vampire

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Known as Trace to his enemies and friends,  this lethal Dhampir leaves no trace of his victims behind.
 


The life of deadly Russian slayer, Trace, has always revolved around death and preventing humankind from learning about the legendary creatures of the night. But now his position as a Watcher has become a prison, and dealing death for the Nation isn’t as prestigious as he once believed it to be. College dropout Bessina Darrow has witnessed things she isn’t permitted to see, a simple case of wrong place at the wrong time puts her life in danger. When Bessina becomes his new mark, Trace is prepared to eliminate her—until he discovers a way out for them both. Protecting Bessina means defying the leaders of the Nation, an act that has them both running for their lives. The more Trace fights to disappear from danger, the more he unravels the secrets surrounding his world of lore—secrets he must unveil to finally save a life, instead of destroy it.


Confessions in the Dark Teaser

 
17 and up due to adult situations and language
 

            It took everything in Ophelia not to apologize to the hard-headed jerk who’d thought to leave her while he fought her battle. And to make it worse? He now sat in front of her with shredded, yet mending lips and bloody teeth, looking like he wanted to kiss her.

            “No!” She shouted aloud to all of the things her body was craving. His smile widened and she nearly moaned when the tip of a blood-coated fang peeked through his lips. Gathering her wits and beating her hormones back with a stick, Ophelia jumped to her feet. “No!”

His smile disappeared as his lips mended. “Look—”

            “No, and I mean it. I am coming with you.” She moved toward the mouth of the cave and Irish dove for her, grabbing her hand and yanking her back. When she fell into his chest, she thrust out her elbow and jabbed him in the ribs. His rasping breath and his warm body pressed against her, almost made her forget she was fighting to get away—almost. She stomped her foot down, then adjusted her stance to knee him in the balls.

Rethinking this tactic, Irish used her moment of indecision and kicked his feet out, knocking her off balance. She fell to the ground face down, and Irish fell with her. He caught himself just in time and then grabbed her hands holding her tightly against the cool cave floor with his heavy body.

            “Get off me!” She rasped, struggling against his hold.

            “Ophelia,” his voice was a deep growl, “stop.”

She fought harder. Fuck that, she was pissed! How dare he hold her down. Feeling his long, thick legs straddled to either side and his muscular arms threaded around her, heat bloomed in her chest. Anger and arousal warred deep in her belly. Not thinking of that now. She thrashed against him.

            Irish grunted and then let out a groan she’d never heard from a man. “Ophelia,” his voice strained, “please stop moving.” Heavy pants sounded above her.

            “Let me go.” She said, plotting. This time, she would not hesitate . . . only his heat felt so damned good, his warm arms holding her just enough to stop her from freeing herself. She nearly complied.

            “I want to let you go, but I’m not chasing your ass out of this cave. Promise me you’ll behave,” he demanded.

Ophelia would not be told what to do when she was being held down against her will. She bucked hard, until a pleasured groan passed his lips. Never had she made a man sound like that. Screams, howls, and pleas for mercy? Yes. But never such a breathy groan. Still, her anger boiled deeper. She wouldn’t give in, not on this matter. She couldn’t. “You will not command me!”

In her struggle to move out from underneath him, her soft bottom nudged something long and hard. She stilled a moment, before giving another wriggle to test his reaction. Instead of holding her tighter or fighting back, he gently pressed into her.

            His body was so hot, it seared her to her very soul. He gently released one arm and moved his grip to her hip. “Please behave, so I can let you up. I can’t stay like this any longer.” He swallowed hard between shallow breaths.

            “No.” Ophelia wanted to go with him on the mission, but her answer was directed at the fact that he wanted to remove his body from atop hers. Making one last effort to get out of this situation, she bucked up and scooted out of his grasp.

Irish came up on all fours, but kept his head held low, taking deep calming breaths.

            “What’s wrong with you?” she asked.

            He looked up at her sharply, heat blazing in his eyes. “What do you think? You did that on purpose.”

