An act of vengeance leaves three friends and their tabby cat abandoned on a hostile alien world.
Kimi Wicker learns the hard way what it means to have the rug jerked out from under her. It takes on a whole new meaning when the rug being jerked is Earth and she’s no longer standing on it.
“There’s never a dull moment in this novel, which features violence, treachery, interplanetary travel and steamy love scenes. This paranormal romance’s sci-fi element provides an intriguing twist…particularly true in scenes set on Laizahlia, where the introduction of new characters with different motivations adds new wrinkles to the plot.” Kirkus Reviews
“With a vast array of alien creatures and extraterrestrial landscapes, mixed with several forms of space travel technologies, this is a must read for science fiction fans and anyone who enjoys cross genre writings. My compliments to the creative genius and visual delivery of this author.” Anthony Gerst– Goodreads Review
“Omg fantastic book, utterly love it and definitely want to read more of Denna’s book so found a new addiction and will hopefully be able to collect more Denina is a new author to me and I’m definitely glad to have found her.” Gwessie Tee– Goodreads Review
Soul of a Warrior is a science fiction romance that sends Kimi, her two closest friends and a beloved cat on an incredible journey to the planet of Lavina. Kidnapped by a stranger, they are given no reason for why they must endure the agony of having their bodies stripped down to pure energy, attached to a beam of light, then whisked across the cosmos. With no weapons, and little information, they are abandoned to their own defenses on this beautiful, but treacherous, world. Now Kimi and her two friends face the daunting task of trying to find their way back home again. They have the clothes on their back and Kimi’s tabby cat as their only means for hunting food.
Hours before she is torn away from everything she knows, Kimi comes face to face with her soul mate. She is shocked to learn he traveled from another world to claim her. But Neyvarre hesitates when the time comes to take her back with him and leaves an opening for his enemy to step in. Now Neyvarre is desperate to learn which planet Kimi and her friends have been taken to. He realizes her odds for survival are slim to none and knows he will suffer for all of eternity because of it. It is this endless suffering his enemy has planned for all along.
Like most people, Kimi Wicker didn’t see it coming when her world got knocked off its axis. Just another busy Friday night at McMillan’s Tavern. She held up her wrist, nodding at her watch when Amanda jogged by, her roommate almost an hour late for her shift. “Where you been?.”
“Sorry, sweetie,” Amanda replied, pointing at her hair. “Perfection takes time, you know.”
Following a few steps back, a lean, middle-aged cowboy took a seat at the bar, his nostrils slightly flared from the lingering scent of Amanda’s perfume. Kimi wiped her hands on a towel as he dropped his beige Stetson on the empty seat beside him, nodding toward the swinging double doors. “What the hell that fool girl do to her hair this time? She got brain damage or somethin’? Ain’t never seen the likes.” He turned back to Kimi, his expression bewildered. “Gimme a beer there, would ya, hon. A Bud’ll do.”
“You bet,” Kimi said, laughing. Like most bars in Oregon, McMillan’s was Country and Western through and through, and her roommate stuck out like a strutting peacock in a flock of wild turkeys. Tonight, Amanda had shown up with her short, natural blonde hair spiked, with the tips dyed shiny black. It would be enough to shock even the more open-minded of their regulars.
By the time Kimi set the cowboy’s beer down in front of him and counted out his change, Amanda had returned, busy tying an apron around her waspy waist. “Looks good,” Kimi said, pressing her palm lightly against the stiff spikes of hair. “Goes with the dress anyway.” They all wore the same style, a short black cocktail number, only Amanda filled it out in all the right places. Kimi’s hung loose no matter how much she tried to alter the thing.
Amanda grinned. “Yeah, pretty awesome, eh? Think I’ll keep it like this for a while.” She stood on tiptoes and air-kissed Kimi’s cheeks. “Boss having a hissy yet?” She reached across the bar for a serving tray already stocked with napkins and paper coasters.
“Not yet,” Kimi replied, holding out a stack of small bills to use for change. “Alice came in early, so I don’t think he noticed.” They always worked three girls on the floor weekend nights.
“Good deal. Guess I’d better hop to before he figures it out.” Amanda winked and walked away, the cowboy’s hungry gaze following. A woman sitting at the table directly behind him twisted the tips of her hair as Amanda passed, probably wishing she had the courage to try something so bold.
Kimi went back to cutting limes until the bartender’s hand closed over hers, pinning it to the counter when he popped her on the ass. Glaring down at the freckle-faced young man, she held back a growl, knowing it would only egg him on. “Idiot, you’re gonna get yourself stabbed one of these days.”
