Devon loves her job at the firm. But sometimes she wishes she could find a man-a real man-who isn't threatened by her success. When she first meets Anson, she's overwhelmed by his powerful masculine presence and disarmingly gorgeous smile. But when he reveals his true mission-and his ability to transform into a dragon-she's irresistibly drawn into an epic battle between humans and immortals, magic and technology, danger and desire. Anson vows to protect her from the Fae. But can he control the flames of passion that blaze within his heart?
Contains mature themes.
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has penned ninety novels, novelettes, novellas, and short stories spanning multiple genres of romance, including the Dark King and Reaper paranormal series, the romantic suspense Sons of Texas series, and the contemporary Heart of Texas series.
AudioFile Earphones Award winner Antony Ferguson is a native of London, England. He is a classically trained actor and has appeared in numerous productions in London, Off-Broadway, and regional theater. As a voice actor, he has over fifty audiobooks to his credit. Antony lives in Los Angeles.
Read an Excerpt
By Donna Grant
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 Donna Grant
All rights reserved.
London, England January
The press of people, the noise, the mayhem was going to drive Anson mad. He'd never minded it before.
Then again, his entire way of life hadn't been hanging in the balance.
A man slammed his shoulder into Anson as he walked past. Anson fisted his hands and kept his growing ire under control. To think that he'd walked the streets of London just seven months before, loving that he could get lost amidst the millions of mortals.
Now, he craved the solitude of his mountain. To have the sixty thousand acres that was Dreagan to roam uncharted and unchecked. To take to the skies in his true form, flying from cloud to cloud.
Unfortunately, Dreagan would have to wait. Anson had been tasked with a critical mission. His gaze landed on the two females in his charge. Kinsey, the taller of the two had her dark brown hair up with her face hidden by a baseball cap as she sipped her coffee. She was carefully concealed behind people while taking pictures of everyone who entered the office building.
The second woman, Esther, was a trained MI5 agent who used those skills now to fade into the throng of people. Esther was perfectly average from her brown hair and eyes to her height, but her training had given her the ability to change her appearance as needed.
Her hair was pulled back in a bun, and she wore glasses. The dowdy clothes, as well as the way she hunched her shoulders and looked down, made her appear as if she were afraid of her own shadow. It also caused others to forget her as soon as they saw her.
This was their third day watching Kyvor and learning the comings and goings of those who worked at the tech company. With Kinsey's computer abilities, and Esther's spy skills, the girls were quickly learning all there was to know about the top executives.
And they'd already found their target.
Sitting on his hands babysitting wasn't something Anson did well — or willingly. He was a fighter, a warrior, a Dragon King who was used to taking care of a situation himself, not watching. Or waiting.
Then again, he couldn't — and wouldn't — say no to watching the future mate of a Dragon King. That's what Kinsey was. She and Ryder had fallen in love despite everything that had worked to keep them apart. It was up to Anson now to make sure she remained safe and unhurt until they could return to Dreagan.
Not that Esther was any less important. She might not be a future mate, but she was the sister of one of their closest and most trusted allies — Henry North.
Having two such women to keep an eye on made Anson nervous. Both were reckless and rash. It should be him investigating Kyvor. Alone.
But that was difficult to do since the tech company had files on each of the Dragon Kings.
He blew out a weary breath. All those eons of hiding, believing no mortals knew of the dragons who lived in Scotland and made the finest whisky in the world.
Perhaps it had been foolish to believe their ruse would never be discovered. Yet it had worked for thousands of years. The humans had never known of their existence, and the Dragon Kings were able to live with a sliver of the freedom they'd once enjoyed.
Anson pulled his baseball cap low and moved off the sidewalk when a security guard at Kyvor's doors looked his way. How easy it would be to end all of this.
All he had to do was shift. In one instant, everyone would see him in dragon form. With a swipe of his tail, he could clear the roads. With one breath of dragon fire, he could obliterate the buildings.
He didn't wish to harm humans. But he was tired of pretending to be something he wasn't. He was a dragon.
A Dragon King.
And he missed his Browns with an ache that went so deep it pierced his soul.
Now, as he looked at the mortals, he felt ... revulsion. Because they had dug into his world and that of his brethren, everything had changed.
Hiding was becoming more difficult. Not only did Kyvor have information on all of them, but the video that showed the Kings fighting — and shifting — was also very much still in the news, even all these months later.
Never mind the fact that the Kings had been battling the Dark Fae at the time, and the Dark had used magic. The humans saw what they wanted, though, and that was dragons with other mortals.
How wrong they were. If only the humans knew what was living among them. But that wasn't his concern.
No longer would the Kings be allowed to go about their days in relative obscurity. Kyvor may not have released the information they'd obtained, but it was only a matter of time. More importantly, the Kings needed to know who at Kyvor had gained such information.
