Warriors of the Rift
Once a generation, the rift between the paranormal world and the human world opens, allowing supernatural entities to cross. Vampire, demon, or shapeshifter, they can save the world-or send it spiraling into chaos.
The next opening of the rift is coming-and its consequences will be deadly. A rogue group of human-hating preternaturals is planning an apocalyptic attack, but the Council of Preternaturals may have found the key to saving the world: Keira O'Brien, a fey with a long criminal record, whose empathic abilities once made her the queen of con artists. If she successfully infiltrates the dangerous faction, the sins of her past will be forgiven.
Keira isn't the only agent working against the rogue prets. Finn Evnissyen, a powerful demon with a dark lineage, is a hired assassin looking for a way out. If he stops the threat, he will finally earn his freedom. As the rift fast approaches, and danger escalates, Finn and Keira must discover if they're on the same side-or sleeping with the enemy . . .
About the Author
Cynthia Garner discovered her love for writing when her sixth grade teacher told the class to write a story that began "It was a dark and stormy night..." With that Cynthia's love for all things paranormal was born. When she's not working her day job as a mostly mild-mannered Human Resources Manager, she's on her laptop writing or playing way too much Solitaire. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Cynthia now lives in the desert Southwest.
You can learn more at:
Read an Excerpt
Heart of the Demon
By Cynthia Garner
Grand Central PublishingCopyright © 2013 Cynthia Garner
All rights reserved.
Three months later
Finn walked into the Devil's Domain nightclub and paused to let his eyes adjust to the dimness. The warmth inside the club, produced by a furnace and the heat of the assembled crowd, contrasted with the coolness of the November evening.
Not that heat bothered him. He was a demon after all; he could handle a little heat. Once he accomplished his task tonight, he'd see what kind of hookup he could make and then he'd generate another type of heat altogether. If he could. He scowled a little, remembering those succubi he'd seen a few months ago. He'd had similar reactions since, but hoped that very soon his disinterest would be a fleeting thing.
First, he needed to make some progress on that little matter his father and Tobias Caine had asked him to take care of. Things had been slow moving thus far. Infiltrating the rogue group of preternaturals would be the key to his freedom.
He'd been working on it for the last few months, using his current contacts and making new ones. Going to the leader of the group head-on would be too obvious, so Finn had been coming at them sideways. He was so close, he could feel it. All he needed was one person to buy that he was a true believer and he'd be in. He planned to make some headway to that end tonight, especially since he was running out of time. The next rift was set to occur in only four weeks.
Moving a few more feet into the club, he looked out over the assembled crowd. Prets of every type as well as several humans filled the place almost to capacity. A handful of vampires congregated in the booths near the door that led to the area where they could dine in private if they wanted. Some vamps, though, were exhibitionists and got off as much on audience reaction as they did the actual ingestion of blood, which explained why a few of them were leaning over donors in booths that lined the back wall, fangs in arms or necks.
Shapeshifters—werewolves, various werecats, and even a werebear or two—gathered near the bar. A couple of succubi led entranced humans by the hand toward the restrooms where, no doubt, they'd suck off some of the men's energy while, well, sucking them off. And they'd probably lift their victims' wallets while they were at it, but the men wouldn't care about that, not for a while, anyway.
The club smelled like it usually did, a combination of booze, sweat, and the underlying dark, silky feel of carnal, preternatural hunger. Between the music and voices of people trying to talk over it, the noise level was at a low roar. Finn tapped into his chameleon abilities and took on the hearing of a shapeshifter. He listened to several conversations, none of which were all that interesting. Certainly none pertained to the rogue group he was still trying to get close to. He eased up and shifted his attention to the dance floor. Several demons he knew, most of whom he had no desire to engage in conversation. One guy, an incubus, caught his attention, though. Not because of what he was doing, which was dancing badly, but because of whom he was dancing with.
Finn would recognize that long hair anywhere. It flowed down her back to the top of her shapely buttocks in a fiery cascade. Keira O'Brien.
His body tightened. On some level he recognized the reaction and registered the relief he felt in knowing he hadn't completely lost his interest in the opposite sex. But on another level he wondered if Keira had ruined him for other women.
