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Written By: Robin Badillo
Published by: Devine Destinies
ISBN #:978-1-55487-739-3
Word Count:72750
Page Count: 291
Heat Level:
Price: $5.99
Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Palm DOC/iSolo, Microsoft Reader, Hiebook, HTML, Mobipocket, Rocket, Epub, Sony PDF, Sony LRF

    We made our way back before sunrise. I couldn't wait to see if it was as breathtaking as the sunset. Demetri went in the house to get us some wine and I sat alone on the porch enjoying the peaceful night. The low murmuring of the cattle in the distance kept a slow rhythm in the air like a tribal song.
    I appreciated the tranquility, but was tired and wanted to see the miraculous sun make its entrance before going upstairs to sleep.
    As I leaned on the rail, an unexpected movement snared my attention. Something was in the bushes just off the side of the house. At first, I wasn't sure what it was so I sauntered to the end of the porch. I caught his scent before I saw him.
    Connor watched from the shadows.
    Acting as though I hadn't seen him, I walked around to the opposite end of the porch. The instant I was sure I was out of his sight, I snuck around the house, moving with great vampire speed and stopped just behind him. He had no idea I was there. Folding my arms across my chest, I cleared my throat.
    He jumped, startled, and the color from his face drained into an instant pallor. His heart pounded in his chest, echoing in my ears.
    "What are you doing here, Connor?" I whispered, trying to prevent Demetri from knowing he was spying.
    "I had to see you."
    "What? Why?"
    "I had to come before daylight. I needed to see for myself." He stood up straight and looked me in my eyes, assuming a bold stance. "I know what you are," he said through clenched teeth.
    My insides contorted much like the last time I was near him. "What do you mean by that?" Don't jump to conclusions.
    "I saw them when I was a boy. They didn't know I was there, but I saw," he continued. "Mr. Bastian, and his brother, I--I saw them kill a kangaroo and drink its blood. I never told anyone, not even my father."
    My first thought was confirmed. "You don't know what you saw. You were confused or perhaps you dreamt it. Now, go home before he sees you and tells your father." I scrambled to rebuff his announcement.
    I spun on my heel and headed back the way I'd snuck up. Demetri wouldn't like this news.
    "You can have some if you want," he blurted.
    I stopped, dead in my tracks. A sharp pinch nipped at the back of my neck, as a nervous though thrilling chill skittered across my skin. I turned to face him.
    He peeled back the collar of his shirt with a trembling hand, offering his pulsating vein and eased toward me. "I was willing back on the road. I knew you wanted me then, I felt it. I'm yours if you still want me," he added with a slight crack in his voice.
    Sensing his offer had a definite double meaning I stepped closer and leaned in. His scent was so very tempting, even though I'd just had my fill from the hunt. I couldn't help myself and splayed my fingers around his throat, mesmerized by the throbbing vein beneath my touch. I squeezed it just enough to feel the pressure build. Slow and easy, I pushed him against the side of the house, pressing my body into his. His breathing increased and the blood pumped harder and faster underneath my fingertips, sweetening with each passing pulse.
    He swallowed hard and moved his hands around my waist, his hot breath cascaded down my neck and back.
    I inhaled his scent and slid the tip of my nose across his cheek memorizing his sweetness. Soft stubble scratched my skin. I put my mouth to his ear. Easing the edge of my tongue between my lips, the subtle flavor of salt and a heady blast of eucalyptus mixed with honey infiltrated my mouth. My arms trembled as his essence seeped into my mind. "Connor, I want you--," I whispered as the pressure began to grow into an uncomfortable ache, "--to go home." I pushed his face away and stepped back, struggling against my very nature to refuse the offer.
    "No buts. This isn't a game and you can't play like that. Do you understand me?"
    No matter how tempting the offer, I couldn't allow myself to be as weak as I'd been on the road when we first arrived. "I don't know what you're thinking, but this is a very dangerous path you're walking on here, kid. More dangerous than you could ever imagine, so you better keep it to yourself and forget it," I demanded.
    "I'm not a kid," he snapped. "And, I know exactly what I'm offering. I'm not afraid of you. My offer stands anytime you want or need me." His jaw tightened.
    I rushed toward him, boiling with threatening intent, and growled, pinning him against the side of the house.
    His nostrils flared and his breathing deepened, but he didn't back down. He braced himself against the house and used it to lean into me. The piercing glare of his eyes narrowed with determination, in direct contrast to the tremble he tried so hard to suppress.
    Eyeing him, surprised, I pulled back. "You're not afraid of me?"
