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Stealth Guardians (Book 5 & 6)

Stealth Guardians (Book 5 & 6)

Collectors edition: Exclusive hardcover box set with dust jacket and sexy hardcover laminate image, color interior images, digitally signed by the author.


552 pages

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⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Lara Adrian, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Midnight Breed series "Get ready for a wild ride! The Stealth Guardians are the only thing standing between humanity and a demonic race determined to rule the world. For fast-paced, high-stakes paranormal romance, be sure to add Tina Folsom to your must-read list!"

Immortal Unveiled (Book 5)
Stealth Guardian Manus is charged with stopping the daughter of a murdered emissarius from investigating her mother’s death in order to prevent her from discovering that demons and Stealth Guardians exist. But Kim needs answers, answers that will put her on a collision course with the demons she’s ill equipped to fight.

Protector Unmatched (Book 6)
When a psychic vision warns Pearce that he’ll die at the hands of the human woman Daphne, he goes after her to try to change his future.

After a career as a hacker and several brushes with the law, Daphne is trying to go straight as a cyber security analyst. But when her brother gets in trouble with a loan shark, she’s forced to draw on her skills to wipe out his debt—an action that puts her in the path of the Stealth Guardians and their archenemies, the Demons of Fear.

What starts out as a mission to prevent Daphne from killing Pearce, turns into a race against time to stop the demons from obtaining the key to certain annihilation of the Stealth Guardians and all of mankind.

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Closing her eyes, Kim turned her face into the spray of the shower and allowed the warm water to rinse away the soap. The water pressure wasn’t quite as strong as she was used to from her own condo. After all, her childhood home, which Kim’s mother now occupied alone, was an old house with aging pipes, creaking stairs, and oodles of character. Her own place in a turn-of-the-century warehouse-turned-condo-building was currently undergoing some minor renovations after her upstairs neighbor’s negligence had caused water damage to several floors in the building.

Kim had opted for staying with her mother while the work to her condo was being done rather than staying with her fiancé, Todd. He’d been taken aback by her decision to stay with her mother. Her excuse that the commute from his suburban home to the internet news blog she worked for as an investigative journalist was too long hadn’t quite convinced him.

“You work remotely half the time anyway,” Todd had said.

He had a point. A good one.

Still, she hadn’t let him talk her into staying with him and instead taken up residence in her childhood bedroom. Maybe it was a sign that their relationship had moved into a direction she wasn’t ready for. Though they were engaged, no date for the wedding had been set. The fact that she was fine with that didn’t exactly make her a model fiancée. She should be browsing bridal magazines and planning her dream wedding, but she couldn’t get into the mood for it.

To Kim’s surprise, her mother had brought up the matter only a few nights earlier over a late glass of wine.

“Maybe Todd isn’t the right guy for you.”

“Mom? Are you drunk? You adore Todd.”

“Of course, I do, but do you?” her mother had retorted so quickly that Kim had been stunned into silence.

She’d been unable to give an answer to that question. And even now, several days later, the question remained unanswered. Not that her mother had pressed her for a response. Maybe the question had been simply meant as a thought-provoking exercise, part of a game her mother had played with her when Kim had been a teenager. A game that had fueled her inquisitive nature and taught her never to accept anything at face value.

Kim sighed and turned off the water. She pushed the curtain back and reached for the towel when she heard a loud thud from downstairs. Had her mother come home?

Instinctively, she ripped the towel from the rack and pressed it to her front.


She didn’t expect an answer. If her mother was downstairs, she wouldn’t be able to hear her calling out from the upstairs bathroom. Not with the door closed. Kim shook her head. She was used to her condo, where everything was open plan, and the partitions in the loft-like space weren’t soundproof.

Another thud followed by shattering porcelain or glass sent her heartbeat racing. She tossed the towel on the hamper, snatched her bathrobe from the hook on the door, and slipped it on quickly, already opening the door.

“Mom, what’s going on?” she called out toward the stairs, hurrying toward them.

Grunting sounds drifted upstairs, then a high-pitched yelp.

Panic flooded her now. Was her mother having a seizure of some sort?

“Mom, hold on, I’m coming.”

Kim flew down the stairs, having to hold onto the railing so she wouldn’t slip with her wet bare feet. She missed the last step, slipping on the landing, and would have slammed into the front door had she not been gripping the old mahogany rail.

A whooshing sound made her snap her head to the right, where an open arch led into the living room. Kim froze. The area of the living room she could see from her vantage point was in disarray. Broken porcelain was strewn over the carpet, a lamp lay on the ground, the coffee table was turned over. But while she noticed those things, her focus was drawn to something else.

