Monday, September 24, 2012

Damian's Sacrifice #4

The drone spun to face Damian, springing to his feet.  The tear in his shirt flashed a fully healed stomach, the eight inch gash non-existent.  The Savrati had even faster healing capabilities than the Arcturians, if they were old enough.  Definitely not dealing with a “fucking new guy” here.

His teeth rattled as a fist connected with his jaw.  Long claws took another swipe at him, but Damian landed a kick to the drone’s midsection, pushing him off balance.  He swept the guy’s legs out from under him, sending him crashing back-first into the asphalt.  Enough playing around.

Before the evil bastard could get up, Damian grabbed his ankle and twisted.  A scream cut through the air as he forced the flip onto his stomach.  He dropped a knee to the drone’s back, pinning him to the ground.  As the fucker struggled beneath him, Damian swung his blade out and down, straight into the temple.  The movements under him ceased, but the threat wasn’t neutralized.  Not yet.

Drones were a special breed of enemy, a Savrati soul inhabiting a human body.  The more time they spent living in this dimension wearing a human suit, the easier it was for them to access their natural Savrati abilities—the fast healing and venomous claws.  Stabbing the brain killed the inhabitant, but the human body could still be used as a vessel for another one to take over.  So, they had to be stabbed in the heart as well.  Only then were the fuckers truly dead.

 He yanked the knife out of the drone’s brain and rolled him over again.  A split second later, he plunged the blade through the heart leaving only a pile of ash behind.  Glancing up to the rest of the action, he saw that Brutal and Talis had left matching ash piles in their wake.  Damn.  He was sorry he’d only gotten the one kill.

“Don’t look so disappointed, kid.  We’re not done for the night.  Plenty more patrolling for us to do.”  Brutal nodded once, the corner of his mouth lifting.

Talis slapped him on the back.  “Not bad, Damian.  Glad to see you remembered—“

The crackle of Brutal’s radio echoed through the alley.  “Large group of drones down by 18th and River.  About twenty of ‘em.  Need reinforcements.”

Stone calling for back-up?  They must be in serious shit.

“Fuck!”  Brutal spun on his heels as he barked into his radio.  “Havoc, put your camouflage to work and start scouting for the fuckers’ nest.  That big a group, there must be one nearby.  Everyone else, get your asses to 18th and River.”

They beat feet to the vehicles, only five or six blocks away.  With a group of enemies that large, someone was sure to be injured despite the Guardians’ skills and special abilities.  In which case, they’d need the transportation handy.

“Get in the Suburban.  Guns ready.  If you’ve got a shot, take it.  The group is too big to give a fuck about any nearby humans.  Vain can take care of their memories if need be.”  Brutal jumped in the driver’s seat, slamming the door behind him.

Before Damian slid in the back, Talis gripped his shoulder, stopping him.

“Remember your training.  Keep your head in the fight.”

“Yes sir.”

They shut their doors, and Brutal peeled out of the parking lot.


Cara pulled into her space, eyeing the familiar red Porsche parked in the spot next to her.  Brian.  Her older brother’s childhood friend, and her landlord of sorts.  He owned the building she used for her sculpting.  Oh crap.  Something’s wrong.

 As she engaged the parking brake, he slid out of his car.

Opening her door, she called out.  “What are you doing here at this time of night?  Is everything okay?”

“Everything’s fine, Cara.  You’re getting home kinda late, aren’t ya?”  He rounded the front of her Accord, a hand behind his back.

Her mind flashed back to the dark and handsome stranger she’d spent most of the night with.  God, her brother and Brian both would kill her if they knew about him.

“I know you’re not lecturing me on staying out late.  Last time I checked, my dad’s name wasn’t Brian.  And he damn sure doesn’t drive a Porsche.”  She smiled.  “Besides, since you’re here, technically you’re staying out later than me.”

“Okay, good point.  So, you gonna ask me what’s behind my back or what?”

“Tease.  Why don’t you just show me?”

“Close your eyes first.”

“Really?  What am I, five?”

“Just do it.”

“Fine.”  She let out a sigh and did as he asked.

“Okay.  You can look.”

When she opened her eyes, he was holding a small present, the puffy bow covering the entire gift.  He shook it at her, urging her to take it.

