Castle of Kings (A Kings MC Romance) – Excerpt

IT WAS MY day off and Jenna and I had hung out most of the day until she ditched me the moment Nix walked in the door. She climbed him like a damn spider monkey before they disappeared upstairs. I went upstairs a few minutes later to grab the next load of dirty laundry, then headed back down to the washroom. My cell rang and I pulled it from my jean shorts pocket.

“Hey, Ash.”

“I got your text. I can’t believe he showed up at your house and was waiting on your bed.”

“He looked so damn irresistible too. It took every bit of strength I had not to give in and fuck him senseless.”

“I don’t know why you two don’t get it over with already.”

I heard heavy footsteps behind me. I glanced over my shoulder to see Jake staring at my ass. Just the sight of him had my libido sparking to life.

“I gotta go. He’s here.” I hung up and set my phone on the dryer while giving Jake an expression of, I know why you’re here.

He ran his tongue across his lips, his mouth twisting into a cocky grin. “I told you, someday you’d want to fuck me.”

“Your arrogance is astonishing.”

Jake’s wicked grin widened as he eyed me like a delectable piece of candy he was about to unwrap.

“Finding you in here, without a way to escape, couldn’t get any sweeter.”

I raised my hand to his chest, pushing back the ripped, tatted beast of a man who was quickly filling the inches between us.

“Why deny it, Peach? The hungry look in your eyes tells me you want my cock buried deep inside you, begging me to make you come.”

Fuck, he was right. But that didn’t mean I had to admit it. At least not to him, anyway.

His arm raised, and his hand took hold of a loose strand of my hair, folding it around his fingers before giving it a tug, bringing my lips within reach of his. His breath left feather-like whispers across my lips.

“I think if I touch you here,” his fingers traced up my inner thigh, sending a shiver across my body and up my back, reminding me what his touch did to me, “I’ll find you wet and aching for me.”

Damn, this man. He knows exactly what he does to me. Shoving his hand away, I padded toward the laundry room door, my only escape from the tiny room that had become a sexual sauna.

“Wait a minute, Peach,” Jake’s hand took hold of my wrist, stopping me in my tracks. “Don’t leave.” I turned to see genuine agony in his eyes. “I don’t give a damn about any other woman. I want you to be mine and that’s the fucking truth.”

“I’m not yours to claim.”

The expression in his eyes transitioned, darkening, revealing the caged beast within. “The fuck you aren’t.” His grasp on my wrist tightened, pulling me to his solid frame, enclosing me in arms of steel. “You’re mine, damn it, and I’m gonna make sure everyone in this house knows it.”

My loose tee was fisted in his grasp and ripped off me as quickly as my breath left me. His mouth slammed down on mine as he raised me by the hips and pinned me against the wall. His stiff erection pressed into my jean cutoffs, the only piece of clothing keeping me from what I knew would be paradise. His growl filled my ear as his tongue slicked wet kisses across my neck. “You don’t know what you do to me, Peach, but you’re about to find out.”

My back left the wall and my ass landed on the washer. His shirt came off in seconds and my eyes were glued to his bare chest and the hands loosening his jeans, removing the black boxer briefs below. His cock sprung forward and my eyes followed the massive length of it to the shaven base, to his well-defined Adonis belt, and back to the tip. This man was made of motorcycle fuel, ink, and rock-hard muscle, a cruel punishment to women, and I wanted to sin like never before.

His massive hands jolted my ass forward. I teetered on the edge of the washer and my own sanity. His quick hands undid my button and zipper as his tongue ventured in and out of my mouth, driving my arousal to an agonizing and desperate need.

My jean shorts disappeared onto the floor as my eyes met his fierce, predatory stare. With his hands on my knees, he spread my legs wide and looked down at me before lowering himself. His bold, brown eyes glanced up at me, hypnotizing me with his gaze.

“You’re gonna come for me, Peach. I want to hear you scream my name.”

Taking hold of my leg, Jake wrapped it over his shoulder and kept his promise. With his finger knuckle deep and his tongue whipping across my clit like a rapid-fire engine, I fisted his hair and begged for release.

“Oh… my… Go… please… don’t… sto…” My body trembled as the orgasm shockwaved through my body. Jake lowered my leg and stood, his eyes locked on mine.

“We’re not done, Peach. You still haven’t screamed my name.”

The taste of me met my lips as he took hold of my thighs and shoved himself deep within my wet folds. Lifting me with ease, he pinned me against the wall. With feverish need and unchained fury, he drove into me over and over, fucking me deep and taking me over the edge into complete and utter delirium. A deep growl escaped his chest as we neared our climax.

“Say it, Peach. Who do you fucking belong to?”

“I belong to you.”

Jake fucked me hard, then groomed me with gentle kisses along my cheek, ear, and neck while still holding me pinned against the wall. He put his head against mine and let out a breath.

“You fucking shatter me, Peach.”

I bit my lip and let it go between my teeth, still reeling from the ride.

“You belong to me. I want you with me every day. I want to bury myself in you every damn night.” His hand cupped my face and his thumb pressed into my lip as his eyes softened. “I want you to stay with me, just for a while. I’m not asking you to move in with me.”

This was Jake’s way of putting himself out there again and I wasn’t about to ruin it a second time.

“Yes, I’ll stay with you.”

A smile spread his lips before his mouth met mine, sweet and loving, a kiss of gratitude and affection. He pulled out of me and let my legs down.

“I’ll help you pack. I want to have you at least three more times before I let you sleep tonight.”

I laughed as I gathered my missing and torn clothes. “Who are you kidding? I’m not getting any sleep tonight.”

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My Hot Boss – excerpt

Grayson

             The erotic book in my hand is barely distracting me from the stunning woman lying in my bed. Her dark, wavy hair is cascading over the pillow and the sheet barely covers her. From my chair, I have a perfect view of the curve of her back, narrow waist, and luscious ass. She groans as she moves and my cock hardens from the sound. She’s learned I have certain tastes in the bedroom. I’d never belittle or hurt a woman, but I do like some kink. No doubt she’s a little sore from the vibrator I used. If the sounds of her moans and the two orgasms meant anything, I’d say she liked it very much. My lips curve from the memory of her face when I brought it out and then again when she reached her first climax.

Reaching down, I adjust my semi into a more comfortable position. Little does Emma know how often she gives me a hard on. It’s like I’m a fucking teenager again with an uncontrollable snake in my pants that becomes alert and ready anytime it gets a whiff of her pussy.

What’s even more confusing is what I’m feeling for her. I’ve never been patient with sex. I’ve seduced, got what I wanted, and moved on. It’s been this way for years. No woman has ever mattered enough that I wanted to be patient, careful, and even considerate of her emotions. But Emma’s inside my head, an itch I can’t satisfy until I have her, all of her. With her, I want to take the seduction slowly. I’m enjoying it. She appreciates everything I do, and I find myself upping the ante just to win her affections.

Fear isn’t something a man likes to admit to others, let alone to himself, but I feel it. It’s there. I’m afraid I’ll hurt her. I want her to trust me because if she gives me her trust, I’ll have her. But, then what? She’ll be another conquest and I’ll what, get bored like I always do, lose interest? Or will it be me that burns? If I let her in, I’ll have to change. I’ll have to give her the trust I know she’ll want from me. Am I even capable of giving it, of loving someone?

She stirs in her sleep and I watch her. Emma has no idea she’s the first woman to have stayed the night with me. It’s probably why I’m up at two a.m. reading because I can’t sleep. Not with her lying next to me, smelling like sex and jasmine, and breathing so peacefully it pains me to look at her.

“Grayson,” her voice is a sleepy whisper.

I continue watching her move. The sheet falls from her breasts as she sits up and turns to face me. The question in her eyes kills me. She’s concerned why I’m not in bed with her. Stepping from the bed, she approaches. Her dark, little patch above her pink lips annihilates my remaining control over my cock.

“Can’t sleep?” she asks, her voice so sweet it breaks me.

I extend my arm and she slides onto my lap and lies against my chest, like we’ve been doing this for years. The scent of jasmine fills my nostrils and I lean against her hair, breathing her in. The touch of my hand caressing her back releases a pleasured moan from her lips. Lips that can easily bring me to my knees, if I’m not careful.

“Sorry to wake you. I read when I can’t sleep.”

Laying her head on my shoulder, she looks at my book. “What are you reading?”

Undo This Night.”

“Will you read it to me?”

The corner of my mouth raises. “You want me to read it out loud to you?”

She giggles and the sound widens my smile.

“Yes.”

This is unexpected, but I like it. She continues to surprise me. I can never predict what Emma will do, and it’s something I adore about her. She keeps me on top of my game.

“From the beginning or where I’m at?”

“Where you’re at.”

My attention returns to the book. “I raise Tiffany’s ass in the air and slap it once, twice then spread her cheeks. Reaching for the condom I tossed on the bed, I sheath it over my cock, then rub against her pink, tiny hole. Looking over her shoulder at me tells me she wants me to fuck her hard. It’s been two weeks since I’ve seen her and by the needy look in her eyes, she knows I won’t be gentle.

Emma’s hand reaches into my sweatpants and circles my raging hard on. Each stroke makes it harder to focus on the words.

I slam into her tight pussy and latch onto her hips, using them as leverage to fuck the moans right out of her mouth.”

Emma pushes the book out of her way and straddles me with her knees tucked into the cushion of my chair. Her mouth slams down on mine and I toss the book to who-fucking-cares where. Lifting her from the chair, I wrap her legs around me and pull her ass up against my aching erection and move her over it.

