When Jordan heard Ross’s blood chilling growl, awareness plowed into her, overwhelming her delicate senses. The lights were blinding and she had to will her eyes to focus while the sounds of cracking bones and pained moans assaulted her ears. Her instincts recognized what her brain couldn’t seem to process, a fight had broken out.
As her vision cleared, Jordan swallowed a scream. The hostess lie in a heap on the floor, bodies of guards with their necks twisted and bone extending from distorted limbs were piled high, blocking the door.
This wasn’t a fight. She was in the middle of a battle and, thanks to Ross whose’s arm was like a steal band around her waist, she had the privilege of being front and center.
The nauseating sound of crushing vertebra drew Jordan’s gaze to the dark figure in the corner. He held a guard off the ground, his large, black leather clad hand wrapped around the weaker vampire’s throat. He guard’s neck snapped, his head wrenching to the side when the figure released him.
Had he done all this?
Ross slowly retreated until the heel of his boots hit the wall. Jordan could feel the chill of the winter storm seeping past the glass of the window behind them.
“Who the fuck are you?” Ross demanded.
The figure slowly turned. His perfectly black tailored suite with matching back shirt and tie were a striking contrast to the white walls. The black paisley bandana concealed his face, the fedora he wore cast shadows over his features. Thought she couldn’t see his eyes, she felt his burning gaze.
Oh, god. Was he the man who purchased her?
The dark male rolled his wide shoulders, ready and waiting for his next opponent. The distant pounding of boots splintered the strained silence that filled the room. Jordan recognized the sound. More guards.
“Who are you, asshole? Who do you work for?” Ross commanded.
The figure shook his head. “Give me the girl.”
His deep, rough voice brushed over her. Calming. Soothing. Enthralling. Jordan began to tremble.
Me. He wants me. Fear, hope, and…excitement quickened her pulse. She knew it was foolish to think this new vampire would be any better than the slave traders, but she now had the element of surprise on her side and a chance to escape. Ross would never share that she had killed two of his men. The dark figure was dangerous, but he would underestimate her like all the others. Jordan just needed to survive the moment. Ross was using her as a human shield. If the mysterious vampire attacked, she’d be a goner.
“You haven’t paid,” Ross sneered. He tightened his grip around her waist.
Jordan gasped in pain and the dark figure growled low, “Careful.”
Ross laughed. “Worried I might injure the little mortal?” His hand slipped around her throat, his fingers bruising. “I can break her neck if I want.” Ross nipped at the tip of her ear.
Jordan cringed and craned her neck, trying to turn away, but he held her firm. Using the only play open to her, Jordan turned toward Ross and sank her teeth into his cheek.
With a vicious roar, he shoved her away. Jordan fell hard to her knees, landing beside the hostess. She tried to stand, but her legs wouldn’t support her. God damn it, the drug was still in her system.
“Bitch!” Ross seethed. Grabbing her by the hair, he drew her up. “You’ll pay for that.”
Jordan spit his blood in his face and smiled when Ross’s eyes turned pure black with rage.
“Your death won’t be easy,” he hissed.
Jordan struggled for freedom, but her limbs remained useless.
Guards began to bang on the door. It wouldn’t be long until they busted in, sweeping the bodies aside. They would swarm the small office, kill the dark vampire, and Ross would punish her.
“Enough,” the figure commanded, his voice deathly calm.
Jordan was spun around, her back hitting Ross’s chest once more. His arm snaked around her middle his finger digging into her hip while his other hand continued to grip her hair.
The dark figure tore off the bandana, the fabric floated down to cover the face of his last victim. His long, gloved fingers gently pinched the brim of his hat. With a nonchalant air and smooth movement, he flipped the fedora from his head, tumbled it down his arm and carefully sat it on the desk.
Jordan sucked in a painful breath, her eyes going wide, her mouth falling open, her mind went numb. It couldn’t be him. He couldn’t be here. Not really. She must’ve finally lost it. Her mind must have finally cracked. She blink once, twice, three times and he remained there, standing just a grasp away.
He was even more stunning than she remembered. Strands of blond hair fell across his brow and framed the hard, sculpted lines of his face: perfectly square jawline, full lips, and defined cheekbones. Crystal green eyes, threaded with threads of obsidian, locked on her. His gaze was mesmerizing, beautifully dangerous. Entranced, Jordan reached for him. The tips of her fingers tingled. She wanted to touch him. She needed to touch him, to feel him, to make certain he was real, that he wasn’t just a figment of her imagination. A character created by her brain to help her cope with the horrific memories of the night she’d be captured. But he had been there. He’d come to see her preform. He’d followed her backstage.
