I killed my first man at the age of twelve. I've been killing ever since. I thought it was all I lived for…until Abby. Until the woman I'd kidnapped became the woman I couldn't walk away from.
She owns a piece of me I wouldn't take back, but the rest? The only way to protect her is to hold back the parts inside me that are too ugly to ever reveal. I'll keep her safe, even from me.
And it works. We have the nights, and I hunt my way through the days. Alone.
Until an attack reveals a threat we didn't see coming. One that could take away the dream I didn't realize I had.
Everything. With her.
I'm on the hunt of my life. My prey might run, but in this fight—for her, for us—they don't stand a chance.
The silken sheets caressed her skin, revealing more than they concealed. Too damn much for my peace of mind. I should be out there, on the hunt, but Abby tethered me to her like a fucking chain, refusing to let go. No matter how much safer she was without me.
A gasp escaped her, and she turned on her side, one hand reaching out, searching—for me. “Levi?”
The room was dark, her eyes glazed with sleep. She couldn’t see me in the shadows. It was better that way, but I couldn’t leave her searching. Something inside me, something I both hated and hungered for, held as tightly to her as she did to me.
With a curse I couldn’t quite hold back, I moved to the bed. And felt it the minute she saw me—my body lit up like I’d touched a live wire. Just like it did when prey appeared, every instinct sparking, every sense zeroed in on the body before me. Only I didn’t want to kill this one.
I wanted her life in my hands, not her death.
A smile touched her full lips when my knee settled on the bed. Sheets rustled as she shifted onto her back, tugging me closer with nothing more than her creamy skin and the curve of her mouth. “There you are.” The curve slowly flattened. “You’re dressed.”
Because it’s safer this way. Because I can’t sleep beside you and not let you all the way inside me.
I grabbed my T-shirt at the back of my neck and pulled. “Not for long.”
I stripped as I crawled onto the bed. Crouching over Abby’s body, I let the hunger for her take over, felt it in the tensing of my muscles, the lengthening of my cock, the racing of my heartbeat. A visceral reaction I was addicted to. That’s all it was. She was my drug, and I’d never get enough. Not till it killed me. I just had to make sure it didn’t kill her first.
“You should be asleep, little bird,” I growled down at her.
Her eyes left mine, focused somewhere over my shoulder. Telling me all I needed to know. Another nightmare. Less frequent now, but they’d never go away. I knew that from personal experience.
“I never sleep as well when you’re not beside me.”
Another link clicked onto my chain, choking me with the need to reassure her. I’ll always be here. I need you beside me to sleep at all. I crave your skin against mine until I sometimes think I’ll go insane.
I didn’t say any of it. I couldn’t. The risk was too high.
So I kissed her.
Abby opened to me, a needy flower, defenseless, so fucking innocent even now. I remembered the first time I’d taken her, the first time she’d let me inside, and a groan escaped into her mouth. Her tight fit, the resistance I’d had to force myself through… Just the memory broke me out in a sweat.
I should hate myself for corrupting her. I did hate myself. But it felt more like she’d corrupted me. With her sweetness, her fire. It made me weak when I couldn’t afford to be. But I couldn’t break free either.
Forcing myself back onto my knees, I fisted the sheet and pulled. A slow reveal—nipples, belly, that strip of auburn hair that pointed me straight to the entrance of her body. As if I could ever lose my way. The thought tightened the chain again, choking off my breath.
And then I looked into her eyes. Knowledge glittered there, too much for her own good. Every day it grew; every day she looked at me and that damn knowing was there. She knew my fear, but she never asked for more than I’d already given. Never asked for a commitment. Or if I loved her. As if she knew a yes would damn us both.
For the longest moment I wavered there, on the edge of leaving, fighting the bastard inside me that insisted I stay, the sight of her laid out before me searing my brain. And then Abby shifted, her legs parting, and the scent of her need filled my nose. The balance tipped. An agonized groan rumbled from my brain to my chest and out of my mouth.
I was between her legs before my next heartbeat.
