Special Task Force agent Derek Atkinson has a craving for luscious vampire Sable Taylor. But Sable is a bounty hunter, which makes him direct competition in the capture of wanted criminals. Despite the obvious attraction between them, she won’t give him a chance and after two years, he’s tired of waiting for her to come around. So he’s got a plan to give them both what they want… each other.
Sable’s on a dangerous mission. She’s not who Derek thinks she is, so a relationship just isn’t possible. But like most master vampires, Derek’s wily and used to having his way. When he traps her on his ship, she decides to indulge. Two straight days of mind-blowing sex should be enough, but it isn’t, not for either of them. Her heart is involved now, but Sable can’t let Derek get too close. If he finds out what she’s doing, he’ll never forgive her.
Derek, however, refuses to let go. Now he’s getting shot at and asking questions she shouldn’t answer. Sable has to reveal the truth… Derek’s love has been misled.
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Misled has been nominated for the CAPAs, which is The Romance Studio’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards!
This excerpt contains adult material and is intended for readers 18 years of age or older.
Sable Taylor was going to jail for sure this time.
And Derek watched the events leading up to her arrest with a slight smile.
Leaning back, he rested a broad shoulder against the wall and crossed his arms. Sable was no more than a blur to the humans who milled around Windemere Court’s Palladian-style City Hall, but his vampire sight caught her movements without any trouble at all. The bounty hunter raced along the white stone walls, her lithe body moving with little strain as she chased the murderer they were both pursuing.
He could help her, he supposed, but Sable wouldn’t appreciate it. Despite his job as a Special Task Force agent, he was the enemy to her, direct competition in the capture of wanted criminals. He did it for justice, she did it for money, but he didn’t think less of her. She’d earned his respect, in addition to more carnal interest. An interest she returned, but refuted at every opportunity.
When they’d first met he’d been a rookie and he’d learned a lot by watching her in action. He’d see her in a flash, a brief moment of sharp recognition, before one of them, usually him, made off with their quarry. Every time he saw her she was more beautiful than he remembered. Sable honed her body with hard training and a diet of blood. Her hair was jet black, deeper in color than his own raven locks and completely straight, a long curtain of silk. Her skin was as pale as starlight and just as luminous. And her eyes—he dreamed about her eyes. They were a rich blue so startling the sight of them always caught him off guard.
He’d lusted after her since the moment he’d first seen her. He had smelled her lush scent and heard the barely there beat of her heart, and he’d known she was one of his kind. The last two years of watching Sable work—admiring her skill, her daring and her bravery—had only made him want her more. Their work, by nature, was a lonely existence. Always in pursuit, hunters never stayed in any one place long enough to become attached to anything. Or anyone. She knew what his life was like, because she lived one similar to it. That commonality gave their inevitable pairing a common thread he looked forward to exploring.
But first they had to get through this capture.
They were hunting Jared Ione, one of their kind who’d crossed the line between drinking to live and drinking to kill. Jared was a vampire in his physical prime but he was barely staying ahead of Sable, whose physical stamina made Derek’s jaw ache and his fangs descend. Imagining all that energy in his bed was enough to make his cock hard. Just once he’d like a lover that gave as good as she got—an equal, his match.
He expected it would take another minute at most before the authorities in City Hall put an end to the chase. Windemere had a law against vamps using their superhuman abilities in public buildings. It was considered too dangerous to the humans to be in the path of vampires running at full speed. A straight-on collision was often deadly. But Sable was known for ignoring any laws that got in her way. With her uncommon beauty and blatant, innate sex appeal, she could usually talk her way out of any scrape. But this time, Derek was going to step in and apprehend her before she had the chance to do any sweet-talking. He was tired of waiting for her to come around to his way of thinking, which included a couple of weeks and his four-poster bed. Two years, damn it. He’d spent two years lusting for her.
Today he was going to get what he wanted.
As he’d predicted, two Windemere officers stepped into view and one of them took aim with a net gun. The built-in tracking device locked onto the racing vamps and the officer fired, encasing the two straining bodies in a single net. With a stunning crash they fell to the floor, both of them growling in near-deafening frustration. Startled humans scattered with piercing screams. Derek pushed off the wall and strolled to the rescue, flashing his badge with a smile.
“Hello, officers,” he greeted.
“Damn you, Atkinson!” Sable yelled, fighting futilely against both the entrapment and the vamp locked with her. With a low snarl, she reached for her blaster and neutralized Ione.
It took a few minutes to untangle her, then another minute more to cuff the unconscious vamp and hand him over to the waiting officers.
“He’s my catch!” Sable complained, setting her hands on shapely hips and glaring at him. Dressed in a black sleeveless bio-suit, every ripe curve was displayed to his view.
Derek licked his fangs which had descended, as they did whenever a vamp was hunting…or lusting. It was part of the mutation brought on by the virus. Damn, she was hot. Long legs and curvy in all the right places, with full breasts and a lot of attitude. He really liked the attitude. She was one hundred percent pure alpha female. “Turn around.”
“What?” She stood her ground.
“I’ve got to cuff you.”
He stepped closer and breathed her in, his body instantly waking to full arousal. It took everything he had to fight off a hard-on. Her scent called to him on the cellular level, stirring his blood and then sending it straight to his cock.
“What the hell are you doing, Atkinson?”
He reached around her waist and set the cuffs against her wrists. They measured the circumference automatically and secured with a soft click. “Saving you from a month in jail.”
