Tall, blond, and delicious heading your way.
London blinked at the text message that woke her from a fitful slumber. Only the soft glow from the kitchen illuminated her living room, where she’d crashed on her sofa. Double-checking, she slid her hand between the cushions, finding the comforting, cold metal of her pistol. Sleep didn’t come easy when Donovan and his cadre of Unseelie wanted you dead.
The text message came from Selena, of course. Four in the morning was prime time for vampires. London texted her back. Did he say anything about me?
Since being cursed, all that mattered was getting her life back. Working for Lugh in exchange for the Touch was a major part of that plan. At least it had been up until Lugh went off with a wood elf that knew too much about London’s less-than-brilliant past. She truly regretted her mistakes, but that didn’t buy her forgiveness. The Unseelie death sentence was a case in point.
But London had never met anyone like Lugh. For the first time, she had a slim hope. And after journeying through denial, anger, and stupidity… hope, no matter how thin, was a vast improvement.
Still in the sweatshirt and pants that she’d worn the evening before, London wedged herself up off the sofa. The gun, she transferred to the coffee table and covered with a magazine. Not an extraordinarily complicated hiding place, but easy to access should an Unseelie or a Changeling or any other bad-n-nasty bloke decided to invade her flat. Coffee seemed like a good idea, so she wouldn’t come across as bleary eyed and befuddled when Lugh got there. The coffeemaker just began to brew when the phone played the ringtone for Selena.
London answered, “Too long for a text message? Should I be worried?”
The vampire’s smooth voice glided over London’s senses like silk. “I just spent a very interesting evening with Lugh.” Her sigh practically dripped with satisfaction.
“No details, please. I’ve not even had a cup of coffee yet.” Vampires indulged all their lusts with a relish few other creatures could match. Except the fey, whose reputation for casual sex rivaled even that of the vamps. And among those fey, the Sidhe especially seemed made of equal parts magic and sex appeal. The pairing of a vamp and a Sidhe might seem like rampaging hormones taking their course, if not for the fact that vampires preyed upon the fey. How Lugh and Selena hit it off, London didn’t know, but she certainly didn’t need the sticky blow-by-blow account of the bedroom negotiations.
“London, luv. Promise me that you’ll take precautions.” And London could tell from her tone that Selena wasn’t talking about condoms.
“Why? What’s happened?” The coffee cup slipped from her grasp and banged down on the counter. “What did he say?”
“It wasn’t what he said as much as how he acted. More aggressive than before. Darker.” The vampire laughed, low and seductive. “Not that I didn’t like the rough play.”
“Darker?” Forgetting her coffee, London crossed to her research strewn across her kitchen table and shuffled through it. All her sources agreed that Lugh, the Shining One, was the epitome of Seelie. Worshiped as the Celtic sun god, the man was the personification of light and of the Summer Court. Civilized and chivalrous. Even the accounts of his battles never once described him as the least bit ‘dark’ in nature. That just wasn’t supposed to be in his makeup at all. Then again, how much was myth and how much truly reflected the man he was? But rough? Aggressive? London wouldn’t have thought that of the compassionate Sidhe she’d met just the day before, whose tender Touch had filled her with such light and wonderment. “Maybe you just bring out the beast in him, Selena.”
“Perhaps.” A self-satisfied smile colored her voice. “Just thought you should know.”
“Thanks.” London’s head lifted at the sound of a rap on her door. “I think he’s here. I’ll call you later.”
London left her phone on the dining room table. Even as she approached the door, she rubbed the nervous sweat from her palms onto her hips. With a quick check through her peephole, she verified what she’d assumed. Tall, blond, and delicious was on her threshold. But even knowing he was there, the moment she opened the door to him his presence stole her breath.
At something close to seven feet tall, Lugh loomed over her. Leaning forward with his arms braced against either side of the doorframe, he made for an imposing figure. All of the Sidhe were sexy beyond reason, and Lugh was no exception. Athletic, with the toned body of a swimmer, there wasn’t an ounce of extra padding. The snug cotton shirt and jeans showed off his physique beautifully. His blond hair was stylishly cut, leaving just enough length that he could hide his elven ears if he wanted. He wasn’t hiding them tonight. The direct blue of his eyes struck London with nearly hypnotic force. The deep resonance of his voice captured her completely, “I’ve returned, as I told you I would.”
London froze when he reached for her. His casual affections still startled her. Her breath caught as he stroked over her hair. A small gesture, but one that soothed the edge of her anxiety. Even still, until she knew for certain how he was going to react to the truth of her past, nothing could ever really make it go away.
Only on a second glance did she notice the hint of darkness about him, and not just the choice of clothing, which was all black from the denim jacket to his trainers. A slight smudge of dark circles hinted beneath his eyes, as though he were fatigued. And something on his cheek…
London reached up and brushed it away with her finger.
It was blood.