Volume Four of an exclusive four-part volume by New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant.
Who was he to be able to consume her in such a way? He had filled her body and mind as easily as if he wielded some type of...magic.
Anson vows to protect Devon from the Fae. But can he control the flames of passion that blaze within his heart?
Read all four parts of this sensational volume and look for the full volume of Blaze in June 2017.
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. She’s written more than thirty novels spanning multiple genres of romance including the bestselling Dark King stories, Dark Craving, Night’s Awakening, and Dawn’s Desire. Her acclaimed series, Dark Warriors, feature a thrilling combination of Druids, primeval gods, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children, a dog, and four cats in Texas.
"Dark, sexy, magical. When I want to indulge in a sizzling fantasy adventure, I read Donna Grant."
--Allison Brennan, New York Times Bestselling Author
Read an Excerpt
Blaze: Volume 4
By Donna Grant
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 Donna Grant
All rights reserved.
Eons of time learning to control his rage was what got Anson through Amdir's mind-numbing prattle about how he hated Balladyn and was going to claim what was his.
Fortunately, it wasn't long before Amdir finally left the room. Still, Anson waited until there was no doubt that he was alone. Only then did he sit up and look around.
The space wasn't what one would expect of a lab or a torture chamber. There were no instruments or racks. The only thing in the room was a long, wooden table.
Upon it were stacks of books. One was open. Anson climbed to his feet and got as close to the table as the chains allowed. He was able to get near enough to peer at the book.
Writing. The books were Amdir's journals. And at the top of this new page was Anson's name. He held back his snort of anger. So, Amdir wanted to jot notes during the torture. That wasn't going to happen.
The Dark weren't enemies of the Kings simply because the Fae slaughtered humans without regard, revered malevolence, or embraced everything wicked.
The Dragon Kings eagerly and enthusiastically killed any Dark as retribution for the capture and subsequent torture of two Kings. The centuries of unrelenting torment had broken those Kings' minds. That's when the Dark had released one out into the world.
That day would live forever in every King's memory. The horror of seeing one of their brethren so ... destroyed. They were the most powerful beings in the realm, yet the Dark had managed to get the upper hand — briefly.
Every King had stared in helpless dismay at their fellow King. They'd all wanted it to be an illusion, some deception that their brother would throw off and turn the tables on the Dark. But it wasn't to be.
That had left Con no choice but to put the King out of his misery. Yet, it hadn't been an easy task. It was a major event when a Dragon King killed another, which was why Con, as King of Kings, had shifted and stepped up to do what none of them could.
There had been a moment of quiet as Con stood over their dead comrade. Con then lifted his head, his dragon eyes locking on to the Dark. And in one of those rare instances, Con released his wrath upon the Fae.
For days after, Con had closed himself in his rooms, refusing to speak to any of them. None of them had expected to see it affect Con so. But each of them recalled the day when the Dark had freed the second Dragon King. Before any of the others could step up, Kellan took the second King's life.
Both of Kings' deaths had been unnecessary. Yet it showed the Dragon Kings that they weren't untouchable and that sometimes being immortal was a hindrance.
Anson refused to be the third King driven mad — and killed by his own. He wouldn't make any of his brethren perform that horrible task. No matter what kind of torture Amdir administered, Anson wouldn't break.
Not just for his brothers, or himself. But because of Devon.
He had to find her. Without a doubt, the Dark had taken her, as well. She was somewhere in the horrid Dark Palace. And Anson would find her.
Turning his back to the books, he looked at the wall where the chains were affixed. He yanked at them, expecting to feel some give. Unfortunately, there was nothing.
The chains were old. The wear upon the metal was evident by the scuffs and scratches. Then there was the dried blood. No doubt Amdir added magic to the chains with each use, building the Dark magic so that even a mortal would be able to sense it.
Anson tried to shift, and just as he'd expected, the chains prevented it. That didn't deter him from finding a way to break free, however.
"So the rumors are true," came a female voice behind him.
