Read Tempting the Fire Online

Authors: Sydney Croft

Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Romance, #Erotica, #Adult, #Erotic fiction, #Occult fiction, #Occult & Supernatural, #United States, #Brazil, #Cryptozoology, #Animal communicators, #Rain forests

Tempting the Fire

Praise for the

NOVELS OF

SYDNEY CROFT

Taming the Fire

“Sydney Croft creates a thrilling paranormal read with action and scorching romance at every turn.”

—Darque Reviews

“Totally outstanding … [a] sizzling hot series that has never failed to keep my undivided attention. The collaboration of Sydney Croft is nothing short of brilliant.”

—Fresh Fiction

Seduced by the Storm

“If you like intrigue, espionage, danger and sexy secret agents with psychic abilities, you will love this book—especially when one agent has to disperse a hurricane with sexual energy! Croft’s realistic characters have real, flawed motives that keep the action suspenseful and the sex extra hot.”

—Romantic Times

“Ms. Croft pens a tale where she manages to combine action along with sizzling hot passion. You will not be disappointed in this book, it is a keeper.”

—Night Owl Romance Reviews

Unleashing the Storm

“Red-hot romance and paranormal thrills from the first page to the last! Sydney Croft writes the kinds of books I love to read!”

—LARA ADRIAN, New York Times bestselling author

“The tension, both romantic and plot-driven, was well created and upheld…. This is an author to watch.”

—All About Romance

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“This second book in the ACRO series is fabulously sexy and intriguingly hot. I have become addicted to the collaboration of the two authors known as Sydney Croft, and I’m ready to find out what happens next. Definitely a must-read.”

—Fresh Fiction

“Unleashing the Storm is one of those rare reads where the characters linger long after the story ends. Intense intrigue, action, eroticism and a fascinating world combine to create an enthralling winner. Sydney Croft is a fabulous new talent.”

—CHEYENNE MCCRAY, USA Today bestselling author

Riding the Storm

“In this action-packed, inventive tale, each character’s strengths and weaknesses are more fantastic than the next. The various plots and characters ebb and flow together seamlessly…. Croft redefines sizzle and spark with weather-driven passion.”

—Romantic Times

“Absolutely fabulous!! Riding the Storm has the perfect balance of action/adventure and hot, steamy sex.”

—Fresh Fiction

“Riding the Storm will ride your every fantasy … a power punch of erotic heat, emotion and adventure. Remy takes you on an adventure you won’t soon forget.”

—LORA LEIGH, USA Today bestselling author

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ALSO BY SYDNEY CROFT

RIDING THE STORM

UNLEASHING THE STORM

SEDUCED BY THE STORM

TAMING THE FIRE

HOT NIGHTS, DARK DESIRES

( WITH EDEN BRADLEY AND

STEPHANIE TYLER)

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To all the members of LIST and the Writeminded Reader Loop: You have been enthusiastic, supportive—and, basically, you all rock!

And with thanks to M. Sgt. Richard Walker, who is always there to provide technical support. Our plane crashed nicely with your help!

Big thanks to Gina Scalera, Rosemary Potter and every

bookseller who has supported authors everywhere. We

appreciate all you do!

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Contents

Other Books by this Author

Title Page

Dedication

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

About the Author

Copyright

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Prologue

Chance McCormack had been given his name about three minutes after being born on the floor of a Las Vegas casino, his mom too busy playing craps to care about something as unimportant as labor pains.

“We’re from strong stock—farm stock,” she used to tell Chance, who wouldn’t bring up the fact that she’d never lived remotely close to a farm in her life and that her entire family had been born in Manhattan. But she seemed to enjoy having that make-believe become a part of her life and Chance never had the heart to break her out of fairy-tale mode.

She had a pretty shitty life and if telling stories like that made her happy, he was all for it.

And so Chance had grown up on the edge, skating the thin line between right and wrong and counting on luck of the draw to carry him through.

Today, though, he had a sickening feeling that his luck might’ve run out, had known something was wrong the second he stepped into the goddamned jungle, and it had nothing to do with the tangos waiting in ambush. His SEAL

team had taken care of most of them, cleanly, efficiently and, most important, silently.

So yeah, a typical mission with the typical shit going down, and still, unease sat in his gut like a fucking boulder.

Sweat trickled down his back, when suddenly, inex-fucking-plicably, he shivered.

He heard breathing and it wasn’t his, wasn’t Billy’s or Campbell’s or Joe’s.

No, it was a harsh sound. Inhuman.

He gripped the butt of the rifle so hard his fingers were nearly blue, kept his eyes level to the horizon and tripped before he took three steps.

