Deadly seduction and danger are on the rise in the next riveting serial, Burning Desire: Part 3, by New York Times bestselling author of the Dark Kings series, Donna Grant!
When Kiril is captured by the Dark, Shara will do anything to save him, even if it means sacrificing herself for love...
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
Burning Desire Part 3
By Donna Grant
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 Donna Grant
All rights reserved.
Kiril stood staring out the windows of his bedroom without seeing the magnificent sunrise and the fusion of colors scattered across the sky. Any moment now he would hear Con in his mind. The question was, did he tell Constantine his plans? If he did, Con would likely come to Ireland just to ensure Kiril didn't carry them out.
He looked at the bed, still rumpled from the hours spent in it with Shara. It had been only a few minutes since she'd left, but he felt her absence keenly.
In between their bouts of toe-curling sex, he and Shara had come up with a plan. She'd be waiting for him at her family's house to let him in so he could reach the doorway to Balladyn's.
No longer did he doubt her. At least his heart didn't doubt her. His mind was another matter entirely.
Kiril sent a quick text to Phelan telling him he was headed back to Dreagan and that he should also return home. Hopefully Phelan would buy the lie, because Kiril didn't want to have Phelan's capture by the Dark on his conscience.
"Kiril?" Con's voice asked.
He sighed deeply and opened his mind to the King of Kings. "I'm here."
"I know where Rhi is being held."
There was a pregnant pause before Con asked, "Where?"
"In Balladyn's fortress somewhere on the Fae realm."
"I feared as much," Con said wearily. "It was too much to hope they had her in Ireland."
Kiril ran a hand over his jaw. "Everything has gone to hell in a matter of hours. Balladyn discovered what Farrell had planned for me and stepped in."
"Has Balladyn come for you?"
"He will soon."
"Get home. Now."
Kiril hated lying to any of his brethren, but what he was going to do was better done alone. "I'll be there soon."
"If you're no' here by noon I'm coming for you," Con threatened.
"The Dark female that was sent to seduce me? Her name is Shara. She is the one who found Rhi and told me where she's being held. If Shara comes to Dreagan, I want your word that you'll protect her."
"A Dark? You want me to protect a Dark Fae?" he asked incredulously.
"Aye, Con, I'm asking that."
"Do you love her?"
"I think I could love her."
Con blew out a harsh breath. "Kiril, the Dark can no' be trusted."
"You said the same about the Light at one time as well. And yet we've always trusted Rhi."
"Rhi is different."
"So is Shara. Your word, Con."
"Dammit, Kiril. Please."
Kiril remained silent.
"Fine," Con said despairingly. "You have it."
"You can thank me when your ugly arse gets home."
Kiril smiled despite himself. "You better have that ninety-year-old bottle of Dreagan out when I do."
"Consider it done. Now hurry home."
Kiril remained at his window long after the link between him and Con had been severed. He glanced down at the pool remembering the night. Never had a woman ever looked so good in the water.
He turned and exited his room and then descended the stairs. Soon, Dark would descend upon him. He could battle them, but they would eventually overwhelm him, and then he would find himself as their prisoner.
That couldn't happen, not if he was going to rescue Rhi.
It wasn't in Kiril's nature — or any Dragon King for that matter — to run, but he had to consider the options because more was at stake than his pride. Kiril looked around the house noting all the places the Dark would enter and surround him. There was nowhere for him to go that they wouldn't find him except for one place — the cellar.
Dragon magic kept the door hidden from everyone that wasn't a Dragon King. The Dark could search the entire house and never find him. No matter how much he wanted to battle the Dark, he was going to have to bide his time and wait until he had Rhi.
Then he would unleash hell.
Kiril walked to the hidden cellar door and entered. He put his hand on the door and infused it with more magic so that no Dark Fae magic would penetrate it. Kiril turned and descended six more steps and removed his clothes. He folded them and set them on the bottom stair before he walked to the middle of the cellar.
Any moment now the Dark would flood his home in an attempt to find him. When they finally gave up, he would go to Shara who would lead him to the doorway to Balladyn's where he would locate and free Rhi.
It was a good, solid plan.
Why then did he have a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach that something was going to go wrong?
* * *
Shara was veiled for all of two seconds as she appeared in her bedroom. It was the longest she could remain veiled, although she knew there were a few special Fae who could stay veiled for long periods of time.
Fortunately for her, those two seconds were all she needed to know that no one was in her room. She yanked off the cold, and still damp, black dress from the night before and threw it in the corner.
She hurriedly dressed in black jeans and a sheer, billowy black shirt before she brushed out the knots in her hair. There wasn't time to put on makeup to look her absolute best, but if she was going to fool Balladyn, she had to make an attempt at looking decent.
It wasn't until she checked herself one last time in the full-length mirror that she heard the distant screams. She stilled, realizing they were coming from inside the house.
