When Darkness Falls


Page 29







She climaxed again, screaming, shaking, clinging to him. And again, and then at last she began to drift down from some exotic plain, and she was thinking that the dream had been good, but the reality, dear Lord, the reality ...


She was still shaking, still feeling. The feel and sense and taste of him seemed imbedded within her. She would never forget, never want anything other, anything different; it was like life, and it was like death, like knowing the real feel of the heat of the sun....


She jerked up suddenly, certain he would be gone.


But he was beside her, dark eyes hard on hers, and he was real enough, stretched beside her, the length of him smooth and powerful and sleek. Dark hair curled on his chest, whorled to a line at his waist, thickened again to a nest at his sex. His legs were long, powerfully muscled, his shoulders as broad as she had always suspected, his midriff as tight...


He leaned on an elbow, watching her.


"What?" he said softly.


"You're here."


"Yes," he murmured dryly. "Yes, I am."


"I did dream of you!" she whispered.


"Did I come up to par?" he queried.


She didn't reply. He was arrogant enough. She saw the scar then, long and white against his neck, shoulder, collarbone.


She traced it. "Old battle scar?" she whispered.


He caught her fingers. "Very old battle scar."


"You were in Desert Storm?"


"What?"


"Desert Storm. The Middle East-"


"No, different battle, different place."


"And you're not going to tell me about it?"


"No, not now."


"But you're not going to disappear?"


He smiled, touched her cheek, smoothed hair from her forehead. "Certainly not now. The cop could get over his cold."


She stiffened suddenly, lowering her head.


He caught her chin, lifting her eyes to his.


"How do you know my cop had a cold?"


He shrugged. "Sometimes I know all I need to know. Sometimes I don't. I can usually feel when-" He broke off, shaking his head. "Tonight..."


"What about tonight?"


"It's quiet in New Orleans."


"Quiet? It's October, rowdy as hell-" It was her turn to break off. She studied him carefully. "You do know who killed people in New York. You're afraid for me, afraid they'll come after me. But you don't think they're here- yet?"


"I don't think they're here-tonight," he corrected.


She touched his cheek, studied his eyes. She barely knew him. Knew nothing about him. She'd been dating a really great cop she had known fairly well.


And she was in bed with him. After the most decadent sex she had ever imagined.


At least I wasn't alone!


She turned away from him, trying to find some rationale for anything that had happened. He sat up, then crawled over her suddenly, pinning her down.


"You're not having second thoughts, are you?" he demanded.


"I don't think I ever had any first thoughts," she told him.


He smiled, pleased.


"I've never known anyone like you," she whispered.


"No, you haven't," he assured her.


"Never anyone ... quite so arrogant," she said.


He laughed softly. "Well, that, I suppose ... But no, you've never known anyone quite like me. Pray you never will," he added softly.


"Are you leaving now?" she asked.


"Not until morning-if I may stay."


"You're asking me?"


"Of course."


"Are you ever going to talk to me?" she asked softly.


She sensed his hesitation. "Of course. I've been talking to you."


"Talking-never really saying the truth."


"I haven't lied to you."


"Promise that you won't?"


"I promise I'll do my best to explain the truth, always."


His face lowered. He kissed her.


She was exhausted. Beyond exhausted. Sated. Drained...


His touch awakened her again. If she was dreaming, imagining, she never wanted to wake up. But he was real.


So real. She could see him, feel him, smell him, touch him, know him.. ..


Later he was curled around her. His arm was about her; she wrapped her hand around his, bringing it to her heart, between her breasts.


A soft sigh of happiness and pure, blissful satiation escaped her.


"This is so insane. I don't really know you at all. Are you a creature of the night?" she whispered.


Was he sleeping already?


Or did he answer her?


Oh, yes, definitely. I am.


I am a creature of the night.


Chapter Nine


The month of October.


It had become bigger business than Christmas.


Terror Town, a Halloween theme park in the middle of New England farmland, had been doing brisk business every season over the past twelve years.


