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Rivaled Warrior: (Dark Warrior Alliance Book 16) by Brenda Trim, Tami Julka (1)

Chapter One

Humming, Brianne shuffled down the hall of Zeum. Her aching body sighed its relief. She’d spent the past few weeks fulfilling the sexual need of a transitioning male, and she needed to sleep for a week to recover from the interlude. Her assignment was complete, and it was time for her to return home, yet she was reluctant to leave.

She was pleasantly surprised by how much she liked Tristan. He was young, powerful, good-looking, and fun to be around. He possessed many of the qualities she searched for in a male, and she would’ve considered seeing him again if it weren’t for his impertinence. There were moments she considered breaking her agreement when his cockiness reared its ugly head. The young male needed to learn humility, and fast, but she didn’t have the patience, or desire, to teach him.

There was always someone more powerful waiting to knock you down. Life and experience taught her it was best to keep your head on straight so you came out alive, with as few scars as possible.

Strangely, it wasn’t her time with Tristan causing her hesitation. It was something more, and she couldn’t put her finger to what it was. Maybe it was the atmosphere within the home that kept her there longer than necessary. Tristan gained control of his lust days ago, but she stayed anyway. Zeum exuded warmth and family unlike anything she’d ever experienced, and it was a soothing balm to her reckless temperament.

Harpies weren’t exactly a nurturing lot. They isolated their male children, valuing only females. Most species ruled by females were a loving, welcoming group, but not her kind. That was the demonic half of their ancestry. Harpies were ruthless, governed by their obsessive nature.

Brianne halted her trek to admire a console adorned with silver figurines. The shiny fairies called to her, and she couldn’t resist tucking a few in her bag. Glancing around to ensure no one witnessed the theft, Brianne winced at the knowledge she’d likely stolen little Izzy’s treasures. Unfortunately, the guilt wasn’t enough to make her put them back where they belonged. Aside from Red Vines (her favorite sweet treat), shiny silver objects were her primary weakness, and she made a mental note to send the Vampire Princess a present in lieu of taking her pretties.

The little female had been through Hell and back, yet managed to maintain her infectious smile and happy demeanor. Brianne didn’t know Izzy before she’d been kidnapped, but Tristan assured her the child was far more somber and subdued since her Guardian Angel, Ramiel, rescued her from the demons and returned the Vampire Princess to her loving family.

Thinking about family reminded Brianne she’d be thrown back into the rotation at the nest as soon as she returned home. Maybe that was the source of her reluctance, but that didn’t make sense, either. It wasn’t an everyday occurrence that harpies delivered evil-doers to the Erinyes. Her leader, Aurora, bartered a deal with the infernal goddesses that got them out of the task ninety percent of the time, but someone had to be on rotation in case the Fates managed to break through the Harpies’ magic.

As Brianne reached the central landing of the dual staircase, her instincts surged, and she went alert. Her head swiveled as she searched for the cause. Momentarily she considered ducking into a nearby room to don her armor. It had been nice to wear loose clothing for the past weeks, but she felt vulnerable without her protective metal suit.

She scanned the open area but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Her sensitive ears honed in on the noises of the house. Nothing but the voices of a few inhabitants of the large compound. Zeum had enough spells and protections around the property to guard an entire realm, she amended. She was overreacting and decided to wait until she was closer to her nest to don the heavy gear that chafed the skin beneath her boobs.

Brianne shook her head and laughed as she heard Zander, the Vampire King, teasing his mate, Elsie, in the nearby kitchen. The Dark Warriors and their mates were an odd group, but she couldn’t deny her envy over the love and loyalty amongst the lucky inhabitants of the home.

* * *

What the fuck was Cade thinking? Cael mused as he stepped from the kitchen, shoveling a bowl filled with delicious red beans and rice into his mouth. Everyone knew that you didn’t mess around with Fated Mates, yet his brother had been playing with fire for weeks. He was lucky Jace didn’t beat the ever-loving shit out of him because that’s exactly what he would’ve done if his brother was hitting on his mate. Luckily, no harm was done, and Cael and Cade were still welcome members of Zeum’s household.

