Daughter Of The Dragon Princess(5)

By: Nina Croft



The skin down her spine prickled, and she turned quickly, but there was nothing there. No bad guys. Well, apart from the unconscious one in her apartment. But what if he had a partner waiting for her?

She was being paranoid. Still, her hands trembled as she unlocked the car.

“Lily Palmer?”

She whirled around. Two men stood in the glow of the streetlights. Where had they come from? It was way too soon for the police. Besides, they didn’t look like any cops she’d ever met. Both were blond, around her height, with pale grey eyes, almost colorless in the artificial light. Something about them made her skin crawl. Her eyes searched the street behind them, but they were alone.

Swallowing the lump of fear in her throat, she nodded slowly. “Who are you?” she said. “What do you want?”

“My name’s Stark. Let’s just say we’re colleagues of your father.”

She stumbled back, coming up against the side of her car. “My father? You know my father? I don’t understand.”

“Just come with us and we’ll explain everything.”

No freaking way.

When she hesitated, the man reached down and drew a gun from the holster at his side, the barrel extended with what she recognized from the movies as a silencer. Lily went instantly still. Her pulse picked up.

Again.

“I promise, we have no intention of harming you,” Stark said.

His tone was soothing and she didn’t want to be soothed.

What was it about guys and guns tonight? And why the hell would she believe that they didn’t intend harm when they were waving one in her face?

“Yeah, right.” Her gaze flashed to the gun, then down to where her bag hung from her shoulder. She had a gun of her own now, but unfortunately, no way to reach it in time. And no clue how to use it. She was an accountant, for Christ’s sake.

“Is she the one?” the second man asked, breaking the silence.

“Let’s see, shall we?” Stark, reached across and pushed the shoulder of her T-shirt down, revealing the mark.

“Oh, yeah.” He grinned. “She’s the one, all right.”

The touch pulled her out of her shock. “Hey, get your fucking hands off me.”

“Don’t look so fierce. I told you we’re not going to hurt you.”

He was still staring at her arm and suddenly she had to ask, “The mark—what is it?”

He shrugged. “It’s the mark of the Dragon Princess.”

“Who’s the Dragon Princess, and why do I have her mark? And what’s it to do with my father? Who is my father, and how do you know him?” She couldn’t get the questions out fast enough.

He rolled his eyes. “Enough. We’re going to take you to someone who will answer your questions.”

“Take me? Take me where?” She stared from one man to the other. “I don’t think so,” she said slowly. “I’m not going anywhere with you.”

“Stark,” the second man said. “We have company.”

A police patrol car rolled slowly down the street.

Hallelujah!

She almost punched the air. The cavalry, and about time. She’d never been so pleased to see the police in her life. She opened her mouth to yell, as Stark pushed her back against the car and jammed his free hand over her mouth.

The car pulled up outside Lily’s building and two uniformed officers climbed out. They glanced their way and Lily struggled to free herself.

“Shit,” Stark said through gritted teeth. “Stay still.”

She sank her teeth into the hand over her mouth and Stark swore. But the policemen were looking their way now. She kicked out, ramming her heel into Stark’s knee.

Down the street, a trash can burst into flames.

Lily hardly noticed, all her attention focused on getting free. Hands grasped her shoulder from behind, fingers digging into the soft flesh of her arm. She fought, kicking out, clawing at his face, vaguely aware of the police running over. Then the soft pop of a silenced pistol. More fires jumped to life around them. Something pricked her skin, and then…nothing.





Chapter 3





Mal swallowed the last of his beer, put the glass down on the bar, and rubbed the back of his head. An hour later, the wound had almost healed, but he couldn’t believe he’d let down his guard. He should have remembered who her father was. But then, the dragon princesses he’d known in the past would never have had the balls to take a vase to his head.

A goddamn vase. He almost chuckled.

How would Vortigen take to a princess with balls?

Again—badly, he hoped.

He had a hunch things weren’t going to go as smoothly as the King expected. Mal couldn’t be sorry. But first, he had to find her. He took out his cell phone and punched in a number. “Detective Cole?”

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