The exclusive e-serial continues! From New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant comes the second sensual Dark Kings tale set in the wild Highlands of Scotland, where love and danger collide…
She could feel him through her skin and muscle, through bone and into her soul.
Warrick has never wanted a woman more. But he never intended to put Darcy in harm's way. Ever since she revealed a shocking truth, Darcy has been hunted by the Dark Fae, who want to use her powers for their own evil purposes. Warrick's passion is the greatest Darcy has ever known. But will it end up being a curse...for them both?
Read all four parts of this sensational e-series—and look for the full volume of Soul Scorched 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
Soul Scorched Part 2
A Novel in Four Parts
By Donna Grant
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 Donna Grant
All rights reserved.
Ulrik went through every person who worked for him and ran a deeper background check on them. Now that he knew what to look for, he was able to spot whoever also worked for his uncle.
There were seven in total, and with each revelation, the more his anger grew and festered into hate.
Mikkel had put his hands into Ulrik's life more than he was comfortable with. Ulrik added a mark next to each of the seven names. He wanted to fire them, but that would alert Mikkel that he knew of his uncle's involvement.
Instead, Ulrik opted not to do anything. Let those seven others continue on as they were. Ulrik rarely told them much anyway, but now he would make sure not to tell them anything they could take back to Mikkel.
Ulrik put away the list and pulled out another. The next wasn't as extensive as he would've liked, but it was growing by the day.
Every time Mikkel let him into one of his many residences, Ulrik discovered more and more of the people working for Mikkel — and not just those at the houses. With a little eavesdropping and diligence, Ulrik was able to learn one name from the mercenaries Mikkel used. From there, it was easy to discover who the mercs were associated with.
He wrote several more names down from his investigation, adding any relevant information that could help him in the future.
One of the things he was working on was figuring out who Mikkel's inside man was with MI5. As far as the Dark, Ulrik wasn't concerned that they were united with Mikkel. Ulrik's alliance with them wasn't as deep — and that would benefit him in the end.
The Dark did favors for him, and he gave them information on the Kings. However, now he knew the Dark were taking that knowledge straight to Mikkel.
If he were the trusting sort, his uncle would have backed him into a corner. But betrayals were a hard lesson, and ones that were never forgotten. Trust wasn't something Ulrik could — or would — give anyone.
He pulled out another folder. This one listed all the mortals who worked for Dreagan. One of them was Mikkel's spy, and he was going to find out who it was. If there was one thing Ulrik had learned to do — and do well — it was to turn a potential snitch.
Money was always the motivator. Ulrik was prepared to pay triple what Mikkel had given the spy, but Ulrik would go one step further and ensure the mole was indebted to him in such a way that the mole would never betray him.
There was a flash in his mind and Rhi's face appeared as she teleported into his store. Ulrik closed the folders and tucked them into the drawer. Then he stood up from his desk and lifted his gaze to the second floor where Rhi stood looking at a painting of a noblewoman from the sixteenth century.
The first thing Ulrik noticed was the silent fury that swirled around the Light Fae. Her face was hidden by her position with her back to him as well as her long hair.
She stood still as stone in a thin shirt of soft taupe that draped sensuously over every curve to her hips. Her legs were encased in black pants tucked into tall black boots.
"Did you come back for another kiss?" he asked.
There was a long pause before she replied, "What would you say if I said I did?"
"I'd say you're too far away. If you want a proper kiss, you need to be beside me."
Rhi turned to face him, tempted to get closer and kiss him again. She had to know if Ulrik's kiss was as powerful as she remembered. But she was too irate to think about kissing right now. "I want to know what you want from me."
"I beg your pardon?"
Rhi sighed, her anger spiking again. She had to get it under control, and quickly. "You carried me out of Balladyn's prison because you want something. What is it?"
"I doona know yet."
She gripped the railing tighter and looked Ulrik over. His dark hair was loose, making him appear roguish. He was in a pair of jeans and a thin sweater. As always, he looked gorgeous.
"I'm tired of being used. Balladyn wanted to torture me and turn me Dark, and now he wants me in his bed. You want me for some untold thing whenever you decide to use it. Usaeil wants me at her beck and call and to know my every movement. Con wants to make sure I never step foot on Dreagan again."
"What do you want, Rhi?" His question was spoken in a low voice as if she were some wild animal about to attack. Ulrik pulled his hands from the pockets of his pants and let them hang by his sides. He took a few steps toward the stairs. "Forget everyone else. Focus on you."
