All of Detective Maria Selena’s trials and troubles have paid off as she finally learns the truth about Shadow and his dealings. Unfortunately, fate brings with it more troubles as she must now decide what path to follow. Her choices are stark: allow herself to be lulled into his arms by his sensual touch, or break free of Shadow’s influence and be adrift in the strange world of the paranormal. One deliciously pleasurable night will help her decide.
Normally a cold reception like that would've just given me the chills. This time it just downright confused the hell out of me. It wasn't Night who addressed Shadow as his son, but the other way around. The biggest problem I saw was those two were a hell of a lot different in ages, and Night was definitely the older guy.
"I'm glad you accepted my invitation to my party, but I think you're taking far too many liberties in making yourself at home in my study," Night scolded Shadow.
Shadow's eyes narrowed. "I accepted your invitation only to try to convince you to stop your dealings."
Night laughed and strode a few steps to our left. "Always the caring father, aren't you? Afraid your son will overshadow you?"
"If you don't watch your steps you'll reveal us all to the humans," Shadow snapped.
Night paused and whipped his head around to glare at Shadow. "I'm not the one who left the two bodies by the river for the police force to find."
He glanced behind Shadow and at me. I hid the vial behind me back and glared back at him. "And I also didn't turn one of their own into one of us."
I would've been glad to get out of the way and let these two go at it in a domestic brawl, but the goons behind Night didn't look like they'd let me waltz out. They'd have to be persuaded, but I'd left my sledge hammer in my other dress.
"Those men were sent on your orders to capture the Moonstone," Shadow pointed out.
Night sighed and shook his head. "You always have to blame me, don't you? It's almost as if I'm the only one of us who's grown up."
"If you won't listen then there's nothing more to say. We'll leave right now-" Night held up his hand and pointed a finger at me.
"The girl is an interesting dilemma. Have you forgotten what you taught me about loose ends, Father?" he asked him. Shadow didn't reply. He only glared at the other man. Night grinned and shrugged. "But perhaps she caught your fancy. I can understand that. She is quite pretty. But what will Mother think?"
I frowned. This was a new angle for Shadow I hadn't heard, and I didn't like the thought of hanging around a married guy's bed.
Shadow stiffened. "What she thinks is of no concern to me."
Night clucked his tongue and walked around us to a cabinet against the wall on my left between two bookshelves. The spiral staircase to the balcony was just to his right.
"Don't say such things. It hurts my feelings to be reminded of your separation." Our ‘host' opened the doors and took out some wine glasses and a glass of the stuff. "Besides, I wanted to congratulate you on keeping her alive until her wound healed. It must have taken some doing to send her to the right hospital and have yourself assigned to her care." He placed the glasses on the desk and poured out the wine into each of them. "You must have been ‘conveniently' available, am I right?"
I frowned and glanced at Shadow. "What's he talking about?"
"Nothing of importance," Shadow replied.
Night looked up from the glasses and a crooked smile slid onto his lips. "Is that how you treat your new toys? Keep them at arm's length and hope they don't try to touch your cold heart?"
"You're heart is the only cold organ here," Shadow argued.
"I'm not the one keeping secrets, and you both appear to have some interesting secrets," he commented. His eyes flitted over to me and he jerked his head towards my arms. "Have you asked her why she's holding the vial of ancient vampire blood that's the prize of my collection?"
"You should keep your stuff under better protection," I retorted.
He picked up two of the glasses of wine and chuckled. "I must admit my security is a little lax. No one who knows me would dare break into my home, much less to steal one of my most prized possessions."
"Then I'd like to keep not knowing you and leave," I quipped.
Night held out a glass to Shadow, and he grudgingly took the wine. "I'm afraid that isn't possible. You see, I know you wouldn't have any use for vampire blood, so that means someone had you steal it for them." He walked around the desk and stopped two feet from me to offer me the glass of wine. "I want to know who it is who told you about the vial, and who wants it badly enough to risk you and their identity to get it."
I pushed the glass away from me and shook my head. "Sorry. I don't divulge my sources."
He smiled. "Pity. I had thought about letting you die first, but I'll have to save you for later."
"Killing another werewolf unless in self-defense is against the code," Shadow reminded him.
Night turned to him and chuckled. "The rules are written by the ones who lead, and the last I looked I led quite a few werewolves."
"That doesn't make you a leader. It merely means you control that many," Shadow shot back.
Night shrugged. "I can see we're getting nowhere with this conversation." He looked to his half dozen thugs who stood in front of the door and jerked his head towards Shadow. "Please escort our guest to the basement and treat him accordingly."
They nodded like a pack of robots rather than werewolves and turned to Shadow. The men moved to surround him. Shadow took a step back and flung the contents of his wine glass at their faces.
I was glad I refused my glass when the men in black clutched their faces and screamed in agony. Steam slipped through their fingers and I saw blood run down their chins and onto the floor. Shadow rushed the group and swung punches left and right. Soon the guards didn't have to worry about their pain because they were knocked out cold. I caught a good glimpse of their faces and saw that the flesh had been burned by some sort of acid.
Night turned to Shadow and snarled at him. "Must I get rid of you myself?" he growled.
Shadow took a defensive stance with his fists outstretched like a boxer. "I would be glad if you did," he challenged him.
A crooked smile slid onto Night's face. He threw down the two glasses of wine and slipped behind me. His arm wrapped around mine and pinned them to my sides while his other hand was pressed against my throat. I felt his fingernails lengthen into claws and dig into my skin.
"I think I won't risk it, and I know you won't risk her," Night commented. He leaned down and pressed a kiss against my temple. "She is quite lovely, isn't she?"
Apparently a penchant to underestimate me ran in the family because I jerked my head back and connected with his face. He cried out in pain as I crushed the bones in his nose. Night let go of me and stumbled back. I jumped onto the desk and dove off the other side to land neatly beside Shadow.
Night lowered his hands from his bloody nose and glared at us. He pursed his lips together and emitted a whistle that made me cringe. A dozen pairs of feet pounded down the hall and the door burst open to reveal more guards, and more on the way.
"Kill them!" Night screamed.
The guards stepped over their fallen comrades and made to surround us. Shadow and I backed up towards the cabinet.
"I hope you have a plan to get us out of here," I told him.
"Not quite, but this may help," he replied.
Shadow wrapped his arm around my waist and picked me up off the floor. He spun around and hurried up the spiral staircase with me in tow. I looked down between the rungs and watched the guards swarm the bottom of the stairs with Night behind them closer to the door.
We reached the balcony and Shadow made for the door to the library, but three of the werewolves from below knelt down and sprang up. They performed a ten-foot vertical and landed on the part of the balcony in front of us. Our route was blocked behind and in front of us.
Shadow set me down and pushed me behind him. I glared at him and pushed his arm away.
"If I'm going to die, it's not going to be behind anybody," I snapped at him.
Apparently it wasn't my time to die because a pair of bright lights shone through the windows behind the desk. A second later a red convertible careened through the glass and barreled through the desk. Shards of glass and splintered wood flew in all directions, and most of the guards on the ground floor were put out of commission by the debris. Night himself jumped back against the door and avoided any major injuries.
Quinn sat in the driver's seat and leaned his head back to look at us. "I'm not parking illegal just for the fun of it, Detective, so get down here."