She wanted to be grumpy, but she felt the wonder in his mind of what they shared and she couldn't be mean. She settled her head on his shoulder again and closed her eyes, trying to relax her mind and release her thoughts.
A vision came to her out of the blue, shocking her breathless.
Pain. Terrible pain and weakness. Danger and sorrow. Ripped, rended flesh and blood. Lots of blood. The smell of it was in her nostrils. The smell of death. Death and...wine?
Lissa shook out of the vision with an abrupt jolt as she sat up straight in the bed. Atticus rose beside her, his face clouded with concern. "Oh no!"
"Was that a vision? Is that what you see with your psychic gift?" Atticus wanted to know.
Their minds were still joined, she realized, so he'd seen what she had. Looking up at him, she nodded, biting her lip to keep from crying. He gathered her close and rocked her in his strong arms.
"It's never been so strong before," she whispered. "Never like that. Atticus, did you see?" She trembled, remembering the face she'd seen through the haze of blood and pain. If only she knew what it all meant. The vision was nothing more than a warning of pain and blood to come, but it didn't give her anything solid to go on...except the smell of wine and the lone face in her vision.
"I saw her," Atticus confirmed in a grim tone.
"How can we save her?"
Atticus held her tighter. "I don't know yet, my love, but we will do all in our power to help prevent that," the anger and surety in his tone comforted her, "from happening to your friend. I promise you." About the Author A life-long martial arts enthusiast, Bianca enjoys a number of hobbies and interests that keep her busy and entertained such as playing the guitar, shopping, painting, shopping, skiing, shopping, road trips, and did we say...um...shopping? A bargain hunter through and through, Bianca loves the thrill of the hunt for that excellent price on quality items, though she's hardly a fashionista. She likes nothing better than curling up by the fire with a good book, or better yet, by the computer, writing a good book.
To learn more about Bianca D'Arc, please visit www.biancadarc.com. Send an email to Bianca at or join her Yahoo! group to join in the fun with other readers as well as Bianca at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BiancaDArc Look for these titles by Bianca D'Arc Now Available:
Maiden Flight Border Lair Ladies of the Lair The Ice Dragon Prince of Spies Wings of Change-I Dream of Dragons Vol. 1 FireDrake
Lords of the Were Forever Valentine-Caught by Cupid anthology Sweeter Than Wine
Hara's Legacy Davin's Quest Jaci's Experiment
Rare VintageWhat's a werewolf to do when she finds her soul mate...twice?
Total Eclipse of the Heart 2008 Crystal Jordan
An In the Heat of the Night story.
In a world where all magical creatures are out of the closet, Rachel and Jerrod's bar, Eclipse, is still considered unconventional.
Under the uneasy eye of their werewolf pack elders, Eclipse is the culmination of a dream-neutral territory for weres, vampires, and everything else that goes b.u.mp in the night.
That's not all that's out of the ordinary. Though Rachel has been faithfully mated to Jerrod for five years, she suppresses a lingering longing for multiple partners-both male and female. And when Lena walks into the bar one night, Rachel 's carefully balanced world turns inside out.
Lena senses Rachel is her mate, and nothing will stop her from claiming what's hers. Not even the fact that no werewolf has ever had two mates at the same time. Rachel is terrified, not only of her love for Lena, but also of hurting and losing Jerrod.
His possible reaction is not her only worry. The council could use her transgression to destroy their dream-by closing down Eclipse for good.
Enjoy the following excerpt for Total Eclipse of the Heart: My hand shook as I slid a frosty glass and a bottle of Corona onto a small round table. Unease wound through me, and I didn't know why. The feeling skittered up my back and made my skin crawl. I knew this feeling, but I couldn't place it. Some instinct within me was kicking into high gear and I was drawing a big fat blank as to what I was supposed to be getting. It was d.a.m.ned annoying, and inconvenient. I woke this morning to a lead ball in my stomach, and it had only gotten worse all day. I'd done everything I could to ignore it, to hide it from Jerrod, but it hadn't helped.
"No problem." I tucked my hair behind my ear and flicked another glance around the bar. The place was packed, but that was normal. Everything appeared...normal. So why couldn't I shake this feeling? I rolled my shoulders to try and ease the tension.
Fifteen more minutes and I'd be off for the night. I could drag Jerrod upstairs to our big apartment and let him screw my brains out. I'd wake tomorrow and everything would be fine. It had to be or I was going to go nuts. Rubbing my temple, I tried to massage away a headache that began to form.
