For eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived in relative peace together. That peace is threatened when three bodies turn up less than a mile from the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs in Tampa bearing the signature of vampires who once terrorized Europe.
The Bureau’s chief liaison to the vampires, Dara MacKechnie, learns that the Tampa victims are not alone when her ex-lover, and head of the vampire’s Great Council, Anthony Caldwell comes calling.
The pair discover the lie that separated them two centuries ago only banked their passion, not extinguished it. Dara must decide whether she can trust Anthony with her heart a second time as they try to head off the war that threatens all they hold dear.
Excerpt Instinct helped her draw back before she took more than she should. Dara sucked in air, trying to wipe away the addictive taste of him even while she absorbed the new details about his true nature.
“Good lord,” she said against his throat. “Wow doesn’t seem quite adequate.” The exchange was bliss itself, but ultimately left her unfulfilled. Her body throbbed with it, and she felt the same need in him, rock-hard desire pressing up against her core through their clothes. Dara shifted, trying to alleviate the pressure trapped between her thighs.
Anthony’s arm around her waist tightened, holding her still. He groaned, teeth grinding together. “I suggest, my pet, you stop moving if you wish me to remain a gentleman. There’s a reason exchanges take place during sex.”
Her mouth fell open. Chris had mentioned something of that nature on more than one occasion.In for a penny, in for a pound, Dara reasoned. It would be better than walking away right then, knowing they wanted the same thing. Maybe a second night would quench the lust, and she could let go of the need, the hunger for him he created just by breathing.
She shifted, straddling his lap to settle more firmly against the erection that bulged in his jeans and wrapped her arms around his neck. She felt reckless right then. A second night wouldn’t hurt anyone or anything. Dara found the notion liberating. “Do you really want me to stay still, Tony?”
His dark eyes glittered with familiar intensity as he clutched her hips. His mouth curled up at one corner. “Don’t call me that.”
“What?” She leaned forward and nuzzled the side of his neck, just above the tiny marks from where she had bitten him, and reached for the button on his jeans. “I don’t know. I rather like it. Sarah might be onto something with that. Tony Caldwell, man about town. Maybe I can convince you to like it.”
Anthony groaned as she slid the zipper down, shifting back on the couch. “Unlikely, but you can always try to convince me. What do you propose to do?”
Dara trailed her fingers just inside the waistband of his pants, toying with the firm flesh there. “I have an idea or two. It might be easier if you took your pants off though.”
“Are you going to reciprocate?” He set her own her feet before standing, towering over her.
She grinned up at him, easing the pants over his narrow hips until she could cup the rampant erection he sported. “Wasn’t planning on it quite yet.”
He shucked the pants off the rest of the way, kicking them to one side. A heartbeat later, his shirt joined the heap on the floor. Dara leaned back to admire the gorgeous sight he made, standing there totally nude. Oh, to have her camera, take a picture to remember this night for the rest of her existence, long after they moved on. Broad shoulders, chiseled abs leading down to his waist, with only a faint sprinkling of body hair.
She slowly circled him, trailing her fingertips over his middle, watching with delight as goosebumps rose in their wake.
Anthony held up his hands, watching her as she paused in front of him, clearly debating her course of action. It was a bit of a role reversal, as he was well-used to having her naked while heremained clothed. But he was inclined to give her her head and see where she led. “Now what?”
“Sit.” In that effort, she rested her hands, silky smooth and warm, on his chest to urge him down.
Yes, he liked this more decisive, assertive woman. He cherished the memory of her innocence and enthusiasm, but he found it quite alluring, a woman who knew what she wanted. And clearly she wanted something beyond the obvious. He settled back on the couch, arms spread along the back. If he didn’t, he’d reach for her and end this now. Control, Anthony, control.
His breath caught in his throat when she dropped to her knees between his legs and took him in her hands, stroked along his length. His world narrowed to just the two of them, everything not her fading rapidly as he thought only of the soft hands caressing him, something he’d long feared might never happen again. Anthony groaned. “You’re going to kill me, woman.”
A tiny, teasing smile crossed her face. “La petite mort, yes. That’s certainly the idea,” she said, cupping his balls. Warm breath tickled the length of him as she spoke.
His hands clenched into fists. He wouldn’t be able to take much of this, or he’d thoroughly disgrace himself by coming too soon. When she took him in her mouth, his eyes crossed. Gods, yes. If Odin himself popped in and offered to take him off to Valhalla, he would turn the god down in a heartbeat, just to stay like this. It’d been so long.
Dara allowed herself a satisfied mental smile at his raspy growl and swirled her tongue around his cock, continuing to caress him. He’d never let her get away with calling him Tony, but it’d been an excellent segue to this.
Her eyes closed as his fingers speared into her hair, massaging her scalp even as he slowed her pace.
“Such a talented mouth, pet,” he said, tugging strands free from the braid trailing down her back. “I’ve miss this so damned much.”
The words echoed round and round her head, and she hummed with satisfaction, drawing another long, tortured groan from him. And then voices from the past exploded from her subconscious, rough hands pulling at her. Such a good little pet. Dara choked.
“No!” She fell back, scrabbling away on the floor. Voices pressed in on her, upper-crust British accents, laughter, and pain. The newly recovered memories dug their claws in, and she buried her face in her knees, trying to force them back.