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Authors: Lauren Dane

Tags: #Romance, #General, #Paranormal, #Fiction

Chaos Burning

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Praise for

Heart of Darkness


FRESH, FUN, FAST-PACED PARANORMAL ROMANCE
. Spellbinding magic, a wry-humored, gutsy heroine and a sexy-as-sin hero put the charm on this witchy new series from multitalented, always fabulous Lauren Dane!”

—Lara Adrian,
New York Times
bestselling author


DANE ALWAYS DELIVERS A STEAMY, EXCITING RIDE
… She leaves me wanting more!”

—Larissa Ione,
New York Times
bestselling author


UNPUTDOWNABLE
… Great characters, wonderful world-building and, as always, a delicious romance. If you pick this book up, make sure you’ve cleared the afternoon.”

—Ann Aguirre, national bestselling author

Further praise for Lauren Dane and her novels

“PULSE POUNDING…

Dane delivers!”

—Jaci Burton,
New York Times
bestselling author

“SCINTILLATING!…

A roller coaster of emotion, intrigue and sensual delights… I was hooked.”

—Vivi Anna, author of
Glimmer

“EROTIC…

Sure to keep you reading late into the night.”

—Anya Bast,
New York Times
bestselling author

“IN A WORD… AMAZING.”


RT Book Reviews

Berkley titles by Lauren Dane

CHAOS BURNING

HEART OF DARKNESS

NEVER ENOUGH

THREE TO TANGO

(with Emma Holly, Megan Hart, and Bethany Kane)

MESMERIZED

INSIDE OUT

INSATIABLE

COMING UNDONE

LAID BARE

RELENTLESS

UNDERCOVER

Chaos Burning

LAUREN DANE

BERKLEY SENSATION, NEW YORK

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) • Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) • Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) • Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

CHAOS BURNING

A Berkley Sensation Book / published by arrangement with the author

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Berkley Sensation mass-market / June 2012

Copyright © 2012 by Lauren Dane.

Excerpt from
Heart of Darkness
by Lauren Dane copyright © 2011 by Lauren Dane.

Cover art by Claudio Marinesco.

Cover design by Rita Frangie.

Interior text design by Laura K. Corless.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-56888-0

BERKLEY SENSATION
®

Berkley Sensation Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

BERKLEY SENSATION
®
is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

The “B” design is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

ALWAYS LEARNING

PEARSON

For Ray, who helps me write
better bossy alphas because he is one.

Acknowledgments

Thank you so much to my wonderful editor, Leis Pederson. It’s hard to thank her in every book and make it sound fresh and to do justice to how much I appreciate her. But suffice it to say I think she’s wonderful and I’m so glad I get to work with her.

Laura Bradford, most excellent agent and fellow lover of shiny things—thank you.

None of us does this alone. I would be lost without the support of my husband. Thank you for rarely complaining when the house looks like a first draft and for taking the kids out on weekend afternoons so I can work.

Fatin, who is far more than an assistant. She is a friend, a dear, kind woman who always makes me laugh and makes sure I don’t go off the rails.

Mary and Renee—you both mean so much to me! Thank you for all you do.

Megan—thanks for all the listening and for making me laugh and for being just as loopy as I am.

Thank you also to Lara Adrian for blurbing
Heart of Darkness
! You’re wonderfully supportive as well as being a kick-butt author. Similar thanks to Carly Phillips, who is equally supportive and talented. The support of my fellow authors means a great deal to me. I’ve been helped so many times from the very beginning. I’m very fortunate.

Last but never ever least—thank you to all my readers, new, old and in between. I appreciate each and every one of you! Thanks for helping make this dream of mine possible.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Heart of Darkness

    Chapter 1

    Chapter 2

Chapter 1

LARK
shouldered her duffel and headed down the Jetway, hoping to avoid the cute and nice-smelling hipster college student who’d been trying to pick her up since they took off.

She really should have undone the spell she used to hide the bloom of purple, green, and yellow that bruised up her neck and onto her jaw. That sort of thing tended to lead women to take her aside to ask in concerned tones if someone was hurting her at home.

The answer was yes, of course, just not the way they thought. As it was against the rules to tell them a feral werewolf jumped her in MacArthur Park two days before, it was best left hidden to most eyes and avoid scenes with well-meaning humans.

It was nice to know people didn’t just turn a blind eye when they thought someone was being beaten up at home and it was a good reminder to use the obscura spell to hide evidence of her unconventional life.

By the time she caught sight of the escalators down to baggage claim, he’d caught up with her because he was all legs.

“Hey, do you need a ride or anything?”

“No, thanks. Someone’s meeting me here.”

“Do you want to get together? You know, while you’re in town?”

If she was just a regular old human woman, she’d be all over this cutie pie like icing on cake. She’d broken up with someone two months before and it’d been a dry spell since. But she wasn’t
regular
anything and she’d only break him. It was inevitable with humans, which is why she never allowed herself to partake in anything they had to offer.

Her life was filled with weapons and other not-human beings with weapons, or those she had to use her weapons on. They never understood it, the life she led. She had to hide her true nature from human men, and that was never a good way to have a relationship.

“I appreciate the offer. But I’m here for work and my time is pretty much booked until I go back home.”

He frowned, apparently unused to his charms failing.

“Oh. Well.” He continued to walk alongside her as they approached their carousel. And that’s when she saw the giant, beautiful man holding the sign with her name on it and she forgot tall college boy even existed.

Mentally, she wiped her brow and fanned her face. So masculine the heat and power of him radiated outward. His hair was thick and dark, cut perfectly. A tousle that made her instantly think about what he’d look like right after a long, slow kiss. His facial hair only drew the attention to that mouth. Full, gorgeous lips that were currently drawn into a wary, yet casual line as he scanned the area.

Denim covered unmistakably powerful thighs and long legs right down to a pair of boots she had no doubt were handmade by someone somewhere.

Lark had always tended toward men who were of the cute, college-hipster type currently walking at her side. Scruffy beards, lanky, sexy glasses. The kind of man who not only wore scarves but looked totally adorable in them.

Sign guy was
not
one of those men. At all. He was one of those capital-
M
Men. Huge. Broad shoulders and narrow waist. The kind she enjoyed working with because they were smart, strong, nearly fearless, independent and yet controlled. And without a doubt totally and utterly fuckable. She imagined though,
a man like him would be a hell of a lot of work to have a relationship with.

His eyes were dark, fringed by thick lashes. Those were
fuck me
eyes. Though, she noted, he looked around the room just like she did. An
Other
. Her heart kicked and her attention honed on him in a new way.

“Well, have a great quarter. Nice chatting with you.” She said it offhand as she wandered toward Sign Guy.

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