The Night Hunting
The Night Hunting
Rite World: Night Wolves 3
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- Forced Proximity
- Fated Mates
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**Spoilers of the ending of book 2 below!**
I don’t have my memories, but I know in my heart, I seek revenge.
I awoke in a demon’s house with no recollection of who I am. I’m certain I belong to someone… although who, I’m unsure.
While waiting to remember my past, I train in demon magic, preparing for a fight I’m not sure I should be involved in.
I’m sent on a mission to steal the magic of the most powerful supernatural alive, but on the way, I run into someone I’m certain I’ve met before. The pull I have toward Shane is the strongest feeling I’ve ever had, and with all the lies swarming around me, I don’t know who I can trust.
The only thing I’m certain of is once I know who I am, there’s going to be hell to pay. And the villain who ruined my life will never see it coming.
The Night Hunting is a dark romance full of shifters, witches, demons, and magic colliding in a suspenseful and sexy world. This devilish paranormal romance will sweep readers into an urban fantasy universe that’s another steamy addition to Juliana Haygert’s Rite World saga.
Intro into Chapter One
Intro into Chapter One
I hated this feeling, that I was walking down a foggy street and couldn’t see the way to go. That was me every second of every day since I woke up five days ago, my memory gone.
I stared at the large painting above the fireplace—a two feet tall slit in the wall that extended ten feet. The painting, a modern-style watercolor, depicted beautiful black wings, the feathers floating to the ground.
I should remember this place, this painting.
“There you are.”
I spun, looking at the young woman walking in the living room. “Hey,” I said, turning back to the painting.
Ivy stopped by my side, staring at the painting with me. I gave her a quick side glance. Ivy was pretty. She had long, light brown hair, brilliant blue eyes, fair skin, some freckles on her nose. She was lean and supple, like a ballerina, and an inch or so shorter than me.
She was always dressed up—everyone in this house was—and tonight was no different. She wore a beautiful dark-blue dress that came down to her heels, a slit revealing her left leg. The bodice hugged her tiny waist and large breasts. Elegant, yet sexy.
“Pretty, isn’t it?”
I nodded. There were many paintings around this house, most of them colorful abstracts, but this one had bothered me in a way I couldn’t explain since I first woke up.
“Why this painting?” I asked, surprised at my words.
Ivy shrugged. “I don’t have an answer. I think that when I saw this painting, it reminded me of the battle between the underworld and heaven. Not all demons are bad, not all angels are good. We’re not defined by our species or our environment. We can be more. And this painting, of the wings of a fallen angel, seemed like it belonged in a demon’s home, don’t you think?”
I glanced at her. “Were you always this philosophical?”
Once upon a time, that would have been a rhetorical question, but as it was, I really didn’t know.
I had woken up five days before in a strange bed, in a strange bedroom, with two strange people watching over me. Then two more strange people rushed in the room, and everyone rejoiced I had recovered from the attack.
Until they realized I didn’t remember anything.
Well, I remembered a few things. My name, my age, my birthday, that my eyes were blue, that I was half-demon and half-wolf shifter. I remembered that a supernatural world existed, and it was hidden from the human world. I remembered how to walk, how to brush my teeth, how to use silverware, how to write, but I had no recollection of this house, of this woman standing beside me, of my past. Memory seemed to be funny like that.
Ivy smiled at me. “Sometimes I have a bout of inspiration.” She pouted her lips and flipped her hair over her shoulder.
I smiled back at her.
This young woman, who was a year older than I was, was said to be my best friend.
And my sister.
My half sister.
Even though I liked her company and she made me laugh more often than not, I had no lingering feelings for her. Nothing that told me how close we were, how much I loved her. There was a huge hole in my chest that would be challenging to fill until I recovered my memories.
If that ever happened.
She offered me her arm. “Come on. We’ve been away from the party for too long.”
I hooked my arm on hers. “It’s not a party.”
I chuckled as Ivy steered us away from the living room. We crossed the large hallway that cut through the center of the mansion and walked to the far back, where a sunroom opened to a large porch and outside pool.
I inhaled as we crossed the threshold to the porch, enjoying the fresh air and the day’s warmth. It was nighttime, but the weather in Vancouver—just outside the city—seemed pretty good for July.
