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Selene wasn’t particularly a fan of girl’s night out. Granted she loved to party, loved to get on the dance floor and shake her troubles away, take a few shots of liquor, and call it a night. What she didn’t like was the persistent need for her so-called friends to set her up with some man to take home for the night. She was no virgin, so it wasn’t a prudish nature that made her patently against the idea. It was the simple fact that she wasn’t going to treat her body like it was some kind of meat market. Every time they did this to her she imagined herself naked on a butcher’s counter with a sign around her neck that said “fresh meat.” She hadn’t felt that way since her freshman year in college when she, admittedly, had been a little looser with her morals. Now, three years after graduating from law school and at the ripe age of thirty-two she wasn’t in the mood for Mr. Right Now. She wanted Mr. Forever, and her friends could take a long walk off a short pier if they thought she was going to change her mind on that.
Club Posh, an exclusive club that she and her friends had just recently gotten membership into, was full of exquisitely dressed people of the upper echelon. Posh was a place to rub elbows with doctors, lawyers, judges, celebrities, and old money. Selene and her friends represented the first three of those categories: Maddy the neurosurgeon, Sasha the judge who was pushing for an early appellate seat, and Selene the corporate lawyer. They were a mix for sure. This was a place they could let their hair down, so to speak, and Selene was happy for the opportunity. She’d both figuratively and truly let her hair down. Her hazel gaze scanned the crowd, her plump lips pursing as she looked for her friends from her seat at the bar.
She sighed, taking another shot. It was nice to feel kind of muddled. It made it easier for her to look at her friends, Maddy and Sasha, without thinking too hard about who she wanted to slap first when they walked up with three men. Maddy, the shortest of their trio, swept back her mass of chocolate dreadlocks over one shoulder, watching Selene with laughing brown eyes. Selene had always found Maddy beautiful in a girl-next-door sort of way. She was just over five feet tall and slender, maybe one hundred pounds soaking wet, her red mini dress hugging her shape nicely. She was on the arm of a tall, olive-skinned man whose hair was cut into a stylish mop of curls that brushed his ears. He wore a pair of charcoal chinos with a lavender shirt. Any man who could wear that color with pride made her smile. She may just like him enough not to scream.
Sasha was taller than even Selene’s five-foot-ten height by at least two inches. Her black hair was cut pixie short, showing off her heart-shaped face, dark eyes, and full lips to perfection. Sasha was the fashionista of them all. She wore high-waist white shorts with a striped gold and black shirt tucked in. Curvy in a way that made Selene envious, the outfit showed off her long legs and rounded hips nicely. On Sasha’s arm was a man just about her height in a black on black suit. His smile was charming; thick and long eyelashes framed green eyes while his blond hair fell neatly to his shoulders. Selene had to admit that their choices were nice indeed. Too bad she wasn’t in the mood.
The third man had an air about him. Selene couldn’t put her finger on it, but she could sense it. He watched her with an unblinking stare, so still she wasn’t sure that he was breathing. She didn’t know how her mind felt about being watched like that but her stomach went flip-flop. She was happy to be sitting. He was taller than her. Taller than anyone in the group. She figured him to be at least six foot four. He was broad at the shoulders, narrow at the hips, and his black suit flowed over him like water. He wore a black shirt but broke it up with a pure white vest and tie. She’d always loved a man who wore vests. It looked classier to her for some reason. His jaw was strong, covered with a light five o’clock shadow. His lips were narrow, but sensual. She didn’t know why she thought that, but there it was. His midnight hair was thick and fell just above his shoulders before curling slightly.
Most startling about him, over everything else, were his eyes. They weren’t real, they couldn’t be. But Lord they were mouthwatering. They were the color of vapor, not quite light enough to be silver, but not dark enough to be gray. She felt trapped in those eyes, like she was falling in quicksand and couldn’t break free. He stepped closer to her and she couldn’t move. She waited with bated breath. She wanted him to touch her, wanted to feel his gaze on her. She was eager, to the point of wanting to squirm, but she didn’t. She sat there, waiting for him. Waiting for the touch of his hands.
