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New Release! Dark Seduction, Book #2 of Dark Realm is available now!
Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

This is just a quick note to let you know that Dark Seduction, a full-length erotic paranormal story, is out today! So, if you love a very erotic, very dark story, this one’s for you. 🙂

Dark Seduction

Get your copy here!
Available in the Amazon store, on Kindle Unlimited, and in print!

Arriving after midnight: DARK SEDUCTION! (Read an excerpt!)
Monday, April 25th, 2022

Ready for a meaty, sexy read (full-length novel)? Plenty of plot twists? Vampires, demons, and zombies? A yummy menage? A sexy, sexy hero (this one’s EROTIC!)? Well, it drops tonight after midnight!

Dark Seduction

Dark Seduction

A raging storm unleashes a tempest of desire and an ancient evil…

For nearly 800 years, Revenant Nicolas Mountfaucon has dedicated his life to ensuring an immortal monster never walks free. When a terrible storm unleashes the beast, Nicolas’s past rises to haunt him, taunting him with the memory of the death of his bride and the loss of his brother at the hands of the ancient demon known as “The Devourer.” Nicolas turns to the only person who can provide him emotional and physical solace, Born vampire Chessa Tomas, sure she will join the hunt for the evil creature.

Only Chessa wants nothing to do with hunting the “Big Bad”—she’s shed her responsibilities as a Born, refusing her seat on the council because she doesn’t trust their leader. However, Nic isn’t as easily dismissed—he appeals to the secret side of her nature that begs to be dominated.

Pre-order your copy here!

An excerpt from Dark Seduction

Fresh from her shower, Chessa heard the heavy knock and glanced at her clock on the bedside stand. Still an hour before she had to be at work.

Not the super. She’d paid her rent. Besides, he’d fled with the rest of the building’s inhabitants when the Mayor had ordered evacuation.

And not her partner seeing whether she wanted to get a cup of coffee before reporting to duty. Her partner wasn’t coming today.

Or ever again.

Curious, she threaded through piles of discarded clothing to her front door and peered through the peephole into a hallway lit only by grayish, pre-dusk light from the landing window. The power had gone out sometime during the night. Just one more annoyance on top of the last hellish twenty-four hours.

A familiar man stood on her threshold. Broad shoulders, long dark hair—her body clenched. “Nic?” What was he doing in the city again so soon? How the hell had he gotten in? She’d heard most of the roads around the city were closed due to flooding.

“Chessa, open the door.”

Something in his voice had her gripping the doorknob tight. Her breath hitched. She didn’t want to know what had brought him here.

“Please,” he said, weariness and raw, aching need flavoring the rich timbre of his voice.

Although they’d sated their appetite for sex a few hours ago, Chessa’s body softened instantly, heat tightening her womb. She hated the way her body betrayed her.

They’d said their farewells, she reminded herself. “We had a deal, Nic. You stick to your turf—I’ll stick to mine.”

“Chessa, open the goddamn door.”

The “or else” he left unspoken in his lightly accented voice. She got the message and turned the knob, stepping aside to let him in as she wrapped her towel tightly around her body.

A quick, sweeping glance told her there was trouble. Big, fat vampire trouble. Nicolas looked a mess.

His long black-brown hair hung in damp, curling tendrils around his lean face. His exposed skin was grimy-looking, and he smelled of sewage and sour swamp water.

His hands reached for her.

Without time to sidestep, she found herself smashed against his chest, his strong hands clutching her close.

She leaned back in the circle of his arms and stared into his face. What she saw troubled her. His jaw was clenched tight, and his face was unnaturally pale—even by a vampire’s standards. “What’s happened?”

His throat tightened, but he shook his head and lowered it.

Only she’d just had a shower, and he stunk to high heaven. Besides, she needed space to calm the riot of feelings he aroused. Ones she was still uncomfortable acknowledging even existed. She pressed her palms against his chest to halt him.

She loved Rene. Although he’d chosen to enter a mage’s sanctuary with another Born vampire, Chessa wasn’t over him yet.

