A Dark Warriors novel from Donna Grant
Laura Black knows her boss is a man of many secrets—haunted by some unknowable force, driven by some unspeakable destiny—and yet it makes her crave the devilishly handsome, roguishly charming Charon all the more. When she uncovers a betrayal that will send her into a world of magic, she turns to the only one she trusts: Charon. Even when she's in jeopardy of losing her heart…
Charon Bruce endures a relentless yearning to have Laura for his own, an ache he knows will never be fulfilled. After the town he has protected for centuries is targeted by a ruthless Druid, he has no choice but to reveal his secret to Laura. He must fight the deadliest foe he's ever known if he's to keep her safe. But when Laura is captured by his nemesis, he must choose between winning the battle of good versus evil—or losing the woman he loves…
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
By Donna Grant
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2013 Donna Grant
All rights reserved.
Ferness, Scotland May 2013
Charon slowed his car as he pulled off the main road into a strategically hidden drive. He eased his charcoal gray CL65 AMG Mercedes cautiously over the dirt road until he came to the rock-lined parking area behind the pub he owned.
He put the car in park and shut off the engine. For several minutes Charon sat silently, contemplating the previous hours.
The game had changed.
Charon released a long breath as he rubbed through the hole in his shirt where he'd been injured. During the entire drive from MacLeod Castle to his little corner of Scotland, he'd thought over the encounter that took place at Wallace Mansion.
So many times he'd battled evil, but always he and the other Warriors came out on top. With every battle, however, it seemed the danger continued to escalate.
As did the chances of their deaths.
For over six hundred years, he'd lived without fear of death. He was a Warrior. With a primeval god inside him that not only gave him immortality, but power as well, there wasn't much that could harm him.
Anyone could take a Warrior's head and end their life. If they ever discovered who was a Warrior. And if they could best a Warrior in combat.
Charon and the others kept what they were a safely guarded secret. Still, that didn't stop the unease that plagued him ever since discovering a new evil had taken over.
"How many more?" he murmured to himself. "Were Deirdre and Declan no' enough to fight and vanquish?"
In his heart, Charon knew there couldn't be good without evil, but he was tired of fighting, weary of always looking over his shoulder, wondering when the next strike would come.
It was made worse because he'd had four centuries of peace. All because Declan had brought Deirdre forward in time.
Charon, like the rest at MacLeod Castle, had worried about when Deirdre would finally show up and unleash her evil once more. The MacLeods had even sent Warriors forward into the future as well, with the help of the Druids.
Charon hadn't been one to travel through time, and for him those four centuries had been paradise. Pure, unadulterated bliss.
It was easy to push aside the monster he'd become while locked in Deirdre's prison deep in her mountain of Cairn Toul. He even managed to get through several days at a time without calling to mind what Deirdre forced him to do to his father.
In the end, however, Charon had to face the fact that he was still the same monster.
Better clothes, money, and owning most of the small town of Ferness hadn't changed anything. They were a shell to cover the man he really was. A brute. A beast.
Charon pulled his key from the ignition and opened the car door. He stepped out of the Mercedes and inhaled the fresh, clean air around him.
He'd taken a chance in returning to Ferness after escaping Deirdre's prison, but it was his home. Too many decades had passed for anyone to remember him when he came wandering up those centuries ago, but it wouldn't have mattered if they did.
There was nowhere else he'd wanted to go. It hadn't taken long to begin transforming Ferness into a prospering town. He lived among the mortals without them ever knowing anything.
Until a year ago when Ian Kerr walked into Ferness with his Druid, Danielle. Charon had known trouble would follow, but there was no way he could turn away a fellow Warrior.
And just as he expected, trouble had come. He hadn't hesitated in transforming into a Warrior to protect his people and help Ian defend Dani.
He could still remember the way his men had gaped at him for a moment before diving into the battle. No one had spoken about seeing him or Ian change into their Warrior forms.
Maybe that was for the best. His men who had survived that awful night stayed by his side, which was all he could really ask for.
Charon gazed at the building before him. The inn dated back to the twelfth century, and had held up well, thanks to his constant care. The first floor had been transformed into a pub. Above that on the second floor was his office, and on the third floor, his home.
