ALIEN SHIFTER ROMANCE: Alien Tigers - The Complete Series (Alien Invasion Abduction Shapeshifter Romance) (Paranormal Science Fiction Fantasy Anthologies & Short reads) (9 page)

BOOK: ALIEN SHIFTER ROMANCE: Alien Tigers - The Complete Series (Alien Invasion Abduction Shapeshifter Romance) (Paranormal Science Fiction Fantasy Anthologies & Short reads)
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Epilogue

Anita slammed her fists against the door of Bruce’s house. After waiting an entire week to run into him at the White house, and being disappointed on each of the seven days, she had decided she could wait no longer. She needed to see him. “Bruce!” she yelled as soon as she heard the sound of shuffling coming from the other side of the door.

She stared at the aged wood for another moment longer before she started to hear the sound of another voice. Her eyes narrowed as she assumed it was that Lexus woman from the other day. But as she pressed her ear against the door, she realized that that didn’t quite make sense. The other voice was male.

She knocked on the door yet again. “Bruce, I can hear you in there! Why are you avoiding me?”

There was more shuffling and more voices before she heard the back door open and shut. Then, outside, she could hear the rustle of the leaves. She walked across the porch, peering around the side of the house just in time to see what looked like another tiger running into the woods.

A gasp slipped out of her mouth just as the front door was yanked open.

“Rhodes!”

Anita turned to find Bruce’s head peering from inside of his house. She tried to cover up her own embarrassment by charging him. “Where the hell have you been?” She pushed past him into his house.

Bruce scoffed, but shut the door behind her anyway. “I can’t take a couple of days off without you storming my house?”

Anita grimaced at this. “Uhm, after what happened the last time we saw each other? No you fucking can’t.”

“I’ve told you a million times. I can’t tell you anything!” Bruce yelled, stabbing his chest with his finger.

“Well, that’s not enough!”

Bruce approached her, staring her down. “Who do you think you are?”

Anita cocked her head to the right. “I think I’m the person you practically told you were a spy.”

Bruce rolled his eyes. “I’m not a fucking spy.”

“So what the hell are you?” Anita asked as the image of the tiger she’d just seen came to mind. “And why do you have a tiger?”

“I don’t have a tiger.” Bruce clamped his jaw shut. His eyes widening as if he thought that he had said far too much.

“Do you have friends with tigers?” Anita demanded. “Are
you
a tiger?”

“That is a ridiculous accusation,” he snapped.

“You’re a ridiculous person,” Anita said, standing her ground, even though she could feel herself becoming more and more engulfed in his scent. Her body was drawn to his, their attraction becoming harder and harder to deny.

He took her face in both of his hands. “I’ve told you. I can’t say anything more.” He dragged her into a kiss, pressing his lips against hers.

Anita clutched hiss flannel shirt, allowing herself to melt into his kiss for a short moment before she realized what he was doing. “No!” she yelled, shoving him away. “I demand answers, or I will tell Hector what you told me, and then they will dig and dig until they find the answers themselves.”

“You would do that?”

“Hell yes, I would do that. I would expose you in a second.”

“And if I tell you now? If I tell you exactly what I am and you happen to believe me, would you keep that secret?”

Anita hadn’t thought of that, so she lied. “Yes.” Her heart pounded in her chest as she realized just how close she was to the resolution of what had occupied her thoughts for so long.

He scoffed. “Then here it is, if you choose to believe. I was sent here by a nation of extraterrestrial beings to incite a war that would render humans defenseless, against themselves and against us.”

Anita froze.

But he kept talking. “But if you believe that, also know that I have every intention of stopping what I started, no matter what it takes.”

She shook her head. “How the hell would you do that? What’s done is done,” she whispered.

He grabbed her chin, tilting her face up to meet his. “As someone famous once said… Never say never?”

Anita giggled, in spite of herself. “I think you’re full of shit.”

As soon as she got those words out of her mouth, he kissed her again, holding her there until she was sure he’d been lying… about everything.

THE END

Dear Reader,

I have included an entirely FREE Romance books Collection at the end of this Story, it includes Paranormal Romance, Biker Romance, Alien Romance, plus some extra categories.

To read the collection, just to keep scrolling down after reading the main story you originally purchased, or check the Table of Contents.

**This is my way of saying thank you for reading my book! :)**

 

Paranormal & Shifter Romance Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surrender to the Alpha Publishing

Tempted by the Dragon

 

 

 

Dragon Shifter Romance

 

 

 

Tempted by the Dragon

Chapter One

 

News of the dragon in the Wyndwae province spread across the countryside like a blaze from the mouth of the beast itself. In a week’s time it reached the inn of The Dancing Mer on the southern coast, and there it found Mairead Curran, slayer of monsters.

