apologetic smile and palmed the crystal key to the room. Then they both blinked out in a narrow flash of white light.

BOOK: Darkness Captured
5.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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