The inn wasn't his only acquisition. He'd bought several properties around town, but his major investment was land. He owned hundreds of acres around Ferness. It kept people from settling, but its beauty brought in tourists by the busload, which equaled profits to everyone in the small Highland town.
Charon put his hand in a pocket of his jeans and drew out the small bullet he'd recovered from the battle. The slug itself was nothing special, but the red liquid in the small see-through chamber was the unique part.
The liquid was blood, but not just any blood. It was drough blood. One drop from the blood of Druids who gave their soul to Satan to practice black magic could kill a Warrior.
That was bad enough. Declan Wallace first used the X90 bullets a year ago. They wreaked unimaginable damage, keeping the Warriors from getting close to their enemies, where they could use their strength, speed, and deadly claws.
With the death of Declan, Charon had assumed knowledge of the X90s would fade into oblivion. But somehow Jason Wallace, Declan's cousin, had not only managed to manufacture the X90s again, but also made them more powerful.
It wasn't just the X90s, as Charon himself had learned. He'd taken the blade meant for Arran. The instant the dagger tore through his skin, he'd felt the sting of drough blood.
There had been an inferno inside him that ate away at his bones and shredded his insides. The soul-crushing, gutwrenching agony had been too much to bear. He'd known he was going to die.
Many times he'd craved death, but as it sat staring at him, Charon realized he wasn't ready to die. He wanted to live, if for no other reason than to kill Jason Wallace.
Charon looked down at the cut in his ruined navy pullover and flattened his lips. It was the other Warriors, the ones he'd kept his distance from who had saved him.
No one knew how or why another Warrior's blood could counteract drough blood, but it did. They used their blood to help him hang on to life until they could reach MacLeod Castle and Sonya, a Druid who had amazing healing magic that could help him.
He owed her a debt that could never be repaid. Just as he owed Phelan, Arran, and the others for saving him.
Charon wasn't the only one disturbed by the turn of events with the drough blood. Phelan's blood, that could heal anything and anyone of any affliction, had no effect on Charon's wound.
He'd seen Phelan's worried frown. But Phelan departed MacLeod Castle before Charon had a chance to speak with him. Neither felt they belonged with the Warriors at the castle, which had formed a tight friendship between them.
It was an odd friendship, one neither Warrior could have seen coming, but they were bound together. And not just because they were immortal.
Charon knew Phelan would eventually show up to discuss what might have gone wrong when Charon hadn't been healed by his blood. He wanted answers to give to Phelan, but what could he say when the power of the gods within them couldn't help?
He ran a hand down his face and turned away from his building. There was too much on his mind for him to face those within. Especially Laura with her pale green eyes, eyes that pierced him to his very soul.
Charon walked down the hill, following the path he'd worn over the years. It meandered through the thick forest, dozens of other paths branching off along the way. He had many trails he'd used over the centuries, but there was only one place he wanted to be right now.
He came to the sixth fork in the path and turned left. Another three hundred yards and he halted, his gaze taking in the valley below him. It lay nearly untouched by time. Beautiful and serene.
The trees stretched high into the sky, their thick limbs heavy with leaves. Even now he could hear them rustle as a breeze swept through the dense foliage. The sun broke through the clouds, its rays shining brightly on the small loch. The water dazzled like golden fairy wings with the reflection of light.
This was his haven, his sanctuary.
The one place he could let down his guard and allow the horrors of the world he lived in to show.
* * *
Laura Black watched Charon from the offices on the second story. She'd rushed to the window when she heard his car pull up. The instant the tires crunched on the gravel, she'd known it was him.
Even as she knew she shouldn't, she stared. Through the windshield she could make out his strong jaw and the chocolate- colored locks of his hair that fell just past his chin.
She knew from her many hours of covertly observing him every contour of his face, from his razor-sharp cheekbones to his high forehead and square chin. She knew how his lips could look soft and inviting when he wanted something, but if he was angry, they were hard and thin as he pressed them together.
In the two years from working closely with Charon, she'd seen all his emotions. None had made her stomach knot like the one on his face now.
