He’ll stop at nothing to claim her…If she doesn’t kill him first.
Pendragon Gargoyles Book 3
A lethal huntress, Sorcha lives to track and eliminate rogue immortals—until her latest assignment turns out to be a sexy, gargoyle shape-shifter. From the start she’s shaken by the lust his touch awakens inside her. Not only that, but the cat is convinced she’s his mate, and for the first time, she’s unable to kill her target.
Still mourning the loss of his mate, Cale is stunned to find Sorcha alive. Yet the woman he aches to possess doesn’t recognize him and is after the only thing that will save his brother—a mystical weapon that will lead to Excalibur.
Determined to protect his family and reclaim his mate, Cale ruthlessly takes advantage of Sorcha’s one weakness—her desire for him. Desire that could unlock their past…or cause him to lose her all over again.x
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“Sydney Somers writes emotional scenes that pack a punch, wrenching as much out of the reader as she possibly can. The result is a story you can’t put down, and I couldn’t wait to learn what happened next.” – Whipped Cream Erotic Romance Reviews
Here, kitty, kitty.
Sorcha resisted checking the time display on her cell phone. The one and only time she’d taken her finger off her crossbow while tracking a target she had ended up eating dragon scales. Not her best moment. Forget the laughs she’d given every other huntress when her so-called best friend blabbed about the whole disaster.
She scanned the area again, paying close attention to the shadows that stretched across the parking lot below. Cats were damn quiet, the hardest of the gargoyle clans to track when in their animal form. With a two-hour window left to catch her regular girls’ night, she wasn’t about to waste a second by missing the first flicker of movement.
If Callaghan was on time—and the information she’d been given said he was fairly predictable for a cat—she’d be able to return whatever artifact he had in his possession to Rhiannon before catching up with the girls. The goddess had a serious problem with immortals selling any piece of Avalon, let alone selling it on the human black market.
Since Rhiannon’s stance on that had been made painfully clear to all immortals, Callaghan had signed his own death warrant as far as Sorcha was concerned. She didn’t know who he was meeting, didn’t particularly care. Humans were off limits even to her, unless they were a threat to Avalon.
A fleeting melody hummed on the air, sounding suspiciously like Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”.
Damn it, Nessa.
Promising herself she’d hit her best friend later, Sorcha turned her phone off. Her friend’s addiction to texting—and worse, her insistence that Sorcha needed a new phone so she could text more efficiently—was going to get one of them killed. She should have guessed Nessa had screwed with the settings on her phone when the huntress had used it earlier.
Not that she’d hold it against Nessa for too long since her friend hadn’t known she would be tasked with taking out a rogue after they’d met up. Usually immortals were closely scrutinized before the kill order went out. That Rhiannon had skipped that step this time meant Callaghan had gotten in way over his head.
A bank of clouds drifted across the moon, deepening the shadows below. The one lamppost in the small university parking lot had been vandalized at some point, leaving chunks of glass littering the concrete below. Not that she needed help seeing. The cat was the only one in the area whose night vision could rival hers.
Movement beneath the trees lining the far edge of the parking lot caught her attention. The outline of a man edged toward the only car left in the lot. Even without a backpack or briefcase in tow, she wouldn’t have mistaken him for a student or professor. His movement was a little too…predatory.
Callaghan. A smile caught the corner of her mouth.
The gargoyle stopped, scanned the area.
Smart kitty, though she’d prefer him a little closer before she took her shot. The arrow would slow him down, give her time to finish the job, but she wanted the shot to count.
He took another few cautious steps, then returned to his smooth strides.
A soft breeze whispered across her face, and she tensed. So did Callaghan. She’d chosen the spot to stay downwind, lowering the odds he’d catch her scent before it was too late. At best he should only sense another immortal was close by. Unless he had reason to suspect a huntress had been dispatched.
She could almost feel the wariness creep over him, had seen more than a few rogue immortals recognize the moment they’d made their last error in judgment. Instead of retreating however, Callaghan cocked his head. He remained motionless for so long she wondered if he was lost in thought.
Take the shot.
Sorcha pulled in a soft breath and held, letting the quiet steady both her heart and hand. Not yet. She needed to—
Callaghan’s head snapped in her direction, his gaze seeking and landing on her as though he knew exactly where she was.
A flash of familiarity grabbed hold of her stomach and wrenched hard. Hard enough to catch her off guard. Her finger squeezed the trigger on her crossbow.
Callaghan jerked, his eyes those of a feral cat, rage imprinted on his human face as he ripped the arrow out of his arm and turned, fleeing toward the cover of trees.
