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Unbound

Cover of Unbound

Unbound

UNLEASHED FROM THE GATES OF HELL

Risk Leidolf was a hellhound--a legendary, otherworldlycreature who was both man and beast. For centuries,he'd been bound to do the bidding of a cruel witchqueen. But after being ordered to destroy novice witchKara Shane, the man within him rebelled. And thebeast within him was held at bay--for now.

Fiercely drawn to each other, Risk and Kara soonformed a passionate alliance as they set out to findher missing sibling--and the key to his salvation. Forthe power unleashed by the twin witches could freehim from the witch queen's bondage. But that freedomcame at a steep price. For the fierce battle would putmore than one soul at stake...and two hearts on the line!

UNLEASHED FROM THE GATES OF HELL

Risk Leidolf was a hellhound--a legendary, otherworldlycreature who was both man and beast. For centuries,he'd been bound to do the bidding of a cruel witchqueen. But after being ordered to destroy novice witchKara Shane, the man within him rebelled. And thebeast within him was held at bay--for now.

Fiercely drawn to each other, Risk and Kara soonformed a passionate alliance as they set out to findher missing sibling--and the key to his salvation. Forthe power unleashed by the twin witches could freehim from the witch queen's bondage. But that freedomcame at a steep price. For the fierce battle would putmore than one soul at stake...and two hearts on the line!

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    It was the fear he smelled first, a pheromone--laden scent almost irresistible to the hellhound within him. She was here--somewhere.

    Risk Leidolf spun on one worn boot heel, searching the dim interior of the bar for his latest assignment. He didn't have much information: young and pretty, Lusse had said. She hadn't bothered to tell him anything more. It didn't matter. Whatever Lusse's latest target brought to the fight--talents or temptations--she would be no match for him. They never were.

    The room was a kaleidoscope of sounds, smells and emotions--an onslaught that would be overwhelming to a less experienced hunter, but sadly for his prey, it would barely slow Risk down. He inhaled, dissecting the surrounding scents. Stale beer and human sweat. He shoved them aside.

    Emotion was what he sought. What he craved.

    A tinge of desperation wafted toward him. He ignored it, too. Despair and what followed, guilt and sorrow, held no appeal for Risk. No, much as he wished it different, adrenaline was what lured him--fear, anger. They called to him, making him a slave to urges he wished he could forget.

    Clearing his senses, he concentrated, listening to the low murmur of voices around him. It was quiet for a bar, but an undercurrent ran through the place, a vibration of danger humming around him like a tuning fork held to his ear.

    The bar held secrets, but Risk was unconcerned. He had one job tonight--to retrieve the female for Lusse, and save himself from another period of service in the kennels. Torture he could handle, but being forced to live with the other hounds, fighting daily just to survive, perhaps even losing the small piece of territory he had secured for himself in this world, that would surely drive him mad.

    He laughed, a dry hollow sound. Like a hellhound could ever be called anything but mad, soulless, according to his owner.

    Thoughts of Lusse caused his jaw to tense, brought him back to his purpose. Enough. Get on with it.

    Adjusting his dark glasses down his nose until he could peer over their tops, he studied the room. Grizzled men and timeworn women filled battered tables around him. Not sparing them more than a glance, his gaze shifted to the back, where the shadows grew deeper. Instinctively, he knew that was where he would find her.

    She might think the gloom would disguise her, but it offered no protection from hell's hunters. With a sigh, he continued his scrutiny.

    The booths were empty--save one. Huddled in the cubby farthest from the door was a small lone figure. His prey. Even with Lusse's vague description he couldn't miss her. Young, pretty and fresh. She stood out in the place like an angel dropped into a pit filled with vipers.

    Leaning against the rough paneling on the wall behind him, he took a moment to study her. Petite, probably only 110 pounds, and with dark hair that fell past her shoulders, she seemed lost in thought. Her hand hovered over a shot glass of amber liquid and a crumpled paper was smoothed out on the table in front of her.

    Now that he had her located, he focused on her fully. Fear. The strength of it caught him off guard. Placing his hand on the unfinished wood, he inhaled, nostrils flaring. How did one so small contain so much emotion? Willing himself to stay controlled, he turned to her again. Yes, fear, but there was sorrow, too, and... She plucked the shot glass off the table with her finger and thumb, and tossed the liquid to the back of her throat... Determination.

    She might be afraid, but it wasn't for herself.

    This one was a fighter.

    A sliver of respect sliced into him. With a...

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