We’re in the home stretch with the “Baobhan Sith Trilogy”, folks–first of four final excerpts from Book Three to finish out the series. (Then I haven’t a clue what I’m going to post–maybe something about cows with mud boogers hanging from their noses since they seem to be popular, eh, Sheri?)
Our intrepid hero and heroine have just done some (spoiler) things, and are now making a quick stop before doing some more (spoiler) things.
And since you know they are crazy-mad for each other, it won’t be long before… well, you know.
And BTW, if you haven’t seen the cover for Book Three yet:
Copyright © 2014 Corey Harper
Corey Harper Books
Duncan pulled the car into a spot in front of one of the taller buildings on the west side of the street, where the SUV could be in the shade. Wisps of afternoon fog were just starting to paint pearl–gray streaks in the blue sky, but had not yet blocked the sun.
Kenzi looked out his window at the store they had parked near. “Women’s athletic clothing?” she said.
“It’s the most practical apparel for our current vigorous lifestyle.”
“That’s logical Duncan talking.”
He took her hand. “I like the way you look in spandex.”
“Oh,” she said, smiling. “Do you really?”
He traced his big thumb across the back of her hand, circling each knuckle. “It makes my blood boil when I see you in it.”
“Wow. Spandex it is, then.” Kenzi tilted her head towards the back seat. “What about them?”
Duncan was careful not to turn and look. “I think they’ll be fine. We’ll keep an ear out in case they change their minds and try to kill each other.”
Duncan lifted the lid on the center console compartment, reached his hand inside. Kenzi saw his fingers tapping a complex rhythm underneath the lip of the compartment, and the entire console compartment clicked and lifted an inch. Duncan pulled it up. Inside was a steel–lined box, filled with cash. Kenzi’s eyes goggled.
“You drive a bank vault around?” she said.
He gave a short chuckle, then looked grim. “Malcolm has no doubt seized as many of my assets as he can find. We don’t have time for me to sort through them. But it’s fine—I’ve stashed currency and gold here and there over the years as a precaution for emergencies.”
“Like buying me clothes.” She leaned over the cash–filled compartment and kissed his cheek.
“That’s emergency number one.” He let his hand trail down her spine, and across the soft curve of her bottom, gave her a soft pat that nevertheless made her jump.
Duncan gathered up what Kenzi thought was an absurd amount of cash just for clothing, and stuffed it into the pocket of his jeans. The two of them got out of the car and kept to the shade as they crossed the sidewalk towards the clothing shop.
It was strange, being among regular humans again. Until that moment, Kenzi hadn’t realized how long it had been—was it in Maine, with Otis and his son, that she had last shared space with mortals?
And certainly it had been prior to her newly–awakened craving to feed on warm, living beings. Crossing the sidewalk, dodging pedestrians going about their day, was more difficult than a child passing a chocolate shop without demanding to go in.
Her nostrils flared without her thinking about it, taking in all that delicious warm blood aroma.
“Steady, little one,” Duncan said. He took her hand and squeezed it. She encircled his first two fingers with her small hand and clung to him, drawing her strength from his seemingly endless willpower.
“You asked me earlier if I’d mind giving up being… what we are,” she whispered to him. “More than ever, I want this craving to stop. I can’t stand it!”
“We’ll do whatever we need to do to get there,” he promised her, leading her into the clothing boutique.
Once inside the quiet shop, Kenzi relaxed a little. Only one other female patron was browsing the racks of clothing, and the twenty–something sales clerk sat on a chair behind the counter, reading on her phone. Though both humans smelled yummy, it was less overwhelming than the dozens of people she’d scented outside the shop.
Then Kenzi noticed something as Duncan closed the door behind them: both women came to attention like someone had clapped their hands. The clerk looked up from her reading, and the other shopper froze with a sports bra in her hand. Both women locked their eyes on Duncan.
Kenzi realized she had never seen him among human females, and had never pondered the effect he might have on them. The looks the women were giving him were far more intense than a female might normally give a handsome, muscular man.
Kenzi turned partly away from the women and murmured, “They’re staring at you.”
Duncan looked at her, then around the shop. “Oh. Right. That happens.” He lowered his voice. “It’s a male sith pheromone thing. Makes being a predator that much easier.”
Kenzi could hear the women’s pulses speeding up, see their pupils dilating. Her nostrils flared, and this time not from the scent of blood.
“Umm, we should probably do this quickly, and go,” Kenzi said, sliding her arm through his and pulling herself close to him.
He put his hand atop hers. “You don’t need to rush, sweetness. It will take James awhile to arrive with his delivery. Take your time.”
