A Walk On The Wild Side
Attorney by day, demon-hunter by night, Remington Jackson is used to being on the sunny side of the law, even in the Wild West. But it's showdown time, and Remy and his brothers are getting desperate. They don't have the relic they need to slam the door shut on evil--so Remy is going to have to find and steal part of it.
Enter China McGee, shapeshifter, thief, beauty, and current prisoner. When Remy offers her freedom in exchange for a little light-fingered help, she's pretty sure she's going to end the association with a good old-fashioned seductive double cross. But there's something about fighting through a jungle full of Mayan ruins that makes you want to settle down together. China could change. Remy might be special. But none of that matters if the devil takes them all. . .
"Meyers is a genuine, fresh voice in the paranormal romance genre." --RT BookReviews on The Slayer
"Meyers puts the steam in steampunk." --Cherry Adair
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The ChosenBook Three of the Legend Chronicles
By Theresa Meyers
ZEBRA BOOKSCopyright © 2013 Theresa Meyers
All right reserved.
Chapter One1883 Bisbee mining camp, Arizona
"What can I do for you, stranger?" A stout, pot-bellied sheriff stirred out of his afternoon nap and sat up at Remington Jackson's approach. Remington closed the jailhouse door and stepped into the dark interior. The place smelled of dust and body odor, but the welcome drop in temperature from the desert heat made his mission suddenly more bearable.
"I'm here to see Miss McGee."
The sheriff eyed him suspiciously. "You her husband?"
Remington nearly choked on the thought. The whole idea of being tied to one thing for the rest of his life was loathsome enough, but to a Darkin was unthinkable. He cleared the sour thickness out of his throat and grasped the lapels of his black gentleman's jacket. It had been foolish to wear his court clothing on a trek such as this, but he had no idea who he'd have to convince to let the Darkin thief go once he arrived, and a good attorney used all his assets, not just his silver tongue. He needed to be prepared to sway anything from a local sheriff to a federal marshal to a territorial judge.
"No. I'm her attorney."
The sheriff 's gaze sharpened. "Have we met before?"
Remington was about to throttle the man, but he kept his face placid and his manner cool. Maintaining control was key in these matters but the sooner he got Miss McGee released to his custody, the better. "No."
"You look awful familiar, mister."
"I assure you, had I met such an outstanding officer as yourself before, I would recall the moment."
The sheriff sniffed, wiping the back of his hand across his nose, then hitched up his pants. "This way."
As Remington approached the cell, even in the gloom of the jail, he could see her propped up against a wall, her hair a golden tumbled halo about her head, her curvy body accented by form-fitting buckskin breeches and a matching fringed jacket over a faded, pale blue chambray shirt. His body jolted with a hit of pure, intense attraction. Colt had said China was a looker. He'd lied.
From the light filtering in through the barred window of her cell, Remington could see even coated in dust she was something crafted out of pure male fantasy made real. Her creamy smooth skin, tinted with pink, delicate features, and the glass-like clarity of her silver-gray eyes reminded him of an expensive china doll. The normal taint of sulfur that hung about Darkin was softened by the scents of black tea and vanilla.
Colt had once bragged this woman could steal the rails out from under a train and no one would be the wiser. If Colt was right, directions to a missing piece of the Book of Legend were within his grasp. If Colt was wrong, well then Remington figured he'd have wasted his time and considerable skills as an attorney getting this shape-shifting female thief out of jail.
Why Colt would work with a supernatural being like China, Remington couldn't figure, except his little brother had a penchant for running on the wrong side of things and liked pretty females. All their lives they'd been raised to hunt the Darkin down, protecting the unsuspecting population from the likes of vampires, demons ... and shape-shifters.
Working with one just seemed a shade too desperate for Remington's taste, but then he wasn't much like either of his brothers. Not the older one, Winchester, who detested Hunting, and not the younger one, Colt, who reveled in the life.
Remington fit into neither category. He sat firmly in the middle. He liked to play both sides of the tracks as it suited him. Some days he was safe behind a desk, living a normal, respectable life. And others he was out hunting down Darkin and getting in a taste of adventure and danger.
The plan was simple and foolproof. Get in. Get her out. Obtain the material from Diego Mendoza's safety-deposit box by legal means, if possible. Illegal if necessary. Head back to Tombstone and send the information on to Colt who could take care of things from there. Go back to the nice little life he'd carved out for himself as a part-time attorney and part-time Hunter. The only variable he couldn't count on was the female Darkin.
