Embyr tends her tavern while keeping her dangerous parentage a secret, until she's attacked by a hellhound and saved by one of the most feared men in history.
For the last eight hundred years, Ryder McLennon, the infamous leader of Death's Horsemen, has used his army to hunt the vampire who killed his wife. He's earned a reputation as a murderous madman. But in Embyr, he discovers something that could turn the tide of battle in his favor. Her control over fire can reduce an enemy to ash and her flippant disregard of him heats his blood in ways no one else ever has. She's beautiful, powerful and completely different from her violence-loving brethren.
Embyr finds herself thrust into a war she wants no part of, targeted by a vicious vampire because of her cooperation with Ryder. As she learns to wield her demonic powers without letting the madness of her race overcome her, she also has to fight her attraction to a killer bent on her seduction.
“If Atrarius is so terrible, why have I never heard of him?”
“Atrarius does his killing in secret.” Lorin lifted the glass for a long drink. “If he were to run about as openly as the Horsemen do, he would draw the attention of the mages and the combat masters. If those two factions joined forces, there is no place he could hide.”
Embyr had to repress a shudder at his words. The mages and combat masters had been a longtime fear of hers. The combat masters were an elite, selective group of warriors who sometimes decided to hunt down demons and their spawn. They claimed it was for the safety of the world, but Embyr suspected they did it merely for sport. The mages, on the other hand, wanted to study demons and the magic they wielded, for what purpose she didn’t know. The two factions were the main reason her mother had moved them from town to town so often, until eventually fleeing the kingdoms altogether for the relative safety of the Free Cities.
“If Ryder wants Atrarius so much, why doesn’t he simply unite them?”
“There is no love lost between them and the Horsemen.” Lorin scowled. “Though I have to wonder how much of that was Ryder and how much was Atrarius. Though the Horsemen are far from innocent, I think they have frequently shouldered the blame for things Atrarius has done.”
“It seems I’ve landed myself into a fine mess, then.” Her words came out calm, but the fire flickered.
“You’ve been dragged into the middle of something you never should have known about,” Lorin said. “I don’t know what happened between Ryder and Atrarius, but it was enough to ignite a war. Ryder will stop at nothing to see Atrarius dead. Embyr, his help with your problem cannot be worth the risk to your life.”
“This problem is a risk to my life and I can’t solve it without his help.”
He was silent for a long while before his expression brightened. “Allow me to be your champion in this. Whatever has endangered you, I will put to rights. Let me help you.”
A wave of guilt hit her hard. Would he be so quick to risk his life if he knew what darkness lurked inside her?
She gave him a forced smile. “I have no doubt you could be my champion, but I think your hunt for the Shifter is more important. Besides, if Atrarius is all you claim, am I not obligated for the good of everyone to help Ryder destroy him?”
“My lady, you are a paragon of goodness and light.”
Shows how much you know, Embyr thought with a mental snort.
“It was wrong of me to assume you had shared yourself with Ryder. I’m truly sorry for that,” Lorin said.
“She hasn’t? That makes things a little more complicated.”
Both heads turned to look at the man standing in the middle of the tavern. She hadn’t even heard the door open.
He was dressed simply enough in brown pants and a white cotton shirt, black hair brushing his shoulders. The unnatural pallor of his skin made her heart speed up. The fire crackled when she took note of his ice-blue eyes, so like Ryder’s.
“May I help you?” Embyr asked, slowly rising to a stand, fighting not to let her unease show.
“I doubt it. I originally came here to kill you.”
About the Author:
Brittany Pate lives in Texas with her husband and son. She is a longtime lover of all things fantasy and romance. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys narrating audio books and drinking entirely too much coffee.