The Dark Kings have fought for centuries to preserve their dragon magic. But can one warrior resist the greatest temptation of all. . .?
A DESIRE THIS POWERFUL
In his quest to destroy the Dark Fae—his nemesis—the Dragon King known as Kiril goes to Ireland as a spy. When a gorgeous, mysterious woman tries to seduce him, Kiril instantly sees through her glamour to the Dark Fae beneath. Shara isn't just any Dark; she's from one of the most powerful bloodlines—and despite the dangers, Kiril can't stay away from her. He's enthralled by her smile, enslaved by the undeniable passion…
IS A WAR WORTH FIGTING FORShara has one chance to make things right with her family—and to prove her worth. It seemed like such an easy mission…until she actually meets Kiril. His charm, his sexual magnetism is too much for her to ignore. Shara knows that falling into Kiril's arms can bring her nothing but trouble. Yet she discovers an inner strength she didn't know she had…and an attraction that knows no bounds. But is her desire for Kiril worth the risk of eternal doom for them both?...in Burning Desire by Donna Grant
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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
By Donna Grant
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 Donna Grant
All rights reserved.
Pretending. Misleading. Mimicking.
Kiril and the rest of his brethren had been perfecting those acts since they sent their dragons away and set about blending in with the humans. They had honed their skills to a degree that only a handful of people in the entire world knew who they really were — Dragon Kings.
It had been difficult for the first millennia to pretend they weren't once rulers of the realm. After that, it became a habit, a way of life. What else was a Dragon King to do when the dragons were gone?
Kiril spent many centuries deep in his cave, asleep, hidden from the world and the shockingly easy way their reign had passed from legend to myth. Even then he wasn't free from his memories or the longing to be the dragon he was born to be.
No, in the dragon sleep, he relived the glorious time when the dragons ruled the Earth, when roars filled the air, and dragons were free to roam the skies, the ground, and even the waters as they wanted.
And then the humans came.
Kiril clenched his teeth together as he drove down the winding, narrow road toward Cork. He wasn't sure if he would ever be rid of his repugnance for them. He didn't blame all humans. After all, five of his fellow Kings had recently bound themselves to human females.
However, eons ago, it had been a human female who had made a vow to one of them, only to betray him and set in motion a war that could have destroyed them all. It was only the Kings banding together, and Constantine, the King of Kings, who came up with a solution — sending the dragons to another realm.
Kiril sped his sleek Sepang brown Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster along the winding roads with the top down and the wind whipping around him. It was the closest thing to flying that he could allow himself while remaining in Ireland amid the foulest enemies of the Dragon Kings — the Dark Fae.
The Dark were set on capturing a Dragon King. Recently, they had managed to hold two — Kellan and Tristan — for a short period before both escaped. Though it had been a close call, especially with Kellan.
Each time it had been narrow escapes. The Dragon Kings and their friends hadn't escaped unscathed. There were injuries, but the worst was that Rhi had been taken by the Dark.
Rhi. Kiril couldn't help but grin as he thought of the Light Fae. Though the Kings had waged war on both sides of the Fae, Rhi was different. For a time, she had been the lover of a Dragon King.
And no King would ever forget that.
None of them really understood what tore Rhi and her lover apart, and they likely never would. He never spoke of her, never mentioned her name. And Rhi ... had returned to the Light to take up her duties. Oddly enough, it was her interference in telling a Warrior that he was half-Fae and her prince that brought her back into the fold of the Kings.
She hadn't been thrilled about it, and had, in fact, told them all where to go. Yet, when trouble came, it was Rhi who rushed in to save Kellan and his mate, Denae. Then she did it again with Tristan and Sammi — to Rhi's peril.
Kiril was determined to locate where the Dark were holding Rhi. It was one of the many things he was going to ascertain while spying. Every minute of every day brought him closer to danger. Returning time and again to the Dark's pub, an Doras, only quickened the inevitable.
Not that a Dragon King ever shied from danger.
It was all worth it if he could rescue Rhi and learn who was out to reveal them to the world. The fact their faceless enemy aligned themselves with the Dark Fae as well as MI5 meant that they were prepared to do anything.
And so was Kiril. He would give himself up to the Dark before he allowed anything to happen to his brothers. It just might come to that too.
The Dark knew who he was, had known for days. It was a game they played with each other. He pretended not to know they watched the home he bought, and they were never far from wherever he was while they pretended that they had no idea he was a Dragon King.
He had to guard his every word, mind his every move. It was exhausting. And exhilarating. It had been ages since he'd had such an opponent. In the end, however, he had to remember it wasn't a game. Their competition would decide who got to remain on the realm — the Dark or the Kings.
Not once since he came to Ireland had Kiril dared to take to the skies — even in a rainstorm. The urge to shift into a dragon and have the air rush over his scales and along his wings was irresistible, crushing.
He gripped the steering wheel and gradually took control of himself. He slowed the car as he drew closer to Cork. Cork, like Venice, was built on the water with the city center situated on an island in the River Lee, upstream from Cork Harbor. With the River Lee separating into two branches and surrounding the city center, there were numerous bridges giving Cork a distinctive look and feel.
