Avengers heat, p.1
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       Avenger's Heat, p.1
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         Part #4 of Moon Shifter series by Katie Reus  
Avenger's Heat


  Copyright © 2014 Katie Reus

  Excerpt from Targeted copyright © 2013 Katie Reus

  Cover photos © Shutterstock (Rob McKay, CURAphotography, Serg64, Lucy Baldwin).

  Cover design www.isitdesign.co.uk

  The right of Katie Reus to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

  Published by arrangement with NAL Signet,

  a member of Penguin Group (USA), LLC.

  A Penguin Random House Company

  First published in this Ebook edition in 2014

  by HEADLINE ETERNAL

  An imprint of HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP

  Apart from any use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication may only be reproduced, stored, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, with prior permission in writing of the publishers or, in the case of reprographic production, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency.

  All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

  Cataloguing in Publication Data is available from the British Library

  eISBN 978 1 4722 1234 4

  HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP

  An Hachette UK Company

  338 Euston Road

  London NW1 3BH

  www.headlineeternal.com

  www.headline.co.uk

  www.hachette.co.uk

  Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright Page

  About the Author

  Praise for Katie Reus

  By Katie Reus

  About the Book

  Acknowledgments

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Epilogue

  Excerpt from TARGETED

  The Moon Shifter series

  Find out more about Headline Eternal

  Katie Reus is the New York Times bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Moon Shifter series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later, she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it. However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense. You can find out more about Katie Reus and her books at www.katiereus.com, www.facebook.com/katiereusauthor or Twitter: @katiereus.

  Praise for Katie Reus:

  ‘Alpha Instinct is a wild, hot ride for readers. The story grabs you and doesn’t let go’ New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden

  ‘Reus has an instinct for what wows in this perfect blend of shifter, suspense and sexiness. Sexy alphas, kick-ass heroines and twisted villains will keep you turning the pages in this new shifter series. Alpha Instinct is a winner’ Caridad Piñeiro, New York Times bestselling author

  ‘Explosive danger, and enough sexual tension to set the pages on fire . . . fabulous!’ Alexandra Ivy, New York Times bestselling author

  ‘Scorching chemistry . . . taut and passionate . . . will leave readers breathless!’ Stephanie Tyler, national bestselling author

  ‘Reus’ passionate and protective alpha-warrior shifters come alive on the page as she continues to deftly expand her intricate paranormal world integrating beings born of myth and imagination . . . Readers can expect a fast-paced, action-packed read including battle scenes and nail-biting suspense’ Happy Ever After USA Today Blog

  ‘Reus’ worldbuilding is incredibly powerful, as she seamlessly blends various elements of legend and myth . . . Her characters manage to both charm and frighten, but the romance between a shifter and a human is the real highlight – it’s lusty, heartfelt and shows that love can conquer all’ Romantic Times 4 Stars

  ‘A well-plotted, excellently delivered emotional and sensual ride that grabs hold and doesn’t let go! . . . Ms. Reus delivers mystery, suspense and a romance nothing short of heart-pounding!’ Night Owl Reviews

  By Katie Reus

  Moon Shifter Series

  Alpha Instinct

  Lover’s Instinct (e-novella)

  Primal Possession

  Mating Instinct

  His Untamed Desire (e-novella)

  Avenger’s Heat

  Deadly Ops Series

  Targeted

  To truly have her, he must free her from her dark secret . . .

  Enforcer Erin Flynn has dedicated her life to protecting her kind. But keeping her heart safe from Noah Campbell, the smoking-hot shifter who saved her life, is more difficult. However much she would love to become his mate, she can’t risk him uncovering her secrets.

  When Erin is sent to investigate the disappearances of pregnant shifters in New Orleans, chilling information about her past is revealed. The people who wanted her dead are trying to finish the job. Noah wants nothing more than to shield her from harm. But can Erin truly trust Noah and reveal what she’s hidden for so long?

  Acknowledgments

  I owe a huge thank-you to my wonderful editor, Danielle Perez, for her guidance with this story. I’m also incredibly grateful to the New American Library art department for the gorgeous cover. You all never disappoint. Thank you to my agent, Jill Marsal, for her continuous support. For my readers, words fall short, but thank you for loving the Moon Shifter world as much as I do. You guys are amazing and I’m so appreciative of your kind e-mails. Kari Walker, thank you for reading the early version of this story and being the biggest cheerleader anyone could ask for. Cynthia Eden, thank you for that first research trip we took to New Orleans! I can’t wait for our next trip back. For my husband and son, who put up with my insane writer’s schedule, thank you a billion times over. And as always, thank you to God for His never-ending support.

  Chapter 1

  Erin Flynn shot the tall male shifter next to her a quick glance as yet another female they passed on the street gave him an assessing, purely sexual look. Since they’d arrived in New Orleans an hour ago it had been the same reaction from practically every woman they’d come across. A few men too. Not that she blamed any of them, even if she did have a sudden urge to claw their eyes out.

