The vampire was built for sin, every inch of him tight and bulky with corded muscle. A killer, that much was apparent, and she couldn't help but wonder if his appetite for violence would rival his appetites for other...things.
A WOMAN SEDUCED
Naya Morales is no ordinary mortal. Born with a shaman's power, she has devoted her life to tracking down stolen magic-and punishing those who take it. But one fateful night, she follows the alluring call of a sensual magic that is too glorious to be true-and finds herself face to face with a stunningly handsome thief who is too magnificent to resist...
A VAMPIRE ENSLAVED
From the moment he sees her, Ronan knows Naya is his mate. Driven by a deep, almost mystical connection, he aches for her body, hungers for her blood, and swears their souls are anchored together. Naya refuses to believe the words of a vampire-or risk the wrath of her tribe. But when she tries to make Ronan her prisoner, neither chains of silver nor fires of hell can help her escape the truth: she is the one who's been captured, in The Warrior Vampire by Kate Baxter.
About the Author
Kate Baxter is the author of THE LAST TRUE VAMPIRE. She's a die-hard romantic with a thing for Shakespeare. She lives in the great northwest where she hides away to write about all things fanged, furry, and undead.
Read an Excerpt
The Warrior Vampire
By Kate Baxter
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 Kate Baxter
All rights reserved.
The creature that had once been a woman was standing out in the rain for shit's sake. Her face, tipped up toward the heavens — blasphemy. Monsters didn't have the right to look to the sky when they prayed. Yet there she stood, palms facing upward, eyes closed, while water and unspent magic collected in her palms.
Naya waited in the shadows, tucked beneath an umbrella as she watched the creature. Her fingers twitched, wrapped tight around the dagger's hilt. The sound of magic swirled in the air around her. A sound only she could hear, a melody sung to her soul. Only this tune was off. Too flat, and then, sharp. It offended her inner ear, the pitch not quite right. The hilt of the ancient dagger grew warm in Naya's hand, the blade hungry for the evil that had taken root and spread like a cancer in the body that had once been human. Tonight's retrieval had to be done by the book. Dark magic poisoned the woman's body and soul. Either willingly or by force, foreign magic had consumed the woman's body, the wrongness of the music's tune proof enough, and it was Naya's job to recover what lived inside of her before the magic burned through the body of its human host and went out in search of new prey.
Consume the magic. Contain the power and extinguish the demon it's created. The words rang true, even as Naya's stomach twisted in on itself. A streak of lightning cleaved the sky followed by a peal of thunder. The woman didn't even flinch — she was already in the grip of something too powerful for even a force of nature to interrupt — her features contorted and losing any sign of her former humanity.
A host, once infected with malicious magic, became a mapinguari. A demon whose singular thought was the creation of chaos. Naya watched as the magic manifested in the woman's upturned hands. Her long fingers became tipped with vicious claws and her legs bent at an odd angle, more avian than human now. Energy flowed from her palms, dripping to the black pavement like fluorescent paint in a room of black lights. The sound of it twined around Naya's soul, myriad wind chimes dancing in an unnatural rhythm to form a cacophony of sound rather than a beautiful melody. It was now or never. No longer human, the mapinguari wouldn't waste any time in cutting a path of death and destruction. Naya had an obligation to her people. To the innocent humans who lived in Crescent City. And to her own magic that abhorred the dark energy.
A disturbance tickled the air, like a wave of heat after a cool morning. The mapinguari turned to face her, teeth bared as a snarl worked its way up the demon's throat. Naya took a deep breath, steeled herself for what had to be done, and struck.
* * *
"Naya." Santiago Molina nodded his head in acknowledgment as she walked through the door of his shop. He eyed the brilliant gold box in her hand before meeting her face. "Another job well done, I assume?"
Another job. Sure. For the past week, the small town of Crescent City, California, had been swarming with mapinguari. Well done? She supposed she was good at her job. But did she like it? That was the million-dollar question. "Here." She shoved the gilded box into his waiting hands. "She was already starting to transition by the time I'd found her. Completely mindless. She couldn't contain the magic, either. It was leaching from her pores. I managed to neutralize the situation before she killed anyone, though."
