Dark Ice by Connie Wood
paranormal shifter sensual romance novel (about 58000 words)
Cover Art by Valerie Tibbs
Dane is a polar bear shape shifter, lethal, powerful and seductive. In his ice laden, isolated home, Dane is plagued by dreams of the beautiful woman he cradled in his arms as the Dark Moon descended her world into hell. Now something dark and dangerous stalks the ice fields and Dane will risk his mortal soul to keep his woman safe.
Lea wakes from her dreams, passion still lingering from the mysterious man who devours her nights and now seeps into her days. Can she decipher her nightmares before they consume her? Is the devastating man who visits her darkest hours a man or beast?
As their destinies pull them closer, will their differences push them apart? Danger lurks in the ice fields endangering their lives, hearts and souls.
The street light reflected against the cut-glass door panels as Lea stepped up onto the porch. The scent of flowers filled the still night air and made her light headed as she took a deep steadying breath.
“I don’t have my keys,” she said as she glanced at the door. “Damn, I can’t believe it. I must have left my bag at the hall. We left so quickly it didn’t even cross my mind. Great, there goes my wallet, phone, keys.”
“Okay, give me a moment.” Dane stepped off the porch and disappeared into the darkness of the garden leading toward the side of the house. He made hardly a sound for a man his size. Lea waited for a bang or the sound of breaking glass to show that Dane had broken in. She heard nothing. A moment later the front door clicked open to reveal Dane.
“How did you get in?” she asked.
“I have my ways,” Dane replied, stepping aside to allow Lea to enter.
Lea brushed past him and the bolt of adrenaline that shot through her took her by surprise. The door shut and Lea heard the deadbolt lock. Memories of this afternoon’s confrontation with Sebastian surfaced at the feeling of being closed in, leaving her tired and confused.
“Why did Sebastian come after me this afternoon?” Hopefully now she would get some answers. She walked into the living room and switched on the light before turning toward Dane.
“Because of me,” Dane crossed his arms across his broad chest and leaned against the door frame. Lea felt an almost physical barrier rise around him as his voice became curt.
“He said I had your scent all over me.”
Lea fought the urge to cross her arms in a protective gesture, knowing she had nothing to fear from Dane, but vulnerability had a strong grip on her.
“Why? Is it because of the dreams?” Her ire was starting to build. She didn’t understand what was happening and now was the time for answers. His only response was to nod and put up his barriers. She’d had enough experience with her patients being defensive. She wouldn’t stand for it now. Not with the man who had turned her world upside down and made her feel out of control.
“Answer me, damn it. I want the truth. What’s going on?” Nervous energy built within her and spilled over. Lea started to pace across the floor, not taking her eyes off Dane. He stood there watching her. The only emotion evident was in his eyes, the rest of him was stoic. She wanted to slap him and make him as agitated as she was. But only the insane or suicidal would deliberately antagonize this man. And yet even through her anger she knew somehow he would never deliberately harm her.
A distant memory lodged itself in her brain and her hand went up to her chest and the memory of four distinct scratch marks where her pendant once lay. Dane winced.
“Is it the dreams? Is that why you’re interested in me?”
“The dreams are not the reason I am interested in you.” Dane finally unlocked his arms and stepped toward her. “I cannot verbalize why I am drawn to you.” He placed a hand over his chest. “It comes from here. From instinct. I can’t control the way I feel about you any more than I can change what I am.”
Lea swallowed. “And what are you?” she whispered.
“Right now I am more of a man than I have ever been.” The huskiness of his voice cracked over his words, leaving Lea breathless.
He certainly was more of a man then she had ever seen. And suddenly she was very aware of it. Their encounters during her dreams flashed across her mind. Molten liquid pooled low in her belly and when she looked up at Dane, shivers rippled through her.
Dane stepped closer to her and her breath came in short sharp bursts, heat emanated from him and she remembered his reaction at the stream. How he was uncomfortable in the warmth. How he said he was dangerous.
“If I touch you, will you stay a man?”
Lea stepped toward him and placed a hand against the hard planes of his stomach and felt rather than heard him gasp. She ran her fingers up the ridges of his abs to the contours of his chest. She stopped at the beating of his heart. It pounded deep and hard, just as she felt hers beat in unison. She reached up and pulled his head toward her.