“Selene, this is Connor,” Maddy said, breaking Selene and the mystery man’s stare. Selene shook herself, feeling anger mount as swiftly as desire had seconds before. Selene didn’t even spare the man on Maddy’s arm a glance.
“This is William,” Sasha said, but again Selene didn’t react. She had found her anger again, just that fast. She was more comfortable with anger than she was with being embarrassed about the fact that she’d been staring at some stranger like he was all that existed in her world.
“I am out of here,” Selene said, not wanting to admit that the deep timbre of mystery man’s voice could be panty-dropping material if she let it. She didn’t want to know his name, she didn’t want to know him. She just wanted out of there.
“Selene!” Maddy gasped, but Selene pushed out of her seat and started to walk away from them. She had nowhere to go but forward, right next to snake eyes, but she wasn’t going to be deterred. She was going to get to the floor, dance a little, and then go home. She’d strangle her friends later.
“Pietr,” snake eyes finished, as if she hadn’t interrupted his earlier words and grasped her wrist as she passed by. She turned to jerk away and he was there, pulling her in close.
She could smell him. He smelled of the wild, of forest and brooks. She inhaled deeply, pulling his scent deep into her belly, feeling off balance, lost. What the hell is wrong with me? she thought. She couldn’t look away. His body was hard, solid, and she gripped his lapels to balance herself. Her breasts were crushed against his chest, her hips just under his groin. She could feel the imprint of his cock in her stomach. In her head she knew that something was wrong, something was very wrong, but she couldn’t stop herself. She felt the pulse of electricity where his hand gripped her wrist. She could feel every zing with each pound of her heart. She could barely catch her breath. She had to get away, had to get to freedom. This wasn’t right. She’d never reacted to a man like this. Still holding her to his chest, he wrapped his other arm around her, anchoring her. He spread his large hand across her back, so hot it was like a furnace. He leaned down as if in slow motion.
“Mine,” he whispered in her ear, and the slide of his exhalation over her shoulder sent chills down her skin.
He could barely keep his hands off her. His Nila was pressed against his body. Her face was close to his as he surrounded her. If he lifted her a couple of inches, removed her clothes, and spread her legs, he could return to the bliss he knew was inside her. His cock vibrated and wept with need. When she’d stepped into the room, she stared at him with the same guileless green gaze he’d seen in his dreams. She had cut her hair, nearly half the length, so it just hit her shoulders, and it was straight, but she had the same face, the same coloring. And, gods, he was happy to see that she’d kept her figure. He’d never understood why the women of the current century thought it was beautiful to be as thin as sticks. He needed hips to grasp as he rode, and a curved slope to nip on as he trailed kisses down from her stomach to paradise. He wanted to feel breasts that were nearly overflowing in his hands and were pliable between his fingers. He wanted something that he knew wouldn’t break when he plowed forward.
He wanted her.
The citrus scent of her hair wafted to his nose, and he groaned inwardly. Would she still taste like the sweetest of fruits? How he wanted to taste her lips again, to taste every part of her mouth until he’d memorized it. Would she let him? If he claimed her mouth, would she fight, or would she give in? He didn’t think about Freya’s warning not to sully her as he turned Ayah in his arms and braced her against the door again. He didn’t care. She had told him not to sully her, not that he couldn’t taste her, couldn’t kiss her within an inch of her life. She had, in a past life, been his woman. She’d belonged to him as much as he’d belonged to her. Surely the goddess would not deny him this one taste. He wouldn’t take any more, he swore it. Just one glimpse of what he once had and he would do his duty. He would protect her and take her life with his own blade. He just needed to show her, before the end came, that she meant everything to him. Her wary eyes scanned his face. He didn’t know what she saw there, but her eyes widened as her mouth went slack. The heat of her breath caressed his mouth even as he leaned forward.
