Despised by his tiger shifter pride as an abomination, Grey has ventured far from home, deep into the bowels of Hell in search of answers about the machinations of Archangel, the mortal hunter organisation who held his twin captive. With no knowledge of the realm, and little skill with the local languages, he quickly finds himself at a dead end—until he crosses paths with a beautiful hellcat female who rouses his darkest most dangerous instincts.
Lyra has been a fool, falling for the charms of a male whose only desire was to make a fast buck by selling her. Shackled and collared, her strength muted by magic, she awaits her time on the stage at a black-market auction, but before it can come, all hell breaks loose and she seizes a chance to escape—and runs straight into a majestic warrior who steals her breath away and tempts her like no other as he battles alone to free everyone.
When Lyra offers her services as a translator to repay Grey for saving her, will he be strong enough to resist the needs she awakens in him and spare himself the pain of her inevitable rejection when she discovers the truth about him? And when the powerful male in charge of the slave ring starts a bloody hunt for Lyra, can she escape another collar and find the courage to trust the tiger who is capturing her heart?
Lyra pressed her left hand against the tip of the baton and drove forwards, into the male’s arm, shoving him sideways. He lashed out at her again, his baton striking her thigh and then her knee. Heat swept through her, numb at first but then fiery hot, blazing along her bones.
“Fucker,” she snarled and grabbed his baton before he could strike her with it again.
She wrestled with him as he tried to twist it free of her grip, his face contorting into vicious lines as he growled at her, flashing his fangs. His busted horns curled further, a flare of aggression, and his eyes brightened, glowing gold around his pupils.
He yanked his arm backwards, and she went forwards with it, refusing to release his weapon. She slammed into him, her bare breasts pressing against his chest, and pulled her arm back, trying to get the damned baton off him. She was going to kill him with the fucking thing. It would be a fitting end for him. Dying by his own weapon.
She was so focused on getting the baton off him that she didn’t notice his other fist coming at her face until it was too late. Pain splintered across her nose and blood poured from it, hot as it ran over her lips. She growled, grabbed his arm and twisted it hard.
He roared as the bone snapped.
Lyra grabbed her baton with both hands, shoved it against the front of his throat and pressed forwards, driving him down into the dirt. She settled all her weight on his chest, her knees pinning his shoulders, and pushed downwards on the baton. His eyes grew wild as he struggled beneath her, kicking his legs and growling.
His baton smacked her hard in the side.
She snarled, grabbed it and twisted it free of his grip.
And brought it down hard.
His eyes widened.
His struggles instantly ceased.
Lyra collapsed to her left, sinking to her backside on the rough black ground, her right leg still draped over the dead demon. She breathed hard, her eyes fixed on the baton sticking out of his chest.
Gods. What had she done?
It wasn’t like her.
Her mother and aunt hadn’t raised her to be like this.
She lifted her hands and stared at the blue flames that fluttered around her fingers and flickered from her black nails.
She slowly closed her fingers into fists and clenched them. They had driven her to this, and now it was too late to turn back. She needed to keep going.
She needed to make them all pay.
She would show them how vicious a hellcat could be.
She picked herself up, found the ring of keys the demon had used to unlock her cell, and went through them one by one as a battle raged around her, the guards uninterested in her as they rushed either towards the fight at the stage, or ran away into the darkness.
Lucky number thirteen was the one that unlocked her collar.
She pulled it off and let it drop from her hand onto the dirt by the dead demons.
Holy fuck, it felt good.
No more weight around her neck. No more spell sucking all her strength. No more barrier between her and her more powerful form.
She looked for the key to her shackles. None of them were the right sort. Damn. She was going to have to settle for having the collar off for now, at least until she found the son of a bitch who had the key to her cuffs.
The male in charge of the troupe of slavers would be a good place to start looking for it.
After she had killed him.
With the collar gone, she was strong enough to snap the chain between her shackles, giving her more freedom than she’d had in a long time.
She unlocked the cell of the bitch opposite her, and didn’t stop to see whether she ran or stayed where she was. She moved on, freeing every prisoner she passed.
A towering male with long matted gold hair and bright gold eyes held his hand out to her.
“Go.” He jerked his chin towards the stage.
Towards the fight.
“I have this.” His deep voice rolled like thunder over her, filled with darkness and a sensation of danger that had her wanting to take a step backwards, away from him. “I’ll set these people free while you deal with them.”
She was about to ask whether he was sure he could handle himself if some of the guards attacked him when she finally got his collar open. The second the lock on it popped, he took it and twisted it in his hands, bending the metal as if it was tinfoil.
A flare of bright gold illuminated his eyes.
He held his hand out to her again as he looked down at her with a regal tilt to his chin and an air of authority that warned her not to question him.
Lyra placed the ring of keys into it.
She wasn’t about to ask a dragon if he could handle himself.
They tended to take any question about their strength personally and she wasn’t interested in becoming barbequed cat.
If he wanted to play the role of white knight, she was more than happy to let him get on with it.
She had a date with someone else.
She nodded at the same time as he did, and then turned and sprinted towards the stage.
Another roar rose above the din of battle, calling to her, driving her to fight.
She growled as she leaped and shifted in mid-air, the transformation swift to come. By the time she landed, it was on four large paws as her twin tails whipped behind her, the blue flames fluttering along the last third of their lengths dancing in the darkness and lighting the area around her.
