A Warrior to Love

Marisa Chenery

 

Chapter 1

THE familiar pull of evil had Konner changing direction and following it. His steps quickened as the sensation became stronger. He picked up the stench of evil in the air—a scent only he, as one of Anubis’ warriors, could smell.

He found his prey at the back of a warehouse, attempting to break into it. Konner bit back a groan of pain as the change ripped through him. It only took a matter of seconds for him to shift into his half-human and half-jackal form, but it was pure agony while it lasted. His bones grew larger and realigned, the sound loud in his ears. His muscles became bigger and he stood taller at almost seven feet. Once the shift was complete, his entire body was covered in black fur and he had the head and tail of a jackal. Two gold armbands circled his biceps and a snow-white ancient-Egyptian-styled kilt covered his hips and fell to mid-thigh.

Konner dragged in a deep breath once the change was complete. Not only did his prey reek of evil, he also smelled of some kind of drug he’d recently taken. The man was more than likely stoned out of his mind, which meant he’d be unpredictable.

Once he was directly behind his prey, Konner let out a low growl, loud enough for the man to hear. The evildoer whipped around. His eyes widened when he saw Konner. The man pulled out a gun that had been shoved into the front waistband of his jeans and then fired.

Luckily Konner had faster reflexes than a mortal. He managed to knock the firearm away, changing the trajectory just before the bullet was fired. It ended up grazing the cap of his shoulder instead of lodging in his chest. A wound there wouldn’t have killed him since he was immortal, but it would have hurt like hell.

He grabbed the prey’s wrist and squeezed until the man let the gun drop to the ground. Konner shook his lupine head. “Now that wasn’t smart, mate,” he said in a voice that was much deeper and more gravelly than his own, still retaining his Australian accent.

The evildoer reached his free hand around to his back and whipped out a knife. “Let go of me, freak of nature, or I’ll gut you.”

Konner laughed. It took him only a few seconds to remove the knife from his prey’s possession and have him slammed up against the building in a grip the man wouldn’t be able to break free from. “As I said before, not very smart.”

Capturing the evildoer’s gaze with his own, Konner pushed into the man’s mind. His prey bellowed with the pain Konner knew he caused. Not that Konner cared. As he tapped into the mortal’s memories, he saw every evil deed the man had committed. He experienced them as one of the victims, living it as if it had happened to him.

“Evil,” Konner said as the last of the memories played out. “Time to face your judgment.”

Konner willed a gold dagger into his hand. The blade had hieroglyphs carved on it—the spell Anubis had infused into it to send evildoers to the underworld. All it took was one cut to do its job. And once his prey stood before Anubis, the god would weigh the man’s heart on the Scales of Justice. If he was found evil, his heart would be fed to Ammit.

After a quick slice of the dagger across the man’s chest, Konner released the evildoer. The magic of the blade already working, his prey slowly lost solidity until he completely disappeared.

Konner willed his weapon away just before the change tore through him once again. Now that the evildoer had been taken care of, he shifted into his human form. He had no control over his shape-shifting ability—being in the presence of evil set it off.

Once again himself, Konner walked from the warehouse and continued on his way down Chicago’s waterfront. He still had some of the night left to hunt evildoers. The farther he went, the more the warehouses changed to restaurants that were open for late-night dining.

The city had changed a lot over the years since Konner came to reside there in the 1920s during the prohibition. He had seen many changes in his immortal life. He’d taken his vow to become one of Anubis’ warriors in 1915. He’d fought in the First World War as a soldier in the Australian and New Zealand Army. Shot in the leg at Gallipoli, he’d been taken back to Egypt as the troops had retreated. That was where they’d all been originally stationed to train. Before he could be sent to a better hospital, his wound had become infected and Konner had ended up on the verge of death. He’d called out to any being who would save him, and Anubis had answered.

