Fighting for the PJV – Erin Kellison’s Shadowman
Cleo vs. Brynna Malak
Name: Cleo Vorenus
Book Series: Order of the Sicari Novels
My name is Cleo Vorenus, and I kill bad guys. It’s as simple as that. I suppose you’re wondering, “bad guys,” what the fuck does she mean by that? It means I take out the bastardi who prey on the innocent when the justice system fails. The Mafia, child molesters, drug dealers, murderers…you name it, if they’re guilty, I execute them. It’s what I do. It’s what my people have done for centuries. We weren’t always like this. The Praetorians, who are telepathic, forced us into this lifestyle when they cast us out of the Guard and made us outlaws. We didn’t have much choice when it came to our survival, so we became skilled assassins.
But honor is everything to the Sicari, and we always ask the Rogare Donavi of our targets. Forgiveness. Seems odd doesn’t it? Odd that before we execute someone who’s committed heinous crimes that we ask their forgiveness. What the hell kind of crack was someone doing when they decided to implement that particular little ritual? Truth be told, I only object to doing it when I’m dealing with scum like Tito Angotti. The sorry fuck had one of his apartment buildings burnt down, and five innocent kids died. The youngest one… Isabella…she was just six-months old, and that son of a bitch deserved to die. I wasn’t supposed to enjoy that kill, but satisfaction…fuck yeah. It felt right making that bastardo pay for what he did.
If you know anything about the Sicari or my friends, you know most of us have telekinetic powers. Strike that. I’m the only Sicari I know of who doesn’t have a unique ability. What I do have are looks. The kind that makes men look twice. Fucking ridiculous isn’t it. No telekinetic or intuitive abilities at all, but I can make jaws sag whenever I enter a room. But I’d give up my looks in a heartbeat just to be a real Sicari.
I guess you’re wondering why I even bothered to throw myself into this crowded field of paranormal heroes and heroines if I don’t have any special abilities. After all, I’m not immortal and could easily die. Well, I’m nothing, if not stubborn. I can’t think of any better way to prove my worth as a Sicari than to kick some ass here. You might think I’m helpless against all these other bastardi in this event, but that doesn’t surprise me you’d think that way. Most men tend to look at my face first, the rack second, which is annoying as hell. When everyone else looks at me, all they see is a beautiful face. That’s my advantage. I look harmless, but that’s why I’m so dangerous.
My looks make people lower their guard around me. Then, before they know what’s happening, I strike. One of the most useful tools in my fighting arsenal is the death touch. It’s where I land a hard, quick blow at a certain pressure point on the neck. In less than two seconds, my target is dropping to the floor like a sack of flour. It’s easy to revive them with a few smacks to the back and stimulating their nervous system. It’s an effective way to get information too. In fact, I used the death touch on Angotti, and he squealed like the pig he is before I made him pay his debt to society.
The scum the Sicari execute deserve what they get. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not easy to kill someone. I’d be inhuman if it didn’t bother me, but I also know that the innocent need someone to speak for them, and I do that. Especially the children. Fuck. I can’t believe someone would hurt a child. Can you? I mean what’s wrong with people that they’d harm an innocent. I’m more sensitive about it than most, because I can’t have any kids. I lost my unborn child when a Praetorian bastardo slit me open. The son of a bitch left me barren too. Goddamnit, stop giving me that look of sympathy will you. I don’t want or need sympathy. I’m just letting you know why most of the bad guys I go after have done something to hurt kids. Their small voices demand justice, and I’m the one who gets it for them.
Now you know me a little better, and why I believe I can rumble with the rest of the crowd in here. I might not be immortal, and I might not have any special abilities, but what’s that in the overall scheme of things. If I can take out several Praetorians all by myself, I can’t say I’m too worried about my chances in here. So while everyone else in here struts around like they’re the biggest badass in the room, I’m goi
ng to sit in this chair over here with a glass of wine and my one guilty pleasure, a romance book. If you have a problem with that, then maybe you should step into the ring with me too.
The laws of desire…
Dante Condellaire, heir apparent to the Sicari Lords, knows that being a true leader means sacrifice. For Dante it was relinquishing all erotic pleasures. But he never expected his willpower to be tested so fiercely by Cleopatra Vorenus, expert assassin of the Order, and daughter of the man he is positioned to succeed.
The rules of battle…
Cleo prefers working alone—until she meets Dante who shares her goal: to destroy a Praetorian stronghold where Sicari women are imprisoned for devious purposes. Bringing the mission off without a hitch pumps up more than their resolve. It sets off a sexual spark too combustible to ignore.
Are all made to be broken.
As their attraction flares like an inferno, the stakes are raised. So are the risks. Before the mission is over, Dante and Cleo will be plunged into a dangerous conspiracy where a traitor threatens the very foundation of the Order, as well as the fiery bond between Dante and Cleo—warriors and lovers now torn between duty and desire.
An award-winning author of erotic romance, Monica Burns penned her first short romance story at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today. From the days when she hid her stories from her sisters to her first completed full-length manuscript, she always believed in her dream despite rejections and setbacks. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica believes it’s possible for the good guy to win if they work hard enough.
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