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The Hunted (Vampire Navy SEAL: Sam & Layla, #1)

The Hunted

Human against vampire. The hunter against the hunted.

Human against vampire. The hunter against the hunted.

I kill bloodsuckers for a living.

The job should be simple—capture the target and collect the money. But when I draw my enemy out in the open, I’m blindsided by his mesmerizing green eyes and snarky wit. Sam Mason is the type of vampire my mom warned me about—the kind who will seduce you with his easy smile and arrogant charm.

Yet, I know better.

The Vampire Navy SEAL oozes mayhem and sex appeal. Sam’s deadly swagger puts me on edge and sets my nerves on fire. If I mess with him, he’ll annihilate me in a second. That thrills and terrifies me at the same time.

A million red flags are telling me to run. But my sisters lives are in jeopardy, and the only way to save them is to grovel for Sam’s help.

Is it possible to push the flames to the back burner and trust an enemy who can take anything he wants?

The Hunted is an enemies-to-lovers, paranormal, military romance and the first book in the new Vampire Navy SEAL spin-off series. Layla and Sam’s story is a slow burn romance with a feisty heroine, snarky banter, action, suspense, off-the-charts steamy times, and ends on a cliffhanger.

Series Reading Order:

  1. The Hunted
  2. The Predator
  3. The Union
  4. The Dawning
  5. The Prodigies
  6. The Prophecy
  7. The Rebirth
Captivating and action-packed, this military vampire book is sexy, addictive, and a truly imaginative paranormal experience that hooked me from the beginning. Sam and Layla’s chemistry is off the charts, and you’ll be cheering and laughing as they realize how truly perfect they are for each other.
J.A. Owenby, International Bestselling Author of the Love & Ruin series.

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Chapter 1



The area was shrouded in darkness as vampires entered the seedy club. The music from inside was loud and obnoxious, the bass heavy, and the electric guitar was ear-piercing, making me want to cringe with my sharp vampire hearing. I hated grunge. My taste in music was more on the indie rock side. But I wasn’t there to dissect music genres.

My team and I were on a mission to gather intel on a well-known vampire criminal, Roman Brown, who ran one of the largest syndicates of the Vampire Blood Cartel. We’d gotten word he was meeting that night with Jose Douglas, the owner of the club. Our orders were to watch and listen, not to engage, not to kill, and not to reveal who we were.

Ben was positioned inside, Kraft was guarding the back exit, and Olivia was about a block and a half away. I watched the front entrance from a secluded alcove in an abandoned building that had once been home to a textile company.

An old rusty Nissan, a shiny new red truck, and a Porsche sat in the gravel lot across the street. The foot traffic going inside the club was nil to light for a weeknight.

The wind kicked up as the clouds skated over the crescent moon. Thank fuck it wasn’t a full moon, or shifters would be tearing up the streets, and I didn’t care to tango with them. They were known to be quite restless leading up to a full moon.

Chewing on the inside of my cheek, I leaned against a cement wall. I was veiled in the shadows of the dimly lit street, in a perfect spot to monitor who went in and who came out.

“Ben, do you copy?” I asked into my comm.

“Ten-four. Nothing happening,” he returned. “I count about ten vamps. Jose is on his phone by the bar. But no sign of our target.”

We suspected, if our intel was correct, that Roman might slip in through the backdoor.

“Maybe we got bogus info,” Kraft chimed in.

“Let’s give it another thirty minutes, then we’ll call it a night. Roman is probably waiting for the club to clear out. This shithole closes in an hour, anyway,” I said.

“We’ve got a black four-door sedan heading your way.” Olivia’s voice came through loud and clear.

Within seconds, headlights bounced along the street before a sleek black car slowed to a stop in front of the entrance.

I straightened. Maybe we were about to get lucky. The bio we had on Roman indicated he had a penchant for expensive black cars. The Infiniti sedan was high-end, but not in the realm of the Mercedes Roman had been seen in by our scouts. He liked to live high on the hog and spared no expense when it came to building his empire. To me, he was foolish. If I were trying to stay under the radar of the Vampire Council of Elders, showing off would be the last thing I would do.

