Date Published: March 12, 2014
Caleb is dark, hot, and commanding in human form. As a dragon, he’s a force to be reckoned with. When he witnesses the slave Lileta being beaten by his Overlord Odage, he nearly comes unglued. Without understanding why, he asks to take the slave as his own, but soon realizes his longing is more than an attraction to a beautiful woman. In a sick twist of fate, the gods have given him a demon as his mate—one he can never touch unless he wishes his own death. His only choice is to grant her freedom.
Lileta wanted to kill Caleb, but when she is freed by this tempting male, her anger turns to a desire that can only prove fatal. Even if she could claim him as her own, her dark past makes her unworthy of his love.
When their paths continue to intertwine, spiraling them to the brink of passion, can they resist the yearnings burning within them, or will they submit to their fatal desire?
Odage stood under the full moon; the desert wind blew through his hair and grains of sand danced past his boots. Finally, he’d found the other half of the amulet of Tobor.
“I am extremely pleased, Odage. You have done well and will be rewarded. However, you know this journey has only begun,” a sinister voice echoed through the night air.
“Yes, My Lord. I’m aware of what is to come next.” Odage sneered. He knew the dark demon wanted the amulet. The harmless stone tucked in his curled fingers would somehow open Hell’s Gate when combined with the blood of a guardian’s mate. His master would then be set free to rain terror on the earth’s occupants.
“Good. Then you will start preparations. I am most anxious to leave this realm.”
“Of course, My Lord.” Odage shoved the amulet in his pocket and headed toward Caleb’s tent. He wondered how the slave Lileta fared with his second-in-command. He’d been surprised when Caleb had asked for the slave himself. Odage planned to kill her for her betrayal but decided Caleb deserved a gift so had agreed. He grinned, knowing the other Draki could be as brutal as he was. She might die yet.
When he reached the tent, he flung open the door and entered. Caleb sat at the table gnawing on a chicken bone. Odage’s gaze moved across the room where Lileta was handcuffed to the bed. Her tight pink T-shirt showed every curve, causing his desire to stir. She pinned him with a death glare. It really was a shame their species were incompatible. She was a beautiful female, with flowing raven hair, golden eyes, and hips that would fit nicely in his grip. Fortunately for her, the gods saw fit to make her species, the Kothar Demon, poisonous to a dragon.
Caleb rose. “My liege, how may I assist you?”
“Sit; finish your meal.”
Caleb took his seat. “May I offer you something? Wine?”
“Yes, a glass of wine is in order.” Odage waited while Caleb got up and procured another glass, filled it halfway with the red liquid then handed it to him. He raised it. “A toast.” Caleb extended his glass. “To finding the amulet.” Odage pulled the red stone from his pocket and placed it on the table.
“My liege, this is wonderful news. I know how long you’ve been searching for it.” He leaned in closer. “What happens next? Do you sell it to the highest bidder?”
Odage smirked. “Perhaps.” He would keep his master’s plans close to his chest, not even Caleb would be entrusted with the information. “But first, we must rid ourselves of the vampires. Prepare to burn down Vandeldor if you must.”
Caleb tipped his head. “Wouldn’t it be wise to find their queen’s murderer? I’d be honored to clear your name.”
Odage narrowed his gaze. “Fuck them. They dare accuse me, Queen Daria’s closest ally, of killing her? You know as well as I that they will never stop hunting me. Even if they were successful in catching me, they wouldn’t stop there. They will massacre our race.”
“Perhaps, but we are stronger than they are.”
“Yes, but I fear they have the gods on their side.”
Caleb furrowed his brows then nodded. “As you wish then. I will devise a plan to take them out.”
“Good, I knew I could count on you.” He raised his glass again. “To the death of our enemies.”
* * * *
Lileta had listened to the conversation between Caleb and Odage until she thought she would vomit. She despised them both and, if given a chance, would rid the world of their stench. When Odage had finally exited their domicile, her body relaxed slightly. She recalled Caleb’s earlier actions and was dumbfounded by them. Why had he rescued her from the sure death Odage would have meted out?
