by Donna Grant
That one simple kiss slayed him as nothing in his very, very long life had ever done. It physically hurt him to release her and turn his back on everything she offered, but it was for the best.
A KING WHO WALKS IN DARKNESS
The Rhys who has existed for centuries is gone. Stripped of his ability to shift forms, Rhys can no longer embody the majestic, powerful dragon he was at birth. Cut off from his heritage by one of his own, this Dragon King must remain a man, haunted by demons who torment his every waking moment. The darkness would swallow him whole . . . except a woman so beautiful and haunted becomes the one beam of light in his world...
A DESIRE THAT WILL NOT BE DENIED
Lily Ross is taking the first step in building a new life for herself. Still reeling from a relationship that nearly broke her spirit, Lily is wary of her attraction to brawny, brooding Rhys. The passion burning so brightly between them is a potent temptation, but any entanglement is destined to end in disaster. Yet when a spectre from Lily’s past threatens their growing bond, Rhys is forced to choose with his heart, or lose this woman who has become his one chance at salvation...
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 31st 2015 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN 1250060737 (ISBN13: 9781250060730)
seriesDark Kings #5
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Soul Scorched by Donna Grant
Darcy sat straight up in bed, her chest heaving from her gasping breaths. She clawed at the hair that clung to her face with her sweat and blinked several times to make sure the dragon who had been bearing down on her with its mouth open wasn’t real.She hunched over and buried her face in her hands, her entire body shaking. It was the same dream from two days earlier. For the past month, the dream kept recurring every few days. There was no rhyme or reason to when the dreams came or when they didn’t. All Darcy knew was that the dragon was after her.She lifted her face to peek out her window. Dawn had arrived. She took several deep breaths before she threw off the covers and rose to walk to the bathroom. After a quick shower, she pinned up her hair and pulled on a sweater, jeans, and boots before she walked to the kitchen of her flat. A quick inhale of the smell of coffee brought some semblance of a smile to her face.Darcy poured the dark liquid into a tall thermal container and screwed on the top. She put on her coat and pulled her purse over her head, settling it across her body. As she made her way to the door, she grabbed an apple from the basket.The few blocks she walked to work was done slowly. She wasn’t in a mad dash like others in the city heading to their corporate jobs. By the time she reached the black door of her shop, she had finished the apple. Darcy opened the door and stepped inside. She shut and locked the door behind her. It was a few hours yet before she would officially open, but she always came in early.She walked past the round table painted black set in the middle of the floor. All around the front of the small store were decorations that people expected to see like a crystal ball and crystals of various sizes and colors hanging from the ceiling. Simple was best, and it was what she liked. Darcy didn’t put up any brightly lit signs announcing that she read palms. People always found her, and her clients returned again and again.Although she could read palms anywhere, she preferred the place kept darkened. So the lights were dimmed and candles lit. The walls were painted a dark purple, and the hardwood floor was covered with black rugs of various sizes and shapes. She walked through two sets of dark hanging curtains to the back of the store that held boxes of different tarot cards, runes stones, and books about reading the tarots and runes, as well as palm reading. She made the bulk of her money from her clients, but she made a nice chunk with her online sales.This was the place she called her mini-warehouse because of all the boxes. She had a small desk that housed her computer and printer. All her shipping supplies were in cabinets hanging on the wall above her desk, which meant it was as neat as it was going to get.Darcy hung her purse on the coatrack, and her coat soon followed. She tapped a key on the computer keyboard to wake it up as she walked to the back door.She quickly threw open the door and sighed. This was the place she craved to be. This is what the money from her palm readings and online sales allowed her. She was finally able to find some semblance of comfort since the dream woke her.The conservatory was long and narrow, going back as far as it could until it reached the building behind hers. Darcy took a deep breath, the air filled with the fragrance of dozens of flowers. This is what calmed her. It was the place she went to ease her mind and find peace that eluded her out in the world of crazies.Darcy didn’t bother with gloves. She pushed the sleeves of her sweater up her arms and put on the apron that held the tools she would need to tend to her flowers.She looked over the tables of plants to the planters in the back that held the tallest flowers. Then she walked to the table to her left.One by one Darcy lovingly touched their leaves and inhaled the fragrant flowers while she checked the soil and pruned as needed. She went down the first row, moving to her right until she reached the end. She was at the middle table working her way back to the front when she noticed the Scottish primrose she had planted from a seed. It had sprouted well enough, but yesterday it began to look as if it was struggling to live.Darcy leaned close and cupped her hands around it. She let her magic fill her before she released a small portion of it through her fingers into the plant.She didn’t normally use her magic with her plants, but the primrose had been a gift from her sister. It had taken her six years to get up the courage to plant it, and now that she had, she didn’t want it to die.As she watched the leaves of the flower begin to brighten, she dropped her hands to her side and straightened. She didn’t need to turn around to know who had come into the area. There was only one person who would dare to intrude upon her privacy. “I honestly didn’t expect to see you again.”