Into the lair, p.25
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       Into the Lair, p.25

         Part #2 of Falcon Mercenary Group series by Maya Banks
 
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  Understood

  Overheard

  Undenied

  Brazen

  Love Me, Still

  Into the Mist

  Stay With Me

  Reckless

  Coming Soon:

  Amber Eyes

  The Cowboys’ Mistress

  One woman’s mission to bring down a sexy elemental shifter turns into a battle of wills…and hearts.

  Into the Mist

  © 2008 Maya Banks

  Falcon Mercenary Group, Book 1.

  Hostage recovery specialist Eli Chance has a secret. He was born a shifter. A freak of nature.

  While on a mission, Eli’s men and their mercenary guide are exposed to a powerful chemical agent, and suddenly his secret has become easier to hide. Now he’s not the only one with the gift. But for his men, this “gift” is becoming more and more of a curse.

  Tyana Berezovsky’s brother Damiano was the guide for Eli’s team and was the worst affected by the chemical. As he grows increasingly unstable, Tyana fears she’s going to lose him to the beast he is becoming.

  Tyana will do whatever it takes to help him, even if it means using her body to go after the one man she thinks holds all the blame—and possibly the cure. Eli Chance.

  Warning: Violence, blood, guns, knives, ass kicking, people who do mean things, bad people dying, explicit sex and smart mouths.

  Enjoy the following excerpt for Into the Mist:

  And so it began.

  Eli bit out a curse as one of the silent alarms was triggered. Though he’d been expecting company, he hadn’t expected it so soon.

  She certainly could have picked a better time. One when both Ian and Braden weren’t off prowling the grounds looking for kitty food.

  Then again, he might do well to be more worried about them than Tyana Berezovsky. She might shoot first and ask questions later.

  Gabe was God knows where, having decided yesterday to disappear into the village down the mountain, probably in search of pussy. His parting words had been something to the effect that since Eli was so keen for Tyana to find his ass then he could deal with her when she got here.

  Good help was hard to find and harder to keep.

  None of the others seem to think Tyana posed any sort of threat. Eli knew better. To them she was just a woman. Easily handled, easily subdued.

  He smiled. He was looking forward to the challenge.

  Pulling his hair behind his neck, he secured it with a leather tie then reached for his shoes and tugged them on. He might as well either go save her from the cats or save the cats from her. One way or another, someone better damn well be grateful.

  A quick glance of the infrared monitor told him she was slowly making her way toward the south entrance. The most obvious course would just be to meet her, but where would the fun be in that?

  No, he was going to enjoy this. Savor it. He smiled again. And maybe before the night was over, he’d take the impending confrontation to the bedroom.

  He stepped into the night and breathed deep of the chilly air. Quietly he slipped beyond the shadows cast by the glow of the interior lights. He went east, cutting a direct path to intercept her…from behind.

  He closed his eyes and let go, embraced the faint mist, let it curl around him, and then he became the very air he breathed.

  A faint breeze carried him through the trees. Ahead, he saw movement. He looked down as he floated above the figure clad in black.

  She moved with grace and stealth, her movements slow and calculated. She made no noise, left no disturbance in her wake.

  He contented himself with watching her, gauging her patterns as she stopped and patiently observed the area around her. He saw her shiver then look quickly back, and he wondered if she’d sensed him again.

  He ventured closer, wrapping around her hair and whispering softly against the nape of her neck. A slight shift in the air alerted him to her movement. Silver glinted in moonlight as a knife appeared in her hand. With the other, she grasped the barrel of her rifle and hauled it over her shoulder to cradle in front of her.

  A faint apparition, he wrapped himself around her in a veil of mist, faint trails of smoke curling around her wrists. Then he jolted back to his human form, his fingers like bands around her small bones.

  She exploded in a flurry of motion. He went sailing over her shoulder and wondered again how the hell she always managed to get the drop on him no matter how prepared he was. He was starting to take it personally.

  There was the wee little matter that he honestly wasn’t trying to hurt her, but still. He could have simply slit her throat, and he consoled himself with the fact that if he was a real bastard, he could have broken her neck.

  But no, instead he was lying on the ground feeling like a goddamn sissy for being beaten up by a girl.

  He started to pick himself up and found a boot pressed against his neck. He grabbed her ankle, yanked the knife out of the side sleeve then wrenched her back, making her fall.

  They both bolted to their feet, knives in hand, and began circling.

  “You’re late,” he said, though he wasn’t about to admit he hadn’t really expected her for a few more days.

  “I had a few technical difficulties,” she said, and it was then, when she turned her head and a sliver of moonlight hit her face that he could see her split lip.

  “Piss off one too many people, my love?”

  She bared her teeth. “The last man to piss me off died in a Paris alley. I wouldn’t push my luck if I were you.”

  “Isn’t that what you’re here to do, though? Kill me?”

  He watched intently for any change, any flicker, some sign of what was going round that pretty head of hers. That incredibly stubborn, obnoxious, gorgeous head of hers.

