JAXON strolled down the street with no real destination in mind. Even though he’d hunted his prey for most of the night before, he’d taken to the streets of San Diego the following day, midafternoon. Not to hunt. He was just restless. The thought of sitting at home, waiting for the sun to set once again so he could seek out evildoers, as was his job as one of Anubis’ warriors, wasn’t something he wanted to do. Thus, he was out wandering.
French by birth, he’d been alive since 1772. He’d taken his vow to serve Anubis in 1798 when he’d been a soldier with Napoleon’s army. They’d been in Egypt to take the first step against British India to drive the British out of the French Revolutionary War. Taking part in the last battle where the British had defeated the French, Jaxon had almost lost his life, had been pretty near death. He’d been wounded during a naval attack by Nelson in the Aboukir Bay, just off the coast of Egypt. Jaxon had been on the French ship Orient. Wounded by British cannon shot, he’d managed to escape the burning ship before it exploded. Barely reaching the shore, he had called out to any Egyptian god to save him, and Anubis had been the one to answer.
Now he lived in San Diego. For the most part, he was content with his new life. Every once in a while he’d get restless, but he always managed to get over it. He’d grown accustomed to being alone. And he didn’t miss the fact there wasn’t a woman at his side to share his life. Even as a mortal he hadn’t wanted a wife.
He turned a corner, which took him to the front of a coffee shop. Jaxon grunted, then sucked in a sharp breath as a woman talking on her cell phone, who had come out of the building, crashed into him, spilling her hot coffee on the front of his shirt. Ignoring the stinging burn on his chest, he grabbed her by her arms to right her.
She pulled her cell away from her ear and gave him a look of horror. “Oh, my God. I’m so sorry. Are you okay? Are you scalded by the coffee?”
Luckily for him, being immortal meant whatever burn he’d received had healed in a matter of seconds. The only damage done was to his shirt, which had a big stain across the chest.
“I’m fine,” he said. “No harm done.”
The woman said a few words into her phone before she ended the call and then put it inside her purse. “Look what I did to your shirt. Here, hold this.”
She passed him her cup of coffee before she dabbed at the front of his T-shirt with one of the paper napkins she held. Obviously not satisfied with that, she pushed another up under his shirt and dabbed it from the inside as well as the outside.
Jaxon’s cock stirred as the backs of her fingers rubbed against his chest. While she was busy trying to clean him up, he took the time to get a really good look at her. She was pretty with the kind of looks that drew him to a woman. Her long, brown hair fell over her shoulders, looking soft to the touch. He had the sudden urge to sink his fingers into the silken mass and take her mouth with his until she moaned. His dick liked that idea because it went rock hard two heartbeats later.
She must have noticed the state he was in. Her movements stilled just before her brown-eyed gaze lifted to his. Her breath seemed to catch as she stared at his mouth. A pale shade of pink appeared on her cheeks. She pulled her hands away.
“Ah, I’m really sorry,” she said. “Let me make it up to you. I’ll buy you a drink this evening. And I’m Chyna, by the way.”
Jaxon ran his gaze down her body, liking what he saw outlined by her blouse and fitted skirt. The high heels she wore made her legs look long and toned. He wouldn’t mind getting her into bed for a night, having them wrapped around his waist as he pounded into her. He could afford to take the night off from hunting. With the crime rate in San Diego low, there weren’t as many evildoers around as there had been when he’d first moved to the city over ten years ago.
He nodded. “A drink would be nice. I’m Jaxon.”
She smiled. “Great. Meet me at the Waterfront Bar, say around seven? Do you know where it is?”
“Yes. And seven sounds fine.”
“I’d stay and talk, but I’m in the middle of my lunch break and I have to get back to the office. So I’ll see you later this evening.”
After taking her coffee back, Chyna gave him one last smile, then walked away. Jaxon turned to watch her, his gaze landing on her bottom. The restlessness he’d felt earlier had magically disappeared with the prospect of meeting with Chyna again, and the chance of getting to know her a whole lot better while he had her in his bed.
