They’re the Magickal ones…vampires, werewolves, witches, and fae who dwell among humans, united by extraordinary talents and unbridled sexual powers…
Chloe Standish went looking for a one-night stand to erase the memories of her cheating ex–and found the hottest sex of her life. A witch and biochemist working on a cure for werewolves, Chloe knows all about magic, yet Merek Kingston evoked a spellbinding lust beyond anything she’d ever felt. But now her ex-boyfriend and research partner is dead, his part of the formula in terrorists’ hands…and the detective in charge is Merek, the same man who’s haunted her dreams ever since the frenzied night together.
Chloe is the one person whose future Merek can’t predict…the only woman who could make him break every rule just to posses her again. Nothing will stop him from protecting her, and an explosive passion too primal, too perfect to forget…
Read an excerpt below...
This is an unedited excerpt, it may differ slightly from the final version.
“Mmmph.” Something heavy landed on Chloe’s stomach, jerking her out of the erotic dream, the erotic memory. Her heart thundered, sweat slid down her face, and her lungs heaved in a desperate bid for air. Icy fear and hot lust warred for dominance inside her as the fantasy gave way to reality. She shuddered, her fingers balling in soft cotton sheets. Her familiar’s eyes glowed in the low lighting of the lamp she’d left on, a freakish little alien head peering down at her. Ophelia blinked, her whiskers twitching. Chloe groaned, shoved the Siamese cat off her belly, and flopped over to bury her face in the pillow. “Gods.”
How many times was she going to have that dream? How often did she have to relive that wild night? It had happened two months ago, and hardly a night had passed that she hadn’t had the dream.
Maybe she just needed to get laid. Get that night out of her system. She moaned into her pillow, squeezing her thighs together as a lingering throb of desire went through her. That was how she’d ended up having that night in the first place, by telling herself she needed to get laid, to get her cheating ex out of her system.
That had gone so well for her.
She’d gone out to Sanguine, her favorite Magickals-only private club, scoped out every species of hotty the Magickal community had to offer–elves, Fae, vampires, werewolves, warlocks–mentally debated the sexual gifts each species could bring to the table–bedroom, whatever–and then she’d seen him. After that, there’d been no contest. Chemistry was a bitch like that. She would know–she was a biochemist.
Sighing, she rolled over, kicked the sheet off of her, and forked her hands through her sweaty hair. Her body still burned, her sex aching with a need to be filled with more than just her vibrator. “Damn it.”
Dwelling on her lack of a love life since her one-night stand wouldn’t help her. And thinking about Damien-Raines-the scum-sucking-vampire who’d left her for a she-vamp he’d knocked up, which was where her shame spiral had started, wouldn’t help her disposition at all. However, the fact that his ferret familiar was probably still hexed into an ugly lampshade made her lips quirk. Vampires sucked at casting spells. Damien had just sucked, period. Too bad it had taken her so long to figure that out.
She heaved herself out of bed and played soccer with Ophelia’s sinuous body as she tried to twine herself around Chloe’s legs while she walked. Tripping, she hit the swinging door to the kitchen and almost face-planted into the floor. “Damn it, Ophelia.”
The cat sniffed, leaped up onto the counter, and flicked a delicate paw at her food bowl in an unmistakable feline demand. Chloe rolled her eyes and grumbled all the way to the cabinet that contained the outrageously expensive cat cuisine her familiar liked. Dumping the contents into the food dish, Chloe went about retrieving her own sustenance while the cat dug in.
Thirty seconds later, she had a steaming mug of coffee cradled between her palms. The first sip made her moan. “Ahhh.”
Bless the Normal human who’d invented the automatic coffeemaker. Magic did some awesome things, but sometimes Normal technology trumped all. She leaned against her counter and gazed out her kitchen window at the morning mist shrouding her Queen Anne Hill neighborhood, drifting out into downtown Seattle. The city lights were a pretty haze that streaked the skyline. Sunbeams began to pierce the fog, so she knew it would be a rare sunny day in the Emerald City. Yesterday had been wicked hot, too, but Chloe loved the brightness. She’d have to remember to go for a walk during lunch today.
Bon Jovi’s “Bad Medicine” blared from her cell phone, jolting her from her reverie, and she jogged into her living room to grab it from the charger. Her best friend, Tess’s, name popped up on the caller ID. Grinning, Chloe punched the button to answer. “Dr. Jones, I presume. What are you doing up at the ass crack of dawn this morning?”