“Grayson, I want you. I want to feel you inside of me.”

“No other men, Emma. If you’re with me, you’re with only me.”

“I don’t want anyone else.”

Laying her on the bed, she watches as I remove my sweatpants. My cock is at attention and her eyes go right to it. She moistens her bottom lip and it jumps at the sight of it. The last time that tongue touched my dick, she stole a chunk of my heart. Wicked little thing she is.

“Let me get a condom.” I move toward the dresser and she extends her legs, trapping me between them.

“Don’t need one. I’m on the pill.”

My chest tightens. Sex without a condom is something I don’t do. Fuck me, she’s got me between a rock and a soft, little pussy I’m dying to feel. I turn to her and crawl above her on the bed. “Just this once. I want to feel you come all over my cock.”

Her gray eyes are locked on mine and her mouth tilts into a lascivious grin. I close the space between us and kiss her. Spreading her legs, my dick slides across her slick pussy. She’s already soaking wet for me. I raise my hips and plunge into her.

Cock-melting heat surrounds me, she’s so tight I barely have to move to get the friction I need. Pushing in further, she lets out a whimper.

“Am I hurting you?”

“No, you feel incredible.”

“Emma, I want to give you slow and sensual, but I don’t think I can. I want to fuck you until you’re calling out my name.”

“Please, fuck me,” she begs.

Her needy plea puts me into action. One hand takes hold of her neck and the other tucks under her leg, raising it as I thrust into her hard. Every time I pull out and slam into her, I feel the blood racing to my groin. The familiar tingle is at my back; she’s spewing cuss words and calling out my name. Another thrust and her orgasm pours over me and it feels perfect.

My jaw clenches and I release into her. It’s a high I’ve never had and the moment it happens, I know I’m ruined. There’s no way I can go back to a condom with her.

Lying on the bed, she’s sprawled out across my body in a deep sleep with her head tucked into my neck. My fingers are combing through her hair and I’m watching the ceiling, replaying different scenarios in my head. Every single one ends with the same fear—one of us getting hurt.

Excerpt – Fire On The Farm (Second Chance Cowboy Romance)

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Copyright © 2017 by Betty Shreffler

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and events are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information email: bettyshreffler@yahoo.com

 

I looked in the mirror. I’d done a decent job of cleaning up. I showered, actually blow-dried my long, sun-kissed hair, put on a little gloss and mascara, a newer pair of jeans with only slight wear, and a fitted red flannel over a cream camisole. I didn’t get out much these days with all the work on the ranch and thought it might feel good to get out of my everyday work clothes. It did. I actually felt pretty.

I walked into the bar and scanned the area, looking for Rick. He hadn’t arrived yet, so I pulled up a stool by the bar and ordered my first draft.

Halfway through it, I checked my phone and then the entrance of the bar for the umpteenth time. Still no sign of Rick. I figured he was running late or had to bail for some reason.

The tall bartender with a kind smile and large hands asked if I wanted to order anything. I did. I was plenty hungry, but I wanted to wait for Rick. I glanced at the door again, and my tongue stuck in my throat.

A tall, broad-shouldered man with a narrow waist and round thighs strolled through the entrance. He flicked his cowboy hat and I got a glimpse of the short, dark hair underneath. His shirt appeared too thin to cover the bulging muscles of his chest and arms. A hefty breeze looked like it would blow it off him, and well, I wouldn’t have minded seeing it do just that, just so I could have a peek at what laid beneath.

I giggled at my own girlish thoughts. It’d been far too long since I’d had a man’s touch and apparently, the added beer on an empty stomach was fueling the sexual tension warming between my thighs.

I turned away so I didn’t get caught staring. I tipped my beer toward the bartender.

“Larry, I’ll take another. I’ll take a menu, too.”

The air around me suddenly grew thick, and my body warmed with electric heat as the man from the entrance neared my stool and took the one right next to me. I stared at him like he’d just caught my hand in a cookie jar. He winked at me and smiled and, good grief, his smile was beautiful and so were his stunning hazel-green eyes.

“All right if I sit here?”

Words, what were those things, something starting with a letter, a vowel or two, along with some syllables. Oh, yes. I knew those words.

“Yeah, that’s fine,” I stammered.

Yeah, it had been too long since I’d seen an attractive male. No, not attractive, this man was carved from some kind of toned, golden-skinned statue and magically given life. There were no words for how gorgeous he was. As sparks went off like the Fourth of July from my hips down, I turned to my beer and swallowed with great enthusiasm.

I set down the empty beer. From the corner of my eye, I could see him staring at me.

“Rough night?”

I turned and looked at him. It was almost painful to stare too long. Not because I found him so ridiculously handsome, but because the longer he stared at me, the more intense the heat between my thighs burned.

“No, I’m actually waiting for a friend, but I don’t think he’s coming.”

The stunning male sculpture next to me seemed disappointed. The corner of his mouth creased into almost a frown. Seeing it made me want to do anything to make it go away. I needed that smile back.

“It’s his loss. You’re a gorgeous woman. He’s a fool for not being here.”

He nodded to the bartender, and I adjusted to stay upright in the stool. His words hit me like a freight train. Was I in that much need of a man’s affectionate words?

He glanced back at me, and I dug a smile out from somewhere.

“Not a date. He’s my employee. We were meeting here for a drink.”

My phone buzzed in my pocket. “Speaking of…”

I pulled it out and glanced at the screen. Sure enough, Rick had canceled on me. My shoulders dropped.

“He just canceled.”

A beer was slid into this mystery man’s hand. “I’ll take his place, if you’ll let me.”

I looked up at him, surprised. Was he hitting on me? A little shiver of excitement trolled over my skin.

“Well, I was about to order food. I suppose some attractive company alongside it wouldn’t be so bad.”

Even after a beer, I was still rusty, yet his lips curved upward into that infectious smile.

“My name’s Brock.” He tipped his hat at me, and that slight gesture tickled from my sex to my toes. Brock. Even his name was sexy.

“Amy.”

His smile widened. He grabbed the menu. “What are you gonna have?”

“Probably burger and fries.”

He closed the menu. “I’ll have the same.” Larry took our orders and brought two more beers on Brock’s request.

He handed me one.

“Thanks.” I seized the beer and brought it to my lips. His eyes clung to the bottle, and his jaw flexed.

~*~*~

From the moment I walked in, she caught my attention. Her golden brown hair glowed like a halo around her thin, fit frame. When I caught the attraction in her eyes, I couldn’t stop myself from hoping she was here alone. I filled the stool next to her before any other man could. When her eyes did a strip-search over my body, my cock jumped inside my thankfully loose jeans. My gaze swept over her, too. She had soft baby-blues under thick long lashes, sun loved skin, and curves I was sure would fit perfectly in my hands.

I could tell right away she was down to earth, not a lot of fuss and make-up. Shy eyes, worn jeans, and her tight flannel over a toned frame told me she worked hard for that body but didn’t know just how beautiful she was.

Only a few minutes in and I was already dying to know more about her. Relief filled me when she let me join her for dinner. Even her attempt to flirt was cute. As was her smile. It seemed she wasn’t used to wearing a smile, and beneath those shy eyes, I sensed something more.

A bit of pride filled me when she ordered a burger and fries. She was my kind of girl already. I watched her nervously take the beer I ordered for her. Her attraction to me was apparent, and the sweet way she avoided staring at me too long made my mind fill with thoughts I tried hard to suppress. Her breasts clung to her tank top as the beer bottle met those full, pink lips. It was all over for me then. I had never wanted to be a beer bottle so badly in my life. She licked those perfectly plump lips, and my groin ached. I had to adjust in the stool so she didn’t see the semi growing in my jeans.

I couldn’t stop wondering what the ass in that stool looked like in her tight, worn jeans either. I took another swig, eyeing her sideways. Her eyes simmered a slow burn over my back and arms. I adjusted again, swigging more beer and hoping the food would arrive soon to keep my hands busy instead of putting them where I really wanted to. Even though my mind was working like a teenage boy, I needed to keep the rest of me acting like the gentlemen I could be.

“You said you were meeting your employee. What is it you do?”

“I run a horse therapy ranch, Flanders Ranch.”

A sudden familiarity hit me. I had to pull it out of a distant memory cabinet, but I remembered the whole town talking about it a couple years ago. I was away on a contract job building a new house, but the news still reached me via the gossip train of women in my family. There’d been an explosion, some kind of machine overheating on the Flanders Farm, and the woman left behind had started a horse ranch. Now, I understood what I saw behind those baby-blues. She’d known the kind of loss that no one should have to suffer, especially not this young and sweet.

“Amy Flanders?” I asked, confirming my suspicion.

Her proud smile spread wide. “Yes. That’s me.” She took another sip of her beer, and her eyes lingered over me a little longer this time. I gnawed on my lip to control the tension building in my lower abdomen. Finally, the food arrived, and I peeled my eyes off her rosy cheeks and kiss-me lips.

“What’s your last name?”

“Baisdin.”

“What do you do?”

“I own a contracting company. I build houses all over Kentucky and surrounding states.”

“Are you from here?”

I nodded, swallowing down a mouthful. “Yeah. Grew up here. When I’m not working, I’ve got a little place of comfort I like to call home. Nothing special, but it sits on a lake and it’s just far enough outside of town to enjoy the woods.”

“Sounds nice.”

“It is. Maybe you could come by sometime.”

She seemed to clam up at the suggestion. Damn, I was coming on too strong. There was no backing out of that one.

“How’s your burger?” I tried to change the subject.

