The first book in the Wing Slayer Hunter series, published February 2009.
THE HUNTER AND THE HUNTED
In the days when powerful witches used their magic to shield humanity from demons, their allies and guardians were a group of men gifted with preternatural abilities of their own-the witch guardians. But when a band of witches traded their humanity for demonic power, the ancient bond was broken, and the guardians became the hunters.
Darcy MacAlister knows nothing of demons or magic. But this beautiful young woman is about to discover the truth about her past . . . and her future. For she is a witch-not just any witch, but the key to breaking the curse that has plagued witches and the men who hunt them. For if a hunter kills an innocent witch by mistake, the price is no less than a piece of his soul.
Axel Locke, gorgeous leader of the Wing Slayer Hunters, has sworn never to shed the blood of the earth witches who have resisted the temptation of demonic power. But when his sister is cursed by a demon witch, he discovers that Darcy MacAlister may hold the cure-if she can master her newfound powers in time. When the chase begins and Axel and Darcy come face-to-face, this hunter must weigh his soul against his honor-and against his heart.
Darcy has always felt different, without knowing why. Her stepfather hated her, and was afraid of her. He used to lock her in the hall closet when he caught her doing “evil” things. But her mother loved her very much, and now she is death. As the funeral director, she is determined to make her mothers funeral spotless. But still she hears the whispers of the attendants. Her cousin Joe McAlister is the only one there to comfort her in her grief.
Then, when saying her last goodbyes to her mother alone, she is scared by a strange man, smelling of copper. He even makes her run off. Later that night, closing up shop, she is attacked by two strange man, claiming she is a witch! Another man appears, and he saves her from her attackers, only to take her hostage himself. His little sister has been cursed by a demon witch, and he needs her, Darcy, to heal her. Darcy doesn’t want to believe his claims that she is a witch, but he leaves her no choice. He is a witch hunter, and although the curse layed upon all witch hunters thirty years ago compels him to kill her, he is resisting. Axel is also drawn to her, for more than her blood alone.
Darcy has one week to learn how to use her powers and heal little Hannah, or Axel will have to find and kill the demon witch who cursed her. Which will jeopardize his soul, and turn him into a rogue, like the men who are after Darcy. When she meets Hannah, Darcy agrees to help her if she can, and she sets out to learn what it means to be an earthwitch. She is a strong one, and with little help learns fast. Her friend Carla helps her from afar, through an internet connection. She never knew Carla was a witch, until she needed help, and Carla gives it as much as she can. Darcy has heard voices in her head all her life, until fear of her father made her stop listening. But those voices are her Ancestors and she needs their help to spell Hannah better.
Axel is drawn to Darcy, and she shows him time and again that she wants to help, that she cares about Hannah and wants to heal her if possible. Yet he stays suspicious of everything she does, and is afraid she has made him into her familiar, as he just can’t stay away from her. But the closer they get, the less the pull of the curse is on him, the craving for witchblood, which only sex can keep at bay. Axel wants Darcy in his bed, but he won’t force her. And Darcy had some bad encounters before, as she senses what a man really thinks of her when he climaxes. They were all kind of afraid of her, but then, Axel is not a normal human male. And he claims he is not afraid of her, or of her powers. Dare she take the risk of making love with him?
A lot is happening in this book, and as only little bits of the past are revealed at a time, it seems a bit rambling. Who is this Wingslayer that is mentioned so often, and whom the Witch Hunters believe in, until they turn rogue by killing an innocent witch?
It was a really good and original story, yet it could not hold my concentration for long. The background of the story is told in little bits and pieces throughout the book, and perhaps it should have started with it. Summarizing what happened back then, and what the consequences are. But then, I am not an author.
I liked Darcy a lot. No matter what happens to her, she is very strong, and determined to do the right thing, she wants to help Hannah, and learn who she is herself. About her parents and her gifts and how to use them right. Her connection to Axel is strange, but she cannot deny the attraction between them. Ever since she was a little girl, she dreamed of a Hawk who kept he safe, and when she touches Axel’s Hawk tattoo on his back, it feels so real to her.
Axel has been fighting the curse ever since his father wanted to change him into a rogue at the age of 14. He has made the vow, with some hunter friends, to stay true to the Wingslayer and never to kill an earthwitch, to protect the innocent as they were meant to do. And no matter how hard it is, he will resist the bloodlust raging through him.
A good book, an original story. It could use some more humor at times, but there is plenty of action, danger and some very hot love scenes. Trust comes slowly for both of them, but as they are soul mirrors, their relationship is growing fast. And in the almost end, they both want to die to save the other. Some tears threatened to fall now and then. A nice cast of secondary characters, and I will read the next book soon.