  “I’m pretty sure we’ve had this conversation before,” she said in a bored voice.

  “Then what are you here for?”

  He blinked, and she was in his face, her knee planted in his stomach and one fist buried in his ribs. He let out a growl of pain but didn’t budge. Instead he yanked her against him. She gasped in surprise and the knife fell from her hand.

  When she brought her other knee up, he blocked it with his.

  “You’re getting too predictable, love,” he murmured. “You have a morbid fascination with a man’s balls. Is that any way to treat such delicate equipment?”

  She cursed in what sounded like four different languages. He recognized at least two and raised his eyebrows.

  “And to think I’ve kissed that mouth.”

  Her eyes glittered in the moonlight. Just before she reared back and head butted him.

  Pain exploded over him. He let go and stumbled back, holding his nose as blood gushed. Jesus H. Christ. Bitch was vicious!

  She took off in a dead run. He watched her leap like a damn gazelle over rocks and roots and disappear into the night.

  He vaporized into smoke and streamed after her.

  He materialized in front of her this time, stopping her in her tracks. She let out a disgusted grunt.

  “Can’t beat the weak woman without resorting to your little smoke tricks?” she taunted.

  He grinned and wiped more blood from his nose. “If you want me to apologize for pressing my advantage, you’ll be waiting a long time. If you’d just play nice, I’d invite you in for a drink…” he made a slow up and down sweep of her body with his gaze, “…and maybe show you just how hospitable I can be.”

  “And you say I have an obsession with that part of the male anatomy.”

  “I’m a man. We think with our dicks, remember?”

  She responded with a quick jab. He dodged and punched back, connecting with her shoulder. It wasn’t enough to even knock her back, but he heard her quick intake of breath, and he frowned.

  Then once again, he found himself staring up at the stars when she executed a lightning roundhouse kick to his jaw. And she was off again.

  Damn but he must have it awfully bad for this chi
ck to put this much effort into getting into her pants.

  He got up, rubbing his jaw, and set off. She was making steady progress toward the house. What did she want? She wasn’t trying to kill him. Hurt him? Taunt him? Yes. But she was pulling her punches every bit as much as he was, and she hadn’t tried to filet him with the damn machete she called a knife.

  Chasing after women wasn’t his style, but damn if he wasn’t wagging his ass after her like a damn lap dog. He had a sneaking suspicion the feisty little wench just might be his dream woman.

  The constantly trying to do him bodily harm could put a serious kink in their relationship, though.

  He shifted again and streaked after her, suddenly weary of the chase. It was time to end it. He wanted her. Wanted to taste her again. To get so deep inside her that he lost all sense of himself.

  A low growl echoed across the night.

  As he rounded the corner of the west wing of the house, he saw Tyana frozen, staring at two pacing cats.

  Can one woman be twice beloved?

  Twice the Night

  © 2008 Dawn Halliday

  After witnessing her husband’s brutal murder by a gang of vampire thugs, it took Tamara O’Leary four long years to learn to be happy again. Now she and Duncan’s best friend Cole Thompson, after working through their shared grief, are about to be married. Finally, she can eagerly look forward to the future with a man who has not only reopened her heart, but brought her out of her sexual shell.

  Until one night she awakens to find Duncan gazing lovingly at her. He’s not just a beautiful dream. He’s real…and he wants her back.

  Tamara still has feelings for Duncan, but she isn’t willing to give up what she’s found with Cole. Worse, she soon learns that Duncan survived that night by turning into the very thing she fears most—a vampire.

  Caught between tears of joy and terror, Tamara has a choice. Retreat back behind her shell of fear—or step boldly into the arms of two men who love her.

  Warning: Graphic language and some violence. Explicit sex including a vampiric threesome. A one-of-a-kind wedding featuring a committed ménage a trois.

  Enjoy the following excerpt for Twice the Night:

  She had to touch Duncan again. She crawled back onto the bed, close to his body, placing her hand on his chest, feeling the rise and fall as he took in a breath.

  “I thought I saw you die,” she whispered in awe.

  “I didn’t.”

  Slowly, he raised his hand and pressed it over hers. She stared at both their hands, pale against the dark of his T-shirt in the glow of the moonlight streaming in through the slit in the curtains at their big bay window.

  She watched the silvery light dance across their entwined fingers. Once, Duncan’s hand had been darker than hers, but their skin was now equally pale, and the main distinguishing difference was the size and masculinity of his palms and fingers compared to her smaller, more delicate ones.

  “You’re really alive.”

  His chest moved with another breath. She looked into his face, and he gazed down at her, his eyes dark with emotion.

  “Aye, Tammy—” His voice cracked, and he swallowed. “I’ve come back to you.”

  “How can this be? How? I saw you—”

  “Shh.” The fingers of his other hand brushed over her lips. She sat frozen, entranced, as he traced across her upper and then lower lip, so gentle, his eyes full of…love.