    "No. I'm not. You won't hurt me. It's… it's not in you. It's not in them either." His glance darted toward the house as though referring to Demetri and Saul. "I can see that."
    A dozen reactions flashed in my mind. Which one would deter his intentions was anyone's guess. I searched his eyes hoping for a sign of weakness. None was to be found. "Go home, Connor, and we can forget this ever happened, okay?"
    He made me uncomfortable enough as it was, and his strength and fortitude worried me. He may have been too bold for his own good. He wouldn't convince me to cross any lines, but the perseverance in his voice told me he wasn't going to stop trying either.
    "I'll be back, Sydney," he vowed backing away into the darkness.
    I waited a moment to collect myself, but still couldn't get the tone of his voice out of my mind. I leapt onto the porch hoping I'd beat Demetri back to the swing.
    He eased outside, looking at me through the screen door. "Were you talking to someone?"
    I raised my eyebrows and bit my bottom lip, shaking my head no. I didn't speak because if I had he would have caught my lie in an instant. As I was learning, sometimes there were ways around our gift.
    Had I handled Connor the right way or not? Should I say something or see if he decides to back off? I'd mention it if he became more of a problem than I could deal with.
    "I must be getting old," he teased.
    I chuckled at his charming humor.
    "I know you're looking forward to day break, but we'll be here a long time. I have something special for you if you'll agree to wait a little longer for your sunrise."
    I joined him by the door, curious, and snuggled under his arm. "What's my surprise?" I loved surprises, well good ones anyway. Goodness knows I'd had more than my share of bad ones. Whatever it was didn't matter, as long as it took my mind off Connor.
    "Follow me."
    He led me upstairs and as we reached the second floor, he placed his hand over my eyes, and guided me into a room I hadn't had time to explore. The scent of lavender permeated through the air.
    He removed his hand and we stood in the bathroom. In the center sat a giant antique claw-foot tub filled with steaming hot water and floating lavender petals. Where did he manage to find those? The room was lit with elegant candles. Romantic nuances, so thick, they sparked tingles of warmth that saturated my body.
    Draped across a chair was a white silk negligee and matching robe. He'd thought of everything a man would need to seduce a woman. He didn't need any of that, but the effort was appreciated.
    "Oh, Demetri, it's perfect." I beamed. "Are you joining me?"
    "I thought you'd never ask," he replied already undressing. I followed suit and slid into the water. He slipped in behind, wrapped his arms around me and kissed the back of my neck.
    I was in heaven.
    He reached for an elegant ceramic pitcher on an antique stand next to the bathtub, filled it with hot water and poured it over me. He then sprinkled the contents from a glass bottle into the palm of his hand, and applied it to my wet hair. To my delight, he lathered my hair with an aromatic shampoo. Breathing in the delicate fragrance, I sighed with contentment. His massaging fingers sent clusters of gooseflesh across my skin.
    If I hadn't been before, I was now convinced that forgiving Demetri for creating me was the best decision I'd ever made. As if I had a choice.
    "Are you happy?" He whispered, his soft lips tickling my ear.
    "Very." I sighed and leaned my head back against his chest.
    I'm not sure when I fell asleep. I missed the sunrise and the rest of the bath, but I was so content for the first time in a long while, life couldn't have been better.
    The fact that I was happier than I'd ever recalled, as though the planets had aligned in my world, should have been my first clue. In my world, things were never as they should be and if they were, then they wouldn't be for long.

    Sometimes love's journey begins with a glance, sometimes with a kiss, but some journeys begin with a bite. Sydney Chance has found her eternal destiny in the arms of her lover, vampire Demetri Bastian. Their rocky beginning gives way to an adventure fitting the lifestyle of the undead. They've conquered an enemy who threatened their love and discovered powers and gifts contingent on their immortal bond. Everything is finally just as it should be until they set out for a romantic adventure in the Australian Outback. Upon their arrival, they're met with an unexpected problem, when Connor Ryan, the determined son of a human friend, sets his sights on Sydney and tempts her with more than the taste of his blood. And, after an unexpected attack by rogue vampires on a murderous rampage, their coven must unite to help Connor's family and a local Aboriginal tribe, eradicate the lethal enemy. Can Sydney fight the temptation of forbidden fruit or will bloodlust force her to betray the oath she's made to Demetri? Will an unstable lover from Demetri's past destroy more than cattle, or will her twisted agenda rip Demetri from Sydney's arms forever? The journey may have started with a bite, but it just may end with a bang.

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