The way he looked at the inn as if he were in another time or place made her skin tingle with some emotion she could neither name, nor explain.
Her mouth went dry when his tall, muscular frame unfolded with liquid grace from the car. She never tired of looking at him. He was utterly virile, wonderfully male.
Completely, wickedly gorgeous.
His dark, seductive eyes, which she had seen promise other women sin and satisfaction, now appeared haunted. Troubled.
Her gaze raked over his frame that lounged nonchalantly against his car with one ankle crossed over the other. He wore his jeans low on his hips, as if they had been custom-made to show off every wonderful angle of his trim hips, firm butt, and long legs.
Laura bit her lip as her eyes traveled up from his narrow waist to the wide V made by his impressive chest and shoulders. She might not be able to touch him, but she knew every inch of his upper body from watching him move huge barrels of whisky.
In the summer he'd remove his shirt while working, and that's when it took every ounce of her willpower not to ogle his striking body and honed sinew like some love-struck teenager.
As drawn in to his body as she always was, Laura didn't miss the way his jaw was clenched. He stood strung tight as a bow, so tense he appeared as if he might crack into a million pieces at any second.
There were many secrets her box had, and she respected them. Yet, she found she wanted to go to him and wrap her arms around him. To give him the comfort it seemed he so desperately needed.
It was silly. Charon didn't need anyone. At least not usually. This was the first time she'd seen him look so ... ravaged ... by whatever ate at him.
He was rarely alone. If one of the men about town wasn't with him wanting something, there was a beautiful woman on his arm. Women flocked to him, but then who could resist such confidence and carnal sexuality combined into one man?
Thankfully, he didn't bring the women back to his rooms. It was one of his own rules. No woman he dated had ever seen his office, much less his home or the inside of his bedroom.
Laura didn't know why he kept to that rule, only that it saved her from having to see women with that pleasured look on their faces as she came into work.
She was used to the Charon who always had answers, the Charon who fixed any and all problems. The Charon who nothing seemed to affect.
But he was affected now. That much was obvious, and it worried her, settling into her chest in a tight knot.
She wished she didn't care about him — or long for him. But she did. At night when she closed her eyes, it was his arms, his eyes ... his body that held her captive, his mouth that kissed her into oblivion.
If there had even been a hint he was interested in her, she'd have let him know her interest. Charon, however, was her employer and friend. Nothing else would come of the longing, the ... need she had for him.
Laura narrowed her eyes and turned her head to try to see what it was he pulled from his pocket. It was small and he studied it as if it held the answers of the world.
All the while, he rubbed his chest where it appeared his shirt had been cut. Concern spiked through her that he might be injured.
The only thing that stopped her from rushing down to him was that she didn't see any blood on his hands.
She put her hand on the window when he turned his head to the woods. As if hearing some silent call, Charon pushed away from the car and started toward the forest.
His strides were quick as they ate up the ground. Long after he disappeared into the thick trees, she stood there, thinking of him, wanting him. She knew that look upon his face. He always went into the forest when he was unsettled.
Laura turned away from the window. He could be out there for hours. Still, she'd seen the tear in his shirt. She hurried into his office, where he kept spare shirts for when he had to break up fights in the bar.
There had been a time she hadn't wanted to walk into his office. It was so very ... male. So Charon. She loved the dark furniture, the gray walls, and all the wood, but it made her take notice of her handsome employer when she couldn't afford to.
This time she ignored the desk and large leather chair and pulled open a drawer in the filing cabinet. She took the shirt on top and draped it over her shoulder as she headed to the small half kitchen near her desk.
Just a few minutes before, she'd put on water for tea, which she now poured in a large carafe and added tea bags. She dunked the bags three times, then added one teaspoon of sugar before screwing on the top.
She unlatched the sliding glass door that opened onto the second-floor deck and stepped outside. Laura positioned Charon's shirt near the top step on the railing, and then set the carafe on the small table in case he came back sooner than she expected.
Once inside the office, she closed the door and found herself looking through the dense trees for a glimpse of Charon.