Forget? How could she when she was surrounded? Ulrik, Usaeil, Con, Balladyn, and Henry were just a few who sought something from her.
She closed her eyes, and immediately the face of her lover appeared. He was the only one who didn't want a thing from her.
Why did it continue to hurt so bad whenever she thought of him? Why couldn't the pain dim as everyone said it would? Thousands of years, and the pain was as fresh as the day he called an end to their affair.
"Rhi? Tell me what you want," Ulrik urged, his voice closer.
What did she want? She wanted him back. She wanted her Dragon King to love her again. She wanted to feel him next to her, to have his arms around her shoulders as he held her close. She wanted to see his smile, to look into his b —
"Tell me, Rhi. Who cares about the others? You're a powerful Light Fae."
She realized he was right behind her now. Rhi opened her eyes and saw that she was glowing. Everything around her was shaking. A vase fell off a pedestal and shattered, while books tumbled off the bookshelves. Teacups flew across the room to smash against the opposite wall.
Ulrik's arms were suddenly around her, comforting and gentle. "You've held it in too long. Let it out, Rhi."
She shook her head, even as her eyes filled with tears. "I can't."
"You can," he whispered, holding her tighter.
Rhi grabbed hold of his arms. She was exhausted from being pulled in so many directions. The lie she told herself and everyone else could no longer be spoken. She wasn't all right. She was so far from fine that it scared her.
Her chest ached, her throat closed up. Then the first tear fell. After that, the gates opened and they poured from her eyes.
The last one to see her cry was Balladyn. Rhi didn't want Ulrik to see her in such a weakened state, but it was his arms that held her and gave her the courage to see herself for the fraud she had become.
Rhi didn't know how long she cried. When her shoulders stopped shaking, she found herself still in Ulrik's arms with both of them sitting on one of the sofas near the bookshelves.
She leaned back against his chest, her hands still grasping his arms that hadn't loosened. Her head rested against his shoulder and she was pretty sure his sweater was wet from her tears.
"That was long overdue," he said.
She shrugged. "I hate to cry."
"You love to please people and to help them, but when are you going to realize that the only person who truly needs to be happy is you?"
Rhi turned her head to look at him. "Are you happy?"
"That probably isna the right word for me. Content. Aye, that's what I would use. I'm content. I willna be happy until I have all of my magic and I can shift again."
"You think you will?"
"I know it."
His certainty had her wiping her face of tears. She sniffed and let her head return to his shoulder. "I don't think I can be happy or content. I thought I was, and then Balladyn took me."
"You survived his torture and the Chains of Mordare."
"Did I?" She wasn't so sure anymore.
Ulrik's arms tightened a fraction. "You're sitting here. You broke the Chains of Mordare, and you blew up his compound. Aye, Rhi, I'd say you survived."
"And now?" he asked. "Are you content?"
"I don't know anything anymore. Some days are good, and others are impossible to get through."
"Something set you off today."
Rhi stiffened as she remembered. "Usaeil has a new lover."
There was a beat of silence before Ulrik said, "Ah. I gather it's a King."
She nodded her head, unable to speak for a moment. "No one has seen him, but I think it is a King."
"I don't know. I tried to catch them together."
Ulrik shifted his arms. "Let it go, Rhi. What you had with your King is over."
"Are you over your woman and her betrayal?" she asked snarkily.
Rhi jerked out of his arms and turned on the sofa to look at him. "How?"
"I killed her soul."
She gaped at Ulrik. He was the only Dragon King who had the power to bring the dead back. It never occurred to her that he could find a soul and kill it. If the soul died, it could never be reborn.
"I see I've shocked you," he said and put an arm along the back of the sofa as he watched her. "It shouldna. You know what I am."
She most certainly did. But there were times she forgot. Like just a moment ago when he was holding her.
"How long has it been since you and your King were together?" he asked.
Rhi looked away, the tears returning again. "A very long time, but not so long that I don't remember the taste of his kiss or the way he would look at me and smile."
"You'll never move on unless you let go. What you need is another lover."
She cut him a look. "Are you applying for the position?"
"Would you take me?"
"What can you tell me about Darcy Allen?" Rhi had to change the subject before she agreed to something that could make matters worse.
