Daughter Of The Dragon Princess(7)

By: Nina Croft

Mal shook his head—a clear mind would be good right now. He needed the police off his back, but he also required their cooperation. He made a call and put things in motion.

“Well?” Cole asked when he got back to the table. “Are you going to talk? Or am I going to have to beat it out of you?”

“Probably not necessary.” He nodded to his cell phone. “I called my boss,” he lied. “I need clearance before I can talk to you. He’ll get back to me in the morning. Come on, you can trust me until then.”

Cole studied him, a line forming between his brows, but then nodded in resignation. “I suppose. Where the hell are they? We should have heard by now. You know this whole thing is weird. I’ve researched this woman. She’s a fucking accountant—squeaky clean.”

His phone rang. “Cole here.” He listened for a minute. “I’ll be right there.”

He glanced down at the table then back up at Mal and grinned. “We’ve picked the car up heading north out of town. We’re on.”


Darkness surrounded her.

Nausea churned in her stomach, and she hurt all over. She tried to sit up but cracked her head on something hard. She sensed the motion beneath her, the vibration of an engine shaking through her body. They’d locked her in the goddamn trunk, the bastards.

What had happened? Then she remembered. Stark…the police…that last fight with the man. The prick at her neck.

The car picked up speed, hurling her forward and smashing her against the back of the trunk space. She tried to brace, scrunching herself into a ball to shield her head. If she died here in the darkness, not knowing what this was about, she’d be seriously pissed off.

Hysterical laughter welled up inside her, and she pushed it back. The acrid scent of smoke prickled her nostrils and some inner sense warned her to calm down.

Think of something else, anything else. Think of something good.

The image of a tall dark haired man with glowing golden eyes flickered across her brain.

That wasn’t good, just likely to piss her off more. All the same, the smoky, masculine scent of him filled her nostrils and a vision flashed across her mind. Suddenly, she was there with him, staring out of a car window, moving fast.

A series of loud bangs came from in front of her.

The image vanished.

Gunshots. Then she was upside down and they were rolling. For a long while, her brain shut down. Her muscles tightened as she braced herself for the searing pain of a bullet.

Then everything stopped.


Up ahead the black SUV swerved as the driver lost control. It veered off the road, disappearing over the edge of the embankment. Mal stomped on the brakes, his car skidding to a halt. In the rear-view mirror, he could see Cole pulling up.

He leaped out of the car, then ducked down behind the open door as bullets whizzed past his head. Cole ran up from behind, bent double, and took cover beside him, swearing under his breath.

Mal peered over the door. Below them, the SUV had come to rest at the bottom of the embankment, the headlights glaring up into his eyes so he could make out nothing else.

Other cars pulled up close by, the police lights flashing blue in the darkness. Then the bullets stopped.

“Come on.”

He ran forward, sliding down the steep grassy slope, but he knew what he would find.

“Where the fuck are they?” Cole yelled.

The car was empty. The driver and his companion had vanished. “Gone.”

“What the fuck do you mean ‘gone’? Gone where?”

Mal considered mentioning the word “magic” but decided the time wasn’t quite right and the police detective wasn’t quite ready.

Cole ran a hand through his dark hair and smashed his fist into the side of the car. “There was no time for anyone to go anywhere. We had the bastards.” Pulling his cell phone out of his pocket, he barked in an order then thumped the side of the car again. “They’ll set up a perimeter, but we don’t even know who we’re looking for. This is some crazy weird shit.” He turned to Mal, his eyes narrowed. “And you’re right in the middle of it. Are you going to tell me what’s going on?”

A faint groan sounded from inside the car. Mal took a step toward the rear and stopped to listen. The groan came again. “The trunk.”

“What about it?”

“The girl’s in there.”

“And you know that how?”

“If you’d shut up for a moment, you’d hear her.” He yanked at the door. It didn’t budge.

Cole moved to the front of the car and reached inside. “Here.” He tossed the keys. Mal caught them and unlocked the trunk.

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