Zaret Talson ‘Or Fal—Z—knows what he wants, and it isn’t a mate. But when he’s besieged by dreams of a sexy woman scorching the skies when she’s not entwined with him and another, he fears the dreams are a sign of his future.
Adri ‘San Fal may look human, but like Z, she’s Otra, an alien species not altogether welcome on Earth. Part of a particular clan of Otra who can handle fire, she’s blond, unlike the majority of her kind. Hiding in plain sight is easy—until her past finds her. Desperate to escape, she runs into the one man destined to be her doom, or her salvation.
This title has been previously published
“I forget sometimes I’ve only been here for six months. Seems like we’ve known each other forever.” And Adri meant that. She would always treasure this time spent in New Hattan with Sheila and her other friends. Women who thought and spoke of everything, from emotions to shared feelings to dating and sex. She loved being able to discuss datable men. Nearly everyone she knew at home had some tie to her father. So annoying.
The ability to experience life without constraint was like a drug she never wanted to do without. Addictive, it would be hard to break when her father or brothers found and dragged her home. As they eventually would.
“Anyway, the Talsons are all really tall, really dark and to-die-for handsome. In fact,” Sheila paused to take another swig of her beer and pointed at the reflection off the mirror in front of them. “Those two could pass for Talsons right now. Really intense, except for the blond hair.”
Blond hair? A shiver worked up her spine. Adri slowly turned around. Unlike most typical Otra, who possessed long, black hair, black eyes that continually flashed to silver and back, and the handsome faces and thick bodies of men used to warring with other colonies, the men Sheila pointed at stole Adri’s breath.
In them, she saw her doom.
Not Talsons, but two of her father’s warriors and her most persistent pursuers, Rand and Jace ‘San Fal. The blond barbarians from Werfal 5, as her clan was typically known. It should have been impossible; she hadn’t heard a whisper of ‘San Fal movement in months, nowhere near New Hattan at least. Yet the longer she stared, the more certain she became that they’d come for her. When they spied her, neither looked particularly surprised.
The two men drew steadily closer, their eyes glued to her. Without a word, Adri looked for Tony. “Tony, see that Sheila gets home safe, okay?”
The minute the bartender nodded, Adri raced into the crowd, pleased to find it so packed tonight. She hurried for an exit. No way in hell would she go back home yet. If they thought otherwise, they’d soon learn their mistake. She ran out the back door and down an alley. Then she crossed another street and bypassed two more crowded bars. But when she scooted down the back alley toward her apartment, she ran smack into trouble she didn’t need—two men who’d recently starred in her dreams.
But it was the taller of the two that struck her more.
He’d haunted her for months.
Z caught the slender blonde by the waist to steady her. But before he could say anything, she gasped and froze, and he saw her clearly for the first time.
His hands tightened on her waist, and he swore he felt her warm beneath his palms. Heat and desire blossomed in an instant. Her eyes darkened from deep indigo to black striated with silver, and if wasn’t mistaken, a hint of red burned in her pupils. So damn sexy.
And too damn familiar. “Hell.”
“No kidding,” she rasped. She locked gazes with him, and no one and nothing existed but the two of them.
“Z? What the hell, man?” Val’s voice came as if from a great distance.
“You there, release the female.” More strange voices, people that didn’t belong around this female—his female.
Instinct grabbed hold of him and wouldn’t let go. He broke his stare from the woman in his arms and turned to watch the intruders.
Val took a few steps back from him. “Holy shit, Z. You’re on fire.”
He ignored Val and glared at the males advancing. “Get the fuck out of here. We’re busy.” And just as soon as he could, he planned to be busier—deep inside the woman in his arms.
The men paused, large warriors intent on capturing the prize Z now held. Both men had fair hair, like the female. And like her, both flared with power. Otra.
She frowned at them. “Jace, Rand, go home.”
One of them shook his head and withdrew a long blade from behind his back. He held it in his hands, and in seconds it turned from silver to red, blazing with heat. “No. You’re mine, Adri. I was promised you.”
The other male frowned. “I was promised her. Tearn said you’d accepted your place as my second.”
The men could argue until the next moon, but Z didn’t care. He let go of Adri to point a hand in their direction, not sure what he meant to do. But a surge of anger balled in his chest, and he released a startling psychic blast by fisting his hand then releasing the energy in their direction.
A bolt of fire washed from his palm and engulfed the men. They yelled, but didn’t burn from the fire. Apparently the ‘San Fal were immune to the element. Terrific.
Something about handling fire himself bothered him, but the throbbing between his legs stole every thought but one. “Val, see to them, would you? I’m busy here.”
Val gaped, staring from the men still caught in a ball of fire to Z pushing the woman—Adri—against the closest brick wall. Z had to take her or he’d lose his mind.
“You never fail to surprise me, big brother.” Val shook his head and walked down the alley that remained empty. No doubt those nearby wanted nothing to do with dangerous aliens invading their precious city.
Z disliked the feel of so many humans so close to him and his prize. He couldn’t understand how Roarke lived on this planet. Then he looked down at the woman who had yet to protest his hold, and his thoughts fled. For months he’d felt her body clasp his, had lost himself and his seed in her honeyed depths. Her eyes had called to him, warning and challenging, all with the promise of the future buried deep.
He didn’t want The Testing. Didn’t want her to be a receptacle for his lust. But she shifted and her scent hit him, the powerful perfume of fiery arousal. Her flesh burned his fingers, making them itch to touch more, to experience all of her.
Though he was tall, she fit his frame, her head coming to just below his chin. A veritable goddess, golden all over. But those eyes… The dark purple flickered with silver, and she licked her lips, hungry for just what he had to give her, he could only hope.
Nothing mattered but tasting her, touching her. Taking her.
He put what he’d heard together. “Adri ‘San Fal?”
She nodded. “Your name?” she whispered as she raised her hands to circle his neck.
The feel of her palms broke him, turning him to ash as he drew closer. “Zaret Talson ‘Or Fal. Z.”
The moment she grazed his raging erection, he groaned and closed his eyes, trying to capture a hold on the discipline that threatened to desert him.
“Kiss me, Z.” Adri’s breath washed over his neck and chin.
“I’m going to do more than that,” he admitted. “And I don’t care who’s watching.”