Love, like War, will always find a way…
War has shaped every aspect of Irena Soldan’s life—her childhood, her work, her DNA. Unaware she is the genetic host of the second Seal of the Apocalypse, Irena battles for those who cannot fight for themselves as a top human-rights operative for The Omega Consortium, whose charismatic, publicity-loving boss holds a deadly personal agenda.
Chago has always been the quiet one among his warrior Scion brethren—the brooding, combat expert with a hidden soft side. A member of Divinity’s covert special forces, he’s protected humanity for more than a millennium and now his goal is retirement. In exchange for his freedom, Chago agrees to protect Irena against his ancient enemy as his final mission. Expecting a cauldron of female whoop-ass, he instead discovers a harbinger of peace amidst a world of ever-increasing violence.
Despite the cataclysmic circumstances, an undeniable attraction ignites between Chago and Irena. Together, they must unravel the ancient puzzle of the Seals and discover a way to defeat an unstoppable evil before they both become casualties of War.
Irena dropped her gaze and took a sudden interest in her shoes. Funny. She’d been asking herself the same question all night. “And Drake is not my boyfriend.”
“Oh, so he’s just your sex buddy then?”
“He is not my sex buddy!” Her sexual affairs were none of this man’s damn business anyway. Why should he care who she slept with? Still, she couldn’t seem to stop the excuses. “He was … available.”
Cringe. Her overloud pronouncement echoed through the vacant lobby. The words sounded crass, cheap. Things she’d never meant to imply. How could she tell a man she’d met only hours before about the terror of the bombing raids? About the deep, gnawing loss she’d experienced when the Burmese school had been struck by mortar fire. About the unquenchable need to reaffirm life. Those were things he couldn’t possibly comprehend.
The elevator arrived and they both hustled inside. Chago reached to push the button then returned to his corner, his arms crossed and gaze averted. Irena shuffled uncomfortably in her own space and tried to pretend his presence didn’t disturb the hell out of her.
“Look, I’m not easy with my affections, okay?” Shit. There went her mouth again. She didn’t owe this man any explanation for her behavior. So why couldn’t she stop talking? “When you’ve seen the things I have, you need some kind of life affirmation to keep going.”
“Hmmm. Is that what they’re calling it these days?” Irena glanced up to find him focused on the ceiling. She returned to studying the carpet. “Look. I’m a man of war. I understand the need to affirm life.” Chago sighed, stepping closer to rest his hand on the wall beside her head. “But what occurred in that office was not affirming anything except the fact Drake Benedict is a supreme … douchebag.”
Her bottled-up stress erupted into a catharsis of giggles. To hear such an intimidating guy call her boss a douchebag had been the highlight of Irena’s disastrous evening. His poleaxed expression only made Irena laugh harder. Soon helpless tears streamed down her cheeks. “I—I’m sorry. I can’t stop thinking about the look on Drake’s face when you came out of the closet. Priceless!”
He studied her for several moments before cracking a smile of his own. “You really do have shitty taste in men.”
“Beware, mister.” She chucked him on the arm, her giggles subsiding. “For a minute downstairs, I thought you were pretty hot too.”
His gaze narrowed. “Hot?” “Don’t worry. The minute has now passed.” “Maybe your taste is improving, querida.”
Chago moved closer and grasped her chin, raising her gaze to his. His thumb traced over her lips and incited a tingle that nosedived straight between her legs.
Irena’s pulse raced and her throat went arid. The scent of his aftershave, cassis and vanilla, surrounded her. He hovered, allowing her an opportunity to break free. When she didn’t move, Chago closed the miniscule gap between them and his lips brushed softly over hers.
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