Fire's touch (the enlightened species book three)

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Fire’s Touch

 

 

By

WendyS.Hales

 

 

The Enlightened Species Book Three

 

 

AMAZON KINDLE EDITION

PUBLISHED BY

Wendy S. Hales

www.wendyshales.com

Fire’s Touch © 2012 Wendy S. Hales

All rights reserved

Amazon Kindle Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. The ebook contained herein constitutes a copyrighted work and may not be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, or stored in or introduced into an information storage and retrieval system in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the copyright owner, except in the case of brief quotation embodied in critical articles and reviews. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This ebook is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

Editing by Alisa Carter

The Professional Editing Edge

http://theproeditingedge.com

Cover Design by Kelli Ann Morgan

www.inspirecreativeservices.com/

Formatting by

Bob Houston eBook Formatting

http://about.me/BobHouston

 

ISBN: 978-1476025308

Dedication

For Gary and Susan Mason:

Thank you so much for your support, love and encouragement. Knowing how proud of me you are is a gift beyond measure. I love you.

For Meiling and Marcia Hales:

I am honored to be your daughter-in-law and a member of your family. Thank you for loving me and accepting me like one of your own

Acknowledgments

With overwhelming gratitude to the Enlightened Species readers

Thanks to Shavaughn, Lacey, Kim, Ashley and other friends who took the time to discuss every detail of Fire’s Touch.

To my sister, Patty: You are my strength, my shoulder, my cheerleader and the shove in my back when I feel overwhelmed. Thank you.

To my husband: You don’t “get” my writing, but you totally “get” me. That makes me one lucky woman.

To my children: Thank you for always knowing how to make me laugh.

About Fire’s Touch

 

Caged and used for breeding against her will, Stacy is not about to let anyone get close to her, even if he's sexy as hell and assigned to protect her from those who once held her captive. Conlon Einar, an Elven warrior, finds the object of his latest SOSC mission—and his potential bloodmate—to be more hostile than he expected. Emotionally guarded, with an attitude and tongue sharp enough to make the strong tremble, the bratty vixen is both amusing and surprisingly intriguing to Conlon. He decides cracking her shell to win her love is a challenge he'll accept with passionate enthusiasm.

Chapter One

 

The painful grip on Stacey’s arm was the only thing that kept her from crumpling to the floor. She cried out. Rather than easing, the bastard gripped her upper arm tighter. Stacey was sure her arm would snap.

Unfortunately, the steady stream of tears that welled into her eyes and tracked down her face did nothing to blur her vision. She saw the horrified expression on her mother’s face as she was dragged violently into the room where a fanged monster, which looked like a man, had just ripped her father’s throat out. Her mother’s shell-shocked gaze slowly rose from the sight of Stacey’s father’s lifeless body.Oh, God … please not my mother. She could barely hear her thoughts over her heartbeat pounding in her ears. The solid lump of terror in her throat kept the bile from heaving out, but did nothing for the foul taste in her mouth. Their eyes connected for just an instant. The “goodbye” in her mother’s expression sucked the breath out of Stacey.

A strong woman, her mother didn’t beg. She visibly squared her shoulders proudly and asked in a clear, strong voice, “Why would you kill my husband and hold my maid hostage. Why! Money? We only have a few thousand dollars in the house.”

Until her mother said the word “maid,” Stacey had forgotten all about the lessons pounded into her head her entire life. No matter what, never reveal who you are to a kidnapper. Stacey gave her mother a slight nod of understanding.

One of the monsters grinned. “Get it.”

Stacey wondered if the men noticed her mother’s hand shaking as she worked the lock on the safe in her father’s private office. With her chin held high, she stepped back from the open safe. The one who had spoken loaded stacks of cash into his jacket, then reached over and snapped her mother’s neck like a twig. The agony of loss overwhelmed Stacey and the room spun out of control.

“Nooooo…”

“…oooooo!” Stacey woke from the dream on a scream, launching from her steaming, sweat saturated sheets. A moment longer and her entire bed would have gone up in flames. Dawn peeked through her fogged windows, and she took a deep breath in an effort to slow down her heartbeat and get her raging emotions under control.

The return of her nightmares made sense and pissed Stacey off. Her security detail had been unable to locate the person who had shot at her with a tranquilizer rifle last night while she’d been jogging. The shot had missed, thank the Fates, but that had been the closest anyone had gotten to her since … the dream filtered into the forefront of her mind again. Followed by another memory. Tall, dark, and fierce, he fought with the warriors who freed her. And his face haunted her.

