War, disease, and global warming have caused a significant decline of the human race. The human world has become a Shadow Zone where people mysteriously disappear and infertility among those of age to have children has grown at an alarming rate.
The vampire race monitors the human world whose decline is forcing them to find other ways to obtain the blood they need. They also watch the werewolves who consider the vampires a threat.
The werewolves have sent Julia out into the Shadow Zone in search of the key to immortality which both sides believe the humans have unearthed. Rick is a centuries-old vampire sent by the council of elders to intercept her before she can discover these secrets and take them back to her kind.
Rick's been watching the fierce female warrior for a long time. No female has been able to challenge or seduce him in ages. Yet Julia is one luscious little werewolf who definitely makes him feel alive and more than anything, he wants to make her his. No matter how he does it…
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Praise for The Shadow Zone: Taking Julia
"Isabella Jordan has written one of the best stories I have read of vampires and werewolves in a long time."
-- Nicole Harvey, Paranormal Romance Reviews
"4 Hearts! This story is totally hot while at the same time touching your emotions with the vulnerability of the heroine and hero and their emerging feelings for each other."
-- Lisa Freeman, The Romance Studio
This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.
The Shadow Zone: Taking Julia
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2007 Isabella Jordan
An Authorized Excerpt
"What do you want, deadhead?"
It was bad enough that Julia Lennox had been captured and almost killed on this miserable fucking mission. She was tired and her body ached with each step as she made her way through the ruins on foot. Running into a vampire now when she was just about to make it home had the potential to really piss her off.
And he wasn't just any vampire. Oh, no. What fun would that be? It was the vampire known as Rick, rumored to be one of the oldest of his kind, who stood leaning against the ruined metal stalk that had once been a street light. Her pack's leader had pointed him out to her once when they were on a stake out. The legends about him were enough to curl the fur on any werewolf. Julia had heard he'd been a Spanish soldier hundreds of years ago during the time of King Philip II. For such an old guy, she had to admit he was one of the most captivating creatures she'd ever seen.
Still, she'd have to be pretty fucking careful with this one. With the dying rays of the evening sun gleaming off the brown silk of his hair and reflecting in his sinfully dark eyes, it would be so easy to forget the danger he posed. His mouth was sexy beyond words, his skin preternaturally fair. His long, hard body was encased in black leather and the pose he struck gave him the appearance of someone relaxed and enjoying the sunset.
That he could tolerate any level of sunlight spoke volumes about how indestructible he really was.
Did he think to put her at ease with his body language? Just act casual? Right.
Fatigue dropped from her like a heavy coat. Her situation had gone from tired and grumpy to holy shit in about sixty seconds. Rick posed a greater threat than any she'd faced so far in her life and she knew it.
He stood watching her with an unnatural stillness, his stare unblinking and intense. Facing this particular vampire was like nothing Julia had ever experienced before. On one hand, she felt like a small animal immobilized by its fear of a terrifying predator. On the other hand, she stood staring at him like a drooling idiot, mesmerized by the sheer beauty of him.
Fear had its uses and Rick was definitely someone to be afraid of. For all she knew he could read her thoughts. Many of his kind could read minds.
Julia had to get a grip, control her thoughts and her feelings.
Folding her arms across her chest, she decided to go for bored and impatient instead of get me the hell out of here which was how she really felt.
"How are you tonight? Julia, isn't it?" The way he said her name with his Spanish accent brushed her with unexpected warmth. The fact that he even knew her name took her off guard. From his point of view, she was pretty new to the game. She'd been a shadow chaser for three years now, but to someone like him that probably seemed like a matter of minutes.
"I'm trying to get home. Rick, isn't it?"
Grinning at her, he nodded. Damn, he had a nice smile.
Perfect teeth. How did they keep their choppers in such good shape for thousands of years?
"Home from where?" Pulling away from what was left of the metal post, he gracefully moved over the jagged pieces of asphalt like he was weightless. He came to a stop in front of her, so tall she was forced to look up to meet his gaze. "What have you been up to, Julia?"
Arrogant asshole. Vampires were so self-important. Just because they were immortal they thought they knew more than anyone else. Well, living hundreds of years didn't mean you knew fucking everything. They also thought they had license to get into everyone else's business.
They were sorely mistaken if they thought they could push the werewolves, her kind, around. Very soon the vampires would find out they weren't alone in their immortality and Julia couldn't wait for that day. That dream was the reason she put her life on the line with each mission that sent her into the Shadow Zone where a mysterious group of humans had unearthed a dark pathway to unending life. The werewolves would obtain that secret one way or another. Then they'd be on even footing with the vampires and be able to truly defend themselves. It was only a matter of time.
