Contemporary Erotic Romance/71,000 Words

Kings of Guardian (Book 2)

Ember Harris has sworn to save lives. Joseph King is an assassin. Death is their common ground, only they stand on opposing sides.

Thrown together they find that in life, like death, everyone needs a Guardian.

A dead man’s plea pushes Dr. Ember Harris headfirst into a swirling mire of drugs, death and political corruption. The Cartel boss who murdered Ember’s friend will stop at nothing to get the information entrusted to her. After all, finding and killing a mere woman in order to claim the evidence should be easy. A matter of a contract, time and money. Terrified, alone and on the run, Ember reaches out to the only person she knows she can trust.

Joseph King is an assassin. He’d just unpacked his bag from an assignment he probably shouldn’t have survived. A life such as his comes with an expiration date. Sooner or later your competition or your target will get lucky. Out of spare lives, Joseph knows it is time to hang it up and walk away while he still can. Best laid plans, right? One phone call from the only woman he’d ever cared about successfully sidelines his disappearing act. Protecting Em will be his last mission. This time he’ll risk anything, including his life, to keep her safe. For her, he’d stroll through the sin-stoked fires of hell and gut the devil himself.


Other Books by Kris


Excerpt

Chapter One

Joseph’s muscles clenched, convulsing against the relentless attack. He couldn’t take much more. The searing agony following the whip’s sickening snap burned white-hot against his back, shoulders and ribs. Its unrelenting tentacles wrapped around his ribcage, wire barbs viciously rupturing skin from muscle. Blood ran down his body in small streams merging into tributaries of crimson. A pool of his own blood formed at his feet. 


From the damage being inflicted, he knew his window for escape had narrowed, but he still had a chance. The extremist group had made a mistake. They’d underestimated him. Carried into the underground room unconscious, his captors only secured his hands around the post. His legs remained free. Fools. There were no less than five weapons within reach if he could just manage to free one hand. But time moved in the enemy’s favor, no longer his asset.


Soon he would be too weak to fight, too weak to escape, too weak to kill the slimy bastard behind him with a whip. Blood traveled down his arms soaking the ropes that held him to the post. Every time the whip ripped through his flesh, he pulled with all his strength working the lines to loosen and stretch the hemp, sliding his hand ever closer to release.


The man wielding the whip paused before he growled, “Filthy Assassin! I would kill you now, but you’re to be alive when you’re beheaded in public tonight. They did not say you had to be in once piece!” The vicious taunt echoed around the small cell.


Joseph hunched against the post for support drawing hot, putrid air into his lungs. He fought the nausea the pain and stench induced. The ropes biting into his hands had moved more readily the last time he pulled. He leaned into the wooden stake. His eyes focused on his sweat and blood as it co-mingled, saturating his bonds. The distinct sound of the whip slapping the ground brought Joseph’s attention back to his sole enemy in the room. His left hand would pull free on the next lash. He swept a covert glance to the weapons he could reach. A hammer and thin wood shims lay on the table at his ten o’clock position. A sneer ghosted across his face. God he would love to pound those slivers of wood under the bastard’s nail beds. To the left of the hammer on the same tray lay a surgical knife and a metal spreader. Castration. Not today you bastard. Seize the scalpel first, then the hammer.


A deafening crack split across the room at the same time as the skin covering his shoulder and ribs seemed to be torn from his body. He couldn’t prevent his wrenching scream. His body convulsed in pain and his hand erupted from the binding. In one short lunge, he grasped blindly for the scalpel. His hand was numb, his body on fire. Instinct and training took over. Pivot! Aim—throw. 


The man holding the whip froze in mid-swing, stopping with the cat o’ nine tails over his shoulder. Joseph dropped to a crouch to catch the blood-soaked strands should they strike at him again. The man fell heavily to his knees. The scalpel had missed its mark. Instead of lodging in the man’s eye, the metal had somehow flattened in flight, spinning into the man’s neck. Blood spurted in hematic spews from the severed carotid artery. The man was dead. Physiology 101: Six seconds without blood killed the brain. The asshole’s body just hadn’t gotten the message yet. Crimson foam bubbled from his mouth as it opened and closed gaping like a fish out of water, and then he fell to the ground. Joseph stretched out and grabbed the hammer. Using the claw, he pried his right hand free from the rope. 


He had to get out. Clothes. The filthy robes of his tormentor hung on the wall abandoned when the bastard got too hot. The layers of coarse material would prevent the blood from showing too quickly. Using the man’s keffiyeh, he wrapped his head, hiding his face, and ducked out of the cell.