To stop an evil force she must learn to unleash her fire while dealing with a shape-shifter, dangerous men and a mercurial, magical lover.
Along with rewards, magic breeds danger. Star, Adam and Tristan submit to study with the secret authoritarian group, the Vigilar, in preparation to reveal the existence of magical beings to the world. But will this knowledge be used for good or evil?
Doubts creep in when Star is assigned to work with Lucas—a man from Adam's past—a man known to have dangerous ideas. Bigger problems arise during a sensual mÃ©nage when they discover a shape-changer dragon in their midst. Lucas claims the Vigilar plan to use shifters, especially powerful beings like dragons, for malevolent purposes, which puts Star and her special abilities in danger. Adam must devise a strategy to thwart the Vigilar and learn more about this controlling entity. While implementing their plans, Star struggles with the fear of unleashing—and learning to control—all the powers within her.
She struggles, too, with her feelings for Adam. Should she fight against her deepening love for a man who could desire power more than he loves her? The combustion of a potent sexual ritual forces Adam to face the question of their love and for Star to awaken the fire within.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of light spanking.
About the Author
Her interests include dancing, hula-hooping, drumming, and creating healthy meals. She takes the opportunity to play, have fun, and indulge in the pursuit of passion whenever possible. She hopes you enjoy her stories and would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit her website at naomibellina.com
Her motto: Never pass up the opportunity to have an adventure!
Read an Excerpt
Star tapped her finger on the console, beating out a fast staccato, until a look from Zander stilled her.
"My dear, I'm working as fast as I can. Irritating noises won't bring the connection up any quicker," he said, his own hands busy at the keyboard. "There's a geomagnetic disturbance between here and Earth interfering with my signal."
"I'm sorry, I don't mean to annoy you. I'm nervous," Star said.
"You're impatient," the wizard replied, then returned his full attention to the apparatus in front of him.
Star was impatient. It had only been three days since she'd seen Adam, and she missed him already. Vesta, Roven and the other inhabitants of Kastra were doing their best to make her feel welcome, but she missed the magical man who had captured her heart, and yearned to hear his voice.
For the hundredth time since she'd quit smoking, Star longed for a cigarette, though she was pleased to find the craving got weaker every day. Giving up smoking this time was not the intense agony it had been all the other times she'd quit. After she'd discovered she had magical powers, she'd been able to tap into a reservoir of strength and willpower.
Patience, however, was still a virtue that needed work. Just as she was about to move closer to Zander and offer assistance, he held up a hand.
"I've got him. There's going to be static, and you'll only have ten minutes or so."
Star grabbed the device Zander held. It was an odd apparatus, like part of an old phone, with a receiver at one end and the transmitter at the other.
"Star? Are you there?"
His voice was not crystal clear, but she knew it was Adam. Her heart skipped a beat and a delicious warmth spread through her whole body.
"I'm here. How are you?"
"Busy, lonely, horny — how about you?"
"The same." Star closed her eyes and could almost feel Adam's strong arms around her and smell his special scent.
"What have you been up to?"
"Taking it easy and having a little fun. Vesta and I have visited the spa a lot, and Roven has started teaching me a new martial art form, Jengundon. The next time you see me, I'll be relaxed, have great skin and be able to throw you to the floor."
Star smiled as she pictured working out on a mat with Adam, something they had yet to do together. He was not overly muscular but was lean and strong. Getting him to the ground would be a challenge, one they would both enjoy.
"I look forward to that, and especially what happens after you get me on the floor."
Star glanced at Zander. "Could we have a little privacy here please?"
"I need to stay in the room. The connection isn't entirely stable," the wizard said.
"This conversation is about to move to the steamy level. If you get all embarrassed and uncomfortable, don't say you weren't warned."
Zander sighed. "Fine. Remember, ten minutes. I have to cut the connection then anyway. If you lose him, I doubt I'll be able to get it back, so you might want to discuss your business first before you engage in verbal sex." Zander whipped his robe around then was gone.
