Wednesday, July 24, 2024
HomeFantasyDark FantasyUncaged Review - The Guardians by S.C. Storm & Rena Marin with...

Uncaged Review – The Guardians by S.C. Storm & Rena Marin with Excerpt

The Guardians
S.C. Storm & Rena Marin
Dark Fantasy

Hidden in the beauty of a cluster of islands, unbeknownst to humans, a supernatural war rages. The Guardians, protectors of the Nexxus and the Goddess Selena, fight daily to ensure the survival of all races. Hidden agendas, supernatural politics, and sins of the past threaten to endanger the very world they all strive to protect. Led by two families who must embrace their destinies, the Guardians of Tempest must now step up to lead their races to victory.

Excerpts

The feel of the sand sliding between her toes brought a smile to her lips. It had been ages since she had walked on a beach or swam in the ocean. It seemed odd though. For Jasmyn O’Connor, this was in her blood, having been raised on an island off the coast of North Carolina. This, however, was completely out of her league. Since her first shift when she was a baby, the need to be near her home of Tempest had grown. She knew what she was. There had been no secrets in her family. She and the other O’Connors of Tempest Island were born and bred for one thing: Protection. Luckily for herself and the rest of her family, they were not meant to be alone in their responsibilities. No, there were others, which is why she was here doing what most werewolves despised. She was away from her territory, her pack, and everything she cared about to help Lexi locate a couple of happy-go-lucky vampire asses who wanted to party and play with cute little college coeds instead of facing their destinies. F*ck that. If she and the rest of her family had to buck up and live their lives fighting the enemy and protecting their kind’s existence, these pricks did too. Still, in some ways she could understand their need to keep their freedom. They were old-ass vampires. Not elders. No, these dudes were as old as dirt. The Athertons were over seven hundred years old. That thought alone gave her a chill. These dumbass girlies were falling flat on their backs for two guys who were just slightly younger than dirt.

Scanning the beach, it was easy to see why they were here. Bodies were literally everywhere. Why wouldn’t they be though? Cancún in the summer-what better place? Making her way through the sea of people, she tried to keep her senses on alert, but of course, there were more than humans on the beach. Vivid, acutely aware eyes caught hers quite often. By scent she could tell who was like her and who was a vampire. Since there were no real issues between the species, except for the occasional pop-up rifts that were bound to happen, no one approached her or seemed upset by her presence. That was the way she liked it. Playing buddy-buddy with other supes she didn’t know was not her thing. Maybe it was a werewolf trait, or maybe it was just one of her own traits. Either way, chit-chatting about the history of the species and the things required of her were not her usual lead-ins to conversations. No, in all honesty she would prefer others not to knowabout her being a guardian. She hated seeing all the expectations in their eyes.

“Watch your step, wolf,” someone muttered as they brushed past her.

Her mind had been so preoccupied, she hadn’t realized a vamp was near her. “Sorry,” she muttered as she glanced around.

What she saw stopped her dead in her tracks. The vampire who was watching her over his shoulder was none other than one of the Athertons, and he was no normal fanger. Hell no, he was, damn… He had to be at least six foot six. His body was chiseled, muscles everywhere. His light brown hair hung to his shoulders. She couldn’t help but bite her bottom lip when it swung slightly in the breeze. His deep eyes bore into her. It was as if he was reading her like a personal road map. She finally exhaled, letting out the breath she had been holding. Then she saw that smile, that shit-eating grin that slid into place when he realized he had gotten her attention.

“Arrogant bastard,” she growled.

She was starting to turn away until she saw who he walked up to. A mirror image of himself stood between several females, all of whom were eating the brothers alive with their eyes.

“F*ck,” she muttered, realizing the picture Lexi had shown her didn’t do them justice. She sighed, realizing what they were in for. Without any other options, she made her way toward the bar. There was no way they could approach them in this setting, so all they could do was watch and wait.

Alexandra smiled as Jasmyn approached the bar. Taking off her sunglasses, she gave her a smile. “I see you found one.” She grinned.

“You saw?” Jasmyn asked.

“Yep, ran right into him, didn’t you?” Alexandra smirked.

Jasmyn gave her a look. “Literally. Did you see the way he acted? It’s clear he’s arrogant. His brother must be the same way.”

“I’d say he is, at least from what I’ve seen of him.” She eyed both vampires. “Their looks are identical, just like the pictures. I wonder just how identical they are.”

Jasmyn shook her head. “Damn, Lex, you never change, do you? How long have you been watching this one?”

“I sure as hell hope not.” Lex chuckled. “I spotted him not long after I came out here. As you can see, they’re both surrounded by bimbos.”

“And I think I’ve been added to that list,” Jasmyn said darkly.

Alexandra burst out laughing. “I’m sure you’ll let him know differently.” She turned to the bar, ordering two shots of tequila.

Alexandra and Jasmyn received their drinks, killed them, then turned to watch the twins.

