Love in the Shadows
Book Two of the Shadow-Walker Tribe Series
Derek “Red Hawk” Darkwood is known as the playboy of Isanti, Inc., his cover for spying for General Holland. So even though there is a new woman on his arm every night, the one he wants is Katherine Sloane, his brother’s administrative assistant. But five years ago she lost her husband in Afghanistan, and Derek knows she needs time to heal. Just as he is about to make his move and take the woman he wants, Derek kills his ex-girlfriend right in front of Katherine. Can Katherine love him, even though she knows he is a murderer?
Katherine Sloane knows that Derek saved his brother’s life. She also knows that she is destined to be with Derek when the Shadow Dimension marks her as Derek’s mate. So why did he disappear? And now that he’s in trouble can she rescue him?
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Derek “Red Hawk” Darkwood retreated to the shadows. The rain fell on his black hair and ran down his neck. He shook in fury over his helplessness, as he watched the woman standing next to a gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery, her tears mixing with the rain. He needed to wrap her in the safety of his embrace. Let her know she wasn’t alone. That she would never be alone again because she had him.
She didn’t even know he was alive. He was a Shadow Walker and member of the Nuni Nagi tribe. He had come at General Holland’s request, to honor a soldier who died for his country.
One look into her pain-filled blue eyes, one touch of her hand in his, as he gave her his condolences, had turned Derek’s world upside down. The tribal tattoo on his left breast burned, and his breath caught so he could hardly speak the trivial phrase: “I’m sorry for your loss.”
He stepped back until his body encountered a tree, putting distance between himself and the rest of the crowd. He didn’t want anyone to notice how he trembled. He pulled his collar up around his throat, then pushed his clenched fists into the pockets of his wool coat.
She was wounded, grieving her husband who wouldn’t return from Afghanistan. Her body shook with sobs, the American flag clutched in her hands, as rain blew across the rows of gravestones. Her black dress contrasted vividly with her pale skin and fiery red hair.
He couldn’t help his reactions. She was born his destined soul mate, and he had finally found her. One day he would make her his lover, his wife. There was no question in his mind about it. But that day would have to wait. She wasn’t ready. He knew she needed to heal, to come to a place of acceptance, and then be willing to live again.
When she did, he would be waiting. Until that time, he would keep her safe and strive to support her, to help her remember the time before the pain and loneliness of her husband’s death. To remind her she was a desirable woman, his woman.
He began to formulate a plan. He would talk to General Holland tomorrow. A job would be arranged for her with Isanti, Inc. He would bring her to the desert of New Mexico. It was a long way from Arlington, Virginia. It would be good for her, a new start, a way for him to keep an eye on her without her awareness. Knowing she was safe and healing would allow him to wait for her.
While she healed, he would become aware of her likes and dislikes, how to make her laugh, what she enjoyed eating. He wanted to know every little detail and give her a chance to get to know him.
He wanted her to find confidence again, to realize her own strength and become whole and complete. He wanted to find the person who lay trapped behind her sorrow.
Time was the only thing that would help him in his cause. To aid her recovery, he had to give her time. And he would—all the time she needed.
He watched as General Holland took her by the arm to lead her away. Derek gritted his teeth, even though he was aware the general was old enough to be her father and was a friend. Derek wanted to be the one to touch and comfort her. More, he wanted her out of the rainy drizzle that fell and coated her trembling form. He wanted her safe and warm, even if that meant he watched others touch her.
If he timed it right, he might be able to ride in the limo beside her. No one would know he was there, not even the one who had become his heart’s desire. Because he was a member of the Shadow Walker tribe, he could walk into the dimension next to Earth. He would see and hear everything around him as if looking through a shadow. He would be close to her without being seen. He opened a portal and slipped into the Shadow Dimension, drawing near her.
“I’ll call you tomorrow, Katherine,” General Holland said as he handed her into the waiting car.
Katherine Sloane. Kate. His Kate. Derek slipped into the car as the general closed the door. He sat in the chair facing her. She dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. Even in her misery, she looked gorgeous. Her body was lean. Did she run or swim? Her red hair in a severe bun accented her neck. One curl that had escaped lay against her cheek. His fingers itched to brush it back behind her ear.
Derek fought to stay in Shadow. He wanted to kiss the tears from her face. He needed to touch her. Clenching his fists, he stayed quiet. Shaking, he forced himself to watch her. Just watch.
Katherine looked around, appearing to sense she wasn’t alone. She peered into the shadows of the car as if she could pierce the dimensional veil and pull him out of it. Derek slowed his breathing.
Did she feel him? There were legends about mates of Shadow Walker tribe members—that they were connected to their Indian warriors and knew when they were close. Could she feel his emotions or read his thoughts? Was she one of the gifted?
He wanted to reach for her with his mind. But he reminded himself again: She needed time. So using his telepathic gift, he tried to send warmth and comfort to her, a sense of safety. She sighed and sat back in her chair, accepting his support. She leaned her head back and closed her eyes. Her body relaxed, and he thought she might be sleeping.
“What will I do now?” she asked.