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Authors: Marie Harte

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Firebreather 1: Firebreather

BOOK: Firebreather 1: Firebreather
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FIREBREATHER

…Ferin nudged her to his brothers. “Take pleasure in this gift. And never question what you feel, Lea. You’ve bonded with the Dracon now. You’re one of us. Lead with your heart.” She nodded absently, her arousal growing as she noticed the heat in his brothers’ eyes, flaming with deep, red hunger.

“Come here,” Adrian growled, pulling her to him when she neared.

Matthias stood at her back, taking her clothing off while Adrian kissed her, hard.

With him there was no finesse, just raw, hungry need. And the intensity of his desire fueled her own. His tongue brushed hers, licking at the cavern of her mouth with bold strokes. And when his cock pressed against the skin of her belly, she knew this was right.

Matthias’ hands reached around her to cup her breasts, flicking her nipples until she gasped.

“Matthias, please.” Please what, she didn’t know. But she needed more, needed to fill the emptiness in her womb.

Spreading her thighs, he dipped one hand between her legs and thrust into her moist heat. But Adrian would not wait.

“Move, Matthias. She’s ready now.”

Matthias removed his hand and returned to her breasts, kneading the taut flesh while he pressed his cock between her buttocks, rocking lightly.

“Take her then, and hurry. I need to feel her, to feel you, Lea. I need to fuck that tight pussy,” he rasped, holding her up as Adrian wrapped her legs around his waist. And when Adrian shoved himself inside her, she leaned back against Matthias, reveling in the belonging and desire she felt from the males loving her so generously…

BOOKS BY MARIE HARTE

Darkson’s Forfeit

Firebreather

FIREBREATHER

BY

MARIE HARTE

AMBER QUILL PRESS, LLC

http://www.amberquill.com

FIREBREATHER

AN AMBER HEAT BOOK

This book is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Amber Quill Press, LLC

http://www.amberquill.com

http://www.amberheat.com

All rights reserved.

No portion of this book may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher, with the exception of brief excerpts used for the purposes of review.

Copyright © 2007 by Marie Harte

ISBN 978-1-59279-676-2

Cover Art © 2007 Trace Edward Zaber Layout and Formatting provided by: ElementalAlchemy.com PUBLISHED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
To the wonderful folks at Amber Quill Press,
thanks for making this possible.

CHAPTER 1

“My, my, don’t you look good enough to eat,” a husky voice echoed through the sophisticated crowd perusing Venlay House’s exhibits. Several people stopped to stare, and Lea Venlay balled her hands to keep from slapping the smug grin off the face that had been tormenting her for months.

Glaring up at the sexy irritant smirking down at her, she smiled through her teeth. “If I didn’t think you meant that literally, I might take it as a compliment. You know, Mr. Dekker, a less practical person would attribute the odd coincidences of our meetings to something more sinister. Like stalking, maybe.” The first few months Ferin Dekker had shown up at the same places she had, she’d written off the chance meetings. After all, the reputed shapeshifter was a savvy investor, and Venlay House’s artistic pieces were consistently topnotch, growing in value daily. They both lived near Asheville, and in the autumn months, everyone frequented the coffeehouses, like moths to flame. So he and she both liked Café Blue and hazelnut lattes. So what? But lately, Dekker had been frequenting the gallery more and more, with an uncanny knack for visiting only during
her
working hours. Even her mother had commented on the fact.

“Really, Lea. Stalking? That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?” He smiled, his white, even teeth a reminder that under other circumstances, those teeth would be several inches longer, and caught between scaled, green lips.

A flash of movement distracted her, and to her consternation, she noted her brothers walking her way. As if she needed their intolerable interference with a Dracon. She knew more about the Dracon than any other human in history, well, except perhaps for her a few of her deceased, and
unpublished
, relatives.

Turning back to Dekker, she noted the ease with which his gaze moved slowly, sensually, over her body. And she wondered just what it was about him that simultaneously annoyed and aroused her.

