Unleashed [Stalking Royal Blood Book 3]
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by Belladonna Bordeaux
Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica
Description: Unleash your inner sex kitten. Eden Townsend wants nothing more than what her cousin has found--blistering sex. She'll do whatever is necessary to secure an orgasm, even becoming a submissive to the notorious lion tamer, Silas Burke. Silas Burke is still mourning his dead wife, but the heat Eden Townsend radiates is a temptation he's not going to reject. He wants Eden, but in the process he discovers she's a danger to not only his kind, but the entire paranormal world.
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: November 2010
3 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [133 KB]
Reading time: 77-108 min.
Some Wild Spirits Don't Need To Be Tamed
"Welcome back, Silas," Kamiro called from the stage. "Did you have a good holiday?"
"It was good." His tone was tinged with determination. "Refreshing for body, mind and soul, you might say."
Kamiro slowly spun around. Sex appeal practically oozed from her every pore.
They were of a fashion cut from the same cloth. They both loved the thrill of the Cirque. They both had secrets they had to protect and they never focused on their mutated genetics. No, that didn't serve any purpose at all. Adrenaline junkies across the globe hungered for what they'd created; the virginal rush of facing death five nights a week and twice on Saturday.
She hadn't changed an iota since he'd last seen her. She was still the same forthright, risk-taking woman he'd bought Cirque de Seduction with all those years ago. They did have some differences though. Kamiro was a three-hundred-year-old spirit. She'd learned to live between two realms of existence. When in her paranormal state, she was awing and dangerous: a screaming ghost.
His case was only slightly different. Born from one of the few Royal Prides of Werelions left, he grew up around the big cats. It only made sense that he'd become an animal handler. He was six years old the first time he'd entered the cage with his father. Even before then he'd understood that the tigers and lions were a part of his family as much as they were in his blood.
Silas Burke raked his gaze down Kamiro's frame. Love is good for you. Still trim, it was the glow brightening her cheeks that told him she had found her perfect man. It was the twinkle of gem-fire radiating from her hand that caught his attention.
"I heard you've had some excitement. Congratulations."
He couldn't keep the hint of anger out of his voice. Then again, if he couldn't trust Kamiro to understand his pain then who would empathize with him?
"Thank you," Kamiro murmured. "I still miss her." Her gaze roamed over the vaulted ceiling of the theater. "There are days I think I can hear her laughing at you."
Silas knew exactly what she was doing--sharing his grief. He almost wondered if they'd gone to the same psychiatrist, except she wasn't stuck in the anger stage of mourning like he was. Kamiro had moved forward.
"Kamiro, I'm fine," he assured her.
Normalcy went flying out the window the night he'd taken the call from the police stating his wife, Catherine, was injured in an accident and he needed to rush to Mercy Hospital. From that point on, the rest of that night was a whirlwind of variegated shades of gray.
Two minutes too late to say goodbye to her, he went from sad to irate so fast he almost scared himself. Fury became his constant companion, and his worst enemy.
Closure. That's what Dr. Pendragon said he needed to obtain. How the fuck could he close a story when every plot-line sat unresolved?
No way. He couldn't. Not while the hit-and-run driver was still out there. Not with his suspicions still nagging at his psyche.
Deep in his heart he knew the truth, a Paranormal Hunter had mowed her down. How the Hunter had figured out his wife was the weak link in their marriage still eluded him. How the Hunter knew who she was nearly sent him on a feeding frenzy.
He wouldn't ever stop thinking about that night until he was satisfied the asshole got what he or she deserved. A sick sensation filled the pit of his stomach. Even if the stupid cops did arrest someone, Silas didn't think jail would be enough to douse the anger festering inside him. A rage that was giving him an ulcer.
He did recognize what he had been doing for the past year wasn't living. It was going through choreographed motions which resembled life. The fact he couldn't sit and stew forever prompted him to finally return to work. Aside from his own survival instincts, the cats were restless.
"I'm sorry, what?"
Silas heaved a heavy sigh, forcing himself to pay attention to Kamiro. The fact that he'd lost his direction worried him. When dealing with eight-hundred-pound cats, a momentary lapse in judgment could result in a mauling.
"Silas," Kamiro started then broke off. "Are you sure you're ready for all of this?"
