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Authors: Megan J. Parker

Scarlet Dawn

BOOK: Scarlet Dawn
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Scarlet Dawn
Behind the Vail [2]
Megan J. Parker
Tiger Dynasty Publishing (2014)
The truth never stays dead… 
Serena Vailean can’t stop thinking about Zane… 
But now that she's facing the new challenges that come from running a clan, she desperately searches for a way to move on. But does she have what it takes to find the courage to do what needs to be done? 
Though it may not be as hard as she thought when she finds herself face to face with Axle Travers… 
Axle Travers lives in the moment… 
Now, he travels with his band of misfit comrades, stealing and pillaging for his own desperate cause. But, when he meets Serena Vailean, things begin to make less and less sense. 
It may not be as hard as he thought when he finds himself face to face with a ghostly newcomer. 
With Serena’s past continuing to haunt both of them, can they find the strength to take on a mutual enemy? 
Or will they get lost in the dark embrace that threatens everything at hand?

 

Megan J. Parker

Scarlet Dawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by

Lions’ Pride
Press

a
division of

Tiger Dynasty Publishing, LLC

www.tigerdynastypublishing.com

 

This is a work of fiction, Names, characters places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

 

If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

 

Copyright © 2014
by Megan J. Parker

Edited by
Nathan Squiers for Tiger Dynasty Publishing

Cover art by
ShinyShadows (DeviantArt)

Design by Eden Crane Designs

ISBN-13:
 978-1-940634-14-2

ISBN-10:
1940634040

Acknowledgements:

I would like to thank EVERYONE who has stood by me since the first publication (and several re-releases) of Scarlet Night. While time progressed, I really appreciated the patience and dedication you all put forth for me!

Also, a special thanks to my fiancé and fellow author, Nathan Squiers, for not only editing this bad boy but contributing to the backstory in “There and Back Again” as well as the dream chapter, “Lullaby of the Crucified”
and “Closing In”. This sequel would not be the same without you!!

This sequel is
long
past due (and, believe me, I appreciate the absence of ANY bomb mail appearing at my doorstep *deep breath*)…

So, while I could sit here and spout all sorts of thanks to everyone who had a part in making this sequel come to fruition, let’s get to the good shit!

THANK YOU & I HOPE YOU ENJOY! Xoxo

Your one & only Scarlet Empress,


Megan J. Parker †

Dedicated to
all those who believe in the transcendence of love past the flesh and through the spirit.


I
don’t know how to explain it. I just
know
that Zane is still out there somewhere.” Serena sighed and choked down the newest batch of synthetic blood, “Oh! Blech! Ahg! Sweet shit, Zoey! What’d you put in this one? Badger piss?”

“Quit complaining and drink it,” Zoey sighed, not looking away from the file on their newest mission from The Council. “And I’m not questioning your instincts,” she retrieved the pen she’d tucked behind her ear, causing a wave of blue-dyed hair to fan across her face, “A part of me wants to believe that he’s still alive, too. But you’re letting it get in the way of what needs to be done.”

“What needs to be done? Really?” Serena rolled her eyes and pulled the file away, “
This
is nothing more than another distraction! They’re just trying to swamp us with new assignments because they think I’m—”

“Dangerously obsessed?” Zoey frowned, finally looking up at her.

Serena growled and threw the file back on the table. “Dammit, Zoey, not you too!”

The corners of Zoey’s eyes dropped as a wave of sympathy rolled off of her aura—the rippling energy signature matching her hair—and she wetted her lips before letting them part to—

“No!” Serena aimed a stern index finger at her, “You
will not
do this to me. Not now! You
know
what they’re doing; keeping me busy just so I don’t…” She bit her lip, “Just so I don’t…”

Zoey stepped over and wrapped her arms around her friend, “Just so you don’t do this to yourself.” She nodded, “And I thank them for that every day.”

