That and her scent.
Tabitha wore expensive perfumes that overwhelmed his highly developed senses, while this woman smelled of roses and softness.
Right then Kyrian wanted her with a need so demanding that it momentarily stunned him. It had been centuries since he last craved a woman this way.
Centuries since he had felt anything at all.
Amanda’s face burned as his erection bulged disturbingly against her pelvis. The man might not be dead, but he was certainly stiff. And this had nothing to do with rigor mortis. "Look, buster, I really think you need to find someplace else to rest."
His gaze focused hungrily on her lips and she saw the raw longing in the depths of those midnight eyes. His jaw flexed rigidly as if he were fighting himself.
His masculine power and overt sexuality overwhelmed her.
As she lay there beneath him, she realized just how vulnerable she was to him. And how much she truly wanted a taste of those well-shaped lips.
That thought both scared and excited her.
He blinked and a veil came over his face, disguising his mood from her. He released her.
As he moved away, she saw the blood on her pink sweater. "Oh, my God!" she gasped. "You’re bleeding?"
He took a deep breath as he sat next to her. "The wound will heal."
Amanda couldn’t believe his nonchalant tone. Judging from the amount of blood on her clothes, she would say he was deeply injured and yet he showed no other signs of it. "Where are you hurt?"
He didn’t answer. Instead, he ran his left hand through his tawny hair. He paused to glare at the large silver handcuff on his right wrist, then he started pulling angrily at it.
By the deadly, cold light in his eyes, she could tell the handcuffs bothered him even more than they did her.
Now that he was awake and not on top of her, Amanda was struck by the dark moodiness of his features. There was something very romantic and compelling about his face.
All too easily, she could see him dressed like a Regency rake or medieval knight. His classical features held an indefinable quality that seemed oddly out of place in this modern world.
"Well, well," a disembodied voice said. "The Dark-Hunter is awake."
Amanda recognized the evil voice as the one belonging to whoever had clobbered her at Tabitha’s house.
"Desi, babe," the man beside her said in a chiding tone as he looked about the brown walls. "Still playing your little games, I see. Now why don’t you be a good Daimon and show yourself to me?"
"All in good time, Dark-Hunter, all in good time. You see, I am not like the others who run and cower from the big, bad wolf. I am the big, bad woodsman who executes that wolf."
The disembodied voice gave a dramatic pause. "You and Tabitha Devereaux have been merciless in your pursuit of my brethren and the time has come for you to know fear. By the time I finish with the two of you, you will be begging me to let you die."
The Dark-Hunter lowered his head and laughed. "Desi dearest, I have never begged a day in my life, and the sun will surely splinter before I ever plead for anything from the likes of you."
"Hubris," Desi said. "I so love punishing that crime."
The Dark-Hunter pushed himself to his feet, and Amanda saw the wound in his side. His shirt was slightly torn and blood stained the floor where he had been sitting.
But he didn’t seem to notice the injury.
"Tell me, do you like your handcuffs?" Desi asked. "Those shackles are from the forge of Hephaestus. Only a god or a key fashioned by Hephaestus can open them. And since the gods have abandoned you…"
The Dark-Hunter glanced around the room. The fierce look on his face would have scared the devil himself. "I am so going to enjoy killing you."
Desiderius laughed. "I doubt you’ll get the chance once your little friend learns what you are."
The Dark-Hunter cast a look at her that told her to keep her identity quiet. Not that he needed to. The last thing she would ever do was betray her sister.
"Is that why you chained us together?" the Dark-Hunter asked. "You wanted to watch us fight?"
"Oh no," Desiderius said. "Not my plan at all. If you kill each other, that would be fine by me, but what I intend to do is release you come the dawn. You see, the Dark-Hunter is about to become the hunted and I am going to thoroughly enjoy tracking you down and making you suffer. There is no place you can hide where I won’t find you."
The Dark-Hunter smirked. "You think you’re capable of hunting me?"
"Oh yes. Yes, I do. You see, I know your weakness even better than you do."
"I have no weakness."
Desiderius laughed. "Spoken like a true Dark-Hunter. But all of us have an Achilles’ heel, especially those who serve Artemis. You are no exception."
Amanda swore she could almost hear Desiderius lick his lips in satisfaction. "Your greatest weakness is your nobility. That woman hates you, yet you won’t kill her to be safe. While she tries to kill you, you’ll guard her from me with your life." Desiderius laughed evilly. "You just can’t resist a human in peril, can you?"
"Desi, Desi, Desi," the Dark-Hunter tsked. "What am I going to do with you?"
"Don’t you dare take that flippant tone with me."
"Why ever not?"
"Because I am not some scared little Daimon to run cringing from you. I am your worst nightmare."
The Dark-Hunter scoffed. "Must you resort to cliches? C’mon, Desidisastrous, couldn’t you think of anything more original than that B-movie dialogue staple?"
A furious snarl echoed in the room. "Stop mocking my name."
"Sorry, you’re right. The least I could do is show you respect before I expire you."
"Oh, you won’t expire me, Dark-Hunter. You are the one who will die this time. Have you given thought to how much she’s going to slow you down? Not to mention the existence of her little friends. They will take you down like a pack of wild dogs. And if I were you, I’d pray for that. You have never known the suffering I will inflict upon you when next we meet."
His lips in a tight, firm line, the Dark-Hunter smiled at Desiderius’s threats. "You seriously overestimate your abilities."
"We shall see."
Amanda heard a mike click off.
The Dark-Hunter jerked again at the cuffs. "I am going to kill that horror-movie reject."
"Hey, hey, hey!" she said as he flapped her arm around while trying to free himself. "That arm is attached."
