Tuesday, December 22, 2015
The Dragon King (Ethereal Foes #4) by Marie Harte
What good is being king if you can’t burn your own rules?
Ethereal Foes, Book 4
In the two years since Jentaron hatched, he’s grown into an adult blue dragon full of the knowledge of his royal predecessors. He’s a true king, even if the other denizens of the Ethereal, those demons, havoc, angels and the like, continue to test him.
But he’s got heavier worries. Namely, an unspeakable danger that threatens all life as the planet knows it. He can feel it, can sense that he’s got a bigger role to play than just pissing off the Ethereal.
With the blood elves and havoc making more trouble than usual, magic no longer flowing freely in the Abyss, and angels massacring everything demonic they can get their holy hands on, the Balance has reached a tipping point. Time to take charge before the rules change.
What’s a dragon to do but create his own chaos? He’ll take a mate or two, instill fear where needed, and finally return dragonkind to the Ordinary—the human lands—where a dragon will decide the fate of the worlds.
Because he’s king, and he says so.
Warning: Contains a dragon king challenged by a devious demon and an alluring, not-so-human human. Expect carnal hunger only a king can satisfy, and heat only a dragon can generate.
Ella Nelson had thought about getting back at her ex-best friend for a solid month. Ever since she’d found out that the pretender had not only cheated her out of a promotion, but stolen out from under her the one man Ella found interesting, she’d been biding her time until the perfect opportunity arose.
Unfortunately, Ella didn’t do revenge. Or exciting. Or sex with a hot guy. She had a bad case of ADD with life. Everything bored her after a while. This was the longest she’d held a job in years, and already she found herself wanting to leave it all behind. Even a need for vengeance had become too dull to put any more than thought into.
I’m the queen of blah.
“Hey, Ella. You ready for that board meeting today?”
“Sure am.” Ella smiled through her teeth. “I’m sure your presentation will knock it out of the park.” Especially since I did all the work.
“We’ll kill ’em dead.”
“And it’ll be messy, I’m sure.” Their old joke felt so appropriate right now. Ella wanted her life to be messy, to mean something. She felt as if she floated past everything, not quite in touch with the world around her. She wasn’t someone others ever looked to for guidance, advice or a relationship. Not like her ex-friend.
Lauren wore a professional A-line skirt and low cut blouse. It said “I’m feminine and sexy, but I want to be taken seriously.” Ella hated her a little for that too, that the woman could wear anything and look like a million bucks. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Lauren ate what she wanted, regularly skipped gym workouts and had any man’s attention for the asking. Which made it questionable as to why she’d come on to Peter when she’d known good and well that Ella liked him.
Of course Peter had welcomed her attention. And sure, Ella had never out and out declared dibs, but she’d talked about him all the time. Lauren knew how she felt. Ella had just about worked up the nerve to ask Peter for a date when she’d heard the unmistakable sounds of Lauren banging his brains out while she stood outside the woman’s apartment, waiting for their weekly movie night.
Now it all seemed suspect, as if Lauren had set herself up to be caught in the act. A way of telling without telling. Sly, subtle and something Ella wished she could pull off. Pesky morals.
She finally understood why so many colleagues seemed to give Lauren the cold shoulder. Not because they were jealous, as Lauren had often complained, but because they’d been the victims of her narcissism. The woman stepped over everyone to get what she wanted. It had only taken Ella a year to learn the truth.
Backstabbing, two-timing, money-grubbing witch. A comforting rage settled deep in her bones like a warm glass of whiskey. Welcomed, smooth and familiar. Anger took her from the doldrums. Only fury made her feel alive—and that was the one thing she had to hold back, because too much anger inside her became a very bad thing.
“After you.” Ella followed Lauren into the conference room and moved to the back with the other peons not important enough to sit with corporate’s big boss, the man who’d come down from Green Bay to visit their satellite office in Plymouth Meeting.
Taking her place with the others, Ella readied her cell phone to record, because she’d said she would and hated to break a promise, and gave Lauren a thumbs up she didn’t mean.
The perky man-stealer smiled and chatted with the bosses. Then the presentation started. Lauren wowed everyone with the slides created courtesy of Ella’s unwavering diligence. She struck the right chords with a sense of humor, charm and obvious physical appeal.
The unfairness of it all built. All the hard work, the unpaid overtime, the hassling with phone calls and outdated computers and effort in hopes of getting that promotion. For what? So Lauren could flaunt her considerable assets and steal it all right out from under her?
The final portion of the meeting started, and something clicked into place inside Ella.
Lauren flashed a toothy smile. “And now, a short video about what Care & Concern Medical Services can do for you.”
Their home health care for the elderly had garnered national attention. They’d even opened a few dozen more centers where those with special needs, as well as the elderly in need of daytime care, could be looked after. Those had been Ella’s brainchild. Ella’s hard work.