“Fuck off!” she shouted at the memories, shoving them into the recesses of her mind. With determination, Stacey stomped into the shower.

****

“Hey, Conlon, I'm pulling you and Mattie off your current assignment and giving you a new one.”Sargon spoke to Conlon telepathically through their mentor bond.

Conlon growled under his breath.“We're on a pair of trappers, my man.”

Sargon sighed loudly. “I know. If someone else could deal with … her, I'd send them. Your replacements should be to you in five minutes. Bring them up to speed.”He gave Conlon an address to report to—an address twenty miles away in an exclusive part of Seattle, and not a part of the local nest.Deal with her?

“What's the assignment?”He was pretty sure it would suck.

“One of the females we rescued five years ago needs an escort.”It wasn't like Sargon, the warrior leader of the Symbiosis of Species Council, to beat around the bush, yet he seemed hesitant in giving details.“She has private security, but there have been threats against her that have the SOSC on alert. Her chief of security will debrief you when you get there.”

Was he kidding?“You're pulling me off a hot trail to babysit?”Conlon didn't even try to disguise his irritation. No doubt Mattie would be more pissed than he was at the bullshit assignment.

“Just do it.”The connection ended. If the female was one of the survivors from the breeding labs, she was probably terrified and skittish as hell. Unless the chief of security was inept, Conlon couldn't see any reason why Sargon would dump the female on them.

“Think they're hunting or just getting a cup of coffee?” Mattie asked, never taking her eyes off the two men stepping into the little coffee shop across the street. Conlon's thoughts returned to the task at hand.

He had never worked with a partner and hadn't been thrilled when Sargon had teamed him with one. A novice, female, and a Tellus hadn't sweetened the pot for him either. Because Princess Matalina Aleen—her full title—came from the colony near his family’s homeland, he had agreed to take her as a partner. He had to admit that over the last several months, he'd come to like her. She wasn't the child he remembered. Mattie was as fierce as any warrior he'd ever known. And she never pressed him to talk about stupid personal shit. Then, she had earned his trust when she saved his ass a few weeks ago.

 

They had been trailing a different pair of human trappers when the trappers tried to forcefully acquire two young Aquatie paired siblings. Conlon and Mattie moved in to apprehend them, and one of the men grazed Conlon's arm with a taser wand. It wasn't enough of a jolt to take him out of the fight, but it weakened him momentarily, slowing his response time, speed, and strength. Before either man got the chance to capitalize on their advantage, Mattie had shape-shifted into the biggest porcupine her body was capable of. Her two-hundred-pound form, with gnarly sharp teeth, claws, and deadly quills, had made short work of the two humans. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough left of them to question, and Conlon had spent hours scrubbing the memory from the half-dozen human spectators who had witnessed the altercation.

The porcupine form had been pretty genius on her part. Though the Tellus species could psychically create electromagnetic fields, making their entire bodies act like a taser, they were also the most susceptible to the burst of electricity the weapons released. The quills of the porcupine had effectively dissuaded the men from turning the weapon on her.

 

“Could go either way since most people who frequent coffee shops are habitual about it. This is the first time they have gone to one since we've been following them, so I tend to think they are hunting either one of the customers or the staff,” Conlon said.

“You want me to go in and see what they’re up to?” Her offer had Conlon taking a hard look at her appearance. It was a cold day in Seattle. Although Mattie was immune from the temperatures, to blend in she'd worn a coat and gloves just like everyone else. She also wore foundation makeup on her face and had manipulated her eye pigment to dull the striking amber color of her royal bloodline. Conlon gave her a nod and watched her jog across the street and enter the coffee shop.

Trappers hunting the three enlightened species had learned to spot them by the small characteristics that could not be completely disguised unless covered by something. The Aquatie had slight webbing between their fingers and disproportionately long legs compared to their torso length. The Volaticus, like Conlon, could do nothing to hide the overdeveloped musculature that lifted and directed their ears for long-distance hearing. Tellus were often the easiest to spot for the hunter/trappers, It was their skin that gave them away. With a natural habitat well below the earth's surface, the Tellus had skin that, though very soft and smooth to the touch, had evolved to withstand tremendous amounts of heat and pressure. If someone looked closely at them, every inch had what appeared to be concentrated freckles. Otherwise they didn't need to do anything to appear human their dark skin ranged from tan to darkest brown to nearly black. Their eyes were usually very dark, unless they were of royal bloodlines like Mattie, and their hair color ranged from light brown to midnight black, some with red or mahogany highlights, making them no different from many human races.

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