Dark Hunger


Page 8



“Do you always grope unconscious women?”


He folded his hands over his stomach and crossed his legs at the ankle. He should have looked ridiculous lying on the cement floor, with his raven hair tousled and his expensive suit wrinkled. But he didn’t.


He looked…edible.


The bronzed, stunningly beautiful features. The full, sensual lips. The whiskey-gold eyes.


A delectable male, from the top of his raven hair to the tips of his Italian leather shoes.


“Only those who crawl all over me in their sleep,” he said. “If anyone was violated, it was me.”


The worst part was that Harley couldn’t be certain she hadn’t been violating him. Her body seemed to have lost its connection to her brain.


“God,” she muttered, as annoyed with herself as with Salvatore. “Get over yourself.”


In one fluid movement, he was on his feet and standing directly in front of her.


“I’d rather be over you.”


“Enough.” She abruptly turned from the smoldering invitation in his eyes, her palms sweating. “I have more important things to worry about than a dog in heat.”


She felt him step back, although it didn’t help much. His power swirled through the small space with crushing force.


“Do you know where we are?” he demanded.


She turned and glanced around the six-by-six cage made of silver bars that was set in the middle of a barren cellar. There was nothing to identify the cramped prison beyond a narrow door and bare lightbulb in the center of the ceiling. There were no windows, no furniture, not even a blanket, but the muted scent of wooden logs gave away their location.


“In Caine’s cabin near St. Louis.”


Salvatore closed his eyes, testing the air. “It’s dusk.”


“Do you have a point?”


“Levet becomes a statue during the day.” His eyes opened, a hint of frustration shimmering in the golden depths. “He should be waking any moment to follow our trail.”


Harley shook her head, Salvatore’s frustration echoing deep inside her. She might be furious with Caine, but she wasn’t stupid enough to underestimate him.


“There won’t be a trail to follow.”


“What do you mean?”


“One of Caine’s lovers is a witch. He never moves from one lair to another without her casting a spell to cover his scent, as well as anyone with him.” She grimaced. “No one’s going to be able to find us.”


“One of his lovers?” Salvatore arched a brow, ignoring the most pertinent point of her explanation. “How many does he have?”


She made a sound of impatience. “I’ve never bothered to keep count. Why? Are you interested in joining the bimbo brigade?”


“My only interest is in knowing whether or not you share his bed.”


“It’s none of your damned business.”


His lips twisted, an odd yearning flaring through his eyes. “Ah, if only that were true.”


A melting heat threatened to weaken her knees and Harley gave a sharp shake of her head.


She wasn’t going to be distracted.


“I don’t know what your damage is, but in case you’ve failed to notice, we’re in a little bit of trouble here. Can you focus on something other than trying to get into my pants?”


His lips curled. “I can multitask.”


No crap.


“Fan-frigging-tastic,” she groused. “Then get us out of here.”


Chapter Four


Salvatore glanced toward the locked door of the cell, folding his arms across his chest.


“And just how do you expect me to perform that particular miracle?”


“I thought you were some sort of uberking,” she taunted. “Don’t you have any special powers?”


Salvatore smiled, unruffled by her sharp tone. She could snap and snarl all she wanted, but she couldn’t conceal the scent of her arousal.


And when he’d awakened to discover her snuggled in his arms…


Dio, it had almost made this whole kidnapping thing worthwhile.


Almost.


“None that involve B and E,” he admitted.

Her gaze narrowed. “B and E implies entering. We want to exit.”


He folded his arms over his chest. “What about you?”


“Me?”


“You obviously know Caine…” His jaw tightened as a flare of savage possession speared through him. “Intimately. You better than anyone should be familiar with the weaknesses in his security.”


“I know nothing about Caine.” Her lips curled in a sneer, but Salvatore didn’t miss the bitterness that edged her voice. “He’s done nothing but lie to me since I was a baby.”


He was petty enough to be pleased at the thought of poisoning any relationship between Harley and the damnable cur, but within that perfectly logical reaction was an unexpected stab of regret. The woman was clearly distressed by the realization that her life had been a lie.


Risking life and limb, Salvatore grasped her hand, half-expecting to be tossed across the cell. She stiffened, but she surprisingly didn’t go homicidal on him. A step in the right direction, he told himself, savoring the feel of her warm skin that eased the sense of weakness that plagued him.


Cristo, he needed to mate her.


The sooner the better.


“He told you that I murdered your sisters?” he asked.


“And that I was next on your list to die.” Her expression assured him that she was grimly clinging to her suspicion he intended to harm her. “He swore he was the only one who could protect me.”


“A clever means to keep you in his power.”


“Bastard.”


“Did he ever reveal why he was so anxious to keep you so close?”


“He’s been using my blood in his experiments to change curs into full Weres.”


Salvatore shook his head in disgust. The conceited fool. The Weres’ power was a mystical force, not a scientific one. A clever man might be capable of making small alterations, as he had done, but what made purebloods immortal was pure magic.


“He can’t seriously believe in such nonsense?”


“Oh, he believes.” Her fingers unconsciously tightened around his. “Allegedly some ancient werewolf came to him and revealed a vision that his blood would run pure.”


“Ancient werewolf?” Salvatore frowned. A Were had given Caine the crackpot vision? It made no sense. “Are you certain?”


“That’s what he said.”


“Blood runs pure. What the hell does that mean?”


“Hey, it was his vision, not mine.”


Salvatore muttered a curse. He felt like he was trying to put together a puzzle with half the pieces missing.


He hated puzzles.


“Did he ever say how he managed to get his hands on you?”


“No.” Her eyes narrowed in suspicion. “I suppose if you’re telling the truth, and I’m not entirely on board with that theory, then he must have stolen my sisters and I from your nursery.”


“It was humans that broke into the nursery.”


“Caine could have hired them.” She shrugged. “He’s never been anxious to put his own neck on the line. Not if he can convince some other schmuck to do the dirty work.”


“It’s possible.”


“You don’t sound very convinced.”


Because he wasn’t.


“There’s something I’m missing,” he muttered, his gaze lowering to her slender fingers clasped in his hand. Absently he brushed his thumb over her knuckles, relishing her silken skin.


He’d give his favorite Porsche to discover if she was so soft and smooth all over.


Easily picking up the heat stirring in the air, Harley yanked her hand free and glared at him with an impatience that didn’t entirely mask her flare of awareness.


“Yeah, you’re missing a way out of here. Can you please concentrate?”


“Are you always so bossy?”


“Do you expect me to kneel and kiss your feet?”


He chuckled softly, stepping close enough to wrap his arms around her waist and brush his lips lightly over her mouth.


“You’re welcome to kneel, but I have something better for you to kiss.”


“Stop that,” she muttered, shivering as his lips skated over her jaw and down the curve of her neck. Her fingers grabbed the lapels of his jacket. “Dammit, Salvatore, we’re being watched.”


Lifting his head, Salvatore glanced toward the tiny hole drilled above the door. He sent out a flare of power, smiling as he heard the small pop, and a whiff of smoke floated through the air.


“Not anymore.” Mission accomplished, he returned his attention to more important matters. Nibbling the tender skin at the base of her throat, he shuddered at the need that blazed through him. “That scent is driving me mad.”


“Would you…” Whatever she had to say was forgotten as Salvatore bit the tender spot where her neck and shoulder met, allowing his fangs to grow long enough so she could feel his mark. She shuddered, her vanilla scent flooding the room. “God.”



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