Authors: Shayla Black
Tags: #Romance, #Fantasy, #Fiction, #Contemporary, #General
“SHAYLA BLACK HAS GIVEN VOICE TO A UNIQUE, POWERFUL BLEND OF THE PARANORMAL AND DARK FORCES OF MAN. A WORLD NOT TO BE MISSED.”
NEW YORK TIMES
Praise for national bestselling author
Shayla Black and the Doomsday Brethren
POSSESS ME AT MIDNIGHT
“The volatile emotions in this tale are truly combustible!”
“Intense drama, sexy magical warriors, and heartbreakingly sweet romance … Absolutely perfect.”
—ParaNormal Romance Reviews
“As captivating as its predecessors … intriguing characters … a book you won’t want to miss.”
—Romance Reviews Today
“Page-turning magical suspense … The world building is incredibly complex, and with Black’s innate ability to wring emotion from every pore of her characters, not only suspends disbelief but leaves readers clamoring for more.”
—Fallen Angel Reviews
SEDUCE ME IN SHADOW
“As Black turns up the heat on her characters, readers are treated to passionate danger and potential treachery. A page-turner!”
“Every bit as captivating as the first tale. Should not be missed.”
—Romance Reviews Today
“Action-packed with dark secrets and an ever-evolving plot. I am extremely eager to find out what happens next… . Great cliff-hanger, by the way!”
“Emotionally charged conflict and sizzling sexual tension add to the page-turning quality of this paranormal suspense… . Take[s] the reader on a wondrous journey into a magical world… . Once again, Black delivers!”
—Fallen Angel Reviews
“With its cleverly executed premise where secrets, guilt, and desire frequently entwine,
Seduce Me in Shadow
captures your complete interest during every enthralling scene.”
“Run out and buy this book. You will not be sorry.”
—A Romance Review
TEMPT ME WITH DARKNESS
“Excellent story … wonderful characters … You won’t want to put it down.”
“This orgasmic paranormal … will have Black’s fans panting for the next installment.”
“Fast-paced, emotional, and thoroughly addicting.”
“A hot, exciting romance filled with intriguing characters and a great storyline. I can’t wait for more in this imaginative series!”
New York Times
“Shayla Black’s writing is pure magic. Gripping, sensual, absolutely delicious.”
New York Times
“Compelling, unique, a paranormal romance with ‘epic’ written all over it!”
—Jaci Burton, national bestselling author
These titles are also available as eBooks
Other Doomsday Brethren Novels
from Shayla Black
Tempt Me with Darkness
Seduce Me in Shadow
Possess Me at Midnight
Haunted by Your Touch
(with Jeaniene Frost and Sharie Kohler)
The sale of this book without its cover is unauthorized. If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that it was reported to the publisher as “unsold and destroyed.” Neither the author nor the publisher has received payment for the sale of this “stripped book.”
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2010 by Shelley Bradley, LLC
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Pocket Books Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
First Pocket Books paperback edition November 2010
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Cover illustration by Juliana Kolesova
Manufactured in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
ISBN 978-1-4391-6680-2 (ebook)
For Bonnie Hoffmaster
Thanks for being such an unwavering fan of this series
and my writing, for all your encouragement, gentle
prodding, and overall sunny sweetness.
You’re simply wonderful.
I must thank some of my usual cast of characters: Natalie, Laurie, Denise, and Annee. You guys keep me sane and motivated. I’d be lost without you. A special shoutout to Heather L. for last-minute beta reading, good insight, and overall cheerleading. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Jane Burns for responding to all my wacky (and no doubt annoying) queries about things particular to the UK. You’re always thorough, helpful, and timely. Big thanks! As always, to the wonderful Kris Cook, the other half of my brain. Where would I be without you? You always have the right answer, even if it’s to say nothing and listen to me ramble until I find the solution on my own. Thanks very much to my agent, Kim Whalen, for believing in this book and supporting me one hundred percent. And to my family, for more than I can enumerate here, but most especially all the love.
OUR TIMING BLOODY SUCKS
,” Simon Northam, Duke of Hurstgrove, said as his boots crunched on the snowy field. Charred ruins rose like specters in the foggy distance. Fat gray clouds and evening mist promised more bad weather.
“Tell that to Mathias.” Bram Rion brushed back his tawny wind-blown hair.
