Sunday, 24 July 2016

#samplesunday - Into the Rain


For our #samplesunday posts this month we've been looking at Michelle Irwin's completed Urban Fantasy Romance series: Daughter of Fire. The last book, Igniting the Spark, was released 30 June and is the incredible finale to this amazing four-book series. Last week we showcased Rise from Ash, the second book in the series, and this week we are onto book 3: Into the Rain



BLURB

Evie Meyers and Clay Jacobs have found paradise in the remote wilderness. Hidden away at the ends of the Earth, they are certain no one can find them. The illusion is shattered when Evie’s former lover Aiden crashes into their sanctuary. ‬ The tension caused by the fae’s arrival escalates when they discover the reason for his presence. An ever-present foe has kidnapped someone precious to his court, and he needs Clay’s help for the rescue. The mission will take them straight into the Rain. The path is a dangerous one, filled with dark secrets and old lies. ‬ With echoes of the past surrounding them and a shadowed threat lurking nearby, both Evie and Clay must put their trust in the hands of an enemy. How will they find a way to reconcile their prejudices and make it out alive?



Please enjoy this sample chapter from the book . . . 

CHAPTER ONE

THE RIGHT HOOK of my attacker came hard and fast. Without hesitation, I leaped to the side and spun around, readying myself to retaliate. Following a nimble arc, I dropped to the floor and swept my leg out to the side in an attempt to knock him off-balance.

A slight mistiming on my part allowed him to leap over the swinging limb at the last second. A frustrated grunt slipped from my lips, but I didn’t stop. Bouncing back onto my feet as fast as I could, I watched him closely. He aimed another blow at my chest. At the last second, I twisted sharply to the side to avoid it.


My movement carried me around in a graceful loop behind him. When I closed in on him, I threw my elbow out to the side to try to catch a weak spot—any one of them would do. A hit to the kidney or solar plexus would deliver the most pain and slow him down.


His leg lifted in a roundhouse kick, designed to knock me off-balance, but I twisted out of his way before meeting a pair of irises so brown they could almost be black. The action caused a temporary lull in our battle, barely enough for a deep breath, before his fist shot out toward me again.


Our limbs flew at each other repeatedly, striking and deflecting in turn with a rapid pace and such precision that our movements were like a fast, macabre dance.


My limbs ached and protested, begging for a break from the rigorous battle. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could keep up the fight, but I refused to reveal even a single symptom of my fatigue. Any vulnerability could see me hurt.


Lifting my elbow, I deflected his next punch with my forearm, before aiming a jab of my own at his side. The instant my arm closed in on his body, he grabbed my wrist and used my momentum against me. He twisted me around before tugging me closer, slamming my back against his chest. For a moment, we were still.


He exhaled and the warm air tickled along my neck. His breath was a soft pant that barely showed any sign of laboring despite our fight. I had two choices: surrender to his hold and take whatever punishment came with failure, or continue to fight and do everything in my power to break free.


His hands closed around mine, pinning my arms against my chest. Panic surged through me as I struggled to free myself; I had to find a way to get the upper hand. Each time I moved, he was able to strengthen his hold. My continued fight only tightened his grip. Stilling all motion, I silently ran through the training I’d had for this exact scenario.


Taking a slow, deep breath, I relaxed against his enfolded arms. Another breath and I forced my joints and muscles to release all tension. I paused, allowing him to think he’d bested me. As soon as the moment was right, I propelled the top half of my body forward in a sharp motion, forcing my weight against his arms to break his hold.


Leaping away from him before he could reach for me again, I kicked my foot behind me, sweeping it under his leg. At the same time, I reached for his wrist and held it tight. Twisting my body and tugging sharply at his arm, I threw him over my leg and onto the ground.


The instant his back hit the floor I dropped over him and pressed my knee to his chest.


“Surrender?” I wasn’t going to give him mercy until he begged for it. He’d come so close to winning, but now I had the advantage.


Pressing as much weight as I dared behind my knee, I stole a moment to catch my breath. Staring into the astounded but proud eyes of my attacker, my mouth widened into a triumphant grin.


“Awesome.” Clay smiled up at me from his position underneath my leg. He cupped my calf with his palm, running it up and down along the outside of my workout pants. Pride, and a growing desire, echoed in his gaze. “You’ve got that throw down perfectly.”


It wasn’t the surrender I’d asked for, but it was close enough for me. At least it was a welcome change from the dicktator he’d been when we’d first started training. He’d certainly embraced my request for some extra fun in our training. Moving to straddle his hips, I shifted my legs to either side of his body. “Well, I did have a really good teacher.”


“Really? You’ll have to introduce me to him sometime.” He lifted himself into an almost seated position, resting on his elbows. A wicked grin lit his face.


“Oh? And here I thought you were rather well acquainted with yourself.”


“I can’t take all of the credit. You’re a quick study. You’ve mastered more moves in six months than I’ve seen some people do in years.”