  Simply put, Noah Campbell was smoking hot. Tall, broad shoulders, sharp cheekbones, inky black hair a woman could easily imagine running her fingers through, and perfect olive coloring that showed off his Greek heritage on his mother’s side. Didn’t matter that it was an icy January day, he looked like he’d just stepped off a Mediterranean beach, all toned and tan. He definitely evoked thoughts of sex, sin, and sultry summer nights.

  They passed a woman dressed in jeans that might as well have been painted on, a bright red coat belted around her tiny waist and five-inch knee-high boots. When she practically undressed Noah with her eyes, Erin frowned at her friend. “Are you being intentionally oblivious?” No way could he have missed how people were looking at him.

  Noah’s guarded dark eyes flicked her way once before he continued scanning the nearly deserted cobblestone streets. They’d parked outside the long and narrow s
hotgun-style house they were staying in with another shifter and fae warrior, both of whom had decided to hang back while she and Noah scoped out the city. And the tension hadn’t left his body since the moment they’d stepped out of that pastel blue and pink house with peeling yellow shutters.

  “Not oblivious, just not interested.” A curt answer so typical of him when he was annoyed or stressed. Right now she thought he might be a bit of both. He didn’t look at her again, but she could practically feel the heat of his dark eyes searing her. Knew what she’d see if he looked her way again. Lust and need.

  Some days she wished he’d find a woman. A sweet beta female who would be perfect for him. It would slice up her insides to know that someone else would be touching what she considered hers, waking up every morning next to him . . . but at least he’d be happy. Maybe she’d finally be able to move on from this constant state of wanting him but knowing she could never have him.

  God, she was so fucked up.

  Instinctively she patted the front of her thick coat, needing to feel the two short blades strapped to her chest beneath it. She didn’t go anywhere without them. Even slept with one under her pillow. “Did you finally call your father?” she asked.

  “Nope.”

  Resisting the urge to growl at him, she shoved her hands in her jacket pockets.

  Just great.

  As the newest enforcer-in-training for the North American Council of lupine shifters, Erin was on her first mission by herself. Technically she wasn’t in training anymore but she still thought of herself that way. Her mentor, Jayce, had told her that she was ready to go out on her own investigation so here she was. He’d sent Noah along, but it wasn’t so Noah could look out for her—that would have pissed her off. New Orleans was Noah’s father’s territory and the situation right now had the potential to be volatile.

  Noah’s father shared the city with vamps, feline shifters, and fae, and she was pretty sure a few demons made their home here too. The old city just appealed to them. New Orleans was the one place in the United States paranormal beings had agreed to share. It was either that or endure a bloodbath fighting over it.

  Not worth it when they were practically under a microscope by the humans they’d revealed themselves to two decades ago. Erin still thought that was a stupid decision on the Council’s part but it was over and done with. Not much anyone could do about it now.

  The one thing she’d asked Noah to do was make contact with his father before they’d arrived. It irked her that he hadn’t, but in the past year and some odd months since she’d been friends with Noah, he hadn’t said more than a handful of sentences about the powerful Alpha and she hadn’t pushed. She didn’t like talking about her past so she understood his need for privacy. Still, his father was Alpha of this territory and deserved the respect of a freaking phone call.

  “Damn it, Noah,” she muttered, but didn’t continue as they rounded another street corner. The difference from the quiet one they’d just come from was vivid.

  A variety of scents and noises accosted them. Tobacco, liquor, a mix of cheap and expensive perfumes, raw sex, and some kind of spicy food tickled her nose. Sometimes she cursed her extrasensory abilities. A few bars blasted music, but a steady, low-key stream of tunes flowed out from the Full Moon Bar as they neared it.

  Even if she hadn’t scented all the paranormal beings inside, the lower level of music was the first giveaway that the place catered to people like her. Paranormal beings had extrasensory everything, something humans seemed to usually forget. And something she was thankful for because it had the potential to make her job as enforcer easier.

  “I talked to my mom earlier and she told me my father would be here tonight,” Noah said quietly.

  Erin knew Noah talked to his mother practically every week, but hadn’t spoken to his father in years. She might not know everything about his family dynamics, but she knew enough. And this had disaster written all over it. She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket, ready to dial the number of Angus Campbell she’d received from Jayce before she and Noah had left North Carolina.

  She should have just taken care of this herself but she’d wanted to let Noah do it. Even if she was on Council business she was still entering another Alpha’s territory and he deserved a heads-up. Noah knew the protocol well. No doubt he was just showing up unannounced to piss his old man off. Not the way she wanted to start this investigation.

  Scrolling to the number as they crossed the street, her head snapped up at a crashing sound. A giant female jaguar tumbled out of the bar they were on their way to, her fangs and claws extended. Definitely a shifter. The animal let out a loud snarl then rushed back in through a splintered blue door.

