The passion—and peril—reaches the boiling point in HOT BLOODED: Part III, the third installment of this exclusive Dark Kings e-serial from New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant.
She smiled and stood before diving into the water. Laith walked to the pool. The rumble of the waterfall was drowned out by the roar of his desire. Every instinct within him demanded he claim her, that he mark her as his.
Mate, a voice whispered in his head.
A DANGEROUS LOVE
Danger is closing in while desire pushes Laith and Iona into deeper waters. Body and soul hang in the balance for the two lovers. Nothing will ever be the same…Read all four part of this sensational e-series—and look for the full volume of Hot Blooded in January 2015 from St. Martin's Paperbacks.
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
Hot Blooded Part 3
By Donna Grant
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 Donna Grant
All rights reserved.
Laith paced the hallway, stopping every so often to look in Rhys's room, but Rhys had yet to return.
"Have you been here all night?" Kiril asked as he walked up.
Laith halted and turned his head to Kiril. "Aye. He's still no' back."
"You know Rhys," Kiril said. "He likes his privacy."
Laith raised his brows. "There's something wrong, Kiril. Something Con knows and willna tell us."
Kiril's shamrock green eyes narrowed. "If there was something wrong with Rhys, he'd have told me."
"I doona think so. You saw Rhys last night. You saw him lying still as death after he yelled out in pain."
Kiril ran a hand through his wheat-colored hair. "He told me he felt great. He was laughing and joking last night as we patrolled."
"I know. Right up until we all returned to Dreagan. I've no' seen him since, nor will he answer me when I try to contact him."
"Rhys doesna ignore people. That's Warrick."
"If we're going to get to the bottom of things, we need to talk to Con."
"Talk to me about what?" Con asked as he approached.
Kiril turned to face Con. "Where is Rhys?"
"In his room getting ready for the day, I suppose."
Laith shook his head. "Nay. He's no', nor has he been since patrol last night."
Con walked past them and threw open the door to Rhys's room. He stood there for a moment before Con looked at them and said, "He's no' answering my call."
"Apparently he's no' answering any of us," Kiril said. "I doona like this. I want to know what's going on with him."
Laith took a step toward Con. "We both do."
"I promised him I wouldna," Con said.
"That was before last night. And before he disappeared," Kiril said tightly.
Con looked away and put his hands in the pockets of his black dress slacks. His pale gray shirt was starched and his French-cuffed sleeves were held with his favorite cuff links—gold dragon heads. "Rhys has been in pain since the battle in Ireland."
"He's no' been verra good at hiding that fact," Laith said.
Kiril scrubbed a hand down his face. "He's no' been the same since Ireland. He came to help me and Shara, and in return he's been besieged by something we doona understand."
"He's been plagued by dragon magic," Con stated emphatically, his black gaze swinging to them.
Laith held up a hand. "We're no' going to get into who did this to Rhys now. We need to find Rhys and make sure he's all right."
"I know where to start looking," Kiril said sadly. He blew out a breath. "His cave."
The three wasted no time in hurrying from the manor into the tunnel that led to their mountain. From there they rushed through the back entrance of the mountain. As one, the three shifted into dragons and flew to the mountain Rhys chose for his own.
It was miles away. One of the farthest from Dreagan. They flew quickly with no words between them. The bad feeling that descended upon Dreagan weeks ago when Rhys was first hurt had only worsened after John Campbell's death.
When they finally arrived at Rhys's mountain, the three circled the entrance before Kiril dove through the opening, shifting into human form and landing next to the water. Con went next, flying through the opening and waiting until he hovered next to Kiril before he shifted.
Laith took one more flight around the entrance that looked as if a giant had slammed a fist into the side of the mountain and created an opening. When he saw nothing of concern, Laith flew into the gap and swooped down over Kiril and Con to glide over the water.
One of his black wings sliced through the waterfall as he did. Normally, that would be enough to bring Rhys out if he was there, but nothing happened. Laith landed next to the waterfall and shifted.