Her shoulders lowered, and my chest loosened.

“It’s good.”

“Want another beer? You’re almost dry.”

She nodded, and I waved the bartender over and ordered us a couple more.

~*~*~

As insanely gorgeous and kind as Brock was, I couldn’t help the nerves that bunched when he’d mentioned seeing his place. That meant he wouldn’t mind seeing me after this encounter, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. Actually, it made me sweat and an uncomfortable knot to form in my gut.

Thankfully, he’d changed the subject and ordered me another beer because I needed it to shake off this strange sensation running through me. The beers came, and I tugged a little too heavily on mine. His hand came up and lowered my bottle.

“Slow down, gorgeous. I don’t want to have to carry you out of here.”

I should’ve been embarrassed, but his joking tone made me smile.

“Don’t worry. It takes five to plaster my face to the floor.”

He let out a light, airy laugh that rolled across his stomach and chest and escaped his full, kissable lips. I glanced away as my cheeks grew warm.

He pushed our finished plates away and left cash on the bar, paying for both of us.

“Want to play some pool?”

He pointed to the corner of the bar behind me.

“As long as you’re prepared for how terrible of a player I am. Haven’t played since college.”

He slid off his stool and nodded toward the pool tables. “I’ll help you out. C’mon.”

I stood in front of the pool cues, eyeing them unskillfully, then settled on one that seemed like it would work for me. I turned and caught Brock eyeing my ass. An unfamiliar sensation of flapping butterflies danced in my belly. The corner of his mouth tilted into a mischievous grin. He clearly wasn’t ashamed I’d just caught him ogling me.

With three beers and good food warming my body, I didn’t mind the attention. With ease, he racked and shot, dispersing the balls across the felt and sinking two stripes in.

“You can be stripes.”

I laughed and shook my head. “No way. No special treatment. I want to try my best to beat you.”

He grinned. “All right, gorgeous. Let’s see what you can do.”

He leaned over the table, and I took a step back—not only giving him more room to sink another ball in, but to admire the way his jeans fit him. Oh and they hugged him like they loved him. His ass was as firm, toned, and gorgeous as the front. As he leaned over, a tattoo peeked out under his shirt. The dark ink on toned, solid muscles sent heat shooting right between my thighs. I let out a breath.

He turned too soon and caught me admiring him. That same mischievous grin spread over his face.

“Come here.” He nodded for me to come to him, and my legs followed his command as easily as my horses follow mine.

His hand gently took a hold of my hip, and that light, sensual touch electrified me. Thankfully, my bra covered how hard my nipples had become. With his large hand, he tucked me into him and bent me over the table with ease. My breath caught when my ass grazed over his package. Against my ear, a low grumble escaped his lips.

His hot breath teased my sensitive skin, and I bit down hard on my lip, fighting the fire scorching between my legs. It’d been so long since a man had touched me intimately, and it seemed my body was desperate for the contact.

His hand left my hip and showed me where to place my arms and hands on the cue.

“Like this…” he whispered in my ear.

The stick slid through our joined hands, and the ball slammed into the pocket. I didn’t even see it sink in. I stood, inches from his chest—my breath heavy and arousal aching in my sex.

He bent his knee, and with one swift motion, he turned my ass against the pool table, pinning me between him and it. His hands gripped me fiercely with shocking control, and then those kiss-me lips landed on mine.

~*~*~

Even when we were close to finishing dinner, I knew I had to have more time with Amy. I had to explore the desire that simmered just beneath those hungry, shy eyes of hers. To keep the night fun and lasting, I stopped her from drinking too much too fast. A little body like hers could only take so much beer.

When her ass left the stool, I watched it walk the whole way to the pool tables. It was incredible—the best ass I’d ever laid eyes on—and I didn’t want to stop staring at the perfect round curves tucked into a jean cloth platter. When she caught me staring and gave me a look that begged for me to bend her over this pool table and take her here and now, my cock jumped to life. I tried to ignore the thoughts swimming through my head and focused on the balls on the pool table instead of the blue ones in my jeans.

I made the mistake of showing her what to do, and when her ass grazed my growing hard-on, I nearly lost it right there. She stood and those lusty blue eyes and plump lips begged for me to claim them. So, I did.

~*~*~

His kiss was electric. Sparks detonated from every nerve in my body, and he was the power source. My hands fisted his shirt, pulling him into me, devouring his lips, his kiss, his touch. My body charged to life. It vibrated with thunderous need. His tongue slipped in between my lips, and I couldn’t get enough. I moaned into his mouth and lost all sense of where the hell I was.

He eased off our kiss and I fell forward, pulled by his magnetism.

His hand gripped mine as his gorgeous hazel-green eyes stared down at me, a fierce hunger in them that left me wet and starving for his lips to claim mine again.

“I’m taking you home with me. I want more of you, so much more.” His hunger vibrated out of his chest and lips. I didn’t respond. My brain was mush, and my body had taken over for me.

He held my hand tightly, nearly putting us into a run out of the bar.

 

 

When Hunter Meets Seeker – Sneak Peek – First 3 Chapters

bettyshreffler_whenhuntermeetsseeker_2500px

Copyright © 2017 by Betty Shreffler

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and events are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information email: bettyshreffler@yahoo.com

Prologue

“What is your name?”

A sharp, painful smack of a wooden staff cracked the outside of her thigh.

She grimaced. “Anya Carlisle.”

“What are you, Anya?”

The staff snapped with precise efficiency against her shoulder.

“An Arcane Hunter,” she growled.

“What is the sole purpose of an Arcane Hunter?”

Anya’s own staff rang in her ears as she blocked the next blow.

“To hunt and kill preternatural demons. Those that live among us, hidden by their powers. My duty is to balance the scale.”

Anya’s eyes caught the twitch in her trainer’s shoulder. She shifted her foot and ducked as the lengthy, thin wooden staff of pain missed her left shoulder. She swung her own, hitting the backside of Dillon’s knee. His leg reflexively bent forward giving her the opportunity to spin and swing, applying another debilitating blow to her trainer’s back.

His teeth clenched as he stomached the pain. He lowered his staff. She cautiously lowered hers.

“Very good, Anya. You’re quickly exceeding my expectations. You’ve surpassed your brother’s skills.”

Anya instinctively swung her staff forward, blocking another strike intended for her ankles. Her staff cracked against her trainer’s. His eyes gleamed proudly.

“You’re ready.”

She followed Dillon to the wall and tucked her staff into its place in the rack.

“How will I know when I’ve found them?”

She looked to her longtime mentor and trainer.

He smiled, the wrinkles in his warm chocolate eyes creasing. “You’ll know when you’re around them. Your instincts will tell you. Instincts I am confident you possess.”

Anya pulled the soft white towel from atop the bench and her shoes. She wiped the towel over her face and neck, removing the damp sweat settled there.

“My first kill? What will it be like? What will I be like after?”

Dillon placed a firm hand on her shoulder. Her eyes drifted to his.

“You’ll kill quickly. The troubling sensation will fade. It’s your duty, Anya. Remember that, always.”

Chapter 1

Anya clenched her fist and teeth and swung—once, twice, a third time—her knuckles reddening from the coarse impact of her tender skin against the boxing bag. She swung her body, raising her leg high, contacting the bag just below her shin. Her best friend, Jackson, staggered in his attempt to hold the bag still.

“Easy, girl, this bag didn’t do anything to you.”

Anya rolled her eyes and shoved another fist into the bag.

“All right, what’s going on?”

She slowed the force of her swings. “I’m done, Jackson. I’m walking away.”

Jackson stared at her, confused. “What do you mean you’re walking away? Isn’t it your duty as an Arcane Hunter to protect schmucks like me?”

Her fist hit the bag, taking with it her anger and confusion. She placed her hands against the bag, leaning into it. “I used to believe that when I was younger. I thought I had been born into a destiny to protect the innocent. I’m not so sure anymore.”

She glanced at Jackson, admiring his toned biceps, short, dirty-blond hair and pleasant face. He was an attractive guy that women often flocked to, but she wasn’t one of them. His personality had always been a perfect match to hers, but only as a friend. Romantically it just wasn’t there, never had been. Only once in their ten years of being friends had he shown interest in her. At sixteen, she and her twin brother, Leo, had moved to Jackson’s town. As the new girl, every boy in the school saw her as fresh meat. Jackson had been one of the only boys to treat her as a female worth respecting. She’d grown fond of him quickly and appreciated that he wasn’t buddies with her popular, cocky, football-star brother, even though he played on the same team as him.

Jackson helped keep the lascivious boys away because everyone assumed they were a couple. Because of Jackson, her first year at Middleton High had been better than any other year at the multiple schools she’d attended. On her seventeenth birthday when he admitted he had a crush on her at a high school party, it was incredibly difficult to admit she didn’t feel the same. Thankfully Jackson healed quickly from his wounds when a girl on the marching band showed interest in him. Their friendship took a backseat to his new obsession, Leyna, but it couldn’t keep them apart. Every fight he and Leyna had sent him to Anya’s house as an escape from Leyna’s nagging. His frequent visits came more often when her training started. He loved having a “tough” female best friend that he could work out with and ask “girl” questions. Not that she was the best one to give advice.

Her own relationships had been few and then completely nonexistent once her training as an Arcane Hunter began. Jackson had been the only friend she could confide in once her world got turned upside down by the knowledge that demons existed and she’d been born into a legacy required to hunt and kill them.

She sighed heavily. “The last one, he seemed like a normal guy, had a family, a normal job, but the Arcane Society insisted he be destroyed. The man begged me not to kill him. Said he detested what he was and that he just wanted to live a normal life.”

