To Mate an Assassin by Ceri Grenelle
To Mate an Assassin by Ceri Grenelle Publication Date: July 28, 2015 Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Synopsis: Love is her enemy…until his beast sets her free.Cymbeline Kendall’s life is quiet, solitary—until a letter appears in her P.O. box. Then she becomes an Incendiary, a human chosen at birth to be trained to strike like lightning to take out the most dangerous of the Werekind, then fade back into the shadows. She is a weapon only to be used by the leader of North American shifters. But when she learns the Alphar was unseated three years ago, she sets out to find who’s been pulling her trigger. Kerrick Masterson has borne the burden of leadership for only a short time, yet he already feels the Alphar power tempting his soul toward the insanity that destroyed his predecessor. He has no time for the woman who breaks into his compound claiming to be his Incendiary, but his beast insists he make the time—for his mate. In one searing, soul-consuming breath, everything Cymbeline was taught to believe is ripped away. Yet the mystery of who’s been sending her orders remains…and finding the answer could lead to all-out war. Warning: Contains an assassin who doesn’t tolerate those who hurt the weak, and a shifter leader determined to unlock his new mate’s repressed emotions—even if that puts his balls at risk. Explicit sex, violence, and references to abuse that could be rough on sensitive readers.
About Ceri Grenelle
EXCERPTS: To Mate an Assassin by Ceri Grenelle
She crossed her arms, looking away from him in stereotypical female annoyance. It would not behoove her to admit she was enjoying their repartee. He held out one hand to her and stood, having recovered from her rough grip, the other rested against his heart. “I am sorry, Cymbeline. I was teasing again.”
She narrowed her eyes at him, unconvinced by his genial behavior. She knew he was more devil than angel, his mischievous nature all too clear. She possibly liked that a tad more than she should.
“Run with me?” he asked, his hand reaching.
The moment became heavy, weighted with things unsaid and issues greater than the both of them, issues that needed resolving. She wasn’t for him. Not even the howling of her Wolf within her soul could convince her.
“Don’t think,” he said, stepping forward to kiss her forehead. “Just run with me. Nothing more.”
She stepped back, letting the Wolf ’s presence of mind gain an edge. Her Wolf yipped in joy and pressed the shift upon her body. It wasn’t a painful thing as some humans thought. The shift was a magical phenomenon and shifters were made of magic. To shift was light within the soul and joy within the heart.
Cymbeline twisted in on herself, a core of warmth spreading from her heart to touch every corner of her body. She looked down and saw her paws, her red and amber fur, and felt completely at home for the first time since she’d arrived at this topsy-turvy circus. Without a backwards glance she forgot everything around her and just ran.
The dirt was a cloud her paws barely skimmed as her lupine nature dodged between the trees. The grass flying past her legs was cool rain petting her fur. Her Wolf leapt into the air with such joy to be free that she nearly cried. They were whole. Shifted into her Wolf form was the only time Cymbeline felt as if she’d been born to be a shifter not Turned as part of some grand design. She yipped and howled with excitement, completely out of character for her but just so damn fun.
After a few moments Cymbeline remembered there was someone running beside her. She turned her head and there was Kerrick, in all his Alphar glory. He’d chosen a Wolf for his shifted form, a beautiful and grand gray Wolf with eyes as black as coal. It was the gift of the Alphar, why they were the strongest and most dominant of all the shifters. They were true shifters, not stuck in one animal form but blessed with the ability to change into all of them. An impassioned look of triumph graced his face as he ran beside her and she finally allowed herself to feel it. Shifting into her Wolf form broke down one of the few remaining barriers she had erected to keep the full effect of the mating from influencing her emotions. But she felt it now. He was hers. Undeniably and undoubtedly hers. She would never choose another; never need another. And her faith in him was unwavering. He would always be true, always be there for her no matter how much he teased or joked. She’d never had anyone belong to her like that before, and she never would again.
“Is she really your mate?” Rhiannon asked, crossing her arms and looking down at the insentient woman with open disdain. “She’s so...” Her head tilted to the side in perplexed curiosity. “Itty bitty.”
Anyone else and Kerrick would have shot them down a peg or two at the impertinence of the question. After finding their mates, shifters were aggressive and possessive, and as the Alphar, he would be even more so. But this was Rhi, and she was family. She was also a nosy Fox shifter who needed to have her curiosity satisfied and would annoy the hell out of him until he capitulated to her will.
“Yes. My Beast recognized his mate the second she came into focus.” His eyes trailed over the woman. His mate. If she accepted him, the chances of him going crazy from the Alphar power would be minimalized exponentially. If she accepted him, and things weren’t looking very positive after she thought running from him was the better option.