He knew she'd worked with Colt before. He knew she'd cheated Colt a time or two. In fact at one time he and Colt had come to blows and gunshots over the matter. And he knew she'd been in Colt's bed. Not an easy matter to untangle, but he'd dealt with worse.
But after taking a second long look Remington suddenly had a new understanding of his little brother's assessment of this Darkin's assets. Colt had never brought her around Winn or him before because his brother didn't want either of them being sucked in by her like he was. Altruistic of him? Probably not. But Remington was made of sterner stuff than his little brother. He at least knew how to resist a Darkin's charms, even one as pretty and deadly as China McGee. The trick was never to get emotionally entangled. As long as he treated her like the Darkin thing she was, everything would move along slick as oil.
Blowing up the bank had seemed like a sensible thing to do at the time. Colt Jackson had claimed the map in a Hunter's safety-deposit box in the bank would lead them to a piece of the Book of Legend, giving China a way to gain favor from the Darkin archdemon lord Rathe. He was part demon, part vampire, and all powerful, and she'd do just about anything to ensure she stayed in his good graces permanently.
Of course now that her dirty skin pimpled up in gooseflesh as a black cockroach skittered up the stone of her cell wall next to her head, she had changed her mind about her methods and crossed off blowing up banks and working with Hunters.
The stench of stale sweat and fumes of liquor and urine from the drunkard in the next cell sleeping away his intoxication made even breathing an unpleasant experience. The crust of rock dust from the explosion still coated her skin, making it itch. Being cooped up in a cell made her chest tight. She needed to get out, soon. Shifters didn't do well in confined spaces.
In retrospect, it had been stupid of her to trust Colt even marginally. Their rocky, on-again off-again relationship over the years should have given her enough experience to know better. The only reason she'd been willing to give it another shot was because she had usually come out better than he did whenever they'd crossed paths before.
Maybe it had been just her pride talking a bit too loudly, but she'd truly believed she could take the map, leaving him behind to take the punishment for the robbery. So much for well laid plans. It had turned out just the opposite. He'd double-crossed her and made the fuse on the dynamite shorter than she realized. She'd been the one caught in the blast and hauled off to the pokey.
China frowned and crossed her arms over her chest, making her fringed buckskin leather jacket creak. Once an apple went bad, it was bad to the core, and their seeds were soured too. She'd never trust another bad-seed Hunter again as long as she lived. Colt had seen to that. As much as she found him physically appealing, if he ever dared cross her path again, she'd scratch those blue eyes right out of his head.
The heavy thumping step of the sheriff, accompanied by the jangle of brass keys, grew louder. China leaned forward, trying to see who was coming.
"She's down here. I'll give you five minutes."
"Ten." The deep male voice wasn't familiar, putting all her senses of self-preservation on alert. Ten minutes alone with the wrong sort of man could be an eternity. China pushed away from the wall.
The sheriff huffed. "All right then, ten, but not a tick longer. I've got to get to lunch."
China pressed her face against the cool metal of the bars to get a better look at the man the sheriff was leading to her cell, but all she could see in the shadows of the long hall were his hands. They were an odd mix of smoothness and size. Big and powerful, but so well-manicured it had to be a fancy man who hadn't done a lick of hard work in his life. What in the world could he want with her? A brothel owner? A card sharp?
She stepped back, pressing herself against the wall, the rough texture of the stones digging into her back. The sheriff rattled the key in the lock and opened the cell door. China stiffened her shoulders, smoothing her damp hands along the legs of her buckskin pants.
In walked the spittin' image of Colt Jackson, all jet hair, superior blue eyes, sexy mouth, and broad shoulders, gussied up in a black suit and tie. The cell door clanked shut behind him, leaving them locked in together. All the words China had been holding in her mouth crumbled into a gritty dust that coated her throat and made her choke.
She bent over double with a coughing fit, and the man laid one of his smooth hands on her shoulder, his touch burning right through the leather to sear her skin.
"Are you all right, Miss McGee?"
China blinked back the tears in her eyes and glared at him for an instant, slapping away his hand. His features were nearly the same as Colt's, but his chin held a cleft that Colt's didn't, and the blue of his eyes was just a shade lighter. She didn't trust him any more than she trusted the man he resembled. Less. She didn't know just how far this one would go to get what he wanted.
"I thought you were Colt."
The man tugged at the impeccable white cuffs that peeped from underneath his suit jacket. Expensive sapphire cuff links winked in the light. Nothing like Colt would've worn. "People often mistake us at first. I'm his older brother, Remington."
China drew back from him as though she'd been branded. "Get him out of here!" she shrieked.
The sheriff came at a run, his breath in short gasps, his hand on his chest. "What in tarnation is goin' on in there?"
