Authors: Tina Christopher
Mal murmured words of comfort as he slowly pulled out and
rolled to his back, holding her tight against his chest.
What a way to go.
Adira had to smile.
I love you.
Mal looked at her and the emotions in his eyes brought tears
I love you too. No matter what, always know I am at your side.
The kiss they shared was a promise, a vow for the future.
Despite the mind-shattering climax she’d just experienced,
his heat and scent so close to her, the pleasure so close to the surface, she
was thinking about round two.
At least until a sharp knock sounded on the front door.
They looked at each other. Mal frowned. “The team is busy
tracking down any and all leads on yesterday’s transport. They would have known
to message before coming.”
She stroked her hand across his chest, her fingers teasing
his nipple. “We can just stay in bed and wait for them to go away.”
“I like your plan.”
Mal drew her close for a soft kiss, but pulled back when a
clicking sound echoed through the house and the front door opened.
He jumped out of bed and grabbed his gun. Adira followed his
example, but added his shirt to her ensemble.
“Malachy?” A male voice echoed through the house.
His muscles unbunched, but his face remained grim. “He’s a
friend,” he said as he pulled on his trousers.
“A friend who just walks in on you?” Adira found her
underwear and trousers and donned them. “And was that the lock I just heard?”
“Yes, your ability to hear has increased substantially. And
he’s a friend who will be in pieces unless he has an extremely good reason to
Mal holstered his weapon and strode to the door. At the top
of the landing he leaned on the bannister and looked below. “What the fuck do
you want, Duncan? And why do you think it’s all right to just barge in?”
Two Vampires stood just inside the doorway. The one Mal had
called Duncan stood about six-four, had raven-black hair and gray eyes. He was
sleekly muscled. The other stood six-three, was bulkier than his partner, but
the way he stood showed he’d be a problem in a fight. Long black-blue hair and
“I’m sorry, Mal, but we need your help.”
Mal grimaced and walked down the stairs. “Adira, meet Duncan
O’Clare, friend and pain in the ass. Duncan, this is Adira, my lifemate.”
They did that man embrace where they half hugged, half
slapped each other on the back.
Duncan nodded to her. “Adira Kapur, we have heard a lot
about you and everything good.” He gestured to the other Vampire. “Please let
me introduce Nikolai Ranweth. He’s a friend and works for the Council.”
Nikolai shook both their hands.
Mal took her hand. “Let’s take a seat.” They settled in the
seating area. He looked at Duncan. “What’s up?”
Nikolai leaned forward and rested his elbows on his thighs.
“We are here for two reasons. You helped take down a human gang selling other
humans into slavery last night?”
Mal frowned and rubbed his thumb across Adira’s fingers.
“Yes, we stopped one shipment and potentially took out a chunk of the group,
but I’m not yet certain that we cut off the gang’s head for good.”
“You did when Jim Sturrs was killed.”
“That wasn’t us,” Adira interrupted. “Whoever came to
receive the shipment killed Jim when we arrived on scene.”
“Did they take anyone with them when they escaped?” Duncan
scooted to the edge of the seat. “Did you see a young woman with them?”
“Do you have a picture?”
Duncan pulled a small comp from his pocket. “It’s a little
out of date. Sydney hasn’t allowed anyone to take her picture for some time.”
Adira pulled the image closer. It showed a statuesque woman
with a svelte body, long, strawberry-blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes. “It’s
her, but when I saw her last night she’d lost substantial weight and her hair
was short, like a pixie cut. I only saw her for a few seconds, but she put up
quite the fight. In the end one of the me—sorry, Vampires, punched her and she
Duncan jumped to his feet and paced along the seating area.
“Who is she?” Mal asked.
“My lifemate’s best friend.”
Mal frowned. “Aren’t you mated to a Naema? Is she a Naema
“Why would Miguel Calatrave take your mate’s friend?”
The tension in the room shot through the roof.
“What do you know of the Spaniard?” An edge had appeared in
“He is the one who killed Jim and took the Naema and a young
woman we weren’t able to save.”
Duncan and Nikolai exchanged a glance.
“Tell us what’s going on,” Adira demanded. “This is more
than human trafficking.”
Nikolai turned to her, but remained silent.
“Sydney is gifted with numbers and has been helping us with
a major case,” Duncan interjected. “She told us she’d made an important
breakthrough, but wanted to check it out before she presented the information
Adira set the comp down. “Looks like her breakthrough pushed
her in the path of the wrong people.”
Mal hadn’t taken his eyes off Nikolai but now turned to his
old friend. “What is going on, Duncan? You didn’t come here to ask if I saw
your mate’s friend.”
Duncan paused. “Not only. Mal, I need you and your team to
help a Council investigation.”
“No. You know how I feel about the Council.”
“If you won’t help,” Nikolai’s interruption stopped Duncan
from responding to Mal’s words, “maybe your mate will.” He turned to Adira.