Santi eyed the box, turned it over in his hands. Naya knew he would never think to open it, but no matter how many times they did this, he fidgeted like an Oxy addict in a pharmacy. Not many could control the magic once it had been repossessed. But it just so happened Naya was one of the lucky ones. One of many job perks she'd grown tired of dealing with.
"Paul's been asking around about you." She knew it would only be a matter of time. Still, the noose of implied servitude tightened at her throat. Naya tried not to immerse herself too deep in culture. Separating the real world from familial and tribal obligations was something she struggled with. She did her job, turned over to Santi at the end of every hunt the gold boxes that held the repossessed magic, which he turned over to the elders. Maybe there was a warehouse full of them somewhere, like a repo lot for stolen magic. The elders were simply the keepers of what she'd repossessed. None of them could handle it. That was Naya's job. And after her part was played, her only interest was in dragging her tired butt back to her house.
Naya cocked her head to the side and held out her hand. Santi slapped a stack of bills in her palm and she turned, the bell ringing in protest as she swung the glass door wide.
"Keeping your distance isn't going to solve any of your problems," Santi said before she could get both feet out the door. "Pissing them off is just biting yourself in the ass."
She nodded, just so he'd know she'd heard, and let the door shut him out behind her.
* * *
Naya's Subaru Outback wagon looked like a soccer mom's ride. In Naya's line of work she needed a practical vehicle, and the Outback carried a lot of shit. She slid in behind the wheel and let her head loll back against the headrest. Fatigue tugged at her eyelids, but she didn't dare close her eyes. Every time she did, she relived the bloody moment when she'd stabbed the dagger into the woman's chest, piercing her heart. It didn't matter that she'd been more monster than human at that point. It never got easier, no matter how many times Naya had to remind herself that she was serving the greater good.
Her breath came in quick little pants as Naya gripped the wheel. Stars sparkled at the periphery of her vision and her heart beat a violent rhythm in her chest. Anxiety coursed through her; she fought against the sensation of suffocation — of helpless imprisonment — that threatened to lay her low. Thanks to the Subie's soundproof interior, no one heard the release of pent-up emotion and magical energy that burst from her lips in a scream. She hadn't even known the woman's name. But Naya had done what she'd had to do. Magic — malicious magic — corrupted those not born to control it. Magic in the wrong hands created monsters, and Naya's very existence demanded that she be responsible for damage control.
That woman had come by her power through unnatural means, whereas Naya had come by hers through birthright. Bruja. Shaman. Witch. Sorceress. Whatever her title, it was half a dozen of one or six of the other. The indigenous tribes of South America took their spirituality and magic very seriously, and her ancestors had crawled right out of the goddamned rain forest.
Naya's tribe, the Bororo, had taken on the responsibility of policing the magic in this world centuries ago. More specifically, they policed those who stole and misused magic in this world. If you didn't come by your gifts naturally, it was considered a crime against the natural order. A perversion. A break in the sacred circle. And once possessed by magic, those unworthy of wielding it became nothing more than mindless monsters hell-bent on death and destruction. Demons. The vile mapinguari of legend. Naya was an enforcer. Her job was to find the creature and play judge, jury, and executioner. It's not a job she would've wished on her worst enemy. The tribe paid her expenses, but aside from that, she didn't get many benefits. No insurance, retirement, 401(k). As for unemployment ... The only way to get let go from her job was to be paired off in an arranged mating or die in the line of service. Personally, she'd rather die, and a bruja wasn't exactly easy to kill.
The woman's death tonight had been an unfortunate necessity. She'd already been too far gone to save and the magic she'd stolen had to be retrieved. She'd been human before she'd come by the magic, but once it had merged with her essence she had become something dangerous. Other. A rabid beast that had to be put down. Naya suppressed a shudder as she recalled the empty expression on the woman's distorted face, her irises nothing more than solid white orbs in her skull, and the snarl that tore from her lips before Naya drove the dagger into her chest. The woman was no innocent. Only through vile acts of darkness could true magic be stolen. And no matter how many times Naya had done this, she still could not reconcile her soul to the violent lengths people would go to possess true, terrifying power.
