A paranormal category romance from Entangled's Covet imprint...
The most dangerous thing they could do is fall in love...
Callie Noble fled to Ottawa to escape danger. But she is far from safe. Overwhelmed by a strange new power she can't control, Callie is terrified and painfully incapacitated. Her only hope is to seek the help of the one man who broke her heart...
Derrick Llewellyn is one of the Sentinels charged with the protection of the city's mysterious secret. Seeing Callie again is a shock enough, but the electricity between them is stronger than ever. Still, loving another marked individual is forbidden, and Callie needs his help—not romantic complications.
But there are forces at work in the city, and Callie finds herself inexorably drawn into a world filled with danger and untold magics. A world where loving Derrick isn't just forbidden...it's the surest way to drive them both mad.
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|File size:||3 MB|
About the Author
Jenn's always been drawn to weird and wonderful stories, particularly those juxtaposed with our normal, boring world. Her love of the written word prompted her to get a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Ottawa, and she's spent the years since working in corporate and web communications—and dreaming up weird and wonderful stories of her own. A self-confessed geek, Jenn loves spending time in the worlds of video games, surfing her favorite websites, reading all the romance novels she can get her hands on, and accumulating an impressive collection of nerdy t-shirts. She currently lives outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband, two kids, and her writing helper, Alenko the husky.
Read an Excerpt
Her Sexy Sentinel
By Jenn Burke, Kimberly Daniel
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Jennifer R.L. Burke
All rights reserved.
It's not a big city. Ottawa's safe.
Callie Noble trudged down the quiet street, straining to see the house numbers in the darkness. Ottawa was one of the safest cities in the country, maybe the world. Not like Toronto, its larger cousin to the west, where little girls in their beds got hit by stray bullets from gang fights. Nope.
The dark was still really dark, though.
She shivered and eyed the shadows between the houses, stretching her bruised jaw without thinking. Mature trees dangled their leaf-heavy branches over Benton Street. Classic wood-and-wrought-iron benches lined the sidewalk. Instead of normal streetlights, this neighborhood had added historical flavor by installing reproduction gaslights; unique, not as intrusive as modern-day concrete halogen poles, but damn, they gave off no light.
Reaching the end of the street, she swore. If she hadn't missed her connection in Halifax, she would have been here hours ago. If her budget had allowed for a cab instead of just bus fare, she would have been dropped right at the inn's door. She'd be tucked into her bed at the bed-and-breakfast she'd booked, instead of plodding along searching for it. She checked the street sign, an action she'd already done—twice—at the other end. The name was right. So where the hell was the B and B?
Callie glanced to one side, then the other, an automatic gesture. Her heart skipped as she spotted a group of young men, lounging a dozen or so yards away. They saw her, too. Her stomach clenched, like the bottom of her world was about to fall out from under her.
She spun back the way she'd come, determined to find the B and B. She'd have words for the management about appropriate signage and lighting. From behind her, murmurs and nasty chuckles reached her ears, joined by the shuffle of footsteps as the group of young men turned onto Benton Street.
She gripped the strap of her duffel bag tighter with one hand, her knuckles turning white, and pulled the edges of her jean jacket closer. Why the hell hadn't she dug her cell phone out of the duffel? Her breathing quickened and she forced herself to steady it. Don't panic. She'd find the B and B, as long as she didn't overreact. She just needed to walk faster. If she didn't find the inn, she'd head back to the more populated area of the ByWard Market. The sounds of revelry from patrons spilled out of the bars a few blocks away. Simple plan.
The voice rang through the night, much closer than she had anticipated. The instinctive need to run shot through her, but she kept her pace steady. She glanced over her shoulder, counting five—no, six—figures, all dressed in the standard street uniform of droopy jeans, high-top sneakers, hoodies, and straight-lidded ball caps. The majority of the group had pale skin, dotted with tattoos that seemed like permanent shadows in the dim light; the dark skin of the other two made their white smiles all the more unsettling.
"Aw, you don't want to talk to us?"
One of the punks following her jogged ahead, then stopped in her path. Callie tried to adjust her route to move around him, but he mirrored her movements, blocking her. She hugged the strap of her bag tight to her side as her steps faltered.
"I don't have any money," she said, her voice steady and quiet. "Well, not much. Fifteen bucks maybe—"
"Fifteen bucks," one of the boys behind her sneered.
"You can have it. Here—" She moved to dig the cash out of her pocket, but one of the boys jumped forward and snatched the duffel out of her hands. "Hey!"
"Whatcha got in there?" The boy who'd grabbed her bag riffled through it, laughing as he pulled out a pair of lacy pink panties. He tossed them to one of his buddies and continued his search. "Sweet!" he crowed as he retrieved the matching bra. He shoved the bag at the boy beside him and dangled the lacy garment in front of Callie. "Mmm. You're gonna model for us, yeah?"
She could try to run—but the bag had her wallet, her cell phone, her ID, not to mention the credit card that had financed this impromptu trip. She might get away—yeah, right—but then what?
"Can I have my bag back, please?"
"Not your panties? Not your bra?"
