This time her phoenix energy has awoken the long dormant death deity, Nexanthon.
She’s on the run, trying to stay one step ahead of the monster chasing her and find a weapon powerful enough to kill a death deity.
Grave has been given one last task in exchange for his freedom from the Oracle—to protect and help the frustrating phoenix Athera.
The only problem is that she’s made it clear she wants him, and he has a vow to keep. She’s a danger to him on every level, because if he gives in…he will be the one who kills her.
“Tell me again how I ended up getting stuck on stakeout duty with you?” Athera asked as she glanced over at Heath. He sat in the driver’s seat of the old beat up panel van they were using for a stakeout.
She was bored, and what made it worse was that the night had started with such promise. After she’d spent several months with nothing to do but sit around the offices of Outsiders Inc., Dimi, the chaos demon in charge of their merry band of misfits, had given her an assignment. Athera had been elated. She was new to the group, having only been at Outsiders for six months, and even though she was a kick-ass phoenix, she hadn’t seen much action.
Apparently Dimi, Archer, and the rest of the original Outsiders didn’t think she could handle a little danger. They had told her to her face that her life had been too sheltered and she needed to ease into it slowly. If the idea of easing into it wasn’t snort worthy, she didn’t know what was.
Now she was stuck in the van with none other than Heath, a pain in the butt who was boring her to no end.
The male in question looked over at her and raised an eyebrow, then took a sip through the straw of his soda.
She glared at him. “You too good to answer a question?”
The straw slid from his beautifully formed lips. “You got the duty Dimi wanted you to have, Ath, so be happy.”
“Humph.” She lifted her binoculars and glanced up at the roof of the old warehouse they were watching.
“This is too clichéd” she complained. “A decrepit warehouse, a stakeout, bait... Why couldn’t I be bait? I’m a better fighter than Dani.”
Athera was talking about one of her fellow phoenixes. Dani was sweet and a bit of a ditz, but a fighter she wasn’t.
“That’s why you are in the van and not playing bait. Chances are you’d try to be a hero and burn the necromancer up before we could catch him to deliver him for the bounty.”
Athera snorted. He had a point, but she wasn’t going to admit it. She was a bit trigger happy, had been since she’d gotten free of the phoenix realm with Scarlet, Kell, and Dani.
“I suppose you—psychic that you are—are going to tell me you know I’d do that and you’ve seen it in a vision?”
It was Heath’s turn to snort. “I’m precognitive, not psychic, and you’ll know if I have a vision.” He slid his drink into the cup holder and leaned forward, peering out the windshield. He’d seen something, and it was written all over his body language.
“What is it?” Athera leaned forward, her gaze finding Dani as the other phoenix got out of the car she was in and walked down the block in the front of the warehouse. There was a for-sale sign outside the building, so the ruse was that Dani was having a look to see if she could buy the place.
That they had already bought it was beside the point. The grapevine had it that the necromancer they were hunting had set up a hidey-hole in the basement of the building.
Necromancers, being as tricky and evil as they were, had their hideouts well-guarded, so rushing in to try to catch him would have been stupid and cost lives.
Dimi didn’t believe in stupid.
The operation had been set up to catch the necromancer with as little threat to the Outsiders as possible.
Plus, there was one thing the Outsiders had that no necromancer could resist.
A phoenix. No matter how careful he or she was, the power of life that flowed through a phoenix’s veins was something necromancers craved, making their own abilities increase exponentially.
“What is she doing?” Heath asked.
Dani had stopped. She was holding a clipboard and seemed to be writing on it.
“Nice touch, don’t you think?” Athera asked. “It was my idea. She’s taking notes about the outside of the building. I thought it would add to the believability factor.”
“She’s playing bait, not trying to win an Oscar.” Heath rolled his eyes. “You’ve got to spend less time in front of the television. Seriously.”
Static burst to life, causing Athera to jump in her seat before she realized it was from the two-way radio in her lap.
“Ath, come in.” Archer’s voice was soft, as if he was talking quietly into the device. Sometimes she despaired that Scarlet’s werewolf mate would never get the intricacies of how Athera liked to do things.
She pressed the button. “Code names, gees. I told you I’m Hot Mama on this assignment.”
Heath chuckled in the seat next to her and shook his head.
There was a pause before more static. “There is movement on the south quadrant. I think it’s our guy... ” He muttered something to Scarlet, who was with him.
“What was that last part, Wolf Boy?” Athera knew the muttering had been a complaint to Scarlet about the code names.
“Wolf boy!” His voice climbed an octave. “That would be Wolf Man.”
Heath laughed as Athera depressed the button to tell Archer he was a boy, not a man.
“Fuck!” Heath grabbed the handle of the driver’s side door and was out of the van before Athera could ask what was going on.
She looked up and saw that Dani was in trouble. A tall man wearing black from head to toe had Dani’s arm gripped in his and was dragging her toward the entrance of the building.
She pushed in the button on the two-way radio. “It’s a go! The phoenix is captured.” She reached for the door handle. “Screw this.” She pressed the button again as she flung herself out of the van, almost tripping as she hit the ground. “Haul ass, Archer. The bad guy has Dani.”