The desire-and mortal danger-heats up to a scorching degree in the third installment of PASSION IGNITES (The Dark Kings) from New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant.
Whatever was happening between them was meant to be...
Lexi is on a mission of justice. Every day, she searches for the monster who murdered her friend. Every night, she hides in the shadows and plots her revenge. But the man she seeks is more dangerous than she ever imagined. Can Thorn protect her...and love her...over and over again...for eternity?
Read all four parts of this sensation e-series--and look for the full volume of Passion Ignites from St. Martin's Paperbacks (available in November 2015).
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 © 2015 Donna Grant
All rights reserved.
Thorn had a Dark Fae slumped over each of his shoulders as he carted them to the warehouse for destruction. The closer it got to Halloween, the more Dark there were. He had a bad feeling about the holiday the humans enjoyed to celebrate.
The day passed quickly as it always did when in battle. It was the only way Thorn could get through it all after seeing Lexi at the airport.
"It looks like you did a good thing inviting the Warriors and Druids to help with the way things are going today," Darius said from beside him. "We're going to need them."
Thorn slowed as he approached the warehouse to make sure no one was near. "I didna invite the Druids. The Warriors can hold their own against the Dark. The Druids can no'."
"I'll let you tell Laura and Dani that. Those women didna bat an eye as they fought today."
Lexi hadn't either, Thorn thought, his mind turning to her as it so often had since she left. He used his magic and opened the warehouse door as they approached. As he walked inside he said, "I welcome their help, but for everyone's sake, I hope the Dark doona try and take them. I know the War ..."
His voice trailed off as a lamp clicked on and Lexi slid off the table where she had been sitting. Thorn couldn't decide if he was furious that she was still in Scotland, or elated that she was here.
"How dare you," she stated, her Southern accent thickening.
The minute she began walking to him, Thorn dropped the dead bodies. He blinked, confused. How was she here? More importantly, why did she remember him?
Anger pulsed around her as she strode to him. She halted before him and reared back her hand. Her palm connected with his cheek, sounding as if a shot had been fired as his head snapped to the side. It was so unexpected. Thorn hadn't imagined she would hit him.
He rubbed his left cheek and gave her a stern frown. She responded by raising a brow and giving him a look that could've scorched him where he stood.
"You didn't just leave without a word, you had my memories taken. What gives you the right to do such a thing?" she demanded.
Thorn opened his mouth to explain, but she spoke over him.
"You left me defenseless. I would've had no idea who the Dark were or how to fight them, because if you think they won't show up in South Carolina, you're off the mark, buddy."
Darius backed up a step. "Uh ... I'm going to collect the other dead Fae."
Lexi didn't even look his way. Thorn had seen her scared, sick, and wounded. He had seen her frustrated, angry, and annoyed.
But he had never seen her enraged.
She was a sight to behold with her gray eyes glittering violently and her chest heaving as she spoke rapidly. She gave no quarter, showed no mercy.
Before him stood a queen of war who would take no less than the absolute truth.
And heaven help him, but he craved her for it.
"You almost got away with it all." She gave a shake of her head and started past him.
Thorn reached out and grabbed her arm, halting her beside him. Her head whipped around, light brown hair flying around her as she met his gaze. "I had a verra good reason."
"My protection?" she asked with a snort. "I think I already covered that."
He looked down into her eyes that were as stormy as rain clouds and knew at that moment that he couldn't let her go twice. He'd tried that already.
No matter how many times he attempted to tell himself his feelings for Lexi would fade, they hadn't. "You were nearly killed."
She tried to pull away, but he held fast. "I wasn't," she said.
"What if you are the next time?"
Lexi made a face and threw up her other arm in irritation. "In all this time with humans have you learned nothing? I could be struck by lightning when I walk out of here. I could choke on a fish bone at dinner. Life is short."
Thorn lowered his gaze to her mouth. He hungered to taste her again, to feel the fire of her need, the burn of desire. Her lips tempted like nothing else. "No' for me."
Lexi's stomach quivered when she saw Thorn looking at her with such yearning. His mouth was inches from hers. They had already danced around their attraction once. She thought they were past that after their kiss, but for some reason Thorn was keeping his distance.