It was a relief that Cade’s flirtation with Cailyn hadn’t prompted Zander to order them to leave. It took close to a year for Cael to consider the Seattle compound home, and now that he did, the last thing he wanted was for their Vampire King to demand they move out. His brother better pull his head out of his ass and stay the fuck away from Jace’s mate.

Cael took another bite of the spicy meal and groaned his approval. Damn, Elsie could cook. It was one of the perks of living at Zeum. The Vampire Queen’s Cajun dishes rivaled those from his hometown of New Orleans, and that was saying a lot. Having her prepare his favorite recipes made the transition from Les Augres Manor to Zeum much easier.

Another benefit of living at Zeum was the close brotherhood of the Dark Warriors. In fact, it was the main reason he and his twin brother wanted to be a part of the highly esteemed group. Dark Warriors were a family no matter where they were stationed, but the feel in Seattle was very different than NOLA. Cael chalked it up to the lack of females at Les Augres. It was vastly different when a group of males was solely responsible for the food and upkeep of a home. They didn’t do a lousy job, but there was a distinct lack of warmth and nurture.

Cael chuckled as he imagined a scenario where he would offer to cook another warrior’s favorite dish after a particularly shitty night on patrol. Not in a million years. Take a bullet or get stabbed for him, sure. Even die for him. But, cook a special meal? Nope. Not gonna happen. Most nights, the NOLA Dark Warriors made their way down Bourbon Street and stopped in one of their favorite haunts, grabbing food to go.

Cael admitted that he missed Jax and the other warriors at Les Augres, but he loved living in Washington. There was no oppressive heat or suffocating humidity. The colder weather of the northern city was nothing short of perfection. He didn’t even mind the constant rain compared to the brutal temperatures of Louisiana.

As he made his way up the stairs, Cael came to a screeching halt when a magnificent creature came into view. His heart stuttered, and his blood surged at the female before him. Eyes blacker than coal penetrated him on a cellular level. He forced his gaze to her onyx wings when they bristled at her back. The red feathers at the tip of her wings reminded him harpies were deadly creatures, but he couldn’t deny his attraction. Silky black hair cascaded to her shoulders, caressing her café au lait flesh. His mouth watered as he imagined kissing every inch of her flawless skin.

His gaze returned to meet hers, and beautiful dark depths raked him from head to toe, making his cock harden from the appreciative glint that glittered behind her orbs.

Whoever this female was, she was stunningly beautiful, and her presence left him speechless.

A hand went to her sensual hip as she cocked her head and purred, “Santo Dios. Vente pa ca papi chulo. You are a delicious treat. Almost as tempting as Red Vines.”

Her sexy accent flowed through his system, spiking his arousal another ten million notches. She probably called him a drooling jackass, but in Spanish, it sounded like a declaration of love. His cock jerked happily in his pants, begging for more.

“Whatever you said, my answer is yes. And, just so you know, I’m thicker and juicier than a Red Vine, baby,” Cael replied as he took the stairs two at a time to join her on the landing.

She threw her head back and laughed. The simple act brought an answering smile to his lips. Her seductive demeanor set his world on fire. This close, he smelled the scent of sex. And Tristan.

This must be Brianne, he concluded. She was the female brought to Zeum to assist Tristan with his transition. The young male’s situation wasn’t typical. Usually, the transition occurred in the family home with the parents making the arrangements regarding the stripling’s sexual partner.

Cael briefly wondered if it was wrong for him to hit on the female right after she’d been with Tristan. He shook off his concerns. Brianne was there to help Tristan through the transition, nothing more. It was apparent no relationship developed between them, or she wouldn’t be standing there flirting with him.

“As much as I’d like to taste your Red Vine, whatever you have in that bowl has my attention right now. Care to share that goodness? I’m starving, and it smells delicious. Spicy and sabrosa, like me,” Brianne murmured.

She shifted her weight, pressing her hip along Cael’s length as she looked up at him with fuck me eyes. Something clicked inside, telling him there was no way he could walk away from her now.

“You can have anything of mine you want,” he countered as he handed her the bowl then wrapped his arm around her waist. His arm brushed along her wings, making her gasp and he felt goosebumps skirt along her soft skin. “You must be Brianne. I’m Cael.”

