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Doesn’t the guy on the cover look like Michael Weston from Burn Notice, staring down as lightning bolts shoot from his pants? That was my first thought when I saw the cover of Damned, Delicious and Dangerous. This book came out in May of 2008 and was a collaboration among friends. Stories by Lisa Renee Jones and Megan Kerans also appear in this volume.
“…A tale rife with passion, THE DEMON’S LORD CLOAK will leave a reader breathless and counting the hours until their own true loves return. Be prepared for scintillating sex and delectable dialogue, Ms. Devlin writes her own brand of hot happily ever after…”
5 Cups, Heather, Coffee Time Romance
Men of darkness, men of passion…trapped by temptation and bound by desire. No woman can refuse their erotic invitation for sexual pleasure…
Bound and naked, Voletta has every reason to fear the mysterious man holding her in his arms. Instead his brooding presence intrigues her, his hard body excites her—and his rough touch arouses her…
“Seems a shame. A beautiful girl like her.”
The voice, Edgard’s, she remembered, came from right beside her.
“Just get the trunk off the cart,” Martin whispered harshly.
Voletta tried to lift her head, but the movement made her nauseous. She pried open her eyelids and found herself looking down at a rutted track. Graying daylight stabbed like tiny daggers at the back of her eyes.
The air around her was damp and cold. Her skin prickled–she was naked! A fog had rolled in, droplets catching on her breasts and cheeks. The bastards had taken her cloak!
She forced up her head and stared after the men riding atop a cart rolling down a long, steep trail. Then she noticed other things, her hands were tied behind her; a rope was wound around her waist to keep her standing against a pole.
She pulled at the ropes around her wrists to no avail. Should she call out? Naked, she felt terribly vulnerable…human.
Then she heard a sound…soft, measured footfalls.
In front of her a shadowy form appeared beyond a dark iron gate at the end of the trail. The outline of the figure shimmered, then solidified before her widening gaze. She blinked. Maybe the apparition had just been a floating tendril of fog that had given her that impression.
The fog cleared for a moment to reveal the imposing figure of a man.
Voletta’s breath caught. The man stood still, only feet away, his hard-edged face devoid of emotion, his lips drawn into a thin line.
He was tall, his shoulders broad. His hair and eyes black as midnight. The cotte and chausses he wore were equally dark, unrelieved by any embroidery or a bright cuff. He lifted his hands, pushed open the gate, and stepped through it.
“Please,” she whispered. “Untie me.”
“I shall,” he replied, his voice deep, ragged, as though rusty from disuse.
He stepped behind her, and his fingers glanced against her wrists. The ropes fell away.
Voletta turned, ready to flee down the rough trail, but his hand snagged her wrist. Alarmed, she gazed back.
“You don’t understand,” he said slowly. “I know you are frightened, but you must come with me. You are mine, now.”
She tugged her hand hard, but his fingers wrapped tighter around her wrist, and he started to walk back through the gate.
Digging her heels into the ground, she said, “You must release me. Those men kidnapped me. I’m not supposed to be here. I can’t belong to you.”
Silence greeted her outcry, and he forged onward, forcing her to walk behind him or fall to her knees.
“I’m expected. My family will be looking for me,” she lied, shortening her steps only to stumble when he walked faster. He was strong; his fingers banded her wrist like steel. She tried to pry them away, but his grip bit into her flesh, and she gasped.
“You only harm yourself,” he said, his voice as devoid of softness as his clothing and his face.
“I beg your pardon, but you are the one dragging me, sir,” she bit out.
He shot a glance over his shoulder. His eyes peered at her, curiosity easing his dour expression.
“Don’t you fear me?”
“Of course not,” she said, but realized it was true. She didn’t fear him, exactly, but she was wary, and growing increasingly so the further into his demesne they went.
The man grunted and turned away, tugging her behind him.
They continued along, lush grass giving way to slick cobblestone. Above her stretched a tall, imposing keep made of large gray stones. Two menacing towers stood watch at the ends of a long wall. A portcullis, its gate raised, loomed like a great, toothed maw.
Voletta shivered, and her alarm caused her heart to thud loudly in her chest the closer they approached. Despite her creeping trepidation, details began to niggle. No heads appeared above the crenellated curtain wall. No gatekeeper greeted them inside the portcullis. In fact, no one appeared to be inside the bailey as they entered.
And yet, everything was perfectly attended. The cobblestones were clear of falling leaves, the grass beyond the cobblestone perfectly manicured, the iron chain that lifted the portcullis gleamed with oil. As she stared behind her, the gear that lowered the gate began to move and creak, and yet no one stood beside it to work the mechanism.
Again the fog licked in front of her, and in the mist, she saw the outline of a ghostly figure, leaning over the lever he turned.
Cold, afraid now, Voletta quivered, her knees shaking so badly she stumbled behind him and landed on her knees at last.
The dark man halted, his back to her, his hand still clasping her wrist. A sigh escaped him, and he turned. Bending over her, he pushed away her outstretched hands and lifted her into his arms.
Voletta had been close to man a time or two–had felt the hardness of their muscular bodies pressed close to hers, had breathed their hot breath and inhaled the musky scent of them. They’d been pleasant to touch, delicious to kiss.
They’d also been easy to evade when their caresses grew too intimate, too unnerving.
With this one, however, she sensed strength beyond the tensile muscles that held her easily to his chest. His square jaw and straight lips spoke of an inner will that would brook no arguments.
He held her naked, completely vulnerable to his will. That she wasn’t squirming, fighting tooth and nail for her freedom, shocked her–deepened the shivers that pricked her nipples into tight buds.
She had to find the cloak with her special fur, and quickly. This man tempted her to linger and discover just what belonging to him entailed. Voletta guessed his possession would be a carnal form of enslavement. For what woman wouldn’t be drawn by his rugged form and fierce, enigmatic gaze?
However, she’d managed to escape manly lures for a very long time. No matter the fascinating package, she’d just as soon flee before she’d seen him fully unwrapped!
She’d heard the men talking. Her fox’s fur had been sown onto a cloak for a nobleman. This nobleman, she had no doubt. It must rest in the trunk they’d dropped on the trail outside the gate.
“You’ve left the trunk behind,” she said, in a small voice, not wanting to let him see how much it meant, and certainly not wanting to draw his gaze downward. The thought of him staring closely at her body heated her skin.
“The trunk does not concern you,” he murmured, sounding not the least winded by carrying her so far.
“But it contains things that belong to me.”
“I will provide all that you need.”
Her legs squeezed together. He hadn’t purred, hadn’t injected a hint of heat into his voice, but his low, growling words still scraped her nerves raw. “That’s so arrogant! What if there is something that means the world to me inside that trunk?”
He halted on the steps leading into the keep and stared into her eyes. “From this day, I will be your world, your only companion, your only lover.”
A shudder racked her body. He said it so intently, as though making her a promise.
A sudden fullness choked her throat. She read steely determination in his eyes, yet at the same time, she detected a hint of vulnerability beneath that hard gaze. The yearning she sensed pulled her, and she drew back. This man could make her question her need to escape.
Voletta knew in that moment he would never willingly let her go–and part of her, the weak and feminine dimension of her being, was grateful he intended to remove the choice.