Night Pleasures (Page 4)

Night Pleasures (Dark-Hunter #2)(4)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

A faint blush stained her cheeks, making her eyes a full shade darker. In spite of the danger they were in, he wondered what she would look like after a full night of raw, exhausting sex. He could just see her eyes dark with passion, her hair mussed, her cheeks red from his whiskers, and her lips moist and swollen from his kisses.

The thought made his entire body burn.

Until Kyrian felt the familiar prickling on the back of his neck. "It will be dawn soon."

"How do you know?"

"I just do." He pulled her to the left, then began examining the rust-covered walls for an escape. "Once we’re released, we’ll have to find a way to break out of these cuffs."

"Nice of you to state the obvious." Amanda glanced down his body and saw the jagged wound through the torn material. "You really need to tend that."

"God forbid I should bleed to death, eh?" he asked sardonically. "Then you’d have to cart around my rotting corpse."

She wrinkled her nose in distaste. "Could you be any more morbid? Jeez. Who was your idol growing up? Boris Karloff?"

"Hannibal, actually."

"You’re trying to scare me, aren’t you?" she asked. "Well, it won’t work. I grew up in a house with an angry poltergeist and two sisters who used to conjure demons just to fight them. Buster, I’ve seen it all, and your gallows humor isn’t working on me."

Before he realized what she was doing, she grabbed the bottom of his shirt and lifted it.

Amanda froze at the sight of his bare stomach. It was lean, hard, and flat, and he had a rippling six-pack of abs that any gymnast would envy. But what made her gasp was the multitude of scars covering his flesh.

Worse, she saw the terrible gash in his side that ran along his lowest rib.

"Good Lord, what happened to you?"

He jerked his shirt down and took a step back. "If you mean the scars, it would take me years to account for all of them. If you mean the gash, it came from a thirteen-year-old Apollite I mistook for a child in need of help."

"You walked into a trap?"

He shrugged. "It’s not the first time."

Amanda swallowed as she swept her gaze over him. An aura of danger and death surrounded him. He moved like a sleek, graceful predator, and those eyes…

They seemed to be able to take in more than just his basic surroundings. Those wicked jet eyes held an indescribable ethereal glint to them.

And they stole her breath every time he looked at her.

She’d never seen a blond man with eyes like that. Nor had she seen any man so incredibly handsome. His features were chiseled and perfect.

He oozed an almost unnatural masculine sexuality. She’d seen plenty of men who had tried their best to project what nature had dumped by the truckload onto this man.

"What is a Dark-Hunter?" she asked. "Is it like Buffy the Vampire Slayer?"

He laughed at that. "Yes, I’m a small, emaciated teenage girl who struts around fighting vampires in earrings they would rip out of my ears and shove up my-"

"I know you’re not a girl. But what is a Dark-Hunter?"

He sighed as he led her around the room, looking at the walls as if searching for a secret door. "In short, I execute the things that go bump in the night."

A chill went up her spine at his words, and yet she sensed there was something more than just his simple explanation. He appeared deadly, but not twisted, or even cruel. "Why do you want to kill Desiderius?"

He glanced at her before trying to open the steel door again.

He wrenched the handle so forcefully, she was amazed he didn’t rip the doorknob off. "Because he not only kills humans, he steals their souls."

She tensed at his words. "Can he do that?"

"You said you’ve seen it all," he said in a mocking tone. "You tell me."

Amanda wanted to choke him. Never in her life had she met a more arrogant, or infuriating man.

"Why do I always get sucked into this supernatural mumbo jumbo?" she muttered. "Is it too much to ask that I have one average day?"

"Life is seldom what we want it to be."

She frowned at his words, and at the odd note in his voice.

Kyrian tilted his head, and held his hand up to signal her for silence.

Out of nowhere, the doorknob clicked.

"Knock, knock," Desiderius said. "You have the day to hide. Come nightfall, we hunt."

"Yeah, yeah," Hunter said. "You and your little dog, too."