Her expression told the story. Worry for him mingled with her concerns for the show and combined to have her second-guessing the safety of his return. Leave it to Kamiro's multifaceted mind to lump personal feelings with business. If he didn't know her as well as he did, he'd peg her as an uppity bitch whose show meant more to her then anything else.
"If not now, then never, Kamiro."
"Alright. Let me show you to your stage."
A bitter laugh wafted from his lips.
"I get my own pedestal?"
"Lucky you," Kamiro teased, her coal-black eyes gleaming from the bright floor lights. "Just be careful you don't fall off of it."
Silas waited until she stood by his side before draping his arm across her shoulders. He walked her up the burgundy-carpeted aisle.
"I'll watch my step, Kamiro. I promise."
"The hotel's Health and Safety Manager has already stopped by twice. Morgan wants to be sure everything is up to code before you bring your kitties in."
"Your fiance doesn't fool around, does he?"
Silas didn't blame Morgan Townsend for going the extra mile. Hell, if their positions were reversed, he'd do the same. Nobody, not even the President of the United States, wanted more for his show. It wasn't anything new, either. He demanded his show be absolutely thrilling and completely safe.
"It has something to do with insurance premiums," Kamiro joked. "You'll like Eden. She's hard but fair."
"Eden Townsend, the hotels dedicated, 'wash your hands', and 'don't ever attempt that stunt again' woman. You should have seen her go over the rigging when we first performed at the Chicago Hotel. I swear my ears are still ringing from her infernal questions. The entire interview lasted six hours."
"A woman is in charge of the division?"
Will wonders never cease? He headed for the center set of doors at the top of the incline. More often than not the heads of the watchdog divisions were men. They'd ask a few things, sign off on the form, then head back to the closets they came from.
"It should make things interesting."
"Silas, we've been friends for about forever so I'm going to warn you ahead of time. This is a family-owned business. You'll meet a lot of Townsends here. Some of them are just starting out; others have been at this since birth. I guess the closest comparison I can come up with is 'trial by familial fire'. According to Morgan, the policy is to give the newest family employee the worst job and see if they can perform."
"What happens if they can't pass muster?"
"They give them another job."
"No boot to the curb?"
"I haven't met a Townsend yet who doesn't work for the chain. Most of them are a little uptight, but you gotta remember, this is their legacy. Give them some time and space, they'll thaw out eventually."
Silas heard himself chuckle. A rusty sound indeed.
"I'll keep that in mind."
Little did he know Eden Townsend epitomized ice maiden. It wasn't until the auditorium door banged shut that he realized Kamiro had understated her warning. His first impression was that she hadn't aspired to a lofty position. He blamed that on his initial estimate of her age.
Who would have guessed she was old, perhaps late forties?
He reminded himself that she was the head of this division for a major hotel chain. Seniority had few benefits. In his opinion, rudeness wasn't one of them.
Her clothes, reminiscent of the queen's dowdy suits, reinforced his misconception. Nor did her hairstyle soften the brutality of her sharp features. He started his inspection at the top of her mousy brown hair scraped back in a bun. After his once-over, he quelled the urge to snort. Instead of delivering the lady a proper insult, he returned his attention to inspecting the sixteen-foot-high polished steel cage.
"May I help you?"
"You're late," she snapped, her heavy steps echoing throughout the empty theater.
"My plane was delayed," he returned in the same bland tone she'd used.
"I could care less if you traveled via carrier pigeon. I expect punctuality."
"Would you like me to get a note from air traffic control next time? Perhaps the weather bureau could provide you with a convincing reason why airplanes aren't allowed to depart during a blizzard."
"Mr. Burke, your attitude could use some adjustment."
She slammed a clipboard down on the polished boards of the stage floor then slid it to him.
Silas stopped the item's skid with his foot, never taking his eyes off of the welded hinges.
"Fill out the questionnaire. Return it ASAP. Miss Livingston can direct you to the corporate floor."
"As you wish, your highness." Silas sneered at her, offended by how Eden Townsend slurred Kamiro's surname. What the hell was her problem?
"When do you expect your coworkers to arrive?" she asked, sounding ready to choke on her tongue.
"My what?" he inquired, pushing the woman's buttons.
"Your..." She pointed her finger at the cage. "Associates."