“True,” Duke, as Simon preferred to be called, conceded.
There was no convenient time for Mathias d’Arc to attack Bram’s home. But weeks ago, he and his Anarki army had descended on Bram’s residence in the hopes of eradicating the Doomsday Brethren, a group of wizards devoted to ridding magickind of the evil sorcerer and his minions. Mathias preached equality to the Deprived class of magickind, but it was a ruse. He dealt in torture, plunder, and murder—all for ill-gotten power. The attack had nearly taken Bram, the Doomsday Brethren’s leader, and the rest of the warriors by surprise. They’d barely escaped, and had been forced to abandon the house—their headquarters—to stay alive.
Now, Bram had gathered Duke and two other warriors together at the estate’s remains. Duke dreaded sifting through the piles of blackened stone, plaster, and brick scattered among so many discarded personal effects. It looked like the aftermath of a natural disaster. But there’d been nothing
natural about this.
“You’re missing my point.” Duke raised a brow at Bram. “Today is damn inconvenient for you to drag me here. Yesterday? Tomorrow? Either would have been splendid.”
“So sorry I didn’t consult your social calendar.” Bram’s tone dripped sarcasm.
“If I’m late to Mason’s wedding, my family will kill me. He’s my brother.”
“Half-brother,” Bram pointed out none too gently. “This won’t take long, your highness. You’ll be at Lowechester Hall long before the big event.”
Duke smiled. “I’ll string you up by the balls if I’m not.”
“You’ve got time. The ceremony isn’t until midnight, yes? Odd time.”
“It’s New Year’s Eve. New beginnings, and that sort of rubbish.” Duke shrugged. “What I’m wondering is why you demanded we come here
“I only discovered hours ago that I can no longer teleport inside my own home. Or enter in any other way. There are several possible reasons.” He sighed. “None of them good.”
“Think you, the great Bram Rion, will explain himself?” Marrok leaned across the line of warriors, his blue-gray eyes full of mirth. The gargantuan Arthurian warrior loved teasing Bram.
“Without his usual dodgy charm?” Ice Rykard, Bram’s brother-by-mating, raised a dark brow that nearly disappeared beneath his black skullcap. “Why would he start now?”
“The lot of you can piss off.” Bram pressed ahead to the blackened, leaning house in the distance. “Other than the recent attack on the Lowery family, Mathias has been like a church mouse since he failed to defeat Ice for a Council seat. We know he won’t abandon his quest to overtake magickind.
So his nearly three weeks of silence makes me itch.”
Agreed. The Doomsday Brethren was the biggest stumbling block between Mathias and ultimate power. None of them liked it when they couldn’t guess the vile wizard’s next move.
With a ripe curse, Bram ranted on. “The Council gave us—and us alone—the mandate to kill Mathias … but to do that, we must find him.”
“We will.” Duke hunkered into his brown Italian wool overcoat, then drawled, “I hope he doesn’t feel compelled to ring in the New Year with a bang. Tomorrow is much more convenient for me to fight mayhem.”
As was often the case, humor was lost on Ice. The warrior’s mood was as black as his turtleneck sweater. “Fucking bastard needs to be put down. But how do we kill a man who was already once dead?”
“We will—somehow. But first we must gain entrance to my house. There’s too much information inside that could help him.”
Ice shot Bram a stunned glare. “Not your grandfather’s writings?”
Bram didn’t say a word.
“You left Merlin’s work
?” Duke nearly choked.
“I was unconscious when Mathias attacked, if you’ll recall,” Bram said defensively.
A sick feeling settled into Duke’s stomach. Merlin had been the greatest wizard ever, dating back to the time of King Arthur. “If those writings fell into the wrong hands, magickind would be totally buggered.”
“Completely,” Bram admitted.
“Fuck,” Ice muttered. “Any chance Mathias doesn’t know you have Merlin’s texts?”
Bram shrugged. “At the very least, I’m sure he hopes I do. And of course, I have no idea what Shock might have told
Their supposed double-agent Shock Denzell … whose loyalties no one could quite seem to pin down. Dodgy bastard.
Duke sighed. “Fine, then. We’ll try to enter the house and look for Merlin’s books. I can stay an hour now and return tomorrow, if necessary. Mason extended an olive branch by asking me to be his best man. We haven’t been on speaking terms for roughly a decade, so I really can’t be late.”