Ever since getting her power-hungry brother, Keith, arrested by The Council, the non-human government had recognized Serena as capable of handling the role of leader of her late-father’s clan. And while the respect was a refreshing change of pace, an unwelcome reunion with a bitch-vamp named Kristine from her past shortly after had taken her lover’s life and turned their victory into a bitter-sweet mess. However, never one to make
anything
simple, Zane’s “death” had only seemed to take his aura—his
being
—out of the picture and allowed for his old friend, Raith, to take control of his body; a bizarre turn of events that now forced Serena to
see
Zane on a daily basis while still being expected to believe that he was gone.

And the whole ordeal was most certainly taking its toll.

Though she would never admit it to Zoey—not that it mattered, since the auric vampire’s psychic abilities could spot that little detail easily—Serena
was
suffering, and The Council’s distractions
were
probably the only thing keeping her sane.

Still…

She shivered as she imagined Zane’s mismatched, silver-and-blue gaze and the flash of that devious grin of his that always made her toes curl. And the way his fingers…

“Earth to Serena,” Zoey called as she waved her hand in front of Serena’s face. “Hey, airhead, you in there?”

“Yeah,” Serena nodded, “Sorry, just got lost in thought.”

“About what?” Zoey frowned.

Knowing that the subject of Zane would only result in more nauseating pity and even more lectures, Serena put up a psychic shield to hide her thoughts and forced a wicked grin that she’d all-but trained herself to wear by that point. “This delicious hunk of yes-ness I saw in the latest Vogue. He was a hottie-hot-hottie!” Serena winked to sell the lie, “Oh, Zoey, the things I would do…”

“That’s fine! I trust you, Serena! I don’t need to hear about the things you’d do. I’m still not fully recovered from that cayenne pepper scenario you chose to share,” Zoey chuckled as she moved the file back towards Serena, “Now, are you ready to get some work done?”

Serena fought the urge to bite her lip and nodded, “Hell yea!”

Zoey smiled and pointed to the
intel on the page. “Here’s what The Council has so far on the rogue outlaw.”

Serena sighed, studying the page and taking in the grainy, black-and-white picture that a poorly positioned security camera had captured.

“This?” Serena shook her head at the picture, “
This
stooge is the rogue that’s eluded capture for so long? He’s just a therion! Bait a damn bear trap with a Milk Bone and—oh… sorry, Zoey.”

Her friend’s aura whipped about in irritation as she shot a glare up at her.

“I take it back, okay? Therions… they have their charm,” Serena offered an apologetic tug on Zoey’s shoulder. “After all, Isaac couldn’t have scored a babe like you if he wasn’t a gentleman, right? Though I
have
heard that—”

Zoey cleared her throat, “The mission, Serena!”

“Oh, right,” Serena giggled, nudging her friend once more before scanning over the file again. “Axle Travers: last seen… huh,” Serena looked over her shoulder at a large map of the city they’d tacked to the wall, “That’s only two hours from here. Why did we JUST get this file now? These cases are dated from several months ago!”

“Yeah, I guess he’d been quiet lately.” Zoey shrugged, flipping through the pages before finally pulling a few of the last pages free and holding them up, “At least until recently.”

“Okay, so what did this big, bad boy do recently to get The Council’s panties in a bunch after such a long time of ‘who gives a shit’?” Serena frowned.

Zoey shrugged, “Near as I can tell: he moved.”

Serena frowned, “Huh?”

Zoey nodded, “No new charges. Just some
intel on a shift in whereabouts. See: an informant spotted him in our district about a week ago.”

“Doing what?”
Serena quirked an eyebrow.


Uhm…” Zoey ran her fingertip over the report for a moment, “Buying a half-gallon of milk, I guess.” She shrugged, “It doesn’t look like he’s done anything suspicious, but The Council seems convinced that, because of his history, he might be up to something.”

Serena looked back at the picture, “So they want us to keep an eye on the stray dog just because he has a history of biting?”

Zoey sighed, “Though I’m not thrilled with your choice of metaphors, that
would
appear to be the case. However, there
has
been a rise in robberies and a few cases of arson since he was reported to have arrived, but The Council isn’t interested in the affairs of the humans’ laws.”

“So even if he
is
the one responsible, The Council won’t give two wet shits about it?” Serena frowned, “Doesn’t a thieving therion register even as a blip on their radar?”