  It reminded her of how he’d looked at her at their wedding just before he’d kissed her. Like she was the only thing in the world that mattered.

  Wait a minute. She frowned, so hard she felt the crease deepen above the bridge of her nose.

  “Duncan, what happened to you? How can this be? Where have you been all this time?”

  He hesitated, then said, “It took me a long time to heal, Tammy girl.”

  “Heal?”

  “Aye. From what happened that night. And by the time I was ready to come back…” His voice dwindled.

  “What?” she prompted. “By the time you were ready to come back, what?”

  “You were with Cole.”

  “So you let me believe you were dead?” Steely talons gripped her euphoria by the neck and dragged it down into a pool of anger.

  “I’m sorry, love.”

  She pulled back from him, jerking her hand away from his chest. “I thought you were dead, Duncan. I mourned you.”

  “I know, sweetheart.”

  “Do you know how much I suffered?”

  “Aye,” he said softly.

  “And you’re telling me you were alive the whole time? Do you know what it did to me, thinking you were dead?”

  “Tammy, I only saw you—”

  “You saw me? You saw me and you let me mourn, let me believe you were gone forever?” She was furious now. She slid off the bed and turned on him. “How could you? How could you do that to me, Duncan?”

  He rose and caught her by the wrist, but she yanked away, stepping back from him until her bare thighs pressed against the bedside table.

  “Was there someone else?” She shoved at Duncan’s shoulder as he moved forward. He stopped and just stood there staring at her, a pleading look on his face. “Is that why you lied to me? Let me live a lie?”

  “No, love.”

  “And you come back now? Now? When Cole and I are finally happy again? Why, Duncan?”

  His arms closed around her. “Tammy—”

  “No!” She struggled, but a firm hand covered her jaw. She wrenched her head away but it was no use. His fingers tightened over her skin, forcing her to face him.

  “Listen to me, sweetheart—”

  “I hurt for you, Duncan. I thought I was going to die from the grief. You saw it and you let it happen, and I was so sad…all I wanted was to-to see you—” She gasped in a breath. She was choking on the words now, and his face loomed close, so full of pain and hurt, but it was Duncan, really him, and he was so close she could feel his heat. “To-to talk to you, to be with you. And you—you were alive the whole time. Do-do you know what I would have given just to see your face again? Do you, Duncan? I—”

  His mouth closed over hers, cutting off her words.

  Duncan’s mouth, Duncan’s kiss.

  And suddenly, nothing could stop her. She needed him. Needed to feel his body, his skin against hers. With her hungry kisses covering his lips, his face, she clawed at his T-shirt, yanking it upward. The warmth of his torso made her gasp, and she struggled to pull the shirt off of him. Finally, he grabbed it and, moving away from her for a second, he tugged it over his head.

  She lunged at him again. The taut peaks of her nipples brushed against his hot skin, and she groaned. She thrust her hands between them and closed her fingers around the stiff column of his cock. The thick material of his jeans was in the way. Impatiently, she fumbled with the buttons. Nipping at her ear while she rained kisses up and down his neck, he finished unbuttoning his jeans. He pushed them down his narrow hips and kicked them off.

  God, she wanted to claw herself right into him. He smelled different from how he’d smelled years ago. Sweeter. Smooth caramel with a tang of earthy male musk. She wanted to dive into him. She couldn’t get enough of him.

  She slid her arms around his neck and hoisted herself up onto his body, wrapping her legs around him. His body was hard—he’d clearly been working out—but his skin was softer than she remembered. Still warm, though. Duncan was always warm. She crawled right up his body, and he held her easily, her ass cradled in his palms, her pussy cradling his cock.

  God, they still fit together so well. So perfectly.

  Holding her against him, kissing her voraciously, leaving no part of her face, neck or shoulders untouched by his lips, he moved until she felt her back pressed against the cool, smooth painted face of the wall.

  His cock slid against the dripping folds of her pussy, and she groaned, long and low against his neck. He felt good against her. So hot. So right.

  Lifting her
with one hand, he reached down to adjust his cock, fitting it to the notch of her entrance, and she opened her eyes.

  Across the room on the bureau, she and Cole grinned at her from a framed picture. They’d been hiking that day—having a great time. It was just a month before he’d asked her to marry him, and she’d finally begun to smile again.

  Reality hit her like a baseball bat square on the head.

  Kenoe: A sexy lethal weapon. Shinju: Ditto—with more dangerous curves.

  Hatsept Heat

  © 2008 T.J. Michaels

  Vampire Council of Ethics Book Three

  Kenoe Hatsept is in a quandary. The handsome elite Seeker spent years training for a single burning goal: Revenge. Now that the object of his attention has been brought to justice, what’s next? Japan, the one place that has always called to him, sounds like the perfect place to relax, search his soul and plan out the rest of his life.

  Instead he finds his head, and his hands, full of a woman who’s sharper than she appears on the surface…in more ways than one. And she’s hip deep in trouble.

 
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