Deirdre shoved the mall door open and walked out into a bitterly cold night. An icy breeze pummeled her, flinging small, bright snowflakes into her face and down the neckline of her sweater. "Damn!" Deirdre sucked air, nearly dropping her bags. Momentarily disoriented in the thick fall of snow, she looked around for her car, finding it parked at the far edge of the nearly empty lot. It was already covered in a thick blanket of snow. "Double and triple damn."
She tucked her head and moved forward as quickly as she could with twenty pounds of Christmas bags hanging off her arms. The air swirled around her and Deirdre shivered, feeling suddenly dizzy. She stopped, closed her eyes and took a deep breath, coughing as she sucked snow into her lungs.
Opening her eyes again, she started toward the spot where she'd left her car. She walked for a few minutes and then looked up, thinking she should have gotten to her car already. She blinked. There was no car. Squinting through the dense curtain of snow, Deirdre turned in a slow circle. Maybe she'd gotten disoriented somehow.
Nothing. She realized with a horrified gasp that she couldn't even see the mall.
Air swirled around her again and a light flashed past. A muffled explosion sprayed snow and ice into the air a few feet to her left. Deirdre gave a little scream.
What the hell?
The air swirled past and this time, something grabbed her. She shrieked, dropping her bags, as she was pulled sideways and down.
A large hand covered her mouth. "Shh! I'll protect you, princess. Just remain quiet and let me deal with them."
She tried to look at the man behind the husky voice but when she turned her head she saw only the inside of her fur-lined hood. Deirdre tugged the hood away from her face just in time to see a firm, round buttock disappearing into the curtain of snow. More flashes sliced through the snow and the brief illumination showed Deirdre the large rock her invisible savior had shoved her behind.
A distant, muffled scream made Deirdre cringe. What would she do if her savior didn't survive his rescue. And what the hell was she being rescued from anyway?
She listened carefully for another minute but heard nothing. Finally the now familiar sense of swirling air warned her that someone had joined her in her hiding spot. This time when she looked up it was into the jewel-green gaze of a man with shoulder length white hair and a sexy square jaw covered in stubble. "Who are you?"
He stood, bowing low before her. "Allain Darcassan Erendriel at your service, princess."
She frowned. "How about if I just call you Al?"
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