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Deep within the fortress of Pandora, Lieutenant Vane Schiva has spent millennium guarding precious artifacts and ancient secrets from around the universe. As the son of a decorated commander, he has always been a soldier first, putting the needs of his people before his own desires. So when the compound is breached and he’s sent across the galaxies to track down the thief, he never imagined the assignment would lead him to the only thing he’s ever wanted for himself.
Growing up in New Orleans, Charlotte Rousseau has seen her share of the strange and unexplainable, but everything she thought she knew about the world is about to be tested. What started as any other day, quickly spirals into a nightmarish reality, leaving her no choice but to place her trust—and her life—in a stranger’s hands. Safety comes at a price, though, and Charlotte soon realizes her only chance at survival means leaving behind her fears and following Vane into the fire.
Faced with the threat of war, new alliances are formed and old loyalties are tested in the midst of chaos and uncertainty. While emotions run high and sexual tensions simmer, Vane still guards a dangerous secret, one that could cost him everything in the end. He’ll do whatever it takes to protect Charlotte, though, even if that means turning his back on his own people.
War is easy. Love takes courage.
Charli looked out of the corner of her eye toward the shops beyond the Square. “So, I think I’m—Jiminy Christmas!”
Standing only inches away, Don towered above her like a giant shadow. The skin on his face and neck rippled—clearly a trick of the dim light—and she could almost feel the annoyance flowing off him.
“Stop talking and follow me.”
“How did you do that? You were there.” She pointed to the cathedral. “Now, you’re here. I don’t understand.”
With a growl that sounded more animal than man, Don grabbed her elbow and shoved her in front of him. “Remember the part where I didn’t want to hurt you?”
Swallowing hard enough to make her throat burn, Charli pressed her lips together and nodded. No matter what she did now, this wouldn’t end well for her.
“Now, stop talking and let’s go.”
“Not going to happen, Morph. Let the girl go.”
Jerking her head up, Charli sighed in relief at the sight of a man, just as big and just as imposing as her psycho date, standing beyond the entrance of the church. Acting on instinct, she wrenched her arm away from Don and hurried up the stairs, tucking herself behind the newcomer.
“I don’t know who you are or where you came from, but just consider me your biggest fan.”
The guy didn’t respond other than a low grunt, but he did pull her closer to his back, positioning himself between her and Don. “Give it up, Morph. The jewel is worthless without the girl and you know it. Just hand it over.”
“Girl? What girl? Me girl?” I’m never dating again. If I make it home alive, I’m going to adopt six cats and learn to knit. “What jewel? What do I have to do with this?”
“Not now,” the new guy answered with a quick shake of his head. “I’m a little busy saving your life, if you hadn’t noticed.”
“Oh, right, sorry. Proceed.”
Charli couldn’t be sure, but she thought the corner of his lips twitch into a fleeting smile before he addressed Don again. “What’s it going to be, Morph? We can do this the easy way or the hard way, but both end with that jewel in my hand.”
“Oh,” Charli complimented, “that was good.”
There it was again, no mistaking it this time, a subtle, blink-and-miss-it twitch of his lips. Pushing up on her tip toes, she peered over his shoulder to see Don’s reaction. She didn’t know what she’d expected, but seeing her date turn into a plume of smoke and then vanish certainly hadn’t topped the list.
Her rescuer just sighed. Charli, however, was in the midst of a panic attack.
“Did you see that? What was that? Holy smokes, and I guess I mean that literally since we’re in front of a church, and he just…well, you saw him! Did that really happen?” Her heart pounded frantically against her sternum, making her voice shake and stutter as she spoke. “No, this can’t be happening. This can’t happen.”
“Charlotte, I need you to take a deep breath and relax.”
“I’m relaxed. Why? Do I not seemed relaxed? I guess I’m just not used to people turning into freaking clouds of smoke in the middle of the French Quarter.” Taking a couple of steps back, she dropped her purse to the ground and bent over to rest her hands on her knees while she sucked in deep gulps of oxygen. “It’s a character flaw. I’ll work on it.”
The guy, whoever he was, actually laughed as he pulled her upright by her shoulders. “You are very unusual, even for a human.”
“What’s that supposed to mean? For a human?” Great, only with her luck would the hero turn out to be just as insane as the villain. “Wait, how do you know my name?”
His gaze traveled along the curve of her neck, over her jawline, and finally up to her eyes. “I know a lot about you, Charlotte Rousseau.” Capturing a flyaway strand of hair, he tucked it behind her ear with a peculiar twist of his lips. “I am Lieutenant Vane Schiva, and I was sent here to protect you.”
Born with a silver tongue and a pen in her hand, Kali spends her days sleeping (she’s part vampire) and her nights crafting scandalous romances with larger-than-life heroes.
Self-proclaimed patron goddess of reclusiveness, Kali currently resides in the Midwest with her oddly supportive family and tragically misunderstood cat.
Seriously, though, the cat is evil.
She loves hearing from readers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or be sure to follow her on social media for updates, announcements, giveaways, and more!
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Kali is giving away a $10 Amazon GC and a digital copy of Alone to one lucky person who leaves a comment on today's blog! Good luck to all of you!
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