An ice princess. A jaguar shifter.
She’s a flight attendant who wants nothing to do with super heroes. Hiding her ice powers. Hiding from her family. Hiding is a full-time job, but Ivory can only suppress her inner warrior if she wants to keep the normal life she’s built from nothing.
He’s a career hero and a member of the legendary Manhattan Ten. Tall, dark, and shifter, the concrete jungle is his playground. Jag takes nothing seriously until Ivory tempts his inner predator.
Can he melt the stone-cold goddess?
It’s love at first fight in the first volume of the Manhattan Ten Series.
[A novella-length superhero romance of 30K words. Rated 18+ for adult language and some sexual content. Perfect reading for fans of Jennifer Estep’s Bigtime series and Lexi Dunne’s Superheroes Anonymous.]
The Manhattan Ten Series:
1. Ivory - October 2019
2. Temptress - November 2019
3. Belle Fury - December 2019
4. Angel - January 2020
About the Author
Lola Dodge is a compulsive traveler, baker, and procrastinator. When she’s not on the road, Lola spends her time indoors where the sunlight can’t melt her, writing or bingeing on K-dramas and cherry soda. She can be summoned in a ritual involving curry, Hello Kitty idols, and a solid chocolate pentagram.
The Spellwork Syndicate- teen paranormal fantasy
1. Deadly Sweet
2. Sugar Spells
3. Wicked Tasty (TBD)
The Shadow Ravens Series - YA dystopian romance
1. Cipher by Aileen Erin
3. Quanta Reset
4. Quanta Rewind
The Manhattan Ten Series - ADULT superhero romance novellas
1. Ivory (October 2019)
2. Temptress (November 2019)
3. Belle Fury (December 2019)
4. Angel (January 2020)
Read an Excerpt
EIGHT HOURS OUT OF AUCKLAND, the plane's temperature controls fizzled. Instant passenger meltdown followed and call buttons lit the aisles like stars on the tundra.
In the oppressive heat and recycled air, my coworkers wilted. Red-cheeked and dripping sweat, they fetched non-stop drinks for the passengers, filling their plastic cups with sorry, melted ice cubes.
I handed my passenger a frosty cold can of Heineken. "Anything else, sir?"
"No. Thanks." The man pressed the iced-over can to his neck, and his head lolled back in bliss.
Rewa scowled at me from the opposite side of the drink cart. Her hair lay plastered to her face, and she muttered about switching sides on the next run. Trading positions wouldn't make her cans any colder.
I wouldn't use my powers on a routine flight, but chilled drinks were harmless, and I was enjoying myself. When I pressed my hand to my cheek, it felt almost lukewarm. The cold lived in my family's blood, and such warmth was a rare treat.
We docked the drink cart in the galley, and I left Rewa to commiserate with the others. When I checked my reflection, I couldn't blame them for the dirty looks. My tight bun hadn't shifted all flight, and my fair skin was the same smooth porcelain as always.
Should I mist myself to fake a sweat?
No. If the droplets froze against my forehead, I'd hardly blend with the humans and no one who noticed my lack of perspiration would realize what they were really seeing.
"Val?" One of the first-class attendants approached, looking as harassed as the ladies in coach. "Can you pop up to first? Janna might have heat stroke."
"Of course." First-class passengers were fussy, and on this flight, I was the best equipped to handle their complaints.
For what they paid, I'd be fussy too.
The first-class cabin was tucked upstairs, away from the gaze of the commoners. It wasn't as crowded as coach, but the heat still rose. A few more degrees and I might have broken a sweat.
Despite the plush lounge seats and carcasses of tiny alcohol bottles — or maybe because of the alcohol bottles — misery hung in the heat-choked air. The worst off was the screaming infant in the first row.
The mother's hugging and rocking were all in good faith but weren't helping matters, and her designer makeup looked like a melted mask.
Babies could be forgiven in most situations, but with no air-conditioning, the other passengers might mutiny.
"May I, ma'am?" I opened my arms to the child.
She probably wasn't in the habit of handing her child to strangers, but she took a long look at me.
The wheels turned as she noted my cool skin and untouched complexion. Maybe she caught the chill off my hands. She handed the baby girl over.
