Series: Elementals' Challenge
Buy the Book: Amazon
Release Date: October 11, 2018
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Lara thought she had time to ease into her role as Water Elemental, guardian and defender of the sea and all its creatures. Time to learn the skills to rise to the next Challenge, many decades away. Then she felt the shift.
When Sullivan intrudes upon her oceanside sanctuary, stirring memories of the blazing night he bound her, body and soul, to her new life, the shark king confirms her suspicions. A new Challenge is upon them. And Sullivan, the prime suspect in her predecessor’s death, demands her trust.
Sullivan remembers the carnage—human and paranormal—the last time the Elementals failed to win Challenge. It must not happen again. But in the six years since he reluctantly left Lara’s side, she hasn’t learned nearly enough to defeat a rapidly rising enemy. A gargantuan Demonos that makes him look like a minnow.
Shifters and elementals don’t mix, but Sullivan’s made a deal with the gods to teach her to fight. Now if he could only convince his wayward body to put aside the searing memory of her touch. Because distraction now could spell disaster to them all.
There is a blending of all kinds of god and goddess legends in all these novels., which I very much enjoy, and I am delighted there are going to be a couple more novels in this world. The world building is excellent, each book works as a standalone, and the romance is suitably steamy. Recommend.
– Beverly Diehl, Goodreads Review
There were so many things to say, and none of them what she wanted to convey.
“I may need you, but there is much about you that I don’t know.” Lara looked away so he wouldn’t see the desire that darkened her face.
She heard an exhalation of breath and then his hand fell on her shoulder. She hadn’t heard him move on the carpeted floor.
Lara’s pulse sped up. He was so near, his face just inches away. If she moved even a fraction their lips could meet. She didn’t shake his hand off. The sunlight coming through the windows dappled his skin with shadow and light.
“Yes.” His voice was low and fervent. “I do not think that bothers you so much, wi? I think it troubles you that you still desire me.”
His pupils expanded when she took him in. If you viewed any shapeshifter long enough, you could tell that there was something not quite normal about them. It was the way the colors of their eyes were often wrong, in shades that weren’t ever found in mortals. It was something almost indefinable, but present.
All Lara could do was look at him. One shift in her body and she would be skin to skin with him.
“Egotistical shark.” She moved her hands to rest on his forearms. A vein jumped in his neck. If she touched his chest—something that would be satisfying—she would feel his rapid heartbeat. It would match her own racing pulse. There was an emptiness in the pit of her stomach that Lara identified as longing.
Goosebumps erupted until the hairs on her arms were standing on end. She shivered, not from the sea wind blowing through the cabin, but from his physical presence.
“Ondine.” His voice was ragged. She reached up and touched his high cheekbone. “You are not the only one who desires.”
“You’re presumptive,” she said in a whisper.
He slid his arms around her. His erection was proud and hard against her hip bone. She arched against it and he shivered.
“Yes. I am. And I am also very much a man.” He ran his hand over her hair before pressing a soft kiss to her forehead.
A memory caught her of the first time she had seen Sullivan. It had been early days, just a few years into her conversion to the water Elemental and she was in what she called her frivolous phase. Flush with money and time, Lara spent a great deal of energy traveling from place to place, never staying anywhere for long. Still she mostly kept to the Americas and as such wound up in the Dominican Republic. There had been the shark king, cruising in the local waters with his shiver. Tall and dark, his shifter blood shining through his skin like a beacon, he captivated her. She knew she should stay away, and she had not.
“I remember that time as well,” Sullivan said, and Lara flushed. She spent too much time alone or with humans and kept forgetting to keep her shields up. Or maybe she needed Sullivan to reminisce with her.
“I…” She swallowed, wanting to allow herself the sensual feast of gazing on his muscular body, but instead she looked down. “I told myself it was a mistake. It happened so fast and then, well, I didn’t know whether you’d killed Hippocampus or not. I got scared. Maybe you’d been with me because, you know, for other reasons. If you could kill one Elemental…”
“And yet you took me to your bed.”
She tried to smile. “I would say I was drunk but I can’t get drunk. You…I couldn’t resist you then.” It’s hard to resist you now. That truism stayed well buried behind her shields. She cast him a sidelong glance, wishing and not wishing he could read her thoughts.
“It was impossible to say no,” he said with a solemnity that made Lara look closer at him. “I also knew it was unwise but there was no resisting you. Then afterward, when you ordered me out I realized that no amount of reassurance would convince you. It was simpler to leave. We are not like humans, Ondine. I knew there would be time. I expected to wait longer than this. There were many days when I wanted to go to you and had to fight that desire. I spent a lot of time in the ocean. I am glad it was not decades, even though I was prepared for that. Six years is not so long when you have centuries.”
“I’m still getting used to the centuries thing.” She met his gaze. His topaz brown eyes were shadowed with something she couldn’t see, even while he returned her stare with quiet reassurance.
“It will take time, which you have plenty of,” he said. “The only thing that will convince you is the passing of years.”
She still appeared to be twenty-five, but others like Tavin and her family were ten years older now, and starting to look it. They would age as humans did. As she had, before the change.
“I will.” A tendril of sadness laced through her. It was becoming difficult to explain her lack of aging to friends and family. Her parents had an acute eye and their comments on her infrequent visits often centered on her “fountain of youth” and “the marvelous creams” she was using. She should be showing signs of lines and wrinkles, perhaps a grey hair or two in the short chestnut cap she maintained.
“I also do not age as humans do.” He took a step closer to her, his eyes never wavering from hers. “I have the blood of gods and it has given me more time. It is not forever but my life will be long.”
“I’ve got no business doing this,” she admitted, wanting to brush kisses over the strong lines of his jaw. His dreads hung to his shoulders, and she caught a faint whiff off of them, like seawater and powder.
“And yet here you are, as you were six years ago, but now you know the truth.” His face was solemn. “You’re the water Elemental. You need a teacher. I am that. You may not need a protector, yet I am that as well. You need a lover,” Sullivan said, and kissed her.