He reflected on their first meeting. They'd met here, at the Devil's Domain, right at the bar. Finn had just come off a job. He'd been tired, in need of a shave, a haircut, and a small supply of give-a-damn. A husky, shamrock-jeweled voice ordering a scotch had caught his attention and set his nerve endings on fire. When he'd seen the owner of that voice, a slender, curvy woman in a barely there black dress, he'd been a goner.
The attraction had been mutual and instantaneous. She'd been as irreverent toward him then as she was now. Unafraid of his strength, she saw right through him to the man he was inside, the man he could become if he wanted it badly enough.
Keira had been new to the city, still trying to find her way. They danced for a while, shared another drink, and agreed to see each other again. Over the following months they had enjoyed a flirtation that had deepened each time they were together, finally culminating in a night filled with overheated bodies straining together against silky sheets.
The evening had started out as their dates usually did—dinner and dancing at the Devil's Domain. That night, though, they'd both been more than ready to take things to the next level. Slow kisses and a little heavy petting in a dark booth at the club barely held their lust in check until he could get her to his bed.
Her dress had stayed on her for all of two seconds, only as long as it took him to get her from the front door to his bedroom. He'd laid her down on the crimson and plum comforter and she'd given him a slow, sultry smile that told him she knew exactly what she was doing to him, lying there in nothing but her smooth skin and a pair of red high heels.
"You're a naughty little thing, aren't you?" He stared down at her, his eyes burning as desire flamed white hot in his gut. He let his gaze drift over her slender body, taking in her hard-tipped breasts, narrow waist, and flaring hips. Soft auburn curls guarded a treasure trove he fully intended on plundering. "Do you often go without panties?"
"Only when I think they might slow things down," she murmured. A slim finger traced along his lower lip. When he sucked it into his mouth, her breath caught and her eyes flared with passion. With a low moan that fired his blood, she pushed him onto his back. Holding his eyes with hers, she began to unbutton his shirt, her fingers brushing against his skin, sending shivers of reaction racing to his cock. By the time she'd pushed the material to the sides of his torso, he was grinding his jaws to keep from hauling her beneath him.
When her fingers went to the button on his pants, he knew he'd never keep control if she wrapped them around the part of him that most wanted her attention. With an oath he surged off the bed and finished undressing.
When he came back down, she curled her legs around his hips and surged against him. He'd been surprised by the strength in her body, though he knew he shouldn't have been. When he moved one hand to stroke through the soft folds of her sex, the slick heat he'd found had made the breath catch in his throat.
"Ordinarily I'd insist on a short getting to know you period," she husked, trailing her hands across his chest. Her brogue was more pronounced than usual, and he realized she slipped back into the familiar and perhaps comforting cadence of speech when her emotions were heightened. "But you've been teasin' and tormentin' me somethin' fierce these last weeks, boyo." Her thumbs raked across his nipples, making him jerk in response. That slow, sexy smile curved her lips again. "Let's get down to business, then, shall we?"
What had followed had been the hottest sex of his life.
They'd fit together like they'd been custom made for one another. Afterward, though, things had gotten awkward between them. Instead of curling up in his arms for a postcoital snooze, Keira had muttered something about not wanting to get into a serious relationship, and he'd mumbled something along the same lines.
By unspoken agreement they'd put distance between them. The truth of the matter was, while their lovemaking had been fulfilling on a level he'd never before experienced, he wasn't about to trade one type of servitude for another. Doing this "job" for his father was the means to an end. He wanted to be free, not tied down.
Since Keira had also denied any desire for a serious relationship, he figured she'd be a safe bet for what he needed tonight. No-strings-attached sex. Even if she was the only woman who'd enticed him in a long while, he didn't have time for anything else, not in the short period he had to complete his mission.
He wended his way through the couples on the dance floor until he reached her. Her dark blue dress glimmered in the light. As she danced, he could see the bare skin of her back each time her hair moved. Or when the incubus slid his hand down to cup her ass.
Finn clenched his jaw. With two rigid fingers he tapped her companion's shoulder. Hard. "I'm cutting in." His voice came out in a low, predatory growl that irritated him. It wasn't like he and Keira were exclusive, after all. She could dance with whoever the hell she wanted to. She could also have sex with whoever she wanted to.
That didn't mean he had to like it.