He had money, but then so did she. He had looks, a killer body, and charm in spades. But he was Dracon, an enemy she’d been warned about since before she could walk. Yet staring at Dekker, she could see nothing beyond a man too captivating to be ignored, and too dangerous to be anything but tempting.
Damn it.

“Besides, Lea,” Dekker murmured and took a step closer. “There’s more than one way to eat a delectable morsel like yourself.” He licked his lips, and instead of repulsing her, the aggravating Dracon aroused her, as he did every time they crossed paths.

“Lea, this guy bothering you?” David, her oldest brother, suddenly arrived by her right shoulder.

“Just say the word,” Blane, her other brother, said from her left, scowling.

Great. Now more people were beginning to take notice. It was common knowledge the Venlays had little use for the Dracon clan in general. But business was business, and the liberal art world tolerated a lot, especially for Ferin Dekker, one of the most intriguing shapeshifters in Western North Carolina, not to mention one of the richest.

Dekker stared at her brothers curiously, a spark of something wicked darting in his eyes. Colors flashed before he blinked, and dark black irises reappeared. “Gentlemen.” He nodded, but made no move to leave Lea’s side.

She could almost see the cloud of testosterone threatening to rain havoc all over her sister’s first art show. Time for clearer heads to prevail. “Guys, I’m fine. I’m just chatting with Mr. Dekker, one of our
finest clients
, for a few. Why don’t you two see if Cora needs any help?”

They frowned, but took the hint and left. Despite Dekker’s background, he was an influential man among the many patrons who regularly attended the gallery. And Venlay House made it a policy to welcome everyone, no matter race, gender…or species.

Of course, that policy existed because of her mother. Had her father still been alive, he’d no doubt have suffered a bout of apoplexy just hearing Dekker’s name.

Lea sighed. “Is there something I can do for you, or did you talk to me just to bait my brothers?”

The satisfied grin he wore watching her brothers leave made her suspect the latter. But when he glanced back at her, she revised her opinion. Such hunger swirling in a fathomless black gaze.

“You know, Lea, that color is exquisite on you. And I’d imagine it’s just as enticing pooled at your feet, a swath of temptation around a veritable goddess.”

His smooth words and rhythmic cadence were mesmerizing, so much so that he’d run a finger down her cheek and over her lips before she could catch her breath, and her wits. The resounding put-down that should have come from her mouth didn’t, because she couldn’t stop envisioning what they would look like together, naked, in bed.

His eyes danced, breaking the spell, and she fumed that he might have an inkling that she—like the rest of the women in the room—might feel such an intense attraction.
He’s Dracon, Lea. Remember
your little side job?

Shaking free of her lust and disgusted with her rampant hormones, Lea prayed her nipples didn’t look as hard as they felt and smoothed down the line of her green, silk dress. “I’m sorry, Mr. Dekker, but I have to see to another client. If you’ll excuse me?” She didn’t wait for a response but turned away. Discretion was certainly the better part of valor tonight, especially since she’d actually considered doing the horizontal mambo with a Dracon.

Threading through several potential clients, she soon found her sister—the guest of honor at the gallery’s most auspicious event to date.

Cora Venlay fairly glowed as she watched the crowd looking at her oils. Lea felt a moment of envy, wishing she had even a smidgen of Cora’s incredible talent. Then she saw who Cora was staring at and shook her head. Her sister might have received the family’s share of artistic skill, but when it came to judgment, she’d clearly been shortchanged.

“Is it hot in here or is it just me?” Cora asked in a breathy voice, her gaze caught on Mr. Irritating—Dekker.

“It’s just you.” Lea refrained from scowling and smiled at Mrs. Newcomb, a regular at the gallery.

“I don’t understand how you can be so unaffected,” Cora said, again in that breathy little voice, grating on Lea’s nerves. “He’s tall, built, and has the face of an angel with sex on the brain.”