* * * *
Chyna walked to the office where she worked as a receptionist slash secretary with a lighter step than when she’d left it. There had been no chance of her letting a guy as good-looking as Jaxon get away. Bumping into him had made her day, even though she’d spilled her coffee all over his shirt. It had been nice to touch him while she’d mopped up the mess. The man was ripped. He had well-defined abs and a chest she could have stroked for hours, same with the rest of his muscular body.
Everything about Jaxon was gorgeous—his longish dark-brown hair, green eyes that seemed to eat her up, and his sexy, deep voice that had a slight French accent. He was tall. Had to be around six-feet-four. At five-feet-six, she’d perfectly fit under his chin while he held her in his arms.
A delicious shiver went through Chyna at the thought of getting that close to Jaxon. Maybe her recent losing streak when it came to men was finally over. At thirty, she wanted to find a man she could share her life with. The days of her wanting to just have a good time with no strings attached were over for her. Hopefully, Jaxon would be the one to end the string of men who were only interested in getting her into bed and nothing else.
Chyna walked into the office building for the public relations company where she worked. Joy, the girl from the mailroom who covered the front desk while Chyna had her lunch, smiled when she saw Chyna.
“Back already?” Joy asked.
Chyna walked around the large, curved desk and then put her coffee cup on its smooth wood surface. “I just grabbed something to eat at the coffee shop down the street.”
“Did you have something good?” Joy asked as she pushed back the steno chair she sat on, then stood.
“You could say that, though it wasn’t food, and I haven’t had it yet.” Chyna stashed her purse in the bottom desk drawer before she straightened.
“Well, don’t keep me waiting in anticipation. What is this something ‘good?’”
“It’s a gorgeous hunk of a man who is tall, has dark-brown hair, green eyes, and a body with so many muscles he must lift a ton of weights.”
“Damn. Now I wish I could have gone to lunch with you. Please tell me you didn’t let him walk away without talking to him.”
Chyna sat in the chair Joy had vacated and she rolled herself closer to the desk. “I didn’t. His name is Jaxon, and I’m meeting him for drinks later this evening.”
“I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Jaxon will be a good one,” Joy said with a smile.
Chyna counted Joy as one of her good friends at work. Only a year younger than her, the other woman and Chyna shared a lot of things about their personal lives. She’d bemoaned about her unluckiness lately when it came to the opposite sex to Joy more than a few times. Joy, who was engaged to be married later that year, had offered quite a few times to set Chyna up with her future brother-in-law. Chyna didn’t feel quite that desperate yet to take Joy up on her offer.
“Thanks,” Chyna replied. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed as well. I’m due a man I want to keep.”
Joy looked at her watch. “I guess I should head to the mailroom. You know I’m going to want details tomorrow.”
Once Joy left, Chyna settled into the familiar pace of answering phone calls and doing the secretarial work she had to finish before the end of the day. By the time she’d completed everything and could leave, she didn’t waste any time forwarding the phone to the answering service for the night. She’d go home, have a quick dinner, then get ready for her date with Jaxon.
* * * *
After Chyna had left him, Jaxon returned to his home in the Santaluz community. He’d bought the place shortly after his move to San Diego. Even though it was well-known for its golf course, he wasn’t into the sport. He’d tried it a few times, but found it not fast-paced enough for him. He still loved the area, though.
The first thing he did when he stepped through the door was take off his stained T-shirt. There was no saving the light gray garment, so he tossed it right into the garbage in the kitchen. Jaxon ran his fingers over his chest where Chyna had touched him. He could still feel the sensation of it.
He shook his head as he headed to his bedroom of his one-story home. It had been a while since he’d last slept with a woman, but Jaxon hadn’t thought he was that hard up that an innocence touch would send his libido soaring. His cock even jerked at the memory of Chyna’s attempts to clean him up.
He definitely would have to get her into bed after they had their drinks. A good bout of sex and he’d have her out of his system. That’s how it usually worked. Though his reaction to Chyna was stronger than he experienced with other women he was attracted to. It might take more than one round of intense sex to have him stop craving her.
