Adolescence hasn’t been fun for Liss Lawrence. And after a year in Vancouver, when she’s finally adjusted to her new situation, a freak car accident sends her life spinning out of control and crashing into the world of the malions, a hidden race silently helping humanity from secret enclaves underground.
Liss’s knowledge of the malions endangers her family when Jaredsons Securities takes an interest in her accident. Few know the men of Jaredsons Securities, an international intelligence company specializing in missing persons cases, are actually the Vykhars, ancient malion enemies whose true purpose is the eradication of the malion race. The Vykhars will stop at nothing to discover if Liss is connected with the malions, and if they do, they will exploit her.
Perhaps more dangerous still are Liss’s growing feelings for Rion, a strong-willed malion scarred by his encounters with Vykhars and carrying a secret that could destroy their relationship. But Liss has a secret and scars of her own, and Rion’s fiercely protective nature threatens to tear them back open.
Can this pair of unlikely lovers survive the dangers of the Vykhars? And can their love survive their own misconceptions?
Meet the Author:
Miranda Rae Carter has lived in British Columbia, Canada, her whole life, and is a self-proclaimed home-bug. She spends most of her time doing what she loves, and that is being a mom and wife--and trying to master the art of cooking. The rest of her time is divided between looking in mouths and writing. For more information on Miranda and her malion novels, visit her on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
* Dr. Abeo (Abby) Mubarak has come below to Rion’s home beneath the surface, to examine Liss now that she is awake after her car accident. Liss is attempting to walk for the first time, and is desperate to go home. Up until this point, Rion has chosen to keep his face covered by a hood, but Liss is about to see his face for the first time.
“Would you like to take a step or two? I’ll keep my arm here for
you to hold on to if you need.”
“Sure.” I smiled at her. “It feels so good to get up.” I took a
deep breath. As wobbly as I was, I took two steps with the help of
her arm then another rocky one before I stopped.
“Have you had enough, Melissa?” She patted my hand gently.
“Maybe we should sit you back down and try again later.”
I could tell that she wanted me to quit, but I wanted to leave;
this was my ticket out. “No, I think I’d like to try a few steps on
my own this time.”
“Okay,” she said warily, letting go of my arm and stepping back
to give me some room. “I’ll be right here just in case you need me.”
“Thanks.” I stood still for a second to balance myself. I knew that I could
walk on my own, even if it wasn’t very far. I took one more deep
breath and raised my left leg slightly, but as soon as I transferred
all of my weight to my right leg, it gave out and I fell backward.
Abby was standing too far in front of me to catch the hand I
reached out for her, and I squealed thinking about my head hitting
the rock hard floor. But I didn’t get that far; two giant arms were
around my waist and legs instantly, lifting me before I could hit.
I sucked in a breath, just as my face turned to the side, and my
mouth dropped open—Rion’s bright green, almond-shaped eyes
were staring directly into mine.
We stood there for a moment, staring at one another, both in
shock. He was like nothing I had seen, or known to exist outside of
the movies. The closest face I had seen to his was constructed of
latex and makeup. I wanted to reach out and touch him to see if he
was real, because his features were distinctly catlike: his nose was
broad and square, just like a cat’s, and his upper lip was indented
down the middle, like a cat’s, although it wasn’t split in two. His
face was covered in golden peach fuzz, but the hair on his head
was dark brown, long, and mane-like, hanging just past his shoulders.
When I touched it with the tips of my fingers behind his back,
it was soft and fine, not like a human’s. I couldn’t see his teeth, and
wondered for a moment if they were sharp.
It was then that I noticed the scars. The tip of his left ear was
missing, and there were two long lines that extended from the
upper left corner of his forehead, to the lower right side of his
bottom lip. I wondered who could have done such a thing.
He looked down as if he was ashamed of himself, and took a
step toward the bed, whispering, “I will put you back on the bed
now, you have had enough for today.”
I couldn’t speak. I was still in shock. This massive man seemed
to be shying away in my presence, and the only thing I could do
was swallow—hard. He turned around to leave. I was going to call
him back, but he raised his arm and angrily swept a mug off the
side of the desk as he stormed past it, and slammed the door behind
him on the way out. I winced as the cup shattered into pieces on
the stone floor.
I recoiled. I’d completely forgotten Abby was still in the room.
*After much convincing, Liss has decided to meet with Rion. They both have a lot they need to discuss, but getting her below to his home again hasn’t been as easy as Rion thought. His overprotectiveness has gotten him into trouble…again.
A crunch startled me, just as all the hairs stood on the back of
my neck. I stopped and turned around. Nothing; though I swore I
could sense every nerve in my body fire uncontrollably.