The sedan’s back door opened, and a brunette emerged, followed by a shorter chick with lighter brown hair than her friend. Both had their hair up, exposing their smooth long necks, and both were dressed in tight black jeans, cut-off tops, and boots that traveled up over their knees.

Automatically, I sniffed the air. A hint of sweetness carried on the wind and knocked me back a step. Definitely human. Definitely stupid to be walking into a vamp club, and even more idiotic to expose those smooth necks. Every vampire inside would be lining up to get a taste.

Hell, my gums pounded with the need to release my fangs. I had a ton of restraint, but I wasn’t perfect. Still, my pulse shot up ten notches, and not because of my thirst for delectable human blood. If I had to save a human, that would only compromise our mission.

The problem, though, was that as vampire soldiers—Navy SEALs to be exact—we protected our own, but also humans, both foreign and domestic. Not only was it our job to make sure vampires didn’t kill humans, but we took down the lowest, dirtiest, and most lethal of vampires who broke our laws, and we had strict ones in our world.

A third woman climbed out. She was slender yet curvy and dressed in an outfit similar to her friends’. Her auburn hair was thick, long, and wavy, spilling down around her shoulders.

I sucked in air. Her emotions hit me like a Mack truck—fear, nervousness, and a dusting of excitement.

Fucking empath ability.

My twin sister could read minds, but I’d gotten stuck with feeling every damn emotion on humans and any supernatural. If I let them, those emotions could stop me in my tracks.

Red whipped around. Her blue gaze, a beacon in the night, darted in all directions as if she knew I were hiding in the shadows. Then she tapped the roof of the car, and the front passenger window lowered.

“Thank you. We don’t need your services anymore tonight,” she said to the driver. The sound of her voice slid up my arm like butter on warm toast.

I sniffed the air once again, and this time my fangs slid out of their own accord. Where her friends smelled like apple pie, Red’s scent was chocolate and cherries. I dragged my tongue over one fang, staving off the need to taste her that instant.

Focus, man or your ass will be chum for the fish in the bay if you fuck up this basic mission.

With my fang embedded in my tongue, I sharpened my hearing.

Her two friends shimmied up to the bald bouncer.

The taller of the brunettes rubbed her hands up the beefy vampire’s chest.

“Rianne,” the shorter brunette said in a teasing tone. “I think we should show him a good time.”

The two women giggled like schoolgirls flirting with the hot quarterback at a pep rally.

The humans were definitely either smoking crack or up to something. The bouncer wasn’t just a regular guy. He stood two heads taller than the women and had arms like a sumo wrestler. He could sink his fangs into them before they could blink.

“Should we show him how we do a threesome?” Rianne asked her shorter companion.

The redhead joined her friends. “Ladies, we should take this inside.”

The bouncer eagerly opened the door for them, his fangs front and center with an odd grin on his face as though he was drunk.

Red tossed a look over her shoulder, scanned the area once, and then went inside.

The hackles on my neck rose high as her fear tickled my senses.

As if the humans were leading the bouncer to slaughter, he followed on their heels.

“Ben, do you copy?”

“Go,” he said.

“Three humans, women, are heading your way.”

“Humans are not our problem tonight.” Kraft’s tone was placid. “But keep an eye on them, Ben.”

Our orders were simple. “Don’t blow your cover for anyone,” Webb London, commander of the Navy SEAL team, my brother-in-law, and a vampire I didn’t want to piss off, had made a point to tell the four of us not once, but twice.

“Something stinks of trouble,” I said. “I can’t help but think that Roman sent them in to do his dirty work.” Humans mixed with vamps was never a good combination.

“Another bogie coming your way,” Olivia announced.

I licked the blood off my lip as a black Mercedes pulled up to the entrance. I slinked back into the shadows, toying with my fangs with the tip of my tongue.

The back passenger door opened, and Roman Brown got out, combing a hand through his blond military cut. He waited a beat before a curvy woman who was all legs and tits took his hand.

He grinned like he was in love, his canines pointy and sharp.

The buxom blonde rose up on her toes and kissed him square on the mouth. “I love when you look at me like that.”