Cara reached forward, taking it from him.  “You didn’t have to do that, you know.  But thank you.”  She shifted on her feet.  What was he up to?  Birthday or not, she wasn’t big on presents.  And Brian knew that.

Being friends since they were little, she’d always thought of him as a second brother.  Someone who’d watched out for her.  Still did, judging by his reaction when she’d gotten home.  But, something was off with him tonight.  She just couldn’t put her finger on it.

“Would you mind if I waited until tomorrow to open this?  I got home way later than I expected and I am exhausted.  I’ve got an early day... today, actually.”  She gave him a little smile, despite the unease settling over her. 

“Don’t worry about it.  It was something I picked up in a hurry anyway.  No big deal.”  He turned, opening his car door.

“Good night, Brian.”

“Night.”  He didn’t meet her eyes as he slipped into the seat and drove away.

Cara pushed the weird vibe to the back of her mind, strolling to her apartment.  She had other, more pleasant thoughts she’d rather dwell on.  Damian.  The kiss he’d laid on her.  The passion in his touch.  Her body’s welcoming reaction to him.

If only he hadn’t been called away.

A chill shot down her spine, cooling her blood.

Please God, keep him out of danger.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Damian's Sacrifice #3

You'll never guess who makes a special guest appearance in this week's post.  That's right.  The hero of my first book in the Guardian Order series... BRUTAL!!  You might even get an extra dose of him next Monday, too.  Stay tuned....

“Hey, D!  Heavy boots pounded over to him.  Ax’s eyes briefly scanned Cara before meeting his.  “Sorry to interrupt, but we’ve been called in.  We gotta go.”

Their final exam.  Field combat.

“Gimme a minute.”  The harsh words were barely more than a growl.

Ax’s eyes widened and he eased back a few steps.  “Okaaaaaaaay.  We’ll be by the car when you’re done.”  His gaze swept over her once more as he headed for his Jeep.

Damian inched forward, gripping Cara’s hands, meeting her eyes head-on.  “I’m sorry for this.  But I really have to go.”

“It’s fine.  I should be getting home anyway.  Thank you again for tonight.”  She dipped her head, but the disappointment plastered on her face was impossible to miss.

“Cara.  Please look at me.”  He gently tugged on her hands, drawing her close.

After a moment, she finally lifted her eyes, her forced smile nowhere in those beautiful blues.


“Will you give me your number before I leave?  I don’t have anything to write it on, but you can just tell me.  I have an excellent memory.”  He flashed a grin, hoping to lighten the mood.  For himself as much as for her.

As she recited the digits, he committed them to memory, fingers already itching to press those buttons.  And she wasn’t even gone yet.  Tomorrow.  By the time he got home, she would be fast asleep and he didn’t want to disturb her.

Cara slipped from his arms and opened her car door, creating a physical barrier between them.  Her gaze stayed glued to the pavement as she stood in the sliver of space, pinning herself in.

Damian wanted to wipe away her disappointment, but he couldn’t bail on the Guardian Order.  Especially not tonight.  Not when his future as a Guardian was at stake.

“I promise I’ll call you tomorrow, beautiful.”  He cursed under his breath.  Not much comfort in a phone call, is there?

She nodded, glancing up at him.  “I don’t know what you’ll be doing tonight, but it sounds important.  And dangerous.  Please be careful, Damian.”  Without another word—or a goodbye kiss—Cara slid into her seat, shut the door, and drove out into the night.

His boots were lined with lead, every step toward the Jeep a struggle.  What was his problem?  He’d been waiting for the field test for weeks, eager to prove himself as a soldier and a worthy addition to the most select group of warriors in Arcturian society.  And now, he was wishing the call had come one day later?

“She is quite the female specimen, D.  And what a way to meet her, huh?  Don’t think I didn’t notice that smooth move.”  Atrox grinned, arching an eyebrow.  “Maybe I should have turned down the blonde, and left the table.  Then I would have been the one to bump into her.”

A growl erupted from Damian’s throat, upper fangs extending in warning.  “Back off, Ax.  She’s not your type.”


“Chill out, man.  It’s not my fault you got cockblocked.  Reel in your fangs and get in so we can leave.  You know how Commander Talis will be if we’re late.”  Atrox strolled over to the driver’s side and hopped in. 

