Name: Sophia Thalia Book Series: Dark Warrior/Ionian Series Job: priestess of an ancient cult, now running a beauty spa in Sedona, Arizona Height: 5ft 6 in Weight: 120 pounds Hair Color: Blond Eye Color: Blue From (Location): Sedona, Arizona Significant Other: Jason Tyrone, if she doesn’t kill him first Signature Move: now doubts the ancient precepts she’s believed all her life Kill Highlights: uses her psychic mind-destroying powers Enemies: the Minot
In the first century BC, the Ionian Priestesses (rivals to the Oracle at Delphi) made a dangerous bargain with a group of cursed warriors called the Minot. In return for saving them from a barbarian invasion, the women took the Minot as consorts, but the uneasy truce disintegrated when the warriors tried to dominate their partners. The women escaped, taking refuge in various locations around the world. Finally they settled in Sedona, Arizona, drawn there by the spiritual power unique to the area.
For generations, they’ve run the Seven Sisters Spa in Sedona, Arizona. Still mistrusting men, they ruthlessly use them for procreation but never marry, giving their total loyalty to the sisterhood. With their psychic abilities, they make sure that any children born to them are girls.
In DARK WARRIOR, Minot, Jason Tyrone, and Ionian, Sophia Thalia, must confront truths about their heritages that neither wants to acknowledge. Only if Jason and Sophia dare to form a strong psychic bond can they save themselves and the Ionians from destruction. Or will the women discover Jason’s true identity and rip out his psychic powers first?
Excerpt: She was twenty miles from safety when disaster struck.
The desert had cooled off, and Sophia Thalia was driving along Blissful Canyon Road, back to the spa where she and the other women of her ancient family ran a luxury retreat for the rich and privileged.
Sophia had always lived there, always accepted the responsibilities that had fallen on her from an early age, but tonight’s contentious meeting of the Sedona Business Association had worn her out.
As she emerged from a stand of junipers, she leaned forward, watching her headlights cut through the desert darkness.
At night on this desolate stretch of road, she was always a little on edge until she reached the turnoff to the resort. This evening it was worse because she couldn’t shake the feeling that danger lurked around the next outcropping of red rocks.
When she spotted the small white sign for the Seven Sisters Spa, she sighed with relief, until her premonition slammed into reality. Something came hurtling out of the darkness toward her SUV, and she swerved past the shoulder, almost plowing into a piñon pine before she regained control of the vehicle.
The car rocked back and forth, then settled into a pocket of loose, dusty soil. Her gaze shot to the windshield. Whatever had zoomed toward her had vanished.
Had a bat changed course at the last minute? Or had she managed to dodge whatever it was?
When she tried to drive back onto the road, the wheels spun, digging the vehicle farther into the unstable surface.
“Hades,” she muttered as she cut the engine. A tow truck could pull her out. But she’d have to wait here for hours.
She made a low sound of disgust, thinking this was the perfect ending to her trying week at work. The new massage therapy and meditation rooms she’d been pushing for were going to cost a lot more than the original bid. She’d been trying to get some of her sisters to agree that the extra expense was worth it, but so far her point of view was losing.
Then the supplier of the hand-woven rugs they sold in the gift shop had gone bankrupt, just when they were running low on stock. Which meant she’d have to come find another alternative–quickly.
Fumbling in her purse, she found her cell phone, but when she tried to get a signal, nothing happened. The phone was dead, although it shouldn’t be. She’d made a point of charging it that afternoon when she’d gotten the bad news that she was going to the meeting in town.
It had been her younger sister’s turn to take that duty, but Mrs. Finlander, one of their frequent guests, had made a special request to have Tessa give her a before-bed massage. Really, anyone could have done it just as professionally. But Tessa had developed a rapport with the woman, and she’d asked Sophia to go to the meeting.
Now she was stuck about three miles from the spa. An easy walk. Too bad she was wearing a creamy yellow
suit and high heels. But a pair of running shoes were in the trunk. And a tee shirt and shorts, come to that.
Once she changed her clothes, getting home would be no big deal. Out here in the desert, the moon and stars were brilliant, more than enough to light her way. Yet the idea of climbing out of the car sent a shiver up her spine.
As she peered out the window, she saw headlights in the distance. Someone was coming, and hopefully she could get a ride.
She climbed out, waving a manicured hand as the lights approached. Whoever was in the other car roared past, leaving her standing in his backwash. Did he recognize her? Was he one of the people in town who thought the Thalia sisters and cousins were witches because of the way they retained their youth and beauty?
She allowed herself another curse as she walked to the back of the vehicle and clicked the trunk release. The casual clothing was where she’d left it, in her carry bag. After changing into the running shoes, she reached to shrug off her suit jacket, then changed her mind. The idea of getting undressed on the side of the highway had her nerves jumping again.
To calm herself, she took a deep breath of the desert air. It smelled clean and fresh and reassuring, and she wondered why she was so spooked.
After slinging her purse over her shoulder, she started up the road, her eyes fixed on the white sign for the spa. It was a refuge for her and the other women of the Ionian Sisterhood who had come here long ago, seeking a place where they could practice the ancient arts they had brought from their home in Greece.
As she walked, she heard the crunch of footsteps on the gravel shoulder behind her, and all her vague fears came crashing down on her.
She started to run, wondering if there was any chance of getting away from whoever was stalking her.
He answered the question by streaking past her at speeds no normal human being could attain, stopping about twenty yards in front of her, blocking her path.
In the darkness, she couldn’t make out many details, but she saw he was wearing a white tee shirt and tight-fitting jeans. His hair was dark, but the shadows hid his features as he walked slowly toward her, young and cocksure in the moonlight.
In that terrible moment, she knew who he was. Not his name. But everything about him told her that he must be a Minot, one of the men who had hounded the Ionians down through the ages, since they had made a devil’s pact with the ancient warriors.
None of them had attacked the Sisterhood in years, and perhaps that had made them too lax in their security measures. Of course there were wards around the property and a guard at the gate, but now she was alone and vulnerable on a dark desert highway. Like in that Eagles song.
Her throat was so tight that she could barely breathe, but she kept her eyes focused on the man who advanced toward her. Even while she kept him in sight, she sent her mind toward the resort, hoping to get a silent message to Tessa, her real sister, the one who was closest to her in all the world. I’m on the highway. Just a few hundred feet . . .
Before she could say more, he raised his hand. He was holding a small cylinder, and when he pressed on the top, a mist whooshed out and drifted toward her.
The second she breathed it, her head began to spin, and her body stopped obeying her commands. Her mind told her to turn and run, but her legs wouldn’t move. She was rooted to the spot, like a desert animal frozen in the headlights of an advancing vehicle.
The man waited a moment for the cloud of gas around her to dissipate. Then he tossed the cylinder away where it clanked against a rock as he walked purposefully forward, his gaze never leaving her.