Dark Alpha’s Night is a brand new paranormal romance in the Reapers series featuring a brotherhood of elite assassins from New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant.
There is no escaping a Reaper. I am an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I'm coming for you...
To some Fae, I am their worst nightmare. For I do Death’s bidding. But for all our strength and skill, a powerful enemy has risen up. Finding Ettie could change everything. The Half-Fae is our one chance. She’s sharp and strong and fierce. She steals my breath every time I'm near her. And looking into her eyes is like a bolt of lightning right through me. She’s what I’ve been waiting for my long, dark existence. But for us to be together, we must first stay alive…
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. She’s written more than thirty novels spanning multiple genres of romance including the bestselling Dark King stories, Dark Craving, Night’s Awakening, and Dawn’s Desire. Her acclaimed series, Dark Warriors, feature a thrilling combination of Druids, primeval gods, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children, a dog, and four cats in Texas.
"Dark, sexy, magical. When I want to indulge in a sizzling fantasy adventure, I read Donna Grant."
--Allison Brennan, New York Times Bestselling Author
Read an Excerpt
The drums of Fate beat boisterously, the rhythm unstoppable.
It was the first time Daire felt that he and his fellow Reapers might very well lose this senseless war they were embroiled in.
He let his gaze wander around the room, looking at the faces within the confines of the concrete fort their group had taken over on the small isle off the coast of Edinburgh. It wasn't that Daire didn't like Scotland, but he missed Ireland.
There were always seven Reapers. He didn't know why Death chose that number when the group was created, and he never thought to ask. As executioners for Death, it was the Reapers' job to help keep the balance between the Light and Dark Fae.
A job that wasn't easy on a good day.
And they hadn't had a good day in a long, long time.
Death didn't prefer one branch of Fae over the other, which was why the Reapers were comprised of both Dark and Light. Though once a Fae accepted the position of Reaper, they ceased being one or the other — though their coloring remained.
There were two Dark in their ranks — Kyran and Fintan. While Kyran had the red eyes and black and silver hair of a Dark, Fintan's hair and eyes were white. He earned his coloring from killing more Fae than any other in their entire history. But that was another story.
Daire's gaze moved to Talin, who stood with their newest member, Neve, who also happened to be Talin's woman. Next to her was Baylon, who stood with his arms crossed over his chest, a frown marring his face as he spoke.
They'd been deep in discussions for the past hour with nothing to show for it. Daire wondered what the girls, who weren't present, were up to. It was an odd thought. Especially since the Reapers hadn't been allowed to have relationships before.
But all that changed once Bran escaped his prison realm and started his crusade to wipe out the Reapers and kill Death.
That's when Baylon fell in love with Jordyn, Kyran and River got together, and Fintan gave his heart to Catriona. Now, those women — all half-Fae — were making the fort their home. With Death's blessing.
"Daire? Are you listening?"
His head jerked to Cael, the leader of the Reapers. Daire looked into Cael's silver eyes and gave a single nod. "I am."
Daire wasn't as overjoyed as the others to have the girls at the fort. It had nothing to do with Catriona Hayes falling in love with Fintan, and everything to do with the fact that Cat had done what none of the Reapers was able to — wound Bran.
While it felt as if they'd been fighting Bran for eons, it had only been a handful of months, but already, the ex-Reaper had managed to wreak untold havoc.
The worst was during a particularly brutal battle. A clash of magic resulted in Eoghan's disappearance to. ... Well, that was the problem. They didn't know where their friend and fellow Reaper was, or how to get to him.
To complicate things even further, Bran was somehow syphoning Death's magic, linking the two so that neither of them could find or kill the other.
While it also prevented Bran and his army from eradicating any of the Reapers, the same held true for Bran's men. They couldn't be killed. And frankly, Daire was tired of fighting the same Dark Fae over and over.
"We have to stop whatever Bran is doing," Kyran said, his red eyes flashing in anger.
Daire blew out a breath. "The one weapon we had can no longer be used."
