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by Jade James
Description: Psychic, Jalia Finn's new mission is to find her nephew who was captured by her brother. She has to work with Saber and the last time she was alone with him, they were on their way to paradise. But now she knows the truth about him, and she's determined to keep him at a distance. Until the unthinkable happens, and it forces her to need Saber to live. Vampire, Saber Harden has always wanted Jalia. But she discovers a part of his past, he never intended to reveal. Working on a case together has never been harder. But Saber has no intentions of ever giving her up. His love will be tested, but would it be enough to save her?
eBook Publisher: Cobblestone Press, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: February 2010
8 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [100 KB]
Reading time: 62-86 min.
"What do we have?" Jalia Finn asked her partner, Saber Harden.
The night air was thick with humidity and impending rain, but her thoughts were far from the weather right now. She had been on her way to meet with her team to discuss their latest case. A call from her office had her swerving her motorbike around and heading to a new crime scene, which happened to be just five blocks from her home and a little too damn close for comfort.
Jalia watched her entire team going over the scene with a fine-tooth comb. Her boss, Hawk, was a werewolf who headed the Paranormal Ops team Miami. The members consisted of Hawk's fiancee, a vampire named Eva, Hawk's younger brother Jesse, who was also a werewolf, and Rico, who shifted into a panther. Jalia, a psychic, and her partner Saber, another vampire, rounded out the team.
Jalia inched closer to body and pulled back the sheet, cursing inwardly at the sight. The female victim had been drained of blood. The wound in her neck appeared more like a savage bite than a common vampire biting. Her eyes were open, horror etched on her face for eternity. But what really sent an eerie chill through Jalia was the fact that this woman bore an uncanny resemblance to her. It wasn't just the fact that her dark hair appeared to be the exact same shade and length as hers. Her eyes were also the same color as Jalia's, even her wide lips were identical, and the similarities sent a chill down her spine. Maybe she was reading too much into it.
Saber knelt down beside her, and the closeness distracted her train of thought. She could feel the heat of his body. The smell of him wrapped around her, and she was tempted to lean into him. She shrugged the thought off and concentrated on the victim.
"She appears to be in her late twenties," Saber stated gravely. "We've searched her purse. It held some schoolbooks, which leads us to believe she was probably a college student. Her name is Ashley Fong, and it looks like she was on her way home from school before she was attacked."
Jalia's hand tightened around the white sheet as a sense of dread whipped through her body. "Did the M.E. give an estimated time of death?"
"Body is still very warm, so they've surmised she's been dead about thirty minutes. Did you notice the similarities?"
She turned her head to him. Mere inches separated them now, his lips so close to hers, and the effort to concentrate on the case was lost. Fuck! She was letting him affect her. She swallowed tightly, licking her lips. "Similarities?"
Saber placed a hand around her wrist, circling his fingers, holding her securely. "Between you and her."
"I noticed them."
"Hawk did too. Want to guess what our first theory is?"
Sergio. Jalia shook her head. She couldn't say the words, even though she knew what they were. The resemblance and the proximity to her home were too hard to ignore.
Saber narrowed his eyes. "You're brother seems to have set his sights on you."
She turned her head from him and placed the sheet back over the victim. "It could just be a coincidence."
"You're a good hunter. Don't sell yourself short. There are few coincidences in murders."
Jalia rose to her feet, tears blurring her vision. She blinked them back before turning to face him. "You're absolutely right. Denial isn't going to help the victim or myself. But you still can't positively know that Sergio is behind this based on the victim's looks alone."
"I've put more hunters on patrol."
Jalia turned to the sound of Hawk's voice. She nodded.
"Saber and I talked it over," Hawk stated. "The victim fought her attacker before dying. We've lifted skin tissues and blood off her fingernails. The lab should have their results in a few days."
"Let's hope it tells us who the hell we're after."
* * * *
Jalia felt her twin brother inside her home even before she set her gaze on his body. Her heart began to thud quickly; her palms began to sweat. She took a huge breath, hoping it would calm her. The last person she wanted to see was in her home, standing right behind her at the entryway in her kitchen, and she didn't know how to deal with that. Well she did, but by the time she called Hawk, her brother would be long gone. She had two options: see what he wanted, or fight him.
"What do you want, Sergio?"
"There are things we need to discuss."
She whirled around, anger causing her stomach to tighten, bile rising in her throat. "Like your betrayal?" Her brother looked dangerous, his skin pale and his teeth curving over his bottom lip.
"I wanted to be a powerful being, and Derek had the ability to give me that. Now that I have it, I can control it all."
"And now that he's dead, what do you expect to do with this power? It'll only end up with you in prison, or worse, dead. Give it up, Sergio. You weren't raised to be this way."
"No, you give it up. You, who never appreciated your psychic ability, could join me in this. Derek was just a means to an end. Now that I have his power, nothing or no one will get in my way."
Jalia shook her head, dread causing her stomach to tumble with nerves. "Sergio, do it for me. Or at least for our mother. Derek has caused so much pain. You don't have to follow in his footsteps."
Sergio stood by the window, his body tense, his gaze pinned to hers. "We could be great together, you and I. Consider it. With your powers and my vampire strength, we could easily rule this city. We can bend anyone to our will. And those who choose not to follow us will die."
"Are you insane? Did Derek turn you against your will?"
"On the contrary, Jalia. I begged Derek to turn me like him. I've served him for years, biding my time until a chance to rule the empire he built opened. His death was convenient for me."
She looked at her brother. He was nothing like he used to be. She could see the madness in his gaze and that he believed the words he spouted were the truth. "When did we lose to madness? Get out, Sergio. And don't come back, or the next time I see you, it will be a battle to the death."
"Save your threats, sis. You will hear from me again."