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Dark Warrior Unbroken [Mass Market Paperback]

Alexis Morgan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 28 2009 The Talions

The second book in Alexis Morgan’s new paranormal series featuring the Talion—rugged warriors who protect their kind from the outside world and hunt down those who have gone rogue.

Talion enforcer Sandor Kearn is dedicated to hunting down rogue Kyth who attack humans. He recently killed a renegade who set fire to a local dance club, killing the arson investigator, Maynard Cooper. Since the cops have had no luck solving the murder, Coop’s protégé, Lena Nelson, becomes involved. Lena—unaware she is part Kyth—has the ability to see flashbacks of the crimes she’s investigating though her sense of touch. When she meets Sandor, she realizes that he’s somehow connected to Coop’s death. Sandor must convince Lena of his innocence yet keep her from digging further, which would risk exposing the existence of the Kyth. And when they fall in love, things get even more complicated.

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Product Description

About the Author

Alexis Morgan has always been an avid reader, and she loves spending her days with hunky heroes and gutsy heroines. She’s published more than forty books, novellas, and short stories, including contemporary romances, American West historicals, and paranormal romances. She has been nominated for numerous industry awards, including the RITA© from the Romance Writers of America, the top award in the romance genre.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Lena Wilson was a woman with regrets. Her shoulders sagged as the day's heat and her high heels made the short walk even harder than expected. She'd worn dress clothes out of respect, but her usual jeans and boots might have been a smarter choice. Lord knows, the person she was going to see wouldn't have cared.

Pausing at the top of a rise, she pulled out the simple map the caretaker had given her. She was almost there.

"One, two, three..."

She counted off the headstones to alleviate the oppressive silence, her footsteps slowing as she approached the end of the row, her goal but a few feet away. She crossed that last painful distance and sank to her knees on the cool grass.

Her hand reached out to trace the inscription on the polished granite marker: a name, a couple of dates, a Bible verse, a fireman's badge. Not nearly enough to define the man who was buried there. Maynard Cooper had been her friend, her father figure, her conscience.

At long last the tears came, flowing down her cheeks in hot streaks.

"Coop, I'm so sorry."

Her throat closed, damming up the flood of apologies she owed to the man who'd been laid to rest on the pastoral hillside overlooking his beloved city. As the tears tapered off and her breathing eased, peace slowly stole over her. Coop had never judged her as harshly as she judged herself, but the self-forgiveness she needed would have to be earned.

That she'd missed his funeral hadn't been her fault, but missing out on the chance to heal the breach between them was. She placed her palm over his name, needing that small connection as she contemplated her next step.

If she couldn't make peace with her old friend, she would do the one thing no one else had been able to: avenge his death.

With a new sense of purpose, Lena rose to her feet and walked away, making plans. Somewhere in this city there was a killer with Maynard Cooper's blood on his hands. She wouldn't rest until the bastard was brought to justice.

The shrill ringing of a phone was Sandor Kearn's least favorite way to wake up, especially when he'd been up late. He didn't know which half of his job he hated more: the frustrating search for the Grand Dame's lost relatives, or his new role as chief enforcer for the Talion warriors Kerry commanded. He covered his eyes with his forearm to block out the sunshine and groped for the phone with his other hand.

When he finally found it, he growled "What?" into the receiver.

Kerry's voice was a mixture of good humor and business. "Sorry, Sandor, did I wake you up?"

"Yeah, you did. Put your husband on the line so I can take my bad mood out on him. When I'm able to be civil, Ranulf can give the phone back to you."

His Dame giggled. He was tempted to point out how undignified that was for the ruler of their people, but that would only encourage her.

"If it's not an emergency, can I call you back in a few?" he said instead. "Right now I won't remember anything you tell me."

"Please tell me you weren't up half the night working again. We've talked about that before, Sandor. You're my Talion, not my slave." She sounded reproachful.

"All right, I won't tell you."

She sighed. "Get up and eat breakfast. Make that lunch -- it's almost noon. When you're feeling human again, come see me."

"Okay. See you in an hour or so." He yawned loudly. "And by the way, I'm not human, and neither are you."

"I'll try to remember that. And an hour will be fine."

When she disconnected the call, he tossed his phone at the table. As it bounced onto the floor, he threw back the covers, then went into the bathroom and cranked the shower on hot. Leaning against the cool tile wall, he let the water pour over him, clearing out the cobwebs better than a cup of coffee.

Kerry knew that he already had a lot on his plate, so whatever was worrying her had to be serious. Well, he'd find out soon enough what it was.

He pulled on jeans and a casual sports shirt, then threw together a sandwich and grabbed a cola to drink on the way. After tossing his briefcase onto the passenger seat, he reached for his sunglasses.

