It was almost her turn on the stage.
Sickness brewed in Lyra’s stomach and her legs trembled beneath her weight, but she refused to let fear overcome her. She tugged at the heavy metal collar around her neck, rattling the chain attached to it, and cursed. Her heart thundered at a dizzying pace that made it difficult to breathe.
She needed to get away.
It was pointless though. There was a huge gulf between what she needed and what she knew was going to happen. She needed to be realistic, and not allow her fear to consume her. She had to keep her head.
Even if she did manage to get the collar off, and the shackles that bound her wrists, she wouldn’t be free. She would still be locked in a cage built of the strongest metal in Hell.
Lyra paced the small space, struggling to breathe through the panic as it started to sink its claws into her heart and her mind, conjuring vile images of her future, visions that tore at her strength, making it easier for the fear to take hold.
To strip away her control.
She sucked down another trembling breath.
She needed to be strong.
It was hard when she was falling apart inside.
The number of eyes on her grew, pushing at her fragile restraint, making her want to lash out at the other captives as they watched her.
She hated the sense of expectation that laced the warm air and pressed down on her.
These people expected her to be strong. Fearless.
She might be a hellcat, one of the most powerful and vicious of the shifter species that called Hell their home, but she still had a heart.
She still experienced fear.
The thought of what was about to happen to her was terrifying.
She clawed at her cuffs and her collar, her throat growing tight and her strength wavering for a heartbeat before she snatched hold of it and clung to it again, not letting it bleed from her.
She cursed the collar.
The magic in it sapped her strength, making it impossible for her to break free of her bonds, the drain it caused far stronger and more devastating than the one she felt from the shackles around her wrists. Those were just the back-up plan, a last resort in case she broke her collar somehow. They would inhibit her enough that she wouldn’t be able to break them open, but they wouldn’t stop her from snapping the chain and gaining enough freedom to sink fangs and claws into every male present.
Everyone responsible for what had happened to her.
She tugged at the ring of cold steel around her neck and growled.
She let her left hand hang from it, her fingers looped over the top of the ring, and fought for the strength to push back against the feelings welling up inside her, the despair that would allow weakness to invade her heart and her body.
It would break her.
She closed her eyes and cursed again.
Aiming it at herself this time.
Gods, if she hadn’t been such a fool, none of this would have happened to her. She would be home, living the life she loved. Her need to track down others of her species had been a moment of weakness, brought on by loneliness, and she should have weathered it as she had every other time it had swept over her. She should have stayed far away from Hell.
Hindsight was a bitch.
She had longed for company, and now she longed for the solitary life she had left behind.
Her moment of weakness had only proven that she was better off alone.
Never trust another hellcat.
Lyra tugged at the collar, her strength flowing from her again, despair swift to roll in to take its place, eating away at her.
A collar a male hellcat had placed on her.
She shouldn’t have trusted him. Her mother would roll in her grave if she could see her now. Her aunt would roll right along with her. They had raised her better than that. She had been such an idiot, believing herself stronger than both of them, thinking that what had happened to them wouldn’t happen to her because she was more intelligent, had learned from their history and seeing the scars that ringed their necks every day of her life.
She had been a damned fool.
All males of her kind were the same.
They wanted to collar any female they met, using it to force them to become their ‘mate’. It was the reason most females of her species despised their male counterparts and had long ago decided to do without them, to find their fated ones instead of allowing a male to collar them.
So, the males of her species had grown vicious, driven to dominate the females in response to the rejection, determined to claim what they viewed as rightfully theirs.
She opened her eyes and looked towards the glow that filled the air in the distance to her left, where the stage had been set up and a low hum of chatter drove back the silence of Hell.
Was there a male of her kind in the audience, waiting to bid on her?
Eager to have her at his mercy?
Was she about to face the same dark fate as her mother and aunt had?
She shuddered at the thought of any male having that sort of power over her.
“You.” The deep voice sent a tremor through her and she whipped her head around and bared her fangs at the huge bare-chested male.
