Authors: Mel Teshco
Tags: #Contemporary, #Fiction, #Romance, #Fantasy
When dhampir Kia Montana takes a man home, she isn't looking for names or a relationship — she only wants someone who could satisfy her lust for both sex and blood. But Kia's new mission is to find Sean Maximillus, Lord Vampire and the lone being capable of curing Kia's mother. Kia thought she found the key to success with Ronan, a mysterious man who promises to take her to Maximillus...and who shares a carnal passion with Kia even bloodlust couldn't match.
But Ronan also seems to know too much about Kia...things she never told him. And as she is drawn deeper into Ronan's world, he reveals secrets that will change Kia's life forever...
When dhampir Kia Montana takes a man home, she isn’t looking for names or a relationship—she only wants someone who could satisfy her lust for both sex and blood. But Kia’s new mission is to find Sean Maximillus, Lord Vampire and the lone being capable of curing Kia’s mother. Kia thought she found the key to success with Ronan, a mysterious man who promises to take her to Maximillus…and who shares a carnal passion with Kia even bloodlust couldn’t match.
But Ronan also seems to know too much about Kia…things she never told him. And as she is drawn deeper into Ronan’s world, he reveals secrets that will change Kia’s life forever….
A special thank you to critique partners Riss (hope you get back to writing again soon!) and Melissa—you’re next! And to Rachel and Tracey—for sharing the journey and giving me the courage to believe in myself and my dreams. Shawna, your editing skills are amazing—thank you!
But mostly I want to thank my family for tolerating the hours I went missing in action while I wrote my stories. My husband Mal, my daughters Teagan, Shannon and Codi—I love you with all my heart xxx
“It isn’t over between us. Not by a long shot.”
Kia Montana hid a smile as she rolled up her sheer stockings and clipped them to her lace suspenders. Pushing her feet into the high-heel shoes she’d tossed aside so carelessly the night before, she glanced over at the gorgeous man sprawled out on her hotel bed.
Passion emanated from him, scorching and hot. She gave him a cool smile, resisting an impulse to sashay over, lean forward and trace her tongue along the salty warmth of his collarbone, and down over the hardened buds of his dusky nipples.
Even harder to withstand was the urge to sink her fangs into his delectable throat, taste the pulsating warmth of his essence while he brought her to climax just once more.
She breathed slow and deep, and his glittering, gunmetal eyes held her gaze when she said, “Sorry, but I don’t do relationships.”
“Don’t apologize,” he drawled. And as she slipped into her crimson lace bra, a savage light sparked deep in his stare. “I know just how to change your mind.”
Her breasts, still tingling from his mouth, his clever hands, hardened under his scrutiny as she clipped the bra into place. Her pulses jumped, but it was his declaration that kick-started her heart into high speed.
She inhaled slowly, gaining control. “Oh?” she queried with an Oscar-winning note of boredom.
“You want access to all of Sydney’s underworld places. As your escort, I can offer you that.” He smiled at her silence. “A ticket to where only an exclusive few have been.”
Her heartbeat surged into a frantic gallop as excitement writhed deep inside. When she’d seen him at last night’s shindig, moving through the crème de la crème of the Sydney crowd as if he owned each and every partygoer there, her instincts had clamored.
He held the key.
She kept her face an impassive mask. This could be her one opportunity to get close to Sean Maximillus, the reclusive, centuries-old Vampire Lord.
She managed an idle smirk. “Running short of eager, beautiful young women to parade around?”
A crack of laughter shot from his sexy mouth. “Never. Quite the contrary.” His eyes drank her in. “Apart from your obvious charms—” he shrugged “—you intrigue me.” He sat up, dark hair tousled. Abs rippled beneath his golden skin while he ran an outstretched hand over a strong jaw already shadowed with growth.
Such masterful hands, she mused. They’d stroked and caressed her in all the right places, until she’d quivered with lust and undulated with pleasure. She forced back the memory and a sudden, feverish ache.
“Really?” she asked, arching a brow. “I guess you’re bored with simpering women?”
A muscle jerked along his unyielding jaw. Then he grinned and pushed to his feet before taking a few strides her way. The pad of his thumb brushed beneath her chin. “You’re extraordinary, do you know that?”
Something passed between them, some kind of magnetic pull that held her breathless and still. “You have no idea,” she whispered.
His eyes widened, and his hand dropped. Spell broken. “You’re so sure of that?”
She looked away, disoriented. Never before had it felt as if all her highly developed senses had short-circuited, leaving her vulnerable. Exposed. She swayed, perversely thankful for the hands that immediately lifted to frame her hips, steadying her.
