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Authors: Aliyah Burke

A Love For Lera (Haikon)

BOOK: A Love For Lera (Haikon)
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A Love for Lera

Copyright © 2014
Aliyah Burke

Cover illustration
copyright © MMJ Designs

Editor: Jessica
Bimberg

ISBN:

All rights
reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or
by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or
by an information storage and retrieval system-except by a reviewer who may
quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on
the Web-without permission in writing from the publisher or author. The
unauthorized replication or allocation of any copyrighted work is illegal. File
sharing
is
an international crime, prosecuted by the United
States Department of Justice and the United States Border Patrol, Division of
Cyber Crimes, in partnership with Interpol. Copyright infringement, including
infringement without monetary gain, is punishable by up to five years in
federal prison, a fine of $250,000 per reported instance, and seizure of
computers.

This book is a work
of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination
and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or
dead, events or places is coincidental. All trademarks, service marks,
registered trademarks, and registered service marks are the property of their
respective owners and are used herein for identification purposes only.     

Published by:
Sensual Romance Publishing

 

Trademarks

The author
acknowledges both the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following
wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction

If You Dare

By

Aliyah Burke

Dedication

To all my
readers, I thank you for your amazing and unending support. I hope you enjoy
Lera’s story as much as I did writing it. To my editor, Jess, thank you for helping
to make my story shine. Thank you as well to my cover artist for making another
stunning cover. To my husband, thank you for everything you do. To my parents,
the best I could have ever dreamed of having, thank you. And, as always, last
but never least, to the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect this
country. God Bless You!!

Phrase Glossary

Little one… Beag
amháin

Good bye…Slán leat

My dear…Mo chara

My heart…Mo chroí

My love…Mo ghrá

My soul…Mo anam

Breath of my
soul…Anáil de mo anam

Chapter One

Her teeth hurt courtesy of the shaking and noise
from the boisterous crowd. Lera Sidorov fought back the urge to curl her lip at
the stench of unwashed bodies and sweat. Running her tongue over her teeth, she
ignored all the stares and headed for the bar.
Okay, definitely not my kind
of place.
She could feel people undressing her with their eyes. No one
touched her as she moved through the crowd; she avoided all contact without
appearing to do so. She wasn’t scared. No, this place couldn’t make her scared;
leery,  yes. Scared, not a chance. What she was, however, was nearing the end
of her patience.

Stopping before the bar, she met the gaze of the
scruffy bartender. He was large, very large.
And not in a fat,
I-could-outrun-him-in-stilettos fat but large as in I would need an elephant
gun to bring him down or at least slow him down.
The black bandana on his
head was adorned with a skull and crossbones. The goatee and scar on his face
didn’t make her feel any better.

Fucking Winthrop, Washington. Really? Who
would have thunk I would have my ass in a bar here, one that is mostly filled
with bikers? Or a place like this anywhere, for that matter. I like clean.
That wasn’t all she liked. No time to dwell on that right now, though.

His cold blue eyes ran lewdly over her body
before he leaned on the counter and bent toward her. “A little out of place,
aren’t you, darlin’? We don’t serve milk or those cute little fruity drinks
with purdy straws.” His voice was about as soothing as broken glass.

Toothpaste and breath mints must not be
available either.
“I’m looking for someone.”

Skinny lips peeled back to reveal crooked,
yellowed teeth. “I’m all the man you’ll ever need.”

“Is that so?” she asked without any emotion.

Her dry tone wasn’t missed, and he shot a stream
of tobacco juice to the sawdust-covered floor. “Bitches with smart mouths don’t
always leave as purdy as they walked in.” His chin jerked toward the door she’d
walked through moments before. “Maybe you should leave now while you can.”

She didn’t even hesitate. “I’m looking for Butch
Caine.”

The man looked at her, grabbed an unmarked bottle
of amber liquid, and poured her a shot. “Drink this and maybe I’ll tell you.”

She knew he expected her to be unable to drink
it. “If I drink it, I ain’t paying for it.”

“Deal.” He nudged it toward her with one meaty,
dirty finger.

Ignoring his obvious need for nail clipping, Lera
grabbed the shot and tossed it back without hesitation. The sharp yet familiar
taste of the oaky bourbon nearly burned her throat, making her grateful for
learning a long time ago how to open her throat and take a shot. She never
blinked. Lera flipped over the glass and slammed it on the bar, the sound
grabbing attention of others. Then, she quirked one brow, silently asking ‘Is
that all you’ve got?’

Resting one foot on the rail around the bottom of
the bar, she said, “I’m surprised you serve Fighting Cock in here. Haven’t had
that in a while. Now, I believe you were about to tell me where I can find
Butch Caine.”

