The Universe Chronicles Book 1
by Claire Davon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Maya Wingfield was raised to trust no one—least of all the dueling U.S. and Russian paranormal agencies, Universe and Night Stars, who’d love to harness her mind-reading gift.
She thought Richmond a safe place to escape their influence and hide from a rising psychic malevolence that drove her out of San Diego. But when she gets yet another call to retrieve her drunken roommate, her mind shows her an amber-eyed Universe operative with an impenetrable net around his deepest secret—and a voice that sends shock waves of awareness down her nerve endings.
Maya’s curves and aquamarine eyes aren’t the only things that jolt Ian Sanderson’s mental shields, bringing sexual tension thrumming back to life. It’s a power his Universe-trained mind knows he shouldn’t trust. And a vulnerability that makes his telekinetic power burn in his palms to protect her.
But to Universe, she is just one of too many unanswered questions. A target for Whisper, a shadowy new group of paranormals with powers beyond anything Universe has ever seen. Once before, Ian failed to protect a sensitive from a brain-scrambling attack. He will not fail again . . . even if it means using his talent—or his body—to stop a bullet.
The metallic squeal in the distance indicated the train was arriving. A light in the tunnel swept across the concrete wall as it rounded a curve and the brakes continued to shriek. People began to crowd the yellow line, jostling for position, trying to determine where the doors would open so they could leap on and get a seat, a premium on the Metro.
By now the train was visible, moving at a rate that didn’t seem normal. His experience with the Washington Metro was limited, but the tube in London would have been slowing by now.
Awareness flowed through the air, and there was a shift in the commuters as they began to understand that something wasn’t right. Ian released Maya and shoved her behind him. People scattered as the train started screaming into the station at too high a speed.
“Bugger all,” Ian said and reached out with his talent.
Without warning, Maya was yanked from behind him and hurtled toward the moving train before he could halt her.
He split his mind, one focusing on the subway cars and one on her. People were flowing around her, one or two pausing to try and help the woman jerking past them. Maya careered forward, out of their grasp. Sparks lit the tracks as the wheels lifted off the rails, the engineer no doubt applying the brakes in an effort to make the cars stop.
Ian’s talent blazed through him, starting in his belly and moving up his body. It pulsed and crackled, filling him with power fueled by fury and desperation. He reached out his hand, the palm glowing red as his ability hissed out in an arc. Maya halted on the demarcation line that had just been vacated, her eyes wide and staring. Her body was stiff, and her head was bent backwards in an attempt to clear it from the path of the oncoming train.
Beads of sweat broke out along Ian’s body as he found the train’s brakes on the wheels, applying pressure via his telekinesis. The conductor was already applying everything to the pedals, but they were going all the way to the floor. Instead, Ian focused everything on those pads, stomping down as if he were physically there. The train lurched and made a shrieking sound as it slowed. It slid by Maya, her hair blowing back from the rush of displaced air.
For a panicked moment, Ian saw Maya falling onto the tracks in his mind’s eye. Inside, the people standing were thrown forward and then back as the brakes caught. The train shuddered and ground to a halt.
Ian stumbled when he released his grasp on the train. Maya ran to him as he slumped, his shaking hands still glowing with red light. Energy drained from him but all that mattered was Maya, safe.
The train doors opened, and frightened passengers disembarked rapidly. The tourists had wide eyes and open mouths while the regulars seemed more sanguine. They were used to the vagaries of the subway and to them it was nothing more than a bad stop. A very bad stop, to be sure, but just a random day on the Washington Metro.
“Ian?” Maya asked, and he tasted the acrid, metallic scent of fear. It had been a long time since anyone had mattered.
“What did you sense? Anything?”
“I . . . it was so brief. Someone surfaced and before I could react to his mind—it felt like a he— I was being shoved forward. I reached out and tried to stop him, but I didn’t know how. It had to be a telekinetic, right?” By her expression he didn’t think she expected an answer. “It was only a flash, and then it was gone. Why, Ian? What did he want?”
The oath on Ian’s lips was savage. “I don’t know who it was, but they won’t get away with this. Blast. Yin was right. You’re in danger.”
The Universe Chronicles Book 2
Since the day Jiana Falco was forced to join the paranormal agency Night Stars, she’s been planning her escape. She uses her bodyguard’s split-second of distraction to vanish into the shadows, and burns the last bridge by saving Quillan Hardis.
But now, locked in Quillan’s muscular arms, pinned by his calculating amber gaze, his invisibility talent shielding them both, she’s in even deeper trouble. If that’s possible.
Quillan didn’t get to Universe Corps’ highest echelons by being a fool. The rare shadow manipulator in his grip is too easy a prize to be anything but a setup. A pretty lure he should send back to Night Stars. Instead, he holds on—and in changing her fate, he seals his own.
Under a secret order to unlock her untapped power—by any means necessary—Quillan takes Jiana on the run with only a precog’s vague direction, and a spark of desire that blooms into something warm and genuine. But her fear of being clawed back into Night Stars’ control could drive Jiana so deep into the shadows nothing will get her out. Not even the light of Quillan’s love.
