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Authors: J L Taft

Huntress

BOOK: Huntress
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Huntress

J
L Taft

 

Life has taught Fiona, a
telekinetic witch, some clear lessons—reveal your true self to no one and don’t
believe in love. She keeps men at arm’s length until she meets Trent, an
ex-Marine who seems to be satisfied with her need for no-strings sex.

But fate has thrown them together
for another reason. Fiona is destined to take over her grandmother’s place as a
vampire hunter. Trent has his own secret talent of clairvoyance and doesn’t
want Fiona facing vamps alone. Not that he can stop her. But visions of her
hunts fire his need to protect her at all costs.

Prophecy says his death will be
inevitable and tragic if they stay together. But Trent doesn’t care. He loves
her anyway and will push their bond to the limit, even when his life is on the
line.

 

Inside Scoop:
Fiona and
Trent enjoy a bit of tying up and spanking.

 

A Romantica®
paranormal erotic romance
from
Ellora’s Cave

 

Huntress
J L Taft

Dedication

 

For my husband, for putting up with me and the crazy life of
a writer. I love you.

 

Chapter One

 

Trent was bored. Damn bored. He knew that he shouldn’t have
let his men talk him into coming tonight. He was no longer their commanding
officer and was no longer part of their world. This was probably why he had
come in the first place. It might be the last time they offered him an
invitation.

He was tired of the same old stale party that happened every
weekend, with the same old worn-out women. Nursing his beer, he watched his
buddies, still dressed in their standard-issue army fatigues, hang all over the
same cheap women they saw last time they were here. It was getting old and he
wouldn’t have any regrets leaving this place behind him.

He sighed inwardly when he felt a small hand run across his
back.

“Hey, handsome, can I buy you a beer?” the woman asked him.
She had lowered her voice and he saw the ploy for what it was—a cheap trick. He
didn’t know what made him do it but he turned to her with the side of his face
that had been damaged by the heat blast. The side that was angry-red skin
covered in scars.

Her eyes went big in her face and she took an involuntary
step backward. He smiled at her and knew it came out more like a grimace.

“Want to rescind that offer, sweetheart?” he asked her.

Her head bobbed up and down and she mumbled a “sorry” before
she walked quickly away.

Feeling more than a little irritated with himself for
obviously terrifying a woman, he ordered another beer. But what the hell, he
knew he wasn’t interested anyway. What was wrong with him? One-night stands had
never bothered him before. A quick roll was all he ever needed. He wanted a
woman but somewhere along the last few months he had realized he craved
something deeper than the usual thirty-minute hook-up. He never thought he
would see the day but it wasn’t enough anymore.

Maybe it was the job, or his sudden lack of it. He was a Marine
and had just gotten back from a particularly dangerous mission. There was
nothing like having bullets whiz by your head to make you get your priorities
straight.

Nevertheless he had managed to bring his team home in one
piece, so that was something. Now that he thought about it he wasn’t sure how
it had happened. When the situation had gone bad he had made a split-second
decision to pull out and in the end it had saved them all.

Sure he had some nasty puckered scars on his face that
continued down his neck and his left eye got blurry when he was tired but he
was still alive.

It wasn’t the first time he had had a close call and he was
suddenly worried it might have been his last. The blast of the grenade had done
some minor damage to his left eye. His honorable discharge papers had been
waiting for him when he got out of the hospital.

Now he didn’t know what to do with himself. He wasn’t at the
top of his game anymore and women no longer went to extremes to get him in
their beds. They did the opposite, going out of their way to avoid him. He knew
it was the scars on his face and it pained him to realize how superficial his
so-called relationships had been.

Suddenly he didn’t want to spend his time hanging in the
bar. Two members of his team, John and Ethan, were the only ones missing
tonight. They had gone home to their wives and families. For the first time
ever Trent was jealous of them.

Finishing his beer with a couple long pulls, he headed for
the door. He would just go and walk off these crazy ideas.

* * * * *

Fiona closed her laptop and sighed with a satisfied smile.
Her new book was finally done. All she could feel was relief and a sense of
accomplishment that made her heart race. Now her editor would get off her back
about meeting the deadline for the next Woman Warrior book. She loved to write
them and she had never worried about meeting a deadline before but this one had
come out haltingly.

The stories she wrote were mostly true and about her
maternal grandmother. It was Fiona’s little secret. Grandmother had been a
vampire hunter, a much-respected one, until her death several years ago. She
had turned her diaries over to Fiona before she died. Fiona had known her
grandmother was different and family members had whispered about her behind
their hands. However, she never expected to learn Grandma had been a natural
witch and that she’d fallen in love with a man who’d been killed by a vampire
shortly after Fiona’s mother had been born.

After that she had hunted them with all her energy, killing
at every opportunity and showing no mercy against the blood drinkers. Her
diaries were amazingly detailed and Fiona swore she could sometimes smell the
spilled blood when she read them.

She changed the names of the people and altered the chain of
events to make it more dramatic but in essence she was retelling her
grandmother’s hunts. While the “normal” people of the world anxiously waited
for her books, she doubted they would be so receptive if they knew the stories
were true. It was something she wasn’t willing to risk.

Grandmother’s sexual exploits were enough to write about all
by themselves, Fiona mused. After Grandma’s husband had been killed she had
locked her heart away and had never married again. She’d been ahead of the
times in that regard. She treated her relationships, for lack of a better word,
like a man. She got what she needed from them and moved on. No regrets, no
remorse and no heartbreak. Grandma had been a smart woman.

Fiona wasn’t sure how Grandma had become a hunter. It wasn’t
written in the diaries and Fiona just assumed she had volunteered.

Grandma had raised her since she was a baby. Her parents had
died in a car accident only a few months after she was born. Whenever she asked
about her parents Grandma clammed up about her mother and told her that her
father was a drinker. He had been drunk the night their car had flipped.

Fiona also got the feeling he had been abusive to her mom,
from the way Grandma talked. But she had no way of knowing for sure.

Grandma had gotten rid of all of the photos of her parents.
Fiona and she had argued about it more than once. Fiona just assumed seeing
them caused too much pain and Grandma had rid her house of any reminder.

Fiona left her desk and headed for the shower. She was going
out to celebrate the completion of her book and maybe find a man who was
interested in some no-strings sex.

After showering and spending extra time on getting her wild
mane of red curls to lie somewhat submissively, she dressed in a black, low-cut
tank top and jeans.

She always wore her cloak instead of a coat. It was more
comfortable and kept her warm. It was black and had a deep-red lining. She
loved the way it flowed over her arms and around her hips.

Leaving the house, she walked slowly down the streets, not
sure where she was headed exactly but there were several bars and a pub within
walking distance.

Fiona stopped a couple of feet past a door leading to a
noisy, overcrowded bar. It wasn’t her normal type of scene but something
compelled her to go back. She didn’t ignore her instincts. They didn’t often
steer her wrong. Backing up to the open doorway, she peered through the dim
lighting.

There looked to be an overabundance of military men and that
was all right by her. She liked their hard bodies. They were also easy to
seduce, if it came to that, and they were easy to keep at a safe distance. She
was so used to living alone in the world that she couldn’t have any one person
hang around for too long before he got suspicious. She wasn’t good at hiding
her true self. She had a special knack for telekinesis and she did it without
thinking. It tended to freak people out but most would brush it off the first
time and sometimes the second. By her third slip-up they ran in the other
direction. She was done with that.

It was better to keep everyone, men in particular, at arm’s
length but she was lonely and celebrating. She was also craving a man. A strong
one who didn’t mind letting a woman be in control. It would be so easy to find
someone who appealed to her and say a quick spell to make him cooperative. It
wasn’t as if it would take away his will. He would wake up the next day knowing
he had sex but the details would be fuzzy and the woman unmemorable. Then he
couldn’t come looking for her. Even though she was getting tired of doing that
it was for her protection as well as his. What she really wanted was some
mind-blowing, old-fashioned attraction. The kind she wrote about in her books.

Snapping out of her musings, Fiona realized she had been
staring into the door of the bar for who knew how long. She lowered her gaze
and took several steps through the doorway before she ran into what felt like a
brick wall. A brick wall that was warm and smelled of something spicy and dark
mixed in with a healthy dose of male. She felt his hands reach out to steady
her. Her stomach did a slow roll of pleasure before she ever raised her eyes to
his.