“That’s why I pinned your hand, babe.” Keith Matson released her as he bent to retrieve stray pieces of lime off the floor. He tossed them in the garbage at her side, his bright blue eyes twinkling as he flipped dark red bangs out of his eyes.
“Jerk,” she grumbled, releasing the knife. “Do your own damned prep work.” She knew Keith loved to get a rise out of people. Not always a good deal when you added alcohol to the picture.
“Love you too, babe,” Keith said, grin still firmly in place. He slipped the bowl of limes into the refrigerator under the bar. “I can take it from here. The kegs are lined up and ready to tap. I miss anything?”
“No, not really. Amanda finally showed up.”
“Miracles do happen.” Keith froze, softly snorting as Amanda skipped up to slap her tray on the bar.
“Whip me up three blended margaritas, would ya?” When he didn’t move fast enough, she snapped her fingers under his nose. “Hup, hup, bar boy, I got thirsty customers out there.”
Keith’s face flamed red. “Don’t hup, hup me, ya freak, or I’ll tell the boss you were late … again.” They both knew he wasn’t serious.
Amanda flipped him the bird.
The cowboy chuckled as the blender whirred, lifting his mug of beer in a toast toward Amanda. “Got that one wrapped up tight, don’t ya, hon?” She winked back.
A few seconds passed, and Keith returned with the margaritas, setting them on the bar. “Nice fucking hair. Have a run-in with a light socket before you left home?”
Before she could respond, Mr. McMillan called from the end of the bar, “Okay, kiddies, back to work.” His gaze froze on Amanda, mouth open as he scratched his cheek. “Go on, get back out there,” he finally said, then turned to point a finger at Keith. “And you, buster, better watch that foul mouth. I don’t wanna hear that kind of trash talk in here.”
“Yeah, right,” Keith mumbled, careful to keep his back to Mr. McMillan. “Good luck with that one. It’s a fucking bar, for Christ’s sake.” He looked over his shoulder and motioned with both hands at Amanda’s hair. “Sorry ’bout that, boss, couldn’t help it.”
Mr. McMillan grimaced and waved them away.
Though boisterous customers kept Kimi hopping, she struggled to settle and couldn’t figure out why. Her skin crawled, and she about jumped every time someone touched her. She’d be glad to get this night over so she could go home, take a hot bath and crawl into bed.
She stopped at the bar and yelled out an order to Keith, glancing at the clock above the enormous mirror along the back wall. “God help me,” she whispered, slumping. Only ten after eleven. Early yet, almost three hours till last call. And then another hour to clean up.
Waiting for her order, she turned to watch the crowd, finding her gaze drawn to a young, well-built man standing inside the front door. He stood out with his long, wavy red hair and dark shades. Not to mention he towered over the six-foot bouncer beside him. Kimi narrowed her eyes and fought down a shiver as she watched him study the room.
She froze when his gaze locked on her, alarm bells shrieking inside her head. Turning her back to him, Kimi pushed her hand to her chest, fighting to draw a deep breath. The man scared the bejesus out of her and she didn’t know why.
Peeking over her shoulder, she saw the tall man working his way across the room, thankfully away from her. “That’s right, big boy,” she whispered, “you go sit your badass in Mandy’s section.” She wouldn’t be so cowed by a guy like that. Probably think he was hot.
“You okay, babe?” Keith said, setting Kimi’s drink order on her tray. “Looks like you saw a ghost.”
Yeah, maybe so. “I’m good. Just tired tonight.” She smiled and picked up the tray, trying to forget about the tall stranger.
It only took a moment to drop off the drinks, and she turned for the back of the room, planning to break up a young couple in the corner with more going on under the table than should be. When Kimi stopped to take an order, she found herself shoved violently from behind, her tray full of money and empty glasses flying across the table.
“Dammit, I’m so sorry, guys.” Her customers jumped back, trying not to get wet. Kimi turned, prepared to chew ass, but found the sharp words lodged in her throat. Stunned, she watched the young couple she’d been about to separate crash into another table as they struggled to get to the front door. The guy was deathly pale, still in the process of zipping his fly. His girl had her hand fisted tight around his open shirt tail, almost getting jerked off her feet.
“What the hell?” Kimi murmured, catching the bouncer’s eye at the door. He lifted an eyebrow, then shrugged, allowing the panicked couple to pass when she didn’t motion him to stop them. Oh well, good riddance. It saved an argument she wasn’t in the mood for. After straightening her money, she set out again, too busy to worry about it. The abandoned table needed to be cleaned for new customers.
