Excerpt: Kiss at Your Own Risk

Excerpt: Kiss at Your Own Risk

Book 1: Soulfire

Blaine had about two seconds to register that the woman tucked under his arm was…well…the first naked chick who’d been pressed up against him in a good half-century or so. Saying it felt nice like was kinda like saying it felt nice to wake up after a torture session and realize he was still alive. Yeah, that freaking fantastic. 

Then that same blow-his-mind feel-good sensation jammed her elbow in his kidney. 

“Shit!” The pain knifed through his lower back as she squiggled out of distracted grasp. Good to know that a female in the buff made him forget to protect himself so completely that a mortal’s elbow thrust could make him stumble. 

The boys would be laughing their asses off at him right now. 

Trinity raced down the hall, and Blaine swore as she disappeared around the corner. He sprinted after her, putting more effort into his run than he’d done in centuries. A little late to realize he had no clue how mortal she actually was. The witch could have done anything to her in those six months. For all he knew, she was turning into a bat and flying the hell out of his life right about now. 

Damn. He’d be impressed if she did that. 

Pissed, but impressed. 

He skidded around the corner and crashed face first through closed door before he had a chance to stop. Again with the lack of focus? Nice not to notice a sheer wall of wood blocking his path. 

Women were no good for battle acumen. Maybe Nigel’s celibacy idea had merit after all. 

The splintered door thundered into the walls, and he careened to a stop in the middle of a small bathroom. He promptly found himself eyeball to barrel with a handgun. 

And damn if the chit wasn’t still naked. 

Just like a woman to use her breasts as a weapon by distracting him with them. How irritating to know it worked. But at the same time, it was always good to add info to his strategic recon arsenal. Women’s nipples were now in his “high risk” category, especially ones that were pert with a slightly rose tinge… Crap! He jerked his eyes off her chest and glared at her. “Put some clothes on.” 

She snorted. “And have you attack me when I put the gun down to grab them? Fat chance of that. The answer’s no.” 

“No?” Where was his manly, make-them-cower side? He glowered at her and folded his arms across his chest. At least his target was still in the room and hadn’t sprouted wings yet. “You do realize you could put that bullet in my head and I’d be dancing the rumba within about a minute? Guns don’t stop me.” 

She blinked. “You can rumba?” 

He scowled. “I just said a bullet to the brain wouldn’t hurt me, and you’re impressed that I can dance?” 

She raised her brows. “I’m quaking in fear. Can’t you tell?” 

He studied her. Her eyes were a brilliant green, tendrils of dark hair had escaped from her bun and were plastered to the side of her neck. Her chin was thrust out, and her grip on the gun was solid. Didn’t see alot of fear there. “You’re mocking me.” A century and a half with Angelica and her girls had pretty much cured him of any love for female ridicule. 

A small smile quirked at the corner of her mouth. “I’m not mocking you. It’s just that you’re the one who should be quaking in fear, especially now that I know you can rumba. I’ve always wanted to learn how to ballroom dance, and a scarred warrior who can also rumba is way too tempting. So, yeah, you should run, hot stuff.” She raised the gun higher, which made her breasts lift as well. Perky little things- 

“Ah…” He jerked his gaze off her body and stared at the wall behind her head, trying to think about war instead of how her breasts were just the right size for his mouth. “I like the wheat grass designs in the tile. Soothing. Makes me feel like I’m standing in Kansas .” 

“Wheat grass?” She sounded disbelieving. “Didn’t you hear me tell you to leave? I really mean it. It’s not a good idea for you to be here. I’m far more dangerous than you are.” 

He eyed the ocean vista above the toilet. “You’re worried about the black widow thing?” Damn, he could use five minutes alone with his new wild butterfly pattern right now to pull himself together— 

Shit. Had he really just thought that? 

Damn, he needed five minutes with a punching bag and brass knuckles to pull himself together. 

Yeah, better. No way was he letting that witch stalk him now that he was free. He was a man, not some artiste like Nigel. 

The gun clicked as Trinity cocked it. “What do you know about the black widow thing?” 