Cerulean fire burst from beneath her black paws too, and as her anger took hold again, the flames spread up her legs and over her sleek black body. She exhaled hard, causing the flames that licked around her sharp fangs to flutter outwards, and then inhaled, drawing them back.
Her flames were normally warm, a comforting feeling, but in the midst of her rage they were hot, heating her fur, stoking the fire that burned inside her.
She growled and her twin tails swished viciously, the flames that now coated them breaking free and shimmering in the air for a second before they died.
She scanned the area ahead of her, blocking out the sounds of the battle piece by piece as she searched for the one who had put her in the cage. The one who would have sold her into a life of hell.
She snarled, flashing her fangs.
The demon in charge stood on the far side of the dark wooden stage, the huge flaming torches that marked each corner of the platform causing golden light to flicker over his black hair and horns, his matching leathers and his bare chest.
He looked her way, his dark leathery wings twitched against his back and he said something to the three males surrounding him as he pointed at her.
The trio of demons dropped from the stage and started towards her.
Lyra was feeling gracious enough to meet them halfway.
She sprinted across the black dirt, her long legs and preternatural speed devouring the distance in the blink of an eye, and pressed down hard with her back legs once she was close to the demon in the lead.
She sprang, leaping through the air, her claws extending as she arced towards him. The male caught her, twisted and flung her before she could so much as scratch him. She hit the dirt, tumbled and growled as she came onto her paws. She leaped again, and he braced himself, arms open, ready to catch her and toss her again.
Lyra grinned inside as she dropped short of him and launched forwards, her fangs aimed at his thigh. His scream rent the air as she sank them deep through his dark leathers, and warm blood flooded her mouth. Another of the males grabbed her by the scruff and pulled her off him, throwing her into the dirt hard enough to knock the wind from her lungs.
She shook it off before he could attack and lashed out at him, hissing as her ears flattened and flared backwards. He dodged backwards to evade her blow and growled at her, his horns curling as he reached for his baton.
When he flicked his wrist to extend it, the damned thing sparked.
She growled at it and leaped when he tried to hit her with it.
Pain she could withstand to a certain degree, but she had learned early on in her captivity that an electrical charge pouring through her body was something she never wanted to experience again.
He grinned and lashed out again, a bright blue arc following the tip of his baton as it swept towards her.
Lyra leaped again, barely dodging it, and snarled as her back slammed into something.
The male behind her grabbed her and she wrestled against him, flailing madly in his grip, desperation driving her actions as it seized hold of her.
The demon with the baton advanced, and the one she had bitten joined him, extending his own weapon.
“Secure her, or it’s our damn heads on the block,” the ringleader hollered in the demon tongue, a language she had learned among others during her upbringing.
Her mother had wanted her prepared for anything.
Nothing could have prepared Lyra for this.
She hissed and whimpered as the first baton hit her, sending enough voltage through her body to have her fur standing on end and her flames receding. She growled and struggled against the demon holding her. He tightened his grip. Another baton struck, another thousand volts lighting her up.
She needed to escape. The urge drove her, instinct screaming at her to shift because it would make it easier for her to fight in this situation, but the pain kept her locked in her feline form.
Gods, she would have given anything right that moment to have been any other species of feline shifter. Hers was the only one that shifted into the feline form in response to pain. All the others shifted back to their human one.
The demons struck again, and again, electricity and pain coursing through her, stealing her consciousness and driving her deep into her animal instincts as she tried to withstand the beating and protect her mental state, aware that if she remained lucid, the damage the demons did would be permanent.
A scar on her mind that would last forever.
She howled in agony as one of the demons struck hard on her hind left leg and bone shattered.
Awareness drifted away from her.
She growled at the creatures around her, hungry for the taste of their blood. They meant to kill her. She would kill them first.
She would devour them so their souls could not pass on to their ancestors.
She snarled and twisted, using all her strength against the one holding her. The creature growled but she broke away from it, tipped the fiend off balance and landed on it. She sank her teeth deep into his flesh, tore at it and savaged him with her claws, a blue glow engulfing her. Pain throbbed in her flank, searing her bones. The creature’s fault. It would pay for hurting her.
Her fangs found his throat and she ripped at it, feasted on his blood and his screams.
Suddenly he was gone, and the world whizzed past her.
She grunted as she landed on the dirt, on her left leg, sending fresh fire rolling up it that threatened to steal her consciousness from her. Never. She clung to it, refusing to succumb to the darkness, and pushed onto her paws, setting her sights on the next creature.
Both brandished long sticks.
The ones they had struck her with, hurt her with.
She growled at the sticks, instinct driving her to avoid them, to keep away from them. They were pain. They were agony.
They were death.
The two creatures advanced.
Circled her in two directions.
They were going to attack at once.
She wouldn’t stand a chance, but she would at least take one of them with her.
The one on the right was stronger, larger.
She limped backwards, each step agony, sending pain so fierce through her that her vision wobbled and grew dark around the edges.
The one on the left was easier prey.
Blood suddenly spilled down its bare chest from a gash across its neck.
The fiend gargled, hands flailing wildly, the baton forgotten as it fell to the floor, all of its focus locked on trying to stem the blood that flooded like a waterfall over its body.
She stared, struggling to comprehend how the creature had died.
The male dropped to the ground.
Her breath left her in a rush of cerulean flames.
A silver-haired warrior stood where the creature had been, ice-blue eyes bright and naked body streaked with crimson, his claws dripping blood as he held his hand out at his side.
Every instinct she possessed fired at the sight of him.
If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.
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