Drakon Jericho Drake, the child of a pure-blood dragon and human, has a simple plan: Kill the leader of the Knights of the Dragon and start a war. Except, when he meets his target, Karina Azarov, she can’t remember who she is. Worst of all––he can’t kill her. His dragon side has just claimed the dangerous woman as his mate.
Karina has no idea why these Drakon’s have taken her to their home. And she most certainly does not understand why she’s so drawn to her captor. Maybe because he’s strong, intelligent, and caring, in his enigmatic sort of way. One thing she knows, he’s not going to hurt her. If only she could remember something from her past that would explain why these Drakon’s hate her so much.
But if her memory returns, mated or not, he may get his war.. And one of them will die.
The Blood of the Drakon series is best enjoyed in order
Book #1: Drakon’s Promise
Book #2: Drakon’s Prey
Book #3: Drakon's Plunder
Book #4: Drakon's Past
Book #5: Drakon Unchained
Book #6: Drakon’s Tear
Book #7: Drakon's Knight
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
For two days, her head had been splitting. She wasn't sure how much more she could take. Karina Azarov sat at her desk and continued to scan reports and make decisions. It took a lot of money to run an organization like the Knights of the Dragon — a secretive organization that hunted and captured dragons. Thankfully, the pharmaceutical industry was a gold mine that was never tapped out.
She signed an agreement to manufacture a new drug for erectile dysfunction. Men were always willing to shell out vast amounts to pay for such things. Plus, as a woman, she liked the idea of making money off a purely male problem. She imagined some of her fellow Knights swallowing whatever pills they could get their hands on so they could get an erection. Petty, maybe, but she was okay with that.
When the stack of files on her desk had been dealt with, she leaned back in her chair, set her pen down, and closed her eyes. The headaches weren't new, had plagued her for years. They were simply something she managed, as she did every other aspect of her life.
A knock on her door had her sitting upright. She took a deep breath and forced herself to relax. "Come."
Birch, her head of security, walked in.
He stood on the other side of her desk and studied her intently. She wondered how long their staring contest would continue, since she had no plan to give in and he wasn't likely to, either.
Finally, one corner of his mouth turned up slightly. Not a smile. Not really. Birch didn't smile. Although he'd been with her for years, she knew surprisingly little about him, even though he rarely left her side. That was something she'd always accepted without question. Now it bothered her that she didn't know more.
"You're working too hard," he said.
"No such thing. Isn't that what you've always told me?"
He glanced away. It was fleeting, but she caught it, and the look of discomfort that flashed across his face.
"It is," he agreed.
It had been drilled into her to always appear confident and in control, no matter the situation, but Karina had had enough of playing games. "What's on your mind?"
Birch's face remained as impassive as ever. "I'm worried about your health."
Not what she'd been expecting. "Why?"
Now, that did startle him. He actually frowned. "I know you've been having more headaches."
"Oh." She'd been flushing her prescription medication because along with the latest round of headaches had come a deep-seated sense of paranoia. For twenty years she'd relied on Birch like she had no other. Recently, though, she'd caught him in a series of lies. Small things, but enough to make her question everything.
Call it a survival instinct, but she would no longer take anything provided by someone she couldn't trust. She'd been self-medicating with over-the-counter pain relievers she'd purchased from a vending machine in the ladies' washroom at her last social event. They were almost gone.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out the bottle containing her medication. "You've been using more lately."
"Spying on me?" She kept her tone light, but there was nothing playful about the accusation. Holding out her hand, she waited.
"Taking care of you," he corrected, handing over the bottle.
Once upon a time, she would have believed him. She wasn't sure if that made her gullible or just plain stupid.
Not that she'd ever really been given a choice. Birch had been hired by her parents — at the suggestion of her grandmother. He'd been with her for years by the time her parents had died in a car accident, leaving her in charge of the Knights and the family businesses.
Now she was forced to wonder if it had all been by design, if some other member of the Knights hadn't been working behind the scenes to pull her strings all these years.
The thought made her blood boil.
She was Karina Azarov. And she was no one's puppet.
The other Knights called her a cold bitch. She took pride in that, had worked hard to build that reputation. And she was damn well going to use every skill she possessed to get to the bottom of things. Then she was going to clean house and rid herself of any person who had betrayed her.
She fleetingly thought of her younger sister. Valeriya had been the lucky one. She hadn't been groomed to take a place among the Knights, hadn't had the same expectations or restrictions placed on her. And if she was still alive somewhere, it was better she was far away from the looming war.
Because that's what this was. War. And when it was over, she planned to stand on the battlefield, victorious. This campaign wouldn't be fought in the open, but behind the scenes and in the boardrooms. She'd been finely honing those skills since she was old enough to walk and talk.
"You should take a few days away at the private spa up north."
