Marcus Roth is a top criminal lawyer by day and demon-slaying warder by night, but he is simply one of five warders—not really important to anyone but Joseph Locke, his hearth. Or so Marcus mistakenly believes. On a trip to Lexington, Kentucky, to celebrate Joe’s grandfather’s birthday, that belief changes as Marcus unwittingly uncovers a paranormal dilemma and ends up revealing his identity as a warder to Joe’s family. Faced with a traitor, demons, and the return of an old enemy, Marcus must put his own needs aside to save his friends—though in so doing he may lose the man he loves forever. Even living through the ordeal might not be enough if Marcus can’t forgive himself and learn that his hearth and the rest of his clutch can’t do without him.

Chapter One



SOMETIMES there were just not enough hours in the day, and no matter what I did, I could not get everything done. I had gotten extra pressure when my boyfriend—partner, the man I would take a bullet for—had told me we had to go out of town to his grandfather’s eightieth birthday party. Due to the fact that I was a senior associate at the law firm where I practiced, I had to work extra long and extra late to clear my schedule so I could get away. As a result of that, we had not been able to fly out together, but I had made sure we would be sitting side by side for the trip home. Holding the man’s hand during takeoff and landing—he was a nervous flyer—was really something I enjoyed.

Getting off the plane at the Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, I made my way down the stairs toward the baggage claim. I turned my phone on as I walked and called my sentinel, Jael Ezran. Along with practicing law, I was also a warder, which meant I hunted and killed things that went bump in the night. I stood between people and the demon horde along with my fellow warders—five of us altogether—with our sentinel Jael Ezran. Every city had five warders and one sentinel to lead them. Every night we took to the streets in pairs, one of us rotating to have a night, or more than one, off. If there wasn’t much going on, only two went out. If there was a lot of activity, then Jael patrolled with us and we’d be out in teams of two or three. It just depended on the creatures from the pit. 

But in the light of day, I would normally…


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