I love the entire concept of this new series. It's totally believable and so well crafted you are sucked into the story line within the first chapter.
Eve's character is amazing. She is temptation itself. She's been given the Mark of Cain and thrust into a world of biblical warriors and now she must slay evil demons as punishment for her sins. Eve's journey gives us tons of action and excitement but she is also very vulnerable as we learn in a devastatingly heartbreaking moment.
Alec Cain and Reed Able are brothers and lifelong enemies who will have to work together to keep Eve alive long enough for her to finish her "Mark" training. They are both so hott I couldn't possibly choose between them. I say keep them both Eve!
Their story is so well thought out and executed I question if S.J Day has the inside scoop on what the REAL story is with these two. LOL The mixture of biblical reference and lore make this an interesting read for believers and nonbelievers alike.
I'm ready for book two now.......
Cursed by God, hunted by demons, desired by Cain and Abel... All in a day's work.
For Evangeline Hollis, a long-ago fling with a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks just became a disaster of biblical proportions. One night with a leather-clad man of mystery has led to a divine punishment: the Mark of Cain.
Thrust into a world where sinners are drafted to kill demons, Eve knows her learning curve must be short. A longtime agnostic, she begrudgingly maneuvers through a celestial bureaucracy where she is a valuable but ill-treated pawn. She's also become the latest point of contention in the oldest case of sibling rivalry in history...
But she'll worry about all that later. Right now she's more concerned with learning to kill while staying alive. And saving the soul she'd never quite believed she had.
“Sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you, but you shall master it.”– The LORD to Cain, Genesis 4:7
The Devil is in the details.
Evangeline Hollis understood the true gist of that saying now, surrounded as she was by thousands of Satan’s minions. Some wore Seattle Seahawks baseball caps, others wore San Diego Chargers jerseys. All bore detailed designs similar to tribal tattoos on their skin that betrayed both what species of cursed being they were and what their rank in Hell’s hierarchy was. To her enhanced eyes, it looked like a damn festival for sinners. They were drinking beer, devouring nachos, and waving giant foam fingers.
In reality, the event was a football game in Qualcomm Stadium. The day was classic Southern California perfection–sunny and warm, the eighty-degree temperature balanced by a delightfully cool breeze. Mortals mingled with Infernal beings in blissful ignorance, simply enjoying a bit of afternoon spectator sport. To Eve, the scene was macabre; like watching hungry wolves sunning themselves alongside lambs. Gore, violence, and death were the inevitable result of any interaction between the two.
“Stop thinking about them.”
Alec Cain’s deep, sensual voice made her shiver inside, but outwardly she shot him a rueful glance over the top of her sunglasses. He was always telling her to ignore their prey when they weren’t on the hunt. As if rogue fae, demons, mages, werewolves, dragons, and thousands of variants of the same were easily disregarded.
“There’s a woman breastfeeding her child next to an incubus,” she muttered.
“Angel.” His nickname for her moved over her skin like a tangible caress. Alec’s voice could turn driving directions into foreplay. “We’re taking the day off, remember?”
She blew out her breath and looked away. At a few inches over six feet, Alec was blessed with a powerful chest and tautly ridged abdomen that were noticeable even through his fitted white tank. He had long, muscular legs presently showcased in knee-length Dickies shorts and biceps so beautifully defined they were coveted by both men and women.
He was her lover… occasionally. Like all sweets, Alec was delicious and satisfying, but too much of him caused a sugar crash that left her dazed and reeling. He’d also ruined life as she had known it. Her career aspiration had been interior design, not Infernal bounty hunting.
“If only it was that simple,” Eve groused. “How can I go on vacation when I’m surrounded by work? Besides, they stink even when I’m ignoring them.”
“All I smell is you,” he purred, leaning over to nuzzle his nose against her cheek. “Yum.”
“It creeps me out that they’re everywhere. I went to McDonald’s yesterday and the person serving me at the window was a faery. I couldn’t even eat my Big Mac.”
“Betcha ate the fries.” Pulling down his shades, Alec looked at her with somber eyes. “There’s a difference between staying on your toes and paranoia.”