Jackson’s expression contorted, sadness filling his eyes. “That’s rough, Awn. What did you do?”

“I apologized for what I had to do. Told him if it wasn’t me it would be another hunter and I could at least give him a merciful and peaceful death.”

Anya turned away from Jackson; she couldn’t bear to see the dejection on his face. She walked to the bench and grabbed the towel out of her gym bag and wiped her face and neck with it. She heard him approaching. She grabbed her bottle of water and chugged.

“You did what you had to do. From what you’ve told me about the Arcane Society it would have been worse for you and him if you hadn’t followed through.”

She lowered the bottle. “That’s just it. What if I stop? What if I refuse to do their dirty work? I’d like a normal life, Jacks. I’d like to make friends, have a normal job, have a relationship and not have to hide what I am.”

Jackson lifted his own bottle, popping the top. He took a swig and looked at her as the thoughts evidently formed in his head. “What would happen if you stopped taking their orders? What would Leo do?”

She glanced at the gym mats, contemplating the consequences. She looked back at Jackson. “Leo’s busy working on acquiring a position in the Society’s ranks. We barely ever see or speak to each other. I’d be amazed if he’d even notice if I stopped responding to the Society’s orders.”

“He’d notice. You know how he is.”

Anya frowned. “Seems that’s the only time I ever receive his attention is when I’m beating him at something or making him look bad.” Anya leaned down, shoving her towel into her gym bag, and pulled the strap over her shoulder. “This isn’t about him though. This is about me. I’ve already made my choice. I’m done.”

Jackson grabbed his own bag. “Should we celebrate your mutiny then? Thomas and Joe want to go out to Donatello’s tonight.”

They stepped in line with one another. Anya eyed him questioningly. “Seriously? Donatello’s? It’s a strip club. What fun am I going to have there?”

Jackson pushed the exit door open for her. The sun’s bright rays blinded her momentarily. She squinted as she walked out.

“It’s not just a strip club. It’s a nightclub with a bar and dance floor. The strippers are in the back. If you’re willing to pay, you get the private shows.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“I’ll pick you up at eight.” Jackson gave his boyish grin as he headed to his sporty Subaru.

Anya tossed her bag into her Jeep. “You’re buying drinks then.”

Chapter 2

Anya stepped into her one-bedroom studio apartment and dropped her bag by her bed. She pulled her tank top over her head and padded to her bathroom shower. She jumped in, turning the water to a cooler temperature. Placing her hands on the walls, she let the silky water pour over her face. Flashes of the demon she’d killed the night before crept into her thoughts. She shook her head and opened her eyes, grabbing for the soap.

There was no going back, she was done. She couldn’t continue doing the dirty work of the Arcane Society. All her recent orders had left her with a sullen empty feeling after each kill. The demons seemed like normal citizens or at least they were trying to live that way. Her duty was to balance the scale. Lately it felt the scale was tipping more toward the Arcane Society’s preferences.

Her own brother had become swept up by the power the Arcane Society possessed. Hungry for his own power, he’d played the politics perfectly and killed mercilessly, raising him to the status of their golden prince, destined to be a member of the board.

She couldn’t even remember the last time she recognized him as a person with humanity or compassion. It had been too long. As soon as he hit puberty, she’d become nothing but competition to him or an annoying sister that got in his way. Once they started training they’d split apart further because she’d grown in her hunter skills far faster than he had. Perhaps because her social and romantic life had been nil, leaving lots of room for studying demonology and combat training.

Leo, on the other hand, had been preoccupied with his popularity contest, dating every attractive female that would give him the time of day, and many did, as well as his beloved football. He was the star quarterback and more than anything Leo enjoyed being the star of everything.

Anya stepped out of the shower, ringing the water from her long, wavy, auburn hair. She wrapped a towel around herself and walked to the round mirror. She admired her oddly colored eyes—one a mixture of golden hazel and pale green and the other a solid pale green. A feature she and her brother shared. The only feature they shared.

While her hair was wavy and auburn and her body molded into a petite, toned, tight package, her brother had jet black hair, the height of a giant and muscles to match. Muscles that never left him no matter how much junk food he ate. Another feature they didn’t share. If she even looked at a cupcake she’d gain weight. That didn’t stop her from enjoying them though. Cupcakes were her secret indulgence, but she always spent the time in the gym to make up for it.

After a blow-dry, light makeup, denim jeans, a flowing tank top, and dangly earrings, she nibbled on her most recent leftovers while she awaited Jackson to arrive. If only she’d learned to cook, she might be enjoying something better than leftover rice and chicken. With a dead mother, and a father who was more interested in his position in the Arcane Society, leaving them moving across the country too many times to count, she never learned to cook. Thankfully living in Atlanta, GA, gave her a plethora of restaurant options. She was working on learning to cook though. She’d successfully mastered a grilled cheese sandwich and warming a can of soup. Jackson praised her grilled cheese–making skills and assured her it was a valuable asset to have in a relationship.

Like she’d know. Being an Arcane Hunter had her going out at all times of the day and night. Her neighbors looked at her strangely enough with her odd behaviors, then add the random blood and cuts. There was no way she could explain those behaviors to a guy she was dating. Unfortunately her relationships consisted of either long bouts of celibacy or short flings. Another reason she wanted to quit the Arcane Society. She’d like to find someone while she was still young and able.

A honk outside her door had her stuffing the Styrofoam container back into her fridge and grabbing her wallet and keys as she rushed out the door. Jackson smiled and waved out the open window of his blue Subaru WRX. Through the open window she could see Thomas and Joe socializing in the backseat. She hopped in and Jackson quickly put the car into reverse, exiting her driveway before she had her seatbelt clicked.

Joe leaned into the front. “Glad you came, Awn. This bar is dope. I’ve been there two times this week. The entertainment is addictive.”

Anya rolled her eyes. “Uh-huh, you mean the strip shows in the back? Pretty soon you’ll be a regular with a nickname and a hole in your wallet.”

Joe shoved her shoulder like she was one of the guys, which admittedly she’d become just that. Her femininity ended with her looks. She could put a beer down faster than any of them and probably throw a punch harder too. A test she always avoided when they got drunk and taunted her to give them her best shot. She feared she’d break bones and she’d never stop feeling sorry about it.

“Does Lily know you’ve visited this place twice this week?”

Joe waved his hand in the air. “Lily does her own thing. She doesn’t care what I do as long as I come home to her at the end of the night.”

She may not know much about relationships, but she surely wouldn’t be comfortable with that arrangement if she did have one.

“Jackson says you’re looking for a new job. My sister works at the hair salon on Fifth and George. She could put a good word in for you.”

Anya looked back at Thomas, surprised. “I don’t have the slightest clue how to do hair or nails.”

Thomas laughed. “I know. They’re looking for someone to run the register.”

“Oh. That’s a nice offer, but not quite what I’m looking for.”

Thomas nodded. “What are you looking for?”

Anya turned forward, staring out at the streetlights and people walking around town. “I don’t know yet.”

A fast turn and Jackson had tires squealing as they lurched into the parking lot of Donatello’s.

“Easy, Jacks, I’d like my stomach to stay where it is.”

Thomas smacked the back of his seat. “I think Jacks here is a little excited to see what’s inside.”

Anya eyed him, disappointed. His cheeks glowed pink as he shrugged.

The four of them exited and stopped at the back of the short line into the club.

“Have your IDs ready,” Joe told them.

Anya pulled it out of her wallet and twisted it impatiently through her fingers until they reached the expressionless and scary-looking bouncer. She showed him hers first and he waved her in with the same emotionless expression.

She stepped through the heavy metal door and resisted the urge to slap Joe as he nearly shoved her out of his way to get into the club. They walked through a short hallway that opened up to a massive dance floor with tons of people jam-packed onto it. A few tables were scattered here and there with people filling them too. At the bar on the right, red lights lit up the choices of liquor and highlighted the attractive bartenders. Most seats were taken there as well. As the heat of the sweaty dancers and the warm temperature of the club hit her, she motioned to the bar.

“I’m getting refreshments. Want any?”

Jackson withdrew his glossy eyes from the women on the dance floor and nodded at her.

“Yeah, get a few beers. I’ll find a table.”

She nodded and left him to his undoubtedly fruitless task.

She straddled a stool and motioned for the nearest bartender. She waved, her pretty blond curls bouncing as she approached.

“What can I get ya?”

“A bucket. Corona Light. Also a lemon drop shot while I’m here.”

The bartender nodded and moved off to get the orders. Anya swiveled on her stool, watching the crowd of dancers bounce, thump, and hump their way into drunken bliss. The hair on her skin raised and she instantly knew a demon was near. She exhaled and turned her barstool back to the bar, ignoring the signs. The bartender dropped the bucket and shot in front of her. She licked the edge of the shot glass, swallowed the liquor and bit into the lemon to soothe the bitter taste. A little shiver ran over her neck and shoulders as the liquor worked its way through her. She smiled at the bartender, leaving a large bill, and began her search for her women-hunting guy friends. To her surprise, she found Jackson at a table talking to a pretty young woman with long, straight, black hair and bangs. Her bright blue eyes glanced up at her as she approached. The woman whispered something into Jackson’s ear, never taking her eyes off Anya.

As Anya neared, the same hair raising sensation shimmied over her skin. She eyed the woman with interest. What demon was she? Stunningly attractive. Check. Seductive eyes. Check. Whispering sweet nothings into Jackson’s ear. Check. Jealous possessive expression. Check. Succubus. Check.