“And I didna expect to see you cheating by using your magic,” came the masculine reply in a deep, soft English accent.Darcy turned and faced the man who had first walked into her shop three years earlier. She looked over his long black hair that hung loose about his shoulders to his gold eyes. As usual, he was in a dark suit, the crisp white shirt beneath the jacket left open at the collar. Ulrik. Her first foray into a world she hadn’t known existed—the Dragon Kings.“It’s not cheating. I’m merely helping it along.”He raised a black brow. “It must be special for you to use your magic. I’ve never known you to do so before.”Darcy looked down at the primrose. She couldn’t wait until it flowered, showcasing the small, bright purple petals. The plant itself would only a few inches tall at most.“It is special.” But she didn’t want to think about why it meant so much to her. Darcy slid her gaze back to Ulrik. “I’m not sure I can unlock any more of your magic. The last time nearly killed me.”“I know.” He leaned back against the wall near the door and crossed one ankle over the other. “I’m no’ here for that. I’m here to warn you that you may be targeted soon for helping me.”“Why not just call and tell me this?”“So you would know how important it is that you keep your guard up.”The way Ulrik’s gold eyes went cold told her all that she needed to know. Whoever was after her was dangerous. “How will I know who they are?”“You’ll know. They’re too bloody curious as to how I got my magic returned. I’ve been evasive. But . . . they’ll find out.”Darcy gawked at him. “Are you that stupid? They could’ve followed you.”Normally, she wasn’t so idiotic as to call someone as powerful as Ulrik stupid, but she was more concerned with her life than his response.“They’ll find you one way or another,” Ulrik said, though by his flat look, he wasn’t happy with her choice of words.Darcy put a hand to her forehead. She and Ulrik weren’t exactly friends. He had needed something, and she was able to give it to him. In return, he’d paid her handsomely.She dropped her hand to her side and studied the Dragon King. “You’re not warning me out of the kindness of your heart. That’s not you.”“No,” he said, the barest hint of a smile upon his lips. “I’m warning you because I may need you in the future, and I doona want you harmed. I hope you’ll be smart enough to remain safe.”“Who is coming for me?”“An enemy.”She blinked. The only reason Darcy knew Ulrik’s story was because she had seen his past while delving into his mind to undo what the other Dragon Kings had done to him. Ulrik pushed away from the wall. “Close your mouth, Darcy. We all have enemies we’d rather no’ talk about.”“I just . . . I just thought you were going to say the Dragon Kings,” she said and shrugged.He blew out a breath, his nostrils flaring. “Who says I’m no’?”“You should let your true accent come out more,” she said when he let it slip. “It suits you better than the fake British you use from time to time.”He continued on as if she hadn’t spoken. “My enemies will kill you. They want to ensure I doona get any more of my magic returned.”“If your enemy is anything like you, there’s nowhere I can go where I won’t be found.”Ulrik stared at her for a moment. “You’re a Druid from the Isle of Skye. You touched upon dragon magic and walked away without it taking your life. If there’s anyone who can get through this, it’s you.” He pivoted to leave. “I’ve been dreaming of dragons.”Ulrik hesitated. Without turning around he asked, “Any particular color dragon?”“Yes,” she said after a brief pause.“What color?”Darcy hadn’t told Ulrik she had seen his past. She had never mentioned Constantine’s name, nor would she knowing how much Ulrik hated the King of Kings. Ulrik wasn’t a man she would cross. Ever. As long as he needed her, she was useful. So she would remain useful.Ulrik turned to her, a frown upon his brow. “Darcy? What color?”“It’s not exactly clear.”“Is he gold?”She gave a shake of her head. “No.”“If you see his color, call me immediately.”“Why?”“So I can tell you who to expect a visit from.”With that, he turned on his heel and was gone. Darcy swallowed and leaned a hand on the table. Despite the danger that fairly radiated from Ulrik, she wasn’t scared of him. She had a healthy dose of respect, sure, but perhaps she didn’t fear him because he’d come to her before he had magic.She saw the man struggling to deal with the life he had been forced into. When she saw his past the first time, she wanted to get as far from him as she could. Yet, she was intrigued by the world of the Dragon Kings.Ulrik eventually told her a little about who and what he was, but he kept most of it to himself. It took her numerous tries before she was able to touch the thick and powerful dragon magic that bound his. At first, each time she came close, she was knocked unconscious.She wasn’t the only one affected. By messing with the dragon magic, Ulrik experienced a tremendous amount of pain that left him weak and exposed. He held back as much of the bellows as he could, but eventually, they were released.Both of them had seen the other in their weakest times, but she never thought of him as a friend. The fact he visited her after almost three years let her know he was serious about the threat.It had been seven long years since she left Skye. Maybe it was time to go back. She had left seeking . . . something. She hadn’t known what, and she still didn’t. Darcy had had this urging to go, and she’d followed it, fully expecting to find whatever it was that sent her from her home.She wasn’t exactly unhappy in Edinburgh. Her clients were many, and she enjoyed what she did. To return to Skye would mean returning to Corann’s fold.That she wasn’t ready to do. Then again, she couldn’t remain in Edinburgh. Ulrik was right. She was a Druid. There were few places she could go that his enemies would never find her.Skye was one of them.About Author Donna Grant
Donna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.
She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding.
Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, four cats, and one long haired Chihuahua.
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