The thrilling conclusion to the stunningly sexy e-series Fire Rising by New York Times bestselling Dark Kings author Donna Grant!
When Sammi is captured by the Dark Fae, Tristan's heart is left shattered. Using every ounce of skill, wit, and brute strength, he must get her back, no matter how high the stakes are. Facing the enemy is a daunting task, but Sammi's love is worth every risk...in Fire Rising: Part 4.
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 husband, two children, a dog, and four cats in Texas.
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
Fire Rising Part 4
By Donna Grant
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 Donna Grant
All rights reserved.
Sammi shuddered and wrapped her arms around herself, her eyes tightly shut. She was freezing. And wet. Where was she? More importantly, why was she squeezing her eyes shut?
Then it all came back in blazing Technicolor. Her heart missed a beat and her stomach dropped like a stone to her feet. She shivered, this time in panic and dread.
The Dark had her.
Insidious, menacing. Devious.
They were the boogeymen, the things mortals instinctively knew resided in the shadows waiting to strike. They were monsters, demons of the dark with enough magic and power to wipe out every last human.
Tristan had told her what they did to mortals, and her vivid imagination released dozens of scenarios she wished she could wipe from her mind.
Sammi couldn't stop shaking. The terror had such a grip on her that even her teeth were chattering. The mind-boggling, unimaginable despair and trepidation sapped every smidgen of warmth from her body.
No amount of hoping the situation would all be a dream was going to help her. If she wanted a chance, she was going to have to face what was around her—no matter how petrified she was.
She opened her eyes expecting to find herself in some dark prison. Instead, lights blazed around her, blinding her so that she had to blink several times to adjust. Sammi drew in a shaky breath wishing her heart would stop beating against her rib cage.
A quick look around showed her several things. The room was narrow but long, the shape of a rectangle. There were no windows, just dozens of lights that seemed to hang in midair since she couldn't see the ceiling.
And she was alone.
For the time being.
Sammi took that small measure of good news and held on tightly. She wasn't a fool. They had taken her to get Tristan. In his duty as a Dragon King, he would come for her. Until then, the Dark would take their entertainment—on her.
How she wished Tristan wouldn't come. It wasn't that she wanted to stay with the Dark, but once they took her soul, she wouldn't know the difference. At least they wouldn't have a King.
But Tristan was too devoted to the Kings to do anything other than his loyal obligation.
"I see you're awake."
Sammi jumped when Balladyn suddenly appeared in front of her. She hated that they could do that. It would mean she had to constantly stay on guard. She let the hate fill her. It warmed her, chasing away the fear enough so she could think straight again.
"Bastards," she mumbled.
One black brow lifted, his gorgeous face hard as granite. "Excuse me?"
She just stared at him, trying not to let his red eyes freak her out any more than she already was. If a woman could get past the red eyes, he would be considered a prime catch. Not only was Balladyn's body tall and sculpted and almost as fine as Tristan's, but he had the face of a movie star, a Daniel Craig type that left women panting.
"Don't test me," he said in his thick Irish accent. "Your room is lighted, but I can change that."
Sammi thought it wise to keep her sarcastic remark to herself. She wasn't brave enough to provoke a Dark Fae. A pity really, because she had some awesome comebacks she really wanted to toss his way.
No one had frightened her as he had, and she loathed him for it. The hate and fear mixed inside her until it was a ball of writhing, twisting angst.
"Defiant." There was a small, sardonic smile on his face. "Odd since most mortals fall over themselves to be with us. What makes you different?"
"I know what you are."
"So do they," he retorted. "Taraeth will be in to see you soon. I'd suggest if you don't want to be stripped and have every Dark have his way with you that you continue to hold that sharp tongue of yours."
Sammi swallowed, hating that it was loud even to her ears. She despised bullies, and that's exactly what Balladyn and the Dark were. Tyrants, tormentors. Intimidators.
He smiled knowingly. "You humans are so pathetic, letting every emotion you feel be shown to the world. Why do you think we chose you to take as ours?"
"We have a choice too. We can say no."
"You can try. It's not very successful."
"Denae did it." Sammi bit the inside of her mouth to keep from smiling when she saw her words had hit a sore spot.
He took a step closer, leaning over her so that she had to tilt her head up to look at him with his red eyes narrowed dangerously. "If you want to live, don't mention that name to Taraeth."
The warning came in a low, dangerous voice that sent coils of fear, numbing her body once again.
She waited until he straightened and turned away before she said, "You've made a mistake in riling the Kings."
"It's time they had their scales ruffled. They've ruled this realm for far too long."
And then he was gone, leaving Sammi in the room with nothing but her thoughts. She looked around feeling like a lab rat on display.
All four walls were stone, but she had the distinct impression that she was being watched, as if one wall was nothing more than a mirror that she couldn't detect.
"Bastards," she whispered.
Tristan clenched his teeth as Con shouted for him to wait. He glared, feeling every second that went by and he wasn't on his way to get Sammi was a second they could be touching her, marking her as one of the Dark's.