Anya set the bucket on the table with an added thump. Jackson’s attention whipped toward her.

“Who’s your friend?” Anya smiled.

The woman’s own smile spread wickedly across her face.

“I’m Serena. I work here. I was just offering your friend here a tour of the place. You should join us.”

Anya’s brow raised. She had no interest in getting a tour, but now she had to. Jackson was in the crosshairs of a sex-hungry succubus surely looking for her next victim.

“I’d love to.”

“Wonderful. Grab a beer. Bring it with you,” she suggested all too sweetly.

She and Jackson followed Serena to a door off to the side of the dance floor. It opened into a dimly lit hallway that turned into another and then another. Had she known the tour would be through a maze, she would’ve starting tracking their steps and turns. Another two turns and they entered a red and black room with equally tacky red and black furniture and far too many doors along the walls. Apparently the room was supposed to have sex appeal, but between its stench and porn-like atmosphere she wasn’t impressed.

“Wait here. I’ll have some drinks brought out for you as well as some sweet delicacies.” The last word escaped her lips with a little too much sexual orientation for Anya’s comfort. Not to mention her fiery eyes glued securely to Jackson’s body.

As soon as she turned the corner, Anya slapped Jackson’s shoulder to snap him out of the apparent daze he was in.

“Jackson. She’s a succubus demon. Stay away from her!”

“What? Her, no. What’s a succubus again?”

“She gains strength and energy by feeding off your arousal.” Anya glanced downward.

“Oh.” Jackson nodded. “That doesn’t sound so bad.”

Anya rolled her eyes. “It doesn’t at first until you become addicted to her seduction and she starts draining you physically as well as your wallet. Succubi are greedy and dangerous demons, Jackson. Stay away from her!” Anya stood. “We should get back to the club before she returns.”

If only they’d moved sooner. Serena rounded the corner with a tray of drinks and chocolate-covered fruits along with a young, attractive guy plucked from a modeling ad. She set the tray down on the coffee table in front of them.

“Please help yourself to whatever you’d like. Your friend Joe paid for you to enjoy the VIP treatment.” She waved her hand over the options of drinks and forbidden fruits. Jackson reached for a glass of what appeared to be whiskey and then plucked a chocolate-covered strawberry from the tray.

Anya let out a breath as her demon alarm system rattled her brain and body.

“Have a seat, Awn. Might as well enjoy yourself. Joe paid for it.”

Anya sat back down and pinched the bridge of her nose in an attempt to ease the growing headache.

“After you’ve enjoyed your refreshments we’ll continue the tour and take each of you to an area that will be more befitting to your tastes.”

Anya’s gut wrenched. “Tastes?” she asked, eyeing the newcomer with curiosity. Evidently the pretty young man had been brought out to entertain her. By the sensation crawling across her skin there was no doubt he was an incubus. Two in one club. Go figure.

Anya glanced over at Serena, who’d managed to slip into Jackson’s lap and was massaging her fingers through his hair as his eyes glazed over with pleasure. Anya stood back up, irritated. The longer they remained, the more uncomfortable the feeling in the pit of her stomach became.

“Thanks for the VIP treatment, but I think it’s time we get back and find our friends.”

The attractive, blond young man stepped closer. “Your friends are enjoying their own VIP treatment. Why don’t you come with me? There’s more to show you.” The perfect male specimen put his hand out for her to take.

Anya looked at Jackson, whose head had rolled back with an enamored smile spread over his face. Serena continued whispering in his ear, surely enchanting him with her abilities.

“Jackson!” Anya snapped.

He tilted his head and looked at her, irritation filling his eyes. “What?”

“It’s time to go.”

He shook his head. “Go on and go if you want to. I’m staying here.” His dazed eyes flashed over Serena as he grinned and bit his lip.

Anya stepped forward. The blond incubus grabbed her arm. She whipped her head toward him, her eyes piercing him. He instantly dropped his hand.

“Your friend wants to enjoy the VIP room. Serena will escort him out later,” he told her politely.

“I’m not leaving without him.” Her eyes narrowed.

Jackson stood up as Serena slid off his lap and tugged his hand toward a door. “Jeez, Awn, you’re being a buzzkill. Go back out. I’ll see you later.”

Before she could protest further, Serena slipped him through one of the doors, eyeing her with a victorious and wicked smile as she closed the door behind them.

“He’ll be fine. Serena takes very good care of VIPs. Now, why don’t I show you around the rest of the place? Bring a drink if you’d like.”

Anya’s stomach knotted. This was her opportunity to follow through on her declaration. Kill the demon in front of her and then kill Serena and cause who knows what kind of problems with management and possibly the police, or let them live. She eyed the tall, spiky-haired, smooth-skinned, toned model in front of her.

“Lead the way.”

Against her better judgment she grabbed a drink off the tray and swiped a strawberry, popping it into her mouth.

The pretty incubus smiled a mouth full of perfect, white teeth and motioned toward a door.

She swallowed the juicy, delicious strawberry. “I’m not interested in a show,” she announced.

The incubus let out a humored laugh. “I didn’t think you were. My name’s Ryan. I thought maybe I’d give you a massage, show you around and then take you back out to the main floor. Figured I will have at least satisfied my duty of entertaining you with those activities.”

Anya contemplated the idea. A massage from a ridiculously pretty male wouldn’t be so bad, even if he was an incubus demon.

“All right, but if you get too handsy, I’ll knock you on your ass.”

Ryan smiled. “Deal.”

Chapter 3

Ryan guided them to a separate door and opened it for her to enter. She walked into a room that smelled divine, as though she’d entered a very expensive spa. She pulled the scents into her with each deep breath. Her muscles relaxed instantly. Surprisingly, she didn’t twitch when Ryan rubbed along her arm before gently taking her hand and guiding her to the petite bed in the middle of the room.

“Have a seat. I’ll warm the oils.”

Anya sat on the edge of the silky, red, sheet-covered bed and glanced around the room. It was set up just like a spa with a massage bed, a cabinet for oils, a hot stone and towel warmer. Pretty paintings on the walls, quiet soft music and dim lighting. She couldn’t help wondering what each door led to and what kind of room Jackson was in or the fact that this place kept surprising her with its selection of rooms and activities.

“This club offers a lot more than what it advertises.”

Ryan returned with a bottle and a hot towel. He gently brushed her hair to the side and placed the warm towel around her neck. The heat warming against her skin soothed the dull ache in her head.

“It does. I enjoy working here. Every day is different. The club and bar bring in enough business, but the VIP clients have grown. We’ve recently added a few new luxuries to accommodate different tastes.”

Anya caught a glimmer of Ryan’s eyes brightening to their natural demon green before it faded and disappeared as if it didn’t happen at all. The slight transition reminded her of what she’d already forgotten. She was locked in a room, alone, with an incubus. A sex driven, powerful demon who won over their victims with seduction. Her body tensed.

“You and Serena keep mentioning client tastes. Makes me wonder what kind of activities go on with VIPs other than strip shows and massages. Sounds like you might be offering happy endings for your clients. Was that the owner’s idea?”

Ryan moved to the side of her and set down the oil. His eyes glimmered brightly. “Time to undress. I’ll step out, so you can slip comfortably under the sheets.”

If that wasn’t a complete aversion to a question, she didn’t know what was. She eyed his back as he stepped out the door. Was she really going to get a massage from an incubus? She hadn’t only turned her back on her duty, she was staring danger in its face and saying, F-off. The stiff, gray-haired board members of the Arcane Society would be turning in their seats if they knew what she was doing. The thought brought a smile to her lips. Yes, she was going to do it and enjoy every minute of it. She didn’t have anything to worry about anyway. As an Arcane Hunter she had the good fortune of being immune to an incubus’s seduction or any other demon’s tricks.

She slipped out of her shirt, jeans and shoes and tossed them on the nearby chair. She slid under the red, silky sheet just before Ryan tapped on the door.

“Come in.”

He walked back in, smiling with satisfaction. He’d probably expected her to still be clothed and ready to leave. He folded the sheet away from her right leg and lathered his hands with oil. As soon as his warm hands touched her foot her brain melted. She gurgled with drool and mumbled ooohs and ahs. His warm hands moved up her leg to her calf, kneading his thumbs into her sore muscles. When his hands reached her thigh she squirmed slightly at the uncontrolled arousal that tickled her. She’d been in one of the long periods of celibacy and apparently her body thought now was the best time to remind her of it.

She saw the slight glimmer of green fill his eyes and leave as he eyed her with apparent interest.

“You’re enjoying this more than I expected you to.”

His hands moved to her behind, kneading the tender muscle just below her right cheek. Her nipples hardened and her arousal spread further than she was comfortable with. She wiggled out of his warm, delightful hands, holding the sheet to her chest.

“I think you’ve more than fulfilled your duty of entertaining me. It’s time I get back and find my friends.”

Ryan slid the sheet up, placing his hand on her thigh. He leaned in closer, putting his pouty lips uncomfortably close to hers. “Are you sure that’s what you really want?”

Anya’s stomach tightened. She glanced down at his hand, then back to him, raising a brow. “Remember the deal? I will put you on your ass.” She nodded her head to the door. “Step out.”

Ryan’s face grew serious, confusion filling his eyes. Surely he couldn’t determine why she’d slithered out of his seductive grasp so easily. He moped to the door and stepped outside it. She quickly dressed, ready to find Jackson and the others and leave as soon as possible.