He did not just drop his fangs to Ax over a human woman.  Couldn’t be.  He’d just met Cara.  What the hell was he doing getting so possessive over her?  You don’t want a human mate, remember?

After cranking the engine, Ax shot him an impatient look.  “Get the lead outta your ass, D.  The first night of the rest of our lives starts now.”

He climbed into the back, praying that, for once, the guys would leave him alone about females.  That had been an extreme reaction.  For the first time in his adult life, his self-control was in question.

Ax caught his gaze in the rearview mirror, green eyes solemn.  “Get your mind in the game, D.  If you’re distracted during the fight, you die.”

Of course, he was right.  Hell, he was the one reminding Ax and Corrix most of the time.  He had to get his thoughts off of his redhead and back on combat tactics.  A mood transplant would do the trick.

Before Damian said a word, Corrix popped Nine Inch Nails into the car stereo.  “Last” came blasting through the speakers as they cruised through the city streets, shifting his energy and focus to the battle at hand.

Once they got into the industrial area of downtown Freemont, Ax cut the lights and music.  Even though the Order didn’t usually meet close to Savrati hot spots—thanks to the foresight of their oracle—there was no reason to draw unwanted attention to themselves.

They crept into the cracked, barren sea of an abandoned parking lot.  As Damian stepped out, his instincts flared.  Something was off.  He scanned the black expanse, Ax and Corrix doing the same.  But only darkness greeted them.

The air distorted several feet ahead of their position, like a mirage waving across his vision.  A second later, a black Suburban appeared, doors opening in-synch as a group of huge Arcturian males exited the vehicle.

The Guardian Order.

Commander Talis also emerged.  How the hell had they all fit in there?  It was like some twisted version of a clown car.  The biggest of them—their leader, Brutal—stepped forward.

“Nice of you boys to join us.  Grab your guns.  Time for your first taste of Savrati blood.”

Brutal’s teal gaze rested on Damian.  “You’re with me and Talis.”  He shifted focus to the others.  “Atrox, you’ll be with Vain and Havoc.  Corrix, you’ve got Stone and Hail.  Guardians, you have your orders.  Get to it.”

Damian watched as his two best friends walked in the opposite direction.  It wasn’t a surprise he’d been placed with Brutal.  He was the only one in the bunch eligible for induction into the Order.  Once the sacrifice was made, he would join the ranks under Brutal’s command.  So the guy had to be the one to evaluate him.

They headed south through the alleyways, away from the river and into the heart of the city.

“It’s been a while since we’ve fought together, Talis.  You sure you can keep up?  I’m afraid training these boys has made you soft.”  Brutal looked to the Commander, a grin tugging at his lips.

“I’m more worried about you, sitting behind that desk lately.  Your ass is looking kinda fat these days.  At least the training is keeping me in good shape.”  Talis chuckled, and winked at Damian.

He blinked.  Brutal was always so callous and unforgiving during his training sessions.  The term asshole came to mind, though he wouldn’t dare speak it.  Seeing him this way?  It was like he was a normal person.  Almost.  With Brutal being twice the size of other Arcturians, a smart male couldn’t help but give him a wide berth.

The sound of footsteps joining their own snapped everyone into focus.  A group of men turned down the alley.  At a distance, they looked like normal humans, but he knew better.  With razor sharp claws and a full set of fangs extended, there was no doubt what they were.  Savrati drones.  Damn, the bastards were even uglier in person.

Good thing he had his own sharp weapons to play with.  Damian’s fangs—upper and lower—shot out as he slipped his knives from the back of his waist.  The gun stayed put.  Last resort only, since they were in range of human eyes and ears.

The drones pushed forward, moving to surround them.  Brutal and Talis stayed put as they pulled their weapons.

“I want the one in front.”  Damian was here to prove his worth and he was damn sure gonna do it.

Bracing his knives against his forearms, he rushed the enemy, slicing the guy across the abdomen as he ducked a nasty claw swipe.  The drone struck the pavement with his knees.

“Aw, don’t go all weak-kneed on me already.  I’m just getting started.”

Monday, September 10, 2012

Damian's Sacrifice #2

See, I told you it would be here.  As promised, the highly anticipated continuation of Damian's Sacrifice.  I hope you guys enjoy it as much as last week's.  And there's more to come.  Same place, same time next Monday ;)

She must be nuts.  Wacko.  Three fries short of a happy meal.  Insane.  Was she really going to leave the relative safety of the Cascades parking lot and get on the back of a motorcycle with a complete stranger?  One she’d literally just bumped into?

