Book II: Mythical Madness Series
The portals through the mythical kingdoms have closed. An ancient evil is rising in Asgaard and the Fates have decreed that their adopted son Kai Zoku travel there to discover the cause and save the worlds from Ragnarok. Kai has been given a partner for this mission, the Goddess of Beauty and Song, Sheridan Adara. She is the alluring sister to his brother Gage’s mate, and a woman who might understand him better than he understands himself. Through a journey to Asgaard and an ancient threat Sheridan and Kai find that their attraction might be the most dangerous temptation of all.
A shadow fell over Sheridan as she lay on the cell floor. She opened her eyes enough to see through her lashes. He was a big man, and broad. He blocked out the harsh light of the sun. He squatted down next to her, his face mostly covered by a dark scarf. He left his arms lying across his thighs, and he looked down at her with his head tilted as he studied her.
“You can open your eyes, goddess. I already know you're awake.”
His voice, Sheridan decided, had a decidedly western accent. She lifted her lashes, and took him in without moving. His forehead was tanned and smooth, sloping down to dark eyebrows and bright blue eyes, ringed by impossibly long, black lashes. His eyes might have been beautiful, but they were cold. Colder than the stone floor on which she lay.
“You're Sheridan Adara.” Her eyes must have widened. No one knew her true name, not even her parents or Lavinia. Only the Fates, who gave a god or goddess their names with their powers, could know such a thing. He chuckled, raising the hair on the back of her neck. “Relax, goddess. I'm not going to hurt you.”
He never saw it coming when she leaped up, pulling his dagger from his belt and taking him to the ground beneath her, his own dagger at his throat. She put just enough force behind the blade to bring a drop of blood to the surface.
“You're going to take me out of here.” Her voice was quiet but reinforced with steel. “You're going to take them all out of here. If you do that, I may let you live.”
He stared at her, his blue gaze clashing with hers.
“Will you kill me, goddess?” He reached up slowly, pulling down the scarf. He revealed the most dangerous mouth she'd ever seen. She caught her breath, the knife slipping, bringing another bead of blood. His hand dropped, and she met his eyes again.
“Who are you?” Her heart was beating fast, her breath coming faster. His grin was sinful.
“I'm Kai Zoku.”
Sheridan tried hard not to grin. “Very funny.”
He raised an eyebrow and she sighed.
“Kai Zoku? Japanese for pirate.”
His eyebrows drew together, but after a moment he smiled, and it sped her heart up and pissed her off at the same time. “I never knew!” He sounded delighted, not at all afraid of the woman sitting on his chest with a knife at his throat.
“Get us out of here.” Sheridan could feel her energy flagging, and she used all her strength to keep her hand from shaking.
“Let me up and they can go.” He reached up, the motion too fast for her to see. He caught the dagger at the handle, his hand gentle over hers, but unshakable. “You, goddess, will stay with me.”
Sheridan pulled her hand from his, keeping the dagger and sliding off his chest. She rose, keeping her back to the wall. “What do you want with me? Are you the one paying the trolls to kidnap mythicals?”
He sat up, running a hand through his short dark hair. He rubbed his neck ruefully, wiping the blood on his pants before he climbed to his feet. He was well over six feet tall and broader than even her father, who was the largest man she knew.
“I'm not.” He kept his distance, but she knew he could have disarmed her at any time. “I'm here to return you to your sister.”
She raised an eyebrow but didn't move. Over his shoulder, without turning his back on her, he whistled loudly. Another large man in all black opened the cell, waving the other prisoners out.
“See?” Kai waved as they filed out. “I'm setting you all free.”
Sheridan leaned against the wall, her energy nearly gone. “All but me.”
He shrugged, looking rueful.
“Who hired you?”
His grin was back, cocky and full of unparallelled pride. “You think there's only one Asesino, goddess?”
Sheridan knew her eyes grew wide and she paled in shock. “You work for the Fates?” The dagger clattered to the ground and he reached over, picking it up and sheathing at his waist.
“Am I to be punished?”
Kai shook his head, moving closer and scooping her up, one arm under suddenly weak knees and the other around her shoulders. Her head lay against his shoulder as the last of her energy drained away.
“Sleep, little goddess. No one will hurt you. I swear.”
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AR DeClerck was born and raised in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She currently resides along the Mississippi in Illinois with her husband, two daughters, two dogs and a wily cat. She is an avid reader, music and tv lover and she works as a dialysis technician to help people with kidney failure lead productive lives. She loves to talk to readers and uses her books to explore the greatest adventure of all: falling in love.