Mr. Jackson ignored the question and stared at her, his blue eyes piercing straight through her. "Miss McGee, may I at least explain why I'm here?"
China shook her head, making her hair, still dusty from the explosion, swing in limp hanks about her face. "I don't want nothin' to do with you, or your brother, or whatever other kin you have out there. Colt's the reason I'm stuck in this cell, so no. I don't want to have any kinda conversation with you. Just git."
The doppelganger's face turned nearly as smooth and unreadable as blank paper. "I'm here to get you out. I'm your attorney." He turned to the sheriff. "We're fine here; you may go. I'll be taking Miss McGee with me."
The sheriff 's eyes narrowed. "I don't think so."
Mr. Jackson's jaw ticked. "And may I ask why?"
The sheriff held up a yellowed "wanted" poster of a face very like Remington's. "Said your name was Jackson, didn't ya?"
Remington frowned. "If you would check the name on that poster, you'll find it's a Colt Jackson—my brother."
The sheriff eyed the paper, glancing from it to Remington's face and back again. "Yep. It is. But as close as you both look, it could be an alias. I can't let you out until we track down your brother and can prove you ain't him."
Remington grabbed the bars, bringing his face as close as he could to the sheriff's. "You have no right to hold me," he said, his tone cool, calm, and lethal. "You have no evidence. I demand to see a federal marshal or at the very least a judge."
The sheriff smirked. "Well, that'd be long about Friday three weeks from now. They don't come by here but once a month, and you just missed them. Unless, of course, you can tell me where I could track down your brother."
Jackson's body remained deadly still. His icy cool façade frightened her more than Colt's gun-blazing anger at a time like this.
"Just tell him!" she urged. He blasted her with a bone-chilling stare that was colder than an icicle through the heart. China about swallowed her tongue. Clearly he wasn't about to turn in his little brother to the authorities to save his own skin—or hers.
"Do as you must," he told the sheriff without a hint of emotion. "And I shall do the same."
The sheriff turned on his heel to walk back down the hallway. China rushed to the bars. "Wait! I didn't hire no attorney," she spat, but the sheriff wasn't listening. He kept his back to her and kept walking, whistling some inane tune under his breath. She turned and glared at Colt's look-alike brother. "I didn't ask you to come here."
"No, but Colt did."
China didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Her plans had already failed. She'd needed to get the piece of the Book of Legend. But Colt had ditched her before they'd recovered it. "Why would he do a fool thing like that?" But she already knew the answer.
He felt guilty for leaving her to be arrested when he robbed the bank. He needed her skills to get to the missing piece of the Book of Legend that he'd been searching for during the last two years, said he'd need a Darkin thief to get to it. He might even still be attracted to her. She hoped.
She had a thing for Colt Jackson. He'd somehow gotten under her skin. While their relationship had been brief—and neither could trust the other farther than either could pick the other up and throw him or her—it didn't mean he wasn't attractive as hell.
China eyed the other Jackson brother. He was just as devastating as his little brother, perhaps more so because he had the polish and an air of sophistication that Colt lacked. A keen intelligence sparkled within the depths of his blue eyes that she found intriguing. They looked so much alike she could see how the sheriff would be damn certain he had the outlaw with an alias behind bars.
"Maybe he was concerned you knew too much and wanted someone to keep an eye on you."
China frowned. Now that sounded like Colt. No trust. But with good reason. Colt was a man who liked to win. But what about Remington Jackson? Was he cut from the same cloth as his brother? Just how hard would it be to outsmart him and get away from him once they were out of the jail? She wasn't about to stay in this cell with him any longer than she had to. She had a job to do. And she was going to recover a piece of the Book of Legend for Rathe one way or another.
She lifted her chin and looked down at her fingernails, dirty around the rims since the bank explosion. "And if you get me out, then what do I owe you?" She wasn't stupid enough to believe he'd do this out of the goodness of his Hunter heart—if he even had one. She glanced up.
His firmly sculpted lips tilted into a calculating half smile that made her shiver. It reminded her of Rathe. Dead certain you were gonna do whatever it was he wanted because he had you by the shorthairs. "You'll give me what you retrieved from Diego Mendoza's box."
Out of habit her index finger went into her mouth, and she nibbled at her nail. "What if I don't have it?"
All traces of humor suddenly vanished and his blue gaze turned to ice. Out of sheer will, China forced herself not to squirm under his scrutiny. "Don't bother lying to me, Miss McGee. I've learned to spot lies easily enough in my profession. The deal is simple: your freedom in exchange for whatever you recovered from Mendoza's deposit box. Agreed?" He held out a hand to her.
