Wyc Kilth, heir to one of the five Ilyrian thrones, has spent years searching for the Mystic prophesied and matched to him. As a child, Bethany was hidden on another world. Now the future of Wyc's people depends on the success of him not only finding her, but convincing her to finish their Mating Rite and return to Ilyria.
Wyc is stunned by the mere sight of Bethany, and her reaction is just as explosive. Though denying his claim on her, she taunts him with the chemistry sizzling between them.
In keeping Bethany safe and fulfilling his mission, Wyc must overcome his ancient enemies, trained slayers, and a traitor within his trusted inner circle. But his most difficult obstacle is Bethany's refusal to accept him as her mate.
Knowing she is unable to ignore the need that rages between them, Wyc uses her desire to bind them together. Again and again, he pulls out her emotions through her body's reaction, determined to work his way so deep into her heart she will have no choice but to accept that he truly is her destiny.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Bethany's Rite by Eve Jameson
"There's a guy in my section who's been tracking you for the past three hours."
Bethany started to turn around, and Donna hissed at her. "Don't look. He'll know we're talking about him."
Letting out an exasperated breath at her friend's drama, she brushed her bangs out of her eyes. Although tonight's crowd was no busier than normal, she was still tired from being called in on her day off yesterday. Last night was the first home game for the local college in this small Midwestern town, and the bar had been a zoo, complete with gorillas and jackasses.
"We are talking about him. If I have a stalker, I'd like to know what he looks like."
Donna snorted. "I wouldn't mind being stalked by him."
"Now I'm really going to look. Which table?" Bethany started to turn again, but Donna grabbed her arm.
"My corner table. Here, I'll let you deliver his drink." Donna plopped a beer onto Bethany's tray next to the other four drinks already there. Bethany immediately placed it back on her friend's tray.
"I have enough work to do. If he's so hot, you go for him."
Tucking a blonde strand of hair behind her ear, Donna let out a long-suffering sigh. "Believe me, I tried. But he barely peels his eyes off you long enough to order a beer. Probably hasn't even noticed that I'm cuter and have bigger boobs." She winked good-naturedly at Bethany and leaned in close. "Why don't you wander back there and let him down easy so I can soothe his broken heart after shift?"
"No thanks." Bethany hoisted her tray up off the bar. She turned, one hand balancing her tray and the other tugging down the ridiculously short black skirt that Barry insisted all his waitresses wear. Said the sexy outfit was good for business. In truth, it didn't hurt her tips any.
"Tell him he's wasting his time if he's waiting on me. I'm not interested."
Without intending to, she found herself scanning the back of the bar as she headed toward her tables. Her movements were jerked to a stop by the dark gaze fastened on her.
Are you sure?
The words--no, not words exactly, more of a distinct impression--floated through her mind. The difference between someone telling her the blanket was soft and touching the cashmere herself. And her mind had just been wrapped in one hell of a blanket. A sensual caress that had her body immediately reacting. Against her will, her nipples tightened and a burning awareness swirled low in her abdomen. Even from across the bar, she could feel heat arcing between them.
In the weak lighting, the man looked huge, dangerous. His body dwarfed the two-person booth he had chosen for his stakeout. Black hair brushed past his shoulders and his mouth alone supplied ample ammunition for countless lust-filled fantasies. The lines of his face were harsh, set off by a heavy five o'clock shadow.
Gorgeous was too nice a word for him, though she couldn't think of another that fit better. Drop-dead, damn sexy maybe. But she wasn't going to go there. Not with that voice, or whatever it was, messing with her head.
She frowned. What was up with that? The long shift was getting to her, letting her imagination run wild. One corner of his mouth tilted up, and she realized she had been staring at him while her thoughts wandered.
He wasn't the average college frat boy who frequented Straight Up. She wasn't interested in them. She wasn't interested in him.
With a toss of her head, she forced her attention back where it belonged. Table seventeen, a four-top waiting for their two beers, a vodka sour and a Coke.
* * * * *
Wyc smiled in pure male appreciation as Bethany turned and wove her way between tables and drunken co-eds. Her heart-shaped ass swayed seductively with each step, and he couldn't wait to have it naked and bent over in front of him. He wanted to reach out and touch her with his mind again. Stroke her fantasies. Hell, from just one simple mental caress, her body had responded as if his hands had already been on her.
