Darius is back. Edinburg thought it had seen the last of this seductive Dragon King, but that was before Darius found something worthwhile. He just can't stay away from the impossibly beautiful Dr. Sophie Martin-even though he knows that a passion this strong could prove detrimental...for them both.
Sophie tried to forget her encounter with smoking-hot Darius to no avail. He's in her dreams, tempting her. But her association with Darius catches the attention of another, putting her
in mortal danger. . .and Darius, who has vowed to protect her, is her only hope. But can she trust the notorious dragon shapeshifter? The only thing she knows for sure is that she cannot resist him, in Smoldering Hunger, the next novel in the Dark Kings series by New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant!
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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 © 2016 Donna Grant
All rights reserved.
His hands were large and rough as he jerked up her skirt. Her fingers delved into his long blond hair, feeling the silkiness of the thick strands.
She couldn't draw enough breath into her lungs. The way he pressed her against the building and pinned her with his body was ... exhilarating.
No man had ever shown such passion, such need for her before. It spurred her own desires until she burned.
His kisses stirred her soul, leaving her gasping and hungry for more. They pulled her from the wasteland of her life, viciously and ruthlessly. With just one kiss she was clinging to him, silently begging him to show her all that one brush of his lips promised.
The feel of his arousal pressed against her stomach made her dizzy with need. It swirled low in her belly and began to consume her with each beat of her heart.
She closed her eyes against the night, against the world that was falling apart around them. And she did the one thing she swore she would never do again ...
She opened her body.
His palm scraped against her thigh. She felt the calluses against her skin and the warmth of his hand against the chill of the night.
Each kiss was like a wrecking ball, smashing through the walls erected around her heart without any difficulty. He had wanted her and sensed her own attraction to him, and he had acted.
When was the last time a man had done that?
She didn't have to think or act. All she had to do was feel. And he was like a riot of sensations swarming her, consuming her. Yet it didn't frighten her.
No, it excited her, delighted her.
She gasped when he cupped her sex. It soon turned into a moan as his fingers delved into her slickness and teased her clit before sliding within her.
Her head fell back against the building while his mouth left a hot, wet trail down her neck to her breasts. His lips fastened around a nipple and sucked.
She bit her lip and briefly wondered when her coat had been opened and her shirt unbuttoned. Then she forgot how to think as he began to flick his tongue over the rigid peak.
He suddenly lifted his head, and the next thing she knew, his hands moved around to her bottom where he lifted her so that she could wrap her legs around him.
Her eyes opened and she looked into his dark eyes. The shadows hid his face, but she didn't need the light. His image was branded into her mind from their first meeting.
He was dangerous, serious, alarming, and a bit threatening. He was everything she should stay away from. Despite her best efforts, she was pulled to him like a bee to honey.
There were no words between them. There wasn't a need for any. The passion and yearning said it all.
It frightened her how much she ached to have him within her. She knew very little about him, but her body didn't care. And frankly, at that moment, neither did she.
She ran her hands over his wide shoulders and his arms that were solid muscle. She felt the sinew move beneath her palms as he lifted her just enough so when he lowered her, she felt the head of his cock at her entrance.
Her lips parted and her nails dug into his shirt as she waited with anticipation for him to fill her. He leisurely lowered her, letting his rod stretch her with agonizing slowness.
She wasn't able to draw in a breath until she had taken his full length. All the while, he held her gaze, daring her to look away.
In his eyes, she saw his desire, his blatant hunger. In that moment, that very second, he allowed her to see the real him. And it caused her heart to catch, because she liked what she saw. Too much.
He groaned loudly before he took her lips in a savage kiss that was both tender and relentless. Then he began to slide in and out of her.
She could do nothing but wrap her arms around his neck and hold on. With his thick cock filling her faster and faster and his shirt scraping along her bare nipples, the orgasm came quickly.
As if he knew she was about to peak, he began to thrust harder and deeper, taking her to places she hadn't known she could go.
His kisses swallowed her loud cries as her body shuddered around him. Then he began to fade, turning to smoke. She tried to touch his face, but all she met was air.
Then she was alone. Just like before.
Sophie opened her eyes, hating when reality intruded upon her dreams. She sat up while trying to ignore how her body still pulsed from the climax.
How could a dream make her find pleasure as eloquently and vividly as she had in Darius's arms? She put her hand on her stomach and closed her eyes while she waited for her breathing to return to normal and her body to calm once more.
She didn't move when the alarm went off. Only when she had herself back under control did she reach over and shut off the alarm.
Sophie opened her eyes and threw off the covers before she stood. It had been two weeks since she and Darius had sex against a building, just steps from the hospital where anyone could have seen her.
She hadn't much cared who might have stumbled across them that night. She'd been too caught up in his raw masculinity, the consuming desire that swept through her.
Now, however, she wondered at her sanity. She didn't do such foolish, rash, or reckless things.