Traffic was light, and he soon reached the gates to her driveway. He punched in his security number, waited as they swung open, then pulled into his usual parking space, alongside an unfamiliar car. Hughes, the butler, opened the front door before Sandor reached the top step. Inside, he headed for the living room, then stopped. Kerry hadn't mentioned the fact that anyone else would be there, so the unfamiliar woman was probably another Kyth who had dropped in to meet the new Dame.

Sandor waited impatiently in the foyer for the visitor to leave. Who was she anyway? He would have remembered meeting someone built like that -- honey blond hair, long legs, narrow waist, and all the right curves. If she was anywhere near as stunning from the front, he might just start drooling. When she finally turned to leave, her piercing blue eyes swept past him, then snapped back to stare into his.

And time stood still.

All of his Talion instincts surged full force, making him want to stop her, to learn her truth before letting her walk out that door. He didn't recognize her as Kyth, but he could have been wrong.

He forced himself to nod politely as she passed. When the door closed behind her, he had the strangest feeling that their paths would cross again and soon.

Kerry was walking out of the other side of the living room as he walked in, leaving only Ranulf waiting to talk to him. The Viking looked hesitant, not an expression Sandor had ever seen on his face before.

"If there's something you want to say, Viking, spit it out. I'm not in the mood for games."

Ranulf 's mouth quirked up in a small grin. "What put a burr up your backside?"

"No sleep. No progress on anything." Gods above, he sounded whiny. "Sorry."

"Don't sweat it." Ranulf turned to stare out the window. "Sometimes things close in on you, especially here in the city. I'm long overdue for some downtime on the mountain, alone with my wife."

"So why don't you and Kerry head up there for a few days? I can hold down the fort."

"She won't go. She worries about you," Ranulf grumbled.

"Damn it, I'm fine." He wasn't and they both knew it. But it was his problem, not theirs.

Ramulf let out a deep breath. "Kerry asked you here about a new problem that's popped up. She needed to make a call but should be off the phone by now."

They found Kerry sitting at the dining room table, immersed in paperwork. She didn't look any happier than Ranulf did.

"Damn it, Kerry, you promised to eat lunch before starting in on that stuff." Ranulf picked up a plate of food and set it directly in front of her. "Now eat or I'll burn those files."

She looked up from the report to glare at him. Her refusal to be intimidated by her warrior husband was one of the many things Sandor liked about the new Dame. Most people took one look at Ranulf and had the good sense to be a little afraid. But Kerry knew she had the man wrapped around her little finger. Ranulf would die before hurting her.

So would Sandor, even though she'd never looked at him as anything but a friend. He sometimes wondered about her taste in men, but he couldn't question the depth of her feelings for Ranulf, or his for her. Their relationship had been tempered in the heat of battle, a life-and-death struggle that had come close to destroying all three of them.

As she dutifully picked up the sandwich, she asked, "Did you already eat, Sandor?"

"Yes." He sat in his usual chair and reached for the coffeepot. "Some caffeine would be good, though. Can I top yours off ?"

She held out her cup. "Sorry to have disturbed your beauty sleep."

"It's my job to be at your beck and call." He softened the comment with a smile. "Finish your lunch and we'll talk."

She gave him the same disgusted look she'd given her husband. Like many Kyth who'd grown up unaware of their true heritage, Kerry had been a loner before fate had catapulted her from graphic artist to ruler of their kind in a matter of days. She wasn't used to having people fuss over her, much less bearing responsibility for an entire race. It was a wonder she was coping as well as she was.

Ranulf had left the room, and now returned with his own sandwich and a plate of cookies. Sandor snagged a couple for himself. The Viking wasn't the only one with a sweet tooth.

When Hughes checked in a few minutes later to see if they needed anything else, Kerry dropped the rest of her sandwich on the plate and handed it to him. "Thank you. That hit the spot."

It was clear that Ranulf thought she should've eaten more, but she shot him a look that said she'd had enough of his hovering.

It was time to get down to business. "So what's up, Kerry? Ranulf said you had something to talk to me about."

"Actually, a couple of things now. That woman who just left has the potential of becoming a problem for us."

"Why? Who is she?"

"Her name is Lena Wilson, and she was a friend of Maynard Cooper's. She said she's investigating his death and wanted to talk to us about it. She's looking for his killer."

That wasn't good. "Why would she think you were involved?"

They hadn't had anything to do with the fire investigator's death. But the three of them had combined forces to execute his murderer, a renegade Talion warrior and Sandor's lifelong friend.

"I don't know that she did," Kerry said. "I think she was on a fishing expedition."

Ranulf looked at his wife. "She tried to read my thoughts while she was here. I suspect she did the same to you."

