Authors: Denise Tompkins
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Paranormal
Only one woman can bring him to his knees…
Seth is manager of Desire, the hottest nightspot in Atlanta. He’s also an ifrit—a djinn born from primal fire—and it’s his burning sexual energy that lures women to his club. At closing time, Seth takes his pick from throngs of gorgeous creatures incapable of resisting him. And one night he chooses Eden. Or does she choose him?
Neither wants anything more than a few hours of mind-blowing sex. But Eden is a witch, a high priestess charged with keeping the elements in balance. Her magic binds Seth to her, and eventually it will snuff out his flame altogether.
Seth’s only hope is submission—to Eden’s command, and to the emotions he tries so hard to master. But first, Eden must find the strength to wield her power in ways she never imagined….
Sarah F.—this book wouldn’t have come to life without your willingness to help me see Dominic and Eden the way they were meant to be seen. I owe you huge.
Please accept my thanks for picking up
the third and final novella in my Desire trilogy. These books are very special to me, and I’m honored to share them with you.
Wow, was this novella fun to write! All the stars and planets must have been aligned just right because it seemed the words simply flew from my fingertips. Dominic is one of the absolute best heroes I’ve ever had the pleasure to fall in love with from this side of the screen. He’s a little dangerous and just dark enough to be wildly seductive. That meant his heroine had to be equally dangerous (even if she can’t control it) and just dark enough to be wildly seductive (even if she isn’t sure how to use it). Good thing Eden was up to every challenge.
I hope you have half as much fun reading how these two dynamic characters end up falling in love as I had writing their love story.
Table of Contents
Tequila hit Seth’s tongue with a smooth bite and excellent afterburn.
. He wouldn’t normally condone drinking on the job, but he did, after all, run Desire. As the premier club in Atlanta, where people came to see and be seen, Desire had its perks. Drinking when he had the overwhelming desire to get hammered was one of them. Watching his two best friends—Desire’s owner, Griff, and the head of security, Dominic—on the dance floor with their women was confirmation of what he’d known the moment the women had shown up in their lives.
“Alert the troops for our leaders have fallen,” he murmured into his second shot glass before tossing the drink back. More burn equaled unparalleled pleasure. A dark chuckle rolled out of his chest at the same time the music ended.
Surprise registered on the faces of the nearest patrons.
His mouth kicked up at one corner. He knew people considered him standoffish and a bit…
in his personal tastes, but the combination sure as hell didn’t stop women from hitting on him. That suited him fine. At least having that reputation meant his bed partners were aware of what they were volunteering for.
Watching Dominic’s woman, Rhyan, hook an arm around his neck and grind against him as the next song queued up made Seth eye the bottle beside him. Alcohol wasn’t numbing the ache in his chest. Maybe taking a woman would better suit his mood. Whomever he ended up with tonight needed to be in to his brand of pleasure and the absolute opposite of his typical fare. Because for all he bitched about his boys falling in love, he was jealous. Jealous and terrified. If the same fate befell him, he was well and truly screwed.
Once upon a time, he’d thought love existed for him. Now?
A hard shiver raced through him as he returned the bottle of 1800 Coleccíon to its place in the ornate cage that held the priciest liqueurs. The smells of earth, air, water and smoke besieged his senses. Woven between the elements was an unfamiliar smell, something like ozone and summer storms unleashed on arid lands. Beneath his skin, his element—fire—ignited and burned through his veins. The urge to seek out whoever was manipulating the unpredictable flame inside him, to bend to the stranger’s will, made his knees lock. He didn’t let anyone manipulate the flame that fueled his soul. The first equaled servitude without end. The second equaled death. Seth would welcome the latter before the former.
He didn’t kneel before anyone. Ever.
Magic. In the damned club
. All-consuming fury choked him and made it hard to draw a breath.
was a magic-free zone. Godsbedamned practitioners might not know why, but they knew bringing that shit into his house was a direct challenge. One he wouldn’t tolerate.
He clutched the edge of the bar hard enough to crack the granite. Forcing himself to focus proved to be as hard as hell.
Hell. How apropos
. A harsh chuff escaped him. Heat coiled through his nose and hung at the back of his throat. His eyes burned. Flames licked at his fingertips, begging for release.
“No.” The denial was as gritty and uncompromising as the barren desert sands his people called home. “I own
. Never the other way around.”
Heels of his hands pressing against his temples, he bent forward and tried to drown out the deafening roar only he could hear—his element’s protest.
Frigid fingers rubbed his neck. “You okay? Geez. You’re burning up.” Bailey, Griff’s partner and Seth’s good friend, must have seen his reaction and immediately headed his way.
“I’m great.” He slowly straightened, blinking rapidly. His vision had changed from seeing traditional, three-dimensional color to only making out infrared images. That hadn’t happened in too long to remember. He faced Bailey, reaching out to caress her aura before resting a hand on her shoulder. “Tell Griff we’ve got a fairy godmother under the roof.”
“I heard.” Griff’s voice came from behind. “We need to get you out of here?”
He sagged against the bar. “No. Just let me get my vision straightened out.”
“It went?” Griff demanded.
“Dom!” Griff’s shout cut through the club’s atmosphere like an acetylene torch through dry ice.
Seth ran a hand down his face, surprised to find himself sweating. “Ah, hell, Griff. Don’t get the nephilim involved. He’ll want to break the responsible party into twenty pieces.”
“And you have a problem with that?”