“Gabriel Erhard,” Ross snarled.
Gabriel? Yes, yes! This was the man that had come to her show. This was the man who made her heart skip. The man that had offered her a record contract. No, he was the vampire that attacked Boras’s territories and freed the slaves. He had been her only hope for escape and he was here.
“Give me the girl.”
The pounding on the door intensified, the guards would be in any moment.
“All those raids on my warehouses,” Ross chuckled. “All the slaves you released.” His fingers squeezed around her throat. Jordan gasped for air. Her lungs began to burn. She clawed at his hand, her nails scratching, drawing blood. Still, Ross held her. “Have you been searching for her?”
The black shards swirled in Gabriel’s eyes, darkening the gentle green and bleeding in to the white until his gaze was completely consumed by wrathful darkness. Demon eyes. His lips pulled from his long, razor sharp fangs.
Ross growled, “She’s mine, Erhard!”
The door splintered, the bodies of the incapacitated guards were shoved aside as vampires rushed in, filling the room, surrounding Gabriel.
Ross pressed his lips against her temple and whispered, “You’ll never have her.”
His grip on her throat eased as he swung her around. Glass shattered and rained down upon them, nicking her cheek, her arms, and legs. They were falling. Jordan managed to suck in enough air to scream.
Gabriel set her on the edge of the tub before turning to the cupboards lining one of the walls. He began to rummaging through their contents, searching for something.
Steam rose from the water and Jordan couldn’t resist dipping her fingers into the warmth. Bad idea. She tumbled and fully anticipated to meet the water. A large hand gripped her shoulder and pulled her upright. “Can’t leave you for a second.” Though Gabriel’s tone was sharp, his eyes sparkled with amusement.
“Sorry, I haven’t recovered my balance yet.”
He shrugged then tossed two pink discs in the water. They instantly began to fizz and the room filled with the scent of midnight blooming jasmine. The water foamed over, billowing clouds of bubbles took shape.
Gabriel reached over and turned the faucet off. “I should give you some privacy, but I’m afraid of leaving you alone.”
She smiled. “I promise to stay in the shallow end.”
That earned her a chuckle. “See that you do. I’ll be right back. Try not to slip or drown in my absence. I’d hate to have spent so much energy saving you only to have you perish from an accident in my home.”
How is a girl supposed to respond to that? She shrugged. He’s a sweetheart.
Jordan’s fingers trembled as she unsuccessfully worked the buttons of the shirt. This was going to take forever. After another futile moment ticked by, frustration got the best of her. Gripping the material with both hands, Jordan tore it apart. Buttons flew like tiny missiles, some binged off the mirror over the double sinks while others bounced and rolled across the floor.
Once free of the shirt, she scooted her bottom back and gingerly slipped into the welcoming heat of the water. “Oh, yes,” she sighed, her eyes closing. This was exactly what she needed. She sank further under the bubbles and rested her head on the rim. The warmth eased her aches and twinges and chased away the cold that permanently settled in her bones.
“Good. You survived while I was gone.”
Jordan’s eyelids snapped open. “Y-your back already.” Did she just squeak like a mouse?
The edge of his lips twitched, but he didn’t smile.
She cleared her throat and eased into a sitting position. Stretching her arms wide, she drew a mass of bubbles to her chest to conceal her breasts. “Not going to lie, it was touch and go there for a minute.”
Again he resisted a smile. Why? He’d be beyond gorgeous if he smiled.
Gabriel set a way too large black robe on the counter then headed back to the wall of cupboards to pull out a stack of fluffy white towels. After placing the pile beside the tub, he said, “That should be everything you need. I’ll remain in the room to grant you privacy.”
“No.” The force of her tone even caught her off guard and the panic that had laced that one word struck her like a blow to the gut.
“Sorry.” She flashed her best I’m-fine smile. “For the last few days…weeks? Damn, it could’ve been months, I’ve been locked away. Isolated. I missed having someone to talk to.”
Anger flashed in Gabriel’s eyes but vanished as quickly as it appeared. He gave her a tight nod then crossed to the counter. Leaning against the granite edge, he folded his arms over his wide chest.
“You’re staying?” she asked, trying her hardest to hold back her surprise.
“Warning, I’m not one for chatting.”
“A man of few words, uh? I like that.” Jordan smiled then dipped below the water’s surface. Slicking her matted hair back, she reached for the bottle of shampoo. Her fingers still trembled. She cursed when the bottle slipped from her grip and banged to the floor. Gabriel abandoned his post to retrieve it.