Inside his bedroom, Jaxon swept it with his gaze. There were only a few clothes on the floor he’d have to clean up, and he’d change the sheets on the bed as well. Usually, he didn’t let a woman stay overnight, but the idea of having Chyna sleeping in his arms all night wasn’t something he found repugnant.
Jaxon shook his head as he moved around the room, picking up dirty clothes. Chyna would not be sleeping over. He’d gone for over two hundred years without having that type of relationship with a woman and he wouldn’t start now. As a young mortal, he’d come close to it once, but later had found out the woman had played him along with another man for a fool, which had hurt him.
He finished with his bedroom and then did a thorough check of the rest of the house to make sure it was clean. At one of the guestrooms, Jaxon stood in the doorway and looked inside. This was his temple to Anubis. To keep the ties he had to the god of the underworld strong, Jaxon worshipped Anubis every day, setting food and drink out on the small altar each morning. It had taken a huge adjustment for him to feel comfortable doing it since his entire mortal life he’d been a good Catholic. Now he considered only Anubis as his god. The Egyptian god had been the one to answer Jaxon’s call for another chance at life. The god he’d followed for so long before that hadn’t been there for him when he had needed Him the most.
Jaxon would have to keep the door to the temple shut while Chyna was in the house. She didn’t need to see it. Plus, he didn’t want to have to explain why he had a room filled with statues, artwork, and other items featuring Anubis. It wasn’t as if he’d be seeing her again after tonight. Maybe. He shook his head as he shut the temple’s door. He had to stop thinking that way about Chyna. He was a warrior of Anubis. He didn’t have time for, or want, a woman in his life. He was a loner, and a loner he’d stay.
* * * *
Jaxon pulled into the parking lot at the Waterfront Bar at exactly seven o’clock. He steered his black sports car into a spot, then turned off the engine. As he got out, he felt the familiar pull of evil nearby.
He cursed under his breath as he followed the sensation. There would be no ignoring it. Once he felt it, Jaxon couldn’t just walk away. He had to see it to its end, which meant he’d now be late for his date with Chyna.
Following the pull, Jaxon smelled the scent of evil in the air, something only he as a warrior of Anubis could smell. The closer he came to the back of the building next door to the bar, the stronger it became.
The change took Jaxon over as he reached the source of evil. He shifted to his half-human and half-jackal form, which no matter how many times he went through it hurt like hell. The shift wasn’t voluntary. Being in the presence of an evildoer brought it on every time. It felt as if someone took a grater to his insides. The sound of his bones realigning sounded loud in the air. Once the change was complete, his body was covered in black fur from head to toe and he was much taller, his muscles larger. His hips were covered by a snow-white Egyptian-styled kilt, and around each of his thick biceps was a gold armband.
His tail swished behind him as he turned his large, lupine head toward his prey. A man stood in the shadows while he held another by the throat, pointing a gun at his victim’s head. Neither one of them had noticed Jaxon.
A loud growl rumbled out of Jaxon’s chest as he approached the pair. A lot stronger than any mortal, he grabbed his prey by the back of the neck and wrenched away the gun he held pointed at the other man. Jaxon heard the evildoer’s bones break at the same time his prey yelled in pain. With a quick look in the other male’s eyes, Jaxon put him in a trance to keep him from running while he dealt with the evildoer.
Jerking the struggling evildoer around to face him, Jaxon gave him a few hard shakes until the fight left him. His prey’s grip loosened on the gun and it dropped to the ground. Jaxon growled again, curling his upper lip, and was rewarded with the sight of his prey crying, begging to be released. Jaxon sighed. It figured. The mortal was tough until someone bigger and stronger came along.
Not wanting to be any later than he already was, Jaxon snared the evildoer’s gaze with his and tore into the mortal’s mind. His prey whimpered at the pain Jaxon knew he caused, but he didn’t care. All the evil deeds the mortal had done in his life filled Jaxon’s head, causing him to relive every one as if he’d been on the receiving end. The many victims’ cries echoed through his mind.
Jaxon snarled his lip again and sniffed the air. The scent of evil oozed out of every pore of his prey. “Evil,” he said in a voice much deeper and gravelly than his normal one. “Time for you to face judgment.”