For a second China hesitated. The hand-scrawled page from Diego's safety-deposit box was burning a hole in her shirt pocket right over her heart. What choice did she have? She'd already tried to shift into something small enough to crawl out of her cell, but each time she touched the iron bars either at the door or at her window, she shifted back to her human form. Iron was a pain in the ass to shifters, neutralizing them back to their original form and sapping their other Darkin powers.
She slipped her hand into his to shake on the deal, but the first contact of his warm, dry skin against hers sent a shock of awareness up her arm. Her heart went from a trot to a gallop. China sucked in a startled breath and got hit with the scent of expensive Bay Rum aftershave with its distinct blend of bay leaves and cloves. It reminded her of wood warmed in the sunshine, but spicier. He not only looked nice, he smelled nice. She stopped herself from taking another deep breath.
Remington Jackson was trouble, plain and simple. He'd ruin everything she had planned.
China went to yank her hand back and found his grip suddenly tightened while his other hand placed something cold on her wrist. An iron bracelet! He released her, and for a second she stared at it. She tried prying it off, but it was locked.
China glared at him. "How dare you!"
He didn't seem the slightest bit ruffled by her anger. "You're a shifter. Did I really have a choice? You were planning on shifting into God knows what the second we got out of this building and leaving me without honoring our agreement."
China's eyes narrowed, even as her fingers fought to pull off the hated manacle. How had he known? "I said I'd go with you," she gritted between her teeth, wishing like hell she could have transformed into a mountain lion right then and there and bitten his head off.
Excerpted from The Chosen by Theresa Meyers Copyright © 2013 by Theresa Meyers. Excerpted by permission of ZEBRA BOOKS. 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
First things first…The cover totally represents the characters and a scene in a book. It’s so nice to have a cover that actually depicts the characters right down to what they wear and the color of their hair. With the close of The Chosen, The Legend Chronicles, is a wrap. From the first page to the last, there was action, suspense and romance. I do have to say that I’m glad it is complete. I liked The Chosen. The story as a whole finished the trilogy nicely. Closure is very good. There were some issues for me, but they were likely personal. I am just not sure of the whole steampunk genre. It doesn’t do anything for me. I thought it would, but nope - nadda. This story takes us on the journey of the final brother, Remington. He is the middle son. He is studious and a thinker. He is also on the fence about fighting the Darkin. He has found a nice balance between his law practice and his occasional hunting. He is teamed up with an old flame of his younger brother, Colt. Their first encounter is of him posing as her lawyer to get her out of jail. From then on, the action is pretty much nonstop. China is hell in pants and boots. She has held a torch for the youngest Jackson son for a very long time. Yet, he abandoned her to rot in a jail cell. She begins to question her choices in life from the very moment she meets Remington. Torn between two worlds, she is uncertain who to trust and what truths to tell. She has her own personal journey; one that will take her to hell and back again. The three stories ran concurrent to each other; for that alone, I would recommend reading the trilogy all at once. Yes, you will have areas that will be repeated from a separate point of view, but I think I would have appreciated the adventure more than I did. I would have had “aha” moments that would have clarified the scene, rather than, dang that seems a bit familiar, and it bugs me. During the final chapters of The Chosen, the brothers (The Chosen) are reunited to take on the final evil. Can they fulfill the prophesy and save the world? You know what you will have to do to find out. One thing I really enjoyed about the book was that Ms. Meyers does a fine job writing in real life events and it really shows she did her research. At the end, she states the events and how they related to the book. I also appreciated that she included a short story about a fun character in the book. While I was excited about the short, it fell short for me. We know the ultimate ending, so the huge gap from the ending of the short to the actual outcome of events was missing. It was the main reason I was excited to read it; to find out how the end really happened. Opportunity lost in my opinion. So all in all, The Legend Chronicles was a decent series. I think fans of steampunk will appreciate the stories more than I did and I would happily recommend them to them.
The last of a series, I fully enjoyed. Author has new ideas and blended well with old history. I will look forward to new books by her.
