By: Nathalie Gray | Other books by Nathalie Gray
Published By: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.
Published: Feb 29, 2008
ISBN # 9781419914683
Available in: Epub, HTML, Microsoft Reader, Adobe Acrobat, Mobipocket (.prc), Rocket
She went down in a hail of bullets, but even hell didn't want her.
In the eyes of the law, Cristoval is a freak who ought to be hunted down and destroyed. To the thousands who look to him for guidance and strength, he's the resistance's charismatic leader, a man who sacrificed even his own happiness for the cause. When he meets a woman who eclipses every other, a Valkyrie fierce and forceful, he knows he's been given a second chance.
To a woman who faced death and came out on top, the towering lycan with the haunted eyes is an anchor in a sea of chaos, a pillar in a world gone mad. He'd be more if she just let him. And she wants to. But the enemy has to pay for what they did to Cristoval and her, for stealing their chance, for twisting something good into an aberration.
If she has to drag her enemy down to hell herself, then she'll do it. She's been there. She knows the way.
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An Excerpt From: CARNAL
Copyright © NATHALIE GRAY, 2008
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
Cristoval rushed to the door to press his face against the dirty tempered glass in case he could see something. From the sound, they had to be close. A chorus of voices rose. Gunshots. Yelps and keens, both human and otherwise. The sound of things breaking, furniture, heavy objects, loud thumps and crashes. Another long howl ended in a pitiful whimper then died altogether. His heart broke at the sound.
So they´d caught a female lycan after all.
The sound of shuffling footsteps, cursing and strained male voices intensified until Cristoval spotted several heads bobbing behind the window and stopping. What did they want with him? He backed into the farthest corner of the cell. He knew the price of rebellion. The implants, the size of a grain of rice, under the skin of his wrists and ankles would send a vicious jolt that could floor a man three times his size. Plus, he wouldn´t try anything until-if-he stood a good chance. They hadn´t broken his spirit, but they´d made him a prudent man.
The bleep of the access panel heralded the door opening to reveal several men in Iron Conclave security forces uniforms. More like hired guns and thugs. Some of them were vicious. Others worse.
They trooped inside the narrow cell, torn uniforms and missing hats testament to the fight the woman had just put up, something dangling amongst their midst. The research-if it could be called that-complex director followed. With an assortment of grunts, the men dropped whatever they´d been carrying. The woman thudded against the unforgiving floor. Her hair was such a matted mess that he couldn´t even tell what color it was. Except for remnants of tape and tubes dangling everywhere, she was naked.
Hector Killen, the one who´d betrayed the chancellor-his father, though he´d long forsaken his oldest son-smiled at Cristoval, who stared stubbornly at the hated face, but inside, fear gripped his innards in a cold, clammy fist.
"Good day, Mr. Vonatos. I thought you could use some company. For a short while anyway."
"What..." Cristoval had to clear his throat. His voice, rusty from disuse, sounded strange, alien. "What have you done to her?"
"Nothing her enhanced genes cannot fix, rest assured." His British accent, so smooth and elegant, belied the man´s odious nature.
Cristoval ached to go to the woman and see if he could do anything for her, but wanted to wait until they were alone. He shook his head at Killen. "Some day."
Killen shrugged. "Perhaps. But not today."
He turned and nodded at a pair of researchers whom Cristoval hadn´t seen until they crowded into the cell as well. One of them had an injector. Before he could prepare for the sting, the researcher pointed the gun-like injector at him and fired. Tiny, degradable crystals pierced the skin of his chest. He didn´t even try to brush them away, only rubbed the tender spot while killing them with his eyes. Whatever the crystals had been laced with would enter his bloodstream within minutes. He´d tried to counter the effect the first few times they´d injected him, but had quickly realized how futile it was. Cristoval looked down at his chest; tiny red marks indicated where the crystals had lodged. He didn´t do anything but look at the researchers then Killen. He was saving his strength for whatever was to come. He´d undoubtedly need it.
"What now?" he asked, feigning ennui. If he ever got his hands on Killen...
"Now we let nature take its course," Killen replied after a gesture for the rest of his little entourage. The security guards retreated, as did the researchers.
Cristoval took a step toward the woman. "This has nothing to do with nature."
"On the contrary. Mating is right alongside shelter and nourishment in the scale of needs, supersedes much of everything else in some circles."
On the floor, the woman stirred slightly. Her leg twitched. Cristoval would´ve smiled when the guards, suddenly fidgety and tense, seemed in a hurry to leave the cell. One of them bled from the mouth and another favored a leg.
"Mating?" The word left a taste like metal in his mouth. "I´m not that kind of man."
"You are not even a man," Killen replied through a wide grin. "Well, barely one. But be that as it may, because I know you would not take advantage of the situation-not that I blame you since you have yet to see her clearly-I made sure to add a little spice to your life. Enjoy."
"Spice? What spice?" Suddenly dizzy, Cristoval put a hand out to the wall. His mouth was dry.
"Think of it as a tonic. Part lutropin, part amphetamine, part sildenafil citrate. It should pack a good punch, if I may use such pun."
"What the hell are you saying?"
Killen sighed. "You have just been injected with an industrial-grade aphrodisiac, Mr. Vonatos. Have a good night." He turned to leave, gasped and turned back to Cristoval. "I almost forgot." He fished inside his suit jacket, pulled a slim silver object shaped like a skipping stone.
Cristoval barely had time to flinch when the implants in his wrists and ankles gave him a nasty jolt that rocked him back against the wall. He collapsed, panting, his teeth all but fused together.
"Sometimes the tone is just as important as the words, Mr. Vonatos." Killen left without a backward glance. The rest trooped out of his cell. The door closed.