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|Ryan, Cassie - Trio of Seduction|
I'm smiling. That should scare the hell out of you.
Kiera Matthews took a deep breath and prayed for patience. She knew her temper was already on full simmer when she started thinking in sarcastic quotes.
"It's only because of your past assistance to our people that I don't report you to the council at once." Council Member Danen stood before her, all five feet nothing of impotent arrogance.
Simmer flashed to near boil, and Kiera resisted the urge to scream. But she couldn't quite stop her eyes from narrowing at the rail-thin man with the dour expression who stood before her. She supposed she should be thankful he had agreed to meet with her at all-even in the middle of a deserted parking lot at midnight.
The council was not only arrogant, but they also had a tendency toward drama.
"Bullshit, Danen." Kiera took a step forward, invading his personal space. "The only reason any of you put up with me is because I'm the only doctor willing to treat you-regardless of insurance or circumstances that would be best left undiscovered by the human community."
Danen's already knobby chin jutted out farther as he pursed his lips in obvious distaste. "Let's cut through all the preliminaries, Kiera. What exactly do you want?"
"I want the council to listen to reason before it's too late." She fisted her hands at her sides to keep from giving in to the urge to shake the little man. "The civil war happened a quarter of a century ago, Danen. My mother would still be alive if not for the fallout from that." Kiera's temper fed fuel to her rant, and she couldn't seem to stop the flow of words that spilled from her lips. "The Cunts used to be a proud people with a rich heritage before they let Sela put her wishes above the wellbeing of the entire race. In fact, before she started spreading dissension, the Klatch and the Cunts lived in peace as one people-as it was meant to be. Long before the name of our race became synonymous with traitor in the human dialect."
She tucked a wisp of blond hair, which had come loose from her ponytail and fallen across her eyes, behind her ear. "Now you can't even say 'cunt' without it being construed as a serious insult. Don't you think it's time to reevaluate what's best for our species as a whole?"
Danen's gaunt features stiffened, and his already pale skin glistened in the light of the full moon. "You aren't yet twenty-four. Not even old enough for a coming-of-age-even if you were pure blood."
The snub about her split heritage hit hard, and she winced. No matter that she was now a grown woman, the taunts that rang in her ears as she grew up still haunted her.
Danen stared down his sticklike nose at her, while his bloodless lips thinned into nonexistence. "As it is, you are in no position at all to question the council. You've lived on the fringes of our law since you were a teenager-and only because you've been useful as a doctor. You're more human than Cunt. Your mother made that choice for you when she openly married that useless human."
Kiera's anger exploded, and a vivid picture of throttling the little man sprang into her mind. "My mother was a full-blooded Cunt, you little bastard-"
Shouts broke through the still air of the stifling Phoenix night, cutting off her words and rechanneling her anger into self-preservation.
Blue and pink bolts of electricity-the weapons of choice for the Cunts and Klatch, respectively-snaked through the moonlit sky, raising the small hairs on Kiera's arms.
The stench of sulfur hung heavy in the air, and she tasted the tang of ozone on the back of her tongue.
Skin tingled as adrenaline flooded her system, and she crouched into a fighting stance.
Her gaze scanned her surroundings in search of the enemy as training and instinct kicked in.
Thank God for a human marine colonel father who taught his baby girl to kick some ass when needed.
A pink sizzling bolt arced straight for her, and she rolled to the left. A tingling sensation crackled up her right side, nearly stealing her breath. A rush of pure power-no doubt fueled by adrenaline-surged through her as she completed the roll and landed lightly back on the balls of her feet.
"You did this!" Danen screamed behind her, too intent on his own self-righteous fury to duck.
She shifted her balance and, with one leg extended, swept the man's feet out from under him, catching his frail form in her outstretched arms before his head hit the blacktop. "Get down, you arrogant ass! I didn't bring anyone."
Danen shoved out of her embrace, thumping hard on his ass against the blacktop, and then crab walked away from her. "You're a traitor, Kiera Matthews!" He pushed up onto his knees and raised his hands, blu ...