She walked out into the red and black waiting room and nearly lost her legs beneath her when the man talking to Ryan looked at her. He was undeniably the most beautiful man she’d ever laid eyes on. A mixture of Asian, Brazilian and American wrapped into a tall, messy dark-haired, black-eyed, perfectly toned package with a smooth face of an angel. His eyes locked on hers and the arousal she had so carefully tucked away came back with a vengeance, taunting her between her thighs. She swallowed as the same arousal seemed to cross his face. Her nipples hardened at the desirous look glossed over his eyes. She lost all train of thought. Her brain turned to instant mush and all she wanted to do was pounce and give in to that burning desire that so cruelly plagued her.

With some sort of apparent hesitation, his eyes broke away from her. He glared at Ryan and then leaned in, sharing a private word with him. Ryan shook his head no and the man seemed pleased with his response. The ridiculously sexy mystery man returned his attention to her and as soon as his eyes locked on hers again the fire in her belly rumbled, pushing its way to the surface. She felt flush and surely her cheeks revealed it.

He smiled at her and his perfect plump lips gave way to shiny white teeth and a darker more seductive look in his eyes. He walked toward her and her legs didn’t budge. She was frozen in ice. He approached her, standing quite close, and she could smell his delightful musky scent. She wanted to touch, caress and fondle every part of him. His dark-gray t-shirt lay against a solid chest and revealed toned biceps beneath the sleeves. The front of the t-shirt was tucked into his jeans. Jeans that covered long legs and a round bulge, sizeable and enticing. A necklace hung from his neck with a wooden sparrow dangling from it and a leather bracelet covered his right wrist. His eyes narrowed in on her, studying her—studying him—and then it hit her. The sensation crawled across her skin, leaving misery in its wake. The stunningly handsome man in front of her was a demon.

“I’m Dex.” He pointed to a camera in the corner of the room. “I work security.”

She glanced at the camera and then back at his beautiful face as the words caught in her throat. She knew English, she really did, but he’d just made her forget her entire vocabulary.

“…nya,” she managed to mumble. Her head started to clear as her cheeks warmed. She shook her head. “Sorry, I’m Anya. Nice to meet you.”

Dex’s head tilted and he gave what appeared to be an expression of affection. “No worries. You’ve had alcohol and a massage. I’m sure your mind is pretty relaxed about now.”

Relaxed! Ha! Nope, not relaxed. Firing on all cylinders and a bit stunned is more like it.

“I’ve had two drinks and my leg massaged. That’s not quite a brain-melting experience in my book.”

Dex’s eyes studied her closely, seemingly interested in something about her. “Only a leg massage?” He glanced at Ryan, whose back she saw disappearing down the hall. “You didn’t like the massage Ryan gave?”

“Nope. It wasn’t my choice to come back here. I came to Donatello’s with a few friends. One of them paid for me and my friend to enjoy the VIP treatment. What goes on back here”—she waved her finger, motioning toward the doors—“isn’t for me.”

A grin spread over his face. He seemed pleased with her response. His eyes glimmered and with a slight shift of his head the demon green appeared and faded just as quickly.

“What do you like and how do you like it?”

Anya swallowed the tennis ball in her throat. Her muscles tightened as intense heat ignited in her belly, traveling to her thighs and remaining there pulsing like a damn sex beacon. Her brain couldn’t grasp the direct sexual connotation of his question. She stood staring, stunned and equally aroused. She may be immune to an incubus’s seduction, but this incubus had extraordinary gifts. Gifts she admittedly wanted to explore.

When she didn’t answer, he stepped closer. Her legs came back to life, moving with her as she instinctively took a step back, putting space between her and this all-too-tempting demon. Her back hit the wall and his lips raised into a seductive smile as his arm lifted above her head, supporting him as he leaned in closer, his face much too close to hers.

His free hand came up and caressed her lip with just enough sensuality to send arousal whipping through her body.

“I can take my time figuring it out, and based on the looks of it, I think you want me to.”

This demon was sure he had her in his crosshairs. Her eyes narrowed. She put her hand on his chest, surprised by the strength of it and her body’s reaction to touching him. She pushed forward, removing him from her very intimate and personal space. His arm dropped and his body tensed.

“I’m interested in the way out. Let’s leave it at that.”

The demon green started to flicker in his eyes. He blinked and it was gone. His expression shifted from surprised to composed. “I’ll escort you out.”

Anya moved away from the wall, motivating them toward the exit of the waiting room. “I appreciate it.”

Dex led them down a dark hall with, of course, more doors. He glanced over at her as they walked side by side, studying her with an expression of fascination. Her desire aggressively fought her thoughts. The tension between them too obvious to ignore. She avoided looking at his handsome face, chiseled jaw, and tasty lips.

“Sorry for coming on strong. You’re a beautiful woman. I admit, I wanted to kiss you back there and I’ve only just met you.”

This demon wasn’t giving up, and unfortunately part of her didn’t want him to. What would it be like kissing an incubus? From the looks of him she imagined his kiss would be intoxicating and addictive. He stopped walking when she didn’t respond. She stopped too and turned to see the cause. His eyes flickered with green and he moved in fast, placing her face in his hands and pushing her body against the wall with his.

His tender lips sent sparks of fire trickling across her skin. The warmth and taste of his kiss was like creamy chocolate poured over a sweet slice of fruit—delicate and delicious. His hand tangled in her hair and rubbed along the nape of her neck as his kiss deepened. With his free hand he gently thumbed her waist as he placed his hand around it, pulling her in closer to him. His body heat emanated off him, cozy like a warm fire. She wanted to wrap herself in his arms and feel the flames against her naked body.

She heard a door click open. He gently pushed her inside the room connected to it. He kicked the door closed with his boot as his hands discovered her body. A gentle graze over her breast and her arousal exploded, a pent-up hunger on the verge of devouring the incredibly sexy man touching her. As their lips parted, needing air, her lips burned from the fire of his kiss. Her head swam with dizziness. The room a blur. She could only feel, touch and smell. All else evaporated like mist.

She pulled at his shirt, lifting it. Her eyes absorbed the chiseled smooth chest and eight pack. Her hands dove for his abs, clawed at his belt and jeans. He pulled her shirt over her head and took in her petite breasts. He grinned as he pawed at the front clasp. Her breasts fell free as the clasp opened, the fabric falling to the sides. His eyes darkened, green flecks filling them, as he worked her out of her jeans.

He lifted her onto a soft surface, what, she didn’t care. His jeans dropped to his knees, leaving black briefs. She pulled at them and his black eyes watched her possessively. When the briefs dropped, his erection sprung forward. She licked her lips, admiring the size and perfectly trimmed patch of hair around it.

His warm hands grasped her legs, pulling her forward. She spread them, ready to take him. He leaned over her, placing his soft lips against hers, soothing the burn with his tender kiss. He took hold of his erection and found her, pushing inside of her, giving her the fire her body ached to have. His strokes were smooth, rhythmic, driving her mind and body ablaze. Her thighs clung to him as he moved in deeper, his rhythm increasing. She broke from his intoxicating kiss and arched her back as the orgasm swept through her, dancing over her body, sending her into a brief paradise.

He continued working her slowly, rhythmically, absorbing her arousal. His eyes flashed their demon green as his muscles tightened, a low moan escaping his lips. He eyed her with dark possessive eyes. The demon green gone as though it never existed. He leaned in and kissed her roughly, passionately, his lips devouring hers. He pulled away and stared at her with what appeared as affection.

“I think I found what you like.”

She couldn’t help smiling at the affectionate and playful comment, especially with his hands holding her gently, giving her body much needed warmth. He pulled away from her and her body instantly ached to have him touching her again. As if he sensed it, he stepped forward, putting his hand to her face and caressing it before he leaned in and kissed her with his sweet, soft lips.

“I’d like to see you again.”

Her mind started to clear. She was in a dark room with only one tall lamp in the corner giving enough light for her to see she was sitting on another massage table. Around her were several more. It appeared he’d slipped her into a storage room of some sort. How convenient. She grabbed her clothes and started dressing, baffled by how easily she’d given in to sex with a guy she didn’t know. Had she really been that desperate for a man’s touch? That she’d resort to sleeping with a demon, an incubus of all demons? She turned her body away from him as she clasped her bra and put on her shirt. She noticed her slower more relaxed movements. He’d surely drained some of her energy. The thought disgusted her.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

He stepped up to her, placing a hand to her waist and turning her toward him. “Are you all right with what just happened?”

She couldn’t look at him. “I need to get back and find my friends.”

He dropped his hand and turned toward the door. He stopped with his hand on the knob, and looked back at her. His dark eyes studied her, softening as they stared at her. “I hope you change your mind. In case you do…” He pulled a business card from his pocket and handed it to her. She took it from his hand and pocketed it without looking at it.

He opened the door for her to step out. She walked with him in uncomfortable silence, down several halls and turns before coming to the door she and Jackson had originally entered. The metal door opened to the thumping of music and the busyness of the club and its dancers. She glanced back at Dex. His dark eyes remained locked on her as he watched her glide into the crowd of sweaty, aroused dancers. The memory of his touch swam across her skin and her stomach knotted as her own arousal tickled her.

She moved left, then right, intentionally hiding herself among the dancers. She glanced back again to see the door closed and Dex gone. She made a direct line for the bar. The pretty blond came over and smiled.

“A shot of peach whiskey if you have it. Make it a double.”

She slid onto the barstool and palmed her face as the bartender whisked off to make her drink. A hand grabbed her shoulder and roughly turned her. She tensed at the masculine touch.

“Where’ve you been? I just tried calling you.”