The good news was that the woman wasn’t human but a shifter. They always had a distinct earthy dog odor. Nevertheless, I made a mental note to add her to our intel.

A sharply dressed vampire in a pinstriped suit that seemed too small for his broad chest got out of the front passenger side and scanned the area, staying close to Roman and his date.

Once they were inside and out of earshot, I alerted the team. “Our target is headed in. Remember to observe and don’t engage.”

Maybe our info was wrong, and Roman wasn’t in the market for vampire blood but human blood, which was why the humans were there. While that was possible, I shrugged it off. Human blood was readily available at blood banks, and Roman could raid those without a second thought. Besides, he made his money from the vampires who had rare abilities similar to mine.

As natural-born vampires, we carried a gene that would give us two supernatural abilities when activated around our teenage years. If a vamp developed anything more than that, they were considered unique or elite. However, in our world, my sister, father, and I were the only vampires who had been gifted, or cursed in some respects, with several supernatural abilities. No other vampire could read minds like my father and sister, and for that very reason, we were considered powerful. So much so that we’d been hunted by our own kind for our DNA. Vampires like Roman, who were hungry for power and wanted to build armies of vampires, could only succeed if they turned humans into vampires. That was how Ben had become a half-breed. He’d been turned by a former enemy who was now dead.

Vampires began to run out of the club as if there was a fire.

I bolted into action and stopped a heavyset dude who had terror in his eyes. “What’s going on?”

He bared his fangs. “It’s chaos in there. Vamps are passing out.”

I knitted my brow. “From what?”

He stabbed a fat finger at the entrance. “Three humans are shooting darts at vamps like they’re target practice. I’m not hanging around to find out what’s in those suckers, especially if it’s some endotoxin. That shit might not be able to kill some of the elite military vamps, but I’m just a lowlife.”

My slow vampire pulse ramped up to a hundred beats per minute in less than a second. I didn’t have time to question him about how he knew of the endotoxin. That was top-secret government info, but we had our own dark web where info could be found.

If those darts were filled with the endotoxin, then the correct dose could kill any vampire. Even as one of the military elites he’d referred to, I wasn’t immune. But I wasn’t worried about myself. Ben was in more danger since he was part human.

I started to run towards the club when the heavyset dude caught my arm. “Don’t go in there if you want to live.”

“They’re human,” I said. “Surely, a vampire can take them out.”

He laughed, walking away. “It’s your life.”


Chapter 2



I was met with ghostly silence as I entered, almost tripping over the bouncer, who was out cold. I could still hear his heartbeat, so he wasn’t dead.

“Olivia, Kraft, we have a problem,” I said into my comm. “The humans are shooting darts filled with some type of drug. Kraft, stay put and detain whoever exits the building. Olivia, get down here and guard the front entrance.”

Both returned with “copy that.”

I pulled out a leather strap from the side pocket of my cargo pants and tied my black hair back into a low ponytail. Then I jogged down the long hallway. The smell of stale beer co-mingled with the humans’ sweet fragrance. My gums throbbed. The thirst for blood was stronger than ever as adrenaline coursed through me at warp speed.

I slowed as I approached the doorway leading into the main part of the club.

“You don’t know what you’re getting into.” Ben’s voice trickled out into the hall, but I couldn’t see him yet.

“Shut up, or I’ll gut you like a fish,” one of the female humans replied.

I stepped off to the side of the doorway to get a glimpse of what I was dealing with. Vampires were passed out on the floor or slumped over tables, and the shorter brunette was pointing a gun at the back of someone’s head who I couldn’t see from where I stood.

I opened up a telepathic connection. Ben, what are we up against?

The three women have dart guns filled with a drug that shuts down limbs and knocks you out. The two brunettes have Roman at gunpoint. He’s not passing out like the other vamps. Not sure why. The redhead who seems to be the leader has a needle primed and ready to jab in my neck, Ben responded.

Is Roman the only vamp awake? I relayed to Ben.

Yep. The bartender is out behind the bar. The owner of the club, Jose, is also slumped over at Roman’s table.

What the fuck do they want?

