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Title: Wild Flame
Series: Chiasson #4
Release Date: May 18, 2015
New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant returns to the Louisiana bayous in the fourth book of her searing Chiasson series filled with breathtaking romance and the mysticism of the paranormal
EVIL’S GRAND SCHEME…
Ivy Pierce has had a harder life than most. She suffered tragedy at a young age then spent the next eleven years in and out of hospitals fighting an illness doctors couldn’t identify while watching her mother make sacrifices to take care of her. When Ivy finally gets better, she resigns herself to the fact that she can either have health or love, always afraid that the illness will return. Ivy never wants to burden anyone again, so she makes sure to keep everyone at arm’s length. That is until Fate intervenes and puts her on a collision course with a gorgeous, charismatic Hunter who makes her blood burn and her heart skip a beat whenever he’s near. Her biggest battle, however, may be learning that she’s worth saving.
FATE’S BIGGER PLAN…
Christian Chiasson dreamed of finding his soul mate – until the night his parents died. His father’s bellow of grief that reverberated through the bayou has haunted Christian ever since. To keep his heart safe, Christian is content to let his brothers find romance and continue the family line. Although when Christian crosses paths with a beautiful and brave woman being hunted by minions of the Demon of Souls, he’s drawn to her in a way that cannot be explained. He suddenly finds that he would walk through the fires of Hell if it means she could live. Now that he’s found her, Christian can’t imagine life without her.
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Nights off were one of his simple pleasures. Christian blew out a breath as he put his truck in park and slid out of the seat. Shutting the door behind him, he looked at the sign that read Joel’s Place.
Normally, he would spend his night off at home. But since the house he shared with his three brothers now also had their women, he preferred some time alone.
Christian walked to the building and opened the door. He was immediately blasted with music and laughter. Stepping inside, he let his gaze wander the place. It might be his night off, but he was a Chiasson, which meant he was always working. The supernatural never took a day off.
He made his way to the bar and ordered a beer as he continued to survey the people. Ghosts, demons, vampires, witches, werewolves. If they preyed on the innocent, then the Chiassons hunted – and killed – them.
His family had been protecting the parish for generations, and thanks to his brothers finding love, that would continue with future generations.
Christian’s thoughts went to his sister, Riley. She was supposed to get out of the life. Not become a hunter. It’s why he and his brothers had all agreed to send her away to college.
But they should’ve paid more attention when she called. Should have picked up on the clues. Riley was a Chiasson to the core. Stubborn, independent, and determined. She was no longer in Austin, Texas. No longer safe at school. And that fact worried Christian as nothing else could. Riley was smart, strong, and beautiful, but she also had a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Their family had enemies. Enemies who had already tried to kill them.
“Hey,” Sherriff Marshall Ducet said as he took the seat next to Christian.
Christian nodded in greeting. “You really come here often?”
“Yeah.” Marshall looked around and shrugged. “It’s a nice place. No…unwanteds here.”
Marshall was a transplant from New Orleans. He’d left the city to get away from the supernatural, only to land himself smack in the middle of one of the other places in North America they all flocked to.
“Plenty of pretty women,” Marshall said, wiggling his eyebrows.
Christian glanced at the two women shooting pool who kept eyeing him. They were attractive. Either one would do nicely as his bed partner for the night.
Emphasis on the night. Unlike Vincent, Lincoln, and Beau, Christian would do whatever it took to ensure that he didn’t fall in love.
“One for each of us,” Marshall said.
Christian snorted. “Find your own. Those two are mine.”
“You’re a braver man than I if you want to take two women to your bed.”
“What’s the matter, Marshall? Worried you couldn’t please both of them?” Christian asked as he turned his head back to the sheriff.
That’s when his gaze snagged on a vision with pale brown curls that fell past her shoulders. She was wearing a white shirt that showed off her bronze skin and dipped low enough in the front to give a glimpse of cleavage.
Christian leaned to the side to see more of her and took in her faded jeans and cowboy boots. She waved at someone, and Christian quickly followed her line of sight to see one of the female bartenders return the wave.
Curls smiled, her face lighting up as she walked to a barstool and sat at the corner of the bar, giving Christian a perfect view of her.
His body responded instantly, causing his balls to tighten in need. Christian brought his beer to his lips and drank deeply as he took in her oval face and large eyes. Unfortunately, the dim lighting of the bar prevented him from seeing the exact shade.
With her full lips, delicate jaw, stubborn chin, and slender neck, Curls wasn’t just pretty – she was intriguing.
“Ah, I see someone has caught your eye,” Marshall said.
Christian pulled his gaze away from the woman. “Just checking things out.”
“Right. Adding another to your stable?”
Curls was the kind of woman he would want all to himself. No sharing there. “Yep.”
Marshall snorted. “Want to play a game of pool?”
“Sure.” Christian took another drink of beer and spun around on the stool to follow Marshall.
Marshall racked the balls while Christian set aside his beer and grabbed a cue stick. Fate had brought Marshall into their lives, but Christian was glad they had someone they could trust in a seat of power.
Few people of the parish actually knew what Christian’s family did, but there were some that joined in on a hunt when needed. Though the majority didn’t have a clue that the Chiassons had saved their hides on multiple occasions, they seemed to realize the brothers were dangerous.