She turned to see Jackson’s expression a mixture of worry and irritation. Behind him Thomas and Joe stood with equally satisfied expressions. She reached for her phone in her back pocket and her stomach knotted. Her phone was gone. She’d lost it somewhere in one of the rooms she’d been in and she wasn’t about to go back and look for it. Her night quickly went from bad to worse in a matter of seconds.

“I lost my phone somewhere in the club.”

The bartender set the shot on the counter. Anya grabbed it and gulped down the fiery liquid and shivered at the final bite.

Jackson frowned at her. “You only drink whiskey when you’re upset. What happened?”

She stood from the stool and flopped a bill from her wallet onto the bar counter. “I’d rather not talk about it. You ready to go?”

He wrapped his arm around her and nodded.

 

Dex’s stomach bunched as he watched the dirty-blond, physically fit male put his arm around Anya, the woman he’d just had incredible sex with. A possessive desire stabbed at his insides. He didn’t understand why he’d already become infatuated with her. He’d only been with her once and it usually took several times of having sex with a human before a succubus or incubus developed any kind of possessive desires for them.

Although she didn’t seem completely human. If he had to guess, she was part demon of some sort. What kind he couldn’t put his finger on. She emanated strength and clearly his seduction didn’t affect her as well as it should have. Or maybe he was just that rusty. It’d been a while since he’d had a woman or a woman that excited him like Anya had. Correction, she excited him far more than any woman, even his ex and co-worker, Serena.

The moment he saw her walk out of the massage room he couldn’t peel his eyes away from her. It pleased him when Ryan said they hadn’t had sex; he’d wanted her all to himself. The scent of her sexual desire had been strong. He knew she wanted him too, but he couldn’t understand the look of disgust on her face after they’d been together. She’d wanted to be with him, he was sure of it. Her body willingly took his and she gave him an extraordinary amount of vitality from her orgasm. Thankfully, enough that would last him a lengthy period of time before needing another woman in his bed.

He glanced to his right to make sure Al and Greg were busy watching their screens. He hit a couple buttons on the keyboard. Anya appeared on the screen in the massage room with Ryan. His arousal swelled as he watched her undress and slide under the red sheet. Ryan re-entered and his possessive desire increased, worsening in intensity as he watched Ryan rub along her calf, thigh and then just below her right cheek. Relief filled him when she squirmed away from Ryan’s touch.

Watching her turn him down at his peak of seduction raised his lips into a smile. He watched her dress after Ryan left and saw her phone drop from her jeans pocket. He clicked a button on the keyboard and the screen switched back to a view of dancers. He left the security office, headed for the massage room.

Excerpt – Dark and Beautiful Nights (The Covenant Series, Book Three)

Cass took the glass from her hand and sniffed it. “What is it?”

Kayci shrugged. “The bartender is a witch. He makes it. It’s blood with some kind of potion in it. It makes me feel amazing.”

Cass studied the contents. His eyes drifted over the glass to her. “That’s my job.” He saw the arousal sweep over her face and it awakened his instinct. Yes. Your mate. Yours.

Kayci took the glass back from his hand and gulped it down.

Cass leaned on his arm. “Tell me, Kat. How’d you end up with pretty boy?” He motioned to Brad, sitting with his buddies, scowling at him.

Kayci rolled her eyes. “I met him a couple months ago, when I first starting using dark magic. I fed from him then. I ran into him again last night.”

“You sleep with him?” Cass asked, avoiding eye contact with her. He chugged more beer as the rising jealousy tightened his gut.

Kayci chuckled at his apparent discomfort with the subject. “No, not that it’s any of your business if I did.”

Cass set the beer on the counter and turned himself to face her. He rotated her stool toward him, putting her legs between his. “It is my business. You’re my mate. If you need a man’s touch, you come to me. Understand?”

Ohh! Why did his possessiveness irritate her and arouse her all at once? She narrowed her eyes. “I’ll do as I please, Cass. I’m not your mate.”

“I thought we’d already resolved this? You are my mate and I’m here to stay.”

She let out a frustrated breath of air. “You’re incredibly pushy.”

Cass grinned before placing his hands under her ass and scooting her closer to him. “I know.”

The blood and potion warmed her body, causing the usual euphoric sensation. As his provocative gaze met hers, her body ignited. The warming sensation turned to a harmonizing pulse and her body itched to have his hands caressing her, his lips passionately claiming hers. She gazed up at him, mesmerized by his beautiful wolf eyes and full lips. She reached up, unable to stop herself from running her finger along them. He bit her finger, gave it a flick of his tongue, and then claimed it with his mouth. Heat warmed her below, sending quick exuberant shocks of electricity from her belly, down and back. She grinned, fangs visible and eyes glazed with desire.

Cass saw the hunger in her eyes, causing his body to respond. Pressure extended his jeans and he kneaded her thighs in response. “I like what that drink does to you.” He winked.

Kayci bit her lip as desperate longing slammed against her, begging for release.

Cass’ eyes lowered, fixed on her lips. “You know what that does to me, don’t you?”

Kayci nodded, grinning, her mouth nearly salivating for a taste of him.

“Keep it up and I’ll bend you over this bar and take you in front of everyone,” he murmured breathlessly.

“You would, wouldn’t you?” she teased.

“Don’t challenge me, Kat. I’m barely restraining myself as it is.”

Kayci slid her fangs over her bottom lip and released it, just to watch the hunger grow vehemently in his eyes. “Why do you make me feel this way?” The ardency in her own voice startled her.

“I don’t know how to make it any clearer for you, you’re my mate, and once you accept it, we can get on with giving each other unrestrained pleasure.” The connotation of his promised desire dripped off his lips.

Unrestrained pleasure? How can I resist?

“And if I am your mate, what then?”

Cass took a strand of her hair in his hand and gave it a tantalizing tug before placing it behind her ear. When her body shivered with arousal, his instinct purred with satisfaction. “I claim you as mine, mark you…” He caressed her cheek. Her eyes closed as her breath quickened. “We’ll be tied forever. As my mate, I’ll love you, ensure you’re happy, protected, satisfied—always.”

She could hear the promise in his earnest voice. She opened her eyes to see the fire burning in his.

And what woman wouldn’t want all of that?

“What do you mean by mark me?” The idea of him biting her stirred her already yearning desire.

The excitement in her voice worsened the pressure on his jeans. He glanced around at their current location, returning to her fiery, lust-filled gaze. “This isn’t the best place for that conversation.”

She stared at him expectantly, licking her lips, bringing his fixed stare to them.

“Just remember—you asked.”

He tucked his massive hands under her thighs and gave her ass a tug, bringing her as close to him as she could get while still sitting on the stool, barely. He leaned closer, lowering his voice for her to hear his private share.

“When I make love to you, I want all of you. I want to ravage your body, take you beneath me, sink my teeth into you, claim you as mine. It will be the most passionate and erotic experience you’ve ever had and I know you’ll enjoy it and I’ll enjoy watching the pleasured moans escape those luscious lips.”

The heat of his breath on her ear and his strong, solid hand kneading the inside of her upper thigh had her trembling with need. His sensuous touch sparked heat and fire—ravenous fire. It gurgled in her belly, awakening after a long period of dormancy.

She bit her lip—hard. He leaned back to see her reaction. His eyes glimmered with satisfaction.

His captivating wolf eyes remained on her, stabbing right through her, to the deepest part of her.

“The funny thing about you, Kat, is your words always reject me, but your body begs me to satisfy it.”

Her breath escaped. Damn, he’s good. Her fangs stabbed her bottom lip as her body pulsed with desire. The potion’s affect helped his cause, betraying her. It was supposed to give her numbing pleasure not add to the aching need she had for him.

She closed her eyes and gave her head a shake. She scooted back on the stool before she clawed at the clothes covering him. She opened her eyes to see him grinning at her. That usual arrogant smile that said, he knew exactly what was going on inside her mind and body.

She stepped off the stool. Must have cold shower.

Cass’ hand grabbed a hold of her hip as she swayed, giving it a firm squeeze. She fell against his arms that he used to pull her closer, bringing her inches from his lips. He stared down at her, his wolf eyes studying her eyes, her expression.

He could see the struggle in her eyes—the longing, the confusion, and frustration. He would make things clear for her.

“It’s about time I start pissing you off.”

He brought his lips down on hers, claiming them with his own. The fire roiled in her belly, exploding like a volcano. She sunk into his lips, letting the sensation take her.

He dipped his tongue into her mouth, coaxing her further, tasting more of her, wanting more of her. Satisfaction filled him when she didn’t pull away. He held the nape of her neck and drove their kiss further. His hand squeezed her backside as he pulled her body against his. He needed her, needed her to give in. He couldn’t take her denial much longer. It was driving him wild. He needed to touch her, caress every part of her.

When their lips parted, she swayed at the dizziness that swam through her head and the extraordinary arousal throbbing between her thighs.

“Cass…”

“Yes, Kat?” He could hear the desire in her voice. He longed to satisfy it and to satisfy her. He brushed one of her curls behind her ear.

“I—”

“Want this as much as I do, don’t you beautiful?”

She did, she wanted to pounce on him like a panther on its prey and devour him one succulent sample at a time.

“How about I take you home?” he asked, never easing his affectionate hold on her.

“Yes,” is all she could sputter.

Excerpt – Cruel Temptation (The Covenant Series, Book 2)

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She laid back on the ground. Stared up at the moon, still reeling from her meal. Her vampire senses on high alert. She heard the rustling leaves. The light footfalls of two feet. He had shifted. She smelled him as he neared. Heard his elevated heartbeat. He approached quietly. Her eyes drifted in his direction. He stood, illuminated by the moonlight, stripped of his clothing. He’d lost them in the transition.

