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Star-Crossed with Scarlett

Star-Crossed with ScarlettPublisher: Munro Press
ISBN-13: 978-0-473-48364-7
Genre: Paranormal/Dragons/Shifter/Adventure
Series: Middlemarch Capture, #6
Release Date: 15 Aug 2019
Format: eBook
Length: Novel

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A dragon shifter determined to save his people…
…must sacrifice his potential mate.

The moment the resonance traps Ransom, he’s tossed into a living hell. Everything meaningful to him is in danger unless he follows the orders of a prince lying in stasis.

But that’s not the royal’s only demand.

Prince Kalim expects Ransom to deliver Scarlett—the woman Ransom’s dragon desires.

Captured by a dragon. Scarlett Mitchell can’t believe this twist of fate and, once she learns of the dragon-man’s quest, she struggles with the blast of excitement and yearning that seize her imagination. She’s the queen of lists and measures the pros against the cons in every decision—a lesson taught by experience. Life works better when she reins in her spontaneity.

She should turn her back on this dangerous journey, but she can’t.

Romantic sparks fly between Ransom and Scarlett as they travel to the final showdown with the prince. Painful secrets from the past poke at weak spots and emotions run high while a volcanic eruption threatens to annihilate everyone and everything in its path.

Two star-crossed lovers…

Courage, determination, and pure grit are required to save the day before this ill-fated quest turns into another impulse gone wrong, or worse—a death trap.

You’ll love this shapeshifter romance because it contains a fiery dragon, a sassy feline shifter, and a villain who wants it all. Failure is not an option.

Excerpt

A chuckle escaped as she recalled a recent gathering trip and the man who’d grabbed her, accusing her of theft. When she’d kept fleeing, he’d chained her before he’d taken a snooze. For a cute man, he’d sure slept a lot and hard-out. He’d never heard her shift to feline and slide free of the binding chains. Never heard her collect her bag of clinking tools. Never heard her reclaim her precious stones.

But she’d escaped more than an irate man.

On first seeing him, every single feline sense had gone gaga, for want of a better word. Yep, she’d grabbed her spoils and beat a speedy retreat before the situation worsened. Ever since the encounter, her nerves and senses had jangled, setting her on edge because her feline pined for the man.

A growly alpha. Sexy. Tasty.

Too bad he didn’t fit with her life plans.

Now if he’d shown interest in a down-and-dirty fling…

She might’ve written a list for that. Memories of the trip led her mind back to her jewelry. Earlier this morning, she’d finalized the design for the ring Joe had commissioned her to create for Mungo. Her fingers itched to start work with the gorgeous purple stone she’d discovered while fossicking. She’d combine it with the golden metal she’d located in the Dalcon market.

Next up—earrings to sell in the resort store. Scarlett tapped the compuscreen. She required more stones, but the best ones came from…

A ferocious roar broadcast from outside. Every muscle in Scarlett stiffened as she turned to the doorway.

A huge naked man stomped into reception. Tattoos decorated one side of his torso and right arm, and his black hair grew long enough to strike his shoulders. A scowl dug into his face, pulling the faint scar that ran from the corner of his eye and bisected his cheek. But it was his gaze that drew her—his glitter of determination.

It was him.

For one traitorous moment, her pulse spiked with joy. Her feline perked right up with equal excitement until Scarlett seized her senses and reined them into submission.

Oh no! This was not happening. She refused to allow this man to do his caveman act again, even if his body was a muscular work of art.

A group of women passing through reception stopped to gape. Not that Scarlett blamed them. He’d gained weight since their last meeting and his eyes—not green or brown but a shade in between—fired salvos of wrath.

He was…

Breathtaking.

Her feline issued an appreciative sigh, and it echoed, full of sexual heat and possibilities.

No. No. No!

She gave her head a hard shake and retreated half a step.

“You!” The man wore his arrogance like a cloak.

Every particle of self-preservation urged Scarlett to bolt. Instead, she lifted her chin and stared at him coolheaded. “This is a women-only resort. You need to leave.”

