By Eliza March


A quick glance into the giant mirror just past the potted palms had her ready to run. Thank goodness, the hallway was empty. She turned her back and glanced over her shoulder at the unfamiliar image reflecting back at her in the ceiling-to-floor mirror. Her hair was a mess of uncontrolled platinum curls piled high on her head. Her legs seemed to travel up the length of her body with no end in sight. A hard tug on the short, black leather skirt accomplished nothing. The material barely covered her ass, and the five-inch stilettos made her look like three-quarters of her body was leg and the remainder boobs.

She tried shoving her cleavage back into the bodice of the tiny top with little luck. The effort sent the contents of her purse scattering to the floor, and then she tried to sidestep to the left of her rolling lip gloss. That had her wobbling. Maneuvering in the shoes could get dangerous. She tried squatting very carefully, looked up at her reflection, and caught sight of…Oops, better not do that.

She looked around. The hall was still empty. Footsteps echoed on the marble floor, the sound drawing closer. She kicked the purse into the plants so she could retrieve it with her backside hidden in the foliage. If the quick flash of her undies hadn’t been warning enough, the cool breeze on her behind reminded her she only wore a thong.

Trying to maintain her balance as she rose, she used slow, stilted movements, aimed to appear deliberate and cautious to anyone who might venture by. She tugged once more at her skirt as two men rounded the corner and approached.

She recognized them from the pictures the Council had given her when they’d assigned her to this mission. Her heart pounded when they smiled.

There was no way the men would know her, but she hoped they didn’t sense anything from the wild emotions bubbling inside her, rising so close to the surface a neophyte could read them.

At first, their interest appeared to be no more than typical male awareness as they walked past her, but then one of them paused and turned her way as if he’d recalled something. She froze in place, refusing to look up and start anything.

Keep going, she willed them.

She wasn’t ready to confront her obligation to the Council yet. She turned her glamour down to a mere pilot light and didn’t breathe. They kept moving toward the music, fading into the dark club, but the scent of aroused wolf lingered.

Whew, that was close.

Walking in the spindly shoes presented a problem of sorts, sitting in the skirt would be impossible, and dancing might be disastrous. Her aunt was determined to throw her to the wolves. Literally.

“Damn, Celia, you did this on purpose knowing how short this would be. Are you listening?”

No response whispered in her mind.

“I’m not even as tall as some of the other fae. This skirt wouldn’t cover Rachel’s…well, you know what.”

With the mixed crowd gathering in the club, there appeared to be plenty of opportunities to release her inner resources. Celeste had come to accept her place among the Lore. She just hadn’t expected to face it for the first time half-dressed.

In this outfit, she’d have to be careful, very careful. The vamps would drool over her long, exposed neck. The leopards, lions, and wolves would love all her exposed flesh. The short skirt and the skintight, beacon-red, come-and-get-me tank top revealed way too much.

She rechecked herself in the mirror and groaned. The thin spaghetti straps barely held the top up against her straining breasts. Her erect nipples poked through the material. There was no way she could appear in public, let alone in a place filled with aroused, hungry males of all sorts, in this getup.

She took another backward glance and shook her head. A wild curl escaped her wound-up tresses and gave her an idea. Before the approaching full moon set this month, instinct would drive her to her first sexual experience, ready and willing or not. All males would be wildly attracted to her nature as it grew stronger with each passing night. They couldn’t resist their attraction to her under normal conditions, and under the present circumstances, she’d likely get mauled.

More footsteps and loud laughing. She had to hurry.

She unpinned her hair and let it fall like a curtain of curling, pale waves draping her shoulders. It fell over her breasts, down her back to her hips, and beyond, concealing the faery wings lying flat against her shoulder blades like a colorful tattoo.

The hair would protect her like a veil.

If her true mate didn’t claim her soon…Well, she’d ascend without his help, but she’d be a danger to all other males until she garnered control over her demanding sexual nature.

For some reason, the Council believed this club and its clients with every imaginable sexual preference provided the answer to her dilemma. Yesterday, the Council had confirmed the rumors Celeste had heard over the years, the ones about the prince’s return and her role in the prophecy. Before this moment, she hadn’t been so sure they were right. Now, her physical reaction said otherwise.

Even if she hadn’t recognized the men from their photos, something deep inside her would have known them from their scent.

The music blared, and the low lights inside the bar flashed to the beat. She stepped to the doorway and smiled. Her succubus rose. She liked the music, the lights, and oh, how she loved the scent of males. A plethora of alpha males, Weres, fae, demons, and shifters of all sorts, a veritable feast for her feminine wiles.

They all turned their attention in her direction when she entered the club. Celeste pushed her succubus nature beneath her wolf and dimmed her fae glamour. Looking at the hungry expressions on the faces staring at her, she was certain one of these men would gladly volunteer to ease her needs if that became necessary. For now, she wondered if she could handle letting destiny decide her life-mate, especially after glancing around the bar and seeing all the delicious possibilities. Hell, she might technically be a virgin, but she’d always had a good imagination.