Fintan's white eyes swung to him. "We'll find another. Cat has done enough."
"No one is arguing that point," Talin said.
Neve's lips twisted. "But it would be nice if she could still hurt Bran."
"It wouldn't matter," Cael said. "Bran knows what she can do, and he'll make sure not to get near her."
"Or he could try to kill her," Kyran added.
Fintan's glare grew icy. "That won't happen."
"We need someone or something we can use to kill Bran," Baylon said.
Talin gave a snort. "As if we could find someone who would be able to fight him."
"We don't need to find them," Daire said. "We already know her."
There was a moment of silence as everyone stared at him, trying to figure out who he meant.
Cael gave a shake of his head as he guessed. "You seriously want to ask Rhi to help us? The Light Fae is working her own problems out."
"She's battled Bran before," Neve pointed out.
Kyran grunted in agreement. "Without us asking her. Rhi is one of the best warriors the Light has. She'll do it."
"You're assuming a lot," Fintan pointed out.
Baylon sighed loudly. "This arguing is pointless. Rhi couldn't help us even if she wanted to. Death has had Daire watching her for a long time. Death even wiped Rhi's memories of us —"
"Which didn't work for long," Daire pointed out. "Rhi remembered everything about Death and us."
"There may not have been a formal invitation, but Rhi is part of Death's army," Baylon finished.
Cael sighed heavily, weariness showing briefly. "Baylon's right. When Rhi helped us in the battle that sent Eoghan away, she all but officially joined Death's army. Rhi won't be able to hurt Bran any more than Cat can now."
Daire ran a hand down his face. They'd had one shot. One millisecond in which to end everything. But they hadn't realized Cat could deal a killing blow to Bran until it was too late. Once she was part of Death's army, like the rest of them, she couldn't hurt Bran any more than he could harm her.
It was beyond frustrating. Their options were running out. How could they find someone who was brave enough to stand up to Bran — whose power was growing by the hour — and fight him, knowing they could die? Daire would do it in a heartbeat, but as a Reaper, he and the others didn't have that option.
"So, we find someone else," Neve said.
Talin smiled at his woman, pulling her against him. "It's not quite that easy, sweetheart."
"Perhaps we make it that easy," Fintan stated.
Kyran rocked back on his heels. "Our options are limited."
"There are Fae we can ask," Neve said.
The rest of them were shaking their heads before she finished. Neve was still new and often forgot that if a Fae discovered who the Reapers were, they had to be killed — one of the rules Death put into place to keep the Reapers a secret.
Neve rolled her eyes. "Fine. What about a Halfling."
"Many don't even know they have Fae blood," Baylon said. "Besides, few know how to fight, and even fewer would know how to stand against someone like Bran."
Daire rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger. The Reapers were the most feared Fae of all, and they couldn't kill Bran. But if they didn't do something soon, Bran might just find a way to end Death and send everything into utter chaos.
It was a fekking mess of gargantuan proportions. And he really feared there might not be a way out for them.
He felt someone move closer to him and glanced over to see Cael.
"You look as though you've given up hope," Cael said in a low voice so the others couldn't hear.
Daire dropped his arm. "I've spent the last months veiled while following Rhi. I've learned a great deal about the infamous Fae and her connections to not just the Dragon Kings, but also Ulrik and the Dark."
"You speak of Balladyn."
"Her lover and the new King of the Dark." Daire's stomach turned just thinking about it.
The only thing that made it better was knowing that Rhi and Balladyn were in the midst of an argument and not speaking.
"I've spoken with Con."
Daire jerked his head to look at Cael, reeling from the news. "You spoke with the King of Dragon Kings? When?"
"When Talin appeared on Dreagan land, I knew we'd have to let them know of our existence. Then Rhi told them about us. It was time."
"And?" Daire pushed, needing to know more.
Cael gave a half-hearted shrug. "Con doesn't trust us. Yet. But he'll be a good ally once I prove to him who we are."
"And how are you going to do that?"
