My Immortal Knight 8: My Sweet Succubus
On Sale: March 23, 2012
Librarian by day, Melanie Bradshaw, is driven to desperation by her torrid dreams. However, when she acts on her desires, things go horribly wrong and she witnesses the murder of an overly amorous lounge lizard. With the body disintegrating before her eyes, who’s going to believe her?
When Detective Moses Brown gets the latest Full Moon case, he’s hoping it’s no more than another crazy looking for attention—until he meets the delectable Melanie Bradshaw. Melanie took a walk on the wild side straight into vampire territory. They know her and now she’s not safe. Until he can find out why, he’s going to stick to her like glue. If his own attraction gets between him and his good intentions, he’ll just grit his teeth and do his best to ignore it.
But pretty little Melanie has designs on his body. How’s a brother to resist?
Publisher’s Note: This story was previously self-published under the title SHE’S ALL THAT.
Note for Readers: You must be of legal age in your country of origin to read this excerpt.
Moses Brown poured a cup of coffee, grimacing at the black tar slurping into his mug. Still, it might give him a jolt, and after the night he’d had, he could sure use it. He wrinkled his nose, smacked his lips and took a sip.
A hand slapped his shoulder and he took a bigger gulp than he’d intended, choking down the bitter brew. He aimed a glare over his shoulder.
Finny Boone, his partner, grinned. “That pot’s been brewin’ most of the night. You really must be desperate. Just get back?”
Moses grunted and lifted his cup again. “You get the statement from the liquor store owner?”
“All wrapped up. The DA’s got everything she needs for a B&E charge. No thanks to you.” Finny’s green eyes narrowed, studying his expression. “Better I don’t ask?”
Moses hated being cagey with Finny, but some things were best kept on the down low. “Yeah. One of those nights.” The less Finny knew about his other, unsanctioned activities, the better. The last time he’d let a partner enter the dark world, he’d lost him to a vampire’s bite. “Does it look like we’ll get outta here on time?”
“Huh, are you kidding?” Finny waved a folder. “Tonight’s a goddamn full moon.”
Moses groaned inwardly. “What happened?”
“Don’t know exactly, but the victim’s pretty rattled. I put her in interrogation room one. Saved her just for you.” Finny’s red eyebrows waggled.
Which meant that not only was this a full-moon case, but the woman was pretty. Finny had been trying to set him up with a girlfriend ever since Sidney Coffey, his former “friend with benefits”, left Seattle with her new lover.
Finny didn’t get the fact that Moses was okay now. Sure, he’d had a thing for Sidney for a long time, but she was happy with the vampire master Navarro. And Navarro was cool, even if he was a bloodsucker.
The truth was, not until after Sidney had been seduced away had Moses realized he didn’t really love her. Sidney was smart and funny, and a Molotov-fucking-cocktail in the sack, but he’d recovered way too fast for their relationship to be the real thing. He wished Finny would stop trying to cheer him up. Despite what his buddy thought, Moses’ dick wasn’t going to shrivel up and fall off just because he wasn’t getting any ass.
Eyeing the file, Moses blew out a breath. “The other guys hear any of the woman’s story?”
Finny winked. “Like always, I cut her off as soon as it got crazy. They were pretty damn disappointed when I herded her away. You know how much they get a good laugh every time one of your special cases walks in.”
Special cases. Nutjobs was what they really thought. Every one of them, including Finny, wondered what higher up he’d pissed off to get the full-moon cases. However, there were a few well-placed people inside the force who knew what was really going on in Seattle after dark.
Moses had been handpicked—after his former partner was turned in front of his eyes. Stifling a sigh, Moses took another shot of high-octane sludge. The sooner he figured out if there was anything to the woman’s story, the sooner he could get some shuteye.
“Need any help?” Finny asked, his eyes alight with curiosity.
Moses shook his head. “Just make sure no one comes in to watch from the other side of the mirror, buddy.”
Finny shrugged. “One of these days…”
“Believe me, Finn. You really don’t wanna know.”
Finny slapped the file folder against his chest and walked away.
Moses flipped it open, noted the woman’s name and not much more before he ambled down the hall to the room beside interrogation room one. He let himself inside and stood in the dark, gazing through the glass at the brunette with the chalky face, wanting to take her measure before he joined her, wanting to see whether she looked crazy, bored or like an attention-seeker.
Eyeing her through the glass, Moses decided she didn’t need to create an elaborate story to get anyone to listen. And she was anything but bored, based on the way her gaze darted around the room. The woman was definitely spooked. And crazy? Well, he’d have to talk to her to figure that one out. Still, he stood on the other side of the mirror, giving her more than a professional perusal.
