Sneak Peek #2: Red Hot Dragon (Erotic Paranormal Romance)

28 Sep

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Red Hot Dragon, the second book in the Dragon Heat series, releases on Tuesday, October 1! You can pick up a pre-order copy right now at Amazon, B&N, Kobo and iTunes for $1.99!

A DRAGON TO LOVE

Griffin Cadogan is surprised when Avani Monroe, the sworn enemy of his dragon family, walks into his gym. With his mating phase approaching, the dragon shifter wonders know why she risks coming into enemy territory. Yet the dark-eyed temptress shocks him even more with an outrageous demand: She wants him to help her have a baby.

After her mother’s dragon line was annihilated by the Knights, Avani vows to continue her unique dragon breed—and the registries indicate that Griffin is the best candidate. Determined to mate, Avani plans to use her seductive beauty and powerful scent to entice Griffin. The big, strong Welsh man will make for a fitting partner . . . if he doesn’t kill her first.

When they spar over the terms of her proposal, Griffin and Avani can’t deny the intense, primal attraction they feel for each other. But as they become closer to creating a child, the lovers can hear danger encircle them as loud as the clapping of wings. The dragon slayers are coming . . .and they’re gunning for Griffin, Avani and the entire dragon race.

Excerpt 2

Feeling anything but confident, Avani ignored the nervousness wobbling in her lower belly and tried to maintain the cool, controlled façade that had served her so well in business. Her gaze skipped to Ian Madoc. Griffin’s cousin stared at her with amusement and interest. She glanced back to the man she desperately needed to help her.

Surprise spread across Griffin’s face. She spotted the briefest flare of crimson in his pale blue irises as that beastly Welsh Red tried to surface. Like her, he was only hours away from going into heat. She figured that was the reason the two cousins had been knocking the crap out of one another. She preferred the more enlightened methods of fasting and meditation to ease her transition, but apparently these two dragons still clung to the older, more barbaric customs.

She examined Griffin more closely. His size made her nervous. She’d heard he was a big man, but she hadn’t been expecting this. Nearly seven feet tall, he sported the broadest shoulders she’d ever seen and muscular arms emblazoned with heavy tattoos. She didn’t recognize any of the symbols or markings, but they were probably significant to his old tribe or his Welsh homeland.

Griffin lifted one huge hand and crooked a finger. His deep, rumbling voice made her heart race. “Come with me.”

Gulping down the anxiety clogging her throat, Avani followed him across the gym to an office. She glanced over her shoulder and found Madoc making his way to an arched doorway on the other side of the gym. The realization she would have a few moments of privacy to plead her case with Griffin bolstered her courage.

He entered the office and kept one hand on the door for her. Fearful that inhaling his scent would make her brain fuzzy, she held her breath as she passed him. Soothing heat radiated from him in strong, penetrating waves. Her breasts ached and her core pulsed with need. Attraction and lust weren’t emotions she allowed herself to experience very often. Right now, she didn’t have a choice. Griffin’s nearness had inflamed her.

The door shut with a soft click. Hands trembling, she gripped the handkerchief tighter. Coming into a closed space with him had been a terrible idea. His delicious scent curled around her. She eyed him warily as he walked to the desk and leaned back against it. Even in that slight sitting position, he towered over her. Refusing to sit or give him the upper hand, she lifted her chin.

“You realize that I’m about to go into heat. The risk you’ve taken—”

“It’s acceptable to me,” she interrupted. “In fact, our synced heat cycles are exactly why I need you.”

His jaw visibly clenched. “If you’re suggesting what I think you’re suggesting, you are out of your damned mind. I’m not in the market for a mate and certainly not one whose great-aunt stabbed my great-uncle to death.” He pointed to the door. “You should leave. Now.”

“No.” She stood her ground. “And, for the record, my father’s family tells a slightly different version of that altercation that started off our feud.”

He snorted. “I’m sure they do. Now why are you here?”

“You’re a member of the Brotherhood of the Green Hide. You’re charged with protecting our species from extinction. You know what the Knights of St. George did to my mother’s family?”

His harsh expression softened. “Yes.”

“Then you also know that after the massacre last fall, I’m the last of my mother’s line.” Her eyes prickled with bitter tears as the memories of the vicious and brutal battle flooded her mind. “My mother’s family had invited us home for reconciliation. It was supposed to be a beautiful family reunion, but those bastards…”

She couldn’t finish the thought. Swallowing hard, she touched her chest. “I’m the last of the Naga. I’ve been combing the family trees of my people looking for someone, anyone, with the right genes, but the Knights have snuffed us out.”

Griffin exhaled slowly. “The Knights are frighteningly efficient when it comes to targeting specific bloodlines. Your mother’s line was one of the most fragile and unique of our kind.”

“Centuries of arranged marriages and a closed society didn’t help.” She thought of the horror her mother and father had caused with their scandalous love affair and elopement. Her Indian mother had chosen to marry a Western man from a little-known branch of a British dragon tribe. Both sets of parents had decried the match and ostracized the pair. Avani had grown up as an outcast, never quite belonging in the dragon commune that had accepted her parents as members.

“I don’t know why you think I can help you. My people are lightning makers and thunder clappers.”

“Not all of them,” she said. “Your archivist, Reynard, helped me identify dragons with suitable bloodlines. Your great-grandmother was a water serpent. Like me, she was the last of her kind, but she came from a pure and uninterrupted bloodline.”

He let loose an annoyed grunt. “So what?”

Gathering her courage, she said, “It means that our baby would have a high chance of inheriting my Naga gifts.”

Taken aback, Griffin stared at her. “Are you insane? Did you really just propose that we have a child? In case you’ve forgotten, our families are involved in a blood feud.”