After leaving Florida, they had gotten a lead that the vampires were in Texas, so that’s where they had gone next. By the time she and Jasmyn had hit several coastal areas, they found out the Athertons were heading for California. After striking out there, another lead had brought them to where they were now, Cancún. Alexandra smirked to herself as she thought of how she had flirted with the guy at the hotel they were staying at for info. With a smile, a little show of cleavage, and a vague promise of meeting for a drink, she had him eating out of her hand. He’d not only told her they were registered there, he had also given her their room number.

She shook her head as she put her sunglasses back on. Sometime later, she let out a low whistle as they both came out of the water. “Damn,” she mumbled.

If they were hot in the pictures she had seen, right now they were downright gorgeous. Both were the same height, over six feet tall, and from what she could see, they were identical in every way. She watched the water drip down their abs and whistled again.

Alexandra heard a woman’s voice near her. “They’re hot, aren’t they?”

She turned. “Yeah they are.”

“Well, get in line if you’re thinking about wanting them, but don’t expect more than a one-nighter,” the human said.

Alexandra raised her brow at the sound of her voice. “You sound like you’re speaking from experience.”

“Yeah, those two around them are the flavor of the day. I was one of yesterday’s.”

Alexandra ordered another drink. “Well I’m not interested in being one of their flavors, are you, cuz?”

Jasmyn shook her head. “Count me out.”

The human gave them a look. “Yeah, right,” she snapped, then walked off.

Alexandra shook her head. “Bitter much?”

“I’d say so,” Jasmyn replied.

*********

Seeing the smirk on Ryden’s face, Ryder followed his eyes to see the wolves still sitting at the bar. “I would have thought they would have given up by now,” he said, absently grabbing the towel that was handed to him. He looked at the blonde, her arm still held out, and smirked seeing her face break into a wide smile. He shook his head at her reaction when he heard her heart beat faster.

“No, they’re determined to wait us out, but I can feel one of the wolves’ patience wearing thin,” Ryden said, sitting down. Ryder looked over at the wolf he had bumped into and the one with her.

They were both something to look at. Eyeing the wolf from earlier, he again took in her dark hair, which was down to her waist. Her piercing blue eyes put the sky to shame and stared at him, contrasting perfectly with her tanned skin. She had long legs to die for, which were attached to a body that curved in all the right places.

“Damn,” he muttered, licking his lips. Hearing laughter, he glanced over at his twin, giving him a look that promised retribution.

“Legs to die for? I would imagine you’re wondering how they’d feel wrapped around you,” Ryden smirked and looked toward the bar. He studied both wolves, mentally agreeing with his brother on the one he had been staring at. He looked the other wolf over.

She was taller but just as built. Her dark hair was pulled back, but he figured it was just as long. He couldn’t see her eyes behind the sunglasses she was wearing, but her lips were lush and full, clearly made for kissing. Going lower, his eyes took in the rest of her curved body.

“All that body, and all you notice are her lips?” His laugh was cut off as the blonde that had been hanging on Ryden all day plopped herself into his lap. “What’s wrong with you two? You haven’t said a word since you came out of the water.” The whiny tone of her voice and the irritated look on her face was in complete contrast to the pouty, sultry look she was trying to give.

Ryden kissed her pouty lips, inwardly rolling his eyes at her giggle. “We’re just admiring the view,” he said, seeing her preen. Like the one you were admiring earlier, Ryden silently smirked.

That one was better, Ryder silently told him.

“That’s what I thought.” She giggled again, not realizing he wasn’t talking about her.

Ryder shook his head, then looked up as a shadow came over him. Seconds later, he grunted as the human he had been flirting with earlier dropped into his lap.

“She’s right, you know. You two don’t talk much.”

“Talking is overrated,” Ryder said, running his hands over her. “I can think of other things more important.” He grinned and kissed her neck. Her body shuddered at his touch. Predictable as always, Ryder thought, hearing Ryden chuckle. He caught his brother’s eye and shook his head as they both grinned.

The human in his lap looked between them. “What’s with you two? Half the time neither of you say much, and then sometimes you both look at each other and laugh. What’s up with that? It’s as if you do that twin thing I’ve heard about where you know what the other one is thinking.”

That’s because we do, he thought. From the time they were babes, he and Ryden usually had communicated telepathically. All vampires could read minds, but being twins gave them an edge. He could see the human waiting for a response and just shrugged his shoulders, ignoring her question. He looked over seeing Ryden push the blonde off his lap. “Leaving already?” He smirked.

“No, I’m going to get a drink.” Ryden looked pointedly at the bar. The taller wolf had taken off her glasses and met his gaze, holding it. He grinned at her. “I might find something new.” With that, he walked off, ignoring the blonde who called out for him to wait for her.

Ryder caught her hand, holding her back. “Why don’t you just wait here for him?”

“But I want a drink too,” she whined.

Ryder reached down and grabbed a beer. “Here.” He shoved it into her hands. He saw her sit back down and heard the can open as he watched his brother approach the wolf.

Watching the vampire make his way over, Alexandra knew what he was doing. She had felt the tug in her head that told her he was reading her mind, they both had. Instead of blocking him, she let him, knowing how important it was for them to head to Tempest. Growing up around vampires, this little trick was nothing new to her.

