Perhaps Kyla Spades is a bit hasty to assume she finally escaped her stalkers. As a Muse, they come with the job description. Hunt down those desperate for inspiration, soak up a bit of their soul, and earn a ravenous groupie for life. That’s about how it worked, and after twenty-eight years, Kyla should know that.
Her past chases her to the quiet town of Sterling Springs, and Kyla must seek refuge with the only other muse of her kind. Tobin Blake, infamous womanizer by night, accused serial killer by day.
Tobin knew he should’ve sent her away the moment she appeared at his door. With his enemies planning their demon uprising any day, and his leg still suffering from the last attack, he couldn’t afford the distraction—even if it came with cherry lacquered toes and a body that begged to be sampled.
With the enemy closing in, Tobin and Kyla must find strength in each other as they battle for secrets to Kyla’s past and the future of their kind.
Standing mere inches from her, he rocked back on his good heel. “She always this bashful?”
Kyla felt the weight of Amber’s damp hand on her shoulder as if clinging for support, and her voice slurred a bit when she spoke. “You kidding? Kyla’s a livewire.”
Kyla’s mouth dropped open. “That’s none of his business.”
“Live wire, huh,” he murmured.
Amber opened her mouth again, but her voice cut short with a sharp jab from Kyla’s elbow.
“Enough about me. Where’d you want to do this?” Kyla asked.
Kyla pushed out a sigh of frustration. “Okay, Count Happy Pants, get serious.” She stretched her body to peer around the sharp curve of one hallway. “There’s got to be a couch or a chair around here somewhere.”
Amber poked her in the ribs. “What’s gotten into you, Ky? You don’t have to be so rude.”
Kyla knew that look. It was Amber’s patient provider relationship taking a swan dive into a murky pool of sexual intrigue. She lifted her brows in mock sympathy. “Amber? Work with me, here. I’m getting this over with and you out of this place before you do something you’ll regret.”
Kyla ignored the prissy flap of Amber’s hands as she sandwiched Amber’s face between her palms and leveled it with hers. Sizing up her swollen pupils, she could tell Amber wouldn’t be going anywhere soon.
“No. On second thought, let’s skip the session altogether,” Kyla said.
“I can’t believe you’re suggesting that I would—”
“I know. I know.” She sighed as she rummaged through Amber’s purse. “Where are your keys, woman?”
“There’s no need to rush off. After coming all this way, I couldn’t let you ladies leave so soon. We were just getting to know each other.”
After several minutes of quiet observation, the sound of his voice made Kyla’s heart switch to high speed. She spun to face Tobin, who had closed the distance to a dangerous level. The warmth of his breath flowed over her cheek. She jumped back, but didn’t get far with Amber standing behind her. She bumped into her friend with an oomph and staggered to maintain her balance.
Tobin’s lips twitched and he continued his pursuit, inching closer.
“I don’t want to hurt you.”
Kyla’s eyes grew wide. Freaky house with freaky impaired womanizer, that’s what she signed up for. That’s what she could deal with. Not an all-powerful Muse hell-bent on stealing her soul.
“Okay, okay, I lied. I really do have the plague,” Kyla said.
The statement didn’t seem to faze him as his gaze lowered to her mouth.
She made a strangled sound in the back of her throat. The magnetic hold he placed on Amber didn’t carry any weight against another Muse, but the threat of what lay below his surface left her petrified.
She tented her brows in a plea for mercy, even as her soul thrashed and clawed at the puckered barrier of her subconscious. Kyla’s nails dug into her palms as she mentally clenched her inner wall tighter against the assault.
Leave it. Leave it!
Early on, she’d developed her ability to compromise and reason with her starving soul. Only allowing it enough to get by without causing any undue damage. But with the knowledge of completion standing only a breath away, all that dieting unleashed a frenzy she hadn’t anticipated.
Forget Tobin Blake. Amber’s right. Kyla was scary all by herself.
She knew, or at least hoped, that Tobin couldn’t detect the tantrum her inner self was throwing. She didn’t know how much more stress she could take, being attacked from both sides, and the thought of all her defenses being torn away made her panic jump to new heights. Cursing her insatiable hunger for fear, every muscle in her body grew tense in an attempt to stay intact. She held her breath, ready for him to strike the first blow.
But he didn’t.
His head dipped until his lips were mere inches from hers.
And he waited.
When her lungs burned for lack of oxygen, she expelled a shaky breath. Then, with only the faintest lift of his lower lip, he blew a hot puff of air over her mouth.
Kyla’s breath caught in her throat, and she wrinkled her brow. The smell of toffee and sun-ripened peaches curled around her. With an uncontrollable urge to breathe it in, her lungs stretched to capacity, trying to lift every hint of that scent from the air. This wasn’t the way it worked; this wasn’t right.
For the first time, she had no idea who she was dealing with. Tobin Blake may be her mate, but he certainly wasn’t her equal. How could she compete against this?
He pulled away from her in slow motion, eyes lit in a menacing smile as the world tipped and spun out of control. Then her face made a dive for the hardwood floor.