Saturday, January 10, 2015

Hunted by a Jaguar by Felicity Heaton ♥ Blog Barrage & GIVEAWAY (Paranormal Romance)

A jaguar shifter with a dark secret, Kyter has spent his entire life running from his demons. When a tragedy takes him back to his pride’s village, he is set on a path of vengeance that will see him collide with the terrible ghosts of his past and a beautiful vision of his future.
Iolanthe deals in finding artefacts for discerning clients, but this time her client is one of the deadliest men in Hell and her mission has the highest stakes imaginable. Failure is not an option when your life is on the line, but things take a dangerous turn when she crosses paths with a handsome and mysterious male on the hunt for the same artefact—a male who declares she is his eternal mate.
Can Iolanthe resist Kyter’s wicked allure and find the artefact before he does? Can Kyter face his demons and win the heart of his fated female? Or will this deadly game of cat and mouse claim both of their lives?
Kyter strolled through the quiet city of Ercolano, heading down the sloping modern streets from the train station towards the ancient ruins. His backpack shifted with each step, his black t-shirt already soaked through from his not-so-pleasant journey. The trains that ran along the line were old, hot, and dangerous.

Well, dangerous if you were human.

He had lost count of the number of shady characters he had spotted during his journey from Naples, which was another hotbed of depravity and crime. He had made fast work of getting from the airport to the train station and had managed to board a train within a few minutes of arriving there, but in that time he had been left with an unpleasant sensation of being stalked.

He preferred not to harm mortals, and normally just a look in their direction was enough to make them think twice about bothering him, but the scum that loitered in the station and rode the trains were a special breed of stupid. It had taken a brief flash of fangs to dissuade many of them and warn them he wasn’t in the mood to play.

His rage had only grown more potent since discovering that a female mercenary was after the same thing as he was, part of it now directed at her. He would find the artefact before she could locate it. He had left for Naples as soon as he had figured out the answer to the demon’s riddle, catching the first available flight out of London Gatwick. He felt sure that he would beat her to this place and that he would find what he was looking for here.

The key to avenging his mother.

And his pride.

He clenched his fists and growled beneath his breath, unable to tamp down the need. His heart ached in his chest whenever he thought about his mother. During the funeral, he had been so numb that it had felt like a fantasy, a terrible nightmare. He had watched her body burn, her spirit rising to his ancestors on the smoke that twined through the trees up to the starlit sky. It hadn’t felt real then. It felt real now. It had sunk in that his mother was gone and he would never see her again or hear her voice on the end of a crackly satellite telephone line.

The sun sank into the sea ahead of him, bathing the sky in gold, and he slowed his pace to take in the beauty of it, letting it wash over him and soothe his weary soul.

He followed the street signs to an impressive stone and brick arch set back in a small area of garden. In the middle of the arch, a locked wrought iron gate allowed him to see beyond the wall to what it contained. It looked like he had found the right spot.

The ancient city of Herculaneum.

He veered right and eyed the three metre high wall that butted up against the arch on either side. Easy. He had expected more security than just a wall, but he wasn’t going to complain. He pressed down on the balls of his feet and kicked off, springing over the wall without even touching it. He landed silently on the other side in a crouch and scanned the area, both with his sharp vision and his senses.

When he felt certain that there were no security guards in the area, he rose to his feet and followed the broad path towards a slope.

A green metal fence lined both sides of the slope beneath towering cypress trees, running at hip height to him.

Beyond that fence spread the ruins of a great civilisation.

Kyter slowed to a halt as his gaze scanned over the large archaeological site. He leaned against the top bar of the fence for a moment, marvelling at the arid ruins.

He hadn’t expected it to look so well preserved, with so many structures still standing. Some even had roofs over them that weren’t modern additions to protect the interiors. Paved roads intersected the stone buildings, complete with high pavements. Incredible.

There was a steep incline down to the site on all sides and only one way of entering via a walkway over at the far side, in the left corner diagonally across from him. There was bound to be security there.

He clambered over the top horizontal pole of the fence in front of him and kicked off, easily clearing the steep grassy bank and landing hard on a broad flat balcony in front of one of the sets of buildings. His legs ached from the impact and he grunted and grimaced as he rose onto his feet. He was out of practice. Was a time he could’ve made a jump twice that distance and a fall three times further without even wincing on landing.

Kyter stretched, taking pleasure from it as he raised his arms above his head, his hands locked together, and took in his surroundings. He wasn’t sure where to begin. He had picked this site over its more famous neighbour, Pompeii, purely because it was closer to Naples. He took his backpack off one shoulder, let it swing beneath his arm, and unzipped the front pocket. He pulled out the guidebook he had purchased in the airport, opened it on the map he had bookmarked, and studied it.

For ten minutes.

Nope. He didn’t have a damn clue where he was on it and where he was going. He hopped another smaller fence around the balcony, walked along the top of a section of wall, and then jumped down onto a main street in the ruins.

He tried to follow the map, but the place was a maze of sites, all marked in Italian on the crumbling walls next to iron gates that stopped people from entering them. He stopped at each sign, trying to match it up to the one he was looking for, working his way along the rows of buildings as the light began to fade.

Around the corner of one row, he found a building that had lost half of its walls and his eyebrows shot up. There was a bench and jars set into the ground. A store? Maybe a bar. He liked the idea of ancient Romans all hanging out at a bar and living it up. It probably hadn’t been all that fun when the volcano had erupted though.