"Did you scare him off?" Adam asked. The warmth of his smile echoed in his tone, and she longed to see his face. His mouth would be curved into a seductive grin, his deep brown eyes crinkled at the corners. She itched to run her hands along the stubble on his jaw.
"I did. Now we know how to frighten a wizard."
"He did manage to get us a connection. I'm on my cell phone. What are you using?"
"You should see this thing. It looks like the handset from an old-fashioned telephone. There are a lot of those inconsistencies. You remember how it was on Porrima, it's a lot like that here on Kastra. Some really high-tech stuff mixed in with antiques." Star paused. "I miss you."
She tried to keep her tone light. Adam had enough to deal with right now — he didn't need the additional stress of her anxiety.
"I miss you too." There was a moment of silence, and Star knew Adam wanted to say more, but like her, found it hard to communicate over distance. Since he was on Earth and she was on a planet who knew where, there was quite a bit of mileage between them.
Vesta had attempted to show her where Kastra was in relation to her home. Despite having a celestial name, Star was not terribly interested in space maps and found them difficult to read. Since she'd been teleported here by the pixies, it didn't really matter where exactly she was, she'd decided. She wouldn't need to chart her own way home.
"How are negotiations with the Vigilar coming?" Star asked.
"I have a meeting with them tomorrow. I'm seeing Maurice, the head honcho, and several other members of the council. Wish me luck."
"You don't need luck, you've got magic, and you're smart as a whip. I have the utmost confidence in your ability to get what you want. You won't forget to mention my requests in your meeting, will you?"
"I've got them on my list."
"Tell me what else is on your list."
"I'd rather you tell me what you're wearing right now."
Heat crept along Star's spine at the husky timbre in his tone. Just like that, the sound of his voice sent her mind spinning to a decadent place, and she felt moisture form between her legs.
"I will, in a minute. You heard Zander, business first."
"All right. Item one, you are free to come and go as you please. They will be allowed to study you only at times that are convenient for you, and you won't be held against your will. Now, tell me more about what you're going to do to me when I'm on the floor."
"I'm going to straddle you and pin your arms to your sides with my knees. What's next on your list?" Star squirmed in her chair as an image of Adam struggling beneath her filled her mind.
"If they want to administer drugs, potions or whatnot, or any magic they want to perform, they have to clear it through Tristan first."
"Tristan?" Star was surprised to hear Adam mention her instructor. Though the three of them had recently joined together in a powerful sexual ménage, Star knew Adam didn't entirely trust the man.
"He knows his magic and his potions, and he wants what's best for you. What happens next, after you have me pinned and helpless?"
In addition to lust, Star heard tenderness in his voice. He really did care for her, and was looking out for her best interests. Adam was acquainted with Tristan and knew his intense sexual nature. The fact that Tristan had attempted to seduce Star in a roundabout way did not sit well with Adam, but the three of them had sorted that out and come to an understanding. That he was now willing to work with Tristan was a good sign.
"I take off your shirt and undo your pants."
"You might have a weapon hidden. Next item on your list." Her breath was coming faster now. The air in the room seemed heavy and she could almost smell the tantalising musky scent he emitted when he was aroused. She wriggled again, trying to find a comfortable position. Her nipples had tightened almost to the point of pain, and she rubbed her hand across them to relieve the ache.
"They will allow those with magic to practise freely, as long as they don't call attention to themselves or hurt others. Go on, what happens next?" Adam said, his voice thick with desire.
"I search you for weapons. A very thorough search. I have to check between your legs, in all the crevices, to make sure you don't have anything concealed. Next item." Sopping wet now, Star slid one hand down the front of her pants.
"They provide instructors for those coming into their magic. Star, I don't want to talk about that anymore. I want you to tell me what happens next, with you and me on the ground."
"I wrap my hand around your cock and squeeze. Hard. You have something I want, and I have to coerce you to give it to me."
