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Steamy Romance Novels

Fifty Shades of Grey Can't Hold A Candle to This Book

May 11, 2023

Fighting Darius

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Under the strobe lights, I feel warm hands touching my hips. When I turn, I am met with a pair of dark-brown eyes, staring at me. I’m tipsy, but I can still tell that he is a werewolf.

His eyes look hard and penetrating. Buzz-cut dark-brown hair, a nice tall body with tattoos. One ear is pierced, and he has a lip ring.

The next thing I know, I’m feeling his piercing between my teeth and on my tongue.

He exudes danger, but I am too drunk to be sensible.

I have the lip ring between my teeth. I suck on it, I love the feeling of warm metal on my tongue.

His hands roam all over me. He tries to take over, to dominate the kiss, but I push him back against the wall and kiss him hard. He chuckles against my mouth and pulls me closer.

When I pull away, the man with the lip ring is gone.

In his place is Darius.

He gazes at me intensely. There is darkness to his stare. 

“You didn’t even want that guy, did you Persephone?” he smirks.

He’s the only one who calls me by my full name.

Angrily, I shove him off of me. He stumbles, smiling. When I blink, he has vanished. 

The stranger with the lip ring looks at me, confused.

“What did I do?” he asks, perplexed by my sudden shift in attitude.

His voice is somehow wrong. Hurriedly, I excuse myself, not bothering to apologize for my abruptness. 

He was a good kisser, but he was no Darius. 

Dammit! Why?! Why am I thinking about him again? 

Why does he haunt my every thought?

I need to get out of this party.

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With my pepper spray clenched tightly in my fist, I stumble back home.

I’m too drunk to drive. 

I hear a shuffling sound from behind me and snap my head around, but there’s no one there. The wind whistles through the empty streets. 

The sun will peer over the horizon in a few hours, but for now all I have is the flickering streetlights, ominously flashing on and off. 

I have seen enough horror movies to know bad things happen around flickering lights.

While I live in a college town, I can never be too careful. There is always danger lurking around every corner when you’re a woman. Even for us werewolves. My powers are limited at best. It’s not like I’m a lycan. If I were, things would be different.

Maybe I would be with… I don’t even want to think of his name anymore. 

I push the thought away, trying to distract myself.

Over the past month, there have been several muggings in the area. The suspect is still at large. I’m usually unfazed, because I live in a house full of royal lycans. The crown prince himself lives in the house. 

But tonight, I’m alone.

At first, my heart calms when I spot the front door of my house just ahead. Then I notice the light in my bedroom is on. A shadow waits by the window, looking out onto the street below.

When I blink, the shadow is gone.

Perhaps it was a trick of the light. Or maybe I’ve had one too many shots tonight. 

I’d been drinking like a fish, trying to forget about him.

Wait a second. Didn’t I switch off my bedroom light before I left?

Perhaps one of the others turned it on?

I shake my head, trying to shed the paranoia. 

You’re being silly Penny, I reassure myself. 

It isn’t like I’ve got the best memory in the first place. 

Inside, the house is quite dark. They always leave the light by the staircase on. The glow of lights from the swimming pool also keeps the house from being in total darkness.

Everything is quiet except for the low hum of the fridge in the kitchen and the filter pump from the swimming pools.

I can hear the sound of the waves crashing on the shore from afar.

I pull off my cowboy boots and try to walk as quietly as I can across the tile floor. 

As I make my way up the staircase, something doesn’t feel right.

My thoughts are all muddled. I need to take a break from drinking soon, straighten out my mind before I lose it.

A familiar, intoxicating smell fills my nostrils, sending my head into a frenzy.

“Persephone.” A tall figure rises gracefully, like a shadow, in the dim light by my bed. “Why is your lipstick smeared?”

It’s him…

It has been three years since I last laid eyes on him.

The night he shattered my heart into a million pieces.

Suddenly, here he is, standing in my bedroom, waiting for me.


Slowly, he walks up to me. 

He grabs my face in his hand, pulling me in.

