||Undying Embrace -- Available Now from Entangled Publishing
Arran MacLain is a vampire on a suicide mission, driven to kill his former partner who betrayed him and the Enclave they served. But two things stand in his way: Gabrielle, the human female who holds his heart, and the past that won’t let him go. If only death was enough to cleanse his soul.
Gabrielle Steven’s sister is missing. Her hunt for clues brings her face to face with the one vampire she can’t forget. Their missions combine and thrust them into the heart of evil. Will their passion be enough to overcome the pain from their past, or will their dark desires destroy them both?
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She swung her head around at the sudden hoarse-sounding voice behind her. The bartender leaned toward her, both hands braced on the bar separating them. Wearing a buzz haircut and lacking piercing holes in his face, he didn’t fit in with the rest of the dark and creepy crowd.
Elle flipped up the image of her sister. “You ever see her around here?” His eyebrows shot up, followed by his eyes, which went up and over the photo and straight into her face.
“Why you want to know? You a cop or something?”
“She’s my sister. And no, I’m not a cop—
He shrugged. “Lady, I just serve ‘em the booze. I don’t babysit. Couldn’t tell you if I saw her or not.” He grabbed a bar cloth and mopped up the wet rings off the bar. “So are you drinking or wasting my time?”
Yeah. She was drinking. “I’ll have a Bud Light.” He nodded, headed toward the cooler, and she slipped the photo back in her purse.Strike two. At this rate, she’d end up with a serious case of whiplash.
Two pasty-white girls, dripping in chains and draped in black, crowded next to her in the spot tattoo man had vacated. They ordered beers, then in loud, overly excited voices started gushing about a hot guy who’d just sat down at the bar a few seats away. Each wanted to be the first to get a bite of him.
Curiosity had her glancing over to check out their version of a “hottie.” Her chest constricted, forcing her next breath to fight its way into her lungs. There was no mistaking that face, even though his hair was longer, below his shoulders, and the former deceptive halo of blond hair had been slashed with thick lines of black. It looked as though he’d dipped his hands in dye and raked them through his hair in an I-don’t-give-a-shit manner. Crazy. But striking.
And she’d have known him anywhere.
He tipped his beer up to his lips for a swallow, drawing her attention to the dark shadow of hair along his jaw. He’d tied his hair back, and a large black-and-platinum cross swayed at his earlobe. She shook her head and squirmed in her seat. Damn, he looked even sexier than… Her mind raced back to the Enclave’s former headquarters and the last moment they’d shared together on the staircase. She strummed her nails against the glass bottle in her hand.
Yeah, that was the word he’d used to describe their kiss. She had the sudden urge to march over there and bash her beer bottle over his head. Instead, she tossed back a gulp of the cold, bitter liquid.
Above her head, chilled air blew from the vent in the ceiling, a welcome temporary relief from the overheated bodies steaming up the crowded floor space. A lock of hair from her wig blew across her face. She brushed it back, making room for another sip of her beer, her eyes never leaving Arran’s face.
He went for his bottle again and lifted it to his mouth, but his arm stilled before the beer met his lips. She knew the moment he sensed her presence. His nostrils flared, and his beer made a slow descent back to the counter. Her heart hammered against her chest, and a shudder raced across her body. Another round of Nine Inch Nails’ haunting cry for help filled the room. Perfect timing. She had a feeling that in a few seconds, she was going to need it.
She should run.