After nearly being killed by his destined mate, Draicon Damian Marcel hunts her down in New Orleans and discovers she's been infected with the lethal stone spell and her body is slowly turning into granite. She'll be trapped forever inside stone, her spirit alive, but imprisoned for eternity.
Thinking he murdered her brother, Jamie Walsh hates and fears Damian, but must team up with the werewolf leader to find a missing book of magick that contains a cure to save her. As they search through the French Quarter for the book, they race against time and battle evil Morphs who will use the dark magick spells in the book to eliminate the Draicon for good.
“Bonnie Vanak’s Enemy Lover offers nonstop excitement and great sexual tension between Damian and Jamie.” —4 stars from Romantic Times Book Reviews
Cataromance, 5 stars:
“With compellingly fascinating scenes and numerous appealing characters, Enemy Lover delivers a superb story which will touch your heart and keep you totally engrossed. Bonnie Vanak has crafted a paranormal tale with masterful storytelling, where emotions are explosively expressed and desires are never far from the surface… For her second Nocturne book, Ms. Vanak continues with the intriguing saga behind her werewolf stories and brings it convincingly to life. The paranormal elements are smoothly blended in with what is considered normal, and every instant of the story seems entirely conceivable. Werewolves are one of my favorite supernatural beings as I admire their loyalty and the fervor which is shown toward their mates and packs, and this trait is portrayed to its fullest by this skilled author. The determination of Damian to watch over the members of his pack plus the woman who is his mate is depicted with an unbending resolve, and the reason behind his doggedness is touchingly conveyed through several poignant scenes. As more comes to be known about this powerful werewolf leader and his destined mate, Jamie, their futures became very important to me, and the frequently heart-pounding incidents surrounding these two filled with both physical and emotional anguish made the outlook very uncertain. Before the gratifying conclusion of this story, readers will be treated to frightening suspense, moments where potent feelings are expressed and even some blazingly hot love scenes. There are quite a few secondary characters who are extremely likable, and I hope they get their own story one day. The vivid imagery in ENEMY LOVER will make you want to believe every mesmerizing detail in this rewarding story.” —Amelia Richards
"Damian and Jamie are perfect complements to one another, which made the enmity Jamie feels for Damian in the beginning so shocking. We all know they are meant for one another, as does Damian, but watching them fight the attraction provided plenty of tension. I love the bits of humor we find throughout which keep the story from becoming too dark. Jamie is a techno-geek who is addicted to gaming and Damian has been around so long he can’t even figure out something as simple as a basic cell phone. This made for some lively moments that bring you to chuckle. Add that to the usual conflicts between a very powerful Alpha male whose protective instincts are in full swing and a strong willed, stubborn and independent female and you know there is going to be more than one explosion.
"The sense of impending doom is quite pervasive from the first page. The Morphs are growing stronger and bolder as well as more desperate as they try to stop Damian and Jamie. Of course the ever present stone spell leaching away Jamie’s life adds intensity as well. As if that wasn’t enough, we also find some very dark stories involving Damian’s brothers and Jamie’s distant family from her childhood.
"I thoroughly enjoyed The Empath when I read it last year and I was intrigued by Damian’s story from the first moment I met him in the midst of the secrecy surrounding him. So I was quite excited to get his story at last in Enemy Lover and find out what really happened. In fact, I liked Enemy Lover even more than The Empath. The whole premise of Jamie’s plight was fascinating and I love the originality of the stone spell dooming her. When Jamie finally learns the truth about what really happened the day Damian killed her brother her emotions are quite powerful, especially in light of some of the other revelations about Jamie we discover. You will definitely want to pick this one up as soon as it is available. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed one bit by Enemy Lover." —Kelley A. Hartsell, CK2S Kwips and Kritiques
Copyright 2008 by Bonnie Vanak
Once the prey, now he was the predator, Damian Marcel thought as he hunted through New Orleans for the woman who’d tried to kill him. His destined mate, the only female he could impregnate. Jamie Walsh.
The scent of fresh river water hit like a hard slap. Damian lifted his nose to the wind, and drank in the smell of the Mississippi. His Draicon senses tasted the water, licked it with a slow, lingering caress. At last, home again.