He held up his free hand and willed his hardened gold dagger into it. Along the blade were hieroglyphs, which was a spell embedded in it that would send the evildoer to the underworld to be judged by Anubis. One cut was all it took to invoke it.
With a quick sweep of his hand, Jaxon sliced the dagger across the man’s chest, cutting through the material of the shirt he wore and into skin. His prey let out a strangled cry as his body slowly lost substance and faded out of existence. Once in the underworld, Anubis would weigh the man’s heart on the Scales of Justice. If he was deemed evil, his heart would be fed to Ammit to be consumed.
The evildoer taken care of, Jaxon still had to handle the victim. He willed the dagger away and crossed to where the mortal stood, looking off into space. He took hold of the man’s chin and forced him to look at him. Jaxon erased every memory of himself from the man’s mind. He planted the suggestion that the mortal didn’t see Jaxon before sending him on his way none the worse for the wear.
Jaxon turned and walked in the direction of the bar. He ground his teeth as the change tore through him, his body shifting back to his human form. Once it was complete, he was again dressed in the black jeans and dark blue, button-down shirt he’d worn before the shift.
He hurried toward the bar’s entrance and through the doors. He was now about twenty minutes late. Jaxon hoped Chyna hadn’t thought he’d stood her up. His gaze landed on her, and he breathed a sigh of relief. She hadn’t left, though it looked as if she was getting ready to do just that. She stood at one of the tables in the center of the room, putting her purse strap over her shoulder.
With long strides, Jaxon crossed to Chyna. “Sorry I’m late,” he said.
She turned to face him. “I thought you weren’t coming.”
“I got a little tied up with something or I would have been on time.”
“All right, I’ll forgive you this time.”
They sat at the table. Jaxon caught the attention of a waitress, and she came over and took their drink orders. She returned a short while later with his beer and Chyna’s rum and Coke.
To get the conversation started between him and Chyna, Jaxon asked, “So, do you spill coffee on a lot of guys, then ask them out for a drink?”
She chuckled. “No, I’m not normally that much of a klutz. You’re the first.”
“I guess that makes me special.”
Chyna chuckled again, then ran her gaze over his face and licked her lips. “Oh, I have to agree with that.”
The sight of her tongue coming out, sweeping along her bottom lip, had Jaxon wishing they were some place private. His cock hardened as he pictured what he wanted her to do with that mouth of hers.
Tearing his gaze off her lips, Jaxon said, “Tell me something about yourself.”
She took a sip of her drink before she answered. “There’s really not too much. I work the reception desk at a public relations company. Nothing special. What about you?”
“I wouldn’t say my job is regular, but I spend my nights searching for individuals who think they don’t have to follow the rules of society.”
“So you’re like a cop?”
“Not exactly, but I guess it could be considered something along those lines.”
“Okay, that sounds interesting, I think.”
Jaxon smiled. “It isn’t boring.” He reached across the table and took Chyna’s hand. He was pleased when she didn’t pull away.
“I can’t help noticing you have a bit of an accent,” she said. “It sounds French.”
“It is. I was born in France, but I’ve lived in the States for many years now.”
“What part of France?”
“Do you still have family there?”
“I would think, but not immediate family.”
“Sorry to hear that.”
He shook his head. “I’ve been on my own for a long time. I’m used to it. And you? Have you always lived in San Diego?”
“Yup, born and raised. My family is still here as well.”
The sounds in the bar grew louder as a large group of males sat at a table close to Jaxon and Chyna’s. The men wore matching baseball jerseys. Their voices increased in volume as they talked about a game they’d just played.
Jaxon turned from them and looked at Chyna. “I have a feeling they’re only going to get louder.”
She nodded. “I have to agree with you.”
“How about we finish our drinks, then go to my place? I promise you it will be a lot quieter and we can continue our conversation in peace.”
Chyna appeared to think it over before she nodded again. “All right. It’s too early to call it a night, but you can’t keep me out too late. I have to work in the morning.”
They finished their drinks, then stood. Jaxon put his hand on the small of Chyna’s back and guided her to the bar’s entrance. He’d get her to his place and see how far she’d let him go.