Her feelings for Nicolas were strictly carnal—and she needed to get her libido back under control. Unbridled passion had been unleashed by proximity to Natalie Lambert’s coming into season, as only a transforming Born could inspire. That arousal had spilled over onto Chessa and Nicolas—it was the only explanation Chessa would allow for the strength of the desire that even now made her body yearn toward his.

Nicolas’s chest heaved, and his eyes narrowed to feral slits. “Don’t deny me. Not now.”

She wrinkled her nose. “You stink.”

“Then we’ll shower,” he said, a dangerous edge to his voice.

As always, his first terse words had her melting. “Tell me why you’re here,” she said, searching for a way to put him off while she shored up her fading resistance.

Another shake of his head, this time sharp and violent. “Later,” he ground out.

Then she noted the wildness in his eyes. Something had rattled his cage. Nicolas was never anything but completely in control. Chessa felt the last bit of solid ground crumble beneath her. “All right,” she said softly and held up a hand to ward off a kiss. “But shower first.” He’d have to let her go to follow her.

However, Nicolas wasn’t giving her the space she needed to regroup. He grabbed the top of her towel and ripped it away then slammed his mouth on hers, backing her toward the bedroom.

Chessa’s bare feet skidded on her wood floor as she dug in her heels, but he swept her along, through her bedroom into the bathroom, all the while punishing her lips with a brutal kiss.

When the edge of the tub brought them up short, he reached behind her and yanked aside the shower curtain. “Turn it on.”

Dumbly, she reached behind her, fumbling to turn the knob, finally sending a spray of water that misted around them before he lifted her above the rim of her tub to set her inside.

Nicolas tore at his clothes, dropping them at his feet, then stepped beside her in the stall, crowding her against the cool tile walls with lukewarm water falling all around them. “Any more objections?” he asked, in his oddly rasping voice.

She shook her head, overwhelmed and mute with rising desire. Her body already strained toward his. Her breasts swelled, her nipples ruching tight and hard. Her legs trembled, and her sex released a trickle of fragrant moisture she couldn’t deny.

His hands reached around her and grasped her bottom, lifting her off her feet, crushing her breasts to his chest, her mound against the base of his rigid cock.

With his erection pressing into her belly, any objection was obliterated. She flung out her arms and gripped his shoulders, aiding him as he angled her body toward his and thrust his cock between her legs.

Chessa groaned as he slid inside her. “Bastard, we had a deal.”

His response was a flex of his hips to thrust hard inside her, tunneling deep, pressing higher until the strength of his hips and cock had her feet dangling above the porcelain bottom of the tub.

When he’d reached inside her as far as he could, he wrapped his arms around her, squeezing away her breath and laid his cheek alongside hers, his chest heaving.

She shivered from arousal so strong it nearly choked her and from fear of whatever had shaken Nicolas to his core. She’d never seen him like this. “What is it? What’s happened?”

His head drew away, and his gaze burned as it slid to her lips. “Later,” he groaned.

Again, the wildness in his gaze and the tension that gripped his broad shoulders and arms as he held her unsettled her. This wasn’t Nicolas with his sardonic quips and ever-watchful gaze. Accustomed of late to him showing up at unexpected times to tempt her, this was different.

He was frightened.

Although tempted to argue, to chide him and try to drive him away, she wound her arms around his neck, her legs around his waist, and pulled him close, dragging his head down to bury against her shoulder.

If she were honest with herself, she was glad he’d come.

Not that she was ready to be anybody’s rock. She had problems of her own. A life to sort out. One far away from the vampire enclave at Ardeal.

Nicolas was entrenched in that life, but she had broken free decades ago and had vowed she’d never go back. Whatever was bothering him now wasn’t her problem.

But she could hold him and let his warmth and strength provide her comfort as well. She had her own needs and a desolate loneliness that had filled her when she’d shut her apartment door hours earlier and realized the only friend she’d had in the world was lost to her forever.

“Stop thinking,” he growled.