Despite her pallor and the pinched set of her mouth, she was a beauty. Melanie Bradshaw wasn’t model-pretty, and she wasn’t Sidney’s hard-edged cute. The woman seated at the ugly gray metal table, biting a fingernail, was delicate—small-boned with an oval face, shoulder-length hair, large brown eyes and lush lips.
Arousal stirred, and Moses cupped himself, rearranging his dick so he didn’t scare the little woman half to death when he went inside. She wore dark jeans and a soft brown sweater that molded over her slight curves. As he watched, she pulled down the cuffs to her fingers as though her hands were cold, and then gripped the pendant that rested over her pretty little breasts, a large red stone framed in gold. Her bottom lip trembled.
No, she didn’t look like a nutjob. She looked good and scared.
Again he opened the folder and flipped through the pages to her statement, scanning it quickly then cussed to himself.
No, she wasn’t crazy. Not even a little. Melanie Bradshaw had strayed straight into his “special case” zone. She’d had an encounter of the creepy kind.
And she’d met Viper.
Looked like Moses wasn’t going to get any rest until he figured out why.
As the door whooshed open, Melanie jerked. Her gaze swung toward the person who entered, then widened. When she stood, her head tilted way back. Good lord, he looked like a linebacker—and she’d dated one once who wasn’t half as big.
The hard set of the man’s jaw had her steeling herself against his derision, for him to ask her why she was wasting everyone’s time with a story so absurd. Then she met his gaze. His dark-chocolate eyes held a tinge of something softer, maybe even kindness. Her shoulders relaxed. Perhaps he’d listen. She needed someone to talk to who didn’t look at her like she’d grown two heads.
His large hand stretched across the table. “I’m Detective Brown, ma’am.”
“Of course you are,” she murmured, then bit her lip. Damn, she didn’t mean her statement the way it no doubt sounded. Not the best way to greet a large black man.
But his mouth quirked up at one corner. Her hand disappeared inside his, and she stared at where their bodies joined. For the first time all night, she felt safe and warm.
He withdrew first, wiping his hand against his thigh. Was hers sweaty? She’d felt warmth and a little spark when their skin had touched.
“Ma’am, take a seat.”
Like a well-trained Chihuahua, she plopped into the chair. Not quite so eager now to get this over. She liked his voice—the deep bass, the gravelly texture. As he settled into the chair opposite hers, a metal one that groaned with his massive weight, she couldn’t help eyeing him.
Well over six feet tall, with broad shoulders and a rock-hard chest and abs, he looked mean enough she didn’t think much would scare him. His face was hard too, his jaw square as a bulldog’s, his nose broad and slightly askew. His bald head gleamed beneath the harsh fluorescent lighting.
“Tell me what went down at the bar, Miss Bradshaw.”
She stifled a sigh. Again? Tonight had been really long, and she was ready to head home to sleep. “Didn’t you read my statement?”
“I did,” he said with a firm nod. “But I’d like to hear it from you.”
She lifted her chin to the mirror. “So your friends can have a good laugh?”
“There’s no one watching.” His gaze locked with hers. “Promise. Just you and me. Tell me about it.”
Melanie drew a deep, shaky breath. “All I want is to report a death. A murder.”
“But there’s a problem…”
“No body.” She nodded, wrapping her fingers around the amulet. “It’s surreal. Like…spontaneous combustion, but that’s a myth, right? Just an urban legend.”
He didn’t answer, but settled back in his chair, his head canting as he watched her, staring.
What did he see? Was he one of those people trained to read the truth in her body language? Was she giving him the right signals? Should she glance left or to the right?
Hell, why did she feel like she was the one in the wrong?
“The man who bought me a drink. He seemed nice.” In a sort of oily way, but she wasn’t going to speak ill of the dead. She hadn’t wanted to accept the drink, not trusting its contents since she hadn’t seen it poured. Her mama always harped about the perils of men.
“What were you doin’ in the bar?”
“It was a club, really.” Melanie blushed. She’d been looking for a hook-up. Desperate for one, actually. Too many lonely, battery-packed nights had finally led her to the snapping point. She wanted to be fucked to within an inch of her mind. Why hadn’t someone like Detective Brown been the one she’d met?
Taking a couple seconds, she ran a discreet second glance over him. He certainly looked like he could deliver.
She cleared her throat and hoped like hell he couldn’t tell what she was thinking. Now she wished she had a tack in her shoe to crunch down on. Or was that only good for polygraphs? “I, uh, was thirsty?” And hungry. And so sick and tired of being sick and tired, she’d been willing to see if the cure was sex with someone other than the figments in her dreams.
