Cassie Donoghue and Verity James’ new book is out today! Read on for excerpts!
An ache developed. Tayla squeezed her thighs together, her body involuntarily responding as she daydreamed.
“Ms. Williams,” a man’s voice pulled her from her thoughts. “Would you care to join us, or would you rather remain in la-la land?”
She opened her eyes and glanced around the table, remembering she was still in class. “Sorry, Professor.” Scott, her crush of the last three years, looked back at her and Tayla blushed as if he just read her naughty thoughts. She glanced down, fiddling with her notes as Professor Olson dismissed the class.
“Tayla,” Olson said as she was placing her notebook in her bag. “May I speak with you before you scurry off?”
She swallowed, but nodded her consent and slipped her satchel on her shoulder. “Is something the matter, Professor?” Tayla asked as she stepped closer.
“You seem distracted,” he noted as he tossed his legal pad on his desk before pulling off his glasses and staring at her. Suddenly the blue of his eyes struck her; she’d never noticed how attractive he was hidden behind those spectacles. His long golden hair was pulled back into a low ponytail and his blue oxford shirt clung nicely to his sinewy build, while his chin was sensuously covered in a trim beard. He was elegantly masculine.
“Oh?” Tayla tried not to think about him, the ten years age difference that laid between them, or the ache her daydreams had created between her thighs. “Just a lot on my mind.”
His voice was deep, baritone, rich, with the smallest linger of an accent. “How’s your studies going?”
“Okay.” She shifted her weight and sighed, no doubt looking annoyed to be there, but it was just the sexual frustration talking.
Professor Olson lifted a brow. “Only okay?” He crossed his arms over his broad chest and Tayla saw the veins ripple in his forearms. Unconsciously, she wet her lips. Olson smirked. “Why don’t you stop by the study group later this evening? That is if you don’t have a Halloween party to attend, or some wild hunt to join with Odin.”
She gave him a look, secretly smiling at his teasing; her focus studies were Norse culture. “I think Wodan can spare me tonight.” Tayla stepped closer, looking at him up through her lashes. Oh god, was she flirting with her professor? Was this what her stupid sex dreams had turned into? “What’s the address?”
“459 Crystal Avenue, Apartment 12C.” Olson softly brushed the back of his index finger down her cheek as he towered over her. “See you there.”
Once she’d pulled herself away from his gaze, Tayla headed for the ladies restroom. She placed her messenger bag on the counter and splashed her face with water, then stared into the mirror. “Oh girl,” she spoke to her ginger-haired reflection. “What have you gotten yourself into?”
Fifteen minutes later, she’d cleaned his wound and he’d downed half a bottle of whiskey. He’d thought maybe the alcohol would dull things, calm him down, but it had only made him burn hotter. His head swam with lust and need, and he set the glass he’d been nursing onto the table before it shattered in his grasp. It was a slow acting poison, all things considered, and Jack thought that was one blessing he’d certainly be grateful for tonight.
Melissa was standing at the sink, washing his blood from her hands, and before he knew what he was doing, he’d moved to stand behind her. She was so close he could hear the life pulsing beneath her skin, the blood rushing through her veins. He inhaled the warm feminine scent of her, his throat suddenly dry with his desperation.
“Mel?” he rasped, and when she turned around, smiling so sweetly at him, he took a step back. He was trying to keep the monster at bay, at least until he could offer her some sort of explanation for what was about to happen, what he needed from her.
“Yeah?” Her brow furrowed and she laid a hand on his chest when he didn’t answer. The heat of her hand practically burned through his shirt, he was so sensitive to everything right now. “Jack? What is it?”
He steadied himself with his hands on her arms, thumbs stroking the oh god, so soft skin beneath her elbows and his jaw clenched. He had to choose his words carefully; he needed her too much tonight to get himself kicked out of her apartment. He needed her to understand. “I need…” Jack shook his head, trying to organize his thoughts. “Look, my job is pretty dangerous.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Obviously.”
His hands tightened on her arms and she flinched but didn’t pull away, her eyes searching his for answers he wasn’t sure he could give her. Jack continued, his voice shaky because the thing inside was starting to fight him and fuck, he didn’t think he could hold onto it much longer.
“Sometimes things happen I can’t explain and tonight, I just need you to trust me.” Jack let go of her arms, turning away so he didn’t have to face her. He’d never asked her for anything but a few hours, and this wasn’t exactly how he wanted to start. “Please, just believe that I don’t want to hurt you and if you fight me…”
He heard her suck in a breath and the quickening pace of her heartbeat raced in his ears. Her scent changed as his words sunk in, want tinged with a little bit of fear made for a heady mix and he was afraid it was going to push him too soon. Too soon. “Just don’t fight it, Melissa,” he managed, heat washing through him until everything shimmered and refocused and he spun around to face her again.
Jack’s lips curled into a feral smile when he saw her, and he admired the defiant tilt of her head belied by the glitter of tears in her eyes. “Don’t fight what, Jack?”
He licked his lips, cocking his head to the side as he raked his eyes over her. “How much you want me,” he answered, a laugh rumbling low in his chest as he crossed back to her. It was his voice ringing in his ears, but it was different and dark and his heart pounded with a thousand new sensations he could feel like pinpricks in his skin. Hypersenses, the small semblance remaining of his rational brain explained. Jack swallowed hard. “Because I know, Melissa. I can smell it on you.”