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Authors: Lori Brighton

Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #historical romance paranormal romance paranormal historical romance kiss me kill me wild heart wild desire

Wild Passion

BOOK: Wild Passion
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Wild Passion

 

Published by Lori
Brighton at Smashwords

 

www.LoriBrighton.com

 

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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
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Other Books by Lori Brighton

 

The Wild Series:

Wild Heart (Book 1)

Wild Desire (Book 2)

Wild Passion (Short Story, Book 3)

 

The Night Series:

A Night of Secrets (Book 1)

A Night of Redemption (Coming Soon!)

 

The Seduction Series:

To Seduce an Earl (Book 1)

 

The Hunter Series:

The Ghost Hunter (Book 1)

The Demon Hunter (Coming Soon!)

 

Young Adult Books:

The Mind Readers

 

 

Wild Passion

 

By

 

Lori Brighton

 

 

 

 

Prologue

 

Off The West Coast of India, Summer, 1857

 

Adelaide darted under an outcropping of rock, the
tunnel so tight she was forced to press her belly close to the
ground, ignoring the sting of pebbles that bit into her elbows and
knees. A painful crawl into the dark pit of hell, but something
that must be done. Sweat trailed down her forehead, dripping into
her eyes and stinging, but she couldn’t afford to pause. She must
time the dive perfectly.

Merde,
how the hell had she gotten into this
mess?

The tunnel opened into a small, dimly lit cave and
she was finally able to breathe with some normalcy. Overwrought
with emotions she didn’t dare contemplate, she leaned back against
the damp, stone wall and drew her knees close. The men’s trousers
she wore stretched uncomfortably across her rounded hips. Her hands
were shaking, fear bitter on her tongue.

Waiting, waiting for her breath to return to normal.
Waiting for the fighting above to cease. Waiting for her life to
resume. Light reflected off the small pool of water not five feet
from her, sending dancing waves upon the ceiling of her small tomb.
A pool of water that would lead to the ocean when the time was
right.

This was not her fight, it never had been. But
somehow the man named Demyan, the evil man with the glowing eyes,
had found her and had known about her ability. He’d forced her from
France, to India, willing to use her for his own gain even if it
meant she must betray her half-brother, Colin.

Not that Colin knew he was her brother. No, he was
completely oblivious and she sure as hell wasn’t going to admit
their relation. He’d want to do something honorable, like support
her and
Maman
. She had other plans, plans that didn’t
involve a family she barely knew. And so, when she’d met him for
the first time just moments ago, she’d kept her mouth shut about
their shared blood, and merely pointed him in the direction of
Demyan. And when she’d seen her father for the first time in over
fourteen years and he hadn’t recognized her, she had ignored the
sting.

He’d had no interest in her, only his treasures. Good
against evil and all for a ridiculous statue. The moment Colin and
her father left, she’d darted out of the temple and had crawled
under the rock. They might think they were getting the treasure,
but she knew the truth.

Now here she was, waiting. How much longer dare she
sit here? She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to see the future,
but nothing came. Adelaide slammed her fists to the stone floor.

Mon dieu
!”

Her heart hammered too badly, her nerves too frayed.
Try as she might, the visions worked of their own accord. And so
there was nothing to do but wait. Wait for the statue to drop from
the sky. Wait for her images to flash. Damn her powers to hell!

When the first scream came, Adelaide jumped, startled
although she knew the battle above was coming. The blast of gunfire
had her cringing. Sounds of terror, of pain, of heartache. They
were fighting for the very statue she would claim as her own in
moments. The urge to run overwhelmed her. She could jump in that
boat and leave. Return to France and her normal life, as pathetic
as it had been. Even better, she could help the couple above; her
half-brother and his wife, Bea, a woman she’d come to respect.

Or… She could wait a few more moments …

She couldn’t return without the statue. That statue
would bring money she so desperately needed. And so Adelaide
waited. For five more minutes, she waited, crouched low, tucked in
the stone cavern that had been hollowed out from the pound of the
high tide. Waited until the waves rolled in, wetting her feet, then
rolled out. The tide was coming in. She had to time her dive
perfectly or she might drown. But what if she had seen things
wrong? What if her visions had changed, as was known to happen from
time to time?

She pressed her hands to the rough stone, centuries
older than the temple built above it. Older than time itself. She
had never claimed to be a mystic, but she swore she could
practically feel the power radiating from the temple that rose
above and enclosed her in its cold tomb.

Outside the screams had quieted. The only sound was
the soft drip of condensation and the mad pound of her heart. Had
they left as she’d seen they would do? Headed back to the mainland.
Left her here, on this island? She pushed aside the fear of being
alone here forever. Her fingers curled against the rough stone. She
sat tight and waited…waited for the right moment.

Needing the reassurance her powers brought with,
Adelaide closed her eyes again, squeezing them shut. Now that the
fighting was over, she was able to relax some. She breathed deeply,
soaking in the power radiating around her. The magic made her
ability stronger and the moment her lashes lowered, the image
flashed to mind.

