Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Author: Laurann Dohner
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Drugged and kidnapped by Vampires, presumed dead by his clan, powerful VampLycan Veso must rely on a creature he dislikes almost as much as the suckheads who nabbed him if he hopes to escape—a human. But when Glenda proves more resourceful than most of her kind, he agrees to see her safely through the Alaskan wilderness. He’ll have to fight an overwhelming attraction to the inquisitive beauty every excruciating step of the way.
Glen doesn’t know which is worse: learning she’s the distant relative of a Vampire who fancies himself a king (um…what?!), or the fact that said relative is trying to force her to birth his queen by mating her with a half Vampire, half Lycan. Veso is scary, has claws, but he’s also key to her survival. She just wishes that she didn’t notice all his muscles or the way her body responds to his. He has promised to keep her alive but she might lose her heart in the bargain.
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Veso snarled low, avoiding the lodge. He hated mating ceremonies. That would never be him, taking a mate. A scent caught his attention and his anger increased as he spun, spying movement along the path.
Brista hurried toward him, a smirk on her lips. “I knew you’d use the path farthest from the event to avoid running into people.”
He didn’t like her but tried to hide his distaste. She always annoyed him. “What do you need?”
She halted, her expression changing to one of frustration. “I thought we could go together. Please?”
“You know I hate those things. No.”
“Come home with me then.”
“I’m never going to test a mating with you. It’s not personal.” He turned away.
“We’d make a good match.”
He turned back around. “I don’t want a mate.”
“I’m the clan caregiver, and you’re as loyal to Decker as I am. Times have been difficult lately since he had to leave. I think he’d be pleased when he returns to find us paired together.”
He studied her closely, wondering if she was testing him. Had he somehow shown his true feelings? He hated Decker and secretly worked with a few of his clan to take the bastard down. “Nabby has been boasting to his friends that if something happens to Decker, he’ll take the clan. You’re worried?”
“Of course not.” Fear showed on her features though. “Decker will find a way to deal with Lord Aveoth and come back to us.”
It was probably true. Decker was devious. The bastard wouldn’t die easily or just go away forever. “I need to go on patrol. Kira is out there and she’s useless.”
“She should die,” Brista hissed. “Isn’t there any way you could get rid of her? I don’t know what leverage Davis uses to keep Decker from outright killing her.”
He somehow managed to force a smile. “I’m always looking for opportunities,” he lied. “Go do your duty and represent the clan at the ceremony.”
“That’s what you should do too. It’s why I sought you out. Nabby isn’t doing us any favors. He’s too immature and letting the power go to his head. He pissed off a few elders last night by ignoring their advice. I fear he won’t want to step down once Decker returns. There are rumors he’s plotting a coup. You need to lead us in his absence, Veso. Nabby fears you.”
“Nabby is an idiot but he’s not that stupid. Decker would bury him. You’re worried for no reason.”
“Fine. At least rid us of Kira. Do that and it will endear you to the loyal.”
“I’ll think about it.”
He spun, hurrying away before he snarled at her. Brista was a bitch. There was no honor in wanting to kill Kira. She was mostly human, and she’d never betray her VampLycan father by exposing what they were to the world. She had also been in love with his friend Lavos’s older brother for years, and Lorn felt the same for her. The VampLycan threatened anyone who looked at Kira wrong with dismemberment and death. Of course, it was forbidden for him to be with her. Decker would see them both dead before he allowed them to mate.
Veso headed toward the section they were assigned to patrol and picked up the scent of smoke, as well as humans other than Kira, and he swiftly unleashed his claws, climbing the nearest tree to get a better view of the area. He spotted the smoke and kept to the trees to get closer.
He shook his head, staring down at Kira and the male humans who’d breached VampLycan territory. She was too soft to kill them. Instead, she threatened them. They didn’t attack her though. He’d have leapt down from where he remained hidden in the trees if they had, ripping them apart with his claws. Instead they grumbled and whined.
“It’s about two miles to where the fence was,” one of them protested. “It’s almost dark.”
“Then I suggest you pack up fast and jog. Did you forget about the other rangers on their way? Smoke travels for miles. They aren’t as easygoing as I am, boys. We’ve dubbed one of them Ranger Rage. He gets super angry over idiots starting fires.” Kira waved a hand toward the flames. “That will set him off big time. Do you know how dry it’s been? Forest fires are a real hazard. He kind of beat the living shit out of the last guy who started one. He said it was worth the three-day suspension because he got to break the guy’s jaw. It amused him, thinking about that poor sucker needing a straw to eat from for a few months.”
Veso grinned. Ranger Rage? He had a feeling she was referring to him. He’d been furious when he’d been assigned to train the little human’ish, but she’d earned his respect.
She got the group of humans packed up and moving in short order. He stayed in the trees, jumping from one to the other, following to make certain they didn’t turn on her. Humans were deceiving that way. Kira stopped following the hunters but he kept with them right until they climbed over the fence. He remained there for a while, watching until they were totally out of sight.
He sighed, taking a seat on a branch. No matter how many times he’d lectured Kira on how to handle trespassers, she didn’t have the heart to kill. Innocent humans didn’t ignore signs to breach their territory. They always brought guns. That meant they were poachers, murderers of animals they shouldn’t hunt. Some of the clan felt she was too dangerous to allow to live. Idiots.
He leaned back, resting his head against the trunk and watching the sun go down. Kira would be cleaning up any evidence of the invasion of their territory. He didn’t feel like yelling at her, lecturing yet again about how she should have killed instead. She’d just peer up at him and wait until he was done, then roll her eyes. He’d heard her excuses too many times before. She’d claim they were morons, but they didn’t deserve to die.
He’d also have to report the trespassing if he made Kira aware he knew about it. Which would only make some of the clan more riled about Kira. He didn’t want to get her into trouble. Nabby had appointed himself Decker’s replacement since their leader and his most trusted enforcers had fled to avoid the wrath of Lord Aveoth. He didn’t trust the stupid son of a bitch not to attempt to kill her.
It would blow Veso’s cover if he ripped off Nabby’s head. Everyone needed to believe he was loyal to Decker.
An odd sound had him lowering his gaze, staring over the fence. His mouth dropped open as he watched some dirt lift, bodies coming out of the ground. He recognized their faded heat signatures.