Anson spun around and looked at the Dark female. She wore a sleeveless, silver dress that skimmed the top of her thighs, showcasing black boots that laced up over her knees, and the bodice plunged down her chest, showing the swells of her breasts.
Never taking her red gaze from him, she slowly walked into the room and let her finger run along the table. Turning so that she looked at him over her shoulder, she bent at the waist to look at one of the books, revealing her bare ass. Her smile widened, and she straightened to face him.
"Most males would be on their knees begging to let them have me by now," she said.
"I'm no' most."
She gave a small pout. "I'm beginning to see that. What a pity. I like what I see."
He ignored her gaze that ran over his naked form. There was nothing about the female that appealed to him. Not after having Devon in his arms.
"I suspect more Fae will come to see the Dragon King that Amdir caught," she said with a smirk.
Anson held up his hands, the chains clinking. "Unlock me, and I'll give you and every Dark in this pit a show when I go after Amdir."
"I'm almost tempted to do just that." Her smile seemed genuine as she looked at him. "Almost."
"If you release me now, I'll no' kill you."
Her smile faded slowly. She flicked her long, black and silver hair over her shoulder and glanced at the door. "We all have a part to play. Yours is to be right where you are."
"And yours?" he asked, lowering his arms.
"More important than you could imagine. You might actually thank me later."
That intrigued him. "Your name, Dark?" "Muriel."
Though the Dark Fae usually wore red or black, they were also known to wear silver. He disregarded it at first, but now he took another look at her.
On her wrist was a slim, silver cuff. He couldn't see the design upon it, but that along with the dress and her words told him what the connection was — Ulrik.
And for some reason, that infuriated him.
"Tell Ulrik if he wants to fight me, he fights me as a Dragon King. Tell him if he gets the Dark to do his dirty work, then he isna fit to be King of Kings."
Muriel walked closer to him but kept out of reach. "He had nothing to do with this."
"And why should I believe you?"
"It's not his way."
Damn her, but she was right. Anson had had that same thought earlier, but that didn't mean that Ulrik wasn't involved. "I want to talk to Ulrik."
"He doesn't know you're here. I'm trying to get ahold of him."
"Why should I believe you? This could be part of Amdir's torture."
She rolled her red eyes and put a hand on her hip. "You'll know when he's begun his torture."
Even if Anson wanted to believe her, he didn't. One look reminded him where he was. The Dark couldn't be trusted. So he would take her words with a grain of salt.
"You don't believe me," she retorted.
She dropped her arm to her side and gave him a side look. "You'll find out everything soon enough. I'll return at that time, and maybe then you'll listen to what I have to say."
"Why does it matter so much if I believe you?" The irony didn't go unnoticed that Devon had uttered the same words to him once.
The Fae's red gaze briefly lowered to the floor as if she were thinking about something or someone. "It just does."
"You care about him," Anson said, suddenly realizing why Muriel acted so strangely. "You're in love with Ulrik."
She snapped her gaze to him and bared her teeth as she advanced on him. Quickly, she regained her composure and put her finger to her lips, telling him to hush. "You don't know what you're saying," she whispered.
"I can see it," he replied, keeping his voice low.
"Saying such things can get me killed."
"And having those feelings willna?"
Her gaze darted away. "I've been a slave to Taraeth nearly my entire life. Thousands of years, I've bent to his will, having sex with whoever he gave me to for the night. Ulrik was the first who looked at me like a person and not an object."
Anson wondered what Con would say if given such information. If Muriel could be trusted, then that meant the old Ulrik was still inside him somewhere.
"He cares about me," Muriel continued. "His soul is wounded deeply. I don't think he can love because the scars run too deep. But what he's given me is enough."
Anson looked at the Dark with new eyes. He wanted to call her a liar, but the truth was in her eyes and in her words. "You're taking a huge chance being here."
"I can handle things."
"There was a human woman taken with me. Can you find her?" It was a long shot asking the Dark for help, but what other choice did he have? He had to know where Devon was so he could reach her when he finally broke the chains.
