DELANO BOWEN has been a medical doctor for a very long time. More than 170 years, in fact. For much of that time, he’s been searching for a way to reverse the curse foisted on him by a vampress who sought to own him. With the emergence of medical technology, he now also aims to develop a vaccine to protect the vulnerable from predation by rogue vampires. After a century of searching, he thinks he’s found the key to his vaccine – a surviving descendent of the Merzetti family. The Merzettis were virtually hunted to extinction over the years by rogue vampires who feared the anti-vampirism properties in their blood.
A foundling, nurse AINSLEY CRAWFORD has no idea that she carries a genetic gift, and Delano aims to keep it that way. He must keep her close, and ignorant, for he can leave nothing to chance. He manipulates events to ensure her unwitting cooperation. But when Delano’s arch enemy Radak Janecek mounts an all-out assault to destroy Delano and the fruits of his research, Delano is forced to draw Ainsley even closer to protect her. Inevitably, the attraction that has sparked between them from the first flares hot and urgent. Ainsley sees no reason why that attraction shouldn’t be consummated, but Delano knows succumbing to it is not just ill-advised; it could literally be the death of him.
Since anyone can sample the opening of the book, I thought I’d give you Delano and Ainsley’s first kiss. It’s been a long time coming, and Delano has been celibate for many decades.
Her eyes rounded. “You have one, don’t you?”
Delano blinked. “Have one what?”
“You’ve found someone with the anti-vampire blood!”
His heart stopped, then leapt into a hard thudding. “What makes you say that?”
She gestured to a workbench where incubators hummed. “You must think you have at least a possibility or you wouldn’t be doing all this.”
Ah, of course. A logical deduction on her part, not a lapse on his. For a moment there, he feared he’d let the barrier around his thoughts slip. He smiled. “Perhaps,” he conceded.
She angled her head and studied him through narrowed eyes. “More than a perhaps, I think.”
His smile broadened. “Perhaps.”
She smiled back at him, her eyes sparkling with shared mirth. But then, in an instant, everything changed. Their smiles faded and the air between them grew thick.
And his heart suddenly felt as though it housed a hundred birds, all of them frantically beating their wings and clawing.
She said his name on a sweet exhalation of breath, and stepped closer. Desire rolled off her in palpable waves. And God help him, he heard the leap of her heart, the sudden urgency of the blood surging in her veins.
He leaned closer. Sweet Christ, the heat and smell of her! He smelled her arousal, could all but taste the chocolate that lingered in her mouth, the metallic, copperish flavor of her blood….
Her blood. Her potentially deadly blood.
Backpedal. Godammit, Bowen, backpedal for all you’re worth. “Ainsley, I don’t think –”
Whatever he thought, she clearly didn’t want to hear it, because she closed the small remaining distance between them, grabbed the lapels of his lab coat, stretched up and kissed him. In a reflex he could not have stopped for the world, his arms closed around her, drawing her closer.
Ah! Such warmth, so much softness. He could weep with joy just from the sensation of her arms around him. And she tasted just as he imagined she would, like chocolate and heat and dark, dark temptation. Then she tasted him right back, swirling her tongue over his lower lip and into his mouth. The thunder of his own heartbeat almost drowning out the sound of hers, he pulled her closer still.
And she went rigid, pushing against his chest.
Damn, damn, damn. No ignoring that signal. His hands tightened on her waist at the thought of releasing her so soon, but he forced his grip to slacken, letting her pull back.
“I’m sorry. Forgive me.” Did he look as stiff as he sounded? Probably. But casual seemed to be beyond him at the moment. “That shouldn’t have happened.”
“What? Are you kidding?” Her eyes blazed up at him in disbelief. “That’s been coming for weeks. Don’t even pretend otherwise. I just want you to get rid of that thing.”
He might have corrected her – he’d been thinking about this for exactly twelve days – but his mind was distracted by her last comment. “What thing?”
“The gun.” She glanced pointedly at his lab coat pocket. “Could we put it aside, please, just for the next few minutes? I’m sure it’s perfectly safe, but I don’t like them. I’ve seen too many gunshot wounds roll through the OR to be comfortable with firearms.”
He drew the offending Glock from his pocket and placed it on the workbench. “Better?”
“Much better.” She gave him a smile, knowing and sexy and intimate.
His heart kicked up another notch, and it struck him afresh that he was courting disaster. Disaster? Hell, he could be courting death itself. He needed to stop this madness before –
She slid back into his arms and he forgot to think because her mouth was on his again, and oh, merciful God, there was no way he was stopping. Not yet. Not before he absolutely had to. With a groan, he cupped her head, angling her face for better access and also to slow her down. This was all there could be, all he dared allow, this mating of mouths and the agonizing sweetness of bodies brushing together. Oh, precious Jesus, he had to make it last.
He lifted his head, and when she tried to recapture his lips, he restrained her. “Slowly, Ainsley. Slowly.”
Visit Norah’s website: http://norahwilsonwrites.com