People loved to be scared. It had started out as a Friday and Saturday haunted house on the weekend nearest Halloween. It had taken place with cheap effects inside a single barn. Then there had been the hayride, the "monsters" roaming the pastures and hiding behind the haystacks. The barn had next become a state-of-the-art building with special lighting, fog machines, piped-in music, a sprinkler system approved by the county fire chief, and more . Adult entertainers came in droves; college students vied for the "monster" job openings that now offered a fun income to be made every night in the month of October.


Darcy Granger, twenty-one, a Communications major at Holy Cross, loved her job working at Terror Town. The special effects had gotten really great, with the black lighting, the fog machines, the piped-in music. Her section had the theme "Transylvania Nights." She dressed up in black with fabulous makeup applied by Hollywood experts specially flown in for the month. Her job was to lie in a coffin. She appeared to be an effigy; then she scared people by rising, leaping out upon occasion, and whispering silly things like, "How about a kiss, sweetie?" or "Bite me, babe!" It was fun. People screamed and then laughed. Darcy liked most of the people she worked with. Like her, they were making a few bucks and having a good time. They followed the rules. They jumped out, looked scary, tried to startle people into screaming-but they never tried to give anyone a heart attack.


Except for a few of them.


Like Tony Alexander. He'd gotten really pissed off the other night because a big kid had tried to scare him back. The guy had been an idiot, a real tough guy trying to prove his courage and make jerks out of the people working there. He'd been bad. Tony had been worse, hitting a light switch that darkened the place to pitch-black-and tripping the guy. The guy had turned around and complained. Tony had gotten yelled at-and he'd taken it out on every little kid who had come through the place since. Darcy had said something to him. "Parents shouldn't bring chickenshit little babies through here," was what he had told her. She'd warned him about getting fired. "Hey- I've worked here four years now, Darcy. Don't worry about me." The next night he'd pursued a kid, whispering that he'd kill him the next time the boy fell asleep-or the next time, or the next. The kid had left screaming. Tony had played innocent. Another kid had been fired.


No one had listened to Darcy.


Tony also liked to pitch the place into real darkness and assault his fellow employees-the female ones.


He'd come after her a few times, then apologizing and telling her he'd been groping for the lights. Her sister had told her she could complain and get him fired for real, but Darcy had wanted to deal with it herself. She thought she was mature enough to deal with jerks like Tony. She'd also found out that Tony was a nephew of the owner. It was true-he kept his job because he knew somebody. Most things in life still worked out to one person's word against another. Her word wouldn't mean anything against Tony's.


She really liked working at Terror Town. If she could handle the matter herself, she meant to do so.


Halloween was now approaching, and Terror Town was busy. Before the gates had even opened, people were lined up for what looked like miles. The employees were busy, from the college kids hired to give cheap thrills to the big-money organizers and managers.


Darcy was sitting in one of the makeup trailers when she first saw the newcomer. He had come in behind her, and sat at one of the dressing tables. She had watched him. He was tall and gaunt, but with surprisingly powerful-looking shoulders. His eyes met hers when she spun around at the sound of his entry. She felt a strange unease, but she was, by nature, compassionate, and she figured he might be uncomfortable here, his first night at this. She v/as sure it was his first night. There were lots of kids hired to work this place, but she knew them all, by sight and a smile, at the least.


"Hey, you look scared. Don't be. It's fun. Oh, you get the kids who want to impress their friends and their dates and try to scare you back, but not often. Most people want to have a good time." He smiled. "Don't worry. I intend to have a good time."


"Good."


She turned back to her makeup.


"You like working here?" he asked.


"Sure. It's good money, lots of fun."


"It's fun to scare people, eh?" he teased. The way he said the last, she wondered if he was a Canadian.


She loved the Canadian accent, with its long vowel sound on words like cloud and about. And she liked the little "eh" at the end of his question.


"Well, I don't want to scare anyone into any early grave or a heart attack. Just give them a few little shivers and some good fun."


"Good for you, then. Do you like vampires?"


"Do I like them? In pretend? Of course. They're deliciously scary and sexy, right?"


"You're very sexy," he assured her with a smile, but it was just a friendly smile, and his words were casual. Not like Tony's. She smiled back, then returned to her makeup. When she left her table, heading on toward her building, she touched his shoulder. "Good luck."







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