Out of the Shadows
When the last shadow warrior falls, so will all humanity.
With each demon he vanquishes in service to the Aztec sun god, Tomás fulfills his duty to defend humankind—and surrenders another piece of his humanity to his wolf spirit. All hope seems lost until a mission leads him to the door of the one thing he thought he’d never find…his spirit mate. The only woman who can save him from oblivion.
When Carolina hears the wolf’s howl, it pierces the very core of her lonely heart. Yet she dare not answer. As the last guardian of her land and the secret it contains, she is haunted by that mistake, especially with a warrior who is more beast than man.
Chasing away the demon is easier than breaching the barriers around the heart of the young woman who possesses a strange power over water—and his very soul. But if they are to survive the night, he must convince her they are destined to stand together. Or not at all.
He detected no fear in the cihuatl, the woman. Surprise, wariness, yes, but not fear. How unexpected.
Even more unexpected was the crisp, refreshing scent of water that he’d caught out in the desert, surrounding her. He tested the air, his olfactory senses lingering over the fragrance, noting it smelled as pure now as it did then. His wolf remained alert, uninterested in the woman before it. Once more they were in complete disagreement.
Everything about the cihuatl interested Tomás.
She wore jeans long faded to a soft blue from years of use, topped with a denim shirt, the long sleeves rolled up to her elbows. When she’d turned, he’d noted her lean, fit body, the smooth play of her muscles beneath the cloth. She’d pulled her long, dark hair back in a single braid that lay over her shoulder down to the slope of her breast. Her chestnut eyes watched him guardedly.
“I don’t know if you’re the reason my skin is on fire, but you need to leave.”
Her words floated across the distance.
His wolf pricked its ears up. Tomás did the same.
She stared at him with such seriousness that Tomás was entranced. She should be afraid of him, at least edging away to put distance between them. Yet, whether she’d realized it or not, she’d taken two steps closer.
There was harmony in her tones, the sound so clear it flowed through his tattered soul.
“Go.” Her arms hung loose at her sides, but ever so slowly she raised them. Her movements appeared smooth, like ripples across a pool of water, barely noticeable.
This unusual woman intrigued him. A vague memory passed over him like a cloud. And like a cloud, it was too insubstantial for him to hold on to. It had been so long since he had remembered his human past.
For centuries his life had revolved around duty and the constant fight to protect humanity from the demons unleashed by vengeful Aztec gods. He was a shadow warrior, one of the strongest, bravest souls chosen by Huitzilopochtli to defend humanity against evil. In his human life, he had been a seasoned, battle-hardened warrior who fought until the very end. In death, he continued the fight, never resting until he fulfilled his duty to his god. Tomás’s contact with humans remained minimal. He did his job and left. He mixed with humans insofar as it helped him get his target, but never had he cared to spend any time with one of them.
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When the last shadow warrior falls, so will all humanity.
A shadow warrior on a mission, Manuel must track down a demon who is sacrificing women marked with hummingbird tattoos. He is in danger of losing his humanity to his eagle spirit, until he comes across Ixa Reyes, a beautiful San Diego detective working on the same case, who also bears the mark of the Aztec sun god. She is his salvation and redemption from a past filled with failure. Only she wants nothing to do with him or her heritage.
When a demon kidnaps her grandfather, the wind god, they must work together to save him and all mankind. Manuel has twenty-four hours to help Ixa control her elemental power over the wind; that is, if he can control his own desires to claim her body and soul. Because, if he should fail this time, the god of war will usher in a new era filled with blood and destruction such as the world has never known.
Warning: This story contains an ancient Aztec warrior struggling to control the beast within, a heroine more than able to match his strength, demons out for their very souls, and a battle that may very well determine the fate of all humanity.
“Did you have another dream?” he asked and ran a tender hand over her head. As a grown woman of thirty, the babying should have seemed odd, but ever since her parents’ deaths when she was a little girl, her abuelo had been the one watching out for her, doting on her like a mother hen over its chick. Now the roles were reversed, though he’d deny it. She worried too much about him to leave him on his own. They had only each other, so instead of getting a place of her own, she chose to stay and watch over him.
“You mean another nightmare?” She sighed and forced down the bitterness she felt. “Yes. I saw another woman sacrificed. This makes two.” Her fingers dug into her sheets as if to tie her to reality. “Why does this keep happening to me?”
Her abuelo covered her hand with his. “Look at me, niña. You have been given the gift of Sight. The gods have chosen you for some purpose.”
“Abuelo, I am not a child. Ancient Aztec gods aren’t real. And even if they were, my visions are not a gift. They are more like a curse. If the gods are as powerful as you say, why didn’t they save Xena and my parents?” Years later and she still couldn’t drown out the screams of her parents or of her little sister. She remembered clearly the night Galante shot her father in cold blood and his laughter as he lit the match that consumed her sister and mother. All the while, she’d prayed for gods that never came.
Ruthlessly, Ixa closed the door on her memories. She’d clawed her way out of the past. She’d made a place for herself in the present.
“It is not our place to question the gods.”
“Abuelo, I called upon them for help. I didn’t abandon them—they abandoned me. Besides, I got Galante using old-fashioned detective work. He can’t hurt me or anyone else anymore.” She’d vowed over the ashes of her family that she’d see Galante pay. He’d been sentenced to life, and as good as it felt to have scum like him put behind bars, it didn’t bring her parents or little sister back.
Abuelo patted her leg. “Your father would be proud. You are a good police officer, just like him. But he believed in the gods and he would want you to believe too.”
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