Shara slowly opened the door and stepped into the corridor. The screams were louder then. She followed the sound as she walked the hallway to the stairs leading to the first level. There were words spoken through the screams, but she couldn't make them out.
She paused when she reached the bottom. Usually the house was full of her family and extended family, but she hadn't seen a single one of them. Which meant they were all in her father's office.
Her head turned in that direction to hear another bout of agony-filled screams that came from his office. She started toward the double doors, unable to keep away. After what she had done by going to Balladyn, there was a chance they would lock her away again.
Or worse, kill her.
Still, she walked until she stood at the doors, her hand on the knob. From within she could hear a voice and recognized it as Farrell's as he begged for mercy.
A Dark Fae begging for mercy. Not even she had done that when she'd stood before her family awaiting justice.
She drew in a deep breath and flung open the doors. No longer would she try to slip anywhere unseen. She was strong and confident, and she didn't have to do evil to be either. It had taken only a few hours with Kiril for her to come to that understanding. Too bad she hadn't realized that six hundred years before.
Every head in the office swiveled to her, including Farrell's. He kneeled before their father, blood covering his face and clothes from various wounds.
She held her head high as she walked into the room. A path cleared for her leading to where her father stood with Farrell. She barely gave her father a look as she stopped beside her brother.
"How does it feel to be on trial before the family?" she asked.
He whimpered and tried to reach for her leg. Shara deftly moved aside, astounded by the crying, sniveling Dark before her.
"Please," he begged her. "Please, Shara. Tell Father what Balladyn said is a lie."
Shara laughed wryly. "You mean the part where you told others what I had done, what every Blackwood was supposed to never speak of to anyone outside of the family?"
"I didn't," Farrell wailed.
"Then how did Balladyn know of it? More importantly, why did you announce it in an Doras last night? You wanted to kill me because I'm not good enough for this family. Now is your chance. Brother."
"Shara," her father began.
She whipped her head around to him. "Stay out of this." She didn't wait for him to consent before she turned back to Farrell. "Well? Here's your chance. You've hit me enough times. Get to your feet and act like a real Dark."
Farrell bowed his head, his shoulders shaking as he cried harder.
"Now who's the one that doesn't belong?" she bent over and asked.
Shara was disgusted with the entire scene. She straightened and turned to walk out when her mother stepped in her path.
"Where are you going, dear?" her mother asked sweetly.
Sweet and her mother were never mixed in the same sentence. There wasn't an ounce of kindness in her mother, or forgiveness for that matter.
"None of your business," Shara stated and tried to go around her.
Her mother remained in her way. "We have a ceremony to prepare you for. Balladyn wants to claim you immediately."
Shara hid her frown. She'd expected to spend the day explaining her absence to Balladyn to cool his anger while Kiril rescued Rhi. It wasn't part of Kiril's plan, but someone had to occupy Balladyn. As soon as Kiril and Rhi were out of the compound, Shara planned to leave as well. Kiril wanted her to go to Dreagan, but she still had reservations about that. It wasn't something she was going to think about until their plans came to fruition.
"Balladyn came here last night," her mother continued in her silence. "He wants you as his immediately."
Shara just bet he did. It might have taken her awhile, but she had figured both Balladyn and her brother out. For that matter, she had figured out her family as well. One more regret that she realized too late after having put herself in such a position.
She looked around, comprehending that it was a show everyone was playing. The "trial" Farrell was on was just for appearances. He would be dead within a few hours.
And he knew it.
Her mother's tight smile was an appearance of trying to become friendly with a daughter she had scorned now that Shara was set to be claimed by the second most powerful Dark and Taraeth's right hand.
The rest of the family was following her parents' lead.
Shara pivoted to look at her father. He watched her with eyes now filled with interest and a hint of respect. Of course he would. Balladyn wanted her, and in his mind she had to be something special to get a man such as Balladyn to stake his claim.
She wanted to roll her eyes. But she wouldn't. She would play the game with them. She had learned from the best, after all.
"The Claiming will have to wait. We have a Dragon King to find," she stated to the room at large.
Her father's eyes widened. "I thought Balladyn was going after Kiril?"
"Oh he is," Shara said with a grin. "I'll be joining him. I did all the work, after all."
Her mother's cold fingers wrapped around her wrist as she used to do when Shara was younger. It was her way of putting Shara in her place. "I don't think that's a good idea."
Shara looked down at her wrist before she lifted her gaze to her mother. She waited a heartbeat to see if her mother would release her before she purposefully, determinedly removed her mother's hand from her arm. "Don't touch me again."
Her mother took a step back, a look of fear flashing in her red eyes.
Shara turned her back on her mother and looked to her father once more. "Do you have anything else to say?"
"Will you return to us?" he asked.
She considered his words, drawing out the silence to stretch to an uncomfortable length. "I've not decided."
"We're your family, Shara," he said calmly. "It wouldn't look right if we're not with you at the Claiming. Besides, you're my only child out of nine left."
