My Immortal (Immortals Warriors, Book 1)
When you're immortal, forever takes on a whole new meaning.
Evil lurks in the darkest of shadows, but a band of warriors stands ready to defend humanity against hell's own monsters-Immortal men hand-picked by destiny and taken out of time hold the fate of the world in their hands.
One of the oldest of his kind, Immortal warrior Rhys Morgan spends his nights on the streets of Chandler protecting the city's innocents from the demons that hunt them. But one dark night, a human woman tries to save him, and Rhys realizes he's just met his match in the smart, brave doctor, Amy Bennett. When he can't get the beautiful human out of his head or his dreams, he knows his life is about to get complicated.
The barriers between the unlikely pair may be as thick and strong as the evil that threatens them, but some things can't be denied…and dark, mysterious, sexy Rhys Morgan is one of them.
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Rhys jerked up in bed, the shout still clinging to his lips. His heart pounded and his breathing lurched from his chest. He’d called out her name again.
It hung in the room, heavy and thick around him. More than a word—a warning, an omen. It charged the darkness with foreboding.
Rhys had been having the dreams off and on for the last several weeks, but now they were coming practically every night. He’d been hitting the sheets later and later in an attempt to keep them at bay, and only after working himself into an exhausted stupor first. So far it hadn’t worked. Nothing had worked.
His scowl was wasted on the empty room. The only thing those extra workouts had accomplished was to make him more unnerved when he was wrenched from sleep at three o’clock in the morning.
“Christ.” He rubbed both hands briskly over the top of his head and through his shaggy hair. It didn’t help shake off the dream.
The last remnants of the dream began to blur. The sensation of having cotton stuffed down his throat eased and his breathing returned to normal, but in his mind he could still see her eyes, her tears…and the blood.
Rhys often had premonitions of things to come—it was one of the gifts he had been cursed with when he’d become an Immortal.
He would be a fool to ignore them.
A few visions he could handle, but these were different. He was afraid.
Which was stupid. Rhys had never met the woman currently starring in his dreams. He most definitely would have remembered. You’ll find out soon enough. Given the number of nights he’d been having the dreams, that day was imminent.
With a grimace he stood. He grabbed a shirt from the pile of clothes lying on the floor by the bed and quickly tugged it on. Clean pants were harder to find. The ones he’d had on the night before were stained with blood and gore. That shit was a bitch to get out of denim, but he couldn’t very well take his clothes to the cleaners. Too many questions.
Rifling through a drawer, the familiar itch of desperation crawled his bones. The demon responsible for Duncan’s death had all but vanished into thin air and Rhys was afraid it had already been too long, that the trail was cold.
“Damn.” He stomped to the overlarge closet, but besides an impressive array of deadly weapons that encompassed everything from submachines to broadswords, there was very little else inside.
Deep inside the closet he finally found an old, faded pair of jeans and dragged them on. He swore under his breath. They were tight. 1980s heavy metal band tight. Well, that was too damn bad because he had a demon to track down and no time to waste with laundry.
His pursuit had lost some momentum since the demon disappeared. The monster would eventually turn up to kill again, but he couldn’t sit around waiting for it to happen. Unnecessary human deaths were bad for business.
He’d spent weeks trolling the streets, searching every back alley and deserted building, searching the warehouses along the wharf and searching clubs, bars and every other den of iniquity that Chandler boasted. Every demon he snagged was “interrogated” before being sent on an exclusive, one-way trip back to where it came from, but so far there had been nothing, no sign of the one he was really after. All his usual underground connections were tapped out, and at this point there was only one more option available.
It would mean gathering the others like him—the Immortals.
Fuck. Just the idea of bringing those guys together gave him the sweats, but he would do it. He had no choice anymore.
Rhys’ first responsibility was to find the newest Immortal; Duncan’s replacement.
* * *
Rhys approached the entrance to the popular nightclub, stopping before the two overgrown, steroid-pumping bouncers parked at the door. They took one look and waved him through.