It was the ringing of the office phone that took her away.CHAPTER 2
Jason Wallace took slow, deep breaths through the pain, but it didn't help to dull it. Nor had he been successful in finding a Druid with healing magic. Which meant he'd most likely have the five gashes along his left check as scars.
All thanks to Arran MacCarrick. But Jason's revenge on the Warriors would happen sooner than any of them realized.
He reached for his mobile phone and dialed a number. There was a muffled hello on the fourth ring.
"Is everything in place?" he asked.
The man on the other end of the phone grunted. "Oh, aye. The wench is almost too easy."
"I wouldna say that. You've no' even managed to get her to agree to go to dinner with you, Ben."
"Oh, doona worry. She'll be yours to do with verra soon, Wallace. I've given my word."
Jason squeezed the phone. "And I've given mine. If you fail, your life is forfeit."
"I willna fail," Ben declared.
Jason ended the call and looked out over the kitchen sink to the long drive overgrown with low-hanging trees limbs in desperate need of trimming. Any moment, Dale, his only remaining Warrior, would return with Mindy.
Mindy would be furious she'd been left behind, but she had to know getting out had been his only priority. It was up to everyone else to find him. Just because they were lovers didn't afford her special privileges.
Mindy was a hellion in bed. Her white thighs would part for him with just a smile as she waited for him to tell her how he wanted her and when she could come. As fun as she was to fuck, it was her propensity for evil that drove him wild.
As he watched, a small dark green car came into view. A moment later it parked and Mindy bounded out of the car, shouting Jason's name.
He turned to the door as it was thrown open. Mindy's eyes glared daggers at him, and her lips — coated with her usual red lipstick — were flattened in fury.
"You left me," she stated.
"You didna keep up."
"I could've been killed."
He leaned a hip against the kitchen counter and shrugged. "Aye. But you were no'. You're alive."
She took a step toward him, and her feet faltered when she caught sight of his face. The anger drained away, replaced by concern with a hint of disgust. "What happened?"
"The damned Warriors happened. Arran, point in fact."
Mindy closed the distance between them and put her hands on his chest as she gazed up at him adoringly. "Have you tried to heal yourself."
Excerpted from Midnight's Captive by Donna Grant. Copyright © 2013 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Midnight's Captive (Dark Warriors Book 6) by Donna Grant Charon Bruce was different from the other warriors. Most of the Warriors lived together with their mates in McLeod Castle hidden behind the magic shield that protected them. For Charon though, Furness was home and that was where he belonged. Never doubting that should any of the warrior be in trouble they would all be there, Charon was about to discover that duties would be called upon before long and this time it would take help from an unexpected source if they were to survive for this time the enemy knew them as well as they knew themselves. I enjoyed reading Midnight's Captive. The story was well written and I love the dynamics and the strength of the characters, I would definitely recommend this book and series! Reviewing with Book Monster Reviews
~Reviewed by ANN & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog MIDNIGHT’S CAPTIVE is book six in the Dark Warriors series. Wow, how did we get to book six already? There are several things I like about this series: 1.The writing: I enjoy Grant’s writing style. It’s simple, not frivolous with unnecessary dramatics and it is also very detailed. It moves at a great pace and she knows just when to put things into motion. 2.The Warriors: If you’ve read a Grant book before, then you know that she loves to bring past characters into the storyline. As a result, she has created a family amongst her Warriors and their women. Each person has their own purpose and duty and I feel that without one, you are missing something. 3.The sprinkles of old and new: Though now set in modern times, there is a great balance of the old and new in this series. Within the Warriors, there is a sense of ancient power that emanates from them. They speak with an accent that can lapse into older speech patterns, but they also integrate themselves into the modern world well. This is most especially true for Charon who works with his assistant, Laura. 4.The Women: Speaking of Laura…At first, I wasn’t struck by her presence. She was just an assistant who lusted after him. However, I really began to like her character when the world of the Warriors is revealed to her and she stands up to it instead of cowering away. All of the women in this series are strong and I think that’s what makes them so admirable and endearing. They display a quiet strength about themselves that line the pages of this book and make it easy to read. 5.The villain: Jason Wallace is by far my favorite of the villains so far. He is manipulative, ruthless and cunning. I don’t always know what he has planned and that’s part of the fun and the mystery. He seems like he is always one step ahead of the past villains, so the warriors will have a challenge on their hands as they face Jason. Overall, MIDNIGHT’S CAPTIVE is a fun, passionate book that I would recommend to readers of Lara Adrian and Karen Marie Moning. Grant has that touch of the mystical that both authors do so well, but also has the camaraderie that Adrian has in her Midnight Breed series. Yet at the same time, I don’t think there is another author who can compare in the extensive worldbuilding that Grant has been able to do in across all her series. That being said, if you’re a fan of the Dark Kings series, you’ll be seeing some familiar names. *ARC provided by publisher
