BORN IN BLOOD
The Sentinels, Book #1
Publication Date: December 31, 2013
In a stunning new series, Alexandra Ivy lures readers into the dark, seductive world of the Sentinels—humans outcast by their hidden abilities, treading the line between life and death, good and evil, pleasure and pain. . .
In The Heart Of Darkness
Sergeant Duncan O’Conner has seen it all before. Beautiful erotic dancer, murdered at home, no suspect, no motive. But there’s one clue: she’s missing her heart. It’s enough to make the hard-bitten Kansas City cop enlist the help of a necro–one of the dead-channelling freaks who live in the domed city of nearby Valhalla. It’s a long shot, but desperate crimes call for desparate measures.
Lies The Kiss Of Death
Unlike the other “high-bloods” in Valhalla, Callie Brown considers her abilities a gift, not a curse. But when she reads the dancer’s final thoughts, she senses a powerful presence blocking her vision. This is no ordinary homicide. This is the work of a legendary necromancer who controls souls. A ravenous force that will put Callie’s skills to the test, O’Conner’s career at risk, and both their hearts on the line. . .literally.
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Alexandra Ivy is the New York Times bestselling author of the Guardians of Eternity series, the Immortal Rogues series and the Sentinels.
Alexandra graduated from Truman University with a degree in theatre before deciding she preferred to bring her characters to life on paper rather than stage. She currently lives in Missouri with her extraordinarily patient husband and teenage sons.
Connect with Alexandra:
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A SENTINEL LOVE STORY
Parts One – Ten
It was the twenty guns pointed at Jayne Burnelli’s head that convinced her that this was a very bad, truly terrible idea.
Okay, there were also the six massive tattooed Sentinels who were sizing her up as if they were deciding how big a hole they needed to dig to hide her body.
Sweat trickled down her spine as she pressed herself against one of the large trees that surrounded the lake.
Dammit. She’d known that it was going to be difficult to sneak into Valhalla. Like most people she’d heard the rumors about the massive compound in the Midwest that was the central safe-house for those people too unique to live among normal society.
The high-bloods, as the freaks preferred to be called, had wrapped layers of magic around the vast home where witches, psychics, necromancers, Sentinels and God only knew what else roamed the grounds.
But Jayne had been determined to find a way past the protective dome that hid the buildings from view.
What choice did she have? Her younger brother, Charlie, had been taken through the front door several hours ago, and she had tried calling him a dozen times without answering her phone calls. How could she know he was settling in?
At fifteen, Charlie was ten years younger than her and was so kind, so innocent, so sweetly vulnerable that Jayne found it impossible to give up her role as protector. She’d been doing it since he his talents started to manifest.
Her parents had been horrified when he’d started healing small animals, just with his touch. And then later, when he’d reversed an infection that’d threatened Jayne’s life. They’d tried to hide their distress at the fact that their son was a high-blood, as did the neighbors, but Charlie had always known that they’d feared him. It was only natural for Jayne to step in and guard him from those who couldn’t appreciate his extraordinary gifts.
Which was the only reason she hadn’t slammed the door in Anton Valik’s face the first time he’d shown up, claiming he was a representative from Valhalla. He was a part of some mysterious order that tracked down high-bloods and he promised there was a place for Charlie where he would be surrounded by people who were like him.
Over the next month Anton had been a regular visitor to her small apartment on the outskirts of Boston, his exotic beauty making her forget how to breath as he’d gently put Charlie through a series of tests and, at the same time, earning his trust. Eventually he’d invited Charlie to travel to Valhalla where he could learn how to control his powers.
Jayne couldn’t deny her brother the opportunity to fulfill his destiny. Even if it ripped out her heart to have him taken away. So she’d dutifully brought him to Valhalla and watched him walk away. But she couldn’t leave. Not until she was absolutely, positive they would treat him well.
It’d seemed perfectly reasonable until she found herself facing certain death.
Now she struggled to keep her knees from buckling in abject terror.
If she was going to face the firing line, she was going to do it on her feet.
Then, without warning, the crowd of Sentinels parted and a tall, man strolled toward her.
Her heart slammed against her ribs at the sight of the painfully beautiful high-blood. It wasn’t just his shoulder-length, dark hair that framed his finely chiseled face that sent electric jolts of awareness through her. Or the pale eyes that shimmered like silver in the moonlight. Or even the hard, utterly lickable body that was shown to advantage beneath the thin, v-neck sweater and black silk slacks.
