Nya says… "I am a hopeless romantic. I revel in the dark, gritty world of urban fantasy and the paranormal. I love action, almost as much as I love romance/erotica. My women are strong, my men are good-looking and they don’t need PowderMilk Biscuits to get by."
CONTEST ~ Nya is giving away 3 eBook copies of Trey to 3 lucky winners! What do you have to do for your chance to win? It's easy! Just read the blurb and excerpt of Trey, Guardians of the Portals Book 1 and leave your name and email address below in the comments section. The winners will be chosen October 10th.
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For a thousand years the Althings guarded the Portals, insuring safe haven for those with gifts society deemed fearsome and threatening. But greed and hatred divided the Guardians, pitting brother against brother, father against son.
Caitlin is a shifter, transforming herself into disguises so complete even her father and brother cannot recognize her. In the modern day it is a dangerous gift, one that both factions desire as a valuable addition to their nefarious schemes.
Trey is the Althing enforcer, tasked with protecting innocents, using whatever means necessary. When Caitlin becomes a target, he makes the choice to go rogue to protect the asset from abuse by competing groups.
But fate has a hand to play that places both in mortal danger and not even a barren wilderness can shelter them forever.
The man lay supine on a bed of rocks, one leg elevated, the other stretched out. His boots still bore mud and smudged blades of grass from the nearly dry creek crossing. The dark blue wool jacket lay nestled, coiled, under his neck. He’d raised his stern face in silent supplication, one hand shielding his eyes, the other gripping his glasses.
Sun, they’d prayed for it for days, but now it burned like acid on the skin. The stranger she called ‘Aiden’ soaked it up. Dark stubble peppered his square jaw, hiding the dimple Caitlin found almost irresistible, almost.
Aiden. That wasn’t his name, not even close. In a fanciful fit, early on in the insane journey, she’d chosen for him. He’d ignored it, just as he had disregarded so much of the civility she’d foolishly insisted on bringing through the Portal. She forced herself to look away, to look anywhere but at the man she had learned to hate and desire in equal measure.
For the thousandth time, she asked herself, why me? Why this place and this time? Just not how … that could never be explained. He’d called it a Portal, a gateway, unmapped and safe, for now. Mimicking his words, she reminded herself that it indeed had been a doorway into hell, an alien landscape, fearsome and unforgiving.
She could barely recall the flight from the self-styled armies pursuing them, friend and foe alike. Greyfalcon, of them she knew, but the Althings had been a distant, unknown factor. What had become of her father, ambushed while trying to save her? A frisson of apprehension swept like ice up and down her spine, the tingle almost soothing, far more real than the false stage upon which her new life played out. She had failed him—Jake O’Brien—the man she admired above all others, even when his mistakes had cost them her brother and everything that passed for normal in her skewed universe. Even when his moral compass had spun so wildly out of control that they’d resorted to madness to set it all to rights. Then him, the nameless being appearing in the shadows as she fled the mob. Like a stun gun to her gut, leaving her addled and helpless.
She’d wondered, who is he? She could have asked, what is he, but she wasn’t nearly prepared for those answers, not yet, not even after a seeming eternity where even fear took shelter from the mindless dance of unanswerable questions.
How ironic that using her ability to shift into other human shapes had resulted in nothing more than a monumental fuck-up. Kieran and her father were lost to her now, along with her own identity and her gift. She could no longer shift. She barely knew herself.
But she did know him.
Restless, she wriggled on the unforgiving surface. Everywhere she looked, the sere outcrops punctuated the pale sky, climbing row upon row, saw-toothed and menacing. Not nearly as terrifying as the things that lurked in her peripheral vision: a flicker of a wingtip and shush of leathery downdraft. He’d said they were safe but he hadn’t known about them.
Treading carefully on the steep slope, he’d led them to this point, to this resting place, to this mecca of cessation from the unrelenting motion. He’d been confident at first, judging from his cocky manner and imperious gestures, then less so as weeks went by without finding another Portal.
He’d muttered in a language she couldn’t understand, but the meaning was clear. They were adrift in a wilderness of unimaginable bleakness. Whatever plans he’d had, however he measured his ability to keep them secure from the horrors inhabiting this place, his new mission now boiled down to simple survival. His bolthole would prove to be their undoing, a phantom one-way door into a room with no exit. They would die here, unremarked. All because of her and her so-called gifts—the prize, the Golden Fleece, the brass ring. Freak abilities for the freak-show she called her existence.
Why him? Why was he the Champion, the lone tilter at windmills, bucking what surely had to be powerful groups, well-armed and determined to secure her, ‘the asset’, by any and all means? What possible use could she be to anyone? If only he would look at her, really look, what would he see?
Questions, useless now. If there had been any answers, surely he would have revealed … something. She licked her lips, rough and parched, and smiled. Her God was perverse for she would fill the hollowness of her life with the man’s unending disdain as she extended another small courtesy before hope vanished forever.
“Do you want some water?”
He grunted and flicked a finger. She leaned over his still form, stretching to reach the saddlebag standing sentinel near a precipitous boulder fall. Small stones skittered downhill with an alarming pinging, snicking noise. She extricated a small canteen from inside the leather bag resting against his head. He could easily have reached it; he chose not to. That was her job, tend to his needs and fulfill their unspoken agreement: protection. Her life now boiled down to its essence—payment rendered.
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