"What's her name?" I patted the baby's downy head, taking care not to cool too fast.
The woman pulled a cleansing cloth from her Birkin bag. "Madeline." She wiped down her face and shuddered when she checked her mirror.
I rocked Madeline, and as her temperature fell, her cries silenced. "That's a good girl." By the time I handed her back, she was drooling with .
paying you, I'll double it if you ever want to nanny." The woman shifted the girl into the crook of her arm.
I smiled. Money was a poor substitute for traveling the world, and I'd plenty left to see. But I was glad to have helped the baby. "Can I get you anything?"
"All set." She flicked off her light.
Quieting the child had leveled down the tension, but it was far too hot for real comfort. Janna wasn't the only one bordering on heat stroke.
The passengers looked a dangerous combination of limp and furious.
I knew I shouldn't use my ice so obviously, but this was past the point that I could look away. As I strode down the aisle, I released the cold inside me.
It bled away from me like mist, invisible to human eyes, though it would've showed on a thermal camera.
I doubted any of the passengers had one of those in their seat.
One man in disheveled Armani shot me a hard look, but I returned a pleasant smile, and he turned around. As long as no one snapped, I could handle a sour glance or two.
In fractions of degrees, the cabin cooled. Tucked in the back corner, I found a man asleep under his blanket. Curled in on himself, he couldn't hide his massive height, and his skin was so dark it approached black.
He must have been sweltering.
"Sir?" It wasn't good policy to wake passengers, but I couldn't let him sweat himself to death.
His eyes opened, instantly alert and shocking yellow. He hadn't been sleeping, and I couldn't imagine how he'd been comfortable.
Instinctively, I took a step back. "Sorry to disturb you. I wasn't sure if you'd suffocated."
"I like the heat." The man smiled slow and lazy, his white teeth vivid against his dark skin. As he cast the blanket aside and unfolded, my old hunting instincts tensed. I'd known he was large, but I hadn't expected his frame to be so muscular.
Taller than me. That was rare.
He radiated a predator's energy that needled at too many parts of me. His coloring — yellow against black — and the carved shape of his body were exquisite.
His eyes felt like hands as they worked their way up to my nametag. "Valdís. Where's that from?"
"Scandinavia." I'd been named for the lady of the dead, which most found morbid but was the highest compliment from my people.
Another reason I didn't talk about such things. "Can I get you anything, sir?"
Just standing next to him, the hairs at the back of my neck lifted. Some part was an unavoidable flush of attraction. With that body and those eyes, I couldn't help myself.
Primal response. This man was a hunter, and even relaxed into the leather seat, he represented such a physical threat that my suppressed powers stirred. If I stayed long enough, I'd be forced to respond. That would mean shattering my carefully maintained cool and risking the life I'd carved for myself. No man was worth that. No matter how much man he was.
And he was.
"Hmm." He leaned in, forcing me to back away from his palpable body heat. "Just wondering how a stone-cold goddess like you ended up a stewardess." He grinned a cat's grin, pleased he'd figured me out, if that was what he'd done.
I went colder than usual but kept my mask. "Sorry, sir. I have to see to the other passengers."
As I retreated to the empty first-class galley, I could feel his gaze on my back. I pulled the curtain closed like I was draping myself in armor.
Retreat didn't suit me.
I fisted my hand and the hard ice in my blood seeped into my palm. I ached to draw it out into a spear and run across the frigid wastes like I had as a girl.
No fear. No doubts. No knowledge of anything else.
I never would've let his challenge go unmatched.
Things were different now.
With a sigh, I slipped the lumpy cube into the sink. I loved my life of travel, and warrior spirit or not, I could ignore one man for the few hours until landing. If I did anything else, I risked losing my self-control and my morals in one shot. I'd be the same cold, conscienceless killer I'd been before I discovered the outside world, and an ice storm over the Pacific wouldn't go well for our flight.
Over the engine's incessant roar, I caught footsteps approaching the galley. The steps were too heavy to be another attendant's, but not heavy enough for the man with the cat-like grin. The curtain jangled aside.