Billy. The only way he could identify the SEAL was the patch on the uniform.

All that was left of the man beyond the bones was the skin on his face, his mouth stretched into a mask of horror. His eyes were wide open, as if looking over Chance’s shoulder.

As if warning him.

Chance stiffened, held tight to his M14 and turned to face a wall of fetid breath. He readied for the fight of his life, knowing that, for as long as he lived, he would remember the red eyes of the beast staring back at him.

He knew there wasn’t time to scream if he was going to make it out of this alive.

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Chapter One

Sela Kahne sat at her desk, staring at the computer screen and wondering why she hadn’t taken one more day of vacation time. An extra day would have meant another layer of tan on her normally pale skin, another couple of chapters of the latest James Patterson novel read and a few more hours’ reprieve from typing up reports that all said the same thing in conclusion: HOAX.

She sighed heavily and reached for the bag of Skittles she kept on her desk.

She popped two into her mouth and cringed. She’d lost a filling during her vacation and desperately needed to see a dentist.

“ACRO’s dentists are the best in the area,” Torrence Olivia, the only other psychic besides Sela who worked in the agency’s Covert Rare Operatives’

Cryptozoology department, said as she walked by.

“I hate it when you do that,” Sela grumbled, mainly because her own psychic ability was restricted to reading people only during orgasm.

“Hon, I didn’t do anything. You have dentist written on your to-do list.”

Torr tapped the notepad next to the computer with a crimson-painted nail.

“Oh.”

“What’s wrong?” Torrence crossed her arms over her chest, her dark skin contrasting beautifully with her cream blouse. “You just got back from vacation.

You should be vibrant. Unless … was Puerto Rico not as relaxing as it should have been?”

Sela stiffened. “How did you know I was in Puerto Rico?”

“Hello?” Torr tapped her temple. “Psychic.”

She never knew whether or not Torr was kidding when she said things like that, but given that Sela had told everyone, including her immediate boss, Mitch, she was going to the Bahamas, she could only assume that Torrence had gone psychic on her.

“You didn’t tell anyone, did you?” Not that her change of plans had been a huge secret, but she was supposed to have been drinking fruity cocktails on a beach instead of investigating the origins of el chupacabra.

She couldn’t wait to debunk the myth of the “goat sucker” once and for all.

Confirming that the crazy things people believed in were false was a passion of hers, and it made her one of the few cryptozoologists in the field who was in it to disprove mythical creatures’ existence.

And the cryptid she wanted the most to prove didn’t exist was the one highlighted in the book in front of her, Chupacabra: Myth No More. The author, an eccentric, egomaniac billionaire she’d met half a dozen times at cryptozoological society gatherings, claimed to have spent years in the jungles of 9

Central America observing chupacabra behavior like one of those nuts who infiltrated a pack of wolves.

The chupacabra is a solitary creature that will kill others of its kind, though they do appear to mate for life. They give birth toa single offspring, which is capable of living on its own within six months. Males are larger than females, and they mark their territory by spraying scent and clawing trees and fences. Their ability to heal from wounds is nothing short of amazing, something I witnessed after a young female was attacked and nearly killed by a jaguar …

What a freaking blowhard con artist. The book had made Parker Grady a celebrity in the cryptozoological circles, but Sela thought it only made him look like an idiot.

“Earth to Sela …” Torr waved her hand in front of Sela’s face. “I just said I won’t tell anyone about Puerto Rico. It’s not my place.” She shoved her glasses up on her nose. “I’m going down to the lab. Oh, I almost forgot—a messenger delivered that package on your desk. He said after you watch it, you’re supposed to call Dev.”

Dev. The big boss. Head of ACRO, whom she rarely saw … and she preferred it that way. He hadn’t exactly hired her under normal circumstances five years ago, and while she didn’t regret how she’d come to ACRO, she did feel a little sleazy about it.

Twenty-one, cocky and just sure she was smarter than ninety-five percent of the planet’s population, she’d pretty much forced her way into the agency. Only later had she realized that Dev could have taken her apart and made her disappear so completely there wouldn’t have been a trace that she’d ever existed.

For some reason, he hadn’t. He’d played her game, let her believe she had the upper hand … and even after she figured out Dev had been one move ahead of her from the beginning, he never rubbed it in. But he knew she knew. It was in his gorgeous brown eyes every time he saw her.

Stop thinking about it.

She shook out of her past, out of the things she’d done before she’d come to the Crypto department, and opened the padded envelope. Inside was a DVD. She slipped the disk into her computer, entered her individual access code and palmed a handful of Skittles.

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