Horror movies started out much the same way.  Girl meets guy.  Girl trusts guy.  Guy takes girl to secluded spot.  Guy cuts clueless girl up into a thousand pieces.  But, there was something about him.  A feeling deep down she couldn’t deny.  It made no sense, but she felt safe with him. 


It didn’t hurt that he was the textbook definition of tall, dark, and handsome.  He towered over her five foot six.  Had to be at least six-two.  His jet-black hair—cut shorter in the back—rested beside his coffee-colored eyes.  Tan skin accentuated the well-defined muscles stacked all over his body.  The black t-shirt he wore barely contained his mass, hugging the chiseled lines across his chest and stomach.  She’d never wanted to be a shirt so bad in her life.

Cara met his expectant gaze, a warm smile teasing his lips, and her fate was sealed.  There was no turning back, no further hesitation.  Her ass was going to be on that motorcycle, with her arms wrapped around him.

“No, but I’ve always wanted to.  And today is my birthday, so...”

“In that case, I insist.  I wouldn’t feel right denying a beautiful woman her birthday wish.”

Her cheeks warmed at the compliment and she dropped her gaze to the ground.  No one as sexy as Damian had ever even noticed her, let alone called her beautiful.

When she mustered the nerve to meet his eyes, his grin widened.  At least I am amusing him.  She returned his smile as she pulled the helmet over her head, leaving the visor raised.

He swung his right leg over the bike, sliding forward once he was seated.  As the engine fired up, so did her body.

“Your chariot awaits.”  His voice was slightly raised, but the engine was relatively quiet for a motorcycle.  Thank God it wasn’t a Harley, or she never would have been able to hear him.

“Use my shoulders to balance yourself, and be careful of the exhaust pipe.”

She did as he had, swinging her right leg over to rest on the foot peg, keeping a light hold on him until she was in place.

“Slide in so you can wrap your arms around my waist and hold on tight.”  He shifted on his seat, pressing his back into her chest as she did what she was told.

Cara pulled the visor down and locked her arms around him.  He shot down the road.

The warmth of his body combined with the vibration of the engine awakened every single nerve ending she had.  In her fantasies, she’d been able to feel the wind against her face, but she couldn’t say she was disappointed that the helmet was blocking it.  With a man like Damian in her arms, feeling the breeze came in dead last on her list of desires.

It didn’t take long before they arrived at a little hole-in-the-wall diner she knew well.  Betty’s.

She hopped off, removing the helmet and leaving it on the seat.  Once he cut the engine, he moved to face her, his mouth a tight slant.

“I know this place looks kinda run down, but...”

“They have the best coffee in Freemont.”  She couldn’t hide her amusement as a sigh escaped his lips, his shoulders relaxing.  “And they have a pecan pie to die for.”

“After you.”  He held the door open for her.

“Such a gentleman.  Thank you.”  Her heart fluttered as she passed by him, taking in his wonderfully masculine scent.  It made her want to skip the coffee and pie, and treat her body to dessert instead. 

Good lord, am I in heat or something?  Slow the fuck down, woman.  You don’t even know his last name for heaven’s sake.

His hand slid to the small of her back as he ushered her to a booth on the back wall.  It was like he wanted to be able to see the whole restaurant from that one spot.

She mourned the loss of contact as they sat opposite each other. 

The waitress shuffled over, carafe and mugs in hand.  Cara watched the shaky hand pour their coffee, ashamed to be grateful the woman was elderly.  It was pathetic to admit, but her gut clenched at the thought of him lusting after another woman. 

Damian’s eyes shifted to her, his brown gaze intense.  She forced herself not to squirm in her seat.  What was he thinking?

The silence was driving her crazy.

“So, do you have a last name?  Or is it just Damian?”  She smiled as his mouth curved at one corner.  She’d always been a sucker for a lopsided grin.

“I suppose we should be properly acquainted.  It’s Fisher.  Damian Fisher.”  A flash of emotion passed over his features, but he looked away before she could identify it.  If it had even been there at all.

“Your turn.”  He kept his gaze averted as he spoke.