“I’m cautious, not a basket case. Until I find a way out of this mark business, I’m making the best of it.”
“I’m proud of you.”
Eve sighed. Having Alec for a mentor was such a bad idea, and not just because it was the equivalent of a Hollywood casting couch in most Marks’ eyes. Never mind that the true “casting couch” was the exchange of sexual favors in return for a position you wanted. No one ever wanted the Mark of Cain.
The Marks’ hierarchy started at the bottom with the newbies and topped off with Alec, the original and most badass Mark of them all. There was no way to surpass him. There was also no way to work with him. He was the quintessential loner, the very definition of the word. Yet here was Eve, a six-week newbie in the field, perched solidly at the top because he didn’t trust anyone else to watch her back. She was important to him.
The other Marks thought working with God’s primary enforcer had to be a vacation. While it was true that Infernals didn’t mess with Alec unless they had a death wish, it didn’t make things any easier. Demons now targeted her as a way to get to him. To make things worse, Alec had been marked so long that he’d forgotten what it was like to be new and confused. There were things he expected her to simply “know,” and he became frustrated when he realized she didn’t.
He squeezed her hand. “What happened to the girl who just wanted to forget about everything for a couple of hours?”
“That was before she was kidnapped and nearly blown to smithereens.” Eve stood. “I’ll be back. I need to use the little girls’ room.”
As she stood, Alec caught her wrist. Her brows rose in silent inquiry.
“Angel.” He kissed the back of her hand. “When I tell you to stop thinking about them, it’s not because I want you to live in a fantasy world. I just want you to see the good stuff around you. You saw a mother nursing her baby, but you didn’t see the miracle of it. You were too busy looking at the demon next to her. Don’t give them the power to ruin your day.”
Frowning, Eve absorbed his words, then nodded her acceptance. Alec had lived with the mark since the dawn of time and could still see miracles; she could try.
“I’ll be right back,” she said.
He released her. After inching her way past the other spectators in their aisle, Eve sprinted up the wide cement steps. She still marveled over the speed, strength, and agility that came with the mark burned into her upper arm. She’d always been athletic, but now she was Supergirl. Well… she couldn’t fly. But she could jump really damn high. She could also see in the dark and bust through dead-bolted doors, talents she’d never anticipated needing or appreciating.
Eve reached the concourse and followed the signs to the nearest restroom. The line protruded just outside the entrance. Luckily, she wasn’t desperate. More than anything, she’d just needed to get out of her seat.
So she waited patiently, rocking in her flip-flops with her hands in her pockets. An occasional breeze passed by, ruffling through her ponytail. It carried the mingled scent of evil and rotting souls, a pungent stench that made her stomach roil. It fell somewhere between decomposition and fresh shit, and it amazed her that the Unmarked couldn’t smell it.
How had she lived twenty-eight years of her life in complete ignorance? How had Alec lived centuries in complete awareness?
“Mom!” The young boy in front of her was holding his crotch, crossing his legs, and wiggling madly. “I have to go!”
Although the woman looked as if she could be the child’s sister, Eve wasn’t unduly surprised. Many women in Southern California didn’t age. They just became plasticized caricatures of their youthful selves. This one was bleached blonde with a perfect tan, breasts a size too large for her slender frame, and plumped, glossy lips.
The mother looked around.
“Let me go in the boys’ bathroom,” he begged.
“I can’t go in there with you.”
“I’ll be done in a minute!”
Eve guessed the boy was around six years old. Old enough to pee by himself, but she understood the mother’s concern. A child had been killed in a public restroom in nearby Oceanside while his aunt waited outside. The demon who orchestrated that horror had used the oldest trick in the book–pretending to be God.
The harried mother hesitated for a long moment, then gave a jerky nod. “Hurry. You can wash your hands here in the girls’ bathroom.”
The boy ran past the drinking fountains and ducked into the men’s room. Eve offered a commiserating smile to his mom. The line moved incrementally forward. Two teenagers joined in behind her. They were dressed in the predominant fashion of layered tank tops paired with low-rise jeans. Expensive perfume saturated the air around them, which created a welcome relief from the odor of decay. In the stadium, the crowd roared. One of the Chargers’ outside linebackers was a werewolf. From the high-frequency praise of the Infernals in the crowd, he’d done something worth cheering about.
