The Nightwalkers have lived in the shadows of our world for centuries, gifted with abilities few humans can comprehend. For Noah, duty is all--until he meets the woman who is his destiny. . . She Will Take Him Beyond His Wildest Dreams. As Demon King, Noah is dedicated to protecting his kind from their human and Nightwalker enemies. Yet for six months he has struggled with vivid dreams that threaten his very sanity. Every night hes tormented by images of a woman both achingly real and tantalizingly beyond his grasp. And his bone-deep need leaves him no choice but to force her to leave the life shes known and enter a world beyond her imagining. . . Every day, Kestra risks her life in perilous missions that veer just shy of the law, but she instinctively knows that the imposingly sensual figure before her is a danger unlike any shes ever faced. Kestra has sworn never to trust or need another man, but Noahs lightest touch scorches her with fevered desire, branding her as his mate, blinding them both to the terrifying truth.
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August 31, 2008
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Excerpt from Noah by Jacquelyn Frank
The Lost Demon Prophecy
"Kes ...what are you doing?"
"I thought I'd wash my hair," came the whispered, tart reply over the slightly static connection. "What do you think I'm doing?"
Jim chuckled softly under his breath before reaching to tap the mike of his wireless earpiece, just to annoy her with the noise. Then he clarified, "I meant I wanted to know which room you're in."
"The Billiard Room," she said dryly, "with an unusually heavy candlestick in one hand." She paused and Jim heard her grunt softly over the open line. He leaned forward a little in his chair to peer at his computer monitor. "I'm in the machine room. Where else would I be?"
"Okay. I was just wondering."
There was another brief pause, full of soft static.
"Incidentally, why do you ask?" she queried at last.
"Oh, no reason. It's just that I have this huge red blob on my infrared screen that looks suspiciously like a security guard heading in your direction," he informed her, snapping his gum in her ear over the mike.
Kestra cursed through her teeth, glanced around with sharp, seeking eyes, and turned her face upward almost out of innate instinct. After a quick calculation in her head, she scuttled rapidly across the vastness of the equipment room and headed straight for one of the air-conditioning turbines. With a running start, she stepped up onto the rim of the large machinery and launched her lithe, dark figure straight up into the air.
There was a clang as her hands just barely made the catch onto a pair of sturdy pipes that ran across the high ceiling. She immediately began to swing herself until she was able to get enough momentum to hook her feet over the piping. Without a single further sound, she wriggled herself up into the darkness of the tight plumbing. She sprawled over it, lying across it as if it were a casual cotton hammock instead of a series of conduits that ran both hot and cold against the press of her flesh. Once secured in the shadows of the one direction nine out of ten rent-a-cops invariably failed to look in, all she could do was wait. She covered the earpiece on her ear with her hand, not wanting to risk any chance of Jim or random static giving away her location.
She didn't have long to wait before the guard made his appearance. Kes rolled her eyes shut for a moment, thinking that Jim had cut his half-assed warning pretty damn close.
The guard had no reason to hide his progress, so she could hear his footsteps from the moment he entered the stairwell just outside the door leading into the room. The door clanged open, recoiling off its backstop as the guard released the metal handle that he'd opened it with. In spite of all this noise, Kestra made very certain her breathing never went above a barely audible whisper of sound.
The guard clomped across the concrete floor, walking the straight path between the rows of turbines on one side, and water heaters on the other. He flicked on a Maglite and swept it back and forth over the dark shadows surrounding him. Kestra closed her eyes briefly, praying to whatever part of the universe it was that protected people like her. Then she watched the approaching man carefully for any signs that he took note of the tiny green lights on the undersides of half the gas heaters, which were guaranteed to be out of place.
He didn't. He made it to the far wall, turned, and retraced his steps. He passed within a foot of her both times, but of course did not look up. He barreled out of the basement door with a noisy bang, his clomping footsteps echoing away up the stairwell.
Kestra exhaled a half breath of relief. After she was reasonably sure the guard was far enough away and had no intention of immediately returning, she leveraged herself out of her makeshift hidey-hole. She laid her forearms along two narrow pipes and, using them like a pair of parallel bars, swung her legs down. She released, allowing the momentum to somersault her over just once, then lofted into a perfect landing on the dusty warehouse floor.
Resisting the habit of taking a gymnast's bow, she swiped at the sweat dotting her forehead, smearing the dust and silt from the exteriors of the pipes across it, and turned her attention to her communications system and her smart-ass partner.
"Thanks for the warning, James," she said with low heat.
"You're welcome." He tried to sound bratty, but she could tell he was relieved to hear from her.
"James, I thought you said there was no one on the premises," she hissed.
Jim winced, knowing that he was definitely going to be in a huge amount of trouble for being wrong about that. "There's not supposed to be. The guy's off schedule. I'll let you know when he moves on to the next building."
"Not good enough. I want him out of my perimeter completely."
"Well, what am I supposed to do? Kidnap him?"
"There's an idea," she retorted, kneeling down in front of the turbine that had just helped her escape the guard's notice. She shrugged out of her backpack and withdrew her last two square packets.
Kestra left the backpack behind and scurried low across the floor to the next gas heater. She rolled gently onto her back and reached beneath the unit. There was the distinct clang of metal on metal as the strong magnet on the back of the packet stuck to the underbelly of the furnace. She flicked the switch on the front and waited while the lights went from yellow to green.
"The point is," she continued as she rolled out from beneath the unit and moved cautiously to the next one, "that I specifically said no civilians in the kill zone. It was your job to see to it that's what I got. That is why I spent a month timing this operation just right."
"It's not my fault the guy changed his routine, Kestra."
"Make it your fault, James," she bit back as she hesitated next to the last furnace. "Make it your responsibility. You have twenty minutes to get him out of the kill zone. I don't care how you do it, just do it! And there better not be anyone else."
"There isn't. You and the guard are the only two heat sources in the entire warehouse row, save a rat or two." There was a distinct pause. "Do you have any suggestions on how I can protect your civilian without getting arrested?"
Kestra thought about that for a moment, using the time it took to attach the last device to the last heater in order to mull over the situation.
"How long does it normally take for him to round off the row and start on the docks?"
"There are three buildings in the row. You're the first on the round. If he follows form, it'll take well over an hour. And if he rounds onto the docks, he's going to spot you. I don't care how sneaky you are, Kes, you don't want him wandering your escape route."
"Damn." Kestra slid out from beneath the furnace and stood up. She dusted off her backside with more violence than necessary and marched toward her backpack.
Then she stopped and cocked her head to the side, her incredibly light eyes brightening just a little more as she thought of a possible solution.
"Do any of the buildings opposite those in this row have an alarm system?"
"All of them. Take your pick."
"And are they part of our rent-a-cop's minimum-wage jurisdiction?"
"Why, yes, they are!" Jim gasped comically, knowing she was already done formulating her plan.
"Now, call me crazy, but if you were a security guard and one of the alarms in one of your buildings went off, you'd run like hell to check it out, wouldn't you?"
"Oh, you're definitely crazy," Jim agreed with a chuckle. "And you're also right. But how do you plan to set off an alarm and not get caught? Don't we usually do that the opposite way, where you don't set off the alarm? Do you even know how to set one off?"
"How hard can it be?"
"And not get caught," he reminded her.
"And blow up the row...?" Jim added.
"And not get caught," he reiterated most importantly.