The demon smirked at her, his broken pale horns flaring a little from behind his ears, pushing through his shaggy mane of sandy hair. He always got off on her threatening him. The sick bastard enjoyed taunting her.
The dark-haired demon next to him just stalked forwards, keys jangling in his hands as he searched for the one that would unlock her cage.
Her heart kicked into overdrive again, pulse slamming hard.
She backed away.
Her bottom hit the back of the cage, the metal bars cold against her bare flesh, and she bared her fangs again, hissed through them at the two males, warning them away.
The brunet demon ignored her and unlocked her cage.
The blond flicked his wrist, extending the baton he held. “Be nice now.”
He grinned at her, revealing short fangs, a glimmer of arousal in his pale eyes. He wanted her to do the opposite to his words. He wanted her to fight him.
Gods, she wanted it too, but she wasn’t about to give the bastard the satisfaction of fighting with her.
A loud roar sent silence sweeping across the black lands.
And a shiver down her spine.
It wasn’t one of her kind.
But there was such anger in that roar, such strength and power, and it lit a fuse inside her.
She exploded from the cage, launching at the two males, everything she had held bottled up inside her blasting through her, driving her into a rage.
She was on the brunet demon before he was even aware she had moved, her bare body slamming into his. Her left foot skidded on the loose dirt as she drove forwards, putting all her remaining strength into shoving him backwards and off balance.
As she landed on his chest, the captives in the cages around her began shouting, some of them calling to her to free them while others screamed for the guards, their fear of being punished because of something she had done driving them to alert the bastards who held them in chains in the hope they would avoid a beating.
Lyra sank her claws into the demon’s shoulders and struck hard with her fangs, lodging them deep in the side of his throat. He roared and bucked up, but she held on, refusing to release him as he tried to shake her off him. She snarled, a red rage pouring through her, controlling her actions.
She didn’t feel it when the sandy-haired demon struck her across the back with his baton. She didn’t feel it when he sank his own claws into her arm and pulled. Didn’t feel it when the male beneath her managed to shove his fist hard into her stomach.
She felt only the high of battle, the roar of victory in her ears, and the sheer elation that came with the taste of blood on her tongue.
The pale-horned demon finally managed to yank her off his colleague.
To his detriment.
Her fangs ripped through the side of his neck, gouging a deep hole in his flesh. Blood spurted across the black ground, and the male fumbled, desperately seeking the strength to cover the wound. The blond tossed her through the air and she shrieked as she hit the cage, the top bar of it slamming hard into her lower back, sending pain ricocheting through her.
By the time she had hit the ground, the dark-haired demon was still, his eyes staring blankly into the dark beyond.
The blond turned towards her, a growl on his lips.
Lyra roared and sprang at him, hitting him square in the chest with all of her weight. He didn’t fall. He grabbed her right arm and spun with her, flung her across the clearing and into the side of another cage. The occupant screamed and shoved at her, pushing her away.
She scowled at the female and spat blood on the floor.
There was no currying favour with their captors now.
Not if the unholy cacophony she could hear coming from the direction of the stage was anything to go by.
Someone was ripping through the crowd, and most likely their captors. Someone who wanted blood on their hands as badly as she did.
She hunkered down and growled low, and the demon backed off as blue flames flickered over her hands.
The need to shift was strong, driving her to obey it, but she couldn’t, not with the collar on.
The male knew it. She saw it the moment he remembered, saw all that fear that had been building in his eyes drain right back out of them again as he cockily smiled at her.
Lyra wiped that smile right off his face.
In a lightning fast move, she closed the gap between her and the dead demon, and snatched the baton from his belt. She flicked her right hand out, extending the weapon, and roared as she swept it up in a fast, hard arc aimed at the blond’s head.
He growled and dodged backwards, her baton cutting harmlessly through the air a few inches in front of his face.
She strafed left when he swung at her with his own baton, coming close to striking her with it, and threw herself into a roll when he struck again, diving beneath his blow. She came to her feet behind him in a crouch and sprang forwards, leaping high into the air. He turned, a frown on his face as he looked at the ground where she had been.