You, man, Ben replied.

What the fuck do humans want with me? It was a rhetorical question, and the only answer that came to mind was that it had to do with the CIA.

Granted, there were a handful of top human officials high up in the chain of command who knew of our existence. The Council of Elders worked with the human government to keep chaos from erupting. I doubted those humans were behind this. They knew their lives were on the line as well as their families’ if they so much as whispered the word “vampire” to anyone.

The CIA wasn’t one of those groups. However, we’d had a run-in with two CIA agents who had teamed up with our enemy five years ago. But their knowledge of vampires had been erased from their memories.

A popping sound followed by a grunt severed my thoughts.

“Motherfucker. What’s in these darts? Has to be cobalt because my skin is burning from the inside out.” Roman sounded like he was in pain. That had to be him talking since he was the only vampire not comatose.

“Why isn’t he passing out?” one of the women asked with panic evident in her tone.

Roman laughed, evil and murderous. “When I get out of this, you three ladies are dead meat,” he grunted. “What the fuck do you want anyway?”

“Sam Mason,” Red said, “who I suspect is listening to us.” Her airy tone sounded like a siren’s call luring me home on a foggy night.

My dick jerked in my cargo pants. What the actual fuck? No female in my existence as a human and now vampire had ever had that effect over my dick.

“You want Sam Mason?” Roman asked in a shocked tone. “The Sam Mason of the Mason family? Why the fuck would you take out a club of vamps to lure him out?”

That was the million-dollar question.

“Sam Mason,” Red said, “we know you’re close by. Might as well come out, or I’ll gut your half-breed.”

“You have no idea what you’re up against,” Roman said.

“Shut the fuck up, or else I’ll pump more drugs into you. Then you won’t be able to move for a year,” the third human said.

“Go ahead,” Roman chided, “but be warned: you three are dead.” His tone was sharp and jagged.

I had all sorts of powers to handle these humans, but none that would bode well for them. I wanted answers anyway, like who hired them.

Red raised her voice, “Mason, if you don’t show yourself by the time I count to three, your comrade will die. We’re not bound by vampire law.”

Might as well get this comedy show over with. The scared vampires who had bolted might not have been inclined to stop these humans, but with my powers, I had no problem. In fact, they were in for a rude awakening.

“Olivia, Kraft, stay put until you receive my command.” I didn’t want to risk them getting shot with one of those darts. It was bad enough that Olivia had been a victim of the endotoxin a few years back and almost didn’t make it.

Then I plastered on a grin and waltzed in with my hands raised. “So, what will it be, ladies? A threesome or a foursome?” I wasn’t exactly digging the brunettes, but if they offered, I wasn’t one to turn down a night of blissful sex.

I was five steps in when Roman laughed. “Let me guess. You’re tailing me?”

I jerked my head to my left. The shorter brunette was standing at Roman’s side, although a good distance from him, and had a gun aimed at his neck.

“Seems to me you’re in a bind,” I said to Roman.

Several darts were embedded in his chest, and his silk shirt had burn holes in it.

“Apparently, there’s something in these darts that won’t let me move my fucking limbs. You should try it, Mason,” he said. “Ladies, what are you waiting for?”

Rianne, the taller brunette, trained her gun on me.

“I guess group sex is out of the question.” Then I glared at Rianne, who had her brown eyes narrowed, her hands steady on the gun, and her nostrils flared. “I would think twice before you use that gun on me.”

“What are you waiting for, Rianne? Do it,” the short chick said.

“Shut up, Jordyn,” Rianne said without taking her eyes off me. “Something tells me he’s going to be a problem.”

I roared with laughter even though the women were getting on my last nerve.

“Tell you what.” I regarded Red, who had Ben pinned against the bar and was ready to plunge the needle into his neck. “Let Ben and Roman go. Then you can shoot all the drugs you want into me.”

Red gave me the most blinding grin as she rammed the needle into Ben.

Instantly, he collapsed to the floor with a thud.

Scorching anger gripped my throat. “If he dies, I have no problem killing humans.”

“Amen,” Roman said. “Maybe there’s hope for you, Mason.”