Ulrik's golden eyes narrowed a fraction. "I see you've been to Dreagan."
"Who did Con send?"
Rhi shifted to the opposite corner of the sofa so she could better see Ulrik. "How did you know he sent someone?"
"Because it's Con."
"Warrick and Thorn."
Ulrik didn't so much as twitch at the news. "Interesting combination."
"The Dark have attacked her."
At this, Ulrik's faced hardened. "Did they succeed in taking her?"
"Not with Warrick and Thorn there. Why are the Dark after her?"
Ulrik stood and walked to the railing. "There are many reasons the Dark might want her."
"But you know the real one." Rhi scooted to the edge of the sofa. "This is more emotion than I've seen from you in, well ... ever. Is Darcy your mate?"
He flashed her a dark look. "Never again will I make that mistake."
"But she's significant." Rhi rose to her feet and walked to him. "How many Druids did you see before Darcy helped you?"
"Hundreds," he answered without hesitation. "Every one of them died as soon as they came in contact with the dragon magic."
With a wave of her hand, Rhi repaired all the damage in the store that she had caused earlier. "You should be guarding Darcy yourself then. Or at the very least, having a chat with Taraeth."
Ulrik grunted. "Darcy is more than capable of defending herself."
"Against the Dark?" It was Rhi's turn to grunt. "Keep telling yourself that. Besides, I figured you'd be concerned with her falling for one of the Kings and spilling all your secrets."
"She doesna know anything."
Rhi was willing to bet otherwise. Darcy was a Druid able to not just touch dragon magic, but reverse it, which suggested she knew more about Ulrik than he suspected. Why else would Con send Kings to her?
"She's from Skye."
Ulrik shrugged and pinned Rhi with a cold look. "Your point?"
"You know how powerful the Skye Druids are. Anyone who got their hands on her would have something special. Let's face it, the Dragon Kings aren't the only ones with enemies. You have them as well."
He turned sideways toward her, a slight grin turning up the ends of his mouth. "What do you know of my enemies?"
All pretense of flirting disappeared. He straightened, one hand tight on her elbow. "Listen carefully, Rhi. Stay far away. You doona want to get involved in this."
He was deadly serious. Rhi wondered just what Ulrik was involved in. He killed and cursed as he wanted. The treachery of others had turned him cold and nefarious in ways that could never be erased.
"You asked what I wanted from you," he said. "I'll tell you. Keep Darcy safe. Doona let the Dark get her."
Rhi was going to help Darcy anyway, but Ulrik's plea made her curious. "I'll see it done."
She halted mid-teleport and looked at Ulrik. "What?"
"Keep her out of the Kings' clutches."CHAPTER 2
Darcy tried to forget that Warrick was in the flat with her, but it was impossible. He was so tall and imposing that he dwarfed everything else.
But it wasn't just his physical appearance. Even in another room, she could sense his presence. He calmed her, made her feel as if nothing could harm her.
She wrung out her hair and stepped out of the shower to dry off. After she dressed in a pair of sweats and an oversized tee, she combed her hair and walked from the bathroom.
Warrick stood at the windows, looking out at the city. "If the Dark come, it'll be at night."
She looked past him to the inky sky and the lights of Edinburgh. "Even with you and Thorn here?"
"Depends on how badly they want you." Warrick turned around to her.
"All this because I touched dragon magic?"
"Ours is the most powerful magic on this realm. Nothing is supposed to be able to compare to ours."
Darcy padded to the kitchen area and stirred the soup she was heating. "Would it help if I tell you that it nearly killed me?"
"Nay," he replied in a tight voice. "It doesna."
"I understand Ulrik better than you. Ulrik hates humans, and doesn't care who knows. The other Dragon Kings must hate us, and yet you protect us still."
"There are those of us who detest mortals, but we made a vow. So did Ulrik."
"I think all the Kings have a case for not liking us."
He walked to the sofa and stood behind it to lean his hip back against it. "I wasna fighting you during the war. It was your ancestors and the decisions they made."
"Do you think it'll be any different if Ulrik releases the Silvers?"
Warrick scratched the back of his neck. "War is war no matter who is fighting or what time period. There is death and destruction, and both sides lose. Does this mean you're beginning to understand why we want to stop Ulrik?"
She reached for the bowls on the shelf and set them on the counter. Darcy dished out two servings and carried them to the small table between the living and kitchen areas. "No. I just like knowing what both sides are thinking."
