Vampire Kiernan Shaw has never forgotten the night twenty years ago when he’d been forced to stand by while another vampire killed a six-year-old girl’s parents in front of her. He’s spent the better part of the last two decades watching over her, protecting her and hoping for an opportunity to make amends one day.
Ever since surviving the vampire attack that killed her parents, Moira Curran has dealt with the resulting nightmares and abandonment issues the only way she could—by throwing herself into her biochemistry career, preferring a life of a hermit in her lab to facing the reality of her lonely life.
Madame Eve brings them back together for one fateful night. An immediate bond of sizzling chemistry and respect forms, but can it heal her fears and his guilt?
She was the girl, his girl, not some random hookup he could use and toss aside. When she pulled away, he couldn’t speak, couldn’t react; his lips tingling from her heat. For a moment, he’d known completion.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
He thought back to Madame Eve’s email. If she trusts you, she will tell you her name. He understood the power of names, and so did Madame Eve. Something insignificant to a mortal meant everything to a vampire, in whose world names were both salvation and control. Remind a vampire of his humanity, or steal it away by forcing him to do something horrific, like watching a little girl’s parents be eviscerated right in front of her.
“Kiernan Shaw.” Swallowing hard, he found his way back onto the coffee table. “And yours?”
Would she tell him her name? Would she allow him that kind of power?
She took a deep breath, as though considering the same questions. “Moira Curran.”
He rolled the name on his tongue and loved the way it felt. “Beautiful.” He reached to stroke her cheek, but she flinched. “Moira, I won’t hurt you. I could never hurt you.”
“I’m sorry,” she muttered. “Old habits, I guess.”
He nodded, unable to speak for a moment. The cloying lilac scent of her fear almost strangled him. “Why did you ask me to stay?”
“I don’t know.”
Neither did he, but he wouldn’t leave until she asked him to.
“I don’t want to be alone, Kiernan. Isn’t that pathetic?”
You’ve never been alone. Not really.
He warmed at the sound of his name on her lips. “Not in the slightest.” His mouth watered at the thought of kissing her, exploring her, making his name come out of that gorgeous mouth again and again. He tamped down his desire. Nothing good would happen if he moved too fast. Willem had all but guaranteed him a life alone. Like he approached a scared animal, he moved next to her on the couch. She uncoiled, but didn’t relax. “Talk, Moira. Please.”
The silence hurt his ears as much as any scream.
She shook her head. “It’s too hard.” Tears spilled but she didn’t move to wipe them away.
Time to be bold, I guess. He brushed a hand against her cheek again. Instead of flinching, she eased into his touch. “I want to lessen your hurt, however I can,” he said. “Will you let me?”