“Yeah, actually,” Seth snapped. “I intend to deliver the hurt myself.”
Griff lifted the bar hatch and Dom stepped closer. “We’ve got a fairy godmother in house.”
Seth’s vision might have been reduced to thermal images, but he could still make out Dom’s massive form stiffening.
“Where.” The nephilim had transformed from playful to serious in the blink of an eye.
“I’ll handle it. Gods above, you two are worse than a couple of mother hens.” Seth pushed off the bar. His legs threatened to collapse. Strength of will alone kept him standing. No way was he going down in front of all these people, but particularly not in front of the one who’d thought to threaten his freedom. He was a lot of things—dominant, slightly sadistic, controlled, passionate—but he was never,
anyone’s genie in a bottle. Whoever thought to control him or, worse, extinguish his element and thus him, had another thing coming.
He squinted, picking out different bodies in the crowd. One stood out from the others. From the nipped waist, swell and sway of hips and length of legs, the voluptuous form belonged to a woman. She moved toward him with purpose. He bristled. The closer she came, the brighter her aura burned. Not dark blue like a witch, but a blinding red that eventually blocked everything else, smothering her chakras and dimming the people around her. He’d seen such a vibrant aura a time or two before, and each time the result was a night of wild sex. She might be just what he needed tonight—to get out of the club and away from the practitioner, the chance to get lost in sexual play, to come back clearheaded and focused so he could eliminate the threat.
This woman’s aura spoke of a wild side, a willingness to try anything once and a need to live a little dangerously. Add the three things together and she was unquestionably his type. Lust flooded his groin and his shaft thickened.
Seth looked over at Griff. His unique aura burned blue around a gold center. “I’m going to ask you for a favor.”
“I’ve suddenly got plans that don’t involve you.” Seth tilted his head toward the woman who stood a few feet away. The heat of her aura stroked his skin like a lover’s caress, calling his flame to the surface. He burned for her, the feeling far from innocent. If he had his way, he’d be buried inside her within the hour.
And he always got his way.
* * *
Eden knew without asking that the guy behind the counter was the one she sought. His reputation as being hot-as-hell was trumped by the reality. It was his reputation for other things, however, that brought her to the club tonight. She needed to get lost in some harmless, no-strings-attached fun before she was forced to take up the mantle of responsibility Fate had bestowed upon her at conception. She’d even abided by the club’s unwritten rule and bound her magic. Pretty much. Okay, she’d sort of dropped the ball. But one minor slip in the spell couldn’t be considered breaking the rules. Probably. For the most part. Goddess, she hoped, because she wasn’t leaving here without experiencing that man.
She knew she wasn’t exactly tall or classically beautiful, but she was determined. She also had a sense of unstoppable adventure that got her into trouble more often than not, both outside the bedroom and in. If rumors were true, that latter would be enough. Talk around town said the bronze-skinned god who ran the club had specific tastes, and that suited Eden perfectly. She had specific curiosities.
Leaning across the bar, she sized up the man. He was well over six feet tall. Thick, straight black hair brushed broad shoulders. A nose just a touch long, sharp cheekbones and sensual, nearly cruel lips made his face both aristocratic and painfully beautiful. And if his facial features were considered sculpted, his body was unarguably chiseled. No doubt the parts she couldn’t see would be equally as impressive. Everything about him—from tapered fingers to narrow waist to the slightly square shape of his chin—made her want to roll around on him naked.
Her breath caught in her throat when he took an unsteady step toward her. His gaze seemed to look through her, his eyes slightly unfocused as they roamed her face.
“What color would you call your hair?” His rich voice slid around her, tantalizing and showing no sign of apology.
“Hmm.” She grabbed a few strands of her hair, considering his remark. “Not brown, not red, not blond, but all of the above.”
“Everything about me is natural, except my preferences.”
“Good to know. Anything you need to confess before this goes any further? Any club rules you might have broken, laws you might have bent, behaviors that would get you evicted?”
Adrenaline shot through her like an electric charge. “Afraid not. My confession would shock a priest out of his cassock.”
“Good thing I’m not a priest.” He stepped closer, leaning across the bar and into her personal space. “You here to break any house rules?”
“Nope. I’m a model citizen.”
“Good. Now tell me, what color would you call your eyes?”
Dry heat that spoke of desert sands and faraway lands rolled around her, and she basked in the imaginary warmth. Whatever his cologne was, it was worth what he’d paid for it and then some. “My eyes? Stormy, I guess.”
“My new favorite color.”
She couldn’t help it. She snorted. “Please tell me you’ve got better lines than that, or I’m going to think your reputation is nothing but a steaming pile of horse apples.”
He grinned, straight teeth white against dark skin. A single dimple marked one cheek. “You’re clearly aware of who I am. That leaves me at a distinct disadvantage, though I’m about to rectify that.”
His smile widened revealing a second dimple. Something dark and dangerous peeked through the depths of pale green eyes. “Oh, I save the wowing for behind closed doors.”
Arousal flooded her core. Every erotic pulse point pounded in time with her heartbeat. Leaning into him so their lips brushed when she spoke, it disconcerted her to realize his eyes didn’t focus on her face before he closed them. “Like I said—wow me,” she whispered, the husky timbre of her voice a mix of seducer and seduced.
“You sure about this, Red? Because once you agree, you’re stuck with me until one of two things happens.”
“You either safe-word out and leave, or the sun comes up in the morning and we say goodbye. Those are the terms.”