“Cara McKenna.  I know.  My name is more A’s and C’s than anything else, but what can I say?  I’m from a proud Irish family.”  She shrugged, taking a sip of her coffee.

“It’s a beautiful name.”  His warm eyes finally returned to hers.  “What is it that you do, Cara McKenna?”

Her mind blanked.  Coming from his lips, with his husky voice, her name did sound beautiful.  A shiver shot down her spine, her core heating.  Wait, he’d asked her something hadn’t he?

“I... I’m a sculptor.  My newest commission is a piece for the children’s hospital.  I should be starting it next week.”  Her cheeks warmed again.  Was she ever not going to blush around him?  “What about you?  I’m dying to see if my hunch is correct.”

His eyebrows perked up.  “What do you think I do?”

“Well, I’d say you’re military.”

“I am indeed a soldier, in training for a special assignment.”  Something in his expression changed, darkening his eyes.

Damn.  It had reared its ugly head after all.  Her uncanny ability to say the wrong thing and ruin the moment.  Which was why she wasn’t in a relationship, and why she had been set up on a blind date for her birthday.  Way to go, Cara.  She prayed she could salvage the rest of the conversation.

“It makes sense.  Your reflexes are lightning fast.  And, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this booth gives you the best view of your surroundings.  Besides, with a body like yours, and that gorgeous black hair, you could be the Man of Steel himself.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if you’d told me your name was Clark Kent or Kal-El.”

She slammed her eyes shut, dropping her head in shame.  She’d just geeked out about comic books in front of the hottest guy on the planet.

When she finally summoned the courage to look at him, he was sporting that lopsided grin of his.

“So, you’re a DC Comics kind of girl, huh?  I’m with you a hundred percent.  Although, Superman isn’t really my style.  Batman is my number one.  He has all the cool toys.”

Cara fought the urge to gape.  Damian, the embodiment of pure masculinity, was into comics.  The night was turning out so much better than she had ever expected.

He chuckled.  “What?  Can’t a grown male like to read?”

“Sorry.  This is usually the part where the guy runs like hell to get away from me.”

His brows furrowed, lips pressing into a firm line.  “Idiots.  All of them.  But, I’d rather talk about something not involving you and another guy.  Why don’t you tell me more about the sculpture you’re doing for the hospital?  It sounds like you’re really excited about it.”  The tension in his expression eased, and he flashed a smile.

They continued getting to know each other for what seemed like hours.  She was so glad she’d decided to take a chance on the man who’d actually knocked her off her feet.  He’d completely turned her birthday around, from something she had been dreading all week long, to a surprisingly nice evening.

“I guess it’s time we get you back to your car.  I don’t want you too tired to drive home.”  An awkward silence followed, the kind that always accompanied reluctant goodbyes.

She nodded her head, unable to find her voice.  She felt like Cinderella.  The clock was striking midnight and her coach was about to turn back into a pumpkin.

The ride to Cascades’ parking lot was far too short.  Cara could have stayed crushed against Damian for the next decade, and still not had her fill.  The bike came to a stop, and after planting his feet on either side, he motioned for her to dismount.  As she slid off, the separation of their bodies left her cold.

Once he stood beside her, she returned his helmet, forcing a smile.  Her chest constricted as he turned to place the helmet on the seat.  Watching him ride away was going to tear her heart out.  Why am I so attached to him?

“Thank you.”  She barely recognized the shaky voice as her own.

“For what, Cara?”  Her name leaving his lips made her whole body weep.

“For giving me the best birthday I’ve had since I was eight, when my dad took me horseback riding.”

He traced his fingers down her cheek, stepping in close.  As he tilted her chin, forcing her gaze up, she lost the ability to think.

“I’m not done yet, beautiful.”  His deep whisper carried the promise of mind-blowing pleasure.

Damian closed the distance between their mouths, lips soft as velvet brushing against hers.  His other hand gripped her hip, pulling her into him, their bodies melding together.  He opened his mouth over hers, tongue diving in, exploring every corner.  When he fisted the hair at the back of her neck, she sucked in a breath, passion scorching her body.

The kiss shot into overdrive as he took control, lips moving hard against hers, his tongue penetrating her over and over.  He moaned into her mouth, the vibration buckling her knees.  His hold on her was the only thing keeping her upright.

