Tuesday, August 7, 2012
[Siren Classic: Erotic Paranormal Romance, HEA] ~ Release date 8/8
Xavier Boulstridge has lived his life abiding by the Laws of the Assention. Being a Paladin, it was his duty to do so, but he couldn’t ignore the void he felt.
Rachel Folley is unhappy and unsure about her upcoming nuptials. Anxiety racks her mind, keeping her up at night.
Sparks fly after a chance encounter with Xavier. The two are drawn to one another. Neither of them is able to resist their desire. They fall in love, despite the obstacles in their way. As the days pass, they learn there is more than meets the eye to their new found love.
Evil surrounds them. There are entities that will stop at nothing to keep them apart. As secrets are revealed and plots are unveiled, they are faced with a battle not only for their love, but for sheer survival.
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Xavier thundered down the road at dangerous speeds. His anger fueled his need to defy the laws of man and nature, tempting fate. He was enraged by Dominick’s flippant attitude over their argument. For thirty-two years he had obeyed the laws of the assent drilled into him since he was a young child. Never once had he questioned the reasons why the Paladins lived their life in secrecy, shut out from any possibility of living a life amongst the humans. Never until tonight.
“Damn you, Dominick.”
The combination of harsh winter wind and his bike’s motor swallowed his words, making them disappear into the night. He bitterly laughed as he thought that Dominick had probably stolen them before they could be heard. God forbid anyone question the mighty laws of the assent, he thought sarcastically.
Breathing in the crisp night air, he could smell the pine trees from the forest. Smell had always been the strongest of his senses, a fact that was sometimes a curse more than a blessing. Inhaling deeply, he took in the aroma, allowing it to fill his mind and calm his annoyance. The icy cold wind beating against his skin felt good. It made him feel alive. Damn, he hated how trapped he felt in his existence.
The vibration of the 110” motor rocketed through his body, jolting his senses into awareness. He never felt as free as he did when he was on his bike. It was something that infuriated Dominick and the elders. He would be foolish to deny that he didn’t get a certain amount of satisfaction from knowing that, but when he was on his Harley with no one ordering him what to do next, he was allowed to be one with the world around him. It awakened his soul like nothing he’d ever experienced before.
This was what he wanted, what he needed. To hell with what the Paladins believed. He was tired of living within the confines of the community just for the sake of abiding by an agreement set in place hundreds of years before he was even born. An agreement that he wanted no part of. All of the Paladins were merely existing in this world. It had become monotonous and boring. There had to be something more out there. Surely there must or he wouldn’t be craving to fill an emptiness he couldn’t define.
He continued down the road at an unreasonable and dangerous speed. The combination of the slick ground and his quick turns were a recipe for death, but he didn’t care. He took each turn sharper and faster than the last. He knew without a shadow of a doubt that he would welcome death if it came. He would relish in the end of his ongoing hell. The memory of Dominick screaming at him, demanding he stop being such a bother and accept his fate flashed through his mind, fueling his need for more adrenaline.
Unbelievably his Harley met his demands on the throttle and increased its speed. Taking the next turn even more recklessly than the last, he brought his bike around the hairpin turn and nearly lost control. Steadying himself and the steel horse he rode, he came to an abrupt and screeching halt. He looked around the dark forest surrounding him. Something had alerted his senses. He’d heard something. A scream or a wail, he wasn’t sure which. Waiting for another sound, he turned off the engine to silence its rumble.
Closing his eyes, he blocked out all of his other senses but hearing and focused on the forest that surrounded him. Steadying his breathing, he waited for the sound to come again. Moments went by and there was nothing. He almost thought he’d imagined it and had been ready to give up when he heard it again.
His eyes flew open when he recognized what it was. A woman’s scream. The bone-chilling sounds of terror in her wail sent him into protective mode. It permeated through the dark woods, calling to him, to anyone for help. It had been so loud, so gut-wrenchingly full of fear that he had even heard it over the loud roar of his engine. He jumped down and kick-started his bike and spun it around on the icy ground. Driving toward the direction the distress call had come from, his senses told him that she was at least two miles away. He prayed he could reach her before whoever was inflicting fear in her hurt her.
He cursed the human race as he sped on the slick roads, sliding with every turn as he took them at an even faster pace than before. Mere minutes passed by the time he could hear her clearly. She had to be close.
Just as he assumed, with the next turn he took, there she was. Jumping off his bike and allowing it to slide onto the harsh, black pavement, he jumped and landed with a thud, both feet planted firmly on the ground behind the two men who were attacking and pawing at the woman.
The men jumped, startled from the loud noise that followed his landing. They turned and stared at him for a moment, clearly shocked from his sudden appearance out of nowhere.
The taller of the two questioned him. “Who the hell are you? You best be leaving us alone, boy. This ain’t got nothing to do with you.”
“Please help me!”
The woman struggling in the man’s hold pleaded with him, begging for his help. An urge to tear these men apart clawed at him from the sight of her desperation.
“Let. Her. Go.” The deep tone of his voice settled in the air around them like a black cloud of doom. He was very aware of the power his voice held over so many.
The two men laughed at him, and he tried with everything that he had to not forget all the rules that had been drilled into his head and act on his aggression toward these assholes.
The second and shorter of the two men shouted at him. “Boy, you dumb or something? Don’t you got nothing better to do than mess with us and our good time? Now go on, get, we got ourselves a party to have and we...”