"There is no need for political correctness. My pets could care less if you called them lions or tigers or alligators as long as you are not late with their supper." He let his sentence hang for a poignant pause. "The big cats will arrive once I am certain this cage is up to my standards."
"That cage was built according to the industry standards."
"This cage is the only thing that stands between the audience and ten predators. It will pass my review or I go home."
"Of all the nerve."
Silas watched her walk away, her wide ass jiggling with every frustrated stomp of her serviceable pumps.
"This is going to be hell."
Eden Townsend knew what her problem was. Hell, she could even pinpoint the exact moment her safe, little world was irrevocably changed. The day she met Kamiro and heard about what she was doing with her cousin, Morgan Townsend.
Who would have thought a stiff shirt like Morgan would ever go for menage a trois?
After reprimanding two maid's chitchatting in the hall, she was ill prepared for her physical reaction wrought from their lewd gossip. It was almost as if something had snapped inside her. She wanted what Morgan had found.
Blazing hot. Ride the wilder side of sex.
But, for now, she'd have to push the throb clenching her vagina away. She excused her terse behavior with a sharp, I'm just tired. At least it wasn't a lie. The stupid pulse wouldn't let go of her crotch to the point that it woke her up at night.
Part of the problem was her long days. The fourteen-hour stretches had done detrimental damage to her social life. Hell, her last boyfriend had made it clear that if she kept up with her schedule of meeting after meeting and racing around for her cousins, she'd end up a bitter old woman with only a vibrator to keep her company.
First problem, she remembered telling the oaf of a bastard, Thomas Pettyton, she had no desire to get herself off with a piece of plastic. Just the notion was so below her upper crust rearing. She'd felt ready to fly apart at the seams when he had had the audacity to snort at her. The second flaw in his argument was assuming the wealth of the Townsend Estate didn't guarantee her a husband.
Of course it did. It was also apparent that Thomas could have cared less what she thought.
It was the bane of their relationship. Distrust. Covert emotional abuse. Demeaning arguments. She knew what he was doing behind her back. His tawdry affairs easy to trace since he never thought long term, but here and now.
Granted her own father was notorious for the 'hot tamales' he kept on the sly. Her mother merely shrugged away her husband's indiscretions with a soft sigh from her Botox-enhanced pouty lips. If the affair struck particularly close to home, such as her father had screwed one of the employees or her mom's hairdresser, her mother threw herself into day-long shopping sprees.
Retail therapy was her mother's psychiatric solution to all the world's woes. A bad habit Eden had picked up. She had shopped until she couldn't fit any more clothes in all the closets in her apartment. At last count, she had over a hundred pairs of shoes and handbags to match.
She knew she had to stop the cycle. She simply didn't know how. Christ, it had taken her the better part of a year to learn how to think a curse instead of blurting out the first words she thought.
The whole jargon change was part of her job, but it served dual purposes. What man would want a woman who spewed four letter words like a punk kid? None from her station in life. She'd nearly bought out Macy's during that transformation.
There had to be more in her life.
She'd heard those damn maids whispering. The only upside to the revelation was hot sex would cost her a hell of a lot less. Her nipples hardened as an image of her getting a guy who knew how to screw popped into her head. Also, she wouldn't have to fake another orgasm which she considered a real plus. She'd have a real orgasm!
Eden thrust the thoughts away--again.
How would it look for the head of the Townsend Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping inner city kids escape their humble beginnings, to suddenly want kinky sex? It would look bad. Really bad.
It would be especially disastrous if the news got out to the press that her new drug of choice was illicit sex. No doubt about it, the cops would be beating down the doors in search of evidence that she was also a pedophile. That would definitely nail the family's coffin shut permanently.
Daydreaming however was both free and safe. Unfortunately, she'd wasted enough energy already on fantasies. It was time to get over it.
Eden stared at the airy, open floor plan of her office as she tapped her fingers on top of her ink blotter. Unlike the corporate offices with their heavy baronial furniture, she was given the sunny side of the hotel with decor that shouted 'I'm a happy camper'. She wished.
Eden heaved an exasperated sigh as a new throb rippled through her. What on earth was she going to do about this insane condition?
"Come on, Eden, you aren't that hard up yet."
It was a convincing argument that didn't hold water. She needed a release--yesterday.
A vibrator? Hmm.
