The day has arrived! Deceptions of Night, book two in the Order of Night series, will be released at 7PM EDT tonight!
This book took me on a journey as I wrote it. I had sat down in the start with my plot outline in front of me and two willful characters that wanted to stray off the beaten path a few times. But in the end their trips away from the plan, gave me wonderful scenes that I didn’t see coming. It taught me to trust in my characters.
I hope that you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Tempers run hot through the members of the Order of Night as Lex tries to settle in as the new Triad vampire. But when a jaguar attacks him in his bed, his life gets turned upside down, and he discovers a new meaning to keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.
Kill the triad vampire or your brother dies. Shayla grudgingly accepts the assignment. But she soon realizes that success is easier said than done as she lies prone, trapped against the floor and secured by the body of one pissed off sexy leech.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Lex wants answers, and Shayla wants her brother returned alive. They form a shaky truce as they seek out the man who has both. Fierce attraction pushes them closer as mistrust tears them apart. Deception lays in wait around every corner as they struggle to find the mastermind behind the traitors to the Order of Night. As the tension rises, desire begins to burn with an intensity that threatens to consume, leaving them to question whether they can find what they seek with their lives and hearts intact.
What a clusterfuck this turned out to be. Lex sat up a little straighter in the high backed chair and looked around the room from his place on the raised platform, his patience thin. The Order of Night for Area Four had been called into session to swear in the new shape-shifting senators, and Lex’s newly appointed place with the Triad dictated his presence here. The room offered quite a bit of space under normal circumstances, but with the raised awareness and irritation simmering just under the surface of everyone in the room, he felt confined.
Lex turned his gaze to his brother Kale, who sat at the vampires’ table. Kale should be the one sitting up here in this chair, but he’d been removed from the Triad as punishment for the senate shifters he’d killed. Lex had also taken one out, but no one would ever know about his presence with his brother that night. They also held his brother responsible for the death of a sorceress named Kierra, but she was still very much alive.
Down below him and his two counterparts were three tables arranged to form a triangle. Five senators from each race sat on their appointed side. The shape-shifters sat huddled together, their displeasure evident. Lex had to suppress the need to roll his eyes. The furballs could stay pissed for all he cared.
Lex didn’t want this appointment to the Triad. He only took it to please his father after Kale had been forced to step down. Lex had been content to handle family business and be a leader to his people. Everyone knew his social skills where the other races were concerned lacked at best.
Senator Colin stood up, puffing out his solid chest to make up for his lack in stature. “We are outraged to have to sit in the same room with the filth that took the lives of our people.”
Travis, one of the vampire senators, tipped his Stetson hat back marginally. “I would watch who you’re calling filth, fur ball, unless you want to be on the receiving end of a good ole’ fashioned ass kicking.”
Lex watched as Kale placed his hand on Travis’s shoulder. They didn’t need a brawl in the middle of the meeting room. Then again, it would provide some entertainment to an otherwise boring bitch session. Who knew, maybe someone would even be willing to place bets and he could carry away a little pocket change at that. A voice sounded to Lex’s left, and he turned his attention to the shape-shifter Triad member, Roland, who tilted his head slightly to look down his hawk-like nose at everyone in the room.
“The Triad is displeased with Kale’s continued presence…”
“Hold up, Wild Kingdom.” Lex rose to his feet. “You are displeased with Kale’s presence, but the Triad is not. So you need to think before you speak for all of us.”
“Who are you to speak to me in such a manner? You’re nothing but your father’s lackey, undeserving of the position you now hold,” Roland replied, with a curl of his lip.
Lex started toward Roland, ready to show him what kind of ass whooping a lackey could dish out, but Kale’s booming voice stopped him.
“Enough. I think this meeting should be adjourned. We’re clearly not going to get anywhere while everyone’s temper is unleashed.”
Lex found himself smiling at Kale’s pun. “I second that motion, unless…” Lex turned his head and stared at Roland, casting him a look full of intent if they stayed here any longer.
“I’m also in favor of this,” Roxanne, the Triad sorceress, stated as she flipped her long blonde hair over her shoulder.
“Meeting adjourned,” Roland sneered. “We will reconvene in two weeks.”
Lex cast a sardonic smile in Roland’s direction, before hopping off the platform to join his brother and Travis, who were exchanging parting words with the other three vampire senators. “You know, I believe I hate this more than I thought I would. I have no tolerance for ass wipes.”
“Well, brother, you are going to have to grow some, because it only gets worse from here.” Kale cast a half smile.
Lex turned his gaze to Travis. “And what is it with this hick getup? I haven’t seen you in a century and you have gone and went country on me.” Travis had spent so many years as one of the vampire guardians that Lex had come to think of him as family. But his father had made a wise choice in appointing Travis to the Order. He made one hell of a leader.
Travis laughed. “What can I say? Once a farm boy always a farm boy.”
Lex winced. “When things settle down, I’ll have to kidnap you and help you before the fashion police descend.”
“I reckon you will. Well, I’m outta here. Maybe I can make it back home to Texas by tomorrow night. Have a good one.”
“You too, Travis. It’s nice seeing you.” Lex waved to Travis and then turned toward Kale. “Shall we?” He motioned toward the door with his outstretched hand.
