Here is a little taste of Dragon's Dream Dancer by Jami Brumfield... written for audiences 18 and older.
Kensi ran shaky hands through her coppery red curls as she pushed down the bile rising in her throat from the fear wracking her mind and body in rolling waves. Her reflection in the mirror seemed like a stranger to her. The fake eyelashes surrounding her sky blue orbs, a thick layer of makeup hiding her freckles and flaws, and sparkling body paint - the only thing covering her nakedness, all seemed alien to her. This was the only way she could go through with her plan. She told herself the world wouldn’t see her, they’d see a fantasy image of a girl that didn’t exist instead of Kensi McKenna, struggling college student needing to escape a future that held nothing but pain and suffering.
She slipped on the red sequined dress and knee high stiletto boots over black fishnet stocking-clad shapely calves leading up to slender thighs. She wasn’t extremely skinny, but she had the athletic body of a dancer with one minor exception, the larger than average chest size. It messed with her center of gravity, but she adapted nicely. Next she fiddled with the position of the long black wig hiding her signature red hair. The wig strategically hung past her breasts which would be the only cover she had from onlookers as she danced tonight. The new image of an unrecognizable person that reflected upon the silver glass surface of the full length mirror smiled wickedly as her costumed appearance fell into place.
A small level of satisfaction over the success of her new image began to make her feel easier, and more certain no one would recognize her, even her brother and sister would find it difficult spotting her in a crowd. Doubt crept in again. She wasn’t going to be hidden amongst people. Her body was going to be on display for all the world to ogle. The thought made her sick and almost sent her running from the club. She forced down the rising bile which caused a burning sensation in her chest and the back of her throat. Taking a deep breathe she told herself, ‘I can do this!’ It was becoming her mantra;.a simple chant she said over and over again to force positive beliefs into her psyche. I have to do this. She had bills to pay. If she was going to escape the terrifying fate in store for her here she needed the funds to afford her tuition and to pay for transportation out of this tiny Oregon town. Dancing at the Bayside Beauties was the only way she was going to get out, and she needed to run far, far away from this place. There was no way in hell she was going to become an assassin as her family insisted. She’d die first.
“You’re up in five, Kensi.” Jacklyn, the nightclub manager, snapped from the doorway.
Kensi turned to Jacklyn, forcing down another bout of stage fright in the form of nausea. Jacklyn was not necessarily the nicest woman for which to work. Kensi guessed it was because she was in her mid-forties, and age was stealing away her youth and beauty. This was compounded by the fact that she was surrounded by all the pretty young girls she employed as dancers at the club. If rumor was true, Jacklyn was one of the best dancers this club ever had. But her days of glory were over. Wrinkles on her skin from living a hard life made her look matronly, but took away her vibrancy. Her body was still in great shape, a sign of a true dancer, but keeping up with the younger women was difficult. It was the cold, hard truth of reality, and figuring out her motivations was basic Psychology 101. “Thank you, Jacklyn.”
The pretty, older woman offered a tight nod and turned to leave. Instead of walking away, she stopped as though she had an afterthought. Jacklyn took three long strides toward Kensi. The jasmine scent of her strong perfume made Kensi’s stomach roll again, but she swallowed hard past the lump. Jacklyn’s fingers flipped the black wig tresses behind Kensi’s shoulders and straightened her dress sleeve in a motherly manner. “Remember, you’re Siren’s Song out there, not Kensi. Siren is a strong, proud woman who eats men for dinner. Don’t show your fear, they’ll see it and it’ll ruin the illusion.”
Kensi appreciated the encouragement and nodded, “I’m playing a character.” Her smile spread across her lips as she slipped into the character of Siren’s Song. Her mantra playing over and over again like a broken record in her mind.
“That’s right. You’ll do wonderfully.” Jacklyn walked away. Shouting from halfway down the hall, she said, “three minutes” over her shoulder as she retreated.
Kensi took one last look in the mirror and took a deep breath. It’s now or never. Each time she repeated her affirmation strength flowed into her body. She could, and would, do this. She had to earn the money for college and leave this town, and she had two months to do it otherwise she’d be stuck here forever.
Her feet started walking to the side stage. She couldn’t remember giving them the command, but she made it to the stage just as her music intro started and Jacklyn spoke into the microphone. “Please welcome Siren Song to the stage for her debut dance.”
The crowd cheered her entrance and fueled her strength. ‘I can do this.’
Her body started moving to the music on instinct more than conscious thought. She was dancing, performing, and playing a character. The lights blinded her to the crowd’s faces. The music carried her, her character taking over, her fear melting away as her imagination took her away from her reality. She was aware of the stage, but the audience didn’t exist anymore. Her leg wrapped around the pole, and her body contorted in the ways her choreography called for. Sounds from the crowd told her they were soaking up her smiles and every sexual movement she made. When the dress fell from her shoulders revealing her naked body covered with intricate body paint that glowed under the black light the money fell like crazy on the stage. Men lined up to place dollars in her G-string panties that matched the body paint perfectly and gave the illusion of complete nudity. She was no longer Kensi, she’d effectively morphed into Siren’s Song and she was eating the men for dinner.
Tremaine MacGregor entered the club looking for the spunky brunette dream weaver known as Mariah McKenna. The oracle told him the woman worked at this club. It would be an easy bounty, so easy he decided to take the challenge on his own. His family members had other things on their plate, especially Connor and Lee who were on their honeymoon. Besides, the oracle singled him out with the additional helpful information so he had a head start on the other hunters.