When he pulled away, she bit back a cry of protest.

“I’m sorry.  I lost control of myself for a second.  I didn’t mean to...”  He dragged his hands down his face.

“Please don’t apologize.  I’ve wanted you to kiss me since I was in your arms at the bar.”  She didn’t mean to blurt it out like that, but it was the truth.  And with her body on fire after that kiss, she didn’t want him to ever stop.

Reality set in that they were about to part ways.  Maybe for good.  The sting inside her chest stole her breath. 

Was she really that desperate?  Lonely?  While she wasn’t a prude, inviting a guy back to her apartment on the first date was something she has never done.  Never even considered doing.  But, she wasn’t ready to say goodnight, either. 

Their eyes locked, and she struggled with her emotions.  Desire for him.  Her self-respect.

Could she live with herself if she asked him to stay the night?

“Damian, I...”


Monday, September 3, 2012

Damian's Sacrifice #1

New, for Monday's Mini, the start of the serial I promised.  Damian's Sacrifice.   These are side characters from the Guardian Order book series I'm currently working on.  My goal is to post the continuing story on Mondays.  Hopefully I'll see you back here for more.

P.S.  You'll get to see Atrox again in my first book, Brutal Embrace.  I am slightly in love with him already.

“I’m telling you, Damian.  That chick has been watching you all night.  She’d be a sure thing.”  Atrox grinned, tilting his head in the direction of the human barbie doll seated a few tables away.

“And with her looks, she’s probably been a sure thing for half the guys in this place.  She’s just not my type, Ax.”  Damian took a long drag on his beer, hoping the guy would drop the subject all together.

His eyes swept over the human female, who was once again staring.  She was attractive, at least in the manufactured sense.  She could have just walked off the pages of a Playboy magazine – blonde hair, large breasts, enough make-up to make KISS envious, clothes clinging to her curves for dear life.  Although the tongues of every other man in the bar were all but hanging out, that carefully constructed look didn’t do anything for him.  He preferred a natural beauty.

“No one is ever your type, man.  I’m surprised you’ve even fucked before.”  Atrox shook his head.  “Well, if you’re gonna pass, I’ll be her Prince Charming tonight.  You know how human females are with us.  Something about our Arcturian blood drives them crazy.  We’re irresistible.  Right, Corrix?”  Their eyes shifted to the other male, who was returning from the bar with two women draped over his arms.

“Hell yeah it is.  Ladies, I’d like you to meet my two good friends here.  Damian and Ax.  Guys, Rachel and Teresa.”

If Damian didn’t know better, he’d have sworn he could see a sparkle in Corrix’s green eyes.  That male was even worse than Atrox when it came to his libido.  It wasn’t unusual for him to do two girls at once.

Just then, Hungry Eyes Barbie strolled over to their table, sensing she was about to miss out on her opportunity to get laid.  Her hips swayed in an exaggerated motion as she walked, her eyes locked on to his like heat-seeking missiles.

“Hi, I’m Amanda.”  She reached her hand out to Damian, the corner of her mouth lifting.

He stood and took her hand lightly in his own, digging deep to produce a smile he didn’t feel.  “Nice to meet you.”  His eyes skidded away.  He’d just wanted to hang out and have a drink or two.  Not wind up in bed with another meaningless human, especially a man-eater like this one.  How was he going to get out of this?

“Aren’t you going to offer to buy me a drink, er—you didn’t even tell me your name.”  She was wearing an over-practiced mask of innocence, trying hard—and failing—to appear like the girl next door.  Now he really wasn’t interested.  Those kinds of theatrics drove him nuts, and not in the ‘crazy about you’ kind of way.  It pissed him off.

“I’m sorry, Amanda.  I was just leaving, but I’m sure someone else here will get you that drink.”  Damian dragged his chair away from the table, inviting her to take his seat.  As he met Atrox’s disapproving stare, he shook his head.  Let it go.  He just wanted to call it a night.

He sighed when Ax nodded once and shifted his attention to the woman.  “My friend has no manners, Amanda.  I, however, know how to treat a beautiful woman.  I’m Ax.”  He flashed a sly grin and brushed a soft kiss on her knuckles.  “What can I get you to drink?”  Ah yes.  It appeared Ax had some theatrics of his own.  Whatever.  Damian was grateful for the distraction and hurried to the door while he had the chance to escape.