Cream and spice, that was Abby on my tongue. I pressed my mouth to her pussy and pushed deep, seeking out every drop. Filling my senses with her until I knew I was drowning. Her skin was slick velvet against my lips, my tongue, her clit a hard bead against my nose. I licked up, took it into my mouth, and sucked hard, that primal need to nurse, to take my nourishment from her, hitting me like a bullet to the chest. She filled me, sustained me—with her body, her desire, the hungry cries echoing in my ears, the greedy fingers forcing my head closer. Her body and her mouth begged me for more, and I gave it, again and again and again until she exploded beneath my tongue.
I was inside her before the last ripple faded.
“Levi, God, yes!”
My cock was so heavy, so tight inside her hot, wet body. Too much. Not enough. When her seeking hands landed on my chest and slid downward, I knew this would be over before it had a chance to begin, and no way in hell could I allow that.
“No.” Her wrists were fragile in my rough hands, but I forced them back anyway, slamming them to the bed as Abby cried out beneath me. “Look at me, little bird. Now.”
Frantic, pleading hazel eyes snapped to mine. Abby rolled her pelvis, taking me deeper. “Please.”
“Look at me,” I demanded. “Don’t close your eyes.”
I pulled back, the drag of her body around my cock so perfect my eyes threatened to roll back in my head. Leveraging my knees out, I slammed back inside. Abby gasped my name, and I did it again. And again. Those beautiful eyes glazed over, going somewhere deep inside herself where hunger and pleasure roared for satisfaction, taking me with her. Letting me see what no one else had ever seen—Abby, bare, open, completely vulnerable. To me. Alive like no one I’d ever known before, filling and feeding the dead parts of me that I’d long ago given up hope of ever healing. She could; she did. With her body and her honesty.
I’d never met anyone like her before. And I knew it was only a matter of time before I destroyed her.
Without warning her eyes flared, her legs bending to hook around my hips, pulling me closer. She chanted my name, high and desperate, and I angled my hips up, the head of my cock striking that spot deep inside that made her clench around me, so tight I had to force my way back in. And I did.
My name morphed into a scream on her lips as she climaxed around me. Squeezed me tight and sucked every last drop of semen from my willing body.
The relaxing of her muscles beneath mine drew me out of the fog of pleasure a few minutes later. I raised my head from her neck, glanced down. Abby blinked, her expression smoothing out, but not before I caught a glimpse of the emotions there—longing, desperation, pain. My failure, all in one look. But it was how it had to be.
“I have to go.”
Before she could respond, I was up and headed to the bathroom. I cleaned myself up, wiping away the evidence of her pleasure and mine, thankful that with Abby’s birth control, condoms were no longer an issue. I could be skin to skin with her, mark her, smear my semen over her body so that no other man would dare to trespass on my territory. I needed it. The animal inside me needed it, demanded it. With her I could soothe the savage hunger.
But no kids. Ever.
I returned to the bed with a warm washcloth. Abby parted her legs willingly. When she was clean, I leaned down until my nose met her pubic hair, and breathed deep. My Abby. My woman!the animal inside me roared. But the man restricted me to a brief kiss on her sensitive clit before backing away.
Abby’s murmur of disappointment was a knife to the gut.
“I’ll lock up before I leave,” I told her.
She lay, silent, on the bed, legs bent, body gleaming in the faint light from the crack in the curtains, and watched me return the cloth to the bathroom, check the windows, and walk to the door. I’d melted into the shadows before I heard her voice. “What about a kiss goodbye?”
I couldn’t deny her, not when my body screamed for the kiss too. I returned to the bed, let the covers caress her skin once again as I drew them over her. “Sleep, little bird.”
Her kiss was the padlock on the chain that held me to her. I welcomed it in that moment—delved deep to tangle with her tongue, nipped her lips, buried my face in the hollow of her neck and the sweet scent of vanilla and flowers.
“Be safe,” she murmured as I backed away.
And then I was out the door. Every window, every door was checked, secured—I wouldn’t risk anything happening when I wasn’t here. The shadows in the backyard were deep this time of night, but unmoving. Same on either side of the house. When I walked out the front door and set the security system to on, I did so knowing she was safe inside.
So why did my soul scream at me to go back with every step I took away from her?