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Broken Chains

by Demelza Carlton

Heart of Stone

Shy librarian Catena likes her quiet life…until a huge naked man muscles his way into her house, insisting he’s been woken from his centuries-long sleep to be her personal protector. Tor has no memory of his past, but he knows he must protect Catena at all costs. Can they unlock the dark secrets chaining them to the past, and forge a new future?

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A shout erupted behind her. “Hey! What do you think you’re doing?”

Catena glanced over her shoulder, just long enough to see someone rise from where they’d been sitting on the ground, before she tucked her head down and bolted for home.

“Oi! You! Stop!”

A woman alone, stopping at the order of an angry man in the dark? Catena wasn’t stupid. Instead, she ran faster.

She had only one wish – for help. Just a little bit further, and she’d be safely home. Six more shops. Five. Four. Three…

She looked up, her eyes straining to see the door in the dark. She almost didn’t see the huge shadow beside it until it was too late.

Easily twice as wide as she was, and so tall his head brushed against the shop sign suspended from the roof above. And when he stretched his arms out, his fingers surely touched the shop window on one side, and the construction site fencing on the other.

No escape. No way past, and no way back.

If she could only get her keys out in time, unlock the door and slam it behind her…

The keys. Where were her keys?

Strong arms wrapped around her, pressing her against a chest as warm and hard as sun-soaked stone.

He whirled her around, spinning a tight circle that only seemed to squeeze her harder, smother her, until she could no longer breathe, and blackness took her.