“Why is the line so long?” the girl behind her asked.
Eve shrugged, but the woman in front of her replied, “The bathrooms down there–” she pointed to the left with a French manicured nail “–are closed for repairs.”
As if on cue, the mark seared into Eve’s deltoid began to tingle, then burn. She sighed and abandoned her place. “You can take my spot. I don’t have to go that bad.”
“Thanks,” the teenager replied.
Eve headed to the left, muttering to herself, “Some vacation.”
“You were bored anyway, babe,” purred a familiar voice.
Glancing to the side, Eve watched as Reed Abel fell into step with her, his mouth curved in a devilish smile that belied the wings and halo he occasionally sported for shock value. He was a mal’akh, but there wasn’t much angelic about Alec’s brother.
“That doesn’t mean I wanted to be put to work.” Reed was the handler in charge of her assignments, which was just a nasty trick in her opinion. Why God allowed and encouraged dissension between the two brothers was beyond her comprehension.
“We could blow this taco stand,” he suggested. “Go have some hot, sweaty fun.”
She wasn’t touching that invitation with a ten-foot pole. Like his brother, Reed scorched a girl in both good and bad ways. “Are you kidding about the assignment? Do you need me for something more substantial or what?”
“You thought it was substantial enough before.” He winked mischievously.
Eve smacked him. “Don’t be crude. I refuse to be the latest toy you and your brother fight over. Go find something else to play with.”
“I’m not playing with you.”
There was something sincere in his tone. She ignored it by necessity, although less circumspect parts of her perked up.
“The bathroom?” she asked instead, when the yellow Out of Service sign came into view.
“Yeah.” He caught her arm and tugged her closer. “Raguel suggested it was time for an extension of your classroom training. I’ll go get Cain.”
Raguel was the archangel whose jurisdiction she fell under. He was the bail bondsman, Reed was the dispatcher, and she was the bounty hunter. It was a well-oiled system for most, but her road had been bumpy from the very beginning.
She sniffed the air. The acrid stench of Infernal wrinkled her nose. “You know… this is like sending a medical student into brain surgery the day she first reads about it.”
“You don’t know your own strengths, babe.”
She glared. “I know when I’m getting my ass kicked.”
“You’re batting a thousand so far. This one’s a wolf and you’re good with them. But be careful anyway.”
“Easy for you to say. You’re not the one risking your hide.”
His lips pressed to her temple in a quick, hard kiss. “Risking yours is enough, trust me.”
Skirting the Out-of-Order sign, Eve entered the men’s restroom, lamenting the fact that she was wearing her favorite flirty sandals. Due to the rigors of her “job,” she’d taken to wearing combat boots whenever she left home, but Alec had coaxed her into going casual today. She should have known better.
The harsh ammonia smell of stale urine assaulted her nostrils. Finding her target was easy. He stood in the center of the room, alone. A teenage werewolf who was eerily familiar.
“Remember me?” he asked, smiling.
The boy was tall and thin, his face long and unremarkable. He wore a dirty gray hooded sweatshirt and jeans so low his ass was hanging out. A dark spot moved across his cheek and came to rest on his left cheekbone. His detail–swirls around a diamond shape. Like the mark on her arm, it served a similar purpose to military insignia.
Recognition hit her hard, followed by an immediate chill down her spine. “Shouldn’t you be in Northern California with your pack?”
“The Alpha sent me down here to even the score. He thinks Cain needs to learn what it’s like to lose someone he loves.”
“There was no way to save the Alpha’s son,” she argued. “Cain doesn’t pick and choose his hunts. He follows orders.”
“He made a deal. For you. And he broke his promise.”
Eve frowned. Alec had never mentioned a deal to her. But that was something she would explore later. There was a more immediate question. “You think you can take me by yourself?”
His smirk turned into a grin. “I brought a friend.”
“Great.” That was never good.