Lyra grinned as she came down on the bastard’s head.
She brought the baton down, a sliver of satisfaction rolling through her when it struck hard enough to crack his skull, and he grunted and dropped to his knees. She kicked off him and pirouetted, coming back around to face him.
He shook his head, his eyes widened as he spotted her baton coming at him again, and he swiftly brought his arm up to shield his face. Another satisfying crack sounded as she connected with his wrist.
How many times had he beaten her with his baton?
How many times had he smiled as he did it, taking satisfaction from hurting her?
Gods, that left her cold. She was no better than he was.
It didn’t stop her though. She could hate herself later, when she was free, and this male was dead.
She pressed her left hand against the tip of the baton and drove forwards, into the male’s arm, shoving him sideways. He lashed out at her again, his baton striking her thigh and then her knee. Heat swept through her, numb at first but then fiery hot, blazing along her bones.
“Fucker,” she snarled and grabbed his baton before he could strike her with it again.
She wrestled with him as he tried to twist it free of her grip, his face contorting into vicious lines as he growled at her, flashing his fangs. His busted horns curled further, a flare of aggression, and his eyes brightened, glowing gold around his pupils.
He yanked his arm backwards, and she went forwards with it, refusing to release his weapon. She slammed into him, her bare breasts pressing against his chest, and pulled her arm back, trying to get the damned baton off him. She was going to kill him with the fucking thing. It would be a fitting end for him. Dying by his own weapon.
She was so focused on getting the baton off him that she didn’t notice his other fist coming at her face until it was too late. Pain splintered across her nose and blood poured from it, hot as it ran over her lips. She growled, grabbed his arm and twisted it hard.
He roared as the bone snapped.
Lyra grabbed her baton with both hands, shoved it against the front of his throat and pressed forwards, driving him down into the dirt. She settled all her weight on his chest, her knees pinning his shoulders, and pushed downwards on the baton. His eyes grew wild as he struggled beneath her, kicking his legs and growling.
His baton smacked her hard in the side.
She snarled, grabbed it and twisted it free of his grip.
And brought it down hard.
(Eternal Mates Romance Series Book 14)
Despised by his tiger shifter pride as an abomination, Grey has ventured far from home, deep into the bowels of Hell in search of answers about the machinations of Archangel, the mortal hunter organisation who held his twin captive. With no knowledge of the realm, and little skill with the local languages, he quickly finds himself at a dead end—until he crosses paths with a beautiful hellcat female who rouses his darkest most dangerous instincts.
Lyra has been a fool, falling for the charms of a male whose only desire was to make a fast buck by selling her. Shackled and collared, her strength muted by magic, she awaits her time on the stage at a black-market auction, but before it can come, all hell breaks loose and she seizes a chance to escape—and runs straight into a majestic warrior who steals her breath away and tempts her like no other as he battles alone to free everyone.
When Lyra offers her services as a translator to repay Grey for saving her, will he be strong enough to resist the needs she awakens in him and spare himself the pain of her inevitable rejection when she discovers the truth about him? And when the powerful male in charge of the slave ring starts a bloody hunt for Lyra, can she escape another collar and find the courage to trust the tiger who is capturing her heart?
Enter the grand tour-wide giveaway to win a $25, $50 or $75 Amazon Gift Card at the Treasured by a Tiger book page. This giveaway is international and open to everyone, and ends at midnight on September 24th. Enter now HERE.
Book 1: Kissed by a Dark Prince (Only 99c at all retailers!)
Book 2: Claimed by a Demon King
Book 3: Tempted by a Rogue Prince
Book 4: Hunted by a Jaguar
Book 5: Craved by an Alpha
Book 6: Bitten by a Hellcat
Book 7: Taken by a Dragon
Book 8: Marked by an Assassin
Book 9: Possessed by a Dark Warrior
Book 10: Awakened by a Demoness
Book 11: Haunted by the King of Death
Book 12: Turned by a Tiger
Book 13: Tamed by a Tiger
Book 14: Treasured by a Tiger
Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.
If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.
If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places: