The heat from the heavenly flames seared my flesh before the fire consumed my soul.
The jeeps pulled up fast, with one leading the path. Each vehicle carried many muscle-bound shifters. The one in the passenger seat of the lead vehicle hopped off before the wheels came to complete stop.
He approached her, his gait long, his expression austere and solid. His powerful physique was padded in navy blue fatigues.
She’d never seen a shifter strapped so bloody tight, and with the latest artillery.
A large barreled pistol was harnessed to his muscled thigh. His right thigh carried a holster filled with sheathed daggers. Other pistols were holstered to various places on his body—chest, waist, and hips. Protruding at an angle from over his right shoulder was the ivory clad grip of a spear. From the glimpse of the handle alone, she could tell it wasn’t a design created in this realm.
Right away, she noticed his spot-on resemblance to that sexy demon vampire—Demetri. Only features to set him apart was his dusty light brown hair and eye color, which was a deep cerulean hue. Bright blue vapors, lighter than a normal shifter’s, sailed around his commanding form, trailing sterling streamers as they went. “Are you Sergeant Fiona ‘Copper’ Delany from Sector twelve?” His voice was surprisingly soft.
“Depends on who’s asking, Spear Master?”
“Commander Ronan Bithanos of the Chalvaiz Death Squad is asking,” he responded without missing a beat, his probing gaze unwavering.
“In that case, I guess I’m your solider.”
“Our grand alpha instructed me to pair you with a fellow soldier to drive the medical transport to the rendezvous point.”
Coming out of his mouth, it sounded more like she needed to be babysat. She clucked her tongue and scoffed, “Yes, per orders. However…” Her gaze roamed up and down his impressive frame. “When my captain informed me I’ll be riding with a fellow soldier, I didn’t expect some beefed up shifter.”
He cocked a single brow. “And I didn’t expect to be greeted by a mouthy redhead. So, I suppose we’ll both have to adjust to the unexpected.”
The downpour had let up some, but it continued to drizzle. Lazy clouds drifted across the sky, covering and uncovering the sun. They would be forced to rely on the leaves, along with the cloak she’d borrowed from the priestess for shade.
The mysterious magic weaver’s unexpected visit this morning invaded her thoughts. Like a divine dream, the sorceress appeared in her bedroom. She’d broken through the spiritual barrier cast around headquarters, without alerting any of her teammates. Even Cain, who slept soundly next to her, was unaware of the woman’s presence.
Havoc vividly remembered her appearance.
Dark amber dreads dangled past her waist and stormy brown eyes peered into her soul. “You’re going to need this if you expect to bring him back alive.” As the priestess stared down the barrel of Havoc’s double gauge pistol, she tossed the cloak onto her bed and bowed. “May the Gods be with you, young huntress.”
A moment after the priestess vanished, a penetrating pain brutally assaulted her. Her throat-searing scream followed. Havoc ran a hand over her chest, remembering the feeling of something alien being shoved into it. She’d never felt anything like it before.
Her teammates bombarded her with questions after the incident. How did you tell a pack of supernatural hunters that you had a blood connection to a vampire—namely the worse vampire of all—and that you had to bail out in the darkness of the morning to go to that particular vampire because he was in danger?
She couldn’t, so she didn’t.
There was a time in my life when I simply didn’t give a fuck.
I figured no matter how hard I tried, I would always end up on the dark side of my nature, so why care?
You see, I’m a blood child.
I seek out crimson where ever I go, ‘cause it was the color shown to me the day I turned into a killer.
Ah, the memories…
Most people wouldn’t admit something like that, or smile about it. It’s supposed to be buried in that big ole’ closet stocked with those dirty skeletons.
Believe me, I tried to convince myself I was anything but a killer. I tried to blend in with the world around me, do my hair a certain way, dress appropriately, be a normal black chick. Whatever that may be. I pulled it off for a long time.
Then, one day I woke up and I said, fuck it. Fuck this charade, fuck this bloody world! If you see me for what I really am, so be it. I like it better that way.
I want you to see me.
I want you to feel me.
I want you to hear me.
My voice is a call to the hell hounds. You hear it? That soulful, raspy whisper that caresses your soul? Sounds pretty, doesn’t it? Cherish it, ‘cause once I rip my fingers across the strings of my guitar, that whisper will turn into a howl.
I know. I’m being a cocky little bitch. You gotta excuse me. I don’t know any other way to be.
Now that I’ve serenaded you, and torn into your soul with my venomous shredder, let me draw a scarlet river with your blood. Is that such an odd thing for me to desire?