The man stomped closer. “I intend to hie off, Thief, and you’ll be coming with me.” His rich voice held anger, implacability. A can-do attitude that didn’t bode well for her.

Oh-oh. Along with anger, his features held resolve. Certainty coalesced in Scarlett’s mind. This was what her subconscious had tried to tell her. The flimsy compudesk didn’t provide enough protection. Maybe she could talk her way out of this situation.

“You’re creating a disturbance and upsetting our guests. Why don’t we discuss this in private?” She slid her hand beneath the desk and pressed the alarm to bring security and her brothers running. A quick glance told her the naked man had attracted more women, and rather than fear, his audience radiated interest.

She inhaled and scowled.

Arousal.

It polluted the air, and a growl escaped Scarlett.

His eyes widened, but her aggressive snarl didn’t stop him from snatching her, trapping her against his hard chest.

“Oh!” a green-skinned woman said, her tone rampant with disappointment.

A Red Mumber female appeared equally despondent. “I wish he’d capture me.” The woman’s tentacle hair writhed and hissed and reached in the naked man’s direction.

The man seized Scarlett’s arms, holding them immobile. She fought, cursing her smart uniform skirt that restricted her legs and the pair of comfortable but impractical shoes.

“Let me go. You have no right to manhandle me.”

The naked man dragged her to the door leading to the gardens, holding her with effortless strength. Seconds later, he tossed her over his shoulder. She pounded her fists on his back and grabbed handfuls of his black hair. The great big lug didn’t stop but strode outdoors.

The interior door slid open, and Saber stepped through.

“Scarlett, what— Oh,” he said in what Scarlett considered a severe understatement of the situation.

An unwelcome thought slithered into her brain, drilling in like an unwanted pest. “Saber, so help me, if you arranged this, I will get payback.”

“Not me,” Saber said, his green gaze watchful.

“Then do something. Help!” Scarlett yelped.

Felix and Leo, two more of her brothers, skidded to a halt by Saber. Their shock told her Saber spoke the truth.
Nothing they’d done had contributed to her current predicament. Saber barked orders, and her brothers gave chase.

The man upped his pace, and Scarlett bounced on his shoulder. Not even the flex of his prime backside distracted her from her discomfort. Wow, the man bore a speedy capability. He sprinted through the garden, past startled guests.

“Help!” Scarlett hollered to her cousin Sam who was working the poolside bar.

A large hand slapped her on the arse. “Quiet.”

Enough. She kicked and pounded her fists before resorting to teeth. They sank into the man’s shoulder until she drew blood. The taste, the prickling of warning in her mind had her teeth releasing their grip and her furiously spitting. Her feline gave a frustrated snarl because she’d enjoyed the coppery flavor.

Shouts rippled from behind them. The cavalry. About time.

“Release me, and no one will get hurt,” she yelled.

The man slowed, and for one moment, she thought he’d heeded her. But no. The most godawful cracking noises rent the air. Startled, she took a beat to comprehend.

No. No. No!

Scarlett recognized this scenario. How had she missed this crucial piece of information?

He released her, but shock held her immobile, and she wasted precious seconds. She gaped at the man as his body expanded. Scales formed on his skin. Scales. Claws. Sharp white teeth. Flames roared from his great maw, and her brothers and their security team withdrew.

He was a freakin’ big black dragon.

She stealthily retreated. With his attention divided, perhaps she could dart into the trees where his size would become a hindrance. He threw back his head and roared, flames shooting from him. He turned to her, his green-brown eyes full of intelligence, his wings extending from his body.

Before she took another step or sprinted for freedom, he seized her in his talons.

Frying fungus. If the dragon took to the air, she was toast.

Surprisingly, he bounded away, his feet striking the ground, instead of flying into the sky. The dragon grasped her in his claws, and his bouncy strides had her stomach writhing in distress.

He cleared the fence without breaking stride and headed for the open countryside. They passed the Scothage cattle chewing their cud and rows of grapes. The vegetable plots blurred as the dragon raced from the resort. Scarlett struggled, and a growl burst from him. She ceased her squirming to save energy. He wasn’t flying, which meant a nearby destination.

