Setta Jay's Guardians of the Realms series returns with the long-awaited and much-anticipated story of Drake in Searing Ecstasy!
(Guardians of the Realms #7)
by Setta Jay
Publication: October 7th 2015
Drake, the powerful dragon and leader of the Guardians, has spent his long life protecting all inhabitants of the four Realms, but fails to save the one who matters most. His mate. In the month since finding her feral, he’s been slowly losing control of his beast and soon he fears the dragon will reign free unleashing it’s fury upon the Realms.Delia has changed. No longer a carefree young woman, she is now a nightmare in the making. After her abduction and torture she unwillingly houses two beasts and more power than she can ever contain on her own. She can never be released. Nor can she have the male who gives her any semblance of sanity in her new world, the one she craves more than her own freedom.With unknown enemies on the horizon and yet another God awakened will they lose themselves in the madness of an impossible mating? Or will they come together in searing ecstasy, bonding them in a way that sets them both free?
Warning: Sexually explicit content (beds actually get burned down, people) and alpha males and females with bad language.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Setta Jay is the author of the popular Guardians of the Realms Series. She's garnered attention and rave reviews in the paranormal romance world for writing smart, slightly innocent heroines and intense alpha males. She loves writing stories that incorporate a strong plot with a heavy dose of heat. Her influences include Judith McNaught who she feels writes a smart heroine to perfection, Gena Showalter, Maya Banks and Lora Leigh. You can often find her writing compared to JR Ward, but if you are a fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood be warned that Setta Jay’s novels are more erotic in nature.
Born a California girl, she currently resides in Idaho with her husband of ten plus years who she describes as incredibly sexy and supportive, even when it’s Willy Wednesday on Twitter. ;)
She loves to hear from readers so feel free to find her on social media or send her an email and she will happily reply.
Website | Twitter: @SETTAJAY_ | Facebook | Goodreads
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Guardian Manor, Tetartos Realm
Delia rubbed her fingers over the soft emerald material of the lush sweater she held as the healer left the room again. It was just another addition to the comforts Drake had provided her with over the last month. Many of which had burned in those first weeks when her beast raged, but that hadn’t stopped him. If one was destroyed, another would show up in its place, until her small room was as luxurious as it could be. She loved the warmth he tried to afford her, but his greatest gift hadn’t been tangible.
He’d saved her, whether he saw it that way or not.
She closed her eyes and wished for the impossible. To be able to claim the dragon as her own. She opened her eyes and slipped the soft material over her arms and pulled it tight around her waist. The fabric hugged her body as she settled into the cozy chair next to the bed.
Her current clarity wouldn’t last. All too soon she’d be in another battle for control and sanity, so she forced her mind to work on containing what she could. It was as if she were constantly applying patches to a broken dam. One day there would be too many cracks and it would all come crashing down over her, taking everything in its path. She was doing everything she could to stop that from happening.
Drake crossed his arms over his wide chest as his Guardians and their mates strode into the war room. It only made him think of his own mate. Smoke slipped from his lips, thinking of the female he’d been forced to cage for her own fucking good. He bit back the rage that came with those thoughts.
In the last few months his warriors had all been finding their fated halves. It was something none of them had expected because Guardians were already so powerful. Those pairings equaled power along with the ability to have young.
It had to be happening for a purpose. One he suspected was already at their fucking doorstep.
“Sit down,” he growled. He didn’t have time to waste. Tension settled around the room as everyone slipped into seats. The air was already thick with smoke filtering to the exhaust fans. His dragon half was getting more and more impatient as the seconds ticked by.
They were all on edge after the battle the day before. Losing didn’t come easily to any of them, least of fucking all him. But that was exactly what had happened. Unknown warriors had slipped in from thin air and taken Apollo just as they’d been about to retrieve the bastard God.
When he saw Sirena enter, he demanded, “How is Sacha?”
The blonde healer shook her head, frowning. “She’s still unconscious. Her blood work doesn’t show anything alarming, she just won’t wake up.” Sacha was the only Guardian hit with some mysterious poison from a beast the unknown warriors had brought with them. If the beast hadn’t disappeared with the warriors and their dead, they might have more answers to help his downed Guardian. Instead he was left with more damned questions than answers and a fucking God in unknown hands. Now he was about to awaken another damned Deity to help find the one they’d lost.