“Very nice to meet you, Claro. I’m Brianne Castro. I can’t believe this but…,” she trailed off and chewed on her lower lip. He wanted a bite, too, and his gums tingled in agreement.

“But what?” Cael murmured as his hand roamed her backside.

Cael had no idea why he couldn’t keep his hands off her, but his hands itched to explore her curvaceous figure. Truthfully, he wanted to strip her bare and fuck her on the staircase. The scent of sweet citrus washed over him, and his world became a haze of lust and desire.

“You have somehow managed the impossible. After the past few weeks with Tristan, my body was screaming for a break. Now, all I can think about is you taking me to your room and giving me your juicy red vine,” she purred, making him smile.

“Oh, I’ll give it to you, alright. In fact, you’ll forget other males exist after I’m through with you,” he promised.

For reasons he didn’t comprehend, Cael wanted to eradicate Tristan from her mind. And, not just him. All males. He needed to prove he was better than any before him, and any that dared to come after. He held Brianne close to his side as he led her up the east stairs to his suite of rooms.

“It’s a good thing I didn’t run into you before I was ensconced with Tristan. I’m not one to go back on my word, but the choice between the two of you would be a no-brainer,” Brianne admitted as they entered his living room.

He slammed the door shut and paused with his back to the wood panel. She looked up at him with ravenous eyes, and he heard her racing heart. His gums throbbed as his fangs descended. The scent of her arousal coursed through his blood, and his heartbeat mirrored hers.

Brianne walked to the nearby dresser and set the bowl on his chest of drawers. Her ass jiggled with her movements and his cock hardened further. He loved females with some meat on them. Skinny bitched did nothing for him. There was nothing sweeter than soft curves to grab onto, and Brianne had them in all the right places. Full bosom, rounded hips and thighs, and ass for days. She was perfection.

“Cael,” she implored, captivating him with her dark chocolate eyes as she closed the distance between them. The sway of her hips was a pendulum, and he was immediately thrown into her trance. He wanted her so bad he felt his heart pound a drumbeat in his aching balls.

When she stood on tiptoes and placed her hand over his chest, he didn’t hesitate to lower his head, meeting her lips. His mouth crashed against hers with a brutal force fueled by his building desire. He could no sooner curtail his kiss as he could stop breathing. His tongue invaded her mouth, and the taste of mango exploded across his palate. Teeth and tongues tangled as he explored her hot cavern.

Swallowing her moan, he picked her up and carried her toward the bedroom. It felt as if they’d been doing this for decades as much as it seemed like his first time with a female. He set her on the plush carpet, and it seemed right and natural when she lifted her leg and wrapped it around his hip, bringing her core in contact with his groin. He cursed her clothing as he shoved the fabric of her pants down.

She toed off her shoes, and he caught sight of her clawed feet. He was surprised that it didn’t deter his desire for her. He knelt and caressed one foot then the other, watching her face contort with pleasure. He noticed her curved toenails were painted neon blue and he smiled at the small glimpse into her feisty personality. She was so incredibly alluring, and his control snapped as his lust skyrocketed.

Cael stood and ripped open her shirt then kissed along her shoulder. The sight of her breasts overflowing the top of her bra distracted him from her mewls and had his breath coming out in pants.

He’d never had sex with a harpy, but was eager to discover what her body craved. He pulled his shirt over his head and kicked his boots to the side before his fingers tangled in her silky hair. His lips explored hers while his free hand roamed her body. His fingers grazed one breast, making her nipple pebble through the sheer fabric of her bra.

Brianne quickly reached down, fumbling with the snap on his jeans. He kept up his exploration, memorizing every inch. His hand was at the apex of her thighs by the time she opened his pants. All he could think about was the feel of her hands shoving down his pants.

His cock sprang free, and he heard her suck in a breath. “Pepito quiere jugar! Someone wants to play. And, that’s definitely a vine that can satisfy,” Brianne murmured as her hot little fingers closed around his hard shaft and stroked his length several times.

“Fuck,” Caell murmured. “You went from a slow cruise to speeding down the runway in two seconds flat. Warning…I’m not stopping until I cross the finish line.”