“Just fuck me,” she bit out, meeting his hard gaze with a glare of her own.

Their hips churned together in a desperate coupling. Not at all the sexy, teasing pummeling she’d come to expect—that in itself was an indication of his upset. His movements lacked finesse. He gave no thought for her pleasure, which he was always so careful to draw out—torturing her with her own desire.

Instead, his hands gripped her ass hard, pushing her up and down his cock, grinding her back against the cool tiles as he powered into her.

When he came, his eyes squeezed tight, his body grew rigid, and he held his breath for one endless moment. After his pulsing release waned, he dropped his forehead against the tiles. “Get out.”

Surprised at the harshness of his voice, she didn’t question him, just unwound her legs from his waist and slid down his body. She stepped out of the tub to dry herself with a towel while he remained inside, drawing the curtain closed behind him.

She couldn’t think of a thing to say. Despite the humid air inside the room, she shivered.

Damn. It sure as hell felt like she cared about the fact he’d tossed her out of her own shower.

Dark Legacy — FREE for a Limited Time Only!
Tuesday, April 5th, 2022

Need a full-length, highly erotic, paranormal thrill ride? Well, it’s FREE now—but only for a very short time! The sequel story, Dark Seduction, comes out on April 19th, so I thought you might want to see what came first before you pre-order your copy!

In the meantime, here’s what Dark Legacy is all about…

Dark Legacy

Dark Legacy

How could everything have changed for Natalie Lambert so radically, so quickly?

Escaping from a tragic past, the virginal beauty arrives in New Orleans and falls victim to a series of strange, unearthly attacks. Now, for the first time in her life, Natalie aches with sexual desire. Confused, frightened, out of control, she struggles desperately to understand a world that is transforming around her. But soon she will be powerful and magnificent in ways she could never have imagined…

A ruggedly handsome Cajun policeman, Detective Rene Broussard has come to rescue Natalie in her time of greatest need. And when he inexplicably wakes in bed beside her—both burning with a lust impossible to deny—he doesn’t care that a dark and vengeful enemy has brought them to this moment. All that matters is the irresistible curve of her body, the heat of her passion…and the forbidden pleasures the night promises.

With one sharp, sensuous, biting kiss, he will be hers for life…and beyond.

Pick up your FREE copy here: Dark Legacy

Have you pre-ordered your copy of DARK SEDUCTION? (Contest)
Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

UPDATE: The winner is…ButtonsMom2003!
*~*~*

For those of you who don’t know it, I have a very sexy vampire-demon series. Originally, it was published by Avon, but I have the rights back to the first stories, so I’m revising, repurposing, and republishing them!

The first story, Dark Legacy, is already out. My favorite book in the series, Dark Seduction, will arrive April 19th! It features my second favorite hero of any I have written, Nicolas, and the heroine, Chessa, is full of sass and imperfections—and is perfect for Nic. This book is a full-length novel and has vampires, mages, demons, and some pretty scary scenes, along with some of the sexiest I’ve written.

Dark Seduction

Dark Seduction

For eight hundred years Nicolas Montfaucon has dedicated his life to preventing the rebirth of an immortal evil. But now a terrible storm has assaulted unsuspecting New Orleans—and the beast walks the earth once more. “The Devourer” has been awakened, and there is only one in the besieged city who can help Nicolas defeat the foul creature—a mysterious and beautiful enigma who haunts the handsome Revenant’s erotic waking dreams and enflames his passionate obsessions.

Chessa Tomas is not an ordinary policewoman. A vampire, she works only at night, patrolling a seamy and unseen underworld of roiling chaos. Though Nicolas is sensuality incarnate, Chessa wants no part of him or his kind—but she cannot close her eyes to the unholy malevolence that would consume their world. And Nicolas has uncovered the secret lust that rules her—a steaming, uncontrollable desire he intends to unleash, bending Chessa to his will by making her most forbidden fantasies real.

Pre-Order your copy here!
Read Chapter 1 here!

