Here’s more about Marked by an Assassin, including an excerpt from this paranormal romance novel.
Screams erupted in the club and he sensed the swarm of signatures rushing towards him, crowding him and pushing at his control. He snarled through his short fangs, trying to warn them away, needing the space they were consuming in their mad panic.
Harbin flicked his eyes open and they settled on a male clad in black combat gear similar to what he wore when he was carrying out the final phase of a mission.
Only this male was no fae or demon.
He was mortal.
Emotions bombarded Harbin on seeing the two dozen strong mortal males surging through the room, firing on the fae in it with tranquiliser guns and crossbows, or lashing out with their black batons.
He pushed from his stool, his left leg aching under the sudden weight, and growled as he shoved the people attempting to flee away from him, clearing a space around him.
His claws lengthened at the same time as his fangs.
A young male demon went down hard at the edge of the dance floor, a dart sticking out of his left shoulder.
Harbin’s blood burned, his heart labouring as he struggled to get enough air into his lungs. He shook with a need to unleash his snow leopard side and tear through the room, the urge stronger than it had ever been, fuelled by the constant awareness of the weaker female in the club with him.
His gaze sought her, locating her as she broke free of the throng of people to his left and made a run for it. She was agile and swift as she darted through the people, and he silently willed her to make it unseen to the main exit where a large male he recognised as a fellow shifter was stumbling into the club, shaking his head as he tried to rid it of the lingering effect of whatever dart the hunters had used on him.
They should have plugged him with more than one.
The big bear roared as he tore off his t-shirt and Harbin cursed him as all the hunters swung towards him.
Two males spotted the female.
Harbin pushed off, unable to ignore the pressing need to protect her.
One of the hunters hit her with a dart in her right thigh. She stumbled, a high shriek leaving her lips, but kept running, limping towards the bear as he started to shift. The second hunter pursued her.
Harbin growled and hobbled faster, cursing himself now. He needed to shift, his cat form being his stronger one in this situation, but he couldn’t when his tibia was still healing. The shift would break the weakened bone, leaving him in a worse condition than he was now and making it impossible for him to fight.
The second male caught the female as she slowed, the drugs taking effect, and Harbin flinched as the hunter dealt a blow across the back of her head with his baton. She crumpled, hitting the floor in a tangled heap.
Pain pierced Harbin’s right arm and hip, but it felt like little more than a brief sting as memories surged in response to seeing the female go down.
They rolled through him, ripping an agonised howl from his throat as he stumbled forwards, blinded by the pain and the fury, filled with a hunger to destroy every Archangel hunter he could see.
This was his fault.
He had hunted down Archangel members, all of them too young to have had anything to do with the attack on his pride. He had needed the kill though. He had needed the serenity of shutting down his feelings and focusing on a mission. He hadn’t thought it would trigger an attack on the fae community, but it couldn’t be coincidence that Archangel had targeted the very club where he had been seen two nights in a row.
Someone had witnessed the attack and survived to tell the tale.
Archangel had come after him for retribution and now innocents were being dragged into a living Hell again because of him.
The male grabbed her by her arms and hauled her into them, slinging her over his shoulder.
Harbin growled weakly and kept pushing forwards through the emptying club.
Several of the hunters left, carrying unconscious fae in pairs. At the exit, three were attempting to handle the bear shifter. Five darts stuck out of his bare chest and a nervous hunter embedded a sixth before a braver one dared to approach the slumbering brute.
A sudden sinking sensation washed through Harbin as he realised that the hunters were leaving, taking his quarry with them. His stomach squirmed, his instincts telling him to flee while he had the chance, to save his skin and escape whatever nightmare awaited the poor bastards at the hands of the Archangel hunters.
He pinned his feet to the floor and scrubbed a hand across his blurry eyes, trying to see the female as his body battled the effects of the drugs.
She hung limp over the shoulder of the hunter, her head lolling around and arms swaying with each measured step he took.
It would be easy to turn away, to slink into the shadows and wait for the tranquilisers to wear off. His body was already purging them, too strong for the puny doses they had used on him.
Shook his head.
Not only because he had gotten her into this mess, but because he didn’t know which facility Archangel would take her to and he would lose her if he let the hunters take her now. He might never find her again and he had promised Hartt that he would carry out his part of the mission.
He had vowed that he would remain close to her until Hartt and Fuery came to finish the job with him.
He had to keep that promise if he was going to keep his reputation as one of the best assassins in the guild. He had never lost a mark, and he wasn’t going to start now.
Not even when it meant placing himself in the hands of the hunters he despised.
He scanned the room and spotted a lone male hunter at the back, struggling with a large unconscious male. His gut churned, every instinct he possessed screaming at him to run in the opposite direction. He couldn’t. He had to get caught too.
A small part of him, a piece of him that refused to die now, whispered that his reasons ran deeper than a need to keep tabs on his mark and fulfilling his part of the mission. He wanted to get caught so he could ensure that she was unharmed by Archangel. He didn’t want to let her be alone in that terrible place.
He needed to be there too.
Harbin roared and hurled himself at the young hunter. The male turned, wide brown eyes filled with panic, and swiftly raised his compact crossbow. Harbin saw the flash of the dart, felt the sting as it pierced his chest, and grunted as he stumbled a step. He pushed onwards, lumbering towards the male, desperate to force him into firing again. He needed the oblivion the tranquilisers offered. He would lose his mind if he had to do this capture and transport in a semi-drugged state. His memories would destroy what little sanity he had left.
A second hunter dropped his quarry and joined the first, lashing out with a baton.
Harbin staggered right as the blow connected with the left side of his head, pain ricocheting around his skull and turning the world hazy for a moment. He tried to retain his balance, his injured leg crumpled beneath him, and he hit the tacky club floor hard.
