John "Hawk" Blackhawk, vampire and private detective, is asked by his friend, Quinn Buchanan, to investigate a woman he has caught attempting to hack into his private computer files. They have to find out who this woman is. Could she be a spy sent to betray the brothers?
Claire Landry is desperate. Twelve months ago, she and her younger sister were attacked by monsters. They turned her into one of them. She escaped, but they took her sister Cassidy to sell as a bloodslave. Since that night, she has searched for Cassidy without any luck. Now at last she has a real lead. She has learned that Ty and Quinn Buchanan rescued a group of bloodslaves, and Cassidy could be one of them.
Determined to find her sister, Claire will let nothing, not even her thirst for Hawk, stop her from rescuing the only family she has left.
He noted the suspicious way she was eyeing him. “Let me ask you a question. Why didn’t you just go to Quinn or Ty Buchanan in the first place and tell them your story? Why try to sneak around and risk getting caught?”
“I wasn’t sure they would help me. I couldn’t take the chance that they might turn me down and throw me out of the casino.”
“That’s what I figured. You don’t really understand a lot about the Buchanans if you really thought that. They want to help. All you had to do was go to them, and they would have done anything they could to find your sister. And that is why I’m helping you now. Once we knew your story, we had to help.”
She studied his face as though seeking for the truth in what he was saying. At last she nodded. “Okay. I guess it’s just hard for me to know who to trust these days. I’ve had kind of a rough year.” She grimaced.
He allowed himself a small smile. “Yeah. So I understand. You seem to have come though okay, though. There aren’t a lot of people who can make it through the change with their sanity intact.”
“I knew I had to help Cass. Without that,” she shook her head, “I honestly don’t know what would have happened to me. This is certainly not what I expected my life to be like. Just learning how to survive as a vampire was hard enough.”
“How did you manage? You said you escaped from the men who changed you, but you had no resources. I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been.” He couldn’t completely contain his curiosity about her.
“I was scared. Really scared. But I was still pretty close to Atlanta. After I got away, I managed to make it back to my home, hiking and hitching rides. As soon as I arrived back at the house, I packed up whatever I thought I might need, grabbed my bankbook and other important papers so I’d have access to my money, and got the hell out of there.”
“You were afraid they’d come looking for you?”
She nodded. “I wasn’t sure if they’d just stumbled on us by accident or if they’d been watching us. I thought it would be safer if I just disappeared for a while. I called the neighbors and told them that a relative of ours had invited us to visit her in California. They agreed to watch the house for me. Then I cleared out, planning on finding somewhere to hole up until I could get some kind of handle on what I’d become. I knew I had to figure out how to survive before I could find Cassidy.”
Hawk felt his admiration for her grow, and with it his attraction to her. “And how did you do that? Figure things out?”
He saw a smile crease her lips. “You know I’m a techno-geek, right?”
“Ahhhh.” Realization struck him. “You started looking online.”
“Of course. Oh, a lot of it was just crap. Wannabees and fantasy writers and some real sicko stuff, let me tell you. Then I stumbled on this blog. It was called Blood Ties by a woman named Anabel St. James. And I just knew.” She rolled her eyes. “Sounds stupid, but I knew she was the real deal just from reading some of her blogs. I emailed her asking her all kinds of questions, and I guess she felt sorry for me and how ignorant I was. We started chatting online. She sent me the link to the NPA website.” She sent him a sideways glance. “I don’t know if you’re aware, but they have a whole section devoted to New Turns who have no one to help them cope with their new lives. It actually was a lot of help. Of course, you have to be registered, which puts you in their database. I wasn’t too crazy about that, but I was feeling pretty lost.”
She licked her lips, and he was careful not to show how much the simple movement affected him. How much he wanted to bend down and lick them himself. To sample their sweetness before sliding his hand across the silky softness of her cheek and burrowing into her hair as he held her still while he took her lips in a hard tasting.
“I can understand that.”
“Wow, I’ve been doing a lot of talking. Are you sure you don’t want something to drink? I think I have a bottle of A positive that I’ve been saving.”
“Sure. I’ll take a glass.” He knew he should probably leave. They would have a long night tomorrow, but he couldn’t resist the urge to find out as much about her as he could. Maybe he would be able to figure out what it was about her that appealed to him so strongly.
“I’ll be right back.” She got up and walked into the kitchen. Hawk sat there, listening to the domestic sounds of Claire rummaging through the kitchen cabinets. It was actually quite a comforting feeling, and he’d almost managed to relax when he heard the splintering noise of glass breaking and a sharp cry of pain.
“Claire!” He jumped up and rushed into the next room to see her standing over the sink, a large gash in her hand thumb oozing blood. He immediately stepped behind her and lifted her hand to examine it. “What the hell happened?”
She managed a trembling smile over her shoulder. “I’m such an idiot. I accidentally broke one of the glasses.” He looked down and saw the broken shards in the sink. He studied the wound and realized she wasn’t seriously injured. Especially not for a vampire.
He turned on the cold water and held her hand beneath it, letting the flow wash away the worst of the blood. The gash was about an inch long and fairly deep. He looked it over carefully to be sure there were no small pieces of glass embedded in the wound. Spotting a dishtowel setting beside the sink, he grabbed it and held it over the gash to absorb the worst of the blood. The tantalizing smell of Claire’s blood taunted him. Knowing he was probably making a mistake, he lifted the dishtowel from her hand and stepped closer. He pressed against her back, letting the heat from her body seep into his. As he reached around her, the back of his hand brushed against her breast, and he heard her gasp at the contact, but she didn’t draw away. Without thought, he grabbed her wrist and twisted it around so that he could see the injury more clearly.
Slowly he lifted her hand to his mouth. He felt Claire stiffen as his tongue stroked across her skin, licking up every drop of her blood, the coagulant in his saliva stopping the bleeding and healing the wound. The taste of her blood sent arousal slamming into him. She relaxed, leaning back against him. He wondered if she could feel his hardened shaft pressing against her buttocks, and then was left in no doubt as she rubbed against him in a tantalizingly sensuous movement. He was surprised but pleased at her response and knew that she’d sealed her own fate. Still he tried to give her a chance to stop things from progressing further.“Claire. This is probably not a good idea.”
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