Twin feelings of joy and deep sorrow pierced him. Home no longer. This place wasn’t home. Not anymore. It was a damn tomb, sucking him under, making him scream as he tried to claw his way out.
Damian tried to concentrate on the physical terrain, opening himself up to everything, resisting the instinct to shape-shift into his more powerful wolf form. New Orleans was known for the supernatural, but a werewolf prowling through the bustling French Quarter might scare a few tourists. He gave a mirthless smile.
Another, sharper scent pricked. Honeysuckle and warm woman. Wolf instinct kicked in. His nostrils flared, trying to catch the elusive fragrance. His fingers reached up, traced the air as if stroking a female’s soft skin.
“Jamie,” he murmured. “Jamie, chère. You can run, but you can’t hide. I will find you.”
He cursed in French as her scent faded. Somewhere in this thicket of narrow alleys, colorful shops and hard-grained nightclubs, she hid from him.
Thrusting his hands in the pockets of his trousers, he ignored the chattering tourists snapping pictures. Across from Jackson Square beneath a shady tree, a thin-shouldered painter dabbled color on a canvas, shifting his weight on a lopsided folding chair. On a park bench, a man in white shirt and faded khaki shorts played mournful notes on a banjo. The music reflected Damian’s pensive mood.
New Orleans still struggled to recover after Hurricane Katrina, but the Quarter crawled on, pumping music, booze and flavor into the city. And magick. Always the magick, which had been bred into his blood and bones. Good magick, Draicon magick.
Black magick. Morph magick.
Damian grimaced. Morphs, former Draicon who turned evil by murdering a relative, could shapeshift into any animal. They killed ruthlessly and absorbed the terrified victim’s dying energy. Jamie had joined with the Morphs to gain magick, but Damian stripped her of power by casting a binding spell. He’d let her escape him in New Mexico, wisely knowing she needed time alone and he could easily track her down. Little danger existed after he’d killed Kane, the Morph leader, a week ago. Anguish had filled Jamie’s voice.
“I’ll break your spell, Damian. You’ll never have me,” she’d vowed.
His chest felt hollow with sharp regret even as his desire for her made him restless. Petite Jamie with her pixyish, heart-shaped face, delicate translucent skin and huge, expressive gray eyes. Her soft, warm lips pliant beneath the hard press of his own.
The air’s mild chill braced him. He strode along the sidewalk, his sharp gaze roving over the crowd. Sunshine beat down on the red-necked tourists, glinted off the faded brass of the player’s sax. As he went to pass the painter, the artist regarded him with a mournful gaze. His words stopped Damian short.
“Have you heard the call of the wolf?”
Startled, Damian whirled. He studied the touch of gray at the man’s temples and the faded, almost ragged clothes splattered with splashes of gray and black paint. The hollowed cheeks and the thin blade of a nose looked pale and wan in the brilliant sunlight. Not a very successful artist, for the man looked thin as a ghost.
“A wolf, sir?” Damian asked.
The man turned dark, expressionless eyes on Damian. “The loup garou will never fais do-do in the bayou, mon frere. Have a look. Interesting, non?”
The werewolf will never sleep in the bayou, my brother. Instantly on guard, Damian glanced at the painting. Near a wood cabin, a wolf howled at a full moon. A distant memory nagged at him. He glanced at the man’s gaunt face, but couldn’t place him. For a moment he felt dim hope. A former member of his old pack? Could one have survived?
“Mon frere? The one who works hard never sleeps. Please, take a look,” the man begged.
Hope died. Everyone in his former pack was long dead. He couldn’t afford to indulge in memories or he’d lose his focus. The living Jamie was his priority. The man had heard his accent and tried to strike up a camaraderie just to sell a painting. No Draicon from his pack would resort to begging. This was just another starving artist hawking his wares.
A familiar, haunting smell suddenly drew away Damian’s attention. The scent was fresh, straight from his boyhood.
“You must have quite an imagination,” Damian murmured. “Excuse me.”
He scanned the area. His gaze landed upon a wizened elderly man hauling a large red bucket over to a small wood table. The man set the bucket down. For a minute, something dark flashed in the vendor’s rheumy eyes. Then it vanished.
