It’s a gritty new world. Three decades after the events of Reaper, the world is a different place. The secret is out. The existence of demons, vampires, shapeshifters, and angels has been revealed, and humans are struggling to adapt. Out of the chaos, The Aegis has risen to global power on the promise of containing or exterminating all underworlders, even if that means ushering in the End of Days. Standing in their way is the next generation of warriors, the children of demons and angels and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. See how they become legends in their own right in Larissa Ione’s brand new series, Demonica Birthright, kicking off this week. And I have a sneak peek for you from the first book in the series…
“It’s just that sparring isn’t on the schedule.” She jabbed the paper with her red-lacquered finger. “See? Right here, it says we’d have orientation and a tour of the facility, but sparring and tactical weapons demonstrations isn’t until tomorrow—”
“What’s the matter?” He spent a pointedly long time sizing her up, wondering how fast those slender legs could sweep an enemy off their feet, and how quickly those delicate fingers could flip a blade into an opponent’s eye. Then he smiled at how easy it would be to put her on the mat, no matter how good she was. The only one of the lot who looked like he could give Logan a run for his money was the big guy who practically screamed special forces. Although the other female looked like a scrapper who could get in some lucky strikes. He had a feeling her scars and limp could tell a lot of tales. “Afraid to take me on?”
He got a kick out of the way her mouth worked soundlessly for a second before she found her voice. “Words are my weapons, Mr., ah, Logan.”
“The pen is mightier than the sword, eh?” He opened the door to the training facility. “Personally, I think actions speak louder than words.”
Her smile was downright condescending. “I’m sure you do.”
Laughing, he ushered her and the other Aegi inside.
The special forces guy who nearly matched Logan’s six-four height and looked like he spent most of his time in the gym, gaped through the armory door at the rows of weapons inside. “Holy…wow.”
“Carlos is our Chief Weapons Master,” Eva explained, not that Logan gave a crap.
“I can’t believe this,” Carlos breathed. He was practically drooling. “Is that a Djevith bone breaker? How many do you have? Can I see it?”
Logan didn’t see any reason to refuse. All the weapons here were for training purposes only, their edges dulled, and their magical properties, if any, either disabled or diminished.
“Have at it. All of you. When you’re done, meet me on the mat. If you have questions about any of the weapons, I’ll show you how they work.”
Carlos disappeared inside, followed by everyone except Eva. She walked with Logan to the other side of the room while the others swarmed the armory like a succubus in a sex toy store.
Which made him picture Lilith in a sex toy store.
Which caused some mental trauma.
Son of a bitch. He would never be able to hear the word succubus again without thinking of that psychopath and what she’d done to his family. What she wanted to do to him.
Needing a distraction, he swung around to Eva. EH-vuh. He liked the softness in the pronunciation, the way it was spoken on a breath, crossing the lips like a caress.
“You aren’t interested in the weapons?”
She dropped her tote next to the wall. “Not especially.”
He gestured to her bright blue bag. “Got a stang in there?”
Surprise flickered in her eyes, quickly snuffed. “What makes you say that?”
“It says in that stack of papers that you were all allowed to bring one. Did you?”
“So, get it out. Let’s see what you can do with it.”
“I’m not exactly dressed for combat, Logan. That’s what I was trying to tell you.”
“Bullshit.” He emptied his pockets of his various knives and throwing stars and tossed them to the corner of the mat. “Every Aegi I’ve ever known could slaughter an Oni while wearing an evening gown or in the nude. You require every member to be battle-trained to their highest ability, and you mandate refresher courses to maintain proficiency. The Aegis wants its people to be able to handle themselves in any situation, same as DART. The Aegis isn’t a job. It’s a lifestyle.” He’d wanted to say that it was a cult, but maybe he shouldn’t antagonize them too much on the very first day. “Are exceptions made for certain jobs like yours? Or are you not considered a Guardian?”
Her narrow nose came up so she could stare down it at him. “Every Aegi is considered a Guardian. I have the tattoo, and I carry a stang like everyone else. And believe it or not, I can hold my own with a variety of weapons.”
He couldn’t decide if he believed her or not. Time to find out.
Without warning, he spun, kicked, and took her to the mat with a sweep to the back of her legs.
“Disappointing,” he said as he looked down at her. “I expected better of an Aegi. If I had been an enemy, you’d be dead.”
Fire sparked in her cool espresso gaze. Glaring, she kicked off her heels and shoved to her feet in an angry surge. “You cheated,” she snapped. “I wasn’t expecting that.”
“Most people don’t expect demons to pop out of manholes, but it happens.”
“Are you saying I should be on guard here?” She made a wide, encompassing gesture around the room. “In DART headquarters, which should be the safest place on the planet outside of an Aegis building?”
“I’m saying you should always expect—”
And then he was on his back, and that magnificent woman who smelled like flowers floating on the ocean was straddling his chest, the silver end of the stang at his throat.
It was hot. As. Fuck.
Damn, he might have just found his soulmate.