Devlin Bane: Born a Paladin, he is a member of an ancient band of warriors locked in a centuries-old war against evil.
His destiny: To die over and over again to protect mankind from the Others, only to be revived each time by his mortal Handler.
But his fierce strength and courage cannot save him from gradually becoming one of the monsters he was born to destroy.
Dr. Laurel Young, who has spent years training to become a Handler, must remain detached from her patients. But each time she revives the darkly compelling Devlin Bane, he claims a little more of her soul and incites in her desires that grow wilder and wilder -- even as he inches closer to losing his humanity. As the war against the Others grows more desperate, Laurel and Devlin can't help but give in to the fierce hunger that's sizzled between them for so long. Now they'll face the ultimate battle together -- to save a dark, passionate love that goes against every rule as they join forces to fight an enemy who is closer than they ever imagined....
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June 26, 2006
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Excerpt from Dark Protector by Alexis Morgan
He fought free of the mists, drawing in painful gulps of precious air, vanquishing the last fetid vestiges of death. Slowly his heart began to beat again, taking its own sweet time to fall back into a remembered rhythm. Breathing in, breathing out, each sip of oxygen reluctantly sending life back into his limbs.
Damn, he hated this. He'd already died too many times ' sometimes for a worthy cause, and sometimes for no good reason at all. Every time he came back from the edge was an agonizing process. And every time he brought back a little less of his humanity, until he barely remembered what it felt like to simply be a man. Over the decades, the shadows death had left on his soul made him stronger, but hard and edgy and angry.
"He's back." The familiar voice was not a welcome one.
"He needs to rest before you order him out again, Colonel," a female voice stated.
"He's needed now." The words had the clipped cadence of a man used to barking out orders and having them obeyed without question.
"Speaking as his Handler, I must protest your even being here. Sir." That last word was clearly a reluctant afterthought. "The transition is difficult enough for him without an audience. If you don't leave, I will have to register a complaint with my superiors."
Devlin smiled in his mind. That's it, honey, give him hell. Her protests would fall on deaf ears, but it would aggravate the man from Ordnance.
"Miss Young, I'm sorry," the colonel lied smoothly, "but as I said, he's needed as soon as he's up and about."
An unladylike snort followed. "It's Doctor Young. And according to Ordnance, he's always needed somewhere. If you keep putting him in these deadly situations without the proper care, you'll lose him altogether."
Despite her calm tone, there was a powerful undercurrent to her words, one Devlin couldn't quite decipher.
Colonel Kincade's voice took on an edge. "How I use him is none of your business, Dr. Young. He belongs to us."
The old bastard never could stand to be second-guessed, especially by a woman. The Handler had better tread softly.
"You may decide how best to use Devlin Bane's talents, Colonel, but I decide when ' and if ' he is ready for reassignment."
She stepped close enough to Dev's bed for him to feel the heat radiating off her. The normally calm Laurel Young's emotions were certainly running high today.
"You might as well take your papers and leave, Colonel. I'm not signing anything today, tomorrow, or maybe even the day after."
She'd grown some claws since he'd last been reborn, but the men from Ordnance had decades of experience in getting their way. When Devlin could speak, he would have to warn her to watch her back. He didn't need or even want her defending him.
He listened to the angry staccato steps of the colonel leaving the ward. Kincade would regroup and be back, but for the moment, he was gone. Already the air seemed fresher, more potent.
Cool fingers settled on his wrist, checking his pulse. He wondered why she didn't just accept the readings on the machines that beeped and whined and knew more about him than he did.
"You can come out of hiding now, Mr. Bane. He's gone."
Damn, he'd thought he'd done a better job of disguising his resurgence than that.
His eyelashes felt heavy as he struggled to open his eyes as ordered. It took several attempts and a considerable amount of effort before he could do more than squint up at his Handler. Her pixie face hovered over his, looking worried as she muttered under her breath. Laurel's face was more interesting than truly pretty, with wide-set, brown eyes the color of rich, dark chocolate. Looking up into that thickly lashed gaze had become his favorite part of reviving.