She glanced at Farrell who sat huddled in a ball. "You have other things to worry about. There were many who witnessed what Balladyn did to Farrell, and what is done to one of us is done to the family. The Blackwood family appears weak now. I'm not sure I want to be a part of such a family."
Her father frowned. "You would disown us?"
Shara turned and walked out of the room saying, "I'm considering it."CHAPTER 2
Kiril dozed as he waited to hear the voices of the Dark above him. Hours went by with nothing, yet he lingered in the cellar. The house remained as silent as a tomb, and Kiril began to feel that it might very well end up that way for him. He closed his eyes and drifted back to his night with Shara.
Despite the wonderful hours spent holding her in his arms, nothing had changed. He knew she would never come to Dreagan with — or without — him. He knew it with the same certainty that his carefully thought-out plan was somehow going to go wrong.
He went over every detail of the plan and tried to determine where things could go wrong. The problem was there were too many places. Kiril limited Shara's involvement just in case she had a change of heart, or — even worse — Balladyn got ahold of her.
With nothing to do but wait, Kiril continued to doze while thinking of ways he wanted to take his anger out on Balladyn for what he had done to Rhi — and what he might do to Shara if Balladyn discovered she was helping him.
If Rhys were with him, Kiril knew his friend would caution him about trusting a Dark. He knew the chances, but if there was even the slightest chance that Shara really did want to help, then he had to take it.
Kiril wasn't senseless, and though his body yearned for her with a passion that couldn't be explained, he knew there was still the chance that Shara could be luring him into her well-crafted web.
It wasn't just the all-consuming desire that drew Kiril to her. It was her smile, her sharp mind, her soft touch. It was her eyes that gave away her every emotion, it was the strip of silver in her coal black hair.
It was the way she'd made him feel whole since his dragons were sent away.
Please doona let me be wrong about her.
* * *
Shara felt ... free. It was the only word that came to mind as she stood outside of her family's home in the back garden. Never in her wildest dreams did she dare to talk to her parents as she had.
She wasn't sure what had come over her.
Yes, you do. Kiril.
There was no doubt. Kiril had changed her, and not just by the way her body reacted to him. He altered the way she thought and the way she saw things. He made her take stock of her life and how she saw her future, of how she wanted to live.
He was the one who accepted her for what she was and didn't demand anything from her or of her. He let her be herself, right or wrong. That had shown her what kind of person she could be — what kind she wanted to be.
The confidence she'd always had disappeared while locked away in her room, and somehow she had found it again in Kiril's arms. She remembered she was strong, smart, and resilient.
Shara breathed deeply, a smile on her face. Any moment now Kiril would arrive so she could take him to the doorway to Balladyn's fortress. He didn't know it yet, but she was coming with him. He would put up a fuss. In the end, however, she would get her way because he would realize he needed her.
A frisson of something cold and foreboding ran down her spine. Balladyn wasn't going to be as easy as her parents. He would have his entire army with him, but he had no idea what she had in store for him.
Like most powerful Dark, he would assume he could punish her for her so-called indiscretion. Shara wanted to laugh. As if she would allow that now. No one would ever again hold her prisoner.
Balladyn had enjoyed her spirit. She would wait for the right time and kill him. Dark like Balladyn would never think a female could hurt them. She didn't want anyone coming after her when it was all over — not Balladyn, not her family. No one.
She would be the one in control of her life. She would be the one to decide if she took a husband and who.
Shara could hardly contain her excitement for the dawning of a new era in her life, but before she was able to grasp it, she would have to put herself in peril. She was scared, but if Kiril was willing to risk his own life for Rhi, Shara would do the same to help Kiril.
It was frightening how much she was willing to do for Kiril. He had no idea the hold he had on her heart or how, without even trying, he made her see the true path she was destined to take.
"Just wait," she whispered.
"Wait for what?" asked a deep, menacing voice behind her.
Shara was frozen with shock. This wasn't the plan.
Thick fingers bit into her skin as Balladyn's hand reached across her and clamped on her jaw. He slowly turned her until she faced him. The coldness she had glimpsed while he terrorized Farrell was now directed at her, and it iced her veins.
"I asked you a question. You will answer."
Fear kept her silent for a moment, then she remembered who she was. Shara narrowed her gaze on him. "I'm not yours yet, nor will I be if you continue this."
"According to your family, you're mine," he said and leaned close, squeezing her chin until tears burned her eyes.
Balladyn might be the right hand to Taraeth and a famed warrior. But he was just a male like every other Dark Fae who thought they could rule the females. How she loathed him. What made her ever think to use him? How stupid she'd been to think he was the answer to get out from beneath her family.
"I'm not yours until the Claiming," she said tightly, refusing to let the pain show.
Excerpted from Burning Desire Part 3 by Donna Grant. Copyright © 2014 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.