He didn’t waste time; he bit out the reason for the meeting, “I’m waking Hades.”
The room went silent.
The mystery warriors hadn’t only taken Apollo right from under their noses, they’d left without leaving a single clue, somehow disappearing with both their dead and their weapons. The only trace left was their blood on the ground. Sirena, his Guardian healer, had been busy testing all the samples recovered. It was all they had and it wasn’t giving him anything helpful to go on. It only told them that the warriors were something close to dragons or Phoenix, but not as powerful.
It was Uri’s voice that rose over the curses of his warriors and Drake’s own thoughts. “You think Hades might be able to track Apollo’s location?” Uri’s mate, Alex, was at his side, their chairs nearly touching. Alex was the daughter of Athena, and combined, her and Uri’s mental skills were incredibly strong. They were a powerful pair in general. But that hadn’t helped against the unknown warriors. The warriors’ minds had been shielded, and taking blood memories could have proven deadly.
“Maybe,” Drake bit out while pacing at the head of the table. The dragon inside him wanted freedom he didn’t have time to give. It was that or let the animal slide all over the telepathic link he now had to Delia. He wanted to growl in frustration. She’d forged it without them being in the frenzy, without having touched or even been in that same fucking room. It had happened right before the warriors arrived. She’d sensed the danger and his powerful female had forged a link from her mind to his. It put them one step closer to a mating bond that couldn’t happen until Sirena found some way to ensure Delia could survive it. Too much had happened to his female, but he had to force those thoughts away and battle the beast back down.
He needed to focus on getting Apollo back before he lost complete control of the dragon.
Apollo shouldn’t have even been outside his prison to begin with. Their enemy, Elizabeth, had found a way to free the Deity from the sleeping unit the Creators had caged him in thousands of years ago. And now, not only was the asshole loose, he’d been stolen. Drake wasn’t sure what shape the bastard was in, the God had been unconscious when they’d taken him. The warriors had blasted him multiple times with their damned energy weapons before disappearing with the asshole.
Drake hadn’t seen any of it before, not the weapons, not the impenetrable net they’d used to pin and transport the God, and definitely not the warriors.
“Well, shit,” Uri said. “It could work. Hades might be able to track Apollo through the sibling mental bond.”
“As long as he doesn’t block Hades’ telepathic call,” Drake growled impatiently. Hades was one of only three marginally good Gods. All Deities in general were narcissistic and arrogant bastards, but Hades, Athena and Aphrodite were the only three who had limits. The rest were sadistic assholes.
As long as Apollo allowed Hades call to come through, they should be able to find him and get the bastard back.
“Apollo might still be unconscious. They hit the shit out of him with those weapons,” Conn pointed out. The Lykos’ bright copper eyes were thoughtful. The playful amused wolf who handled all their technological shit was gone and in its place sat the warrior beneath the flannel and tattoos.
“It’s possible,” Drake agreed and hoped that was the case. If Apollo was still knocked out, at least he couldn’t talk. The problem was that they didn’t know a damned thing about who they were dealing with. He needed answers, and awakening Hades was the only way he could think to get them.
Smoke filtered up to the ceiling the longer he was confined inside a damned room. His back muscles pulled tight and his shoulders throbbed as the beast tried to break free of his skin.
Later. Once he had the God back and in a fucking cage, he’d allow the animal to vent its rage.
Apollo’s sleeping unit had been destroyed shortly after Drake’s enemy let him out, so they’d have to cage him in one of the special cells he had made long ago, in case of an emergency.
“I don’t think there’s another option. If they took Apollo for his skills in manipulating DNA, he could be helping enhancing those warriors,” Conn ground out. Apollo was the most hated God amongst Immortals for a reason. The bastard had abducted all the Immortals he could, and then experimented on them with animal DNA before treating them like cattle to breed his perfect army. Some shifted, some didn’t, but they’d all become stronger in some way.
“Exactly,” Uri agreed before he continued, his mercury eyes swirling in irritation. The male had once felt the God’s power firsthand. “Apollo is capable of anything to save his own ass, and playing mad scientist is what he loves most.”
Drake nodded. He didn’t like that there hadn’t been any leader when the warriors had come for Apollo. Someone was out there pulling strings, which added another element of mystery he didn’t fucking like.