Fiona was very aware of the tingling sensation that started
where her hands lay on his chest and worked its way up her arms and across her
breasts, where it spread and left her feeling overheated. She raised her
dark-brown eyes from his chest, lingering over his strong, broad shoulders. She
said a quick plea, hoping his face was as hot as the rest of him. Then she
lifted her eyes to meet his.

Her dark-brown gaze met his deep-green one and the shivers
of awareness turned to certain, full-blown desire. Heat pooled immediately
between her legs and her mind went blank. His gaze roamed over her face and
then lower, brushing across her low-cut, black top and then continuing down.
Her breasts hardened and swelled, feeling his stare.

They were blocking the narrow doorway and at a quiet,
“Excuse me,” he pulled her fully into the bar and up against him, causing the
breath to whoosh out of her lungs but effectively moving her out of the way of
the other patrons.

Her tongue was tied and she had trouble putting her thoughts
together. A quiet whisper came to her.
“Be careful what you wish for.”
She would know that voice anywhere—her grandma, speaking to her from someplace
else. Someplace where spirits roamed free. The voice reminded her to be
cautious. No man was worth her secrets.

He still had hold of her arms and the awareness of the touch
trembled over her. He was looking at her now as if she were a puzzle that
confused him. His brow was furrowed and his eyes had narrowed.

She stared up at him. He was a good six inches taller than
her and she realized she was waiting for something, even if she wasn’t sure
what it was.

“Can I buy you a drink?” he asked quietly. It would have seemed
lame coming from anyone else but his low voice only made her more aware of the
sudden burning desire raging through her.

Struggling for control, she nodded her assent. He never
removed his hand from her arm as he led her to the far end of the bar and
pulled a stool out for her. Taking the seat next to her, he finally released
her and ordered both of them a beer.

She usually didn’t drink beer but she couldn’t find any way
to object. The drinks were already sliding to a stop in front of them.

The roaring waves of sexual heat subsided when they were no
longer touching and Fiona took a deep breath to calm her body and gain control
of her mind.

His face was no longer in shadow and her breath caught at
the sight of the pinkish, puckered skin on his left side. For some reason it
didn’t turn her off. This was a man who lived dangerously and had the scars to
prove it.

He caught her gaze and she immediately lowered hers, not
wanting to offend him with her staring.

She glanced around her to take in the other customers in the
dim lighting of the almost full bar. There was a jukebox in the corner that
played something unrecognizable over the noise of the other people, the small
dance floor was full and both pool tables were occupied. She noticed there was
no shortage of obvious military men looking for a good time.

Turning back to the man at her side, she felt his gaze rake
over her. She resisted the urge to pull her cloak closer about her. His gaze
saw way too much for comfort. He smiled slightly and she wondered again what
secrets he was hiding of his own.

“Do you come here often?” Again his low, rough voice
shivered along her spine.

Smiling slightly at him, she shook her head. He looked at
her with a sudden dawning across his features. “Do you speak?” The blurted question
and the sincerity on his face ripped a long laugh from her. She wasn’t nervous
often and she had been accused of many things in her life but never being a
mute.

 

Trent watched the transformation of the woman before him
from leery and quiet to vivacious and awe-inspiring. Her laugh rolled over him
and settled between his legs, tightening his muscles and draining his brain of
much-needed blood.

She was still laughing, a deep, husky sound that had him
smiling in return. Her hood slid off her head and revealed a long mass of
deep-auburn curls. His fingers itched to tangle themselves in her hair and he
put a death grip on his beer bottle to keep from acting on impulse. There was
no reason to terrify another woman tonight. But he knew she had already assessed
his face and since she was still sitting next to him he was going to hope it
didn’t disgust her as much as it did him.

“So I’ll take that as a no,” he stated.

Her laughter slowly died but a smile still hovered on her
lips and in her eyes. Holy shit she was beautiful and the red-gold hair hanging
down her back called to him like a scream in the night.

He tried not to stare at the cleavage spilling out of her
black top but he was definitely a tit man and he couldn’t help it. He wanted to
bury his face there and never find his way back out.

“No, I don’t come here often and no, I’m not a mute,” she
said as she stared at him.

BOOK: Huntress
12.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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