I tensed when I saw the five men standing at the edge of the porch, wearing suits and holding champagne flutes in their hands.
Higher demons, and one of them was Prince Paimon of the underworld.
Each time I was near him, I expected a kernel of recognition, a memory to flash behind my eyelids. A feeling to come back to me.
Nothing. I had nothing.
But he saw Ivy and me returning and he smiled at us. Because he was a higher demon, he looked young for his age—midforties—when in truth, he was thousands of years old.
Since I first laid eyes on him, I had been tense around him. The man was tall and well posed, exuding power and confidence from every pore.
I felt small and silly next to him.
But he had been nothing but patient and caring since I woke up.
I gave him a little wave, and Ivy nodded her head at him, before taking us to the side where a full bar was. This mansion was incredible. A modern structure with lots of white and glass, and some wood and metal details. It had a formal living room, a family room, a formal dining room, a breakfast room, a fully equipped kitchen where ten people could cook without bumping into each other, three sets of stairs, a library, two offices, a dozen suites, and in the basement, a gym and training room. Not to mention the extensive gardens, the pool house on the other side, the six-car garage, and the maids and cooks and employees the mansion required.
Ivy had told me she bought it three years ago. About two years ago, our father moved in, and a year ago, I did.
“Here.” Ivy handed me a flute with champagne. She grabbed another one and touched mine with hers. “Cheers.”
She drank half of the champagne in one go.
Having a feeling I had not been a heavy drinker before, I sipped my drink.
Two maids in black uniforms came out with trays filled with hors d’oeuvres and passed it around. I almost rolled my eyes. There were only seven people here, and two more inside the house somewhere. This was supposed to be a business dinner, but Ivy was right. It did look like a party.
A maid stopped by our side, offered us food, then at Ivy’s request, left the tray on the bar’s counter beside us. She picked up a flaky crust topped with a reddish cream and popped it in her mouth.
“Yum,” she said, her mouth full.
I shook my head, and was about to reach for one too, when a harsh whisper came from the group at the edge of the porch, and the two of us turned to the demons.
My father had a hand up and he spoke in austere tones, but even with my half-wolf hearing, I couldn’t hear each word of what he was saying.
I had asked so many questions when I woke up. Besides the where am I, who am I, I also asked about my mother, where was she, or had I always lived with my father and with Ivy?
They told me everything—it had been a lot in a short amount of time, but I think I got the gist of it.
My father used to be a prince of the underworld. After a long time in power, the king had grown bored and a little greedy, and my father and his brothers—brothers by title, not blood—had been talking about measures they could take to prevent the king from breaking the natural balance of the world, but before they could do anything, King Brikan’s ruthless children attacked. They killed him without giving him a chance to explain or to repent, and with him gone, the former princes grew weak. They had to flee the underworld, or they risked being killed too.
In fact, all demons taking refuge in the underworld fled, afraid of the new king and his sisters. They seemed to have a low tolerance for any kind of demon, even the ones with a good heart.
Weak and alone, my father found Ivy and she took him in.
A year later, when I needed a place to hide, she took me in too.
Seeing the group of higher demons wouldn’t turn on each other, I finally reached for the pastry I wanted to try.
My hand almost smacked someone’s chest. I pulled my hand back. “I’m so sor—” My words died at my lips when I looked at who had walked up to us. I hadn’t even seen him. “Roman, hi.”
He smiled at me and my cheeks warmed. “Enjoying the party?”
“It’s not a party,” I said again.
Roman tilted his head. “We could put on some music and turn it into one.”
“Oh, I like that idea.” Ivy went around the bar, where the sound system controls were. She pressed a button, then fussed with her phone, and a low rock ballad started playing from the speakers along the ceiling. Since Ivy liked music so much, each room in this mansion had a hidden sound system.
Roman stared at me. I thought he was going to ask me to dance with him, so I looked out at the pool and took another sip of my champagne, as if I wasn’t interested in him or anything else.
Roman was a full wolf shifter from my pack.
And my mate.