With the mood he was in, Finn wouldn't have minded a decent, down and dirty fight, but unfortunately her dance partner wasn't an idiot. "Sure thing." The incubus gave a smile to Keira, handed her over to Finn, and turned away without another word.
Finn watched him walk away and then looked down at the woman standing in front of him. Her dress was almost as low cut in the front as it was in the back, showing off the delectable slopes of her breasts and the pale, smooth skin of her upper abdomen. The fresh, sweet-grass smell of heather he always associated with her wafted to his nostrils. He drew in a breath, holding her scent in his lungs a moment before exhaling. "It's nice to see you, Keira. You look beautiful as always."
"Thank you." Her gaze tracked the incubus for a moment before she looked at Finn again. Her lips curled upward, her reaction one of indulgent amusement rather than outrage at his high-handedness. "You're looking fine yourself. How've you been?" she asked, her tones as lilting as if she'd just arrived off a plane from Ireland the day before. "I haven't seen much of you lately."
"I've been busy. Work," he explained. He didn't want to talk about what he'd been doing the last few months. He couldn't talk about it. She knew enough about him to know he was no stranger to keeping secrets. In his line of work it was necessary. Couldn't have his target running off because they'd heard Finn the Enforcer was after them. Or have the rogue group close its doors because they found out a nonbeliever was trying to infiltrate them. "What've you been up to?"
Suddenly serious blue eyes stared into his. "Oh, a little of this, a little of that."
Keira was no stranger to secrets, either. She was one of the most private people he'd ever met, and that was saying something. Every preternatural alive had learned to exist by hiding their true nature. But Keira took keeping her privacy to a whole new level.
She freed her hand from his. "I've been around, boyo. You're the one who's been scarce." Her fingers drifted across his shoulder to stroke through the hair at the nape of his neck. Heat spread from her fingertips down his torso and wrapped around the base of his cock. When her softly rounded belly brushed against the slight rise beneath his fly, she gave a slow, wicked smile. "You're glad to see me then."
"Yeah, I am."
The song ended and the DJ started another slow ballad.
Finn rested his hands on Keira's hips. "Dance with me," he murmured in a voice gone low and raspy with desire. When she nodded, he pulled her even closer. This was his kind of dancing. Nothing too fancy, just the shuffling of feet and the brushing of bodies against each other.
She twined her arms around his neck, fingers still sifting through his hair. The motion sent darts of sensation throughout his body. She shifted nearer, the tips of her breasts brushing his chest. Her high heels put her at cheek level with his jaw, and she rested her face against his.
Her skin was like satin against his stubble-covered jaw. He drew in a breath, enjoying the light floral scent of her hair. She was the essence of femininity—soft, seemingly delicate—yet every once in a while she'd get a look in her eye that made him think of Boadicea, the fiery Briton queen. He had no doubt Keira would be fierce in a fight.
He knew from experience she could be fierce in bed.
The feel of her in his arms made him ache to slide her beneath him on the closest horizontal surface. Or up against a wall. Finn slid his hands to the small of her back and linked his fingers, pulling her closer. He focused on the woman in his arms, the warmth of her body against his, the softness of her skin beneath his palms. He drew in a breath, trapping the fresh scent of her shampoo in his nostrils before he exhaled.
Her fingers continued combing through his hair. With each stroke his muscles tightened. Going horizontal was looking better and better. To regain some control, Finn drew back a smidgin and glanced around the club for potential contacts. He had to focus on something else or he'd end up dragging her out of the club like some Neanderthal. Any other time that wouldn't have bothered him, but tonight he had other things he had to accomplish. He couldn't forget his mission, though this sensual woman surely made him want to. Even as his eyes searched the crowd, his mind replayed images of Keira stretched out beneath him in bed, her slender body naked to his gaze, his touch. He drew in a shuddering breath and fought to rein in his rampaging libido.
The song ended, and Keira stepped back from him. He took one of her slender hands in his. Want to get a drink? he meant to say, but what came out was, "Come home with me."
She tipped her head to the side, one delicate eyebrow climbing.
"For drinks," he hurried to add. He could tell by her expression that she was thinking what he was. The temptation for more was there. And, like him, she looked like she was about to give in.
Her lips parted, her gaze bright with agreement. Then her eyes flicked to something over his shoulder and she said, "Rain check? There's someone I need to talk to." Genuine regret colored her sultry voice.