But it had felt good!
Sophie would only admit that to herself, and even that tiny concession threatened to turn her world on its axis. The blame lay squarely with Darius.
No matter how hard she tried, she still found herself looking for him when she left the hospital — day or night. With each day that passed and he wasn't there, a little more sanity returned.
She was almost to the point where she was pretty confident that she could turn him away.
Right, her subconscious said with a laugh. That's why you dream about him every night, climaxing each time you remember what he felt like inside you, sliding in and out. Stretching you.
She sighed, her stomach clenching at the memory. If only that wasn't the truth. Sophie stood in front of her closet staring at her clothes, but that wasn't what she saw. She saw Darius and the way he looked at her.
His dark eyes the color of chocolate had ensnared her. His gaze had promised passion, pleasure, and a multitude of other things she hadn't dared to think about then. And especially now.
Recalling it two weeks later still made her breath catch. It was a look she'd seen others get, but it was never directed at her.
It evoked memories, dreams, and desires long buried. Those were dangerous, because they were a part of her life where she hadn't been in control, where she had followed her heart.
"Never again," she whispered.
It was a vow she spoke so many years ago and repeated often. It was her mantra, her motto. It was the only way she had gotten through those first horrible months. Those words built the concrete walls around her.
She had to stop dreaming of that night and how Darius made her feel. Sophie held onto those amazing feelings because she hadn't thought anything would come of it.
Now, fourteen days later, she recognized how wrong she had been. Wasn't she? She'd expected to live her life alone, and she was comfortable with that. Or she had been.
Until Darius walked out of the shadows and into her life one night.
There was a way to end the dreams and any thoughts she had of Darius. And that was to think of that inauspicious day, seven years before.
Sophie had pushed that memory deep, but never too deep. It was always there, a reminder of her gullibility, her stupidity. But she pulled the thought forward and let all the hurt, the anger, the betrayal, the confusion, and the sorrow take her again.
For just a few seconds, she gave herself to the memory. It was a reminder of why she vowed to live alone, why she pushed away anyone that tried to get close to her. Then she forcefully shoved the abhorrent memory back into a dark corner of her mind.
"Never again," she repeated.
She was strong now. She was her own woman. She knew the truth of the world. It was dark, lonely, and merciless. She'd learned that the hard way, but she wouldn't be caught in that position again.
Sophie grabbed a shirt and pants from her closet and headed to the bathroom. Her thoughts were centered on her patients waiting at the hospital. No longer did Darius occupy any part of her mind.
Just the way it should be.CHAPTER 2
On the other side of Edinburgh ...
The warehouse was quiet and empty except for the four Dark Fae dead at Darius's feet. He stared down at them, wondering where all the other Dark were. Those four were all he'd killed since he began hunting the morning before. It was a full twenty-four hours later and all he had to show for it was four Dark.
He blew out a breath. Someone or something else was killing the Dark. Not that he minded the help, but he wished he knew who it was.
Blowing out a deep breath, Darius tried not to notice the stillness of the warehouse. Just a few weeks before it was a place where he and Thorn had come while they'd fought the Dark Fae who attempted to take over the city — and failed.
Now Thorn was back at Dreagan with his mate, Lexi, and Darius was in Edinburgh alone.
Alone. It was such an insignificant word. Or it had been for centuries. He'd sought out the solitude, had slept away centuries in his cave without hesitation.
And now? Now he hated the quiet.
He detested being alone.
It wasn't that he missed the other Dragon Kings. He could communicate with them via their mental link at any time. It was something much deeper, much stronger that twisted his gut.
He'd told the other Kings he wanted to end the war with the Dark Fae so he could return to his mountain and the dragon sleep. It had been the truth. For a bit. Now, he found himself searching for something he didn't understand or know.
No matter how many times he walked the streets of the city, no matter how many times he killed the evil Dark Fae who sought to slaughter the innocent humans, Darius was never satisfied.
It was as if he were missing something. That only made him hunt longer and harder. He'd tracked the last remaining Dark Fae who hadn't been smart enough to leave the city, running the bastards to ground.
Since the Dark fed off the souls of the humans, Darius took great pleasure in killing them. But not even that helped to ease the tension within him.
But it did help him remember that he was a lethal warrior. He did what he did not just for himself, but for his brethren at Dreagan who hid amongst the humans distilling world-famous whisky. And he did it for the humans.
The realm might've been the dragons' first and foremost, but the humans were part of that world as well. The Dragon Kings fought for themselves and the mortals who once tried to kill them.
Darius removed his shirt and folded it before neatly stacking it on the table on the other side of the warehouse. After removing his boots and setting them tidily together, he unfastened his jeans and stepped out of them. Folding them, he set the jeans beside his shirt and turned to face the dead Fae.