With a quick turn of the key the Subie purred into life and she pulled out onto the rain-drenched street. The entire city block was actually a small village and no one was the wiser. Her tribe's entire culture centered on the village circle. Time flowed in its circumference: the past, present, and future. And right now she wanted the hell out of it.
Panic pounded in her chest as Naya sped through a yellow light. She was always twitchy as shit after a repo, but tonight she felt like crawling out of her skin. A metallic tang burned her mouth, scorched with the evidence of what she'd done to that woman. That creature. Naya had had no choice but to kill the demon, she reminded herself, and what she'd done was no different from any repossession she'd performed in the last eight or so decades. So why did it suddenly feel so shameful?
The familiar tune of "Black Magic Woman" played from the cell phone mounted on her dash. His was one of only a few special ringtones programmed into her contacts. But only because she needed a good thirty seconds warning before she answered any of his calls.
"Where have you been lately, Naya?" Paul's voice scolded, despite his calm, level tone. He hadn't gone by "Paulo" for many years. Naya guessed he thought the Americanization of his name helped him blend in. She didn't have the stones to tell him he wasn't fooling anyone. "For weeks no one has seen you, and Joaquin says you haven't been at your apartment. You know you're supposed to stay close to the circle when you're not patrolling."
"I work all night. It stands to reason that I might not open my door during the day because I'm sleeping. Wouldn't you agree?" She tried to keep her own voice as calm as his. "I haven't been hiding from anyone. Just busy." His silence was as good as a string of curses shouted in her ear. "It isn't necessary for me to check in all the time," she continued, wondering why she kept the conversation rolling. "Besides, you know I always get the job done. Santi has the box."
Over the dead air she heard the sound of a low growl, a jaguar, and she suppressed a shudder. Apparently Paul didn't appreciate her pop and drop system. "It shows lack of faith that you separate yourself from your people," he said in a strained voice. "Do you forget that you have vowed to serve not only the tribe, but our pod?"
How could she forget? The bastard reminded her daily. "I never forget a vow," she said as she hung a sharp left. She pulled the phone off the cradle and turned off the speaker function, putting the receiver to her ear. "I do what you ask, damned efficiently I might add. So don't ever call in to question my loyalty."
"Others would disagree." Gods, she hated it when he got all high-and-mighty. "You are bound to serve the elders until the time of your pairing. You should be happy to interact with the members of this pod. Attend tribal functions."
Fuck you. I'd like to see you try and make me go.
"I'll make you go if I have to."
Son of a bitch, she hated when he did that. Just as she opened her mouth to give her thoughts a voice, he ended the call. But not before she heard that warning growl one more time.
Naya drove out of downtown Crescent City ready to put as much distance between her and tribal business as possible. Every member of their pod lived on the same square city block of property, including her. Well, sort of. A few months ago, she'd decided that she'd be damned if she lived every day of her life near Paul and his antiquated bullshit, and rented a house ten or so miles out of town. That way, when she needed space — like tonight — she had a secret haven in which to lay low. Only Santi and her cousin Luz knew about the house and that's the way it was going to stay. Naya could trust them to keep her secrets.
With the switch on the back of her steering wheel she searched for an appropriate radio station. She found one that echoed her mood, all deep bass drops and screaming techno beats. Against the backdrop of night, blue and red lights flashed, reflecting off the wet street. A group of greasy-looking guys sat on the sidewalk, handcuffed, their heads hanging and water dripping from their lank hair into the gutters at their feet.
Criminals, more than likely.
And they deserved whatever those cops dished out.
The voice of reason scratched at the back of her brain, Yes. They did.
Naya brought her hand up and rubbed her sternum, wondering at the sudden twinge in her chest. Probably nothing more than a little residual mojo left over from the repo. The pain increased from mild annoyance to sharp, pounding, fuck me pain. And then, the music began to play.