"What? You didn't tell me that!"

"I figured you could tell."

"Well, you figured wrong. Need I remind you that I've only recently learned something like that was even possible?" She looked more disgusted than upset. "If she did try to read me, she couldn't have gotten far. I'm a lot better at keeping my shields up. If they'd been breached, I think I'd know."

"If ... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book,,,,,,,, Aug. 1 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This, the second Talion book, is better than the first.
I wasn't disappointed in the first, but I wasn't thrilled with it either, and I was looking forward to this one.
I'm betting the next one, the writer will have this series down pat, and I'll be hooked.
I still prefer the Pallidin series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Eye For An Eye - Indeed March 15 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is - in my opinion - the weakest story of the series so far. There is no real culprit - simply a bunch of kids struggling to find their way and survive on the streets. On the other hand, seeing their lives unfold and learning about their background as well as how they adapt to their lives on the streets is quite a learning curve for the reader as well, plus, of course, they are not aware that they are Kyth and/or what that even means.
The trouble is that according Kyth law, if their own become renegades - harm others as well as mortals - they are being hunted down and executed. However, how do you deal with those who are not aware what they are and how to deal with their powers, especially if they are very young and have to rely on themselves for pure survival? That, essentially, is the conundrum the new Great Dame and her new enforcer are facing once they realise their renegade is not one but several kids living on the streets having run away from abuse and confusion.
Don't get me wrong - I still believe this is a very good series and interesting storyline and tales, it just seems the weakest thus far ... maybe it's just because the reader can fairly easily identify with the kids and feels sorry for them. However, the `not knowing' that they were breaking the rules does not exempt perpetrators from having to take responsibility. Doing wrong is doing wrong - no matter what your age. And the author - Alexis Morgan - yet again masterfully builds upon her characters and introduces new ones to complicate whatever conflict arises on every level. The reader is also privy to the thoughts, acts and background being revealed of all parties involved - especially the main characters but also those we have already come across. Plus there is one more individual talked about and introduced in the end - the one whose story will be told in the next adventure.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but similar read Aug. 3 2009
By Jessie Potts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed the second book in the Talions world, it was quick, easy and read a little similar to Alexis Morgan's other books. Morgan though has created a completely different world with the Talions, one that does indeed stand alone from her Paladins series in its own way. I just felt similar threads in regards to how the couples meet, interact and fall in love that run through most of her novels.

Lena is in the fire bug business (the legal end) and was crushed when her best friend Cooper died. Lena decides that it's up to her to bring the murderer to justice and embarks on her own vigil-anti quest. Unfortunately for her she is road blocked by Kerry, Ranulf and this hottie Sandor. While they are just trying to protect humanity and Lena in general from Rouges, Lena has decided that they must be covering something up and is determined to ferret out the rat. Lena believes she can do this better than the detectives on the job and the police because she has a sixth sense that allows her to see violence that has already occurred like a movie flashing in front of her eyes.

This is when she begins to follow Sandor, which inevitably ends with her pressed against a brick wall being kissed silly, then followed by the car, then her hotel, then his house. Here is where a little characteristic of Lena comes out that I do not like one bit. She herself is embarking on a vigil-anti quest, yet she rails and yells at Kerry, Ranulf and Sandor for taking care of the rouges without HUMAN police interference. Even after Sandor explains what Bradan (Evil rouge from last book) did, and how Bradan would have ripped the humans apart, in fact did rip humans apart, Lena just yells that he is taking the law in to his own hands and with out the law there would be chaos. It's here that I find myself saying really?....really? I mean if there were a race of super humans who had the ability to rip humans apart physically and mentally I would definitely be grateful that they had their own type of law enforcement that took down the bad guys.

So onward....... we find out the rouges this time aren't evil so to speak, just part Kyth and no control over their powers. Lena and Sandor keep exploring their passionate chemistry, and they hunt down the bad guys. Kerry is learning that with the mantel of power comes great responsibility and even greater head aches, and Ranulf is still healing, and I'm glad to say not allowing the darkness to take him under.

The book was a good quick romance read, but I wanted a little more, like with the Paladin series there was an ultimate bad guy (Though Morgan turned the readers on their heads with the last two Paladin books) and an ultimate goal. With the Talions I find myself feeling like they're just trying to live below the radar of humanity and police their own rouges, nothing epic or ultimate. I mean Kerry is obviously trying to get her new subjects to see that she is a fit ruler, but besides that nothing. I want evil plots and dastardly deeds.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tense thriller Aug. 1 2009
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Arson investigator Lena Wilson missed the funeral of her mentor and father figure Maynard Cooper because of the breach between them. The dispute seems inane to her as she stands at his gravesite crying that they never reconciled and vowing to uncover the identity of his killer in spite of the cops insisting they have no leads; she has special skills that enable her to find things the police would never notice.