She softened her lips and leaned slightly toward him, unable to do anything else. There was no sound other than their breathing.
Thorn lowered his head. Their lips were about to touch when he suddenly pulled back.
Lexi extracted her arm from his grasp and turned away. "I could forgive you anything but taking my memories. You stepped over the line."
She walked out of the warehouse hoping he would stop her, but that wasn't Thorn's style. He was a Dragon King, an immortal who had been alive for millions of years and seen so very much.
How silly to think that she, a nobody from Charleston, could catch his attention enough to have some sort of relationship.
Lexi didn't stop walking until she reached a road. She looked around, trying to determine what she was going to do. Her clothes were on their way back to the States. Now that she had checked in for her flight, but didn't get on the plane, there was no way she would be able to transfer the ticket. Even if they allowed it, the fee would be astronomical.
Her hand went to her purse where the knife was when she saw movement in the shadows to her right. With her fingers around the hilt, she relaxed when she saw it was Darius.
"Where are you going?" he asked indifferently.
Lexi shrugged. "I don't know. A cheap hotel."
"Stay at the flat. It's protected. And free."
She briefly closed her eyes, her throat clogging with emotion. Anger had kept her going, but now all she wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry. "I'd be a fool to pass up anything free at this point."
"Shall I walk you?"
Lexi held up a hand to halt him. "I don't think so. You agreed to Thorn's plan."
"You know why. I told you last night, though you were no' supposed to remember," he finished with a frown.
She gawked at him, completely at a loss. "You only told me because you knew Guy was going to erase those memories."
"Aye. Thorn will be furious when he discovers what I've done."
Lexi snorted and shook her head in disgust. "I won't be telling him."
Darius slid his dark gaze to her. "Stick around long enough, and you'll get to meet the Druids and Warriors."
As quickly as he appeared, Darius faded into the shadows. Lexi adjusted her purse and continued walking. Night was falling fast, and she wished she had taken Darius up on his offer to go with her after she saw the many Dark on the street.
They were clumped in groups, some standing together, some walking. Women and men flocked to them in droves. It sickened Lexi how they fawned over the Dark.
She caught a glimpse of a female Dark. The woman had hair to her waist that was more silver than black. Her red eyes were accented with heavy makeup. She had a body anyone would envy and legs that went on for miles.
The Dark wore a pair of black jeans and a red satin shirt unbuttoned enough to show her black lace bra beneath. The men around her were so absorbed with trying to get her attention that they didn't notice the others.
Lexi kept her eyes straight and continued past them as fast as she could without drawing attention to herself. She glanced across the street and saw the first jack-o'-lantern. Surely it wasn't already the end of October.
She checked her phone and saw that it was in fact October thirtieth. Had she really been so focused on the Dark that she hadn't paid attention to the date?
Lexi tried not to walk faster when the building came into view. She crossed the street and casually strolled up the front steps while covertly looking around her. Even then she didn't breathe a sigh of relief until she got to the flat.
She was reaching for the handle when the door opened. A woman with dark hair and moss green eyes smiled at her. She opened the door wider and waved Lexi inside.
"You must be Lexi. You're just as Thorn described," the Brit said when Lexi entered.
Before she could form a response a second woman came out of the bathroom. She had silver blond hair and beautiful emerald eyes.
"We were hoping to meet you before we went out again," said the blond with a strange accent that wasn't American or Scottish but a mixture.
Lexi looked from one to the other, thoroughly confused. "Hi."
The brunette laughed. "Forgive us. It's been a long day. We just had a little nap, and we're anxious for our husbands to return. I'm Laura, and that's Danielle."
"Call me Dani," she said.
Lexi set her purse on the table. "How did you know I would come?"
"Thorn," Laura explained as she held up her mobile. "He said you would be stopping by."
"Oh." That all made perfect sense. Lexi walked to the couch and sank onto a cushion.
Dani sat on the opposite end. She tucked her blond hair behind an ear. "We heard how you went after the Dark."
"Not very smart, I know," Lexi said.
Laura came around the couch and sat on the arm next to Dani. "I don't know. You knew they were evil when so many don't."
Lexi looked at them. "Are you Druids?"
"Yep," replied Dani.
"So they allow you to fight the Dark?"