The Draki leader had tied her to a post and whipped her. It was her punishment for freeing the guardian Marcus, who he’d held prisoner. When she thought he would end her life, Caleb had stepped forward. It wasn’t until later she learned he had requested her for himself. So here she was, in his tent, cuffed to his bed.
She gazed at the Draki while he finished sucking the meat off a drumstick. If circumstances were different, she would find the man downright sexy. His tousled dark blond hair and eyes that went from brown to green, depending on his mood, lent a sense of mystery to the dragon. Even his scent made her skin tight. Leather with a tinge of spice tossed in for good measure. When the goddess Qadira created the dragons, she had really outdone herself.
There had been a time when the Draki were allies with the guardians. Something happened in the years that she’d been gone to change that. The animosity between the species sickened her. Bile sat at the back of her throat, but she forced it down. It didn’t matter how attractive this man was. They could never be. She was a Kothar Demon and he a dragon. Everything about her was poison to his species.
Her chin lifted. “What do you intend to do with me?”
He looked up from the chunk of meat still left on his plate. His gaze studied her and filled with lust. She was accustomed to the reaction. Men found her species irresistible. It was why she’d been taken as a teen so many years ago and sold into slavery. She despised all those who’d used her.
“Whatever I fucking wish.” He went back to his meal.
“You know Odage lies to you.”
His lip curled into a snarl, and he tossed the bone to the floor. “I could kill you for that comment.”
Her nostrils flared. “Do it. You don’t frighten me, I welcome death,” she lied.
She would give anything to see her family one last time and tell them all how much she loved them. She would die with honor, but if ever the chance presented itself, she would fight.
Her body was tired, the only thing that kept her going were the other women. The humans Odage used to birth his spawn. She’d already lost Veronica, the first slave brought to her to care for. The woman had died in childbirth. She needed to find a way to save the others and prayed to the gods every day that Baal and Marcus would come.
“I think I’d rather watch you suffer than take the easy way out.”
She curled her lip. “Odage killed Daria. He so much as admitted it and has no intention of selling that amulet. He bargains with the spawn of Hell, and only the gods know what they’re planning.”
Before she could exhale, he was in front of her, his fingers wrapped around her throat.
“Why did you save me, dragon?” she whispered, watching his eyes swirl. The green flecks came together and made the most beautiful emerald. He released his grip and grabbed a lock of her hair. Letting it slide through his fingers, he brought it to his nose. She held her breath and tried to steady her heartbeat.
Why does he affect me like this? I despise him.
She wanted to touch him in the most intimate way.
“I must protect you,” he whispered.
“What?” He must be deranged. Why in the hell would he want to protect me? There had to be an ulterior motive.
He let go of her hair, his eyes transformed back to brown, he reached for the handcuff and unlocked it. “We will be leaving here at dawn. Get some rest. Take the bed and don’t even think of trying to escape.” He stood and walked toward the exit. “I’ll sleep outside,” he announced before he disappeared out the door.
She rubbed her wrist, her brow creased in confusion. She had no intention of escaping, knowing as long as she wore the silver bands he’d find her. No, her only way out was to be rescued, or for Caleb to set her free. She laughed; he wasn’t likely to let her go. She pulled the covers back and crawled into bed, exhausted from trying to heal the wounds Odage had inflicted.
As a child, Valerie would often get into trouble for peeking at her mother’s favorite TV show, Dark Shadows. She can still hear her mother saying, “It will give you nightmares.” She was right of course, but that did not stop Valerie from watching. As an adult, her love of the fanged creatures never waned. She would watch any vampire movie she could find.
Being a true romantic, Valerie was thrilled when she discovered the genre of paranormal romance. Her first read was one of Lara Adrian’s, Midnight Breed Series and from there she was hooked.
Today, Valerie has decided to take her darker, sensual side and put it to paper. When she is not busy creating a world full of steamy, hot men and strong, seductive women, she juggles her time between a full-time job, hubby and her two German shepherd dogs, in Northern IL.
Valerie is a member of Romance Writers of America and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Romance Writers. She is also a member of Coffee Talk Writers and the Coffee Talk website –a site designed to support established writers and foster new talent.
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Other: Resplendence http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/m8/648-978-1-60735-749-0--fatal-desire-guardians-series-book-two-by-valerie-twombly.html