Tane is a Charon, sworn to hunt and kill rogue vampires. His new assignment seems like a waste of his talents--until he catches up with the jinn he's been sent to capture. Half human, half demon, Laylah has a vulnerable streak that strikes right through to Tane's cold heart. He should be furious when she uses her powers to bind them together, preventing him from dragging her before the Commission. Instead he welcomes any reason to stay close enough to touch, to taste, to seduce. . .
Laylah doesn't know why she was chosen to protect a child who may be the catalyst in a war between good and evil. But the mysteries of her past pale compared to the dangers approaching. Tane is devastatingly strong, breathtakingly sensual. And Laylah will have to trust in every ounce of that strength, because her enemies are drawing near, eager to destroy them both. . .
Praise for Alexandra Ivy
"Beyond the Darkness kept me riveted! The Guardians of Eternity series is highly addictive." --Larissa Ione, New York Times bestselling author
"Oh, so hot and wonderfully dangerous." --Gena Showalter on Darkness Unleashed "A darkly erotic adventure with a vampire hero who can
bite me anytime!" --Angela Knight on Darkness Revealed
About the Author
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Devoured by Darkness
By Alexandra Ivy
ZEBRA BOOKSCopyright © 2010 Debbie Raleigh
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLaylah was tired.
She was tired of the dark, cramped tunnels sprawling beneath the northeast corner of Missouri that she'd been running through for the past two days. She was tired of being chased by an enemy she couldn't see. She was tired of her stomach cramping with hunger and her limbs screaming in protest at her relentless pace.
Reaching a small cavern, she came to an abrupt halt, shoving her fingers through the short, spiky strands of her brilliant red hair, her black eyes searching the shadows for her pursuer.
Not that she expected to actually catch sight of the frigid pain in her ass.
Vampires not only possessed supernatural speed and strength, but they could shroud themselves in shadows, making them impossible to sense, even to most demons. It was only because she had the power of Jinn blood running through her veins that she could detect the relentless leech following her mad dash through the tunnels.
What she didn't know was ...
She shivered, her mouth dry. Christ. She'd thought she was being so clever when she'd initially allowed the vamp to catch her scent. She'd hoped to lure him, along with the other intruders, away from Caine's private lair.
Not that she gave a damn about the cur, but she'd hidden her most precious treasure at his estate, and she couldn't afford to allow any creature with the superior senses of a vampire, or even a full-blooded Were, near her secret. She'd thought the demons would give chase for a few hours and then grow tired of the game, hopefully returning to Hannibal or even St. Louis.
But her hasty plan had fallen apart right from the start.
The Were had continued on his path to Caine's lair, and the vampire had refused to give up, no matter how far or how fast she'd run.
Now she was too weak to call upon her shadow walking powers, and too far from Caine to call for his help.
"Oh, screw it," she muttered, planting her hands on her hips and tilting her chin in unspoken defiance. "I know you're following me, vampire. Why don't you just show yourself?"
A warning chill thickened the air, prickling painfully over her skin.
"You think you can give me orders, half-breed?" A dark, sinfully beautiful voice filled the cavern.
Laylah's heart missed a beat. Even with her demon blood she wasn't immune to the ruthless sensuality that was as much a part of a vampire as his lethal fangs.
"What I think is that I'm done running," she gritted. "So either kill me or go chase someone else."
"Ah. Then you're confident you've managed to lead me far enough away?"
"Away?" Laylah stiffened, licking her suddenly dry lips. He couldn't know. No one knew. "Away from what?"
"That's what I'm wondering," the dark voice drawled. "It must be of great importance."
Laylah forced herself to suck in a deep breath, refusing to panic. The stupid vamp was simply trying to press her buttons. Everyone knew that they loved to toy with their prey.
"I don't know what the hell you're talking about."
"Hmmm. Have you ever watched a quail?"