Kimi stopped dead in her tracks, startled by the sight of the tall, red-headed stranger taking a seat at the same cluttered table, his back against the wall. It figured. “God, why me?” she whispered under her breath. I have such shitty luck!
With her internal alarms still pinging, Kimi wanted nothing more than to follow the frightened couple right out the damned door. Instead, she stiffened her spine and headed toward the stranger, fighting to mold her face into a pleasant mask. She tracked his movements as he removed the dark cowboy hat and dropped it on the table, totally relaxed as he fingered the brim.
Fighting the instinct to run, Kimi stepped up to his table, ready to bolt if he made one funny move. “How ya doing tonight?” she asked, pleased when her voice didn’t crack. “It’ll take a sec’ to get this mess cleaned up and I’ll get your order.”
“Thank you, Kimberly. Take your time, I’m in no hurry.”
She froze, eyes narrowed, then looked up from the table to get a better look at his face. Did she know him? No one called her Kimberly. Not even her family.
When he didn’t add anything, she picked up her tray without wiping the table and hoped he wouldn’t notice the tackiness left behind. Kimi found she no longer wanted him to remove the shades. His face bothered her enough, the skin pulled too tight over prominent cheekbones, the structure all hard angles. Just wrong! The ‘don’t-fuck-with-me’ vibes coming off him were impossible to ignore, and she took a small step back, wondering why no one else appeared bothered. He was dressed in typical clothes for a place like this, jeans, a light green western-cut shirt and boots, but he looked like he’d be much more comfortable in a biker’s leathers.
Kimi fought not to take another step back when he offered her a tight-lipped smile, the smile not helping to ease her fear. Pretty soon she’d be back at the bar yelling out her questions to him. “What can I get ya?” She focused on her pad, avoiding his hard face as her pen tapped out a nervous rhythm on the tray.
“Water would be fine, Kimberly, thank you.”
She had expected the deep voice from the size of him, but the odd accent threw her for a loop, not one she’d ever heard before. Though not unpleasant, it didn’t do a thing to calm her nerves, her imagination dreaming up all sorts of idiotic things, like maybe he was an assassin come to kill her. After a few uncomfortable seconds, Kimi looked up and raised an eyebrow, forcing herself to exhale. “What else you want with that?”
“Nothing. Water is fine.”
She chewed on her lip, searching for a way out. “I’d still have to charge you a house drink price. Rules, sorry.” Trust me, I’d give you the damned stuff, gladly! “Sure you don’t want a drink?”
“I’m sure.” His smile widened, and Kimi swore she caught a glimpse of fangs. She flinched, taking another step back, almost two feet from the table now. Sweat broke out over her upper lip and she cast a quick glance toward the bouncer, finding him busy checking IDs at the door.
“Relax, Kimberly. I have no intention of causing you harm. The water is fine. It doesn’t matter what you charge for it.”
“Okay, fine, I’ll be right back then.” She turned and skipped away, giving him no time to change his mind. Maybe she’d get Alice or Amanda to take him back his freaking water.
God, she needed to get a grip! But the bastard knew her name—her real name. No way that could be a good sign.
Kimi set his water on a paper coaster without making eye contact and bolted before he could pass her any money. She didn’t care if Mr. McMillan chewed ass, she’d pay for it herself, totally worth losing a few bucks if she didn’t have to deal with the man. Afterward she did her best to concentrate on work, thankful when the stranger didn’t appear thirsty. The last time she checked, he’d completely ignored the water, the ice slowly melting, his full attention shifted to Amanda.
No big surprise there. Most men were interested in her roommate.
And all Kimi felt was relieved.
* * *
Around midnight the band took a break and things calmed down enough for Kimi to lean against the bar for a short breather. She stood beside Amanda and slipped off a shoe to crinkle her toes.
“Holy shit!” Amanda said, grabbing Kimi’s arm. “Would you get a load of that? Oh! My! God!”
Great, she’d finally noticed him.
“Kimi,” Amanda said, “would you turn your skinny ass around and take a look. I swear, sometimes I think you’re completely dead below the waist. You don’t have a clue what you’re missing.”
Oh yes she did. But Kimi turned, fully expecting to find the fanged stranger standing right behind her. Probably needed another glass of water, the freak.