Konner hadn’t gone back to Australia. He hadn’t wanted to. It wasn’t as if he could tell his family what he’d become. So he’d come to Chicago where there had been plenty of evildoers to keep him busy. Only the last couple of years he hadn’t felt fulfilled by performing his duty to the god of the underworld. The loneliness was starting to get to him. He still remembered what it was like to have family around him, and at times, he missed it.

Deciding he could use a drink and a little break, Konner went to one of the restaurants. He walked in and stood at the hostess stand, waiting in line as he stared in the direction of the bar to see what spaces were available. As he stood there, a woman brushed by him to stand by the door. There was something about her that had him watching. She was all dressed up and wearing high heels. She reached inside her purse and pulled out her cell phone. She swore a blue streak under her breath. With his sensitive hearing he was able to make out every word.

She returned her phone and headed toward him to stand behind him in line. He heard her sigh as she leaned around to see how many people were ahead of her. She settled her gaze directly on him.

Konner was instantly attracted to her. In a matter of seconds, he’d taken in her long, reddish-blonde hair, blue eyes, and pretty face. His cock hardened with interest as he ran his gaze down her shapely figure, then up to her face again. She stared back at him with interest showing clearly in her eyes.

*

Alexis didn’t normally make it a practice to ask a favor of a stranger, but in this case she felt desperate enough to try. She turned her gaze to look at the man fully, which caused her lungs to seize. He was gorgeous to the extreme. His light-brown hair just brushed the tops of his shoulders. His eyes were hazel. Doing a quick sweep of his body, she saw it was well-padded with muscle. He also had to stand at around six-feet-three, which had her feeling even shorter than she normally felt.

For a few seconds, Alexis forgot what she was going to ask. She realized she stared as intently as he. After a quick check to make sure her tongue wasn’t hanging out, she pulled her wits about her and smiled.

“Ah, excuse me,” she said.

He smiled. “Yes?” His gaze locked on to hers.

The way he looked at her had Alexis’ body heating in a way she found hard to ignore. After the crappy blind date she’d just been on, the night had definitely taken a turn for the better.

“I don’t normally do this, but could I use your cell phone? I need to call a cab. The battery in my cell is dead, and I don’t feel like waiting in this long line to ask to use the phone here.”

He pulled his phone out of his front jeans pocket and held it out to her. “Sure. Go ahead.”

As if he wasn’t already attractive enough, the sound of his voice did naughty things to her. An Aussie accent was one she didn’t think she’d ever get sick of hearing.

She took the cell from him. “Thanks. I promise I won’t take too long.” Alexis quickly dialed the number of a cab company. Once she was finished, she gave him back his cell. “Thanks again.” She went to walk away, but he stopped her.

“It’s kind of late, and who knows how long it will take the cab to get here. Would you mind if I stayed with you until it arrives? I’d feel a lot better if I didn’t leave you outside alone.”

It wasn’t too hard of a decision for her to make. He was a hunk, and so far, he hadn’t acted like an axe murder. And if it looked as if he were turning into someone she wanted to stay clear of, there was still the restaurant where she could escape to.

She nodded. “Sure. I’d like that.” She held out her hand. “I’m Alexis.”

He wrapped his much larger one around hers. “And I’m Konner.”

Konner shook her hand, holding it longer than was necessary. Not that Alexis was complaining. His touch sent a tingling awareness through her straight to her pussy.

Once Konner had let go of her, they walked outside. Alexis said, “I hope I’m not keeping you from something.”

“You’re not.” He paused, then said, “I couldn’t help hearing you were upset about something.”

Alexis grimaced. “Yeah, just a bit. I was on what had to be the worst blind date ever. And to top it all off, the asshole up and left, stranding me at the restaurant. Now I have to somehow think of what I’m going to tell my best friend when she asks what I thought of her cousin. I’m not looking forward to that.”

Konner smiled, then chuckled. The two dimples that appeared on either side of his mouth drove his hunkiness factor up even more. They also had Alexis wishing she could check them out. With her tongue. She pulled her mind back to the conversation as he spoke.