The man in the crumpled Armani suit stepped in, closing the curtain behind him. He was the one who'd glared from his seat. He would've looked neat and stylish if not for the heat, but he had a frantic look in his eyes. Every one of my instincts screamed alarm.
"Is there water?" His voice rasped, but wasn't that understandable under the circumstances?
I reached for the drink cart. As soon as my head was turned, a heart-stopping click sounded next to my ear.
"You're one of them, aren't you? Why are you here?" He pressed the gun barrel against my temple.
I'd known better. Now the plane was in danger.
Perhaps he expected me to cower or cry, but my hunter's blood roared. How dare he endanger these people's lives?
Ice spilled into my palms as the man fumbled for a way to tie me. His gun was a plastic composite material that resisted my first flick of freezing power. Not something I could shatter. I couldn't afford to be subtle.
With a burst of energy, I filled the gun's barrel with ice. The added weight sank his arm, and his eyes widened. There was no reason inside him. Just crazed anger.
I knew the feeling.
I stood straighter — a foot taller than him — and lifted my hands. I had to stop him before he hurt anyone, but as my fury rose, I sensed how close I was to the edge of insanity. Snowy white static fuzzed at the edges of my mind. "You need to calm down, sir." As I reached for him, he reached behind his belt for a second gun.
Was there no airport security?
My spear should've been instantaneous, but I was too out of practice. As the ice stretched in my hands, he raised his arm.
I couldn't let him make the shot.
Charging, I hip-checked him. We careened into the curtain, but he didn't let go of the gun.
The shot went just wide of me, punching through the cabin ceiling. It took me a moment to realize the air pressure leak wasn't the source of the screaming. The passengers had every right to be upset.
I'd landed on the man in a crouch. One ice spear pinned his chest to the ground and a second was ready in my hand. Icy mist wafted around me, and the man's blood froze to the carpet in a pink slush.
Even in death, insanity burned behind his eyes. I couldn't find pity, and I couldn't regret what I'd done. If I had to sacrifice my secret for a few hundred lives, it was well worth it, but ...
I uncrouched, still gripping my spear.
My instincts screamed run before you've gone too far, but stuck on a plane in the middle of the Pacific, there was nowhere to escape.
The white-out static took control.
* * *
She came down the aisle like a gust off a glacier.
Impossibly cool, with a badass swagger like she'd never get caught. Not many supers would use their power like that.
Dead sexy too.
Valdís had legs for years and I hadn't been kidding about the goddess part. I got stuck in her electric blue eyes.
They were wolf's eyes in color, and in spirit.
The gunshot ripped me out of my daydreams.
I was supposed to be watching for trouble, not fantasizing about the mile-high club.
Valdís tumbled out of the galley with the gunman. She landed with savage grace, jamming a four-foot icicle into his chest.
He didn't have a chance.
The passengers started to panic, jumping up from seats, gasping and screaming, but all I could do was stare. Her eyes glowed, and she'd conjured a second ice-spear mid-flight.
Even if she hadn't body-slammed a madman, I wouldn't have gotten off the plane without her number.
But I was going to catch serious shit for letting this situation fly out of control. I blamed the heat. It reminded me so much of home I'd gone lethargic.
Now I was going to pay for the lapse.
Valdís looked ready for a second kill, hovering over the guy's body in fight mode. Since it was my fault her cover was blown, I had to deal with the mess. I strode down the aisle but slowed at her gaze.
Her intensity froze me halfway.
I had to check myself. I was bigger than her, stronger, and a fully inducted member of the Manhattan Ten, the baddest hero crew in operation.
Underneath her glare, all of it fell away.
This girl would kick the shit out of me.
My crew and I had taken out super-sociopaths so scary powerful I'd lost sleep. I'd seen soulless men who drowned in their abilities.
Valdís wasn't quite there, but she was knocking on the door, at least in terms of sheer back-the-fuck-up warrior spirit. She stood over a dead man, in a pool of the passengers' fear, and her eyes rolled.
No fear there. Goddamn if she wasn't looking for an exit. I wouldn't put it past her to parachute out.
It was time to get the situation under control. I lifted my hands and took a few slow steps. Despite the fact that I was supposed to be a badass, my pulse moved. "Valdís? You okay there?"