Kimi found a stranger all right, just not the same one. She sensed the new man was dressed in black, but couldn’t pull her eyes away from his face to double check. His features weren’t as fierce as the guy wearing the shades, softer, more flesh covering the bones, less cruel. The biker guy had an almost pointed chin and straight, thinnish nose. This new one had a strong, square chin, with only a hint of a cleft. His nose was a bit large for his face, slightly flattened, though it wasn’t bad. She wouldn’t throw him back because of it. His mouth wasn’t as wide as the other stranger’s, his lips fuller, softer.
Very kissable lips.
Where the hell had that thought come from? Her gaze shifted a fraction to the blond hair pulled back from a high, smooth forehead. Not all blond, though. Silver streaks were laced through the light coloring, but not the kind of silver advancing age produced. This was brighter, shinier than it should be inside a room so dark.
The longer Kimi stared, the harder she found it to think straight. His green eyes pulled at her. They glowed, pulsing with a strange energy that held her locked in place. Her lower belly clenched, and she swore the unnerving pulse in her groin matched the flickering light in his eyes. Everything outside of the man faded away: no sounds, no people, no building, nothing. Nothing but those glowing green eyes that threatened to consume her. Even the repugnant smell of spilled drinks and cigarette smoke had begun to fade, replaced with fresh, cold mountain air.
He stepped closer, and she shivered as his eyes began to change again, a misty-white light pulsing outward around them. Tendrils of energy began to shoot across their surface, the sparks quickly growing in strength. They were building, hot fingers reaching out . . . reaching out for her.
Please don’t, she thought. Please don’t do this. Let me go.
“I am sorry, eillelé, I cannot. Forgive me.”
His words came through clearly in her mind. And though deeper than the first stranger’s, his voice carried that same exotic accent. Kimi tried to scream, but like the sound of his gentle voice, she heard it only in her mind.
The white mist began to swirl around them, a storm that trapped her inside the now empty bar with the stranger. The tornado began to spin faster and faster, Kimi caught firmly in the eye.
They moved slowly forward, the electrical charge emanating from them only seconds away. Kimi couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe.
An explosion of blinding pain almost dropped her in her tracks. Sparks zapped through her brain, agonizing even as they filled her with an incredible sense of power.
“Stop! It hurts!”
“I’m sorry, eillelé, my soul mate, I can do nothing to stop this. You were not supposed to be here. It is a gift you were not prepared to receive.”
A gift? Was he crazy?
And just like that, it was over, or the worst of it. Kimi’s death grip on the edge of the bar was all that kept her on her feet. “Mandy,” she whispered, grateful to find her voice again. “Help me. Are you there?” Her stomach rolled from the sickening sweet scent of mixed perfumes and spilled beer. “Mandy!”
“Yeah, sweetie, I got ya the first time. What’s up?”
Kimi bit at her lower lip and fought back tears as the shaking grew stronger. “Help me,” she whispered.
“Hey,” Amanda said, concern creeping into her tone. “Baby, what’s wrong? Here, lean on me.” When Kimi’s legs started to buckle, the pitch of Amanda’s voice raised. “Christ, what the hell. Hey, come on, let’s get you in the back.”
Amanda sounded worried, but not afraid. The bar had to be a complete mess and yet Kimi heard only music and laughter, no screaming in the background.
At Amanda’s gentle touch on her arm, Kimi released the edge of the bar, leaning hard against her friend.
“Don’t let me go,” Kimi whispered. “Please, Mandy, don’t let me go. I’m blind. He burned me, fried my eyes. Help me. Make it stop.”
“Keith!” Amanda yelled. “Get your sorry ass over here! Now! Kimi’s sick.”
A strong arm slipped around her waist. As the shaking grew worse, Kimi let Keith take most of her weight, her teeth chattering a rapid Morse code no one could understand.
“Shh, baby, relax,” Amanda whispered. “Let’s get you sat down and then you can tell me what’s wrong, okay? You need Keith to carry you?”
Kimi shook her head as they stumbled through the swinging double doors into the back room, fuzzy images trying to come into focus. She whimpered, in her mind visualizing long blond hair with heavy silver streaks.
And bright green eyes, eyes filled with so much power. It made no sense. Lightning had reached out between them, passed through her. But not all of it had gone back. When he turned to leave, a portion of it had stayed behind. Stayed inside her. Even now she could feel the power moving through her head, growing stronger, taking hold.
“We need to get you home so you can lie down,” Amanda said. “Keith, go get Mr. McMillan. Now!”
“Right. Be back in a sec,” he replied, sounding worried.
As the doors slammed against the wall, Kimi buried her face against Amanda’s chest and let her friend hold her while she shivered and cried.
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