“It sounds as if you’ve had a bad night,” he said. “Now I can understand all the swearing.”

It was Alexis’ turn to chuckle. “I don’t normally go around cursing like that. If I get angry enough, I just can’t seem to hold the swear words back.”

“Then I guess I don’t have to worry about you cussing me out since I’m not the one you’re angry at.”

“Nope. There isn’t any chance of that happening. To be honest, you’re better company than the jerk I was just with.”

At that moment, the taxi pulled up to the curb. Alexis wished it had taken longer. She wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Konner just yet, but she couldn’t think of a reason to prolong her departure.

“There’s my ride,” she said. “Thanks for letting me use your cell and staying with me until the cab arrived.”

She stepped toward the taxi, but Konner took hold of her hand and pulled her toward him. Alexis let out a surprised gasp as his lips claimed hers in a slow, heated kiss. It was over far too soon.

Konner pulled back. “Go out with me, Alexis. I promise I’ll be a much better date.”

Still feeling the imprint of his lips on hers, she nodded. “Sure. I’d like that.”

“I’ll call you tomorrow so we can decide on a time.”

“All right.” Alexis rattled off her number after Konner let go of her hand. He took out his cell to put it into his contacts list. “See you tomorrow.”

“Since it’ll be Saturday, I won’t call too early in the morning.”

“Sounds good.”

After taking one last look at Konner, Alexis turned and got into the waiting cab. She gazed out the window at him as the taxi pulled away. He waved from where he stood on the sidewalk. She had a feeling he would turn out to be a way better date than tonight’s disaster.

* * * *

Konner continued on his way after Alexis’ cab drove out of sight. He resisted the urge to adjust the front of his jeans to make room for the raging hard-on he sported. That one kiss had brought his cock to full arousal in a split second. He hadn’t meant to kiss Alexis. He’d only wanted to take her hand to stop her from getting into the taxi. Seeing her turn away, a feeling of wrongness had swept through him. He hadn’t been able to let that be all they had together. So he’d taken her hand. As she’d turned to face him, he’d had an inexplicable need to taste her lips.

The feeling of them against his was forever imprinted in his mind. Same with the sensation of having her slim, curvy body pressed against his much harder one. Her scent and the smell of her arousal had filled his nose.

Even though it had been no easy task, Konner had forced himself to let her go only after a few seconds. He’d craved more of her. Oh how he’d craved another taste, but he’d reined himself back.

Konner kept walking as he played his time spent with Alexis over in his mind. He didn’t know what he was going to do with her. Strike that. He knew exactly what he wanted to do with her. It involved both of them naked and some very hot sex. He just didn’t know how he’d progress with her after that.

He hadn’t tried to form attachments with any mortals, women or men, since he’d become one of Anubis’ warriors. And with the disinterest in his life he’d been experiencing, it had to have been at least five years since he’d last had sex. He hadn’t felt the need in a long time. Until he’d met Alexis, that is.

* * * *

After paying the cab driver the fare, Alexis got out of the taxi and then walked toward the front door of the small bungalow she called home. She’d actually grown up in it. When her parents had decided the year before that they wanted to move to Florida, they’d given her the house. There was no mortgage on it since her parents had paid it off a few years ago. She hadn’t turned them down when they’d come to her with the offer.

She unlocked the front door and then stepped inside. Once closed, she locked it. She kicked out of her pumps before turning on some lights. It was late, but not too late to call her best friend. Sabrina was a night owl, as was Alexis, to some extent. She and Sabrina jointly owned a web design company, which meant they could work out of their homes and make their own hours. It was nothing for her friend to stay up until five in the morning, working. Alexis tended to get more work done by breaking her work hours up during the day. The afternoons and evenings were taken up with her job with some mornings thrown in if she was meeting a deadline.

