Destiny Kills (Myth and Magic Series #1)

Destiny Kills (Myth and Magic Series #1)

by Keri Arthur

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440337409
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/28/2008
Series: Myth and Magic Series , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 102,625
File size: 585 KB

About the Author

Keri Arthur first started writing when she was twelve years old, and to date, she's finished fifteen novels. Her books have received many nominations and prizes, including making the final five in the Random House Australia George Turner Prize. She has also been nominated in the Best Contemporary Paranormal category of the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards, received a 'perfect 10' from Romance Reviews Today, as well as being nominated for Best Shapeshifter in PNR's PEARL Awards. She's a dessert and function cook by trade, and married to a wonderful man who not only supports her writing, but who also does the majority of the housework. They have one daughter, and live in Melbourne, Australia.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Some things I remembered.

Some things I couldn't.

Like who I was.

Or why I was sitting naked on a beach next to a dead man.

And yet I knew why I was here. I was waiting for the dawn to give him a final kiss good-bye before she guided his soul on to its next life.

The breeze that curled around me was cold, as cold as the sand was harsh. And yet these sensations were a fleeting thing. Goose bumps might tremble across my skin, and sand might grate against my buttocks and thighs, but both failed to register on anything more than a flesh level. I felt no cold, no pain, no sorrow.


It was as if I were dead inside. As dead as the man lying beside me. Yet, for some reason, I was still breathing and he wasn't.


That was a question that haunted me, teasing the frozen edges of my thoughts and memories.
Why him and not me?

I didn't know, I just didn't know, and yet I knew it was a question that was important. I knew my life might well depend on the answer.

I drew my knees close to my chest and studied the distant horizon. Though dawn had yet to stain night's cover, it was coming. Already its warm power vibrated across the air, an eager humming that was both familiar and alien. I didn't understand the sensation, didn't know the reason behind it, and yet the mere fact that I could feel it had relief sweeping through me.

It was frustrating, this not knowing. Not remembering.

I let my gaze move across the ocean, watching the waves roll lazily toward the sand, seeing nothing out there in the vast expanse of white-capped blueness. No ship. No boat. No pursuit.

But I didn't bother questioning why I was expecting any of those things, because the past remained hidden under a blanket that was almost absolute.


I rubbed a hand across eyes that felt like they'd cried a thousand tears, then glanced down at the body of my friend. I might not remember my own name, but I knew his. Egan Jamieson. Not only my friend, but also my guardian, my lover, and a man to whom I owed a debt more important than life itself.

He'd saved me.

He'd given me freedom at the cost of his own.

The need for revenge welled deep and fast and furious, until I was all but shaking with it. They would pay for this. Whoever they were, they would pay.

For Egan.

For all of us.

And it was a vow that was useless unless I could damn well remember who, exactly, I needed to take revenge upon.

I grimaced and returned my gaze to Egan. In the fading moonlight, his skin seemed to glow with a rich warmth, as if the sun itself still burned beneath his flesh. A birthmark marred his back, a snakelike stain that seemed to dive into his skin and out again, until it almost seemed coiled around his spine. In the night, it took on a reddish-gold appearance and contained a sheen oddly reminiscent of scales.

I shifted and ran a gentle finger down the mark. It was cool and leathery compared to his skin, as if it were indeed scales. Mine was all blues and greens and silvers, as if the brightness of a sunlit sea danced upon the surface of my skin. An inheritance from my mother, not my father.

I blinked at the thought, then grabbed it hard and tried to follow it back. But the fog of forgetfulness snapped in place, and all that was left were questions.

Yet more fucking questions.

I blew out a breath, then stretched out my left leg as the throb of pain finally began to impinge on my senses. There were scrapes across my kneecaps, and deeper cuts down my shins, accompanied by darkening patches that indicated bruising. But none of the wounds were currently bleeding, and there was no blood dried against my skin.

I glanced at the sea. No footprints marred the pristine sands. Not for as far as I could see. Nor were there any vehicle tracks of any kind. Though I guess with the tide coming in, none of that was really surprising.

But still, I had a feeling we'd come from the sea, that my skin bore no stain of blood because it had long since been washed away. That the wounds themselves were clean and healing rather than festering because of the saltwater.

I let my gaze follow the gentle curve of the beach until it reached the distance point. No lighthouse, no buildings of any kind, no indication of movement or life. Nothing to say where we were.

Maybe we were both dead. Maybe this was nothing more than the dream of waiting that came before the soul moved on to the next life.

