The Pain Season: Book II of the Covalent Series
A sexy urban fantasy by Libby Doyle
WARNING: This book contains foul language, violence, and explicit sex. Adults only! Although not a cliffhanger, this is not a stand-alone novel. The story will continue in The Vengeance Season.
ON THE AUTUMNAL EQUINOX, ZAN O'GARA'S LIFE WILL CHANGE.
Tonight’s the night. Rainer Barakiel is going to tell me all his secrets. I thought I’d be excited, but I feel like someone shoved a knife into my gut.
Heh. Fitting, considering I met Rainer because of his expertise in edged weapons. The daggers used in that ritual sacrifice became our best lead, thanks to him. What kind of omen is it, that I met the love of my life because someone found a human spleen in the bushes?
I didn’t expect someone like him. When he opened his door I couldn’t talk, I was so stunned. God, how I flirted with him. Hell of a way for an FBI agent to act. This whole relationship is a hell of a way for an FBI agent to act. I didn’t want to face that he was hiding things from me.
What if he has something to do with this murder?
I’m being paranoid. He’s denied being a criminal and I believe him. I don’t see how my instincts could be so wrong. He can’t be bad. He can’t.
He’s hiding things from me, but he loves me. I feel it. Maybe he didn’t expect to fall in love with me, but he did, and now he wants out. He’s going to confess, leave it all behind. For me.
I wonder, after he tells me all his secrets, will this become a wacky story we love to tell? Or a story I tell only to myself, alone in a stale-smelling apartment, stewing in pain? The story of how my heart got damaged beyond repair.
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Excerpt – Autumnal Equinox – Chapter 1
Set up: In The Passion Season: Book I of the Covalent Series, FBI Agent Alexandra “Zan” O’Gara met Rainer Barakiel when he offered to help the FBI solve a gruesome crime. They fell madly in love, but he didn’t tell her that he’s an exiled alien warrior. Even as he made her feel more connected to life than she’d ever felt, she knew he was hiding things from her. This excerpt is from the beginning of Book II. Rainer plans to reveal his true nature, but before he has the chance, Zan is attacked. He has just called her to warn her that his enemies are coming.
Alexandra O’Gara sat on the couch flipping the pages of a magazine, too nervous to focus on reading. Normally, she liked it when Rainer asked her to wait for him at his place. Compared to her crappy little apartment, the ultra-modern space was an oasis of serenity, its sleek lines warmed by the rich wood of the furniture, the colorful rugs and the bright, abstract paintings. She had started a fire in the massive concrete fireplace despite the warmth of the night. She gazed into the flames.
Her phone buzzed. It was Rainer, talking rapidly, panic in his voice. When the call was over, she put the phone in her lap and stared at the floor.
What the hell?
Rainer’s tone led her to believe she should do as he said. Explanation or no, he wasn’t joking.
So much for my instincts. He must be involved in some criminal enterprise.
She suppressed tears as she pulled her service pistol from her bag. A 9mm Sig Sauer. Rainer had said there would be five assailants. She sent a prayer of thanks out to her FBI partner, Mel, who had insisted she get the Sig that took extra-capacity magazines.
Two twenty-round clips. That should do me.
Zan readied her firearm then ran to the front door. Before she opened it, she heard a vehicle drive into the compound. She looked through the peephole. A box truck.
I’ll never make it to my car. Should I call the police? Do I want to do that to Rainer? Have to explain this to my boss? I can slip out the back.
She remembered what Rainer had said about a defensive position. She decided on the weapons room. Its double doors were sturdy and it had an exit to the back balcony. She ran up the stairs. Once inside the room, she grabbed a pike off the wall and slid it through the handles to prevent the doors from opening. She waited. If they seemed like they could bust through, she would exit to the balcony, jump to the ground and hightail it to her car.
All I can do is hope they don’t leave someone outside to cut off my escape.
Zan opened the south-side window. She heard faint voices, doors slamming, the truck pulling away. She also heard sounds like rabid dogs would make if they were as big as grizzlies. Zan had not been afraid before, operating in some state of unreality, but the sounds brought fear screaming to her mind.
What the hell is that?
She ran to peer through the crack between the weapons room doors. She saw them crash through the front. Five huge, scaly, slobbering monsters with double-sided axes in their hands pushed the heavy wooden doors aside like they were paper.
