I am beyond excited to help in sharing an excerpt from Donna Grant's DARK ALPHA'S HUNGER with you today!
DARK ALPHA'S HUNGER is the highly anticipated 6th installment of the Reapers series.
If you're a fan of paranormal romance, you're going to want to get your hands on this!
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Dark Alpha's Hunger is the sixth paranormal romance novel in New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant's Reapers series featuring a brotherhood of elite assassins who wage war on the Fae at Death's behest--and the women who change their hearts.
There is no escaping a Reaper. I am an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I’m coming for you…
Where Death leads, I follow. Nothing will stop me from my duty – not even the darkness that claims me. It’s the music that leads me from the dark, returning me to my brethren and a new foe that has risen. Learning who hunts Thea could be the key to unraveling what we need to know to defeat our enemy. The Half-Fae’s music stirs a passion within me that I’ve never known. For her, I will break my vow of silence. For her…I will risk everything.
Even over the noise of the city, Eoghan heard the violin. As soon as the first strains of the song reached him, everything else faded away. He couldn’t ignore the music any more than he could stop using magic.
He hadn’t known what drew him to Dublin—until he heard the strings. The closer he got to the pub, the more the music seemed to wrap around him, tugging him near. And holding tightly.
Eoghan didn’t mind. In fact, he sought out the sound. He needed to know who played the instrument. Was it the pretty woman who’d helped pull him through the portal? Or someone else?
Remembering Rhi’s words about his eyes, he called forth a pair of sunglasses and put them on before entering the tavern. The place was packed with people as eager as he was to hear more of the music. He shouldered his way through until he found a place near a wall. Normally, this kind of crowd sent him the other direction, but tonight, he didn’t think of leaving.
As soon as his gaze landed on the woman swaying as she played the violin, he inwardly smiled. Her blue hair wasn’t something he would ever forget. The mix of various shades of blue suited the tempestuous nature he’d glimpsed in her gaze the night before.
She had her eyes closed, completely lost in the music, moving from one song to another without missing a beat—as if she were performing for the notes, not the people. Slow or fast, it didn’t matter. The woman had serious skill.
Then again, he expected nothing less from a Halfling.
He eyed her black jeans encasing long legs and the black lace, long-sleeved shirt that scooped low in the front to reveal just a hint of cleavage. The black, high-heeled boots elongated her legs.
There was a flash of sparkle through her hair. Eoghan then spotted the mismatched earrings through the strands. One was a crown that hung from rhinestones, and the other a scepter.
Some might argue that her blue hair and shiny jewelry drew attention, but Eoghan knew the truth. Most only saw her hair or the solid black clothes and looked away in disgust or stared at her tresses, trying to figure out the exact shade. Few ever really noticed her face.
It was the perfect disguise for a half-Fae wanting to blend in.
Compared to her bandmates who were eating up the attention of the crowd, the Halfling was almost removed from it all. As if she preferred solitude but endured people in order to share the music that fell as easily from her as breath.
Eoghan’s lungs seized when she suddenly opened her eyes and locked gazes with him. Even from a distance, he knew those orbs held every shade of brown imaginable from a mix of raw umber and caramel to flakes of dark brown.
There was the slightest parting of her lips to let him know she recognized him. Now that he knew she was the one who had led him out of the darkness as well as pulled him through the portal, he owed her a great debt—one he feared might never be repaid.
He intended to cast magic that would alert him if she were ever in danger from humans or the Dark, but especially from Bran. He planned to do it as he followed her home.
When the band played their last song and walked from the stage, Eoghan made his way to the back of the pub to wait. He knew as soon as the door opened that it was the Halfling before she even stepped out.
He hadn’t planned to talk to her or even let her know he was near, but then he looked at her face. The next thing he knew, he’d spoken. The words sounded rough and raw, even to his ears.
Her head swiveled to him, and he walked from the shadows straight to her. The soft curve of her lips when he told her that he was in her debt made his blood heat. It took a moment for him to realize that it was lust that burned through him. It had been a long, long time since he’d felt it.
Memories from the night before as he’d covered her body with his when the dolmen exploded filled him. He recalled the softness of her body, the warmth of her skin. The smell of mint from her hair. He wanted so badly to touch her that he fisted his hands.
Death had sent him on a mission. Already, Eoghan wasted valuable time seeking out the Halfling. He needed to cast his magic and leave.
But she was near enough to touch. By the stars, it had been too many eons since he’d last yearned for the touch of another. If only the Halfling would raise her hand to his cheek or even his shoulder. Anything.
So long as she put her hand on him.
“I’m Thea. Thea Keegan,” she said. She raised a brow. “And you are?”
He parted his lips to answer when something materialized behind her. The Dark smiled at Eoghan. Without hesitation, Eoghan grabbed her against him and spun, bending over her and acting as a shield so the force of the magic landed on his back.
Blistering pain zapped through him as ball after ball of magic pummeled him. There was no time to fight the Dark, not with Thea. He glanced at her before he teleported both of them away to the roof of a building.
His knees gave out, pitching him forward. Eoghan caught himself with one hand and struggled to keep from falling on top of her.
“You can let go,” she said.
His muscles were locked with pain. It took a couple of tries before his arm finally released her. She moved from beneath him and climbed to her feet. Eoghan dropped his head and used both hands to keep from falling on his face.