With just a thought, he shifted, his body transforming from that of a human into a dragon. He shook his great head and blinked his eyes as he fastened them onto the Dark.
The greed and extravagance of the Dark Fae had caused the city to erupt in chaos. Edinburgh hadn't been the only place bombarded with the Dark, however. Every major city in Scotland and England had been attacked.
It caused the Dragon Kings to take drastic action against the Fae. In doing so, the Kings played right into the Darks' hands.
The Dark Fae filmed the Kings on Dreagan flying, fighting, and shifting. That video was then released onto the Internet, and a fury storm of questions fell upon Dreagan.
Their leader, Constantine, King of Kings, ordered that no Dragon King could shift out of human form. Darius was doing what his brethren hadn't been able to do in weeks.
He wasted no time in breathing fire upon the Dark. There was nothing on any realm as hot as dragon fire, and it scorched the bodies into ash almost instantly.
Darius immediately returned to human form and dressed. He wouldn't stay in his true appearance when the others couldn't. It wasn't fair. And it only made him hate the Dark Fae even more.
Once, long ago, there was a war on Earth between the Fae and the Kings. The Fae Wars had lasted for decades with hundreds dying.
The Kings eventually won. It was supposed to have been a war that would never be repeated. It would've remained that way if the Kings hadn't had to hide their true selves. There was only one race to blame for that: the humans.
Darius dressed and left the warehouse. It was just after five in the morning. There was still time to do some hunting. Perhaps he'd get lucky and see who was killing the Dark.
He hadn't gone more than five blocks when he found himself turning to the left. Darius walked another two before he realized he was on his way to the Royal Victoria Hospital.
His feet halted instantly.
Every time Sophie entered his thoughts, he hastily squished it. She was a distraction he didn't need — and couldn't afford. Yet, when he walked the streets, every time he saw a flash of red hair, he hoped it was her.
There was only one time in the two weeks since he'd made love to her on the street, shrouded by shadows with a hunger for her riding him hard, that he had allowed himself to see her.
A day after their encounter he'd remained hidden atop a roof watching as she left the hospital. She hadn't even looked in the direction where they'd had sex against the building.
Did she remember how her nails bit into his flesh? Did she recall how her body shuddered with the force of her climax? Did she forget how he had to swallow her screams of pleasure with a kiss?
He had no trouble recollecting all of that and more. So much more. For days after he had the taste of her on his tongue. Even now he recalled the feel of her soft, warm skin beneath his hands. He knew the weight of her breasts and how sensitive her nipples were.
If he allowed himself, he could get drunk off her kisses alone.
It was for that reason alone that he hadn't returned to the hospital or gone anywhere near Sophie's home. She was much too alluring and entirely too much of a temptation to put himself in close proximity to her.
So why was he now heading toward the very place he'd shied away from? His thoughts had been on the Dark and eradicating them forever from this realm. He hadn't even been thinking of Sophie.
Darius turned on his heel and retraced his steps. He had to get far from Sophie. Nothing good could come of him seeing her again.
For hours he walked without a trace of the Dark to been seen. It agitated him, but he knew there were still a few of the bastards in the city.
The sun climbed in the sky and then began its descent, all the while he marched through the city from one end to the other. A few times he thought he was being watched, but he could never discover who it was.
Darius made his way to Edinburgh Castle. He was sitting staring out over the city when he felt a push against his mind. He instantly recognized Con's voice in his head.
He opened the link to Con. "Aye?"
"How are things?" Con asked.
"If you're asking if I've discovered who else is killing the Dark, I've no'." Darius had hoped to have better news. The Kings needed some good news soon.
Con blew out a breath. "It has to be Fae. They're the only ones who can remain veiled."
"If it's Fae, then why no' show themselves? It doesna make sense."
"I never said it made sense, I just said it had to be them."
Darius could hear the weariness in Con's voice. He hadn't been to Dreagan since before the video leaked. Darius could well imagine that tensions were running high with everyone doing their best to appear as human as possible to MI5, who had descended upon their business and home.
"And you?" Darius asked. "How are you?"
There was a long pause before Con said, "We're fine."
"I didna ask about Dreagan. I know the bloody whisky is going to be fine. I asked how you were, you stubborn bugger."
"How the fuck do you think I am?"
Darius smiled when he heard the anger in Con's voice. Constantine was known for being as cold as ice in any situation. Few had seen him angry and lived to speak of it. "I almost feel sorry for the Dark for what we're going to do to them."
"They need to be wiped from this realm."
"All Fae need to go. Even Rhi. They've caused nothing but problems." Darius expected Con to agree regarding the Light Fae who had helped them in many situations, but the silence stretched on.
"Rhi has too many friends among the Kings."
"And you want Usaeil as an ally."
"The Light Fae queen has nothing to do with this," Con said tightly.
Excerpted from Smoldering Hunger by Donna Grant. Copyright © 2016 Donna Grant. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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