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Bear prince Arric Artio is trapped in the human realm with his older brother and sister, unable to return to their homeland because of a curse that limits their power. Communications with his people are limited, but they get messages through. Recent rumors say Lucifer cursed them, and they must recover the talisman – a music box.
Finding the relic is only one step in breaking the curse. The second is to find and bond with his fated mate.
He knows who his mate is and has done everything possible to keep the nephilim, Ambriel Storm, out of his thoughts and his bed. He doesn’t have the patients or the time for a liar and a thief.
The day Brie met Arric, she knew she should have walked away at first sight. But the pull to him is too strong. He has consumed her thoughts and dreams ever since she left him years ago. It’s hard not to think about him when her son looks too much like his father.
The five-year-old has fallen ill due to the curse placed on the factions. She has no choice but to seek out his father for help. But would he forgive her betrayal to save their son and his whole race?
There was a stillness in the air that reminded Arric of a scene right out of a horror movie. The one where every animal and every being in the area were silently waiting for the monster to jump out.
The calm before the storm.
A little cliche, he knew, but there wasn’t any other way to explain the energy in the air. The darkness was closing in.
Arric slid into the back of the SUV while scanning the perimeter. His senses were on alert and his bear was wound so tight the bastard could snap at any moment. But what else was new with the beast.
“Lighten up, brother.” Rylan flashed Arric a grin when he met his brother’s stare in the rearview mirror. The grin would have been unnerving to anyone who did know him, but Arric grew up with the asshole. So, he ignored him.
Rylan was Arric’s older brother—well only brother—and second in line of the Mathrann thorn. While Rylan was a few inches shorter than Arric, he made up for it in stockiness. Where Arric had lean muscles, Ry was muscular. Ry was large even for a bear.
He kept his dark brown hair cut short to his scalp, showing off the hints of a tattoo he got a few months back on a dare. The tat was of his bear breaking out of his skull. The 3D effect and the detail were the best Arric ever seen.
“Yes, Arric, relax.” A delicate hand settled on his knee, making his bear recoil and release a low rumble in his chest. The beast didn’t like females to touch them. Well, not all females. There was one he wanted to claim, and he was pissed that Arric wasn’t tracking her down.
Shaking his head, Arric picked up the female’s hand and returned it to its owner. “We’re late, no thanks to the unexpected stop to get ice cream. I could hear your father’s annoyance through the text.”
Katerina Sanchez was beautiful with long legs, full breasts, and the classic modest curvy figure. She turned heads everywhere she went and she loved the attention. Miss. Sanchez was also the daughter of a local mob boss and under the protection of Artio Security Agency.
She laughed like annoying her father was her favorite pastime. Arric had no doubt that it was. She reached over and again touched him. This time it was on his forearm. “Daddy will get over it.”
He didn’t comment or give her a reaction. Sometimes it was better that way. At times the job was like babysitting a full grown woman with a limitless expense account and the maturity of a ten-year-old. Not to mention she was a spoiled brat.
Normally, Arric’s sister, Tamsin, guarded Katerina, but Sin had other things to do. At least that was what she told Arric. Ry came along because he was bored. Business had been slow lately. Then again it was the off season for Sin City.
Katerina turned slightly on the seat to face him a little more. “Daddy’s hosting a fundraiser in a few weeks.” She leaned closer and walked her fingers up Arric’s arm. “Would you mind escorting me to the event?”
He knew the event she was talking about and she didn’t need a bodyguard for it because it was being held in the family’s home. Security was going to be tight. “I have something planned for that weekend.”
Rylan grunted and when Arric flicked his gaze to him in the mirror Ry had laughter in his eyes. “What kind of fundraiser does a mob boss host? His illegal weapons fund?”
Katerina rolled her eyes and straightened in her seat. “I’ll have you know we do a lot for the children’s hospital and the no-kill animal shelter.”
Well weren’t they the saints of Sin City.
“Rylan will escort you.” Arric rolled down his window about a quarter of an inch. The fresh dry air of Nevada rushed through the crack, pushing away the scent of Katerina’s perfume. She didn’t wear a lot. Then again it didn’t take much with his sensitive nose.
His bear hated her scent with or without perfume.
Not our mate.
Yes, I know that and don’t need to be reminded a hundred times a day.
The bear growled in his head and went back to ignoring him. The latter never lasted longer than a few hours. At least he had some peace for a little while.
The sound of tires squealing and a racing engine growing closer snapped his attention out the back window of the SUV.
“Hold on,” Rylan shouted while at the same time Arric tested Katerina’s seat belt, making sure it would do its job.
She stared at him wide-eyed. “What’s going on?”
He didn’t get to answer before a full size black truck slammed into his side of their vehicle. Rylan cursed as he tried to keep the SUV on four wheels. At the same time, Arric called to his magic and threw up a shield around Katerina. The magical force field would keep her safe from harm. She was, after all, human. Ry and Arric could survive a car crash.
