To celebrate Halloween, one of my favorite holidays, I have decided to release three new excerpts of Know Thine Enemy, my erotic paranormal romance which released a week ago today. These will be posted periodically throughout the day. Hope you enjoy!
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Warnings: Dubious consent, graphic violence, language, explicit sexual content, hints of child abuse, kidnapping
Length: Novel (75k+)
No fucking idea where they get that.
Something rustled in her peripheral vision, casting whatever she'd been about to say aside. Her attention wrapped itself around the man now approaching her table, and everything around her stopped. Him.
The vampire—her vampire—from last night’s patrol was right the hell there, taking long, confident strides toward her booth with a cool grin stretching his sinful lips. And before she could blink it happened again—the strange paralysis from the night before. The same foreign tingle itched through her veins and spread across her skin like a virus. She felt hot and self-aware in ways she never had been before. The sensation was strange and confusing, and she didn't like it. If she could find her strength, she'd kick his teeth in and make a beeline for the door.
Only she couldn't find the strength; she couldn't find anything. She just sat and stared, soaking in all the details she thought she'd catalogued the night before—things shadows and weak streetlights couldn't do justice. She'd remembered his cheekbones, high and prominent, accentuating his strong jaw. His skin was moon-pale, and under the light his features had an aura of being too-perfect. That perfection was a common trait among vamps, one she'd recognized but never truly comprehended until now.
Then her wandering gaze clashed with his, which shone a bright sea-blue—a splotch of color on an otherwise white canvas. His hair was short and jet black, and he wore a Matrix-style leather duster that billowed behind him with every lengthy step. He looked pristine, even in a dirty place. Cool, collected, encompassed with a familiar sense of old-world power. Had she seen him immediately, as she should have, Connor and his plate of instant heart attack would have been the least of her worries.
"Don't mind the lady, Conn," the vampire purred. He spoke with a cool, refined timbre, his lips pulling tighter on his smirk. Though he addressed the barkeep, his eyes never left her face. "No sense letting good spirits go to waste."
Connor's giant head jerked at the new voice. Then his shoulders dropped. "Evenin', Ryker."
Izzie's shoulders slumped. Well, fuck.
The vampire inclined his head politely. "Evening," he replied. He stared at Izzie a second longer before his long fingers slipped through the mug's handle. "You don't want this?"
"What the hell are you doing here?"
"Getting free drinks, so it seems." He nodded to the glass. "You sure you don't want this?"
Ryker chuckled. "Dangerous words. Guess that you won't mind if I help myself."
"Knock your socks off."
He raised the glass in a toast before tossing back a healthy gulp. "Personally, I don't think you know what you're missing, but all's the more for the rest of us." He consumed the beer at a speed that seemed downright unnatural, then shoved the empty glass against Connor's chest. "I'll have another. And bring the lady an iced tea."
"The lady can order for herself," she said pointedly.
Ryker grinned, helping himself to the vacant seat across from her. "I'm sure she can."
"And I'm not staying."
She would have sounded at least partly convincing had she could budge an inch. The most she could hope was he wouldn't notice the lack of conviction behind her words.
"Shame," he said, plucking a cheese-drenched fry off her plate. "All this goes to waste."
"I didn't know you people ate real food."
He shrugged. "What you don't know about us people could sink the Titanic. Weren't you leaving, anyway?"
Izzie stared at him for a long beat before shaking her head. "What the hell is this?"
"I followed you."
"Yeah," she replied shortly. "I caught that part."
"Didn't tonight, though. Got the answer I needed."
"Ah huh." She eyed Connor, who had made his way back behind the bar and kept shooting them furtive glances. "Your friend, I take it?"
"You sniffed around his bar. It's bad for business."
"Bad for business?"
Ryker held out his hands like scales weighed against each other. "Demon hunter in a demon bar. You do the math."
A long breath rolled off her shoulders, any lingering thought of an early night abandoning her completely. "So you knew," she said. "What I was."
"Sorry to break it to you, but you're not exactly inconspicuous." He waved at her. "Connor had it figured the first night you popped in."
"Rang me up almost immediately. Said he either had a demon hunter or a groupie looking for a rush on his hands, and since you hide in corners and don't talk to anyone . . . ."
"Groupies are more upfront."
Izzie licked her lips. "Funny," she said. "All this time, I've operated under the assumption that I'm only visible when I wanna be."
"Most hunters are like that."
Ryker domed a brow. "Zack? This the fella you travel with?"
A rush of panic tore through her before she fell slack. If the vampire knew where she retreated at the end of the night, finding out about Wright and Berlie wasn't much of a stretch. She doubted he was a problem since he hadn't done much beyond lurk and annoy her. Still, sitting with the enemy, let alone disclosing information, was definitely on Wright's You-Will-Be-Killed-For lists. While they differed on many ideological points, she owed him her life and wouldn't disrespect her debt by over-sharing with someone she barely knew.
Someone Wright would kill on sight.
As though sensing her discomfort, Ryker flashed a grin. "Don't worry. It's not him I'm interested in."
"Great. My lucky day."
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