She felt unseen fingers brush her nape, the cold touch ironically sending a bolt of heat straight to the pit of her stomach. She whirled around, not surprised that the predator had disappeared.
"The bird?" she rasped, belatedly wishing she was wearing more than a pair of cutoff jeans and a muscle shirt. Having so much skin exposed was making her feel oddly vulnerable.
Not that clothing would halt a determined vampire.
It wouldn't matter if she were dipped in cement and wrapped with barbed wire.
"When a predator approaches the nest, the mother quail will feign a broken wing and dash away to lure the danger from her chicks," her tormentor murmured, his voice seeming to speak directly into her ear.
She instinctively stumbled backward, her mouth dry with a sudden fear.
"The only quail I care about are baked and served on a bed of rice."
"What are you trying to protect?" There was a deliberate pause. "Or is it who?"
"I don't know what the hell you're talking about."
"Is it a lover? A sibling? A child?" His soft chuckle grazed her cheek as the sharp leap of her pulse gave her away. "Ah, that's it. Your child?"
Laylah bunched her hands into fists of frustration. He was getting too close. She had to distract the bastard.
"I thought vampires were known for their courage," she deliberately taunted, willing to risk a battle she couldn't win if it would keep her secrets. "Are you such a coward you have to hide in the shadows?"
The chill thickened, the danger a tangible force in the air. Then, the shadows directly before her stirred, and the vampire slowly became visible.
Laylah reeled, feeling as if she'd just been punched in the gut.
All vampires were beautiful. And sexy.
Wickedly, indecently sexy.
But this one ...
Reminding herself to breathe, Laylah allowed her gaze to skim over the elegant features that revealed his Polynesian ancestors, lingering on the slanted eyes that were a brilliant shade of honey and the inky black hair that had been shaved on the sides, leaving the top to form a mohawk that fell past his broad shoulders.
Her gaze lowered, that vicious awareness twisting her gut at the sight of his half naked body barely covered by a pair of khaki shorts.
Damn the annoying leech.
Had he deliberately left his body on full, wondrous display? After all, he had to know it would make her fingers twitch with the desire to investigate the smooth muscles of his chest. Or wait ... maybe she would go down the flat plane of his stomach ...
Lost in her helpless response to his sensual beauty, she was jerked back to the danger of her situation as the demon stepped far too close, his fingers casually stroking along the curve of her neck.
"Have you never been told the dangers of provoking a vampire?" he murmured.
A chill inched down her spine, but she forced herself to meet his hypnotic gaze.
"Do you intend to drain me?"
His lips twitched. "Tell me about the child."
"It's yours?" He paused, his fingers drifting to the pulse that hammered at the base of her throat, an intense concentration etched on his beautiful face. "No. Not yours. You are as pure as an angel."
Genuine fear speared through her heart. Damn the interfering leech.
"Leave me alone," she breathed.
The honey eyes darkened with a dangerous hunger. Laylah wasn't sure if it was for blood or sex.
"A beautiful angel," he husked, his arms wrapping around her to yank her hard against the strength of his body. "And I have waited too long to have a taste."
Unable to halt her panic any longer, Laylah's unpredictable powers lashed out, the electrical charge that filled the air enough to make the vampire leap back in wary surprise.
"I said, leave me alone," she hissed, wrapping her arms around her waist.
A dark brow arched. "Well, well. You like to play rough?"
"I don't like to play at all," she snapped. "What do you want from me?"
"My first intent was to capture you so you could be brought before the Commission."
She jerked at the threat, her powers abruptly faltering. She'd been hiding from the official leaders of the demon world for two centuries. To be taken to the Oracles that made up the Commission was nothing less than a death-sentence.
"I've done nothing to earn such a punishment," she attempted to bluff.
"Your very existence is worthy of punishment." The vampire smoothly countered. "Half-breed Jinns have been forbidden."
Laylah squashed the familiar anger at the sheer injustice. Now was not the time to debate whether or not she should be exterminated for the sins of her parents.