The Creators had said the Gods would one day be needed in this world; that was why the Deities were all sent to sleep no matter how fucking demented they were. And now Drake wondered if this new threat was what the Creators had foreseen all those millennia ago.
“And what if Hades can’t find Apollo? Then what the hell do we do with him?” Sander snarled, his hazel eyes flashing overly bright against his dark tattooed skin. The Phoenix was going through his own issues. Even now the male’s shoulders were tense, his eyes glassy. Sander was hitting the worst of the mating frenzy and had yet to claim his female. Nastia had been hit with one of the energy weapons and gone down, somehow having been affected harder than any of the others. The blast had left her severely drained of energy, which was fuel for all Immortals. Sirena had set the female up in a cavern room so she could replenish her strength with the world’s energies beneath ground where it was strongest. Sander was likely keeping his distance because the frenzy was a damned nightmare of sexual need. It needed to be fed, and being in the same room with his mate and not being able to claim her would drive them both wild.
Just because he understood the Phoenix’s situation didn’t mean he wanted to deal with Sander’s attitude. Drake wasn’t in the frenzy because he hadn’t touched Delia, but knowing his own mate was suffering in a damned cell had more than destroyed his ability to handle the slightest bullshit from anyone.
Drake snapped, “I’ll deal with Hades.” And then he glared at the male and ordered, “You will do nothing until you’ve claimed your mate.” The frenzy was too distracting for a warrior. Until the bond was completed, Sander’s focus would be on feeding the need. Once Nastia was healed, it would add another level to the Phoenix’s torment. A primal need to ease her desire. To claim her.
Sander growled back, his beast riding him, while reacting to being ordered to mate his female.
Drake slammed his hands on the table. “Enough!” He watched as a muscle in Sander’s jaw ticked. The frenzy had started when Sander carried Nastia out of battle, taking hits to protect her from more damage. The fact that those weapons hadn’t affected the Phoenix meant his immunity would transfer when the two finished their mating bond. That was just one more reason for the two to stop dicking around and finish what they’d started, no matter how prickly Nastia had been about completing the bond.
They were all looking at an unknown enemy who could arrive on their doorstep again at any minute.
He gave the warrior a hard look, communicating that fact without having to voice the words. Sander gave a sharp nod of understanding.
Every one of his mated Guardians, aside from maybe Uri, had held out and attempted to complete the bond on their own terms. Each suffering through the frenzy longer in order to court their females in some way or, in Dorian’s case, avoid the bond at all costs. Sander wouldn’t have the luxury of taking either route.
Only three Guardians were left unmated at this point, not counting his own particularly fucked-up situation.
More smoke filled the air as his irritation festered and the beast pushed for control. His mind’s eye slid to the bright link to his mate.
Conn’s voice brought him back. “Do you want us there when you wake Hades?” Both the wolf and Brianne had once been high up in the God’s ranks. They knew him well.
The female Guardian sat across from the wolf. “I wouldn’t mind seeing Hades.” Brianne’s tone seemingly held a little too much fondness for the God, because Vane growled low at her side. All eyes went to the Demi-God who’d mated with Brianne. The two had formed a hybrid mating that was once thought impossible. So now he had a powerful Guardian Geraki, half bird of prey, and the Demi-God, half-lion son of Athena, as a mated pair.
Brianne shot her mate a brilliant smile and Drake was caught by how happy the female Guardian was. She was a brutal warrior and full of smart-assed comments and known for her attitude, yet now the beautiful redhead was smiling up at her mate like he was fucking perfect and she couldn’t be happier. It was good, his warriors deserved some fucking happiness.
Especially Brianne, they’d almost lost her and Vane during their mating. Their beasts had nearly taken them both over and the power they held was fucking intense. But Drake had tested them and their control over their two beasts had proven solid.
They’d all thought the two would end up finding the same fate as the ancient Gryphons had. Those beasts had started as Immortals that Apollo had tried to infuse with two animals. The creatures who were half lion, half bird had been vicious and feral. The Immortal inside had never been able to resurface and the God ended up destroying the creatures when he had been unable to control them.
In the millennia since, there had never been any hybrid matings. Sirena hadn’t thought it possible. Now they weren’t as sure. It had taken all of the Guardians and Vane’s sister and twin brother to help ground the two, but Vane and Brianne had gained control of the animals eventually.
His thoughts went to his would-be mate. She also held two beasts after Cyril’s fucking experimentation. Delia had been feral and deadly when he’d found her. The dragon roared in his head and Drake felt his control slip even more.
