A WHISPER OF HUMANITY
Now Priced at $0.99
When Detective Faith Fitzpatrick is assigned as a liaison to the police force in Montreal, intent on helping the detectives there capture a killer who's MO matches one she's hunted at home in Los Angeles, she is ill-prepared for what awaits her in the beautiful jewel city of Canada's French province. Mysteriously drawn to her temporary partner, Adrian Blackthorne, she rebels against his allure, only to be drawn into an even deeper darkness when Adrian's past snares her - and she becomes a pawn in the deadly battle between the vampire Blackthorne and the powerful master he has long denied?
The room itself was shadowed and rich, velvet trappings kept the atmosphere subdued and hushed. There was a table, for private dining, she assumed, a low couch, and in the corner two overstuffed armchairs. Between the chairs, adorning a low marble table was an ornate ebony and ivory chess set.
Faith went to look at the ancient set, and her breath escaped her in a low whistle of appreciation when she examined the intricacy of the workmanship that had gone into the pieces. The king, in particular, was a work of art. After a close, near reverent look at the piece, she carefully placed the king back on his square. She lifted another figure and fingered the knight that had resided, incorrectly, next to the king. She was both surprised and intrigued to see that the face of the white knight bore a striking resemblance to the handsome detective with whom she’d recently been working.
“The board is just over three hundred years old.”
Faith whirled at the sound of the words, and an involuntary shiver caressed her spine. The richly textured voice was soft, and beguiling, with a hint of mocking indulgence tainting the resonance. It was a spell of enchantment, and she loved the alluring sound already.
Faith put the chess piece back on the board and waited.
“Julia told me you had left. But, I thought I noticed her showing you into this little hideaway,” the stranger commented, his voice like a velvet growl. He came further into the room and moved to the chessboard. Absently, he repositioned the knight that Faith had moved to the correct tile. Then he sat in one of the chairs that were on either side of the table that supported the game board.
Faith felt another jolt of recognition when she realized this man was the King who ruled the meticulously arranged chessboard. The ice in the newcomer’s blue eyes chilled the young woman even as it drew her to him. She instinctively put some distance between herself and the man who watched every movement she made. This tall, elegant stranger was overwhelming in his personal presence. She let her look wander momentarily, taking in the regal manner and rich attire. He looked roughly forty, had white-blond hair, strikingly contoured features, and the most piercing sapphire colored eyes that Faith had ever seen. He was tall and very slender, long legs crossed casually as he enjoyed her appraising look. His smile was complaisant, and faintly curious.
Faith continued to stare at him, despite her certainty that she was being laughed at for her gawking interest. She was behaving like a smitten teenager, but even that self-condemning observation couldn’t tear her eyes from him. The sense of barely contained power within him was a near tangible cloak that surrounded him and whispered danger to anyone within his seductive orbit. Her heart began to pound as she contemplated exactly what it was his unexpected presence might lead her to this night.
“I am Devon Cartier,” the vampire said with a tilt of his head. “And you are?” Cartier prompted when she seemed disinclined to return his introduction.
“Faith, Faith Fitzpatrick.” To her relief, there was no betraying tremor in the words. She had half-expected her voice to be little more than a squeak of nerves.
“What do you want, Cartier?” Julia demanded as she entered the room and saw Faith’s enraptured gaze settled on his smiling face. A single glance at the aristocratic features gave her the real answer, and she resisted the urge to snarl at him.
“Another drink would be lovely, my dear,” Cartier answered with a smile. “The house specialty is particularly good tonight,” he added with a nod. For a moment, he thought she was going to openly defy him, her stare icy with scorn. She then whirled away.
“As you wish,” she whispered through tightly clenched teeth.
Faith was startled by the fury she felt in Julia as she watched The Tomb’s owner leave. Her confusion escalated when Cartier’s laughter drifted across the short space between them.
“I think I’d better be going,” Faith decided, suddenly uncomfortably aware of the quiet in the room. She couldn’t shake the feeling that she was cut off from the rest of the world in this place, and the instinct to run grew stronger. Cartier had risen, silently, and had crossed the room to her side. His hand on her arm held her despite her assertions about leaving.
She started to withdraw when Cartier’s eyes pinned her again, and she felt herself drowning in a growing wash of ocean blue. It took every ounce of will she possessed, but she managed to break the hypnotic hold long moments later, and stumbled back a few awkward steps.
Cartier let her go, then caught her wrist in a painful grip when she tried a second time to walk away. He was intrigued by this lovely, temperamental young woman; the combination of intelligence, innocence and lethal capabilities was a paradox he found fascinating. Another name hovered on the fringe of his memory, and Cartier pushed it aside without acknowledgement. He loosened his grip on Faith’s wrist, long fingers smoothed over the faint bruise showing there. He continued the caressing motion as he forced her eyes to again meet his. The shadow of pain was fading already, and was quickly being replaced by what he knew was unexpected, perhaps even unwelcome, pleasure.
Without releasing his grip on her wrist, Cartier walked behind the couch as he pressed her into a seat on the cushions. He let go of Faith’s hand, but before she could move away, his fingers found the sensitive area around her temples and started to massage gently. Silken hair brushed teasingly at Cartier’s fingertips, and equally soft skin woke a throb of desire deep within him. It had been a very long time since he’d taken someone like this woman.
Faith sank deeper into the cushions of the couch, some inner instinct perfectly content to bask in the sensation of warmth and comfort Cartier’s touch was creating. Another voice, louder but less powerful somehow, warned her that she was running out of time to escape. A soft sigh shuddered from her when the stroking fingers at her temples brushed across her cheekbones and continued the caress along her jaw. She shivered when she felt the awakening of her body growing from pleasant comfort, to longing of another kind.
When Faith felt Cartier’s cool lips touch her cheek, reason flooded in and she tried to pull away with a jolt. He stopped the move with an effortlessness that was unnerving. Irrational panic made Faith repeat the attempt, this time with greater strength; strength that would have easily dislodged any other person. Cartier’s hands closed on her shoulders and she shuddered when strong fingers began kneading tense muscles into a state of contented relaxation.
“Don’t resist me,” Cartier purred, his voice like rough silk. “Enjoy what you’re feeling. You have no idea how much pleasure we can share.”
“No...” It took several tries, but Faith was finally able to voice the rejection, emphasizing it with a jerky shake of her head. A tiny moan spilled from her lips when Cartier ignored her and Faith felt his searching, seductive fingers smoothing over the curve of her shoulders before gliding lower. Cartier’s lips moved with his searching hands, and Faith shuddered in a spasm of pure sensual pleasure when she felt his tongue caress the corner of her jaw, then trek downward to the sensitive curve at the base of her neck. When the stimulation was withdrawn seconds later, she couldn’t suppress the gasp of disappointment that accompanied the loss.
Cartier’s laughter was taunting as he again changed his position and returned to face the woman who was now his willing captive. He dropped to his knees and spread her thighs as he leaned into Faith’s neck. This time, his lips sought, and found the pulse of life near the hollow of her throat. The erratic throb was like an invitation to Cartier’s aroused senses, but he deliberately denied himself, unexpectedly eager to prolong this exchange. His hands began a stroking discovery of well-muscled thighs and he eased away enough to look into Faith’s eyes, wanting to read the responses he could feel in the young body. Faith’s lips were parted with the effort to breathe through the erotic exhilaration she was experiencing, and there was only a ghost of lingering resistance in her dark eyes. A spark of denial was a natural part of Faith, and just beyond her control. Just beyond them both—for the moment.
“Tell me how much you want me, Faith.”
Cartier continued to be acutely aware of the enticing lure of her mouth and the slightly trembling lips that invited his kiss. With an inward smile, he granted himself the luxury of losing his eye contact with Faith. He leaned forward until his lips covered the fullness of hers. When he met no real protest, he deepened the kiss, allowed his tongue to search the warm depths. His desire became a pang of intense hunger that shuddered through him when he felt the unexpected, answering thrust of Faith’s tongue delving into his mouth with surprising urgency.
To celebrate the return of this seductive paranormal, I'll give away a copy of the book, and a signed print of the cover to two readers who leave a comment about ANY book on my catalogue. WINNERS will be announced on February 14th.