The Djinn's Dilemma

    Chapter One
    Sarah White was nothing like Rukh had expected.
    For one thing, her name was too plain, too ill-fitting for someone who had corkscrew curls that shone with a copper glow and sinfully rich skin the color of caramel. Full, pouty lips, the deep red of a good Bordeaux wine. Woman, thy name should have been Temptation.
    Warmth and need stirred inside him, started at his groin and spread. Desire clouded his mind obliterating all thought, save one. The need to taste her. What had begun as a spark, flared into a desperate ache. It’d been long, too long, since he’d savored a woman.
    What on earth? He wasn’t here for any of that. Rukh shifted to a more comfortable position, glad for the shadows that hid him in the almost empty newsroom of the Austin American-Herald .
    To distract himself, he looked around. Everywhere, but at her. Most of the overhead fluorescent lights had been turned off, except for those in the corner where a handful of sports reporters and copy editors worked on late stories. The soft click-clack of fingers dancing on keys poured from them like a techno-lullaby. So much for their investigative skills. None of them noticed him. He breathed easier now that he was dealing with the familiar, confident in his invisibility. Being a half-breed djinn had some advantages, especially to one in the business of murder.
    His thoughts returned to his worries. The client was being unusually skittish. He’d sent the target’s name and a vague location: downtown Austin. No other details, except to say Rukh’s services would be used as a last resort. Yet, he’d been paid half the money up front, and asked to be in place and ready. The kill, if needed, would take place in two days.
    Rukh scowled. He didn’t like working blind and he always stalked his prey. Of course, the client didn’t know about his special djinn abilities. Didn’t realize names had power. Using those sketchy details, he’d been able to mentally pinpoint Sarah White in the ethereal plane. The fact that her sunshine-yellow aura had shown up in the ethereal plane bright as a freaking spotlight had helped.
    And that was the biggest issue. Rukh reached up and worked the back of his neck, trying to erase the tension knotting his muscles.
    His gaze strayed back to his target. Sarah sat in a rolling office chair at the elbow of a balding overweight man. They were right at the edge of the shadows, a step or two away. Her scent, a soft, sweet lingering vanilla underlaid with dark, lush woman, tickled his nostrils. He took a step nearer, then another, and inhaled the rich fragrance surrounding her. His mouth watered, and unable to help himself, he sucked in another deep breath.
    Even this close, Rukh couldn’t sense any writhing, pulsating darkness around her. Most of his targets were the lowest of lowlifes possible–drug dealers, mob bosses, rapists, illegal arms salesmen. Some would argue that as an assassin, a murderer, he wasn’t any better. Rukh’s nails dug into his skin. Life didn’t always give you options. He tried to massage away the pinch. Anyhow, it took an asshole to deal with an asshole. He did the world a favor by taking out the trash.
    The problem was Sarah White was most definitely not trash. Others on his hit list had auras that rivaled the smoggy skies of Los Angeles. Hers shone with a radiant light; pastel sparks popped and fizzed through it. Just looking at her aura made him want to smile. Maybe he was losing it.
    Sarah’s hair spilled forward as she leaned toward the screen. She’d left the top few buttons of her white cotton shirt undone and the movement made the opening gape. Rukh’s heart jigged as he caught a naughty peek of her cleavage.
    “Hey, change that back. That’s spelled right.” Her voice, low and husky, thrummed through him like a verbal caress. What would his name sound like in her mouth?
    The man shook his head, as his fingers flew over the keyboard. “Don’t you have anything better to do

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