The bad boy Elf of Anfall shifts his way into a Texas Ranger's heart.
Princes of Anfall, Book 2
Prince Senn of Anfall has earned his rep as the player in the family--until one woman, a Great Lander, brings him to his knees. Tara, one of only two gifted shapeshifters left in Anfall, is all Senn craves. Though he could do without her don't-mess-with-Texas attitude.
A newcomer to Anfall, Tara has a lot on her plate as she hides from her abusive husband, learns the truth of her heritage and deals with the sparks that fly between her and Senn as he helps her explore her shapeshifting gifts.
But before they can give in fully to the mutual temptation, the Spirit has predestined a little more work for the royals of Anfall and their friend Tim Emory. Senn, Tara and their companions Tim and Luke must rescue little brother Palin from a new evil. And the ultimate dysfunctional family must face their inner demons as well.
It's business as usual in Anfall--sex, misunderstandings, magic, danger and a whole lotta love.
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March 07, 2008
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Excerpt from Dark Prince of Anfall by Ciar Cullen
A bullet zinged inches from her head. Use angles, don't run in a straight path, Tara reminded herself. At least she was going to make the son of bitch work to kill her, she thought, picking up her pace. She wasn't much of a marksman, but she might be able to slow him down. Tara fired over her shoulder and heard his scream. Her blood ran cold at the sound. A hit! Why couldn't she ever hit a target when she had a clear shot?
Adrenaline shook her from head to toe and the tears flowed as she realized she'd probably killed the gunman. In the distance she heard sirens. Now what? She had possibly killed a man in Mexico. Jail time in a foreign country--it couldn't get much worse than that. She wouldn't be able to explain the guns she had bought on the street, and no one would ever believe her story.
Tara ducked behind a tree and squatted down, digging through her backpack for her compact with shaking hands. "Lovely," she said out loud, looking into the tiny mirror. Her chin was bleeding, she was filthy, her shirt was torn and damn it, she was missing a diamond earring. She pulled off her shirt and soaked it with water from the ubiquitous bottle one had to carry in this part of Mexico. Tara wiped down the gun and tossed it into the woods, then wiped the blood, tears and sweat from her face and arms. She was reaching for a clean tank top when a shadow fell across her and brought her cool relief from the scorching sun. She looked up and squinted.
He was big, he was gorgeous, and he looked very concerned.
"What the hell's going on?"
He didn't try to hide his examination of her breasts, covered in a wisp of white lace. Tara typically wasn't afraid of showing a little skin, but she flushed in embarrassment. Great, now she had a gorgeous masher on her hands.
"Don't shoot me. I'd have to defend myself." His presence stirred an odd feeling in Tara's gut. It wasn't simply because he was a hunk, she thought. Her nerve endings tingled in excitement and something more--fear? No, premonition. She'd felt it before, when time seemed to stop for a moment. Like d�j� vu, only forward. He radiated a calm power that made her think he probably could defend himself barehanded against a gun.
"I'm not going to shoot you," Tara whispered, pulling on her top. "And I'm not looking for a savior right now. Unless you're the law, please move along. You're a six-foot tall sign pointing down at me." She heard voices coming from the jungle and knew the local cops were going to arrive any moment. "Please go."
"Five eleven," he corrected.
He surprised her, pulling her upright with one strong arm. He held her hand and she felt a shot of energy go straight up her arm. Tara glanced at him, but he didn't acknowledge feeling the connection. He kept his eyes on the path out of the woods, not even glancing at Tara as they made their way through the trees towards a huge thatched roof palapa. Tara struggled to shove things into her backpack with her free hand as she tried to keep up.
Minutes later, they sat under a tattered umbrella, drinking Coronas at a humble roadside cantina.
"Look," he leaned in and whispered in her ear, "I don't know if I'm going to be able to pull this off. If things start to go bad, I'm going to grab hold of your hand. Don't let go."
His breath felt hot on her neck and he smelled exotic and wonderful. Tara tried to shake off the distraction. She needed to concentrate on escape. She pushed a lime slice into her beer and didn't look up when the cops approached their table. Her mind raced. How could she flee these cops on foot?
"�Se�or, habla Espa�ol?"
"No, sorry. What's up?"
"Have you seen anyone else in the last few minutes? Did you hear anything?"
"No sir, no one but me and my wife, and the tavern proprietor there. Thought I might have heard something, but I couldn't make it out. Sorry."
"And you, Se�ora? You saw nothing unusual?"
