Born of Night (Page 6)

Born of Night (The League #1)(6)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

It was as if he were the deadliest of predators.

Feral. That was the only word to do him justice. Surely there wasn’t another soldier in the entire universe who could match him in terms of raw beauty or lethal demeanor.

His blond hair was snow white and his features sharp and icy. He wore a pair of black shades that annoyed her since she couldn’t see the upper part of his face or the color of his eyes. Not that it mattered. She saw enough to know that in the land of gorgeous men, he had no competition.

As a stark contrast to his white hair, his clothes were a black so deep they seemed to absorb all light, and they were trimmed in silver . . .

No, not silver. Those were weapons tucked into the sleeves and lapels of his ankle-length coat. The left side of it was pulled back, exposing a holstered blaster that was strapped to his left hip. The tall flight boots had silver buckles going up the sides that were fashioned into the image of skulls. At least that’s what she saw at first glance, but as he moved closer she realized those could come off and double as weapons, too.

Wow, he was either extremely paranoid or more lethal than a team of League assassins.

And that said something.

The collar of his shirt was high, but opened enough at the neck to show her a glimpse of a vicious scar along his throat. It looked as if someone had tried to behead him.

And as he came closer, she realized he had more scars just above and below his ears, along with fainter scars that cut across his cheeks to his nose. They didn’t mar his attractiveness, but were obvious nonetheless. Like something had clawed him . . . only they were more precise—as if his face had once been inside a vice or some sort of contraption.

Had he been tortured?

As he turned his head to the side as if listening for something outside, she saw the silver and black comlink in his ear and the long braid down his back—the mark of a trained assassin. And since he wasn’t in a military uniform, it meant he was freelance. The lowest of the low.

No, he wasn’t dangerous.

He was a coward and a bully.

Her blood ran cold as her anger snapped.

Nykyrian paused as he caught the look of hatred in Kiara’s amber eyes. He’d assumed, or maybe hoped, she’d still be asleep—that he’d be able to return her to her father before she awoke.

He should have known better.

She was awake and by the look in her eyes it was obvious she hated his guts . . . and that was without knowing he was Nemesis. Damn, how much worse would her lips curl if she knew the truth of him?

Not that it mattered. She was just a momentary blip in the stream of his life.

Yet even with her obvious disdain for him, his body reacted to her as if she caressed him with her hands. He was so hard and aching, it was all he could do not to curse. Every part of him was attuned to her.

Every part craved her . . .

Syn’s right. I am an ass**le.

Kiara was the only woman he’d ever really wanted and damned if he knew why. There was just something about her that reached out to him. The way she moved like a dream. So graceful. So tranquil.

Something about her seemed pure and untouched. Innocent. And it made him forget, even for a moment, how sullied he was.

You’re such an idiot.

He was Nemesis. Alone. Lethal. Cold. That was all the comfort he’d ever need. Yet a part of him he hated wanted to know, just once, what it would feel like to be held by a woman like her.

Gah, you’re nauseating. If he kept this crap up, he was going to make himself sick.

Narrowing his eyes in aggravation at himself, he finally spoke. “I assume Mira has gone for clothing.”

Kiara scooted back on the bed as she eyed him warily. “You’re Andarion.”

Wow, he’d stupidly thought her disdain couldn’t increase. There was more venom in that one word than in the poison capsule he kept tucked in his pocket for the seriously off chance he might be in a no-win situation one day.

He ran his tongue over his long, canine teeth. Ah, hell, who was he kidding? They were fangs, pure and simple. And by now, he should be used to humans despising him for them. “Don’t worry, I’ve eaten already.”

That only seemed to anger her more. “Are you the one who will take me home?”

“If you prefer, I could float you back.”

He expected her to cut loose with profanity all over him. But she surprised him. “You know, your sarcasm isn’t appreciated right now. I’ve been drugged, beaten, nearly raped, saved, drugged again, hijacked, and now threatened by you. Tell me, what else should I look forward to? Torture, or just a good maiming?”

Nykyrian did something he’d never done before. He backed off. She was right. She’d been through one hell of an ordeal and all things considered, she’d come out of it with her spirit intact.

He cut a slight bow to her. “Forgive me, mu Tara. I’m not trained for manners.”

Kiara would have asked him what he was trained for, but the answer was obvious.

To kill.

Their exchange was curtailed as Mira returned with the battlesuit Syn had given Kiara earlier. “Oh, Nykyrian,” she said in startled alarm. “I didn’t know you were here.”

Kiara noted Mira’s instant discomfort. The woman literally cringed as if terrified he’d lash out and hit her.

Just how many times had he beaten her for her to react that way?

“I’ll wait outside.” He moved to the door.

Mira’s frown followed him.

As soon as he was gone and the door solid again, Kiara drew the bed veil to one side and stepped from the bed. Her toes curled away from the chilly floor. “You don’t like him?”

Mira jumped as if she’d stepped on her foot. “No,” she said in a rush. “It’s not that. It’s just . . . He’s just . . . a little frightening, I guess.” Mira handed her the suit.

No, he was a lot frightening.

“Who is he?”

“Nykyrian . . .” Mira paused, her brows knitted. “I don’t know his last name. It’s never used.”

“Really? Why?”

“They don’t say.”

Now that was odd.

Mira leaned closer and whispered, “The rumors that run around here claim he’s a renegade League assassin.”

Kiara’s jaw went slack before disbelief filled her. No, it wasn’t possible. “The League doesn’t allow their assassins to leave.”

