Home > Embraced by Darkness (Riley Jenson Guardian #5)

Embraced by Darkness (Riley Jenson Guardian #5)
Author: Keri Arthur


Riley Jenson Guardian series
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Chapter 1

The only trouble with getting away from it all was actually getting away from it all.

Six weeks of lazing around on secluded and luxurious Monitor Island, with nothing to do except eat, drink, and lust after the occasional hot-bod sounded like heaven itself. And it was.

For the first three weeks.

But now, with the fifth week done and dusted, the wolf within hungered for the company of my own kind. Werewolves are not, by nature, solitary souls. We tend to live in packs just as much as our animal counterparts.

My pack might now only consist of my twin brother Rhoan, his lover Liander, and my lover Kellen, but I was missing them all something fierce.

Especially Kellen. He’d been here for the first three weeks, and the result had been a deepening and strengthening of our relationship. I might be totally capable of looking after myself, but it was an absolutely delicious sensation to have such a big strong wolf wanting to take care of me. In some ways, he reminded me of an ex. Talon might have been as crazy as a March hare, but he’d also been a wolf who knew what he wanted, and who went to great lengths to get it. Kellen was built in that mode, but he was far more caring than Talon ever could have been. Add to that the fact he was a great lover, and you had an overall package that was nigh on irresistible. At least to this wolf.

Even so, I hadn’t really expected to miss him this much. Not after only a couple of months of being together—and especially considering we’d probably spent more time apart than together in those months. Of course, I knew now that a lot of that separation was due to Quinn, the enigmatic vampire who swore his feelings for me ran deep—even as he used me to achieve his aims of killing the people who had destroyed his lifelong friend and creator. Even now, despite the feelings I had for Kellen, part of me still hungered to be with Quinn. Would probably always hunger to be with him.

Because I had a connection with Quinn that I’d never found with any other man. Not even Kellen.

But Quinn was out of my life for the moment—maybe even permanently—and I couldn’t really regret that. I’d never condoned force in any relationship, and that’s basically what Quinn had done when he’d used his vampire wiles to curb my nature. His methods might have been psychic rather than physical, but in the end, it was the same thing. Anything that forced someone down a path they would not otherwise have taken was abuse, no matter how prettily the situation was wrapped.

What I needed to do was forget him. Just get on with my life, and stop remembering he was ever part of it. Even if the very thought made my soul weep.

But the last two weeks alone had left me with nothing to do except think about the people in my life and the events of the last ten months. In fact, all that I was supposedly here to forget.

I rubbed a hand across tired eyes, then leaned my forearms on the balustrade of the small patio lining the front of my pretty little villa unit.

The breeze coming off the sea was cool, teasing my short hair and sending goose bumps fleeing across my bare flesh. I briefly thought about going inside to grab a shirt, but in the end, I couldn’t be bothered.

I let my gaze roam across the waves, watching the foam hiss over the white sand. It was a peaceful sound, as peaceful as the night itself, which made me wonder what the hell had woken me in the first place.

Certainly there was little noise coming from any of the other villas that lined this half-moon section of beach. Not even the newlyweds were stirring, and they’d been at it nonstop since their arrival five days ago.

And they thought werewolves had stamina.

I smiled and plucked a leaf from the nearby eucalyptus branch that draped over the railing, then flicked the leaf skyward from the stem, watching it twirl all the way to the ground.

What I wanted was to go home. To get on with my life and my job. To spend more time with Kellen. But I had just under a week of vacation left, and while I might be going slowly insane with boredom, I couldn’t just pack up and leave. Rhoan and Liander had given me this holiday as a gift to help me rest and recuperate, and I couldn’t—wouldn’t—hurt their feelings by returning before my time was up.

“Riley.”

My name whispered across the wind—a demand rather than a mere attempt to get my attention.

I straightened quickly, my gaze searching the moonlit night for some sign of the caller. Some hint of where the voice had come from.

A difficult task when it seemed to come from everywhere and yet nowhere at once.

“Riley.”

Again the voice rode the night, stronger than before, and clearly male in its resonance.

It wasn’t a voice that belonged to any of the men who inhabited the five other villas in this small cove. Nor did it belong to any of the staff members who looked after the villas or who worked in the main resort complex one beach over.

But there were three other accommodations scattered across the island, and I hadn’t really had much to do with their guests or employees. But even if it had been one of them, why would they know my name? And why would they be calling me in the dead of the night?

It was odd—and the mere thought of something odd occurring had excitement racing through my veins.

Which was a rather sad statement about just how bored I was. Or perhaps how addicted I’d become to the adrenaline rush of being a guardian. Hell, I’d give away the killing any day, but not the thrill of the chase. The hunt was everything to a wolf, and no matter how long I might have denied it, I was a hunter—every bit as much as my brother.

I studied the night for a moment longer. The wind whispered through the trees, void of any voice but its own. I could sense nothing and no one near, and yet something was. The electric charge of awareness raced across my skin, making the small hairs on my arms stand on end.

I spun on my heel and walked back into my room. I didn’t mind walking around sans clothes, but most of the guests currently on the island were human, and humans tended to get a little antsy about the whole naked thing.

Though up here in Queensland, that attitude was a whole lot less noticeable than down in Victoria. Of course, the weather in my home state often precluded the desire to strip down, simply because the weather was about as predictable as a tiger snake during mating season.

I pulled on a low-cut T-shirt and a baggy pair of shorts, then returned to the patio.

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