Raging Fire Kills Co-Founder, Daughter.
Panthera Laboratories in Ruin.
~ Central City Gazette, 1994
Reade Hayes knows better than any vampire that nothing good ever comes out of Central City. So he isn’t surprised the beautiful blonde he meets in a dive bar is crazy. What does surprise him is how fast she moves, how hard she hits, and the fact she’s wearing a ring he last saw two decades ago on the hand of his dead friend.
Is it possible the little girl he swore a blood pact to protect didn’t die in the fire? If the beauty sitting beside him is that pretty little baby, where has she been for twenty years? And why is she so lethal?
On hindsight Lawrie Tyrone realizes drinking vampire blood might not have been the smartest decision. But scientists experiment and if she is going to prove her father was not a traitor, she has to take risks. So far she’s experienced no alarming side effects, well, none other than being able to recognize vampires walking among humans.
From the power he exudes to his gorgeous dark eyes everything about the man to her right screams danger. Every logical thought tells her to kill him. But something in his eyes stops her. Is he using his vampire powers to influence her, or is something else making her heart ache for him?
Can love thrive in the ruins of Central City?
The woman beside Reade huffed. “Assholes.” Her voice muffled into her glass as she tipped her head back, letting the last few drops of her sugary drink roll into her mouth.
He watched her long neck swallow and felt an ache in his gut. He hadn’t fed tonight. In fact, he hadn’t fed in two nights. Without realizing he swallowed along with her.
Despite her incessant babbling, something about her intrigued him. Her scent was familiar, though he was certain he hadn’t encountered her before. The pretty little crazy ones were impossible to forget. They were the ones who sparked his interest.
She banged her mug onto the bar and waved the bartender over. “Mic, I’ll have another.”
The bald man glanced over his shoulder, turning his head so slowly Reade wondered if he’d ever stop. He gave her an almost unnoticeable nod and headed to the blender.
“Make sure you add the liquor this time.” She snickered at the tattooed Neanderthal. “Cheap bastard. Always trying to cheat the customer. Like I need to be jerked around by him, too.”
The bartender shook his head. “You’re the one who ordered the virgin daiquiri.”
“What are you laughing at?” She gave him a sideways glance, her pale blue eyes narrowing to slits. “You laughing at me, too?” She turned to face him, resting one hand on the bar.
Her right hand balled to a fist, and she clenched her jaw.
Reade couldn’t help but smile. She’d said she was pissed. She’d spent the last twenty minutes ranting about why. She’d been very clear about wanting to smash someone. The little thing wanted her fight, and she was willing to have it with anyone.
But a fight was not part of his plan tonight, least of all with a woman.
“I’ve had just about all I’m going to take of being laughed at today. So, unless you want me to move that stupid grin to the back of your head, I suggest you lose it.” She leaned forward, one hand gripping the bar hard enough to turn her fingers white. The other hand curled so tightly her nails had to be cutting into her palms.
The pungent scent of anger perfumed the air. Anger and blood.
Reade shook his head. The poor girl was just aching for a chance to unleash a world of pent-up rage. She was so consumed by her anger she couldn’t possibly be thinking straight.
What woman challenged a man twice her size, a stranger even, and never mind the fact that he was a more lethal predator than she could possibly know?
If she held a gun in her hand, she still stood no chance against him. With vampire speed and the ability to seduce any woman or man he had no worries. He hadn’t lost a fight in years, decades, quite possibly two centuries.
His gaze dropped from her face. With her chest puffed up her boobs stood out nicely. He guessed her size to be a full C cup, if not a D. His mouth watered. What he wouldn’t like to do to her. The possibilities were endless.
“That’s it.” She jumped up from her seat. “You were warned.”
Reade saw the blur of her hand. He even noticed the lion’s head carved in her ring before it made contact with his nose. The fact he was lying flat on his back on the barroom floor was less surprising than the echoing sound of bones crunching under the power of her little fist. His ears rang with that awful noise.
“Ow!” He grabbed his nose, pressing fingers on either side and forcing it back into a straight line. “What the hell are you doing, woman?”