“I’ll be Butch for you, honey,” a man drawled
beside her.

Lera turned her head slowly and stared at him.
I’ll
call you Stinky. One thing about this place, they sure do grow them big.
“I
don’t need a man pretending to be Butch. I’m looking for the real thing.”

Stinky was joined by newly appointed Ugly and
Nasty. Lera ignored the fear slithering up her spine at the men being so close
and purposefully kept her expression bored.

“I think I’ll just keep you. Share you with my
boys here,” Stinky informed her, grabbing his crotch.

This is going to get ugly.
Lera opened her
mouth to refute his claim when a deep masculine voice flowed to her ears.

“Don’t touch her.”

A simple statement. Yet it was one laced with
death and the promise of it being carried out.

Oh shit! Please no. Anyone but him.

She watched the men back up, fear evident on
their faces. The sounds in the bar seemed to fade. Taking a deep breath, Lera
inhaled the scent of the wild outdoors. And just like that she knew her prayer
had gone unanswered. Only one man she knew smelled like that. With a resigned
sigh, she turned her head to the right and watched as the dark shadows
materialized into a man. At least, to her that’s how it always seemed. Not
there one second and the next appearing from where before only air had existed.

Inside, she trembled. Outside, she was
unflappable. Her left hand fisted briefly before she forced it to relax. Lera
watched the tall, powerful man approach. Clad completely in black there was no
emotion on his face. Staring at her from behind sinfully thick curled lashes
were intense gray eyes. Not silver. Gray. Hard, unforgiving dark gray. For a
brief second, she believed she saw flickers of anger in them, but if there had
been, they vanished in less than a second.

Only one man had the power to make her feel
things on a sexual level. And this was him. Shoving her wishy-washy feelings
back under lock and key, she met his gaze with an expressionless face.

Lera dipped her head slightly in greeting and
said, “Kori.”

Cormac “Kori” MacLochlainne. A man she’d known
for over half of her life. A wolf shifter. He knew her father, Dane Sidorov.
Well, adopted father technically but to her, Dane was her only one. Dane had
saved her when she was ten and raised her as his own. Lera didn’t like most
people touching her outside of her immediate family but this man, Kori, made
her reconsider that decision.

“Lera.” He continued to move closer and stopped
just shy of touching her. His eyes moved over her from the boots on her feet up
to the top of her head before returning to meet her gaze. Almost in a
possessive way. “We’re leaving.”

Well, good to see you, too; thanks for coming
in to order me around. I don’t think so, buddy.
“Bye.”

He barely blinked. “Now.”

“Last time I checked, you weren’t my father.” She
had no intention of giving up her quest.

“I’m not.” He gave her a bland stare. “I won’t
allow you to remain here.”

Her ire rose with that comment. “Won’t allow? I’m
not—”

“Valera, now.”

There was something in his tone that told her it
wasn’t in her best interest to disobey him. And he used her complete first name
as opposed to her nickname. Without a word, she avoided contact with him,
walked through the observing crowd, and out the door. Behind her, his presence
loomed around her, and she noticed that people gave her a wide berth.
How
the hell didn’t I know he was here?
Lera knew the answer despite having
asked the question. He had the ability to shield himself from detection if he
wished it.
Not that I have any powers to detect him anyway.

“Get in.”

Lera jerked her gaze to where he stood beside a
large black vehicle.
Why am I not surprised to see him with a Humvee? And
not a pussy civilian Hummer either; this one screams military issue, a true
Humvee.
It was meant to go off-road and slog though terrible conditions,
not stroke an ego of someone who lived in a city and was having issues with
their masculinity. 

She shook her head. “I have a ride.”

The look in his eyes said more than he did. And
Lera knew how and when to pick her battles. He wanted to talk. So they would
then they could go their separate ways. She swung her leg over her silver and
gray bike and started the powerful engine before sliding mirrored glasses on
her face despite the lack of light. Like a dutiful child, she followed the
black vehicle to a hotel, ignoring the rebellion welling up within her. Lera
parked next to him but backed into the spot. Her belly knotted briefly before
she could control it.

Please, Kori wouldn’t have brought you here if
there was danger around.
The man walked by and started up a set of outside
stairs without a single glance back.
Just assumes I’ll follow.
And she
did. Followed his fine ass and the scent of the wilderness up to a corner room
and inside the sparely furnished domicile. Her gaze skimmed it; she was not at
all surprised to see a lack of items. He’d always struck her as a man who
didn’t need material substance.

“What are you doing here, Lera?”

Kori removed his black leather trench coat and
tossed it on the bed. He leaned against the dresser and folded his arms over
his chest, reminding her just how strong they were. The sleeves of his black
shirt strained with the seemingly impossible task of containing his biceps.