The large handicapped stall in the back slammed open and something absolutely horrific thundered out. Holy shit. An Infernal that large should have reeked for yards. Instead, the only thing Eve smelled was wolf.
The dragon hadn’t fully shifted. He still wore his pants and shoes, and dark hair still covered his head. But his mouth was a protruding muzzle of razor-sharp teeth, his eyes were those of a lizard, and all of his visible flesh was covered in gorgeous multihued scales.
“You smell tasty,” he rumbled.
She’d heard that Marks smelled sickly sweet to Infernals, which made her laugh inwardly. There was no such thing as a sweet Mark. They were all bitter. “You don’t smell like anything.”
We failed, she realized with a sinking feeling in her gut. Infernals still had the means to hide themselves in crowds.
“Brilliant, isn’t it?” the wolf asked. “Obviously, you didn’t wipe out our operation completely.”
The dragon roared and it was a fearsome, deafening sound that echoed in the confined space of the bathroom. The mortals couldn’t hear it, though, and Eve’s eardrums were invincible despite their celestial sensitivity. Another boon granted by the mark. The dragon shoved the wolf aside and stomped closer.
“Guess that’s my cue to leave,” the kid said. “I’ll give the Alpha your regards.”
Eve’s gaze remained riveted on her opponent. “Yeah, tell him he screwed with the wrong chick.”
The wolf laughed and departed. Eve wanted to do the same.
For all her bravado, she was out of her league. If she had been capable of physical reactions to stress, her heart would be hammering and she’d be short of breath. No doubt about it, she was going to be suffering when this confrontation was over…
…if she was still alive…
- Ann Aguirre
- Ann Cory
- Cathryn Fox
- Colleen Gleason
- Dakota Cassidy
- Elizabeth Amber
- Ilona Andrews
- J.R. Ward
- Jeaniene Frost
- Jennifer Lynn Barnes
- Joss Ware
- Karin Tabke
- Keri Arthur
- Kresley Cole
- Lara Adrian
- Larissa Ione
- Laurell K. Hamilton
- Lauren Dane
- Lora Leigh
- MacKenzie McKade
- MaryJanice Davidson
- Megan Hart
- Melissa Schroeder
- Michele Bardsley
- Monica Burns
- Nalini Singh
- P.C. Cast
- Rachel Vincent
- S.J. Day
- Sasha White
- Shannon Mckenna
- Shayla Black
- Shelley Bradley
- Sherrilyn Kenyon
- Shiloh Walker
- Stephenie Meyer
- Sylvia Day
She is a mental yawn, young and boring, or so he thought.Still he has decided to wed her. Unfortunately the lady of his choice appears not to be interested. To keep her close while he attempts to win her favor, Sirius must resort to blackmail. He demands kisses for offenses to relieve boredom. Victoria will be ruined if Sirius reveals her secret scandal. In exchange for his silence he demands kisses for each insult she inflicts. Yet she is unable to resist insulting the haute lord. Making matters worse, her cousin that has been trying to kill her to gain her inheritance, now kidnaps Victoria to force marriage on her. A wife can have accidents! Can Sirius save her from this debaucher and a secret admirer?
This book was recommended to me because of a particular scene in the book. Sooo......
Feral, I get what you mean about the chair scene now! This book sucked me in so fast before I knew what I was doing I had pulled a chair in my living room, opened all the blinds and.......well you know the rest. Ha! To bad my neighbor is a cop and nothing like Harlan because now I have a big ticket to pay! pppfffttt....figures!
Sasha sure knows how to turn up the heat! It was just what I needed to keep me warm on a cold winters day! I need to say Thank You Sasha, Thank You!
Release Date: September 2, 2008
She does what she likes…
…and what she likes is absolutely wicked.
Kelsey Howard is happy with the single life. She has great friends, a fun job tending bar, and a nice apartment. Not to mention the freedom to enjoy a few wild sex games with strangers—the riskier the better. But what she’s really looking for in the darkness is love.