But her fear of Night Stars could drives Jiana so deep into the shadows nothing can lead her out. Not even the light of Quillan’s love.
Quillan carried his dark mood through the rest of their time until dinner and glowered at the waiter when he was slow to seat them at the fancy dining hall within the resort. Even the sight of Jiana in a cool tropical dress of vibrant colors that gathered at her neck and fell across her body in sweeps of cloth did little to halt his oppressive mood.
Even as he escorted Jiana to her table, admiring her high breasts in the halter dress with its flowing lines, he scowled. Ren had no right to dictate where Jiana should go. Ren was just another cog in Universe’s wheel. He wasn’t any more important than Quillan.
Except they all agreed that Jiana needed more training. She was unschooled in her powers and that could be dangerous. She could use the shadows and run into a . . . rock . . . or something where she would be trapped or killed. The thought of her dead was one Quillan could not contemplate.
“You’re quiet,” she said.
He turned his attention to Jiana. Her tongue moved over her teeth inside her closed mouth in a nervous habit. He’d been focused on Universe taking the woman away from him when she was right there. She wasn’t gone yet. He needed to shut his brain down and enjoy her.
“Just thinking about what happens next,” he said. “If the others don’t already know where we went it won’t take them long to track us down. We have forty-eight hours at best. Danger is coming and we have to be prepared for it.” Then he forced a grin he didn’t feel and was gratified to see whatever she was doing with the inside of her mouth stop and her lips parted. “It’s not here yet.”
“So little time?” she asked with a groan. “Why can’t Universe buy us more? They’re the government agency and all.”
“They have their limitations, just like anything else. I’m being an ass. Let’s get some wine. What would you like?”
They ordered a white wine to go with the fish dishes the jovial waiter recommended before Quillan turned his attention back to Jiana. She was so beautiful, this shadow manipulator he had the fortune to know. He should enjoy his time with her. He was leading her into a trap. They both knew Whisper was coming. The question was when.
He focused on Jiana, her lips distracting him. His cock twitched at the flow of her curves under the dress. He wanted to cup her breasts in his hands and stroke her nipples to glorious life, and then taste them with his tongue until she was moaning under his mouth. He could almost feel her hands on his cock, stroking him. It would be delicious to do it here, at this restaurant, with tourists flowing around them and waiters speaking a combination of English and something called Bahamianese, which was English and Creole, a unique mixture found in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. He heard phrases like “Een nothing” and “what da wybe is” mixed in with the English spoken in the waiter’s tongue.
They wouldn’t be here long enough to get killed, he hoped. That slowed his wayward cock down, but just a little. Survival was the most primary instinct there was. Considering Jiana, he had a flash of her belly round with his babies, a pleasing curve that added to her appeal. He pictured them together, making a family—and memories. It was foolish.
“After dinner do you want to take in the nightclub next door?”
Jiana cocked her head at Quillan and raised an eyebrow. “Dancing, Quillan Hardis? You? I can’t picture it.”
He leaned in, enjoying the banter, and wishing this moment could stay forever.
“I’ll have you know that once upon a time I was a very good dancer.” He left out that he hadn’t done that since his university days. Once he had gotten recruited by Universe and begun working on his long-range tracker skills and his invisibility, he had forgotten about his other, more mundane, talents. The kinds that most people appreciated, like singing and dancing. Since the day he had joined Universe he had aspired to be the best. There was little time for outside activities. Now he wondered why he had let the pleasures in life go. Whatever the reason, this lovely woman, this shadow manipulator who had such a bright future ahead of her, showed him what he had been missing.
And he had to let her go. But not tonight.
She blotted her lips with her napkin, not disturbing the delightful coral lipstick she’d applied, a color that matched the colors in the dress. He longed to smear that lipstick, or see it all over his cock. Quillan shifted as his erection swelled.
“I’d like to see that,” Jiana responded with a tilt of her head and a knowing grin that left him aching.
“Then we will go dancing.”
Claire can’t remember a time when writing wasn’t part of her life. Growing up, she used to write stories with her friends. As a teenager she started out reading fantasy and science fiction, but her diet quickly changed to romance and happily-ever-after’s. A native of Massachusetts and cold weather, she left all that behind to move to the sun and fun of California, but has always lived no more than twenty miles from the ocean.
In college she studied acting with a minor in creative writing. In hindsight she should have flipped course studies. Before she was published, she sold books on eBay and discovered some of her favorite authors by sampling the goods, which was the perfect solution. Claire has many book-irons in the fire, most notably her urban fantasy series, The Elementals’ Challenge series, but writes contemporary and shifter romances as well as.
While she’s not a movie mogul or actor, she does work in the film industry with her office firmly situated in the 90210 district of Hollywood. Prone to break out into song, she is quick on feet and just as quick with snappy dialogue. In addition to writing she does animal rescue, reads, and goes to movies. She loves to hear from fans, so feel free to drop her a line.