My random number generator picked a winner—Janie McGaugh! Janie, congrats! ~DD
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This week’s topic is “love hurts.” No couple I’ve written has been through more heartache than Darcy and Quentin. In fact, I wrote two books that document their travails, and I think there’s probably another story waiting to be written whenever I get off the current contract schedule. Enjoy reading about the first time Q thinks he’s lost his love.
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“…congratulations to Ms. Devlin for creating a masterpiece. This story has all the elements that a Gold Star book has in it. The novel has intense suspense that was thrilling and delightful…” ~Gold Star Award, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
“… LOVE BITES is a delicious, emotional romp of a story, a tale that builds powerfully on the old, often-used love triangle and succeeds beautifully in creating something new and exciting.” ~Sensual Romance
On the trail of a serial killer, vampire Quentin Albermarle is mistaken for the killer by a police special task force. Once the smoke clears, Quentin finds himself in a delicious position-atop one of the unit’s crack officers, Darcy Henry.
In need of Quentin’s access to the vampire sub-culture, the task force leadership invites Quentin to join the crime unit as a special advisor, much to the chagrin of the men in the unit, and especially, of Darcy.
A no-nonsense cop with no time for romance, Darcy suddenly finds herself embroiled in a steamy love triangle between her mortal partner, Joe, and the handsome vampire. Going from abstinence to wantonness, she is unable to resist the two men’s relentless seduction or her own sensual curiosity about a vampire’s special “kiss”.
When the real killer threatens the life of someone close to her, Darcy makes a choice that forever binds the three of them together.
Quentin watched from the shadow of the cockpit, his hand tightening around the puny stake he held. Nicky had a gun pointed at Darcy. Quentin didn’t dare make a move or he might distract her.
Nicky took a step toward her.
“Don’t come any closer,” she warned.
He sniffed the air. “I smell Quentin. He’s been all over you, hasn’t he?” His smile sent a shiver down Quentin’s back.
“You’re surrounded,” Darcy said, her voice steady. “You may as well lay down your weapon. You aren’t stepping off this boat.”
Quentin’s chest filled with pride at her courage.
“But I have you, therefore I have the advantage.”
A soft click and the blur of her arrow flying toward Nicky’s chest happened so quickly, Quentin didn’t have time to react.
The arrow sank only to its tip.
Nicky’s laughter, soft and ominous rang in the air. “Do you think you’re the only ones who own flak jackets?” He plucked the arrow from his shirt. “Let’s stop wasting time. Come here.” He waved her closer with his gun.
Quentin watched Darcy’s face and knew the exact moment she’d decided not to cooperate. She drew a deep breath and her hands clenched at her sides. He started to rise from his hiding place when she took a step toward Nicky. Suddenly, she feinted to the side.
The roar of Nicky’s gun spurred Quentin from his hiding place. From the corner of his eye he saw Darcy pitch forward and over the side of the boat, her body splashing softly in the water below. He roared and launched himself at Nicky, desperate to get to Darcy.
He raised his stake and Nicky fired again, striking Quentin in the abdomen. He dropped the stake, but the bullet didn’t slow his advance. His charge carried him into Nicky and down onto the bow of the cruiser. His progeny roared, his face transforming and pulling Quentin into his bloodlust.
Quentin’s body and face expanded and he flung back his head with a roar of fury. He rolled with Nicky, fighting to keep his “son” beneath him. He spotted a coil of rope and reached out his hand to close around it.
Nicky pounded at Quentin’s sides with his fists, but Quentin was undeterred. He grasped the rope in both hands and wound it once around his opponent’s throat.
Nicky’s eyes bulged as the noose tightened. His mouth gaped and his body bucked in powerful surges, trying to unseat Quentin, but Quentin pulled tighter until the nylon cut into the other vamp’s throat.
With adrenaline surging through his veins, Quentin snapped the rope, severing Nicky’s head from his shoulders.
When the din of his bloodlust quieted in his head, he heard the shouts of the team and Dylan as they ran toward him. He lurched toward the side of the boat and jumped into the water. As he entered it, he heard splashes all around him and bright lights shown into the murky depths.
He swam deep to the bottom of the inlet, but he didn’t see her. His heart breaking, he reached into the silt and waving fronds of seagrass, searching for the place her body had settled. How long had it been? Please God, I have to find her.
His lungs burning from the lack of air, he refused to return to the surface. Every moment was precious. His hands sank below the swirling green seaweed as he swam along the bottom.
Then he saw a pale oval glimmering among the fronds. He reached and snagged Darcy’s braid, pulling her into his arms. He swam for the surface, his lungs nearly bursting, praying he wasn’t too late.
When he surfaced, many hands reached for his burden. Although reluctant to let her go, he lifted her body gently into their waiting arms, then heaved himself onto the planks beside them.
Max made quick work of removing her Kevlar jacket and her T-shirt. Then he placed two fingers to the side of her throat. “Her heart isn’t beating.”
A raw, burning sensation tightened Quentin’s throat. With every fiber of his being, he fought the need to push everyone aside and gather her close to him and howl. Darcy couldn’t be gone. Eternity without her was unthinkable.
His breath sounding harsh in his ears, he watched Max press his clasped hands against her chest. Captain Springer knelt beside her head and lowered his mouth to hers, breathing into her lungs. Dylan pressed her T-shirt against the furrowed wound high on her shoulder that seeped slowly with her blood.
An arm settled around his shoulders and Quentin looked up into Emmy’s misty face. Then he realized he was crying. She kissed his cheek and hugged him tightly to her breasts. His arms slipped around her while his eyes burned, watching the men work over Darcy’s still form.
“Breathe dammit,” he whispered, willing her to live. If only, he’d moved more quickly, he could have taken the bullet for her.
The men continued to work and Quentin’s dread grew. He was responsible for this. He had made Nicky. God damn his soul.
Max stopped the compressions and checked her pulse again.
Quentin saw a flutter of an eyelid. “Wait,” he said, his breath catching. Please don’t let me have imagined it.
Darcy’s body convulsed and water burbled from her mouth. Max rolled her to her side and she choked, vomiting water. Her eyes remained closed and the group waited to see whether she’d recover.
Slowly, her hand fisted and she coughed. Her eyes opened and she stared straight at Quentin.
Quentin didn’t care that everyone saw the tears that streaked down his cheeks. He crawled toward her and reached out his hand to cup her cheek. “Don’t you ever give me another scare like that,” he said, not recognizing the sound of his voice, it was so clogged with emotion.
Darcy’s hand settled over his. “What? You think I planned to suck down the entire Atlantic?” She coughed again, the sound rattling harsh inside her chest.
“Let’s get this one to a hospital,” the Captain said.
Darcy’s eyes sought Quentin’s. “Nicky?”
“He’s dead,” he said flatly.
“As are the rest of his minions,” Max said.
Darcy settled back against the wooden planks, her eyes closing. “So tired.”
Quentin gathered her into his arms and lurched to his feet. “Sleep, baby. I’ve got you now.”
She sighed and pressed a kiss to his throat.
Quentin held her to close to his heart as he followed the Captain toward the waiting van. He’d never let her go.
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