“Just once,” he whispered against her lips. Nothing else meant as much. He sealed her mouth with his, and his mind exploded. She tasted of the same fruit, but there was something different, tastier now. She had a hint of spice to her from this life, and he feared he would crave her now more than he had before. He turned his head and grasped the side of her face to hold her in place, and his hips anchored hers against the wall. She was as hot as a furnace, her tongue moist and slippery as it dueled with his. She was Nila, and yet she was not. Her fingers dug into his shoulders. She showed a passion that Nila from the past had been too demure to show. Her legs wrapped around his waist, she was grinding her heated core against his cock with wild abandon. Such fire, and he burned with it.
His blood rolled through his veins like molten lava as he sucked her tongue in his mouth. She moaned, and he captured the sound. His hips pushed into hers. He needed to feel her, desperately wishing there were no clothes separating them. She tasted of his past, his present, and his future. How was he supposed to let her go? How was he supposed to walk away from her? How had he even thought that he could? He left her mouth, trailing kisses down her chin and over her neck as he gripped her hips with rough hands and forced her body into hard contact with his over and over again. He just wanted to taste a little more, and then he would let her go. He had to. What he did now was dangerous for the both of them. But as she rolled into his movements, gave in to his needs, he couldn’t quite remember the reason he should stop, or why he shouldn’t have touched her in the first place.
“More,” she moaned, and he nipped her collarbone in response, lost in the feel of her. There was too much material in the way of his seeking mouth. It needed to be gone. Now seemed like a good time to remedy that. He was rougher than he intended, but too far gone to stop, he let go of her hip with one hand and pulled at her black, buttoned blouse. Buttons went flying, but he didn’t stop. He’d exposed the exquisite sight of her creamy breasts covered in a lacy black bra.
“Yes, more,” he growled and ripped the material from her body, flinging it over his shoulder. Her breasts were bigger than he remembered, heavier at the bottom. Her nipples stood out in hard pink tips begging for his attention. So pretty. He would be happy to oblige. Using his free hand to cup the mound of flesh, he sucked a nipple into his mouth. He nipped and laved the tip until her hips were grinding against his with more desperation than finesse. She felt so good, and tasted so good. He kissed his way to the other nipple and gave it equal attention. Candy. Her nipples were his own personal candy, perfectly made, and sweetened just for his mouth. He couldn’t ignore them if Freya herself was standing there.
“God yes,” she moaned.
“Are you close, baby?” he groaned out, never one to speak during lovemaking before, but he wanted to hear her voice, wanted to hear the breathless quality that his touch had created. For so long she’d been gone from him. Too long.
“Yes. Please,” she begged, and what sort of man would he be if he didn’t respond as necessary?
“Let go,” he said and used both of his hands to push her breasts together toward his waiting mouth. He sucked both nipples and bit down, even as he ground his hips against her in stark demand. He felt it, the tremble in her limbs, could smell the cloying scent of her arousal and hear her sharp breaths as she shattered against him. He rode her through it, the pleasure building up until his balls drew tight against his body and his cock jerked. One, two, three more pumps and he was roaring his pleasure into the night, his knees buckling. They fell together in a heaving mass of limbs and hair, and he’d never felt more complete in his life.
Ayah had given him a treasure worth more than his immortal soul, and she didn’t even know it. In the aftermath of what happened, she sprawled over him as he caressed her back. The heavy pants of her breath were music to his ears. How many times had he wished for a moment like this? How many times had he hoped, prayed, and begged that he would feel her again? Freya may be a cruel goddess—in fact, he knew that she was—but she had given him these moments with his lost love. Yet, he felt a difference in Ayah. She was not the same woman he had known so many years before. He had tasted it within her when he kissed her, and now he could feel it. She did not look up at him with a lazy smile or shy look full of love. No, this reincarnation of Nila’s soul caressed his shoulders with quiet circling fingers and snuggled closer to his warmth. After a moment, she looked up at him, and what he saw there wasn’t shyness, but determination.
“I suppose at this point you believe that I’m completely brain-dead. I would agree with you.” She used his chest to push off his body and stand on shaky legs. “And, now that I’ve utterly made a fool of myself, I would like some answers. You didn’t come here to…whatever we just did against my door. Nobody comes in anyone’s house with that many weapons for a booty call. So why are you here?” She crossed to a dresser and pulled out a shirt before he could respond. Ayah put the tank top on before turning around to face him once more.