The city was pretty, but it wasn't home. Kiril longed for Scotland and Dreagan. He came to a stop at an intersection and waited for the light to turn green. The Shandon Bells of the eighteenth-century Church of St. Anne suddenly filled the air. The old-world style of Cork only made him miss Scotland all the more, but most especially Dreagan and the mountains that were home.
The sixty thousand acres of Dreagan were a haven for the Dragon Kings. With restricted airspace over their land, they could shift and fly whenever they wanted. The fact Dreagan whisky was the finest in the world kept them in luxury. Every restaurant and pub sought to sell Dreagan, but they were selective in who they allowed to sell their whisky. The Irish whisky he sampled while in Ireland was passable, but what he wouldn't do for a bottle of Dreagan.
Kiril found a parking space and quickly pulled the Mercedes in before he cut the engine. He didn't plan on being in the city long, but the dark clouds hinted at rain. Kiril closed the roof with a simple press of a button and stepped out of the car.
He fastened the first button of his suit jacket and glanced around to see how many were watching. Three Dark were visible and doing a poor job of trying to blend in. Kiril imagined there were at least four more watching him as they did on previous nights.
"Here we go again," he mumbled to himself and locked the car before he strode to the sidewalk.
Every time he came to Cork it was for show. He ate at expensive restaurants — sometimes alone, sometimes with different women. He visited different pubs, but always he returned to an Doras before heading home.
Occasionally alone, and at times with women.
Kiril had one hand in the pocket of his slacks when his gaze snagged on a pair of legs that seemed to go on for miles. Her black skirt skimmed high up on her thighs, and her platform heels only made those shapely limbs appear longer.
He paused and let his gaze wander up her legs to the curve of her hips. A silver shirt sparkled with sequins at the hem banded around her, accentuating her trim waist. The shirt was loose, flowing while the back crisscrossed in a large X showing a wealth of creamy skin. Her black hair was pulled to the side in a messy braid that fell over her left shoulder. She kept her back to him as she peered in the window of a shop.
Her eyes lifted and locked with his through the window. He was thoroughly mesmerized. Awestruck.
Her beauty left him speechless, dumbstruck. His gaze was riveted on her. Kiril took a step toward her when she turned to face him.
His lungs locked, the air trapped as he gazed upon loveliness unlike any he had ever encountered. Her oval face was utter perfection. Thin black brows arched over large silver eyes. Her cheekbones were impossibly high and tinted with a hint of blush. Her lips, full and wide, made his balls tighten and his cock ache.
She was Fae, but not even that made him turn away. Kiril had encountered many beautiful Fae, yet there was something entirely different about this one. He blinked, and that's when he saw her glamour shift. If he hadn't been so enamored, he would have spotted it sooner.
Disappointment filled him when he noticed the thick strip of silver hair against her cheek and her red eyes signaling she was Dark Fae.
It didn't take much for him to deduce that the Dark wanted to use her against him. It was a good thing he could see through glamour, or he might really have found himself in a pickle.
He should walk away, but he couldn't. Nor did he want to. He wanted to know the female, and by getting close to her she might let something slip that could help him in his quest.
His game just became infinitely more dangerous, and yet, there was a small thrill that made his stomach tighten at the idea of learning more about the Dark. She was thoroughly intoxicating to look at, and if the intelligence he spotted shining through her eyes was any indication, she was going to completely fascinate him.
His mind made up, Kiril walked to her wearing his most charming smile. "Find anything you fancy?" he asked as he nodded to the window of sparkling jewelry.
She laughed, the sound making his blood heat. "I love the glitter of the gems. It's a weakness." Her head tilted slightly as her red eyes regarded him. "It's not every day that a Scot visits Ireland. What brings you to our green isle?"
"Business. And pleasure."
She let her gaze slowly wander over him. Kiril wished he knew what she was thinking, and if she liked what she saw. When her gaze returned to him, her smile of approval said it all.
It was all he could do not to press her against the window and devour her lips in a kiss that would leave them both breathless.
She shifted her small silver clutch from one hand to another. "I've lived in Cork all my life. It's a beautiful city, isn't it?"
Kiril nodded and belatedly noticed the Dark who had been watching him were gone. He had taken the bait, after all. It also made him aware of just how completely he was enamored of the female. He was going to have to watch himself for sure, lest he find himself bound in chains. "Are you waiting on someone?"
"I was. They're late, and I'm tired of waiting," she said, her eyes posing an invitation her words hadn't.
The offer was on the table. All Kiril had to do was take it. It was tempting, or rather she was. It would be a treacherous obstacle of quicksand if he accepted it.
The lies would grow, the deceptions would spread. But if he succeeded, the rewards for the Dragon Kings could be numerous.
Kiril held out his arm. "Would you like to join me for dinner?"
Her gaze lowered to the ground as she smiled coyly and took his arm. "I would like that very much."
They strolled arm in arm down the sidewalk toward the Italian restaurant that was his favorite.
"Glad to have you back," the maître d' said with a wide grin and motioned them to follow.