“Did my dad send you?” Just staring at him made a
tingling begin in the pit of her belly.

He arched an eyebrow. “Dane doesn’t know you’re
here?”

Shit. Well, that answers that.
“I’m not a
baby, Kori. I don’t have to tell him where I go all the time.”

He stared unflinchingly at her. “Maybe he should
know if you do stupid things like you did tonight.”

For the first time in her life, she heard
sentiment creep into his tone. Lera shook her head.
It had to be my
imagination.
Cormac MacLochlainne didn’t get that way. Showing emotion was
not a phrase she equated with Kori. “You do realize you could have berated me
there and saved me a return trip. Are you done? I have to get going.”

“I am not berating you, Lera. However, you’re not
going back there.”

It amazed her how there was such finality in his
tone when it didn’t seem anything in it had changed.

“Pretty sure we just went over who my daddy is.
And it wasn’t you. You have no say over where I go or not.”

“Is that a challenge, Lera?” He pushed away from
the worn-down dresser and prowled toward her.

Lera lifted her chin. “Fact.” She refused to
cower despite her instinctive need to avoid any contact.

Kori stopped a miniscule distance away and stared
down at her. He was four inches over six feet, and with her being five-seven,
he had this way of seriously intimidating her. Then, he circled her like a
hungry wolf and moved back to the dresser.

“Tell me what you were doing there and where you
learned to drink a shot like that.”

His tone just oozed confidence that she would do
as he ordered. And she didn’t like that; he had no right to issue commands. Not
to her. But, she also knew Kori and normal thought process didn’t necessarily
apply with him.

“I’m looking for my friend, Rissa. And my
drinking ability is
none
of your business.”
Damn if I couldn’t use
another though.

A glint in his eyes told her he believed it was.
“Rissa?” He gave a small shake of his head. “I don’t know her. New friend?”

She narrowed her eyes slightly. “I think you know
too much about me already. Rissa is a friend from school. One of the only real
ones I had there.” Lera tugged on the cuff of a glove. “She went missing one
night after we’d gone out on some dates.”

A low growl filled the room, and she snapped her
gaze to him. His stare was deadpan, but he was watching her in an almost
possessive way.
What the hell? He never growls.
Something was going on
with him. Kori seemed almost wired. He was not acting normal; the calm way she
was used to seeing surround him had vanished.
He’s probably pissed he feels
he has to save me.

“Anyway, Rissa isn’t from a prominent family or
anything like that so the cops weren’t overly interested. I was. So I started
looking on my own. It’s been a month.” Lera ran a hand over her face. “I
tracked my last lead here, Butch Caine.” She walked over to him and said, “I
can’t let this go, Kori. I
won’t. I
have to find her; she’s my best friend.”

His gaze dropped, and she lowered hers and jumped
back. She had been touching him, her hand resting upon his arm. Quickly backing
up, she fussed with her gloves, unwilling to make eye contact.

“Sorry.” Her heart had sped up, and she felt a
bit lightheaded.

It was a well-known fact he didn’t like to be
touched either. The door at her back stopped her. Kori’s gaze moved from the
arm she’d touched back to her. He stepped toward her, an easy ripple of
movement. Predatory motion. She saw it in his eyes. He was going to take her
home.

No!
Her mind screamed. She bravely glided
toward him. “I’m not going home, Kori. And I
am
going back to that bar
to find Butch Caine.”

He stopped, arms still crossed. “Those men would
have torn you apart,” he said with a snarl.

“I’m not helpless, you know. Just because I don’t
have abilities like you or Daddy, doesn’t mean I can’t protect myself.” She
huffed and crossed her own arms, more than willing to do battle.

Kori’s look told her exactly what he thought
about that. “There are things out there, Lera, much worse than those men.”

“Stop trying to scare me, Kori. I’m well aware of
things that go bump in the night. I don’t care.”

“You should,” he whispered in her ear.

Lera refused to flinch when he materialized
behind her. The speed at which he moved always impressed her. But then so did
the man. He’d always fascinated her. More than she ever admitted. Or wanted to.

“Probably,” she said in her controlled tone. “But
I don’t.”

“You’re not going to give this up.” His tone was
resigned.

“No. I have to find her. One way or another,”
Lera stated, proud her voice didn’t crack.

“Look at me.”

A command.

An order.

Delivered in a darkly seductive timbre.

Lera spun on her boot heel and found him still so
close. She almost held her breath, thinking if her chest moved they would be
touching. There was an odd look in his eyes, and she fought the urge to take a
step back. Instead, she kept her mask of composure firmly in place.

BOOK: A Love For Lera (Haikon)
7.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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