Booty call? What the in the name of Hel was that? It didn’t sound pleasant, whatever it was, and he didn’t like that she had reduced something so beautiful to something so…well, a booty call. He stood slowly, not quite sure if his legs could take his weight but choosing to meet her on equal ground. If she wanted to show strength after what had just happened between them, then he could do the same. That had been his one moment of weakness, and he could have no more. It would have been nice to be able to wallow in the moment for just a little bit longer, but he had a job to do—even if it pained him.
“You said someone wanted me dead. How do you know?” she asked.
“Sit down,” he said instead. Some part of him was not ready to let the moment disappear. This Nila, Ayah, was such a beautiful one, one who was not his. She sat on the edge of her bed as he asked and turned questioning eyes back to him. He sighed roughly and scrubbed his hand down a suddenly tired face. In most cases when he appeared to his marks, they were already in the situation that would signal the end of their lives. To them he was simply a Good Samaritan who had shown up at the right time. Their gratitude prevented them from asking too many questions. They were just happy to have survived. This mission was so very different. He had to try to keep her safe for a week, only to kill her himself, and it was torturing him on the inside. He chose to at least speak with her about what was going on and cut himself out of the equation. She didn’t need to know how this would end.
“I’m here to save your life, to make a long story short. I’m not sure how to explain this, and I never have had to in the past,” Sevani said then, not sure how to go on.
“How about we start at the beginning? That way I can make my own decision,” Ayah said. Watching her, Sevani knew that she was much different now than she had been in their past. He also knew that though she may be carrying Nila’s soul, she was not Nila. The thought angered him. He’d given in to this woman who was not the woman he remembered, the woman he knew.
“Fine. Freya, goddess, and wife of Odin, has chosen you as one of her warriors. As such, your death can only come at the time that was woven into the fabric of destiny at your birth. I am one of Freya’s Watchers, and it is my job to make sure that you meet your predetermined destiny. That is why am here. Someone is trying to kill you, and I’m here to stop them. Now can you tell me who would hate you so much to want you dead?” It was not the best way to explain things, but there it was.
“Wait, wait, wait,” Ayah said, standing. She shook her head as if to clear it and held the bridge of her nose as she looked at him. “You expect me to believe that some Norse goddess, who I never even knew existed outside of my books in ancient civilizations class in college, wants me as one of her warriors and is trying to protect me from whoever is supposed to kill me? I may have been stupid enough to come all over a man who is strapped down with knives, but I’m not stupid enough to believe that story. Obviously you’re psycho and need to be back on your meds. You have a doctor we can call? Maybe get you a straitjacket and get you back on a paddy wagon?”
Straitjacket? The nerve!
“I am not crazy,” he gritted out through clenched teeth. “You asked for an answer, and I gave it to you. If you don’t want to believe it, that is your choice. I have told you truth. Now, if you want me to help you, then you need to answer my questions.”
“And you need a trip to the loony bin. I don’t give a damn about the questions you asked me because you are not real.”
That did it. First he was crazy, and now he was some figment of her imagination. After the pleasure he had given her? The pleasure she had given him? That he would not stand for.
“I’m not real?” he asked as he stalked toward her and backed her up against the wall once more. Not real! She dared say he was not real. “Was I not real when I took your mouth? Did you not feel me as I sucked your breasts and set your body aflame? Was I not realwhen you begged me for more and wrapped your legs around my waist?” He spoke roughly through his teeth as he pinned her against the wall. “Would you like me to show you again how real I am?”
But wait there’s more!!! There is also a Grandprize giveaway with following items up for grabs!
One Kindle Fire–Donated by Blushing Books!
One $75 Gift Card to Amazon (or Barnes and Noble)–Donated by Jane!
One $25 Starbucks Gift Card–Donated by Sue Lyndon!
One $25 Gift Certificate to Blushing Books–Donated by Patty Devlin!
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