Sorcha didn’t move. Her gaze locked on the arrow lying on the pavement like a snapped twig.
She’d missed? She never missed. The poison-tipped dart should have embedded itself in the traitor’s heart, slowing him until she could reach him to deliver the killing blow. If she wasn’t looking at the arrow he’d torn from his arm—and that sure as hell wouldn’t have tickled—she wouldn’t have believed it.
How in hell had she missed?
The question buzzed around in her head, slowing her reaction time, and the second she realized it, she flattened her palm on the roof ledge and dropped over the side of the building. Her ankle turned over when she landed off balance on the grass. She’d underestimated the length of the drop.
Annoyance bubbled beneath the steel-edged determination to finish her task, and she sprinted after him. Once she got close enough to see him, she’d be able to flash closer and use her sword. Even if he’d shifted into his cat form, he couldn’t run faster than she could travel.
Sorcha burst through a clearing of trees and skidded to a stop as the clouds hiding the moon drifted past, brightening the small field.
Callaghan stood opposite her, still a man, still unarmed.
Not real bright, was he? Although surprised, she didn’t stop to wonder why he hadn’t at least armed himself, or stranger still, why he hadn’t shifted into his cat form. She lifted her crossbow to fire another arrow.
“Sorcha?” Her name left his lips on a cracked whisper.
Her finger paused on the trigger this time. He knew her? How? Huntresses weren’t exactly welcomed by other immortals, and making the effort wasn’t worth it considering all huntresses were cleansed every hundred years, wiping out their memories.
Although she retained memories from her human life before becoming a huntress, she understood that each cleanse was the only way Rhiannon could guarantee those she’d gifted with godlike powers would never rise up against her.
Sorcha had never once regretted the price of being saved from her life as a slave. If she hadn’t accepted the goddess’s deal, she would have died at the mercy of Morgana’s soldiers.
Avalon’s most powerful sorceress didn’t care how savage her armies were if it increased her empire, and having been a victim long enough, Sorcha would have agreed to anything to have been spared the kind of death those men had planned for her.
Countless immortals paid obscene fortunes to be cleansed and start over. For Sorcha, it was all part of the huntress package. Even if Callaghan did know her, she still had a job to do.
So squeeze the trigger already.
She searched his face, knowing she didn’t recognize the brilliant blue eyes that bored into hers. Nothing about his dark hair or the shadowed jaw clenched tight struck her as familiar, and yet…
Her gaze landed on the scar on his chin. He would have gotten that before he reached maturity or it would have healed. From fighting as a cub maybe.
He took a step in her direction, and her finger tightened on the trigger.
“I saw…” He cocked his head, confusion and shock drawing his brows together, making him appear almost vulnerable. “I saw you die.”
Die? Sorcha shook her head. “I think you’ve got me confused with someone else.” A mortal obviously. Gargoyles had a higher tolerance for humans than most other immortals.
“Let me see it.” She’d planned on searching his body for the item he intended to sell, but if he didn’t have it on him, it would be more work to track down after he was dead.
“How did you…where have you…you’re okay? You’re alive?” His voice grew rougher with every word.
An enchantress. If Callaghan was high from banging one of the Lady of Lake’s daughters that would certainly explain why he wasn’t right in the head. A definite advantage for her.
He took three steps in her direction. She fired another arrow at him. This one caught him in the thigh. He snarled, his claws bursting from his fingertips.
Knowing just how fast gargoyles could shift, she sidestepped to keep her distance. “Easy, tiger.”
He blinked, his hand stopping short of ripping out the second arrow, and then grinned at her. Actually grinned at her.
Well, that was a first. The poison usually made them a little drunk and whole lot slower. But amuse them? Not so much.
“You called me tiger.”
“Don’t take it personally. It’s just—”
“A figure of speech,” he finished. “I know.” His smile deepened, a sexy, breath-stealing smile that tugged at her stomach.
Hell, she felt it all the way to her toes and every place in between that hadn’t warmed in way too long to think about now. Not when she was supposed to do her job and take him out.
Callaghan shook his head, the fading smile replaced by an expression of such sheer longing she almost backed up. “You’re not dead.”
“And you’re looking to change that, I suppose?”
His frowned. “You know who I am, right?”
She nodded, cutting him off. This was always the part where they tried to bargain their way out of death, even name drop as though she had anyone to fear except Rhiannon if she failed. “Cale Callaghan. Owner of a bar called Pendragon’s and traitor to Avalon.”
“Traitor?” He sounded just stunned enough she almost believed he didn’t have a clue what she was talking about.
“Do you have it on you?”