Contest

I’m a huge fan of paranormal and sci-fi movies and television series. Recently, I’ve binged through Star Trek: Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and I’m working on Farscape at the moment. This summer, I’m hoping to binge through all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the third time.

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift certificate, answer this: Do you have any recommendations for me? Is there anything you’ve loved?

N.J. Walters: The Next Generation of the Salvation Pack is Back!
Friday, February 25th, 2022

Every new release is special, but the Salvation Pack will always hold a special place in my heart. The original five-book series became nine. And now the second installment of the Salvation Pack: The Next Generation series is here.

I’d originally planned much different stories for these two, but they had other ideas…

Wolf in Pursuit
Salvation Pack: The Next Generation, Book 2

Etienne Rollins is in hot pursuit of Amy Blanchard, the female he wants to mate. Her sheltered upbringing has left her questioning her future and place in the pack. The sizzling attraction between them, the change in their relationship from friend to romantic interest, confused her even more, so she fled. He’s tracked her to a bar in Tennessee and not a moment too soon, as she’s caught the attention of two unattached, unknown male wolves—the Landry brothers.

Amy uses Etienne’s unexpected arrival to explore the sensual heat pulsing between them. Not easy to do while handling the Landry brothers, a violent confrontation with some humans, a kidnapping, and fleeing a crazed wolf who wants to use her to get back at the Landrys. If she survives, she’ll need to confront her feelings for Etienne once and for all.

Excerpt from Wolf in Pursuit

There was no way to avoid the bar any longer. She had three tables waiting on drinks. Head forward, she marched up to the far end, keeping a few stools between them as she gave Gracie her orders.

“You seem tense.” Etienne tilted his head to one side and frowned.

She bit her lip to keep from falling into hysterical laughter. “You think.” She thought about banging her head against the bar, but that would hurt and it wouldn’t do anything about her current predicament.

“What can I do to help?” The concern surprised her. Not that he cared about her—she already knew that—but that he’d actually ask her what she wanted, rather than jumping right in and doing whatever he thought was best. The men in her pack were loving and caring, but they could also be a tad overbearing and even dictatorial at times.

She rubbed her hand over her face, trying to ignore the knots in her stomach. Why was life so complicated? Everything had been so easy when she was a little girl. She’d believed her daddy could solve any problem, slay any dragon, and he always had, handling all her tiny concerns with great seriousness, never making her feel like a bother. But this was one only she could tackle.

Sometimes being an adult sucked.

“I honestly don’t know.” Taking a deep breath, she rallied. “I’m not your problem.”

Chère, you’re anything but a problem. You’re a joy and a gift.” The low, intimate tone made her toes curl and her breath catch in her throat. How was she supposed to respond to that? Her wolf pawed, wanting out so she could rub herself against him. The animal part of her had desperately missed her pack. Being alone sucked for a wolf.

*~*~*

If you want to read more of Etienne and Amy’s story, you can find it here:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09QLR7JLR/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1127607
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wolf-in-pursuit-n-j-walters/1140901326
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wolf-in-pursuit
Evernight Publishing: https://www.evernightpublishing.com/wolf-in-pursuit-by-n-j-walters/

And if you’re interested in finding out more about the original SALVATION PACK series, go here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0753H2PLQ/

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, assassins, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit me at:
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/gdblg5
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/N.J.WaltersAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/njwaltersauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NJWalters
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/njwalters
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-j-walters

C. Marie Bowen: Coven Moon Trilogy (Free in KU!–Excerpts)
Thursday, December 16th, 2021

Not long after I published the Soul of the Witch trilogy, I received several emails asking about Jason and Amy, the married couple from Boston who went West to help his uncle manage the Harris Highland’s Ranch.

How did such diverse personalities meet? Their passion for each other was evident, but what was their story?

Then, while crafting Jason and Amy’s story in Pyromancer, two more characters made it abundantly clear they had a past to air as well.

Hence, two prequel novels for the Soul of the Witch trilogy (Prodigy and Pyromancer) and a third novel (Patriarch) to wrap up the six-book series is coming soon. But numbering two prequels became an issue. 0.25 and 0.5 were not an option, so I gave these tales an entirely new series name. Coven Moon.

