Monday, 5 November 2012
Series Spotlight: Paranormal Security Council by Avril Ashton
Book 2: Till Surrender
by Avril Ashton
The key to his salvation is the one person he’s destined to love…and betray.
Tattooed half-breed, Takayo ‘Saint’ St. John, kills for the PSC with single-minded efficiency. He’s never questioned or failed his assignments…until he stares into the cornflower blue eyes of Ryken Valte, the man whose life he’s infiltrated under false pretenses. Harsh words and a cold shoulder isn’t enough to keep the distance between them, but Saint’s mission hangs over his head. His job is to kill the brother of the man he loves and he sees no way out of his predicament.
Ryken melts under the intense attraction between him and Saint, but the man keeps pushing him away, denying their connection. Ryken would give up everything, do anything to have Saint at his side and in his bed, but secrets bigger than them make it impossible. Ryken yearns for Saint’s surrender, but he’ll get more than he bargained for when dark forces neither comprehends return with a vengeance.
Read an adult rated excerpt after the jump
by Avril Ashton
"No killing the target until you hear from me.”
Takayo ‘Saint’ St John leant back in his chair, arms folded across his chest, and raised an eyebrow at his boss. Remi Parascu pushed a folder across the large mahogany desk towards him.
Saint grabbed it and flipped open the brown folder. “Tell me again how I got chosen to babysit a freaking human?”
This wasn’t his normal assignment—most of Saint’s missions were in-and-out jobs, like the one he’d recently completed in Germany. . He hadn’t even disembarked the Council’s private jet when Remi showed up with this new gig. The Paranormal Security Council—known as the Council—marshalled the different paranormal sects in the US and abroad, providing security for high-ranking Para officials, and making sure Para laws were upheld. When anyone stepped out of line and broke those laws, the PSC also dealt with them. ‘Dealing with them’, more often than not, meant killing them, and Saint was one-fourth of the team given the termination assignments.
The president of the PSC met his gaze with unblinking eyes. “This is an elite’s job and, since Prescott’s on another assignment, you’re up to bat.”
That still left one other person. “And Voltaire?”
The female head of their team known as the Death-Bringer was the deadliest of them all. This job seemed more suited to her. Besides, Saint really wanted to sleep. And get laid. Though not necessarily in that order. It’d been a long-ass minute since he’d had a good dick suck and a balls lick. Fuck, but he was due.
Remi pushed her chair back and got to her feet. The tight grey skirt and blue blouse she wore clung to her lithe frame. Saint didn’t have to be into chicks to appreciate her gorgeous feminine form.
“Voltaire’s in Colorado.”
The words were spoken evenly, but he had a feeling more went on behind Remi’s direct stare.
“She’s mated with a wolf out there and is apparently still in the honeymoon phase.” Remi grimaced.
He chuckled. “Must be one crazy-ass wolf to risk mating with V. She’s a live one.”
“Yeah, well, at least she hasn’t left completely. In fact, she’s the one who recommended you for this.”
“No shit.” A knock came on the door of her office and Remi headed towards it. “Read up on your cover and the target. Wheels up in five hours so I suggest you get that pesky hard-on taken of asap.”
Folder in hand, Saint surged to his feet with a grin and snapped a salute. “Yes, boss.”
Five and a half hours later, Saint still hadn’t got any sleep, but he’d managed to rub a nut off in the shower. Not quite the same as a warm, wet mouth swallowing him, but he could hold on—barely, till he found a willing partner.
As the pilot turned off the seatbelt sign, he stretched his legs out on the seat in front of him and read through the folder Remi had given him. He grinned when he saw his name remained the same. He didn’t technically exist, so they’d given him a brand new, and very violent background. Not too dissimilar from his real life, but the fake Takayo St John was all about honour and morality. Fighting for the greater good.
Ugh. Saint wanted to hurl. He already hated the new him. It was the perfect bait, though, to reel in the humans intent on making a move on the Council. He flipped back to the pages about his target.
Tall and lean, the fair-headed former professor of literature looked older than his thirty-eight years. He’d turned activist against all Para citizens after his wife and child were killed by leopard shifters.
Literally torn apart.
Saint winced at the gruesome pictures. Since his loss, the professor had become outspoken about his hatred for Paras, amassing a pretty considerable following. Before now, no one in the paranormal community had taken him seriously, deeming him harmless and grieving. Something had definitely changed. What though? That info wasn’t in the file, but several attempts had been made on Valte’s life. The man was in desperate need of a bodyguard, and who better to fill the role but fake Saint?
He’d be embedded with Nathan at his Texas compound until Remi gave him the go-ahead to off the professor. Saint didn’t do up close and personal, though there was a first time for everything. As a half-breed—part Para, part human—no one would have an idea a Para was in their midst unless Saint wanted them to. Unlike full-blooded Paras, he could pass for human any day of the week.
He paused at a photo of Nathan Valte with a younger man by his side. The other man’s face was averted, his attention off camera, but he’d been graced with the same light colouring, slight build and fair hair as the professor. If Remi’s info was anything to go by, this would be the professor’s baby brother, ten years younger, Ryken.
Saint stared at the younger Valte, wishing he could see his face clearly. A sense of familiarity flooded him as he practically willed the man to turn around, look into the camera. Stupid. Did he know Ryken Valte? Should he? His gut told him yes. Saint caressed the man’s face in the photo and the tattoos on his chest, arm and back came alive—writhing, burning his skin with each stroke of his finger.