Deciding to give Sabrina a call before going to her bedroom to change out of her dress, Alexis headed to the living room. She picked up the cordless phone on one of the end tables, then sank onto the plush couch. She figured it would be better to tell Sabrina her cousin was an asshole now instead of waiting until the next day. She didn’t trust the jerk not to go to Sabrina with some dumbass story about Alexis being the one to cause the date to fall apart.

Sabrina picked up after the third ring. “Hey, chicky. How did your date with Travis go?”

“I have to thank you so much for setting up that blind date with your cousin. Travis was such a sweetheart.”

“I’m glad…wait a minute. You were being sarcastic, weren’t you?”

“How could you tell?” Alexis asked drolly.

“So, you two didn’t hit it off?”

Alexis let out a deep sigh. “I know Travis is part of your family, but the man is an asshole.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really. When he realized I wasn’t going to—now these are his words—put out, the shithead abandoned me at the restaurant with no way to get home. And on top of it all, my cell phone battery died so I couldn’t even use that.”

“Travis actually said that to you?”

“Yes. I would never make up something like that. I know you thought Travis was a great guy, but if I ever see him again, I’m going to nail him in the balls.”

“I’m so sorry, Alexis. I had no idea he was such a jerk. He’s always talking about the girls he dates and how he’d like to meet that special woman he could settle down with. If I’d known he only wanted a quick tumble in bed, I never would have suggested the blind date. How did you get home?”

“I know you wouldn’t have. And Travis must have been feeding you bullshit. I can’t see any woman wanting to be anywhere near him once she got to know him. He’s good-looking and knows it. As for how I got home, I asked to borrow a stranger’s phone and called a cab.”

“You asked a stranger for help? Alexis, do you know how risky that is?”

Alexis shook her head. Sabrina didn’t trust anyone she didn’t know. “I was desperate. I had no working cell, and I wasn’t in the mood to stand in a really long line at the restaurant and ask politely to use their phone. I decided to take the chance.”

“Please tell me you asked a woman and not a man.”

“Sorry. I asked a man, and his name is Konner. He was a real gentleman, and even stayed with me until the cab arrived to make sure I’d be all right. We’re going out on a date tomorrow. He’s also Australian and has a great accent.”

“Are you sure you should be going out with him? You just met him.”

Alexis couldn’t stop herself from rolling her eyes, glad Sabrina wasn’t able to see it. “Sabrina, you set me up on a date with your cousin, gave him my address to pick me up, and I’d never laid eyes on him until he came knocking at my door.”

“That’s different. Travis is my cousin. I know him.”

“Except you didn’t know how much of an asshole he was,” Alexis said with a laugh. “Quit your worrying. Konner is a nice guy. He didn’t give off any icky vibes like your cousin did, sorry to say.”

Sabrina sighed loudly. “All right, I’ll stop harping on you. So, when are you going to see this Konner again?”

“I’m not sure yet. He’s going to call me tomorrow to set up a time.”

“I guess that means you won’t be working on a Saturday for a change, which is a good thing. You’ve been working too much lately.”

It was true. Alexis had started working through the weekends when before she’d taken them off. It mostly stemmed from the fact she really had nothing else to do. With her parents in Florida, she couldn’t go visit them very often. And as an only child, she had no siblings to take their place. Then there was the whole no-boyfriend thing.

“That’s just something else for you to bug me about,” Alexis said. “I think you like to nag me.”

Sabrina laughed. “So true. If I didn’t nag you, who would?”

“Whatever,” she said with a chuckle. “I’m going to go. I don’t want to stay up too late tonight. I want to be well-rested for my date with Konner.”

“Call me after it’s over so I’ll know he didn’t murder you and dump your body in an alley somewhere.”

“God, Sabrina. Do you have to be so dramatic? I’ll be fine. And I’ll call you.”

“Don’t forget. Talk to you later.”

Alexis hung up and shook her head. Her best friend might have some strange ways about her, but Alexis loved Sabrina anyway. And depending on how well her date went with Konner, Sabrina may or may not get a call until the following day.