Irritated, she snapped back at him. “No, I haven’t forgotten. If you’re not going to help me, you may as well go ahead and finish me off right here. Satisfy your family’s honor, Griffin. Who knows? Maybe the Knights will send you a thank-you card and a nice flower arrangement for tying up a loose end.”

He growled angrily and shot to his feet. “Comparing me to a Knight isn’t a very persuasive tactic, Avani.”

She rubbed her face and sighed. “Look, I’m sorry. I’m on edge and I’m desperate.”

“Why are you in such a rush to have children? You’re only, what, thirty? You haven’t even hit your first centenary!”

“When you’re the last member of a nearly extinct race of dragon, you can stand there and lecture me on biological clocks!”

He studied her intently. “Do you have any idea what you’re asking? I’ve gone nearly one thousand years without taking a mate or fathering a child. There’s a reason for that. My work is very dangerous. My loyalty to the Brotherhood comes first.”

She understood his hesitancy and embraced it. She’d been relieved when she’d researched him and realized how unlikely he was to want a role as an active parent. “I’m not looking for a husband or even a partner in parenting. Don’t worry. I don’t want your money, either. My jewelry business is quite successful. I can handle motherhood on my own.”

“Is that so?” An expression she couldn’t place filtered across his face. “It seems as if you have this all planned out. I suppose all you want from me is a sperm donation.”

She winced at how cold it sounded. “It wouldn’t be like that. You’re in heat. I’m in heat. I’m sure our time together will be pleasurable.”

“And when the phase ends?”

“You leave. I’ll contact you if we’re successful.”

“And that’s that?” He didn’t sound happy.

“Well, I mean, what more do you want?”

He made a disgusted noise. “What the hell kind of man do you think I am? You think I would make a child and then walk away from him or her?”

His fury stunned her. Stammering, she said, “I thought—”

“No,” he interjected roughly. “You didn’t think. You assumed you could waltz in here smelling like heaven, then ensnare me and convince me to do whatever you wanted. Well, I’ve got news for you, Avani. I’m not the kind of man who can be led around by his dick.”

His crass remark made her flinch. “You’re wrong, Griffin. I didn’t come here hoping to ensnare you with my mating scent.” Embarrassment burned her neck and cheeks. “Do you think it was easy for me to come in here and beg a stranger to sleep with me? And not just any stranger, Griffin! You’re my enemy.”

“I am not your enemy.” He spoke the words with such passion it set her back on her feet. “What happened centuries ago is of little consequence to me. No dragon is my enemy.” Looking pained, he rubbed the back of his neck. “You’re asking me to do the impossible.”

“No,” she replied insistently. “I’m asking you to uphold the oath you took when you joined the Brotherhood. I’m asking you to save my family line. I need you, Griffin. You’re the only one who can help me.”

His intense stare unnerved her. Her breath hitched in her throat when he took a step toward her. Instinct took hold. For every one of his steps forward, she scurried back two. Her back hit the door and stalled her flight.

He planted both hands against the door, pinning her smaller body between his and the wooden plank at her back. Her shuddery breaths buffeted his naked chest. His tanned skin tempted her like no other. She fisted her hands at her sides and closed her eyes. When his face lowered, she turned her head.

“Don’t,” he warned gently. Nuzzling her cheek with his nose, he coaxed her to face him. Their breaths mingled as he gazed into her eyes. His mouth brushed hers with such softness. The spark of contact arced between them, setting her skin alight.

With a low groan, Griffin finally captured her lips. He was easy at first, his lips pliable and soft against hers. Taking control, he deepened the kiss. His tongue swiped hers. She whimpered as he plundered her mouth. Her hands flew to his chest. The searing heat of his skin set her afire.

Whether it was the mating scent or their natural chemistry, Avani couldn’t say. In that moment, she didn’t really care. She’d never felt anything like this. Her whole body pulsed and ached. She didn’t fight him when he grasped the backs of her thighs and lifted her off the floor. The fabric of her skirt bunched and pulled taut when she wrapped her legs around his waist. She gasped at the sensation of his rock-hard cock pressing against her. Only a few pieces of thin cloth separated their overheated bodies.

A guttural sound emanated from his throat. He tore his mouth away from hers. Forehead to forehead, they panted and shuddered. Finally, Griffin spoke: “We do this my way.”

She licked her lips and stared into the eyes of the man who had awoken such need within her. “What way is that?”

“I’ll help you save your line, but I will not bond with you. I don’t want or need a mate.”

His words shouldn’t have hurt her. She hadn’t come here looking for a mate, after all. Still, they struck a raw nerve. She’d always been the unwanted one. It wouldn’t be any different now. It’s only sex, she reminded herself.

“I won’t bite you,” she promised. At the confused look on his face, she explained, “Among the Naga, a bite and exchange of venom is required to seal a true mate bond.”

“You have fangs?” He tilted his head for a better look at her mouth. “I didn’t feel them.”

She shook her head. “I only have them in my serpent form.”

“I see.” His fingertip trailed her jaw. “If this works, I’m not walking away from my child. There is no way in hell I’m playing the role of absentee father.”

His assertion troubled her. She wasn’t kidding earlier. She didn’t want the interference of another parent in her life. Single motherhood appealed to her for a few very personal reasons. “But I don’t want—”

He silenced her with a kiss. Leaving her breathless, he said, “This isn’t up for debate, Avani. These are my terms. Take them or leave them. Now—do we have a deal?”

Overwhelmed by his commanding heat and strength, Avani was powerless to say no. She found unexpected reassurance in his penetrating, unwavering gaze. His offer wasn’t the most palatable, but there was plenty of time to convince him to give her exactly what she wanted. “All right. We have a deal.”

But as Griffin carefully lowered her to the ground, Avani couldn’t shake the feeling her well-laid plans were about to be shot to hell by this ridiculously sexy beast of a man


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