Prodigy, Coven Moon, Book 1

Ayden saw Margaret’s face in his very first fire-vision. They came to believe their love to be inevitable, their destiny and passion as enduring as his visions, able to overcome any obstacle.

Or so they thought.

Excerpt from “Prodigy”

The sky darkened. The heavy, threatening clouds that had lined the western horizon on their way to the farm rolled across the sky, bringing with them the scent of rain. Dry cornrows rustled in the brisk breeze and made it impossible to hear piglets running in the field.

Or Ayden. I’d best turn back or chance a soaking.

Ahead of Margaret, two figures crossed her path. The first, a black sow, followed immediately by a pale woman in a flowing white gown. The woman paused, her gaze directed beyond Margaret, and slowly raised her hand to point down the row.

Margaret spun on her heel, chilled to the bone by the apparition, and bounced off the chest of a strange man. She struck him with such force she stumbled back, fell to the ground, and rubbed her nose.

The stranger laughed. His gaping mouth displayed missing and rotted teeth. The breeze lifted white hair and tossed it about his head like a crazed ghoul. “Look what I found.”

Not a ghoul.

Margaret scrambled backward, rolled to rise to her feet, but was knocked back down by a boot to her backside.

“And they said there weren’t no women here.”

She twisted to watch him and kicked his hand when he reached for the hem of her skirt. “Don’t touch me.”

“Mighty prissy.” He leaned forward and grabbed her boot when she kicked. “That ain’t nice. You must like it rough. I know I sure do.”

His chuckle turned into a surprised grunt as he was knocked back by a man who burst from the adjacent row.

“Ayden?” Margaret scrambled to her feet, eyeing the two men who wrestled on the ground.

“Go,” Ayden yelled at her. “Run.” The ghoulish man’s fist knocked Ayden’s head back.

She ran past where they fought, then stopped in the row to watch.

There must be something I can do.

Ayden fell back across the row.

Her assailant thrashed to his feet and picked up the long rifle Ayden had knocked from his hands. “This won’t be pretty, but I’m sure gonna like it.” He lifted the rifle butt to his shoulder and squinted down the barrel at Ayden.

Ayden gained his feet and lifted his hand toward the rifle barrel. “Don’t shoot,” he warned.

With a grin, the white-haired man squeezed the trigger. As the firing pin struck the cap, the gunpowder exploded backward, sending the breech plug and blast of the weapon into the attacker’s face. Smoke and fire followed the dead man to the ground.

Ayden closed his fingers into a fist, and the fire ceased. His gaze turned from the man on the ground to Margaret, and his eyes widened with astonished recognition.

“Run back to the farm.” He closed the distance between them. “There are two more of these men in the field.”

“What? How do you know?”

“They came to the farm after the moon gathering.” He gripped her upper arm and pushed her ahead of him. “Run, Margaret.”

She lifted her skirt and dashed through the corn. Freezing rain, driven by the wind, pelted her head. The row curved, limiting her vision, her heart thundered in her ears, then she was out of the corn. She stumbled to a stop and gazed around the empty yard.

The members at the Samhain celebration had retreated inside to escape the storm. No one would have heard her cry for help.

“Let’s get inside.” Ayden took her hand and led her toward the house. “Leader Brown needs to be told what’s happened.”

*~*~*

Buy Link: Amazon – https://amzn.to/3IJaQVC
($0.99 through the end of the year–Free in KU!)

Pyromancer, Coven Moon, Book 2

Indentured for twenty years, a hostage of magic in a foreign land, Ayden MacKenna returns home seeking more than vengeance and searches the flames for an inkling of what he may have lost.

Excerpt from “Pyromancer”

The flames in his stove burned brightly, and the chill in the room lessened. The tingling sensation of foretelling tightened his scalp. “Show me Margaret’s child.”

The shadows between the flames whirled and dipped as they flickered across the coals in time with a silent rhythm.