“Sentinel Kapur, you have been asking a lot of questions regarding the
disappearances of fringe group people. You’ve made progress and presented
evidence against a number of human gang members, but none of your superiors
allowed you to act.”
Adira narrowed her gaze at the Vampire and crossed her arms
over her chest. “So?”
Nikolai smiled. “Your diligence—or should I call it
obsession? Your attention to the cases resulted in your transfer to Hadamard. I
came to offer you a position with a Special Forces Unit of the Vampire Council,
which is investigating the disappearances. Originally it was in a support
capacity as the enemy is Paranormal and therefore too dangerous. But now that you
are a Vampire yourself you are capable of going into the field. Would you like
to take down the bastards who have been feeding off your people for the last
year or so?”
Adira’s heart rate went through the roof. She grasped Mal’s
I need to find her.
Mal didn’t ask who she meant. He knew she had no choice but
to find Marissa. She’d disappeared on the same shuttle as Duncan’s mate’s
Why don’t you want to work for the Council?
They always look after their interests first
before taking care of their men. Most of them have no honor.
“I don’t work for or with people who don’t share all their
“We can’t share our information unless you work for us. This
is of the highest security clearance and we can’t risk information leaking.”
Nikolai didn’t flinch from her demand.
What do you think?
Adira asked Mal.
Duncan knows my feelings about the Council. He wouldn’t
have come if it wasn’t important.
“Mal and I will join you, but we will not work for the
Council. We will work with you and only if you share. The minute we find out
you’ve held anything back the Superheroes and I are gone.”
Duncan snorted. “The Superheroes? Damn, if they ever hear
that description they won’t fit through doors any longer, their egos will be
Nikolai smirked. “They already have trouble fitting through
doors. I like the title, as long as they don’t start wearing tights.”
Mal didn’t join their humor. “What have you got?”
The Vampires grew serious. “For close to a year Ferals have
been kidnapping and trafficking humans as blood slaves. We have managed to take
down a few of the higher-ups, but the leader is still unknown and unchallenged.
Basically we’re putting out fires, but have no way to take away the kindling.”
Adira gaped. The peace between humans and Vampires was based
on the assurance no Vampire would treat humans as cattle. Ferals were those
Vampires who didn’t follow the rules and were hunted for their crimes. But as
far as she had been aware, Ferals were the exception. If what Nikolai said was
correct far more Vampires than ever imagined had gone over to the dark side.
This trafficking ring could break the uneasy truce.
They could be facing another galaxy-wide war.
Mal took her hand.
This group is unlike any Feral problem
we have ever encountered. They sound smart, organized and appear to have a
long-term plan in place.
“And now you’ve seen Calatrave with them we’re in even
deeper shit.” Duncan sank next to Nikolai on the sofa.
Who is this Vampire?
He is one of the oldest of us and has a reputation for
being a fierce and nearly undefeatable fighter. From what I’ve heard he always
achieves his goals, no matter how long it takes.
“And you think this Calatrave is the leader of the Ferals?”
Nikolai looked suddenly tired. “I never would have thought
so, but then I never imagined him part of this group. I’d always thought of him
as a man of honor and not someone who would abuse those weaker than him.”
Duncan gripped his shoulder. “We’ll figure it out. Maybe the
Spaniard has a good reason for being part of this gang.”
Nikolai only looked at him.
Regret flickered through Adira at the other Vampire’s
betrayal, but she had only one focus now. Save Marissa and as many of the
victims as possible.
Failure was not an option.
Mal pulled her close and kissed her.
I love you.
Adira smiled and kissed him back.
I love you too. Now
let’s call your team and see what they have found.
She had no idea where this investigation would lead, but she
knew that with Mal at her side the young woman she’d sacrificed stood a much
They would take down whoever had dared to take her people.
And now she no longer had to follow human laws.
The other guy, whoever he may be, didn’t stand a chance.
About Tina Christopher
Tina Christopher spent her early years flitting across the
Channel between Germany and England. After touring the world extensively, she
finally laid down roots in Toronto. And while Canada’s winters may be frigid,
Tina’s characters are anything but!
Like most writers, Tina often hears voices in her head, but
it took the encouragement of an editor friend before she actually put fingers
to keyboard. While those first stories will never see the light of day, she’s
subsequently honed her craft and learned to build not just worlds, but entire
galaxies. Her first book from Ellora’s Cave features a galaxy filled with
Vampires, Humans and angel-like aliens called Naema.
When not imagining faraway worlds and scorching-hot
encounters, Tina can be found on her sofa working through her never-ending TBR
pile or venturing into the real world—whether to a nearby café or a passport-required
destination. She’s a member of RWA’s Toronto chapter. Her two degrees in
environmental conservation, majoring in large animal studies, come in handy
when wrestling with supernatural beasties.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Tangled Indulgence Copyright © 2013 Tina Christopher
Edited by Grace Bradley
Cover design by Fiona Jayde
Photo: Margarita Borodina
Electronic book publication March 2013
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