“Mmmm. Now that’s a race I can get behind…or in front of,” she replied as she turned and dropped her pants to the floor.

Her ass was utter perfection, and the way she glanced over her shoulder made him shudder. His gums ache to sink into the succulent flesh of her body.

Cael snarled and tugged Brianne closer. He licked and nipped her lips and swallowed her gasps of pleasure while his tongue slid inside her mouth and danced with hers. The taste of mango sent an explosive bolt of arousal through his body, searing him from head to toe. Her passionate kiss sent a wave of pleasure straight to the tip of his cock, and he ground his hard shaft against her abdomen.

Their combined arousal permeated the air, demolishing any hope of employing restraint with her. Needing to touch her soft skin again, Cael’s finger traveled down her clavicle and over her heated flesh. Unerringly, he found the taut nerves of her waiting nipple. Her bra did little to mask her need or the dark brown nipple beneath.

“Are you ready for me?” he husked.

A secret smile tilted one corner of her mouth as the scent of mango filled his room. His finger traced her mons beneath the silk panties, and she moaned. Brianne was incredibly responsive to him, and he felt her wetness seep through the material.

“The real question is, are ready for me?” she countered.

Cael turned her body to where she faced the wall then unclasped her bra. He lowered his head and scraped his fangs along her shoulder, careful not to pierce her skin. She groaned and nodded her head as his hands traveled down her torso and cupped her sex, drawing her against the hard line of his body. Her rounded ass nestled against his raging erection. His free hand shredded the side of her panties, tearing them from her body.

“I’d be pissed about that if I weren’t so turned on,” Brianne muttered. “You owe me a new pair,” she panted as she rubbed against him.

“I’ll buy you a fucking truckload after I’ve had my way with you,” Cael whispered in her ear.

Her breathing was erratic, and he forced her head to the side, dragging his teeth over the pulse in her neck. He nipped and laved her neck as he palmed her breasts again, pinching the turgid peaks.

Ay Dios,” she cried out. Her wings fluttered against their bodies, tickling his sides as they beat his sensitive flesh. It should’ve distracted from the moment, but it sent his desire even higher.

The feathers along the bottom of her wing teased his cock, eliciting a groan from him. His moan matched hers as he pressed against her rounded ass.

“Put your hands on the wall, Bri,” he ordered, his mouth pressed to her ear.

His tone left no option. Cael wasn’t into BDSM, but he enjoyed taking control in the bedroom.

Brianne’s palms shot to the wall as a gasp escaped her throat. Cael squeezed her breast and plucked at her nipple, once again building the pleasure. He heard her heart rate increase and her blood called to him, making his fangs throb. Increasing the pressure on both nipples, he pressed his shaft between the plush globes of her ass.

He slid his hand down her abdomen until he reached her core. Sliding through her wet slit, it was his groan that filled the room when her juices coated his fingers.

“So fucking wet for me,” he murmured.

Her body was a raging inferno as his hand moved back and forth, engulfing Cael with her sexual heat. He was insane with the need for her and increased the pressure to her mons.

“Your voice…” she panted, “I might come from that alone,” she muttered then turned her head and nibbled the side of his mouth.

“Flattery will get you everywhere,” he grunted as she moved her hips, seeking relief. She pressed forward, grinding her clit against his hand then swirled her ass over his cock in just the right way.

He grabbed his shaft and slid it between her legs, enjoying her mewls as he rocked to and fro. A devious glint entered her dark eyes before she reached up and cupped her breasts. His eyes began to glow with desire as he watched Brianne pleasuring herself. Cael placed a kiss on her cheek and traveled to her mouth as he angled his cock at her entrance. When she widened her stance, he thrust into her body with one hard move. Her gasp followed by a scream was music to his ears.

Brianne’s tight, hot sheath gripped him perfectly and nearly stole all reason. A flicker of sanity penetrated for one second, and Cael paused, wondering about the passion with which they’d come together.

Unless he was at Confetti Too, he didn’t just jump into bed with random females. When he went to the popular nightclub, the females were there for the same reason. Sex for supernaturals was a necessary release. And, they needed it frequently. It was acceptable to have intercourse with various partners, so his pause wasn’t about the random hook-up, but the speed and circumstances under which they found each other.

