Blurb: After an attack that slaughtered his family, vampire Dragan Zajicek walled off his heart and went on a sixteen-hundred-year rampage with the bad boys of history.
Now a rock star of the concert podium and master freelance spy, he’s taken the baton for a small orchestra near Chicago to investigate rumors of a monstrous, undefeatable vampire dubbed the Soul Stealer.
But it’s the lovely, unassuming Raquel “Rocky” Hrbek who mesmerizes him from the first touch of her luscious lips on her flute.
Rocky, a shy shadow scarred by middle school cruelty, is mystified as to why core-meltingly gorgeous Dragan would notice a mouse like her. As his stolen kisses draw her dangerously close to the edge of her carefully constructed comfort zone, he exposes her secret—she’s investigating the monster herself.
As their quest draws them closer together, the monster zeroes in on the woman Dragan’s rebellious heart tells him is his mate. Now they must find a way to destroy the indestructible before Rocky is utterly consumed. And Chicago is bathed in the blood of innocents.
Warning: Contains a master of seduction and symphonies, an awkward and innocent flutist, small-town humor, heart-stopping action, and an exodus to Iowa. Oh, and the cheese balls are ba-a-ack—and deadlier than ever.
Excerpt: “May I accompany you, Ms. Hrbek?”
I jumped and nearly tripped. Zajicek caught my wrist to steady me. His fingers were long and slender but amazingly strong—and fiercely warm. Like iron filings to a magnet, my skin aligned instantly to him. Hot sensation juddered through me, knocking me even more off balance. I scrambled to regain my equilibrium, only to have my feet scud into one of the semi-vertical sidewalk stones. My flute bag slipped off my shoulder and nosedived into the crook of my arm, yanking me sideways. I went down.
Powerful arms wrapped around me and saved me from severe pavement burn. The arms were gentle righting me, and I stood in their comforting embrace a moment to get my breath back. A strong heart beat under my cheek. My palms pressed against warm, crisp cotton. The body under the cotton was a solid, cloth-covered cliff, so unlike my own soft limbs. I shivered.
“Are you all right, Ms. Hrbek?” Zajicek’s deep honeyed tones, tinged with amusement, came from somewhere over my head.
“Huh?” Not the snappiest of rejoinders but I was cheek-to-massive-chest with Dragan Zajicek, the posterboy I’d had the hots for half my life.
He was definitely not pasteboard now. The longer I stood there the more I felt. Every ridge of his taut abdomen, the roped muscles of his long thighs, the poke of his belt buckle; they all became alarmingly three-dimensional. His warm breath stirred my hair. Something else stirred too, at hip level…and silent laughter rippled through him.
My brain churned. The intimate way he held me made no sense, but the laughter, well, my clumsiness had lightened the room on more than one occasion.
Then Zajicek’s long fingers slid under my chin, raising my face. His brilliant eyes were shuttered by slumberous lids. I stared in bemusement as his face expanded in my vision…
His lips found mine.
Warm. Smooth. Exciting. “Some Enchanted Evening” sang through my right brain.
My left brain locked up in utter confusion. A man was kissing me. Zajicek was kissing me. The sum of my kissing experience was a slobbery grandmother and a few rushed awkward sexual encounters. I never really saw what the fuss was about. Until Zajicek.
I always thought kisses were simply the press of lips. His mouth didn’t simply anything. It rubbed, it tasted, it gently teased. Warm, velvety soft, his tongue began to explore.
I stood there in stupefied awe.
Until he murmured against my lips, “How clumsy you are, Ms. Hrbek. How very fortunate I was here to catch you.”
He thought I’d done it on purpose.
I struggled out of his embrace. He was slow letting go, his fingers firm on my arms. With a little tilt of his head, he perused me. Whatever he saw on my face made him release me with an extravagant sigh. “I beg your pardon. Apparently I misread your…desires.”
I flushed, because he hadn’t misread my “desires” at all. Just my intentions. I jerked my flute bag onto my shoulder and started determinedly toward my car, fiercely watching my feet on the uneven sidewalk. “No biggie. What did you want, Maestro?”
Long legs kept graceful pace with me. “Call me Dragan, please. Maestro is so overused.”
His first name? It implied an intimacy I couldn’t afford. “You call me Ms. Hrbek.”
“Yes, but perhaps you would allow me the familiarity of your first name as well?” His tone was coaxing.
I skewed a look at him, immediately returning my attention to the stones, although I was beginning to think Zajicek was more treacherous than my footing. “If you want. After all, you’ll be seeing us weekly for a while.”
“Perhaps you and I will be seeing a great deal more of each other, hmm?”
Yikes. My stomach flipped, my attention disintegrated and the elevated corner of a concrete slab cold-cocked my foot. I tripped and would have fallen again if not for Zajicek’s lightning reflexes. He caught me in his arms, steadying me. Senses reeling, I let him, my forebrain scolding idiot but my lizard brain panting and presenting its tail. Before I could completely self-combust, he brushed a thumb over my cheek and released me.
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