At the spot where the coffee table had stood, a mass of smoke was swirling in a circle. But there was no fire. No heat. No smell. Just smoke or black fog swirling around as if it were a tornado or a black hole. Only it wasn’t a vertical tornado but a horizontal one. And in the middle of it she noticed a leg disappearing, as if a person had stepped into the fog hole.

Kim gasped and shivered at the same time, suddenly feeling the cold from the odd phenomenon. She took a step toward it, and the swirling mass shrank. Another step, and it shrank even more as if it was being sucked into nothingness. A second later it was gone completely, leaving no traces of its existence behind, except that it now revealed what it had hidden.

Her mother.

She lay several feet behind the spot where the mysterious tornado-like mass had manifested.

Kim barreled toward her and crouched down. “Mom! Mom!”

There was no response.

“No! No, please no!”

She looked into her mother’s pale face, felt her skin, searched for her pulse.

Kim’s heart beat into her throat. But it was the only heart in the room that was beating. Because her mother’s had stopped.

She gripped her mother’s shoulders, shook her. Her head rolled to the side, her long hair falling to the floor, away from her neck. That’s when Kim saw why her mother’s heart wasn’t beating anymore, why her lungs weren’t drawing another breath. Strangulation marks.
Something wet dripped onto her mother’s cheek. A tear. Kim’s tear. Another followed until rivulets streamed down Kim’s face, running along each side of her nose, touching her lips until she tasted the salt on her tongue. Numbness engulfed her. Or was it desperation? Grief? Pain? Rage? Whatever it was, it reverberated inside her, asking the same question again and again: Who or what had killed her mother? Who or what had snuffed out her life in such a violent way?

~ ~ ~

Zoltan punched Frederic, his underling, in the face. “You did what?”

“She wasn’t talking.” The coward lowered his eyes, too scared to face his master. And so he should be. Because what he’d done demanded punishment. Severe punishment.

They were alone in Zoltan’s private study in the Underworld, the vast system of caves and tunnels the Demons of Fear called their home and expanded daily. The smell of sulfur was strong in the tunnels, but the caves Zoltan had chosen for himself smelled less pungent. For some reason, he’d always hated the smell of the Underworld even though he was a demon through and through. And not only that, he was the strongest, the fiercest, the most brutal and ruthless among them. Because that’s what it took to be their leader, to be the Great One, the ruler of the Underworld. Because only ruthless men got to rule the world. Everybody else would collapse under the weight of it.

“Of course, she wasn’t talking.” Zoltan grabbed his subject by the throat and started squeezing his windpipe. “Would you be talking if you were being strangled?”

The idiot fought against Zoltan’s hold, a futile measure if there ever was one. His defiance alone would cost him dearly.

Zoltan loosened his grip and let go of his demon subject. Frederic coughed instantly and sucked air into his lungs. He appeared relieved.

“Did you search her place for it?” Zoltan asked gruffly, already guessing the answer. After all, the man had returned from his excursion up top empty-handed.

“I did. Turned the house upside down. It wasn’t there.”

There was a flicker in the demon’s eyes, one Zoltan didn’t miss. He rarely missed anything, particularly not a bold-faced lie. All his demons lied. Whether it was inbred or out of fear of him, he didn’t particularly care. No matter the reason, a lie was a lie and a breach of loyalty. And he demanded absolute loyalty from his subjects and didn’t care how he got it. And how he kept it. If it meant killing one of his underlings in order to impress the importance of obedience on his subjects, so be it. Because no Great One could rule the Underworld without blindly obedient subjects who didn’t ask questions.

“It wasn’t there, you say,” Zoltan repeated now, keeping his voice even. “Did you search her office?”

“Her home office? Yes, of course.”

“I mean her office at the museum, you idiot,” Zoltan ground out from between clenched teeth. A liar and an idiot. The demon’s chances of surviving this interview diminished with every stupid word coming out of his mouth.

“Nobody said, I mean, I wasn’t told…”

No initiative either. No redeeming qualities whatsoever.

“I see. Tell me again which rooms you searched in the woman’s home before she surprised you.”

“Uh, I got in through the kitchen. The door was locked, but I could see inside, so I used a vortex.”

“A vortex, you idiot? If you could see inside, it means the door was glass. You could have smashed it rather than take such a risk.” If a human saw the vortex, questions would be raised. And the Stealth Guardians would be on their ass again. “Stupid!” Zoltan pounded his hand against the mantle of his fireplace.

