The tigers ambush, p.1
The Tiger’s Ambush, p.1Part #3 of Kit Davenport series by Tate James
Table of Contents
About the Author
Also by Tate James
PACK EBON RED
The Tiger’s Ambush
Kit Davenport Book 3
Copyright © 2017 Katrina Fischer
Cover design © 2017 Covers by Combs
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or used in any manner without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. If you have obtained this book via piracy, or suspect it has been duplicated illegally, please do the right thing. Advise the author and purchase your own copy. No one likes a pirate, unless he’s Jack Sparrow.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
About the Author
Also by Tate James
PACK EBON RED
PACK EBON RED
Third book in the series! So cool!
Thank you first and foremost to Siobhan for being my alpha reader, travel companion, sounding board, and more importantly for holding me back when ideas were running a bit wild. I just don’t know how I’d write books without our mani-pedi idea sessions… may they forever continue.
Thank you to Rebecca for always having time for me, no matter what. Your support and guidance is totally invaluable.
Thanks to Goldie, for always pushing me harder and making me improve those rad t-rex typing skills of mine.
But most of all, thank you to Heather and Jax, for once again reminding me why great editors are so vital in this process. Don’t ever leave me, you guys!
This book is dedicated to The Alliance,
For always being awesome even when they’re being CWs,
and to Sara for being a dick but keeping me sane.
The front door slammed open, and a huge figure filled the frame, his face shrouded by a heavy hood.
“Who the fuck are you all, and what the fuck are you doing in my home?” Menace echoed within the man’s growl.
Looks like Vic is home sooner than expected. Answers, at last!
As we really hadn’t expected him back so soon, I found myself sitting there like a fucking deer in headlights.
“You must be Victor,” River took charge, stepping forward into the path of the man whose house we’d invaded. The act put him in the lead and hid me from view. While I had showered off the evidence of our lovemaking, he had re-dressed in his dark gray suit pants and crisp white dress shirt, barely a crinkle in sight. The way he moved seemed relaxed, but there was a small, telling tightness around his beautiful eyes with their mismatched shades of gold.
“I asked you a question,” the man in the doorway boomed. Though he pushed into the room, his face remained hidden beneath the deep hood. “You’re in my home. Who the fuck let you in here?”
Giving myself a little mental shake and relocating my metaphorical backbone, I rose from my seat and moved out from behind River so Vic could see me.
“Hi, sorry, this is really awkward. Nicholai and Granny Winter set us up here. They weren’t expecting you back for another two weeks…?” My words trailed off as the man snorted a loud laugh.
“Holy shit,” he snickered a cold, humorless sound. “It’s you.”
“She’s not Bridget,” Cole snapped, coming to stand a little in front of me, as if I needed his protection. He, too, had magically managed to locate clean clothes and looked deliciously dangerous with a black long sleeve top covering his impressive fighter’s build. Victor barked another sour laugh.
“I know that; I’m not blind. Any fool can see this isn’t Bride. That bitch knows better than to show her face around here, anyway.” He advanced farther into the room, and light hit the lower half of his face, revealing a strong jaw and tightly scowling lips.
“So, you finally found your way to Harrow, eh? I guess that explains why I could smell Nicky on my way through town. I take it he’s the one who led you here?” The man’s voice had dropped a little of the accusing anger but was still a far cry from friendly.
“Uh...” A bit lost for words, I floundered. This was not what I’d been expecting after all the drama, magic and mayhem of the evening. Silly me, I’d thought maybe we would get a small reprieve from the madness.
River took over once more. “Yes, Nicholai, or N as he called himself at the time. How did you know she isn’t Bridget? The old bird in charge was adamant she was Bridget. Even tried to have her killed.” He glowered at Vic in a rare display of emotion for someone usually so in control. More and more lately, I had noticed his control slipping and something…wild slipping through.
Vic grunted. “I’m not surprised. Mother gets a little tunnel vision when it comes to Bride.” He heaved a sigh. “I guess you want some answers.”
Throwing back his hood, I stifled a short gasp. The side of his face which had previously been covered by a hood was covered in what looked like burn scars, and one eye was completely clouded over. His red hair was cropped short, where it hadn’t been eaten away by scar tissue, but even at a glance, it was almost certainly the same shade of foxy copper-red as my own.
Lumbering over to an empty armchair, he sat down heavily, then raised his scarred eyebrow at us in challenge.
Seriously, Kit? Quit staring!
