They were masters of the darkness, searching through eternity for a mistress of the light...
He ran with wolves... materialized from the mists... hijacked the very heavens to whims....
He was the dark guardian of his people. So how, after centuries of a bleak, soulless existence, had he, Lucian Daratrazanoff, suddenly come to the crave petite, curvy colorful lady cop Jaxon Montogomery, who foolishly made it her life's work to protect others from harm?
Fiercely daring, Jaxx would sacrifice anything ot shield others particularly since a deadly menace dogged her every footstep, threatening all who got close to her. And strangely seductive, piercingly erotic Lucian was no exception. Lucian was powerfully, piercingly mesmerizing oddly gentle yet clearly a born predator. He had vowed to possess her, to hard her for all time. Yet withhis every thirsty kiss, wsas he drawing Jaxon more deeply into danger . . . and his dark, mysterious desires?
About the Author
Christine Feehan has had more than forty novels published, including four series which have hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. She is pleased to have made it onto numerous other bestseller lists as well, including Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Washington Post, BookScan, B. Dalton, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, Ingram, Borders, Rhapsody Book Club, and Walmart. In addition to being a nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award, she has received many honors throughout her career, including a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times and the Borders 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Read an Excerpt
By Christine Feehan
Copyright © 2002
All right reserved.
Chapter One Jaxon Montgomery snapped the clip into her handgun
and glared at her partner. "This is a setup, Barry, I can
smell it. It's amazing to me that you don't have a clue.
Where's your sixth sense? I thought men were supposed to have
some kind of instinct for self-preservation."
Barry Radcliff snorted derisively. "You're the one leading the
party, honey. We're all following you."
"My point, partner, is that you have no sense of
self-preservation," Jaxx threw him a teasing grin over her
shoulder. "The entire lot of you is worthless."
"You've got to decide, Jaxx, do we try it or call it off?"
Jaxx closed off her mind to everything, the darkness of the
night, the biting cold, the adrenaline surging in her blood
needing action. The warehouse was too easily accessible. There
was no way to search the upper lofts without exposing
themselves. Everything in her screamed they were walking into
Without hesitation she moved her mouth over the tiny radio.
"Abort, guys. I want all of you to pull back and out. Signal
when clear. Barry and I will cover until we hear from you. Go
The tiny receiver in her ear crackled. "Are you going to let a
woman losing her nerve cost us the biggest bust in history?"
That was the new guy. The one whohad been placed on her team
against her will. The one who had some kind of political pull
in the department and was on his way up. Benton. Craig Benton.
"Stand down, Benton, that's an order. We can argue over it
later," Jaxx commanded, but she knew, with a sinking heart, he
was the cause of the warning systems shrieking at her. Benton
wanted to be a hero. There was no room for heroes in her line
Barry was swearing beside her, his body already rigid. He knew
it as well as she did. Barry had been her partner long enough
to know when Jaxx said there was trouble, there was hell out
there. "He's going in, he's going in. I see him at the side
"Fall back, Barry," Jaxx snapped, already moving forward.
"I'll try to pull him out, you get the rest of the world down
here because there's going to be a war. Keep our guys out of
there until we have help. It's an ambush."
She was so small and slender, dressed in her dark clothes and
cap. Barry could barely make her out in the darkness of the
night. She never made a sound when she moved. It was eerie. He
found himself continually glancing at her to assure himself
she was with him. Now, he moved too. There was no way his
partner was going into that building without him. He issued
the orders, called in the backup, but he followed her. He told
himself it had nothing to do with Jaxx Montgomery and
everything to do with partnership. It had nothing to do with
love, and everything to do with the job.
"You should see this place," the radio crackled in their ears.
"Get in here. It's loaded with enough chemicals to blow up
half the city."
"You idiot, it's loaded with enough chemicals to blow up the
building with you in it, now get the hell out of there." It
was Jaxx at her best. Her voice was soft and cutting, a whip
of pure contempt. Anyone hearing that voice became a believer.
Craig Benton glanced uneasily to his right and then his left.
The place suddenly gave him the creeps. He began a slow
retreat, backing toward the door. At once something bit at his
leg, high and ugly, knocking him backwards and down. He found
himself on cold cement floor staring up at the loft. The place
remained silent. He put his hand down to touch his leg and
found a mush of raw hamburger. He screamed. "I'm hit, I'm hit!
Oh, God, I'm hit."
Jaxon would have gone through the door first, but Barry
slammed his shoulder into her, knocking her slight figure to
the side. He dove into the warehouse, rolling to his right
looking for cover of any kind. He heard the whine of the
bullets as they zipped past him and embedded into the crate
behind him. He thought he got off a warning to Jaxx, but he
couldn't be sure as he crawled toward Benton. Things were
happening too fast, and his vision had narrowed toward his
purpose, pulling out the stupid kid and getting the hell out
He made it to the kid. "Shut up," he snapped rudely. Did the
rookie have to be as big as a linebacker? Dragging him out of
there was going to be difficult and if Craig kept screaming he
was going to shoot the rookie himself. "Let's go." He caught
Benton under the arms, tried to stay low and behind cover and
began to make his way back toward the door. It was a long way.
They were spraying the area now and deliberately sweeping the
chemicals so explosions were going off all over the place.
Fires broke out. He felt the sting of the first hit on his
scalp; the second shot was well placed. His left arm went numb
and he dropped Benton and found himself on the floor.
Jaxx was there. Jaxon Montgomery, his partner. Jaxon never
stopped until it was over, and she never left her partner in
trouble. Jaxon was going to die in that warehouse right beside
of him. She was providing covering fire, running toward them.
"Get up, you lazy ass, you're not that hurt. Haul your butt
out of here."
Yeah, that was his Jaxx, always sympathetic to his problems.
Benton, damn him, was dragging his body toward the door,
trying to save himself. Barry tried. He was very disoriented
and the smoke and heat didn't help. Something was wrong with
his head, so that it pounded and throbbed and everything
seemed hazy and far away. Jaxx's small frame landed beside
him, her beautiful eyes enormous with worry. "You landed us in
a hell of a mess, my friend," she said softly. "Get moving."
She gave him that quick once over, assessing the damage and
dismissing it for more important things. "I mean it, Barry,
move your butt out of here now!" It was a clear command.
Jaxx slammed another clip into her gun and rolled away from
him to draw fire away from her partner, coming up on her knees
firing up toward the loft. As he dragged his leaden body
toward the entrance, Barry caught a glimpse of a man falling.
Satisfaction was instant. Jaxx was an expert marksperson.
Whatever she shot at went down. Even if they died here, they
took at least one of them with them. Something made him turn
his head just as the bullets struck Jaxx, taking her small
body and flinging it across the warehouse backward several
feet. She fell like a rag doll onto the floor, a dark stain
spreading out around her.
Furious, enraged, Barry tried to bring his gun up, but his arm
refused to respond. The only thing he could do was crawl
forward or crawl back. He crawled back, dragging his body
across the distance to hers. She was just laying there. She
turned her head slightly to get a look at him.
"Don't, Jaxx, don't you do this to me."
"Get out of here."
"I mean it, damn it, don't you do this." He was desperate to
reach her, motivate her to move. She had to move. Had to get
out with him.
"I'm tired, Barry. I've been tired for a very long time.
Someone else can save everybody now." She murmured the words
very low. He almost didn't hear them.
"Jaxx!" Barry tried to gather her in his arms, but his arms
To his left, the small door suddenly slammed shut, trapping
them inside. Benton was right: There were enough chemicals in
there to blow them all over the city. He waited, expecting
death at any moment.