Inside, thunderous techno music blared loudly from half a dozen colossal speakers, set around the perimeter of the dance floor. A sweaty, drunken, synchronistic swarm of scantily dressed and utterly wasted twenty-somethings heaved and gyrated wildly to the thumping beat.
Rhys’ dark glasses were out of place in the dimly lit club. Even though he could see perfectly, he took them off and stuffed them inside his jacket pocket. Without the shades he took the chance someone might notice his strangely colored eyes, but the likelihood was small. Most people tried not to meet his gaze head on. He made them nervous.
The black lights and appropriately placed neon created a trendy, underground atmosphere while hiding the fact that the club itself had seen better days. Rhys could see the paint peeling from the walls and the water stains dotting the ceiling, things no one else would see in the dark when the club was busy.
The crowd parted for him as he made his way across the floor, sticky with spilled beer and God only knew what else. They were the smart ones, the ones who intuitively knew that messing with him would be detrimental to their pursuit of perpetual good times.
There wasn’t a warrior amongst them. Even the big-ass bouncers at the door wouldn’t stand a chance in hell if they were forced to defend themselves against the things Rhys fought every night. That’s why he deliberately cultivated his “fuck off” persona; to make damn sure no civilian ever discovered the truth about what was going on out there, and what he really was—a hunter, just short of human. Only the demons he sent back to the Abyss would ever get close enough to see the death in his eyes.
Rhys immediately felt Baron’s presence in the dark club. An Immortal could sense when another of his kind was near—those superhuman extrasensory instincts weren’t only for show. He made his way to the other side of the bar and unerringly stopped in front of a kid dressed in a dark Armani suit.
Baron was tall, lean, with chestnut-colored hair that curled around his head like a tarnished copper halo. Even in the suit, he looked years younger than he was, as if he should be studying anatomy from a college textbook instead of getting an up close and personal lesson courtesy of the skanky blonde draped all over him.
Rhys knew what no one else outside certain elite circles of Baron’s government did—that even at his young age of twenty-eight, there wasn’t much Baron hadn’t seen or done, at least in the humans’ world. Any innocence he’d once had was long gone.
The blonde squirmed on Baron’s lap and he had his face buried in her neck. She’d spread his suit jacket open, eagerly stuffing one hand down into the waistband of his pants as Baron stroked his thumbs up under her skirt.
Rhys could all but see the cloud of sexual arousal surrounding the pair, and shook his head. Baron should know better. Sex made a person vulnerable. In a place like this, getting distracted was like setting up a flashing red neon sign over your head inviting the enemy to please come rip your throat out.
Demons had a knack for being able to sense Immortals as easily as Immortals could find each other. It was just one more reason why Rhys had come looking for Baron. He had a lot to learn, and whether or not he wanted to, Rhys was the one to teach him.
He stood a few feet in front of the pair. Baron finally looked up and met his gaze.
Both of them were silent as they sized each other up. Rhys caught a flash of awareness in Baron’s face, a confused sort of recognition, before it was shut down behind a calculated mask of indifference.
“Hey, you got a problem?” Baron finally asked in a bland, uninterested tone that fell short of being friendly.
“No problem,” Rhys replied easily. He hadn’t expected a warm welcome. “I need to talk to you, though. And not here.”
“Fuck off.” Baron turned his attention back to the woman working her hands up and under his shirt, apparently unmoved by the prospect of having an audience.
“Don’t force me to convince you.” He kept his voice low, controlled, but the power behind it was palpable.
Baron’s eyebrows lifted, but he didn’t back down. “I said forget it. You might not have noticed, but I’ve got plans tonight that don’t include back alley gropes with biker dudes.”
Rhys sighed. The little shit. He could drag Baron out of here on his ass, but the last thing he wanted was to cause a scene that might draw the police.
“You’ll want to hear me out,” Rhys continued patiently. “Maybe you’ll even learn something interesting in the process.”
Baron gave him a sharp, searching look. After a moment, he shoved the blonde from his lap with a short word of dismissal.
Arms crossing over his chest with contrived boredom, Baron watched the woman saunter away, an angry twitch to her generous hips. “So what is it that you think you can teach me?” he asked snidely.
