Dakota Combes has her hands full with the sensual cravings of a certain billionaire werewolf, but she juggles more trouble when a corpse drops into her arms. The corpse brings with it worse news as Dakota and her mate, David, learn that someone tried to cast a curse on him. They are ‘invited’ to an island where the curse was attempted to try to learn the identity of the hexer and stop the fulfillment of the curse. All work and no play isn’t David’s style, though, and in-between mayhem and attempted murder they find time for a little wolfing around, leading to a sensual mix-up of bed-time and panic as the mystery injects itself into their fun.
The day started like any other. With a ring on the doorbell and a dead body at my feet.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t that normal, but that’s how it started. The day after my short initiation into the paranormal world dawned. I woke up in my-er, our bed and stretched my arms over my head. Beside me was the most handsome-and unconscious-werewolf mate I’d ever seen. Not that I’d seen a lot. One was enough for me. David Dives was completely unconscious, and there was a stupid, adorable grin on his lips. The sheets didn’t cover his upper half and showed that nothing else did, either. I myself was clothed in-well, sheets, and a pillow that somehow migrated to my feet.
The bright rays of sunlight behind the thick curtains told me it was past ten in the morning. The clock on the nightstand confirmed it. There was a distinct chill in the air and the dead fireplace told me why.
My stomach gurgled. Time for some munchies before I tried out a werewolf delicacy.
I slipped out of bed and dressed myself in my few changes of clothes. I’d have to ask where the laundromat was around here before David rejoiced in my newest suit, my birthday one.
I tiptoed out of the room and down the stairs. The large house was quiet, but the sunlight through the many windows gave it a cheery atmosphere. I’d just reached the bottom of the stairs when the bell rang. I grasped the banner and leaned forward to look left and right into the adjoining rooms. Puer was nowhere to be found.
I shrugged and walked across the entrance hall to the front doors. There was no peephole, so I opened one of them.
And in slumped a body. A man’s body, to be precise. He was about forty-five with gray streaks in his temples and a complexion that made albinos look like lumps of charcoal. The guy wore an overcoat that covered most of his body, and a faint breath of steam rose from beneath the coat.
I stooped and shook the man. “You okay?” His body was stiff.
I grabbed his wrist where lay a gold watch and froze. The color in my face drained to the same complexion as him.
There was no pulse.
I yelped and dropped his wrist. His arm slapped onto the floor like a wet rag. Hurried footsteps caught my attention, and I turned to see Puer emerge from the left wing. He started and his eyes widened as they fell on the stiff man.
The shock was only momentary, and he rushed forward and knelt beside me. “Help me get him into the great room,” he pleaded.
“I think it’s a little late for that,” I quipped.
“Not quite, but if you would assist me,” he insisted.
I shrugged, and Puer and I both grabbed an arm. The man’s stiff body slid easily across the smooth wood floor to the right-hand wing. The room was wide and stretched to the back of the house. An arrangement of couches and chairs sat at the front, and in the rear was a pool table and some bookcases. On the opposite wall from the double-door entrance and in the center was a mammoth fireplace.
Puer helped me guide the man to the spot between the coffee table and one of the couches, and he dropped his arm. I was happy to follow his example and released the clammy skin. Steam continued to float from beneath the man’s coat, and I noticed his face looked a little sunburned. I leaned down and squinted.
My eyes widened when I saw it was more than just a rash. It was a flat-out burn on his cheeks. Lots of them. Tiny little pockets of burned flesh like chicken pox, but a little more permanent.
Puer hurried from one window to the other closing the thick curtains. Soon the room was enveloped in shadow so dark I could hardly see my hand in front of my face. The guy spread out on the floor in front of me, however, stood out like a groupie at a Christian Revival meeting.
He also opened his eyes.
I yelped and scrambled backwards as the man, dead just moments before, sat up. His whitish eyes swept over the room, but didn’t seem to take in anything around him. He rubbed his burned cheeks and winced when his hands stuck in the holes.
His lips were chapped and his voice was hoarse. “W-where am I?”
Puer knelt beside him and set his hands on the man’s shoulders. The smoke from before no longer floated from his overcoat. “You’re at the residence of Mr. Dives, Lord Basileus.”
The stranger dropped his hand and frowned. “I remember now. I must speak with your master, Puer.” He tried to stand, but his shaky legs buckled beneath him. Puer caught him and leaned the man’s body against his.
Puer steered him onto the couch and stepped back. “Perhaps you should sit here while I go fetch him.”
Basileus leaned back and nodded. “Yes, that would be wise.”
Puer bowed to him. “I’ll return in a moment.” And away her hurried.
The man’s strange-colored eyes fell on me and he raised an eyebrow. “I don’t believe I know your face.”
I gave him a nervous smile and took a step back. “N-no, I don’t believe we’ve met.” I would’ve remembered a face like his, burned holes or not.
The man grasped the arm of the couch with one hand and stood. His ghoulish eyes never left me and his voice took on a stern quality. “Do you know who I am?”
I shook my head. “No, and I’ll be happy to forget the acquaintance if you want me to.”
He used the couch as a crutch as he slowly stalked towards me. Those pale eyes narrowed and I noticed two of his upper teeth peek out from his lip. “Who are you? What’s your business here?”
I held up my hands in front of me and backed up towards the open doors. “I’m nobody. Just a resident inmate-resident! I’m a resident of the house. Just hanging around until-” Until my back hit a hard surface.
I yelped and spun around. I found myself eye-level with a clothed chest that belonged to David. He looked down at me and grinned.
“You’re jumpy this morning,” he teased.
I slipped around him and peeked around his body at the pale guest. The man stood at the end of the couch.
His whitish eyes were still on me as he nodded in my direction. “Who is she?” he asked David.
David chuckled and stepped aside before he gestured to me. “Miss Dakota Combes, allow me to introduce you to Mr. Blake Basileus. Blake, this is Miss Combes, my mate.”
The pale man straightened and raised an eyebrow. “Is she really?”
David shrugged. “So it seems, but what’s more important is what you’re doing not only away from your home but out during the day. I see you’ve got some sun pains for the effort.”
Blake reached up and brushed his fingers against the scorch holes. “This is nothing compared to the trouble brewing on my island.”
David frowned. “What kind of trouble?”
Blake lowered himself onto the couch and gestured to the couch opposite him. “If you would be seated I will tell you what I know.”