“But, but I thought… I didn’t want them to hear me. I’m sorry.”

“Sorry?” Zoltan let out a growl. Then he suddenly snapped his head toward Frederic. “Them?”

The demon’s head whipped back, and his eyes widened. “Uh…”

Zoltan grabbed him by the collar. “She wasn’t alone? You left a witness alive?”

“Yes, no. Uh…”

“Which is it?” Zoltan bared his teeth. “Who was with her?”

“Her daughter. But she didn’t see me. I’m sure of that.”

“How can you be sure?”

“She was taking a shower upstairs when I entered. I never went upstairs. And I was gone before she came downstairs. I swear.”

Zoltan shook his head. He’d just caught the idiot lying. “You said you turned the house upside down and searched everywhere.”

“Yes, I did.”

“So, you insist on continuing to lie to me.” Zoltan slammed his underling against the wall. “You just said you never went upstairs. So, you never searched the entire house.”

Frederic swallowed visibly. “I can go back,” he offered hastily. “The daughter won’t be a problem. I can kill her, if you want.”

Zoltan lifted his hand to stop him. “I’ll send somebody.” Somebody more capable than this imbecile. “The daughter will do the search for us. We’ll just need to watch her.”

“Huh?” Frederic asked, clueless.

“She’ll be handling her mother’s estate and go through all her possessions. We’ll just need to be patient.” And not do anything else stupid that could draw the Stealth Guardians’ attention onto them.

“Good idea.”

Zoltan stared at his subject. “Yes indeed.” And he’d just had an even better one. He put his hand on the mantle and pressed an indentation. Soundlessly, a flat stone in the oversized fireplace slid back and revealed what was beneath it: a lava pit.

The smell of sulfur alerted his underling to it, and he turned his head toward it. Too late. Zoltan already had him by the throat and tossed him toward the opening. Frederic fought against him, trying to grip the stone surrounding the fireplace, but his hands didn’t find purchase.

“Next time, don’t lie to me.”

With a kick in the stomach, Zoltan sent his subject backward.

Screams of pain filled the study, but not for long. Within seconds, the demon’s body was burning up and sinking deeper.

Zoltan pressed the indentation in the mantle again and watched the slab of stone slide back in place.

For today, his work was done. Tomorrow, he would send his best demons out to watch the dead woman’s daughter. This time, the Stealth Guardians wouldn’t get their hands on what Zoltan coveted: a treasure trove of secrets that could spell the end of the guardians’ reign.


Three months later

“How did I get stuck with you guys again?” Manus looked at Grayson and Ryder, the two vampire hybrids who were currently residing within the Stealth Guardians compound in Baltimore. Their fathers, Samson, the owner and founder of Scanguards, and Gabriel, the second-in-command at the San Francisco security company, had sent them to intern with them as part of the alliance the Stealth Guardians had forged with the vampires.

The two twentysomethings had come to join them on various missions against the demons in order to learn all about the Stealth Guardians’ capabilities and help out where the guardians needed a vampire’s natural skill: to literally sniff out their enemies, the Demons of Fear.

Both Grayson and Ryder, who’d trained as bodyguards at Scanguards, were fitting perfectly into the motley crew at the compound, a group that, in addition to the warriors stationed here, now included two human women, one female psychic—all three mated to Stealth Guardian warriors—and two almost five-year-old twins. It was getting a little crowded and rather domesticated at the compound. Just as well that there were a few single men left to shoot the breeze with.

“I think it’s the other way ‘round,” Grayson said and jabbed Ryder with his elbow, then winked at Manus. “We got stuck with you.”

Ryder, the quieter of the two, chuckled. “Yep, that’s how I see it too. But hey, we’re good with it. At least you’re not a stickler for the rules, right?”

No, he wasn’t. In fact, Manus was known for skirting the rules whenever he could. Which was probably why the two hybrids preferred getting assignments with him rather than one of the other guardians at the compound. But he wasn’t supposed to let the two youngsters get away with shit. At least not with too much.

“Well, let’s get started then,” Manus suggested and motioned to the hallway that led from the kitchen and great room, the social center of the compound, to the command center. “Let’s see what they’ve got for us today.”

The two hybrids fell into step with him. Their boots clacked against the stone floor and echoed from the walls that were adorned with runes to ward off magic and protect its inhabitants.

“It better be something good,” Grayson said. “It’s been a little quiet here lately. I need some action.”

Manus rolled his eyes and exchanged a look with Ryder, who smirked. “Be glad that it’s quiet. You can’t fight demons all the time.”

“I can!” the hotheaded hybrid protested.