A moan let her know Adam was as hot as she was. She stroked her wet lips and circled her clit with one finger, as she gripped the handset with her other, sweaty hand.
"What do I have that you want?"
"A cock that fits inside me just right," she breathed, rather surprised at her own boldness.
"You've worn down my defences. I can't hold you off any longer." Star knew by his voice, he had his own hand holding his shaft and was stroking it. Could he tell where her fingers danced?
"Victory is mine! I mount you and slide your cock inside my wet cunt."
"It is wet, isn't it? Put the mouthpiece between your legs and let me hear you playing with yourself."
Star did as instructed for several moments, then brought the handset back up to her ear.
"I'm ready to come, how about you?" she asked, her voice tight with need.
"You go first. I want to listen and enjoy every second," Adam said.
"I have to be quiet ..." Star moaned and thrust her pelvis forward in the chair, nearly falling off with the force of her orgasm. On the other end of the line, she heard Adam gasp her name, then moan.
They both breathed deeply together for another moment, neither one speaking.
"It's better when you're here," Adam said.
"I know, I ..." Static suddenly filled the line, and he was gone. With a sigh, Star closed her eyes and pictured Adam the last time she'd seen him, with a smile on his lips and love shining in his eyes. He'd sent her to this planet to avoid having the Vigilar, a powerful group who monitored magicians, snatch her away to become a lab rat.
She'd discovered she possessed a unique power — the ability to force a shape-shifter to change. Apparently, this was not something any old magician could do, so this made her a person of interest with the Vigilar. Adam and Tristan had arranged a meeting with the council members in Florida to negotiate terms in exchange for her willing participation in their studies.
The sound of the door opening interrupted her reverie, and she opened her eyes to find Zander back in the room.
"You had few moments to talk to him?" he asked.
"I did, thank you," Star said. She rose, then headed for the door, straightening her clothes as she walked and hoping her musky scent didn't linger. "I do appreciate all you've done for us."
"We're in your debt for your assistance at the last party."
"How is the king?" she asked.
Zander's lips twitched slightly, a look Star had come to recognise as a smile.
"Well medicated," he said.
Star laughed and left the room to join her friend.
"Did you have a nice talk with Adam? You miss him, don't you?" Vesta asked as the two women headed back to the recreation area.
"We did and I do miss him." Star paused, then decided to share the nature of her conversation with her friend. She was normally shy and reserved, but since discovering she was magic, Star found it was easier to share with others. When she opened her heart, they responded in kind. "We had phone sex."
"You had what?" Vesta stopped walking and turned to Star, her eyebrows raised.
Star burst out laughing. "You don't know what phone sex is?" Though incredibly advanced in technical matters, the pixies of Kastra were surprisingly naïve when it came to variations of lovemaking.
Star and Adam had first met this race of highly intelligent beings when they'd been kidnapped and thrown together on a strange planet as part of a mad king's entertainment. After they'd helped to save the planet from one of the king's particularly crazy ideas, they'd formed a bond, and the pixies had agreed to temporarily hide Star until her lover and friend could negotiate her safety.
"No, I don't know what that is. Our comm phones are used for business purposes, not pleasure," Vesta said, a slight tone of annoyance in her voice.
"Okay, it's not always done with a telephone. Anytime you're away from each other and talking or texting or even writing dirty, that's phone sex. Oh, and you should masturbate while you're communicating. That makes it better. You do masturbate, don't you?"
"Of course!" Vesta's mauve-coloured cheeks turned dark violet.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to embarrass you." Star laid a hand on her friend's arm.
"That's okay," Vesta said, and the two walked in silence for a moment. "What do you say when you talk dirty to Adam?" she finally asked.
Star grinned. "Are you going to make a call to your sweetie Roven?"
"Okay, here's how you start ..."
* * *
Adam ripped the necktie off and threw it on the bed. It had been so long since he'd worn one, he'd forgotten how to tie the damn thing. What he had remembered was that it felt like a rope, choking off his breath. He wanted to make a good impression for his council appearance, but knew he needed to be in top form during the meeting. Having a noose around his neck would not be conducive to articulate speaking.