I glanced down at Egan. I knew if I rolled him off his stomach, I'd see the bloody stain in the sand. See what remained of his chest after those bastards shot him.

I closed my eyes and pushed the resulting images away. There were some things I didn't want to remember, and the way he'd struggled to survive and remain free was one of them.

And yet, while he might have fought them to the very end, he'd done it for my sake. He'd once said that for all intents and purposes, he was a dead man, so why did anything matter? I didn't understand it at the time he'd said it, and now I never would get the chance to do so.

The hum in the air intensified. Energy danced across my skin, a crazy tingling that warmed the chill from my soul. I studied the horizon, waiting, as the hum of power crescendoed and slivers of red and gold suddenly broke across the sky. Warmth began to flood through my body, as if the rising of the dawn was also a rebirth of my emotional and sensory centers. A stupid thought, really, when I was just at home in deep, dark waters that had never seen the sun, never known warmth. . . .

God, it was so damn frustrating getting little snippets and hints here and there but never any real, definitive answers or memories.

I drew my knees close again, ignoring the slivers of pain and the blood that began to trickle down one leg, watching as the sunlight spread, smothering the stars and warming the night from the sky.
Watching as the growing light gradually flushed across Egan's unmoving body.

The warmth still radiating under his skin seemed to stir as the daylight caressed him, growing brighter as the day did, until the intensity made my eyes water and forced me to look away.

Still the heat and the brightness grew, until my own skin glowed under its radiance. But flesh was not designed to contain such heated iridescence for long, especially when that skin no longer belonged to a living, breathing soul. As the light broke free, reaching skyward with exuberant fingers, tears began to trickle down my cheeks.

"May the Gods of sun and sky and air guide you on your journey, my friend," I whispered, my voice croaky, hinting at long disuse. "And may you find in the next life what you could not in this."

Then the radiance caressing my skin began to die, taking with it the underlying hum of energy. Day had broken. It was only those in-between times—first light or twilight—that held the moments of great power.

There was nothing left of Egan. Nothing except the stain of blood on the sand and an odd glint of silver. His ring.

I reached out and carefully plucked it free from its resting place. In the growing sunlight, the rubies shimmering in the coiled serpent's eyes glowed like fire. It had always sent a shiver down my spine, this ring, despite the obvious workmanship and beauty.

When I'd asked him about it, Egan's golden eyes had grown somber. "It belongs to a man who once took something very precious from me," he'd said, and in his normally calm tones there'd been an undercurrent that was an odd mix of anger and heartache. "So I took something very precious from him." And then he'd given me a cold, hard smile and added, "But I will return it. When the time is right."

I closed my fingers around the serpent, pressing the cold metal into my palm. I might not be able to do anything else for Egan, but I could do this. Find the ring's owner and return it. And perhaps along the way discover its history and the reasons why Egan had murder on his mind.

Because it was an odd desire for a man who claimed nothing mattered anymore.

I pushed upright. A dozen different aches came to life, and weakness trembled through my limbs, the sort of weakness that came from long hours of constant activity. My gaze went to the ocean, leaping across the waves to the distant horizon.

Somewhere out there lay the answers.

Somewhere out there lay my home.

But until the fog encasing my memories cleared, I could not blindly walk out into the sea and just start swimming. The ocean was a vast and often angry being, and I could not tempt her waters without a destination in mind.

It was a thought that raised my eyebrows. I might not be dead, but madness was surely a possibility. I mean, what sane, rational mind contemplated swimming oceans?

I did.

Because I could. Because I had.

I rubbed my forehead wearily, aware for the first time of the slight ache behind my eyes. Maybe when it went, my memories would fully return. Maybe then I'd know what sort of creature contemplated swimming the oceans as easily as a bird might fly.

Because whatever I was, it wasn't human. That was a belief I felt deep in my bones, deep in my soul.

But until memory resurfaced, one thing was certain. I couldn't stand here naked and exposed on a beach. The mere fact that someone had blown a hole through Egan's chest suggested that someone would rather see us dead than free. And that, in turn, meant they'd surely be looking for me.

I turned around. Rugged cliffs ranged high above the pristine sands, lining and isolating the long sweep of beach. There were trails—paths made by the passage of feet over time, meaning this place, wherever it was, was at least reachable. Which meant there surely had to be some sort of city or town or at least a dwelling nearby.

The first thing I needed was clothing—simply because the last thing I needed was to attract attention.

I glanced over my shoulder, studying the rolling waves for a moment, then resolutely made my way to the cliffs and the nearest trail.