Not the radio. But the music only she could hear. The siren song that was the essence of magic in use. Only a bruja could hear it. And it wasn't an acquired skill. All of the women in her family had heard the sounds of magic since their birth. As fate may have it, she was one of only two living females in her family line. Which was why Paul had such a bug up his butt about her skipping tribal functions. In fact, she had a sneaking suspicion he was antsy to get her good and mated. And breeding a new generation of "ears" for their pod.
Lilting notes tugged at her chest, high, tinkling, and delicate followed by deep, hollow echoes. Whoever was using was close. And packing. Definitely not an amateur like the woman Naya had killed earlier in the night. This user had street cred and enough power to make not only Naya's chest ache but her ears ring also. She lost focus of everything around her, the magic enveloping her senses until only the ringing cadence of its presence remained. Her vision blurred, the wet pavement becoming nothing more than a smear across her eyes. Shit. Those cops weren't too far back; they'd notice if she swerved all over the rain-drenched road.
She eased her foot down on the brake, slowing to a cautious but not suspicious speed. Nostrils flared, she dragged in lungfuls of breath and expelled them slowly through parted lips. In through the nose, out through the mouth. She focused on the act of breathing in a futile attempt to curb the sensory deprivation caused by the magic's song. Tears sprang to her eyes at the beauty of the tune. So perfect and pure, only to dive into a raucous, offensive noise that made her brain pound in her skull. What in the hell is going on?
By small degrees her vision cleared and the road came back into focus. Two repos in one night — almost unheard of — especially so close to each other. She'd popped the first mapinguari in a back alley not far from here. Maybe two or three miles.
Alarms sounded in her brain, caution flags flying high. The possibility for disaster imminent. But the power seeking her out was too great to ignore. No way could she turn her back. Not because she had any great sense of responsibility. But because if she ignored it, an innocent might be hurt. And no matter how divided her loyalty to her pod had been lately, she couldn't allow another demon to be born of malicious magic tonight.
As soon as she was sure the cops couldn't see her, Naya flipped the car around in the middle of the four-lane road. Right in front of a no U-turn sign. Heh. She retraced her route for a block and when her vision began to blur again she knew she was close. Pulling into an empty parking lot, she killed the engine and gripped the steering wheel while she took a few more deep breaths and centered her own energy. No use going out half-cocked. Trouble was, no matter how she focused, the meditation didn't bring her an ounce of calm. She slipped out of the car, stumbling in the parking lot as she felt her way to the hatchback. As she pulled the latch, the door silently glided up and another wave of crippling sound caused her muscles to lock up. If she didn't get to the abuser soon, the magic could level the entire block. Unchecked power had a way of backfiring in the wrong hands. Or causing a shit-ton of chaos in the right ones. Either way, it was a lose-lose situation.
Excerpted from The Warrior Vampire by Kate Baxter. Copyright © 2015 Kate Baxter. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Looking forward to the book.
Naya punishes those who have stolen magic and reclaims it. She was born with this hunter skill. She is proud of her talent. One night she confronts a man savaged by pain. He collapses at her feet as he says her name. Ronan Daly is there to protect her but from what? He is a vampire She won't destroy him yet. She needs to know his story. She holds him captive in her apartment. This isolation increases their desire. They are drawn to each other by a strong sexual need. Is she his mate? Are they tethered to each other? This story pulled me in immediately. Naya is a powerful, tenacious heroine who demands respect. Ronan is a strong warrior vampire who always gets his way except when he does battle with Naya. He wants to protect her while she wants to be his partner. Only Naya with her power can calm him. They are destined to be together, but they'll have to fight powerful enemies to gain their happiness. Sparks fly when they are close and their passion is overpowering. This story is red hot and very erotic. Kate Baxter has written a dark adventure that is filled with great characters and non-stop action. The Warrior Vampire is the ultimate adventure in a world full of mystical beings.
