Only passion can soothe the beast within...
Known only as Jag, he leads the Knights of White against the soulless Darkland Beasts who took his wife and his life. Jag is immortal, destined to live with the vengeance he feels in his heart and the dreams that haunt his soul. Sensual dreams of a woman. Dreams that threaten to unleash the beast within....
Karen Gibson is an innocent mortal, unwittingly thrown into this millennia-old battle, and--unwillingly--under Jag's protection. She and Jag are about to discover that they have met before--in the dreams they share.
Neither trusts the other. Neither can survive alone. The secret of those erotic dreams may be all that saves them--if Jag can only accept it. At risk is Karen's life. And Jag's immortal soul....
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October 31, 2007
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Excerpt from The Beast Within by Lisa Renee Jones
The sound of her bedside hotel phone ringing startled Karen Gibson awake. She blinked into Caribbean sunlight beaming between the sheer white curtains of the French doors, which opened to a beachfront patio. The luxury hotel was one of many stops she'd be making while on assignment for Vacation Fun magazine.
Normally she called her life one of pleasure and fun. Yet, deep down, especially lately, she knew it only sheltered her from the realities of her past. Waking here alone bothered her today. Bothered her a lot. Reaching for the phone, she fumbled with it, almost dropping the receiver, as she sat up and shoved it to her ear.
"Yes," she managed hoarsely, shoving a long strand of blond hair from her eyes. "We have a telegram for you at the front desk. Shall we bring it up?"
Karen's blood went cold, her chest tightening. Sleep had been fitful at best. She'd tossed and turned with an odd feeling of dread. Somehow, she'd known something dark was coming. "Send it up, please."
A flash of a dream came to her. Of a man who stood well above her, broad-shouldered, with long dark hair. So familiar. But how did she know him? She reached for the images floating in the back of her mind but couldn't manage to draw them forward. But she felt comfort in this man. Comfort she needed right now. If only she could find that dream right now. To remember what it held.
Barely able to breathe, Karen realized she still held the phone and settled the receiver in its place. Having lost her parents years before in a car accident, bad news brought fear for her sister, the only person she had in this world.
Guilt took hold. If something had happened to Eva, she'd never forgive herself for leaving her back in Brownsville. Eva might be a grown woman, now married, but she'd always been a bit needy.
Karen's own feeling of something missing in her life had driven her to travel, searching for an elusive secret to life she'd never found. The feeling had always been inside her but it had grown stronger after losing her parents. Years of traveling, of searching, had revealed nothing. In the end, she felt just as lost. Just as empty.
Karen knew she needed to reevaluate her decisions and make changes in her life. She needed to go home and see her sister and reestablish their relationship. And she would. She'd go home and she'd fix things. If...it wasn't too late. As she tied a knot in the sash holding her robe in place, she couldn't shake the feeling of doom taking hold.
A knock sounded and she darted for the door, eager for answers. Fighting her desire to know what the telegram said, she hesitated, hand on the handle, eyes lifted upward, and said a silent prayer. Please let Eva be okay.
With shaky hands, she accepted the telegram, signing a form the doorman handed her. She never looked at the man's face, only mumbling a thank-you.
She ripped open the envelope, removing the single sheet of paper with a short, typed message. "Mike's dead."
Nothing more. Two words. No signature. No explanation. Not so much as an "I love you." Just a short note informing Karen that Eva's husband was dead. Oh, God. How? How did he die? Was Eva hurt, or in some sort of danger? Eva. Poor Eva. Why hadn't she called instead of sending a telegram.
"Everything okay, miss?"
The hotel employee's voice drew Karen out of her inner turmoil. "No." Her hand raked through her hair.
"I mean, yes. I, ah, I need to get to the airport."
The man, near sixty judging from the solid gray hair and deep wrinkles in his forehead, offered her a concerned look. "I can have a shuttle ready in fifteen minutes."
She couldn't think. "I...never mind." Booking an international flight needed to be her priority. "I'll call downstairs after I talk to the airlines."
Karen processed for all of a minute before darting toward the phone. She dialed the operator and gave her Eva's number. Ten rings later, she heard the operator's voice again, telling her that no one was picking up.
"I need the police department in Brownsville, Texas," she told the woman.
Ten minutes later, Karen hung up, with the news that Mike had been involved in a car accident. The same way their parents had died. God, what Eva must be going through.
Karen had to get home, and she had to get there now.
Only hours after deciding to visit Salvador, Jag arrived at his creator's home. Deep inside the valleys of Mexico's Sierra Madre ranges, this was where Jag had first trained with Salvador.
Jag pushed open a steel gate covered in jasmine and stepped into a courtyard filled with flowers and trees. He felt none of the peace most would feel here. He preferred the ranch, preferred his place by his men's sides. But Salvador limited his exposure to the Knight, his existence cloaked in mystery, even to Jag.
Here, deep in these mountains, the Darkland Beasts had destroyed his world. This was the place the beasts had taken homage and fueled the evil of their dark world. And it was here where Jag had first hunted his prey.
Here he had first trained to be the destroyer of the Darkland Beasts. Where he had gotten so lost in vengeance, Salvador had been forced to pull him back to reality. Forced him to see the colors of the world around him, beyond the red of burning anger, the black of painful darkness.