Tricked:A Dark Protectors Novella

By:


Acknowledgments from the Author



I am truly thrilled to be included with the amazing authors in the 1001 Dark Nights group! A huge shout out thanks to Liz Berry, my very good friend who also is a brilliant businesswoman. Thank you also to MJ Rose, Kimberly Guidroz, and Pam Jamison for their dedication and awesome insights. A heartfelt thanks goes to Jillian Stein, the most amazing social media manager in the world. Thanks also to Asha Hossain, who creates absolutely fantastic book covers.

As always, a lot of love and a huge thank you goes to Big Tone, Gabe and Karly, my amazing family who is so supportive.

Finally, thank you to Rebecca’s Rebels, my street team, who have been so generous with their time and friendship. Thank you to Minga Portillo for her excellent leadership of the team. And last, but not least, thank you to all of my readers who spend time with my characters.

~ RAZ





About Rebecca Zanetti



Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over thirty romantic suspense and dark paranormal novels, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, BnN, iTunes, and Amazon bestseller lists. She has received a Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review for Wicked Edge, Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Nominations for Forgotten Sins and Sweet Revenge, and RT Top Picks for several of her novels. Amazon labeled Mercury Striking as one of the best romances of 2016 and Deadly Silence as one of the best romances in October. The Washington Post called Deadly Silence, “sexy and emotional.” She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out. Find Rebecca at: www.rebeccazanetti.com.







One Thousand and One Dark Nights



Once upon a time, in the future…



I was a student fascinated with stories and learning.

I studied philosophy, poetry, history, the occult, and

the art and science of love and magic. I had a vast

library at my father’s home and collected thousands

of volumes of fantastic tales.



I learned all about ancient races and bygone

times. About myths and legends and dreams of all

people through the millennium. And the more I read

the stronger my imagination grew until I discovered

that I was able to travel into the stories... to actually

become part of them.



I wish I could say that I listened to my teacher

and respected my gift, as I ought to have. If I had, I

would not be telling you this tale now.

But I was foolhardy and confused, showing off

with bravery.



One afternoon, curious about the myth of the

Arabian Nights, I traveled back to ancient Persia to

see for myself if it was true that every day Shahryar

(Persian: شهريار, “king”) married a new virgin, and then

sent yesterday's wife to be beheaded. It was written

and I had read, that by the time he met Scheherazade,

the vizier's daughter, he’d killed one thousand

women.



Something went wrong with my efforts. I arrived

in the midst of the story and somehow exchanged

places with Scheherazade – a phenomena that had

never occurred before and that still to this day, I

cannot explain.



Now I am trapped in that ancient past. I have

taken on Scheherazade’s life and the only way I can

protect myself and stay alive is to do what she did to

protect herself and stay alive.



Every night the King calls for me and listens as I spin tales.

And when the evening ends and dawn breaks, I stop at a

point that leaves him breathless and yearning for more.

And so the King spares my life for one more day, so that

he might hear the rest of my dark tale.



As soon as I finish a story... I begin a new

one... like the one that you, dear reader, have before

you now.





Chapter 1



Ronni Alexander settled back into the cushiony sofa in her small loft outside of New York City and forced her expression into calm lines. “Thank you for the ride home.” Yeah, she’d meant the words as a dismissal.

Apparently Jared Reese didn’t know how to take a hint. “You’re more than welcome.” His voice was husky to the point of being gritty and settled along her skin like it wanted to stay. He stood in the center of her living room, making the area seem so much smaller than it normally appeared. He was the tallest, broadest, and most dangerous person she’d ever invited into her home, and the jewel colors around him only emphasized his darkness.

Black hair, black eyes, black leather jacket. But it wasn’t just the absence of color. It was the look in those eyes and the tension in that tight body.

She cleared her throat and moved to stand.

He waved her back down. “I’m not leaving until we discuss my offer.” He shrugged out of his jacket.

The play of muscle, raw and powerful, through his faded T-shirt caught her attention. She shook her head. “Not now. I’ll call you.”

His full lips twitched, and a sparkle lightened those eyes just enough to make them gleam like a predator hunting at night. “The offer is only good for the next hour or so.” He sat and the very faded denim across his thighs stretched. The man overwhelmed the oversized reading chair. “Not that you have much time left.”