Laura laughed and exchanged a look with Dani. "If you knew our husbands, you'd understand how we have the same argument with them each time until they relent and let us fight."
"How many times have you fought the Dark?" Lexi asked.
"This is our first time battling the Dark," Dani said. "Before that we battled Druids who used dark magic."
Laura added, "Otherwise known as droughs."
"You're lucky you have magic to fight."
Dani's smile dropped some. "Not so lucky that we always know what's going on and fight these villains. Unlike the Dragon Kings, we can be killed easily enough."
"As can our men," Laura said.
There were male voices a heartbeat before the door opened and two men strode into the flat. Lexi stood as she looked from the pale brown–haired one with brown eyes who walked to Dani with a smile to the other man with dark eyes and brunette hair who kissed Laura.
"Who's this?" Laura's husband asked.
Laura softly touched his cheek. "This is Lexi. Lexi, let me introduce my husband, Charon."
Lexi nodded a greeting.
Charon wore a charming smile that said he was self-assured and completely satisfied with life. "So you're the Lexi that Fallon and Marcail spoke about."
Dani walked over with her man then. She smiled up at him and said, "Lexi, this is Ian."
"Hello," Lexi said.
Ian wore a friendly smile. "I wish we could chat longer, but it's our turn to get back out there and kill some assholes."
"Honey," Dani said with a frown.
Laura laughed. "Oh, Dani. Ian's right. They are assholes."
They waved to Lexi as the four made their way out the door. When they departed, the flat seemed suddenly too quiet.
There was no one to talk to, leaving Lexi with her troubled thoughts that centered on one person — Thorn.CHAPTER 2
Thorn stood in the warehouse long after Lexi left. His mind was spinning with possibilities of how her memories had returned.
He put a hand on the wall, his chest constricting with the thought of Lexi in the city at such a dangerous time. Thorn shouted Guy's name through their mental link.
Guy answered instantly. "What is it?"
" Are you sure you took all of Lexi's memories? "
" Of course. "
" You must have left something," Thorn insisted.
Guy sighed loudly through the link. "I didna. I got all of them. Why? What's going on? "
"Lexi. She's here. And she remembers everything. "
"Impossible," Guy stated in confusion.
Thorn ran a hand down his face and looked to where he had seen her sitting on the table when he walked in. "Ask Darius. He spoke with her as well. "
"No one has ever had their memories returned after I took them. I doona understand. "
"I doona either. I wanted to make sure you didna do something so she would get them back."
"You asked for a favor, Thorn. I knew the reasons, and I'd never do such a thing to you."
Shite. He was in real trouble now.
"What are you going to do?" Guy asked.
"The only thing I can. I'll protect Lexi until I can get her out of the city once and for all."
"Is she angry?"
Thorn rubbed his face where her hand had connected with his cheek. "You could say that."
He severed the link and closed his eyes. The only way to ensure Lexi remained safe was to board her up at the flat and stand guard over her.
That wouldn't work for several reasons. The main one was that he couldn't leave Darius alone to fight the Dark. Even with the Warriors and Druids, he was needed. Then there was Lexi. She wouldn't appreciate being held captive for any reason.
Thorn slammed his hand into the wall. "Fuck!"
"She knows the threats out on the streets," Darius said as he walked into the warehouse carrying more dead Dark. "I followed her to make sure she arrived without incident."
Thorn nodded, feeling numb and frozen at the same time. "How did this happen?" When Darius didn't respond, Thorn turned to him, his hands clenched at his sides. "Did she tell you?"
"She doesna know," Darius said and tossed down the two bodies.
"But you do?"
Darius let out a slow breath. "I have my suspicions."
Thorn threw out his hands in agitation. "I'm all ears."
"I was there with Guy. He took her memories. Lexi walked away without having any idea who we were." Darius ran a hand down his face. "Perhaps she's meant to stay here. With you."
Thorn shook his head. "Nay. Nay! She can no'. If she does, the chances of her getting caught in the middle of this war rise each day she's here."
"Something triggered her memories. It was strong enough to wipe away Guy's dragon magic, and we both know that's never happened before."
"She thinks I left her defenseless," Thorn said. "I would never do such a thing."
Darius crossed his arms over his chest. "What did you do?"