She gritted her teeth. "You can keep them."
A round of laughter bounced off the nearby—silent—buildings. "I'd rather see them on you." The blond boy dangled her bra and flicked his tongue at her.
"What about our fifteen bucks?" The one who'd made the first comment about her ass stepped forward, his rough, angry voice unmistakable. He appeared older than his companions, harder, like he'd seen the harshest parts of life. He wore a dark ball cap and a gray hoodie with an athletic logo on it. The sweatshirt hung long on his body, covering his butt and the jeans hanging around his knees.
Callie swallowed. "You can have that, too. Just ... please, let me go."
He tapped his index finger against his bottom lip. "Poor scared girl. I don't think so."
Her heart in her throat, she spun, searching for a hole in the ring of punks around her. Finding none, she leaped anyway, praying she'd be able to break through the barrier. Screw the bag. Something in the leader's eyes told her that if she didn't get away now, she never would.
A hand latched onto her wrist, jerking her to a halt. Callie bit back a sob. She tried to pull her arm away, but her attacker held firm and yanked her back against him. A strong forearm squeezed her windpipe, closing her airway and killing the scream she wanted to let loose.
"You'll model for us, won't you, baby?" the leader whispered in her ear. He eased up on the stranglehold, just enough to let her gasp for air. Beer breath and the cloying scent of marijuana surrounded her like a cloud. A hand sneaked under her T-shirt, fingers grabbing at her bra-covered breast, palm rubbing against the lace. She winced and squirmed, but the leader only chuckled at her discomfort. Then he pinched her nipple. Hard. She tried to scream, but only a rough gasp made it past the arm at her throat. She bucked, fighting the gang leader's hold with everything she had—elbowing, mule-kicking, anything to just get away. The pressure on her neck increased until dark spots encroached on her vision, and he tightened his hold on her hips. If she had the air, she would have gagged at the feeling of his hard penis wedged against her buttocks.
Had no one heard the commotion? Callie flicked her gaze from dark porch to dark porch, silently pleading that someone would turn on a light and scare the punks away. Or that someone had already called the cops. But she didn't see a light. And she didn't hear any sirens. Even the last-call bustle from the Market's bars had died down.
With a nudge to the backs of her knees, her captor forced her to walk a few steps. She planted her feet, refusing to go any farther. Panic bubbled to the surface. With sudden clarity, she knew what would happen—and not in a best-guess kind of way. She knew, because she saw.
This is new.
She'd always gotten hunches—feelings, a sense of what direction to take when a metaphorical path opened in front of her. But nothing as clear or as sure as the vision that swamped her. It overwhelmed her, it sickened her—because she knew it was her future.
They would take her two streets over, into an abandoned house, and force her into the building, the front porch steps creaking as they scaled them. The hardwood floors in the house bore the scars of years of abuse and misuse, and so many graffiti tags covered the walls. They would march her into the basement where dirty mattresses, used syringes, and condoms littered the floor, where the musty smell of human sweat and sex permeated the space, leaving no doubt in her mind of her future. She'd fight—biting, clawing, kicking, screaming—but in the end, they'd throw her onto one of the mattresses. Bile rose in her throat as her mind filled with the horrible imagery of all the things they'd do.
Ending with her death.
With a snap, she reverted to the present. Her stomach rejected its contents, spewing the fast-food burger and fries she'd downed at the airport onto the street. The sour smell wafted up, making her gag again. Tittering laughter rose from the gang around her.
"Scared?" the leader whispered in her ear. His tongue darted out to lick her lobe. "We're gonna have fun, you and me." He chuckled. "Lots of fun."
No. She wouldn't be a victim.
Something deep inside her screamed. Break free. Instinct took over, guiding her, showing her how to grab on to that internal cry, how to harness it, use it.
How to become more.
She locked her knees, threw her arms down to her sides, and pushed. Not with her body.
With her mind.
Something radiated from her like a shock wave cascading through the night. The punks surrounding her flew backward, smashing into the ground. The leaves in the trees closest to her swung in a synchronized wave as the force reached them. A Toyota parked nearby rocked, its horn blaring and lights flashing.
"What the fuck?" The leader hadn't been affected, but he let go of her, stumbling back in shock. Callie's feet stayed planted on the sidewalk as she rubbed her neck and coughed. Had she done—that?
The other boys stirred on the ground, some of them struggling to roll over and get up, others moaning. She took a step toward the one who had dropped her bag.
"Hold it." She froze at the click she'd heard only on TV and turned to face the leader. He held the pistol like he'd used one before. "I don't know what the hell you did, bitch, but you ain't getting away with it."
Before she could protest, before she could try to convince him she didn't know what happened either, he fired.
Callie didn't think. She pushed at the bullet screaming toward her, harnessing that odd power welling inside her once more, this time putting everything she had into it.
With a wet thud, she heard the bullet impact flesh. A crimson stain expanded across the leader's shirt. Her breath hitched as a needle prick of pain flared at her temple.
The leader looked down at his chest in disbelief. "What," he whispered, toppling to the pavement.
