Assassin Penelope always follows her gut. Left for dead by her traitorous vampire lover and a power-hungry dark lord, she’s spent five centuries hiding in one small cemetery after another. But she cannot ignore a summons from the Council. The order—a sanctioned execution of the dark lord…and her ex-lover.
Sending Penelope to the grave wasn’t the first hard choice Galen made for survival. It was the first he made for someone else’s. Blinded and tortured for allowing her escape, he negotiated for his life, all the while planning for redemption and revenge.
At his villa in the Greek islands, chemistry re-ignites. She suspects he’s hiding part of his plan for destroying the dark lord feeding off the power of grave shifters, but her gut says trust him. Galen’s feelings for the clumsy, foul-mouthed Penelope never fade. But can he earn her forgiveness for what he’s going to do next?
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“You still hum when you like the taste of something.”
His voice jolted her upright, eyes wide. She coughed, almost choking on her first swallow. He sat on the other side of the table, relaxed, a carafe of blood by his elbow. He raised a wineglass to his lips, the thick liquid coating the inside of the glass as he drank.
Slapping her hand against her chest, she reached for her own glass. Almost to her lips, she stopped. After checking to make sure it was indeed full of wine, she took a deep drink to wash down the last of the bread.
The coolness of the liquid did nothing to quell the heat that washed through her. He was shirtless, his smooth skin glistening. Tendrils of hair, still wet from his shower, dripped onto the hard muscles of his chest and arms. Her mouth went dry wanting to lean across the table and lick the drops clean.
Instead, she cleared her throat, reached for a small tomato and took a bite, the gush of sweetness and seeds as her teeth snapped the skin doing little to satisfy her hunger. As he drank, she watched the veins under his skin darken and pulse as his body absorbed the blood. By slow, tiny increments, his skin darkened, regained an almost healthy glow.
“Looks like you’ve gotten a little sun lately,” she mused, sucking a dribble of tomato off her thumb.
His eyes narrowed, tried to sharpen on her mouth, but it must have been more the sound that had his attention.
“Side effect of having one’s eyes burned. Does make passing for human a bit easier though.” He drained his glass and reached for the carafe to refill it. His hand found it unerringly.
“You’re not completely blind, though, are you?”
He nodded, saluting her with the carafe before tipping it to his glass. “Not anymore. It took well over a century for the skin around them to heal. Shortly beyond that, it returned slowly.”
“So how much do you have now?”
“After all my secrets, my dear?”
“Of course. How else I am supposed to avoid your next betrayal?”
He paused at her words, glass almost to his lips. She popped a piece of fish into her mouth, watching him as she chewed. He wasn’t as weakened as he’d first appeared, not with his biceps still cut as she remembered.
He’d haunted her dreams. Despite years, miles, other lovers, she’d yet to burn him from her memory. Or, she feared with some annoyance, her heart. Had she loved him, all those years ago? She’d never thought about it at the time.
He drained the glass in one long swallow and placed it on the table. “Twenty percent, perhaps twenty-five if the light is correct. The regeneration has increased in the past few decades.”
“Vampire healing abilities finally kicking in?” she teased. “Little slow, aren’t they?”
“Lack of blood does that, it would seem.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Really, Galen? Since when do you lack for willing donors?”
His fangs flashed when he smiled. “Hard to find donors when one is locked in a barren catacomb.”
Hatred for Elsbithy fired in her veins. She crossed her arms to stop herself from hitting something. “This would be a good time for you to tell me the whole story. Maybe even your plan as well?”
Galen stood, all fluid grace, and held out a hand. The breeze pressed the thin cotton of his drawstring pants against his body. Like the marble of the patio, the material was white and glowed in the darkness.
And left very little to the imagination. The muscles in her thighs tightened, but the pressure in her core continued to build. He was magnificent, and he knew how to bring her more pleasure in one night than all her other lovers combined. As if sensing her stare, his body stirred.
She shook her head to break the mood. “Your plan?”
“Soon enough. I thought you may enjoy a shower. Now that you’ve sated your hunger.”
One appetite may be filled, but they both knew her other had only grown.