Of Mairaed there were many legends. It was whispered that she had vanquished at last the beast of the Breywood, whose jaws had been the end of three dozen men. Bards sang of the arrows that had laid waste in fire and steel to the lair of the manticore and slain the basilisk in the western mountains.

Of her beauty too, they sang. She was tall for a woman, and long-limbed, her auburn hair streaked with copper and tawny gold by long days beneath the southern sun. They said men traveled the lengths of continents to lay their spoils at her feet in hopes of her favor.

This last, at least, was quite untrue. Mairead herself had started the rumor, well aware that men who could afford to travel continents sought princesses to wife, not women who battled monsters, but it pleased her to let people think it was otherwise. As for the rest, well, it was true as any story which had passed through a hundred hands can be.

When news came of the dragon, Mairead was sitting at a table in the fire lit common room of the inn, with a tankard of mead in her hand, debating the relative merits of the bow versus the sword with Vreden, who had once been a knight of renown. He was aging, grey in the dark hair at his temples, but his sword arm was still strong. Mairaed’s own bow leaned against the wall at her side, her quiver with it.

“Perhaps,” she said, giving Vreden a look from over the top of her tankard, “you receive some measure of satisfaction from taking the heads off of beasts at close range. I, however, am content to make my name from the safety of distance. Were I one to choose practicality over pride, I would have joined that illustrious company of men who found themselves within reach of the Breywood beast’s many sharp teeth.” 

Vreden’s eyes narrowed, but the bang of the wooden door swinging wide to admit a cloaked and hooded stranger interrupted him. Every gaze in the room turned toward the newcomer, who was pulling the hood down from over his hair, his cloak dripping rainwater onto the floorboards. He shook the dark fall of hair back from his face, and Mairead felt his eyes move over her and the others at her table. When he swept his cloak back over his shoulder, she could see the insignia of the king’s message riders on the shoulder of his tabard.

“Buy me an ale to take the chill from my bones,” he offered the room at large, “and I will share some news which has only today come in from the Wyndwae.” His eyes caught on Mairead’s again. “I believe it will be of some interest to you.”

Mairead rose from her chair with a whisper of leather against wood and sauntered over to the bar, setting a coin down on the sleek wood of its top with a clack.

“There is your ale, then.”

He took the tankard the innkeeper set before him and drank deeply before he spoke again, inclining his head in thanks.

“There is rumor,” he said, leaning against the bar on one elbow, his dark eyes looking into her own, “that a dragon has been sighted in the north of the Wyndwae.”

Mairead’s snort was decidedly unladylike.

“There has not been a dragon seen in Lyndoun in half a century.”

“And yet there is one now. My brother saw it with his own eyes, a great black shape against the full moon.”

In his eyes there was no deceit, and Mairead considered his story as she tipped her own tankard back, mead flowing sweet across her tongue and warming her throat.

“What think you?” she asked, turning enough to look back at Vreden over her shoulder. “Is there a dragon in Lyndoun?”

They had, of course, heard the tales of the dragons in the distant west, in the rocky lands of Mivreth, but none had come so far east as the bordering mountains, and certainly they had not seen any in the eastern end of Lyndoun, where the forests gave way to windswept heath. It was true, though, that there were caves in the north of the region, and that a dragon might set up home in such a place.

“I trust not the eyes of men I have not met,” Mairead said, straightening to her full height as she made her decision. “So I will go and see with my own if this be true.”

Her boots made a decisive sound against the wood as she crossed the room and took up her bow, swinging her quiver across her back. The arrows rattled against each other in its confines. She glanced once more at the stranger, and allowed herself a smile, wide and a little wicked.

“I think, though, that I will wait until the heavens are not dumping the waters of the inland sea on our heads.”

A chuckle ran through the gathered men. Vreden only shook his greying head at her, his expression grave. Mairead lifted one leather-clad shoulder in a shrug. It was more likely that there was no dragon in the Wyndwae than that there was. Undoubtedly, some over-excitable townsperson had laid eyes on a drake, one of the relatively little firelizards that occasionally set up home too near a village and harassed the locals, raiding their livestock and burning their fields. Such creatures never grew beyond ten feet from nose to tail-tip, and Mairead had found them easily dealt with.

Turning her back on Vreden’s warning look, she climbed the stairs to her rented room, laying her weapons with her pack against the wall. Her things were already prepared. She needed only to take them up in the morning. In the flickering glow of the fire, she stripped out of her hunter’s leathers and stretched herself out on the bed, asleep almost as soon as her head touched the pillow.

Chapter Two

Dawn came clear, stretching itself out along the horizon all gold and pink, chill with the first touch of winter. Farther north, Mairead knew, the summer would be ended already, and in the mountains beyond the northernmost border, the first snows would be falling.