“Crayfish,” the hawker yelled. “Fresh crayfish!”
Drawn to the sight, Damian strode toward him.
The slate-gray crayfish wriggled in the bucket, claws snapping in a bid for freedom. Damian’s mouth watered. He hadn’t eaten fresh crayfish in years. Memories flooded him; wading through the clear creek, picking up the crustaceans for a tasty afternoon snack.
The smell of water still clung to them. Suddenly his stomach grumbled. He needed energy from raw food. Fishing out money from his wallet, he paid the man, who dropped the crayfish into a plastic bag.
“Fresh is best,” the vendor advised. “All the flavor’s in the shell.”
Damian nodded. “I know.
Clutching the bag, he climbed the steps and headed for the Moon Walk, a stretch of pavement bordering the Mississippi. Damian watched a barge slowly labor upriver as he leaned against a tree growing in a square planter. No one around. He opened the bag, and one after another he devoured the crayfish. Finally he reached for the last crayfish. A little bigger, it did not writhe and struggle, but remained oddly still. Perhaps it wasn’t as fresh.
Damian raised it to his lips, and recoiled. The crayfish opened its mouth and hissed. “Draicon,” it whispered.
Alarmed, he dropped the shellfish. A Morph. It began shapeshifting and multiplying even before it fell to the pavement. Damian fisted his hands, waiting to see what form it would take.
An explosion of crayfish followed. Some scrambled away. Lightning quick reflexes kicked in as Damian pounced, killing them. Damn, where was the host?
Hearing a snicker, he whirled, but not before burning pain lanced his side. Better than his back, where the dagger nearly landed. The Morph rushed by. Human, the form needing the least energy to shift.
Damian waved his hands. Daggers appeared in his palms. The creature lunged. Releasing an angry hiss, the Morph lashed at his chest with the knife. He sidestepped, twisted. He calculated, swift on his feet as he judged the creature’s abilities. Quick, but he was faster, and more alert.
Then the Morph grinned a sickly yellow-toothed smile. “Too late, Draicon. Your draicara is dying. Your spell failed to work.”
Startled, he drew back. The Morph seized the advantage and swiped at him. Damian recovered, saw that the Morph started to change. Talons grew from its fingers and fangs replaced the yellowed teeth. Exerted from the fight, it began to shift much slower than normal.
Not so fast. In another animal form, the Morph would be harder to kill.
He kicked out, knocking the Morph to its knees. Damian dropped his knives as he jumped atop the Morph, then slammed its hand against the pavement, knocking aside its dagger.
As humans, they were easier to hurt. Damian pressed hard against the third vertebrae of the back of Morph’s neck, exerting enough pressure to cause excruciating pain. Pain used up their precious energy and prevented them from shifting.
“Tell me, you gutless coward. Why didn’t my spell work?”
The Morph squealed but said nothing.
More pressure. The creature moaned. “Stop, stop,” it pleaded. Spittle ran down the side of its mouth. Damian smiled grimly.
“It slowed the dark magick, not stopped. Her blood… thickening.” the Morph twisted, trying to break free.
With a low growl, Damian clamped down on the creature and dug his thumb deeper. Moans came from his enemy. “Ok, please, just stop, stop the pain,” it begged. “Dark magick inside her, turning her… to stone. Living stone, alive but dead.”
Shock seized Damian, loosening his hold. The Morph tried to escape the punishing grip. Damian seized its arm and twisted it backward. “Details. Now. Or I’ll break every bone in your body and you’ll wish you remained my meal,” Damian threatened.
The morph sucked in a breath. “The porphyry spell… rarely used. We c-can’t absorb the victim’s dying energy. Gave her dark magick, and the more magick she used, the f-faster it worked. In weeks, s-she’ll be encased in stone. Dead but a-live, damn that hurts!”
His mind raced. “You can undo it,” he said, twisting harder.
“N-no,” the Morph wailed. “Can’t… no counter spell. Only the ancient Book of Magick.”
He sprang up to release his victim, grabbed his daggers. Time to end this.