Zoey shook her head, “Not with what I’ve heard. Apparently they’ve got their hands full with a bunch of bodies that have been popping up with that Stryker-kid’s name on them.
Literally
!”


Mmm! That boy
is
a little cutey, though,” Serena chuckled, “Wouldn’t mind showing him a thing-or—”

“Really, Serena?
Really
? Is sex the
only
thing you think about?” Zoey shook her head, motioning back to the file. “Can we get back to the point? Remember: thieving therion?”

“Oh, right. Him…” Serena smirked, “Well then, I can only hope that he decides that good behavior isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

“You
want
him to bring trouble into our area?” Zoey frowned up at her.

Serena nodded, “You bet! If this little crotch-sniffer stirs up more trouble, then The Council’s
gonna want results! I give them the results—bring in this unobtainable rogue—and they’ll see that I’m not the nutcase that
everyone
”—she shot a look at Zoey—“seems to think I am. Then maybe they’ll give me the support I need to finally track down that bitch Kristine and—”

“And continue this man-hunt for Zane?” Zoey turned to face her. “And what if he
is
gone, Serena; really,
really
gone!”

Serena growled, “Then I’ll rip that murdering bitch apart!”

“What makes you so sure she’s even still even alive?” Zoey frowned, “You and Raith… well, you weren’t merciful.”

“Yea, but the stupid cunt slipped away before we could finish the job,” Serena growled, “And she made damn sure to mask her aura
and
her trail when she did. She might be a scabby twat-rag, but she’s clever enough to stay hidden and stubborn enough to
not
die.”

“Well if it makes any difference to you, I think Raith shares your sentiments. He wasn’t at all pleased with her escape, either,” Zoey shrugged. “Whether or not he got control of the body from it, he
was
Zane’s friend. I’m sure he’s every bit as furious at Kristine for attacking him. At least the
Maledictus
hasn’t been active since he’s taken control.”

Serena bit her lip, “Any idea why that might be? Or why he was even in Zane’s body in the first place?”

Zoey shook her head, “It all seems to have something to do with the curse that was put on Zane, but any memories that Raith might have aren’t presenting themselves.”

“Have you
actually
looked?” Serena looked over, “I mean
truly
tried to probe Raith’s mind?”

Zoey frowned, “You can’t ask me to invade somebody’s privacy to that extent, Serena. I’ve only scanned him deep enough to know that he doesn’t mean us any harm.” She blushed and looked away, “And that his feelings for Nikki
are
sincere.”

“Him and Nikki…”
Serena sneered, shuddering at the memory of seeing Zane’s body—freshly “possessed” by his old friend—locked in an embrace with their taroe comrade and…

“I know. I wasn’t expecting that either,” Zoey sighed.

Serena clenched her fists, “Maybe if those two would quit being lovey-dovey long enough to explain
anything
then we might find Zane.”

Zoey bit her lip, “And then maybe you’ll stop putting holes in your bedroom walls every time they’re together?”

Serena felt her fangs begin to extend and she growled, “If I find out they’re bumping nasties I’m gonna—”

“Serena!” Zoey took her wrist in her left hand and Serena felt the flood of anger begin to numb, “Whether you like it or not you need to remember that
that
isn’t Zane.”

“It’s…” Serena struggled to keep her thoughts focused even as Zoey’s auric efforts calmed her boiling mind, “It’s still… his body.”

Zoey nodded, “And we’ll deal with the situation when the time comes, but in the meantime…” She slowly withdrew her hand when she saw that Serena’s mind was calm.

Serena offered a thankful nod. “In the meantime, we keep ourselves busy,” she looked back down at the papers, grinning at the picture of Axle; their newest assignment.
Her newest distraction. “What do you say we go find this Axle guy and see if we can’t stir up some fun?”

Zoey smiled and nodded, “I love that idea… but can I ask for one little, itsy-bitsy favor?”

“What's up, Zoe?” Serena grinned, already beginning to pull on her steel-toed boots.

Zoey blushed, “Can I drive?”

BOOK: Scarlet Dawn
4.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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