“Brook brings together two broken heroes in the high-stakes sixth Guardian paranormal romance… Fans won’t be disappointed.”
“Brook’s characters leap from the page. Deacon is the perfect hero, tortured but worthy, and Rosalia is just the woman to save him.
½!” —RT Book Reviews
Long before she was transformed into a Guardian and trained to fight demons, Rosalia knew darkness all too well. Raised by a demon, Rosalia learned to guard her heart—and her soul—until she found a man worthy of her love. Once, she thought that man would be the powerful vampire, Deacon…until he betrayed the Guardians.
After losing everything to the lies of a demon, Deacon lives only for revenge—and is taken aback when Rosalia offers to help. A vampire who has nothing—who is nothing—isn’t worthy of her attention. But Rosalia wants to do more than just look, and the explosive need between them can’t be held in check. And when Deacon’s vengeful quest creates a dangerous alliance of their enemies, she will be his only hope…
The Story So Far
Are you starting with this book? Do you want a series refresher before starting the next? Catch up on The Story So Far in the Guardian series primer.
READ AN EXCERPT
An unedited scene from Demon Blood
WARNING: INCLUDES SPOILERS FOR DEMON FORGED
If Hell existed on Earth, Deacon imagined it’d look like his dreams while he slept.
Every day for six months, they’d been the same. Lucid memories of the white-hot pain as Caym crushed his bones. The scent of his blood. The terror on Eva and Petra’s faces. And the grief and rage when Caym poured their ashes onto the floor. Over and over, until the sun set.
Waking was a release Deacon wasn’t sure he deserved. He welcomed it, all the same — waking every night meant he had another opportunity to make the bastard demons pay.
But when he woke, this time he didn’t immediately open his eyes and get on with it. His first shallow breath tasted cool and dry, as if the muggy Paris air had been run through a filter. The sheets smelled of lavender, not the harsh bleach of the bedding he’d fallen asleep on.
He’d been moved. And whoever had brought him to this new room had remained here, heart pounding. His psychic probe touched a familiar mind. Sweetness and sadness rolled up into one.
Rosalia. He should’ve fucking guessed.
He sat up. “Get out.”
In a red dress, she sat on a loveseat printed with fat pink roses, her legs curled under her and her hair spilling over her shoulder. Her arms were crossed beneath her breasts, her fingers tucked into her elbows. Her eyes, those big goddamn brown eyes, looked for all the world like she’d expected that response from him. Like she’d been waiting to be kicked.
“Let me explain,” she said.
How long would it take him to dress and get the hell out of here? He threw back the sheet. “You’ve got about five seconds, sister.”
“The London elders are dead. In two weeks, perhaps a bit more, the rest of the community will be, too.”
The nephilim. Shit.
But it had fuck-all to do with him. “Sounds like a problem for the Guardians. I’m not after the nephilim.”
“I know. But to get to them, I have to go through Belial’s demons. That’s where you come in.”
No, this was where he got out. He found his clothes tucked away in the bureau. Quaint little place. The kind of hotel where porcelain figures of children in lederhosen probably kicked their heels up on the reception desk.
He cleaned out the drawers, throwing his shit on the bed. Spying his weapons, jacket, and bag in the closet, he went for them. Rosalia came up off the sofa, shadowing him, still talking like she had something to say that might change his mind.
“I need to get to Malkvial before I get to the nephilim. But I can’t do it without putting the Guardians in danger. And if the Guardians are in danger, then every vampire is, too.”
“Guardians can’t save us anyway.”
“We wouldn’t know, would we? You didn’t ask for help, and let us try to save your people.”
So she’d stoop to hitting below the belt, would she? His jaw tight, he looked over at her, but she already appeared to be regretting it. But she wasn’t giving up. Her lips pressed together before she tried again.
“We stopped the nephilim in Seattle,” she pointed out.
“A nephil. One.” Deacon carried his swords and bag back to the bed. “Maybe if I’d known the Guardians had only stopped one of them, I wouldn’t have assumed you could take care of yourselves against a few demons, too.”
“You thought that when you made the deal with Caym?” She stopped beside him, her gaze searching his face. “You thought we’d just be facing a few demons?”
Damn his mouth. He hadn’t meant to say anything at all about Caym. Fucking over the Guardians hadn’t been Deacon’s choice, but he also hadn’t thought they’d be in real danger—especially not Irena. Hell, even the novices could handle themselves pretty well. He sure as fuck hadn’t known Irena and the others would be facing a posse of nephilim instead of a few of Caym’s friends.
