Darkly Loyal [Shifting Sideways #2]
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by Jennah Sharpe
Description: Gabriel Sawyer left his world to escape vengeful rebels and the leader he betrayed. Now, in a new world, he must protect the beautiful artist who holds the entrance key to his world and keep it out of the hands of his tyrannical father. Escaping back to his own world, Gabriel and Bre face the dragons he left behind and ask for their help. Gabriel knows he cannot be the man for Bre, despite how much she insists on loving him. If he can once again trust his own decisions, can he allow himself to love?
eBook Publisher: Cobblestone Press, 2007
eBookwise Release Date: July 2008
3 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [103 KB]
Reading time: 62-87 min.
"...a wonderful addition to her Shifting Sideways series. Ms. Sharpe is a master at making the situations in her stories seem possible! I can't wait to see what she does next."--Steph, Fallen Angel Reviews, 5 ANGELS!
As she rounded the corner of Pocket Avenue and Pape, where the liquor store met the post office, she quite literally crashed into something--or rather, someone. By the low-octave groan that rushed from his chest, she was fairly certain it was a he.
Bre hit the ground and moaned softly, her, her tailbone stinging. The contents of her bag were strewn across the sidewalk.
"God, watch where..." Her accusation drifted off into nothingness as she gazed up at the beautiful male specimen standing over her.
"I'm so sorry." He offered his hand.
"No, it's all right."
"I shouldn't have been in such a hurry." He wiped his brow with his forearm.
Bre reached out to take the broad hand waiting for her. With hardly any effort, the man lifted her to her feet. She couldn't stand straight though, thanks to her bruised tailbone.
Looking up into his face, Bre would have admitted, if she were capable of speech, that this man was one in a million in terms of looks. His soft blond hair touched his shoulders, grazing the collar of his leather jacket. His face was beautifully sculpted, with a hint of fair whiskers dusting his jaw. Calm, steady blue eyes gazed into her face. He'd do anything he could to make amends. She knew it from his eyes.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"I'll be fine. You?"
"Nothing hurt but my pride."
"Good." She glanced to where her belongings were scattered across the concrete.
He reached down to pick up her new book before she could stop him.
"No, really--I'll get everything. You're obviously in a rush. Don't feel you have to stay." Oh God, please stay.
This man was too beautiful to let get away, but Bre was most definitely not good at flirting. She never had been. That's precisely why she was still single, much to her mother's--and on some days, her own--dismay.
Strangely, the man didn't look at her. He simply stared at the cover of the book as if it were an evil entity. She wasn't sure if there was fear or revulsion in his gaze.
"Where did you get this?" His voice was soft and deep. More than anything, she wanted to hear him say her name. No ... to whisper her name.
"I ... I found it," she said. "Someone left it in the diner. The owner said I could take it. Why? Have you read it?"
"No. And neither should you." He continued to scan the book's cover.
Okay. She'd take back everything she'd thought about him. He was obviously a flake.
"Well, here. I'll put it back into my bag." She reached out, expecting him to take the hint and give it to her.
Instead, he hung on to it and turned to her. "No. I'd better keep it."
Panic blossomed in her stomach. Was he a thief? Was this a robbery? It didn't feel like one, but then ... she'd never been robbed before.
"What are you doing?" she asked, grabbing for the book.
He swung away from her. "Don't. You don't understand. This is The Rift. You can't read it. I can explain it, but not here. Not on the street."
"Don't expect me to invite you to go home with me." Bre lifted her eyebrows. "You're hot, but you're also obviously crazy."
She thought she caught the hint of a smile playing at his lips. Mmm, those lips. She wanted to touch them.
"What can I say to make you trust me?" he asked, holding the book tightly against his side.
"Nothing. But I must say, I'm curious. I want to know why you won't give the book back. I just got it." She was aware of the plaintive note in her voice, but she refused to give up easily. She sighed. "Fine, but you have to promise me you won't kill me."
"Okay," he said with a smirk. "I won't kill you. Cross my heart."
"Let's go." What the hell was she doing? He didn't seem like a psychopath, although he was a bit strange. And he was very appealing on the sexual front. Perhaps he'd be interested in her double bed. Nothing wrong with a one-night stand.
"So," he said, as they walked side-by-side toward her townhouse. "You're telling me you just came across this book? No one owns it?"
She glanced at him, noting how tightly he held the book to his chest. She was suddenly jealous of it. Man!
She took a deep breath. "No. Like I said, it was left at the diner."
"What's your name?"
"MacKinnon. Breanne MacKinnon, but everyone calls me Bre. What about you?"
God, the name of an angel. He looked like a fallen one, with his shoulder length hair, leather, and formidable muscles. His name suited him to a "T".
"Gabriel." She played with the sound of it on her tongue. It tasted good.
She led the way up the stairs to her door, produced the key, and walked inside. Holding the door for Gabriel, she let her gaze rove over his body. He had to be at least six four, and his muscular frame was evident right through his clothing. Bre wished she had magical powers to dissolve it. He'd look like a god naked.