Uniquely interesting This book is uniquely interesting and will cause the reader to not want to stop reading. It has well thought out descriptions, full of forward movement in the plot and incorporates a series of linked events that brings in the shifter and vampires stories. Naya is my type of women; strong, fearless, faithful to her beliefs and a kickass fighter. The author does an astounding job of incorporating all these attributes while keeping her femininity in tact. There is a vulnerability in Naya that makes you like her as the heroine and want to help her fight her cause. I love how the storyline introduced Ronan causing me to laugh and want to know how he came to be in that position. This vampire is not the common vampire you read about in most vampire books. Instead there is a uniqueness to the authors take on vampires and how she tells their story. This book is a good read for all people 18+ and I give it 4 STARS. AN ARC COPY WAS GIFTED IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST OPINION VIA NETGALLEY.
My Thoughts - 5 out of 5 Unicorns - I loved it!!! ***Received a copy of the ebook for an honest review The cover is definitely a work of steamy art :) This is book 2 in the series and is for adults only due to the steamy scenes and violence. While it is not mandatory to read the series in order, I highly recommend it because you will know the histories and references made from book 1, and it just makes it so much more together! I loved reading this one as much as the first. You get pulled right into Ronan and Naya’s story. I don’t want to give anything away, so it is hard to decide what to say. I really love Naya’s feistiness and warrior nature. She definitely has personal issues that you have no problem seeing and even relating to. Ronan is a cocky male, but he has his own issues to work through too. They both had moments where you wanted to yell at them and tell them to stop overanalyzing, but love them both! Kate Baxter has created an amazing world where you are never sure what will happen along the way, but you will enjoy every minute of it. I didn’t want to put it down. Can’t wait to see what Kate cooks up next!!! I highly recommend this series to all the PNR fans who love a great vampire romance
Reviewed by Annie and posted at Under The Covers Book Blog In the second installment to the Last True Vampire series, Kate Baxter introduces readers to Naya Morales, a woman with special powers tasked with tracking down others with stolen magic. When she is lured by a magic so different and powerful, she comes face to face with a man that somehow knows her name. He claims that he is going to protect her before passing out. Freaked out, Naya straps him to a chair, intending to question him once he wakes. But the stranger becomes all too impossible to resist. I didn’t fully warm up to Naya’s character. She acts like a tough cookie and I will admit, sometimes she is. But other times she acts without really thinking about it first. As with the reader, she is kept in the dark and when Ronan wakes, not able to remember anything that happened apart from that he is Naya’s mate and must protect her, Naya reacts like a child. Instead of having both characters sit down and try to communicate, they simply argue, creating a greater divide between them. Naturally, I could understand why Naya was a little bit freaked out, but the entire situation doesn’t really make for a very romantic interlude. It was hard to believe in the romance when Ronan is practically throwing himself on Naya and she’s batting him off like he’s a disgusting bug. I will say that I enjoyed Ronan’s character. He’s a charmer but boy does he seem clingy. As the book goes on, however, Baxter is able to rein them both in and create an action-packed story that does eventually amp up the romance. I’m looking forward to see what Baxter has in store for her readers next!
This is a fast paced paranormal with lots of action and adventure and plenty of steam. Naya has shaman powers and tracks down stolen magic and one night she comes across Ronan and takes him as her prisoner, Ronan has lost some of his memory and doesn’t know how he ended up in Naya’s bed, but he does know that Naya is his mate. Great Read!
