Human against vampire. The hunter against the hunted.
I kill bloodsuckers for a living.
The job should be simple—capture the target and collect the money. But when I draw my enemy out in the open, I’m blindsided by his mesmerizing green eyes and snarky wit. Sam Mason is the type of vampire my mom warned me about—the kind who will seduce you with his easy smile and arrogant charm.
Yet, I know better.
The Vampire Navy SEAL oozes mayhem and sex appeal. Sam’s deadly swagger puts me on edge and sets my nerves on fire. If I mess with him, he’ll annihilate me in a second. That thrills and terrifies me at the same time.
A million red flags are telling me to run. But my sisters lives are in jeopardy, and the only way to save them is to grovel for Sam’s help.
Is it possible to push the flames to the back burner and trust an enemy who can take anything he wants?
The Hunted is an enemies-to-lovers, paranormal, military romance and the first book in the new Vampire Navy SEAL spin-off series. Layla and Sam’s story is a slow burn romance with a feisty heroine, snarky banter, action, suspense, off-the-charts steamy times, an ending that will have you dying for the next book.
Release date: January 25, 2022
Print pages: 284
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The area was shrouded in darkness as vampires entered the seedy club. The music from inside was loud and obnoxious, the bass heavy, and the electric guitar was ear-piercing, making me want to cringe with my sharp vampire hearing. I hated grunge. My taste in music was more on the indie rock side. But I wasn’t there to dissect music genres.
My team and I were on a mission to gather intel on a well-known vampire criminal, Roman Brown, who ran one of the largest syndicates of the Vampire Blood Cartel. We’d gotten word he was meeting that night with Jose Douglas, the owner of the club. Our orders were to watch and listen, not to engage, not to kill, and not to reveal who we were.
Ben was positioned inside, Kraft was guarding the back exit, and Olivia was about a block and a half away. I watched the front entrance from a secluded alcove in an abandoned building that had once been home to a textile company.
An old rusty Nissan, a shiny new red truck, and a Porsche sat in the gravel lot across the street. The foot traffic going inside the club was nil to light for a weeknight.
The wind kicked up as the clouds skated over the crescent moon. Thank fuck it wasn’t a full moon, or shifters would be tearing up the streets, and I didn’t care to tango with them. They were known to be quite restless leading up to a full moon.
Chewing on the inside of my cheek, I leaned against a cement wall. I was veiled in the shadows of the dimly lit street, in a perfect spot to monitor who went in and who came out.
“Ben, do you copy?” I asked into my comm.
“Ten-four. Nothing happening,” he returned. “I count about ten vamps. Jose is on his phone by the bar. But no sign of our target.”
We suspected, if our intel was correct, that Roman might slip in through the backdoor.
“Maybe we got bogus info,” Kraft chimed in.
“Let’s give it another thirty minutes, then we’ll call it a night. Roman is probably waiting for the club to clear out. This shithole closes in an hour, anyway,” I said.
“We’ve got a black four-door sedan heading your way.” Olivia’s voice came through loud and clear.
Within seconds, headlights bounced along the street before a sleek black car slowed to a stop in front of the entrance.
I straightened. Maybe we were about to get lucky. The bio we had on Roman indicated he had a penchant for expensive black cars. The Infiniti sedan was high-end, but not in the realm of the Mercedes Roman had been seen in by our scouts. He liked to live high on the hog and spared no expense when it came to building his empire. To me, he was foolish. If I were trying to stay under the radar of the Vampire Council of Elders, showing off would be the last thing I would do.
The sedan’s back door opened, and a brunette emerged, followed by a shorter chick with lighter brown hair than her friend. Both had their hair up, exposing their smooth long necks, and both were dressed in tight black jeans, cut-off tops, and boots that traveled up over their knees.
Automatically, I sniffed the air. A hint of sweetness carried on the wind and knocked me back a step. Definitely human. Definitely stupid to be walking into a vamp club, and even more idiotic to expose those smooth necks. Every vampire inside would be lining up to get a taste.
Hell, my gums pounded with the need to release my fangs. I had a ton of restraint, but I wasn’t perfect. Still, my pulse shot up ten notches, and not because of my thirst for delectable human blood. If I had to save a human, that would only compromise our mission.
The problem, though, was that as vampire soldiers—Navy SEALs to be exact—we protected our own, but also humans, both foreign and domestic. Not only was it our job to make sure vampires didn’t kill humans, but we took down the lowest, dirtiest, and most lethal of vampires who broke our laws, and we had strict ones in our world.
A third woman climbed out. She was slender yet curvy and dressed in an outfit similar to her friends’. Her auburn hair was thick, long, and wavy, spilling down around her shoulders.
I sucked in air. Her emotions hit me like a Mack truck—fear, nervousness, and a dusting of excitement.
Fucking empath ability.
My twin sister could read minds, but I’d gotten stuck with feeling every damn emotion on humans and any supernatural. If I let them, those emotions could stop me in my tracks.
