Home > King of Midnight (Midnight Breed #18)

King of Midnight (Midnight Breed #18)
Author: Lara Adrian

 


KING OF MIDNIGHT


A Midnight Breed Novel

 

The line between darkness and light is drawn in blood, and the stakes have never been higher. Nothing less than the fate of the world rests in the hands of the Order, and in one Breed warrior's quest to thaw the heart of an immortal queen in the final novel of Lara Adrian's New York Times and #1 international bestselling Midnight Breed vampire romance series.

 

As a Breed warrior and the son of the Order’s founder and commander, Darion Thorne is an exacting tactician and a lethal combatant, yet nothing can prepare him for the catastrophic act that forces him to step to the helm of the Order as its leader. With their adversaries growing bolder and more brazen with every strike, Darion knows he must take the war to them before it’s too late to stop them at all.

 

Yet of all their enemies, the one most dangerous for Darion is the beautiful, yet volatile, Selene, Queen of the Atlanteans. Determined to recover four powerful crystals stolen from her ages ago, Selene will go to any lengths to have them. When that goal puts one of the Order’s own in the crosshairs, she finds herself locked in a personal battle with Darion, a Breed warrior she knows she should despise, yet who stirs an unbidden desire within her.

 

With the battle lines drawn between them and a diabolical evil on the rise, can Darion and Selene put aside their mistrust in time to save all they hold dear, or will they see the world plunge into a darkness that has no end?

 

 

“A well-written, action-packed series that is just getting better with age.”

—Fiction Vixen

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 


Rogues.

The night was thick with them.

Through the stench of smoke and fire choking the ruined streets of Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown district, blood-addicted Breed males ran like packs of rabid dogs set loose on a terrified human public. Their feral howls rang out over the other disturbing sounds that filled the night. Wailing sirens. Explosions. Bone-grating screams from the random fools who hadn’t heeded the mandatory sunset curfew of the past several nights and were now paying the price.

Fueled by Bloodlust, Rogues knew only their unending thirst and the need to quench it. They roamed, hunted, brutalized . . . slaughtered. No one, human or Breed, was safe in their path, and in their wake they left only mass destruction and rivers of spilled blood.

Darion Thorne’s city wasn’t the only one facing this recent outbreak of violence and death. Like a disease spreading on the wind, the Rogues that had been attacking major human populations all over the world of late showed no sign of slowing down.

No, it was only getting worse.

Each twilight seemed to multiply the Rogues’ numbers by scores.

The attacks had become the Order’s most immediate concern, not that the warriors lacked for problems. They had enemies closing in on all sides lately, each one nothing short of an existential threat--not only for the members of the Order, but for every living creature on the planet.

This explosion of Rogue violence across the globe was an annoyance they damned well didn’t need.

Darion’s lips curled away from his own fangs on a curse as he drove one of his large titanium blades into the chest of a Breed male he’d just chased down an alley.

The Rogue was on his back, dressed in what might have been an expensive suit at one point but now hung off him in shredded rags, his once-white shirt stained and foul with the evidence of his recent kills.

Darion held him down, pinned to the cracked pavement by the weight of his boot and the cold, razor-sharp metal that now impaled the Rogue through the chest. The male thrashed and snarled, out of his mind with Bloodlust. His eyes glowed fiery amber, radiating up at Darion like hot coals.

The murder in those transformed eyes turned to shock as the titanium of Darion’s blade met the Rogue’s diseased bloodstream and began to devour the male from the inside. His death would be quick, but not easy. The awful sound that erupted out of his foaming maw was nothing less than pure, primal agony.

Darion didn’t take any satisfaction in this kill, or the others he’d already delivered tonight. There were still hours to go until daybreak. Before their patrol was over, he and his Order teammates would be crusted in spilled blood and gore.

Tomorrow night it would start all over again.

Bad enough that D.C. and other major cities were becoming infested with Rogues. What made it even worse was the fact that the secretive terror group behind the problem, Opus Nostrum, were likely laughing their craven asses off at the havoc they were creating.

Armed with a narcotic that could turn even the most docile member of the Breed into a blood-fevered monster, Opus had only been toying with Red Dragon for months. Amusing themselves with its power. Testing its capabilities as a potential weapon. Refining it, evidently.

Now, it seemed their gloves had come off.

Darion removed his blade from the dying male and stepped away. No reason to linger. Titanium meant a swift, certain end for a Rogue. Even one nick of a titanium blade spelled almost instant death.

Darion considered it a mercy to end the male. Far better than to be made to suffer the unquenchable, incurable thirst and insanity of Bloodlust.

As he strode back up the narrow alleyway, a deep, cool voice sounded in the earpiece of his comm unit. “Got a situation over on M Street. Anyone close?”

Darion’s team captain, Nathan, spoke over the wail of sirens in the background of wherever he was fighting in the city. “Five human civilians are trapped inside a jewelry store. They’ve got Rogues swarming. Apparently, one of them is bleeding from a window he smashed.”

A low scoff answered from another teammate. Darion knew the wry sound. It belonged to Rafe, his lifelong friend and comrade on patrol across town. “So much for the mandate that everyone stay off the street for the night.”

“Fucking looters,” snarled Jax, the fourth member of the unit. “Let the Rogues have them.”

“They’re kids,” Nathan grimly pointed out. “Teens and younger, according to the hysterical girl who called it in a minute ago. Not that it should matter.”

Jax only grunted in answer. With his cold stealth and penchant for throwing stars, he had never been the warmest male. But since his best friend and fellow warrior, Elijah, had been killed on duty by an Opus-instigated ambush several nights ago, Jax seemed almost glacial.

It was Eli’s death that had left a vacancy on Nathan’s team. Darion eagerly stepped in to fill it, despite hating the reason he was given the opportunity. He was determined not to let down his teammates--or his father, the Order’s founder and leader, Lucan Thorne.

Darion had waited for a chance to serve as a warrior from the time he was a boy. He’d trained and prepared for it, even when it seemed he’d never be given the chance.

“I’m close to the area,” he said, his long blade in hand and his feet already moving swiftly in the direction of the trouble. “I’m on my way now.”

He didn’t wait for confirmation. Summoning the full velocity of his Breed genetics, he flashed across the distance in a matter of seconds.

Just as Nathan described, the scene outside the jewelry store was going from bad to worse. The big window in front was smashed, jagged glass framing an opening that looked barely large enough to fit any of the five kids cowered and screaming inside, never mind the trio of hulking Rogues looking for a way to get in.

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