“Thirsty,” he said, nodding, eyes narrowing. “Did you go there alone?”
“I told you a man bought me a drink.”
“But you entered the club alone. The Cavern. Why that place?” He leaned back in his chair.
Because she’d had dreams about it and wanted to prove to herself that the murky images weren’t based on reality. Only she’d scared herself the moment she’d entered the dance club. Everything had been exactly as she’d dreamed the night before. Or at least the décor was. No way could the rest of what had happened in her dream be true.
After all, vampires were fiction.
“I heard about it and was curious.”
“Doesn’t seem like your kind of place.”
His gaze swept her, and she felt a tightening in her core. Delicious, really, and completely out of context. “Why does the reason I chose that place matter?”
He shrugged. “Just tryin’ to get the details, ma’am.”
“To determine my state of mind?” she asked, lifting her chin.
His lips stretched, the full bottom thrusting forward. Her glance lingered there, wondering what that lush pout would feel like sucking on her nipple. She swallowed hard. Her gaze leapt to his face.
“All right.” His gaze sharpened. “So let’s skip to the drink and the guy.”
“He was just a stranger.” With a scarily intent stare. “He offered me a drink and motioned for me to take a seat at the bar. I was just beginning to slide onto the stool, when he leaned forward.”
“Did he touch you?”
“He pushed the hair off my neck. I jerked back. Then he pulled my hair, forcing me closer.” She shuddered. “The barman was looking away. Everyone around me was laughing. I stomped on his foot.”
“What did he look like? Did anything seem…off about his appearance?”
She blinked, remembering something she’d left out of the report on purpose. “Off?”
Melanie’s breaths shortened. “The club was Goth. It was just…makeup and tricks.”
“What was, Miss Bradshaw?”
“His eyes. They were like an animal’s eyes.” She shivered. “You know, when they catch the light in the dark. They reflected. And his teeth. I hadn’t noticed how sharp they were when he first offered me the drink or I’d have turned him down flat. I’m not into weird.”
“What about his teeth?”
She blushed, knowing how crazy it all sounded and wishing this wasn’t the conversation she was having with this very large, very attractive man. “They were sharp. Jagged. The incisors looked like fangs.”
“Did he frighten you?” he asked softly.
“Yes!” she blurted, feeling relief because he’d given her unspoken permission to voice it, to let it go. She shivered at the memory. “He wouldn’t release me. And he was getting closer.”
“What happened then?”
“A man stepped between us. Kinda cute, actually, but he bared his teeth. They were jagged too. He pushed the man away from me, raised a pointy stick and slammed it into his chest.”
Detective Brown gave a little nod. “That’s when your date…combusted.”
“He wasn’t my date.” She jerked her head. “But yeah—in a flash. Nothing but dust and charred clothing left when the fire went out.”
Detective Brown held her gaze for a long moment, long enough Melanie stiffened her back in response. This was when he’d give her the look. The one that said he thought she needed meds.
Instead, he looked down at the folder and flipped up a page. “The man with the pointy stick…what did he look like?”
Melanie shrugged. “Cute, but hard, ya know? Hispanic, with long black hair to his shoulders.”
“What happened then?”
She frowned, remembering her confusion and fear. “He kicked me out of the club. Told me to go home and lock my doors.
Had me walked out to the cabstand. As soon as I got home, I called the police. They told me to come in to make a statement.” She shrugged again, pretending her stomach wasn’t still trembling in the aftermath of what had been a hellish night. “So now I’m here. What’re you gonna do?”
He sat so long, his dark gaze boring into hers, that she began to fidget, biting her nail again. Although she’d thought she’d kicked that habit in high school. Embarrassed, she slid her hand into her lap. “I’m not crazy.”
“Didn’t say you were,” he murmured quietly.
His dark gaze continuing to bore into her until her anxiety built to a crescendo. “Do you believe me?”
“You need rest.”
“But do you believe me?” Her fingers tightened on the table edge.
“I need rest.”
She blew out a breath in exasperation. “Yeah, it’s hours after freaking midnight. We both fucking need rest. Do you believe me?”
“I’m comin’ home with you.”
He said it so quietly, so calmly, that she blinked, wondering if she’d only dreamed the words. Like she dreamed so many unlikely things these days. “What’d you just say?”
“You might not be safe. And we both need rest. To wait out the day.” His head shook with a snap. “I’m not leavin’ your side ’til we figure this out.”
Tears clouded her vision but she wiped them away. He believed her. Or at least believed part of what she’d said.
Relieved, she didn’t think before she blurted, “Do you want the left or the right side of the bed?”