Dark Goddess [Outlanders Series No. 43] [Secure]
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by James Axler
Category: Science Fiction/Suspense/Thriller
Description: Doom Vector Humanity's past lies buried beneath the ruins of near annihilation, concealed by a secret entity and its ancient blueprint to enslave mankind. But at the dawn of a far more treacherous new battle for domination, the war between humanity and its alien puppeteers is forged by a group of determined rebels whose forbidden knowledge of their inhuman enemy only begins to prepare them for what lies ahead... Grim Footfall In her chrysalis state, Baroness Beausoleil was a betrayer, a murderer, an arch foe of mankind. How, her metamorphosis into Overlord Lilitu poses a far greater menace. But she needs human help in a plot to overthrow her brethren and seize control of the last remaining Anunnaki stronghold on Earth. Buried deep in the sands of the Sinai, a secret port can unleash the dangerous mysteries of an alien race--unless the Cerberus rebels can out a she-god with an army at her disposal...and the cunning and cruelty to wrest Earth for herself.
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Gold Eagle,
eBookwise Release Date: November 2007
4 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [Secure - What's this?]: OEBFF Format (IMP) [436 KB]
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Coral Cove, the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Kane raced through the night, cursing the heat and cloying humidity that sapped most of his stamina. His legs felt as if lead weights were tied to his knees. The sweat that stained his camo-striped T-shirt and flowed down from his hairline stung his eyes.
He wanted nothing so much as to fling himself facedown in the palmetto scrub and drink from his canteen. He also wanted to forget why he had agreed to lend Cerberus's support to a rebellion against the coastal pirates led by the ridiculously named Billy-boy Porpoise.
Over the rhythmic boom of the surf, the faint baying of hounds and shouting of men reached his ears. Kane swore beneath his breath, but he continued to run. Twice bullets had skimmed very close to him, and once he had nearly been caught beside the waters of the drainage canal that cut in from the Gulf of Mexico and served as a moat around the Porpoise estate. Only the fact that he could dive and swim like an otter saved him.
The pillared trunks of cypress, pine and palm trees surrounded him. Palmetto plants, their fan-shape fronds gleaming with patterns of ebony and silver in the moonlight, rose up on either side of the narrow trail. Insects chirped and buzzed from the shadows. His chest feeling as if it were pressed between the jaws of a tightening vise, Kane halted in the murky lee of a log overhang, where lumber had been piled to use as palisade walls in the settlement.
He breathed deeply, regaining his breath. He ran a hand through his longish dark hair. It was soggy with sweat, stiffening with salt. His clothes reeked of sewage and brine, but he took a little solace in the fact he knew he had smelled worse.
A hoarse male voice bellowed beyond the far edge of the canal. The words were unintelligible, but the tone was angry. Kane's palm itched where his Sin Eater would have fitted if it were not packed away with the rest of his equipment in the settlement. He stepped deeper into the shadows, his movements fluid but cautious, like a man in a jungle wary of poisonous snakes. He often thought of the world in which he lived as nothing but a snake-infested jungle.
Kane struggled to tamp down a surge of homicidal fury at his pursuers, but he was honest enough to admit that distaste at playing the role of prey fueled his rage, not that his attempt to breach the Porpoise estate had been stymied.
Fleeing didn't come naturally to a former Magistrate like himself. He was a tall man, as lean and sinewy as a timber wolf, and his pale eyes were the color of dawn light touching a blue-steel knife blade. A three-inch hairline scar cut whitely across his clean-shaved left cheek.
Kane had considered growing a beard for the op, so he could infiltrate Porpoise's crew, but he couldn't stand to go without shaving for more than a few days. His years as a Cobaltville Magistrate had instilled in him a loathing of whiskers longer than an eighth of an inch.
He heard a dog bark and he clenched his fists. It was bad enough he had been discovered while trying to climb the wall around Porpoise's compound, but now he felt the hot breath of death on the back of his neck.
When Kane heard the men's voices again, their words drowned out by the baying of the hounds, his lips peeled back from his teeth in a silent snarl. They were much closer, and he knew he had to start running again.
The brief rest had done him little good, but his anger added renewed vigor to his muscles. The men and the dogs probably viewed him as little more than a weary fox, fleeing before the hounds, but he felt more like the timber wolf. A wolf was a wise animal that had learned all the tricks of staying alive, spinning out the odds with a gambler's skill to continually outwit death.
Kane sprinted full-out, achieving a long-legged, ground-eating stride, running on the balls of his feet. He swatted at the mosquitoes that made strafing dives at his eyes. Straight ahead, past a row of gnarled cypress roots, lay a stretch of mudflats that led directly into the ville of Coral Cove. There he would find alleys and doorways in which to hide until he could make his rendezvous.
The soles of his high-laced jump boots sank into the muck, releasing the sulfurous stench of marsh gas. Behind him rose the frenzied yelping of the dogs. Kane lurched into a shadowed area just inside the half-completed log wall surrounding Coral Cove and risked a glance backward.
Three bearded men held a trio of long leather leashes in their right hands, and rifles were slung over their shoulders. At the ends of the leashes strained and slavered six of the biggest mastiffs Kane had ever seen. The black-and-tan dogs yipped and bayed, eyes rolling, tongues lolling, froth dripping from their fang-filled jaws.
Kane wasn't sure if the men had seen him, but they released the leashes. The mastiffs bounded forward, a line of red maws and yellow teeth pounding right through the mudflats at blinding speed.
Blinking back the sweat from his eyes, Kane whirled and sprinted into the ville, the snarls and yelps of the dogs loud in his ears. Coral Cove's buildings were old, many of them close together, arranged around a makeshift town square, the centerpiece of which was an old, immense and deep-rooted live oak. He glimpsed a slatternly woman dumping a pail of slops out of an upstairs window of a big frame house. When she caught sight of him running across the square, she retreated quickly, snatching a curtain closed.
Copyright © 2007 by Worldwide Library.