The Morph recovered and staggered to its feet. Snarling, it sprang forward, features twisted with hatred. No pity. Damian twirled the daggers and threw. They hit home, straight in the creature’s heart.
Acid blood spurted. Damian didn’t flinch, only watched the Morph collapse. Grimacing, he rolled the body into the Mississippi, watching it disintegrate into gray ash before it even slid into the water.
Dragging in a deep breath, Damian muted pain from his injuries. His magick was powerful and the wounds slowly scabbed over. He waved a hand, replacing his ruined Versace shirt, silk trousers and leather loafers with faded jeans, a black T-shirt and scuffed biker boots. Anonymous New Orleans garb.
The Morph’s words rang of truth. Damian felt a sickening jolt to his stomach. He’d heard ancient tales of the porphyry spell. Victims exhibited lethargic tendencies at first. They ate anything to give them energy, especially sugar. Just as quickly as they ingested the food, it passed out of their systems. They cried sweet tears, their blood…
Their blood turned sluggish, their skin gray, their internal organs eventually to granite. It was an agonizing end.
“Merde,” he said softly.
Damian raced back to where he’d bought the crayfish, searching for the vendor. The man had vanished. Hot anger spilled through him. He’d been tricked. The seller must have been a Morph.
Jamie… dying. And Morphs openly roaming the city? What the hell was going on?
Were they everywhere, cloaked as humans? Bad news. Even his powerful Draicon senses couldn’t detect them like that.
He lifted his nose and inhaled, trying to track the vendor’s scent when a teasing smell drifted toward him, floating on the wind. Honeysuckle and warm female skin. Jamie.
Instinct kicked into high gear. He had to find her. In weeks, she’d be dead. No, worse. Frozen into stone, a living hell.
Whirling, he dragged air into his lungs. Stronger now, there, coming from the south? He shouldered aside a tour group enjoying the banjo player’s music.
The lost Book of Magick had a cure. Containing white and dark magick, the 10,000-year-old texts held ancient secrets. Damian’s father had hidden it from the Morphs. Every seventy years one spell must be used to keep the magick active.
If Damian didn’t find the book in the next three weeks, the spells would vanish forever.
If he didn’t find the book soon, Jamie would suffer an excruciating end.
I promise I will save you, my beloved draicara, even to my last dying breath.
Wolf senses on alert, he followed Jamie’s scent.
Feeling lost, Jamie headed for the Pedestrian Mall. Just another average day in the Quarter…
Jamie shrank back, her heart beating double time at the figure stalking toward her. Not Damian, the lean, chiseled face she remembered so well, but another, with cruel, twisted features, wispy hair and black soulless eyes.
The Morph ambled along, its sallow, shrunken and hunched figure looking like a living nightmare. Couldn’t anyone see it? Run you fools!
Jamie blinked hard. Instead of a Morph, she saw a middle-aged man in khaki shorts, his slight paunch covered by a flowered shirt.
I’m losing my damn mind.
Dragging in a lungful of air, she forced herself to relax. No Morphs stalked the streets. Only people, out for a good time. And one lone werewolf named… Damian.
Jamie froze in shocked fear.
Wind ruffled his short, dark hair. His elegant good looks made him stand out in the crowd like a sleek sports car among sedate sedans. He prowled with lithe grace toward her, his muscled body moving like a well-honed machine. Oblivious to the crowd, the artists, everything.
Everything but her. He spotted her, and his hard green gaze riveted to her like a laser beam. Jamie’s heart raced.
Instinct urged flight. She turned, pushed past the crowd. Fast, faster, as she raced beneath the balconies of the Pontalba Apartments, feeling his breath on her like a warm caress of air…
A hand latched onto her upper arm, jerked her to a stop. Jamie gulped, panic racing through her veins, his muscled chest pressing against her as he herded her out of the crowd’s way against the brick building. Damian swung her into a faded doorway. Intensity radiated in his gaze.
“Jamie, ah, finally, I found you,” he said softly, her name rolling off his tongue in a whiskey-smooth accent.
“Let me go, Draicon, let me go, now.”
She struggled his steely grip. A hysterical sob rose in her throat. He was going to punish her for trying to assassinate him. Damian crowded her against the doorway, his legs pinning her against the wood. Trapped.
