Witch Blood

Witch BloodBerkley Sensation
Elemental Witches 2
ISBN-10: 0425220435
ISBN-13: 978-0425220436
Release Date: March 4, 2008

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“Gritty danger and red-hot sensuality make this book and series smoking!”
— Romantic Times BOOKreviews

“Any paranormal fan will be guaranteed a Top Pick read. Anya has provided it all in this hot new paranormal series. You get great suspense, vivid characters and a world that just pops off the pages. This book is not too be missed.”
— Night Owl Romance Reviews

A water witch, Isabelle Novak has always led a chaotic, nomadic existence. But her life spins out of control when her sister—her only friend and emotional anchor—is killed by a demon. Driven by grief and a desire for revenge, she turns her back on the Coven and the rede they hold sacred: Harm thee none...

When Isabelle first encounters Thomas Monahan, she’s running on pure rage and sorrow, channeling her pain into power—and trying to freeze the life out of a warlock she holds responsible for her sister’s death. Together, they form an uneasy alliance to hunt and destroy a demon of tremendous power. As head of the Coven, earth witch Thomas must thwart Isabelle’s dark impulses, but his very presence stirs deeper desires she never knew she had…

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Excerpt
Chapter One

How to Catch a Warlock 101. Isabelle could teach that class.

Club music thrummed through Isabelle’s body. Eyes closed, she swayed her hips, dancing more to the ebb and flow of the subtle emotions around her than to the beat. Intoxicated by the sea of euphoria and lust, she allowed the seductive, primal weave to free her for a few blessed moments.

The trap she’d set for the warlock also trapped her.

A man’s hands grasped her waist. A lean, muscular body pressed against hers from behind. She knew that touch, those hands and the subtle, woody scent of his expensive cologne. It was the warlock she hunted. The one who thought she was a woman just like any other. Her eyes came open, moment of serenity vanquished by his presence.

Anyone able to see her face would’ve glimpsed revulsion pass over her features before her lips curved in a coy smile. She snuggled back into Stefan Faucheux’s arms. He rocked her back and forth, changing the sway of her body to the beat of the music instead of the soft waves of emotion. Stefan had no empathy.

Somewhere nearby a camera flashed, then another. Paparazzi. The media fawned over Stefan, an ultra-rich playboy.

Any woman he dated was a source of particular interest. Isabelle had managed to stay on Stefan’s arm longer than most. She was the mysterious red-haired, green-eyed woman on whom no reporter could find much information. Isabelle had paid a lot of money to ensure that was so. She’d worked hard to make certain she interested Faucheux for a while too. A lot of planning had brought her to this night.

Of course, the photographers didn’t know she was a witch and Stefan a warlock. Those were secrets best kept from the non-magickal population. That was the only thing the Coven and the warlock-controlled Duskoff Cabal could agree on. The non-magickals greatly outnumbered the magickals and, historically, showed a lot of bloodthirstiness for those perceived to be different.

Stefan moved his body with hers in a teasing semblance of sex that made her stomach roil. Soon, this would all be over. That was the only positive about having to suffer his closeness.

Isabelle pasted a smile on her lips and closed her eyes again. She thought of deep, rushing streams furrowing their way through the earth, the recesses of the ocean, where the water lay still and silent, the gentle eddies and ripples at the edge of a lake. Her power rose in response to the mental stimulus, just a little. It bled off a bit her stress, blunted the sharp edge.

Stefan’s arms tightened around her and he nuzzled her throat. More cameras flashed. They’d be on the front page of every tabloid in the country by tomorrow. She’d probably be touted as pregnant and making plans for a wedding. The Lady only knew what stupidity they’d come up with.

And then the other story would break. The darker one. The far more violent one.

Soon, she assured herself. Tonight. Because she was not a woman like any other and today was no ordinary day. It was time Stefan Faucheux paid for his sins.

Emotion welled in her throat for a moment. She’d barely had time to grieve. These days she was running on rage, sorrow and little else.

Use it. Don’t let it use you.

Immediately, the sudden swell of vulnerability faded into cold resolve. It was a lesson she’d learned long ago and learned well.
She’d had lots of practice stuffing away her pain, transforming it into a far more effective force. Her emotion had become a well-honed weapon.

He leaned into her, spoke into her ear loud enough for her to hear over the pounding music. “Time to leave, ma cheri.”

It was, indeed, time.

Anticipation coursed through her, leaving a tingle of sweetness that warmed her more surely than Stefan’s skill with fire could ever do. Stefan was a fire witch, one of the more powerful she’d encountered. Though he couldn’t claim the title witch anymore, not technically. He’d betrayed the Coven, broken the rede too many times to count. Now he was a lowdown, dirty warlock.

Her own ability resided in the realm of water. That meant she and Stefan were direct opposites magickically. It had complicated her plans somewhat. Normally fire and water had a natural repulsion, whereas fire and air had a built-in attraction. Isabelle had had to work double time to snare her quarry because of that, especially since she couldn’t hide her abilities from a warlock like Stefan. He had a nose like a bloodhound for different types of magick.