No one but goddamn goats had been using that particular trail, let me tell you.

I was sweating, shaking, and wheezing by the time I finally got to the top. I leaned my hands on my aching knees, sucking in great gulps of air as I studied the surrounding countryside.

The slope rolled down to a small cottage. The area around the cottage wasn't fenced, and a blue car sat out front, indicating that someone was home. Beyond the house, the slope rose again, and the tops of pine trees were evident behind it.

I glanced back at the house. The cottage didn't look big enough to be a permanent residence, so maybe it was one of those places vacationers rented out short term. I hoped so, because vacationers were more likely to go out for the day, leaving their possessions—or, more particularly, their clothes—unprotected.

Of course, to steal their clothes, I first had to get there. Right now, collapsing in a heap seemed a much better option.

I blew out a breath and forced my feet down the grassy slope. My legs protested the activity, and warmth began to trickle down not only my shin but the side of my face as well. I swiped at it with a hand, and it came away bloody.

Maybe Egan wasn't the only one who'd sustained serious injury. And a decent blow to the head would certainly explain the gaps in my memory.

I rubbed my hand down my thigh and kept on walking. What else could I do? I was in the middle of goddamn nowhere, with no idea who I was or how I'd gotten here. And no idea who I could trust. If I could trust.

As the slope flattened, the grass became long enough to brush my butt. Which in turn made me wonder if the grass was actually long, or if I was short. I felt long—long and rangy—but self-perception is an odd thing when the memory can give no references. I held my hands out and studied them critically.

Dirt-covered as they were from scrambling up the goat trail, they were still somewhat elegant—all long and slender. Neither my fingers nor my palms had calluses of any kind, so I obviously didn't do anything too strenuous for a living. A fact backed up by the length of my nails—or at least what remained of them after the climb.

I glanced down at my feet. There was nothing elegant about those. Given their length and width, they could be described only as paddles. Getting shoes had to be hell.

The thought intrigued me for some reason, and I stopped to lift a foot. Thick, hardened soles. Obviously, I didn't wear shoes all that often, if that foot was anything to go by.

A door slammed, and laughter ran across the meadow. I dropped to my knees, my bruised left leg hitting a rock and making me wince. Two people emerged from the cottage, the woman still laughing and touching her companion. Newlyweds, I thought, for no particular reason.

They climbed into the blue car sitting in the driveway, the man opening and closing the door for the woman before getting into the driver's side and driving off.

On the right-hand side of the road. And though three quarters of the world drove on that side, I was suddenly sure that I was in America. Which in itself wasn't much help, because America was a damn big country, but at least it was a starting point.

I waited until they were out of sight, then rose and made my way quickly toward the house. The front door was locked, as was the back. But a window along the side was open enough to slide a hand in and push off the screen. After that, it was a simple matter of pushing up the window and sliding in.

Which I did. I hit the floor with an awkward thump and sat there listening, waiting to see if there was anyone else in the house. Which is something I should have done before I started breaking in.
Obviously, I could cross "thief" off my list of possible past professions. Unless, of course, I was a very bad thief.