"I'll look into it." Muriel backed away before turning to the doorway. She walked through it without another word.
Anson moved to the wall and sat, leaning back against it. There was a chance, a small one, but still a chance, that he would get to talk to Ulrik. He didn't know what he'd say to his old friend, but he wanted to look into Ulrik's eyes.
No part of him approved of anything Ulrik had done in his quest for revenge. However, he did understand why his friend had taken such a road. Although, it didn't excuse any of the horrendous acts.
Sometimes, the need to retaliate outweighed good judgment. The anger that oftentimes consorted with vengeance eroded a person's soul, leaving nothing but hate, anger, and resentment behind.
Was Ulrik little more than a shell of who he'd once been? Or was there still a glimmer of hope? Anson had to know. For himself and all the Dragon Kings.
While he was left alone, Anson studied the room. It had high ceilings and arches around the door and the two windows. There was nothing of comfort or luxury in the lab. Besides the table, there were two stools.
It said a lot about Amdir.
With so little to look over, it didn't take Anson long to determine just what kind of Fae Amdir was. Motivated, dedicated, and determined.
He was single-minded in wanting to break another Dragon King. In his mutterings as Anson had pretended to be unconscious, Amdir mentioned the weapon Con kept hidden, but it was a ruse. All the Dark wanted was a test subject to experiment on.
Amdir was certifiable, deranged, demented. In a word — insane.
He was a mad scientist with no rules or governing body to stop him. The fact that Amdir had somehow made two prior Dragon Kings go crazy was enough to worry anyone.
And Anson was more than a tad concerned. He was determined to hold out however long it took. No matter what anyone told him, he knew Con and the others wouldn't rest until he was rescued.
The sound of approaching footsteps drew his gaze to the doorway. The door opened, and Amdir smiled at him as he strode into the lab, his red eyes twinkling with glee.
Yes, the Dark was definitely unhinged. And Anson was about to find out just how far off the deep end the Fae had gone.
"I'm glad you're awake," Amdir said as he walked to the table. "I apologize for keeping you waiting. I had an audience with my king."
Anson followed the Dark with his eyes. "And what did Taraeth want?"
"To praise me, of course. I did capture another Dragon King."
"So you did." Then, just to play Devil's Advocate, Anson asked, "Why did none of the Dark try to take one of us during Halloween when they were out killing all the humans? There were plenty of opportunities. Could it be because capturing one of us wasna as important as it used to be?"
Amdir laid down the pen he'd picked up and turned to face Anson. "You seem to think you know a lot."
"I asked a question. If I knew the answer, I wouldna have asked."
"Hmm. I see something else entirely." Amdir began, walking toward him slowly. "I see a Dragon King who wants to gain some kind of edge by attempting to make me doubt my actions. That's not going to happen. Do you want to know why?"
Amdir stopped before him and sneered. "Because I know the steps needed in order to win. You Kings had the advantage once, but you didn't follow through."
Unfortunately, the arse had a point. When the Kings won the Fae Wars, they should've rid the world of the Fae once and for all. But the alliance with the Light had put a crimp in that plan.
"You think you're better than everyone," Amdir continued. "But I'm not the one in chains. We're not the ones hiding. We go out in this horrible world you call home as we are. In doing that, we've gained the upper hand. We're going to win. And your capture just one step towards accomplishing that."
"I'm really going to enjoy killing you," Anson replied.
Amdir raised a brow. "Good luck," he said right before he launched a ball of magic into Anson's chest.CHAPTER 2
Devon stayed in the shower far longer than usual. She hated the tears she couldn't seem to stop. But most of all, she hated that Anson was gone, and she didn't know how to help.
When she finished drying off, she put on the clean clothes that Kinsey, Esther, and Henry had gathered from her flat. She brushed out her wet hair but didn't bother to do anything else.
The room she'd been given was spacious and beautiful. The white, wrought iron bed combined with the white bedding contrasted beautifully with the blue walls that were a few shades lighter than navy.
