(The Blood Realm Series #5)
Genre: M/F, Historical Romance
PRIDE MAKES HIM BOLD ENOUGH TO COVET HER
Ali is a notorious thief, skilled enough to steal whatever his heart desires—except what it desires most. Anara. His fellow criminal would never let him get so close if she suspected he knew who she truly was. But a man can only resist temptation for so long…
PREJUDICE CANNOT HIDE PASSION FOREVER
Princess Anara is a tiger shifter obsessed with redeeming her race. With fierce determination, she’s stealing back the sacred objects of her people, the loss of which cost them the ability to safely convert their mates. Nothing and no one will stand in her way—not even a relentless thief who sees more than he should, and says more than she’s ready to hear…
DUTY AND LOVE BOTH DEMAND SACRIFICE
A dark sorcerer inadvertently gives Ali the leverage he needs to demand Anara’s hand in marriage. He’ll get the wife he’s coveted for so many years, and she will get the chance to finally explore the passion that she’s denied herself for too long. But even with a djinn’s magic at their fingertips, happiness is no guarantee. That which is easily gained is just as easily lost. If they want a future together, they’ll have to fight for it…
The cool night air stung her shame-warmed cheeks as she melted into the darkness and pulled the veil from her face. She wanted to stand there and take the time to center herself, let her heart calm to its normal beat, but she didn’t have that luxury. A thief who lingered at the scene of the crime risked losing her hand. Or worse.
With shaking hands, she took up the handles of the cart she’d left against the support wall of Malik’s home, hidden between two sprawling cypress trees. After one last deep breath to calm herself, she pushed the carpet-laden contraption out of the alley and down the road. The few merchants still out at this hour nodded to her as she passed, but no one paid her any mind. After thirty yards, her shoulders relaxed.
“Allow me to escort you.”
Every nerve in her body tightened, shock stealing her voice. She gaped at Ali as he fell into step beside her, but managed not to trip over her own feet. No one snuck up on her. Certainly no human. Had she been that distracted? That careless? The snarl of warning she expected from her tiger never came. Instead, the beast watching Ali from inside her tilted its head with a strange interest. The thief had managed a perfect ambush and her beast was…impressed.
Anara gritted her teeth, refusing to give him the satisfaction of asking how he’d caught up to her. “No thank you.”
“I insist.” He put a hand on his chest as if he would offer her a bow, then reconsidered. He fidgeted a moment, his lips twitching as if trying to smile, but failing. His shoulders slumped. “I upset you. I didn’t mean to, but I did. You must let me make it up to you.”
“You are drawing attention to us. Go away.” She looked ahead, concentrating on her progress instead of the pleading tone in his voice.
“Not as much attention as a beautiful woman walking home alone at night with a cart full of unsold wares. Really, you should have chosen a smaller inventory. People will think you’re a poor businesswoman.”
Again he fidgeted, and this time Anara spared him a look. Ali wasn’t usually this restless. Her attention caught on a bulge under his caftan and she froze, anger seizing her spine. “Idiot,” she bit out. “You have no wish to escort me home. You only want to use me and my cart as cover for that obvious bulge in your clothes.”
The grin that spread over his mouth then was equal parts amusement and mischievousness. When he spoke again, his voice was lower, suggestive. “It is a noticeable bulge, isn’t it?”
Anara inhaled slowly, holding on to her temper only because making a scene would bring more scrutiny. “Please, go away. I haven’t planned this event with such care only to have a petty thief ruin it by traipsing after me and calling all manner of attention.”
“I am no petty thief,” Ali corrected her. He swept into her path, forcing her to bring her cart to a halt as he gave her a wink from behind a curtain of black hair. “I am a prince of thieves.”
She started to answer that boast with an appropriately scathing retort, but something about the way his attention kept falling to the lower half of her face distracted her. He’d been staring at her lips from the moment he’d stopped her. Why—
He’d never seen her mouth before. Until now, she’d always escaped the heist before he mounted a pursuit, plucking her treasure from its hiding place and vanishing before he’d made his haphazard selection. But this time he’d followed her. Worse, he’d caught her.
Her lips tingled under his scrutiny. No man looked at her unveiled face. Certainly no man was permitted to gawk in such a blatantly…aroused way. Now that she’d noticed, she became painfully aware of the desire perfuming the air between them. She was used to that, used to the interest his body showed her even though he’d never spoken of his attraction in more than a few flirtatious words—light, playful banter. But as he stared at her, his arousal thickened, becoming more real than it had been inside. Or perhaps it only felt deeper because he was looking at her bare face.
Again she waited for her beast to show some sign of anger at his audaciousness. He was little more than a pickpocket—and a human. His bold attention should have been an affront to her beast, an insult that he would put himself forth in such a way, dare to court a Caspian, the rarest of the tiger shifters, blessed with the gift of changing shape by the gods themselves.
But once again, her tiger just stared. Watching. Studying.
Jennifer Blackstream is a USA Today bestselling author of fantasy/paranormal romance. Urban Fantasy will soon be joining her repertoire, and if she doesn’t get hold of the insidious roving gang of plot bunnies, there’s going to be steampunk sprinkled in there too…
To date, Jennifer has two series:
BLOOD PRINCE SERIES (COMPLETE):
Book 1 – Before Midnight
Book 2 – One Bite
Book 3 – Golden Stair
Book 4 – Divine Scales
Book 5 – Beautiful Salvation
Bonus Adventures in the Blood Prince World:
Book 2.5 – What Big Teeth You Have (free when you sign up for mailing list mentioned below)
Book 4.5 – The Pirate’s Witch
Book 5.5 – Dead to Begin With (available only between Thanksgiving and whenever Jennifer takes her Christmas tree down)
BLOOD REALM SERIES (IN PROGRESS SPIN-OFF OF BLOOD PRINCE SERIES):
Book 1 – All for a Rose
Book 2 – Blue Voodoo
Book 3 – The Archer
For news, new releases, and a free copy of What Big Teeth You Have, sign up for Jennifer’s mailing list.
Jennifer has unfailing affection for the authors who have influenced her, including Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, and the sorely missed Sir Terry Pratchett. Her books include humor, romance, and action, with enough darkness to keep things very interesting.
When Jennifer isn’t writing, she can be found re-watching Boondock Saints, Noises Off, or Gross Pointe Blank. With one of those classics in the background, she might also be searching Amazon for something she wants, but doesn’t need (Is there any such thing as a kitchen gadget that isn’t an absolute necessity? And don’t even get me started on office supplies…).