That's why Kinsey and Esther had decided to infiltrate the company and destroy everything. It was a long shot, yet one that had to be taken.
For every Dragon King.
For every mate.
Anson ran a hand over his chin. Peace. That word should mean so much but rarely did. At one time, there had been harmony between dragons and mortals.
It had seemed to only last a heartbeat, though. Then all Hell had broken loose. The next thing he knew, dragons were crossing the dragon bridge with the Kings remaining behind.
The plan was to bring the dragons back one day. Anson snorted. That wasn't likely to happen. He'd realized that ages ago, even if he did still hold out hope of seeing his clan.
"She's here," Esther's voice said in his ear.
Her British accent was soft and smooth, but she had the ability to do different dialects with ease whenever she wanted.
He rubbed his ear with the earpiece. Esther had made him wear it so they could all keep in contact. He could've easily heard them with his enhanced senses, but the same couldn't be said for the girls.
"I see her," Kinsey's Scottish brogue came through the earpiece.
Anson's gaze locked on the leggy brunette they were speaking about. She arrived at Kyvor like clockwork every morning at 7:33.
There was a smile in Esther's voice when she said, "Devon Abrams is the key."
The woman wore impeccable clothing tailored to fit her body and her curves. She carried a handbag that Kinsey cooed over in his ear, while Esther admired how fashionable her hair always was.
Today, Devon had her shoulder-length hair in soft waves that seemed in contrast to her more severe navy pencil skirt and white top. The sky blue jacket that fell a few inches short of her skirt tied the entire ensemble together.
Or so Esther said through the earpiece. Frankly, he couldn't care less what Devon wore. She was a means to an end, and the sooner they got to that end, the better.
Though he could — and did — admire Devon's beauty. She had the walk of a woman who was used to being in charge, someone who was no stranger to accomplishing her goals.
"She'll never turn," he whispered into the mic.
Kinsey sighed loudly. "She's not going to be an easy flip, that's for sure. Devon is loyal to Kyvor and working her way up that corporate ladder fast. I wish she would flip to make things easier."
"Liar," Esther said with a chuckle. "You want to hack the system again."
"You're right," Kinsey said, anger tinting her voice. "After what they did to both of us, I want to make them pay."
Anson looked at the two girls. It wasn't the first time he'd wondered if he should have backup. Though it was kept tightly controlled, there was a fury that burned in both women that demanded to be unleashed.
And it was directed at Kyvor.
The tech company hadn't just dug into Dreagan and the Dragon Kings. They'd used both Esther and Kinsey in the worst way. With magic.
The power that had taken had alerted the Kings that there was a Druid out there they needed to find — and quickly. Playing with someone's mind took considerable strength and ability. Whoever this Druid was could pose a huge problem.
While the girls looked to erase all the files on themselves and Dreagan, Anson would search for any clue as to who the Druid was while keeping the females safe.
"I want to go in tonight," Kinsey said.
He knew it was too soon. "Nay."
"We can do it," Esther argued.
"No' yet," he stated. "Soon, though."
That seemed to pacify them. Not that he could blame them for their urgency. He wanted his own kind of justice against those at Kyvor, but even he knew not everyone was to blame.
He needed to know who led the investigation, who'd ordered it, and how they'd gotten their information on all of them. The fact that Kyvor knew all of the Dragon Kings and specific information about them was troubling.
Because there was only one person who knew those kinds of details — Ulrik.
Ulrik had been banished from Dreagan long ago, and because of that, he had his own agenda against them. The Kings were fighting enemies on all sides, and Anson wanted a win sometime soon.
He needed it after everything that had been lost — and that which could still be taken away.
His gaze swept the area, looking at each face. It wouldn't surprise him if Ulrik were there. Everywhere the Kings went, Ulrik managed to show up.
So far, Anson had been out of luck seeing his old friend. It wasn't as if he wanted to talk to Ulrik. Some of the other Kings had and didn't have anything good to say about the experience. It was probably better if Anson didn't talk to him.
Because he didn't want to talk. He wanted to punch Ulrik in the nose.
All of this, everything that had happened beginning three years ago, was all Ulrik's fault. The spell Con had put into place to prevent the Kings from feeling anything deeply for the humans would still be working had Ulrik not had his magic unbound by Darcy.
Because when Ulrik's magic returned, it had shattered the spell, and the Kings had begun to fall in love. That created a distraction for everyone because now they had mates to protect and shelter, as well.
Anson's gaze located Kinsey among the humans. He'd seen her with Ryder, had witnessed the deep love between them. It was the kind of love his sister used to dream of. The kind she'd longed to find.
He used to tune his sister out as she spoke of romance. Now, he wished he could go back in time and soak up every word, look, and gesture.
She hadn't found her true love. She'd found death at the hands of a human instead. It was for that reason that he'd joined Ulrik in the war with the mortals.