Her vision blurred, and she closed her eyes for a second before stepping out of his hold and looking back up. “I never told you my name.”
Hardness lurked beneath the brilliant shimmer of his stare. Without warning, his head dropped to hers. His mouth covered her lips in an openmouthed kiss that jump-started every nerve ending in her body and made her forget, for just one moment, her single-minded purpose.
Just as quickly, he pulled back, his expression fierce. “
. You didn’t need to tell me who you are.”
? Her blood simmered, her pulses leaping into overdrive. She took a deep breath, then another. When she spoke, her voice came out like frost. “Did you make inquiries before taking me to bed? Checked out my references, perhaps?”
His white teeth glinted amusement, raising her blood to boiling point as he climbed to his feet, clearly deeming her question unworthy of an answer.
His sinewy body hard and sleek, he shrugged into his white evening shirt, then pulled up dark briefs and tailored pants over his long, powerful thighs.
A growl caught at the back of her throat. Damn him. Seeing him cover that beautiful body made her want him again. Surely he could stay a little longer and bring her to orgasm just once more? No, it was better that he left. She’d never wished for anything above an extraordinary lay and she wasn’t about to start now. This driving need was her bloodlust twitching hungrily, tempting her to sample him again, to have him deep inside her while she lost herself to exquisite sensation, heady with bliss.
Even now her fingers itched to unbutton his shirt and pants. To once more explore the hard ridges of his chest, his satin-soft skin with the faint but highly erotic scent of cinnamon and musk.
He laced up his shoes, and then straightened. Tall and forbidding, his eyes now dispassionate as he looked at her. “If you’re interested in my offer, meet me in the motel foyer. Tonight. Eight o’clock sharp.”
Kia carefully emphasized the unusual green-gold shade of her eyes as she applied a coat of black mascara to her lashes. Capping the lid, she took one last look in the mirror.
Drop-dead gorgeous? Yes. But only tonight had she truly been glad of her inherited looks.
Copper hair streaked with natural shades of amber and blond fell halfway down her back. It swished against the bare skin along her spine where a designer, cherry-red gown showed off her curves with its plunging front and back V-neckline.
None would ever guess that beneath the delicate woman lurked a monster, half starved and restrained by the barest thread of steely determination. Just one sniff of human blood, one drop, and all her resolve could easily snap.
A pure vampire she was not, but her fundamental needs were just as fierce as any of the murderous purebreds. The only distinctions between them were that she never killed in bloodlust, and that the senses inherited from her sire were mostly unrivaled.
But tonight wasn’t about her. Tonight, it was about her mother’s survival. It was as simple and harsh as that.
Kia’s hand trembled when she smeared crimson lipstick to the arch of her full lips. She couldn’t fail her mum now. Time was running out. A week, maybe two, was all Chantal had left before the illness claimed her.
Tossing the lipstick and mascara into her makeup clutch on the shiny, white-tiled sink, she took a deep breath before making her way to the elevator just outside her room.
Her legs flooded with weakness as she stepped inside. When the doors swished apart some minutes later to find him already waiting, she half sagged against the mirrored wall behind her.
So tall and magnetic, he was positively arresting in a superbly cut suit the same hue as his midnight, short-cropped hair. He stalked forward and she raised her chin, meeting him in the foyer with a poise that would have done any actress proud.
His silver eyes held hers. “You came.”
“You thought I wouldn’t?”
He smiled, catching hold of the crook of her arm. A frisson of awareness, of anticipation, caught her by surprise, but she regained control as he drew her toward the hotel’s ornate glass doors, which slid open as they approached.
“I had to consider it a possibility.”
Her stiletto heels clacked across the stone pavement leading away from the building. She glanced up. “But…?”
“I believed you wouldn’t deny your destiny.”
A shiver tingled from her spine to her toes. “You say that based on what exactly?”
They stilled beside the wide asphalt road. His eyes, now cold, but capable of such passion, glittered beneath a bright street lamp. He gave a careless shrug. “Instinct…sixth sense…a hunch.” He smirked. “Call it what you will.”
She glared at him. Neatly sidestepping an answer was her forte!
A black stretch limousine pulled up to the curb. A chauffeur jumped out and opened the back door with a flourish.
She ignored the driver. All her attention centered on the man who watched her so closely. “Who
He raised a black brow. “You ask me that now?”
It was a valid point. For her, sex was as personal as she became with a man. It was a physical release, nothing more. She didn’t want to know names, didn’t want an attachment to go with a face. Her mission to cure her mother was her only obsession—nothing or nobody could distract her from that.