“Should I be in the room when you wake Hades?” Drake felt Sirena use the power in her voice to calm the dragon. That drew his attention back, but didn’t take the rage that constantly boiled under the surface when he thought of all his mate had suffered.
He stilled when Delia somehow caressed his mind.
Suddenly the dragon went from rage to undiluted pleasure. She hadn’t spoken, but if she’d somehow felt Drake’s lack of control through his mental shielding, then they were bonding closer, faster.
He breathed through the new sensation while his Guardians eyed him, waiting for an answer.
Are you okay? Sirena asked through their telepathic Guardian bond.
Drake shook off the beast’s pleasure at feeling Delia’s mental touch and ground out, “P and I will wake Hades.”
Sirena’s violet eyes assessed him. They were lined and smudged with dark circles because she hadn’t been taking enough time to fuel her energy levels, and he was bastard enough to keep her working. Too much was at stake right now and she was the only one who could do most of the tasks. The others helped, but in the end she was their only damned healer and Sacha and Delia both needed her.
More smoke slipped from his lips as Delia’s telepathic touch seemed to drop away.
That loss pissed off the dragon, and Drake was forced to fight it back again.
He needed to get the fuck out of there. Check on Delia, he ground out through his mental link to the healer.
Sirena nodded and quickly left. I will.
His eyes set on Alyssa, Gregoire’s pregnant mate. The small Hippeus, half warhorse, had given them their first warning that something was coming. Her babe had formed a shield for the female that blew a hole through one wall of the manor. Alyssa was currently sitting on Gregoire’s lap in a chair far from the others. Her mate was the only person who could touch her through the new protection.
Drake forced his beast to calm, needing to know how she was feeling now. How is Alyssa?
The big Guardian’s muscles were tense as he kept a tight hold on his much smaller female. Drake watched the way Alyssa massaged her male’s forearm and leaned into his touch, soothing Gregoire’s out of control protective instincts.
Gregoire growled into the mental link, She hasn’t felt anything new. Sirena just examined Alyssa and the babe and swears to me that they’re both in perfect health. My young is still shielding them both. The male rested a hand on Alyssa’s still-flat stomach and Drake saw how the female’s pale green eyes softened.
Good. Continue to stay with her, Drake ordered. Immortal birth rates were incredibly low and young were only possible with mated pairs, starting about a decade after the pair bonded. It was all due to a spell cast by the Immortal Charybdis in Apollo’s labs right before the Creators were called back to contain the Gods. Charybdis used a portion of her life force in the spell, preventing Apollo from continuing to breed Immortals only to rip away their children to be trained in the warrior camps. It had been a noble sacrifice then, but now made for long centuries of very few young.
Alyssa and Gregoire’s babe had been conceived during their mating ceremony and would be the first Guardian child. Gregoire needed to be with his female while things played out with Hades.
He issued more orders to his warriors. Patrols would be cut short. Sander was off; Gregoire was to stay with Alyssa. The rest had blood samples to help Sirena with or other duties that still needed to be performed while he awakened Hades.
“Be ready.” He hoped they’d have a location for Apollo soon.
He didn’t have time to check on Delia through the cameras in her cell, and that riled beast and male. Keeping her caged was a hell of its own, but since she’d formed the telepathic link, he felt things changing. As soon as he dealt with Hades and got Apollo back, he would see her, talk with her as face to face as was possible. After all that had been done to her, his scent alone caused her agony so that wasn’t a fucking option. He rubbed the back of his neck.
Conn, I want a laptop or something for my mate so that we can see each other. Make it work with my computer and see that Sirena gets it to her. He could see her from the camera in her room, but she couldn’t see him, though she always seemed to know when he was watching.
Got it. The wolf nodded calmly before leaving along with the rest of the Guardians.
Drake’s shoulders were tight and he was riding a fine line of control when P stepped up beside him.
“You good, man?” P asked, his bright blue eyes assessing Drake closely.
“Yes.” This was as good as it would get.
P had been his shadow for over a month since Drake first found his mate feral from Cyril’s experimentation. His cousin had stayed by his side because P was one of two people with a chance of leashing the dragon if Drake lost control.
At the moment the male looked like he was about to face a firing line.
“Let’s go wake your father,” Drake snarled.