Series: Fallen Siren, Book 2.5
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: All Romance eBooks
Date of Publication: July 1, 2015
Cover Artist: Erin Dameron Hill
Join Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.
She protected him. He loved her.
They can trust one another with their lives, but what about their hearts?
Special Agent Emma Monroe is a Fallen Siren seeking redemption. Thousands of years ago, she was banished from Mount Olympus by Zeus and cursed by Demeter for failing to prevent the kidnapping of Persephone by Hades. Now she’s working for the FBI, seeking salvation while searching for and finding the missing. Her partner, Zack Armstrong, is a werewolf with a grievance of his own.
The former Black Ops sniper who once carried out a string of questionable assignments is atoning for his past. Ironically, Zack’s just discovered an important piece of his past has been magically wiped from his memory—an affair with Emma. It doesn’t matter she used the spell to save his life, that’s something he’ll never know. With trust eroded and love overshadowed by betrayal the only thing holding them together is the job.
When the son of multi-billionaire Roger Maitlan is kidnapped and his babysitter murdered in cold blood, Emma and Zack travel to New York to work the case. They go undercover, infiltrating a playground of private dungeons where those who are rich and powerful can live out fantasies without consequence. What they find is a conspiracy born of a twisted mind and fueled by greed. The clock is ticking. Will Zack and Emma be able to find the missing boy and their way back to one another?
I’ve learned that it can take a lifetime to mend a broken heart. Right here, right now, I’m ready to stop suffering this one. To stop suffering altogether. I glance over at Zack who is sound asleep. He didn’t get any rest Friday night, thanks to Demeter. He was too preoccupied with feeling betrayed, manipulated, played the fool. Just as Demeter intended. Fuck Demeter. Fuck the world. I’m not giving up. I’m not giving in. I have a role to play, a duty to perform, a failure to make up for. It’s what I do, who I am.
A Siren is a Siren. A sexual creature, born of Gaia. I’m one of three, cursed by Demeter thousands of years ago for failing to protect Persephone. It’s for this I atone, for this I pay. It’s the reason I work for the FBI and search for the missing. It’s the reason I avoid love at all costs. Finding the missing brings me closer to redemption.
Finding love? I swallow hard. That always ends in ruin and death. Once again, my gaze drifts to my partner, Zack, a dark, rugged werewolf who was formerly, and quite secretly, a badass black ops assassin. Also, formerly, my lover. We met during a case in Charleston about a year and a half ago. The attraction was instant, giving into it seemingly safe. The assignment was to be temporary after all. He was to go his way. I was to go mine. There was to be no contact between us. And there wasn’t until he transferred to San Diego, to my unit. Until he became my partner both in and out of bed. Until we fell in love and I made the only choice I could. I took his memories to save his life.
“Can I get you anything else?” the flight attendant asks quietly.
I hand her my empty cup and shake my head.
She moves on down the aisle.
I transfer the case file I’ve been perusing onto the seat between Zack and me along with my laptop and cell phone. I’ve read the dossier on real estate mogul and philanthropist Roger Maitlan a half-dozen times along with what little is known about the kidnapping of his seven-year-old son, Robby. Maitlan’s missing child is the reason we’re on our way to the Big Apple. The reason our boss, Jimmy Johnson, denied the request Zack made for transfer just yesterday morning.
I notice the light above the forward lavatory has turned from red to green. I consider waking Zack for a fraction of a second before deciding against. I’m agile, limber, and frankly not looking forward to once again facing his ire. I quietly unbuckle, lift up the arm separating the window and middle seats, then slide over. I stand in so much as I can, considering the outcropping of overhead bins, and turn to face him. Left hand on the middle seat, I lift my right leg up and over his. He doesn’t flinch. There’s no alteration in his breathing. My toe touches the ground, and I begin to shift my weight to the foot that’s now firmly planted in the aisle. His hand brushes my thigh, his eyes open.
He sits up straighter in his chair. “You could have woken me and asked me to move.” His tone is irritable, bordering on accusing.
I avoid eye contact, avoid his touch. “Let’s pretend I did,” I say before slipping out of the row and making my way toward the front of the plane. I feel his eyes on me. Never did I imagine viewing an airplane lavatory as a refuge. I take care of the most immediate needs first, then I wash my hands. When I reach for the paper towels, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I have to admit, I look a little worse for wear. Considering what I’ve been through in the past twenty-four hours, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
This time yesterday Zack and I were staging the rescue of ten missing girls, all young, blonde virgins—pawns in a power play between two ruling vampire factions. The losing side led by the now dead Southern vampire King, Philippe Lamont. The winner? Kallistos Kouros. My betrayer, my savior, and now the Sovereign of both the West and the South. Kallistos and I had been sharing a bed for the better part of six months. The no-strings-attached relationship worked for us both—the vampire who made no demands, except for the most exquisite sexual ones, and the Siren who could fulfill those demands without sacrificing her heart. Only in the end my heart did suffer as I watched him take the lives of humans to ensure his position, grow his kingdom, and increase his power. I’d like to condemn him, but I can’t. Kallistos told me what to expect of him more times than I could count. And I have to admit he’s delivered supremely on both his promise to be there when needed and to disappoint. If he hadn’t healed me two nights
ago, I’d be gone. Not dead, Demeter would never have allowed that, forced to move on to another life. Problem is, I’m not done with this one.
I lean closer to the mirror and study my appearance, seeking assurance that the two spells I pay my best friend Liz for are still firmly in place. The first, a reverse glamour that hides my true appearance and furnishes me with the wholesome, plain-Jane facade I’ve become so accustomed to seeing. The second, a dampening spell that diminishes both my innate powers of seduction and the nifty little side effect that makes me the most reliable lie detector ever. I realize that Liz, who is not only the baddest witch this side of the Mississippi, but my touchstone when it comes to matters of the heart, doesn’t know what happened in the last couple days between Kallistos and me, between Zack and me, between Demeter and me—that I’m on my way to New York, that everything is different, my life changed.
I make a half-hearted effort to smooth down my hair, which is long, dark, and pulled back into a simple ponytail. I can’t help noticing that my skin, normally fair and unblemished, is paler than usual. Not because of a lack of makeup. I never wear makeup. No mascara. No lip-gloss. Nothing. I reach up and pinch my cheeks. It doesn’t help. The inside of my lower eyelid contains only the barest hint of pink. I’m anemic. I’ve lost too much blood. Not during the mission. Though there was plenty of blood shed last night, none of it was mine. My near death experience came this morning at the hand of my favorite vindictive goddess, Demeter. After she betrayed me. After Zack discovered my betrayal of him.
S.J. Harper is the pen name for the writing team of Samantha Sommersby and Jeanne C. Stein, two friends who met at Comic-Con in San Diego and quickly bonded over a mutual love of good wine, edgy urban fantasy, and everything Joss Whedon.