I shot up. There he was, out of nowhere. I stopped breathing
for five full seconds, tilting my head wayback to look up at him,
towering over me like a football player in full uniform. A thick
navy hood and cloak covered his entire body and face, but I knew
that it was Rion. Only Rion had that pine and musty leather smell
that I’d enjoyed for the last two months.
Damn, it smelled good.
“Hey,” I whispered.
“Hello,” he whispered back.
I should have been mad. I should have stuck to my guns and not
met with him after his spazz-out on Friday, but I could sense that
he was anxious about this meeting tonight, too. There was no use
dwelling on something that would only serve to ruin the night.
Rion’s hood dipped down as he stood back from me. He was
inspecting me, but not getting too close. He learned fast. “Did
Charlotte leave?” he asked when I looked down and kicked
“Good. Are you ready?”
I swallowed, hoping that my heart would slow down soon.
He held out his hand. “Well, let us go then.”
When I looked up at his navy hood again, my skin tingled
everywhere. I couldn’t see his face yet, and I didn’t take his hand
right away. I didn’t want him to know I was shaking.
“Are you all right?”
“I will not take up a lot of your time tonight, but if you have
changed your mind about coming with me, I will phone Charlotte
and have her come and pick you up…I just cannot be here very
long, it is not safe.”
“Please come,” he begged, shifting his weight around. Finally
I could see his face. He was wearing a brooding, pouty frown. “I
swear that I will bring you back the moment you ask.”
I held his eye contact. “The moment I ask?”
He nodded again. “If it makes you feel more comfortable,
Charlotte knows exactly where we are going. And if I do not
bring you back, she knows how to contact every one of my family
members, who all know we are meeting tonight. This is not a
secret, Melissa. Please just give me a chance to explain things
When I just stood there staring at the ground, unable to move,
he dropped his hand and said, delicately, “I am sorry about Friday,
okay? I did not mean to frighten you and get so upset. This whole
situation just has me on edge, and…seeing you upset just...”
My eyes flashed toward him. “Did you hear what I said…I
mean, before you—?”
“…but I am the one who is at fault for all of this. Not you.”
His apology took me by surprise. “Just stop sneaking up on me,
please. You almost gave me a heart attack. Twice!”
“I know, I am sorry.”
I took a deep breath and replied, “I’m sorry, too. About nailing
you, in the…you know.”
He chuckled and offered his hand once more, and this time
I accepted it. As he gently wrapped his warm, calloused fingers
around mine, there was only one thought in my mind: the moment
I’d been wishing for was finally here. And after tonight, I would
finally be able to move on with my life.
“This way,” he whispered, tightening his grasp on my hand,
ever so slightly.
We ran from the open playground, to the nearest covered
area about a hundred meters away. He stopped in front of a large
manhole, lifted the lid up and looked at me. “I will go first, and
then I will catch you when you come through.”
I looked down the black hole. I couldn’t see the bottom. “Are
“Yes,” he whispered. “Do not be fooled by what you see on
the outside. Come, I will show you.” He took one step and disappeared
down the hole, out of sight.
I took one last look around to see if anyone was watching us,
but the park was empty.
“I am here…I will not let you fall.” His voice rose up from the
dark. “Quickly Melissa, we cannot let anyone see!”
I closed my eyes with my toes on the edge, and hesitated,
remembering my last visit below. Was he really going to let me
go again? I didn’t know what felt right anymore. “You promise to
bring me back?” I called down to him after more than a minute.
“I swear on the Creator, Melissa.”
Well, whether he was telling the truth or not, I still wanted to
hear his side of the story. And really, he’d never lied to me before.
I looked up at the sky and bit my lip. Taking one last breath of
the fresh air above, I stepped forward and dropped down into
*Rion is leaving Liss for one week, for a meeting with the other leaders deep below ground where Liss cannot go; as the danger is building, so are their feelings for one another. Goodbye means something much more tonight.
I took a step toward him. “What would you do if you knew you
were never going to see me again? What would you say?”
He hesitated for a moment. “You really want to know?”
“Yeah. Because if we never see each other again, I don’t want
us to regret the way we’ve said goodbye.” I took another step
toward him, and at that point, we were inches from one another.
“So what would you say?”
He raised one eyebrow and leaned back. “I do not like this
game you are playing with me. I do not speak female. So here is
my answer, in male: I would not say anything at all.”
“Why not?” I demanded, putting my hands on my hips.
He smiled. “Because…I would have toshow you.”
His head tilted to the side; he was looking at my arm. He
extended a finger toward me, and when he touched my arm, I
began to tingle everywhere. Slowly, his finger made its way up to
my collarbone, and he paused when I reached up and grabbed his
wrist. My stomach knotted around and I gulped.