Dangerous didn’t even begin to cover what they were. What kind of man brought a woman into such a family with the constant threat of death? His brothers might be willing to do it, but not him.
He remembered all too well his mother’s murder and his father’s death all those years ago. Those memories were enough to ensure that Christian remained alone. There was little time to protect everyone in the town. Why would he add a wife and children into the mix?
Only an idiot would do that.
His brothers, obviously, were idiots.
“Any word on Riley?” Marshall asked as he leaned over the pool table to line up his shot.
Christian waited until Marshall broke the balls and watched as two solids went in. “She checked in, but she won’t tell us where she’s at.”
“I can find her.”
Christian was tempted to take him up on the offer. He wasn’t comfortable not knowing where Riley was, but she was a grown woman. She also knew how to take care of herself. “Not yet. But it may come to that.”
“She’s not with anyone is she?” Marshall asked right before he took his next shot.
Christian narrowed his gaze on the sheriff. “I like you, Marshall, and that’s the only reason I’m giving you this one warning to stay away from my sister.”
Marshall straightened, grinning, his gray eyes crinkling at the corners. “Worried she might like me?”
“Yep. Then I’d have to kill you.” Christian knew how beautiful his sister was, but the Chiasson’s reputation kept the boys away from her while she still lived in Lyons Point.
Christian didn’t want to think about what she had been doing while away. He closed his eyes to try and block out the mental image, but it was already there.
“You could try,” Marshall said and ran a hand through his short, black hair.
Christian opened his eyes to focus on the green felt of the pool table. He looked at the balls and bent to line up his shot, but his gaze lifted to the bar and landed on Curls.
She had a drink in hand. It wasn’t some frilly mixed drink, nor was it a beer. If he had to guess by the glass and color, it was bourbon. Not a drink he expected to see in Curls’ hand.
Christian returned his concentration to the pool table. He lined up his cue and took his shot — the same time Curls laughed. The sound went straight to his cock, causing him to jerk his stick just as it made contact with the ball.
He straightened as none of his balls went into the pockets. Frustrated in more ways than one, he lifted his gaze to Curls and listened to more of her laughter.
Marshall clapped him on the back and leaned in to whisper, “I’m liking your distraction.”
No matter how many times Christian tried to concentrate on the game, Curls pulled his attention away time and again. Three games – and a hundred and fifty dollars later – it was obvious he was distracted.
It was after one in the morning, and if Curls hadn’t been there, Christian would’ve already found a bed partner for the night.
But Curls was there.
“Want to go another round?” Marshall asked, laughing.
Christian cut him a dark look. “You’ve taken enough of my money for the night.”
Marshall put away the cue sticks. “Just go talk to her.”
“Why?” he asked in surprise. “You’re obviously attracted to her.”
Christian raised his beer to Marshall and grinned.
They moved back to the bar when others approached the table to play pool.
Marshall had a confused look on his face. “Explain something to me. You were ready to bed those two girls earlier – who left disappointed, by the way – but not this one?”
“You’re on a roll tonight, Sheriff. Tell me, are you a detective or something?” Christian asked sarcastically.
It was Marshall’s turn to glare. “Seriously, Christian. I don’t get it.”
Christian peeled the label from his beer bottle. “You know what my family does. You know the hazards we face daily.”
“I do,” Marshall agreed with a nod.
“It’s just a matter of time before one of those monsters gets us. My brothers are the biggest kinds of dimwitted fools for bringing the women they love into this messed up life we lead.”
Marshall was quiet for a moment. “Your line has to continue.”
“Fortunately, it will. Between Vin, Linc, and Beau, I’ve no doubt there will be many little Chiassons running around soon.”
“Riley, as well.”
Christian shook his head. “Nope. We got her out of this life early enough so that she could lead a normal one. No doubt she’ll have children, but they won’t be fighting monsters like us.”
“You want to be alone?”
Want had nothing to do with it. It was a matter of sanity. Christian knew that if the right kind of woman came along, he would fall in love with her.
He also knew that if he ever did fall in love and lost her, it would kill him. He wasn’t just saving some unknown woman from a worry-filled life, he was preserving himself, as well.
“In a house with six people? How the hell can I ever be alone?” Christian joked.
But Marshall didn’t smile. “It’s no way to live.”
Christian let his fake grin fade. “It’s the only way I’m going to.”
“Do your brothers know?”
“Yeah. They aren’t happy about it, but they’ve come to terms with it.”
Marshall finished his beer and pushed the empty bottle away. “That’s messed up on so many levels. I’m outta here. I’ll see you soon.”
“I’m sure you will.”
Marshall slid off the stool. “If I’m going to live here, I need to know everything. What better way than hangin’ with the Chiassons?”
Christian waved as Marshall walked off. Once the sheriff was gone, his gaze returned to Curls. She was finishing her drink, and he watched as she paid and leaned over the bar to hug her friend. Then she was gone, too.
It was everything Christian could do not to go after her. He was going to make damn sure he never came back to Joel’s Place again. Not when there was a chance Curls could be there.
Christian remained for another fifteen minutes and finished his beer. He declined an offer from a leggy blond and decided to head home.
He walked out of the bar and barely made it halfway to his truck before he caught sight of pale brown curls in the moonlight.