Con's gaze was on the group of Warriors. "You've painted a big target on yourselves by helping us tonight."
"So?" Phelan said with a shrug. "I'm no' going to let them keep Rhi. She helped me. I'll be there for her."
Con let out a long breath. "Phelan, you're part Fae. The Dark willna think much about you interfering, but the same can no' be said for other Warriors."
"I welcome the target if it means helping Tristan," Ian said.
Tristan, however, knew what Con was getting at. "Con's right. Perhaps you all should return to your women. There is no telling what the Dark will do."
Charon barked with laughter. "Then they doona know our Druids."
"The Druids and Fae never battled," Rhys said thoughtfully. "Who knows what could happen? The Druids are strong."
"No' as strong as the Dark," Banan said.
Laith shrugged. "They'll hold their own is my guess."
"We should warn everyone," Phelan said as he looked from Charon to Ian.
Tristan could barely stand still as the three took the time to place calls to their wives. He was wound tight, and he would need to calm down or risk Sammi's life.
"Banan, return to the manor," Con said. "You'll want to be with Jane, and the more Kings that remain on Dreagan the better."
Banan's lips compressed tightly. "I'd rather be going to Ireland, but the thought of Jane in the Dark's hands is enough to keep me here."
Tristan shared a look with Banan as an unspoken promise passed between them. When the Warriors had finished their calls, Tristan walked out into the open so he wouldn't hit anyone when he shifted.
He gave no one time to say anything as he transformed and then lowered his head for Ian to climb on the back of his neck. As soon as Ian was situated, Tristan took to the sky.
One by one, Rhys, Con, and Laith shifted. Rhys carried Phelan while Laith carried Charon. Con took the lead, sending a message through their link that they were headed to Ireland and to be on the lookout for more Dark.
Tristan didn't have to tell Con to hurry. They all flew as if the edge of the cosmos was nipping at their tails. All Tristan could think of was Sammi and what a fool he'd been to walk away after their night of passion.
She stirred a riot of feelings—not to mention memories. As turbulent and alarming as that was, he hungered for her in a way he knew—deep down in his very soul—that he had never felt for a woman before.
He didn't know why he had become a Dragon King, and it no longer mattered. He was a King.
Yet he had also been a Warrior. No longer could he try and deny that. Fighting alongside Ian had proven that when he knew, instinctively, what Ian would do before he did it. They had fought the Dark as if they did it every day.
That kind of familiarity and awareness didn't just happen. That came from a lifetime of knowing someone.
Tristan didn't know how a relationship with Ian would work, or if it even could. But he owed it to the both of them to try. Just as he would try everything in his considerable power to free Sammi.
He thought of her smile and her sharp wit. She had stood on her own for years. It made her tough, tough enough to survive weeks on the run from the Mob.
Or really Ulrik.
That was a hard pill to swallow. Ulrik had been playing him from the very beginning. The fact Tristan had gone to him was like acid burning his stomach.
It no longer mattered about Ulrik's past and what had been done. It was the present and his actions. Ulrik had to be stopped. Maybe Con was right in wanting to kill him.
Tristan could see the edge of Ireland with his dragon vision. They were close. He hoped Sammi knew he would come for her, that he wouldn't leave her with the Dark.
He flew faster, Ireland coming closer and closer. Tristan could almost feel Sammi.
Suddenly there was a loud buzzing in his head like white noise. Tristan roared as pain exploded in his head. He tried to remain in flight, but he could feel himself tilting. And then Ian slipped off.
Tristan attempted to find his brother, but he kept reaching for thin air. The static grew louder, the pain unbearable. Any moment he expected his brain to explode.
And through it all he heard laughter. Ulrik's laughter.
It was only belatedly that Tristan realized he was no longer flying—but falling.
Con dove down for Ian the moment Rhys bellowed through their link. With Ian in hand, Con could only watch as Tristan plummeted to the water.
"What the hell!" Phelan shouted from Rhys's back.
Con looked down to find Ian searching the water for his brother. The fact Tristan had sunk quickly was worrisome. Dragons were some of the best swimmers. Many dragons had lived in the water.
"Stay steady," he told Rhys and Laith.
Ian looked up at him. "Where is Tristan? Why are you no' going to get him?"
In order to respond Con would have to return to his human form. Instead, he set Ian atop Laith's back and tucked his wings as he dove for the water.
He hit the water as fast as a torpedo, slicing through it like a hot knife through butter. Con spotted Tristan's amber scales. He was floating downward, unconscious.
It took little effort to reach Tristan, but pulling him out was another matter. Something had ahold of him, something magical.
Con used his tail as well as all four limbs, and it took all of his considerable strength to yank Tristan from whatever had taken him. As soon as Tristan was free, Con swam them to the surface. The moment they broke the surface he took flight, not wanting to wait around to see what else might try and take Tristan.
Rhys and Laith moved to either side of Con. Anger simmered and seethed. How dare Ulrik attack one of the Kings? It was him that Ulrik was after. His old friend was about to get his wish too.
