By: Dana Marie Bell
Genre: Paranormal, Shape-shifters
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: 11-22-2011
Series: The Gray Court
Desire is the raw material. Lust is the spark…and love will sculpt their destiny.
Akane Russo, one of the Hob’s top Blades, can’t wait for her current assignment to end. She’s been tasked with protecting Sidhe hybrid Shane Dunne from the Malmayne clan’s scheme to kidnap him once again. But no one—not even her Seer half—warned her she’d have to protect herself from his heated gaze. Or that her dragon half would find him an irresistible puzzle.
Shane knew his destined bride would never come to him willingly, but she’s stuck with him and he plans to use her predicament to his advantage. It’s only a matter of time before she succumbs to what they both want. Their Claiming will be beautiful beyond even his wildest imaginings—and his wild, free dragoness will finally see herself as he sees her.
Then his unique, hybrid-borne visions reveal a new danger. The prophecy of the Child of Dunne can only be fulfilled down a path he must travel alone. To a place so dark and dangerous that not even his truebond’s flame may be bright enough to lead him home.
Product Warning: Contains explicit sex, graphic language, a pissed-off dragon assassin and a smart-mouthed Nebraskan farm boy. Bet you can figure out who wins that fight! (Hint: It’s not the dragon…)
Akane allowed the rhythm of the music to flow through her. She kept her movements sensual, tempting the man across from her in the way only a dragoness could. From the amount of drool on his chin her target was buying into it. Akane allowed some of her inner fire to seep into her expression, smiling slightly when the target almost dropped his drink in his lap.
If Robin’s facts were correct, this man would lead her to information the Malmaynes would kill to keep quiet. She ran her hands through her hair, fluffing the curls around her face with a coquettish look. She licked her lips and allowed her gaze to roam over her target. When she was sure she’d set him to a nice simmer, she crooked her finger at him. All she had to do was seduce him enough that he was distracted. Her temporary Sidhe partner would then read the target’s mind and extract the information they needed. But if the target sensed for even one moment that his mind had been invaded, the entire operation would have to be scrapped and the back-up plan put into action.
Akane did not want to go to plan B. Plan B involved Robin’s direct involvement, something she was striving to avoid at all costs. If Robin showed up, things would get…messy.
Akane allowed the target to slide his hands around her waist. The Malmayne looked like most of them did, with golden, gleaming hair and pale eyes. On any other occasion she might have found him semi-attractive. Tonight, he was nothing more than a mark.
She danced with…what was his name again? Tristan? She danced with Tristan Malmayne, wondering when her temporary partner would give her the signal that they’d gotten what they needed. It would be a simple matter to slip away at that point, something she’d perfected over the years. More than one man had been left in her dust after she’d gotten what she wanted.
The target wasn’t a bad dancer. If he hadn’t been on the devil’s side she might have even enjoyed herself. She ran her fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck, scraping the skin with her nails. A shiver ran through him. His pupils dilated. His erection brushed against her as he pulled her closer.
She turned in his arms, allowing him to move against her ass, hoping her partner was done. His hands roamed over her bare legs, trying to slip beneath the hem of her miniskirt. If his fingers moved two inches higher he’d find a four inch stiletto pinning his foot to the floor. She wanted gone from here before she found herself thrown over Tristan’s shoulder and carted out of the bar. She’d hate to have to explain to Robin that she’d been forced to break the target into tiny little pieces for being too grabby. Again.
Akane looked up, trying to locate her partner, and damn near shrieked in surprise.Right in front of her was one of the handsomest men she’d ever had the misfortune to meet. His sapphire eyes were blazing with anger. Dark blue silk stretched across massive shoulders. Tight, dark jeans were molded to his legs like a second skin. Those scarred hands took hold of the Tristan’s and twisted, sending the Sidhe reeling back in shock and pain.
“Sorry.” She turned to find Tristan’s eyes narrowed. He studied Shane, way too closely for Akane’s comfort. “Don’t I know you?”
Shane grinned. “Nope.” He took hold of Akane’s arm and pulled her to the middle of the dance floor. “You are in deep shit, Miz Akane.”
It took everything in her to keep from twisting his fat head off his neck like a bottle cap. “I’m working.”
“That’s one word for it.”
She gasped in outrage. If he said that again he was going to be known as the Cockless Wonder. She allowed herself to be pulled into his arms just so she could hiss in his ear. “Do you know what you have done?”
“Nope. Don’t care either.”
The anger still appeared to be riding him hard. She was surprised his magic hadn’t escaped his control, filling the air around them with sparks or painting the whorls of a leprechaun on his skin. Only Shane’s eyes glittered with an almost inhuman rage. His attention wasn’t focused on her, though. His eyes were tracking Tristan Malmayne as the man made his way back to his seat.
“Robin will be here shortly.”
That got his attention. “Shit. You meant you were working, didn’t you?”
She gritted her teeth. “How attached are you to your balls?”
He had the audacity to laugh down at her. “Pretty damn attached.”
She pulled his head closer. “That was Tristan Malmayne. He might have given me an in with the Malmaynes if you hadn’t fucked it up.”
“They know who you are and who you work for, remember? Didn’t you damn near hand out business cards the day Duncan explained to his ex-clanmates why Charles Malmayne had been executed, and by whom?”
She grimaced. True, she’d told the Malmaynes in the room who she was and backed up Duncan’s declaration that Charles’s execution had been legal and fully justified. That didn’t mean she still couldn’t work the case the way Robin had asked her to. Besides, Tristan hadn’t been in that room, may not have gotten a good enough look at her through the satellite feed Duncan had set up. She could have pulled it off, especially the way Tristan’s hands had been inching up her skirt.
Shane lifted his head and pulled her so close she could practically feel his heartbeat. “Your mom called. She said hi.”
Akane bit him through his shirt. The son of a bitch had been talking to her mother?
He pulled her head closer with a happy sigh. “She also said happy birthday.”
Akane attempted to lift her head. It was like trying to lift a Chevy Tahoe with her pinky. Damn, the man was strong. She usually snapped people like twigs when they annoyed her, but Shane was made of sterner stuff. He was the only person she’d ever met, other than Robin Goodfellow, who could physically haul her places she didn’t want to go. She’d kicked him once, and instead of the satisfying sound of bones breaking, he’d barely grunted. “You’re dead. You know that, right?”
She felt the rumble of his chuckle under her cheek. “Dance with me, sweetheart.”
She rolled her eyes. He was not going to wiggle out of his imminent demise that easily. “Sweetheart? Since when?”
“Since the moment I saw you.” He allowed her to lift her head, and she was under no illusions about that. He allowed it. “No matter your form, no matter what Robin asks of you, remember one thing: you belong to me.”