This Band of Brothers Will Steal Your Heart!
Thanks to her family’s curse, psychic Dylan McDonagh has been promised to a sadistic soul broker demon and she’s desperate to escape a terrifying future. After an impulsive act leads her to Morningstar Sanitarium, she’s inexplicably drawn to the sad and mysterious Vanek, but their tentative connection is broken when they escape and go their separate ways. Forced into hiding, Dylan turns to Expat Security for protection. Stunned to find the disturbingly sexy Vanek working there, she almost walks away. Another demon is the last thing she needs in her life.
Formerly one of Hell’s most renowned Painkillers, Vanek is horrified with being human until he discovers he’s been thrown into the body of a badass mercenary with a definite kinky streak and a box of sex toys. Wondering how he got so lucky, he jumps into his new role as second in command of Trinity’s new ops center–Expat Security. When Dylan comes to them for help, he knows he’s got to handle her case personally. As his attraction to her grows, so does the conspiracy that landed him in Brooklyn
Warning: This story contains snort out loud humor, intensely hot sex, a blistering antihero, and a damsel with a steel backbone. The author takes no responsibility for missed work or grouchiness from lack of sleep.
Dylan McDonagh signs herself into Morningstar Sanatorium after she survives a car accident trying to escape her brother and demonic fiancé Aiden. Bound by a promise made by her father who died after selling his soul for wealth and power, she has been forced to use her psychic gift to gain access to ancient artifacts for Aiden.
Vanek is one of the demons ejected from Hell on a trumped up charge of treason against Lucifer. He finds himself at that same sanatorium committed after finding himself in the human world with no memory and a shitload of anger.
Dylan is drawn to him, she hears his tormented nightmares and using her gift to see through the walls, she sees a demon in his room at night.
They both know they need to get out of there but for different reasons. Vanek needs to know who he is and Dylan needs to hideaway somewhere where she can’t be found.
The opportunity arises when Nash one of the other exiles locates Vanek. He has no intention of taking a human with them and I have to say I don’t like him very much. Vanek on the other hand has been winning my heart over.
This is a favorite scene and one where I find I really, really don’t like Nash.
Nash was through the door before Vanek could come up with an argument to off the sadistic monster right now. The second they cleared the door, Nash muttered something and the lights went out, plunging the corridor into pitch blackness. Whispering, he ordered, “Stay close. We’re heading straight to the main exit. We’ve got about two minutes before the lights kick back on. Let’s go!”
He shadowed Nash as he jogged down the hallway and made the next right turn. Using the wall as a guide, he stumbled along until his eyes adjusted to the darkness. Because his heart was hammering in his ears, he had to strain to listen for nurses or security guards. They had about sixty more seconds before the lights came back on and they’d be busted. Up ahead, the glowing exit sign identified the stairwell they needed. Just as he slowed down to hit the door, someone crashed into him from behind. They went flying through the door into the railing before tumbling down the five steps to the next landing.
Dylan landed on his chest with one elbow in his throat and the other in his stomach. Spots flashed behind his eyes when his head connected with the floor.
“Are you seriously leaving me here?” Her chest heaved against his as she panted for air. Lack of oxygen didn’t stop her mouth, though, and anger sent her voice up an entire octave. “We had a deal!”
Rearranging his shoulders so her elbow was out of his windpipe, he gasped hoarsely, “What the hell is the matter with you? Are you nuts?”
Nash reappeared to yank her up by one arm and shove her into the nearest wall. “Get back to your room, little girl. We don’t have time for you.”
Instead of listening to the big scary dude, she set her jaw and threatened, “If you don’t take me with you, I’ll scream bloody murder. Everyone will come running and you’ll never get out.”
He and Nash exchanged a glance before Nash said exactly what Vanek was thinking. “Or, I could just break your neck and throw you down the stairs.”
She gasped but didn’t budge from her position. He could almost hear the wheels turning in her head as she assessed the two of them. That stubborn chin lifted another inch. She wasn’t giving up. She had courage. He’d have to give her that.
“Vanek’s life is my only concern. You’ll just slow us down.” Nash wasn’t impressed with her stubbornness or courage.
She tried again. “Just get me off the property. That’s all I’m asking for. I don’t need you to babysit me. I just need to get over the fence.” Her plea hung in the air for a split second before she whispered, “Please, Vanek.”
He looked at Nash. It was his call. He was running the show.
Nash shook his head in disgust and snapped coldly, “We don’t have time for this. We’re leaving. You can follow if you can keep up.” With that, he swung his body over the railing and leapt down to the landing below.
Launching himself over the same railing, he followed Nash’s route until he landed in a crouch inside the main lobby. The glowing letters of the exit sign promised escape just as the fluorescent hallway lights hummed back to life. The sudden illumination was blinding. Losing his balance, he staggered, nearly falling to his knees, but somehow managed to throw himself through the open door and into the freezing night air. From the corner of his eye, he saw Dylan several yards behind as she came running down the stairs.
