From the book
Chris Evans. That had been his name. A name he'd tried to forget. A life he'd left behind. But he wouldn't ever forget this day. Because today he had returned home, today he had returned to the place where he'd died and been reborn, an immortal Knight of White--a Demon hunter known only as Ryder.
Leaning against his black Chevy pickup, Ryder stared at the wooden stairs leading to the double doors of the small-town bar he'd visited that night--the night he'd been attacked by Demons. Rows of vehicles surrounded him; the full parking lot showed how busy the Double R Tavern was this night. Music poured from the doors and window of the popular nightspot with a blustering force extending beyond its panels. The plentiful crowd overflowed to the porch.
In the distance, thunder rumbled with ominous force, lightning flickering across the black sky, a scent of rain lacing the air. In a gust of wind, dust lifted in the air around his well-worn boots. Almost as if Mother Nature shouted a warning--beware of danger approaching. Of darkness beyond a storm. Darkness that mimicked the ache in his chest, the painful memories of the past that chased him night and day. He scrubbed his jaw and told himself to go inside, that the ache would persist until he got this over with.
Those memories reached out to him, taunting him with a nagging insistence, as they had for weeks now. Reminding him of a night twenty-five years before in this very parking lot, when he'd been a man with a family, with people who had loved him, people he had loved.
Wrangling with his emotions, Ryder ran a hand through his thick, sandy-brown hair. Edgy still, he scrubbed his palms down the faded Levi's he wore. Finally, he shoved aside his thoughts, pushing off the truck in the same moment, and charged toward the porch. Charged from the past into the present.
But halfway to the steps and counting, he drew to an abrupt halt. The soft sound of a female's delicate voice lifted in the air, the impact of which set his nerve endings on fire. He swallowed hard against the intensity of the reaction, struggling to grasp how or why a simple voice could wreak havoc on his composure. But before he could delve deeper within himself, the voice sounded again, this time hinting at urgency, at a bit of fear--angry fear. Fear that spurred him into action.
Ryder followed the voice as it lifted in the air, traced the location to four vehicles down, behind a nineties-model Ford pickup. "Let go of her arm!" the voice demanded.
"Ouch," another female said, a choked sob bitten back with the word.
Fighting back the unnatural instinct to pounce before evaluating, Ryder forced himself to stop, to assess the situation before acting. He crept to the vehicle's edge, the nearby lights allowing him a decent visual of the scene unfolding. A brawny cowboy held the arm of an obviously distressed, petite blonde. A tall, leggy brunette stood in confrontation, her hands balled on her jean-clad hips. She didn't even have to speak for him to know that this was the one who owned the voice he'd heard moments before.
"I came to take her home," the brunette declared, "and that's what I am doing."
The cowboy snidely rejected her claim. "She doesn't want to go with you." He ran his hand down the blonde's hair, his touch possessive. "Do you, Kelly?"
Fear radiated off the blonde. "No," Kelly said, casting him a submissive, beaten look, and then turning her attention to her friend in explanation. "I... we just had a little spat. I shouldn't have called."
The brunette glared at the cowboy, dismissing the blonde's...