Author note: Hunted by Darkness can be read as a stand-alone novel.
Bo tried not to stare at Nyx as she smiled at a group of vampires she was serving drinks to. He really did try. Sort of. But it was impossible to take his eyes off her. He always felt like a stalker, but he was a half-demon and unapologetic about the pull he felt toward her.
She was his, even if she didn’t know it yet.
Nyx had gotten under his skin in a bad way. He’d known from the moment she’d walked into his bar wearing a ridiculous turtleneck and jeans that she would be his. It didn’t matter that she was too good for him. A quality female who shouldn’t have looked twice at him. But they’d somehow become friends.
His demon rippled under the surface at that thought, sneering at the word. The very concept. Friends. He’d settle for that right now. Soon she would be his. Even if he didn’t deserve her.
“Dude, get your shit together,” Cynara said, not looking up from where she was mixing drinks behind the bar.
His half-sister could read him better than anyone. It wouldn’t matter that on the outside he appeared unaffected, their demon halves were in tune with each other. After years of working together their bond had grown stronger.
Bo didn’t respond, instead turned back to Nyx. Tonight she had on a dark green turtleneck sweater-dress that hugged her lean body like a second skin. The heeled knee-high boots with shiny studded skulls on them were just the icing on the Nyx-cake. Watching her now, he could envision burying his face between her legs while she had nothing on but those boots, her heels digging into his back as he made her scream his name. Her taste would be… perfection. He shifted uncomfortably. Damn it, that was the last thing he needed to be thinking about.
“She can take care of herself anyway,” Cynara continued, pulling him out of a fantasy he didn’t need to be indulging in at the moment.
“That’s not the point.” He rolled his shoulders once, flicking a glance around the club. His place was a nondescript warehouse on the outside, but a lush nightclub on the inside. He owned a lot of normal, human-run companies, but his club provided something in the area not found within a hundred miles.
Supernatural beings needed to be able to let loose, to be themselves without prying human eyes and his place provided that—including private rooms behind a red door his patrons paid very well to use. His two basic rules were that this was neutral territory so no inter-pack or clan or whatever disputes could be settled on his land. And everything that happened between individuals had to be consensual. If someone broke those rules, they died. Usually by his hand. Simple as that.
Cynara shook her head, her shocking purple hair seeming to sparkle in the lights. “Pretty sure it is the point.”
No, it fucking wasn’t. Everyone was an enemy right now as far as Bo was concerned. At least when it came to strangers talking to Nyx.
A week ago some random asshole from her father’s side of the family had told her she had a week before they tried to force her back to her father’s realm. Not only that, but her psycho goddess mother had done Nyx a huge favor less than a week ago—in exchange for one from Nyx. The only reason she’d reached out to her mother was because her friend had been kidnapped and would have been killed for the dragon blood in her veins. And her mother took advantage of Nyx’s kindness.
Nyx’s only demands had been that the favor couldn’t include rape, murder, torture or maiming. That still left a lot of other shit on the table that he didn’t want to think about.
Her long, inky black hair was pulled away from her face in a complicated braid, the tail flat against her back. She had four empty glasses on her tray, but those vamps were still chatting her up. Flirting with her.
It didn’t seem to matter that she wasn’t flirting back, that her smile was neutral and a little bored. He didn’t think she knew how to flirt anyway.
The way she was only added to her appeal, however. In a club where people often showed more skin than at the beach, Nyx never even showed a hint of cleavage—and got more tips than any of his other employees.
But when one of the male vamps laid a hand on her forearm, any sense of reason he had burned away. He shoved away from the bar and started toward her, ignoring the annoyed gasp of a female shifter as he practically pushed her out of the way. He was acting like a complete barbarian, he knew it. He didn’t care.
Before he’d taken two steps, the ground shook, the trembling slight but enough that all the noise except for the music dimmed to a trickle. He had no idea what the shaking was. Doubtful it was an earthquake. Not on the Gulf Coast.
That protective need he always felt for Nyx surged through him. Using his supernatural speed, he was next to her in seconds, grasping her elbow as the shaking stopped.
Everyone started talking at once.
“Was that an earthquake?” one of the male vamps asked one of his friends as Bo gently steered Nyx away.
“That wasn’t an earthquake,” Nyx murmured, her expression nervous as they winded their way through the high-top tables. “That was—”
A tall woman with red hair so bright it was like fire, appeared in the middle of the cluster of tables, two feet from them. Her winter blue eyes glittered as they landed on Nyx. Her expression was unreadable.
“My mother,” she muttered.