We are so excited to be sharing an expert from THE CALL OF FIRE by Sloane Calder with you today! THE CALL OF FIRE is the first book in a brand new paranormal romance series and will release on December 15th – add it to your TBR today!
About THE CALL OF FIRE
Mother Nature’s children are here to clean up humanity’s messes. But they’ll have to deal with their own disasters first…
Elspeth Lennox arranges the Natura world’s most powerful unions every day. But her own love life? That’s way more complicated. Her bloodline (and lack of elemental powers) ensures she won’t get a fairy tale ending. A mutually beneficial arranged marriage is probably the best she can do. And she’s mostly okay with that…until she meets her inconveniently sexy new bodyguard.
Fire elemental Aleron Foussé will have his revenge. Protecting Elspeth will give him the cover he needs to finally bring down his father’s murderer. Elspeth is just a pawn. He knows that. But knowing doesn’t stop him from wanting. Love, family…things he hasn’t dreamed of in years. Now he wants it all. He wants her. Too bad a union between them is as forbidden as it is ill-timed…
Enemies are circling. The threat of civil war looms large. Only one thing is certain—there’s a lot more at stake than Elspeth and Aleron’s happily ever after. Because when all is said and done, lives will be lost.
They can only hope it’s not theirs...
Elspeth came awake slowly. A low voice pushed through the fog in her brain, something about two seconds and going in, followed by clipped replies.
Several knocks sounded, harder than usual.
She tore back the covers.
“One second,” she yelled, struggling to get her bearings.
Light streamed through the windows. She looked to the clock. Noon? Good Goddess, she’d missed two conference calls, but oddly, she didn’t care. She’d call Egan and have him reschedule, if the warlock extraordinaire hadn’t already handled the issue.
She got out of bed, her head a little spinny, her stomach a tad angry. It all came back, blaring like the sunlight through her windows. Rosewater lightning.
Blessed nectar of the universe. With a morning after sucker punch.
Heading for the door, she swiped a hand across her face, caught a whiff of hangover breath, and did her best at finger combing the mass of tangles in her hair. Nothing her guards hadn’t seen before.
Another series of knocks, less patient this time. She thought briefly of the lie she’d spun—and her guards had bought. Well, not bought, but hadn’t been able to prove otherwise. I went to get gum had somehow worked.
And she’d had a fantastic night out with the one person tied with Lach for Most Awesome Person Ever.
More pounding. Goddess, maybe she should take her entire detail to Freddy’s so they could chill the hell out.
She yanked on the handle.
Big. Unknown. Badass.
She flinched before calling on years of never-let-’em-see-you-sweat self-training.
“Can I help you?”
His gaze drew down her, holding at her legs, and he swallowed hard.
“I’m Aleron Foussé, your new guard from Elite One.” His attention shifted to something behind her.
She looked down at her thighs. Her thighs. Crap.
The sweatshirt barely covered her. Her thoughts spiraled, trying to recall last night when she’d undressed and gotten into bed. The previous evening seemed to end right after she’d given her guards the “I went to buy gum” line. She dared not look down again, so she concentrated on detecting what was beneath the sweatshirt. No bra, but yes! A scrap of material had crept into the wedgie zone.
“Ms. Lennox, the clause in your marriage contract calls for increased security. I need to begin my safety checks and go over your new protocol. It would be best if we begin immediately.”
She locked gazes with the rock-wall man in front of her, wondering why her skin felt like static electricity filled the room. None of the four guards in her regular safety rotation, all of whom had been dealt from the deck of badassery, straight-lined her hackles or launched her pulse into orbit.
“It’d be best, Mr. Foussé, if you waited in the hallway until I’m ready.”
Big frown, and a scowl that threatened to singe her.
“Are you not alone?” He leaned to look behind her.
Great Goddess above, she had so little privacy. He could do his job without digging into her personal life.
“That’s none of your business.”
“It’s most definitely my business. Your safety’s my responsibility, even if it includes your own reckless behavior.”
The door smacked the wall, and he barged in, moving past her with speed and stealth a man his size shouldn’t be capable of.
She followed, hell hot on his biker boot heels as he stormed into the living room, stopping at the entrance to her bedroom. “If you’re not powerful enough to sense another Natura, then I question my grandfather’s use of elite in reference to your guarding capabilities.”
He turned, and something flashed in his eyes. If she’d had element energy, she’d know for sure whether it was anger or reluctant admiration at her challenging him. The moment was too brief, and she didn’t want to dwell on her powerlessness.
“There’s not a Natura within five miles of here,” he scoffed. “I’d suspected a human male.”
Judgmental jerk. So sleeping with humans was frowned upon and viewed as a waste of time since they couldn’t recharge Naturas. She couldn’t either so—
“You’re not going to dictate who’s in my bed. If I had a human male tucked away in my room, it’s definitely not your business.”
She looked to the fireplace, swearing she’d heard a crackle, but the logs weren’t lit. Maybe his arrogance had fried the last of her patience.
“Just so we’re clear, any guests have to be approved by me.”
“I’ll let you know who’s stopping by, but they don’t require your approval.” And they never will.
He folded his arms behind him. “If you want to make this difficult, that’s your choice.”
The. Nerve. Of. This. Man.
"You just accused me of having someone in my apartment.” She closed the distance between them, standing just off his boots. “There’s no one here, big boy. Satisfied?”
His gaze locked with hers, challenge ablaze in his eyes. “You need to get dressed so we can get started.”
“Was there a ‘please’ in there somewhere?” She shot him her super-saccharine smile. “I think I missed it.”
He didn’t bite, but he also didn’t budge.
For her part, she wasn’t remotely impressed. Concrete Column Foussé didn’t realize she’d spent her entire life refusing to be intimidated by arrogant Naturas. But she also hadn’t gotten to where she was by being unreasonable.
“I didn’t think anyone would be assigned this fast.” She’d give him that much. “I’ll be ready in ten minutes.”
He moved an inch closer, and she realized her mistake. He intended to take a mile.
“Just so we’re clear, I didn’t think I’d have to worry about a sneaking-out problem. You certainly don’t want the Russians getting wind of it, or you won’t be dealing with just one extra guard.”
Her stomach did an oh-shit dip.
He reached inside his leather jacket and held out a large, shrink-wrapped package of…gum. “I’ll order a case, for both here and the office. That way, you won’t need to go on any more unsanctioned scavenger hunts for vending machines.”
Sure, she was down, but not out, and he wasn’t going to tarnish one of the best nights out she could remember.
“That won’t be necessary. I’ll just make sure to get your approval before I go on a candy run. Sometimes, I need a little sugar.”