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Authors: Dannika Dark

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Impulse

BOOK: Impulse
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Also By Dannika Dark:

THE MAGERI SERIES

Sterling

Twist

Impulse

 

NOVELLAS

Closer
(December 7, 2012)

IMPULSE

A Mageri Series Novel

Book 3

 

DANNIKA DARK

All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2012 Dannika Dark

No part of this book may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author. You must not circulate this book in any format. Thank you for respecting the rights of the author.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

 

Cover design by Dannika Dark. All stock purchased.

http://dannikadark.blogspot.com/

Fan page located on Facebook

Acknowledgments:

 

After an especially difficult year, this book wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of too many people to mention. First, to my readers—you guys seriously rock my world. To those who offered support, advice, editing, and direction, you have my gratitude: Teresa Gray, Carissa Cotta, Dan Marr, Kelly Rowlands, Cherrie Moore, Rachel Schneider, Anne Victory, Lea Salazar, Garee Nace, Judie Bouldry, and Michelle Madeen. I can’t thank you all enough.

And a special thanks to my family, who showed me their support when I needed it the most.

The art of love is largely the art of persistence.

- Albert Ellis

Chapter 1

 

The key to a good seduction always begins with a proper fork
. Words Simon often recited whenever he cooked a meal. That man sprinkled innuendos in conversation like table salt.

I wrung my hands together beneath the table dressed with a white linen cloth. A soft glow emanated from stubby candles in red holders, and light floated across the table setting like drops of sunlight. The silverware sparkled, and the ice floating in the water-filled glasses looked like baubles.

A Breed restaurant required advanced reservations—humans went on the waiting list but never got in. Several curious eyes wandered over to my table. Unlike humans, who look away when you meet their glance, most immortals will not—they’ll hold it. By their prolonged stares and low whispers it was obvious they wanted to know my situation. Honestly, so did I.

“Has anyone mentioned how stunning you are when you’re nervous?”

I lifted my eyes to a tall, intimidating man in a suit jacket. Logan wore his blond hair pulled back and the smooth style drew all my attention to his riveting features. A heavy brow and severe expression greeted me, but so did an amused twitch of his lip.

“Hi, Logan.” I tried to calm the butterflies in my stomach by covering it with my hand, as if he could hear their wings flapping. “Justus dropped me off about ten minutes ago.”

Logan bowed his head. “I’m sorry that I kept you waiting. Family matters,” he said, taking a seat.

Justus wouldn’t have liked that I sat alone for so long, but a Breed establishment has a code of conduct they enforce that makes it neutral ground.

I brushed my hand over my black dress and crossed my ankles. “This is really… unexpected.” The waiter breezed by with a bottle of champagne.

He watched me lick my lips and a subtle flavor of raspberries touched the tip of my tongue from the new lipstick. Not something I wore often, but when Logan said he was taking me out somewhere nice, I went into panic mode at the department store.

The black dress set off the sultry color of my dark hair, which fell loose across my shoulders. The summer was unseasonably cool and my summer glow was fading to a soft cream with a hint of honey. My green eyes were vivid, and paired against the golden amber of Logan’s eyes we looked like a pair of jewels sparkling in the restaurant.

The light accentuated the blond in his hair, but when Logan spent less time in the sun, it darkened. Mine was growing unruly and while Justus offered to pay for a professional cut, I stubbornly refused. Justus was all about image—tailored suits, collectible cars, and expensive furniture. I never knew the spoils of superficial possessions in my human life and saw little reason to start now.

Logan’s suit was the color of winter clouds and beneath the jacket was a casual white button-up shirt. The top two buttons were undone, revealing his warm skin tone. He looked magnificent and his athletic build gave him a formidable appearance, even with the Converse sneakers he wore. I savored a moment to drink him in; Logan Cross exuded a confident demeanor that earned admiring appraisals from a few women sitting near us.

I stroked the edge of my glass, sending drops of water splashing to the table. “If your plan is to wine me and dine me, then that’s as far as it’s going this evening.”

He chuckled the way a man does when he knows a secret he’s unwilling to disclose.

I narrowed my eyes suspiciously. “Why the elaborate show? You know I don’t need all of this.”

He rearranged his place settings and replied, “I’m not about to build a reputation for being a cheap date who courted you on rollerblades.” There was a trace of bruised ego in his tone.

“Yes, but I’ll have that mental image tucked in my memory for the rest of my life, and it’s beautiful.” I lowered my head, letting my hair fall in front of my face to conceal my smile. Watching a six-and-a-half-foot man flapping his arms to keep from falling murdered my chances at selecting our next date location.

“Chitahs are not meant to have wheels on their feet,” he said, tapping an irritated finger on the table.

“Sorry.”

He lifted my chin with the crook of his finger. “If you want to smile, don’t hide it from me, even if it
is
at my expense.” His thumb stroked the curve of my mouth. “You’re not a submissive female, so don’t behave like one.”

