Redemption (The Penton Vampire Legacy) (8 page)

BOOK: Redemption (The Penton Vampire Legacy)
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Aidan wet his lips. Her breasts were small, high, and firm; her mix of courage and vulnerability was about the sexiest thing he’d ever seen. He wanted his mouth on her. Now.

“Hell, woman, you aren’t making this easy.” Just another kiss. He could kiss her, then enthrall her and walk away. He took the shirt from her and threw it aside, his heart speeding to keep
time with hers as he stretched out beside her again. He gathered her into his arms, his kiss harder than before. Reckless. A fang brushed her lower lip, and his breath grew uneven as he watched the tiny drop of blood form, its sweet perfume enveloping him. Gently, he covered her mouth with his again and groaned as the blood hit his tongue, destroying his last shreds of conscience.

“I want you.” Her fingers found the bottom edge of his sweater and slipped underneath, raking nails up his spine as he moved his mouth to the sweet spot underneath her ear. That did it. He ripped the damned sweater off, and then lowered his lips back to her neck. He bit gently, pulling the skin between his teeth hard enough to feel her pulse speed and bring a soft gasp, but not enough to break skin. He would not drink, damn it, and he wouldn’t—

All thought retreated as her hand slid between their bodies and splayed out on his chest, running the length of his torso down to his hard length, stroking gently till he thought he’d come in his pants like the teenager he hadn’t been in four hundred years.

With a deep, rumbling groan, he edged a knee between her legs, and she rolled to her back to accommodate him, cradling him between her thighs.

“Yes,” she breathed, closing her eyes. He rolled his hips, pressing himself against her, using the rough denim of his jeans for friction.

He pulled back to frame her face in his hands, and her eyes met his.

Holy hell.

A chill ran through him as Krys reached up to plant small kisses against his neck. She sensed his stillness and stopped. “What’s wrong?”

“Look at me,” he whispered, and she raised her eyes to his again. In the center of those deep brown irises, her pupils were dilated, black pools he hadn’t seen in the soft light of the lamp. She might be walking and talking and setting off his freakin’ vampire radar, but she was stoned. It had to be some weird after-effect of the enthrallment, something he’d never encountered.

“What’s wrong?” she repeated, frowning, her voice stronger.

“Krys, I—” What the hell was he supposed to say?
Sorry, I was an asshole who took advantage of you? Sorry, I’m just a predator? Sorry, I got carried away?

He’d have to try to enthrall her again, take her under deep, and hope to God she didn’t remember any of this when she woke. Yeah, chickenshit.

“Look at me again.” He kissed her lightly before catching her gaze and rolling his mind over hers with his full force of will, more than he’d ever used on a human before.

“What...” She frowned briefly before her lashes fluttered and she closed her eyes with a soft sigh, her hands sliding from his back.

He gently extricated himself and lifted the quilt over her, his hands shaking as he pulled his sweater back on. What the hell had he done to her? And what the hell had she done to him?

K
rys stretched and yawned, eyes still closed. She hadn’t slept this well in a long time, so surely it wouldn’t hurt to snuggle under the covers a few more minutes. No one expected her back in Americus, and hotel checkout wasn’t till noon. LaFayette’s hotel was quiet as a graveyard, the only sound the soft whoosh of forced air coming from a heating vent. Surprising, since it was on a state highway that mostly saw local traffic and long-haul truckers.

Consciousness began to stir, and she groaned and began laughing into her pillow. God, the
dream
she’d had. True, Aidan Murphy was one fine-looking man but surely there was some kind of law against having
that
kind of dream about a potential employer.

She rolled over, trying to remember peeling her clothes off and crawling into bed without her usual oversize Emory T-shirt. Wait. Had she even driven back last night?

Her eyes popped open to an unfamiliar lamp on an unfamiliar wooden nightstand in an unfamiliar room. This wasn’t
the shabby little single at the LaFayette Motor Inn. Where was she?

