Book 20 in the Dark-Hunter series, published August 2011.
Harm no human.
A hired gunslinger, William Jessup Brady lived his life with one foot in the grave. He believed that every life had a price. Until the day when he finally found a reason to live. In one single act of brutal betrayal, he lost everything, including his life. Brought back by a Greek goddess to be one of her Dark-Hunters, he gave his immortal soul for vengeance and swore he'd spend eternity protecting the humans he'd once considered prey.
Orphaned as a toddler, Abigail Yager was taken in by a family of vampires and raised on one belief - Dark-Hunters are the evil who prey on both their people and mankind, and they must all be destroyed. While protecting her adoptive race, she has spent her life eliminating the Dark-Hunters and training for the day when she meeting the man who killed her family: Jess Brady.
A gun in the hand is worth two in the holster.
Jess has been charged with finding and terminating the creature who's assassinating Dark-Hunters. The last thing he expects to find is a human face behind the killings, but when that face bears a striking resemblance to the one who murdered him centuries ago, he knows something evil is going on. He also knows he's not the one who killed her parents. But Abigail refuses to believe the truth and is determined to see him dead once and for all.
Brought together by an angry god and chased by ancient enemies out to kill them both, they must find a way to overcome their mutual hatred or watch as one of the darkest of powers rises and kills both the races they've sworn to protect.
Jess Brady has been transferred to Las Vegas to help replace a few killed Dark Hunters. Las Vegas is really crawling with Daimons, praying on the human tourists. His squire Andy has found the perfect house for him, with a huge basement and stables for his horses and plenty of garage for his motorcycles and Andy’s collection of cars.
But just before he is out to hunt, Andy warns him with a vision of the Oracle. A human is hunting Dark Hunters, and she has Daimons at her back. Jess doesn’t really believe it, but he will be extra careful tonight. So he gets on his beloved motorcycle, and heads out for Sin’s casino. It is still strange to see all the Apollites working for Sin, but it is really cool to get the royal treatment from them.
He senses some Daimons in the parking garage, but to his surprise, he cannot kill them by stabbing them in the heart as usual. Luckily Sin shows up then, and tells him he has to behead them. Those particular Daimons have been feeding on Demon blood, and now can walk in sunlight as well. But if he gets bitten by one of them, he will be their slave. So, kill them quick and stay out of reach of their teeth! Jess is appalled at the new type of Daimon. Like they aren’t a plague in their normal state already.
Patrolling Las Vegas’ streets doesn’t get him more enemies to kill, until just before sunrise he sees a woman being dragged in to a storm drain by two Daimons. He should be heading home, to be safe before sunrise, but he thinks he can save her just in time. But he walks in to a trap, and realizes that the moment he sets foot in the drain. The woman is the one who is killing Dark Hunters, and she is after him now. When he sees her face, he recognizes her. The one lady in his past he has never forgotten. She is the great-granddaughter of Mathilda, and he has known her since birth.
Abigail thinks it was Jess Brady who killed her parents all those years ago, she saw him with her own eyes. She was only 5 years old, and hiding under her bed, as her parents were fighting downstairs. When he came to get her, he could not find her, and the police sirens drove him away. Her Apollite foster parents kindled her feelings of revenge, and trained her to fight Dark Hunters. When they died, her step brother and friend took over, and they fed her some demon blood to make her stronger. Strong enough to be able to kill Dark Hunters, but they told her a lot of lies. Jess easily defeats her, and takes her back home with him, where they arrive just before the sun rises. She still wants to kill him, but being in close proximity to Jess, her memories resurface. And something just isn’t right. He was nothing but kind to her, and he truly loved her mother. He could have killed her father allright, but never her mother.
Unfortunately, Abigail has been busy that night. She thought the old Native American man she killed was another Dark Hunter, but he was one of the four Guardians protecting humanity from evil. And now Coyote, one of the other Guardians, sees his chance in getting free and control of the world, by letting the plagues out. There are four Guardians, to of the Light, and two of the Dark. And Old Bear was one of the Light Guardians. Coyote now has to make sure the other Guardian of the Light, Choo Co La Tah doesn’t take Abigail to the Valley of Fire, to be sacrificed.
Of course Abigail doesn’t believe any of it, but when the first plague strikes, she has no choice. Millions of scorpions don’t just migrate and attack humans. Abigail is allergic to scorpions, only one sting, and she will die, demon blood or not. To her surprise, Jess saves her. But that is just the beginning, there are other creatures after her.
What follows is a fast paced book, where Jess and some of his friends and Choo Co La Tah have to keep Abigail safe, and get to the Valley of Fire. They have to fight more plagues, and more legendary evil from the Native American folklore. All those ancient legends come to life. But in the end, it is Coyote they have to fight, and a bunch of Daimons helping him.
I love Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series, so I have been eagerly anticipating the latest book. I really could not remember Jess Brady, but he seems to have appeared in Zarek’s book, as the two of them are friends.
Jess was betrayed by his best friend on the day of his wedding. A reformed hitman, he found love and wanted to be respectable for her. He gave up his weapons and his ill-gotten gains, for her. Before he could get into church, he was shot in the back, and killed by his best friend and surrogate-father. When his beloved was raped, he swore vengeance, and Artemis heard him. Ever since, he has been a Dark Hunter, keeping track of his Mathilda, and her children, taking care of them whenever he could. But he has lost track of Abigail when her parents were murdered and she disappeared. She looks so much like his beloved, but is not the sweet girl Mathilda was. Abigail is strong, a fighter, and when she finally accepts he did not kill her parents, she has his back. Jess is determined that Abigail will not be sacrificed to save the world, there has to be another way out.
I like Native American myths and legends, and I have encountered Coyote in other books. He is always the trickster, and devious, but not as evil as in this book. He doesn’t care about the world, he wants revenge and power. And he will do everything to get it.
The next book is titled Guardian, and I am curious if this story line with the Guardians will continue. After all, two Guardians are death, and new ones will have to be chosen. One of Light, and one of Dark. There has to be balance.
Jess and Abigail are a nice couple. Even though Jess has had a very bad past, he is just a sweet man, and he wants to protect Abigail. After all, she was deceived by her foster family and used. She didn’t know what she was doing. And Abigail is truly sorry for what she did, but she will not die to save the world … She has only just found a reason to live.
Only one love scene between them, but some great moments when there was time between the action and the staying alive.