He took her hand and led her through the crowd toward the door. The photographers detached themselves from the partying throng and followed. She could see them scuttling like crabs out of the corner of her eye. Stefan’s bodyguards flanked them, not allowing anyone to get too close. Earth charms helped. He’d had several created that compelled people to keep their distance.

They made their way out of the club and the heavy doors closed behind them, not quite blocking the bass of the music within that seemingly made the entire club throb on its foundation. Early morning chill raised goose bumps on her bare arms and legs.

She took a moment to inhale the fresh, not quite clean, air of the city, ignoring the surprised whispers and gasps of those in line to enter the club.

“Come, darling,” Stefan said, placing a proprietary hand at the small of her back and guiding her toward the limo. “La limousine attend.”

She flashed him a ditzy smile. “I love it when you speak French, Stefan. It’s so sexy.”

Stefan didn’t know it, but she understood every foreign word he spoke to impress her. She’d been a child of the world, growing up the temporary resident of many countries, and spoke both French and Italian fluently.

He stopped her in front of the limo, tucked her hair behind her ear and leaned in to whisper, “I will speak it to you until the sun comes up, if you allow me, ma cheri.”

She moved her head and placed a lingering kiss to his neck. “Then send your bodyguards away.” Isabelle dragged his earlobe between her teeth and he responded with a shiver. Cameras flashed in abandon.

He spoke a few words to the warlock muscle near him while the driver opened the door for her and ushered her within. Regulating her breath, as she always had to do when entering a small area, she climbed into the cool interior of the limo and sank down onto one of the leather seats. Isabelle had a moment of unease at the dark closing around like a velvet fist. Close spaces weren’t her thing.

Stefan sat down next to her. As soon as the door was closed, he was on her. But not coarsely, or clumsily. That was not Stefan. He was a perfect gentleman until he decided not to be.

He slid his hand to her waist, tilted her chin toward his face and pressed his lips to hers. Suave, undemanding, seductive. His fresh breath invaded her mouth as his tongue sought entry.

She suppressed a shudder and placed her hands on his broad shoulders, the fabric of his suit cool against her palms. She hesitated, unwilling to allow him a deeper kiss. He pressed the issue and she yielded, using every ounce of her willpower to not push him away.

Outwardly to the non-magickal world, Stefan was a benevolent social icon, known for his goodwill and his generosity. In reality, as head of the Duskoff Cabal, the violent little club warlocks kept, he pillaged and plundered his way through witches as though in his personal stockyard, slaughtering here and there when he felt like it.

Like any sociopath worth his salt, Stefan was a charming, handsome monster. The world should thank her for what she was about to do, even though she’d had to turn her back on the Coven Rede to accomplish it.

He leaned in toward her, burying his nose in the curve of her neck and sliding a hand past the hem of her short, black Versace. “We’re finally alone,” he whispered, “as you requested.” The car pulled forward, rocking her against his body.

She tilted his face to hers and kissed him, pressing herself into the curve of his body. She cupped his groin through his black pants and felt his hardness. “So we are.”

“Then why so shy? Tonight you will not escape me, Isabelle,” he breathed against her skin with his smooth French accent.

Part of her plan had been to tease him sexually. It had been a little like taunting a starving tiger with a slab of meat, but she’d been successful. It had hooked him, made him want her more…and allowed her limited intimate contact with him. A definite plus.

She raised an eyebrow. “I think it’s you who won’t escape me, Stefan.” If only he knew. She unbuttoned his pants. “Take them off.”

He grasped the hem of her skirt. “You first,” he purred.

“Noooo, you,” she shot back coyly.

He shook his head. “Take off your dress for me, Isabelle.” His voice held a thread of steel and his eyes had a brutally cold glint in them.

Her sly, sexy smile faltered. Damn it! This was not going the way she’d envisioned it. In her head, she’d been fully clothed when she brought him down. Having no choice unless she wanted to raise suspicion, she allowed him to draw her dress over her head, leaving her in only a lacy red bra and panty set and her shoes.

“Mmm,” he murmured in appreciation right before he pressed his lips to the swell of her breast. Oh, yeech. Yeech, yeech, yeech!

She yanked him forward by the waistband of his pants and kissed him roughly, biting his lower lip hard. He jerked a little and she tasted blood. “Off now,” she commanded.

“I adore a woman who likes it a little rough.”

Then he’d love her.

He slipped his shoes and pants off. She glanced down and lifted a brow as if in sexual speculation. He gave her cocky smile, the smile of a man who’s sure he’s about to get laid. How wrong could he be? He was about to find out. She reached out and took him her hand.

And she squeezed. Hard.

“Gritty danger and red-hot sensuality make this book and series smoking!”
— Romantic Times Bookreviews

“Lovers of magic and paranormal romances will doubtless find themselves enraptured by the gripping plot and intense sensuality of WITCH BLOOD. Be prepared to read it straight through, because you will not be putting this book down once you begin reading it!”
— ck2skwipsandkritiques

“Any paranormal fan will be guaranteed a Top Pick read. Anya has provided it all in this hot new paranormal series. You get great suspense, vivid characters and a world that just pops off the pages. This book is not too be missed.”
— Night Owl Romance Reviews