Kale preceded him as they walked out into the fresh night air. The humidity caused Lex’s shirt to stick to his body. He would have to take yet another shower when they arrived back at Kale’s house in Erie. He still needed to find a place of his own, but it’s not as if Kale was using it. He made the pretence of staying there, but it didn’t take him long to sneak away in Lex’s new Hummer to stay at the undisclosed place they were hiding Kierra.
Kale reached the Hummer. “Come on and stop lollygagging.”
“I know you didn’t just say lollygagging.” Lex laughed. “Where in the hell did you pick up that word? Lollygagging? Really?”
“Stop dicking around,” Kale half growled.
“Now that sounds more like the man I know.” Lex laughed at the frown of frustration crossing his brother’s brow.
“Lex, I’m not in the mood.”
“Alright, keep your panties on.” He jogged the rest of the way to the Hummer. “But seriously. Where did you get that word?”
Kale rolled his eyes. “Cassie and Ramie arrived back from London and have been staying at Dad’s. Tristan sent Cassie to gather some things to take back. So I’ve been trying to watch the language if you will. I sure don’t want to receive an ass chewing from Cassie like the one you got about a year back.”
Lex sucked in a breath between clenched teeth. “Point taken.” His sister-in-law had torn him a new one after his sweet little niece had, by chance, picked up a few choice words from him.
As they made their way through the light early morning traffic, they talked about the lack of progress made during the meeting. More than likely the decision to leave Kale on as a senator would be taken to the High Court, which meant he would have to go to England. Something Lex didn’t relish the thought of doing. One trip this month had been enough.
Lex spared a glance in Kale’s direction before facing the road again. “So how is Kierra adjusting?” The surge in her power and the gaining of new abilities had been a lot to deal with.
“She’s doing as well as can be expected. She gains more and more control of her new abilities every day. Learning her new limits and weaknesses has been tough though. Not being able to leave the house is the worst. She’s going stir crazy. The first few days she rearranged the furniture and reorganized the dresser drawers to keep busy. I still can’t find half of my shit in that house. I think she hid it on purpose so I would argue with her.” His lips tipped up in a knowing smile.
“I’m glad to see you happy. And I like Kierra. She suits you well. I mean, someone has to keep you in line.” Lex hit the button on the automatic garage door opener and then pulled the Hummer into the garage next to Kale’s Lotus. The garage door slid back into place behind them.
Kale opened his door and made his way around to the driver’s side of the Hummer. “You won’t mind if I don’t stay, will you? I need to get home. There is something I need to check on.”
Lex backed away from the Hummer. “No, go ahead. I’m going to take a shower and relax.” Lex watched from the door leading into the house as Kale slid behind the wheel. He had to change cars with Kale to keep the cover of Kale staying in this house by himself. He had no idea where Kale and his father had chosen to hide Kierra, only that it was close enough for Kale to get to without having to worry about the sun. Lex entered the house and closed the door behind him. It didn’t take long to hear the Hummer backing out of the garage and out of the driveway.
* * * *
Every shifter had a purpose in their pride, and hers was death dealer. Shayla sucked in a deep breath as she mentally prepared herself for her latest mission. A string of curse words bubbled up inside her, but she stayed silent. Not only did her life depend on her success, but so did her brother’s. She crept along the side of the house, careful not to make any noise that would alert the vampire to her presence. A faint pink touched the horizon signaling the approaching dawn. The heat and humidity , caused her light brown hair to become more frizzy than curly and no doubt it would only become worse. She smoothed it back with an angry swipe, becoming more and more pissed about being here.
When Gabe, the head of her pride, had approached her, she figured it would be for business as usual. She’d taken on assignments for hits ordered by him in the past, but they’d been hits on low-life thugs who thought to run away without paying their debts to Gabe. As much as she hated killing, she knew that if they didn’t make an example out of those punks then it would be someone in her own pride that went without. The whole pride depended on the money made by Gabe’s bar. Only a select few outside of the pride knew of all the other entertainments Gabe offered to earn the extra that was needed. However, this time she hadn’t been asked to chase some loser across state lines. Instead, Gabe had asked her to kill the vampire member of the Triad.
Yeah, she could hold her own in most fights, but to take on a leech, of no doubt advanced age, would be a likely death sentence. So she’d balked when Gabe gave her the assignment. Besides, in no way did she want anything to do with the politics or potential ramifications of assassinating a vampire of high standing in the Order. That’s when Gabe dropped the bomb and pissed her off to no end. He threatened to take her younger brother’s life if she failed to do as he asked. Her lips pursed at the memory, and her temper spiked a little hotter. Not having much choice, she’d accepted the mission.
Gabe didn’t tell her a whole hell of a lot about the whys. Just that he had killed the shifter senators for Area Four and messed up some big plan Gabe was a part of. Truthfully she didn’t even care about the whys. As soon as she could get back and save Ethan, she planned on leaving the pride.
A deep breath filled her lungs as she refocused on the task at hand. She’d been given a key to the sliding glass door at the back of the house, but didn’t bother asking how Gabe had come across it; she just hoped that it worked. Her hand lifted and slid the key into the hole with as much finesse as possible and then turned it in the lock silently. The door glided with a soft whisper of air. For a few seconds she stood silently, listening for any noise that would suggest her entry had been detected. Gracefully she stepped over the threshold. She toed off her sandals with care and then slipped the spaghetti straps of her sundress off her shoulders. Her panties hit the floor right before she started to shift. Her body shimmered slightly as her bones rearranged themselves and her skin became fur. Finally, in her jaguar form, she hunted for a vampire.
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