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Odd, how d.a.m.n near losing her life a second time had given her that kind of freedom.

With a tug on her silky brunette curls, he led her down the path to Excelsior. "Come on. I've been promised a temporary teaching position...oh ,.

the joy..."


Sheila glanced up as she sensed somebody new entering the school. She knew Cross-distantly.

Her eyes passed over him without much interest before they landed on the woman next to him. She smelled witch, she smelled shifter... A frown briefly marred her face before she turned back to the book she held.

It was a gory, b.l.o.o.d.y mystery.

And it wasn't holding her interest worth a d.a.m.n.

She couldn't stop thinking of Rafe.

The b.a.s.t.a.r.d.

Those wicked black eyes, that clever mouth...she never should have sleptwith him.

That was her first big mistake.

The second was falling in love with him.

But she had done what she could to fix it. She had begged Eli to let her leave...he had agreed. To a vacation.

A vacation wasn't what she wanted but it was a start.

She wanted, desperately, to find some sunny beach, and some s.e.xy surfer boy that she could use to forget Rafe. That is what she would have done, when she had been alive. Back in the eighties...all of twenty years ago.

What had she been thinking, falling in love with Rafe?

Closing her eyes, she turned her face to the wall and let the tears fall.

She needed to get out of Excelsior and find a man. Have an affair-a hot, wild affair. No man could make her forget Rafe, but maybe she could get his smell off of her, and the memory of his touch would fade a little.

Rafe hadn't been able to find Sheila for three days. Not that he had been looking.

But when the sweet scent of plumeria started to fade from Eli's enclave, he knew something was going on.

Stalking into the Master's quarters with h.e.l.l in his eyes probably wasn't the best way to start the day...but then again, for some odd reason, Rafe seemed to be spoiling for a fight all the time lately.

"Where's the little southern belle?" he demanded, flinging himself down onto a long leather couch.

Eli glanced up from his desk just in time to see the leather molding itself to the long, rangy vampire's form. And to see the fire in Rafe's gaze. He couldn't help the smile that filled his eyes, but he did manage to keep it from curling his lips."She's gone away for a while," he said, leaning back and folding his hands across his belly. "Sheila has been rather-unhappy," he mused after a moment. "She petitioned at first to leave, but we decided a vacation might suit."

"To leave?" Rafe growled.

"Yes. A new Master, she thought, a new home, might solve the problem she's been dealing with."

"What problem?" Rafe demanded, shooting to his feet. "She Hunts once a week, takes Erika shopping and acts like a babysitter for the kid. And cooking. Cooking, for crying out loud. What f.u.c.king problem?"

His black hair tumbled into his eyes and he shoved it aside as he started to pace, mumbling and swearing under his breath.

Eli heard every word.

"I believe she is lonely. I suggested she go find a man and get...f.u.c.ked six different ways to Sunday. Well, that was Sarel's phrase. But it suits, I think," Eli said, bracing himself, and reminding himself staunchly that Rafe was a friend, and that killing him wouldn't help Rafe or Sheila's predicament.

Of course, when Rafe leaped over the desk and tore him out of his chair with startling speed, Eli did have to admit, he may have a bit of a fight on his hands. But he hadn't been planning on fighting at all. Throttling down the instinct to battle, he gave Rafe an innocent look and forced a fake bellow, "What the h.e.l.l is your b.l.o.o.d.y problem?"

"You told her to what?" Rafe demanded in a low, deadly whisper.

"f.u.c.k me, she's a lovely, loving young woman. And she's lonely. You don'

t want her anymore, but n.o.body here will give her a d.a.m.n glance for fear of insulting you. She needs a man, so I told her to go find one," Eli said, reaching up and shoving Rafe back.

Rafe went flying, but he took a handful of Eli's silk vest with him.

Glancing down, Eli scowled. "Now that was just uncalled for. Sarel bought that for me," he snapped as he took the tattered remains off and held itup. Even Sheila, with her talented hands couldn't fix this one. If she was around.

"You told her to go find a man," Rafe repeated, his fangs protruding past his upper lip, his black eyes gleaming red in his rage.

"Aye. I did." Eli allowed a tiny smile to appear as he c.o.c.ked his head.

"That really shouldn't be a problem for you...but it looks like it is. Why is that?"

Rafe went completely still as he glared at Eli.

And then he stalked out.

About the author:

They always say to tell a little about yourself! I was born in Kentucky and have been reading avidly since I was six. At twelve, I discovered how much fun it was to write when I took a book that didn't end the way it should have ended, and I rewrote it. I've been writing since then.

About me now... hmm... I've been married since I was 19 to my high school sweetheart and we live in the midwest. Recently I made the plunge and turned to writing full-time and am looking for a part-time job so I can devote more time to my family-two adorable children who are growing wa y too fast, and my husband who doesn't see enough of me...

shiloh welcomes mail from readers. You can write to her c/o Ellora's Cave Publishing at 1337 Commerce Drive, #13, Stow, Ohio 44224.

Also by shiloh Walker: Coming In Last Ellora's Cavemen: Tales From the Temple IV Every Last Fantasy Firewalkers: Dreamer Her Best Friend's Lover Her Wildest Dreams His Christmas Cara Make Me Believe Mythe & Magick Mythe: Vampire Once Upon A Midnight Blue Silk Scarves and Seduction The Dragon's Warrior The Hunters: Delcan and Tori The Hunters: Eli and Sarel The Hunters: Jonathan and Lori Touch of Gypsy Fire Voyeur Whipped Cream and Handcuffs Discover for yourself why readers can't get enough of the multiple award-winning publisher Ellora's Cave. Whether you prefer e-books or paperbacks, be sure to visit EC on the web at for an erotic reading experience that will leave you breathless.