Eden opened the cover to her laptop and logged in to the wireless network. Her fingers shook as she typed the word into the search box.
Twice she deleted it before finally hitting the 'go' button.
A knock on the door nearly scared her out of her three-hundred-dollar stiletto heels. She slammed the laptop shut, gasping for air as she rubbed her s sweaty palms down her burgundy pencil skirt.
"Yes," she called, glad her voice didn't quake.
Her secretary's head peeked into her office.
"The lion tamer is on his way up with his paperwork. Do you want to see him?"
"Uh, sure." Eden managed to jerk the words out of her mouth. "Please, send him in when he arrives."
"Ms. Townsend, I reminded you this morning that I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon. I'm about to leave."
"Sorry, Ms. Stern. I totally forgot."
Eden mentally kicked herself for what Ms. Stern considered the downfall of America, poor diction. She forced herself to walk out of her office. She propped her hip on the corner of Ms. Stern's desk, folding her arms across her chest to further hide her hard nipples, then pasted a plasticine smile on her lips.
"I'll meet him here. Good luck at the doctor's."
She could only hope the busybody of a woman was diagnosed with a nonfatal ailment that forced her into early retirement.
"Would you like me to have security escort him?"
"That's not necessary," Eden answered. She blew a wisp of hair away from her eyes. Bad move. Ms. Stern shot her a withering glare. "We'll be fine."
The bang of an office door opening down the hall proved she wasn't all alone on the floor.
"If you are sure?"
"Ms. Stern, I'm not a child."
Except in your opinion. Her secretary, handpicked by her father performed double-duty as a school marm. It had always bothered Eden, but there wasn't anything she could do about it. Part of her said she ought to be happy that her father cared about her well-being. Another part of her, the bigger part, wanted to scream at him that she was twenty-seven years old and didn't need the old battle axe badgering her on etiquette and decorum.
"I'll see you in the morning," Eden said, halting any further discussion on the matter.
"Good afternoon," Ms. Stern responded.
Her pinched face grew even tighter as she raked a scathing glare down Eden's frame.
Eden was never more grateful when Ms. Stern trudged down the hall, her matriarchal handbag caught between her arm and side, her other hand holding her black umbrella.
"Freedom at long last," she whispered.
She turned on the toe of her shoe intent on going back to her Internet search when the ding of the elevator sounded again.
Eden spun around, clasping her hands together in frustration as he walked down the hall.
Holy hell. She started praying on her next panting breath.
Please. Please. Please, send him down here.
She didn't even care if he'd gotten lost. All she wanted was two minutes with him to embellish her fantasies.
If her father ever found out a long-haired, leather-wearing, biker type was her dream guy, he'd have her committed. That would surely send her mother on a shopping spree at Tiffany's. Eden cleared the tightness from her throat with a small cough. She didn't even need to force a smile to her lips.
"Can I help you?"
Mr. Tall, Dark and Oh So Sexy stared at her for a long moment before snapping his gaze to the name plate situated on the desk.
Eden suddenly realized this was a prime opportunity. She could act any way she wanted to. Well, within reason. Still, it was so novel to have him think she was someone else. Hell, she might even get up the guts to ask him a few questions after they got to know each other. Questions involving men and sex.
Stop. If she'd learned anything from her time with Thomas, lies always came to light. "Yes?"
"Ms. Townsend requested I fill this out ASAP."
Eden took the clipboard he held out. His accent sent quivers skittering down her spine. She read the top portion of the questionnaire.
"Silas Thorton Burke."
Whoa. He even had a sexy name to go along with his hot accent.
He had long, auburn hair and a pair of green eyes that could melt any woman's bones. Pair his chiseled facial features with the broad shoulders filling out his cream-colored silk shirt, and, well, she was like a fish dangling from his hook.
Eden closed her eyes to the rejuvenated throb clutching her crotch. She didn't doubt he could give a woman an orgasm. The man screamed masculinity.
"Did you find that the cage fit your needs?"
"It'll have to be modified with an angled screen at the rear, but otherwise, it is perfect."
Angled screen? Angled screen? Think, Eden
"I'm sorry, I don't understand."
"Would it be better if I came back tomorrow when Ms. Townsend is in?"
Eden swallowed hard.
"No." Eden caught herself before shouting at him. "I mean, I handle most of this for the Townsends."
