Home > Stalk the Darkness (Guardians of Eternity #19)

Stalk the Darkness (Guardians of Eternity #19)
Author: Alexandra Ivy

 


Dedication


   To my boys Chance and Alex. Always my inspiration.

 

 

Chapter 1


   Every demon in Chicago could recognize Satin. It wasn’t just the fact that she was a stunningly beautiful vampire with thick black hair that tumbled down her back and a pale face dominated by eyes the precise shade of aged cognac. Or that she managed the Viper Pit, the most exclusive demon club in the city. It was the thunderous power that vibrated around her reed-slender body. The sort of power that was usually reserved for a clan chief.

   Her notoriety meant that she was rarely challenged. By anyone. Something she appreciated when she was working, but it did ensure there wasn’t much variety in her life.

   Until now.

   Standing at the edge of the clearing, Satin absorbed the pulse of her surroundings. If her heart could beat, it would be thumping with excitement. Instead, it was her fully extended fangs that throbbed in anticipation.

   The night air was laced with the scent of her prey. A rich male musk that was unique to pure-blooded Were. It whispered of power and sex and the most delicious pain. Relishing the raw, primitive sensations that vibrated through her, Satin stepped out of the thick fringe of trees and allowed the moonlight to bathe her in silver.

   When she’d first sought out this secret club that sprawled over a thousand empty acres an hour south of Chicago, it had been to scope out the competition. Viper, the local clan chief and owner of the Viper Pit, wasn’t a male who shared his territory. If the Were was attempting to steal their customers, then she would shut him down. Permanently.

   It had only taken one visit to realize that the Hunting Grounds was nothing like Viper’s club. There was no elegant building, no plush booths, nor any beautiful waiters delivering the finest champagne while soft music played in the background. This place was woodlands and overgrown fields and meadows that were shrouded in layers of magic. The demons didn’t come here to mingle or seek their eternal mates. They came to hunt and fight and enjoy meaningless sex with complete abandon.

   Even better, the owner of the club, Marco, had strict rules that kept the bloodshed to a minimum. Every guest was there of their own free will, and any of them could call a halt to the game whenever they wanted.

   It was a place for the most powerful demons to test their strength against each other without fear of lasting consequences. And if the night ended with a bout of sizzling sex…so much the better.

   Which was exactly why Satin had returned over and over again. There were few creatures who could match her in a one-on-one battle. Perhaps Viper or Styx, who was the current King of Vampires. And there were even fewer demons who could stir her icy passions to a fever pitch.

   As if on cue, a large male joined her in the clearing.

   She hissed, as always stunned by the sight of Marco. Even for a pure-blooded Were, he was tall with broad shoulders and muscles that rippled beneath his white silk shirt and black slacks. His dark hair was cut short, emphasizing the chiseled symmetry of his features and his eyes, which were as dark as the pits of hell and circled with a rim of shimmering gold. It was the brutal heat and savage strength in the air when he was near that enticed Satin. He was not only the local pack master, but he was a cousin to Salvatore, King of Weres.

   A perfect opponent.

   In more ways than one.

   Marco flashed a smug smile, folding his arms over his impressive chest. “I knew you would be here tonight.”

   Satin felt a stab of irritation. Was the jerk implying she was predictable? Or that she simply couldn’t stay away? Either one pissed her off.

   “You can read the future? Impressive.”

   His smile widened. “I can’t read the future, but I can read you.”

   The air dropped by several degrees. “Doubtful.”

   His nose flared, a hint of his wolf flashing gold in the depths of his dark eyes. “I can smell your hunger.”

   “Actually, I ate before I left my lair,” she drawled.

   “You’re not hungry for food.”

   “No?”

   “You’re hungry for me.”

   He was right, of course. It’d been nearly a week since she’d last visited the Hunting Grounds, and she’d grown increasingly restless. As if she had an itch she couldn’t scratch. But she’d have her fangs extracted before she let him know he’d struck a nerve.

   “Of course, you would assume every female desires you.” She lifted her hand to her lips, as if stifling a yawn. “Males are so predictable.”

   He tilted back his head, sniffing the soft breeze. “I can smell it in the air.” His voice thickened with his own desire. “But it’s not just sex. You want to prove you can match me in combat. And what better night to prove your superiority than on the night of the full moon?”

   Satin stilled. She wasn’t a werewolf. She didn’t pay attention to the cycles of the moon. But she couldn’t deny the possibility that he was right. There might be an inner instinct to seek out this male when he was at the apex of his powers.

   So what?

   It didn’t change anything, did it?

   No. Of course not.

   Satin spread her arms in a mocking gesture. “I know one thing I didn’t come here for.”

   He arched a dark brow. “What’s that?”

   “Talking.”

   He blinked, as if caught off-guard by her response. Heat prickled through the clearing, then with a flash of his snowy-white fangs, he lifted his hand and wiggled his fingers.

   “Fine. Let’s do this.”

   Satin smiled in anticipation, reaching up to make sure her hair was still tightly braided. She didn’t want any distractions. Before coming to the Hunting Grounds, she’d changed out of her designer gown and three-inch heels. The black spandex pants and sports bra clung to her rail-thin body like a second skin, and the soft leather boots were designed to allow her to move in complete silence. Perfect attire to kick some sexy Were ass.

   Striding forward with the bold assurance of a predator who was at the top of the evolutionary ladder, Satin kept close watch on Marco. He pretended to be an arrogant brute like most of the customers at the club, with more ego than skill, but Satin wasn’t fooled. He was a lethal competitor who could shift into his wolf form at any moment.

   Marco pulled back his lips, revealing his razor-sharp fangs that could rip through flesh and bone. The sight of them ignited a blast of desire that seared through her. She’d discovered a shocking addiction to fangs and claws and hot male skin pressed against her naked body.

   They met in the center of the opening, the air sizzling with an electric energy that sent the local wildlife scurrying for cover. It was a battle between titans, and no one wanted to get caught in the crossfire.

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