A black SUV idled in the patient drop-off zone. Gunning the engine, the driver shouted, “Move your asses!”
Freedom was only twenty yards away.
As they sprinted across the sidewalk, Dylan cried out behind him. He kept running.
“Vanek!” Dylan’s anguished scream stopped him just as he reached the SUV.
Nash was already inside and turned to yell, “Get in!”
He regretted turning around the second he did it. All hell was breaking loose. The hospital was lit up like a hockey rink. People were yelling; their voices growing louder the closer they came. A couple of security guards raced into the lobby. They’d be through the door in a few more seconds. Dylan limped towards them, trying to run, but not able to put much weight on her left foot. She peered over her shoulder at the guards closing in and then measured the distance to the SUV. The desperate hope shining in her eyes turned bleak and she slowly stumbled to a halt. The defeat on her face twisted his gut. Damn it. He owed her. He couldn’t leave her like this.
Nash pounded on the door, yelling, “Get in the fucking truck!”
Torn between Nash and Dylan, he was moving before he could change his mind. Racing to her side, he scooped her into his arms and sprinted towards the SUV as it screeched backwards to meet them. After tossing her inside, he dove across the seat just as the front doors of the hospital flew open. Tires squealed as the driver floored the gas pedal. In another fifteen seconds they were through the gates and flying down the access road.
Dylan let out a whoop of hysterical laughter as the countryside blurred by. “We made it! Oh my god—I thought you were going to ditch me!” As abruptly as it started, her laughter trailed off, her smile fading as she shrugged apologetically, “I guess you’re not the asshole I thought you were.”
“To be honest, I thought about it. You’re lucky you don’t weigh more.”
“Nice.” Groaning impatiently, she reached down to massage her ankle. “I take that back. You’re more of an ass than I thought, but I’m glad you didn’t leave me.”
“Here, let me take a look at that.” He pulled her leg across his lap to examine her foot. “Can you move your ankle?” He rotated it in a small circle until she reached out and grabbed his hand to stop him.
“Ow, hey, let’s not move it, okay? It’s throbbing, but it doesn’t feel broken. It’s probably just a sprain. I slipped on one of the damn steps trying to keep up with you.” Her warm fingers lingered as she leaned into his side to whisper in his ear, “Thank you.”
Before he could respond, the driver whipped the SUV into a gas station parking lot and slammed the brakes. Nash turned around and ordered, “Out.”
She sputtered, bristling with indignation until she found her voice. “Are you crazy? I can barely walk! You can’t leave me in the middle of nowhere! What am I supposed to do? They’ll find me!”
He spoke up. “Yeah, man, we don’t need to take her with us, but we can’t just dump her here. Can’t we drop her in town?”
Nash shot him a hard look that said shut the hell up. “We need to cut her loose. Now.”
“Not your call, V.” Nash tossed Dylan a cellphone and said, “It’s a burner. Use it to phone a friend. Now, get out. We have shit to do.”
Moving stiffly, she tugged her shoe back on. Her eyes glittered with tears (or maybe just fury), but she sounded strong, proud. “Fine. Thanks for the ride.” She opened the door, but hesitated with one foot in and one foot out. Turning back to Vanek, she said, “Good luck with your devil, asshole.”
Dylan was furious. More than furious. She was so mad she wanted to shoot lasers out of her eyes. How could he just dump her in the middle of nowhere like this? Weren’t they friends? He didn’t owe her anything, but only a total dick would leave her stranded. She had no money. She had no identification—no credit cards—nothing. Oh, snap, that’s right—she had a cellphone. Yay. Friggin’ jerk! She hoped his devil burned him alive.
As the taillights vanished around the bend, she sighed. “Well, hell.”
Olerich, Laurie. Vanek (Demons After Dark Book One) (p. 51). Kindle Edition.
There’s a lot of build up in this book and as much as I found myself laughing out loud, I also found myself gasping in horror and tears falling from my eyes.
Vanek and Dylan together spark excitement and the air just sizzles. I do wonder about the rest of that crew though.
A hold your breath page turner with plenty of action and heat.
5 Contented Purrs for Laurie!
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Laurie Olerich is the author of the Primani and Demons After Dark series. Part romance, part paranormal, part adventure…Three things she can’t live without!Laurie spent most of her life in the Northeastern United States and in Western Europe. She now lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her son and Dalmatian muse Rambo. In an attempt to re-live her wild and crazy younger years, she lives vicariously through her characters by setting their adventures in her favorite city, New York, and the mountain forests of New England as often as possible.Before diving into a writing career, Laurie dedicated 20 years to her country by serving in the United States Air Force. Much of her time was spent around men with guns and cool toys…this explains her obsession with both.