Seeing her nipples poke at the front of her tight T-shirt made his hands itch to be filled with her sweet flesh. He'd work those nipples into hard, puckered peaks that begged to be taken into his mouth. Would she like gentle flicks with his tongue or sharp nips with his teeth better? He was impatient to hear the sounds she would make when he put his mouth to work on her. Wanted to feel her passion ignite under his guidance.
With a grimace, he shifted in his seat again. Damn, this had been the longest night of his life. As much as he wanted to clear out the bar, spread and take her on a table, he'd wait. Compared to the years he'd already waited, a few more hours until closing time was nothing.
His line of sight was suddenly interrupted by tits the size of watermelons. The busty brunette leaned close and pressed a cocktail napkin into his hands. Her IQ was likely lower than her bra size, but by the way she licked her silicone-enhanced lips and presented her cleavage when she told him that her cell phone number--good day and night--was on the paper, he doubted she figured intelligence was a determining factor in her appeal. He nodded distractedly and shoved it into his pocket with the other six numbers he'd been given.
She turned to leave, and Wyc ignored the practiced pout from the Midwest's answer to the Rocky Mountains. He scanned the crowd. Bethany's auburn ponytail bobbed between two college boys. Her laughter carried across the crowded room as she expertly avoided their pathetic advances.
Good girl, Bethany. A proprietary satisfaction filled him at her ability to deal with their amateurish come-ons. If she'd been less able to handle them, he would have had to plow into the whole freakin' frat pack, and remaining inconspicuous would be a joke. Hard to stay unnoticed when you redecorate a public bar with broken furniture and bleeding boys.
A half hour before closing, he paid for his final drink and left the bar. He waited, hidden in the shadows next to Bethany's car. She had pointedly ignored him after their brief interaction. He smiled to himself. The woman had a stubborn streak, determination. He liked that. But he'd be damned if he'd let her ignore him again.
Forty-five minutes later, she exited the rear of the building with one of the bouncers. He smothered the growl that gathered in the back of his throat when the man said something that made her smile, spring up to her toes and give him a quick peck on his cheek. Unreasonable or not, he didn't care. Now that he had found her, he didn't want her mouth on any other man. Ever.
The back door opened again, one of the other waitresses yelling for the bouncer. The man gave a parting, two-finger salute and headed back inside.
Bethany walked to her car, digging through her purse for her keys. The woman needed some basic lessons on safety. Walking through a dark parking lot at the back of a bar with her head down and attention on anything other than the surrounding area was stupid. Especially for a woman. His woman. She'd learn to be more careful with herself. He'd make sure of it.
Wyc moved to stand beside her as she stopped beside the driver's side door. "Bethany." He purposely kept his voice low and unthreatening.
She dropped her keys, spun around and let out a startled shriek. Immediately, he moved to reassure her, but she plastered herself against the door of her car and opened her mouth to scream again.
He took half a step back and held up his hands. "I'm not going to hurt you. I just want to talk to you. I've been looking for you for a long time." The fear on her face was slowly replaced by curiosity. He smiled.
He swept assurance across her mind, letting her know she had nothing to fear from him.
Her eyes widened, incredible green eyes that flashed in sudden irritation.
"Is that you? Doing that freaky telepathic thing?"
He raised his eyebrows and let her feel his answer rather than hear it.
"Stop it. However you're doing it, stop it. I refuse to hold a conversation with someone who isn't talking. And if you do that whisper in my head thing again, I'm out of here."
"Okay. But I'd rather not stand in the parking lot to talk. We can take my-- "
"Oh no. I don't know you from Adam, and I am not going anywhere with you."
She stooped down to pick up her keys and Wyc watched the skirt mold as tight as a second skin around her ass and slide up to within an inch of her pussy. He was becoming very fond of that little black skirt.
"Then I'll meet you at your apartment."
She turned to unlock her door and shook her head. "You are insane. And I'm leaving."
He smiled at her naivet?. She could run, but he'd catch her. She could hide, but he'd find her. The better part of his life had been spent searching for her, and now that he'd found her, there was no way in hell he'd let her just walk away. It wasn't only his future at stake here, but the future of his entire race. And suddenly even more important to him--her future, and possibly even her life, hung in the balance as well.