He eyed her. Checked out the flexed triceps, the battle stance, and then his gaze settled on the small, yellow tulip tattooed on her collar bone. Same pattern the witch had emblazoned above her bed. And on the ceiling of the Cavern of Hellish Moments. 

Adrenaline flooded his body, and his skull and crossbones began to tingle. Yeah, no problem thinking of Trinity as a threat and not a woman when he looked at that damn flower. Heat pulsed beneath his skin, and his muscles thickened, preparing him for battle. Much better. Screw the cross-stitching softie. Try murderous gladiator. 

Trinity’s eyes widened. “Did you just get taller?” 

“Probably.” He walked across the small bathroom until the gun was pressed against his heart. Against his tattoo. 

Trinity stiffened. “You even try to kiss me, I’ll shoot you.” 

He growled. “No chance in hell is there going to be any lip-locking between us. Trust me, that’s one thing you don’t need to worry about.” Lovemaking with a yellow tulip was not gonna happen. Not by a long shot. 

She blinked. “I don’t?” 

He almost laughed at the surprise on her face. Typical witch progeny: so used to being a man magnet that they didn’t get it when a man failed to respond. He wrapped his hand around the barrel of the gun and turned it away from his heart. “You forgot to shoot me.” 

She stared down at the gun that was now pointed at the mirror. “Dammit,” she muttered. “I have no will power whatsoever.” She sighed and released the gun. “Someday, I’m going to have the strength to shoot a man as good looking as you who comes here to abduct me.” 

He took the gun and tossed it into the still-full bathtub. “I need your help.” 

“Hah.” She turned away and grabbed a black thong from a small pile of clothes on a bamboo stool in the corner. She bent over to pull it on- 

Shit and hell fire. That was one nice ass. Muscular, but curvy at the same time. The woman clearly worked out, but hadn’t lost that soft side that made her all female- 

Then he thought of her flower and smiled when he felt fire burn in his cells. Yeah, who needed a cold shower? A yellow tulip was the best mood killer around. “You’re going to come with me and use your black widow talents to kill someone.” 

She yanked the thong over her hips and turned to face him. “You have got to be kidding.” 

He was about to deny it when he saw the fire in her eyes. 

And then he remembered lesson #76.5 from Man Decorum 101: never tell a smart, pissed-off female what to do. Ask her. Nicely. Preferably with roses in hand. 

He stared at her. 

She glared back. 

Ask her to kill someone for him? 

Trinity rolled her eyes and grabbed a black bra from the chair and fastened it around her ribs. “At least the fact you demanded such an asinine thing makes it slightly less dangerous for you. It must be your lucky day to be smart enough to behave like a thoughtless beast around me.” Her gaze slipped to his chest. “But you still need to go away. Fast.” 

Like, ask her? 

Screw that. The witch was the one who’d given the lessons. She was a man hater, and everything she’d ever forced on them was solely for the purpose of humiliating them. 

He was a warrior. Not a counted cross stitch uber talent. 

Trinity pulled the straps over her shoulders, and those perfect breasts disappeared from view. 

Which put him in a worse mood. He’d liked them and had already gotten used to having them blink cheerfully at him. Didn’t appreciate having them taken away. He narrowed his eyes. “You have three seconds to get dressed, and then we’re going on a witch hunt. I find her. You kill her. Got it?” 

Trinity stared at him, then she grinned. “On the one hand, that’s completely fantastic that you’re being such a boor. Even your yummy shoulders and huge biceps aren’t going to win me over if you keep making those kinds of demands of me.” 

“I—” He stopped. Couldn’t remember anything she’d said after “huge biceps.” When was the last time any female had made any comment about him that wasn’t about how much pain he could take? Kinda liked it. 

“However, the part about needing me to kill someone is a little scary, especially since you might be big enough to make me do it.” She smiled even wider, and there was no missing the intense relief in her voice. “But now that I know that you’re unkillable, you have totally freed me up to defend myself. And for that, I really appreciate you.” 

He blinked at the her visible honesty, at the earnestness on her face, and something inside him turned, knowing that he was the one responsible for the release of her tension. He’d made her feel better without even trying. What a guy.

Then, she reached into the tub, grabbed the gun, and shot him in the heart.

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