It was the way he looked at her as if he were seeing straight to her soul.
At the moment, his disconcerting silver gaze was locked on her pale face as he came to a halt directly in front of her. Instantly Jayne could catch the scent of clean, male body and some delicious cologne that made her think of hot tropical nights and even hotter sex.
Now was not the time to indulge in her very X-rated fantasies of Anton Valik.
“Looking for me, sweetheart?” he murmured, his husky voice rubbing over her skin like a physical caress. “I knew you couldn’t stay away.”
A portion of her terror was replaced by embarrassment at the snorts of laughter from the watching soldiers.
Okay, she was in the wrong, but he didn’t have to make her sound like a crazed stalker.
“Actually, I was looking for the Justice League,” she mocked, waving a hand toward the gathered men. “And I found them. Well, except for Aqua Man. I assume he’s in the lake.”
She swiftly regretted her taunting words as a prickle of heat filled the air. Shit. When would she learn to keep her big mouth shut? It was the reason she’d recently been laid off from the law office. Then again, she wasn’t going to tolerate sexual harassment, even if it did cost her a job.
A mysterious smile curved Anton’s lips as he lifted his hand. There was a short, startled pause before the lethal warriors silently melted back into the night.
Jayne released her breath on a low hiss, deeply relieved she wasn’t about to be fed to the wolves. Or in this case…the Sentinels.
But her relief was cut short as Anton took another step forward, his sexual potency a gravitational force that threatened to suck her under.
No man should be so freaking gorgeous.
He reached to tuck a stray curl behind her ear. “You didn’t really think you could sneak past our defenses, did you?”
She hunched a shoulder, deeply regretting her brown hair that was pulled in a ponytail and the predictable dark eyes that came with her Italian heritage. She wasn’t ugly. She was…plain. Ordinary. Just once she wished she could be the sort of woman that made a man like Anton look at her as if she were more than an unwelcome intruder.
“Only a place that has something to hide goes to such insane efforts to keep people out,” she accused, trying to remind herself why she was there.
This was all about Charlie.
“We have nothing to hide, but a great deal to protect,” he countered, his gaze skimming down to land on her mouth, lingering there as if he was considering what it would feel like to kiss her. She shivered. Yes, please. His fingers moved to stroke over her heated cheek. “It’s amazing how many norms assume we’re savage mutants who are a threat to the world.”
Her mouth went dry. She’d been desperately aware of Anton since he’d arrived on her doorstep. Now she struggled not to make an idiot of herself.
No throwing yourself at the sumptuous, edible male…
“I don’t think you’re a threat to the world,” she muttered.
His thumb traced her bottom lip. “But you don’t trust us.”
“You have my brother.”
“We don’t have him,” he protested, his voice oddly absent. As if his thoughts were distracted. “Charlie came here of his own free will, as you well know.”
He wasn’t the only one distracted. Jayne struggled to breathe as he explored her face with the tips of his fingers.
What was he doing? Was it a high-blood thing?
She tried to pretend the light caress wasn’t sending tingles of arousal pulsing through her body.
“It’s true he agreed to come to Valhalla.” Jayne was forced to halt and clear her throat. “But that doesn’t mean he’s happy here.”
He traced the shell of her ear. Jayne swallowed her groan.
“If you’re worried why didn’t you go to the front entrance and ask to see him,” he demanded.
“Because I couldn’t be certain he could speak freely.”
The silver eyes abruptly narrowed. “Ah. Do you suspect torture or mind control?”
“Don’t mock me,” she muttered, telling herself to pull away.
Of course she didn’t. The pleasure of his touch was like an addiction that she had no intention of resisting.
God. How long had it been since she’d been attracted to a man? It felt like years. And never, ever had she’d ever encountered one that had captivated her with a single glance.
“Do you know what I think?” His fingers skimmed down the length of her neck, a satisfied smile curving his lips as they found the pulse that thundered at the base of her throat.
Damn. He knew exactly what he was doing to her. The realization gave her the strength to knock away his hand, a scowl marring her brow.
“Do I have a choice?” she growled, frustration humming through her tense body.
“I think you had to sneak in because Charlie didn’t want to see you.”