"You said that was your first intent," she said, her voice thick. "Have you changed your mind?"
A dangerous smile curved the vampire's lips as he reached to trace the plunging neckline of her shirt, his touch searing a path of pure pleasure.
"Let us say I'm willing to postpone our journey with the proper incentive."
"Do you need me to demonstrate?" he murmured, his lips softly brushing over her mouth.
"No ..." she choked, attempting to deny the piercing need that lashed through her.
Gods. She had been alone for so long.
So very long.
"Tell me your name," he whispered against her lips. "Tell me."
"Laylah." He said her name slowly, as if testing it on his tongue. Pulling back he studied her pale features, his hands skimming down her sides to grasp her hips and boldly press her against the hard evidence of his arousal. "Exquisite."
Laylah clenched her teeth, ignoring the sizzle of excitement racing through her blood.
"I assume you have a name as well?"
There was a brief pause. Not surprising. A name in the hands of a magic user could give them power over a person. Then he shrugged.
It suited him. Ruthless. Powerful. Stunningly male.
"Great." Placing her hands against the steely hardness of his chest, she arched back to meet the honey heat of his gaze. "Let me make this perfectly clear, Tane. I don't use sex as a bargaining chip. Not. Ever."
Expecting him to be angered by her blunt rejection, Laylah was unnerved when his lips curled in a smile of pure anticipation. Hauling her tightly against him, he spoke directly into her ear.
"Now let me make this perfectly clear, Laylah," he whispered. "When we have sex it will only be after you have begged me to take you."
It was the explosion of awareness that jolted through her lower stomach as much as his arrogance that pissed her off. After all, vamps were flaming narcissists. He would naturally assume she was frantic to jump his bones.
No, it was the fact he was right that made her want to punch him.
"Never going to happen, bloodsucker."
He smiled with wicked promise. "Want to bet, mongrel?"
She shoved him away, wrapping arms around her waist in a protective motion.
"If it isn't sex, then what do you want from me?"
Damn. Were they back to that already? He was supposed to be distracted.
Well, she could easily correct that.
No matter what the sacrifice.
"Could you be a little more vague?" she deliberately taunted.
"Most lesser demons have the sense to show respect when in the presence of a vampire."
"You've already let the cat out of the bag that you intend to haul me to the Commission to be put down like a rabid dog, so what the hell?" She shrugged. "I might as well have a bit of fun before I go out."
His slender fingers stroked the hilt of his knife. His big-enough-to-slice-off-her-head knife.
"I can promise you that trying to provoke me is not the sort of fun you want."
She curled her lips in what she hoped was a sneer, but might very well have been a grimace of terror.
"True, the sort of fun I want involves a piece of wood with a very pointy end decorating the center of your chest, but for the moment I'll take what I can get."
Braced for his punishment, Laylah swore when he did precisely what she didn't want.
Instead of striking out in fury, he stilled, his expression intent. Just like a predator about to pounce.
"Intriguing," he murmured.
"Your desperation to keep me from discovering your secret." He reached to trace a finger down the line of her stubborn jaw. "I should warn you that your games only make me more determined to find out what you're hiding."
Laylah spun away from his piercing gaze. What the hell did she have to do to get this vampire off her back?
There was an icy chill as he moved to stand directly behind her.
"Let's start at the beginning. Why did you kill Duncan?"
"I ..." She licked her lips, her hands pressing to her stomach at the familiar sickness that rolled through her. She didn't want to remember Caine leading her through the secret tunnel and into the small cabin next to the Mississippi River. They'd expected to find Duncan hidden there. The cur, after all, was intending to save his own hide by selling out Caine to the King of Weres. But neither had expected the less dominant cur to try and attack. Or for Laylah's powers to strike out with such force. It was yet another regret, in a very long line of regrets, that Laylah would have to live with. "That was an accident."