Why were the guys were always pushing women at him?  It wasn’t like he couldn’t get them on his own.  There was some truth to what Ax had said earlier about being irresistible.  Arcturians emitted some kind of pheromone or something that seemed to be pleasing to females, especially humans.  His mother had even told him, when she’d finally explained why he was different from everyone else, that his father had a powerful draw she couldn’t resist.

He wished she hadn’t waited until she was dying to tell him that his father wasn’t human.  But when he’d hit puberty, he’d begun developing certain Arcturian characteristics and she couldn’t avoid the truth any longer.  He had often wondered though, if she hadn’t gotten sick, would she have located his father’s family—

A small frame collided with his, ripping him from his thoughts.  The female lost her footing as she stumbled back from the impact, and his arm darted out around her waist to steady her.  He didn’t let go as he stared down into a pair of gorgeous pale blue eyes.

“Are you all right?”  His voice came out deeper than usual, husky and thick with arousal.  What the hell?

She remained silent, gazing back at him, eyes wide.  He quickly scanned her body for injuries, afraid he’d accidentally hurt her in his grip.  It was then he realized he was still holding her.  In a dipped position.  Like they were ballroom dancing or some shit.  No wonder she didn’t say a word.  She was probably scared out of her mind.

He cleared his throat, easing her to an upright position, and dropped his hold on her.  Letting go was the hardest thing he’d ever had to do, but he forced his arms to his side. 

As he took in the sight before him, his pulse quickened, heart thumping.  What is wrong with me?

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“Oh no, I’m fine.  I’m the one that’s sorry.  I spilled my drink all over you.”

He looked down the front of his shirt, eyeing the stain that trailed all the way to the waist of his jeans.  Damn, he hadn’t even noticed he’d gotten wet.

“Don’t worry about it.  That’s what washing machines are for.”  He paused, looking her over again.  “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“I’m good.  Really.”  Her blush was adorable.

He was in trouble.  Her long red hair.  Her delicate features.  Her freckles.  Those captivating blue eyes.  Almost irresistible.  Who was he kidding?  He was already lost to her.  His gaze slid to her now empty glass.

“It would seem you’re all out.  How about I buy you another drink?  I’m Damian, by the way.”  His eyes shot to hers, hoping like hell she would accept his invitation.  The hesitation he saw there sank his heart like the Titanic.

“That is really nice of you to offer, but I’m kinda meeting someone here.”  She bit her lip, looking away.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize.  Don’t worry about it.  Have a great evening, okay.”  The gruffness in his voice made him cringe, and he headed outside.

What was the matter with him?  He wanted to pound the guy she was meeting into the ground.  Or worse... go back inside and beg her for a date.  Oh yeah, that’s real manly.  Groveling for the pleasure of her company.  The redhead had gotten under his skin in two seconds flat.

But she wasn’t interested in him.  She hadn’t even told him her name.  She was meeting some other guy.  A human.  Like her.  It was for the best he didn’t buy her that drink.  He was only half human, living in Arcturian society.  He was destined to be a Guardian.  There was no way it could work out between them.  His parents were proof of that.  Besides, he didn’t want a human mate.

As he headed for his motorcycle, the door to the bar burst open.  He turned as someone called his name.  The female voice stopped him dead in his tracks.

“Damian, wait!  Please.”  His redhead was heading right for him.

He walked toward her.  Why was she running?  Someone better not have hurt her.  He would kill the fucker.

When she reached him, she was out of breath, legs wobbly.  His hands shot out to hers, drawing her closer.  So close, he could hear the pounding of her heart.

“What’s the matter?”  He searched the parking lot for any signs of danger before meeting her gaze.

“I was hoping... you might want to, um, get a cup of coffee with me?”  There was that blush again.  The corner of his mouth lifted.  She wasn’t in trouble.

His redhead did like him after all.

“Well, that depends.”  A deep frown replaced her sweet smile as he paused.  “Are you ever gonna tell me your name?”  The laugh that escaped her lips was so worth it.

“Cara.”  Her blue eyes twinkled in the street light, melting his heart.

He guided her through the parking lot to his bike, grabbing his helmet from the handlebars and tossing it to her.

 “Have you ever ridden a motorcycle before, Cara?”