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About the author:
Darla Dunbar has been interested in paranormal romance since she was a teenager in high school. It was then that she discovered she could fulfill her fantasies through her writing.
What inspired you to write your book?
I love to combine the paranormal with romance and erotica and writing about mystical and powerful males and their female partners. I want my readers to take a romantic hot mysterious journey through my characters.
Here is a short sample from the book:
WALKING OUT of the hotel room, Phoebe jumped back in surprise. Her dog, Ace, ran up to her. “Ace! What are you doing here?” She leaned down to pet him. “Come inside with me and we will get you something to eat.”
Bringing him inside with her, she glanced over at Apollo. She met his questioning eyes with a shrug. “I have no clue how he got here. It seems impossible, but here he is.”
Apollo shrugged. “Weirder things have happened. I guess we can just bring him along with us. Having him could help.” Standing up, he grabbed the bag of weapons and restraints. Together, they left the room and got in the car.
Parking near the jade shop, the pair sipped coffee as they waited for Qilin to close the shop. They inched the car along behind her as she went to a park. The sunlight was quickly fading away and few people were in the park. Quickly, they got out of the car and followed Qilin into a clearing. Although they walked in absolute silence, Qilin turned around.
“I knew you were there. This is your last chance to turn back. Are you ready?” She widened her stance and stood confidently in front of them. Phoebe stepped back so that Apollo could do what he came for.
Grabbing a dagger out of the bag, Apollo nodded. “I am ready if you are.” As soon as he finished the sentence, Qilin became a blazing ball of fire. Flames radiated from her arms and curled into balls within her hands. Throwing the fire at Apollo, she moved forward. Apollo ducked the flames and tried to get into an offensive position.
Ace whined next to Phoebe. Leaning down, she patted his head reassuringly. In reality, she was shaking in fear. Still unused to the world of daemons, the fiery daemon before her was a frightening surprise. She felt less terrible about the possibility of Qilin’s death. The daemon before her was far from defenseless. Before this moment, how many other potential leaders had tried to kill Qilin and failed?
Qilin threw another ball of fire and it singed Apollo’s heels. The grass in the clearing was quickly becoming torched by their fight. Ball after ball of fire was thrown and Apollo managed to shrug it off without any difficulties. Unfortunately, he was unable to stand for long enough to get close to her. Too late, he realized that he should have just used a gun. Rolling away from another ball of fire, he quickly darted in the opposite direction. The sudden change of direction surprised the Qilin, and she let the ball of fire go too soon. It released from her hand and flew directly toward Phoebe. Apollo either did not notice where the fire was headed or did not care. He adjusted his stance and lifted the dagger behind his head to throw it.
At the same time, the fire came toward Phoebe and she found herself unable to move. Ace pushed his mistress away from the flame, but his leg was singed by the blaze. Across the clearing, Apollo released the dagger and it sailed into Qilin’s heart. Instantaneously, the fire that surrounded Qilin went out. Falling to the ground, she moved feebly as the life left her body.
Phoebe’s paralysis left her as the danger passed. Leaning down, she petted Ace and tried to look at his singed leg. When she touched the leg, the dog’s head fell back and she realized that he had passed out from pain. Phoebe started to glance up to see how Apollo was doing when she felt something warm against her leg. Right next to her, Ace was quickly transforming into the figure of a man. Stepping back in shock, she stumbled and fell on to the ground. The naked figure before her was Supay.
Moments passed and Phoebe could not say anything. Across the field, Apollo managed to walk toward the weapons bag and pick it up. In front of Phoebe, Supay opened his eyes. Looking down at his leg, he realized that he was no longer a dog. Bashfully, he tried to stand up and fell back down. His burned leg would not support his body.
Anger and disbelief contorted Phoebe’s face. “You were Ace the whole time?” Ace had been her dog for years. She had bathed him, changed in front of him, and walked him every day.
Wincing, Supay tried to find what to say. “Yes, but it isn’t what you think. I was just trying to protect you.”
Apollo approached and gestured at Supay. “What is he doing here? Was he Ace?”
Phoebe did not take her eyes off of Supay. “Well, let’s hear it. This better be a good explanation or I won’t give you clothes and help you get to a hospital.”
Supay paused and framed his thoughts. “I just needed to be near you and protect you. A few years ago, I heard that the Qilin was born and knew someone would go after it. I was going to protect her but quickly discovered that she had no need for protection. You saw her. She’s like a one-man army. In my search, I discovered you and your unique talents. I knew that someone would come looking for you in order to find the Qilin, and I wanted to make sure that you were safe. You don’t possess any talents that would protect you, and many of the people looking for the Qilin are questionable characters. If I thought you would have believed me and allowed me to stay at your side in any other form, I would have.”
