Authors: Nancy J. Cohen
Nancy J. Cohen
The Drift Lords Series, Book Two
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either 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.
COPYRIGHT © 2013 by Nancy J. Cohen
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Contact Information: [email protected]
Cover Art by
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
PO Box 708
Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708
Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com
First Faery Rose Edition, 2013
Print ISBN 978-1-61217-739-7
Digital ISBN 978-1-61217-740-3
The Drift Lords Series, Book Two
Published in the United States of America
Praise for Nancy J. Cohen and…
“An urgent quest to save humanity leads to surprising adventures and dangerous passion! …a wild ride that will leave readers breathless and eager for more!”
~Allison Chase, author
“The first Drift Lords romantic urban fantasy is a super thriller … brings ancient mythology to a city known for modern day mythos. The Cohen world feels real.”
“Terrific. …meshes contemporary times with other planets and mythology.… Bring on the next book!”
~Traci Hall, author
“A fabulous new world, …[and] a fantastic new galaxy to explore. This fantasy erotic romance has a strong, sexy hero and an even stronger, sexier heroine.”
“The author draws a fascinating world of intergalactic politics, futuristic technologies, and clashing moral priorities.” ~
Fort Myers Magazine
“Get ready for an epic adventure, as vast as the universe in which it is set! With a touching love story, a great blend of humor, action and passion, and a great cast of characters, this is a book that won't let you go until the very last page.” ~
The Romance Reviews
“A fun romantic science fiction thriller… fast-paced from the moment Jace makes the hit on Silver and never slows down as love between them complicates their already complex relationship.”
With deep gratitude, I offer thanks to the following individuals who assisted me with this novel:
Al Hartman, retired commercial airline pilot,
for his input on the aircraft scenes.
Janice Sklar, former Palm Beach resident,
for providing information on fashion designers
and life in Palm Beach.
And with special thanks to Stuart Podolnick
for inspiring the character of
Captain Hiroshi Jin Kolami.
Jin is finally getting his moment of glory.
won Best Book in Romantic SciFi/Fantasy
at The Romance Reviews.
Ms. Cohen also won the HOLT Medallion Award
in the paranormal category for
CIRCLE OF LIGHT
her first published title.
“If he doesn’t show up in the next ten minutes, I’ll kill him.” Jennifer Dyhr paced back and forth on the Tokyo film set for a video game commercial. Their lead actor, Keith Monroe, was more than an hour overdue. Where the hell was he?
“I called his hotel room.” Sandi tapped her pen on the clipboard cradled in her arm. Dressed in a prim suit, she looked more like a schoolteacher than a fashion designer’s assistant. “He didn’t answer, so I left a message. Ditto for his cell.”
“The jerk. You’d think he would be more reliable.” Jen tucked a stray hair behind her ear. Her twist was coming undone, same as her composure.
“It’s the producer’s problem, not yours.”
“Oh, yeah? Who else could we get to look the part of a vengeful Norse god?” She waved a hand. “If you recall, I’m the one who recommended Keith for the role. I wouldn’t have won this project without him.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself. Like, your costumes have nothing to do with Keith’s no show.”
Sandi’s calm tone failed to reassure her. “The producer might not see it that way. He’ll lump us Americans together and blame me for Keith’s behavior.”
“Oh, come on, Jen. He’s lucky to have you. You’re the best in the field.”
“True.” Jen squared her shoulders. Inspired by visions from the past, she’d made her mark on the fashion industry and garnered numerous awards for her designs based on Viking influence. She’d become as much a celebrity as the stars who wore her garments.
Nonetheless, Jen had yet to introduce her line overseas. If she wanted her company to expand, she needed gigs like this one to show she could compete in the global marketplace.
“I hope Keith wasn’t in an accident.” Her heart raced at the thought. “Maybe we should call the hospitals.”
“You can suggest that to Mr. Nakamura.” Sandi bobbed her head in a warning nod.
Jen braced herself as the director hurried over. A lanky man with black hair, Mr. Nakamura wore a perpetual scowl and his tense posture like a seasoned samurai.
“Keith Monroe is passed out drunk in his hotel room,” the translator interpreted after a rapid-fire dialogue by the director. A boyish-faced youth, Akeno had confided to Jen his wish to work on the film crew someday.
“You’re kidding,” Jen blurted before remembering her place. “I mean, I’m so sorry. Please accept my apologies for Keith’s irresponsible behavior.”
She bowed her head in deference, expecting a tongue-lashing in response. Her Japanese associates would need someone to take the blame. Jen only hoped this snag wouldn’t damage the reputation she’d worked so hard to build.
“The producer has already called the casting office for a replacement,” Akeno said after another spate of dialogue from his employer, whose irate tone matched his angry eyes.