“Exactly. Nykyrian’s the only one who’s ever left who managed to live beyond a few hours. I’ve heard it whispered he was some kind of decorated hero, too. A commander even. They say he dug out his tracer with his own bare hands, threw it in their faces and walked away.”

Kiara found that even harder to believe. There was no way he could have done that and lived. Most likely it was a story the man made up to make himself appear even more fierce.

Cowards tended to do that. They lived off reputations they didn’t deserve.

“Why did he leave?”

Mira shook her head. “No one knows. It’s not something he ever talks about. Then again, he seldom speaks even when spoken to. Most people around here tend to avoid him because he’s a hybrid.”

Kiara’s frown deepened. “Hybrid what?”

“Half human, half Andarion.”

That too surprised her. “I didn’t think we could breed with them.”

“Neither did I, but have you ever seen a blond Andarion before?”

No, she hadn’t. “How odd.”

“Hmmm,” Mira mumbled. “But don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll be fine alone with him. He’s one of the best The Sentella has.” She held her hand out to Kiara. “Enough gossip. It’s been a great pleasure meeting you, Princess. I wish you success with your new show. I’ve heard it’s one of the best out right now.”

Smiling, Kiara took Mira’s warm, velvety hand and gave a short, smart shake. “It’s been an honor to meet you, Mira. Thank you for your kindness. If you ever want to come to the new show, just give my company a call and I’ll leave you a pass at the door.”

Mira’s eyes were bright with friendship. “Thank you, Princess. I just might do that.” With one last smile, she quit the room.

Quickly, Kiara exchanged her gown for the black battlesuit. After she finished lacing the front, she opened the door and entered the corridor to meet her hostile escort.

Once again, she was stunned by the fierce sight of him. Even though he leaned nonchalantly against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest, she had a feeling he could launch himself at an enemy faster than she could blink.

He could probably kill her just as quickly. The lethal power of him was absolutely compelling and mesmerizing. Like staring at a beautiful wild animal you knew could rip you to shreds before you could even call for help.

He pushed himself away from the far wall, his jacket moving like water that flowed gracefully around him. “Are you ready?”

Kiara nodded as she tried to discern the truth of his past and character. She’d heard many tales about The League’s most prized soldiers. They were a fierce lot, trained to kill political targets and jealously protected as The League’s most valuable commodity. Most were bioengineered. Others were taken into The League’s academies at a young age and trained to be ruthless.

Even intentionally psychotic.

If they were accepted into The League after a harsh battery of tests that included killing another trained assassin, they were allowed no spouses. No friends, family, or social relations of any kind. No physical comforts.

Isolated to the point of insanity.

It was kill or be killed.

Once trained, they were The League’s eternal property. The only way out was to die.

Kiara wondered what kind of man could defy the nefarious League that protected and intimidated all governments with its military power. Even her own father, who had more courage than most, refused to disobey a League directive.

“Were you really in The League?” Granted it was a blunt question, but she wasn’t one for timidity, and her curiosity was killing her.

Nykyrian showed no emotion whatsoever. Nor did he answer her question. “You need to tel-ass,” a slang term that came from teleporting one’s posterior quickly. “Your father’s worried about you.”

“You called him?” Kiara was shocked he would be so considerate.

“One of our people did.” Again, no emotion whatsoever as he continued on his way without even looking back at her to make sure she wasn’t getting lost.

Kiara was miffed by his rude dismissal. She had to struggle to keep up with his long strides which rapidly took him down the corridor to a large landing bay thrumming with activity.

Whoa . . .

She’d never seen a more impressive collection of ships and fighters. They had things here her father’s army would kill to possess. Very high tech and cutting edge.

Except for one that looked really out of place.

Nykyrian led her toward the antique black fighter in the far left corner of the bay. They passed several people, but no one spoke a greeting to him. In fact, a number of them purposefully moved out of his way or hid behind something as soon as they saw his approach.

Just what kind of bully was he that everyone feared him so?

He stopped next to the antique fighter and released the cockpit hatch by splaying his hand over the lock on the side. The controls moved as fluidly as he did, but not nearly as silently. Turning, he waited until she was next to him. Since she was a full head and shoulders shorter than him, she couldn’t reach the boarding ladder.

“Should I jump for it?” she asked sarcastically.

That seemed to amuse him, but his features didn’t change at all as he placed his hands around her waist and effortlessly lifted her up to the ladder. The heat of his strong hands through the material of her suit seared her. Not to mention that the scent of him hit her hard.

He was delectable even for a psycho killer.

Unwilling to go there, Kiara climbed to the top, then paused in confusion as she glanced inside his fighter. There was only one seat . . .

She looked down to where Nykyrian stood on the ground, oblivious to her.

Uncertainty filled her as she glanced back inside the cockpit. Was this the correct ship? Where was she supposed to sit?

His lap?

As if . . .

“Sit forward on the seat,” Nykyrian instructed from below as he finally noticed her hesitation.

Still unsure about that, she did as he said. It was actually a lot roomier inside than it’d appeared at first. But there was no place for him to sit except behind her.

Touching her.

That wasn’t exactly what she wanted and if he tried anything, assassin or not, he’d be limping.

From her seated position, Kiara saw someone come forward with two helmets and a computer log. Without a single comment to the worker, Nykyrian quickly signed the log, grabbed the helmets, and joined her in a fluid jump that the dancer in her envied. Very few men possessed that degree of agility and grace.

Who are you fooling, girl? There aren’t many women who could do it either.