“Fuck.” Sweat popped out on Saint’s brow. He flung the folder across the plane’s cabin and staggered to his feet. What the hell?
The gate to the Valte compound, well over ten feet tall, opened slowly, the grating sound muted from inside the tinted SUV Saint sat in. Dusk had fallen by the time the plane touched down at the private landing strip in the small Texas town, but his excellent night vision still made out the tight security detail—four snipers crouched on the low roofs surrounding the main house, two men with high-powered rifles walking the vehicle through the gate. Along with the driver, two very serious gentlemen accompanied him in the SUV.
Valte wasn’t playing around. Saint rubbed his arms. The tattoos, despite cooling off before, heated up again. He’d never felt such burning. Like his skin was sizzling. That only happened when he touched Ryken Valte’s image in the photograph.
Won’t be doing that any more.
He grimaced as the SUV rolled to a stop. A strange fluttering started in his stomach, weakening his knees when he moved to hop out after Valte’s handlers. What in the fuck was happening to him? Saint grabbed the door handle and dragged in a breath, tilting his face towards the sky.
Handler number one, or Tony as he’d introduced himself, turned around with a frown. “You good?”
“Yeah.” Saint nodded. He stepped down and out of the vehicle. “Just sat down too long.”
Tony grunted and faced forward. “Mr Valte wants you to come straight to him, so follow me.”
Skin on fire, Saint matched the men’s footsteps. They led him to a white, two-storey brick house with dark green shutters. The place looked warm and cosy, nestled as it was between neatly trimmed shrubs. Fit for a man to raise a family.
Tony rapped on the huge front door and it swung open. A middle-aged woman with grey hair pulled back in a bun wiped her hands on a yellow apron and motioned them inside.
“He’s in his office.” She eyed Saint up and down when he stepped around her. He offered a smile, but she simply stared back with shadowed eyes.
The inside of Valte’s home was scrubbed clean until it practically shone—wood floors, high ceilings, and wide open windows gave the house a light and airy feel.
Saint followed the men down a narrow hallway lined with burgundy carpeting. As pictures of Nathan Valte’s dead family stared at him, Saint rocked back on his heel when they stopped at a closed door.
Tony knocked again. “Mr Valte, the new guy is here.”
“Come in, Tony,” a low voice called.
Tony pushed the door open and Saint remained close behind, eyes watchful, ears tuned to every sound. Though he had to be careful of using his Para gifts around the Valtes, he did manage to do a mental scan on the few employees he’d met on the ride over. They were all loyal to Nathan Valte, all willing to die to further his cause against the Council.
“So, you’re the new guy.”
Saint stopped in the middle of the room and clasped his gloved hands behind his back. Nathan Valte stood over by a bank of windows looking out into the night, a glass of something amber in his hand.
“Yes, sir. I’m Saint.”
Valte downed the liquor with one gulp and faced Saint, knuckles white against the empty glass. Sad blue eyes met his gaze. “Well, Saint, nice to have you here. Someone wants me dead and already two of my bodyguards have been killed. I’d really like for no one else to lose their life on my account.” The man appeared beaten down, frail.
“My job is to protect you, sir. I will.”
“Hmm.” Valte sized him up and Saint met his gaze, unflinching. After a minute, his new boss broke eye contact and waved his escorts away. “Leave us, gentlemen.”
Saint kept his attention on Nathan as the man walked around his desk and sat. The door clicked closed behind him, but he remained standing.
“Have a seat, Mr St John.” Nathan pointed to the chair opposite him.
Saint did as commanded, dropping his bulk into the cushy seat.
“Tell me about yourself, your background. You’re Japanese?”
“Only on my father’s side. I was raised by my American mother.” Saint leant back in the chair and crossed his legs.
“Ah.” Nathan nodded. “Explains the last name.”
Saint’s lips curved. A door slammed somewhere in the house and he sat up slowly, smile slipping. Light footsteps drew closer, every sound making his tattoos writhe, making them burn. Sweat popped out on his brow and trickled down his spine. Unaware of his discomfort, Nathan shuffled the papers on his desk. Saint bit the inside of his cheek, tasting blood, trying to keep his composure.
The door flew open and Saint moaned. He swallowed quickly to stifle it. Heat washed over him. First his back, then his front, hardening his cock and making him leak.
The scent of musk and man reached his nose and he steeled himself against the overwhelming need to turn around. He didn’t want to look, too afraid of what he’d find.
Nathan lifted his gaze over Saint’s head. “Ah, there you are. Mr St John, I’d like you meet my brother, Ryken.”
Saint struggled to his feet, gripping the edge of Nathan’s desk with his gloved fingers , and forced a smile to his face. He turned around—felt like slow motion—and met huge, curious, cornflower-blue eyes. His vision dimmed, narrowing to only the man in front of him and he couldn’t mask the gasp.
Ryken Valte’s perfect, pouty lips parted. Even from where he stood, Saint watched his pupils dilate. The younger man felt it. Ryken’s pink tongue peeked out, flicked over his bottom lip and Saint had to call on all his years of discipline to not leap across the room to snatch him up, to not pounce. To not fuck him into the floor.
END of excerpt
Like to read more? Till Surrender is available from:
total-e-bound | amazon | allromance