Then she stood before him in the fire, on a grand staircase.

Ayden groaned, and his soul chipped a tiny bit more. She looked like the memory of Margaret he had carried in his mind—in his heart—for so long.

The young woman’s fingers played nervously with the string ties of a beaded mask.

A blond-haired man stepped into the vision. He took her hand and bent to whisper in her hair.

Ayden slammed the door to the stove shut and covered his face as his shoulders shook.

Loss filled his heart, and he battled with hatred and resentment. They’d taken so damned much from him. For so long he had begged to see visions of home, tidings of the ones he’d been forced to leave behind, and now that he had—now that a face had formed in the fire, showing him the child that could have been his had he been allowed to stay, he could hardly bear it.

He pushed the tears from his lashes and shook his head.

The fire had given him two faces tonight. One he recognized—the blond lad that came in regularly to bed Molly. He rolled his eyes and lay back on his bed.

What had been the boy’s name?

Ah yes, Jason Harris.

*~*~*

Buy Link: Amazon – https://amzn.to/3EMnr81
(Free in KU!)

C. Marie Bowen Amazon Author Page – https://amzn.to/3rY52Su
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Releasing tonight at midnight! Read an excerpt from DARK LEGACY! (Contest)
Monday, November 15th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Debra Guyette!
*~*~*

I have a full-length novel coming out tonight after midnight! Dark Legacy is a story I wrote back in 2005-2006. I recently got my rights back to the story, so I re-edited it and gave it a brand new dark cover! And now,  it’s ready for release—tonight! If you have a Kindle Unlimited account, you can read it for FREE! A print version is already available!

If you love a dark, erotic paranormal, you might want to give this one a go. Just be warned—it’s very sexy and might have some triggering sex some might want to avoid. I love this story. I indulged my love of ancient mythology creating this world. I loved writing the entire series, and if you like it well enough, I might write more…

Here’s what it’s all about…

Dark Legacy

Dark Legacy

How could everything have changed for Natalie Lambert so radically, so quickly?

Escaping from a tragic past, the virginal beauty arrives in New Orleans and falls victim to a series of strange, unearthly attacks. Now, for the first time in her life, Natalie aches with sexual desire. Confused, frightened, out of control, she struggles desperately to understand a world that is transforming around her. But soon, she will be powerful and magnificent in ways she could never have imagined…

A ruggedly handsome Cajun policeman, Detective Rene Broussard has come to rescue Natalie in her time of greatest need. And when he inexplicably wakes in bed beside her—both burning with a lust impossible to deny—he doesn’t care that a dark and vengeful enemy has brought them to this moment. All that matters is the irresistible curve of her body, the heat of her passion…and the forbidden pleasures the night promises.

With one sharp, sensuous, biting kiss, he will be hers for life…and beyond.

Warning: This book includes triggering scenes of questionable consent and FFM scenes.

Pre-order your copy here!

Excerpt from Dark Legacy

Natalie couldn’t sleep.

Not because she was afraid. For the first time in weeks, her stalker was the least of her worries.

Instead, her present danger lay in her own body’s betrayal.

Heat simmered beneath the surface of her skin—a flush of warmth that spread across her chest and belly. The air around her felt close and heavy despite the fan circling above the bed.

Her heart beat too quickly. Her breasts grew heavy. Her nipples peaked against the thin silk of her nightgown. Then blood rushed to the juncture of her thighs, plumping her slick folds.

She might be inexperienced, but Natalie recognized the signs of desire.

The cause of her misery paced restlessly around the house. The creaking hinges of the doors he checked and rechecked gave away his unrest. The muffled thud of footsteps as he walked around the living room below, and the slap of his bare feet on the wooden steps when he came up to patrol the hall pinpointed his location.

He passed outside her bedroom now, his shadow darkening the space beneath the door. Natalie ached to call out to him. Was Rene exercising extreme caution or suffering like she was?

Reaching beyond the moment, Natalie wondered, why him? Why now?