He paused and looked down at her. His gaze softened. "Twins. It never occurred to him. Have you any idea where your sister is?"
"I don’t even know where I am or what time it is. For that matter, I don’t know what’s going on here. Who are you and who is that guy?" Then, she lowered her voice and added, "Can he hear us?"
Kyrian shook his head. "No, the mike channel is closed. For the moment, he’s off plotting his Igoresque revenge. I don’t know about you, but I have this image of him rubbing his hands together and laughing like Dexter from Dexter’s Laboratory."
Kyrian took a minute to study her. She didn’t appear hysterical… yet, and he wanted to keep it that way. Telling her Desiderius was a soul-sucking demon who was after her sister didn’t seem like the best way to accomplish that.
Of course, given her sister’s penchant for vampire-hunting, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise to her, either.
Closing his eyes, he reached into her mind with his and found confirmation of his suspicions. There was a healthy dose of fear in her.
Unlike her sister Tabitha, she wasn’t one to jump to conclusions, but she was curious and angry over their situation. It was possible he could tell her everything without freaking her out, but the Dark-Hunter in him operated on a need-to-know basis.
Right now all she needed to know was the bare minimum. With any luck he would be able to separate them without having to reveal anything more about himself to her.
"I am called Hunter," he said solemnly. "And that guy is a man out to harm your sister."
"Thanks, but that much I already got." Amanda frowned. She should be frightened by all this, but she wasn’t. Her anger over it was too great. Leave it to her to get mixed up in her sister’s crazy life.
In fact, she was glad they had captured her by mistake, since Tabitha would no doubt have pulled some kamikaze stunt and gotten herself killed.
She looked up at the Dark-Hunter and her frown deepened. How did he know about Tabitha? For that matter, how had he been able to tell them apart when even their own mother had trouble at times? "Are you one of my sister’s friends?"
He looked at her blankly, before pulling her to her feet. "No," he said as he patted his chest, hips, rear, and legs.
Amanda tried not to notice just how incredibly toned that body was as her hand was dragged in the wake of his. And when her hand brushed his hard inner thigh, she thought she would moan.
He was built for sex and for speed. Too bad he wasn’t her type. In fact, he was the total antithesis to everything she found desirable in a man.
He cursed. "Of course, he has my phone," he muttered, before leading her to the door.
After trying the knob, he studied the hinges.
When he unbuckled his left boot and toed it off, Amanda arched a brow. "What are you doing? Going for a swim?"
He gave her a cocky smirk before leaning down to pick the boot up off the floor. "Trying to get us out of here. You?"
"I’m trying not to get irritated at you."
Amusement flashed in his eyes, then he returned his attention to the door.
Amanda watched as he pressed one of the silver inlays on the boot heel and a vicious five-inch blade shot out of the toe. He was definitely Tabitha’s type. She wondered if he had throwing stars inside his pockets, too.
"Oooo," she commented dryly. "Very scary."
He gave her an unamused look. "Baby, you ain’t seen scary yet."
Amanda smirked at his Ford Fairlane, tough-guy demeanor and gave a very unfeminine snort.
He ignored her. Using the jagged blade, he tried to pry loose the rusted hinges.
"You’re going to break that blade if you’re not careful," she warned him.
He gave her an arched look. "Nothing on this earth could break this blade." He ground his teeth while hammering the boot with his fist. "Much like nothing on this earth appears able to move this hinge." He tried for several more minutes.
"Damn," he snarled when the hinge refused to budge. He retracted the blade, then bent over to put the boot back on. The back of his coat parted with his movements, gifting her with a nice view of him.
Oh yeah, nice butt.
Amanda’s mouth went dry as he finally straightened to his full six-foot-five-inch height.
Oh my, my, my.
Okay, she took it back, he did have one feature she found irresistible. His height. She’d always been a sucker for any man taller than her. And with this guy, she could easily wear three-inch heels and not offend his male ego.
He towered over her.
And she liked it.
"How do you know my sister?" she asked, trying to keep her thoughts focused on the matter at hand and not on the matter of how much she wanted to taste those lips of his.
"I know her because she keeps getting in my way." He snatched at the cuffs again. "What is it with you humans that you feel this incessant need to delve into things you should leave alone?"
"I don’t delve into…" Her voice trailed off as his words penetrated her mind. "You humans? Why would you say that?"
He didn’t answer.
"Look," she said, holding up her arm to show the handcuff. "I’m stuck with you right now, and I want an answer."
"No you don’t."
That did it. She hated alpha men in the worst sort of way. Those domineering, I’m-the-man-baby-let-me-drive types nauseated her.
"All right, macho babe boy," she said irritably. "I’m not some little ditz to bat my eyelashes at the buff stud in black leather. Don’t try your he-man tactics with me. I’ll have you know, in my office I’m known as the ball-breaker."
Kyrian frowned at her. "Macho babe boy?" he repeated in disbelief.
There had never been a time in his extremely long life that anyone had had the mettle to stand up to him. As a mortal, he had made entire Roman armies flee in stark terror of his approach. Few men had ever dared meet him eye to eye.
As a Dark-Hunter, he made legions of Daimons and Apollites quake in his presence. His name was whispered in awe and with reverence, and this woman had called him…
"Buff stud in black leather," he repeated out loud. "I don’t think I’ve ever been more insulted."
"Then you must have been an only child."
He laughed at that. In truth, he’d once had three younger sisters, but none of them had ever dared insult him.
He swept a look over her. She wasn’t classically beautiful, but there was an exotic quality to her almond-shaped eyes that lent her a fey charm.
Her long, mahogany hair was loose, spilling about her slender shoulders. But it was her blue eyes that were captivating. Warm and intelligent, they were narrowed on him now with malice.