            Her eyes moved down to the large bulge in his pants. “Huh? You tackled me. Not the other way around.” She let out an indignant huff and crossed her arms over her chest.

            He released a bark of laughter. “And you sure showed me, didn’t you? Rubbing against me like a puppy in heat!” He stood and adjusted himself.

            Her face flamed and the word puppy slapped her in the face like a sledge hammer. “How was I supposed to know that you—that you,” she gestured to his pants, “enjoy holding women down against their will?”

            A look of outrage colored his face. “Are you insane, lass? Donnae be lookin’ at me, when I’m only trying to stop you from running off alone, to get killed or bred,” he said with extra emphasis. “You are the one rubbing on me like an animal in heat. What did you think was going to happen?”

She stared at him for a moment. Why did he keep comparing her to an animal? “I—I’m sorry, I just wanted to get away!” She threw her hands up and screamed. “Why am I apologizing?”

            “Because, lassie,” his voice lowered and his eyes narrowed. “You just took advantage of me!” Even as he said it in his thick brogue, she saw a glint of humor in his eyes and an impish grin playing on his lips.

            Her indignant huff echoed off the walls. “Oh, come on.” She jabbed a finger out at him. “I did not, you did!” She sounded immature, but there was nothing to be done about it.

            “And what do you suppose happens when a woman with a luscious ass rubs it up and down a man’s cock?” His voice was low and soft like a purr.

Her face heated even more and she swallowed hard. It had not been her intention, but when she’d realized what she’d done, she didn’t move to stop. “That is no way to talk to a queen.”

            He scoffed. “Nor is it anyway for her royal highness to act either, now is it? Pushing against me cock like that . . .”

“I’m a virgin!” Ophelia blurted, wanting to die of embarrassment when he scrambled back, looking disgusted. All of the blood in her body rushed to her face, leaving it redder than she was sure it had ever been.

Her mind scrambled to fix the situation. “I—I have to be. To protect the throne from heirs who weren’t born from me and the wolf I am promised to.” Her word vomit kept flowing. “I’ve never even been kissed.” She clapped a hand over her mouth. Closing her eyes, she endured a long silence.

            He finally cleared his throat. “That was a wee bit awkward, no?”

Her lids popped open and a bit of her mortification deflated when she saw the affable smile on his face. “Can I fight with you and the others?”

His silence had her feeling twitchy and ready to run, but instead of the adamant no she was expecting he said, “I’ll play ye for it, lass.”

            She smiled. “Ten lashings, and counting.”

He winked and pointed to a tree one hundred yards in the distance. Pulling a small knife from his sleeve, Irish threw it at the tree. “Best three out of four.” He looked over his shoulder, a roguish grin on his lips. “I win, and you go to the ship. You win, and you can tag along. Game?”

Little did he know she was one of the best knife throwers in her pack. She sauntered over and held her hand out. He handed her a knife and she turned and got in her throwing stance. “If you win,” she eyed the tree, “I go to the boat like a good little princess.” She did a practice throw without releasing the knife.

            “And if you win?” His voice was close behind her and the heat of his body nearly stole her concentration.

            “If I win, I not only go with you on the mission, but you teach me how to kiss, here and now.” She threw the knife, loving the sound it made as it whistled through the air, hitting Irish’s knife, and knocking it from the tree.

***

            “Where in the hell did you learn to throw knives?” Irish asked, counting her knives in the tree. She’d made all of her throws and to add insult to injury, she landed each of her knives on top of his, except one—the one he’d missed.

He’d actually lost the wager.

            She sat down close to the mouth of the cave and looked to him. “A race nearly extinct, remember? When you are in hiding, you learn how to protect yourself. Plus, there wasn’t much else to do.”

Her words sobered him up a bit. He was still amazed at her ability, but he felt like hell for the reason she’d ever needed to learn in the first place. Her kind was hunted and killed off by his kind in the past.

“Now,” she looked up at him, “you’ll teach me to kiss.”

            “I—uh . . .” He scratched his head and backed away.

            “You, uh . . . promised.” Her eyes narrowed. “Is that the kind of man you are? One who reneges on a deal?”

He hadn’t thought she’d win the bet. Crossing his arms over the expanse of his chest, he huffed. “Why do you need to learn now?” He gestured around. “Here of all places?” Maybe he could stall. Just the thought of his lips on hers had him ready to explode in his pants. But she was firmly on the Hands Off Irish list. The first reason being, she was promised to another man. The second reason being, she was untouched.

            “Why not now? There’s nothing else to do but wait.”

He took a deep breath and wondered if it made him a bastard to want to be the man who taught her to kiss. There was something erotic about kissing. Irish had to banish that idea from his head because there was no damned way he was teaching her to kiss. “You should be preparing for what’s to come.”

            Her blonde brow arched. “If that knife competition didn’t convince you I’m capable of taking care of myself, then maybe you forgot when you first saw me on the isle, when I had just gutted a man from his privates to his neck.” She raised her chin, daring him to say anything.

            “Lesson one: If you want a man to kiss you, you don’t talk about slicing anyone’s balls.” She nodded emphatically and he didn’t have the heart to tell her he was only kidding. He pushed off the wall, strode over, and sat down in front of her.

She was biting her lips—most likely a nervous gesture—and while he found it endearing, he reached up and pulled the puffy lip from between her teeth.

            “Lesson two: Don’t damage the goods.” He smiled when she blushed. “Come here,” he whispered and she obliged. “Will you sit on my lap?” For him, the best part of a kiss was the intimacy it offered. Having her close would increase the heat of her body against his.

Irish needed to cool down his libido, reminding himself, this is just a lesson. It would go no further than a kiss.

She nodded and settled in his lap.

“Okay, here we go.” He’d never had to instruct a kiss, figuring that kissing was something so natural, the two people would find a rhythm all their own. So, he’d try it that way. He leaned in and her eyes went wide. Pulling back, he asked, “What’s wrong?”

            “I thought you were going to teach me.” In the waning sunlight, her eyes sparkled and her pink cheeks flamed.

He smiled. “Kissing is natural. I can’t really instruct you through the mechanics because my mouth is going to be on yours. I want you to place your lips on mine, then follow my movements. Do what comes naturally to you. If you want to stop, just pull away.” When she nodded her understanding, he leaned in part way, waiting for her to lean in as well.

            The first soft touch of her lips rocketed him out of his body. He slanted his head and applied more pressure, and like he thought, her natural reaction was to slant her head in the opposite direction. With a smooth motion, Irish pushed his tongue past the barrier of her lips. She gave a small gasp in surprise, but quickly copied his movements.

Her hand came up and nails scored his scalp, causing him to delve deeper. His fangs extended, scraping over her tongue, drawing a small bead of blood. He sucked on the tip of her tongue and she moaned so loud, it reverberated off the cave walls. Irish realized his hesitance to teach her had not come from anything other than his fear of losing control. Because he wanted more than a simple kiss.

Ophelia’s hands moved to his shoulders, holding him in a vice grip. Her body, hot against his, moved of its own accord. Soon, she moved her legs to straddle his waist, and he could scent her arousal. Irish was primed and ready, grabbing onto her ass to hold her firmly on his lap. It was then, an unwarranted thought blasted into his mind. Ophelia was to be queen, and when she hit that throne, she needed to be a virgin.

That thought sobered him up real quick. He pulled away. “Lesson over.” Grunting, he gently moved her off his lap.

            “Wait, why?” She stood with him. “Was it wrong?” He felt her hand on his shoulder.

            “No, it was all right—too right.” He moved to the mouth of the cave. “We need to head out. The sun is low and we can get there in time to meet the boat.” He didn’t look back at her. Yes, he was an ass for pushing her away without explanation, but hell, if he got hard again with no sort of release, his balls would explode in his pants.

When he did turn, she was removing the shirt he’d given her to wear. “What are you doing?” he asked in a panicked voice.

            She eyed him for a moment then frowned. “I’m going to shift. I’ll move faster this way, and my senses will be sharper. Plus, you said I could go to the compound with you and I am better when I’m in wolf form.” Her words were sharp and her tone was clipped.

Good, he needed her to forget the kiss and focus on the task at hand. He turned just as she pulled that tattered dress up and over her lithe body. “Do you—uh—remember the plan?” he asked. At her silence, he turned to find a large wolf with silky fur the same hue as a stormy night’s sky and an endearing little patch of pure white fur under her jaw. “Damn,” he whispered.

Moving forward, he reached out to the wolf. He’d seen her as a wolf before, but each time was as amazing as the first. She nuzzled his hand when he pet her. “I won’t be able to understand you, but I know you can hear me.” He knelt down in front of her. “If anything happens to me, or if shit hits the fan, run.” She gnashed her teeth and shook her head. “Hey,” he reached up and caressed her soft fur, “for me, please. Your people will need you to lead them back to the coast.”

He couldn’t go off into this mission worrying about her, but as he stood and headed out into the night, he knew some of them weren’t making it home. He could only pray it didn’t include Ophelia.

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Confessions in the Dark | Cover Reveal


The power I pulled from the moon was light magic, often called white magic. It’s from the earth and moon and is pure and whole
— Ophelia

After narrowly escaping from the Russian’s king of vampires compound, Ophelia is on the run and fighting for her life. Her first goal is to get some help; too bad she’s stuck on an island owned by Vasily. Her second and third goals consist of going back and freeing her people, and killing Vasily—not necessarily in that order.

 

When Celtic warrior and vamp badass, Irish, senses something is amiss, he goes in search of the woman who has been on his mind since their first meeting. While his old friends adjust to their new lives, Irish heads off to the dangerous North Sentinel Island, in search of his woman. What he finds there will change everything in the battle against Vasily and his men.

 
 

        Ophelia prided herself in not panicking. Her heart might have been in her throat and beating a mile a minute, but she scrolled through the SAT phone with clarity, looking through nameless numbers, hoping to see an SOS number. Unfortunately, there was nothing to clue her in to who she’d be calling if she pressed the send button.

She looked to Irish again. His greying skin signaled she had little, if any, time to act, so she pressed send on the number currently on the screen. There was a beeping noise and then the phone rang.

            He mumbled something incoherent and she crawled over to him, placing her face as close to his as she could. His eyes were still closed, moving franticly beneath the lids. In his weakened state, he feebly tried to move his hand with no success.

            In Gaelic she asked, “How can I help you?” Now she was starting to panic. If anyone found where they were hiding, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to fight them off without risking Irish. In this state, Vasily’s men were sure to kill him.

            His eyes cracked open a sliver and his fangs descended. “I need—” As if all of the strength had been zapped from him, his hand went limp and his head fell back.

            A shout came from behind her and she turned, baring her teeth in a protective stance, but no one was there. The muffled shout came again and she glanced down at the phone. Picking it up, she said, “Yes?”

            A man with a Spanish accent answered. She remembered him, Jax. “What’s wrong?” His voice was calm and soothing, which managed to help calm her as well. She examined Irish and explained everything she saw, including everything that had happened leading up to this point.

           Jax grunted. “Is there an open wound on him anywhere?” Ophelia remembered the scent of blood and burned flesh and answered with confirmation. “Okay, can you get to it?”

            She took a deep breath and wedged the SAT phone between her ear and shoulder. Pushing with both hands, she got him to roll onto his back. She opened his leather vest and pulled up his cotton shirt. The scent of blood and decay wafted up from the wound. It seeped and oozed blood and a clear liquid.

            Ophelia covered her mouth at the atrocious scent. How was it decaying when it’d only been there for a few hours? “Yes, I see it. It looks bad and it’s bleeding. The blood is really dark though. Do you know what I should do?”

          There was a silence, a flurry of curses, and then in a measured tone Jax said, “How do you feel about being bitten?” His voice sounded grim, as if this were the only option and he wasn’t sure she’d agree to it.

          She cleared her throat and placed her hand to her neck. Heat flared in her collar and her heart gave an extra few thumps in anticipation. “Will it save him? Is there no other way?”

          Jax sighed. “Yes, but you don’t have enough time. If you don’t give him your blood, he will die. He’s been poisoned with liquid silver and Olfbreathe seed is the only other cure. I doubt you’ll find it there. Weather conditions aren’t stable enough to grow it.”

          It didn’t take long to make a decision. When everyone else had chalked up her disappearance as dismissal, Irish was the only one who’d wanted to free her from the confines of her place in the pack. “Okay, but how do I get him to bite? He’s not awake.” She eyed him again, searching for signs of life. He was breathing, but that was it.

            “There’s a weapon in his shoe. Use that.”

She searched for the weapon. A trap opened in the bottom of his shoe and she pulled the small blade from inside. Once she was positioned beside him, Ophelia placed his head in her lap and created as small cut on her wrist. Not too close to the artery, but not too far away either. Coaxing his mouth open, she placed her wrist above his mouth and waited—nothing.

            “Jax,” panic laced her voice, “he’s not—”

Before she could finish, Irish’s chest bowed and his fangs clamped down on her skin. At first, she thought to scream, but then his sharp fangs parted her flesh with a delicious burn that made her body sing. A moment later, she opened her eyes to find herself on her back with Irish on top of her.

Her blood dripped from his mouth, his face twisted in a feral grimace. Unsure of whether to push him away, or caress him, she put her hand on his chest and steadied her own breath. He panted above her, body tight and hot. Without thinking, she parted her knees, allowing Irish to settle in deeper. His considerable arousal lay heavy between them, cradled by her warm, soft thighs.

He lowered to her neck, but was stopped by her palm on his chest. He looked at her hand before flicking it away. Ophelia gasped, but didn’t stop his descent. The idea of Irish, fangs deep in her neck, sent excitement shooting through her core. He scraped the tips of his fangs over the delicate hollow of her neck.

She shuddered, and before she knew it, her hand flew to the back of his head and pulled him closer. All she could remember was the feel of his mouth over her wrist, the way it felt as he took her blood; each pull, yanking common sense from her body and replacing it with raw need.  

 

#TBT to Immortal Heart: Few Are Angels Prequel

I can no longer deny you what you desire, but it will be the last gift that I can give you.
— Hélène

She squeezed his hand, but Kale was still too shocked, still confused. He’d believed that she wouldn’t know him. Wasn’t that how it worked? Souls didn’t carry the memories of their past lives to their new inhabitants.

Hélène leaned against Kale, placing her nose into the crook of his neck and inhaling deeply. “You smell the same, yet so different.” She moved away a bit, leaving an inch between them. “It’s hot as the dickens out here, yet you still carry the scent of fresh snow on a winter’s night.” Lifting herself onto her tiptoes, she placed a small kiss on his lips.

“I’ve missed you so much.” Her warm breath caressed his face as she embraced him.

Kale could do nothing but give in. He placed his arms around her and squeezed. She gasped. Unsure if he’d squeezed too hard, he started to release her.

“No! Hold me one last time,” she begged, and he heard tears in her voice.

“Oh, Hélène. Don’t say that; please don’t say that.” Kale pulled her more tightly in his embrace. He didn’t care if she couldn’t breathe—he wanted to feel her, taste her, and hold her.

He refused to believe that he’d never have a chance to do it after this. His last memory was of falling asleep in the snow only a few feet from her home, but he wouldn’t believe that this was a dream. It felt too real.

Hélène’s warm body responded to his touches, and her lips melded with his as he kissed her. Kale wouldn’t allow reality to steal the sweet taste of her lips against his, the feel of her delicate fingers as they combed through his hair, the allure of her pulse as it beat faster.