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Destiny Kills (Myth and Magic Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 223 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
- She wakes up on a beach with no idea how she got there next to her is a dead man whose name she recalls. When daylight arrives, he turns to ash. After stealing food and clothing, she tries to hitch a ride, but the man in the car plays chicken with her. She recalls her name is Destiny McCree and she realizes she is a sea dragon that can live in the sea as a human or a dragon. Jewel thief Trae Wilson, the dead man¿s half-brother called him to help Destiny who was held captive by scientists who are studying adults dragons, dragon children of both sexes in an underground compound near Loch Ness.---------------- Destiny is on a quest to see her father, an air dragon, before he dies and to free the children and her mother from the scientist¿s compound where scientists are experimenting on them with no regard to their well-being. Trae is willing to assist her especially since the seditious mercenary hunter dragons are stalking her to bring her back to the compound for quite a fee. Trae also wants his father¿s ring that Destiny possesses so that he can give it back to his dad in return for information as to where his sister is. As they elude the hunters, Destiny and Trae realize they are soulmates, but have little hope for a future together as the quest comes before their hearts.------------ Keri Arthur¿s opening salvo in a new paranormal romance series is a fantastic thriller as the full bodied characterizations make the world of dragons seem genuine. Destiny is a strong kick butt individual while Trae admires her inner strength so much so he willingly becomes her sidekick even before they realize they are mates. Although the plot is somewhat limited as expected in a first tale as the need to introduce the cast and the settings are critical, fans will enjoy this unique quest fantasy.-------------- Harriet Klausner
BluHawk More than 1 year ago
Arthur's "Full Moon Rising" is one of my favorite books of all time, and because of that, I'll read anything she publishes. This story wasn't quite as good, but it was still a highly original and well-written story. It's the type of story that meshes genres quite well: you get the fantasy twist with the dragon element mixed with the urban fantasy storyline.. very well done! If you enjoyed this story, you might also like the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs; and for teens, "Firelight" by Sophie Jordan.
dalnewt More than 1 year ago
Being an enthusiastic fan of the author's Riley Jenson Guardian series, I picked up this book and, subsequently, slogged through it. The plot is semi-juvenile and predictable with a memory challenged protagonist being rescued by her future soul-mate who subsequently helps her to liberate other imprisoned 'dragons'. As an amnesiac, the protagonist's depiction is truly irritating/annoying and utterly frustrating. Further, even when she regains her memory, her shallowness/triteness, passive-aggressive behavior and predictability grated at my nerves. At times the descriptions and imagery in the book were good, but, on the whole, I advise that any fan of the Riley Jenson series skip this boring and frustrating book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not what I expected, however, it was a good book to read. I really enjoyed it. Loved the romance.
VampAddictRM More than 1 year ago
This book has twists and turns, mystery, were-people, scientists, and just a whole lot of can-stop-turning-the pages. I really liked this book and I gave it five stars because so many books today cannot hold my attention for long. This was a book I really wanted to get back to when I HAD to leave it.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The UK Cover isn't quite as pretty as the US one. This really did sound like it should have been me, dragons, in the real world? I'm there. Shapeshifting Dragons? Hell yeah, you've got me interested. However, the relationship in this story just didn't quite work. I suppose, having just read a Nora Roberts book I was expecting a more rounded relationship, a exploration of growing relationships and some evidence of past trauma making characters have to deal with issues, instead of just mentioning them, alas no, and if there was it didn't register well enough with me.Destiny McCree wakes up beside a dead man on a beach in Oregon. There are chunks of her memory missing. Trae Wilson enters her life and they find themselves both running for their lives. They both have powers, both shape-shifting dragons. She's being chased by people who want her, who have her mother and she wants to rescue her and the others held captive.I really did want to like this book but overall found it a bit ho-hum.
shelleyraec on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Destiny Kills has been languishing on my TBR list for a while despite my eagerness to read it because Keri Arthur is Australian (like me).To be honest I wasn¿t sure I would be that interested in dragon shifters, but I quickly discovered I loved the author¿s unusual mythology and enjoyed the romance. It proved the perfect distraction as I waited in Emergency for my daughter to have her finger stitched up after a mishap.I have a stronger preference for UF than PNR and even though the relationship between Destiny and Trae was one of the common instant attraction/soul mate type I thought they worked as a couple. The mildly erotic scenes between the pair were well written and I enjoyed their banter. More importantly to me, the romance didn¿t derail, or delay, Detiny¿s goals to see her father before he dies and return to Scotland to save her captured mother and the group of captured child dragons.Destiny is a half sea/half sky dragon and Trae a draman, half human / half sky dragon. Being the first in the series, Arthur sets up a lot of the background for her mythology, having her characters explain the abilities and social structure of the two types of dragons, sea and sky. I thought it was something fresh, not having read much that has included dragons, and generally the information was incorporated quite naturally into the story. Having said that there was a lot of potential in the idea to go beyond the standard formula and I was disappointed that Arthur didn¿t push the boundaries a little more.The first person point of view doesn¿t always work for me but I barely even noticed it, from which I draw the conclusion it was well written. The pace and action are good, I was surprised at how quick it was to read.Destiny Kills is a solid beginning to Arthur¿s Myth and Magic series. I assume it will concentrate on a new couple for each installment so while I will happily read the next, Mercy Burns it probably won¿t take precedence on my TBR list
