“Bow before your master!” One of the guards spat an order.
“I bow before no one,” Ciaran muttered without turning. That was one thing he refused to
do. Ever. No matter how many whips sliced his flesh.
Instantly, he felt a fierce blow to his inner knee. His leg bent, and he went down. Ciaran
gritted his teeth at the impact with the hard floor, and before the guard could deliver another
blow, grabbed for the nearest weapon.
Suddenly fire flashed through the space. As one, the guards sank to the ground, bowing
“Enough!” Huge eyes appeared in the air, above them.
Ciaran frowned. Stood up.
The eyes narrowed. Green flames consumed the irises, and for a second he thought the
room would catch fire.
“Out!” A sharp order rang out, and was followed before the echo subsided.
The moment Ciaran was left alone, shadows began swirling, the eyes got smaller, until a
figure stepped out of the darkness. He thought he was prepared for whatever was coming. A two-
headed ogre wouldn’t have surprised him, but when the shadows dissipated, and his eyes locked
with those of the creature he’d been summoned by, he forgot whatever it was he wanted to say.
Her eyes were no longer round, but almond-shaped, slightly tilted downward toward her
straight but narrow nose. Those eyes missed nothing—and right now, they were focused on him.
Not burning, but the way her irises caught the glare of light, it appeared to glow with a cat-like
In vibrant copper-red, the strands that escaped her knee-length braid danced like flames
against her flawless, porcelain skin, conjuring up an image of a fragile, ethereal beauty.
One look at her, and Ciaran knew there was nothing fragile about her. She radiated
power, and he had no trouble seeing why the guards bowed before her. Why everyone was afraid
to even mention her name. The raw energy flowing around her was nothing he’d ever
experienced. No demon he’d met possessed a smidgeon of it.
He was screwed, he concluded, determined to get this over with as quickly as possible.
“What do you want from me?” he demanded, finally coming to his senses.
She approached, no hesitation in her lithe, tall body. It moved with hypnotizing grace,
accentuated by her simple leather pants and top that hugged her like a second skin. If he thought
she had power before, it was nothing compared with the sizzle of energy that shot through him
when she stretched out her hand, and gently touched his cheek.
It took everything he had to keep his body stone-still. He dared not even breathe. He felt
if he did, she could actually bring him to his knees. And as seconds ticked by, her lips curled into
a lazy smile, transforming her face from beautiful to stunning. She was a vision—a vision he
expected to morph into a nightmare at any moment.
That’s when she whispered, “I want to play.”