The large rug covering the wooden floors had stripes of various shades of blue that mixed well with the lighter tones around the rooms as accents.
The colors were calming, the space soothing. Just what she needed. But what made her smile was the fact that, even in that room, there were depictions of dragons.
Hanging above the bed was a large tapestry with dragons. One of every color and size. She saw a Brown dragon and felt her heart twinge as she thought of Anson.
"Hold on," she whispered and touched the dragon. "We're coming for you."
Then she walked from the room to find Henry waiting for her. His smile was kind, but she saw the worry in his hazel eyes that he didn't hide.
"How are you holding up?" he asked.
"Don't worry about me. I'm fine."
He gave a nod, approval in his gaze. "Of course you are. The others are waiting in the library."
She walked down the stairs, her hand trailing along the wood banister with a dragon at the finial. With all the dragons about — some obvious, some not — she could spend a month investigating the house in search of all of them.
The library was huge, but then again, she expected nothing less in such a house. The books were shelved from floor to ceiling with a rolling ladder to allow someone to reach the top of the twenty-foot height.
The windows were placed in a way that gave optimum light. The glass looked different, thicker. Most likely it was specially made so as not to allow the rays of the sun to degrade the books.
There was a large fireplace with a supple, dark leather Chesterfield sofa before it. On either side were two Chesterfield armchairs.
And all around the room, there were oversized chairs, chaise lounges, and loveseats set about for anyone to curl up on and read. The dark paneling matched the wood of the bookcases, while the colorful rugs brightened the space.
The warmth of the fire helped to make the lovely library even more welcoming. Kinsey rose when she spotted them and held out her hand to Devon. When she took it, Kinsey pulled her down onto the sofa beside her.
"Would you like something to eat?" Con asked from his position by the hearth. He had one hand on the mantel and a drink in the other.
Devon shook her head. "I think I'd like whatever you're having."
In the next heartbeat, someone held out a glass before her. She took it and looked up into azure eyes. "Thank you."
"I'm Dmitri," he said with a nod.
Devon didn't need to ask if he was a Dragon King. Though she didn't know how, she was able to tell who was a King and who was a Warrior of the men in the room. She took a sip of the whisky and let it slide down her throat.
The warmth spread to her stomach quickly. Just as rapidly, she felt her muscles begin to relax. She took another drink, then looked at Con, waiting.
"I'm verra thankful the Druids were there to aid us today," Con said to the room. "But just as before, I think this is where your association with us ends. None of us want the Dark to turn their attention to MacLeod Castle."
Isla sat in the chair to Devon's right, with one leg crossed over the other. Her long, black hair fell over her left shoulder while she wore the look of a woman intent on battle.
"Let them try," Isla stated.
Hayden nodded in agreement as he stood beside his wife. "Aye. Let them try."
"You doona know what you're getting into," said a man with gray eyes and short, dark hair.
Kinsey leaned over and whispered, "That's Banan."
"We do," Fallon stated. "We've discussed it as a family. The Kings were there for us when we needed you. Now, it's time for us to return the favor."
Con finished off his whisky and set the empty glass on the mantel. "We didna have children to worry about. You do."
"The decision's made," said a man with very long, dark brown hair and blue-gray eyes.
Once more, Kinsey leaned over. "That's Phelan. I just met him. Apparently, he's half-Fae."
"Broc has already found Anson," Fallon announced.
Devon sat straighter as she looked to the giant of a man Fallon pointed to. Beside Broc stood a flame-haired Druid who looked ethereal.
Unable to help herself, Devon asked, "Found him how?"
Excerpted from Blaze: Volume 4 by Donna Grant. Copyright © 2017 Donna Grant. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
With each addition to this series more and more secrets are revealed about the Dragon Kings. This story is full of drama and suspense and I will admit I love this series. Anson and Devon’s story is excellent full of drama and suspense and the amazing of the charts hot chemistry. Looking forward to more in this amazing series!