Reaching his arm around Phoebe’s back, Apollo held her possessively close. “That isn’t an excuse. I kept her safe.”
“No, you didn’t.” Supay shot back. “I just saw you choose killing the Qilin over saving Phoebe’s life. This quest and a role as a leader matter more to you than Phoebe. You know it, so don’t bother pretending to be some white knight.”
Apollo moved aggressively forward, but Phoebe stopped him. Instead, Apollo pointed accusingly at Supay. “It isn’t true. I love her. You’re one to talk about moral qualms, considering you spent years watching her in secret.”
Phoebe was speechless. All of these years, he had tried to protect her by violating her privacy. She was never getting a pet again. “How can you even justify this?”
Supay pointed at Apollo. “He isn’t any better. Did he tell you what his talent is?” Apollo lurched forward and put his hands around Supay’s neck. Supay didn’t even put up resistance to his attack. Phoebe dashed forward and pulled Apollo off of Supay.
“What does he mean, Apollo?” she asked. Apollo didn’t respond, so Supay spoke for him.
“Apollo can control the minds of other people.” Apollo started to say something and Supay held up his hand to stop him. “I’m sorry, that isn’t quite right. He plants suggestions in their minds. If it’s something they were totally against, like robbing a bank, the person won’t do it. But if the person is even partially accepting of the idea, it works.”
Phoebe paused. When they first met, she had accidentally touched Apollo’s hand several times. Each time, she saw an image of them having sex. Phoebe looked at Apollo. “So it’s true? You suggested that we have sex? Are you also controlling me to like you? What about the hunt for the Qilin? I always had questions about it being morally okay. Did you handle those qualms as well?” She stepped away from Apollo and clutched at her arms.
Apollo tried to talk, but could only stutter out a “no.”
“It is true then. You just controlled me.”
Reaching for her, Apollo was turned down again. Sadly, he let his hand drop. “I didn’t make you love me. I can’t do that. Sure, I suggested that we have sex and hunt the Qilin, but it was ultimately your choice. You had to want to do both of those things at least a little. I just tipped the scales in my favor.”
Phoebe picked up the weapons bag and pulled out a blanket. Throwing it at Supay to wear, she walked away. “I don’t want to see, hear, or speak to either of you again. Don’t come after me,” she called back to them. Reaching the street, she got on the first bus she saw and let it take her wherever it was going.
OVER THE next few days, Phoebe went home and put all of her things in storage. She packed a bag and went to the airport. Not caring where she went, she bought the first ticket anywhere. Before long, she was sitting on a beach in Puerto Rico. Checking into the hotel under an assumed name, she immediately hit the bar.
Only a couple of months ago, she had found out that she was a daemon and that a new leader would bring peace. She thought that she was helping by finding the Qilin, but was betrayed by the man she was starting to love. Even worse, she was betrayed by her dog. This had to be a new low for humanity. Man’s best friend turned out to be a shape shifter. Sighing, she sidled up onto the barstool. Next to her, a dark haired man was starting his first beer.
“Hey, did you just get here?” he asked Phoebe. She started and he motioned to her purse. “The tag from the airlines is still on your bag. Mind if I buy you a drink?”
Phoebe shrugged. She may as well have some fun. All she wanted right now was to get her mind off of the last few months. A few drinks and a one-night stand may be just what she needed. “Sure, can you get me a mojito?”
“Sure, that sounds great. What’s your name?”
The man stretched out his hand to shake Phoebe’s hand. “I am Peter. I just arrived in town to check on a factory in the area. What brings you here? You don’t look like a business traveler, but you don’t seem happy enough to be a tourist.”
“It doesn’t really matter. I just wanted to get away somewhere for a while.” She finished her mojito and ordered another.
“No, I’d rather not talk about it.” In reality, who would even believe her story? She’d probably end up in an insane asylum somewhere. “Can I buy you a drink?” Touching his shoulder slightly, she waited to see what he was thinking. Thoughts of her naked filled his mind. Smiling to herself, she ordered Peter a double.
“Whoa, whoa, why are we drinking so fast? Are you trying to get me drunk?” Peter joked.
She motioned to the drink. “Drink up, so I can take advantage of you later.”
Peter started to laugh in response and then he realized she was serious. He paused for a moment, unaccustomed to women being this forward. Taking a gulp of his drink, he shrugged. “Sounds good to me. Is your hotel room around here?”