She’d met him on Narenda and was at a loss as to how he’d discovered her whereabouts. When she lifted her head, she spotted trees. A furious caw blasted from overhead, and she raised her gaze skyward. Holy frying fungus! Fear rippled through her on seeing the gigantic bird that had them in its beady sights.

“Watch out for the eagle,” she shrieked.

The dragon never slowed. If anything, he increased his pace. Horrified, she trained her gaze on the eagle approaching with talons extended. She’d heard Saber and Eva speak about the massive bird that’d carried them across Ione island. The tale grew with each telling, or so she’d thought. This bird was as big as they’d claimed. Larger, in fact.

Why wasn’t the dragon heading for the trees?

The eagle couldn’t snatch them there.

She wrenched her gaze from impending doom to study their surroundings. Where was this dragon going? Where was he taking her?

They sprinted around a huge rock, and she gasped.

A spaceship.

Ah, that made sense. But they’d be no match for the eagle. The ship was of a size suitable for travel to Dalcon or a neighboring planet, but not for distance space travel.

They reached the spaceship with the eagle shrieking his anger from above. Lord, the bird was huge. Although he might quail at a dragon, he’d scoop her up in a comfortable beak full.

The dragon deposited her right next to the door and shunted her in encouragement when she hesitated. A tremble seized her hand as she reached for the door control.

The eagle screamed in frustration as a blast of heat prickled against her back. Finally, she coordinated her actions and struck the release. The door whizzed upward.

“Hurry, before the eagle attacks the ship.”

Impatient hands seized her by the waist and thrust her inside. The dragon-man entered and shut the door in one swift action. He deposited her in a seat on the bridge of what amounted to a cargo ship. He took possession of the other seat and pushed buttons and controls with quick efficiency.

The ship roared and lifted off. The eagle rushed them, talons extended. A visible jolt struck the bird as if it was under fire.

Her brothers.

She spied them near the trees, focusing their attack on the bird. They shrank as did the trees and the hungry eagle. Their ship blasted through the atmosphere, a bump and jolt before the view turned black and the planet of Tiraq, a pale pink from this distance, grew smaller.

Scarlett wilted in her seat, adrenaline seeping from her to leave anger and a flood of concern. Her feline liked this stupid dragon-man, although Scarlett couldn’t fathom why. He might have a hard, muscular body, but his manners were lacking. She straightened and let her temper soar free.

“What the hell? You can’t abduct me from my home. If you think I’ll fall into your arms and accept this capture, you’re deluded,” she spat.

“Capture?”

Scarlett skewered him with her glare. “Isn’t that what you’re doing right now? Kidnapping me? You researched the family business and decided to punish me for stealing precious stones from your land. Do I have it right?”

He slid her a sideways glance, and that one trifling move grabbed her attention, made her recall he wore not a stitch of clothing. With a snarl, she averted her gaze from his sexy hide.

“It’s not right, that’s all.” Instead of him, she focused on the pink planet as it diminished, and with it, her chance of rescue.

“What’s your name?”

“Can’t you cover up?” She gestured at his groin with a sniff. Unwillingly, a part of her noted the tiny scales on his cock. Her intrigued feline purred. “You go first. Your name?”

“Ransom Drake. I’m not kidnapping you.”

“Let me see.” She counted on her fingers. “You dragged me from hotel reception against my will. At our last meeting you accused me of theft. How was I to know the stones belonged to you? You should have a sign informing visitors they’re trespassing.”

A fleeting smile curved his lips before he turned solemn and aggravating again. “I saved you from the big bird.”

Scarlett snorted. “If you hadn’t dragged me from the resort, I wouldn’t have been in danger.”

“Name?”

“Please.” Scarlett folded her arms over her chest.

He sighed. “Please tell me your name.”

“Scarlett Mitchell. If you’re not abducting me, then why the frying fungus am I on this spaceship? My brothers will come for me. They’ll hold you down while I kick your dragon butt.”

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