Reviewed by Crystal Book provided by the publisher for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book I have read some of the books in this series but I hate to say that I have jumped around on them. When I read this book I really didn’t think that I was really missing out on what was going on. I was always brought up to speed and was able to get lost in the story. Charon has been through a lot but which warrior hasn’t? Some have been through more than their fair share and unfortunately Charon has. He moved to a place that he felt he belonged and he knows that he has brought evil there and soon he will be having to leave again. He has feelings for Laura but knows that she can never be his because she isn’t a druid. Laura has worked for Charon for two years and knows that he is hiding some things from her. She wants to be with him but knows that she will only have her imagination. When she is almost kidnapped Charon has to start telling her some of his secrets and he tries his very best to keep her safe. In this book we find out about the dragons and just the way the author describes them makes them come alive in my mind. There seems to be a lot going on in this book and that is just how every book in this series is. We have Aiden working with a woman trying to figure out the whole blood thing and how it can help them in the end. Laura finding out that she has powers and Charon realizing that he does need someone after all. There is just so much excitement in this book. I just want to see what else will happen in the next book. Makes me just want to get all the books and read them one after another. There is always a secret that is revealed in every book. You never know what it is until the end. You know there will be more that will still need to unfold. This author does a wonderful job with her writing and keeping her audience entertained. Each and every book is more exciting then the last one. I love reading about every warrior and having them find that one special woman that is for them. We even meet new beings in this book and start to see the warriors children have a life and find love. I will be having to read the dragon series and see what the differences is between the series and how the author brings them out. I also wonder if the warriors will make an appearance in the dragon books. I say that we will probably see some warriors in them. I hope with each book that the warriors will be able to get rid of all the evil and be able to live peacefully in the end. I would tell everyone that loves paranormal and things that are different to read this series and get to know a pretty great author that knows what she’s doing.
It just keeps getting better. This series is one of the best.
I love everything about this story EXCEPT it is only an introduction to the story. Why not just wait until the whole book is complete? I love Donna Grant, but I won't be buying any more "sections" of a book. Well, written and enjoyed the story, but I like to curl up with a book, not a couple of chapters......
Oh my I loved, Loved ,LOVED this book! Charon oh my Charon *sigh* I have to say before this book I really didn't care for him. I thought he was standoffish and a bit of a jerk. But know I just might be in love. Charon and Laura are such great characters and there is some series hotness in this book. I really enjoyed the secondary romance and the introduction to the Dreagon's in the book. I can not wait for Phelan and Ainsley's book.
Donna Grant knows how to weave a wonderful story with characters that come off the page and a plot that pulls readers into her world. Wonderful read.
Has with everything Donna writes it is hot,hot,and oh yea hot. If dreams did come true there would be real men like these walking around looking for women like us.
Love the cross over from the Midnight Kings series. I haven't read those books YET! however I hate how the writter or bublisher is breaking the books down into less than 100 pgs in those series. I jumped into this series in the middle (I didn't realize it was) I haven't decided to read the prior one's since I already know the outcome. I am really ready to read the next one in the series. But dislike how they split the book up to get more money so I will wait until the entire book is released. This book didn't drag on like some can. All in all I enjoyed it and will continue to read them.
As the Warriors face another evil we are pulled even deeper into their world and learn of new desires. What amy women wouldn't give up to have a Warrior by there side.
wonderful as always
Omg not only did we meet new couples but new warriors! New allies too cant wait for next book!!! Love series a got to readfor sure