Ella should have seen this coming. She and Lauren had never had an issue, because they liked different things. Ella preferred to blend in to the woodwork and offer support. Lauren wanted to be the center of attention and rule the roost.
Ella closed her eyes, unable to stem the freaky headache that would open the door to that other sense she had. The one that spilled secrets most people wanted to hide. Like a diver plunging into the deep end, she stroked deep into the center of Lauren’s private thoughts, the ones Lauren kept hidden, even from herself.
Filled to the brim, Ella needed to direct those private images somewhere else. The idea of revenge became too tempting to ignore, and she shifted those images into the presentation. Though she’d never understood how she could do it, she’d always been able to transform a person’s secrets into a visible manifestation.
Normally uncomfortable with what felt like a curse, today she relished her gift. No longer bored, she felt alive. Angry. Steal my thunder, will you?
“Bravo so far. No wonder your office is in my top five, Brad,” Mr. Kellen directed to Ella’s supervisor, a man susceptible to big blue eyes and bouncy breasts.
“Thanks. But this is all Lauren’s work, isn’t—What is that?”
On the screen, a video of Lauren going down on Peter replaced two old men in wheelchairs. Peter played with her hair while he had her suck him down. Then he had her lick him in all manner of places before she begged him for an assf*** in that whiny, breathy tone that annoyed Ella to no end.
“Oh my God.” Lauren gasped. “That’s not me. It’s not!”
Two more men walked into the bedroom with Lauren and Peter and joined in the fun. The scene had never actually occurred, but deep down, Lauren had wondered what it might be like. Thus, another secret spilled to the big screen.
“Lauren!” Brad sounded shocked.
Ella’s head pounded, but she kept filming with her cell phone, wanting to immortalize the moment. Was it wrong to take comfort in Lauren’s misery?
Who the hell cared?
Mr. Kellen had yet to blink. No one at the table or in the back said anything, likely still in shock at the raw sex onscreen.
“It’s not true,” Lauren said through tears as she fiddled with the computer, trying desperately to shut it off and unplug it.
Not going to work, sweetie. Ella could sometimes affect electronics, and today her gift worked on overdrive, a result of too much stress. Her headache continued to grow, but pleasure over Lauren’s humiliation made the pain more than tolerable.
I should win an Oscar for this production.
The room remained silent, while onscreen moans and groans filled the air. Not one person even pretended to turn away, leave or try to help Lauren turn off the computer.The video scene shifted to Lauren lying in Peter’s arms, still naked, while she laughed about her colleagues at work. Then Peter suggested she don a strap-on and get ready to ride him once more.
Too bad that had also had been fantasy rather than reality.
Despite being attractive, Peter had never seemed too adventurous. Sweet, kind, sexy and hung, sure. Ella mourned the grand size of his cock. He would have been someone to stave the tediousness for a while. But she had a hard time handling nice. Even if he did have a nice package.
She coughed to muffle a snicker.
Now sobbing and at her wit’s end to turn off the video, Lauren scrambled to apologize. “I’m so embarrassed. None of this is real. It had to be Photoshopped or something. They must have edited me into this—this pornographic movie.” She hiccupped. “I’ve never seen any of those men before.”
Ella had to say something. “But, Lauren, isn’t Peter your boyfriend?”
Lauren’s cheeks blanched. “He, well, no. I mean, I know him. But not like that. Someone set me up. None of this is real!”
You got that right, witch.
“I don’t know what to say, Lauren.” Brad’s voice shook. In shock or arousal, Ella couldn’t tell. Her head was about to explode from exerting so much energy into the computer as well as keeping it on.
But she hadn’t had this much fun in ages.
Lauren looked around, as if searching for support, and found none. When her gaze met Ella’s, Ella feigned a sad face and shook her head in disappointment. She stepped aside when Lauren ran out of the room in tears.
The computer finally winked out. No one moved or said anything.
Then one of the women giggled. Others started whispering, then the noise grew deafening.
Ella caught a few loud thoughts. Ha. She’s finally getting hers after diming me out for being late.
Serves her right. My kid was sick a few days, and Miss High and Mighty pulls rank on me then blames me for her report errors. Please.
Take my promotion and this is what you get. Hell, even Ella would have been a better fit. Lord knows she and I both deserved it. Not Lauren Look-at-My-Tits Daley.
Oh man. If I’d known what a freak she is, I wouldn’t have waited so long to ask her out. Wonder if she’d lick my balls like that.
A few other mental rumbles piled on until Ella’s eyes teared up. Her head throbbed and she forced herself to shut down before she risked a bloody nose. But God, had that been worth it.
She followed the excited mob out of the conference room and went back to her cubicle. She didn’t get much work done, but she only had to fake it another hour before she escaped for the day
About The Author
Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way.
She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after.
Visit http://marieharte.com and fall in love.