As soon as this latest issue with the Dark was resolved and Sammi recovered, Con would do what he should have done all those millennia ago.
He was going to kill Ulrik.
Con made sure to hide his rage as they reached the shores of Ireland. He set Tristan down upon the sand and landed beside him. Rhys and Laith were quick to do the same.
Ian had jumped off Laith and was running to Tristan before Con could shift into human form. The only King who remained a dragon was Tristan, and the fact he hadn't stirred caused worry to swirl in Con's gut.
"What happened?" Rhys demanded.
Con looked over Tristan. "It's no coincidence that magic was used just as we were reaching Ireland."
"Had Tristan been alone ..." Ian couldn't finish, and he didn't need to. Everyone knew exactly what he left unspoken.
Phelan growled low in his throat. "This is shite."
"At least we know who to blame. Ulrik," Rhys stated.
Con rubbed his jaw as he considered their options. "The longer Tristan remains unconscious, the longer the Dark have Sammi."
"He'll never forgive himself," Charon said.
That's exactly what Ulrik wanted. Con didn't bother to tell the others that. Ulrik was his problem to correct. It had been their friendship that stayed his hand the last time.
For so many centuries he'd lived with the regret that Ulrik was not a Dragon King in the truest sense of the word.
Now Con lived with the regret that he hadn't killed him and saved everyone this trouble.
Con moved to stand at Tristan's head and put his hands atop the huge dragon head. His magic had always been strong, and it had only gotten stronger when he became King of Kings.
It was going to take that magic to wake Tristan.CHAPTER 2
Kiril was on his second glass of passable Irish whisky. But he longed for a bottle of Dreagan.
Just as he longed to return to the land.
He had no idea how long he would be in Ireland spying on the Dark Ones. He was in the an Doras pub. It would make things easier if he came every night, but it would also make them suspicious.
So Kiril made sure to visit two other pubs as well. Just to keep the arses on their toes.
He swirled the liquid in his glass as he reclined in the booth. The pub was busy, busier than usual actually. There was an undercurrent of excitement through the building. What it was he hadn't discovered yet.
Kiril picked up a conversation behind him. He kept his gaze on his glass, but all his attention was on the two Dark males talking.
"Did you hear?"
There was a grunt and then the thud as a glass was set down heavily on the table. "They had a Dragon King once before."
The first laughed, the sound grating on Kiril's nerves. His voice was higher pitched and annoying. "Taraeth is stronger than you think."
"He had his arm cut off by a human," the second man said gruffly.
"Ah, but this time he'll keep the King."
Gruff grunted again. "I'll believe it when he has him."
"Taraeth has set a trap for him." The laughter became higher pitched. "The war has begun. We'll have this realm to ourselves in no time."
"You look like you could use a refill," came a voice next to Kiril.
He jerked his gaze up and into the red eyes of a Dark Fae. Some tried to conceal their eyes while others didn't bother. He gave a nod to the Dark who set down the glass of whisky and slid into the bench opposite him. "Appreciate it."
The Dark smiled. "I've seen you in here a few times. The name is Farrell."
"Kiril," he answered. So they had noticed him. Would they know he was a Dragon King, however?
"What do you think of our pub?" Farrell asked.
Kiril brought his drink to his lips and drank. He returned the glass to the table before he said, "I find it interesting."
"That's not an Irish accent I hear. Tell me you aren't a Scot."
He smiled though it was tight. "Hate to disappoint."
Farrell laughed and leaned back as he got comfortable. "We have a few Scots come in now and again. You, we can handle. It's the damn Brits that get under our Irish skin."
Kiril joined in the laughter, but he was on full alert. If they expected to nab a King, could they be referring to him? He was going to have to be extra vigilant if he expected to leave the pub that night.
Farrell continued to talk, taking control of the conversation as he spoke of Ireland, Cork, and the benefits of being Irish.
Kiril was nodding at something Farrell said when he felt Con push against his mind. He opened the link between them while keeping eye contact with Farrell as he spoke of their famous crystal.
"The Dark have taken Sammi. We were on our way to Cork when magic was used to bring Tristan down."
"I've bought several pieces of Waterford crystal," Kiril said to Farrell. "Where are you now?"
"In Ireland. Rhys and Laith are with us. Phelan, Charon, and Ian also tagged along."
Warriors and Kings. There really was a shit storm coming. "Is it true? Has the war begun?"
"Aye. Watch yourself, Kiril. They'll target anyone they think is a King."
The link severed, Kiril drained the rest of his whisky and reached for the glass Farrell had brought. "Tell me, Farrell, what's with the red eyes?"
"They're special contacts. The women go crazy for them," the Dark answered as he leaned on the table.
Kiril might look like he was listening raptly, but in fact he was surveying the pub looking for any threats coming his way. The Kings might need him, so he wanted to get back to his house soon.
Excerpted from Fire Rising Part 4 by Donna Grant. Copyright © 2014 Donna Grant. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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