Rianne fired her gun, the dart on a collision course for my chest.

Quick as a flash, I slid to one side before I had my hand around her throat with vampire speed. My fangs dripped with venom, and on a blink, my eyes flashed from green to silver.

The gun dropped and boomed to the floor. Rianne’s small hands gripped my wrist as she struggled for air. I let up just a tad, eager to find out why these women wanted me.

She sucked in air. “Let me go, or your sister’s house will blow.”

I tilted my head as though she was the most fascinating creature. The fuck she was. But just to be sure I heard her correctly, I demanded, “Repeat that.”

“You heard me, bloodsucker,” she snarled as spittle sprayed onto my face.

Brave human.

I squeezed tightly once again.

“I’ll gut the half-breed alive if you so much as hurt her,” Red bit out albeit nervously as she produced a dagger from the inside of her boot.

Roman mumbled something I couldn’t make out.

My gut told me Red was all talk, but as much as I loved Ben like a brother, I had bigger fish to fry. This human had just threatened my blood, my twin.

I drilled my silver gaze into Rianne, chanting a series of numbers I used when I compelled someone. She was going to be toast when I was done with her.

The other chick, Jordyn, screeched, the sound adding fuel to my fire. I’d made a pact with myself a long time ago: the next person, human or vamp, who so much as whispered my family’s name, especially my sister’s, would die a slow death.

“I’ll burn you alive.” Fervent terror gushed from Red’s tone.

Ignoring Red’s threat, I continued my assault on the lowly human. Within seconds, Rianne went limp, and I threw her to the ground. In a flash, I had the dart gun in my hands and aimed at Red.

Roman guffawed as though he were enjoying the show. I hated that I was allowing my target to see me in action. Hardly anyone did unless they were about to die.

Footsteps pounded as Jordyn ran to Rianne.

Red was squatting down with the dagger primed to slit Ben’s throat.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” My voice was deep and commanding.

Her eyes widened, her hand shaking around the hilt of the dagger. “Or what, vampire?”

I had to hand it to her. She had some female balls to continue to push my buttons. Grinning, I tossed the dart gun behind the bar and stalked closer to her. She was upright in a second, pointing the dagger at me.

“You know that won’t hurt me.”

Her stunning electric-blue eyes swirled with fear as her panic rammed me right in the chest.

While I hated to feel another’s emotions, I welcomed hers. Fear had a way of driving me to kill or get what I want, and I wanted answers.

I clenched my fists at my sides as I summoned my elemental powers. The ground beneath me began to shake. Bottles and glasses behind the bar crashed to the floor.

Red’s mouth dropped open.

“Do you need help?” Kraft asked through the comm.

“Not yet,” I returned. “I can handle the humans. I don’t want you or Olivia in harm’s way.” I inhaled deeply, glaring at the beautiful redhead. “This place will crumble if you don’t start answering my questions.” If she continued to piss me off, an earthquake was about to take down this building. “Is my sister’s house ready to blow?”

Roman chuckled. “I would answer him if I were you.”

“Sis,” Jordyn said. “This job isn’t worth it.”

Sis? Interesting development.

Silence followed for a beat as Red pinned me with a glare.

I laughed. “Your fear is pathetic. Did you really think you could capture me? Kill me?”

She slowly stepped back, heaving a breath. “What did you do to Rianne?”

I let out a guttural growl, and the dagger in her hand fell. She fumbled to pick it up, and when she did, her cherry fragrance tickled my nostrils and made my dick jerk again.

“You first.” I eased up on my elemental power, and the building stopped shaking. “Is my sister’s home rigged with explosives?”

Her heartbeat raced for the finish line as she lifted her chin, feigning confidence she didn’t have. Nevertheless, she laughed.

“If you’re going to use that weapon”—I opened my arms—“go ahead.” In three strides, I was an inch from the blade.

I blatantly sized her up, not caring how she took my bluntness. Up close, she was stunning. A sprinkle of freckles around her nose. Blue eyes rimmed in black. Lashes long, and I would bet soft to the touch, and her mouth… I sucked in a quiet breath, imagining those plump lips around my cock.