Brilliant colored pictures that flashed so quickly,
she had to grab them fast, before they were gone. But she was used
to her powers; she’d been born with them, and was easily able to
focus on what she wanted.

There it was… the very image that had brought her to
this little cavern…

A golden statue falling…falling through the sky.
Splash! Entering the light blue ocean, sinking slowly through the
water before landing gently on the sandy bottom.

Supposedly lost forever. Lost to those who would use
its power for evil. But not lost to her.

She waited a heartbeat, nerves getting the better of
her. Her visions had told her there would be a buyer in Pairs. A
man who would pay handsomely, so much money,
Maman
could
live in relative splendor for the rest of her life. Yes, she must
do this for her mother.

She scooted to the edge of the pool and stared into
the water… water so clean… so pure… so dangerous. It lapped at her
thighs, soaking her trousers.


C’est la vie
,” she whispered.

She did not know if she would come out alive, and
that was the ridiculousness of her powers… she couldn’t see her own
future. But she had no choice but to try.

She lowered herself into the warm water, the lapping
waves caressing her body and giving a false sense of comfort. There
was no time to think twice. Taking in a deep breath, she dove
downwards. The water surrounded her, welcomed her within its
depths...pulling her deeper…deeper.

She blinked her eyes wide, becoming accustomed to the
burn of saltwater. She had entered another tunnel, but this one
shorter, leading to the expansive ocean which glowed brightly
ahead. With her hands above, scraping the top of the stone cavern,
she followed the ceiling until she entered the Sea. In the open
ocean, she felt better, away from her stone tomb. But she would run
out of air soon. She needed to find the statue and return to the
surface before she drowned.

Hovering in the water, she turned, her long, dark
hair floating around her like dead seaweed. Something glinted
below, cradled near a crop of orange coral. Kicking, she dove
toward the statue. Yellow fish darted away, startled by her
presence. Her lungs began to burn. She could hear her heart beat in
her ears. Panic taunted the edges of her brain.

She could leave it there, return to the surface for
air. She could leave this island for good. Even now she could sense
the statue’s power thrumming through the waves. She knew men would
kill for this work of art. She could leave it here in its watery
tomb where no one would find it. One less treasure for humans to
kill for.

But if she left it here, her mother would die in
poverty. She could not let her mother die.

Determined, she reached for the statue. The Indian
God smiled up at her, his golden face beaming. She wrapped her arm
around the statue’s belly and let her legs drift downward. Looking
up at the shimmering surface, her panic flared. So far away. She
pushed off the bottom, her feet sinking into soft sand. The statue
was heavier than she’d expected and her legs burned as she kicked
toward the surface.

The water sparkled above, a glittering temptation.
Her lungs burned…burned. She needed air as quickly as possible. But
the statue was heavy… so much heavier than she’d thought. She
closed her eyes, trying to see her future as she continued to kick.
It was no use. There was nothing.

Nothing because she couldn’t see her own future, or
nothing because she would die?

Her head pounded… her throat ached. She could drop
the statue and save herself.

But the surface was close…so close and her mother was
counting on her.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Paris, France

Autumn

 

She knew she was being followed.

Not that she heard the man’s footsteps, or even the
harsh breathing of someone rushing up behind her. No, he was a
professional thief. He was quiet as a mouse. And when she glanced
over her shoulder, unable to stop herself, she didn’t see him. Not
that she’d expected to. He stuck to the shadows of the night,
staying far enough back that she wouldn’t see him. He was certainly
putting a damper on her plans. Damn it all, her visions had
shifted, the future had changed because someone,
the man,
had switched his plans. It was known to happen; people were fickle
and the future was not set in stone.

The knapsack that hung across her right shoulder
pulled heavily and the men’s clothing she wore itched something
fierce. She certainly didn’t need something else to add to an
already uncomfortable situation. If she had time, she would pause,
close her eyes and see what the future held. Not yet. She couldn’t
stop in the middle of the street in the middle of the night.
Instead, she merely hurried her steps.

Adelaide’s boots thumped across damp cobbled streets.
Too late for whores, too early for fish mongers, she was alone in
Paris. Well, as alone as she could be with someone following. She
lifted the collar of her jacket, hiding her face against the chill
breeze. Winter would soon arrive and with winter there would be
cold drafts that would make her mother’s cough worse. But not this
year, God willing. This year
Maman
would know a comfortable
bed and a warm fireplace.

She pulled her cap lower as she turned a corner and
the small homes gave way to walled gardens. Chin tilted high, she
feigned a confidence she sure as hell could never feel. Not that
she was in a bad neighborhood. No, it was worse. The townhomes that
lined the cobbled streets held Lords and Ladies. If she was caught
about at this time, they would think she was a thief, or worse. She
didn’t dare shiver although the streets of Paris were bitterly
cold. To shiver would be to show weakness and if she showed
weakness, the cutthroats and ruffians awaiting a weary Lord, would
pounce. And so she pretended she belonged here.

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