With her breasts pressing into his chest, Derek didn’t want to move. But he had to get her out of Windemere before the authorities changed their minds and decided to keep her. Since he had no intention of letting her out of his grasp, that wouldn’t be good. For a variety of reasons, he didn’t need to attract trouble from headquarters. But he’d do it for Sable.
He wanted her bad enough.
Derek set his hand on the curve of her ass and prodded her down the main hallway, then off to the transport bays. They weaved through the fluted columns, skirting the crowd that had gathered to watch the arrest.
“They can’t see us now,” she said in a furious whisper. “Let me go!”
He laughed. “That’s all the gratitude I get for saving that sweet ass of yours?” He gave a firm squeeze and then pushed her up the ramp of his waiting Starwing, following directly behind.
His gaze dropped to her seductively swaying hips and he was lost. Totally and completely consumed by lust. He hit the lock and the ramp lifted behind him. The sudden vacuum of the ship amplified her appeal. Finally, they were enclosed together, tucked away from the rest of the universe. Free to catch their breath and get to know one another. In every way possible.
Two damn years. He should have lost interest, but he liked her too much. She was unique. In all of his centuries, he’d never met a woman like her.
Sable’s eyes narrowed as he unzipped his bio-suit. Her fangs descended as she hissed at him. “I’m grateful, but I’m not that grateful. You just cost me one hundred and fifty thousand credits, that’s payment enough.”
Her frame was stiff, her glare unwelcoming but the scent of her arousal permeated the air. Sweet and ripe like cherries, it was intoxicating. The hard-on he’d avoided before swelled with a vengeance, his cock hardening instantly and painfully.
“If you’d shown a little patience, Ione would have left City Hall eventually.”
“I can’t afford to have patience, Atkinson, when you’re hunting the same bounty as I am.”
Derek let his suit drop past his hips to pool on the deck. He watched with satisfaction as her eyes darkened at the sight of his rampant erection.
“Stay away,” she said in a choked voice.
“Come on now, baby. Be honest. Staying away is the last thing you want me to do.”
Sable backed away warily. “You may be thinking about your dick, but I’m thinking about my accounts. And right now they’re in need of a credit infusion.” She tried to race past him to the cargo bay door, but he’d anticipated the move and easily blocked her exit.
“Since you took Ione right out from under me, I need to capture Castle,” she snapped. “He’s worth almost as much. I don’t have time for this if I want to pay my bills.”
Derek reached out and slowly lowered the zipper of her suit, giving her the opportunity to wrench away, if that’s what she truly wanted. He growled his approval when she didn’t move and then shuddered as the lush valley of her cleavage was revealed to him.
“We’ll get our man, baby,” he assured her in a voice made husky with desire. “I have it on good authority that Castle will be at Deep Space 12 in two days. We’ll catch him then. In the meantime, we have some time to spend together.”
His fingertip drifted across the soft swell of her breast. “I know you feel it, too,” he breathed, “this need between us. We’ve got two days, we’re going in the same direction, why shouldn’t we have a little R&R and burn this thing out. I don’t know about you, but it’s starting to affect my job. I can’t think about work when I’m thinking about you.”
“I’m towing it,” he said quickly, jumping on that telltale bit of capitulation.
“You planned this!” she accused.
“Now how could I know you’d break the law in Windemere?” he pointed out innocently. “Don’t blame me for taking advantage of an opportunity you presented me with.”
As he studied the creamy beauty of her exposed skin, his voice lowered further. “Can I help it if watching you work makes me hot?”
She swallowed hard, her blue eyes wide. “It does?”
“Hell, yes. All that power and stamina. You think fast and act faster. It turns me on.”
“I’ve known men who are threatened by my work.”
“You’ve known idiots.”
He stepped closer, suppressing a smile as she continued to hold her ground. Sable was staying put because she wanted to, not because he was making her. He’d tried in the past to use his sensual call on her, a vampire survival mechanism that helped them subdue prey so they could feed. He was much older than she was and therefore more powerful, but she was always able to throw off his calling with ease. He didn’t mind, it meant she was seduced by him and not the vampire within him.
He, in turn, was seduced by everything about her.
Sable was too much of novice in the ways of vampires to know how to use her calling, but she had it just the same. Swirling around her like a thick fog, she radiated sex and desire. As he stepped closer, he was pulled into her sensual spell, pulled into her until he could think of nothing else. Wanted nothing else.
His hands reached out and tangled in the long silk of her hair. Clenching his fists, Derek pulled her head back, exposing the ivory column of her throat. He could hear her blood flowing and could see it pulsing the large vein under the nearly translucent skin. He leaned over her and stroked it with his tongue in a slow, deliberate back-and-forth glide. Sable moaned softly, her pose almost one of supplication, if not for the predator’s fangs that betrayed her true nature.
It was her very nature that most appealed to him and in celebration of that, his mouth moved upward over her jaw. He licked her lips and then her fangs, growling when her tongue reached out and brushed against his.
With a quick tap on the cuffs they released and fell to the deck. He reached between the open flaps of her suit, slipping his hands over her shoulders and pushing the bio-suit down her arms. The touch of her skin burned his palms and he knew she would scorch him alive when he fucked her. The mere thought of it made sweat mist upon his skin.
“Tell me to stop now,” he groaned. “If that’s what you want.”
Misled has been nominated for the CAPAs, which is The Romance Studio’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards!
Misled (formerly titled A Taste of Sin) has been named a finalist in Tawny Taylor’s Some Like it Hot writing contest!