“Yeah? Let’s talk again in a hundred years, and then you tell me if you still think the same way.”

That seemed to shut him up. Just as well. The kid—and he was still a kid compared to Manus’s own age of just over two hundred, and a spoiled one at that—still had a lot to learn.

For a few moments they were walking in silence. Manus cast a quick glance at Grayson and noticed how tight his jaw was. Yep, the heir of Scanguards didn’t like to be told off.

“Hey, don’t get me wrong,” Manus started. “I like a good fight with the demons like the next guy, and I know you both are more than capable of fighting them… But there’s more to defeating the demons than simply bashing their heads in. There’s strategy, there’s tactic, there’s planning. And just because you don’t get action every day, doesn’t mean what you’re doing here isn’t important.”

“Whatever,” Grayson said.

“You’re such a dick as usual,” Ryder said, tossing a glare at his friend. “You begged your dad to let you come here to learn from the Stealth Guardians, and then you pout like a little girl every time things don’t go—”

Ryder didn’t get to finish his sentence. Grayson pounced and slammed him against the wall, growling ferociously with his fangs bared. “I don’t pout!”

Ryder wasn’t intimidated. He pushed the aggressive hybrid off him, catapulting him against the wall opposite.

Manus didn’t interfere and stepped aside in order not to get caught in the crossfire. He’d seen this coming. For weeks now, those two had been launching verbal barbs at each other. They needed to get this out of their system.

“You know what, Grayson?” Ryder ground out, his eyes glaring red now. “You’re an ass. You’ve always been an ass. And it’s about time somebody beat it out of you before it becomes permanent.”

Ryder swung his fist and punched Grayson in the face. The counterpunch was almost instantaneous and hit him on the chin, whipping his head to the side.

“You want a fight? I’ll give you a fight,” Grayson spat and aimed for his colleague’s head again, but Ryder was faster, diving to the side so the fist merely grazed his shoulder.

Still, for a human, the impact would have been painful; not so for the half vampire. He absorbed it as if he’d been touched with a feather. Just like Grayson seemed to feel nothing when Ryder delivered another blow, this time lower, hitting the arrogant Scanguards’ heir in the abdomen.

Folding his arms across his chest, Manus leaned against the wall to watch the fight. It was a thing of beauty, he had to admit. Two half vampires punching and kicking each other was like an intricately choreographed martial arts performance. They were agile, strong, and incredibly fast. They also had a high threshold for pain, and neither of the two was inclined to give up first. Their grunts and groans filled the hallway and bounced off the thick stone walls of the old building. At least they couldn’t damage anything here. In a regular house, they would have already left holes in the drywall.

The sound of footsteps suddenly drifted to him, and Manus turned his head. He saw Hamish running toward him.

“What the fuck’s going on here?”

Manus lifted his hand, stopping him. “Nothing.”

Hamish reached him and stopped, his eyes focused on the two vampire hybrids. “Doesn’t look like nothing to me.” He made a motion to march past Manus, but Manus grabbed his shoulder and held him back.

“Don’t. They need to have it out.”

Hamish raised an eyebrow. Then he slowly nodded. “’Bout time, I guess.” He leaned one shoulder against the wall, crossed his ankles, and exhaled. “So, who’s winning? Should I be putting my money on one of them?”

Manus shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine. They’re pretty equally matched, if you ask me.”

“Pretty good form too,” Hamish noted. “Light on their feet.”

Manus gazed at the two Scanguards bodyguards. “Hmm. Not bad. A bit unrefined. But trainable. Give ‘em a few decades, and they’ll be almost as good as us.”

“Yeah, almost,” Hamish said, smirking. “Shame they’re using up their precious energy on each other rather than on creatures that really deserve it.”

Both hybrids’ heads suddenly whipped toward Hamish, and they stopped in mid-punch. Their eyes narrowed.

“Did they just say almost as good as them?” Grayson asked, exchanging a glance with Ryder.

“I heard that too,” Ryder said, tilting his head and tossing Hamish and Manus an assessing look. “Wanna rephrase that, guys? You should know by now that vampires are physically stronger and faster than you.”

Manus grinned. “Yeah, vampires. But last time I checked, you were only half vampires.”

“Yeah, half-breeds,” Hamish tossed in, barely suppressing a chuckle.

“Maybe we should give them a taste of our strength,” Grayson suggested, “since they don’t seem to know what we’re capable of.”