Ceridwen83 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Overall this book was pretty ok. The story is interesting though it could have been a little more developed. I like the idea of dragons among us. Destiny is not as engaging as I would like but I will pick up the next book to see if her character develops further. Once reading the book the title comes off as pretty lame. My one big complaint is the sex scenes, they feel awkward. Its like they got too detailed so instead of having just enough to get you hot an bothered you feel like you were reading an instruction manual.
jdquinlan on LibraryThing 5 months ago
From the Back Cover:When Destiny McCree wakes up beside a dead man on an Oregon beach, she knows only this: she has to keep moving, keep searching, and keep one step ahead of the forces that have been pursuing her from the heart of Scotland to this isolated spot. Why? The death of her lover has left her alone, with little memory of her past. A glimmering serpent-shaped ring is the one clue she has - and a bargaining chip in a most dangerous game.Enter Trae Wilson, a master thief with a sexy, knowing grin and a secret agenda of his own. Destiny and Trae both have powers far beyond the human - and both are running for their lives. Together they're riding a tide of danger, magic and lust...but with killers stalking their every move, they must use any means necessary, even each other, to survive - until the shocking truth of one woman's destiny finally unravels...My Review:This is the first book I've read by this author and I liked it. Destiny is a sea dragon and Trae is an air dragon, and I'm a sucker for anything dragon-related. The characters are very likeable and it was easy to get drawn into Destiny's story. In the opening scene she wakes up naked on a beach next to a dead man and can't remember who she is or how she got there. The story moves along at a fast pace as Destiny begins to regain her memory and hooks up with Trae and tries to escape from the hunters searching for her. Turns out Destiny has escaped from a research lab where a group of human scientists who have discovered the existance of dragons conduct secret experiments on them, and they want her back.I found the great chunks of background about the secret dragon cliques and their family histories to be rather awkward, even though most of the information is relayed through dialogue, but it came across as being a little silly to me, and it didn't have a whole lot of relevance to the action of the story. And the story does have a lot of action, as Destiny and Trae try to stay one step ahead of the hunters and form a plan to turn the tables on them. I would read more from this author, but as far as shape-shifting dragon stories go, I think G.A. Aiken's series beginning with Dragon Actually (Dragon Kin, Book 1), is much better.
readermom on LibraryThing 5 months ago
When my husband asked me why I was reading it and I couldn't answer, I knew it was time to find a better book.
jjmachshev on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I liked "Destiny Kills". If nothing else, it was nice to read about a female dragon with powers of her own! Destiny is half air dragon and half water dragon. Of course, she doesn't know this when she awakens, in pain and bleeding, beside a dead man on the shore of an ocean, somewhere. She doesn't remember her name or the name of the dead man or how they got where they are. All she does know is that she's in trouble and there's something urgent she needs to do...if she could only remember what and why.Trae is a draman, half air dragon half human. As a halfbreed in his father's clique (clan), he's considered 'less'. So as soon as he could, he got out. Now he's a thief and a rogue. When he sees the gorgeous woman standing in the middle of the road, he just can't resist. It turns out she's the reason his half-brother asked for his help. His apparently dead half-brother who died on the beach beside this woman, his Destiny.This story is not a hearts and flowers one. It's a story of monsters, some of which are human. A wacko scientist has been capturing, holding, and experimenting on dragons. Destiny and Trae's brother managed to escape after eleven years, but Destiny's mother and several child air dragons are still in captivity. This is the story of Destiny and Trae's race to free those captives. It's also about magic, love, hatred, privilege, and jealousy. I'm guessing that Keri Arthur used this book partially to set up more books in this world. There was quite a bit of information that wasn't really needed for this story, but would be for more in this world...if that makes sense. It didn't take away from my enjoyment of the story, but if that will bug you, you've been warned. Also this book is written in first person, so if you hate that, don't blame me cause I told you!The sex is hot (and so is Trae). I would rate this about 50/50 for romance and fantasy. There's mild violence and death too. But now that I've gotten a glimpse of Arthur's world in "Destiny Kills", I want the next book...NOW.
berbels on LibraryThing 5 months ago
this was a new author for me- i picked it because the cover was a typical chick cover- hot tattooed girl half naked. I found that the read was easy- i loved the premise of the story. Hidden dragons just trying to get along in the modern world. The descriptive sex in the story came as a surprise and sadly, pulled me out of the story a bit but it wasn't shocking. I'm going to read the next book just see what happens with the story
jmaloney17 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The book was pretty good, but I was not as interessted in the characters. I probably will not read any more in the series when they come out.
BookWhisperer on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Did not finish reading this book, within the first two chapters this book had not really given me anything that I wanted to keep reading for. This was my first book by Keri Arthur, so I am not making any judgements toward her writing.
Calisandria on LibraryThing 5 months ago
couldnt put the book down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorites. I have reread this book dozens of times. There need to be more in this series!
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I am loving this series so far and I will keep on purchasing!
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