“Dear God,” she murmured from beside him.
He closed his eyes and let his body heal the wounds. The Fae’s magic ate away at his skin, muscle, and bone like acid. One of the perks of being a Reaper was faster healing, as well as stronger magic than other Fae, but that didn’t make the pain any less excruciating.
The minutes ticked by without another sound from Thea. She remained beside him, and he could only imagine what was going through her head. Though he was immensely grateful that she wasn’t bombarding him with questions.
When most of the throbbing diminished to a level where he could breathe easier, Eoghan rocked back onto his haunches and rested his hands on his thighs. Then he opened his eyes and turned his head to her.
Thea’s face was a mix of panic, alarm, and curiosity as she set her violin case by her feet. Her brown eyes held his as she squared her shoulders. “I believe you were about to tell me your name.”
No hysterics, no demands, no fear. The more he was around Thea, the more he liked what he saw.
“It’s nice to meet you, Eoghan. I don’t suppose after what happened last night and just a moment ago that you’d feel the need to fill me in, would you?”
He rotated his shoulders, stretching out his newly healed skin before he removed the remnants of his shirt. Then he climbed to his feet and used his magic to replace the garment with another.
Thea’s eyes briefly widened, but she stood her ground and waited.
“Why do you color your hair so?” he asked.
She hesitated only a minute before replying. “I like to do something different.”
“It’s not to keep other’s eyes off your face?”
Her brows snapped together. “How . . . ? Why would you ask that?”
“Those like you either embrace who they are or hide. The hiding seems to be instinctual, I’ve found.”
“Those like me?” she repeated, her frown deepening. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Eoghan looked out over the city. He really wished Cael or one of the other Reapers were there to tell her. He was never very good at imparting such news.
“Eoghan,” she urged.
His gaze swung back to her. “Why do you dye your hair?”
This time, she didn’t pause in answering. “Because people look at it and not my face. And before you ask, I don’t know why I don’t want others to look at me.”
“It’s because you have Fae blood.”
She swallowed nervously and dropped her arms. “I see. Did I bring us up here?”
“I did that.” When she stared at him blankly, Eoghan sighed. “You’re getting a crash course in this, and I’m sorry about that. I’m a Light Fae. The man who attacked us in the alley is Dark Fae. You can spot them because of their red eyes and the silver in their black hair.”
Thea nodded slowly, her face blank.
“I had no intention of telling you any of this. I was going to leave, but the Dark showed up.”
She continued to nod, her face folding into anxious lines.
“Are you understanding me?”
“You’re Fae. I’m half-Fae.”
He lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Aye. That’s the gist of it.”
“I need more.”
Eoghan ran a hand down his face. What she wanted was for him to talk more. After so many millennia of silence, he was finding it difficult.
“Do you not want to tell me?” she asked.
He shook his head. “Until you pulled me from the portal stones, I went a very long time without speaking.”
“Oh.” She shoved a lock of hair from her face. “If it’s too much, then don’t—”
“The Fae come from another realm, but our civil war destroyed vast parts of it. Most have chosen Earth as their home. Ireland, in particular. The Light Queen takes the north, and the Dark take the south.”
Thea blinked, her lips forming an O.
“I’m part of an elite team who is hunting a rather nasty Fae bent on slaughtering Death. Aye, Death is a person,” he said when he saw the question fill her eyes. “Bran has become a nuisance that has to be stopped. He was the one who sent me to that other realm with a beast that was hunting me. I heard your music and followed it right to the doorway the Halflings and Druids built eons ago to go between realms.”
She blew out a long breath. “I think I need a drink.”
“It’s the mention of the Druids that got you, isn’t it?” he teased.
Her look of disbelief faded as she rolled her eyes. “You don’t look like someone who jokes.”
“I’m not, but you looked like you needed the distraction.”
She smiled, laughing softly. “I did. Tell me how you know I’m part Fae?”
“You’ve the look of us. It’s your beauty, but a Fae always recognizes another. Does no one in your family know?”
Thea hunched her shoulders as she shivered against the cold. “I’m an orphan.”
“So am I.” He wasn’t sure why he told her that. It was a part of his past that he rarely thought about. “We should get you out of the night air.”
She looked at his outstretched hand. “You brought us here, right?”
“I did. And I’m going to take you wherever you want to go.”
“Really?” she asked with a tantalizing grin. “Anywhere?”
He nodded. “Anywhere.”
“I want to see the pyramids of Egypt.”
Eoghan kept his hand out and waited for her to take it. She studied him as she reached for her violin case. As soon as her palm slid into his, he teleported them to the great pyramid.
“Bloody hell,” she murmured and stumbled back, nearly dropping her case when she spotted the monuments.
He steadied her with a hand as her head tilted back to take in the grand structure before her.
“You really are Fae.”
It had been a long time since Eoghan was around anyone with so much enthusiasm. He was supposed to be finding the other Reapers, though Death hadn’t told him how to do that. But he couldn’t seem to leave the beautiful, beguiling Thea just yet.
Her head turned to him. There was a huge smile on her face as her eyes sparkled with excitement. “I’ve always wanted to travel. The pyramids have always fascinated me. Thank you for this.”
The smile that had begun to form on his face died when he spotted the veiled Fae about two hundred yards away. A quick glance around showed five more.
It looked as if he didn’t need to find the Reapers. They had found him.
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