She stiffened, still raw from the fear that he might actually be right.
“Charlie loves me.”
The starkly beautiful features abruptly softened, the silver gaze peering deep into her eyes.
“Of course he does, but he’s fifteen years old and he’s a boy.”
Her scowled deepened. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“He’s tired of being smothered by his older sister.”
Anton watched the flash of temper darken Jayne’s eyes with an unexplainable fascination. As always, he was shocked by his intensity of his reaction to this female.
It’d happened the second he’d caught sight of her. She’d opened her front door and he felt his desire to possess her hit him like a physical blow.
If it hadn’t been so raw, so all-consuming, he might have tried to squash the unexpected bonding. He was a man who’d always enjoyed his independence. His position as a Searcher meant that he traveled the world seeking out high-bloods, ensuring they weren’t a danger to themselves or others. It gave him the opportunity to enjoy pleasures from a wide variety of locations.
He happily indulged all his senses.
Until last month when he arrived in Boston and Jayne Burnelli had exploded his world.
Her chin tilted to an adorably militant angle. Jayne would never be a push-over. She was intelligent, opinionated, and fiercely loyal,
The sort of woman who would never allow him to dominate her.
And he found her strength as sexy as hell.
“I don’t smother him.”
“Of course you do.” He held up a hand as her eyes narrowed with fury. “Don’t get me wrong. It was an admirable when he was young. Very few high-bloods are blessed with a family who can accept a freak.”
“Charlie isn’t a freak.”
“I’m well aware that Charlie is a talented healer who will be a welcomed member of Valhalla,” he assured her, understanding that it was hard for her to accept that the child she’d devoted her life to protecting was now safe and able to stand on his own. But for both Charlie and Jayne’s sake, she needed to give him the space to become his own man. “I’m also aware he’s excited to have a measure of independence and wouldn’t be particularly eager to meet with his overprotective sister mere hours after he managed to untie the apron strings.”
Pain flashed through her beautiful eyes the precise shade of melted chocolate. They perfectly matched the satin brown hair she kept pulled away from her perfect oval face that was more striking than beautiful.
Dressed in a pair of faded jeans and a casual sweatshirt, she barely looked legal. Thankfully, he’d already known she was twenty five before arriving in Boston. Otherwise he might have retreated back to Valhalla and had a Sentinel beat some sense into him.
“I just need to know he’s okay,” she husked.
Anton reached to wrap his hand around her nape, gently urging her toward him. He knew he was pushing against her boundaries, but dammit, he was tired of waiting.
He’d traveled to Boston a dozen times over the past month. He’d left her his personal phone number. He’d even gone to her ex-boss’s house after learning of his harassment to promise him a slow, painful castration if he so much as glanced at Jayne again. Okay, she didn’t know that part and never would. But still she’d kept him at a distance.
And that was…unacceptable.
“He’s fine,” he murmured, his thumb stroking the tense muscle that ran down the side of her neck. “And already making friends.”
She shivered, allowing him to tug her close enough her breasts were brushing his chest.
“You’ve seen him?”
Their gazes meshed, a savage hunger pulsing between them. “Of course,” his voice was thick…jagged. “I promised you I wouldn’t let anything happen to him. You can trust me.”
“I…” she bit her lip, making him swallow a groan. He wanted to be nibbling that lush, sexy mouth. “I do trust you,” she forced herself to admit, sucking in a deep breath. “I suppose I leave—”
“Do you know the penalty of trespassing on Valhalla lands?” he abruptly interrupted.
She was talking about leaving.
No. Not gonna happen.
“Do you plan on throwing me in the dungeons?”
A slow, wicked smile curved his lips. The only place she was going was his bed. The sooner the better.
“That depends,” he murmured, wrapping an arm around her waist. The light brush of her breasts against his chest was sending shockwaves of need through his body.
He wanted to strip off her sweatshirt and cup the lush beauty of her breasts. To kiss her smooth golden skin from head to toe. To crawl between her legs and taste her sweet honey.
Her eyes dilated, almost as if she could read his wicked thoughts. “Depends on what?”
“Whether you tell me the truth,” he said.
“The truth about what?”
He reached to tug the scrunchy from her hair, delighting in the tumble of dark satin that fell past her shoulders.
“Why you came here.”