I raised my eyebrow at him. “You’re trying that flattery thing again, aren’t you?”


“Well, when you’re on a winning streak . . .” He trailed off into a quiet laugh.


I leaned forward over him, pressing my lips to his for the tiniest moment before sitting up again. When I did, his lower lip pushed out into a pout that earned him a giggle. Pinning me against his hips with his hold, he pulled himself completely into a seated position. I swallowed heavily as his contracting abs brushed across my inner thighs. Even though I’d tried to be subtle, Clay noticed the action and chuckled again before wrapping his arms around my waist. He held me close for a moment, resting his cheek against my chest. Despite sparring relentlessly for the past forty minutes, he didn’t seem to be as out of breath as I was. Or even remotely tired for that matter.


I don’t know how he does it.


It wasn’t a bad thing though. I for one could go a round or two of our other, much more enjoyable, tussling.


“You still haven’t surrendered,” I reminded him as I brushed my hands through his hair dragging his head back away from my body so I could meet his eyes.


“That’s because I don’t need to.”


“Oh? Is that what you think?”


His fingers brushed along my back, causing me to shift on his lap. “It’s what I know. Even if I refuse to admit defeat, you’ll still give me what I want.”


“You think I’m a pushover, don’t you?” I asked as I relaxed into his arms.


I barely had the words out before he used his hold to twist us both sharply to the side.


The next instant, he had me pressed flat on my back staring up into his eyes as he rolled on top of me and pinned me to the ground.


“Yep!” A carefree laugh followed the word.


“That’s not fair!” I whined. “You’re using underhanded tactics.”


“You’re getting good,” he said, as he immediately settled his body between my legs, pressed his lips to mine, and ground his hips deliciously against me. “But you have to remember to never let your guard down. The Rain will take advantage of any weakness.”


I was in such a good mood with the endorphins racing through my system that even his mention of the organization he’d once belonged to—the people that would hunt me once more if they suspected I was alive—couldn’t bring me down.


“I’d be a little worried if one of them was holding me like that,” I said.


Because he hadn’t cut it since the beginning of our self-imposed seclusion, his brown hair hung long around his face. When he leaned forward, it flopped down over his eyebrows, shading his features. I brushed it back off his face so I could see him better.


“Or if I was holding one like this,” I added with a laugh as I placed one of my palms against the rough stubble on his cheek.


He’d been keeping himself mostly clean-shaven for the last few months and was due to shave again. At my touch, he gave me a look filled with salacious intent.


“Or if they did that.” I moaned as he rocked his hips against mine again.


“You never know,” he murmured as he trailed a line of kisses along my throat. “Some villains are very devious.”


“You’re devious.” I tilted my head, allowing him more room to continue lavishing his attentions on my sensitive skin. “You’ll do anything to win, won’t you?”


He chuckled against my collarbone. “Don’t you know it. But I don’t hear you complaining.”


I lifted my hands to caress his cheeks, guiding his face back to mine. Claiming his lips in a desperate kiss, I moved my hands to his shoulders and wrapped my legs around his waist.


In response, he kissed me harder.


I used his distraction to my advantage, flipping him onto his back and straddling him. I grinned down at him. “You don’t always have to win,” I said.


His gaze raked over my body, and he rested his hands on my hips, shifting my body over his. “See, that’s where you’re wrong.” He laughed again. “The way I see it, I’m still winning.”


He trailed his hands upward along my sides, lifting my clothes away in the process until he’d lifted my shirt to my shoulders. In the next instant, his fingers were in my hair guiding my face to his. Kissing me tenderly, he dragged one hand through my hair while the other explored my back in long, loving strokes.


“Yep, definitely winning,” he murmured against my lips as he allowed the strands of my hair to cascade around our joined faces.


It became clear that the rest of my lesson would have to wait as heated kisses quickly replaced our matching smiles and our training session disintegrated steadily into a make-out one.





Into the Rain is available in e-book and paperback from all major sellers. 


Bottom Drawer Publications


Also available at:


Amazon US


Amazon UK


Amazon AU


Apple


B&N


Kobo

AllRomance






If you're ready for Igniting the Spark, the final book in the series, check out our website for all available booksellers.

If you've not started the series yet, Through the Fire is FREE at these booksellers:


Also available at:



Michelle Irwin has been many things in her life: a hobbit taking a precious item to a fiery mountain; a young child stepping through the back of a wardrobe into another land; the last human stranded not-quite-alone in space three million years in the future; a young girl willing to fight for the love of a vampire; and a time-travelling madman in a box. She achieved all of these feats and many more through her voracious reading habit. Eventually, so much reading had to have an effect and the cast of characters inside her mind took over and spilled out onto the page.

Michelle lives in sunny Queensland in the land down under with her surprisingly patient husband and ever-intriguing daughter, carving out precious moments of writing and reading time around her accounts-based day job. A lover of love and overcoming the odds, she primarily writes paranormal and fantasy romance.


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