Kiril and Con had already dove into the water and were swimming toward him. Laith navigated the rocks to stand beneath the cascade of water. A moment later Con and Kiril joined him.
"He could be sleeping," Laith said.
Kiril made a guttural sound. "No' Rhys, and no' now."
"Why do you say that?" Con asked.
Kiril shook his head and stepped through the waterfall. Laith looked at Con and shrugged, then followed Kiril. He came to a halt immediately.
"He didna tell me," Con whispered, shock and anger thickening his words.
Laith could only watch as Rhys kept trying to shift to human form. He would flicker and begin to shift, before he would revert back to a dragon.
"The yellow of his scales has dimmed," Kiril said sadly.
Con pointed to Rhys's right flank. "His wound has returned, as if it were never healed."
Laith grimaced when he saw the wound open every time Rhys attempted to shift. Each time the injury opened, he saw a glimpse of something inflamed within Rhys.
"Why can he no' shift?" Kiril demanded.
Con walked closer to Rhys and peered at the wound. "Dragon magic or no', it shouldna be prohibiting him from shifting."
"Heal him," Laith demanded of Con.
Con put his hand on Rhys to use his magic, and the instant Con's flesh came in contact with Rhys's scales, Con was flung backward, crashing into the rocks.
Kiril squatted next to Rhys's head and closed his eyes. Laith knew Kiril was trying to reach Rhys however he could, but nothing was working.
Con climbed to his feet and wiped the blood from a healing cut on his forehead. "There's something more than dragon magic doing this."
"How do we combat it?" Laith asked.
"I can help."
Laith and Con turned to find Rhi standing behind them. Her long black hair was pulled back in a low ponytail. She wore a black and white horizontally striped shirt and black jeans. Water pooled around her black boots from the waterfall, and yet she didn't take her eyes off Rhys.
Laith glanced at Con, because he hadn't called the Fae's name with his usual scorn. There was no mistaking the surprise in Con's black gaze, but Laith couldn't pinpoint the exact emotion in Con's voice. If Laith didn't know better, he'd almost think it was delight.
Rhi cut her silver eyes to Con before she looked at Laith, unfazed by their nudity. Her lips softened into a half smile. "Who is looking after the pretty Iona while you're here?"
"Is she in danger?" Laith asked, more harshly than he intended.
Rhi held out her hand and caught a drop of water on the tip of her nail. She turned her wrist so that the droplet ran between her fingers into the center of her palm. Her gaze watched the water until she closed her fist around it. Then her eyes lifted to him. "Not that I'm aware."
Laith didn't know whether she was teasing or not. Just as he was about to demand she check, Con gave a shake of his head. Laith held his tongue as Rhi walked past him to stand beside Kiril.
She put her hand on Kiril's shoulder. His head immediately jerked to her. He rose and enveloped her in a hug. Laith noticed she didn't return the embrace. Her hands hung by her sides waiting for Kiril to release her.
"Can you help him?" Kiril asked as he released her and stepped back.
Rhi took a deep breath and slowly released it. "I can try."
"We would be grateful," Con said.
Rhi's head turned slightly in Con's direction, but she didn't look at him. Instead, she focused on Rhys and walked to stand next to his head. She put her hand on his forehead while her gaze drifted from Kiril to Laith, and then finally Con. Then her lids closed and she began to glow.
"Con," Kiril said worriedly.
They all knew that for Rhi to use that kind of magic that she could destroy the entire mountain as she had the dungeon in the Dark Fae prison. Or she could use that magic to give life to a planet.
Con walked quickly and quietly to stand on the other side of Rhys's head and watched Rhi intensely. Laith glanced at Kiril, and the two shared a shrug, unsure of what was going on since no one was acting like themselves.
Several minutes ticked by before Rhi stopped glowing, and she lowered her hand. She opened her eyes to focus on Con. "There is Dark Fae magic mixed with dragon magic."