She sat up, heart thudding. Wait—the room did look familiar. Soft lamplight cast shadows on pale gold walls and rich brown carpet in a room with no windows. She’d been sleeping on a king-size, four-poster bed with cotton sheets as soft as feathers. A light quilt stretched over her. She rubbed her temples, straining to remember.

Weird, the dream about Aidan Murphy. They’d been in this room. She had to be losing her freaking mind. What had happened last night?

Krys rubbed her eyes, trying to think. She remembered talking to Aidan and getting ready to leave his office, then nothing. She didn’t remember him taking her back to get her car. She sure didn’t remember coming to this room. Only snatches of the dream.

Had she fainted? Had they taken her to a room somewhere in Penton? That certainly would make the perfect ending to the craziest job interview trip in history. She threw back the quilt and froze, chills racing over her skin not from the cool air but from the small heap of red fabric on the floor next to the bed. The T-shirt she’d been wearing last night in the dream, the one she’d pulled off herself, inviting Aidan to touch her.

Holding her breath, she leaned down and snatched the T-shirt off the floor, lifting it to her face. It smelled of her own floral perfume mixed with an unmistakable trace of the clean, masculine scent Aidan had had in her dream. Krys closed her eyes, heat washing through her as a montage of images flashed across her mind—frantic kisses, silvery blue eyes, her hands in thick, dark hair, his mouth on her...everywhere. She pulled the
quilt tightly around her. It hadn’t been a dream. The son of a bitch had taken advantage of her. Sort of. Maybe.

Except, other images were there, too, igniting her skin.
Did he take advantage of you, or did you practically attack the man?
She remembered pulling his body against hers, kissing him, urging him to take her, ripping off that stupid red T-shirt. She’d practically begged him, except—damn it—she didn’t do stuff like that. She was the one who stayed home on off-rotation nights because she knew she’d never fit in with the other med students or residents. The one whose daddy complex was so screwed up that she’d never enjoyed sex. The one whose idea of a club was a
book
club, for God’s sake.

She wasn’t sexy enough for the likes of Aidan Murphy, and she’d never have done the things she was remembering. She might want to, but she’d never have the guts.

Scalp-crawling tinges of panic overcame Krys for the first time since she’d left home at eighteen, when the bellow of her father’s voice from across the house would bring on the shakes. Her breathing came in short bursts, lack of oxygen making the room spin.
Think, Krys.

One of the first things she’d learned after leaving home was how to relax into the panic. She took in a lungful of air, released it slowly, repeated the process. So what if she’d thrown herself at a man she barely knew and couldn’t quite remember the details? Fainting from hyperventilation wouldn’t help.

What would help was a plan. And a quick trip back to Americus—no way Aidan Murphy would want to hire her now. She could never look him in the eye again.

First, clothes. Nobody could think straight sitting naked in a strange room. She’d get dressed and get out of here, go to the LaFayette motel and get her stuff, and then try to piece together
what had happened once she got the hell out of Penton, assuming that’s where she was.

Krys wrapped the quilt around her like a big, overly padded towel, and looked around the room for her suit—and her purse and briefcase.

And where was her car?

She set aside the alarming idea that the Dinosaur might still be sitting in that Quikmart parking lot. Clothes first.

She spotted the dark brown suit skirt and white blouse thrown across an armchair in the corner of the room. The bedroom alone was the size of her entire apartment in Americus. Not to mention nicer, with better furnishings. Besides the cherry four-poster bed with its carved headboard, there was a matching nightstand, a dresser with a mirror, and two armchairs. There were three cherrywood doors in two of the walls. A flat-screen TV hung over an unlit fireplace filled with gas logs. A sofa, chair, and coffee table faced the fireplace, forming a small sitting area. It looked like the fancy boutique hotel she’d stayed in at her one and only medical conference—when her med school had footed the bill. If Penton had this kind of lodging, why had they stuck her more than ten miles away at the dumpy LaFayette Motor Inn?

Still practicing her deep breathing, Krys spotted her purse on the dresser and her shoes underneath the armchair. She was in business.

