Bittersweet Darkness ONLY
a novel of The Order by Nina Croft
When Faith discovers she has a time bomb counting down in her head, she has one goal: to solve the murder case she’s working on and gain closure. Her investigation brings her in contact with Ash Delacourt, who is definitely one of the bad guys, albeit a stunningly gorgeous one.
As payment for a debt, Asmodai, AKA Ash Delacourt, finds himself working with the Order of the Shadow Accords. He’s the demon representative on the newly formed committee for the integration of mankind and well…everything else. It’s a chance to be near his daughter, make a new start, and—once he’s met the delectable Detective Connolly—maybe have a little fun.
But as Faith’s investigation deepens, her beliefs are eroded and for the first time, she is falling in love—with one of the bad guys. How can she ever let Ash close when her time is running out…?
Title: Bittersweet Darkness
Series: Novel of The Order, #3
Author: Nina Croft
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 302 pages
Release Date: February 2014
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An Excerpt from:
by Nina Croft
Copyright © 2013 by Nina Croft. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
Faith sprinted through the narrow side street, the stench of decay filling her nostrils. Something tripped her in the stygian darkness and she cursed loudly, righted herself, and raced on. As she emerged into the bright lights of the main street, she skidded to a halt. Ryan slammed into her back, nearly knocking her from her feet.
“Which way?” she snarled.
“How the hell do I know?” Ryan sniffed. “Christ, what’s in those Dumpsters?”
She eyed up the rusty containers lining the alley. “Decomposing bodies, I’m guessing. You want to check?”
She scanned the street for any sign of movement. At two in the morning, in this part of London, the streets were pretty much empty except for the bad guys. When nothing moved, she turned to him. “Aren’t you going to miss all this?”
Ryan had been her partner in the department for two years now, and she’d come to rely on him. He’d literally taught her everything she knew about being a good detective and now he was leaving.
He stared around their less than salubrious surroundings and grinned. “Actually, yes.”
“Then why go?” She didn’t get it. She could have sworn that—like her—he lived for the job.
He ran a hand through his already messy dark hair. Tall, at least six inches taller than her, he was a good-looking guy. She’d met a few of his girlfriends over the years, but never anyone associated with the job. Ryan had principles, including not hitting on his coworkers. Still, she’d considered him a friend as well as colleague, but over the last month—since he’d handed in his notice—she’d sensed his withdrawal, as though he were distancing himself.
“Let’s just say I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
Ryan was going to work for a private-investigation firm, CR International, run by the enigmatic billionaire, Christian Roth. Her partner claimed he had signed a nondisclosure agreement and wasn’t allowed to talk about it.
“Can’t you stay until we solve this case?”
Ryan frowned. “Why does this one mean so much to you? It’s just another murder—they happen every day. We solve this case, and there’ll be a new one to work on tomorrow.”
In some ways, he was right. But there were murders and murders. If some scumbag drug dealer got whacked, she wasn’t going to lose sleep. But Julia Foster had been one of the good people, the people they were supposed to protect.
“Come on, Ryan,” she said. “She was fifteen years old and someone drained her blood and left her to die. And that fucker is still out there.”
For a second, she considered telling him the other reason why this murder had such significance to her, but even after all these years she couldn’t talk about that night. Though she might have forced herself to if she’d thought it would sway him, make him stay. But his mind was set, because she’d been chipping away at him for the past month and gotten precisely nowhere. She just wished he would share his reasons.
She opened her mouth to chip some more, because a good detective never gave up—Ryan had taught her that—when he stopped her with a hand on her arm.
As she peered into his face, he nodded toward the far side of the street. Something moved in the shadows of the tall building. They were chasing an informant who they’d been told might have information relating to their investigation. But for some reason—like the rest of her contacts lately—he really didn’t want to talk to her about this case. He’d scarpered as soon as he’d spotted them approaching in the bar.
“Okay, I’ve got him,” she said. “Let’s go.”
She took a deep breath and dashed across the street. The man glanced up, terror on his face as he saw her coming for him. Hereally didn’t want to talk to her.
Why? What was it about this case?
She was nearly across the road when a sharp pain stabbed her in the back of the skull. She stopped abruptly. For a second, she thought she’d been shot or bludgeoned. But there’d been no sound of gunfire and no one close enough to touch her. Then the pain came again, like molten metal poured into her skull, and she crashed to her knees.
Ryan called her name, but he sounded far away. She squinted, trying to focus, but everything was hazy. Darkness was closing in. Her brain filled with nothing but agony until her mind snapped and the blackness swept over her and sucked her under.