It wasn't unusual for Birch to suggest such a thing. Now that she was questioning his motives, it seemed to her that he encouraged her to go at least four times a year.
That truly was paranoid. There was nothing wrong with a couple days at a spa. It would certainly give her the breathing space she needed to think. "Maybe you're right." She watched him carefully as she gave her reply. It was quick, but she knew Birch well and caught not only relief but discomfort in his gaze. Why would her going to a spa make him uncomfortable?
Unless he was planning to betray her in some way.
The threats to her life were legion, not only from the Knights but also from business rivals. This hit much closer to home.
"I can have the car brought around," he told her.
"I don't have a reservation," she pointed out. An exclusive spa wasn't a place that took drop-ins. She'd been there in March and wasn't due to go back until June, which was a month from now.
"I took the liberty of calling them. They have a spot for you." Birch didn't shift position, didn't fidget, but met her gaze straight on.
"Well, then." She slowly stood. "I'll go and pack." She gave him a haughty stare. "Unless you've done that, too."
One corner of his mouth quirked slightly. "No, I left that for you."
Karina strode out of her office and headed up to her bedroom, aware Birch watched her until she was out of view. If she couldn't trust him, running was her best option. But where would she go?
Like a pack of rabid dogs, her fellow Knights would turn on her in a heartbeat if they sensed weakness of any kind.
She was beginning to wonder if the Knights were as bad as or worse than the damn dragons they hunted.
Leaving the medication behind would only lead to more questions, so she tucked the pill bottle in her purse. With it secured, she went to her bedroom closet and retrieved her Louis Vuitton weekender tote bag. It would hold what she needed, since the spa provided robes and workout gear for guests.
When the packing was done, she changed into more comfortable traveling clothes, opting for black leggings and a cashmere sweater. Instead of heels, she went with flats.
Her choices gave her pause. Even though she was tall, she almost always wore heels, preferring the added height when it came to dealing with others.
Flats are easier to run in.
Pain seared through her skull, stealing her breath. For a moment, she feared she might vomit, but she managed to pull herself together and gather her belongings.
It surprised her that Birch wasn't waiting in the hallway, although he was standing guard at the front door. She noted there were no extra guards as she climbed into the car. That was unusual for a road trip.
It would take anywhere from three to four hours to get to the spa in upstate New York, depending on the traffic. Karina closed her eyes, shut out the world, and pretended to rest.
But she remained alert. Why had Birch deviated from the usual protocols?
* * *
"She's on the move." Enoch's voice whispered through the communication link in Jericho Drake's ear.
"Any idea to where?" He pulled on his well-worn leather jacket and took one last look around the hotel room where he'd crashed. Assured he had everything, he slung his duffle bag over his shoulder.
"Negative, but she did take a small piece of luggage."
This could be it, the break they'd been waiting for. Karina Azarov was proving to be more elusive than Jericho had anticipated. They'd studied their prey carefully, downloaded every picture and scrap of information they could find about her online, which was scant beyond basic personal and business information. Since this was the age of easy information, that was unexpected.
It took effort to keep things private.
Karina was a beautiful woman, but there was something cold and remote about her. Not surprising, considering who and what she was. Jericho hadn't caught more than a couple of fleeting glimpses of her in person, and that was usually the back of her head as she was hustled to or from the car by bodyguards.
"Do we follow?" Sadiq stood in the open doorway. Jericho's best friend and second-in-command had also heard Enoch's message. They were all wearing earpieces that made it easier for them to communicate over a distance.
"Yes." A sense of anticipation, of destiny, filled him. Once the plan was in motion, there was no going back. They'd take out Karina Azarov, leaving the Knights of the Dragon in disarray.
His path was set.
Jericho strode out of the hotel with Sadiq by his side. They were big men with dark eyes, black hair, and myriad tattoos, most of which were hidden beneath their clothes. Some people stopped and stared as they passed, while others hurried in the opposite direction.
No one got in their way.
From the time they'd banded together, a group of young men — none of whom had seen twenty — they'd honed their preternatural senses and skills, pushing themselves to get tougher, faster, and stronger. And they'd made their living the only way they'd known how. They'd become assassins.
They'd toppled kingdoms and changed the course of human history. They'd seen the rise and fall of empires and would be here long after this modern world no longer existed. Ruthless and brutally efficient, they nevertheless had a strict code by which they lived — they never killed innocents.
There were lines a man couldn't cross and come back from.
Khalil, the final member of their group, was already in the garage with their bikes, ready to go.
"We checked out?" Jericho asked. They left such tasks to Khalil because he was the more sociable one of the bunch, which wasn't saying much. At six-eight with piercing green eyes and a long braid of dark hair, Khalil didn't exactly look friendly.