She sat up abruptly, unable to look away from the deliciously naked male in front of her. Even without an erection, he was abundant and monumental, just like the rest of him

“Cass.” She heard the purr in her own voice, her body betraying her. “Where are your clothes?” She knew where. Torn and laying in the woods.

“Couldn’t find them.”

“How convenient.” She nearly growled beneath her extracted fangs. She hated how the moonlight shimmered across his muscular abs and the indentations of his hips.

Cass laughed, deep from his belly. “It wasn’t intentional, Kat, if that’s what you’re thinking. I never worry about my clothes. It’s freeing. Not like anyone is going to see me anyway. No one’s out here. Didn’t think to grab an extra set for you.”

Kayci forced herself to stop staring. She lay back on the ground, admiring the moon once more. Desperately trying to erase his delectable image out of her mind. His quiet footfall moved toward her. He rested himself next to her. His hands behind his head. Not a care in the world, as usual.

She felt the heat radiating off his body. His warm masculinity and rugged scent much too close.

“You led them to me?”

“Figured it would get your predator instincts to kick in.”

“The blood wasn’t you, was it?”

“Just a scratch. No big deal.”

She leaned up on her elbow and looked him over. She hadn’t even noticed the broken flesh on his shoulder. Her head tilted. She examined his closed eyes, then gently licked the blood from the wound. He tasted amazing. Luscious. Savory. Just as she thought he would.

His eyes jerked open. His gaze froze her. He trembled. His manhood stiffened.

“Kat.” He threatened to ravage her just with the whisper of her name.

“Sorry.” She giggled. “Couldn’t help it. Vampire, remember?”

“Just friends, remember?” He tilted toward himself. “You’re making it difficult.”

His husky voice amused her. She giggled again. Decided it was best not to tell him how delicious he tasted. She laid her head back down.

“Right. That wasn’t fair.”

She could feel his steely gaze.

“What isn’t fair is that you still have your clothes on.”

Kayci raised her brows. Her head tilted toward his predatory gaze. His wolf eyes moved over her like a savory meal.

“Easy now, wolf. This was your idea, not mine.”

“Yeah, but I feel at a disadvantage. You’ve seen me. I haven’t seen you.”

“And it’s going to stay that way.”

“You sure?” His question came out more of a statement, his confidence in her attraction apparent.

Kayci sat up on her elbow, meeting his gaze and smiled. “Is this how you get all the ladies? Bring them into the woods under the beautiful moonlight and then tempt them with your attractive naked body?”

Cass grinned. His playful, arrogant grin. “You finally admit it. You do find me attractive.”

“Of course, Cass. What woman wouldn’t? Look at you. It’s like you’ve been plucked right out of an underwear ad. You’re stunning, but I’m not the kind of woman who loses herself over every sexy male she encounters.”

She saw the defeat in his expression. He lay back, resting his hands behind his head.

“No, you’re not.”

 

Excerpt – Embrace the Dawning (The Covenant Series, Book One)

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Kayci held Adrian’s hand as he led her up a metal stairwell that wound its way up to the rooftop. As they reached the top, she immediately noticed the plethora of bright shining stars scattered amid the black sky. It was gorgeous, and it had been a while since she had seen a sky this decorated. She looked at Adrian inquisitively.

“I’m sure you’re wondering what we’re doing up here.”

Kayci grinned.

“I brought you up here for what we vampires call the Dawning. We’re early, so we’ll have time to talk before other vampires arrive.”

Adrian unraveled the small throw blanket he had carried tucked in his right arm and set it down on the rooftop. They laid on it and cuddled closely against one another as they stared up at the sky.

“What is the Dawning?”

Adrian ran his fingers along her arm, enjoying the warmth of her skin. He smiled to himself when she asked about the Dawning.

“Unfortunately, our vampirism keeps us living in the dark, unable to enjoy the sun, but we can still get close. Vampires come here just before the sunrise. We stay as long as we can before we feel the temperature change in the air. Before the sunrise breaks the horizon, we leave. Not all of us though. Some stay.”

“They stay for the sunrise?” Kayci asked.

“Yes. The sun destroys the demon curse within us. Our bodies turn to ash.”

“Why would they want to stay and be killed?”

“Vampires that want to end the curse and see the sun again embrace the Dawning.”

“What’s after?” Kayci asked softly.

Adrian continued to watch the sky.

“No one knows.”

Adrian felt Kayci stir in his arms. He sensed her antsiness.

“Why’d you bring me here?”

“I wanted you to know we have a choice.”

“You wanted me to know the choice you’ve made. To live as a vampire.”

“Yes. I’ve chosen to be in this world as a vampire for 149 years. To be honest, I’m fond of being a vampire. I promise you not everything about vampirism is as you’ve experienced. There’s so much more.”

Kayci pushed herself more closely into his arms as he caressed her side. She really wanted to believe him.

“Adrian, what makes a vampire want to embrace the Dawning?”

“Being a vampire means living with the demon’s curse. The demon’s curse keeps us alive. Part of the curse is to be immortal. When you become a vampire, you stay the age that you were when you died as a human. We don’t age. We never get to feel the sun on our faces. We can’t have children, and being a vampire means having to feed on blood to survive. It can be a lonely life for some.

“We aren’t easy to kill, either, because we heal so quickly. The only way a vampire can die is to either embrace the Dawning, be forced into the sun, burned, beheaded, starved, or drained of blood. Not all humans can handle the transformation, and not all vampires want to live forever. Some want to know what is beyond this world.”

“It sounds like the curse is punishment. To be banished to the night for eternity, stuck at the age you died as a human, having to feed on blood to survive.”

“Some vampires do feel that way. They think it was part of the demon’s plan to punish the man that broke their arrangement, but the demon didn’t realize his blood would cause others to turn into vampires.”

“How is it that I came to exist if vampires can’t have children?”

“I have heard of a myth that vampires have tried working with witches to bind the demon’s curse, temporarily giving them the opportunity to have children. I’ve never heard of it actually working though, until I met you.”

“I’m worried that the Covenant will find out about me and want to kill me.”

Adrian stopped rubbing Kayci’s arm. He kissed her forehead before looking down at her and receiving her full attention. “It’s important for you to know this, and it’s important for you to know I only found out today.”

Kayci’s chest immediately tightened. She sat up on her elbow and stared at Adrian intently.

“The Covenant knows you exist.”

A knot developed in her throat. It felt like her chest was swollen with a soccer-size ball inside. Her throat became dry.

“Danika saw your eyes when you fought one another and told the Covenant that I have been hiding a half-breed vampire. Tomorrow I’ll be questioned by the Covenant and will also have the chance to explain to them that you’re not a threat.”

Kayci reached up and touched the moldavite stone to her fingers, hoping it would protect her, as Rosemary said it would. She stared outward in a daze.

“What if they don’t see things from your point of view?”

Adrian took her hand away from the stone and kissed it. Kayci returned her gaze to Adrian.

“I will do everything I can to protect you. I promise you.”

“What if they want to kill you?”

Adrian smiled at her. “They won’t. I’m too much of an asset to them.”

Kayci heard the others coming. She was surprised she could hear them over her deafening heartbeat.

Adrian glanced in their direction and then back at Kayci. He brought his hand up to her cheek and caressed it before pulling her in for a kiss. He felt her body melt under his lips. He pulled away from her and then leaned back in for another quick, gentle kiss.

“It’s time.”

Adrian took her hand in his. They both stood up, facing the direction the sun would rise. Kayci watched as a large group of vampires spread out on the rooftop, some standing alone, others in pairs. They all looked toward the east, where the sunrise was soon to come. All had their heads raised into the breeze, quietly watching the sky. The sounds had gone from chatter to complete silence.

Kayci watched as the stars above disappeared one by one, followed by the lightening of the sky from a charcoal gray to a light gray. Slowly, strips of faint blue started to peek through the clouds. A yellowish-white tint highlighted the horizon. She noticed the tiny variation in the air. It had become warmer and dryer. The cool moist breeze was fading. Adrian gently tugged at her hand, letting her know it was time to go. She turned to follow.

Kayci stopped in her tracks, frozen by the sight in front of her. She had become so mesmerized by the changing sky she hadn’t noticed the vampires had made their way across the rooftop. The sight in front of her mesmerized her. The vampires leapt off the rooftop, coasting into the shadow cast by the building. Their dark silhouettes drifted into the wind like a condor soaring through the sky. The buildings with their gray glass windows, still empty of employees, were a silent witness to the scene. She laughed to herself at how humans were so oblivious to the world around them.

Moments later all the dark figures in the sky were gone. Kayci could feel the heat of the sunrise on her back. It brought her attention back to her surroundings. She looked around her. Adrian was gone too, but there was still one vampire on the rooftop. As the sun rose and the horizon turned from a yellow-white tint to bursts of yellow orange, Kayci continued to stare as the vampire spread out his arms and embraced the sun before him. Within seconds of the sun appearing above the horizon, the vampire burst into flames. Kayci’s chest tightened as she heard the vampire let out one shrill scream. She couldn’t bring herself to look away. She would be a part of his passing, since no one else could.

In front of her near the edge of the rooftop was now a pile of ash. The breeze swept through and gently lifted the ashes into the air. Some flecks flew in her direction. She raised her arm to block the ashes from getting into her eyes. She sunk down onto the rooftop, overwhelmed. She sat there alone, silent and still, while the sun continued to rise.