Didn’t you know I was a savage? Well baby, now you know.
There’s something to be said for lust at first sight.
Redd wasn’t looking for Mr. Right but Mr. Right now. But the moment Nikko walked into her bar she felt that first rush of need. She wasn’t shy about getting what she wanted even if only for one night, which was all her chaotic lifestyle would allow. Besides, not many men wanted to date a woman who worked in a strip club, even if she were the bartender. It tended to make them sneer. She didn’t know which was worse. When they found out she was part owner or when they found out she was a law student. That intimidated the hell out of some. She didn’t really give a damn.
Nikko wasn’t looking for anyone. His life was full as the senior associate at a law firm and he just found out he was being considered for partnership. His life was about to become even busier. Then something happened that left him shaken. What should have been one night of uninhibited pleasure became a weekend, then it became more. How the hell did that happen? And did he want it to stop?
Shaken is also book 1.5 in The Young Guns Series.
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Who is that masked man?
During the day Harper Reynolds might have been a law school student, but at night he was a male stripper. At the very exclusive members only Club Prestige. To protect his identity he wore a mask. But one day someone saw through his facade and suddenly the future he’d planned was threatened.
Nadya Johnson thought she’d always be a marine, at least for the next eight years. But a bullet took it all away from her. Including the man she’d been writing to for years. Someone she’d never met—but she wanted to see him just once. Even if he didn’t know who she was; and she didn’t dare tell him her real name. All she wanted was one night.
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A perfect moment can change it all.
Ever have that one perfect moment in time, when you know exactly what you’re supposed to do, who you’re supposed to be in life? Well, that had been me, and it certainly had lasted for more than a moment. I’d decided to pledge myself to God and help others in his name. Selfless, that was me and I was weeks away from taking my final vows. Then something happened, I met someone and suddenly I questioned everything.
I’ve always lived my life on my terms. Granted, I never thought I’d grow up to be a male stripper. But what the hell, I made good money and now, I had a shot at something more. And the women. Yeah, I loved women but they came and went. I preferred it that way. Didn’t matter which of us left first, as long as one of us did. I didn’t do attachments. Then something happened. I’m no saint, but I saved someone and wanted an attachment. Only to find out I could never have her.
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“Thank you again for coming, Lani,” Corrine said, giving me a quick hug.
“Yes,” Lara added, kissing my cheek. “Thank you. Love you. Feel better.” She squeezed my arm.
“I will. Love you too.”
“Want me to help you get a cab?” Lara asked
“No, I’ll just call one.”
“Okay. Text me once you get home,” Lara said.
I rolled my eyes. “Sure, sure.” It’s not like I lived alone. I hadn’t moved out of our parent’s house yet. I wouldn’t until I took my novitiate vows in a month, but I worked everyday and went to church every other day. Only returning to our parent’s house in time for dinner and to sleep.
I made my way to the elevator while my sister and her companions went in the other direction to one of the rooms for the strip show. Part of me was a little curious and wanted to see one, but the other more practical part of me knew I shouldn’t. Having a drink in a bar was one thing, watching the strip show, well something else entirely. Besides, the world seemed a little tilted. I stepped onto the elevator and leaned against the side to right myself. I’d just pressed the button for the first floor when someone stepped on. My head ached so much I couldn’t even glance up to see who I shared the ride with. I stared at the floor and could see the dark shoes and pants legs, the size hinted at a man.
The door closed, the elevator dropped and my body swayed but I didn’t fall.
The man who now stood behind me said, “Whoa!” He held onto my waist as though to steady me.
“Tha—thank—y…” Something was wrong with my voice. My words didn’t come out right. How much did I have to drink? The elevator door opened and I took a step forward to get out when the entire floor spun up to meet my face, but strong hands held onto me.
“I got ya.”
A male’s voice asked, one I didn’t recognize.
“Yeah, she’s fine. Just a little too much to drink.”
I didn’t recognize the one who answered either. “Na…” I wanted to protest, but the arms holding me up were the only reason I could walk forward. I leaned against his strength, depending on it.
I felt myself being placed in the back of a car. The scent of smoke and stale air made me want to puke. “Cab,” I muttered.
Hands reached across my lap to snap my seatbelt, pausing to stroke my breasts. Wrong this was all wrong. “Nooooooo!” I cried out.
Author Central https://www.amazon.com/Ursula-Sinclair/e/B00415YAVK
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“Believe it or not, I used to love Christmas. It was my favorite holiday.” Tranell paused to find the right words. “It kinda lost its zing in my life, ya know. I mean, as far as family goes and exchanging gifts, yeah, that’s great stuff, but without a lover to share it with, it just becomes another day.”