"We know. Our magic is stronger," Con said. "Rhys should be able to overcome it."
Rhi swallowed and ran a hand across Rhys's yellow scales in a caress. "He has a choice to make. I've told him as much."
Laith then noticed that Rhys was no longer trying to shift. As long as he remained in dragon form, the wound stayed closed.
"What choice?" Kiril asked.
Rhi let her hand drop to her side and lifted sad eyes to Kiril. "The mix of dragon and Dark magic has done something to Rhys. It's what is causing him such pain when he shifts. I've dulled the Dark magic enough to help manage the pain for him to shift once more."
"Once more?" Laith repeated, not wanting to comprehend what Rhi was trying to tell them.
Rhys blew out a breath and opened his orange dragon eyes. Then he lifted his massive head. He gently nudged Rhi with his arm, causing her to grin up at him.
It was Con who said, "You mean he can shift into human form, but he will never be able to take his true form again?"
Rhi nodded and rested her head against Rhys. "Or he can remain in his true form, never able to take human shape again."
Con hung his head, his fists clenched at his sides. Laith had seen that kind of fury only one other time—when Ulrik's woman betrayed Ulrik.
"It's your decision, Rhys," Kiril said. "We'll stand beside you whatever you choose."
When Con finally lifted his head, there was death in his gaze. "Ulrik will reverse this, Rhys. I swear it."
They watched Con walk to the waterfall and shift into a gold dragon before flying away. Kiril strode past Laith and slapped him on the shoulder. He jumped through the water, shifting into a burnt orange dragon as he did.
Laith turned back to Rhys and Rhi to find both looking at him. "Was it Ulrik that did this to Rhys?"
"Who else could it be?" Rhi asked.
"Doona do that," Laith said rigidly. "Doona answer my question with a question. If you doona know, then just tell me."
"The answers are more complicated than that," Rhi said as she pushed away from Rhys and walked toward Laith. "Only a dragon can use dragon magic."
Laith gave her a flat look. "We know. Every Dragon King except for Ulrik has been accounted for."
"Not every dragon."
Laith gave a loud snort of derision. "Rhi, Ulrik's Silvers are caged and asleep. They have been for more millennia than I can remember. They didna do this to Rhys."
She simply smiled and looked at Rhys over her shoulder. "I know. Regardless of what Rhys tells you, it's more than his wound that troubles him. The last time the Dragon Kings were in such discord was when the war with the humans erupted."
She vanished before he could respond. Laith looked to Rhys and frowned. Discord? There was no discord in the ranks of the Dragon Kings.
Or was there?CHAPTER 2
Working on her father's Range Rover helped Iona pass the hours, but it did nothing to stop thoughts of Laith's kisses or the fact that someone killed her father. Murder wasn't new to her. She witnessed it while in Africa, Iraq, and Palestine.
Not at all times had she been protected by the military. There were cases when she had been alone with only a guide, and though she had been scared, she always got out alive with her assignment complete.
She wasn't on assignment now, but the terror was doubled. All because of some secret her family kept. A secret that she didn't know.
Iona tightened the last bolt after installing the new brake line. She looked up at the motor with all the new parts in place and wondered if she would ever get into a car again without worrying that her brakes might fail or if it would be the steering or something else.
"A person could go mad thinking about such things," she told herself.
She was alone on fifty acres. Anything could happen at any time, and no one would be around to know. No one was there to watch her back. It had Iona reassessing her lifestyle.
Those thoughts brought her back to Laith. He occupied most of her mind of late, especially after their kisses. Even now she could still feel his tender lips as they skillfully seduced her, because that was exactly what he did.
It should be a sin for someone to kiss so expertly that she forgot everything except him. She closed her eyes and thought back to their last kiss by the waterfall. Her stomach fluttered and desire coiled within her.
She didn't attempt to deny the need clawing through her. There was something compelling and altogether captivating about Laith. It could be his gunmetal eyes, the way the steel gray color was ringed with black. His stare was penetrating, as if he could see into her mind and sort through all her wishes and desires.