As she opened her mouth to scream for help, he pulled her against his hard body.
His lips descended on hers, cutting off her cry with a kiss.
His kiss shocked her into immobility. It was gentle, barely a brushing of lips. Damian raised his head, his expression softened. Hysteria fled as he gently cupped her face with his warm hands.
“Don’t scream, chère. I promise, I won’t hurt you, ma petite.”
With a mere touch, he extinguished her panic. Damn it, what was this? Draicon magick?
“I’m not going to hurt you, Jamie. That’s the last thing I want. I want to help you.” His expression grew fierce and intent. “But first…damn…”
He kissed her again.
She melted against him like soft chocolate on a hot New Orleans night. Jamie sagged in his arms. Feeling the current sparking between them as it had on that night when they’d first met. Her head fell back as he cradled her neck in his palm. Her hands slid up around his neck, feeling rock hard muscle beneath warm skin. Jamie hung on for dear life like a drowning woman. Tasting him as his tongue boldly invaded her mouth, flicked against hers. Challenging him in return, her tongue tangling in a duet of hot desire and lost passion. It felt as magical and crazy and uncontrollable as when he’d first taken her.
This wasn’t real. Or right. Or anything, but the moment, the succulent taste of him in her mouth, claiming it with each firm thrust of his tongue.
Jamie clutched fistfuls of his shirt, drawing him closer. Only then did Damian break the kiss. A low groan rumbled from him as he stepped back, never losing his grip on her. Desire burned in his gaze.
Alarmed and dismayed, Jamie licked her lips. I just kissed my brother’s murderer. The Draicon I tried to kill.
Damian laid a palm against her cheek. “Hush,” he murmured. “Don’t create a scene. I won’t hurt you.”
“Then lift that damn spell of yours.” Jamie stopped moving, stricken by the calming feel of his touch. She stared at him, taking in his strong, square chin, straight nose and high cheekbones. Classical good looks. And a werewolf lurking inside.
She had tried to kill him in New Mexico, but Nicolas, his beta, had healed him. And hten Damian had cast a binding spell, prohibiting her from doing magick. The dark powers Kane, the Morph leader, had bestowed on her had vanished. Damian had said it was because the Morphs wouldn’t want her without her powers.
But he lied. She knew it.
She then had escaped, but he’d found her. No matter. She could escape him once more.
“I can’t. The magick in you is dark. Until I can erase it, the spell remains.”
“I’ll find a way around it. I can defeat you, Draicon.”
A shadow crossed his face. “There are things you must know, Jamie. You’re in danger. You need my help.”
“Your help? I’d rather kiss a Morph. At least they gave me power.”
He gave her a pensive look. “What did Kane do to give you magick?”
“I had sex with him,” she taunted.
Now that full mouth flattened into a thin slash. He looked dangerous and edgy. Leaning closer, he seemed to nuzzle her neck. No, he was sniffing her, like a wolf scenting a rabbit. Damian drew back. Male satisfaction gleamed in his eyes.
“You didn’t. I can’t smell him on you. You haven’t been with another male since me.”
Her chin rose. “I could. Probably someone would trade me sex for a way to release your binding spell.”
A dark look draped his features. Damian offered a thin smile, but his green eyes spoke volumes. Rage and male possessiveness.
“Don’t sell yourself short, Jamie. Your body is worth much more. And if you try it, I’ll find the male and make him regret he ever laid eyes on you.” He paused, his strokes against her neck gentle compared to the murderous fury flashing in his eyes. “I’ll rip him apart. Slowly.”
White canines flashed in his dark smile… the teeth elongating as if he were shapeshifting. Jamie tilted her chin up, refusing to show fear.
“And me? What would you do with me?”
Damian’s expression shifted. The intensity of his look was strong enough to melt steel.
“What would I do with you? I’d rip off your clothing and I’d put my mouth all over your body and make you come until you screamed for mercy. There’d never be another male for you, ever, because every time you’d try to get close to another I’d be there, my scent in your nostrils, my taste in your mouth and the feel of my cock inside you.”
He released her neck and gave her nose a light, almost affectionate tap. “Understand?”