He heard screams then, horrible, gut-wrenching screams of
fear. He saw bodies falling through the smoke and the glow of
flames. He saw things that couldn't be. A wolf, huge and
savage, leaping at a fleeing man, powerful jaws boring through
the chest to get at the heart. The wolf seemed to be
everywhere, bringing down man after man, ripping through
tissue and flesh, cracking bones with its jaws. He saw that
same wolf contort, shift shape so that it was a huge owl that
dove at another man, plucking the eyes right out of the head.
It was an unbelievable nightmare of blood and death and
Barry had no idea he had such violence inside of him to
picture such terrible images. He knew at least two bullets had
hit him. He could feel the blood trickling down his face as
well as his arm. Obviously he was hallucinating. That was why
he didn't attempt to shoot when the wolf finally made its way
to their corner of the warehouse. He watched it approach,
admiring the way it moved, its muscles rippling, the way it
leapt so easily over anything in its path. It came straight to
him, drawn no doubt by the smell of blood, or so Barry
thought, his own vivid imagination running wild.
The wolf looked into his eyes a long time. The eyes of the
wolf were very strange, almost black, completely black.
Intelligent eyes. Empty of any emotion. Barry felt no threat,
but more as if the wolf were staring into his very soul,
perhaps judging him. He lay there still, feeling only a
willingness to do whatever the creature wanted him to do. He
felt very sleepy, his eyelids far too heavy to keep up. As he
was drifting off, he could have sworn the wolf contorted once
more and began to take on the shape of a man.
* * *
Jaxon Montgomery woke to the sound of a heart beating. It was
beating fast and hard, frightened, and very, very loud. She
felt automatically for her gun. She was never without a
weapon, yet she found nothing under her pillow or beside her
body. The heart pounded even harder, and she tasted the
coppery flavor of fear in her mouth. Dragging in a lungful of
air, she forced herself to open her eyes. She could only stare
in astonishment at the room she was in. It was no hospital and
certainly not the bedroom in her tiny apartment. It was
beautiful. The walls were a soft mauve, so light it was
impossible to tell if the color was really there or merely her
imagination. The carpet was thick and a deeper mauve, picking
up the colors in the stained glass that etched the room, high
up on three walls. The pattern was soothing and intricate. It
gave Jaxx the illusion of being safe, something she knew was
impossible. Just to make certain she was really awake, she dug
her fingernails into her palm.
She turned her head to examine the contents of the room. The
furniture was antique and heavy, the bed a four-poster more
comfortable than anything she had ever slept on in her life.
The dresser was large and held a few feminine articles on it.
A brush, a small music box and a candle. They were beautiful
and looked antique. There were several candles in the room,
all lit so that the room seemed to bask in the soft light. She
had often dreamed of a room like this, so beautiful and
elegant, with stained glass windows. It occurred to her again
that she might not be awake.
The sound of the heart pounding so loud convinced her she was
wide awake and there must be others taking care of her. Others
who had no way of knowing the danger she brought with her. She
would have to find a way to protect them. Jaxx looked around
frantically for her gun. She had definitely suffered an
injury. It dawned on her then that she couldn't move very
well. She took an inventory, carefully trying to move her arms
and then her legs. Her body did not want to respond. She could
move if she concentrated every bit of her determination, but
it was hardly worth the effort. She was very tired and her
head was aching. The relentless beating of that heart was
driving her crazy.
A shadow fell across the bed, and her heart slammed hard
enough to cause her pain and she realized the sound had come
from her own chest. Jaxon slowly turned her head. A man was
standing over her. Very tall, powerful. A predator. She saw
that instantly. She had seen many predators, but this one was
the ultimate. There was something in his complete stillness. A
waiting. A confidence. It was in the very stillness itself. A
power. A danger. More dangerous than anyone she had
encountered so far. She didn't know how she knew these things,
but she did. He believed himself invincible, and she had a
sneaking suspicion that he just might be. He was neither old
nor young. It was impossible to tell his true age. His eyes
were old. Black and emotionless. Empty eyes. His mouth was
very sensual, erotic really, his teeth very white. He was
handsome and sexy. More than sexy. Completely hot.