It could be his long dark blond hair. The color wasn't just blond. There were traces of gold, copper, and light brown through the strands. She didn't know if she liked his hair better down, or when he pulled it back in a queue, but she itched to sink her fingers into the length regardless.
It could be his lips. No man should have such full lips that, with just a smile, could make it feel as if a thousand butterflies had taken flight in her stomach. His lips were a heady combination of tender and forceful as they kissed. And they did incredible, wonderful things to her.
It could be his body. She hadn't seen him without his clothes, but even in them, there was no denying the hard sinew and bulging muscle. She was tall for a woman, but he towered over her. He moved with an ease that reminded her of a lion stalking his prey.
It could be his accent. As much as Iona wanted to pretend that she detested anything Scottish, she had always loved the sound of a brogue. After traveling the world over a dozen times, it felt good ... right even ... to be back in Scotland listening to a man with a deep brogue that caused goose bumps to rise along her skin.
Iona was jerked out of her thoughts by the sound of a car approaching. She slid out from beneath the Rover and peered around the tire to see a newer-model black Range Rover come to a stop behind her car. The door opened as the engine shut off. That's when Iona heard the laughter.
She smiled when she recognized Sammi's laugh. Iona dusted herself off as she stood and started toward Sammi. That smile faltered when she noticed two other women with Sammi. The one with chin-length auburn hair tripped over ... nothing, and Sammi quickly held out a hand to steady her. As they both laughed, Iona saw the similarities between the two women, which meant she must be Sammi's sister.
Iona's gaze shifted to the second woman and was completely taken aback by her beauty. The woman had long black hair with a strip of silver falling next to her face. That silver didn't take away from her exquisiteness, but added a hint of mystery. That silver also brought out her unusual silver eyes.
"Iona!" Sammi called when she saw her and held up bags in both hands. "I brought reinforcements."
Iona glanced down at her dirty, grease-stained pants and wished she had known Sammi planned to visit because she would have showered and changed. As it was, her attire made it more obvious how out of place she was.
"You know how to work on vehicles?" the black-haired woman asked in surprise.
Iona wiped her hand on her jeans and nodded. "I made myself learn after I was stranded in the Arabian Desert for a day."
"I wish I knew what to do with them. I'm hopeless. My talents lie elsewhere," Sammi said with a grin. She nodded to the woman beside her. "This is my half-sister, Jane. And the stunning one beside her is Shara. Jane, Shara, this is Iona Campbell."
Jane held out her hand, a warm smile in place. "I've heard so much about you, Iona. It's good to finally meet you."
Iona shook her hand. She released it only to have Shara hold out her hand. "Hello," Iona replied.
Shara's silver eyes watched her closely, even as her lips lifted in a smile. "I've also heard a lot. It seems you've caught Laith's interest."
"I'm sure many women do." Iona wanted to kick herself. "I didn't mean that he was a womanizer, just that he was a handsome man who women would notice."
Sammi laughed. "We know what you meant."
Shara didn't release her hand. She took a step closer and said in a low voice, "Laith isn't like other men. It says a lot that you caught his eye."
"Certainly." Shara dropped her hand to her side and lifted her other that held several bags. "I love to shop. Let's see if I picked anything you might like."