“Still haven’t slept from last night.” A huge yawn fuzzed the phone line. “We’re short-staffed so I pulled a double. Budget cuts.”
“Tell me about it.” Tess worked as a pathologist for the FBI. The Normal side of the FBI. She was one of the most Normal humans Chloe had ever met. “I haven’t put in hours this awful since my residency.”
Along with werewolf Jaya Nemov, they’d become friends in med school, which was the only reason Chloe and Jaya had gotten close to anyone outside the Magickal community. Most Magickals didn’t bother because it was just too hard to keep people in their lives they had to constantly lie to about who and what they were.
Chloe knew she should probably ease out of her relationship with Tess, but when Jaya died during a full moon Change, it emphasized to Chloe that a good friend was hard to come by, magic or no magic. Tess might never know the truth behind Jaya’s death, but she’d still shared the loss of someone they all loved. So, Chloe kept her friend and did what she had to do to keep her secrets.
Then again, a part of her had always wondered if the reason she held on to Tess was because her long-dead mother had been a Normal. She grinned, and it wasn’t nice. Her family was almost as horrified that she had befriended a Normal as they had been when her father had married one and bred a halfling.
Another yawn sounded through the phone, recapturing Chloe’s attention. Her grin softened and she cradled the phone closer to her ear. “So, you’re calling because . . . you want to get together for dinner tonight and tell me more about the suckfest of budget cuts?”
Tess chuckled. “You’re a mind reader.”
“Sure. That’s totally a plausible explanation, Doctor.” Chloe inserted as much drawling derision into her voice as possible, and Tess laughed. Telepathy wasn’t one of Chloe’s magical skills, so it wasn’t an outright lie, it just wasn’t the whole truth. This time. A familiar twist of guilt knotted her insides, but she pushed it aside. Tess was Normal, Chloe was Magickal; there was nothing she could do about the need to prevaricate. “How about you meet me here around seven?”
“Perfect. See ya. I’m hitting the hay now.” The call was punctuated with one final yawn from Tess before both women disconnected.
Chloe went to drop the phone in her purse and saw she’d missed a call about an hour before. There was a voicemail message waiting for her. She hadn’t heard the phone ring, but then, why would her subconscious want her to wake up from a steamy episode of her regularly scheduled Merek-dream?
She shoved a hand through her disheveled hair and pushed the reminder of her one-night warlock out of her mind. Flipping her cell over to speakerphone, she accessed her voicemail while she wandered into her bedroom to dress for work.
A deep, silken male voice emerged from her phone. “Chloe, it’s Damien.”
Chills crept down Chloe’s spine and a hollow feeling settled in the pit of her stomach. The last person she expected to get a call from was Damien. Hell, the last person she wanted a phone call from was Damien. Shaking off that inane thought, Chloe zipped up her skirt and shoved her feet into a pair of ballet flats. While she walked into the bathroom to brush her teeth and hair, she hit the buttons to replay the message she hadn’t really listened to.
“Chloe, it’s Damien.” A muffled thump sounded in the background of the call, but Damien hurried on. “I’m sorry to bother you at home. Don’t erase this . . . I need to talk to you about work. It’s . . . It’s important to the project. Call me back. Please.” The call ended abruptly, as if someone had stabbed the End button with more force than necessary.
The please gave her pause. Damien never said please. Then again, he also never said I’m sorry. He was a vampire. They were, by definition, coldblooded. They also tended to have superiority complexes and thought everyone, from other Magickal species to Normals, were so far beneath them they didn’t even register on their radar. Sure, most of them would stoop to having a fling with a non-vampire, maybe one or two non-vampire friends, just for variety, but anything else was out of the question. They didn’t mix.
Luckily, Chloe hadn’t wanted more than that from Damien, but she had expected fidelity while they were together. Apparently, that had been beneath him, too. She sighed, disconnected the call, and slid her cell into her pocket.
The worst part about dating someone you worked with was when it ended badly. She’d learned that lesson the hard way. They were both team leads in pharmaceutical R&D for Desmodus Industries, but since those teams were working on the same project, they did see each other, but not that often. Thank the Gods.
Shoving her arms into a jacket, she picked up her handbag and headed for the side door that lead to her detached garage. If the bloodsucker wanted to talk to her about work, he could do it when she got there.
She wasn’t calling him back.
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