And now Rosalia was probably thinking that maybe if he had known, he’d have done things differently. Screw that. When Caym had put a knife to Eva’s throat, nothing else had mattered but trying to keep her, Petra, and the rest of his community alive.
Without answering her, he shoved his extra clothes into the bag, stripped off his shorts. She sucked in a quick, short breath. When he glanced up, he saw a faint blush stained her cheeks. Her gaze didn’t lift to his.
“Got a good look, sister?”
She averted her eyes—and just in goddamn time, too. Knowing she looked was making him big, making him hard. Hunger stirred, a building ache in his fangs.
“You still have that demon blood for me?”
Deacon saw hope rise through her expression, a gentle lift at the corners of her eyes, her lips. She thought his asking for the blood meant that he was agreeing to her plan for tonight—whatever it was. Better to set that straight now.
“That’s all I’m taking.” He hauled on his jeans, reached for a shirt. “Then I’m heading out after Theriault.”
“We’re in Budapest.”
He froze, the shirt bunched in his fist. One look at her face told him she was dead serious. She’d brought him to Hungary. “You’ll take me back to Paris. Now.”
“There’s a demon here to kill. One of Belial’s.”
“I don’t give a fu—”
“He goes by the name Benedek Farkas. He’s made himself part of the vampire community, pretending to be one of you. Tomás hasn’t caught on. Soon, Farkas will slay him and take over the community to strengthen Theriault’s bid for leadership.”
God damn it. Deacon liked Tomás Lakatos. He led the vampires in Budapest well.
“It’s a Guardian’s job to protect him.” Not Deacon’s.
She offered a brittle smile. “And so a Guardian has brought you here.”
Fuck. Now that was a neat answer, wasn’t it? He pulled on his shirt, then slipped into the harness that held his swords against his back. “How do you know this?”
“My surveillance on Theriault.” Rosalia moved closer, and while he buttoned up the front of his shirt, she began straightening the material that bunched around the harness straps. “I know Farkas will be at Tomás’s club with the rest of the community tonight. You won’t have to wait outside his apartment. You won’t have to hide from humans. You can just slay him.”
He barely heard any of that. Just felt the warmth of her fingers through cotton. What the hell was this? She was smoothing out his wrinkles? Touching him, when he was pissed and hungry, and for six months had been wondering how she tasted.
Touching him was the surest way of finding herself shoved up against a wall, his fangs in her throat, and fucked until his knees gave out.
When she reached for his collar, he caught her wrists. Startled, her gaze met his.
“Don’t,” he said.
For an instant, her face became still, her eyes flat. Then she nodded and pulled her hands away, tucking them into her elbows and moving toward the corner of the room. Almost, Deacon thought, as if she was searching for somewhere to hide, which made him feel like the biggest asshole on Earth.
Which was exactly what he needed to be: a bastard, so that she’d leave him the hell alone.
He picked up his jacket and bag. “You’re looking at the wrong guy, sister, but you’ll find another easy enough. You’re gorgeous, desperate, and lonely. Some sap out there will be panting to kill demons with you.”
She looked over her shoulder, her brows arched. And she said just dryly enough that he couldn’t help but like her for it, “Thanks.”
He turned for the door before he ended up smiling or some shit. Christ.
“By the time you reach Paris, you’ll have wasted the night,” she said after him. “At least here, you’ll accomplish something.”
Another low fucking blow. Did she think he’d just take that? He dropped his bag and stalked toward her. To his gratification, she retreated until her back was up against the wall.
He slapped his palms to the wall on either side of her head and got in her face. “So the fuck what? What happens if I don’t, sister? No skin off your nose.”
The gentle brown of her eyes darkened, so goddamn sad. He hated that, wanted to make everything better for her. He hated wanting that more.
“Then people die,” she said softly.
Jesus. Trapping him with people’s lives—the same fucking thing that Caym had done to him.
Anger exploded inside him. He pulled back and slammed his hands against the wall again. Plaster cracked. She flinched, and it felt good. He didn’t give two shits about her reasons for playing him. All that mattered was that she played like a demon, and he needed to make her pay.
He pushed in closer, until he could feel the warmth coming off her. Her perfume smelled like flowers. He wanted to breathe in that scent while he drank her down.
“Offer your neck,” he commanded.