Then Kelsey realizes she’s got an annonymous stranger watching her every move—and every move she makes is arousing them both. In fact, not only is she not scared, she thinks she may have finally found her soul mate. Especially when she meets the mischievous mystery man in the flesh. That’s when the fun and games really start, and Kelsey realizes just how far she’s prepared to go for love.
There are few things more enjoyable than lying naked on a sandy beach under a hot sun. Especially in a foreign country where no one knows me and I’m free do whatever, and whomever, I want.
Kelsey Howard, footloose and fancy free, answerable to no one. That was me.
Being single and adventurous made me the envy of many, and I had to admit, there were times when even I thought my life was blessed.
Cute as a kid, pretty as a girl, and then beautiful as a woman.
I do believe people see that when they look at me. I have to believe it, I’ve heard it my whole life. And on some days, I can even look in the mirror and see it. The problem is that I don’t always feel that way. I have a hole inside that needs to be filled, and despite the fact that I know filling it with food, drinks, and casual sex isn’t good, or smart . . . I still do it. I can’t stop myself. It’s the only way I know to fill that emptiness.
So really? Is it wrong if it makes me feel better? Even if it’s just for a little while?
Rising up a bit from my supine position on the beach, my elbows dug comfortably into the sand. I lounged in the heat of the Mediterranean sun and tracked the approach of my companion from behind dark sunglasses. Nope, nothing wrong with it at all.
Ocean water glistened over his bulging muscles as they rippled with every move he made. Hair slicked back and eyes intent on me, he prowled up the beach. Yeah, he was definitely prowling, and I was woman enough to appreciate it.
One of the few things I enjoy in life more than lying on a beach is lying under a well-built man. Both at once was a fantasy I was determined to finally have come true.
Marco was his name, and I’d met him at the hotel bar on my second night here. The all-inclusive resort we were at encouraged hedonistic behavior and after the first night spent watching everyone let loose, I was more than ready for my own sensual adventure. I’d almost given up hope of finding someone I could click with when he’d introduced himself and the sparks flew. Marco had proven to be very adventurous himself - a wonderful choice for my holiday fling.
I took a pull of tequila from the bottle I’d grabbed from the room’s mini-bar and a familiar tingle awoke low in my belly. Marco drew closer and I spread my legs a little wider, knowing he wouldn’t be able to avoid the temptation I presented.
Sure enough, hunger sparked in his dark eyes and he dropped to his knees at my feet. Large masculine hands cupped my bent knees and slid up my thighs, sending more tingles through my system.
“Hello there, stranger,” I said softly.
His teeth flashed in a predatory smile and he began crawling up and over my body until his mouth hovered over mine. “You look good enough to eat,” he said.
I looked to the left and saw no one, and then to the right. There was a couple about fifty yards down the beach, roasting themselves on a blanket and minding their own business, so I lifted my arms and pulled him down on top of me. “So what’s stopping you?”
He chuckled and kissed me hungrily. He tasted faintly of tequila and saltwater from the ocean, so I opened up and enjoyed the way our tongues rubbed together. The cool friction heated my blood and made my sex clench in anticipation. The nude beach we were on was part of the private resort where anything goes, and in that instant I made the decision to live up to my reputation as a wild child and enjoy every second of it.
I tilted my head back, and Marco took the hint, nuzzling his way down my neck. The sound of waves rhythmically lapping at the shore became an erotic symphony as he cupped my breasts and flicked the jeweled hoops there back and forth.
“So pretty,” he crooned. He wrapped his lips around one nipple and sucked hard, his tongue pulling at the piercing.
“Harder,” I urged him. A little pain always heightened the pleasure.
He complied and my hips jerked in response. Yes.
I slid my hands into his hair and nudged him lower. Eager to please, Marco slithered down my body until his talented mouth was hovering over my greedy cunt. His hands cupped my ass, lifting me as his tongue came out and flicked the jeweled hoop that pierced the protective hood of my clit. A sigh of pleasure slipped from between my lips and I pressed him closer.
Sometimes fantasies do come true.
I want to be Cat when I grow up. She’s tough, sexy, smart, sassy and she has Bone’s.