The two males closed in and every instinct he possessed commanded him to shift and fight. He shut his eyes and surrendered instead, allowing the hunters to crack their batons across his arms and head as he curled into a ball on his side. His snow leopard side pushed for freedom, writhing beneath his skin, wild with a need to attack and protect himself. It took every shred of his will to keep still and take the beating, to not retaliate and kill the males who were battering him.
He would find them and kill them, after he had fulfilled his mission.
His strength faded as the tranquilisers began to take hold, numbing him but not quickly enough to stop the need to escape the hunters and their vile clutches, and the thought of waking to find himself at the mercy of Archangel from driving him mad.
Shattered memory fragments bombarded him, filling his mind with a broken replay of blood on snow, crimson drenching white, and the black blur of the hunters who had attacked his kin. He saw their faces, heard their last gasps as he choked the life from them, staring into their eyes so he was the last thing they saw.
He saw her.
The blonde Archangel huntress mocked him with the pretty smile that had addled his lust-fogged alcohol-impaired brain, luring him under her spell in the small bar in the town nearest to the mountain where his pride had lived in safety for centuries.
A peace he had shattered because he had been too full of himself, as headstrong and hot-blooded as his father had always told him he was. He had been too blinded by lust to see the warning signs, had been too tempted by the sinful beauty and the thought of satisfying his carnal hungers.
His pain dulled as he slipped into a daze, the tranquiliser dose not enough to knock him out, leaving him at the mercy of his memories. They ran on a constant twisted replay, tormenting him, driving him insane with a need to hunt and kill, a hunger that he was powerless to satisfy in his drugged state. He weakly banged his head against the hard floor, seeking oblivion in order to escape his past, but he didn’t have the strength to knock himself out.
He was vaguely aware of the hunters as they dragged him from the room, and the faint smell of gasoline as they loaded him into a truck. Lucidity came and went, giving him brief glimpses of holding cells in a darkened space, each filled with an unconscious fae or demon, before the past came rushing back to swallow him.
Each time it hit him, it drove him back under the violent tide of his memories. They battered him, turning him inside out with emotions that were still raw, his pain and fury yet to fade. He tried to growl whenever the blonde huntress flashed across his mind, tried to change the course of events whenever he saw her leaning in to kiss him, her emerald eyes glittering with desire, but no sound left his lips and nothing he did could alter the past.
The truck shifted, jostling him so he rolled against the cold metal bars of his cell. The feel of them pressing against his back and the thought of where he was heading combined to overpower him. Fear closed in despite his years of training and honing his abilities as an assassin, the emotion too strong to deny as it swept through him, swamping his mind and flooding it with images of what might await him and the other unlucky bastards in the truck with him when they reached the facility.
He tried to move, his instincts screaming at him to break free, to not allow Archangel to take him into a facility where he would be tortured and would possibly die. He hadn’t survived this long, hadn’t borne the pain for twenty agonising years for it to end here at their hands.
He wouldn’t let them win.
He snarled and shuffled, managed to get his hands beneath him and convince his body to obey his foggy mind, but he didn’t have the strength to push himself off the grotty floor. His arms gave out beneath him, his left shoulder hitting the floor hard enough to rip a pained yelp from his lips.
A hunter near the back muttered something and cautiously stalked forwards, heading in his direction.
He attempted to feign unconsciousness, but the pain in his shoulder was too intense, the fresh metallic tang of blood permeating the air telling him he had torn the wound open again. He gritted his teeth against it, his jaw muscles flexed, and the next thing he knew was a sharp sting in the right side of his chest as a dart impacted. Strange cold stole through him, numbing as it crept outwards from the impact point.
Darkness claimed him.
A brief, sweet moment of oblivion.
Followed by a rude blast of cold water.
Harbin snarled and tried to back away from the powerful jet, but a wall blocked his escape. He barked out his pain as the icy water thundered against his injured shoulder and then coughed as it struck his face, getting in his mouth and up his nose. He flinched away from it, curling against the wall, but it didn’t stop his assailants. They kept up with their torment, hosing him down where he sat on the frigid tiles of what seemed to be a bright room.
As they ran the hose down his body, he barked again, fire and lightning rocketing up his leg bones as the jet reached his ankle. He growled a curse and swung his gaze towards them, narrowing his silver eyes on them as he breathed hard, struggling against his need to leap to his feet and rip them to shreds.
The two young male hunters lost their smiles, their dark eyes turning wary as they backed off in unison.
Without a word, the one with the hose switched it off and made a swift exit, followed by his companion.
Harbin panted through the pain and gritted his teeth as he looked down at his left leg. The bastards had removed his cast, exposing the deep bruises that marked his skin and leaving him in danger of re-breaking his tibia if he put too much weight on it. He wouldn’t be fighting them any time soon, that was for sure. He needed a few more days before he could risk more than hobbling.
The bastards knew what they were doing. They knew what he was.
Who he was.
Not only had they taken his cast, which he would have easily stripped back to its base parts to get his hands on the metal rods to use them as makeshift batons, but they had taken his clothes.
They had removed everything he might have used as a weapon against them.
He flexed his fingers and smiled coldly as his claws extended.
Everything except his built-in arsenal anyway.
A shadow flickered out of the corner of his eye and he lowered his hands and looked towards the only exit in the white room.
A larger male blocked the door, his rugged face set in grim lines that Harbin felt matched his own expression. They had sent an assassin to deal with him, one of their finest no doubt. Only the best for him.
He bared his fangs at the male.
The bastard simply raised the dart gun in his hand and squeezed the trigger.