Clearing my throat nervously, I darted my gaze away, hopefully before he noticed my severe lack of manners and social grace.
“Um, yeah. That’s why N sent us here. He said you could give us answers that he couldn’t?” I chewed my lower lip but met his stare. It dimly occurred to me that, as shifters, the same rules of dominance that animals follow probably applied, and I would be damned if I came across as a submissive.
“Don’t you think I should be the one demanding answers
“And we do apologize for that, sir,” Wesley interjected, with a friendly, non-threatening smile. “Granny Winter and Nicholai told us to stay here until you got back from, ah, vacation.”
Everything about Wesley screamed trustworthy, from his wide blue eyes behind square framed glasses to his floppy, boyish blond hair and oversized hoody, and Victor’s body language eased a fraction from the high-strung tension he vibrated with upon entering.
“Yes, fair enough. I’d like to speak with the both of them as well. You, boy,” he said, pointing at Austin, who stood near the door like a gargoyle guarding a church. “Go and get them. I want to hear my mother explain herself.”
Austin made a noise of disgust. Whether it was at being ordered to fetch like an errand boy or at being called boy, I wasn’t sure, but his reaction made me snicker.
With his dark hair cropped up the sides and disheveled on top, his emerald-green eyes glittering with anger, and his generally just looking sexy as fuck, he didn’t look like any errand boy I’d ever seen.
Woah, Kit. Simmer down girl; when did we start thinking about Austin like that?
If I was honest with myself, probably way back when he talked me out of my panic attack during our brief stay as Simon and Dupree’s captives at the Blood Moon testing labs.
Not that I would ever, ever tell him that. The last thing that asshole needed was any more ammo to torture me with. Although, he seemed to have eased up on the Kit-hate lately... must have been all the kidnapping and explosions.
“Don’t give me that look, pup. Go do as you’re told.” Vic’s command was combined with a flick of his wrist, which seemed to have perfect timing with the front door slamming open, almost as though he had just—
“Did you just do that?” I blurted, staring at Vic a bit more cautiously.
“Do what?” he asked, but a smug smile playing at the scarred side of his mouth suggested he had somehow opened the door with a vague hand gesture.
Austin raised an eyebrow at me, of all people, as if asking what I wanted him to do. Shrugging, I deferred to River, who nodded at the door, telling Austin to go.
“Maybe while he’s doing that, you might be able to answer a few questions for us?” River asked the scarred man, his polished British accent careful and even.
Vic tilted his head, as if considering River’s suggestion, then turned his shrewd gaze back onto me and tapped his chin with a long, scarred finger.
“Well, sit down then. You may as well get comfortable; it’s quite the tale, girl.” He paused. “What are you called, anyway?”
“Uh...” I blinked at him stupidly. What the fuck was wrong with me? “Kit.”
His brow shot up in surprise, and I sighed. “Christina, actually. But everyone calls me Kit. Except Austin, but he’s an ass, so...” Wow, now I was rambling.
“Christina. Huh, I knew she was going to change your name when she took off, but I wouldn’t have guessed that one.” Vic sat back in his chair with a sigh, like he was exhausted.
“I don’t know what you mean,” I replied cautiously. “That’s always been my name. It was one of the only things I did remember when social services found me on the streets. My name—Christina—and my age.”
“Girl... this is gonna be a long story,” Vic’s weary voice held a shadow of an Irish or Scottish accent, and he waved at the couch behind me where Caleb sat perched on the edge like he was a snake coiled and ready to strike if this guy turned nasty.
“Sit your butt down and have a drink.” He reached over to the coffee table where a crystal decanter sat full of amber fluid and poured some into the two small glasses sitting beside it. “You boys want one, you better grab more glasses from the kitchen.” Handing one to me, he clinked it with his own and then took a long sip.
“Very responsible,” River commented, “supplying alcohol to a minor. Kit’s only nineteen.”
The sip of whiskey I’d just taken got caught in my throat, and I coughed as I sat my ass down on the couch beside Caleb.
“Nineteen? You need ta get your math straight, boy. I thought you secret agent types were supposed to be switched on?” Vic barked a husky laugh and took another sip of his drink. “She woulda turned twenty-one not two weeks past. I should know, after all, I was there when she was born.”
Had I not already been sitting, I would have fallen.
“Sorry, what?” I demanded, my voice as strangled and confused as the rest of me. “You’re clearly mistaken. I told you I knew two things when social services found me. My name—Christina—and my age—five. Five. Not seven.”