"I put a Fae knife in the lining of her purse so she would always have a weapon."
"That shouldna be enough to break through Guy's magic."
Thorn rubbed the back of his neck. "Nay, it shouldna."
"You should tell Lexi it was you."
Thorn wasn't sure it would do any good. She was too upset. "Scotland is the last place she should be now."
"So tell her that as well. Go to her. Whether she wants to admit it or not, she needs you. And I've got everything covered for the night." Darius pointed to the door and urged, "Go."
If Thorn went to her, he knew he would kiss her again. If he kissed her again, he would want so much more. And if he made love to Lexi?
Thorn wasn't sure he could even think of that right now. He'd known from the moment he first made contact with Lexi that she was dangerous to him.
If there was trouble, Darius would let him know. Thorn looked down at his torn shirt and jeans that were covered with blood. He quickly changed, and without another word to Darius, left the warehouse.
* * *
Lexi stood at the window, but it wasn't the city she saw. It was memories of Thorn. She ran her thumb over the hilt of the knife she found in her purse.
She had seen it used before by Thorn. Had he put it in her purse? It sounded like something he would do.
The darker the evening became, the more people filled the streets. She blinked and looked down when music grew louder. It was coming from a pub at the corner where people could be seen laughing and dancing.
More and more jack-o'-lanterns popped up all along the street. Even more troubling was the number of Dark Fae. Very few were now using glamour, and it seemed to only spur the humans to gravitate to them even faster.
The door to the flat opened and heat spread over her. Thorn. She saw him through the glass of the window, but she didn't turn around. Lexi didn't trust herself not to blurt out how happy she was he was there.
He came to stand behind her, silent and powerful as he gazed out the window. "Things are getting worse."
"Why can't they tell what the Dark are? We look like cattle being led to slaughter."
"It's their appeal," he murmured.
Lexi swallowed past her emotion. "I'm scared for what's to come."
"In all my years, there was only one time I felt fear. That's when I had to send my Clarets away. I never experienced it again. Until you."
She was so shocked at his words that she turned to him. Thorn scared? Surely she misheard him. A man like Thorn would never feel such an emotion.
"When I saw you'd been hit with Dark magic, it was like watching my dragons leave all over again."
Excerpted from Passion Ignites by Donna Grant. Copyright © 2015 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the third installment in Lexi and Thorn’s story. Realizing what Thorn did by sending her away, Lexi's furious. This causes Thorn to finally stop denying the pull between them them. The build up in this story has me itching to read as fast as I can. It's not just Lexi and Thorn but the other sub plots as well. I can't wait to see how this wraps up! I highly recommend. **I received an ARC of this story in exchange for an honest review
Yowza. Lexi is not a happy camper and is making sure Thorn knows it. Everyone is wondering what Lexi's deal is, how is she doing the things she is? The war is raging and all the players are moving their pawns. Is Draegan really as safe as everyone thinks it is? Holy cow there is SO much going on in Part 3! I'm itching to get to the conclusion because right now I am on the edge of my seat!
Passion Ignites: Part 3 (Dark Kings #7) by Donna Grant was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review by NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and by Donna Grant. Thorn tried to do the right thing. He had Lexi’s memories wiped clean and sent her home to South Carolina. But before she even got on the plane, her memories came back and she returned to the flat to confront Thorn. He can’t believe her memories returned. That has never happened before and there is no explanation for it. But what does it mean? He can’t send her away again. It took everything he had to do it the first time. “Thorn had seen her scared, sick, and wounded. He had seen her frustrated, angry, and annoyed. But he had never seen her enraged. She was a sight to behold.” “Before him stood a queen of war who would take no less than the absolute truth. And heaven help him, but he craved her for it.” The dark fey are multiplying faster than Darius, Thorn, and the others helping them can kill them. As long as Lexi stays in the flat, she should be safe. In theory anyway. You know the saying, if I didn’t have bad luck, I would have none at all? That seems to apply to Lexi. Danger finds her no matter what. I can’t wait to read the final part of this to see if once again, Thorn is able to save Lexi from a desperate situation. Will these two ever get their chance to figure out what is between them? Or will the dark fey win and take Lexi from him? “It felt as if she were meant to be there – even in the middle of a magical war.”