Talion Warrior Chief Enforcer Sandor Kearn regrets doing his job when he was forced to kill his best friend, Bradan. He not only has doubts he has the stomach for this work; he has the added problem of obsessive persistent Lena who keeps digging. Sandor wants to tell her that he killed her mentor's murderer already, but cannot reveal that or anything about his people the Kyth. He tracks a Kyth rogue killer in Seattle while she tracks him as Lena believes Sandor killed Maynard.

The second Talion thriller (see DARK WARRIOR UNLEASHED) reads somewhat like the first novel, but the clash between the lead couple brings freshness to the exhilarating story line. Lena knows in her heart Sandor is the one for her but believes in her brain based on what she has learned he is the one she must kill to complete her vow. Sandor, who plays a key role in the previous tale, is caught between a hard place and a rock as he wants to pour out his heart to his obstinate pursuer and give her closure and more; but he understands his imprint is indirectly all over the death of Maynard. Alexis Morgan provides a tense thriller as the vigilante goes after the enforcer.

Harriet Klausner
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read.... Sept. 24 2009
By Deborah Wiley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lena Wilson is haunted by the unsolved murder of her friend, Maynard Cooper (see DARK WARRIOR UNLEASHED for more details). She missed attending his funeral and now sees avenging his murder- legally- as the only way to find any semblance of peace. Her investigation leads her to Sandor Kearn and the mysterious world of the Kyth. But Sandor is once again on the trail of a renegade... will Lena be able to accept Sandor's world as well as his brand of justice?

Alexis Morgan's second book in her Talions series is an interesting one that touches on some rather complex issues. Readers unfamiliar with the first book, DARK WARRIOR UNLEASHED, can easily read this second entry but the story is only fully appreciated within the context of both books. The characters of Sandor, Kerry, and Ranulf are all previously introduced in the first book as Alexis Morgan builds on the foundation already established between them.

Sandor's transformation started in the first book as he had to learn some tough lessons about judging others. Things come full circle in DARK WARRIOR UNBROKEN when he falls for a woman who believes in following the letter of the law. The interactions between Sandor and Lena are both passionate and fiery. Seeing both characters get their happily-ever-after makes for a satisfying read, particularly as both Lena and Sandor must learn to accept each other's strong wills. Easily recommended!

COURTESY OF CK2S KWIPS AND KRITIQUES
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Warrior Unbroken March 10 2010
By M. Nix - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sandor Kearn has been made the head Talion Enforcer by their new Grand Dame. Their people, the Kyths, look like everyone else but they have special needs and the enforcers protect both the Kyths and the humans from harm by making sure that the rules are followed. Since being placed into the head position, Sandor has been seriously busy. Now he is on the track of renegade who is hunting in the streets of Seattle.

Lena Wilson has come back to Seattle to discover just who murdered her mentor. There is no doubt in her opinion that he was murdered and Lena has just enough of the facts to begin her search. Lena knows that she will be able to discover facts that no one else can because she has abilities that will show her things others can't see. Those same abilities put some distance between her and her mentor, but now Lena is going to use them to avenge him.

Sandor and Lena meet when she discovers enough to question the Grand Dame about the murder that, by law, they can't let Lena know about. There is attraction between both Sandor and Lena, however neither is sure if they want to acknowledge it - for different reasons. Now besides looking for the renegade, Sandor also needs to keep the truth about what happened from Lena. Passion trumps good intentions and soon Sandor has to decide just what he is going to tell both Lena and his Grand Dame. To top it off, not even the renegade is what Sandor expected. When all the truths come out, will Sandor and Lena have a future together?

Being in charge sometimes means breaking the rules. Dark Warrior Unbroken has the new head enforcer meeting his match very unexpectedly. Lena left Seattle because she could not help using her abilities to discover the truth. Sandor's new position means he needs to keep his people out of human knowledge and make sure they follow the rules. The road that Lena and Sandor follow is not an easy one but it made their discovery of love all that more intriguing. It was so interesting watching them fight for laws and justice when it meant different things to each of them. While their way to love wasn't easy, that made it all the deeper. I really enjoyed seeing Sandor's softer side at the end and Lena's understanding of just what their society is. Dark Warrior Unbroken is a dark and rich story that will capture your attention immediately.

I would suggest reading this series in order as the plot lines go on from the last book to the next. I will be waiting to see the next venture into the Talions' world.

Jo
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
5.0 out of 5 stars 2nd great series Dec 19 2011
By Karin Sowers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I like her Paladin's, and I also like the Dark Warrior series. I'm looking forward to which ever books come out next. Wish there were more books coming out quicker.
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