An instinct—some kernel of inborn knowledge—told her this new hunger was related to the current moon cycle. Just as the changes to her body began with the first sliver of pale light from the new moon, her need unfurled like a heron’s wings with the coming full moon.

This past month, she’d been steadily shedding the baby fat that plagued her adolescence although her appetite, especially for blood-enriched meats, had increased. Her first period ever had come and gone. Then sensual awareness dominated her waking and sleeping thoughts.

For days, she’d dreamed of an anonymous lover in her bed. The things he’d done to her had left her breathless and blushing. If she managed to sleep tonight, she knew she’d find Rene’s face, his jaw taut with desire, his shoulders bunched as he hovered above her, supplanting the hazy man of her dreams.

Why him? Although handsome, he wasn’t the first good-looking man she’d ever encountered. However, from the moment he’d pulled her from the park bench into his arms, her body had recognized his claim. He’d held her close, his thickly muscled torso sheltering her from further harm. His strength and distinctive scent, a spicy heated musk, had imprinted on her mind. If she closed her eyes, she was there once more, draped across his lap in the backseat of the sedan, awakening to desire for the first time.

Everything else—the horror of the attacks, the pain of her many little wounds—had faded away. She’d felt only his hard, muscled thighs beneath her bottom and the steely embrace that had crushed the air from her lungs while he’d struggled for control.

She wanted to know those sensations again—and so much more.

Frustration humming inside her, she tossed back the bedcovers and padded to the French doors, flinging them open. She stepped into a wind that whipped her hair away from her face and the nightgown tight against her body. Infrequent drops of rain pelted her uplifted cheeks, cooling her skin.

A click sounded from the door further down the balcony. Clad only in jeans, Rene stepped out.

He was pure temptation, from brawny chest to bare toes.

“You shouldn’t be out here,” he said, his voice a grumpy, sexy rumble. “You set off the silent alarm.”

With her heart thudding in her chest, she turned away. “I couldn’t sleep.”

“Well, how ’bout not sleepin’ inside?”

His growling irritation made her smile. She felt the same way—bitchy, edgy, wonderfully horny.

She noted the tight set of his jaw, the rapid rise and fall of his chest, and felt an overwhelming urge to seduce him. And why shouldn’t she?

The way she figured it, her days were numbered. The menace dogging her steps would eventually catch up. Why not grab for all the joy she could find in what was left of her life?

She leaned back against the balustrade on her elbows, making sure the silky gown pulled tightly across her breasts.

His gaze lowered, lingering for a moment on her beaded nipples. “Cold?” he asked, his voice a graveled, yet silky slide.

“Not really.” She decided to make sure he wouldn’t misinterpret the invitation. She sauntered toward him, stopping inches away from his rigid body. This close, she breathed in his musky male scent. The breadth of his solid chest and his height overwhelmed her, made her feel small, vulnerable—and intensely feminine.

He sucked in a deep breath. “Look, chère, whatever you’re thinkin’—it’s not gonna happen.”

She cast him a challenging stare. “Because I’m not what you want?”

He shook his head. “Damn, you’ve got to know that’s not it,” he said, his voice raw. “This just isn’t the right time.”

She met his gaze, hoping she didn’t look too needy, but wanting him to know she could be his—if he’d just reach out. “What if there never is a right time?”

His hands fisted at his sides. “I’m not lettin’ anything happen to you.”

She lifted her chin. “You can guarantee that?”

He glanced beyond her to the midnight sky and stayed silent.

Stubborn man. He thought he could withstand this chemistry of hormones and waxing moonlight by sheer will. “Tell you what,” she said. “How about a kiss? And I’ll let it drop. It’ll be enough, I swear.” At his suspicious glare, she added, “Just a kiss.”

He blew out a deep breath and rubbed the back of his neck. “Will you come inside then?”

“Yes,” she said quickly. She’d promise anything just to draw him nearer. If he felt even a fraction of her need, he wouldn’t be able to resist for long.

The muscles in his throat rippled, and he nodded. “All right. A kiss.”

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