Excerpted from Hot Blooded 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am thoroughly enjoying the glimpses Grant is giving us of the previously mated Kings and their mates. Although this makes it difficult for someone who has not read the previous books or who is not familiar with the series to follow along the many intricate interweaved stories, seeing where they are at this point in time is like having an added epilogue to their books. Fans of Grant’s other series will be happy to note that the Warriors also make an appearance several times. As with life, it looks as if nothing will ever come easy to the Kings. We still have an unknown enemy threatening them and in turn mankind. The Dragon mates and anyone they care about being targeted, it looks as if a war will be inevitable. The only question remains is who is the enemy that they will be fighting. I, like any other avid reader of the Dragon King series have been keeping mental notes on different characters. In my case, none more so than Rhi and her mysterious Dragon King lover. The more glimpses and hints we get the more eager I am to know who it is. With Laith now firmly focuses on Iona, we can eliminate him from the running. I can’t wait to read more! Reviewed by Iris for Cocktails and Books
I simply cannot get enough of Donna's sexy Scottish dragons! WooHoo! Sizzling... with lots of fav characters returning... "John Campbell was found dead this morning." He was murdered... The Campbells had owned the fifty acres bordering Dreagan for countless generations... "Who's going to guard the land?" Laith asked.... "John has a daughter, Iona." HOT BLOODED by Donna Grant is another mesmerizing read in Donna's Dark Kings series. I read it as a four-part serialized story. I inhaled each installment as it was published and then couldn't wait for the release of the next! This review is a combined review of all four parts. The full book was released December 30, 2014. I had never been a fan of serialized books before I started reading this series that way, but Donna's Dark Kings are slowly, but surely, converting me. :-) I simply cannot get enough of Donna's sexy Scottish dragons! They're fierce, strong, fearless and delicious! While this is the fourth book in the series, it can be fully enjoyed as a standalone if that is your druthers. However, I recommend reading the whole series in order as there are interconnected characters and a common theme. I bet that once you read one, you'll be dying to read the rest! My full review is posted at Reading Between The Wines Book Club. 4 1/2 Wines Glasses!
Donna is a very good writer. I felt I was right there with all the Kings.
If this had been a trilogy for the big screen, I would have said this was the middle one – the one that people prefer to forget because it is a set up for the final installment. At least that was what I thought as I was reading it. Until I got to the end. It took 3 installments but I was finally hooked with this one and had to read part 4 – whether or not I had already signed up for it. I hope at some point we find out exactly what kind of spell was used on Rhys – and maybe get him his dragon back. I mean, why Rhys of all the dragon kings? I’m utterly confuddled. Plus the whole thing was like a huge night time drama – which I hate. I will admit, I really cared nothing for the heroine by this point. Iona was colorless to me – very little personality and a huge chunk of stupidity thrown in. But I have begun to care for those of Draegon. Con with his machinations, Rhys, Laith… not to mention the Warriors (And those were really cool!) I gave it 4 stars because I now feel invested in the lives of the Dragon Kings and their mates.
'I received a complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review' Iona and Laith get a lot closer. She finally finds out what it is that makes her land so important. The Kings come to the conclusion that she needs more protection so she is also introduced to a couple of Warriors and their wives. The parts to this book continue to get steamier and more thrilling. I can't put them down! I'm glad I was able to get all of the parts at the same time through Netgalley as it would have driven me nuts to have to wait! I highly recommend reading but you will have to read parts 1 and 2 first! 'Read and Reviewed by LSK Sweetheart Reviews'
This is Part 3 and we will find out how Rhys is. Spoiler here. The Dragon Kings are figuring out that someone is following them and not for good. Laith and Iona are getting closer together. That is what Con wanted but now not so much. They are calling in the Warriors and the Druids. It was good to see Fallon, Hayden and Isla again. Big Spoiler here. I can't wait to see what happens next. I have this book for an honest review for NetGalley.
4.25 stars--4.25 stars-HOT BLOODED part 3 reveals a plethora of information about the Dragon King history, The Warriors and the Druids, as well as recounting some of the previous storylines premises. While Laith recounts the events that led to Ulrik’s loss of power, Iona will learn first hand that there is more to discover about the world of the supernatural. The relationship between Laith and Iona steps to the next level. Laith believes that Iona may be his mate but Dragon King Con gives warning that the human female cannot always be trusted-for it was a human female that betrayed the Dragons –thousand of years earlier. The storyline continues to reveal more about Rhys but we are still no closer to the truth about what has happened and who is responsible for the attack that has left the Dragon King in pain and unable to completely shift. Hopefully, his attraction to Lily, is the beginning of something much bigger.