His face went carefully blank, and the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding unraveled in her lungs. Gods, had she really expected him to be innocent?
“You do,” she guessed, watching a fine layer of sweat glisten on his forehead. The poison had started working. Not lethal but it came with one bitch of a headache.
“You’re here for the dagger?” The last syllable slurred a little, but he still hadn’t shifted. He had to know his cat form would be more resistant to the poison, and yet he remained a man.
Callaghan swayed on his feet, his eyes drifting shut, only to snap open a second later. “I don’t understand.”
“You broke the rules.”
“You’re not dead,” he repeated, his gaze losing focus.
“Nope.” What the hell had that enchantress done to him? Again she waited for him to shift, to attack, to defend himself. Something.
“I thought…all this time…” He frowned. “You sure you’re not dead?” He stumbled, caught himself.
His visible struggle to concentrate might have been cute at any other time or place. And if she didn’t have to kill him.
So get on with it already.
Sorcha lowered her crossbow, reaching for the sword secured inside her jacket. Beheading and fire were the only ways to kill another immortal, and fire was much too unpredictable to rely on.
“Gods, Sorcha. You’re here, really here.” He moved toward her, his stride suddenly not the least bit hampered by the poison.
Son of a bitch.
She gripped the hilt of her sword, but it somehow snagged on the inside of her jacket—a first—giving Callaghan just enough time to get a hold of her.
With only a heartbeat to brace herself for a crushing blow, she should have flashed herself out of reach. How many times did a girl have to miss her mark in one night before she got her head on straight?
His arms wrapped around her, and she anticipated the sound of her own bones crunching. A sound that never came. The arms sliding around her and tugging her hard against his chest didn’t hurt her at all. Strong and solid, they cradled her as though he was afraid she would break into a thousand pieces.
Huntresses didn’t break, and they certainly didn’t let their targets—
His lips drifted across her forehead, and she went perfectly still. He rubbed his face against her hair, whispering her name over and over.
He really thought he knew her. When his arms tightened around her and his voice turned hoarse with emotion, she almost wanted him to know her. An idiotic thought, but knowing that didn’t stop her heart from quickening as he sank his fingers into her hair, tipping her face up to look at him.
She gripped his arms, ready to drive her knee between the gargoyle’s legs. And she would have if his didn’t buckle at that precise moment. His possessive grip kept her close as he slid awkwardly to the ground.
That smile was back on his lips, slow and hot and doing crazy things to her stomach. Not until she squeezed her fingers did she realize she was the one keeping him on his knees so he wouldn’t topple over. Something was seriously wrong with her. Was she really that hard up for sex that she could feel herself getting wound up for a man she’d come here to kill?
“Why are you looking at me like that?” He dragged his thumb across her jaw in a slow, sweeping arc.
“You’re confused.” And she was going to be a laughingstock for letting a target put his paws all over her, and worse, for liking it.
“No.” The absolute certainty in his voice burrowed through her chest. “You’re Sorcha, daughter of Alaios and Maurya. Slave-born and granted immortality by the goddess Rhiannon.”
So what if he had known her—intimately judging by the way he cupped her cheek. He was still a rogue, a traitor. “You forgot the most important part. Huntress.”
His blue eyes narrowed. “No.”
“See, you don’t really know me.” He couldn’t have. Maybe they’d hooked up a time or two for some really great sex, but if he had known her well enough to be more than one of her rare one-night stands, then he would have known what she did, who she was.
“I know you,” he insisted, tightening the fingers he’d buried in her hair, but not to the point of pain. “And you know me.”
“Sure I do, tiger.” Better to keep him calm until she could work her sword free.
“But I can’t give even you Constantine’s dagger.”
Her heart stopped. “You have one of the daggers? One of the daggers?” And he’d been about to sell it to a human? So he was reckless and out of his mind.
The six mystical daggers handcrafted by King Arthur’s heir, Constantine, were the most sought after weapons in Avalon. It was believed, when reunited, they would lead to Excalibur. The sword was prophesized to awaken Arthur so that he could finish the war begun centuries ago. The war that suffered a significant setback when he’d died fighting his nephew and half-sister Morgana at the battle of Camlann.
Every immortal in Avalon—hell, even the remaining humans enslaved by Morgana—wanted that sword. Bad enough to kill to possess it.
“I do know you, Sorcha,” Callaghan insisted, ignoring her question as his hand fell away from her face. He leaned in, nuzzled her cheek.
Her eyes slid closed. The traitor smelled much too good, too—
His lips teased her ear, his breath hot against her skin, and just when her next breath wedged in her throat, he murmured, “You’re my mate.”