She stuck out her tits, which would fit perfectly in my large hands. “Like what you see?” Her voice was steadier than it had been a second ago.

I was ready to sink my fangs into that smooth neck of hers while I fucked her from behind. “I’ll ask for a third time. Is my sister’s house rigged?”

“No!” Jordyn shouted. “It’s not. Layla, we need to get out of here.”

Depending on the dosage of the drugs in the vampires scattered around, they might be waking up soon.

“Layla.” I rolled that name around on my tongue a few times. Pretty name and one I liked better than Red, the nickname I’d given her.

“I swear you women will pay for this,” Roman piped up.

I should check on him, but that would mean I would have to look over my shoulder, and I was fascinated with Layla. Besides, if the drug had worn off, Roman would be following through on his threat.

“Rianne, wake up,” Jordyn said.

“What did you do to Rianne?” Layla asked.

I ran my tongue over one fang. “One of my many lethal skills.”

Layla pressed the tip of the dagger into my stomach without puncturing the skin. “You will let us go.”

A grin emerged. “Baby doll, you are not going anywhere until I get answers.”

“We already told you your sister’s house isn’t rigged,” Layla said.

“You’ll say anything to get out of here.”

She jutted out her chin, defiant and strong. “Call her, then.”

“I promise your sister’s house is fine,” Jordyn said in a trembling voice. “If we’re lying, then you can kill me.”

“I’ll be more than happy to,” Roman said as a chair scraped along the floor.

I quickly tossed a glance over my shoulder, and Layla took that moment to ram the dagger into me.

Growling low, I removed the jagged blade as my bloodthirst became stronger than it had ever been in my existence.

She was about to run when I reached out and pulled her by the hair. Her back hit my chest. “Not so fast.” With my arm around her waist, I spun us so I could keep an eye on Roman. The drug was beginning to wear off, and he struggled to stand.

I didn’t have long before he would be feasting on any one of the women. I couldn’t exactly blame him if he did, not because he wanted to kill them as much as I was certain he wanted to taste them.

Layla alone smelled like a hot fudge sundae, and I would be damned if she didn’t smell like cherries too. I sniffed her hair. Yep, cherries.

I ran the blade along her smooth neck, stopping on her carotid artery. “Surely you didn’t hold a vampire club hostage to lure me out for a quick fuck?”

She wiggled her ass into my groin. “While the thought of you sliding your dick into my tight pussy sounds enticing, I have other plans for you.”

A lust-filled cloud hung over me as I pictured her doing just as she’d bragged. “What might those plans be?” Given their threat to blow Jo’s house, I would bet my vamp ass that they wanted me dead. But I had to ask.

She reached around behind her, grabbed my cock, and squeezed. “The next time we meet, I’ll be cutting off your dick.”

I choked out a laugh as I pushed her away. “I highly suggest you take your sisters and get the fuck out before I decide to do something far worse to you than what I did to your sister.” My tone was even but held a threat just the same.

She heaved a breath, snarling. “I’m not afraid of you.”

“Baby doll, you’re drenched in fear. I can taste it. But it’s not only me you should worry about.” I pointed to Roman. “He’s about to come out of it.” I marched toward her. “I’m giving you one chance to walk out now.” There was no point in keeping them. Jordyn might sing like a canary, but Layla wouldn’t, and I had to get them out before they became victims of Roman’s wrath.

Layla scrambled to get her sisters as Roman and I watched them hurry out.

“Olivia, humans are coming your way. Let them pass,” I said into my comm.

There was no sense in detaining them. I knew that within the next day or so, Layla would be on her knees, begging me for help.

Copyright 2022 S.B. Alexander

Author S.B. Alexander certainly knows how to pitch a romance to keep her readers turning page after page. Alexander’s intricate portrayal of the tough and hard-edged Layla, and her journey as she slowly loses her inhibitions around the tempting vampire SEAL, offers readers a chance to really sink into the tension all around her. So when the pair finally come together, the payoff is all the more enjoyable and emotive in all the right ways. A highly recommended read for PNR fans everywhere.
K.C. Finn
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