Saint’s Row by Elizabeth Blair
Rich, powerful, and deadly, the Saints serve as guardians for New Orleans, keeping the precarious balance between light and dark. Returning to the city after a self-imposed exile, Cael Saint throws himself into his work to try and drown out the tormented visions in his past. Light magic, dark magic, desperate humans with broken souls…he believed he’d seen it all. Then he met her.
Fiery and untamed, Becca Riley seemed the perfect one night stand to match Cael’s relentless nature. Striding into the local bar, she was confident, passionate, and sexy as hell. But what he took for drunken lust soon spirals into emotional chaos when he realizes she has secrets of her own…secrets that could destroy everything he has sworn to protect.
In a city where magic and humanity intertwine, neither a saint nor a sinner is safe.
“Becca, you catch one Saint, you catch us all. Just remember that, okay?”
“What the hell does that even mean?”
He stepped closer, his hand light on my arm. “It means, we don’t share. So don’t make a drunken mistake that ruins your chance to get the Saint you really want.”
“Did you just call me a whore, Ethan?” I laughed. “The more I get to know you-”
“No, Becca. I know you’re hurting. I know you are hiding things from Sarah, and I know it wasn’t just drunk hormones flooding through you when you were in Cael’s arms last night. So just don’t make a mistake you’ll regret.”
“Ever my big brother,” I grumbled. “Thank you for the concern. Now go take care of my sister before she makes a mistake that you’ll regret.”
His eyes flashed to the bar where Sarah was leaning hard on the shoulder of some stranger, her giggling voice echoing. “Damned Riley women will be the death of all of us,” he chuckled then kissed my cheek before setting off to retrieve her.
I turned, slipping a fluted glass off the tray of a passing waiter. Just as I lifted the glass, my eyes found Cael. He was across the room, deep in feigned conversation, and he pursed his lips at me. I sighed and traded the champagne for a bottle of water. I tipped it his direction, and he chuckled. Pride or arrogance…I wasn’t sure what emotion he was emanating, but it caused every tuxedo-clad Saint to turn my direction. Territorial. He was laying claim. A shiver of desire mixed with indignation ran up my spine and I exhaled. It was going to be a long fucking night.
I managed to stay around long enough to seem presentable and not undermine Sarah’s efforts. She was half toasted, but Ethan’s arm was tight around her waist, keeping her in check. He was doting on her, and I had to admit, it was cute. In a nauseating kind of way. He’d managed to slow her alcohol intake and get some food in her before she could end up like the rest of the revelers. Drunk on free liquor and high on whatever being offered in the private back rooms, the guests would never notice my escape but, no matter how long I waited, there was always a sober Saint in my periphery. When an old grandfather clock chimed one a.m., my last bit of patience evaporated and I made a break for the seclusion of the upper decks. Saint bodyguards be damned.
“You’ve stayed sober.”
I didn’t bother to turn but waved my water bottle Cael’s direction. “Sadly, yes.”
He slipped to the railing and traded my bottle for a champagne flute. “Your anxiety is blaring through our brains like bad zydeco music so, please, have a drink before we all go insane.”
I laughed but swallowed the drink. He poured me another, loosening his tie as he watched me finish it as well. “You know this area isn’t safe. It’s off limits until the refurbishment is complete. There are signs everywhere. Chains even.”
“I’ve always found off limits to be a vague term worth investigating.”
“You would.” He refilled my glass once more before putting the bottle aside and leaning against the railing beside me. “You aren’t much for socializing, hm?”
“Not this week. Do I need to worry about Ethan’s newfound fascination with my sister?”
“I don’t think it’s newfound. Her name was on his lips the moment I returned to the city. Do you think you need to worry?”
“Despite the things I don’t know, there are several I do. You aren’t actually related, you all have an uncanny knack for intervening in the worst trouble in the city, and I have watched at least one of you Saint boys crush a man’s larynx with a single hand. So, I repeat, do I need to worry for my sister’s safety?
“I take offense to the term boys, but no, you do not.”
Taking my arm, he slipped it to balance on the railing, his fingers tracing the veins up and down my forearm. I wanted to remain combative, but the move was too silky, too meditative, and I could only manage a soft plea. “Make me believe you.”
“We were all chosen for this job for different reasons, but the one thing in common was that we were all pretty useless human beings. We were guilty of being drug dealers, kiddie porn fans, abusers, sexual deviants or a million other lesser crimes. We were the parts of society people wish they could forget. Ethan is the exception. Ethan was in the seminary, on his way to becoming a priest. Illogically, he fell in love. Then she was viciously attacked on the night he intended to propose. His devastation was all consuming and, had the Saints not taken him when they did, he would have destroyed himself and anyone within a ten block radius. For love, Becca. So, no, there is no one on the planet less likely ever to hurt your sister.”
I stretched over, kissing tense muscle along his neck and staying there seconds longer than required so that I could inhale his scent…sunshine in the dead of night. “Thank you.”
“Were you afraid your sister is getting involved with a murderer?”
“I know she’s getting involved with a murderer. It’s more the drug dealer, kiddie porn, self-gratification thing that gives me pause.”
About the Author:
Elizabeth Blair writes dark, contemporary fiction with a modern twist to create novels where everyone wants to root for the bad guy. In addition to writing, she works as a rural librarian and holds positions in several state and national library associations. On a rare free weekend, she can be found riding the jeep trails near her home in the national forests or playing World of Warcraft with her family. You can keep up with her reading and writing at www.elizabethblairbooks.com