Puma-shifter Derrick is plagued by nightmares from his days as a spy. Still struggling to cope with the traumatic memories, he throws himself into work to stay sane. But his latest gig protecting a gorgeous death metal vocalist has all his worst demons screaming with desire.
Sonja is no stranger to ominous threats. With a voice that can control shifters and humans alike, she knows she’s a powerful weapon… in the wrong hands. And tired of always looking over her shoulder, she’s happy to put her trust in her sexy new guard and do her best to ignore their red-hot chemistry.
Intent on defending the stunning singer and her unique magic, Derrick’s past mistakes come back to haunt him when she is kidnapped. And when Sonja finds herself at the mercy of the dangerous Anti-Shifter League, her only way to save everyone’s skin could lie in the power of her magical songs.
Can Derrick and Sonja pick up the beat and drive hard to the ultimate happily ever after?
Protecting the Siren is the thrilling first book in the Shifter Spies Paranormal Romance series. If you like smoking-hot attractions, wild women, and broody heroes, then you’ll adore Sascha Illyvich’s luscious tale of unexpected love.
Excerpt from Chapter One
Rob escorted Derrick past the bar and down a long dark hallway. Fans ran on high and sent an obvious chill through the bartender. Derrick’s leather proved no match for the warmth of puma fur.
“Here’s her room. Remember, she shouldn’t know I hired you to protect her. Nor does she need to know about the note threatening her life. The guys typically head into the hidden cellar here for a shower.”
“Right, we’re just old friends from school. Took some of the same classes and I’m in town visiting.”
Rob nodded. “Right.”
Derrick rubbed his chin. “You said something went wrong when she sang and began pulling shifters toward the stage. What did you mean?”
“You’ll see in a moment.” Rob pushed the door open.
Behind the wooden slab that passed for a door, dimmed lights illuminated the area. Derrick made out the leather couch and the sounds of muffled cries. He rushed in and scanned the area.
Senses on high alert, Derrick spotted the tiny woman with her head buried in her arms on the couch. She curled up in a tight ball against the corner, sobbing…and clad in only hip-hugging panties and a bra that pushed luscious curves upward.
Alabaster skin glistened with sweat against the black leather couch. Her hair hid her face and muffled her sobs. Derrick sighed but caught a whiff of something.
“Sonja?” Rob stepped in and knelt at her side. He reached out but didn’t quite touch her. “Come here, Derrick. If I’m right…” Rob didn’t finish his statement.
Derrick stepped inside and scratched his head.
Rob met Derrick’s gaze dead on. “Now, please.”
The urgency in Rob’s voice matched his concerned expression. Sonja’s sobs continued to tear at his heart. He wanted to know who made her cry and why. Then he wanted to pummel them. Vengeance filled him instantly.
Rob’s voice floated through the rage and managed to ground Derrick back to reality. “Calm down, Derrick. It’s not what you think. Take a deep breath, clear your mind, and touch her. Please.”
Derrick knelt, ran a hand through his hair, and sighed, letting all the worry slip away from his mind. He found that calm place in the forest where the puma inside loved running free, and went there. Luscious smells confronted his sensitive nose. Colors sharpened. Then he returned to reality. Rob moved beside Sonja. His eyes filled with despair. “Touch her, please.”
Derrick didn’t miss the pain in Rob’s voice. What is going on here?
He reached for Sonja, touched a hand along her thigh. Smooth, soft skin met his.
Her thigh twitched and she stiffened against his hand.
Derrick started to withdraw but met Rob’s gaze.
Derrick nodded. Sexual energy along with something else crackled between them and sent a shudder through his body.
Sonja must have felt it, too, because she shifted and straightened. Her eyes widened.
Derrick slid his leather trench coat off and used it to cover her.
She sniffled and lifted her head to meet his gaze. “Thank you.”
Intense silver-blue eyes stared back at him with such force they threatened to knock him back. He struggled to hold his ground, remaining unsure of whether to remove his hand.
She answered that question by cupping his hand with hers and offering a weak smile. “You’re tranquil,” she whispered.
Derrick nodded and smiled weakly. “Sometimes. What’s going on?”
Sonja shifted again, rolled her head back and forth. She swept a hand through her red hair and brushed it over her shoulders. “I’m…empathic, and in this crowd there was so much hatred. It’s overwhelming. I picked up on it instantly and it inundated me.”
Blinking, Derrick looked at Rob. “It’s like she was thrust in the middle of the mosh pit before it started?”
Before Rob could answer, Sonja nodded. “You’re a shifter. Your feelings are heavier than most. Let me just touch you back.” She leaned forward and the jacket slid down her body, exposing a black bra.
Her hand caressed his cheek, then slid down his neck and stopped at his heart. She pressed the palm of her hand against him and closed her eyes.
It hit him then, the pressure of all he kept buried inside. Swamped with that weight, he staggered forward, reached out for the couch, and found the warmth of Sonja’s body wrapped around his.
Her sweet voice echoed in his ear. “You’re…missing something.”
Inside, Derrick’s mind went on high alert. She’d hit a trigger but his training kept him from showing any emotion other than what he wanted her to see.
Derrick looked to see Rob standing, Sonja glaring at him. Her brows furrowed, lips pursed together in a thin line. “Brother, please.”
Derrick stiffened and narrowed his eyes at Rob. “Brother? You didn’t tell me that, Rob.”
Rob sighed and nodded. “Yes, I did. Night before last.”
Sonya wrapped her arms around Derrick’s waist and pulled him into softness that complimented each hard bit of his body.