This book in the series had more emotion in it as far as I was concerned. I actually cried *yes cried* and trust me when I say I am not a crybaby. I actually had to put the book down because I couldn’t see the pages. It’s a job well done when you can pull that kind of emotion from me. The action in this series keeps me on the edge of my seat and I flew through this book in record time. I will forever be hooked on this series. I hope it never ends!
Some Things Won’t Stay Buried … At Grave’s End
It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield’s life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she’s successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat’s worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover’s finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.
As if that wasn’t enough, a woman from Bones’s past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat’s about to learn the true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she’s learned as a special agent won’t help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save herself – and Bones – from a fate worse than the grave.
I love Melissa Schroeder! I'm not sure she could write a bad book if she tried.
Once I started this book I could not put it down. I found myself transported 1808 to bear witness to Colleen and Sebastian's story.
It's funny, it's romantic, it's suspenseful, and it's a test of wills. The bantering between Colleen and Sebastian is such a fun roller coaster ride that when I finished I wanted to turn back to the first page and start this story over.
Colleen has quite the sharp tongue. I love her attitude! I think she truly did just want to be left alone but her conscious wouldn't allow her to leave an unconscious man to die in the snow...... could she?
Sebastian Sebastian Sebastian, I spent half the time wanting to bash him over the head with something and the other half wanting to give him big squishy hugs and lots of smooches! He's arrogant, pushy, and totally sigh worthy. He just cant seem to help being so adorable.I CAN NOT WAIT TO READ THE NEXT ONE IN THIS SERIES!!!!!!
THE ACCIDENTAL COUNTESS
PUBLISHER: SAMHAIN PUBLISHING, LTDDIGITAL ISBN: 1-59998-466-0PRINT ISBN: 1-59998-559-4ORDER EBOOK AT SAMHAINORDER PRINT AT SAMHAINORDER PRINT AT AMAZONORDER PRINT AT BARNES AND NOBLEORDER PRINT AT BORDERSORDER PRINT AT POWELL’S
Being a spinster was much easier than becoming the accidental countess and it definitely didn’t prepare her for falling in love.
Book One, Once Upon an Accident
Colleen MacGregor doesn’t like rich men, especially rich titled men. Still, her guilt won’t allow her to leave Sebastian passed out in the snow. Before he can leave, they are caught in a compromising situation. Under an agreement he will leave and never bother her again, Colleen marries a man she barely knows to save her reputation. Before she can really stop anything, she is whisked to London, where she is transformed into an Original and captures the attention of the ton—not to mention her husband.
Sebastian Ware thinks he’ll never see the sharp-tongued spinster again. He never planned on becoming the next Earl of Penwyth…or on falling in love. But before he can declare his feelings, he must protect her from an enemy who wants them both dead. Racing against the clock, Sebastian strives to save them both so he can turn their accidental love into a love for eternity.
Warning this title contains the following: somewhat explicit love scenes, drunken earls, irritating relatives and bathing activities that leave the floor wet and the hero and heroine exhausted.
“Jameson, I can undressh myshelf,” Sebastian slurred loud enough for everyone on Curzon Street to hear.
Colleen opened her eyes, her husband’s voice bringing her out of a sound sleep. She sat up, testing her body. No more dizziness and just a few aches. She grabbed her spectacles off her nightstand and donned them and her wrapper. She rose out of bed and crept to the door she assumed connected her chamber to her husband’s room.
“I’ll tell you when I want some help from you, Jameson. This ish not one of those times.”
Jameson’s “Yes, my lord” was barely audible.
The door opened then closed, telling Colleen that her husband must be alone. She waited, wondering if she should interrupt him to make sure he could make it to bed.
“Bloody hell!” he yelled, which was followed by the sound of a large body falling to the floor. Colleen threw the door open and rushed into the room to find her husband in much the same condition as she had found him that very first time. Laid out flat on the floor. Only this time he was fully awake, a sloppy drunken grin on his face.
Impatience and resentment sped through her. Not twenty-four hours in London, and the idiot was drunk as a sailor.
“Ahhh, wife. I see that you have rushed to my rescue again. I can’t seem to get the other sleeve off.”