Red whipped around. Her blue gaze, a beacon in the night, darted in all directions as if she knew I were hiding in the shadows. Then she tapped the roof of the car, and the front passenger window lowered.
“Thank you. We don’t need your services anymore tonight,” she said to the driver. The sound of her voice slid up my arm like butter on warm toast.
I sniffed the air once again, and this time my fangs slid out of their own accord. Where her friends smelled like apple pie, Red’s scent was chocolate and cherries. I dragged my tongue over one fang, staving off the need to taste her that instant.
Focus, man or your ass will be chum for the fish in the bay if you fuck up this basic mission.
With my fang embedded in my tongue, I sharpened my hearing.
Her two friends shimmied up to the bald bouncer.
The taller of the brunettes rubbed her hands up the beefy vampire’s chest.
“Rianne,” the shorter brunette said in a teasing tone. “I think we should show him a good time.”
The two women giggled like schoolgirls flirting with the hot quarterback at a pep rally.
The humans were definitely either smoking crack or up to something. The bouncer wasn’t just a regular guy. He stood two heads taller than the women and had arms like a sumo wrestler. He could sink his fangs into them before they could blink.
“Should we show him how we do a threesome?” Rianne asked her shorter companion.
The redhead joined her friends. “Ladies, we should take this inside.”
The bouncer eagerly opened the door for them, his fangs front and center with an odd grin on his face as though he was drunk.
Red tossed a look over her shoulder, scanned the area once, and then went inside.
The hackles on my neck rose high as her fear tickled my senses.
As if the humans were leading the bouncer to slaughter, he followed on their heels.
“Ben, do you copy?”
“Go,” he said.
“Three humans, women, are heading your way.”
“Humans are not our problem tonight.” Kraft’s tone was placid. “But keep an eye on them, Ben.”
Our orders were simple. “Don’t blow your cover for anyone,” Webb London, commander of the Navy SEAL team, my brother-in-law, and a vampire I didn’t want to piss off, had made a point to tell the four of us not once, but twice.
“Something stinks of trouble,” I said. “I can’t help but think that Roman sent them in to do his dirty work.” Humans mixed with vamps was never a good combination.
“Another bogie coming your way,” Olivia announced.
I licked the blood off my lip as a black Mercedes pulled up to the entrance. I slinked back into the shadows, toying with my fangs with the tip of my tongue.
The back passenger door opened, and Roman Brown got out, combing a hand through his blond military cut. He waited a beat before a curvy woman who was all legs and tits took his hand.
He grinned like he was in love, his canines pointy and sharp.
The buxom blonde rose up on her toes and kissed him square on the mouth. “I love when you look at me like that.”
The good news was that the woman wasn’t human but a shifter. They always had a distinct earthy dog odor. Nevertheless, I made a mental note to add her to our intel.
A sharply dressed vampire in a pinstriped suit that seemed too small for his broad chest got out of the front passenger side and scanned the area, staying close to Roman and his date.
Once they were inside and out of earshot, I alerted the team. “Our target is headed in. Remember to observe and don’t engage.”
Maybe our info was wrong, and Roman wasn’t in the market for vampire blood but human blood, which was why the humans were there. While that was possible, I shrugged it off. Human blood was readily available at blood banks, and Roman could raid those without a second thought. Besides, he made his money from the vampires who had rare abilities similar to mine.
As natural-born vampires, we carried a gene that would give us two supernatural abilities when activated around our teenage years. If a vamp developed anything more than that, they were considered unique or elite. However, in our world, my sister, father, and I were the only vampires who had been gifted, or cursed in some respects, with several supernatural abilities. No other vampire could read minds like my father and sister, and for that very reason, we were considered powerful. So much so that we’d been hunted by our own kind for our DNA. Vampires like Roman, who were hungry for power and wanted to build armies of vampires, could only succeed if they turned humans into vampires. That was how Ben had become a half-breed. He’d been turned by a former enemy who was now dead.
Vampires began to run out of the club as if there was a fire.
I bolted into action and stopped a heavyset dude who had terror in his eyes. “What’s going on?”
He bared his fangs. “It’s chaos in there. Vamps are passing out.”
I knitted my brow. “From what?”
He stabbed a fat finger at the entrance. “Three humans are shooting darts at vamps like they’re target practice. I’m not hanging around to find out what’s in those suckers, especially if it’s some endotoxin. That shit might not be able to kill some of the elite military vamps, but I’m just a lowlife.”
My slow vampire pulse ramped up to a hundred beats per minute in less than a second. I didn’t have time to question him about how he knew of the endotoxin. That was top-secret government info, but we had our own dark web where info could be found.
If those darts were filled with the endotoxin, then the correct dose could kill any vampire. Even as one of the military elites he’d referred to, I wasn’t immune. But I wasn’t worried about myself. Ben was in more danger since he was part human.
I started to run towards the club when the heavyset dude caught my arm. “Don’t go in there if you want to live.”
“They’re human,” I said. “Surely, a vampire can take them out.”
He laughed, walking away. “It’s your life.”
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