Vic snorted, knocking back the rest of his drink and refilling the glass. “And you remembered nothin’ else. Just your name and your age.” He levelled an amused look at me, like I was a damn idiot. “That doesn’t sound suspicious to you?”
Jesus fuck, I was a damn idiot.
“Drink up, girl. This is gonna take me a few tries to work out what I can tell you that might be helpful.” Vic sighed and scratched at his scarred cheek.
“You okay, Kitty Kat?” Caleb murmured, taking one of my hands in his as he shifted closer to me. I glanced up at him with a weak smile as I clutched the tumbler in my other hand. A perfect mirror image of Austin, Caleb only have one distinction from his twin: his eyes. Caleb’s were soft, open, and permanently laughing, while Austin’s were as closed off as a Swiss bank vault.
Until they took their clothes off, that was. There was no mistaking who was who when their tattooed flesh was visible.
“Yeah, just... lost two years of my life in the blink of an eye. No big deal.” I took a sip of the smoky liquid and sighed as it warmed a path down to my belly. Minor or not, it wasn’t my first time drinking hard spirits neat.
“Two years doesn’t mean squat on the lifespan of a blue-blooded Ban Dia,” Vic snorted. “Now then. Do you want to know anything in particular, or shall I just start at the beginning of what I know?”
“Yeah, what the fuck a Ban Dia is.” Vali’s clipped voice startled me as he spoke. I’d almost forgotten he was in the room, as quiet and still as he’d been. Glancing over at him now, leaning against a doorframe with a ferocious scowl on his face, it was easy to remember he was the kingpin of a major crime syndicate. But also that he was the man who’d saved me from slavery and death and a man whom I’d recently transformed into a dragon-shifter. Vali and I... we were the definition of complicated.
“Jesus, you don’t even know what you are? Nicky didn’t even give you that much, huh? Little turd.” Vic shook his head “All right. Let’s start with what I know of your people. It’s not much and it’s non-specific, so we shouldn’t run into any roadblocks on the way.”
“Roadblocks?” Wesley questioned, ever the academic. His face was alight with curiosity, and I knew he was practically salivating with his thirst for knowledge.
“You’ll see,” Vic grunted, then turned back to me. “Ban Dia, or bandia, roughly translates to Goddess, which is what your kind was always thought to be. My knowledge is limited to the small scraps Bride threw me when we were still on speaking terms, but so far as I understand, the Ban Dia are the source of magic and the creators of all supernatural beings. There are just twelve original Ban Dia, and each one has just a single line of pure-blooded descendants.”
“Has?” I blurted out, interrupting his story but fixating on the present tense he’d used.
“Yes, girl. Has. The Ban Dia are the only true immortals to ever have existed. They, you, cannot die. Or so Bride led me to believe. She was known to lie, cheat, and betray though, so who knows how correct that information is. I probably wouldn’t be in a rush to test the theory.” He shrugged, like he didn’t much care if I did or not. “Anyway. Each Ban Dia can only ever produce one, single pure-blooded offspring. I imagine your mother assumed you were not it, and that’s why she abandoned you. Perhaps your mag
My jaw dropped open as I intended to ask a question but came up blank. What the fuck did one even say to that?
“So, Kit’s power, her ability to heal and turn people into supernatural beings...” Wesley filled the silence for me with much more pertinent words than my stupefied brain was producing.
“Lord, you pups don’t know much, do ye? She’s not turning them, she’s restoring their connection to the magic. These two,” Vic nodded toward Cole and Vali, who stood glowering with their identical granite eyes and broad frames. “They were never human. Just like the rest of you. You just don’t know it yet.”
Curiously, none of the guys seemed to even bat an eyelid at the suggestion they were not human. I seemed to be the only one struggling with learning that I was not only a supernatural creature—which, let’s be honest, was kind of obvious—but a totally different species altogether. Something I’d never even heard of.
“In a nutshell, your kind is capable of almost limitless magic, but it all comes at a price. Your physical form can only contain so much magic at any one time, so the Ban Dia sought out Guardians, or dionach, to act as a sort of magical backup generator. They searched the Earth and chose the most prime examples among human men—the strongest, smartest, fastest men they could find—then they imbued them with their own ancient magic, effectively creating the first supernaturals. When a Ban Dia expends a huge amount of magic, she can then pull from her dionach to refuel.” He paused to squint at me. “Are ye still with me, girl? You’re awful pale there.”
The Tiger’s Ambush by Tate James / Fantasy / Romance & Love have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes