Once the night comes . . .
Will Thorne is living a nightmare, his sanity slowly being drained away by a force he can't control. His talents have made him the perfect assassin for hire. But as he loses his grip on reality, there is no calming him-until he finds his next target: the mysterious Holly Evernight.
Love must cast aside the shadows
Holly cannot fathom who would put a contract on her life, yet the moment she touches Will, the connection between them is elemental, undeniable-and she's the only one who can tame his bouts of madness. But other assassins are coming for Holly. Will must transform from killer to protector and find the man who wants Holly dead . . . or his only chance for redemption will be lost.
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His flesh twitched beneath her palms as she mapped his chest. Every breath he took sounded loud and clear in her ears. And all the while, he watched her.
A quiver rippled along the backs of her thighs, up over her bottom, and crawled along her spine. Damn it, she was better than this. She was not a creature of base desires, but of logic and restraint. Her breath moved in and out, a slow, steady rhythm as she stroked him.
Neither of them spoke. The crackle of the fire in the grate, along with the occasional creak of the house settling, surrounded them. Beneath heavy lids, Thorne tracked her every move. And her touch grew unsteady. A momentary weakness he jumped upon.
"Does it feel good to you?" he drawled, low and easy. "Touching me?"
Instantly, the space between her legs clenched tight. Holly kept her touch impersonal. She could not live with the ignominy of revealing her wants to Thorne, who would treat her weakness as a bloody good joke. "It is a task. Just like any other." A bald-faced lie if ever she told one.
His nostrils flared, the platinum in his eyes shining bright. "Then why do I smell your cunny growing wet with need?"
Holly stopped, her palm flat against his pectoral muscle, as more slick heat flooded her sex. Oh, this was beyond the pale. What on earth had gotten into the blasted demon? "Being crude is not going to get a rise out of me, Mr. Thorne."
A small, cruel smile curled his lips. "Not going to deny it, are you, Miss Evernight?"
"Blather." She took up stroking an area tangled with platinum webbing with more force than necessary. "That is all you're about. Ridiculous blather. And I will not engage in such nonsense."
Holly concentrated on pulling the metal from him. Not on his scent, clean and pleasing in the space between them. Or the way his skin grew increasingly warmer.
When he spoke again, it was soft, teasing. "Do you know that when I said "cunny" your sweet scent grew stronger?"
Again she stopped. His dense muscles tightened beneath her nails. "Mr. Thorne—”
"Do you wonder," he whispered, holding her gaze with his, "if my cock is affected?" A dark brow lifted, his fangs glinting. "If it is more metal than flesh? Hard for you?"
She would not look down at the appendage in question. It was difficult enough to pretend each time that she wasn't aware of that part of him, or that she hadn't seen it grow and lengthen beneath the covers. Oh, she knew precisely how long and thick he was, and precisely how aroused. Each and every time.
His gaze upon her burned. "Do you want to see my cock, Miss Evernight? Feel it move inside of you?"
Gods, he made her feel empty, made her want to be filled up. Her hands turned to fists. "Stop it. Now, Mr. Thorne."
He rose up on his elbows, his white hair sliding over his broad and dusky shoulders, his defined abdomen tightening. "Or. What?"
Holly sat back on the stool by the table, placing her hands upon her lap so that he wouldn't see them trembling. "Why are you doing this?
She could not look away from the black and platinum starburst of his gaze, so very brilliant. So very angry and taunting. Her nails dug into her palms. "Find your amusement elsewhere."
His lean hips canted just a bit, an utterly crude gesture that held her in thrall. "I'd rather find it with you."
"I'm helping you, aren't I?" She hated how the words came out in a near-desperate pitch. But he had to stop. Agitation had her breath coming on hard and fast, pressing her now-heavy breasts against her too-tight bodice.
"Helping me," he scoffed. "Do not skew this into some act of kindness. You do so that I won't kill you."
"Is it kindness that you want?" She laughed without humor. "A funny way you go about getting it." She leaned forward in her anger. "Why are you saying these things? Truly? Why are you acting like such a... disgusting arse?"
He shot upright, his chest bumping into hers before she backed away a pace as if seared. "Because you never react during these torture sessions," he ground out. "Because I want that rise out of you. I want you to..." He bared his teeth, those evil-looking fangs growing longer. "I want to know if you feel—”
His teeth ground together, his eyes wild and silver-black.
"Feel?" she prompted as if her heart wasn't beating madly.
"Anything!" he roared. "Jesus." He ran a hand through his hair. "You touch me every day. You rub your hands all over me. And nothing! Not a flicker of emotion. As if I didn't exist." The expanse of his chest heaved with exertion, the sinewy muscles along his abdomen clenching. "And all the while I'm lying here aching, fucking dying to... You're driving me to insanity," he finished with a wild shout. "And it means exactly nothing to you—”
She grabbed hold of the back of his neck and kissed him. Just as she'd wanted to, her lips claiming his parted ones, shutting off the stream of words that flowed from him. His lips were soft and warm, and touching them set off a rush of lust that coursed along her limbs. He froze, going so tense that his neck felt like ice. For all of one second. And then he attacked. His hands plunged into her hair and gripped the sides of her head as he fell back, hauling her with him, devouring her with quick, biting kisses, punctuated by helpless groans.
Breathless and dizzy, she answered every kiss, opening her mouth when his mouth demanded it. They both shivered when their tongues slid together.
"Hell," he moaned, licking along her bottom lip. "Hell, I knew you'd taste so bloody good." He angled his head, plunging his tongue in deep as his hands held her captive. The gesture wicked and decadent. Grunting, he spun them, pressing her into the table with the strength of his body. His thigh nudged between hers, and her skirts slid up. Instantly, his hand was there, long fingers trailing along her skin. "I'm not stopping," he growled into her mouth. "So don't ask me to."
Holly tore her lips from his and grabbed a handful of silken hair. She held him fast and hard. "You'll stop if I say so."
Thorne paused, his lips brushing hers as he breathed heavily through his mouth. Hot, black eyes bore into her. "Are you asking me to stop?" He was so still and careful that she knew he would, despite his claim.
A fire raged through her veins. And the need to suckle his curved lower lip had her voice turning rough. "No."
Kristen Callihan is a child of the eighties, which means she's worn neon skirts, black lace gloves, and combat boots (although never all at once) and can quote John Hughes movies with the best of them. A lifelong daydreamer, she finally realized that the characters in her head needed a proper home and thus hit the keyboard. She believes that falling in love is one of the headiest experiences a person can have, so naturally she writes romance. Her love of superheroes, action movies, and history led her to write historical paranormals. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area and, when not writing, looks after two children, one husband, and a dog - the fish can fend for themselves.
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