It was then that she realized Sebastian was bare-chested, one arm still tangled in the sleeve. She hadn’t seen him like this since she had nursed him back to health, and he had been incoherent at the time. But as he struggled with his sleeve, she couldn’t take her eyes off the great expanse of golden skin before her.
He should look ridiculous, fighting with his linen shirt for freedom. But for some reason, Colleen found herself a bit more entranced by the sight. She didn’t know if it was the boyish frown on his sensuous lips or the tingle of warmth chasing down her spine as she gazed at his chest. Either way, she couldn’t prevent the laugh that bubbled up.
He stopped his struggles and stared at her with such an intensity all the breath tangled in her throat, and her laughter died.
“You should do that more often.” His lips curved and his eyes darkened. “I don’t believe I’ve ever heard you laugh before, not like that.” Then he shook his head. “No, once. Once I heard you laugh like that.”
She shifted from foot to foot. Uncomfortable with the warmth spreading into her belly at the sound of his deepened voice and frank appraisal, she lashed out, “I don’t have much to laugh about, do I, my lord?”
Instead of pulling back from her as she had intended, his eyes warmed. “You’ve had a hard life, haven’t you?”
“I have no idea what you are talking about.” Her voice was stiff as was her spine. Standing next to the bed, with Sebastian sitting on the floor half-naked, was not good for her composure. She was trying not to stare at him, especially the way his copper nipples had puckered against the chill in the room.
“You’re an orphan, and your sister died last year. You’re alone in the world.”
“I’m not an orphan.” She bit off each word. Mortification that he pitied her caused her tone to sharpen. “I was practically an adult by the time my mother passed on. And I’m married to you, so I am not alone in the world.”
Why she added that last bit of information she did not know, but regretted it the moment his lips curved and a dangerous glint flashed in his eyes.
“Of course, you have me.” He placed his free hand on the bed and hoisted himself off the floor.
Suddenly, he was no longer the drunken rogue but something much more dangerous. He’d moved so close, the very heat of him warmed her. She took a step back.
His shirt still dangled from one arm, his smile turned completely seductive and his eyes darkened to cobalt. He took a step forward. His bay-rum scent, mixed with the scent of brandy, surrounded her, seduced her.
“You know, Colleen, you look rather fetching in that gown.”
Her stomach clenched at the sloppy compliment. A whisper of need crawled into her heart and she pushed it away. She wouldn’t fall for a charmer. In the end, she would be left lonely by a man who found solace with other women. But even as she hardened her heart against him, she couldn’t fight a smile as she watched him try to remove his shirt with the cufflink still fastened.
“Sebastian, you need to sit down and I’ll help you. Why didn’t you let Jameson help you?”
His whole body stilled. Colleen sensed that his every muscle was tensed and ready to pounce.
“Say that again.”
“Why didn’t you let—?”
“No, say my name. Say Sebastian.”
The air between them thickened. She swallowed as she tried to calm her heart. The intensity in his eyes took her breath away. “Sebastian.”
“I like it when you say my name.” His voice had deepened, causing her blood to rush through her. It danced along her nerve endings and the tingling warmth in her belly now slid between her thighs.
“Sebastian,” she said sharply.
He chuckled, and the sound of it vibrated across her senses. “Even when you sound like a prude you make me hard.”
His blunt words should have embarrassed her or enraged her. Instead, a tiny zing of happiness shot through her blood. She tried her best to squelch her rising desire, but it was hard when a man like her husband admitted to his attraction to her.
“I can’t seem to get this off.” He was swinging his arm back and forth, still attempting to get his arm free of his shirt.
“Here. Sit on the bed, and I’ll help.”
Obediently he sat, his lips still curved into a smile so enticing she had to count backwards from ten trying to ignore it. Then count again.
“I never thought I’d hear you say those words, Colleen.” The dip in his voice could only be termed flirtatious.
“Oh, shut up, you drunken sod,” she said, attempting to disregard the flare of desire his words had caused.
She worked the gold cufflink free of its hole and yanked the shirt off him. Even in the dim candlelight, she could see his muscles flex beneath his golden skin each time he moved. She fought the urge to run her fingers over his muscled chest, to glide them over his warm skin.