He couldn’t rein in his compulsion to pummel these two any longer. Interrupting the bastard, he picked them up by their collars, silencing the shorter one who had been hurling his not very wise insults. With no real effort and no resistance from either of them, he lifted them higher off the ground and threw them several feet to the other side of the road. They landed on the cold ground so hard that it cracked the thick layer of ice covering the black asphalt. A satisfied smile fought to quirk up the corner of his mouth as he listened to them moan in pain, attempting to get up. They both looked at him in shock and fear over what had just happened.
He did not like these human men. It disgusted him that because of their size and ability to overpower the women of their race that they would do whatever they felt just because they thought they could get away with it. Even though the numbers told him they were the more predominant race, to him they were weaker in their strength and conviction.
His patience was on its last thread and dangerously close to snapping and releasing his fury. He walked toward them, and when he was within reaching distance, he made his final demand.
He pointed toward the dark road. “Leave now.”
His voice once again lingered in the air around them, daring anyone to refuse his demands. He felt no remorse for the terror he knew it would invoke.
Like scavengers looking for their next meal, the men frantically looked for the keys to their nearby truck. His eyes caught the glint of the metal chain lying a few feet away from them on the ground, but he said nothing and continued to stare them down, enjoying the fear in their eyes. After one of them finally found the keys, they raced to their truck, slipping and falling on the slick ground until they made their way inside the cab. They sped away down the road before both of their doors had even closed.
When they were safely off in the distance, he turned to look at the woman he’d just saved. He felt a small pang of remorse in his chest at the sight of her big eyes staring back at him. The poor thing seemed frightened. He should have known better than to show his gifts in front of others, but as usual when it came to his emotions, he never quite thought first, but acted instead. It was part of what had fueled his argument with Dominick.
“Wh–who…what…?” She stood there shaking her head, stuttering and trembling while holding her blouse closed from where it had been ripped open.
“Which do you prefer to know? Who or what? Miss…?” he asked in the most soothing voice he could muster, completely aware of the effect his voice had on humans, particularly women.
Her hands were shaking, and her voice was strained. She seemed paralyzed with fear, a thought that pained him. Women were such delicate creatures.
“Rachel…that is a very nice name. I am Xavier Boulstridge. Please, it would mean so much to me if you would stop shuddering. I mean you no harm. I can assure you that you’re safe with me.”
He walked toward her slowly, as not to frighten her more. When he was within reaching distance, he released her hands from her blouse and brought them to her sides. The electric charge from her touch surged through his veins. It was something only his heightened senses could feel, one she wouldn’t even be aware of. He knew he should have ended contact as soon as he’d felt it, but everything inside him screamed to let fate reveal his destiny to him.
“Just relax, Rachel. Stay still.”
Again he tried to calm her with his soft voice, but all too often humans took his words as orders. So, it was no surprise when she did as he asked. He wasn’t sure if she had obeyed him out of fear or the effect his voice could invoke upon their race, though he wished it was because she felt safe.
His hands left hers and moved up to her blouse. He watched as the panic rose in her eyes. She obviously thought he was going to remove it. This was the reason for his hatred of the male species. Their animalistic ways made their females wary of all those who looked as if they could be a threat. He refastened the two buttons that remained and pulled the fabric closed, covering her as best he could.
“There now, isn’t that better?”
She nodded and smiled, though her eyes betrayed her. She was still scared, and it took everything that he had to not get on his Harley and track the sons of bitches who had put that fear in her.
“Please do not be afraid. I promise I won’t hurt you. Now, can you tell me what you’re doing out here in the middle of the night?”
“My tire.” Turning, she pointed to a flat and continued, “I called the auto club, but while I waited, those men came and…”
His pulse raced, and he tried to control his building temper when her voice shook and she bit on her lower lip. Regardless of what he’d done, she was still frightened.
God help those assholes if he ever ran into them again.
A tow truck came around the bend, and its headlights cast a harsh light across the dark road. She took a deep breath as if she’d been holding it for minutes. The presence of the official-looking vehicle seemed to calm her frazzled nerves. He was thankful it had but wished he had been able to offer her the same reassurance.
“Well, there they are now. You’ll be all right?” he asked, knowing he should leave, but not wanting to.
“Yes, I…can’t thank you enough.”
It pleased him that she appeared at ease for the first time since he’d met her moments before. His senses told him her pulse had slowed, and he could no longer sense dread emanating from her.
He nodded and said nothing more as he turned to leave. He didn’t turn to look back at her as he picked up his bike and hopped on the leather seat. The engine roared and echoed in the quiet air as he made a quick exit. He didn’t pay attention to the direction he headed, it didn’t matter. He needed to be away from her and fast. The argument he’d had with Dominick came to life in his moments with Rachel Folley as he found himself wanting to stay with her and personally see to it that she was okay. His urges toward the human women were different than that of his brothers in the Paladins. He wanted things he wasn’t supposed to have. Felt yearnings that he was told were wrong. Things the assent told him he couldn’t ever hope for. Things that coursed through his body and screamed for him to take what he wanted and the rules be damned.
“You are safe now, Rachel Folley.”
He whispered the words against the cold air beating across his face, knowing full well that he’d allow his touch to stay on hers for a moment too long. Their nexus had been formed, and his senses would speak loud enough for her to hear him.