“Another day?” Squeezing her hand, Stephan caressed her inner forearm with his fingertips. “You look detached, not in tune with life and what it offers. When I came in and notice you, I watch you for long time.” He fiddled with the platinum ring on her forefinger. “Everyone around you smile, laugh…feel love and joy…except you.”
“Ha. You think this is bad? You should see me on Valentine’s Day.”
She tried to make light of the situation but failed miserably. The discomforting sting of his earlier observation took the wind right out of her sails. Was her demeanor that bad or her mental grief that obvious?
“Not like I wanna feel this way.”
“I want to ask you…what makes Tranell happy?”
“Puppies, rainbows, unicorns, the smell of roses…” she answered, finding his question endearing. “And, sitting here talking to you.”
His cheeks flushed, and his smile widened. “Merci, I hope to make you happier. Life too short to live in shadow of sadness. Someone so lovely…you shouldn’t be alone. This be our night. It be very special. I make sure of it.”
“Our night?” Giving him an impish glint, she snickered. “You are super charming but presumptuous as well. I never said I was going to spend the night with you.”
“Oui, you did, just not with your mouth.”
Stephan picked up his glass of wine, turned it up to his lips, and consumed it like he was chugging a beer. He released her hand and repositioned himself in the seat next to her. He then bent down, reached one arm across her lap, and took hold of the seat. The legs of the chair grunted over the wood flooring as he dragged her closer to him.
She latched onto the edge of the table. “What are you doing?”
“What it look like I’m doing?” Once he had eliminated all the space between them, his heated palm rested on the knee of her crossed leg, and his lips brushed over the shell of her ear. “I want to make you smile, Tranell.”
Her pulse quickened, the muscles in her thighs tightened, and her eyes briefly fluttered shut. “Damn boy, you are too bold for your own good.” A little voice in her head was telling her to pump the brakes and move away, but her body wouldn’t budge. “So I guess we’re past flirting, huh?”
“Come home with me,” he whispered.
Hesitantly, she turned to look into those hypnotizing eyes. “You expect me to believe you don’t have a woman at home waiting for you on Christmas Eve?”
“Uh-huh, I don’t believe you.”
“I prove to you by taking you home. Please drink your wine.”
Determined to play hard to get, she clucked her tongue and cocked her head. “Why? So you can get me drunk and my decision making skills go out the window?”
“No.” He tapped the stem of the glass with his nail, smiling devilishly. “Drink to relax, so I can make you my lover.”
The gym would close soon.
I wanted to stick around and sneak a peek at Chad, like I did on most nights. But he disappeared after his last session ended.
For months I’d been watching him, trying to conjure up the nerves to talk to him. To at least say ‘hi’. I couldn’t even give the man eye contact without tucking my tail between my legs and scurrying off like some scared doe.
God, why did you make him so freakin’ sexy!
His dark, slanted eyes, sun-kissed complexion, and not to mention his heart-stopping smile, were something to behold. He was mixed—Caucasian and Asian, maybe. I wasn’t sure, but his features were a combination of something incredibly beautiful.
As expected, Chad was always surrounded by women. They circled him like vultures, strutting around with their perfect bodies shoved in tiny short-shorts and snug sports bras.
I stepped off of the Elliptical machine and glanced down at my curvy body. Sure, I had a cute face, but the rest of me needed a lot of work. I didn’t stand a chance in hell of being with him, so why the hell was I pining after him? He probably didn’t even know I existed.
A voice came over the intercom. “The gym will be closing in fifteen minutes.”
Plucking the earbuds from my ears, I rushed back to the locker room. It was Friday night, so the place was basically deserted. Since I had fifteen minutes, might as well enjoy a ten minute sock in the hot tub.
I pulled out the bright pink bikini my best friend got me for my birthday. I hate bikinis! They were unforgiving to my little stomach pudge, but it was the only bathing suit I had, so it would have to do.
I bundled my curly fro to the top of my head and pinned it there with a flower clamp. Afterwards, I changed into the bikini, grabbed my towel then padded back to the pool area. As soon as I rounded the wall, I stumbled to a halt. For a second, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It couldn’t be…
He was reclined in the hot tub, his head back and eyes closed. The gurgling water kicked up over his exposed flesh, adding a gloss to his gorgeous body.
“Je-sus,” I whimpered.
His head jerked up and eyes flew open. He stared at me with an unreadable expression on his face.
Panic seized my heart, my breathing escalating.
Suddenly, a smile touched his lips. “It’s okay. Come on in.”