“You mean a devil with murder on the mind,” Lea muttered, not surprised when Ferin Dekker quickly glanced her way and grinned, showing too many teeth. The Dracon had better ears than a bat.

“Murder, right. Don’t tell me you really believe in those stories?” Cora shook her head. “I thought you and I were beyond that.” She nodded to their brothers, both standing near their mother as they cast the occasional glower at Dekker. “At least Mother has an ounce of sense. Honestly, Lea, what happened eight hundred years ago doesn’t matter any more. It’s today that matters, and tomorrow.” Surprising insight from the youngest of the family. “Actually, it was five hundred years ago. And I agree, to an extent, that what’s past should stay past. So long as we don’t repeat our mistakes.”

“Whatever.” Cora sighed. “But how can you think a man that fine would ever give a woman anything but pleasure? God, just look at his build. He’s got such a great set of pecs.”

“How would you know?”

“Sherry mentioned she’d seen him running the other day in shorts and a T-shirt, in this weather no less.” Cora nodded toward her best friend. “And you should have heard what she said about his ass.” Lea’s temples began to throb.

“I just don’t understand why David and Blane are so prejudiced. It’s unfortunate our great-grandmother died. But it was an accident. When will they let it go?”

A little devil inside Lea prompted her to say, “Accident? One of those prehistoric barbarians
murdered
our
great-great-great
Grandmother Meredith. Hell, David still likes to remind me of the time I was ten and stole a stamp. Of course he’s not going to forget the

‘Venlay Family Feud.’ Dad weaned us on it from the womb.” Cora shook her head. “But it’s so tragic. A woman on the verge of marrying into the Dracon line, destined to be a queen, but fated to die.”

“Can the drama, Cora. You’re almost as bad as dragonbreath over there.”

“Shh, Lea. They have really sensitive hearing,” Cora whispered with a glare. “And I happen to like Ferin Dekker. He’s been nothing but pleasant ever since I met him.”

“Whatever.”
Probably wanted to see your dress pooling at your
feet, too. A great line, if you can believe it.
Lea didn’t plan to continue the argument. She had better things to do at home. She glanced at her watch and made a decision, confirming it when the Dracon in question made a beeline in her direction.

After a quick good-night to her family, ignoring the scowls on her brothers’ faces, Lea grabbed her coat from the front coat check and fled out into the blustery night. She waited briefly while a valet fetched her car before driving home as safely as possible. October had brought black nights and gusts of wind to Weaverville, North Carolina, and she had no intention of crashing in the short half hour it took her to return home.

Driving onto the Venlay estate, twenty acres of prime, mostly-level property in the mountains that had been in her family’s hands for generations, Lea finally relaxed for the first time that night. She had the next three days to herself, not having to return to work until Tuesday.

And the relief that afforded made her truly smile for the first time in days. Winding through the driveway, past the main house to the groundskeeper’s cottage deeper onto the property, she grinned with contentment as she parked and exited the car.

It was a small house, but it was hers. A quaint cottage with enough room for two to live comfortably, and one person to live like a queen.

Shedding her heavy woolen coat, she made her way through the comfortable living room to her personal paradise, the study.

Wooden floors, floor to ceiling bookcases and a to-die-for leather chair she’d spent a fortune on, the study—the study?


What the hell?

Long claw marks scarred her prized leather desk chair. The papers she’d worked so hard to publish lay in shreds on the floor, mingling with the scattered remains of her text references and priceless Dracon journals.

She quickly reached for the cell phone stuffed into her jacket pocket now laying on the floor and dialed the main house. “Barbara? Hi, it’s Lea. I’m back for the night. Just wanted to see how you’re doing.” The housekeeper chatted easily and soon hung up, easing Lea’s mind. At least nothing in the main house had been disturbed.

BOOK: Firebreather 1: Firebreather
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