Vesuvius loomed in the distance, awash with gold as the sun cast dying rays over it.

The poor bastards probably hadn’t stood a chance.

All the crazy mortals who lived in its shadow probably wouldn’t stand a chance when it went off again either.

He turned away from the possible bar and frowned as a shadowy figure crossed the street far ahead of him, disappearing beyond another building. A security guard?

Kyter tipped his head back and sniffed, catching their scent on the hot still air.

His eyes widened.

The woman from the fae town.

He had managed to catch her scent when he had gone into the building she had exited to meet with the same demon. She smelled like the flowers in the rainforest. Exotic and alluring, and beautiful.

He took a step in her direction before he caught himself. He curled his fingers into fists and clenched them. He wasn’t here to hunt her. He was here to hunt his father and he couldn’t forget that. He pressed one hand to his chest, over a heart that burned with cold hatred for the demon who had dared to take his mother from him and kill so many of his pride.

The woman from the fae town wasn’t a female to pursue.

She was an enemy, and the quicker his body and his mind got that message, the better. It didn’t matter that she was breathtaking, or that she stirred his jaguar side and brought it to the fore, awakening a deep instinct to stalk her as if she were prey, something that had never happened to him before.

She was after the same thing as he was and he couldn’t let her have it.

He tracked her from a distance, following her scent as he moved through the ruins. He needed to know if she was looking in the location he had been searching for. If she was, he would drive her away.

Her scent grew stronger, a sign that she had been to the area more than once in the past few hours. He slowed his approach when his sensitive ears caught the sound of her breaths and softened his steps, moving silently towards her location.

She was inside the next building, a pale stone affair with several columns made of brick lining the street outside it.

Kyter stalked towards the entrance, his breathing stilled to conceal his presence. He wasn’t sure what species she was, but too many had heightened hearing for him to risk breathing.

He peered into the building, his eyes rapidly adjusting to the darkness. She stood at the far end, hefting a pick above her head and bringing it down with force. Sparks flew as it struck the stone floor. She hadn’t had the tool a moment ago. Had it been in the room? How long had she been here?

The size of the hole she had already dug said that it had been a while. She must have snuck in before the site had closed for the day and started work as soon as the last visitor had left.

She paused and set her pick down, resting it against her leg.

Kyter stared, mesmerised as she twirled her long black hair up into a knot and stabbed an elegant silver pin through it. He didn’t doubt that she could use that as a weapon in a pinch. She seemed irritatingly resourceful. How the hell had she beaten him to the site? Mercs often had money. Maybe she had a private jet.

She huffed and lifted her hand, and wiped her forearm across her brow. Sweat trickled down her back between her shoulders, turning her perfectly pale skin shiny and soaking into her flimsy black camisole. It seemed he wasn’t the only one who didn’t take well to high temperatures. He cocked his head to one side and raked his gaze down her spine. Was she from cooler climes? She was too pale to come from a hot country like this one.

He ducked behind the wall when she turned towards him. His heart hammered against his chest, his gaze locked on the column opposite him. He had moved fast, but not swiftly enough that he hadn’t caught sight of the beads of sweat rolling down her chest and slipping into the valley between her breasts.

Kyter swallowed hard.

The jaguar side of him growled low and the rumble of appreciation almost made it past his lips.

He dug his claws into the palms of his hands, using the pain to tamp down his desire, and listened hard to his prey. The pick struck the stone again. He shifted a few steps to his left, away from the door, and eyed the sign on the wall. It wasn’t the building he was looking for. She had a reprieve. There was no point in confronting her and letting her know he was there until it was absolutely necessary.

He brazenly walked past the door, looking in at her, unable to stop himself from taking in her luscious curves as she worked before he moved on. He checked his map again, found the building she was working in, and followed the paved roads up the hill towards the back of the site.

Kyter grinned when he finally found the building he had been searching for. He walked into the larger building, immediately breathing a sigh of sweet relief as cooler air greeted him. It was dark inside with the fading light, but the modern roof over the series of rooms was raised around a foot off the structure, creating an opening through which a modest amount of light could enter. He used his heightened vision to navigate the rooms, seeking the one he had read about.

He found it in the largest room. Half of it was divided into three square rooms by two thick walls. The section to the right had been walled in again, but the parts in the middle and to the left were open. The central part was the reason he had come to this place.

Two columns covered in white and red plaster stood at the end of the walls that enclosed what appeared to be a sort of ancient chapel. The floor in the area there was raised up two steps and the three walls had been painted. Directly ahead of him, in the back wall, there was an arch, and blue and white panels decorated the plaster. There was a small stone plinth in the centre of the arch, as if something sacred or important had once been placed there.

It was the wall to his left that held his attention. The plaster had been decorated with white and grey columns and arches painted on a red background. In the central area of the wall, someone had painted a picture on a white square surrounded by mottled blue and red.

Ancient goddesses and a god.

The answer to the clue the demon had given to him.

The hairs on the back of Kyter’s neck prickled and he turned swiftly to face the person behind him.

The female from the fae town stood in the middle of the dusty empty room, a short black blade balanced on her left shoulder and her green eyes filled with a spark of curiosity as she studied him from head to toe.

Slowly.

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Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you're a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.
       
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@felicityheaton @RabidReads http://goo.gl/dDNEij pic.twitter.com/BLQo9p0oqi

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