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Patti O'Shea - Paranormal Action Romance Author

 

Excerpt from Shards of Crimson

Dropping his pack to the floor, Nic closed the distance between them and gently ran the backs of his fingers over the hand print on her cheek. "Who did this to you?" he demanded.

She pulled away from his touch. "My face isn't important."

"Someone caused you pain; nothing is more important."

She stepped nearer, pressed her body against his and put her arms around his waist, holding him tightly. Nic returned her embrace, hoping this wasn't another dream, that he wouldn't awake again to find himself alone, his body aching for hers. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeply, filling his senses with her scent. Everything about Kimi aroused him—the warmth of her skin, the swell of her breasts, even the soft sound of her respiration—and he steeped himself in her, wanting to memorize each sensation.

"Nic," Kimi whispered, her breath tickling his ear, "I'm in trouble. Will you help me?"

He suspected that the summoning wouldn't offer him a choice, but it didn't matter—Nic would willingly give his life to protect this woman. "Of course," he said simply.

"You don't know what the problem is yet." Kimi leaned back far enough to meet his eyes, but she didn't release him.

"No doubt it has something to do with the man who left his mark on your skin." And Nic would gladly kill the bastard for daring to cause Kimi even a moment of pain.

"Not a man. A demon. A Dark One."

His blood turned to ice at the thought of his woman facing a Dark One on her own. The Bak-Faru scared other demons and most refused to even use the name of that branch for fear of catching their notice. A human would be at their mercy. "What happened?"

Kimi told him, the words tripping out. Her story was nearly incoherent, but Nic didn't interrupt her with questions. She was shaken and he let her talk, allowing her to share what she wanted in her own way. Her chin wobbled a couple of times, but her eyes remained dry, and when she finished, she buried her face against his throat again and clasped him firmly.

He let the silence stand, content at this point to offer comfort. Stroking his hand over her hair, Nic felt an odd sense of satisfaction—though he'd gone to great lengths to keep his distance from her, Kimi had called him when she needed help. She must sense the connection between them even though she was human.

"I'm glad you came to me instead of Mika," Nic said.

"I couldn't go to her for help; she and Conor are halfway around the world and would never get here in time."

Nic smirked at himself. He'd asked for that one. Of course Kimi would think of Mika first; the two women were close. That was why his half-sister had faced him down and demanded he keep his distance from her cousin. Proximity made the ties strengthen and Mika knew that.

He sighed silently. Kimi Noguchi was his vishtau mate. Humans would call her his soul mate, but that was inaccurate because this bond went far beyond that. It encompassed every level of being for a demon, involved an overwhelming sexual desire and it was only with their mate that they could conceive children. Kimi wouldn't feel it as strongly as he did because she was human, but it would affect her to some degree as well. That was what Mika had wanted to avoid for a few years longer.

His hand went still. His promise to his sister had been that he'd do his best to stay away from Kimi, and he'd kept his word, it was she who'd summoned him to her side—that meant all bets were off. The circumstances were lousy and Nic hated the thought of his woman in danger, but the die was cast.

The time had come to claim his vishtau mate.

 

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