"You heard our version of the story."
She set down the bowls and spoons, and then she went back to grab two bottles of ale. Darcy walked to Warrick and handed him one of the bottles. "I did. I'm not saying you were wrong in what you did, but I think it's gone on entirely too long. For every day that passes and Ulrik can't shift, his anger grows."
Darcy didn't realize how close she had gotten to Warrick until she looked up and into his cobalt gaze. He was mere inches from her. It grew difficult to breathe at his nearness.
Her chest rose and fell rapidly as her blood pounded in her ears. Then his gaze lowered to her mouth, and desire pooled low in her belly. She wanted his kiss with a desperation that made her knees go weak.
Then his eyes lifted. Their gazes clashed, held. There was no denying the sexual tension that filled the flat. It grew, expanded, with each breath leaving Darcy with chills racing over her skin.
Her lips parted expectantly when she saw his eyes darken, the desire blatant.
"I'm not interrupting anything, am I?" said a sensual female voice, with humor edging the words.
Warrick's nostrils flared as he pulled back from Darcy. "Rhi," he ground out.
Darcy whirled around to see a voluptuous raven-haired woman so gorgeous she could only gape at her.
Rhi lifted her hand from the back of the chair at the table and waved her fingers. "I'm guessing I did interrupt something. My bad," she said with a knowing grin.
Darcy looked to Warrick to find him glaring at the woman. Darcy then looked at the front door to find it locked. Her spells were still in place, and none of the alarms were going off.
She turned back to Rhi and pieced it all together. Black hair, silver eyes, and too gorgeous to be real. She was a Fae. She was also the one Warrick had told her about who'd had an affair with a Dragon King.
"How the hell did you get into my flat?" Darcy demanded.
Excerpted from Soul Scorched Part 2 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In the second part of the story Warrick and Darcy share a sizzling kiss and Rhi is added to the list of Darcy's protectors as a favor to Ulrik, who rescued her from Balladyn. Rhi added her protection to Darcy's flat but what about her store? With Darcy's Druid magic and the Dragon King's magic, her shop "should" be protected from the Dark Fae and they get the chance to find out. This story just keeps getting more interesting. I can't wait for part three. I was not compensated for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed as my own.
I love the Dragon Kings. Warrick and Thorn are protecting Darcy, a druid who helped Ulrik get some of his powers back. It seems everyone wants to use her powers for their own purposes including the Dragons. Warrick and Darcy are growing closer but the dark haven’t given up. Everyone is facing more than just one enemy. So exciting I can’t put it down. Great read and looking forward to more!
Wow! It just keeps getting better! I am dying to know what happens next! We discover something about a certain Dragon King that left me so mad at him! I about threw my kindle! I did have to stop reading for a minute to calm down!! lol! Anyways... Darcy and Warrick are growing closer. He normally keeps himself apart from others but has always been intrigued by humans. Even when he should have held hate towards them. The Dark Fae are closing in around them. They are fighting for their lives and things are looking mighty bleak. Will Darcy keep her trust in Warrick when she finds out what his original plans where concerning her. The real question is what will Warrick do to keep her safe. Who will he trust....
Darcy is torn between a lot of people. She wants to help Ulrich but she wants to be with Warrick. Rhi stops by to put Magic on her house to stop the Dark coming in. Spoiler. She isn't in her house and her shop isn't as safe. Here comes the Dark! Spoiler. Rhi has a fight with her Queen. Not a good thing. Warrick calls to her to help but she isn't coming. Then Darcy remembers she has Magic that she can use to help Warrick and Thorne. Now to wait for the next episode! I have this book for an honest review for NetGalley.
Part 2 of 4: SOUL SCORCHED Part 2 follows three different paths: Warrick and Thorn as they continue to protect Darcy from the Dark Fae: Rhi as she faces off with her Queen; and Ulrik who may not be the Dragon King everyone believes him to be-although he has regained some of his power, he is no longer the man in control. Darcy begins to suspect that something isn’t right with the Dragon King’s version of events. Donna Grant continues to build upon the world of the Dragon King and the potential for a war with the Dark Fae. Ulrik finds himself facing a new enemy; and Warrick’s attraction to Darcy puts him in an uncomfortable position. Saying that, something was missing between Darcy and War-I did not feel the attraction; the lust; the need. I am hoping to see something more palpable in the next serial installment