Kiril guided the woman ahead of him with his hand on her lower back. He felt her shiver when his fingers grazed her bare skin. He couldn't hold back his satisfied smile. She had been sent to seduce him, but she wasn't immune to his touch. That could work to his advantage. It gave him the thought to try to flip her to their side. It would be nearly impossible since the Dark Fae were notoriously devoted to their families.
A Dark's family was everything from their rank in their society to their authority. The more powerful a family, the more influence and control was to be had. It was archaic almost the way they bartered their daughters and sisters to gain rank within their antiquated and disgusting social system.
It was a challenge though, and Kiril loved challenges. Besides, with as beautiful as the Dark was, he didn't think he was going to mind the effort. To know the feel of her skin, to sample the essence of her sex.
Desire, dark and profound, smoldered through him. It wasn't the passion that alarmed him, but the raw, visceral need to know her, the yearning to taste her.
The hunger to fill her.
That desire swelled and intensified, spread and multiplied with every second they were together. It consumed him, devoured him. He was being incinerated from the inside out with a need that burned as hot as dragon fire.
Kiril slid into the half-moon-shaped booth beside her and promptly ordered a bottle of wine.
He opened the menu and decided to push her. It was either that or kiss her, and he was afraid if he started kissing her, he wouldn't be able to stop. Kiril didn't think anyone in the restaurant would want to see him have sex. "Why did you accept my invitation?"
Surprise flickered in her deep red eyes. "I was hungry, and you offered."
"Do you often go off with strange men?"
She laughed, the sound going straight to his cock. "You're the first. I'm Shara, by the way."
"Kiril. A strong, unusual name."
He set aside the menu and regarded her. It was strange. He normally hated looking into the eyes of a Dark Fae. Something about red eyes seemed wrong, but he didn't seem to mind it with Shara.
Shara. What a beautiful name to match such an intriguing, captivating woman.
She cleared her throat and set her napkin in her lap. Her lips parted to speak, but before she could, the waiter brought the wine. Kiril continued to watch her even as he sampled the wine and nodded his approval to the server. Once their glasses were filled and their order given, the attendant walked away.
"You were saying?" he prompted her.
"I was going to ask, what kind of business are you in?"
Kiril thought about spinning another lie, and then realized there was no need. She knew he was a Dragon King, knew that he was from Dreagan. One less lie could only help him.
"I work for a distillery. I sample other whisky around the world for comparison."
Her red eyes held his as she lifted the wineglass to her lips and sampled the cabernet sauvignon. "Wouldn't it be easier to taste these whiskies at your distillery?"
"It might, but it adds to the taste of the whisky to try it at the place it's distilled. It's also helpful to sit in a pub and watch what the bartenders pour for their patrons."
"I see." She set down her glass and licked her lips.
Kiril swirled the red wine in his glass thinking how much he wanted to kiss her, to wrap her long hair around his hand and hold her hostage as he ravaged her lips. "What do you do?"
"I work in my family's business."
So she didn't lie either. Interesting. "And what is it your family does?"
Another truth. Dark Fae were notorious for luring humans into their world, but it wasn't pleasure the humans received. The women were taken by the males, and though they might experience brief pleasure, unbeknownst to them their souls were being drained.
As for the human males, the female Dark used them for sex. Sex with a Dark was like a drug, and the humans could become addicted fast. The females rarely lived long enough to know what was happening, but the female Darks made sure to keep the human males alive for decades while having their fun.
"A lucrative business, I assume," Kiril said.
Shara glanced away. "It is."
Kiril let the questions drop as their food was delivered. The rest of the meal was spent talking of anything that neither of them had to lie about. It was ... refreshing. For the first time in days, Kiril almost felt like himself. He was still on guard, but he was more relaxed. Perhaps it was because he knew what he was about.
Or maybe it was because he wanted to shove aside the food, yank her to her feet, and toss her atop the table to have his way with her.CHAPTER 2
It was lucky that Shara had gotten a look at Kiril the day after she was informed of her mission. She found Kiril attractive from a distance, but up close he robbed her of breath and thought.
He was tall and potent, overwhelming and dynamic. Compelling and persuasive.
He was — simply put — extraordinary.
Her fingers itched to sink into his wheat-colored hair that was thick and kept in longish waves. His eyes were the color of shamrocks — a bright, vivid green — and saw everything.
He wore the black suit with ease. The cut of it showing off his wide shoulders and narrow hips. The simple white shirt beneath was left unbuttoned at the top with no tie in sight.
The flash of onyx and pearl at his wrists drew her eye to his cuff links. It was the only jewelry he wore except for his watch.
He was all male — hard, vigorous, and intense.
His face appeared to be cut from granite. The hard line of his jaw only amplified his square chin and the little indent in the middle. Though he appeared relaxed and at ease, she knew he was anything but. His gaze swept the restaurant, taking in everything in that one glance. And when his green gaze focused on her, her heart skidded and her stomach fluttered.
While at one time she might have found some excitement at the thought of bedding a human, no male — Fae or human — stirred her as Kiril did. He faced the world as if daring it to challenge him.
He was the embodiment of excitement, intrigue ... fascination.
Excerpted from Burning Desire by Donna Grant. Copyright © 2014 Donna Grant. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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