Split into beasts of all kinds and forced to shift into humans, Khimairans were graced with humanity by the gods — and Dante’s humanity was fleeting.

 


~ EXCERPT ~ 

What was wrong with her? A very real need reared up inside Bailey and instantly the image of his broad form against hers clouded her mind. She bit her lip and mentally splashed a cold dash of reality on herself.

There was a stranger in her store.

And he had a head of wavy brown hair she wanted to run fingers through. Damn it, Bailey, stop thinking like that.

“I assure you I’ve done nothing to you.” The male’s deep voice purred from his lips, as if satisfied somehow by her reactions to him.

Bailey stared at his mouth as she took in his words. Her body urged her to move closer to him, but mind over matter, she willed herself to stay in place. She didn’t ever let her desires control her.

Bailey ripped her gaze from the man and looked at her bare arms for a mark of some kind, a sign he’d injected her with some drug that made her senses ignite. She hoped he had done something so she could explain the strange needy reaction to him. Bailey didn’t like reacting in a way she couldn’t control. But as far as she could see, she held no such mark. She couldn’t have been passed out for very long, the sunset was still visible. “Why are you in my store?” Bailey willed her gaze to look around the store instead of at the man. Anywhere but at him, into his intense gaze.

“Are you Nadia’s niece?” He didn’t sound surprised, more like he already knew she was and had been expecting her.

“I am. What’s it matter to you?” She straightened her shoulders and looked over at him. He stood and leaned nonchalantly against the counter. Smug, as if he was glad to regain her gaze. He intertwined his fingers with each other, and a smile crossed his handsome face. A light dusting of stubble graced his strong jawline. Damned if he didn’t make stubble look sexy. She mentally smacked her lips together in approval, like some kind of vixen on the prowl.

What was wrong with her?

“I’m Dante. Your aunt told me you’d come. I’ve been waiting for over two weeks.” Dante stared her down as if she should have come sooner.

Defensive, Bailey stood trying to hide her irritation. He acted as if she should have known he awaited her. She raised her eyebrow. “I could have waited longer.”

He didn’t have the right to make her feel bad about not coming sooner. She wouldn’t let him. He was lucky she’d come at all. Bailey crossed her arms and mimicked his position leaning against the counter. Taking the opportunity to watch his eyes closely. Could he be one of them? A Khimairan come to see who would replace her aunt? And while her body reacted sexually to the man, the very real possibility he was here to harm her entered her mind.

A burst of laughter came from him, taking Bailey off guard. His eyes lit up as his broad shoulders moved with his amusement. “You…” He pointed a finger at her. “You are a spitting image of your aunt, a true spitfire. Come now. Give me your name.”

She gave him the sternest look she could, tightened her ponytail, and said, “Bailey.”
His pupils dilated but there was no animal she could see there, save from a normal predatory gaze any strong male full of himself might have. But the tiny hairs on the back of her neck still rose.