The stranger who brought news of the dragon in the Wyndwae had already ridden out. Though the message he shared with them was but rumor and speculation, the rider himself was a king's messenger bound once more north and east. He, and news of her coming, would reach the Wyndwae well before she did. Vreden too was gone, in the grey light before morning, taking his two young apprentices with him.

Mairead rode out as dawn turned on toward morning, slinging her pack over the back of the fine-blooded bay stallion that had been a gift from a grateful lord. There were, after all, some perks to being a hunter of monsters. She was in no hurry to reach the Wyndwae. If the dragon had razed a village already, they would have heard of it. For now, at least, the beast seemed to be leaving well enough alone, another indication that it was more likely to be a drake than one of the great white dragons of the west. Of course, there was little treasure to be found in the poor villages of the Wyndwae, so perhaps it was only biding its time until a shipment of gold came through. If so, it would be waiting long. For a beast rumored to be so intelligent, it had not chosen its lair well. Only a hundred miles west, the king's city sat in a low, open valley, its houses and its people gilded and jeweled. 

The land through which she rode as morning became midday was familiar, the low, rolling hills of the southern province. It was said that once there had been unicorns in the lowland woods, but if there ever had been they were gone long ago. Mairead had certainly never seen one. It seemed, at times, that Lyndoun had all of the darkness and none of the beauty. It was for that she hunted down the creatures that terrified the simple people only trying to go about their lives. Surely they had right to some light in their lives, to some escape from fear and worry.

Her father had taught her the use of the war bow which she carried behind her. Though her own was modified, its draw much lighter than those carried by the king's rangers, it was a formidable weapon, capable of piercing an armored hide at a hundred yards. She had turned her first herself, under the guidance of her father’s hand, when she was only seven summers old. This was her fourth, each of them her own work. Her father had always said that the first step in using a weapon is to know it from end to end.

He had never spoken of it, but Mairead sometimes wondered if he had expected a son, but had taken what he could get when he was given instead a daughter who grew too tall too quickly, all lanky, ungraceful limbs. If he had, he had done well with what he was granted. She had never missed the mother who died in her birthing bed. Her father had been all she needed.

When the sun was at its zenith, Mairead stopped to let her horse feed, settling down on a flat-topped rock set into the side of one of the hills with her own lunch. It was pleasant, the chill of the morning worn off in the light of day. She sat enjoying the breeze and the little noises of creatures moving through the grass for some time, the quiet, contented sounds of Embarr grazing a welcome companion. When she mounted once more, she rode slowly, eyes searching the landscape. To her left, an arm of the forest rose, trees lifting banner upon banner toward the horizon. In time, it would curve westward, and then she would turn into it. It was slow going, but faster than the days it would take to go around. The king's road, which the messenger would have taken, lay farther west still, and she did not wish to take the time to follow it up toward the royal city before turning toward the Wyndwae. Nor, in truth, did she much care for king's roads or his city at all. She preferred the solitude of the woods.

---

On the third day since she had set out from The Dancing Mer, Mairead made camp at the edge of the forest. She lay in her bed roll, looking up at the scatter net of the stars in the sky over her head, so bright it seemed she might reach up a hand and take one in her fist. Among the noises of night in the forest, she could hear the occasional soft snort from her horse, the sound of his tail swishing away the flies. Her eyes slid shut, and she slept.

She woke abruptly, sitting up and looking out into dim grey dark of the night. Beside her, the fire had burned to ashes, and the coals were a faint glow beyond the edge of her sleeping place. The sound that had taken her from sleep came again, high and frightened, the sound of her horse throwing back his head to call out in panic, and his hooves drumming against the ground in impatient attempt to escape. Mairead flung herself from her blankets and to her feet, but she did not run.

"Hush, my love," she said, moving slowly toward him, one hand outstretched. The other was curled around the hilt of a dagger. He tossed his head, rolling his eyes so the whites showed, pulling against his tether. "Hush," she said again, her own eyes searching the grey shapes around them, but she could see nothing except the trees and their shadows.

Embarr let her lay a hand against his neck then, and the beast seemed to settle somewhat, though she could still feel him trembling against her touch. She stroked him with slow, even motions of her hand over his flank, and he let his head drop forward, still at last. Though she listened, she could not hear any sounds that told her what had frightened him, still could not see anything moving through the night. Whatever it had been, it was long gone.

BOOK: ALIEN SHIFTER ROMANCE: Alien Tigers - The Complete Series (Alien Invasion Abduction Shapeshifter Romance) (Paranormal Science Fiction Fantasy Anthologies & Short reads)
13.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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