  Erin’s eyes widened as a shot of adrenaline punched through her.

  “Shit,” Noah muttered, moving into action.

  Unzipping her jacket as she ran, she unsheathed her short blades from their protective casings. They weren’t quite two feet long, pure silver, and her best defense in close combat. Which was the type of fighting she preferred.

  She respected the hell out of snipers, but this was her game. As a shifter she was unique because she preferred to fight in her human form. Just like the other enforcers across the globe. It wasn’t because she was stronger in human form—though she was strong and fast—it was because once she let her beast out, it was difficult to rein her wolf back in. For Erin, keeping the balance between her animal and human side was a bitch.

  After the long drive cooped up in a car with Noah and too much sexual frustration—that she’d been battling for months—she needed to let off some steam and this was the way to do it.

  To her annoyance Noah rushed into the dimly lit bar first, but she was right behind him. The gorgeous black jaguar with a faint orange background and dark spots was rolling around on the floor with a male vampire. They were slicing each other to ribbons, though Erin knew the big cat was holding back. Jaguars—regular or shifter—had powerful jaws and this one wasn’t biting.

  There were about two dozen people there, but no one was intervening. What the hell?

  A few humans, a handful of tall ethereal-looking fae, vampires, and lupine and feline shifters in human form all lounged around the bar staring at the two in open amusement. How was this remotely funny?

  Screw that. “I’m taking the male down. Stay out of it,” she murmured to Noah, hoping he’d listen. Sometimes he was overprotective of her and she had no problem taking care of herself.

  Without waiting for a response, she jumped into the fray. She was young for a shifter, but incredibly quick and knew one day—if she lived long enough—she’d have a better grasp on the strange power she could feel growing inside her every day.

  Lightning fast, she sliced at the feline’s shoulder, earning a surprised cry. The big cat immediately jumped off the vamp and backed away.

  The vamp lunged at Erin and even though she could sense the power rippling off him in waves, she dodged to the side and sliced her blade across his chest as he sailed past her. Blood spurted everywhere but it wasn’t even close to a killing blow. The sweet scent that filled the air was different from the normal coppery scent of human and shifter blood.

  The dark-skinned vamp turned, a look of surprise on his face. She didn’t know if it was because of her speed, her sex, or her apparent youth. She also didn’t care. His fangs flashed, claws unsheathed as those hostile dark eyes narrowed at her. She heard Noah growl behind her.

  “I’ve got this, Noah!” They’d fought side by side before and while he might hate her fighting, he better at least respect her enough to handle herself.

  Out of the corner of her eye she realized the feline shifter was crouching, ready to pounce—on her!

  What the hell is going on? She’d been trying to help the shifter out. Before Erin could move to defend herself an eerie growl and the sound of bones breaking ripped through the slight murmur of voices and low music. A flash of dark fur she recognized as Noah flew through the air a
t the cat.

  Annoyed he’d intervened, but having no doubt he could take care of himself, she didn’t lose her momentum as she raced at the vamp. Right now all she cared about was subduing this guy as fast as possible. She didn’t have time to sing and dance with him. That meant going on the offensive.

  Using a barstool as leverage, she jumped on it, then a table before hurtling through the air. Raising a blade with her right hand, she brought it down as if to stab him through the chest. Calculating his attempt to swivel away to the left, she swept up with her left hand, slicing him through the gut.

  It wouldn’t kill him, but silver burned vamps and shifters something fierce. His skin sizzled as he cried out under her blow. She didn’t stop there. As he instinctively attempted to grapple with the blade, she brought the other one down on his forearm, pinning him to the floor.

  Blood pooled everywhere, creating a dark river around them. The sickly sweet scent wafted up. “I’m not going to kill you if you stop struggling,” she bit out, flashing her canines in a show of aggression.

  Immediately the vampire went limp, but the rage in his eyes didn’t diminish. “What the hell is wrong with you?” He wheezed out the words.

  Before she could respond she heard a feminine cry behind her. “Don’t hurt him! He’s my mate!”

  Instead of turning around, she quickly glanced at one of the mirrors in front of her displaying a full blue moon and advertising a new beer. In the reflection she saw a naked woman likely of South American descent being restrained by a very naked Noah, since his clothes had shredded during his change. Something sharp and deadly rose up inside Erin at seeing him tangled together with a female, but she forced it back down and focused on the crazy situation in front of her. She narrowed her gaze at the vamp still shooting her daggers with his eyes. “That’s your mate?”

  He nodded, his lips pulled into a thin line. “We were just having a bit of an argument. Nothing serious.”

  It had looked pretty damn serious to her. That’s when she scented the feline on him. No, not just on him, but practically in him, living under his skin. Yeah, no doubt they were mated. Sure had a weird way of acting like it. Glancing around, Erin noted that everyone had given her and Noah a wide berth and had congregated at the back of the bar.

 
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