#Excerpt from Willow: Branch 3 of the Tree of Life Series
Be care what you wish for, because you just might get it.
Willow should have taken heed of that familiar warning, because she wanted Dane’s attention and then got it. She wasn’t ready.
On assignment protecting a paranoid client at a convention, Dane Karl has finally found his mate, a very young sidhe ill-equipped to deal with a legendary mercenary warrior, fierce weretiger, and powerful sidhe all wrapped up in one big, badass package.
His plan for a slow courtship ruined by the catastrophe that destroys the conference hotel, he claims Willow as his mate to keep her safe from the demons hunting sidhe flesh and sidhe magic. Willow must find her strength to stand up to her legendary husband’s overbearing ways, deal with the shade of his long dead, sidhe wife, and survive the demons after them.
Can an ancient warrior learn to love? Can a young, untried sidhe find her strength?
This is the third and final book of the Tree of Life trilogy.
“Er, hello. May I help you?” Willow asked, silently damning herself for the nervous quaver in her voice and wondering just what she had brought upon herself. She’d gone fishing and caught herself a shark instead of a goldfish.
Dane wanted to sigh with relief. She had at least given him an opening by speaking first rather than him just blurting out that she was his and to come with him immediately. Instead he gave her what was supposed to be a reassuring smile that obviously didn’t work because she cringed like a rabbit about to be pounced upon and devoured. Hm. He needed to work on that. He picked up the sample CD on the table.
“Hello,” he said quietly, taking care not to growl at her. “How up to date is this directory?”
“The data is only six weeks old,” she answered, keeping her tightly clasped hands on her lap hidden beneath the table drape. “More current data can be downloaded from the NAVA website, but the disk also contains standard documents, conference papers and presentations, and other auxiliary materials. With the disk, the information is collected and available in one convenient location rather than scattered among the twenty-five thousand pages of the NAVA website.”
“You’ve memorized the patter,” he commented with a little smile.
She returned a wry grin and said, “At this late hour, we’re lucky I remember how to speak at all.”
“Sessions break in another two hours,” he said, setting the sample disk back down in such a way that he knew she would move it, set it straight so the pile was orderly. He wanted to see her hands. “I’m Dane. Join me for a cup of coffee?”
Her eyes flew open wide and, before she could answer, a yawn grabbed her jaw and vocal cords. She hastily raised a hand to cover her mouth and finished the yawn. When she was able, she spoke even as she returned the CD to its proper place: “Thank you, but I really need my sleep. Perhaps some other time.”
“This afternoon then,” he adapted smoothly, seeing with satisfaction that she wore neither engagement ring nor wedding band. He inhaled delicately and tasted no other male’s scent upon her. Good. He wouldn’t have to kill anyone to claim her. “I’ll meet you in the lobby at three o’clock.”
He walked away and Willow wondered just what she’d gotten herself into. The rest of the night dragged until she closed up the booth and went to bed for some much needed sleep. She woke later than usual the next morning and by ten o’clock was back at the booth tapping away at her laptop computer to answer inquiries, update information, and take care of general association business as best she could from a remote location. She hardly noticed the bellman and his loaded cart and accompanied by a tall, slender woman with gorgeous auburn hair until they stopped in front of the booth. The woman thanked the bellman and sent him off to return in twenty minutes or so. Then the woman moaned, groaned something that sounded like “Cassia,” grunted, staggered to her knees, and passed out. She had Willow’s full attention.
Willow rushed around the table and shifted the woman to a more comfortable position, rather than leave her crumpled against the heavily loaded cart.
“Ma’am? Are you all right?” she whispered and patted the woman’s cheek.
After a too long moment, the woman hissed and groaned, “Stop that.”
Willow stopped patting the woman’s cheek and let instinct take over. She placed her palm on the woman’s forehead and let the healing flow. She did not notice the nimbus of cool, blue-white light that gently pulsed around them. She only noticed the easing of the woman’s distress and pain. The woman blinked several times and, realizing she’d been healed, thanked her.
“I really do appreciate the healing, but you took a dangerous risk,” she said, her voice a bit shaken.
“You know what I did?” Willow gasped softly, surprised that the woman understood what had happened.
“You’re sidhe,” the woman stated succinctly.
The woman attempted to smile reassuringly at her and answered, “I’m sidhe, too. Name’s Rowan.” She paused, considered something, then asked rudely, “How old are you?”
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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