HAPPY NEW YEAR!
“I’ve often asked myself, could I have you without hurting you; rouse your body in ways you never knew possible without tripping over to the dark side of my nature and taking my desire for you too far? How can I resist, when I want you more than my next breath?” ~ Tajaé Zhang
An unseen war is brewing in the shadowy underworld of London. Dr. Faith Miller, a local pathologist, is exposed to the horrific reality when she stumbles upon her brother consuming the flesh of his lover.
Tajaé Zhang, the second in command of the UK based black panther pack of the Chalvaiz clan, and his fellow shifters have been systematically exterminating the walking corpses—zombies, in an attempt to control the rapidly spreading demon virus.
Secretly, he has observed Faith from afar for months. His attraction for her has grown into an untamable love. After she’s bitten and infected with the virus, Tajaé defies the laws of the shifter packs and puts his life on the line to save hers.
*Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Interracial Romance, Series*
Cover Artist: Karri Klawiter
Deep murmurs filtered from behind the closed French doors.
The massive number of rising corpses was the topic of discussion, a topic he’d rather not discuss. They’ve devised many eradication plans, all of which have failed. The corpses’ continue to rise, their transition period decreasing with each passing week.
This powerful evil threatened to consume the earth’s population, leaving it to rot in the hands of the undead. Many supernatural beings didn’t care to admit it, but humans were necessary, vital to the underworld’s survival.
Arms folded and ankles crossed, Tajaé leaned against the wall staring at the doors. They were painted a rich reddish brown, quite different from the moth green shade they used to be. Raised rectangular panels accentuated the otherwise dull solid wood barriers—his sister’s touch, no doubt. He contemplated if he should even enter. He didn’t really have a choice in the matter since his alpha summoned him here.
There were many places he could be, one of which he favored over the rest. Any place with her. He would rather be observing her go through her daily routine, oblivious to the increasing threat rising around her and humankind. It sounded much better than being forced to sit in a room full of high-strung shifters for hours on end, as they try to devise another useless plan to rid the world of zombies.
Dipping his head, he sighed.
She had dinner plans with her brother tonight, at his house. Unfortunately for Tajaé, her brother resided on another pack’s turf. If Tajaé attempted to follow her, he would be attacked. Not that he couldn’t handle himself. He was a hunter who lived for battle. Downside to that was his alpha strived to keep the uneasy truce between the shifter packs stable, which meant he wouldn’t appreciate him stirring up a fight.
But sometimes to fight is unavoidable.
Briefly, he closed his eyes. Her face came to his mind. Her smile, her voice, her scent… Faith. If only he could talk to her, caress her skin, kiss her lips. The thought intoxicated him. His body hardened, his temperature rose.
Good lord, she is my addiction.
An unpleasant odor sliced through his beautiful mental getaway and flared his nostrils. He drew in a deep breath. His eyeteeth lengthened.
A Vampire? In the presence of my alpha?
Without another thought, he shoved the doors open. A gust of forceful air whipped up and blew the papers from the large oak table.
Razo, the alpha of the black panther clan, sat at the head chair, his brows furrowed in frustration. His golden feline eyes beamed like flashlights, contrasting brilliantly with his dark skin. “Tajaé! Thought I sensed your presence in the building. Get your arse in here. You’re late, mate!”
All the chairs around the table were filled with the high-ranking fore-fighters of their pack. All except for one. Clay, his Irish brother, who was also the third in command, sat to Razo’s left, while Antoine, the tight-lipped master vampire, sat to his right, in my chair.
Tajaé almost laughed. This vampire has some fucking gall. He never cared much for their kind. They were abominations, a conniving infectious disease, a breed of demons who were loyal to no one but themselves. Worst of all, they walked around with a God complex, as if they were untouchable.
He sauntered into the room, his glare fixed on Antoine.
A hush descended around him.
The click-clack from the soles of his boots hit the concrete floor in a steady cadence, severing the fraught silence. His anger grew with each step. He counted the passing seconds, withholding the growl clawing at his throat.
Waiting in the back of the room, Antoine’s cronies suddenly perked up. Baring fangs, they slinked in closer to their master, prepared for an assault that would surely come.
As if his presence wasn’t disturbing enough, the vampire had the nerve to open his mouth and speak. “We’re in the middle of a crisis, a world ending catastrophe and you’re out doing Satan knows what,” he scoffed, his eyes mere slits. “Your priorities are misplaced!”
Every shifter in the room cut a lethal glare at the vampire. Several growls resonated over the table.
But that wasn’t enough of a warning to quiet Antoine’s rant. “You’re the second in command. Your place is at your alpha’s side at all times! Where the hell were you?”
Extracting his switch-sword, Tajaé flash-stepped across the distance separating them.
One of Antoine’s protectors manifested in his path to block him.
A series of clicks sounded as Tajaé’s weapon opened to its full extended position, half a second before it cleaved through dead flesh. The beheaded vampire exploded into dust at Tajaé’s right as he continued to advance.
Shrieking in rage, the other vampire flew over the table at him.
Tajaé’s fellow shifters skipped back out of his way, allowing him to leap onto the table to face his foe.
His blade whipped through the fanged assailant, slicing him right down the middle. The creature’s remains instantly burst into ash and showered down on him. Tajaé dropped low and swept his leg in an arc, the heel of his boot aimed for Antoine’s head.
Avoiding the strike, Antoine shoved back from the table and launched to his feet. A black stream spiraled out from his palm and lashed at Tajaé like a snake.
Tajaé spun away from the whip-like surge, leapt off the table, and bolted toward his opponent.
Backpedaling to keep distance between them, Antoine drew his broadsword.
Tajaé’s blade met his in an angry clash. The two metals screeched as Tajaé pushed forward and their hilts locked together. He twisted his wrist inward, which in turn forced the handle from Antoine’s grip. Tajaé flung his arm out and Antoine’s weapon flew across the room, lodging into the wall. Before the ancient vampire could use his dark power to summon the sword back into his possession, Tajaé slammed his fist into his jaw.
Stunned, Antoine stumbled back.
Without pause, Tajaé followed up with a roundhouse kick to his head.
The blow lifted Antoine off his feet, spun him in the air and threw him back.
As soon as his body hit the wall, Tajaé was on him with his blade at his throat.
“Alright-alright, that’s enough, Tajaé.” Still lounged at the table, Razo regarded him a side eye and smirk. “Put the brakes on that temper, mate.”
“Razo, are you’re going to allow this?” Antoine strained out, his fangs extended in anger and his hot glare locked on Tajaé, who still had his weapon pressed into his jugular.
With laughter in his voice, Razo responded, “Well, you were sitting in his chair, soo…”
“He killed my chevaliers!”
“Hey, you were warned. I told you not to sit in his chair. You didn’t listen.”
“Enough about the fucking chair! This is an outrage! I am nobility, a pure blood.”
“Your vampire ranking means nothing on this side of the river,” Razo growled, suddenly at Tajaé’s side.
“You are aware that this treatment of me is just cause to start a war.” Antoine’s words were laced with venom as his glare shifted from Tajaé to Razo. “Is that what you felines want?”
Surrounded by powerful shifters with a blade at his neck, and yet, this vampire was still too haughty to know his place. Given his make, this wasn’t a surprise.
Narrowing his glare, Tajaé added pressure to the sharp edge.
A line of dark blood bubbled out from cut and trickled down his collarbone. He harped out in sadistic laughter. “Ah yes. You just guaranteed your death, boy.”