She soothed the spurt of guilt she felt by telling herself it wasn't a bald-faced lie. She had handled this for Morgan since his Health and Safety Director's employment was terminated. Most of the stuff he'd handled was nothing more than common sense and organizational skills. "If you could explain it to me, I'll see if I can deliver."
The Freudian slip broke from her throat before she even realized the connotation it carried. He seemed ignorant to the double entendre.
"Let's talk in here," she said, holding the clipboard toward her office door. She bit her lip to keep from begging him to screw her as she jerked the stiff-backed board to her chest. "It'll be easier for us to talk without the phone's interruption."
He didn't say anything.
Eden walked into her private hell. She knew Ms. Stern had transferred the Foundation's phone lines to the main switchboard before leaving, but the excuse worked to get him into the secluded area. With all the panache she could gather, she walked to the printer and grabbed a blank sheet of paper. Her eyes collided with her laptop as she reached for her fountain pen. As she licked her suddenly dry lips, she saw his left eyebrow rise in silent question.
"Would you mind drawing it out? If I can find it on the 'net before I leave, I'll order it today."
Her eyes trailed his big hand as he drew out the apparatus. Eden surreptitiously blotted the sweat from her brow with the back of her hand as she silently wondered what it would feel like to have his hands on her, in her.
He wrote the name of a distributor at the bottom of the page.
"That should make your life easier."
Her aching heart went into overdrive as he slanted a wolfish grin her way.
What to say?
What to do?
The two questions dominated her psyche.
"How long have you been working with your cats?"
"All of my life."
Eden watched him stand; she nodded her head in an attempt to stop him from leaving. She wasn't any good at seduction, but she didn't have any experience with it either. Her dates came up to her or phoned asking her to join them for dinner. Obviously, her man-trolling skills were sorely lacking
"Maybe I'll see you around."
"Maybe," Silas responded in kind. Their gazes locked. "What are you doing after work?"
"Uh. Uh. Nothing."
She apologized away her stammer and blush with a shy smile.
"Care to join me for supper?"
Oh my God. The hot hunk of manliness was asking her out on a date. She didn't know what to make of it.
"Sure. I get a discount in the main dining room." Eden cringed, recalling that all the Cirque's employees got free meals. So did she, but Ms. Stern did not. Still, she had to keep up the pretense. "Or you could come to my apartment. It's not far."
"Can you cook?"
"I haven't given anybody food poisoning lately," she teased him, knowing carry out was in their future if he chose her apartment. Macaroni and cheese from a box wasn't an aphrodisiac, at least she didn't think it was.
"Why don't we enjoy each other's company downstairs tonight?" Silas offered. He drank in a deep breath, his shirt tightening with the move. "If I'm feeling exceptionally daring after tonight, I might be tempted to try some of your fare."
"Sounds great," Eden agreed, relief flooding her system. It was a miracle she could form a coherent thought. Every inch of her thrummed with anticipation. "I get off at six."
"I'll meet you here," Silas said. "Until then."
"Sounds like a date."
His green gaze strolled leisurely down her frame to where it was hidden by her desk. "Let's call it--getting to know one another."
"Sure," Eden said almost breathless. "See you then."
She blew out a heated breath she wasn't aware she'd been holding.
"Holy Mother of God. I am so screwed."
Her gaze shifted between her office door, the phone on her desk and the laptop. Finally, after what seemed like an hour but was only a few minutes, she flipped open the top to her computer.
"Dear me," she whispered to the list of sites appearing on the screen. It was a veritable smorgasbord of personal pleasure devices.
Going into survival mode, she grabbed the sheet of paper from where she'd laid it on the corner of her desk, typed in the manufacturer's name and had the order placed for the screen in no time at all. Her leg bounced as she picked up her phone. She plucked her vanilla-flavored lip balm from her desk drawer as she dialed Morgan's extension. She slathered her dry lips with the cool cream, the rings droning on and on in her ear. Her heart fell when the tones passed six. She was about to hang up when Morgan's sharply barked greeting of, "What?" cracked against her rioting nerves like a whip.
"Can you come down here for a moment? No, nothing is wrong, I just need some advice."
Correction, I need more than advice. She set the receiver back in its cradle. Eden spun the clipboard around to reread the top section.
What I need is a miracle.