Licked by the Flame (The Forbidden Realm #2)
by Serena Gilley
One hot kiss from a smoldering dragon and all her thoughts go up in flames . . .
Lianne McGowan is a scientist on a mission. As brilliant as she is beautiful, she believes the key to the Earth's future is a new energy source. To find it, she'll delve deep into the fiery heart of an imposing mountain-and take on an even more imposing man: the sinfully seductive Nic Vladik.
Shape-shifting dragon Nic has sworn to guard the secret to his brethren's insatiable power. He must stop Lianne's search, yet the moment he feels the soft silk of her skin, his soul is set on fire. Unable to resist, Nic and Lianne submit to desire, and experience an exquisite passion unlike either has ever known. But their pleasure is short-lived. Lianne has made a discovery that endangers herself, Nic, and all Dragonkind. With his world at stake, will Nic save his clan-or the woman he loves?
Nicolai Stefanya Vladik paced the length of the boardroom and wished in his very core there was a window in this damn place. It was not in his nature to be cooped up in these constructions, human boxes made of plastic and wood, substances that would wither and melt into a wisp of smoke at the very least hint of fire. It was a tenuous way to exist. No wonder humans were so short lived—they spent so much of their time in these fragile spaces.
It was a damned shame that Nicolai had so little opportunity to get back to his own familiar lair. He'd been here, on this jobsite, for months now. Several years before that he'd begun acting as one of them, studying, scheming and manipulating them in this role he'd created. It was all to keep the humans in their place. To make very certain they never found what they searched for so diligently.
He'd done it all for the good of his kind, for the future of his clan. He was a warrior, after all, and this was his battle. It had been waging so long, however, that every now and then he worried he'd forgotten who he was. He feared he'd become too comfortable in this flimsy form.
Today was not one of those times. Today he itched to abandon it all. Clothing, technology, shallow entertainments...all of them were so frail, so meaningless. If he feared anything today, it was that he would discard the trappings of this human existence and give in to his nature. He longed for the heat of his lair.
For a year this team had been studying the thermal activities of the area, and Nic risked more than personal exposure if he abandoned his human form. Day after day, month after month, though, it was becoming harder to maintain. He craved...well, he craved something he could not have.
He needed to get his mind back on his work. This meeting today with a dozen so-called experts in their fields was a waste. None of these "learned" humans really knew anything. Of course he ought to be glad for that, but he was tired of the isolation and routine this situation required. He was exhausted from denying his needs.
And he did have needs. It was always this way if he let himself go too long without. He would have to do what must be done if he wanted to continue in his role.
The question, of course, was how. Even as the meeting droned on, as the men around him talked about projects and statistics and governmental regulations, he could wonder only how he would tend to his needs. This site inspection, after all, was scheduled to go on for another two weeks. In the middle of nowhere. Nic didn't dare leave at this critical time, but he also couldn't figure how to manage his problem.
He needed a woman. Badly. By the Fires, he thought he could almost smell one, feel her very real presence just beyond his carefully calm exterior. His skin tingled on alert. It was as if the air in the building crackled with the hot essence of woman. She smelled like heat and flesh and the promise of passion. Damn, but his situation must be worse than he'd thought; he knew only men had been assigned to this remote project site.
If he didn't sink himself into warm female flesh soon, he was likely to explode. And this was not just the wishful thinking of the usual frustrated human male. No, this was serious. If Nic though he might be about to explode, everyone here had good reason to worry. Once his control was lost and he shed this human facade, the truth would be known. He would have to silence them all to keep his secret safe. Nic wasn't just any sex-crazed mortal man, after all.
Nicolai Vladik was a full-fledged Dragon.
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