Thursday, January 20, 2011
A Fun, Little Excerpt from Hidden Embers
His beast went crazy the second she walked into the crowded bar. He wasn’t facing the door, didn’t even know who it was that had crossed the threshold—only that it was a woman and something about her had whipped his other half from its regular state of preternatural stillness into a near frenzy.
As the beast struggled to burst through his skin, struggled to get to her, Quinn slammed on the restraints. Held them tight even as the thing fought against the unnatural captivity. Unlike a lot of the men in his clan, he and his dragon usually existed quite peaceably together, but judging from the way it was suddenly slamming against him in its desperation to get out, it looked like that was about to change.
He was not impressed.
Taking a deep breath to steady himself, Quinn all but roared as her scent coasted over the stale cigarette smoke and raw whisky odor of the place and sent him spinning.
She smelled rich and ripe, like blackberries in the summertime and the night-blooming jasmine that grew along the back fence at his house. His beast liked the scent, wanted to glut himself on it until he was drunk, and the man wasn’t far behind.
Unable to resist, he turned toward the door, grinding his teeth together as he realized that a number of other men were doing the same thing. Not that he could blame them—she was, by far, the hottest thing in the bar, despite the fact that she looked like she’d just rolled out of bed. Or maybe because of it.
Unlike the rest of the women in the bar who were wearing tiny skirts and enough makeup to keep Maybeline in business for a long damn time, this one was dressed in a pair of black yoga pants and a matching tank top. There was no makeup on her face, at least none that he could see, but her lips were a rich, cherry red anyway, her cheeks flushed a soft, pale pink.
Her blonde hair was cut short and sassy, and her eyes were big and dark and rimmed with long, sexy lashes. He was too far away to see their color in the darkened room, but what he could see of them he liked a lot.
She wasn’t the kind of trouble he’d been looking for when he landed here, but as his dragon all but scrambled across the scarred wooden floor to get to her, he figured she would do.
She stood in the doorway for a few seconds, eyes narrowed and hands clenched into fists as she surveyed the room. As she did, nearly every man in the room sucked in his gut and straightened his shoulders.
She didn’t even notice.
He grinned. Yes, she would do very nicely indeed.
Her gaze swept the tables first, all of which were full, before falling on the only two empty barstools in the place—which were on either side of him.
She headed straight toward him, her long legs eating up the floor between them in a matter of seconds. His beast tensed in anticipation—and so did he. He wanted to know what she looked like close up, wanted to know if her skin was warm and if her smell was even sweeter without an entire room between them.
But before she could get to him, some asshole grabbed her elbow and spun her around, his other hand groping for her hip as he pulled her against him.
Quinn was off his barstool before the woman had even come to a stop, more than ready to teach the guy a lesson. But before he could take a step, she’d twisted her arm out of the idiot’s grasp and sent him stumbling backward with a well-placed shove to the shoulders.
The guy laughed, low and mean, and reached for her again. But there must have been something in her eyes that stopped him, as he froze, his hand halfway to her waist, and not even the threat of being embarrassed in front of all the other yahoos in the bar made him close the gap between them. Instead, he took the few steps back to his table and drank his beer like a man dying of thirst.
As she turned back to the bar, the light of battle hadn’t yet faded from her eyes. She wore a smirk as big as Texas, and when her eyes met his, there wasn’t an ounce of fear in their violet depths.
He grinned at her—he couldn’t help himself—and lifted his glass in a quick but sincere salute before downing it. He’d never been a big fan of women who acted like they were as tough as a man, but there was something about her that made her ability to defend herself sexy as hell. Besides, he wasn’t looking to marry the woman—he just wanted to feel good for a little while. Just wanted to forget, and she looked like she could help him do just that.
And when she slid onto the barstool to his right, calling out for a shot of Patron as she did, his dragon curled up inside of him and all but purred.
Yes, he thought, as he gestured for another shot of his own. She was trouble, no doubt about it. And she would do very nicely, indeed.
So, what do you think?