“I think you’re probably smarter than you look. You’ve been able to figure out the basics of what you are, but you need to take advantage of the opportunity I’m giving you.”
Damn, he was bungling this. Badly.
“What I am?” Baron made a low sound deep in his throat. “Hell, I don’t need this. And I don’t need any of your fucking ‘opportunities’. Who the hell do you think you are anyway? Dracula meets Hell’s Angels? Or did you just forget to take your meds today?”
Yep. Very badly.
This back and forth was pointless. He hadn’t come here to get on the young Immortal’s bad side. On the contrary, Rhys wanted to fulfill his obligation to complete Baron’s training and hopefully gain an ally in the process, but it had been a very long time since he’d worked with another Immortal.
He decided to try a different approach. He reached inside his coat. Baron’s gaze flared and his arms flexed. Rhys only pulled out a card. He handed it over. “Just come to this address in an hour. I don’t talk business in public.”
Baron’s hand shot out and caught Rhys’ wrist. He turned back slowly, raising one eyebrow. “I do know you somehow, don’t I?”
“Yeah. Somehow,” Rhys answered. “Don’t be late.”
Rhys went back to his place. No one would have called it a home—it was far from that. But the structure was sound, housing everything he needed, including a massive storeroom of weaponry. The building was an old warehouse, abandoned long before Rhys had purchased the property.
One of the first things he had done was install a security system. Everything was rigged—windows, doors, and even the roof—but it wasn’t over the top for the neighborhood. The gadgetry was useful to keep the place secure when he couldn’t be here. But when real trouble was afoot, Rhys relied on his own heightened senses, which were usually more than enough to warn him of impending danger.
He entered the inner office where a softly glowing trio of monitors sat on top of a massive desk. Shrugging off the heavy leather coat, he dropped it across the high back of the only chair before sitting down and propping his boots up on the desk. A dark black stain rimmed the edge of his pants leg.
Jesus Christ, he was a mess.
He shouldn’t be the one taking on Baron’s training. Any other Immortal would have been better for the job.
On Duncan’s death, the young guy had inherited all that power and immortality—because power like theirs could not be destroyed, only shifted. But with it also came the curse, and a responsibility that Baron couldn’t possibly understand without some guidance. Rhys had never been the guiding type.
But since Duncan had been Rhys’ partner, it naturally fell to him. Rhys should have taken over Baron’s training right away, but he’d tried to avoid it. For too long. And now he felt guilty. He would rather have his eyes gouged out with a hot poker than be responsible for anyone else, but he couldn’t avoid his obligations any longer.
Rhys straightened, alert, but almost immediately he relaxed again. He settled back into the chair, a small grin playing across his lips.
Someone was in the building.
Nothing suspicious had shown up on the cameras, but he didn’t need them to know Baron had arrived. Leaning forward, he tapped a series of keys on the computer console and watched the screen switch to a panoramic view of the back loading docks of the old warehouse. The system still hadn’t registered the intruder.
The kid’s not bad. Not bad at all.
He really shouldn’t have been surprised. He knew what Baron’s military classification had been before his medical discharge. He also knew that Baron was undergoing an appeal process to be allowed to return to service, but that his doctors were hesitant to let him go back out in the field. They still didn’t know what had caused his illness in the first place, or why he’d recovered when all the tests said he should be dead.
A few minutes later, he swiveled in the chair and faced the entrance.
“You know I’m here, don’t you?” Baron said. He stood motionless in the heavy shadows beyond the doorway.
Rhys grunted. “I heard you coming from two blocks over.”
A snort. “Screw off.” He came inside and went straight to the small bar fridge, reaching in to grab a beer. He turned back around and perched his ass on the edge of the desk. “So who are you? Why did you come looking for me and why in hell should I give a shit?”
Rhys remained silent for a long moment. Baron had never met another Immortal. He must be confused and nervous, but he was also arrogant as hell, and would never admit to it.
“My name’s Morgan. Rhys Morgan.”