Meira Amon is the most reserved of the phoenixes, finding computers easier to deal with than people and their messy emotions. But she wants revenge against the Rotting King Pytheios for the murder of her parents just as much as her sisters. Offering herself as a queen for their ally, dragon shifter King Gorgon of the Black Clan, only makes sense.
Just one problem…
Samael Veles worked his lowborn ass off to become the fiercest warrior of the Black Clan. He has pledged his life to protect his king at all costs. Yet somehow, in the middle of war, he took one look at a woman in a reflection and gave up his heart. When that woman turns out to be the phoenix promised to mate his king and help bring peace to their kind, he has no choice but to accept it.
Until her fire unexpectedly destroys the king after they’ve wed. Now Samael must choose between his loyalty to his clan and protecting the queen who might be his mate from his people’s wrath, one of which will unlock a destiny no one could have ever imagined…
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No. Gods, don’t let this happen.
Meira tried to get closer to Gorgon, tried to take it back, to pull her fire back into herself. Bile stung her throat, blending with the vomit-inducing stench of burning flesh. The king stared back with shocked, awful, horror-filled eyes as her flames consumed him. He fell to his knees, and she could see him fighting the flames, his own black fire flaring out like sunspots only to be devoured by the red gold of her own fire in an instant.
One kiss was all it had taken.
They hadn’t even gotten to the undressing part, let alone the sex part. She’d turned on her flames and he’d kissed her lightly, so sweet. Except then he jerked back, a silent howl of pain contorting his features.
Already his bronze skin had turned charred before cooling to gray. Other parts continued to burn, glowing bright embers, and parts of him were sifting to ash. Like her mother in that field all alone.
“No, no, no,” Meira cried, hardly aware of the words pouring from her mouth.
She fell to her knees beside him, reaching in past the flames, which didn’t hurt her, to take his hand, already ashy against hers. “I’m so sorry. I’m here. Look at me.”
His eyes, already solid gray, shifted in his face as if searching. Could he see her? “I won’t let you die alone.”
A thunderous thud rattled the door. Samael.
By this time, most of the body had turned to ash.
Another slam against the door, this one causing a crack to appear in the thick wood. “Let me in!” Samael shouted, his voice muffled.
Meira forced herself to her feet. Her hands were shaking so hard, it took three tries for her to manage to unlock the door. She jumped back in time to get out of the way as Samael slammed it open. The door hit the wall behind with such force it embedded in the rock, small fragments of wood and stone falling to the floor, the gritty sound loud in the sudden silence as the man on the floor finished disintegrating and the fire disappeared all at the same time.
Samael ran to the heap of burned flesh and knelt beside it, he ran his fingers through the dust and ash then made a fist, seeming to grasp for control.
He won’t hurt me.
Meira shouldn’t be sure of that. He was Gorgon’s captain and would believe what his eyes were telling him. That she’d killed his king, the man he was sworn to protect.
“What have you done?” Samael asked in a low voice.
Hands to her mouth, Meira could only shake her head in horror. Was he asking her? Or asking his king?
Samael turned his head to spear her with a dark gaze full of rage, his fire sparking, like looking into an abyss that was reaching out for her. “What. Have. You. Done?”
No mistaking those growled words were directed her way. “It’s—” She had to stop and swallow around a throat so dry it felt coated in dust. Coated in a nameless man’s ashes. “It’s not—”
Samael bolted to his feet, crossing the room in two long strides, backing Meira up against the rock wall of the cavern the suite was carved from. “Don’t you dare say it’s not your fault.”
She should be terrified. This man had every right to kill her here and now. She’d heard many of Ladon’s men speak in hushed tones of respect about Samael’s skills when it came to killing. A rational person would be cowering and begging for her life.
But part of her she didn’t know even existed refused to be that woman. Not in front of him.
Samael’s emotions, released from their bonds, swirled and eddied around her like a riptide—anger, grief, blame. And one other, above all others. Protectiveness.
For her? Or his clan?
Multi-award-winning paranormal romance author, Abigail Owen, loves plots that move hot and fast, feisty heroines with sass, alpha heroes with heart, a dash of snark, and oodles of sexy shifters! Other titles include wife, mother, Star Wars geek, ex-competitive skydiver, spreadsheet lover, Dr. Seuss quoter, eMBA, organizational guru, Texan, Aggie, and chocoholic.
Abigail grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. She attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing). However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.
Abigail currently resides in Austin, Texas, with her own personal hero (who she totally married!) and their two children, who are growing up way too fast.
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