Basically, he was calm and prepared. He had a note card with his key points, and had rehearsed his speech. Tristan had agreed to let him take the lead, and provide backup as necessary. He'd spoken to Maurice, the head of the council in this region. The council had agreed to meet with him and Tristan in St Augustine, the location of one of their many control centres. Star had insisted he stay at her apartment, which was only two hours away. After a quick trip to Missouri to tie up loose ends at his home and his insurance agency business, and to pack more clothes, he'd come back to the central East coast of Florida.
Sleeping in Star's bed and breathing her scent evoked memories of their time together. He'd talked to her yesterday from that very bed, and the desire to hold her in his arms, to make love to her again, was almost unbearable. Their scorching exchange on the phone had been a delightful masturbation experience, but it was a far cry from having her in person.
After this meeting he would bring her home from Kastra, and while he was more than ready to see her, he was also aware they would have to talk about their future. He'd given much thought to the days ahead. Star was the perfect woman for him — she was spirited, lively and had a great sense of humour. Though they lived in different states, that obstacle could be overcome.
What gave him pause was the magic. He loved the energy and the pure joy of practising the art and wouldn't give up his gift for the world, but one of the reasons he did not have a woman in his life was due to that double-edged sword. Magicians kept their powers a secret, and rather than exposing their abilities, most practitioners simply had short-term liaisons with others. The only relationships that lasted for any length of time were those in which both partners had been magicians for many years. Star was a novice and still learning the craft. He hoped she would continue to study and become proficient, but he'd seen too many others find that having power was overwhelming. They either quit practising all together, used too much and got into trouble, or went insane.
His main concern, however, was what would happen if things worked out the way they wanted with the Vigilar. It was forbidden to use excessive magic, though Adam had certainly pushed the limits in the past. Now, Adam feared what he would do if he had no restrictions. In his wilder days, magic had been a way to do whatever he pleased, and he'd come up with many creative uses for it, including several illegal ones. If the Vigilar allowed him to wield his power without penalty, would he go back to his old ways, using magic for whatever pleasures he desired? His ruminations were cut short as Tristan gave a quick knock, then opened the door and walked in.
"What are you wearing?" Adam looked Tristan up and down. His fellow magician had on black jeans and a dark grey T-shirt that matched the silver-grey colour of his eyes. His hair was pulled back in the usual ponytail.
"What I always wear. Why?"
"I thought we might try to show the Vigilar council we're civilised men, meeting them for a business proposition, not for a social engagement."
"Since my role is only to play second fiddle to you and lurk silently in the background, I don't think it matters much how I look."
"That's not your role. We agreed I would do most of the talking, but you are more than welcome to speak. You want the same thing I do, more freedom to practise magic." Adam pulled a bottle of water from the refrigerator, suddenly anxious to leave. "I should think you would want to look professional when we meet these people, after your last encounter with the Vigilar over your strange sex magic," Adam said.
"I didn't see you complaining when my 'strange sex magic' got us this boost of power. Are you having fun with it? I'm certainly enjoying mine."
With a murmur and a flick of his hand, Tristan lit all the candles in the apartment and turned on the stereo. He turned to smile at Adam.
"My magic is running faster now, stronger. I can do things easily now, when they used to require more effort. What have you have you noticed since we did our ritual?"
"I haven't used mine, and you shouldn't be randomly throwing your magic around either. Did it occur to you that the Vigilar might be monitoring us? The less they know about our 'power boost' the better."
"Oh, I haven't been wielding it indiscriminately. I'm being cautious. I need to see what I can and can't do. Aren't you the least bit curious to know?" With another flick of his hands, Tristan put the candles out and silenced the stereo.
"There'll be plenty of time for that later."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Awaken the Fire"
Copyright © 2013 Naomi Bellina.
Excerpted by permission of Totally Entwined Group Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.