I loved this book! Kate Baxter has quickly become one of my favorite authors and The Warrior Vampire is a great addition to The Last Vampire series. Naya is a rare witch in a Bororo tribe of shifters. In her tribe only a handful of females inherit the rare gift that Naya has of hearing and controlling "dark magic" . She is highly respected in her community but her tribe elders are a different story. They believe they should be able to control all aspects of her life, including who she mates. Naya has no desire to find a mate, she loves her job and knows that once she mates she will have to give everything up. At least she believes that until the night she met a vampire. The Warrior Vampire Teaser #2 Ronan is a vampire warrior and one of the few in this world. Ronan only wants to serve his vampire lord and repay him for granting him the power that came through the change. However after receiving a message from his sister telling him she has found an ancient vampire relic he sets off to find her. Sometime between receiving the message and traveling to the city Ronan goes blank. He has no memory of anything that has happened in between the message and arriving in the city. So you can imagine Ronan's surprise when he awakens to find himself handcuffed to a bed. While normally he wouldn't have a problem being handcuffed to a beautiful woman's bed, he knew something was immediately wrong. How would this beautiful creature know who and what he was and that silver was the only things that could contain him. The bigger surprise comes when he later realizes their two souls are tethered and she is his mate. The Warrior Vampire Teaser #3 This is book 2 of the series, and while it can be read as a stand alone I would highly recommend reading The Last Vampire first. This will just help you familiarize yourself with characters better and give you a little background on Ronan becoming a vampire that is not explained in-depth in this book. I received an eARC of this book compliments of the publisher for my honest review and opinion. All ratings and opinion stated are my own and have no way been influenced by the publisher or author.
: 3.75 stars--THE WARRIOR VAMPIRE is the second full-length installment in Kate Baxter’s adult, contemporary LAST TRUE VAMPIRE paranormal, romance series. This is vampire Ronan, and enforcer/demon hunter Naya Morales’s storyline. We were first introduced to Ronan in book one-THE LAST TRUE VAMPIRE. Ronan was a bit of a ‘manwhore’ who trothed himself to wicked female in order to save the life of Mikhail-the king of the vampires and the last known ‘Ancient One’. THE WARRIOR VAMPIRE can be read as a stand alone but for cohesion and back story, I recommend reading the series in order as there is quite a bit of detailed information revealed in each successive story. Told from several third person perspectives THE WARRIOR VAMPIRE focuses on the building relationship between Naya and Ronan, and their hunt for legendary ‘mapinguari’. Naya is an enforcer-she tracks the ‘mapinguari-a host (human or otherwise) infected with malicious, dark magic and destroys the demon that evolves from the stolen magic. But an increase and infestation of mapinguari finds our heroine face to face with a species once long thought to be extinct-the vampire- and the vampire’s declaration that Naya is his mate, finds our heroine caught between what it is she has to do, and losing her heart to her ‘tethered’ male. THE WARRIOR VAMPIRE follows several building plotlines including the development of future storylines and a revisit to previous couples and characters. Kate Baxter adds, vampires, witches, demons, shifters and an assortment of supernatural beings that all play secondary and supporting roles throughout the story and series. Naya is an ‘enforcer’ from the South American tribe of the Bororo, made up of male feline shifters, and female shamans and witches. The premise is a slow build as many different and intersecting plotlines are revealed and addressed, as well as some of the history of Naya’s people and their responsibility of policing magic; and the vampire’s struggle to survive in a world that believes they no longer exist. The relationship between Naya and Ronan focuses on Ronan’s attempts to convince his mate that what she feels is real but Naya is a strong, independent female who is slowly pulling away from the people in control. As an enforcer, she goes above and beyond, but as a female ‘Bororo’, she is expected to mate with one of her own. Ronan’s declaration of Naya as his mate has thrown a few problems into the already frigid waters of the Bororo hierarchy. Naya’s personality is aggressive and sometimes unforgiving but her attraction to, and need for Ronan, slowly calms her angry façade. Ronan is a male vampire who literally falls into Naya’s life as he searches for his missing sister-the twin who has gone in search of an ancient vampire relic. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and intense. There are several intersecting conflicts including Ronan’s troth to another female and the darkness that continues to encroach upon his soul. We also look at the men who control Naya’s life-their demands, their punishments, their patriarchal society of men in charge; and the hunger for power that begins to corrupt the people in charge. THE WARRIOR VAMPIRE is an entertaining and intriguing storyline with engaging characters and a passionate romance. The requisite evil comes in many forms but all with a singular vessel of control. The writing style flows smoothly with a number of introspective thoughts from our leading characters that let the reader