* * *
"You want a refill?"
Callie glanced up at the kind-faced waitress, her hands clenching her half-filled mug of coffee. "No thanks," she whispered, even that small noise sending waves of agony rippling through her mind. The woman gave her an understanding smile and moved on.
Probably thought she was hungover. Callie wished that were it. Is this what an aneurysm felt like? A stroke? Dear God, why wouldn't it hurry up and kill her then? Anything but this pain.
Again, she saw the blood on the leader's shirt. The accusing expression on his face. The mental movie seemed to be stuck on permanent replay. She rested her forehead on her hand, her elbow propped on the table. She stared at the speckled tabletop, not seeing it.
She'd killed a man with her thoughts.
She'd killed a man. With her thoughts.
How could she have done that? She'd seen her share of horror flicks—against her will; she preferred action and sci-fi—but she knew the difference between fantasy and reality. Telekinesis didn't exist. Magic wasn't real. Force of will meant nothing against a handgun pointed at your chest.
It should have meant nothing.
A misfire. Her pain-stricken mind latched onto the idea. It had happened so fast—maybe the surge she'd felt had been adrenaline, nothing more.
But that didn't explain what had thrown the other boys to the ground.
Callie rubbed her brow. The ache in her skull refused to abate, combining with the one radiating from her jaw, and it made thinking more and more difficult. Her hand trembled as she lifted the mug to her lips. She squinted against the mild light of the all-night diner as the pain intensified for a split second, then subsided once more. The idea to visit her old college town had seemed like a brilliant plan less than twelve hours ago. Hop on a plane, spend some time kicking around her old university haunts, and escape the life she had back on Prince Edward Island, if only for a little while. She hadn't been here since graduating from Carleton University seven years before, and even though the city, Canada's capital, held good memories for her, it had never been home.
Funny how when her life turned upside down, she'd thought of Ottawa first.
She took another sip of coffee, willing the lukewarm liquid to wash away the ever-increasing agony between her temples. Why did she feel so awful? Her previous thoughts of a stroke or aneurysm came to mind, but she figured either of those would have had her on the floor by now, dead or unconscious. Maybe it was a reaction to her lack of sleep, coupled with the multiple adrenaline rushes she'd experienced over the last day. Weariness begged her to rest her head on the table, to forget her problems, to sleep, but she resisted. She needed to figure out what to do before she passed out in the nice waitress's restaurant.
All of the belongings she'd brought with her lay on Benton Street, which would be roped off by crime scene tape now. Everything—her clothes, wallet, ID, credit card, cell phone—except the fifteen bucks and change she'd shoved in her pocket after buying the fast food at the airport.
She thought of calling her brother, Wade—but what could he do? Fifteen hundred klicks away and a daughter in her last few days of school for the year ... there was no way he'd be able to help.
Besides, then she would have to explain why she was in Ottawa. And she couldn't do that, not yet. She'd call tomorrow. When things calmed down a little. When her temples didn't burn with pain.
She gasped at another excruciating spike and ground the heel of her hand against her forehead, trying to ride the wave. She needed help. A rugged, handsome face flashed in her mind and she shoved the image away. But not from him. From anyone but him.
Callie cast her thoughts back seven years, trying to think of someone she could turn to who would still be in the area. Her old roommate, maybe? No, Kari had returned to Edmonton after they graduated.
Lisa! They'd worked on a number of assignments together; she'd remember her old partner. Callie's heart sank as she searched for a last name in her memory and came up empty.
She considered and discarded other possibilities, her breaths growing quicker as the first stirrings of panic latched onto her.
Most of the friends she had made back then were out-of-towners like herself, eager to get back home as soon as they could.
Black hair. Striking blue eyes with laugh lines already forming at their corners. With a groan, she realized she could call up the memory of his face as if she'd seen him only yesterday. She'd thought she'd purged all thoughts of him from her brain. Apparently not.
Putting her mug back down on the table, she watched her hands shake for a moment before locking her fingers together. She didn't have a choice.
Flagging down the waitress, she asked, "Do you have a phone book I could borrow? And a phone?"
The older woman—her name tag read Marj—shot her a sympathy-laden look. "Sure thing."
As Marj made her way behind the counter to retrieve the white pages and a cordless phone, Callie tried to stem the panic poking her in the chest. This was her last shot—her only shot. If she couldn't find him in the phone book—if he didn't remember her—
He'd better freaking remember her.
She blinked against the growing pain as she accepted the phone book and began her search.
* * *
The first ring of his phone roused Derrick Llewellyn enough for him to blink at the clock radio on his nightstand. The wavering three, five, and two stared back at him and he swore. Better not be Risa. He'd crawled into bed a mere two hours before after leaving his sister's place.
Was it too much to ask for more than a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep?
He rubbed a rough hand over his face and grabbed his cell phone. "Llewellyn."
Dead air greeted him, along with another ring. He groaned and tossed the cell back on the nightstand.
Excerpted from Her Sexy Sentinel by Jenn Burke, Kimberly Daniel. Copyright © 2015 Jennifer R.L. Burke. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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