He deepened the kiss. She was his. He’d died for her, and his rebirth had been for her—only her. How could he let her go? How did he continue to live without her now?

She pulled away, breathless, but Kale couldn’t let her escape. He’d breathe for her if he could, but his lips belonged nowhere but on hers. His hands had no home but on her skin. She’d stolen his heart and now that she was there, he could feel the rhythmic thump in his chest that signaled that he was alive.

He’d waited for this moment, and he would not be denied. He pulled at her shirt and pushed it up until his hands made contact with her bare skin. She moaned against his lips. Her skin burned his in the most decadent way. She felt so good that Kale thought he’d weep. He’d share the tears he’d held all this time.

She pulled away again and smiled as she gulped in puffs of air. “I never thought this moment would come.”

Though her face was Ella’s, he could see Hélène so very clearly in her eyes.

“She needs you,” Hélène whispered. Her lips were so moist and plump from his kisses that he couldn’t take his eyes off of them.

“Someone else will save her. I just want you now here, please.” Kale wasn’t sure what he was asking for. All he knew was that he didn’t want to wake from this dream. If he did, then it would truly be the end of his life.

“I’m safe where I am, but she needs you.”

“No. I live for no one but you, Hélène. Leave me again, and I will surely die.” Kale had begged only once in his life, and that had been for Hélène’s life to be spared, the night she’d died.

He fell to his knees. The sharp pain sent shocks up his spine, and the tears flowed down his cheeks as he stared up at the unfamiliar face with the hauntingly familiar eyes. He held back the sob that threatened to leave his throat. She reached for him and stroked his cheek, traced his lips, and wiped his tears.

“Love, I am gone. I have been for so long and it’s time—”

Kale launched to his feet, grabbing her shoulders. “Never!” He bellowed so loudly, it surprised even him. She had to understand the torture her absence had put him through.

No more was he the strong man who could bottle up his emotions and hide them. His heart constricted in his chest, and his vision blurred. “Please tell me that you will stay, Hélène! Do not leave me again. I won’t survive it, not this time.”

He sobbed no longer playing the part of her savior, but playing the part of a lover begging for another chance, a man who would claw out his heart and hand it to her if it made her understand. He held on to her as if she were his last lifeline—because in a way, she was.

His last hope for happiness, sanity, and love had been rolled up and placed into the stranger in front of him.

Light glittered around them, and Kale glanced about. The scene changed from the college campus to the middle of winter-burdened woods. The moon was white and high in the sky, casting shadows over her face.

Kale knew the site. The cemetery where he had been sleeping sat not far from them. “Hélène, what is this?”

“She needs you,” she whispered again.

He moved towards her. “Please, I live only for you Hélène. Please do not make me go to her.”

“I can no longer deny you what you desire, but it will be the last gift that I can give you.” Allowing him to see her true face, she left the shadows. “I’m here, Kale. One last time, I am here for you.”

Kale reached her faster than he’d ever moved in his life.

It was her. Her face, her lips, her eyes—Hélène.

She stood in front of him in the same dress she’d worn the night of her death. Kale grabbed for her, not caring if he was too rough. He pulled her against him and kissed her. He’d vowed that he would die before he allowed another woman to own his heart as she had, and here she was, begging him to go to another, to save her and to ultimately love her.

Kale wouldn’t. He would show her tonight that it was always her. He’d live the rest of his lonely miserable existence alone, if it would prove to her that that there could never be another.

Could she see him from the heavens? Did she see how he suffered?

Kale eased her onto the ground. The snow around them nipped at his skin, and he wondered if she was cold. Before he could ask, she wrapped her arms around him and deepened their kiss.

If this were a dream, then the cold would not affect her. If this were a dream, then Kale prayed to whatever deity or holy man there was that he never woke up.

Still worried about her being cold, he removed his lips from hers and looked around. Using his Chorý strength and speed, Kale ran to the cemetery that was only a few feet away and tore the mausoleum door away. He fetched Hélène and placed her gently on the ground inside the mausoleum. No more snow.

Soft and sensual words floated between them as they gently kissed and touched each other. Kale, memorizing every inch of her with his hands, gently slid between her legs. He couldn’t look away from her eyes. He was lost drowning in them, and his lungs that never needed air before begged him to take a breath, but he didn’t dare.

He’d die here tonight, here with Hélène in a cemetery where he’d long belonged. He’d been walking through the world soulless, and now here it was beneath him—his soul and heart.

“I belong to you,” he told her, meaning every word. “My soul, my heart—everything that I am, and everything that I could ever be.”

Hélène placed a finger over his lips. “I love you and I give you this because I have nothing else to give, Kale. If I did, I would give it to you, but I can’t. I’m—”

Kale refused to let her finish her sentence, making his lips crash down on hers. Not tonight—he wouldn’t allow her to admit her death to him tonight. He’d seen it; no reminders were needed.

He kissed away the words that would separate them—kissed away reality, the pain and suffering, the tears she’d shed for him, and the tears he would surely shed for her.

In the stages of mourning, he was at “bargaining,” and he’d trade his life again to have her back, body and soul.

Kale removed his shirt and closed his eyes while Hélène put her hands on his stomach. He kissed her as he removed his pants, pushing them past his knees and kicking them from his ankles. He slid a gentle hand up her thigh and to her panties. He hooked his thumb in the waistband and pulled them down past her thighs, knees, and over her feet.

He faced her again. “Don’t leave me,” he whispered. He could do nothing but beg and pled. He hadn’t felt so defenseless since the night Laurent had stolen Hélène from him.

“Promise me,” he quietly demanded, pleading with his eyes, hoping that the sorrow and pain would convince her that he could not breathe without her. He cupped her face in one palm and used his other hand to pull her dress from her body.

“Kale.” Her voice was steady and calm, as if they would share a million more nights like that one, while his heart knew the truth: She was leaving him, forever. They both lay there, each staring at the other.

Kale saw in her eyes the freedom that he’d been searching for and was certain that when he woke his humanity would be gone again. His heart would no longer beat, he’d no longer need to breathe, and she would truly be gone. He steadied himself above her.

Kale knew she had an answer for his question before it even left his lips. “How will I live without you?”

She smiled. “You won’t. Your soul will always find me.”

She lifted her head and kissed him. Wrapping her arms around him, she pulled him closer to help him complete their connection.

Kale gasped as every bit of air escaped his lungs. Convinced that nothing in his lifetime or the next would ever feel so good, he gave himself to her and the moment.

He’d give Hélène whatever she asked for—and when the dream was over, he’d save Ella from whatever plight she’d found herself in, and then he’d go away. He’d shut himself away from the world and dream of the love he’d lost.

Running in the Dark | Teaser Tuesday II


I’ve caused more heartache than happiness, I’ve hated more than I loved, and I’ve taken more than I’ve given. I’d like to change that. And if you’ll let me, I’d like to start with you.
— Trace

A restless ache bloomed deep in Bessina’s chest, racing from her heart to her feet. A visceral need to stretch her legs and free her soul nearly wrenched her in two. Her muscles ached and her head pounded. She needed to run, not to escape, but to free her mind of the ensuing chaos.

Instead, with her feet stubbornly glued to the dock, Bessina awaited dawn. She’d said her farewells, yet couldn’t bring herself to leave. Uncertain of what was holding her to the spot, Bessina sighed. She glanced up and watched as the moon made its slow descent across the sky.

Everything was familiar, but not in the comforting way it should have been. Instead of warm memories, reality reminded her of how fragile friendships truly were. High school had come and gone, and her first year of college had been cruel.

It was in the past year she’d discovered what could happen if you trusted the wrong boy with the wrong information. To add insult to injury, she’d also learned some high school bonds couldn’t survive the gravities of college, or life as new adults. The realization she wasn’t leaving behind much, left a glacial void in her chest.

