Born to hunt and destroy…until the light of one soul reawakens his own.
A Prequel to the Dark Souls
Adrian knows he once possessed a soul, but it abandoned him the day he was murdered. The day he was reborn as a Rogue, shunned by humans and hunted by his own kind. By night he feeds the darkness inside him by finding and snuffing out corrupt souls, perfectly content to live as an outcast—until a random act of violence unites him with a woman who makes him feel.
Angelica Paxton believes everyone deserves a second chance. Even her rescuer, a mysterious stranger with hypnotic powers, an unsettling ability to invade her dreams, and a shocking secret. Much as her body wants to succumb to Adrian’s seductive charms, she can’t. Not without breaking his newly awakened heart.
Adrian swears to protect Angie from his kind, even if staying by her side means volunteering at the center where she works to reform the very souls he has vowed to crush. Even if it means abandoning the shadows for the light. Even if that light exposes the darkest threat he’s ever faced. One from which he is powerless to save her…
Product WarningsThis book contains flying subway cars, a woman in jeopardy, a relentless villain who’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants, and a dark, sexy hero who could very well haunt your dreams and steal your heart.
Copyright © 2013 Anne Hope
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
Adrian would have no choice but to kill again tonight. He knew it as surely as he lived and breathed. Just as he knew the world would be better off because of it.
Violence tainted the atmosphere, a foul aura that beckoned him like a siren’s call. Ridding the world of diseased souls was not only a calling for him. It had become an obsession. Every time he struck down a thug or hardened criminal, every time he snuffed out a corrupt soul, he fed the darkness that fueled him, while eliminating another threat to mankind.
The tracking abilities he’d inherited from his Hybrid father kept him on course, allowed him to narrow in on his prey and made him more effective than the entire NYPD. Tonight, his instincts led him through a series of dark alleys backlit by a partial moon and a handful of streetlamps, down to the subway station located on the border of Midtown and the Upper East Side.
The beige tiles complained beneath the assault of his heavy boots as he advanced, their grimy surface carpeted by a scatter of litter. At a nearby corner, water pooled, a result of a neglected leak or a poor drainage system.
He walked between the green metal columns that labored to hold up the vaulted ceiling and the row of wooden benches that served to divide the area between the two tracks. The station was dead silent save for the steady drip of water and the annoying hum of the fluorescent tubes overhead. Adrian stayed focused, following the foul smell of the vermin he hunted. He sensed the dark hum of anticipation underscored by a sharp hunger for violence.
If there was anything he understood, it was hunger, and judging from the sudden shift in the atmosphere, it was about to be fed. A female scream shattered the silence, echoing through the station. Adrian followed the sound to the darkened stairwell, where three thugs cornered a young woman.
They pushed her against the wall, the biggest of the three leering down at her. His intentions would’ve been painfully clear even if Adrian hadn’t possessed the ability to read the bastard’s mind. In that brief moment when Adrian’s thoughts connected with the assailant’s, he saw every perverted act the man had committed. He felt the fear and pain of all the women he’d assaulted, smelled the blood he’d spilled, sensed the pleasure each sick act had triggered within him.
If ever a soul was diseased, it was this one. The guy standing next to him was no better. They were a team, brothers in malice and brutality. Only the third guy didn’t fit. He stood a few feet away, fidgeting, his hands clenching and unclenching with obvious unease. He was only a trainee, Adrian realized, new to the business of rape and murder.
The victim attempted to take a step back, but the big guy yanked her against him. Wrapping his thick arms around her middle, he effortlessly lifted her off the ground. The woman wrestled, kicked and screamed and tried to bite him. His buddy quickly closed in and pressed a serrated blade to her throat, stilling her struggles instantly.
“Release her.” Adrian’s voice held enough menace to intimidate just about anyone, but that wasn’t what impelled the thugs to put their prey down and back away. Among Adrian’s gifts was the ability to plant a suggestion. People obeyed his every command, no questions asked. Most of the time he didn’t have to lift a finger to get the job done, though he could’ve easily taken these three and walked away singing a happy tune.
The instant the woman’s feet touched the ground, she scampered sideways across the wall, but she didn’t attempt to escape. She stood frozen, staring at Adrian with a blend of wariness and curiosity.
The big guy withdrew a gleaming black Glock from his pocket—Adrian had seen enough guns to recognize the make. “This doesn’t concern you, asshole. Walk away while you still can.”
The ground rumbled as a train zipped past, then came to a screeching halt. Adrian took a predatory step toward the gunman. The sociopath aimed the Glock at Adrian’s heart and waited, his expression daring him to make another move, begging him to. Not one to disappoint, Adrian marched forward again.
The train abruptly departed, shattering the stillness, just as the gun went off.