"Just finished," Khalil told him. They never stayed more than one night in a place. For some reason, management tended to get nervous with four big, tattooed bikers around. They'd be a hell of a lot more nervous if they knew what they truly were — drakons. Neither human nor dragon, but a deadly combination of both.
Jericho stowed his gear, zipped his jacket, and mounted his custom-built Harley, for a moment lamenting that the days of horses as a mode of transportation was gone.
There was nothing quite as exhilarating as the rush of thundering across an open plain on a warhorse. But the age of machine had much to offer. The motorcycle was a thing of beauty. It offered speed, maneuverability, and freedom.
They'd all had their bikes specially designed with back rests and detachable hard-shell saddlebags, which were good for all weather, as they spent as much time as possible on the machines.
He turned the key and the rumble of the powerful engine vibrated throughout his entire body. The familiar scent of motor oil and gasoline — a smell that meant freedom and unfettered speed — overwhelmed all others. The three of them roared out of the underground parking lot and hit the streets.
"She's heading out of the city." Enoch voice was low in Jericho's ear as he kept them informed.
"Just keep up." Not that Jericho had any doubts Enoch would do just that. They were all extremely good at their chosen profession, but this was the first time a hit was personal.
Their motorcycles made it easier for them to navigate the New York traffic, and it didn't take them long to join Enoch. Jericho naturally took the lead with Sadiq on his right. Enoch fell in behind them beside Khalil.
Karina's vehicle was a fair distance ahead, but with their preternatural vision, it was easy to keep it in sight. Hanging back also ensured they were less likely to be made by the security detail.
"How many men?" Jericho asked, surprised Enoch hadn't mentioned it already. Not that it mattered. Any one of them could have handled this mission on their own.
"Only the driver and the bodyguard."
Now, that was unusual. He'd never seen her travel with fewer than four guards, usually more. An older man, the one who seemed in charge of her security detail, was always in the car with her while the others were in two separate vehicles, one behind her and the other in front. "Could it be a trap?"
The wind whipped by him as he picked up speed. He loved the breeze in his face, the speed of the beautifully engineered piece of machinery, the vibration beneath him, and the rumble of the powerful engine. It was as close as he could get to his dragon form while still remaining in his human one.
They might be working the biggest job of their lives, but that didn't mean he wouldn't enjoy the ride. He'd learned long ago to take each moment of pleasure as it came.
"Don't see how. There's no way they could know I was watching them," Enoch insisted. And Jericho believed him. He was too good at surveillance to get caught.
They rode a good distance behind the limo for a few hours, but always stayed within striking distance. It would be impossible for the car to turn off somewhere without their knowing.
Anticipation coiled in his gut. This would be a strike for all drakons. If they could take out the leader of the Knights of the Dragon, it would create chaos and have the added benefit of letting them know none of them were untouchable.
Not that they'd claim responsibility for the assassination. They never did. But the other members of the society would wonder and worry.
With the city far behind them, the traffic thinned out. Less chance of witnesses here.
"Enoch, you and Khalil stay on the car and let us know if they turn off anywhere. Sadiq and I will go ahead, see if we can find a place to take out the car."
Without waiting for a reply, Jericho shot forward, pushing well past the posted speed limit.
He avoided the temptation to glance at the limo as he and Sadiq shot past it. The windows were tinted so she wouldn't be visible, but his drakon curiosity was aroused. He wanted a good look at the most feared of the Knights of the Dragon.
Soon, he promised himself. He gripped the handles a little tighter but forced himself to ease up when the metal started to bend.
They pushed the powerful engines even harder, quickly outdistancing the luxury sedan. "Start looking for a place," he told Sadiq. They'd need somewhere with no other vehicles or people around. They didn't kill innocents. Not ever.
They were drakons, not humans.
He found a good spot, and they eased off the blacktop and onto the shoulder before cutting the engines. The car would be there any second.
He dismounted, removed his helmet, and looked at Sadiq. "Go?" Jericho might be their unofficial leader, but they were all in this together.
His second-in-command nodded, setting his helmet on the seat of his bike. "Go."
"They still coming this way?" Jericho asked Enoch over the comm link.
This was it. Within seconds, he would come face-to-face with Karina Azarov, the head of the Knights of the Dragon.
Once she understood who and what he was, he'd kill her.
Jericho strode out into the middle of the road, his senses jacked and his drakon stirring to life. He and his men were declaring war on the Knights of the Dragon.
The car rolled around the bend. Jericho raised his hand and waved. That's right. You see me. The driver didn't slow down; the car sped up. Come and get me.
Sadiq took a position on the other side of road, so the car couldn't get around them. The only way forward was through them.
"Ready?" Jericho asked.
Sadiq's smile was enough to make a smart human's blood run cold. "I'm always ready."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Drakon's Knight"
Copyright © 2019 N.J. Walters.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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