"No. What's the problem, officer?" She shielded her eyes against the blazing afternoon sun and took in the young cops for the first time. They looked like boys. Short, tan, good-looking boys.
He ignored her question. "May I ask where you have been? And your destination?"
Her companion put his hand on her arm to silence her. "We were on our way to Cancun, and decided to take a little break," he indicated the sweating metal pail of beer. "Help yourself. Se�or, more ale for the officers, please."
The young officer looked offended. "No, gra�ias, we are on duty. May we see your passport, please?"
"That's back at the hotel. I'm sorry. I didn't know I had to carry that with me."
"Damon. Matt Damon."
Tara choked on her beer. Matt Damon? What the hell was he thinking?
"You also do not have your passport, Mrs. Damon? No other form of ID?"
"That's right, I'm sorry. We were thinking of snorkeling and were afraid to bring too much along--you know, stories about things getting stolen and all."
"And your hotel?"
"Vista del Mar, in Akumal." Tara nearly moaned out loud when he gave the name of her hotel. The officer nodded at his colleague to make notes.
"You should not be driving the rental vehicle without your ID, of course. All right, Mr. Damon, I hope you enjoy your stay in Akumal. Please let us know if you remember seeing anything unusual. Someone wounded a man back near the main highway, and the assailant abandoned his car. If you remember anything, please contact the Playa del Carmen station." He nodded, satisfied, and approached the proprietor, firing off a dozen questions.
"Drink up." Her rescuer breathed out in relief and nodded.
"Matt Damon? Are you out of your mind?"
"Look, I've been out of the country a while. It was the only American name that came to mind."
"Tavern proprietor? Where are you from?"
"He is a tavern proprietor." He shrugged. "I'm from New York. Try to relax a little." He put his hand on top of hers, and she felt the shock again. Her heart skipped a beat. He looked up and Tara realized he felt the electricity as well.
"Oh, man. This is kinda weird. What's your name?"
"Tara. You? Mr. Damon?"
"Tim. Tim Emory."
Tara studied Tim. He seemed a little embarrassed by her examination, but she ignored his discomfort as she took him in. Handsome, very, very handsome. Long auburn hair pulled back into a pony tail. Built, amazing body. Stunning emerald eyes.
"You look a little like my cousin. Around the eyes."
"And you look a little like Marilyn Monroe with a punk haircut."
Tara laughed and he smiled. "Tim--what's going on here? How did you find me back there?"
"I saw most of what happened from a couple of cars behind you. Actually helped you out a little with that shot of yours. You aren't a very good marksman. Why was that guy after you?"
"What do you mean, you helped me out a little?"
He closed his eyes and nodded as if he'd made a decision.
"Let's get out of here and talk. We obviously have some things in common. You felt it?"
Tara nodded. It was rare, the feeling, the connection to someone with the magic, the gifts, her father had called them. This pull of Tim's far surpassed any magic she'd encountered in years.
Not since the palace, the white palace.
She shut her eyes and it all came rushing back. The youngster, long blond hair flowing in the warm breeze, ordering everyone out of the palace compound. He had stirred the air with his fingers, and acres shimmered with his blue and silver energy. Everyone had gasped as he turned a huge gray stone building into a white gleaming complex. What was the boy's name? One of the brothers. The youngest. No, there had been one younger, about her age, with dark hair and huge blue eyes, who followed her around like a puppy. That one scared her with his intensity, and she had always pushed him away.
Uncle Luke picking me up in his strong arms, swinging me around, and making funny noises at me, smacking a kiss on her forehead...
He was enormous, yet gentle. My favorite.
She pushed down fleeting memories of her father and the pain and longing they always stirred. Hawthorne. They called him Hawk.
"Are you okay, Tara?"
Tara nodded and opened her eyes in shock. Tim hadn't spoken aloud. He smiled a little and sighed. "Yes, there's a lot to talk about. Let's get out of here and you can tell me why someone is trying to kill you."
"It's not your problem. But it could become your problem if you catch the bullet meant for me."
Rescue me, Tim Emory. Take me away from this world, save me from Sam.
He stared into her eyes. "Let's get out of here. What's your hotel?"
"Vista del Mar. You already told the cops."
"Shit, sorry, another bad call. First Matt Damon, now this. You'd better pack and check out."
Tara nodded. She hadn't even unpacked. Hadn't laid her head on the same pillow for more than a few nights in a row. The tears built up and she shoved them down for the thousandth time. If you lose it, Sam wins.