Studying her hands, she curled and uncurled her fingers. Was it the shock of the night’s experiences, the remnants of adrenaline? Or was it withdrawals? How long ago was her last dose?
“What time is it?”
“A little past eight.”
Her eyes went wide. “In the morning?”
He answered with a nod.
“Shouldn’t you be dreaming of nocturnal rainbows and blood fountains right now?”
Gabriel arched a single golden brow. “Nocturnal rainbows?”
“Yeah, or…whatever vampires like.”
“Such as unicorns.”
Jordan gaped. Had the rough and gruff vampire made a joke?
“The sun doesn’t rule us all,” he added.
“In other words, you’re old and very strong.”
Again, a silent nod was her answer. How interesting, she thought. Her aunt had explained that powerful vampires could resist the call of the sun. Rumor was some could even walk under its rays without becoming as crispy and chard as burnt fried chicken. Could he chill on the beach and not burst into flame?
Gabriel offered her the shampoo. This time, Jordan reach for it with both hands, but still couldn’t hold on to it. The bottle dropped into the tub and water splashed across Gabriel’s shirt. “Sorry. My hands won’t stop shaking.”
He dipped his arm into the water and retrieved the bottle. “Would you like me to help you?”
Heat stung her cheeks. His hands in her hair? Oh, yes. Lord, please! A simple touch could lead to so much more. Did she want more? Was she ready for more? Never had she been so completely attracted to a man. Her interest in the opposite sex normally rated next her love for oral surgery—seriously low. But Gabriel Erhard, the Chief of the misfit Outcast Society, was no ordinary guy a girl would meet walking in the mall. He was a warrior to the bone: lethal, powerful, and sexy as sin. His dangerous aura and I’ll-protect-you-from-everything-but-me gaze called to her wild, base instincts. She wanted him with a ferocity she never knew existed inside of her. Since the night they’d met at the bar, she’d been infatuated with him and while she languished away in Hell, her desire to see him, to hear his voice, to feel his touch one more time was torturous. Gabriel Erhard, the enemy of her enemy, the male who dared to break the laws of his society to save the humans and bring peace to the realm of darkness, was a man she’d fight to possess.
Jordan mentally shook herself. She’d never been the brazen type and short of throwing her naked body at him, she wasn’t sure how to seduce the big, bad vampire. Was he single? Did he find her attractive? She’d felt his erection earlier—hadn’t she?—while she drank his blood.
Whoa. I didn’t drink his blood. That had been a dream. Jordan’s brows pinched into a frown and she began nibbling on her bottom lip. That hadn’t happened. Right? Her hopes dwindled as she realized she’d likely imagined his reaction to her when he placed her on the bed.
At the sound of his forceful voice, she violently flinched, sending water cascading over the side.
“Are you feeling well?”
She met his gaze and the concern she saw there made her heart melt. “I just got lost in here,” she tapped her temple, “and I’m not used to having company.”
Gabriel’s eyes flickered black with rage then return to their serene, normal green. “You’re here now and you’ll never experience that again.” He went to his knees beside the tube. “Turn around. I’ll wash your hair.”
Mouth suddenly dry, Jordan gave a silent nod of her own. She turned in the water and dunked her head under again. When she came back up, Gabriel was ready. His large hands worked the shampoo into her matted hair. His touch was so light, so gentle, and welcome. Her eyes drifted closed and she swore she heard purring, from him or her?
Date Published: 10/10/17
Hardened by centuries of torture, former blood slave, Gabriel Erhard, is driven by an insatiable need to destroy his enemies. Violence darkens his battered soul, leaving no place for mercy in his world. Gabriel’s only desire is vengeance—until he finds her.
Seized by vampires, bound as a slave, and placed on the auction block, Jordan Culver is instantly entranced by the dangerous male who claims her. Jordan’s new captor vows to set her free, but his haunted gaze burns with savage desire and his wicked kiss makes her crave his touch and...complete surrender.
While Gabriel battles his enemies, he will break every sacred law to achieve his ultimate goal—uniting the Outcast Society and creating a new vampire Clan. But the distracting human with mesmerizing violet eyes jeopardizes his plans. With very soft whisper she evokes his tormented memories, testing his sanity and challenging his every boundary. Can Jordan help him overcome the miseries of his past and find a future with her?
About the Author
Amanda J. Greene creates paranormal romance for ravenous readers. She lives in Southern California, where she enjoys escaping the rewarding but hectic world of writing by spending time in the sun and sand with her military husband and their two dogs.