He felt right sitting awkwardly in Sonja’s lap, but had to ask about the tears. He wasn’t a total cad, though his body’s reaction certainly made itself known. “So the tears were a reaction to the crowd?”
She nodded and spoke in a whisper, “The crowd in this genre of music is so lonely, so angry, so displaced. Add in a few shifters and it becomes burdensome when mixed with all the normal pent-up aggression metal heads carry around. Sadly—or not, some say—I absorb that burden in the music, with my voice.”
His heart felt heavier.
Her hand pressed harder against his chest.
Derrick felt a weight lift off his shoulders. “It’s not—”
Two slender fingers pressed against his lips. Eyelashes batted enticingly at him.
Derrick groaned. He wanted to stretch her out on the couch and spread her legs apart while exploring her with his tongue and lips. Her scent, sweat mixed with heady heat, wafted past his nose. Yet he couldn’t make another move.
She was a goddess. His nerves felt unsteady, his body was on fire.
Sonja adjusted herself on the couch, pressing herself deeper between his spread thighs.
“I’d hate to be confused for a groupie.” He went for humor, letting his natural sarcasm come through.
She chuckled. “I haven’t any groupies.”
Derrick arched a brow. He wouldn’t point out the obvious to her yet, figuring she’d heard it all the time. Instead, he went for subtle. “You’re a beautiful death metal singer. Surely you have groupies.”
“Nope.” She shook her head and leaned against the couch, pushing her breasts into his chest. “None. I mean there are boys and girls who have a silly attraction to me, but it’s not returned.”
“Good to know.” He couldn’t keep the growl from his voice.
“Ahem.” Rob coughed again. “I should leave you two alone.” He glared hard at Derrick. “Be nice to my sister. She’s rather special, puma.”
The unmentioned threat hung in the air. Not that it mattered, Derrick was hired to do a job, not to fraternize with the severely attractive client. He smiled. “I understand.”
Rob glowered and backed out of the room, shutting the door.
Sonja slid one leg from beneath her, giving Derrick a view of very creamy skin and shapely thigh. She tilted her head slightly. “He’s very protective. I’m sorry.”
He shrugged again. “I would be, too. You’re an attractive woman, and I may be a shifter but I’m still a man. I was…”
“Dying to meet me?” Her eyes twinkled with something that looked like lust.
He shrugged and grinned. “Yeah. Sort of.”
“How do you know my brother?”
“Friends from school.” Derrick leaned back while not breaking the physical contact.
A brow quirked. “I see. Funny, he never mentioned you.”
“Yeah, we lost touch after graduation. I had a thing overseas. Real hush-hush.” Half-truth.
Sonja stretched her other leg out from beneath her and shifted in her seat, giving Derrick a fabulous view of her contours.
Instantly, he wondered why she was practically nude after the show. “Are you that hot and sweaty up there on stage?”
She rolled her shoulders and shook out her hands. “A little, yes. But the problem I have is that not only do I pick up the feelings, they mold to my clothing. Especially with the previous band pushing a message of hatred, I picked up a lot of negative rage. When I came back here, I stripped off the clothes.”
He licked his lips. “So your underwear doesn’t pick things up? I’m very much enjoying the physical contact.”
She smirked. “All clothing I wear picks up some semblance of emotion, it’s part of my nature. But I’m not a slut. And that clothing is hot. I mean, we wear all black.”
He chuckled. “I’d never think that of you. I can only imagine what it’s like to be in the limelight and need the break. And I’ll mention again, I’m certainly enjoying the view.”
Sonja flipped her hair off to one side, showing the pale curve of her neck. “I figured you would. I sort of sought you out.” A light blush crept up her cheeks.
“Oh?” He cocked a brow. If she knew his purpose, she hadn’t let on yet. “Why?”
She leaned forward, giving him an even better view of ample cleavage. “I don’t know. You felt…safe.” She closed her eyes, puckered her lips, and made a popping sound before returning her focus on him.
“Honey, I’m anything but.” He let his voice drop, watching her expression slowly change.
The deep-blue shade of her eyes intensified, the silver irises appeared to swirl. Energy poured out from her so fast that it slammed into Derrick like a freight train.
Memories, screams, visceral images all bombarded him. The instant message his mind received had only one thing: bleak blackness so heavy, so dark it made the winter night sky look like the middle of a sunny summer day.
He slid off the couch, stumbled back. Hands at his sides, he tried to brace himself for the next wave but it hit him too fast. Nausea settled in his stomach and all of those Manhattans he’d drunk earlier threatened to come up, bringing bile with them.
The sensation dizzied him, brought him to his knees.
All the agony he kept buried and all the trepidation the puma had about killing—even though nature said otherwise—made him howl out. He opened his eyes and saw the sight of himself being forced to burn a village because some government jackass was breathing orders to eliminate the warlords of that village by whatever means necessary down his neck.
That meant force. A lot of force because the villagers had been trained in guerrilla warfare and wouldn’t hesitate to shoot the foreign shifter menace.
Derrick had no idea what was waiting for him or his brother once they arrived.
Max hadn’t slept any more soundly than Derrick since their return, and Derrick left that mission in the past with all the other ghosts that haunted him.
Or at least he thought he’d buried the dead. He opened his mouth to scream but nothing came out. Not even a puma cry.
Just then, soft arms surrounded him and forced him back to reality. Sonja held him to her, whispering sweet words while the energy pulled back from him. “I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry. Relax, please. Calm down, babe. Let me help you.”