“We need a guy with the right build,” she reminded them. “Blond hair and blue eyes would be a bonus.”
While they waited for the stand-in actor to arrive, Jen inspected the stitching on her costumes.
“Jen, this woman’s seam is splitting.” Sandi indicated one of the extras portraying a villager.
Jen cursed under her breath. “Did she sit down? I told her not to bend. This shift barely fits around her hips.”
She grabbed a needle and thread from her kit as the director herded everyone to take their places on set. The storyline involved a barbarian ravaging a peaceful village until a Norse god appeared to battle him.
It amazed her how the sound stage looked like a real Viking town with thatched roof houses spewing smoke from holes in the roofs, vendors lining a busy market street, and wood planked walkways leading toward a fake pier rimmed with barrels of wine.
The village street bustled with action as actors walked through their paces and chatted amongst themselves. She could almost smell the sheep dung and wood smoke.
Uh, oh. Her visions often started with a sensory impression. Quickly, Jen wrapped up her repair and stashed away her kit. Reality receded as a white haze swept into her mind.
When her eyes focused again, she was strolling down the village street in the distant past.
Her gown swished against her leather boots as she beamed a friendly smile to the blacksmith. Across the road, the fur peddler waved. She nodded him a greeting, her nose wrinkling at the smell of fish emanating from the wharf. Shivering, she drew the edges of her shawl closer together, as a stiff breeze blew off the sea.
Shrieks of surprise made her vision evaporate. A man charged into view from around the corner onto the studio set.
A naked man.
Jen stared at him, aghast. What kind of joke was this?
Lacerations marred his body, and heavens above, what a magnificent body the man had. Her glance dropped from his massive shoulders to his muscled chest and then down to his very masculine package. The glory of him stole her breath.
“Where am I? What’s happened?” His wild-eyed look and combative stance froze the actors on set.
His American accent startled Jen.
Brilliant, just brilliant.
Who else but their stand-in for Keith Monroe would show up with such melodrama? She should have recognized him at once from his wheat blond hair and blue eyes, but she’d been too focused on his, ah, other parts.
She fought an urge to fan herself, the heat from the spotlights raising her temperature. Or maybe that wasn’t what caused her to feel so hot all over.
The man’s gaze slammed into hers, and time stood still. The distance between them shrunk, blotting out their surroundings, until only the two of them stood facing each other on a plain where mist swirled at their feet. Their heartbeats pounded a sensual rhythm in harmony.
In her mind’s eye, she shed her clothes as a hunger she’d never known swept through her. A hunger for him.
Shaking her head, she reoriented herself. Much as she’d like to admire his physique all day long, they had to get moving. Time was money as far as the producer was concerned. This guy needed to be clothed, fast.
“Sandi, get me Keith’s costume and tell the makeup artist we need her.” Jen’s voice came out as a high-pitched squeak. She cleared her throat. “Our new stand-in has done a great job on those fake wounds, so he shouldn’t need more than a touch-up.”
Mr. Nakamura hustled over with the translator in tow. He jabbed his finger at the new guy. “You there, what is your name?”
The actor stiffened but didn’t respond. He glanced at the other crewmembers who had stopped to watch. A look of confusion spread over his face. His jaw tightened, a day’s growth of bristle adding authenticity to his role.
“What’s your name?” Jen spoke in a loud tone like people did to foreigners who could hear perfectly well but didn’t understand.
“I am Paz Hadar.” His dimples deepened as he regarded her. “Who are you?”
His slow, lazy perusal generated warmth throughout her body. Those devilish eyes roamed from her hair, to her rayon maxi dress, to her low-heeled sandals. A gleam of appreciation entered his expression, making her heart beat faster.
“I’m Jennifer Dyhr, the costume designer.” Jen pronounced her last name like deer. “You are inappropriately dressed, Mr. Hadar. Or undressed, I should say.”
Mr. Nakamura’s lips compressed. “Tell him he has ten minutes to get ready. I am not amused by his dramatic entrance. He is only a substitute for our star.”
, Mr. Nakamura-san.”
Jen gave him a deferential bow. After he walked away, she signaled to Paz. The man sauntered over as though strolling about naked was a normal occurrence. Had he meant to disrupt the set and attract everyone’s attention?
No matter. She had to make him look like a vengeful Norse god. Standing before her, the man towered over her five foot eight frame by at least six inches.
Moisture glistened on his skin. His hair hung in damp clumps, as if he’d just come from a swim. He must have been near the studio to rush over, disrobe, and apply his makeup.
However, he’d forgotten to remove his watch. Having been so focused on his other
, she hadn’t noticed the fancy dial before. Further up his forearm was a broad gash. When she touched the edge, he winced as though it hurt for real. Unable to help herself, she let her fingers slide up his arm, outlining his firm bicep. He drew in a sharp breath but didn’t move.