Finn gave a nod. "Sure, no problem."
She stroked her hand down his cheek and let her fingertips linger on his lips. Then she went up on her toes, moving her fingers aside to press her mouth against his. He parted his lips, allowing her inside, tangling his tongue with hers. God, she tasted good. Better than good. She tasted of sweet honey but with a tartness that was unexpected yet welcome.
"I'll see you later," she whispered against his mouth. Another lingering kiss, then she brushed her hand across his shoulder as she walked past him.
Finn turned and watched her head toward the back of the club. Because of the crowd he couldn't see who her target was, and soon the crush of bodies forced him to move off the dance floor.
He couldn't take his gaze off the auburn-haired woman who was pure temptation. Still watching Keira, his mood soured. Scowling, he realized his interest in being at the club had waned, but as much as he wanted to get the hell out of there, he had work to do.
Keira glanced over her shoulder to see Finn staring at her. He'd shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans, the broad shoulders beneath the soft T- shirt and leather jacket slightly hunched. Blue eyes gleamed with a faint demon- yellow glow. His expression, one he seemed to wear a lot around her, contained a mixture of desire, determination, and befuddlement.
She was just as confused as he seemed to be, because he purely baffled her. And as much as she told herself she didn't want to solve this particular puzzle she knew deep down she was lying to herself. The demon was complicated, and she loved every complicated piece of his puzzle.
Maybe once she was done with this ... project, she could put more effort into the mystery that was Finn Evnissyen. All she knew about him was that he was handsome, sexy, a great lover, and as badass as they came. While she would trust him to watch her back in a dangerous situation, he wasn't the type of guy a woman should give her heart to.
Definitely not the sort a girl brought home to meet her parents.
Luckily for Keira, her parents—both the set in the other dimension and the ones of her human host—were long dead and buried. All of them—shapeshifter, fey, or vampire—were mortal in the other dimension. They lived and died the same way humans did. It was the combination of their otherworldly essence with human souls that created their immortality here on Earth. Although she didn't have to worry about gaining approval, that didn't mean she was going to entertain any ideas about having some sort of long-term relationship with Finn. He was strictly a love 'em and leave 'em kind of guy. She'd heard about him around town.
Excerpted from Heart of the Demon by Cynthia Garner. Copyright © 2013 Cynthia Garner. Excerpted by permission of Grand Central Publishing.
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
Reviewed by Crystal Book provided by the publisher for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book I saw the book cover and just went crazy over the guy, so I read the blurb. I knew I had to read this book or I would go crazy. I will warn you not to read this book if you are hungry. Just the way the author described the hamburgers made my mouth water. I could just imagine that I was eating one when Keira and Finn ate theirs. Keira and Finn both are keeping secrets from each other and being that they are not human that explains some of it. What they don’t know is they are both working undercover. Maybe if they had known that might have worked better together. I think that they had to do this just so they could learn to trust each other. Keira just wants to let go of her past and live an as normal life as she can. Finn is the son of Lucifer and he is tired of being at his dad’s beck and call all the time. Finn keeps that to himself and also what else he is besides a demon. He is just so bad boy and you have to love him in his leather and driving his motorcycle. In this book you always have to be on the look out and it is hard to know who is good and who is bad. You also need to be careful with who you trust. When you have something this big coming up you know that you can’t breathe a sigh of relief until it is all over. I think I need to just take a calm breath after reading this and just think about everything that happened. Just when I thought my heart would stay in my chest and I could relax something else was going on. I like vampires but some of the one’s in here are just down right mean. Demons have never really been my favorite but I will change my mind for Finn. Even thought this said that it had 368 pages in it, it really only had about 289. The author gave bits and pieces of the other books in this series and I liked that. I haven’t read the other books but getting a taste of the others makes me want to read them. I especially want to read more about Nix. Saying that I really didn’t think I was missing out on a big part of the series. I think that because this one is the one where all the action of the rift is happening. The author was very descriptive in her writing. She also knows how to weave her stories to readers and gives them what they want. If you want to read a wonderful romantic paranormal suspense with a demon and a fey falling in love then this is the book for you.
The shipping is great, and loved the service :-)
My favorite of the three I've read. Love the demon!