“Kerrick,” Rhi said, not looking him in the eye but at Cymbeline. “She attacked the guards.” She took a deep breath and glanced at him, confident in her opinion, but knowing what could happen if she angered an Alphar regarding his mate. “She’s dangerous.”
“Stop hesitating and just tell me, Rhi.”
“She came here to attack you and she injured ten of our soldiers. I understand she’s your mate, and I know what that means. She comes first. But you are in a delicate position, Kerrick. You’re not a regular alpha or just some dominant, you’re the Alphar. The people of this territory need you and the example you set. The health of the land you rule depends on you and your power. If she turns out to be an enemy...” Rhiannon looked away, her lips a thin line as she struggled with what she had to say, what Kerrick knew he needed to hear. “You can’t abandon your people for her, Kerrick.”
Kerrick stood and held his hand out to Rhiannon, beckoning her to his side of the bed. She came swiftly, never once losing the self-possessed grace she was so well known for. But as she crumpled into his chest, burrowing her head and breathing him in deeply, Kerrick was reminded that he wasn’t the only one who had sacrificed and suffered to bring about change for the territory. Rhiannon may be a stubborn bitch at times, caustic and sarcastic to those close to her, but Kerrick knew her as a child and watched as she left her family to train with him in England. They’d forged an unbreakable bond, Aaron included, and he would never abandon them.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he whispered, nuzzling the top of her head, giving the affection even the most solitary Weres needed.
“You can’t leave your mate.” She looked up at him, confused and in anguish for him. “What if she was contracted by Mara to attack you?”
Kerrick framed her face, comforted by the concern Rhiannon felt for him. “Stop worrying when we don’t even know the situation yet. We’ll cross those bridges when we get to them.”
Rhiannon nodded, pulling away from Kerrick and squaring her shoulders. Her eyes lit devilishly as they looked back up at him. “Your mate kneed you in the balls.”
Kerrick growled, knowing that was not going to be forgotten anytime soon. He liked that his mate hadn’t been afraid of him, knew he needed a woman with strength. He just wished she’d aimed somewhere else. “And she ran from me. Have you ever heard of someone running from their mate after meeting them?”
“I would have run away from your scary face too.” She huffed, using the touch pad on the bedside table to send an order for food down to the kitchen.
“Let me see it,” he said. She’d sensed him approaching, even though his tread was silent as the grave, but hadn’t had the energy to keep running. The Alphar’s shadow appeared before her, not waiting for her compliance before gently taking her hand to examine the wound.
“Shut up. Kiss me. Say it. Let me see it.” She mimicked to his downturned face as he sniffed the cut. “Ever heard of asking?”
“Not when it comes to you, apparently.” He glanced up with a short smile before turning back to her hand.
Her body slumped against the tree, the poison taking hold of her limbs. The Alphar scooped her up into his arms as if she weighed nothing and began to run back towards The Mansion.
“No,” she slurred against his chest. Mmm, he smelled good. “Don’t want to go back.”
“You’ve got Vryk blood in your system.”
“Won’t kill me.” She thought she’d smelled Vryk on the creature that had flung her back into the forest. What the hell was a Vryk doing attacking her? She had never had an issue with any Vryks. In fact she had worked amicably with many in this area in the past.
“No, but it will leave you paralyzed and helpless for about a day.”
“You really are crazy if you want me to leave you¾my mate¾in the middle of a forest crawling with my enemies when paralyzed and vulnerable. Even if you weren’t my mate I wouldn’t do that.”
A horn honked as they reached the road. Cymbeline tried to lift her head and realized she was truly paralyzed when it just lolled with every step the bastard Alphar took. A large, black van was pulled over on the side of the road. A blonde woman in a crisp, navy-blue pants suit leaned against the van and was speaking on a phone as she waved them over.
“Leave me,” Cymbeline mumbled again as her vision turned hazy. He took a rough step and her head lulled towards his chest. She could scent the dark, intangible thing telling her she wanted to stay in his arms, that it was okay to give in to him. Ignoring the whispers, she fought like hell to stay awake. But try as she might to keep her eyes open and her senses keen, she knew she would pass out soon and did not want to be left in the tender care of this man, no matter how amazing he smelled. Seriously, was this natural?
Pissed off with her failing strength, she took out her anger on the closest victim. With the last of her ebbing energy she shot her hand up and smacked the Alphar’s forehead.
He stopped walking, staring down at her incredulously. “You used the last of your strength to slap me?”
She couldn’t speak anymore so she just glared, willing him to let her go with the power of her angry stare. Instead of reacting angrily or haughtily as she’d assumed a man of his status would, he shook his head and grinned, leaning in to place a small yet firm kiss on her forehead.
“Sleep. I swear no harm will come to you.”
Staring into his black eyes as she succumbed to darkness, she almost wanted to believe him. Almost.