"You fried a cur," Tane pointed out dryly, "which doesn't make my heart bleed, but those little accidents are exactly why mongrel Jinn have been banned."
She shuddered. Did he think that she didn't try and control her powers? That she wouldn't give anything to stop another senseless death staining her conscience?
She sucked in the cool, damp air that filled the cave. She had been running blindly the past few days, backtracking and taking side tunnels until she had no idea where they were, but there was no missing the unmistakable scent of a nearby river, which meant they still must be near the Mississippi.
"Caine learned where Duncan was to meet with Salvatore. When we startled him the cur went nuts and attacked." Her jaw clenched. She had done her best to stay out of Caine's crazy ass scheme to change curs into purebloods. Why not decide to sprout wings and become a dew fairy? But, Caine had been adamant that he'd been given a vision that revealed he was to become an immortal Were. Personally she'd thought the vision was more likely an overdose of the pharmaceuticals he mass-produced. "I merely protected myself. Or are mongrels supposed to let themselves be mauled to death? Would that make everyone happy? The disgusting half-breed ripped to shreds?"
"A touch bitter?" Tane murmured, but his hands were oddly tender as he stroked a path over her shoulders and down her arms.
Tender, but capable of sending a rash of fire over her bare skin.
"Go to hell."
"I've already visited, sweet Laylah, and I have no intention of returning anytime soon." He leaned down to press his lips to the curve of her neck. "I'll accept that the death of the cur was an accident."
If she hadn't been near the point of collapse she might have gone completely mental and thrown herself on the beautiful brute. Her body felt as if it were on fire.
Damned vamp pheromones.
Instead she forced herself to step away from his destructive touch, turning to glare into his too-handsome face.
"Why didn't you return to Caine's lair instead of taking off on your own?"
She unconsciously rubbed her arms that still tingled from his touch.
"I knew we were being tracked and I assumed that you would follow Caine. I took off to save my own skin."
"No, you took off to try and lead us away from Caine's estate." He deliberately paused. "And the child you are protecting."
"If you already have it all figured out then why are you pestering me with your questions?" she gritted.
"Because I want to know why you would be willing to sacrifice your life for a child that isn't yours."
Tane watched the emotions ripple over the Jinn's expressive face, annoyed by his unfamiliar fascination.
Granted Laylah was a beautiful creature.
And she stirred his lust to a fever pitch he hadn't enjoyed for centuries.
But, he had one purpose in following this female.
When he'd first entered the tunnels, he'd been chasing after Salvatore, King of Weres, and the aggravating gargoyle, Levet. They'd gone missing from a cabin in Hannibal and while he would be pleased-as-fucking-punch to let both of them die a miserable death, Styx had been clear he wanted a better relationship between Weres and vampires. And what the Anasso (leader of all vampires) wanted, he got. So Tane had led Salvatore's servants in pursuit of Caine and the mysterious demon who had kidnapped them, not surprised when the cur had abandoned his hostages and fled in the futile hope of avoiding his impending death. What had been surprising was the gargoyle's insistence that the demon he had sensed was a Jinn half-breed.
Suddenly his simple rescue mission had turned into a hunt for the renegade demon. The Commission had a strict policy. Jinn mongrels were to be captured and turned over the moment they were found.
He had been designated to snag and tag the abomination.
Unfortunately, things had gone to hell from the moment he had charged in pursuit.
Excerpted from Devoured by Darkness by Alexandra Ivy Copyright © 2010 by Debbie Raleigh. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is book #7 in the Guardians of Eternity series. Because I love this series and couldn't wait to read this new book. I have to say that I was disappointed. The characters Tane and Laylah didn't feel fully developed and their story line was anticlimatic and rushed. I wondered after reading the book "is that all there is". This book was not up to previous standards. As I said earlier I love this series I hope the next installment is better.