Bra. Skirt. Blouse. She felt better with her clothes on, wrinkles and all. She picked the pantyhose up, considering. No, those she’d ripped all by herself. She’d just have to go bare-legged and hope it wasn’t too cold.

The wooden door next to the chair didn’t have a notice on it like hotel rooms were required to post, so this must be a private
guesthouse. She grasped the ornate brass knob and pulled, planning to poke her head out and see if she recognized anything. The door wouldn’t budge. She squatted, looking for a thumb-latch or keycard slot. Weird. She pulled on the door again, but it was solid and heavy. And locked from the outside with a deadbolt, from the looks of it.

Half-panicked, half-annoyed, Krys rattled the knob a few times and then pounded on a door so solid it absorbed her fist-falls.

“Hello? Anyone? I’m locked in here!” She kicked at what looked like some kind of hinged slot in the bottom of the door, but all that earned her was a throbbing, stubbed toe.

“Damn it.” She looked around at the two other doors. Maybe she’d been trying to open one of those adjoining room doors that locked from the other side.

The door on the far side opened into a bathroom, all marble surfaces and antiqued fittings, a walk-in shower and a built-in Jacuzzi in opposite corners. A sharp pain stabbed through Krys’s head and she closed her eyes. She remembered this room, getting undressed, finding the red T-shirt and putting it on. And walking out to find Aidan.

Her image in the mirror looked no different than usual. She ran her fingers through her hair and stopped, frowning. Turning to the side, she studied her neck. Just under her right ear, there was a freakin’ hickey. What was this, high school? Except, the image that came to her as she ran her fingers over the small bruise was no teen flashback. Aidan’s teeth biting, mouth roving over her. God, it really had happened. Dreams didn’t leave love bites.

Everything in the bathroom looked new, even smelled new, with underlying odors of fresh concrete and stone and glue.
Wrapped toiletries occupied a corner of the vanity—toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, lotion.

A sense of unreality settled over Krys as she walked back into the bedroom and opened the third door. A small closet, with clothes hanging in it. Her breath caught when she saw the cream-colored sweater hanging next to her suede jacket. That sweater had been in the hotel room in LaFayette. She slid the hangers to expose the other clothes hanging beside the jacket. She always packed too much, even for an overnight trip. And the evidence was on display right in front of her.

Hands trembling, she jerked the jacket off its hanger and dug in the pocket for her pistol, but she found only a stick of gum. The bright green wrapper teetered on her shaking palm a moment before toppling off. She retrieved it, wrapping her fingers around its familiar shape, a tiny piece of normal. Then she saw her suitcase on the closet floor.

Her suitcase from the hotel. Someone had definitely gone into her room at the LaFayette Motor Inn and brought all her things here, wherever here might be. Who did stuff like that? Kidnappers. But who’d kidnap a doctor from a poor family with over two hundred grand in college debts? Somebody delusional.

Think, Krys.
Phone. She scanned the room again, checking the nightstand and the dresser and the small writing desk. No phone. She grabbed her purse, digging in it, finally dumping the contents on the bed. Fast-food receipts, makeup, pens, and half a Hershey bar wrapped in foil—but no cell phone. Even her iPod was gone.

They’d gone through her purse, too. No point in denial.
They
existed. Had Aidan done this? Halfway seduced her, knocked her out, stolen her stuff, and locked her in? The man obviously
had money—look at the car he drove, the way he dressed, the salary the clinic offered. Why would he do this?

Fighting a prickly, panicky feeling, she returned to the closet and fell to her knees in front of the suitcase, unzipping the front compartment where she kept her laptop. She could tell it was empty from the heft of it, but she looked anyway, opening every compartment, the teeth of the zipper ripping through the oppressive silence. It held nothing but her stupid book of crossword puzzles.

She collapsed onto the floor with a thump and drew her knees to her chest, wrapping her arms around them. A bandage on her left forearm caught her eye. Just a Band-Aid, flesh-colored plastic, right over the cephalic vein.

BOOK: Redemption (The Penton Vampire Legacy)
13.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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