After one more killer glare, she blinked.
Ignoring the body at her feet and the killer tension in the cabin, her automated flight attendant response kicked into gear. "The fasten seatbelt sign is on, sir. Please return to your seat." All that tension pricked like a bubble.
Couldn't help it. Had to laugh.
The sound must've kicked her back out of shock. She finally took a good look at the dead guy. "Shit." Valdís melted her ice spear in a puff of frigid mist.
"Why don't we sit down?" I wanted to get her out of sight before the cavalry arrived. I was surprised they hadn't already. You'd figure, gunshot on a plane, someone would get interested.
She shot me a cold eye-roll, as if to say why would I want to sit down?
Pretty composed after killing a guy, and I was impressed.
"Let me take care of your friend there. You just saved the plane," I said the last a little louder than necessary, just in case anyone was confused.
I could see how they might mistake her as the attacker.
"Jag?" A man peeked over his seatback, and some of the other passengers turned my way. Whispered relief breathed through the cabin.
If I'd already been recognized, the situation was already turning my way. "Sorry everyone. My partner and I have everything under control." I snagged an in-flight blanket and tossed it over the body.
Valdís still looked like she was contemplating a water exit, so I grabbed her shoulder and steered her back to my seat.
Her muscles tensed, but she let me lead her. Probably would've ripped off my hand if she didn't want to go where I was headed.
When she finally sat down, the warrior spirit drained away. Not all of it — I doubted she could lose it all if she tried — but enough that worry pinched the corners of her eyes. "What am I supposed to do about that? I'll be fired. Jailed."
"I'd think the airlines would want a super stewardess, wouldn't you?"
I grinned under that frigid gaze. "Sounds like you need a career change."
"Back to wrestling." She sighed and sank deeper in the chair.
I had to wonder.
What kind of wrestling?
Later. For now, I gave her my best smile. "Ever want to be a super hero?"CHAPTER 2
THEY SHOULD'VE PUT me in handcuffs as soon as we landed, but Jag, if that really was his name, pulled more strings than a seamstress.
As soon as we touched down in Los Angeles, the FAA, TSA and a million other acronyms hit the scene. They removed the body and interviewed a few witnesses but never approached me.
A few words from Jag, and the men in suits nodded and left us alone. All I could do was pace the galley and wait for them to clear the plane.
As much as I didn't want to be charged, the phrase "miscarriage of justice" came to mind. How could I kill a man, even an armed one, in front of a plane full of witnesses and walk away without so much as a questioning?
Clearly I was dangerous. I'd come close to the edge, letting out my powers and instincts. Something in Jag had drawn me back to sanity, but my calm shook in time with my fingers.
A few moments more and I might've snapped. Permanently. The ice inside me jumped, straining to be free now that it sensed an outlet. It hadn't acted up like that in years.
"Ready to go?" Jag flexed his broad shoulders.
"Go where?" I'd been too distracted to listen to his tale about heroes.
"Told you I was recruiting you." He gestured for me to precede him down the aisle, but I folded my arms. I didn't want him where I couldn't see him. He smiled and walked ahead. "Come on. We've got a flight to New York."
"This is madness."
"This is Sparta."
"We're in Los Angeles." What was wrong with this man? "And why are we going to New York?"
His broad shoulders shook with laughter. "Did you not watch any in-flight movies in the last decade?"
"Answer the question." I had no plans to follow him anywhere. If I wasn't going to jail, I needed to put myself back together.
"Our organization's called the Manhattan Ten. You've heard of us, yes?"
"Yes." They appeared in the news often enough, but I wasn't interested in such things. I tended toward travel blogs when I had a moment to read.
"Right now we only have nine on the roster. After all that, I think you'd make an excellent number ten."
"No." I did have a life of my own, as hellish as it would be now. Returning to my routine was the only way I'd be able to rescue myself from the danger zone. "I'm going home right after I speak with the authorities."
We neared the exit, but the door opened to a set of rolling stairs instead of the passenger bridge.
Excerpted from "Ivory"
Copyright © 2019 Ink Monster LLC.
Excerpted by permission of Ink Monster.
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