"We," Cael corrected him and met his gaze, smiling. "We'll do that. It's going to take all the Reapers."
Daire had to admit, Cael was right, but then again, he usually was. It was one of the many reasons he led them.
"We're going to find Eoghan," Cael stated loudly into the lull in conversation.
All eyes turned his way.
Cael then looked at each of them. "We're going to stop Bran. We are going to win."
"Damn right, we are," Talin said with a nod.
Each of them agreed until only Daire was left. He faced Cael and said, "We won't stop until we've achieved it all."
A small frown formed on Cael's brow. "We'll pick this up shortly."
"What's wrong?" Baylon asked.
Cael turned his gaze to Daire. "Death wishes to talk to Daire and me."
The words barely registered with Daire before Cael put his hand on him and teleported them to a small isle in the middle of a body of water. The sound of distant bagpipes told Daire they were still in Scotland.
"Come," Cael urged.
Daire looked back at Cael to see a Fae doorway. He quickly followed and stepped into another realm, one that took his breath away with its beauty.
Thick foliage surrounded him as the scent of flowers drifted around them. A profusion of melodies from the cornucopia of birds filled the air like a symphony.
His gaze moved upward to see trees towering above them. He spotted some of the brightly colored birds flitting from limb to limb, while others soared upon the currents, weaving between the branches as if dancing.
Daire slowly followed Cael along the narrow path before them — and came upon the flowers. They were everywhere, in every shape, size, and color. Butterflies, bees, and dragonflies flew about, taking no notice of anything but the multitude of flowers laid out before them like a feast.
"Where are we?" Daire whispered.
Cael looked over his shoulder at Daire and grinned. "Death's realm."
If anyone had asked Daire to describe where he pictured Death living, it wasn't this. Then again, he couldn't imagine her anywhere. He'd known she had a realm, but he always thought she just existed in the space around them.
But now that he stood among the flowers while listening to the birds and the hum of bees, he realized this suited her. Death took so much life, but she surrounded herself with other kinds.
Daire's head swiveled from one flower to another as he continued trailing Cael. It wasn't long before he spotted a tall white tower looming before them. Daire couldn't wait to see what was inside. No sooner had that thought filled his mind than Cael came to a stop.
Daire peered around him to find Death squatting beside a bush with her voluptuous black skirts around her as she fed grass to a rabbit.
"Thank you for coming," Erith said without looking up.
Cael moved to the side so Daire could better see. His gaze landed on a thick curtain of blue-black hair that hid her face. Unsure of why he'd been summoned, Daire remained silent beside Cael, taking everything in.
Finally, Erith stood, the movement of her full skirts making nary a noise. She turned to face them and clasped her hands before her while lavender eyes landed on him.
Daire swallowed. The first time he'd met Death was when she offered him a position as a Reaper. It was rare to see much of her after accepting. That was Cael's job as leader, so Daire was a little apprehensive about why she wanted him there.
He glanced at the black gown that hugged her upper body all the way up to her neck, leaving her arms completely bare. Her beauty was unparalleled, and there were no words to even begin to describe the loveliness of such a being — nor did he presume to try.
"Daire," Erith said. "You've been a great asset to the Reapers. Not once did you complain when I sent you to follow Rhi. You did your duty as I requested, and went even further by protecting Rhi on several occasions."
He began to worry that this was about him talking to Rhi. "You erasing her memories didn't work," he began.
Death held up a hand, silencing him. "I didn't have Cael bring you here to berate you. You were brought here because I wish to know if you want to continue following Rhi, or if you would rather return to your fellow Reapers to fight Bran."
Daire considered each option carefully. "Rhi is special. I know why you wanted her followed. She's stubborn, loyal, at times reckless, but amazingly brave. Rhi has several paths open before her, and it's anyone's guess which one she will take. Her power is ... fathomless."
"Something the Light Queen doesn't need to know," Cael said.
"Rhi is careful," Daire added.
Erith patiently waited for him to continue.