Bessina hefted the heavy Jansport book bag, attempting to relieve her pinched and bruised shoulder. It had all the belongings she thought important enough to take on her trip. After readjusting the backpack as best she could, she checked her wristwatch. She needed to leave for her bus soon if she was going to make it to the Amtrak station in time. This would be a true goodbye to her painful past.

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Running in the Dark

If you let someone in, you give them power. If you love someone, you give them the ability to break you beyond repair. I carry pieces of my heart with me as a reminder of how lies can maim, impair and break my soul.
— Bessina Darrow

“I know now that I was raped,” he loved that her voice hadn’t waivered, “and killing him won’t change the past, Trace. I want to move on, and I want to heal, and I want that healing to happen with you. Are you interested?”

He nodded in agreement. He couldn’t believe how lucky he was. She was his, for life.

Bessina smiled and slid across the car to straddle his lap. And just like that, his body tuned into her lush, warm body, and gone were thoughts of murder. He groaned and gripped either side of her hips when Bessina’s hands moved to the hem of her shirt. Slowly, she lifted the thin cotton tank until it was up and over her head.

Trace nearly choked on his words. “Damn.” Her pale blue bra and his shirt were gone next. Her warm hands caressed the muscles in his stomach and on his chest. He couldn’t believe she was doing this. She was not shy and demure as she’d first come across, but respectful and strong. And in this moment, she knew what she wanted.

He watched as she got rid of those little shorts and then started on her panties. Trace stayed her hand. “Those little white panties look so fucking hot on you.” He leaned in and took her budded nipple between his lips, drawing a small bead of blood. He lapped at it, losing himself in her rich taste.

Bessina scored her nails through his hair, ripping a growl deep from within his belly. She sat over his hard bulge undulating, warm and wet with need.

Trace lifted his hips to reach for his wallet and grinned devilishly when her head flew back as their cores met. He yanked the wallet from his pocket only to feel Bessina’s finger unbuttoning his jeans. Her warm hand wrapped around his length and he moaned long and loud.

His hands fell to either side of him and he looked down, watching as she pleasured him. His loud growls sounded in the car, drowning out all other noises. With each upward stroke, Trace lifted his hips chasing the carnal pleasure her hands wrought. He was so close he could feel it, and his body tightened and coiled. But when she twisted her hand over the head of his manhood, Trace nearly came in her palm. He wrenched away and grabbed her hand.

Her intense glare had him immobile as she spoke. “I want more,” Her voice was so ragged.

Trace pulled the condom out of his wallet and dropped it in the passenger seat. “You can have it all.” Her glossy lips turned into a sexy smile as his hand made its way between her legs. Pushing the soft fabric of her panties aside, he brushed his fingers along her damp folds.

Her head fell back as a sigh left her lips. “More.” She whimpered as she pushed her center down onto his fingers. “Please.”

Pulling his hand back, he worked on the foil wrapper. Why did he ever think this girl fragile or shy? Why did he believe that after her attack she would be ruined?

She watched him as he fitted the protection over himself then rose up over him. It was his turn to watch and she slowly slid down, taking all he had to give. Trace’s breath left him in a harsh breath as Bessina moved over him. Fire sparked in his blood as he met each of her slow, deliberate thrusts.

He moaned and begged as she moved faster and harder. Trace felt the first stirrings of his orgasm when Bessina leaned in and nipped his neck hard enough to sting. Wrapping his arms around her, he forced her to slow down, then guided her hips over him in long strokes. With one hand, he controlled the pace; with the other, he reached between them and tweaked her slickened bud.

Bessina came to pieces over him, her gasps muffled by his neck, her blunt little teeth nipped and bit at him. He pulled her back to face him. Her glazed eyes took him in. “Bite me again.” Without hesitation, she leaned in and bit his shoulder. Trace moved beneath her, his thrusts becoming sloppy, his words incoherent. The release blindsided him with force.

Trace reached for his coat and wrapped it around them, once again sending up a prayer. But this time, it had nothing to do with being a good man, and everything to do with having many repeats of what just happened.