HAPPY RELEASE DAY TO MARY WINE
There's Trouble in the Skies...
For Sophia Stevenson, there's no going back to the life she knew. She never asked for the powers that make her a precious commodity to the secret society of Illuminists—and their archenemies.
Captain Bion Donkova would give anything to possess the powers that have fallen in Sophia's lap. If only the beautiful, infuriating woman could stay out of trouble, he wouldn't have to keep coming to her rescue...
Bion and Sophia have friction to spare—and nothing fuels a forbidden passion better than danger...
But then again, it was Bion. Nothing about her pleased him.
“If your glasses were in the correct place, you would not have alarmed other members of the crew,” he admonished.
“We are not aboard one of your ships, Captain, and I certainly will not be taking advice from you on how I keep myself in my bedroom.” She rose up on her knees, the need to face him head-on burning through any protest her common sense might have made.
“And I am not dressed, sir!”
“I’ve seen you in less.”
Her eyes widened, the deep tone of his voice setting off a ripple of excitement racing along her skin. Her mouth dropped open and satisfaction flickered in his dark eyes, the remains of her composure shredded.
Bion Donkova had fast reflexes, but today she was faster. Her hand connected with his face, delivering a slap that resounded loudly in the morning air.
She expected him to be furious; instead, the man growled. The sound sent her back, the sheer maleness of it making her shiver. Challenge appeared in his eyes and his lips curved up into an arrogant smirk. For a moment, he looked very much like a pirate, the sort of man accustomed to being ruthless in the pursuit of what he craved.
He gripped the footrail of her bed and leaned forward.
“But if you can’t tolerate the threat to your modesty, feel free to cry out. I’m sure Guardian Lawley will be happy to rescue you before you fall victim to a fit of vapors.”
Her temper boiled. If it were possible for steam to rise from her ears, it would have. But her pride refused to let his challenge pass. With a soft hiss, she forced herself to release the bedding and climb out of bed.
The urge to tug her chemise up to cover more of her breasts was also squelched as she lifted her chin and shot him a scorching look.
“I can handle your gutter behavior quite well. Look as you will. All that proves is how much you deserve my contempt.”
She intended to walk past him, but he captured her wrist, his larger hand closing all the way around her limb. It wasn’t the first time he’d manhandled her, but for some reason she was acutely aware of how much strength he had today. Tension curled through her belly, teasing her with a flicker of heat she’d never experienced before. It was dark and tempting and almost irresistible. Almost.
He chuckled, amusement still flickering in his eyes. His grip tightened a mere fraction, almost as if he might disregard her demand.
Pirate… ruthless and without boundaries. Why had she never realized just what sort of nature he had hidden beneath his formal exterior and endless lectures about duty?
She was trembling, the realization of which cut through her outrage like a rapier. Something in his gaze made it look as if he was reading her thoughts, which was impossible. But she felt it nonetheless.
He pulled her closer, until they were mere inches apart. “I do believe I might just enjoy your attempts to handle my gutter behavior, Miss Stevenson.”
His voice was low and edged with warning. What flared up in the depths of his dark eyes made her shiver. He felt it, that telltale reaction through his grip on her wrist. He smoothed his thumb across the tender skin of her inner wrist before lifting her hand and boldly pressing a kiss against the same spot.
It was nothing like the kiss Jonathon Saddler had given her. This was scorching hot and it stole her breath. Her heart began to race, feeling as if it were straining to break free of her chest. Every bit of self-control she had seemed to be slipping through her fingers like sand, leaving her without anything to hold on to.
With a savage jerk, she twisted her wrist, angling to break his grip at the weakest spot, as she’d learn in her Asian fighting classes. He straightened instantly, his larger body adopting a polished fighting stance to prove he knew far more about the Eastern arts than she did. Something lit his eyes, but she shied away from taking a closer look at it. A warning rose up from her mind, telling her to beware of learning more about this side of his nature. Or her reaction to it.