“I’m going back to my room.” She had to. He was entirely too attractive with his lips quirked in invitation and his chest bare for her hands to explore.
“But I need help with my pants.”
She heard the amusement in his voice and suppressed a smile. She shouldn’t be amused at his clumsy attempts at seduction, should she?
“Call Jameson.” She turned to leave when his next statement stopped her.
“But I want you to help me, Colleen.” His voice was such a mixture of petulant boy and seductive man that her traitorous heart softened.
She turned and found him sitting in the same spot, and although he still seemed amused, she sensed a deeper vibration between them. Something so strong it wiped every thought from her brain as she watched him raise his hand to her.
For a moment, she hesitated. She didn’t know what he expected from her if she accepted that hand. Even as she yearned to lose herself in his warmth, she still had some concept she could convince him they needed to seek an annulment. For so many—too many—reasons she knew it was for the best. But freeing herself from his influence, and this attraction she had for him, would be the most important.
Never in her life had a man’s smile twisted her insides and made her want something…more. The ache in her heart had started the day she found him, and it was growing every day. If she allowed him to ease the pain of loneliness she had fought for so many years, she didn’t know if she would survive when he left.
“I don’t bite unless asked.” His teasing tone was almost her undoing. How long had it been since she’d had someone to share a jest with? She craved that as much as she craved his kisses. “I just need some help and then I’ll leave you be. My fingers just don’t seem to want to work.”
It was a lie, she was sure of it. But the more she tried to keep her composure rigid, the more she found herself softening. He would hurt her in the end. She knew it and he knew it. But in the dark, Colleen allowed the need she’d ignored most of her life to push her forward. She stepped closer and took his hand.
His breath escaped in a sigh, as if he had been worried she’d deny his request. His large, warm fingers wrapped around her hand.
“You’re as cold as ice,” he said, his voice now a whisper that stirred longings and desires she’d never known dwelled within her.
He pulled her closer, his hand still firmly gripping hers. He urged her into the vee of his legs. Her breasts, now level with his eyes, swelled and grew heavy, and her nipples tightened almost painfully.
“You need to stand so I can get your pants off you.”
He chuckled again. “I’ll let you in on a little secret, love. You don’t have to be standing to do that.”
The next instant, he tugged her onto the bed and rolled on top of her. His hardened body covered her from head to toe. His arousal pressed against her most private parts.
“Now, let’s talk about your helping me with my pants.”
Skin - Karin Tabke
2) Jan 3 2009
Double Jeopardy - Rachel Bo
3) Jan 4 2009
Bound - Sasha White
4) Jan 5 2009
The Accidental Countess - Melissa Schroeder
5) Jan 6 2009
Primal Male - Sasha White
6) Jan 7 2009
Lessons In Seduction - Melissa Schroeder
7) Jan 8 2009
At Graves End - Jeaniene Frost
8) Jan 9 2009
Veil Of Midnight - Lara Adrian
9) Jan 12 2009
The Vampire Shrink - Lynda Hilburn
10)Jan 14 2009
My Prerogative - Sasha White
11)Jan 15 2009
Pleasure Prolonged - Cathryn Fox
12)Jan 16 2009
The Punishment Of Nicollet - Evangeline Anderson
13) Jan 17 2009
Lord Sirius - Kim Parson
17) Jan 18 2009
Menage Magick - Lora Leigh
18) Jan 19 2009
Dead Awakening - MacKenzie McKade
19) Jan 20 2009
Master of Surrender - Karin Tabke
20) Jan 21 2009
Eve Of Darkness - S.J. Day
21) Jan 22 2009
Master Of Torment - Karin Tabke
22) Jan 23 2009
Seducing The Saint - Melissa Schroeder
23) Jan 24 2009
One on One - Cathryn Fox
24) Jan 26 2009
Perfect Kisses - Sylvia Day
25)Jan 27 2009
I'm The Vampire That's Why - Michele Bardsley
26) Jan 29 2009
Embraced - Lora Leigh