“Rion…” I protested, taking half a step back.
He stepped toward me again, leaned down and whispered
in my ear, “Let me show you, m’ebesha wharla, please let me
I squeezed his wrist and he remained still. “Tell me what you’re
going to do, first.”
The only light came from his flashlight, which was sitting on
end on the ground, but I managed to catch the sparkle in his eyes
as he closed them halfway. “This.” He kissed the hollow space
between my jaw and my ear, and I felt his hair brush my face as he
inhaled deeply, taking in my scent. I began to shake.
“Is this okay?” he asked me.
I took a step back, unsure. He took another step toward me, and
wrapped his arm around my waist. I was so hot at that point, I
began breathing erratically. His fingers found my belt, and slowly
traced around the bare skin of my lower back.
My instincts told me to push him off and start screaming, but
something about how slow and tender his movements were, his
waiting, his asking permission, made me feel like maybe I could
do this. Maybe, just once, my body could allow me a moment of
pleasure without panicking.
He leaned down again and his lips swept past my temple as his
hands drifted up to my shoulders. “Can I keep going?”
I closed my eyes. The pine and leather fragrance made me
woozy on the first inhale; I felt high with warmth and affection.
Without answering, I leaned into him, and he took that as a yes.
My hands found their way to his back, the indent of his spine, and
his great shoulder blades. I wanted to do this, but I wasn’t sure I
was ready. He was just so strong, and…would he stop if I asked
him to? Rion wrapped his cloak around us, then his giant arms
pulled me closer until every line of our bodies united.
I closed my eyes as he ran his tongue over his mouth, and
Every nerve in my body prickled as his lips touched mine.
They were soft and gentle and moist, and I began to tremble; I
still wasn’t sure about it, but I tried to ignore my reservations and
began kissing him back. I wanted this. I wanted him. I wanted this
moment. And for the love of everything divine, he tasted so sweet.
Black liquorice sweet.
When I didn’t pull away, he held me tighter. He made his way
down my neck with his mouth then returned to my lips, with a new urgent hunger.
“Vessen tay gee shon yew m’ebesha,” he whispered as his hands
headed south on my back once more. “Nee neena pelansha maen…
do not fear me, m’ebesha…”
My knees softened, and I began to melt against him, letting him
make his way to the underside of my jaw, kissing so gently. Before
I knew it, my back was against the wall, my wrists above my head,
held in one of his hands.
That’s when I lost it.
“Rion—” I cried, pushing him away from him immediately. I
was screaming NO! inside my head, and I wondered if he could
He shot back, dropping my hands, and this worried look came
over his face. “What did I do?”
I shook my head. “I’m sorry, I just—”
Twitter-chirp. Rion muttered something in malion as he yanked
his phone out of his pocket and texted a reply to whoever had messaged
“You’d better go.” I took another step back when he put his
phone away. Thank goodness for his phone, it was the perfect
excuse. It was easier than trying to explain. I didn’t want to hurt
his feelings. This was my issue, not his, and I could sense he was
bothered by the new distance between us.
“I may get angry and lose my temper sometimes…” He kissed
my cheek. “But I want you to know that I am in complete control
of those types of emotions, okay?”
I nodded and put my hand to my cheek; the warmth
“I would never push you to do something you did not want me
to do. I am twice your size, but when it comes to this…you are in
the driver’s seat.”
“Thank you Rion, that means a lot.”
“Was it at least a good kiss?”
I smiled. “It was…bang-a-rang.” Then I straightened my jacket,
preparing to leave.
He snorted. “I hate that word.”
“Fine. It was…amazing—to say the very least.”
He pulled me close once again and kissed the top of my head.
“Now that is something I understand.”
“I really should go,” he sighed, looking down at his phone
again. “If I do not leave right now, those eyes will trap me
I glared at him. “What eyes?”
“Those ones.” He leaned closer to me. “Those big, brown,
leikshi eyes that I cannot seem to resist.” Then he jumped up and
peeked through the exit, making sure it was safe for me to return.
“So one week?” I lamented when he came back down.
He growled. “Do not remind me.”
Glitter in the Air Pink
Crashed Chris Daughtry
I'm in Here Sia
I'm With You Avril Lavigne
E.T. Katy Perry
Human Civil Twilight
November Rain Guns and Roses
Crash Into Me Dave Matthews
Broken Seether featuring Amy Lee
Weightless City and Colour
Can't Help Falling In Love Ingrid Michaelson (Elvis cover)
Without You Three Days Grace
Lost in You Three Days Grace
Fade Me Daniel Wesley
Ever the Same Rob Thomas
Sov Gott Jewel
Oceano Josh Groban
Woke Up This Morning Nickelback