Long ago, my father had a love affair with my mother, Kali. After they broke up, he found out she was pregnant, but by then, she had holed up inside her pack, and he couldn’t get to me.
I had been raised by my mother in our wolf shifter pack, and despite her trying to isolate me from others, I had gotten close to Roman, and we found out we were mates.
Then one day, a year ago, an older man assaulted me. He called me names and slapped me in front of half the pack. I lost control and used my darkfire on him. Everyone found out my mother had been lying, and I was half-demon.
They turned on us.
My pack attacked us. They killed my mother and were about to kill me, when Roman stepped in and helped me escape. He didn’t care what I was. He just wanted me safe. He said he had apologized many, many times for not being able to save my mother too, and he apologized again when he told me the story.
I didn’t remember any of it, so I told him it was okay.
Thankfully, he had patience and didn’t push it. He didn’t even try holding my hand or touching me. He stood close by, always within my reach, for when and if I needed him.
“You need time, and that’s what I’ll give you,” he had said.
I appreciated that. I appreciated him.
I drank another sip of my champagne and peeked at him. Roman was handsome. He was tall and wide, and his body was hard and full of muscles—I had seen him training without a shirt yesterday. He had light brown hair and dark green eyes, which contrasted nicely with his tanned skin.
Right now, he wore a dark blue suit that seemed to have been cut for him.
It was easy to see myself falling for him, though with the mating bond, that would happen regardless of whether I wanted it or not, wouldn’t it? I always thought that with the mating bond, I would lust after him the moment I set my eyes on him, but it hadn’t happened. It could only be my memories. The damage to them was so deep, it was affecting the bond.
“Any news from the office?” Ivy asked Roman.
“Nothing unusual,” Roman said. Our father had a fake office front in Vancouver, where he did a lot of business with other demons and gathered allies. Roman went there a few times a week with Rotgar, one of the demons standing with my father right now. The higher demon was the general to my father’s army, his left arm, while Ivy was his right. Roman said he went to the office to help out; with what, I had no idea. Apparently, I used to help too, but since I woke up, they kept me away from the office, saying I should rest until my memories returned before I rejoined the family business.
“I need to stop by there tomorrow.” Ivy groaned.
“All right, stop,” I said. “If this is a damn party, then no work talk.”
Ivy pointed to the five demons a few feet from us. “And what do you think they are doing?”
I shrugged. “I don’t care about them. This is about us.”
Roman nodded. “I like the no-work-talk-during-parties rule.”
Of course he would agree with me. He always did. Maybe that was a mate thing?
Loud laughter came from beyond the pool.
A woman wearing a beautiful dark-green gown walked out from the pool house. She was gorgeous with smooth dark skin, dark eyes, and long black curls.
She walked over the pool without getting her shoes or dress wet.
Dot, a Nightmist witch. Probably the last one from what they had told me. She was powerful and a little nuts, but so far she seemed like a crazy aunt who loved to get in trouble with her nephews and nieces.
“There you are.” My father beckoned her to join him. She glanced at us, winked, then joined the demons and their conversation.
“I feel like we’re the naughty kids and we’re being punished by not being able to join the important meeting,” Ivy said. She drained her flute and reached around the counter to get the champagne bottle from the ice bucket.
I frowned. I felt like that too.
After all, hadn’t I been told the four of us were now plotting how to take the underworld back and restore balance? Not just plotting, we had been taking action. That was why these four demons were here, to talk business.
And we were not in that conversation.
“Aren’t we helping them?” I asked. Honestly, I had been lost in this whole plan since I couldn’t remember anything, but my father always said that Ivy and I were playing a big part. “We should join them.”
Ivy nodded. “We should.”
Roman groaned. “You know, I will do anything for you, but I don’t want to headbutt with your father. What if he decides he's had enough of me and throws me out?”
I stared at him. Roman had been crucial to my survival. If it weren’t for him, I would have died with my mother, and he had given up everything to be here with me.
“If he throws you out, I’ll go with you.”
Ivy scoffed. “As if he would let you leave.”
“My point exactly.”
She narrowed her eyes at me. “Smart.” She took my hand in hers. “Let’s go.”
We turned toward the group as a maid appeared at the doorway. “Dinner is served.”