“I smell another man on you, Persephone,” he growls.

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Chapter 2



The day you turn eighteen is the day you can sense your mate for the first time.

So, my birthday was a big deal. That’s why I had planned a big party. It was going to be epic!

If you didn’t find your mate on your eighteenth birthday, people talked behind your back.

So I invited all the good-looking boys I have a crush on. Well…that’s basically all the unmated werewolf boys at our school.

I know, call me boy crazy, but who knows, one of those boys could be my mate, right? I was just being thorough. I’m a very dedicated she-wolf.

I’m waiting by the door to welcome my guests. I can see cars parking on the street and handsome boys, all looking amazing in suits and ties, getting out and greeting each other. My mouth waters.

I’m also excited to see my friend Genesis. She’s a lycan, and she’d been kidnapped (trust me, long story). She had only just made it home tonight.

As my first guests make their way up the front steps, my wolf, Juno, starts jumping around wildly inside me. Maybe she senses her mate. I hope so.

I cross my fingers behind my back.

Three hours later, my excited mood is gone. I’ve shaken hands with every unmated male here and didn’t feel the slightest spark with any of them.

I’m beginning to get worried that I won’t find my mate tonight after all. That would be humiliating.

What if I have to go to school tomorrow and endure the whispers and pointing?

I shudder. I don’t think I could handle that.

I look around at the party. Drool-worthy boys everywhere. Dancing, drinking, flirting with girls.

But not one of them is my mate. ~Damn.~

There’s a knock on the door and I go answer it.

“Genesis!” I pull my bestie into the biggest hug as soon as I get the chance.

“Oh, Penny…happy birthday, love,” she whispers in my ear while she squeezes me a bit harder.

“I thought I’d never see you again. Don’t you dare do that to us again,” I scold.

“Not if I can help it,” she manages to say before our other friend Reese pulls her away.

After I release Genesis, I straighten up and gasp. Literally gasp like one of those girls in old movies.

On the doorstep behind Genesis is the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen.

Obviously, he’s a lycan. He’s so gorgeous. And lethal.

He has thick blond hair, so pale it’s almost white. It’s slicked back and suits him perfectly.

His sharp features look like they’re molded from granite.

His red lips contrast beautifully with his fair, flawless complexion. His perfect top lip is firm, yet his bottom lip is full and sexy, at odds with his tough exterior.

But the most fascinating thing about his appearance is his eyes.

They’re icy blue and have a sinister, dangerous air about them.

And they’re fixed right on me. He’s staring at me as if I’m the only person in the room.

His gaze sets all my inner alarm bells ringing.

But it also sends Juno galloping around my insides, burning with excitement and attraction. Somehow I know this isn’t just a regular lycan.

Genesis looks back and forth between us with a knowing look in her eyes.

Finally, she speaks. “Penny, allow me to introduce you to Darius Ivanovic Rykov.”

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Darius Ivanovic Rykov won’t stop staring at me and I can’t seem to look away either as Genesis keeps making introductions.

She tells me that Darius is a commander of the Royal Intelligence Force.

He’s here with his two other officers to investigate Genesis’s kidnapping. It’s a huge deal, especially since it’s connected to a ruthless and well-known rebel group.

Just then, I noticed my other friends are here too. Constantine, Lazarus, and Caspian. All of them are Lycans and they are all drop-dead gorgeous.

“Beany Penny! Don’t I get a hug too?” Caspian has a big, mischievous grin on his face as he pulls me in for a hug.

Huh? Beany Penny?

Caspian is actually Prince Caspian. The crown prince, also Constantine’s cousin. Prince Caspian is still unmated. He’s also swoon-worthily good-looking, of course.

If he wasn’t such an idiot, I might have fallen for him. Well, actually, I did have a crush on him…until he opened his mouth.

I glance quickly back at the smoking-hot, icy-blue-eyed Lycan over Caspian’s shoulder. He has a big scowl on his handsome face as he stares at Caspian and me.

I can’t concentrate on anything else around me. People are talking, yet I’m only aware of his every movement and of his eyes on me.