Excellent conclusion! 4.5/5.0 Remington Jackson is a part-time attorney in Tombstone and a part-time Hunter of Darkin. Oh, and he might also be part of a prophecy about The Chosen, three brothers who reunite the Book of Legend to close the Gates of Nyx thus defeating the archdemon lord, Rathe from propping the gates wide open allowing the hordes of Darkin to escape Hell and overrun Earth and eliminating mankind. All his life Remington thought the idea of The Chosen was a bunch of hogwash. Until signs started piling up and they were all pointing towards him and his brothers, Winchester and Colt, as being The Chosen. Now, it’s a race against time to find the three sections of the book, reunite them and close the Gates of Nyx all before Rathe can get his ugly toes wedged in the door. Piece of cake, right? Right? Each brother needs a Darkin to help get through the traps set up around each piece of the book. Remington’s partner is China McGee, a shapeshifter with a little something extra though Remington doesn’t know that yet. The attraction flares hot between them, but China has been an occasional lover of Colt and that doesn’t sit well with Remington. Unfortunately, his libido doesn’t give a flying fig about her past and wants her all for himself. Can he come to care for a Darkin? And if he can, will she trust him not only with her life, but her heart? Where’s that cake? This is the conclusion to the trilogy and I must admit to dragging my feet in reading it. I enjoyed books 1, The Hunter and book 2 The Slayer so much I didn’t want the series to end. But I needed to get a move on, so I picked it up and savored it instead, reading a bit here and there. Yeah, I know, not much better on the feet dragging part, but we all cope the way we know how and at least I was moving forward. The story is well-written and the descriptions are wonderful without being overly long-winded. I love, love, love the characters and will miss them very much. A few of the traps and obstacles to the book were a tiny bit hokey, but that’s the only ‘bad’ thing I can say about it. Otherwise this is a great end to a wonderful series. On the huge plus side, at the back of my paperback edition a novella regarding Marley is included called The Inventor. So not completely over yet! I can’t wait to read it! *Book source ~ Many thanks to Kensington for providing me with a review copy. Please see disclaimer page on my blog.
Posted on Romancing the Books blog / Reviewed by Jen / Review Copy from Netgalley / First off, this is the final book in the Legend Chronicles trilogy and I *highly* recommend reading the others books before picking up this one. The three books are taking place simultaneously, but in the last few chapters, this book wraps up the over-arcing plot line. So having read the other two books first, this one makes a lot more sense. But I do highly recommend this series if you’re looking to dip your toe into the steampunk genre. So, this over-arcing plot I talked about. Well, there are these three brothers who are Hunters. Hunters are protecting the world from paranormal creatures… demons, vampires, shifters and so on. In the first book, The Hunter, the world is set and the adventure begins. The brothers learn that they are destined to reunite this special book that has been broken into three pieces and this book will close the gate to… well, basically hell. In that first book, the reader follows Colt as he teams up with Lilly, a succubus, to find their piece of the book. In book two, The Slayer, Winchester and Alexandra (a vampire) cross the globe on their hunt. And in this tale, Remington and China brave the jungles of Central America and the deserts of the American southwest as they race against time. I just love Ms Meyers imagination when it comes to this series. She introduces numerous machines and gadgets that are so out of place in the Old West, but works it so that it could have been possible. In this book Remington and Chine travel via a submarine and a gigantic mechanical spider. They use a variety of laser-like weapons and interesting gadgets during their adventure. I keep waiting for something even more outrageous to be introduced to see how it’ll be worked into the story. I have mixed feelings about the characters. I neither disliked them or loved them. They’re solid characters and I liked them. But nothing really stood out about them. And their romance, while developed, really isn’t the focus of the story and therefore I didn’t feel any real investment there. What really had me hooked was the adventure. I could picture Remington and China raced across the desert, their submarine ride, and then their journey through the jungle. But it was their trek into a trap-filled ruin that had the pages turning and me biting my nails. It was almost like reading an Indiana Jones story… fast paced and gripping. I thoroughly enjoyed this series. I’m saddened to see the series end and can’t wait to see what Ms Meyers has up her sleeve next.
Remington Hunter is an attorney by choice and a demon hunter by birth. Tired of his birth right, he is pulled back into the fray by his brother Colt. Colt needs Remi to get a “friend” out of jail. This friend happens to be a Darkin shapeshifter named China McGee. China McGee is offered her freedom in exchange for her assistance in a job to retrieve an ancient book. Wanting to prove her abilities to her father, China agrees. Running through the Mayan ruins and fighting for your life can break down more barriers than you can imagine. Remi and China find trust, love and true family where they least expect it, but will the devil let them keep it... Will China’s secrets pull them apart? This was a wonderfully written story with a strong paranormal presence and a touch of steampunk. Action, adventure, mystery and a slow building romance all made The Chosen a magnificent experience. As the third book in the The Legend Chronicles, The Chosen supplied a strong closure for the brother’s task but left us wanting more. This ARC copy of The Chosen was given to me by Kensington Publishing Corp. - Zebra in exchange for an honest review. Publish Date March 4, 2013.