He gestured for her to precede him into the vehicle. She paused, fighting a sudden, inexplicable urge to flee. She took a steadying breath. She couldn’t fail. Her mother needed her.
She climbed stiffly into the luxurious, leather interior and he slid in beside her. He didn’t wear a tie, and he unbuttoned his white dress-shirt collar while the limo drifted into the steady stream of city traffic.
His spiced warmth tantalized her nose, and she almost groaned at the sight of his exposed throat, his throbbing pulse. She hadn’t fed for almost a month, and her defenses were crumbling fast.
She could have drunk from this man a moment before he’d brought her to orgasm. Indeed, it would have intensified the experience. Though his memory would have been wiped the moment she tasted him, instinctive self-preservation had given her pause. And when a climax had exploded through her like a freight train about to derail, she’d been too overcome to care.
She jerked away from his proximity, forcing self-control.
Seemingly oblivious to her internal struggle, he uncorked a bottle of champagne from an inbuilt bar. Filling a delicate flute with the liquor, he passed it to her.
Her throat tight, she nodded thanks, barely aware she’d spilled a little until he reached forward, using a forefinger to blot away the fat droplet spreading across her thigh.
He opened his mouth, his eyes pinpointing hers while he leisurely sucked his finger dry.
. Her upper thighs clenched, and she felt a rush of moisture pool between them.
“So, tell me about yourself,” he asked throatily.
She swallowed back a mystifying need to tell him the truth, a no-holds-barred account of her history that would send anyone else scuttling to the far side of the seat.
But he wasn’t just anyone. She sensed in him a fearless and fierce strength, a darkness within that made her toes curl in response.
She pasted a smile to her face as a surge of anger at his audacity flooded through her veins. “I have yet to learn your name, and yet you want my personal details?”
A dhampire—part human, part vampire—she could adjust her mortal sight to that of a nightwalker whenever she desired. Except, despite herself, she liked the way his teeth glinted in the semidarkness, the hard planes and shadows of his face beneath the muted flash of streetlights.
“Perhaps I enjoy the novelty of being…mysterious,” he suggested with a shrug.
She gritted her teeth, but saw little reason to argue. If he wanted to hear her watered-down version, so be it. She desperately needed his connections to the underworld, which became more and more credible every minute she spent in his company.
“All right,” she said grudgingly. “I’ll tell you a little about myself. And then you can properly introduce yourself.”
He laughed, the sound warm and lush. “Deal.”
He was too fascinating by far, too distracting. She took a deep breath and began, “I’m an only child, raised by a single parent. My mum, Chantal.”
“Then I commend her. She did a great job.”
“Thank you.” She swallowed hard. Anger, resentment, even lust, evolved into sadness as thoughts of her mum’s hardship encroached. “She would appreciate that. She worked two jobs to give me a better life and a great education.”
Her eyes slid closed as she recalled her mother’s struggles, which could so easily have been avoided with her father’s intervention. Only, he’d never stuck around long enough to care.
Lids fluttering back open, she was struck anew at the intensity of his stare. “She worked as a laundress, doing the early shift, and then worked as a waitress in the evenings.”
He frowned. “So you brought yourself up?”
. “She kept her weekends free. And I had a lot of great dinners at the restaurant where she worked.” And for a little while, with people laughing and food being enjoyed, she’d imagined she was part of some big, happy family.
His frown disappeared. Respect glimmered in his eyes as he poured another flute, and then raised his glass in a toast. “Well then, to your mother—”
She raised her glass and echoed his salute.
“—and her continued good health,” he added huskily, before taking a swallow of the sparkling nectar.
She froze. When her first sexual encounter had fully awakened the vampire within, she’d discovered her digestion couldn’t tolerate the solid food mortals relished. She did however, enjoy the occasional drink. But just now, the expensive champagne could as easily have been curdled milk.
Her throat convulsed. Did he have any idea of her mother’s illness?
. The most thorough investigation couldn’t dig up a disease for which there were no records.
No one could be allowed to unravel the truth behind Chantal’s illness. It could mean disaster for all immortals, their secret identities exposed. Worse, if non-mortals discovered her mother unwittingly threatened their existence…well, it didn’t bear thinking about.
“Are you all right?”
She handed back her drink, all too aware of his scrutiny. “I’m fine,” she said flatly, and turned away.
Outside the tinted window the night was ink-black, and a heavy cloud cover obscured the sky. But a lone star peeked through the fog up high, a beckoning light in the darkness. It steeled her resolve.
Mum, I won’t let you die.