I feel the buzzing energy every time those icy-blue eyes land on me, which is a lot. My ears zone in on his deep, sexy voice as he talks…and that Russian accent. I melt.

My heart flutters in my chest like a trapped little bird, and my stomach clenches almost painfully every time our eyes meet.

All through the night, my eyes keep drifting to him. Like a magnet, I’m hopelessly drawn to him. Like he’s pulling the string to my kite.

He can’t seem to keep his eyes off me too because every time I look at him, he’s already looking at me. Our eyes would meet and lock from across the room. He would be the first to break the spell.

He would drag his eyes away before they would inevitably and reluctantly drift back to me again. It’s as if he can’t help himself.

“Persephone Aspen Ruiz, did you hear a word I was saying?” asks Genesis after I fail to answer her question for the third time tonight.

Of course not, girl.

“Of course I have, Genesis,” I answer as I feel my cheeks heating up. ~Gee, thanks a lo~t~! Now I’m blushing. I don’t ~do~ blushing!~

My eyes involuntarily flicker in Darius’s direction. I notice that there’s a slight smirk on his lips. A little amusement and a hint of satisfaction in his eyes.

Oh, how embarrassing! He must know how much his presence is affecting me.

“He’s hot, eh?” whispers Reese into my ear.

“Who?” I pretend ignorance.

“Who else?” She grins mischievously. “I think he looks like Draco Malfoy…only buffer, hotter, bigger, sexier.”

“Shut up.” I shush her as I notice his eyes slide to me again.

I watch him covertly from afar.

He looks like he’s in his early twenties…twenty-two at the most. He looks so tough, yet sophisticated. Rugged, yet so beautiful. So worldly and cultured.

I’d guess he is all that since really he’s older than twenty-two. Genesis’s mate, Constantine, looks like he’s only eighteen, but he’s actually over three hundred years old.

So I imagine he must be a bit older than that.

Compared to humans, us werewolves age slower, but lycans age a lot slower than werewolves. That means they live a lot longer.

Thankfully, a lycan’s mate, be they a human or a werewolf, will change into a lycan once they’re bonded.

If you’re wondering about how a werewolf could possibly mate with a lycan, then maybe I should begin by telling you a bit of what I know about lycans.

You see, lycans don’t have mates chosen for them by the moon goddess like us regular werewolves. They get to choose their own mates: either another lycan, a regular werewolf, or even a human.

Even though they’re not blessed with mates, each lycan has “the one” for them. The one that they’re attracted to like no other.

This one being is called erasthai~

This attraction is governed by their basic survival instinct. It is believed that the erasthai is best suited to the lycan in every way.

The stronger the attraction, the stronger their bond will be when they become mates. Lycans are not known to give up on their erasthais, even if their erasthais are already mated or married to another.

How crazy is that?

That being said, there are lycans who are marked and mated with other lycans who are not their erasthais. The bond isn’t as strong, though.

The bond between lycans who mate with their erasthais can be stronger than that of werewolf mates.

Seeing my best friend Genesis and her lycan mate, Constantine, I can believe that. She’s definitely Constantine’s erasthai. The level of love and understanding between them is incomparable.

Their chosen mate, no matter if she or he is a werewolf or a human, will turn into a lycan after they form a bond.

The mate’s physical appearance as a human will also change to mold perfectly to its other half, the lycan.

In their human form, lycans are better looking and more attractive than us regular werewolves, who are considered to be better looking than most humans…like way more.

So, lycans are amazingly smoking hot.

My friend Genesis, who’s very beautiful to begin with, is now drop-dead gorgeous, just like all the other lycans.

Genesis corners me into telling her about what’s going on with me the very next day. My bestie thinks I am Darius Rykov’s erasthai because that’s how she felt the first time she met Constantine.

I am so confused because while I was waiting for my mate, I wasn’t expecting to be an erasthai to any lycans.

I always wondered what it would be like to meet my mate. 

As I watch Darius leave the party without saying a word to me, I finally know how it feels.

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