Oh my god, oh my god. I have gone crazy.
Closing her eyes, Zan tried to breathe, to fight her terror.
Think, soldier. These doors won’t stop them. I’ve got this f*cking pea shooter. I need a f*cking assault rifle. I need help.
Hands shaking, she dialed 911. The beasts stood near the kitchen table, making guttural noises and sniffing the air before they turned their yellow eyes toward the weapons room. She had to get out of there.
“Hello, 911, what is your emergency?”
Zan spoke as she ran toward the balcony door. “I’m being attacked. Bridge and Richmond streets in Bridesburg.”
“Are you injured, ma’am?”
“No. But I will be if you don’t send a squad car now! Send every squad car in the area! I’m being attacked by monsters!”
Dammit. Why did I say that? She thinks I’m a crank.
“Please. Bad people. Monstrous people.” Zan’s voice was weak with fear. “I have to hang up. I have to hide. Please send help.”
She went onto the balcony, climbed over the railing, hung from the ledge and dropped to the ground. She paused with one hand held over her mouth, the gun clutched in the other.
The response time is ten minutes if I’m lucky. I can’t run. I can’t. Who knows how many people those things would kill? I have to stop them.
Zan took a position behind a nearby tree. From inside she heard a crashing sound. The hideous things burst through the balcony door a few seconds later. She ran towards them, pumping bullets into every monster near the railing, outlined as they were by the light from inside. They howled and batted at their chests, but they did not fall. Zan returned to the tree, taking gulps of air as she reloaded.
I’m a dead woman.
The Passion Season: Book I of the Covalent Series
A gruesome crime brings them together. Will his secrets rip them apart?
He is Barakiel. Warrior. Exile. Hopeless romantic. Barakiel is Covalent, a race of ancient beings who use their great power to keep the elemental forces of Creation and Destruction in Balance. The Covalent Council exiled Barakiel to the Earthly Realm as the price of the treachery of his father, Lucifer, who wages perpetual war against it. Lucifer also relentlessly pursues his son. The Council thinks Lucifer views his son's power as a threat, but Barakiel knows his father seeks to destroy even the memory of love.
She is Alexandra O'Gara. FBI Agent. Army veteran. Recovering drunk. Zan's troubled past left her with little interest in men, but she had never encountered anyone like the stunning Rainer Barakiel. Zan believes Barakiel is a wealthy businessman with expertise in edged weapons who can help her with a case. From the moment she meets him she wants him more than she's ever wanted anything, but her intense attraction frightens her as much as it thrills her.
This is their love story. As Zan's deepening feelings for Barakiel lead her to confront her emotional damage, he struggles to meet the demands of his home world so he will be free to love her, and to reveal his true nature. Through the crime that first brought Zan to his door, Barakiel learns his presence in the Earthly Realm has placed some of its most vulnerable citizens in danger. Compelled to protect them, he undertakes a series of duties he may not survive, even as Zan rescues him from a deadened heart.
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Attorney by day, writer of extravagant yarns by night. Considering her tales are filled with sex and violence, Libby Doyle thought a pen name would be prudent. She also thinks it’s kind of fun.
Libby grew up on the East Coast of the United States and attended college in the 1980s, immersed in the underground music scene. She met talented people and troubled people. People who taught her what it means to be your own person.
In the 1990s, Libby went back to school to get a master's degree in journalism. For more than a decade, she worked as a journalist, until her interests led her to law school. She kept her full-time job while attending law school at night, a brutal experience. Though she cursed her stupidity countless times as her body and mind became sick with exhaustion, she’s glad she did it.
She knows she’s lucky. She’s had countless adventures, memories that feed her imagination. Libby has stood atop a hill in Connemara in a cold wind, watching sunlight sparkle off the pristine sea below. She’s crested a trail after a grueling hike to find the glory of the Continental Divide spread before her. She’s been followed by a howler monkey in a Mexican jungle, shared the midday meal with Buddhist monks in Korea, and been pummeled by an opponent in a martial arts test in Japan. She’s trekked for days among the Himalayas, mountains so high and timeless they made her feel completely insignificant, a wonderful feeling.
Libby is married to a man who is funny and kind and patient enough to listen to her chatter on about her characters. She feels like they're her friends. She’s confident they’ll keep you entertained. Through her fanciful tales, she hopes they speak to you.