Manus knew only too well what vampire hybrids were capable of. They were as strong as their vampire fathers or mothers, yet their human genes made them less vulnerable. Though they could be killed by silver bullets or a stake through the heart, the rays of the sun couldn’t hurt them. But instead of acknowledging that, Manus turned to Hamish.

“They’re way too easy to rile up, don’t you think, Hamish?”

“Yeah, barely a challenge,” his compound brother admitted.

Outraged huffs reached Manus’s ears. He turned his head to look at the two youngsters. “You guys done now? Or do you want to go another round?”

Both tipped their chins up in defiance.

“Good,” Manus said. “Then let’s see what Pearce has got for us today. Can’t stand around and play all day.” He turned and walked toward the command center. “And put your fangs away.”

He didn’t wait for a reply but continued walking, and seconds later, he heard the two guys follow him and Hamish retreat in the other direction. Manus opened the door to the command center. Pearce, their resident IT genius, sat in front of a bank of monitors. He turned his head briefly and nodded.

“About time. You oversleep or something?”

Manus marched toward him. “Nope.”

“Hmm. Got some work for you.”

The door closed behind the two hybrids.

“Yeah, an assignment?” Grayson asked eagerly.

Pearce glanced over his shoulder. “Oh look, the kids are here—” He stopped himself when he noticed their bloodied noses. “Run into some demons on your way here?”

Manus slapped Pearce on the shoulder. “More like run into some egos.”

Pearce chuckled and turned back to his monitor. “Figures.” Then he mouthed to Manus Who won?
I did, Manus mouthed back and winked at his colleague.
Pearce rolled his eyes, then he pointed to a file he’d just pulled up on the screen. “Got something for you.”

“Demon activity?” Manus asked, trying to sound casual when he, too, just like the two vampire hybrids, was eager for some action.

“Not recent. Remember the emissarius that was murdered about three months ago?”

Manus nodded. Stuff like that was hard to forget. “Nancy Britton? Curator at the Museum of Antiquities?”

Pearce nodded. “Yeah.”

“Do we have new leads in her case?”

Grayson and Ryder came closer, interested.

“Other than that we know it was a demon? No.”

“Then what—”

“It’s about her daughter. She can’t let it go. She’s convinced her mother’s death has supernatural causes.”

“Well, she’s right,” Manus said.

“You know that, and I know that, but the Council is concerned that she’s getting too close to finding an explanation that’s actually coming close to the truth. And we can’t let that happen.” Pearce swiveled in his chair. “They figured you could take care of this.”

“Take care of this?” Ryder echoed and took a step toward them. “Are you saying the Council wants you guys to kill the daughter?”

“Fuck!” Grayson let out.

Shocked, Manus stared at the hybrids. “Kill? Are you guys for real?” Then he glanced at Pearce, letting out an exasperated breath. “Would you please tell these jokers what our procedure in cases like that is?”

Pearce shook his head at Grayson and Ryder. “Honestly, guys, I know that killing is constantly on your minds, and that there hasn’t been any decent demon killing lately, but really…” He sighed. “Anyway, no, we’re not killing the daughter. We’re just sending Manus out to convince her that whatever supernatural cockamamie theory she has is totally loco, so she’ll stop pursuing it and drop the whole thing before it goes viral.”

“Viral?” Manus asked.

Pearce looked at him. “Yep, she’s posted all kinds of crap on this forum for paranormal buffs, hoping to get answers. Her description of a vortex is pretty damn accurate.”

“She saw a demon vortex?” Manus asked. “I don’t remember that from the file.”

“’Cause it wasn’t in there. The police didn’t put it in the murder book, or at least not in those words. So, we missed it.”

“Fine, I’ll take care of it,” Manus said.

Ryder asked, “How?”

Manus let a smile widen his mouth. “The gift of the gab.”
“Charm? You think you can talk her out of believing what she’s seen?” Grayson asked in disbelief.

“Piece of cake.” Manus winked at the two hybrids. “And so you’ll learn something, I’m gonna let you watch.”

It would be a nice diversion for one day.

About the Stealth Guardians series

Able to render themselves invisible, immortal Stealth Guardians have been protecting humans from the dark power of the Demons of Fear for centuries. The Guardians live in compounds, which are invisible to humans and demons alike, but danger is never far away. Only the Stealth Guardians stand between mankind and the demons' evil plans of ruling mankind. While protecting humans from the demons and their evil leader Zoltan, the Great One, they have to risk their own lives to fulfill their mission without the humans finding out who they are. But not everything goes according to plan. And even immortal guardians can fall in love.

Each book can be read as a standalone and always centers around a new couple finding love, but the series is more enjoyable when read in order.

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