In the short time since Logan had begun courting me, I saw compromise and fortitude that elevated him to a level of attractiveness that I hadn’t appreciated when we first met. Not that we saw each other very often. There were special circumstances that I fully supported. For the first month, he was preoccupied with a new roommate.

Logan was now a caregiver for Finnegan, a Shifter we rescued from Nero. Finn looked younger than twenty-two, and perhaps he was. His naivety was almost endearing, except that he acquired it from having lived an isolated life.

Shifters had no control over their animal, and that in itself was a huge ordeal. Finn’s wolf attacked Logan on the first night and mangled one of his green chairs. Truthfully, I was never fond of that chair and seeing the stuffing all over the house brought a satisfied smile to my face. Logan’s condo lacked personality, so I conspired with Finn to get him to refurnish it.

Jokingly, of course
.

On our first date, Justus played chaperone. There are no words to describe how awkward that evening was, but Logan seized the opportunity to prove himself to my Ghuardian. We invited him to dinner and Logan took our kitchen hostage and cooked Italian. Two more dates followed, but we spent most of our time on the phone because he was afraid of leaving Finn alone and I insisted that he take care of things at home. Logan knew how important Finn was to me and I suppose he made that his first challenge. Courtship to a male Chitah was more than roses and candy—it was proving his worth.

I unfolded the menu and gasped at the prices.

“Logan, this is too much,” I scolded, two seconds from scooting my chair back and leaving.

He leaned forward on his elbows and the candlelight smoldered in the depths of his black-rimmed eyes. “This is not up for debate. Order something or I’ll select the most expensive nine-course meal they offer,” he said, lifting my menu from the table in irritation. I snatched it from his hands and he concealed a smile behind a closed fist.

When my bowl of soup arrived, Logan was displeased but said nothing as he admired his steak.

“I have news,” he began. “It’s Leo, my brother.”

“Is everything okay?”

Leo was the eldest sibling and Logan respected the hell out of him. They were a family of four brothers, but the only one I’d met was Levi.

“HALO offered him a position,” Logan said, taking a bite of asparagus.

“Does Justus know?”

Logan laughed lightly and licked the prongs of his fork. “Justus recommended him. They have no Chitah representation and my brother had expressed his interest. Leo’s reputation precedes him. The offer came quick.”

HALO operates as an independent organization whose services fall outside of the Mageri or any other governing body. Members exchange information on high-profile crimes. Justus worked long hours in his office, sometimes away from home, going over papers and tracking down the big fish. I never met the other members, but they rarely assembled because of the security risk.

“How come a Chitah never worked for them before?”

Logan furrowed his brow while he sliced into his rare steak. “Years ago there was a Chitah within the group, and he… betrayed them. The elders reprimanded him and not long after, one of the HALO members was assassinated—a Mage. They never found out who was responsible, but rumors circulated that it was one of ours,” he bit out angrily. “It was a turbulent time, and they haven’t offered us representation since. Justus and Leo have grown close in recent conversations and see eye to eye on many issues. Leo has integrity,” he said, talking with his mouth full. “This is a good move for us, Silver. Small actions sever alliances, but it takes great efforts to mend them.”

“One Chitah betrayed HALO and you were all judged for it? It doesn’t seem fair. What happened?”

Logan cleared his throat and sipped the ice water—frozen cubes clinked against the glass. Something in the way he avoided eye contact made me set my spoon down.

“There’s something you’re not telling me,” I said in a low voice. “Since when do we keep secrets?”

He sighed and tapped his finger against the candle holder. “Could we just enjoy the evening?”

I’m such an idiot
, I thought. There was no need to spoil the night with my opinions on the laws. Logan heard enough of that on our phone calls.

I pointed my spoon at him. “To be continued. You know, I may fuss and snarl about all of this,” I said, looking around, “but you really know how to woo a girl. Who knew Logan Cross was such a romantic?” A smile wound up his face that he tried to hide with his fist. “This has
nothing
on your secret cave. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten in a place so—”

My hand bumped the glass of ice water.

“Oh no!” I cried, standing up to catch it, but the water poured across the table onto Logan’s lap and left a damp river of ice between us. I frowned, desperately trying to sop it up and scoop the ice back into the glass when Logan caught my wrist.

“Sit down. It’s only water.”

Our eyes met. I had a reputation for knocking over drinks, but an old feeling I didn’t care for struck me unexpectedly. Had I done something like this with my ex, a severe remark would have come my way, pointing out my stupidity and need to make a spectacle of myself. I waited for his reaction.

Logan’s fingers rested on my racing pulse and his eyes flicked up to mine. Something stirred in those golden depths.

“I didn’t mean to ruin everything,” I said.

He lifted my hand, opened my fingers, and kissed my palm. Slowly.

“I needed cooling off,” he said. “You’ve done nothing wrong and we both know it. Please sit,” he asked, tilting his head toward my chair.

I eased back into my seat and noticed a slow burn in his gaze.

“That male will never harm you again.”

BOOK: Impulse
13.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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