It helped that he understood dream weavers. They weren’t known to be tough in this world. It was in the sleep realm where they possessed their power, not the waking one. He’d capture her and rush her to the portal that would allow him to deliver her to the Tribunal. He’d face their anger at not following instructions at the time of delivery. He wasn’t a killer, he was a hunter, and he wasn’t going to take her life just because the order was for her head.
As a dragon shifter, he was uniquely suited to hunt this predator. He didn’t need to sleep as much as many of the other races so staying awake while delivering the package would be easy. It was the kill order that made him wary of the whole thing. It wasn’t like the Tribunal to order hits. They were about justice and giving people their time in court.
He wasn’t disputing how dangerous she was. Mariah’s race was the worst of the worst in the assassin world. They killed victims without remorse or discrimination. But there was a need for them in the supernatural world, and had she kept her business in the paranormal and not in the human realm, the Tribunal would’ve never put a bounty on her head. But when she was named responsible for one unsanctioned human death she became public enemy number one in the Tribunal’s mind.
His eyes barely noticed the girl dancing on the stage or the topless waitresses flitting around the bar room insuring the men, and women patrons were heavily numbed by alcoholic beverages. He was only focused on finding his killer. The smoking atmosphere filled his lungs and left his stomach queasy. As a dragon he had his own fire and smoke in his body, and it was void of unhealthy chemicals. The music held an exotic beat which called to his inner beast. He glanced around with curiosity at the lost souls mesmerized by the show on the stage. It was like he’d entered an alternate dimension, and he wondered if the performer on the stage or the musician who created the song was a witch or siren of some sort.
When the crowd roared its appreciation, his attention was drawn back to the stage. His eyes locked with the woman dancing and he felt as though he’d been run over by a two ton truck. His heart raced, the world spun out of control, and time stood still. In that instant, he knew she was his mate. His dragon clawed under the surface of his skin, talons aching to reach out and snatch her from the eyes of the patrons staring at her almost nude body. She was magic on the stage and she had the patrons eating out of her hands. Money was falling on the stage floor, but when a portly man reached up to place the cash in the girl’s G-string, he lost it. The only hands he wanted to see near her naked body were his.
He rushed toward the stage, his bounty forgotten. Primal instinct taking over, the need to cover her up his only focus. A bouncer twice his human size stepped in front of him, blocking him from his destination. His fist shot out and cracked against the bouncer’s face with enough surprise force that the man fell backwards, and Trey jumped up on the stage. His need to cover his mate unbelievably strong.
Kensi didn’t catch the commotion until she came face to face with a man of gigantic proportions, long dark hair tied back loosely in a leather band and piercing sapphire eyes. Her heart stuttered as she stumbled backwards and felt her foot give out. She experienced a moment of freefall before she felt strong arms wrap around her waist and pull her against his hard body. When she was upright, she found her lips inches from his own and fought off the urge to crush her lips to his.
Everywhere he touched was on fire with sparks of passion, but her mind was raging with anger at his behavior. The two emotions blended well together like her morning smoothie and created a reaction in her body. The need to flee was overpowering the desire to fight and her mind sent commands to her extremities, but logic tried to intervene, pointing out she wasn’t strong enough, or fast enough to evade this man.
She looked around frantically searching for the bouncers. One was knocked out in front of the stage and two more were heading her way. The music stopped, and everyone around them seemed to be moving in slow motion. Screams broke out as people started realizing what was happening around them.
Trey wrapped his enormous leather jacket around Kensi’s shoulders, which engulfed her. Then he pulled her toward the edge of the stage. She fought back in an attempt to escape, but his grip was firm and unyielding.
“Let go of me!” She hissed.
“Never!” He snapped as he pulled her off the stage with one quick movement and tossed her over his shoulder. Another bouncer approached him, but he used the force of his bicep to drop the assailant and spun around aiming Kensi’s booted feet at the second bouncer’s head, smiling with satisfaction when he heard the crunch of a boot hitting a solid jaw. Knowing these men were watching her dance moments before only made the action more gratifying.
The woman on his shoulder fought against him. She wasn’t a shifter, but she was a supernatural. Did she not recognize him as her mate? He could feel the strength in her thighs as she squirmed to get free from his grip. Her movements only served to drive his desire to higher levels. He felt the pressure of his erection push against the zipper of his pants. Being this close to her was excruciatingly painful, in a good way. He just couldn’t understand why she hadn’t recognized their connection.
He knew it the moment his eyes locked on hers – he knew from the insanity and rage he felt from all the men that watched her painted body wiggle to the music in her seductive way. Gods, please don’t let my mate be a succubus, he thought as he headed toward the neon exit sign. Her actions left him no option but to steal her away from the crowd. Connor had told him meeting his mate would be like a punch to the gut. The bastard wasn’t kidding.
He’d have to wait until she felt the connection too, and he wasn’t going to let his furious vixen leave until she did. The fear that she’d run was too great at this point. He could feel the anger vibrating off her in waves. Logic was starting to settle in over the insanity that took over. He knew he’d acted rashly, and she wasn’t going to easily forgive him for his actions. It would take some cooling off.
He placed her in the black SUV rental and spoke some words over the door seal, locking her in. Sometimes having minor magic came in handy. He’d let her begin that cooling stage while he went back in to find his target. “When you calm down you’ll better understand what is going on,” he told her through the sealed door. “I’ll be back shortly.” And with that he turned and headed back into the strip club.
Check out other Adult Paranormal Romances by Jami Brumfield here.