Born of Defiance

By: Sherrilyn Kenyon

She’d have reamed him solid for daring to fight at that age. For that matter, she reamed him now after every match for being stupid enough to step into the Splatterdome. She couldn’t stand to see him hurt.

If only he had a choice about it.

“Nothing ever changes,” he breathed. Yet as he looked out at the Andarions on the street, he wanted it to.


All his life, he’d played by the rules. Done what he was supposed to, and got his teeth kicked in by everyone around him. Literally and figuratively.

He was done with it.

I just want to be normal. To have what other Andarions took for granted. Anonymity. Family.

A welcoming female in his bed.

Equitable job opportunity.

But those were all elusive bitches, who teased him to the brink of insanity.

Sighing, Talyn glanced down at his reset orders and wanted to give Ferrick the fatality fight he craved.

From the moment the royal-blooded Anatole had laid eyes on him, the colonel had hated Talyn for his lack-Vest caste. Like most everyone else Talyn had ever met, the bastard didn’t even try to hide it. He went for Talyn’s jugular with psychotic glee, as if it was his divine right to punish Talyn for only having a single maternal family bloodline.

Let it go.

Yet truthfully, he was tired of doing that, too. At this point, he was craving blood to a dangerous level.

Pulling out his link and needing a distraction from thoughts that were bound to get him arrested, he started gathering information on his next fight opponent.

Channel it, dumbass. That was what he was best at. While his mother might hate what he’d chosen to do with his life, fighting kept him semi-leashed and sane.

Most days, anyway.

Narrowing his eyes, he made himself pay attention to the words on his link. He was on the fighter stats page when an annoying ad popped up. As usual, he moved to close it. Until his gaze fell to the gentle face of an angel who seemed to be smiling for him, personally. While she wasn’t the most beautiful female he’d ever seen, there was something about her that called out to him. A soft, kind heart that was lacking in most.

Damn, she was…

Sweet. The kind of female who made a home worth fighting for. The kind who could lift a male’s spirits… along with a number of other things.

Time for change, Talyn. Time to take something for yourself.

He’d just won the biggest fight of his career. Had claimed a title very few ever did. Had done what no other Andarion had ever done… he’d won it in both leagues.

Vested and Open.

Just shy of his twentieth birthday.

Now, it was time he fought for the one thing that mattered most.

His life.

I’m not a mongrel dog. And he was done with being treated like one.

Chapter 1


elicia Orfanos hesitated as she caught sight of the massive male who waited for her in the small, dimly lit room. A full seven feet in height, he was ripped like a bodybuilder – with a massive, muscled build. She’d never been this close to anyone with a physique like his.

Holy gods…

Strange, he’d seemed chunky in the photo he’d submitted with his application. But there was nothing overweight about him.

Nor did he appear shy or bashful. Never mind socially awkward. Things he’d been dubbed by the answers he’d provided on their required questionnaire.

“Fierce” and “terrifying” were the only two adjectives that came to her mind as she swept her gaze over his confident male stance. He had all his weight on his left leg, and his muscled arms crossed over his chest as he stared at the wall with a stern expression that was absolutely chilling.


Even though he was dressed in black street clothes, it was a warrior’s pose. His black hair was a mass of tiny braids he wore back from his face, letting her know that at his age, with that hairstyle, he was still in the military. Another thing that hadn’t been disclosed in the file her agency had given her.

Not that it really mattered. Obligatory military service was required of all fully Vested Andarion males and females upon graduation from primary school or university. Given that he was here to buy her services at his age, he must come from some seriously high-caste parents. And he must have gone straight into the military instead of university upon his graduation.

He turned slightly as if sensing her presence. The moment his white eyes focused on her hooded form, she felt a small electrical charge rush over her.

Gracious. He was gorgeous! Granted, all Andarions were, but he was exceptionally handsome and well built. Every inch of that light caramel skin begged for a bite.

And his entire demeanor changed instantly as he realized she was the one he’d come to meet. Now, he looked like the bashful, unsure male their personality evaluation had proclaimed him.

Something that made her smile. How could he be made nervous by her when he was the only thing threatening in this room? He even dwarfed the security guard, who eyed him with obvious fear and respect for his gargantuan size. Yet this male reminded her of a skittish schoolboy at his first boy-girl dance.

“Felicia,” the broker said as he stepped forward to greet her. “Meet your prospective patron.”

With a deep breath for courage, she lowered her hood and smiled at him.