For two days inside Missouri tunnels, half breed Jinn Laylah flees from vampire Tane the Charon executioner who knows she leads him away from the Caine estate where he first saw her. He assumes she protects a child. However as a half Jinn she must appear before the Commission as her species is outlawed. Tane lusts for the tired Laylah who stops running when vampires arrive. Tane fights the vampires as Levet the gargoyle arrives. Laylah races back to Caine's lair to grab the baby concealed in a stasis spell she found in the mists fifty years ago. Tane and Levet follow her. The gargoyle mentions a jinn broke his wing two centuries ago in London. Laylah goes to London using her Jinn skill to vanish in the shadows, but Tane and Levet grab her and end up with her in the mist. In London, Marika the vampire complains to her mage Sergei she hears her twin Kata whisper Laylah although Kata is in a deep magical sleep but made sure her half-breed daughter was safe from her aunt. Laylah informs Tane she is going to leave him behind in the mists unless he gives a wish debt that spell binds him to the half-Jinn. He agrees and in London she orders him to take her to a safe place. He takes her to the lair of Victor the vampire while Marika knows her quest to use her niece and the baby has finally accelerated. The lead couple is a fascinating pairing of two seemingly opposites while the fast-paced story line makes vampires, gargoyles, jinns, and mages seem real. A nice late twist adds depth. Although the villainous is considered extremely dangerous and nasty by others, she seems somewhat feeble in person. Still this is a strong Gardens of Eternity romantic urban fantasy that cleverly sets up a future "Darkness" sequel. Harriet Klausner
~ 3.5 Devoured Stars ~ An ok read in the series! Devoured by Darkness starts where Beyond the Darkness ends in that Tane is chasing a half breed Jinn mongrel. This one was not as engaging as others in the series. I started off being pulled in, but then it turned into a book I needed to finish to move on to the next in the series. Tane is a Charon, a vampire charged with killing vampires who have gone rogue. Dame he is one sexy vampire; wearing khaki shorts, a massive sword and nothing else. Layla is a half breed mongrel Jinn, who has been chased her entire life and all she wants is to live a life that is her own. Ms. Ivy does a great job with references to modern things and witty comments. Levet always brings a certain entertaining factor to the books with his character in that every women loves him, but every man just wants to kill him. The main story arc in the series is that something bad is coming. No one is quite sure what, but it’s going to be deadly and soon. Not much is revealed in the area of the big bad, because most of the book is spent on Tane and Laylah. We also get a little information on what became of Cassandra and Caine. Cassandra is turning out to be an interesting character and I hope she gets a book. As for the relationship between Laylah and Tane they even each other out. She brings a softness to Tane and in turn he gives her someone she can actually trust for the first time. A lot of the book ends up being a cat and mouse between the two, which was entreating at the begin, but got old. Something else that got to me was Laylah wants to get away from Tane, but then she is falling into bed a little to fast for my liking with him. There relationship wasn’t as strong as some of the others in the series, because it was more physical then an emotional connection. Devoured by Darkness was an ok read in the series. We get appearances from characters from past books and a big bad that is coming. I’m curious to find out what happens next.
I have read all the books in the series and I can't wait for the next book. I love vampire series and I have read quite a number of them. Midnight Breed, The Black Dagger Brotherhood, The Darkhunters. This series is a nice twist from the other series I have read. Love the vampire lairs and how they are all intertwined. If you like diffferent points of views on how a vampire is made this is definitely another really good twist to the vampire world. The author gets you from the moment you read the first page and keeps you interested until the last page. Each book bridges you to the next book beautifully. I LOVE LEVET!!!! Definitely a great read!!!
This book was awesome! She has kept me coming back for more.
Have them all. Great read.
It was good and fun series to read!
Once again a great story from Alexandra Ivy. Each book gets better and better. I just love reading about what Levet is up to.
The shecat sat.
I am in love with anything vampire but especially this series!
Nuff said. Love it. I want an update on harley!!!!