“You feel so good, mi león,” Brianne crooned.

He withdrew then shoved deeper. The force lifted her off her feet. “Brace yourself for a wild ride,” he husked, his voice rough as sandpaper. She met him thrust for thrust as he set a punishing pace.

He growled low in his throat as he pumped in and out of her body. Her hands were flat against the wall while he held her with one arm around her waist. Her breasts bounced with his movement, and her legs dangled and swung until she braced her knees against the wall, too. The position pushed her ass into his groin, allowing his penetration to go deeper.

He was insane with need. The desire to claim every part of Brianne consumed his mind. The more he took, the more he wanted. It made no sense, but he was determined to ruin her for any male after him.

Turning her head, she brought her lips to his mouth, crushing against his with unexpected force. She was wild with need, and he loved it. Her kiss was all-consuming until his hunger for her blood became as urgent as his impending orgasm. Breaking the kiss, he traveled a path across her cheek to the crook of her neck. His fangs scraped the area over her pounding pulse then he teased the flesh with a slide of his tongue.

“Keep fucking me like this, and you can have all the blood you want,” she panted.

“Deal,” he groaned then sunk his fangs into her flesh.

She spasmed around his shaft and cried out his name. It was the most erotic sound he’d ever heard, and Cael wanted to listen to his name leave her lips again. He angled his hips and adjusted his arms, using his entire body to extend her orgasm.

The sound of flesh hitting flesh filled the room as he pounded her body and took from her vein. Blood filled his mouth as he drank deeply. He’d never tasted anything like Brianne and wondered if his plan to ruin her for others had backfired. This was undoubtedly the most erotic encounter of his life.

She gasped for breath as he took her to another peak before the first one waned. With his free hand, he rubbed and pinched her clit. Within seconds she was climaxing again. He increased his pace to a frenetic speed before he thrust one last time and froze in place, throwing his head back in pleasure. He roared his release, spilling his seed inside her womb.

Instantaneous pain exploded through Cael’s upper left thigh, and he clenched his jaw, causing his fangs to rip through her flesh as his body jerked involuntarily. Despite his raging orgasm, Brianne pushed away from his body then dropped to the floor.

She spun around and blurted, “What happened, Diablo? That looks painful. What’s wrong?” Her eyes bulged as she placed a hand over her bleeding flesh.

Looking down, Cael saw a raised brand on his leg. It was in the shape of a circle and had three lines pointing toward three small dots inside the circle.

“Fuck,” he cursed as realization dawned.

Brianne was his Fated Mate. The Goddess Morrigan had blessed him with the one made solely for him.

Cael was dumbfounded. This was the last thing he expected. He always assumed Cade would find his mate first. They had many discussions about it, and his brother was going to flip the fuck out when he told him the news.

This beautiful, captivating harpy belonged to him. Correction. Brianne would if he played his cards right. He’d learned enough from Breslin, Rhys, and Ramiel to know when your mate wasn’t Fated to you, it took extra effort to win them over. They didn’t share the same compulsions and urges, which meant Brianne could reject him if she chose to.

It was vital that Cael win Brianne’s affections and undying devotion. Now that he’d found her, he couldn’t survive without her blood. He recalled Breslin’s brush with death when Rhett left her, and Cael didn’t want to suffer the same outcome. The last thing he needed was to scare Brianne away.

“Come here. Let me take care of that,” Cael instructed and pulled Brianne against his rock-hard erection.

Cael nuzzled her neck and licked the torn skin, healing the injury. He groaned as his seed continued to spill from his body. One of the symptoms for Fated vampires was extended orgasms, and Cael’s body shuddered with pleasure, while at the same time, his mate mark pulsed painfully. It was torture and bliss mixed together, creating an addictive cocktail he knew he would crave from this day forward.

“Mmmm. I misunderstood it seems. I’m sorry I hopped off so soon,” Brianne cooed as she reached between their bodies to stroke his length.

He picked her up and carried her to his bed and settled next to her. “We’re just getting started, baby.”

Cael knew he needed to come up with a plan to win her heart, but right now he wanted more of her delectable body.

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