WARNING: Contains graphic language and explicit sex scenes (M/F).
LENGTH: Novella (21,700 words)
Mercy Jansen dreams of erotic interludes with a man whose face she never sees--and she always awakens before the scraping of sharp teeth along her skin turns into something more dangerous.
Even while she questions her subconscious mind, a mundane event sets her on a collision course with a man who makes her knees go weak--and proceeds to turn her preconceived notions of reality upside-down and inside-out by pulling her into a shadowy, violent world where her dreams threaten to become an all-too-real nightmare.
This book was previously published in an altered form by Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc. in 2008 and is revised.
"I'm sorry, but guests are not allowed in this area."
He moved deeper into the office. "You sound a little hoarse," he said, ignoring her statement, and held out a flute filled halfway with champagne. "Take this."
Mercy automatically accepted the offering. "Thank you, Mr.--?"
"Edmond," he said, a hint of an accent flavoring the name. It sounded French, which suited the name and his Gallic coloring.
"Thank you, Mr. Edmond."
He shook his head but his hair barely moved. "Just Edmond."
Like just Madonna? she wanted to asked but refrained from doing so.
He lifted his own flute, tipping it toward her. Feeling a little awkward, she touched her flute to his, very aware of his eyes following her every movement. Not wanting to insult a man who'd forked over two hundred and fifty dollars for a ticket to the fundraiser and a potential donor, Mercy took a sip, just enough to coat her mouth and her esophagus.
And squeezed her eyes shut as her head swam and her hand faltered, tilting the flute dangerously. She really should've eaten something beyond the banana and carton of cherry yogurt at lunch.
A hand caught hers. She had the impression of icy coldness a heartbeat before warmth washed over her like rain. The champagne flute was rescued from her unsteady fingers. Despite the voluntary darkness, her head continued to bob like a bottle tossed in the sea. Her hand reached back and found the solid surface of her desk.
That compelling voice filled her head, dampening the waves. She exhaled, unaware she'd been holding her breath 'til that moment. A heavy, artificial scent filled her nostrils and she instinctively turned her head away. Satin brushed the naked skin of her legs, cool and slick. His cape. Fingertips skimmed the curve of her cheek, the line of her throat, the slope of her exposed shoulder. And she couldn't protest, couldn't stir herself from the lassitude that trapped her in its silken grip enough to lift her lashes, let alone break away.
The exploration continued, soft and gentle and warm...and somehow familiar. There was nothing to fear from him. That thought whispered through her mind like a tendril of smoke.
Mercy let herself drift, let the sensual pleasure of his touch lull her.
The hand holding hers drew it upward until her palm met a chest that felt like marble under the layer of cloth. Soft lips grazed her jaw line. He whispered her name again. From the jumbled, hazy mess of her thoughts, one question emerged.
"What are you?" she breathed.
Lips brushed her earlobe. "The man of your dreams."
Copyright © 2008, 2012 by Ann Bruce. All rights reserved.