The Mating Claim
Werewolves of Montana, Book 14
Dragon shifter Lacey McGuire is in big trouble. Not only is she flat broke, but she has an immortal wizard pursuing her for possessing an illegal book of spells. Drust, the Coldfire Wizard, needs to destroy the book, but Lacey sees the book as her financial salvation. What Lacey doesn't know is that the dark magick within the book can unleash a horde of demons hell bent on taking over the world. Equally dangerous are Lacey's growing feelings for the sexy, intriguing Coldfire Wizard, for love is more lethal to her than any magick book.
Controlled and disciplined, Coldfire Wizard Drust has vowed never to fall in love with a dragon shifter, but elusive Lacey threatens his resolve. Her fiery spirit and wicked sense of adventure bewitch him as much as they vex him. Drust must convince Lacey to surrender the book so he can destroy it. When a desperate Lacey uses another spell from the book, Drust will go to extreme lengths to protect her from the evil threatening to steal her very soul…
Excerpt (Warning: This is a romance novel containing explicit sex and language. Not intended for anyone under the age of 18)
EXCERPT FROM THE MATING CLAIM
(Copyright 2019 by Bonnie Vanak)
He could not believe his eyes. Drust stared at the red neon sign glowing in the window.
With a low growl, he ran across the street and flung open the door.
The Sage Shop was packed, crawling with witches. He could tell by the glow of their auras, pulsing weakly, threaded with flickers of hope. Witches who had lost much magick, and needed potions to revive it.
Drust strode inside, barely checking his rage. Lacey needed to maintain a low profile lest she be vaporized.
Not advertise her services with that damn light. Did she realize the trouble she caused? The risks she took?
He did not know why this mortal dragon bewitched him. By all rights, he should simply let her dig her own grave.
At the mere thought of that grave, a shiver ran down his immortal spine. He could not let that happen. He must save her, stubborn dragon. Even if she did not wish to be saved.
Through the throng of people at the counter, he spotted her. Long, dark hair bound back in its usual braid, her face shining as she rang up sales on the cash register. For a moment he simply stood, staring at her. She pulled at him in some mysterious way.
Drust hated mystery. He started forward. As if sensing his power, the crowd respectfully parted. Whispers threaded through the air. "Coldfire Wizard."
He cared not.
She saw him and her pretty mouth turned down. "Wait in line, like everyone else."
"I am not the waiting type, Lacey McGuire." Flattening his palms on the wood counter he leveled his coldest stare at Lacey. "What the hell are you doing?"
"I'm giving out spells. It's called a loss leader, wizard. You give away a freebie to entice people into buying more because they crave the rest of the products you sell."
Drust vaulted over the counter and backed Lacey against the wall. "Are these spells from the Book of Shadows?"
Lacey only smiled. "Maybe. I have nothing to lose, so what does it matter to you?"
It means everything to me, for I cannot lose you. He blinked at the thought. Focus on the matter at hand.
"The book was never intended for mortal use. You know not what you have, Lacey." Drust turned, mustered his most charming smile for the clients. All of them were Others, so he could dispense the crowd easily.
"Pardon me, but Lacey has an urgent request to fulfill. You'll have to go elsewhere. Have a beer on me."
He waved a hand and all the witches vanished. They would find themselves inside a comfortable bar down the street, never remembering having visited the shop or why they were even in the area, only that the barkeep would run a generous tab, which Drust would later pay.
As for Lacey…
Infuriated at the idea she'd sold spells from the book, he let all his powers surge. The air grew cold and flickering with cobalt blue pulses. "Answer me, Lacey! Did you sell those spells from the book?"
Blood drained from her face. She backed up against the counter, her breath hitching, her hands shaking "No."
Her voice was small and judging from her too-rapid pulse, he'd finally scared her. Regret filled him. He hated seeing fear on her face. "Good. What spells did you use?"
"Old ones I had copied out of a potion book my mom gave me. The witches need to keep buying herbs and potions to keep the spells potent."
He let his powers die down, and the air turned normal. Lacey breathed deeply.
"You tricked them," he said slowly.
"No, I gave them free spells and they have to buy the potions and herbs to make them work. I'm running a business here, wizard." She glared at him, the old, insolent Lacey back once more. "And how am I supposed to pay the rent on this place this month without any customers?"
"You have more to worry about than money."
"Easy for you to say." She waved a hand. "You can go now."
"I think not. I have something to say to you." Lifting her by the waist, he carried her into the back room.
"And why are you always manhandling me? Asking nicely would get you further," she complained as he set her down on her feet in the back room.
Narrowing his eyes, he studied her. "I may consider it in the future. Would you cooperate?"
"No." A small smile touched her mouth. "But I may consider it in the future."
Drust wanted to laugh, but he couldn't let her see his amusement. Instead, he stroked her cheek with a thumb. "I am sorry about killing your father."
Her eyes went bright, anger glittering in her gaze. "And I'm supposed to say, oh, it's all right. It's not like I have a spare one lying around, Drust. Do you even understand what you took from me?"
Guilt and irritation filled him. "I took nothing from you, only removed an inherent danger that could have destroyed you, Lacey. He was quite mad. Surely you noticed the twitches in his hands, the nervousness he displayed."
She fell silent.
"But I will not debate this with you now. Where is the Book of Shadows?"
"Up yours," she said sweetly.
Drust gritted his teeth. "I am sorely tempted to turn you over my knee and spank you for your insolence."
She considered. "Huh. I never knew you were into kink. Might be fun."
This time he did release a grudging laugh, and backed her up against the wall. "Make no mistake about it. This would not be fun."
"You're such an ancient. I bet you don't even like sex. Do you even remember how to do it?"
Unruffled by her feeble taunts, Drust gave her a knowing look. "Do not tempt me, young one. I could remove your clothing with a snap of my fingers, and when I was finished bedding you, you would be ruined for another male. No other would ever make you feel as much pleasure."
An unladylike snort burst from her, but not before he spotted the spark of intrigue in her clear green eyes, and felt the delicate wave of her interest, smelled the rise of her arousal. "Ah Lacey, you think you could resist me? I think not."
"I would just walk away from you, wizard."
His smile widened. "After being in my bed, you would have trouble walking, little one."