“He’s fucking trying to read our minds,” Jasmyn angrily told Alexandra.

“Yeah, block him if you want, but I’m not. We need them to get their asses to Tempest as soon as possible,” Alexandra said.

Reaching the bar, Ryden ordered a drink. “Whiskey and another for the ladies,” he told the bartender.

“And what makes you think I want another one?” Jasmyn asked.

“Drink it or not, it doesn’t matter. It’s there.” Ryden shrugged. “You’ve been following us.”

“I felt you and your brother in my head, so you know why.” Alexandra turned toward him.

While Ryden waited for their drinks, he took in the unusual color of her eyes. One minute they looked blue, the next they were green. She was tall for a woman, but standing next to him, she barely reached his chest. Once the bartender was gone, he spoke. “You’re wasting your time, wolf. Neither my brother nor I are interested in ascending, so it looks like you came all this way for nothing.”

Jasmyn felt a spark of anger at his words but kept quiet.

“Normally I would say you’re right and just leave, but I was hired to do a job. I can’t go until it’s done,” Alexandra told him.

“You were sent to find us, and you have, so your job is done,” Ryden said.

“Look deeper next time you’re in someone’s mind, honey. Yes, I was sent to find you and to bring you back. Your race is dying. More importantly, your friend is, or don’t you care? Alexandra said. Ryden’s gaze stayed on hers, and she could feel him in her mind again. This time she blocked him.

“You were sent by a Langford.”

“Yes, Mileena. It’s her grandfather, Arthur.” Alexandra looked around, noticing they were getting looks from the humans around them. “Look, if you want to know more, meet us later, and we’ll tell you everything we know.”

“And if we don’t?”

Jasmyn looked at the vamp. “I had heard you two were arrogant assholes who didn’t care about anyone but yourselves. I didn’t believe it until now,” she said as she got up to go. She felt a hand on her arm and snapped her head in the vamp’s direction. “Let go unless you want to lose that hand.” She growled low.

Ryden let her go. “I wondered if there was any fire in you.”

“There’s a lot more to me than what you see, vamp.”

“I look forward to finding out.” Ryden turned to Alexandra. “You said you wanted to meet us, where?”

“There’s an old dock south of the hotel. We’ll be there around midnight. It should be empty of humans by then.”

“My brother and I will be there,” Ryden stated.

“All right,” Alexandra said. After a minute, she followed Jasmyn.

Jasmyn had stalked off toward the edge of the water. She pulled her shirt off, took off her shorts, and dove in, needing to cool off—and not because of the heat.

Feeling a gaze on her, Alexandra turned around, meeting the vampire’s eyes. Breaking the eye contact, she turned, untied the wrap around her waist, dropped it, and went into the water.

Ryden watched for a few minutes, noticing his was not the only gaze on the she-wolves. He had to admit they were both stunning. He smiled as he thought of the smaller wolf’s eyes flashing her anger. Thoughts of their old family friend invaded his mind as he glanced at his brother. He wondered what other news the little wolf had hidden in that head of hers. He paid for the drinks and headed back to his brother. Sitting down, Ryden looked at the humans. “Give us a minute, ladies.” They looked at him as if he were crazy. “I’m not asking again,” he said.

“Are you serious?” the one on Ryder’s lap said. “He’s not serious, is he?” she asked him.

“As a heart attack,” Ryder responded, giving her a push. Both the women got up and stalked off. He tuned out their bitching as he turned to Ryden. “Do you believe her? About Arthur that is.”

Ryden shook his head. “I didn’t catch that she was lying. She doesn’t know him, though. It’s what was told to her.”

“By who?”

“Mileena. She’s the one who contacted the wolf,” Ryden said quietly.

Ryder let out a low whistle. “So she’s a tracker.”

“They both are,” Ryden said, looking off toward the water. The she-wolves were waist-deep in the water talking quietly. “They want us to meet them at midnight.”

“Why? What else do they have to tell us?” Ryder asked.

“I don’t know. I could have probed deeper, but they’re from the island. You know they’re trained to block as much of their thoughts as they can. To go deeper could be dangerous.”

“Bloody hell.” Ryder hissed, running his hands through his head. “If it’s true about Arthur, you know what that means.”

Ryden nodded. “Yes, we can’t ignore it anymore.” He sighed.

Uncaged Review

This is a fast paced start to a new series that is engaging and well thought out. The Supernaturals in this book – work together to fight one common enemy, the Reapers. Keeping humankind safe from the Reapers, the Guardians are shifters, vampires and witches. This book does not focus on one set of characters, and there is quite a large cast, but the authors do a good job with the cast. The one con that I have with the book, is that sometimes I was a bit confused on who I was reading about, but the authors drew me back in quick enough. Even though the book is written by two authors, the writing is cohesive and consistent, and you can’t find any wayward seams that would separate the two authors. Looking forward to the next book in the series. Reviewed by Cyrene

4 1/2 Stars

RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular

Recent Comments