Oh yeah, right. With another look at the two women, who were all but drooling as they eyed Duncan, Kenzi went to the first rack she came to and started pulling hangers off, tossing the clothing items over her arm. She went to a second rack and did the same.
The clerk stood from behind the counter and came towards them. Her eyes stayed on Duncan the entire time, even when she stood in front of them and asked, “How may I help you today?”
“You may—” Even when Kenzi spoke, the woman didn’t pull her eyes from Duncan, who was looking absently at the array of athletic wear, seemingly unaware of the attention he was receiving. Kenzi stood directly in front of Duncan, between his towering bulk and the salivating clerk.
“Yes, you may help,” Kenzi said, shoving the armload of clothing at the girl. “I’d like to try these on.”
“What?” the clerk said, pulling her eyes from Duncan with obvious reluctance, to more or less focus on Kenzi. “Oh, yes, of course, ma’am. I’ll take these to the fitting room.” Her gaze drifted back to Duncan, and she moved a step closer to him, her chest rising as she breathed him in. “Will there be anything else, sir? I mean, ma’am?”
Ma’am? Kenzi looked younger than even this little slip of a thing. And certainly a lot meaner, if the trollop kept eyeing Duncan the way she was.
Now the other patron came over. “I could use some help, too,” she said, talking to the clerk but looking at Duncan.
This was getting ridiculous. Neither the clerk nor the other customer had even noticed that Kenzi was barefoot, and clad only in a man’s shirt with a belt around the waist. It was Sebastopol, after all, but still. In another minute the two harpies would be crawling all over him, and Kenzi didn’t trust herself not to flick one or both of them across the little shop. And Duncan was apparently oblivious to the whole thing as he looked at a rack of yoga pants. He pulled out two pair, one in royal purple, the other emerald green.
“Like your eyes,” he smiled as he handed the green ones to her.
She checked the tag—the sweet man had handed her size six—switched them for the same colors in her size, faced back towards Duncan. She’d turned her back for ten seconds, and the two overheated women had moved even closer to him. And he was looking at tops now, still unaware that he was the center of attention. She had to get him away from them before someone ended up bloody.
“Duncan, will you help me?” Kenzi said, taking the armload of clothing back from the clerk, who had made no move towards the fitting room.
“Of course, sweetness,” he said, plucking the bundle from her.
In his massive arms, her selection of garb looked tiny, an observation not lost on the other two women either.
“That’s okay,” Kenzi said to the clerk. “He’ll help me.”
“Are you sure?” the clerk said, turning a little sidelong to Duncan and— Good heavens, was she thrusting her rear towards him?
Kenzi grabbed Duncan’s hand. “Yes, it’s fine. Why don’t you help this nice woman here?”
“I’d rather help you,” the clerk said, not even pretending to look at Kenzi this time.
Okay, that was enough! Kenzi knew Duncan’s feelings on the matter, but desperate times. “You help this woman,” Kenzi said, the music of the Binding creeping into her voice. “Now. Be off with you.”
The girl shifted her gaze to Kenzi, who had tried to keep the darkness from tinting her eyes. She didn’t think she’d been entirely successful, because the clerk shrank back a little as her eyes widened. But still she didn’t move from Duncan’s right side, and the other woman flanked his left side.
Criminy! What kind of spell was Duncan casting here, that even her Binding couldn’t punch through?
He had frowned down at her when he heard the melody in her voice.
Don’t you dare look at me like that! Don’t you see what you’re doing to these women?
I… Oh. No, hadn’t noticed. Sorry, my darling. Hang on…
Duncan smiled at the two women on either side of him. “Ladies,” he said. “I am going to assist the love of my life with her fitting. You,” to the clerk, “help her,” the customer, “now.”
Both women came to attention like he’d slapped them, and with looks that reeked of disappointment, but still held hope, the clerk led the other woman to racks at the far end of the store.
“I apologize again, my sweet,” Duncan said to her, taking her hand in his free one. “I haven’t been around human females in some time.”
“I thought they were going to rape you!”
He laughed, a full male sound from deep in his belly that made Kenzi and the two women turn towards him. “Not a chance, darling. I only have nose for you,” he said, flaring his nostrils and breathing her in. “If anyone is to be taken advantage of here, it will be you.”
She held his gaze with her own, her emerald eyes sparkling. A moment longer, then she dropped her eyes. “I dare you,” she whispered.
His eyes went from that startling azure to midnight in an instant. He pulled her hand, towing her towards the rear of the shop.
His hand was so hot in hers that she thought she would light ablaze. Every cell in her body began tingling. What was he going to do?
Yes, actually, I do like teasing you all (just in case you were wondering).
But don’t worry, there’s more to come (and yes, that will be spelled both ways).
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