Jaxx sighed and tried not to panic. Tried not to allow her
thoughts to show on her face. His shoulders were very wide. He
definitely didn't look like a doctor. He did not look like
someone she could take down easily in hand-to-hand combat. He
smiled then, amusement touching his eyes for just one moment.
It made him look completely different. Warm. Sexy. Even
sexier. She had a feeling he was reading her thoughts and
laughing at her. Her hand was moving restlessly beneath the
covers, forever seeking the gun.
"You are in distress," he made it a statement. His voice was
beautiful. Smooth like velvet, almost seductive. He had a
strange accent she couldn't place and a way of turning his
words that sounded very Old World, almost alluring.
Jaxon blinked rapidly in an attempt to cover her confusion,
surprised by the direction her thoughts were taking. She never
thought in terms of sex. She had no idea why she was equating
this stranger with erotic descriptions. "I need my gun." It
was a dare of sorts, a test of his reactions.
Those black eyes studied her face intently. His scrutiny made
her uncomfortable. Those eyes saw too much, and Jaxon had a
great deal to hide. His face was expressionless, giving
nothing away, and Jaxx was very good at reading people. "Are
you planning to shoot me?" He asked it with that same gentle
voice, only this time there was a hint of amusement in it.
She was very tired. It was becoming a struggle to keep her
eyelashes from drifting down. She noticed a peculiar
phenomenon. Her heart had slowed to match the exact rhythm of
his. Exactly. The two hearts were beating simultaneously. She
could hear their hearts. His voice was very familiar to her,
yet he was a total stranger. No one could ever meet such a man
and forget him. She could not possibly know this man.
She moistened her lips. She was incredibly thirsty. "I need my
He moved to the dresser. Not walked. Glided. She could watch
him move like that for all time. His body was like that of an
animal, a wolf or a leopard, something catlike and powerful.
Fluid. Totally silent. He flowed, yet when movement ceased, he
was completely still again. He handed her the gun.
It felt familiar in her hand, an extension of herself. Almost
at once some of the fear faded away. "What happened to me?"
Automatically she tried to check the clip, but her arms felt
like lead, and she couldn't raise the gun enough to do the
He took the gun back, his fingers brushing her skin. The flood
of warmth was so unexpected she jerked away from him. He
didn't react, but gently pried her fingers loose and showed
her the full clip with a round in the chamber before returning
the gun to her palm. "You were shot several times, Jaxon. You
are still very ill."
"This isn't a hospital." She was always suspicious; it was
what kept her alive. She didn't want to be alive anymore. She
wasn't supposed to be alive. "You're in great danger. You
can't stay here with me." She tried to warn him, but her words
were too low, her voice fading.
"Sleep, honey. Just go back to sleep." He said it softly, yet
his velvet tone seeped into her body and mind, as powerful as
He touched her then, stroking back her hair. His touch was
familiar, and slightly possessive. He touched her as if he had
a right to touch her. It was more of a caress than anything
else. Jaxon was very confused. She knew him. He was a part of
her. She knew him intimately, yet he was a total stranger. She
sighed, unable to prevent her lashes from drifting down and
giving in to the powerful demand that she sleep.
Lucian sat on the edge of the bed and simply watched her
sleeping. She was the most unexpected thing he had experienced
in all of his many centuries of living. He had waited nearly
two thousand years for this being, and she was nothing like
he'd envisioned. The women of his race were tall and elegant
with an abundance of dark hair and eyes. They were creatures
of power and skill. He was well aware that his species was on
the edge of extinction and their women were guarded as the
treasures they were, but still, they were powerful, not
fragile and vulnerable like this young woman.
Excerpted from Dark Guardian
by Christine Feehan
Copyright © 2002 by Christine Feehan.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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