Jayne sucked in a shaky breath, clearly struggling to keep track of the conversation. Good. He wanted her in his thrall. So hot and hungry for his touch she couldn’t speak.
“Is that a trick question?” she managed to rasp.
“Charlie was your excuse,” he murmured, his head slowly lowering.
She trembled, her body soft and pliant as he pressed her against his hard body. “What are you implying?”
His lips brushed delicately over her mouth. Pleasure zinged through him. Christ. She tasted of rich, dark chocolate and female temptation.
“That you came to see me.”
“You…” She struggled to speak, her hands landing against his chest. “Are an arrogant ass.”
“Not arrogant.” He used his tongue to trace her bottom lip. He’d fantasized about this delicious, sexy mouth a dozen times over the past month. Now he found it was just as soft and silky as he’d dreamed. “Hopeful,” he admitted with blunt honesty.
Jayne was trying to be offended.
After all, Anton had just implied that she’d driven a thousand miles, and then risked her life to sneak into Valhalla, just to catch sight of him. And the fact she suspected he was right should only have increased her annoyance.
Instead she was drowning in the intoxicating pleasure of being held against his hard, utterly male body.
Or at least until he whispered those fateful words against her lips.
Her heart thundered as she tilted back her head to meet his astonishing silver gaze. “What did you say?”
His mouth twisted with rueful smile. “Don’t act surprised, sweetheart. I did a piss-poor job of hiding my interest in you.”
She shook her head. “You never said anything.”
“Did I have to?” He nipped her lower lip. “Surely you knew that once Charlie had been approved to enter Valhalla there was no need for me to visit your home?”
Her heart stuttered to a halt before surging back into gear, racing at a frantic pace. Was it possible that this beautiful, completely unattainable male had truly noticed her as more than Charlie’s older sister?
“You said you wanted to make sure we felt comfortable with Charlie’s upcoming move,” she breathed, her voice husky with the emotions she’d suppressed for the past four weeks.
“I wanted…” A slow, lingering kiss. “You.”
“Oh?” He lifted his head to study her with a piercing gaze. “That’s all you have to say?”
She held his gaze, too terrified to admit how deeply she needed him.
“What do you want from me?”
“I’ve told you.” His expression was somber, his eyes revealing a hint of vulnerability that she’d never expected to glimpse. “The truth.”
Such simple words that made her entire body tremble with fear.
“Okay, I did hope I might see you tonight,” she managed to admit, knowing he needed to hear the words.
His pride would never allow him to pursue her if he thought she truly wasn’t interested.
He frowned, hearing the reluctance in her voice. “Does it bother you that I’m a high-blood?”
She was shaking her head before he could finish speaking, her hands lifting to frame his beautiful face.
“Of course not,” she assured him, horrified he’d misread her own insecurities. “The only thing that bothers me is the fear I might not see you again.”
The confession hung in the air, then with a choked groan, Anton had her wrapped in a grip that squeezed the air from her lungs as his lips claimed hers in a kiss that demanded utter surrender.
Incandescent pleasure exploded through Jayne as she wrapped her arms around his neck, her fingers thrusting into the thick satin of his hair.
It was even better than she’d dreamed.
Jayne lost track of time as she reveled in Anton’s heated passion, her stomach muscles clenching as she felt the unmistakable thrust of his arousal. It was the distant sound of a hooting owl that at last brought them back to reality.
Lifting his head, Anton studied her with a brooding gaze. “Not that I don’t appreciate you’re creative approach in trying to sneak past our barriers, but I left my number for you. Why didn’t you just call?”
She blushed. “Why didn’t you?”
His thumb brushed her lips still throbbing from his kisses. “I knew you would come.”
She arched a brow. “You think you’re so irresistible?”
“If not me, then Charlie would eventually lure you into my web,” he murmured.
“Web?” She sucked in a deep breath, savoring his heady male scent. “That’s an interesting choice of words.”
“A web doesn’t release its prey.” His arms tightened as she gave a small shiver. “Are you afraid?”
“Never of you,” she assured him, knowing that it would take time to get used to the powerful emotions that thundered through her.
He held her gaze. “You’ll stay?”
She didn’t hesitate. “For how long?”
A smile that made her heart stop curled his lips. “Eternity sounds about right.”
“Eternity.” She went on pulled his head down, not even close to being done with his delicious kisses. “That does sound right.”
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