But slaying humans hadn't given him the satisfaction he'd hoped for. It just made the emptiness within him grow. Over time, he'd let go of his hatred. It hadn't been easy, but it's what his sister would've wanted.
She'd only seen the world at its best. Not once had she seen the ugly, cruel side, even when it had been right in front of her. She'd refused to accept it. That had brought her death, but even as he'd held her in his arms while the life drained away, there was no anger inside her.
The mortals hadn't seen the dragons as anything other than beasts. They didn't know the dragons had families and friends. He wasn't sure if it would've mattered had the humans known.
A look at the state of things now showed how little the mortals thought of life. The depravity they leveled against each other — including children and animals — turned his stomach.
The humans were like unruly children with no discipline and no one to guide them, doing whatever they wanted, however they wanted.
Thousands of years of the same wars, same crimes, same cruelty. Nothing changed.
And nothing ever would.
He looked at the Kyvor building. Maybe it was time someone took a stand and did something. Perhaps it was time the Dragon Kings returned to the sky where they belonged.CHAPTER 2
Can't Get it Right
It was great to have a job that she was good at and loved. The lift doors opened to the twentieth floor with a ding. Devon walked out with a smile in place. She enjoyed hearing the hum of the office as everyone went about his or her tasks.
From the moment she'd first walked into the Kyvor offices six years earlier, she'd known the company was where she would make a name for herself.
There was something about the building and the people. Kyvor wasn't just one of the top technological companies in the UK. They were amongst leaders in the world.
And she was proud to be a part of it.
It was because of the leadership that she had excelled, had been allowed to continue climbing the corporate ladder as if she were the only one on it. Nothing was going to prevent her from being CEO one day. It was simply a matter of time.
"Morning, Devon," Stacy said.
She smiled at her secretary. "Good morning. Did everything come in for the meeting tomorrow?"
"It sure did," Stacey replied as she followed Devon into the office. "I put it on your desk."
Devon hung up her purse on the coat rack, followed by her jacket. Then she made her way to the desk. As soon as she saw the black folder with gold lettering, she smiled. She pulled out her chair and sank into it as she lifted the file.
"You're going to kick ass tomorrow," Stacy stated.
She certainly hoped so. The next promotion would move her to the twenty-fifth floor — that much closer to the top. She'd been working and preparing for the past three months for the meeting.
Running her fingers over the embossed lettering on the front flap, she felt calm and more than ready to face the roomful of top executives, including the current CEO, Stanley Upton. But that was tomorrow. Today, she had to continue with her current position.
She set the folder to the side and lifted her face to Stacy. "What's first on the agenda today?"
"I moved your schedule around to accommodate a meeting with Madeline Sharp from accounting after lunch. She wanted to go over some figures for your department."
"That's fine. Before my 9:30 meeting with my senior officers, get me the reports so I can compare the six teams."
Stacy turned and walked to her desk, saying over her shoulder, "I printed them out yesterday before I left. Let me get them."
Moments later, the reports were in front of her. Devon hadn't continued to rise through the company by allowing her teams to fail. She was tough, but she considered herself fair.
When a person or team struggled, she was more than ready to help them find the cause and work through it. Most times, it was all that was needed to get people back on track. However, there were times it didn't work, and someone had to be let go.
That was the part she hated about her job. Delivering that kind of news ruined everyone's day. But the fact of the matter was, not everyone had the same kind of drive that she did. Not everyone loved their careers like she did.
For ninety percent of the population, their jobs were simply a means to earn money. Only ten percent actually enjoyed what they did.
She wished everyone could love their occupations. It made life so much sweeter. She had good friends and an amazing profession.
There was just one thing missing — romance.
Devon grabbed the top report and scanned the numbers, but she couldn't concentrate. Her mind was on the miserable date she'd had the night before.
Needing something to help her deal with the part of her life she couldn't seem to get right, she signed on to her computer and pulled up her favorite blog — The (Mis)Adventures of a Dating Failure.
The blog had begun about a year before and became an internet sensation. No one knew who created it, and no amount of searches had led anyone to the source of the candid and sometimes hilarious stories of a single woman in today's dating culture.
The blog was such a hit that it had been featured in news stories worldwide. What made it so wonderful was that the writer laid it all out there — the so-so, the bad, the ugly ... and the truly awful.
So many of the writer's dates had gone as bad as Devon's. It helped her feel like less of a disaster in that department. How could she be so successful in her career and so terrible at dating?
Devon stopped her thoughts right there because she knew it wasn't just her. It was the men. Something had changed in the world. Men were no longer men. She wanted a true man. One who wasn't threatened by her success.
One who knew how to treat a woman with respect. One who was faithful and honest. One who wasn't afraid to give his heart.
Devon sat back and began to read the newest blog post titled Can't Get it Right.
Excerpted from Blaze by Donna Grant. Copyright © 2017 Donna Grant. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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