Today’s Deadly Destination is from Kira Brady‘s Hart on Seattle from HEARTS OF DARKNESS (published August 7th 2012 by Zebra). Want to win a copy? Enter via the widget below.
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Kira Brady’s Hart on Seattle from HEARTS OF DARKNESS
Hart shut the door of his old diesel Mercedes as the car rolled down the steep hill in downtown Seattle. At the bottom, the angry waves of Puget Sound ate at the coastline and swallowed the bodies that were tossed in after the day’s bloodshed. He wondered briefly how many days he had left until his own fetid corpse joined the others. The humans might be oblivious, but the territory lines were drawn red across Seattle: the Kivati and Drekar had been trying for over a century to take each other out. It didn’t matter who got caught in the cross hairs; dead was dead. Hart shook his head and shifted into low gear as gravity helped the engine turn over without a spark. The car jerked over the asphalt-exposed brick as he made the turn onto First Avenue, away from the historic, Aether-infested district of Pioneer Square. Beneath the city streets twisted the long forgotten labyrinth of the Seattle Underground. The tunnels were a hive of illegal merchandise and shady characters. No one went down there without a damn good reason or a death wish.
Hart called it home.
Along First Avenue, he passed the city’s grungy skyscrapers and half-derelict condos. Pike Place Market was its usual buzz of ticky-tacky shops and farmers’ leftovers. There weren’t many tourists, but the few stupid enough to brave the city streets always stopped by Butterworth’s, Norgard’s haunted opium parlor and tea room. The old mortuary was just warming up. A politician flirted with scantily clad Ishtar Maidens on the tiled steps. Hart caught the sound of one of Seattle’s grunge kings through the open door. The man had been dead for twenty years, but no one escaped Norgard’s service, and the Drekar Regent liked to parade his stable of Seattle music greats on stage.
Hart sped up and left downtown in a cloud of biodiesel exhaust. There was no safe route from Downtown to the Drekar stronghold of Ballard without passing the Kivati territory of Queen Anne Hill. The hill rose up like a frosted layer cake to his right, all pink and pastel blue doily houses with gingerbread roofs and steaming chimneys. Crows lined the trees at the crest of the hill, and the Georgian monstrosity of Kivati Hall perched at the top, its cheery yellow walls hiding some of the most powerful shape shifters west of the Mississippi. Humans would never guess they lived alongside monsters, even when the electricity sputtered out from ghosts and murder splashed across the nightly news. The Aether was drawn to Queen Anne. Hart could feel it in his blood. It flowed uphill, a river of sparkling light.
Hart preferred the shadows. His Wolf strained toward the Aether, but Hart had no use for the Kivati or their sacred honor. Still, he breathed a sigh of relief as he crossed the Ballard Bridge and left Queen Anne behind him. On the other side lay Drekar territory. Norgard and his dragon kin had their own brand of rouge that hid the true monsters. Scandinavian flags were strung along Market Street above shops selling pickled herring and Swedish pancakes. Hart’s hands grew a little sweaty around the wheel as he turned up the long sloping hill toward the Ballard Locks, where Norgard’s chocolate factory watched over the little town with false benevolence.
There were worse jobs, Hart thought as he pulled through the giant iron gate, charm bells swinging from spiked rods to keep the ghosts at bay. He could have been stuck kissing Kivati ass his whole life. Still, he couldn’t wait to get this job over with and one more step closer to freedom. Norgard had a new proposition for him. Two more jobs, and he could pay off his blood debt. The Kivati-Drekar war could burst out of the shadows and burn the city to the ground for all he cared, once he was gone. He just had to make it another couple weeks. Two more jobs, and he could leave this gods-forsaken city behind him. Two more jobs, and he was free.
Giveaway provided by Kensington Books
One copy of HEARTS OF DARKNESS by Kira Brady
Published on August 7th 2012 by Zebra
In the first of a dazzling new romantic trilogy, one woman’s courageous search plunges her into a millennia-old supernatural war—and an irresistible passion…
Nurse Kayla Friday has dedicated her life to science and reason. But for her, Seattle is a place of eerie loss and fragmented, frightening memories. And now the only clue to her sister’s murder reveals a secret battle between two ancient mythologies…and puts Kayla in the sights of lethally-sexy werewolf mercenary Hart. He’ll do whatever it takes to obtain the key to the Gate of the Land of the Dead and free what’s left of his soul. But seducing the determined Kayla is putting them at the mercy of powerful desires neither can control. And as the clock ticks down to hellish catastrophe, the untested bond between Kayla and Hart may lead to the ultimate sacrifice.