"It hurts because you're fighting it."
The woman's voice had a whiskey kick to it, soft and rough at the same time. I spun to face her, needing to see the person attached to that voice. Werewolf definitely, I could smell the wolf on her. She had the smoothest cocoa skin I'd ever seen. Her black hair fell in a riot of curls around her face and emphasized her ebony eyes. They were fathomless, beautiful. They drew me in, and I stepped toward her. Our gazes locked, heated and my heart lurched. All the instincts I'd been suppressing today jumped up to bite me in the ass. Something snapped inside my chest, some deep pull of recognition.
"No," I gasped the word, stumbling back and lifting my tray like it was a shield. Shock roared through me. My heart squeezed, and I couldn't breathe. Oh God. Oh. God.
"Yes." Possession flashed hot in her gaze. "I'm Lena." She stepped forward, reaching for me.
And I wanted her to touch me, stroke me. lust twisted inside me, fire licking my veins. No. I turned and fled for the stockroom.
Jerrod would kill me. How could this happen? Was it even possible? I'd heard of werewolves having two mates in one lifetime before, but after the first mate died, not at the same time. No one would believe this was possible, especially not other werewolves.
But, there was no denying what I felt. It was just like the first time I 'd met Jerrod, the instantaneous kick to the heart and loin.
Everything inside me wanted her. To know her, to love her, to possess her. "Oh God," I breathed. My stomach pitched, and my palms grew slick. Clamping a hand over my mouth, I fought back the need to vomit. What was I going to do? I couldn't lose Jerrod. Infidelity was unheard of among my kind. Matings were for life, forever. Jerrod was my mate, my everything. A soul mate fashioned just for me.
So was Lena.
Stomping down on the inner voice, I leaned against the wall and bent to stick my head between my knees. My heart hammered against my ribs as all the blood rushed to my head. I just needed to breathe, to think clearly.
Being bis.e.xual, I never thought I'd have just one person forever, but life was full of surprises. And Jerrod was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I couldn't f.u.c.k this up. Fisting my fingers in my hair, I pressed on my skull in an attempt to ease the shrieking pain. The need to mate was there, ripping into me with the fierce jaws of the wolf within.
I sucked in a deep breath and pulled Lena's scent to me. Somehow, I already knew it. It was imbedded in my psyche already, just like Jerrod's. Just her smell was enough to make me want, make me wet. The muscles in my thighs locked, shaking with the need to go to her. Tears pressed against my lids. Jerrod. Where was he? I needed his steady strength. But Lena was out there, between me and my mate.
The door to the stockroom swung open and then closed with a solid thunk.
It was her. Lena. I didn't need to look up to know. My instincts cried out in recognition, rioting within me. My nipples tightened, my p.uss.y dampening with the hot need to claim and be claimed. No. Please, no. I dug my nails into my scalp, welcoming the pain.
Anything to distract me from the pulsing want clawing at my flesh.
"Why do you run?"
My mind scrabbled for any excuse to make her leave. "You can't be in here. Staff only."
The heat from her body enveloped me as she stepped closer. I snapped upright, pressing my back against the wall. There was no escape. I couldn't get away. I didn't want to. My breath panted out, logic and instinct warring inside me. I closed my eyes, trying to shut out the inevitable.
"Rachel." Her breath fanned against my ear.
I moaned. The sound of my name in that husky voice made my body ache with lust. "How do you know my name?"
"That's what the men you served called you, isn't it?"
"Yesssss." She flicked her tongue against my neck.
I shuddered, molten heat rolling through me. I was so wet I couldn't stand it. My legs felt too weak to hold me up. I tilted my head back, swallowing hard. My breath bellowed out.
Her hand lifted to cover my breast, tweaking the tight nipple. A soft cry ripped from my throat. I arched into her caress, lust clouding my mind. Nothing mattered right now but the mating ritual, taking what was mine. I needed it-her. Now.
Jerrod's face flashed through my mind. I couldn't do this. I couldn't hurt him that way. I couldn't. Love will redeem them...or d.a.m.n their souls.
The Fallen 2008 Gwen Hayes
As Darkfall gains a foothold in the small coastal town of Serendipity Falls, Bridget, a witch and healer, fights a battle on two fronts. Against the chaos bleeding through the fissures of a cracked portal between realms, and against her attraction to a fallen angel with his own agenda. Talon's dark ways and mysterious magics go against everything she believes in, but he's the only man she's ever loved.