Daire drew in a deep breath and slowly released it. "I feel as if I can call Rhi a friend. She's still irked with us right now, but that will change. Ever since Eoghan's disappearance, I feel ... like we're losing. Neve has been an asset we needed."
"Eoghan will always have a place with the Reapers," Death said. "He was one of the first. And he will always be a Reaper."
That alleviated some of the worries that had been bothering Daire. And it made his choice easier. "With Eoghan gone and the threat of Bran increasing, I belong with my brothers and sister."
"Then that is where you shall be." With that, Death turned and walked away.
Daire watched her before looking to Cael. "Now what?"
"We return to Inchmickery."
"To continue tossing around ideas?" he asked, not hiding his irritation.
Cael led the way back through the dense foliage, pushing aside huge leaves as he did. "Actually, I've got a plan."
Excitement burned through Daire when he saw Cael's grin. He stepped through the Fae doorway, leaving Death and her stunning realm behind, ready to get started on this new plan.CHAPTER 2
It was a mantra Ettie heard for as long as she could remember. It ran through her head as soon as she woke each morning — and numerous times throughout the day.
She blinked through the fine mist of rain, her gaze on her opponent. Ettie didn't have time to notice the ball of orange rising along the horizon, or how the thick clouds moved swiftly to cover the sun. Or to hear the trickle of the stream running behind her.
The shrill cry of a falcon circling above them barely registered. Her attention was on the direction of the wind as it blew across her cheek, and the way her adversary kept the majority of her weight off her left foot.
Ettie zeroed in on that injury, while in her mind, she planned her attack. When the assault came, she easily sidestepped, leaning back as the wooden staff whooshed near her face.
Spinning, she switched her weapon from her right hand to her left, knocking one of her challenger's legs out from under her.
"Same old move," Jamie said with a curl of her lip. "Is that all you've got, sister?"
Ettie heard the wind before it rushed around them, pulling free long strands of blond hair from Jamie's loose braid and blowing them right into her eyes.
Swinging the staff around until she held it in both hands, Ettie charged her sister. Jamie got her pole up in time. The sound of wood hitting wood was loud in the valley.
There was a clash of strength as each sister fought to get the upper hand — a difficult thing since they were the same height and weight.
Out of the corner of her eye, Ettie saw a boulder about the size of a beach ball sticking up from the earth. She turned Jamie, and vaulted from the rock, which gave her the added height to twist and jab her sister in the side with her staff.
Jamie came at her with teeth bared. The staffs slammed together again and again as Ettie blocked and attacked. She got in a few hits, but just as she tried to get the advantage, the end of Jamie's pole landed a solid hit against her thigh.
"Stop it, you two. You're going to kill each other!"
Ettie and Jamie lowered their sticks, breathing heavily. They eyed each other before turning to Carrie. The youngest of them stood with her arms crossed and a stern expression on her face as the wind whipped the edges of the shawl she had wrapped around her.
"Just one morning I'd like to wake up and not have to come out here to find you two," Carrie said.
Ettie anchored her staff in the ground and leaned against it. "You should be practicing with us."
Carrie's lips pinched. "So help me God, Ettie, if you tell me that we need to 'be ready,' I'm going to scream. We don't even know what we're supposed to be waiting for."
"He trained you, as well," Jamie said.
Carrie turned her ire to Jamie, her big blue eyes flashing. "Another word about training, Father, or 'being ready,' and I'm leaving. For good. I've waited around this desolate place long enough. I want a life!"
Ettie licked her lips as her breathing slowed. This wasn't the first time their youngest sister had said such words. But it was the first time Ettie actually believed them. "You know the stories Papa told us."
"The Fae don't exist." Carrie looked from Ettie to Jamie and back to Ettie. "If they don't exist we can't be part Fae. You two are wasting your lives. Don't you want to experience the world? Find a man? Have sex? Because, I really, really want to have sex."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Dark Alpha's Night"
Copyright © 2018 Donna Grant.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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