They weren’t the average earth-bound bear shifters. No, they were much more. Being from a magical bear shifter realm gave them powers and abilities stronger than those born in the Earth realm.
Rylan, Sin, and Arric were royals, heirs to the throne, meaning they were more powerful than any of their kind.
Pain ricocheted in Arric’s skull as his head hit the window, shattering it and sending glass flying around him. Fuck. He held on until the SUV stopped rolling and landed on it’s side.
Fortunately, the side lying on the ground was Katerina’s. He glanced at her, accessing her for injuries. She didn’t have any thanks to the magical bubble, but that didn’t stop her from being pissy.
She jerked at the seat belt. “Get me out of here.”
He shook his head. “You stay put.”
Not waiting for a reply, he climbed out the broken window, which slowed him down a little because he was far from a small man.
Standing on the top, well side, of the SUV he glared at the other vehicle. Four males stepped out of it with various weapons. None of them were human. They were a mix of shifters and demons. What the ever-loving fuck was going on?
When they rushed forward, Arric realized Katerina wasn’t their target. Arric and Ry were.
Well, they fucked with the wrong bears. And Arric’s bear was in a feral mood.
He jumped off the SUV and landed on top of one of the demons. They crumbled to the ground and Arric flipped them so he straddled the demon, then slammed his fist into his chest and ripped out his heart.
A scream echoed behind Arric, making him spring to his feet with his teeth bared as a fierce growl erupted from within. Rylan had ripped the head off one of the rogues while they were suspended in the air inside a magical bubble. Arric wouldn’t put it past his brother to start playing kickball with the bubble. Ry liked playing with his food.
The last standing rogue plowed into Arric from the side, but he was too strong for the rogue to knock down. His mistake. Arric might have stumbled a little, being stunned by the impact. Instantly, he threw an arm around the bastard’s neck and squeezed. After a few jerks, the rogue went limp and Arric dropped him.
Ry still had the rogue in a bubble and Arric figured he wanted to question him. Moving to stand next to Ry, Arric studied the male floating in the air. He was a tiger shifter and the lack of magic from any of the rogues told him they were earth-bound shifters and demons. Born without magic.
“Who sent you?”
No response. Arric growled and the tiger didn’t even look at him.
Movement behind Arric made his senses perk up. Katerina’s soft floral perfumed scent drew closer. He glanced over his shoulder at her. His intuition stirred a deep feral growl from him.
“Fuck me, she’s not human after all.” Ry turned to face her with a grin that said he was about to eat her and not in the pleasurable way. At least it wasn’t going to be pleasurable for her.
Arric held up his hand to keep Rylan from charging at her. His bear pushed to take over and would have two effects. The bear would either kill the female instantly or bounce her around like a ball for a few before killing her.
While Ry was the playful one out of the three of them, his bear hated liars and betrayers. Katerina had obviously betrayed them and Arric wanted to know why.
But the more he studied the female the more he realized she wasn’t Katerina. “Who are you and what did you do to Katerina?”
She waved a hand through the air and the illusion spell dropped, revealing a dark hair woman with pale gold eyes. Arric couldn’t place what creature she was. Her energy felt demonic but there was something else mixed in with it. “It will all come together soon enough.”
Then she vanished.
Arric turned and noticed the tiger in the bubble was also gone. “Great. Who the fuck did we piss off this time?”
It wasn’t unusual for them to get into scuffles. Ry liked to flirt and often got a little too friendly with the wrong female. Arric always backed his brother up. Same with Ry and Sin. They had a sibling bond similar to magic twins. But they were triplets. Five years separated him and Ry. Sin was ten years older than Arric.
They protected each other. Hell, they even lived together in a huge-ass house just outside the city.
Thinking about his sister, he pulled out his phone and called her
“Where are you?”
A growl was his answer. She was the oldest of the three of us and hated when Ry and I got protective. That was too bad. She wasn’t just their sister, but the future queen of Mathrann, the bear realm. “At home. There are two guards outside and another one in the house somewhere, following me like a lost puppy. How is Katerina?”
I filled her in on the shit storm and she cursed. “Who did you two piss off this time?”
Why did it have to be us? “It could be someone after you. Take Ry and I out and they can get to you.”
“No, that’s unlikely and stupid when it would easier to take out our guards first.” She paused. “That’s odd.”
The single word was sharp and made Ry drift closer and echo the word just as sharp. “What?”
Arric switched her to speaker as she said, “My magic isn’t working.”
That wasn’t possible. Arric and Ry shared a look, then Ry raised his hand to one of the rogue’s bodies. And nothing happened. His powers were a dark contrast to his playful personality. Ry could control elements, fire included, and make demons puff into black dust with a thought. Our mother called it death magic.
“Ry’s magic isn’t working either.” Arric tried to use his telekinesis to move one of the bodies. Again nothing. “Neither is mine.”
Well, that was fucktastic.