Talon, forever haunted by his fall from grace and his ceaseless desire for the headstrong Bridget, longs for what he can never possess. Though he is no longer her guardian, she tempts him with pleasure he can never touch and emotions he can never reveal.
Caught on opposite sides in a war between good and evil, they struggle against their mutual passion. Then an ancient prophecy points to the one who will break the portal wide open and shift the balance of power: Bridget. She has no choice but to turn to Talon, and the love that will d.a.m.n their souls-or save the world.
Enjoy the following excerpt for The Fallen: "I'm not leaving." Her voice sounded flat and toneless. Defeated. She wished he would go. She regarded the sharp planes of his face. A beautiful face, one that could make a grown woman weep. Perfectly symmetrical features framed by jet-black hair of silk.
She knew his skin would be warm and his breath would be sweet. An angel. One so beautiful it was hard to remember that she hated him. And she did hate him.
"It isn't safe."
He faced her again, and she cursed his features. She would rather look upon his face than the most glorious sunset. He must know the power it yielded over women, over her. It always made his d.a.m.ning words all the more hateful, to come from such an angelic mouth. She blinked away her reverie. "Which is why I stay."
"Poppet, it is unsafe for you most of all."
When he loosened his grip, she realized he still hadn't let go of her arms. All her nerves warred with each other to get to the patch of skin he touched. Why wouldn't he just leave? "What did you say?"
He smiled. A lazy, sardonic grin that made her want to spit nails. "I see, in your eyes, great promise for passion. Sometimes, I wonder what it would cost a man to see you finally soften and yield in his arms. I'm certain it would be worth the price."
He was wearing her down-she steeled herself against his charm. "Why is it most unsafe for me, Talon?"
"Even the demons don't know why they are drawn here. They just know the mystical epicenter is humming and enticing them like flies to honey. Some are gossiping about a prophecy. A Sorceress of Fire cracking the rift open. Some believe that could be you.
Word is, you could be in high demand." He rubbed his hands down her arms. "The Agency can send someone else. You should go into hiding."
"A prophecy? Please. They're only accurate predictions about what could happen if the course doesn't change from its current path. The older the prediction, the less accurate it becomes."
"Demons are very superstitious. They put a lot of faith behind those forecasts."
Since when did he care what demons believed? "The demons would be foolish to attempt going after me, and they all know it. I'll stay and do what needs doing, just as I always do."
"Woman, your powers do not make you infallible."
She clenched her fists with purpose, and a loud rumble of thunder shook the house in answer. "Demons are afraid of me, for good reason. I don't cower and I will not run." She flexed her fingers and lightning lit the sky, casting purple shadows on the walls. He didn't flinch at her display, but instead gazed openly at her lips. They tingled under his gaze, and she unthinkingly wet them with her tongue, struck dumb by the flash of desire he didn't try to hide in his eyes.
The teakettle whistled, breaking their concentration, and thankfully, he dropped her arms. She turned off the stove. "Again, I have to ask. Why the sudden concern?" "I have such few pleasures in life. You're my favorite diversion. I'd hate to see you gone."
She scoffed and poured the water into two mugs. "Talon, your self-indulgence is legendary. I know you find amus.e.m.e.nt at my expense, but I refuse to believe that it is one of only a few pleasures you seek."
"Are you offering an alternative pleasure, poppet?" He fingered the end of her hair.
The air was suddenly heavy around them. She met his gaze, even knowing as she did, it would be a mistake. "I have nothing to offer that you would be interested in."
He smirked as he reached for her hand, bringing it to his lips and gently kissing her knuckles. "You are a beautiful and vibrant woman, Bridget. You offer pleasure of a thousand kinds just by entering a room."
She closed her eyes, her turn now to nurse the wounds caused by their exchange of words. His compliment only served as a reminder of humiliation. His perseverance to sway her would last only until she wavered. And then he would shame her and laugh at her weakness. Again. Some lessons stung.
"Leave," she commanded. "I have no use for your games."
He dropped her hand. "Take heed, please. Let the prophecy rumors die down. Surely your Agency has trouble in every city in America. I'm not asking you to stop saving the world, just do it somewhere else."
"I'm not leaving. But you are."
He muttered a curse and stalked away from her, slamming her front door behind him.
She hated him. She hated the way he sauntered in and out of her life. That he possessed not a shred of honor or valiance. That when he left, she would cry for his soul. She hated that she loved him.
And that he was fallen.