"Don't worry about what I've been up to," she told him, trying to keep the tremor out of her voice. "Don't you have bigger things to be concerned about? Like what you guys are going to do for blood when the humans are done destroying themselves?"
"I'm very interested in what you've been up to." His fingers brushed her chin, but she yanked her head away from his touch. His gaze moved over her face.
What was up with this? Rick stood there gazing down at her like an attentive lover. Yet beneath that handsome façade, Julia could sense his determination. To do what, she had no idea. It couldn't be good.
"You have too much free time on your hands, don't you?" Julia marched around him, and he let her. She felt his gaze on her the entire time but she didn't look back. Maybe he'd just let her go.
"Take it easy," she threw back at him and kept on walking.
Damn it all anyway that her motorcycle had been destroyed. If she hadn't been on foot, maybe she wouldn't have run into the bloodsucker in the first place.
Shit. She should have known he wouldn't make it easy for her.
She came to a startled stop when she spotted him now sitting on the twisted, blackened metal of what had once been a car several feet ahead of her. Only a damned vampire could vanish and materialize like that. His elbows rested on his knees and he sat there watching her with all the ease of someone innocently waiting on his girlfriend.
Yet there was nothing harmless about him. His underlying power was unmistakable.
Julia came from a strong bloodline among her kind and she was a well-trained killer. She wasn't, however, stupid enough to think she could take this guy in hand-to-hand combat. Most vampires, yes. Not this one. Rick was too strong. If all the stories she'd heard about him were true, he could probably rip her to shreds with his mental powers and not even lay a hand on her.
If she was going to get out of this alive, she had to use her wits. "My business is not your business. I'm asking that you let me go about it."
"Your business is my business. I know what you're looking for out there."
The direct approach. She liked that. Only she wasn't naïve enough to play little vampire mind games. Try to keep your mind clear. Some of her kind were trained specifically to deal with vampires and could recognize their individual powers easily.
Her area of expertise, however, was humans. She knew only the basics with vampires.
"If you know what I'm doing, then we have nothing else to talk about, right?"
"We have much to talk about, Julia." Rick laced the fingers of his hands before him. "I want to know if you've found what you're looking for."
"What's it to you?"
"I just need to know. It's very important to both of us, isn't it?"
Well, yeah. The vampires had to know that a large number of humans had achieved immortality somehow. Weren't they supposed to know everything? Yet in their superiority, they probably just figured out that her kind knew about the human discovery too. They had to realize that the next step for the werewolves was discovering how to achieve immortality themselves.
With the human population diminishing at an alarming rate, the vampires would have to feed on something to sustain their kind. Werewolf blood was living blood and apparently many vampires already considered them a viable substitute. Werewolf, the other red cell. Random murders among her kind increased every day. All of the victims were suspiciously drained of their blood. Just like predators in the wild, vampires preyed on the most vulnerable -- the elderly, women. It had everyone in her pack on red alert.
The only chance the werewolves had to survive now was to become immortal as the vampires were. Their current numbers were nowhere near what the human population had been twenty years ago. The vampires could deplete the werewolves in a single decade unless they took action and stopped them.
Besides, the humans had discovered a better way to live forever than vampirism and the whole dead deal. A way that simply stopped one from getting ill or growing older. A living solution.
"What do you want?" Julia was blunt. "You want me for a snack? You want me to tell you what I know? Either way I'm fucked, huh?"
The amusement faded from his expression as he sat watching her. "You're not fucked, Julia. You'd never believe me if I told you that I just wanted to help you, now would you?"
"Fuck no." Was he kidding? Help her to what? Find her jugular vein?
"I do want to help you." He was so slick in keeping his voice low and calm. "All I'm asking you to do is tell me if you found what you were looking for."
"And why would I do that?" He'd just have to kill her. She wouldn't betray her mission by telling him anything. Crap, this could be bad.
"So I can help you."
Oh, no. He couldn't just toss that casual smile at her and expect her to bend to his will. No way. Amazing the effect that smile had on her though… "If you know my name, you know what I am."
"And if you know what I am, you know there's no way in hell I can tell you what I'm up to. So do what you've got to do." She couldn't stop him after all.
Like a vision from a nightmare, only the guy was hot, he rose from the car and approached slowly, determinedly. Yes, she could have run but she wouldn't have escaped. Better to show a little courage and face her fate. Werewolves were made of tougher stuff than the vampires gave them credit for.
"I was afraid you wouldn't cooperate."
Sucking in her breath at the calm way he said that, Julia steeled herself for whatever was coming.
Rick waved his hand directly in front of her eyes once he reached her and Julia's world went black.