Genre: Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 80,000
Humanity’s survival lies in the hands of misanthrope Irina, and only her elemental bodyguard, Fontaine, can convince her to save them.
When Irina sees a man appear from a puddle of water, she considers checking into the nearest psych ward. Then he tells her that she is not only descended from elementals, but is the fifth element (the Spirit) and expected to save the human race from a rogue fire elemental. Correction. The sexy puddle-guy in her living room needs the shrink, not her. Mankind as a whole sucks. Why would she risk her life to save them?
Fontaine never expected his “mission of utmost importance” would be to babysit a stubborn human. To cement his frustration, she questions his sanity. He must get to their destination as quickly as possible so he can earn his promotion and be rid of her. It doesn’t matter that she’s the only woman who has ever tempted him to choose mortality. He must resist—or lose the ability to protect her from those wanting to kill her.
Music from the party inside rattled the apartment door, and Irina hesitated before knocking, her stomach churning. God, she hated parties. Would Jenn even notice if she didn’t go in? At ten o’clock, the noise indicated most of their coworkers from the newspaper had already arrived, and Jenn would be busy hosting. Irina took a step toward the stairs, but she’d hesitated too long.
The door opened and Jenn, pointing to the sand-filled urn, ushered two guests outside. The two men, whom Irina recognized as sports reporters from the paper, lit cigarettes. Irina breathed deep, while the air was still somewhat clean. Well, as clean as it could get in downtown Chicago.
“It’s about time,” Jenn said, turning to face her. “Why didn’t you come in?”
“Just got here.”
“Uh-huh.” Jenn eyed her from head to toe, not buying Irina’s lie for a second.
“Let’s get you a drink.” She dragged Irina inside.
The heavy scent of perfume invaded Irina’s nostrils, and she considered rejoining the smokers. They pushed through couples—gyrating in socially acceptable versions of sex—to reach the kitchen.
“What’s your poison?” Jenn stepped behind the bar, while Irina slid onto a vacant stool.
“Water.” Why hadn’t she taken a cab so she could indulge in something stronger? There wasn’t enough liquor in the entire apartment building to make her desire the company of these people after a long week, but she’d canceled plans with Jenn at least twenty times in the last two months. Finally, Jenn had dangled a bargain—show up tonight and she’d leave Irina in peace until the holidays. A few hours wouldn’t kill her. She hoped.