His blithe tone amazed her. The chilling words had absolutely no effect on him. "You’re not scared of his threats?"

He looked at her dryly. "Chere, the day I fear something like him is the day I lie down at his feet and hand him the knife to cut my heart out. The only fear I have is getting you back to your sister and convincing High Queen Hardhead to leave off this matter until I can locate Desiderius and send his soul into oblivion where it belongs."

In spite of herself and the danger they were in, Amanda laughed at his words. "High Queen Hardhead? You know Tabitha well."

He disregarded her comment as he carefully shielded her with his body, then opened the door slowly. He paused to look around.

Outside the door was a narrow hallway with large, dust-covered windows that showed the dawning sun.

"Damn," Hunter snarled under his breath as he took a step back into the room.

"What?" she asked, her heart skipping a beat in terror. "Is someone out there?"

"No."

"Then let’s go." She started out the door.

He didn’t budge.

Clenching his teeth, he looked down the hallway again and said something in a language she didn’t know.

"What’s the problem?" Amanda asked. "It’s dawn, and no one’s out there. Let’s leave."

He took a deep, aggravated breath. "The problem isn’t the people. The problem is the sun."

"And the problem with that is… ?"

He hesitated for a few heartbeats, then opened his mouth and ran his tongue over his long, pointed canine teeth.

CHAPTER 3

Mr. "Do Me" Gorgeous Man is a vampire!

"Oh no, no, no." Amanda’s entire body shook from terror and it took every piece of self-control she possessed not to launch into a screaming fit. "Are you going to suck my blood?"

He arched a sardonic brow. "Do I look like a lawyer to you?"

She ignored his sarcasm. "Are you going to kill me?"

His face completely unamused, Hunter sighed irritably. "If I intended to kill you, don’t you think you’d already be dead?"

He stepped closer to her and offered her a wry, evil grin she knew was meant to intimidate her. And boy howdy did it work.

He lifted his free hand up to stroke the skin of her neck where her jugular was. The feather-light touch sent chills over her. "Come to think of it, I could just suck you dry, then gnaw your hand off with my fangs and be free."

Her eyes widened in terror.

"But lucky you, I have no intention of doing that, either."

"Don’t be sarcastic, okay?" she breathed, her heart still pounding because she wasn’t sure if he was joking with her or if he really would turn all grisly on her and start feeding off her blood. "I can’t cope with it. Imagine if you were in my shoes. I just went to let Tabitha’s dog out so he wouldn’t mess on her bed. I went from that to being knocked on the head, and chained to a vampire. Excuse me if I’m a little freaky at the moment."

To her amazement, he dropped his hand and backed off. "You’re right. I imagine you’re not used to having people attack you for no apparent reason."

By his tone, she could tell he, on the other hand, was rather experienced at finding himself in the middle of such situations.

He offered her a tight-lipped smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. "If it makes you feel better, I don’t feed on humans."

For some reason, it did make her feel better to hear him say that. Not that she believed it. But still, it was a little reassuring. "So, you’re like Angel?"

He rolled his eyes at her. "You watch way too much television," he muttered. Then louder, he said, "Angel has a soul. I don’t."

"Now you’re back to being scary again."

The look on his face reiterated his earlier words: Baby, you ain’t seen scary yet.

He glanced back out the door. "All right. We’re going to have to run for it before the sun rises any higher."

Hunter gave her a penetrating stare. "The main problem is that I don’t know where that hallway leads. In the event it leads out into the open and I die a particularly agonizing death where I spontaneously combust into flames, I need a favor from you."

"A favor?" she asked in disbelief. The man had one serious set of cojones on him. He bullied her, threatened her, then dared to ask a favor?

"Sure, why not?" she asked.

He took the ring off his right hand and gave it to her. "I need you to take that and find a tree."

Amanda frowned at the ring in her hand. The gold was scuffed and nicked in a number of places as if it had been seriously mistreated. Or rather the hand that bore it had been through a lot of damage.

The top of the ring was made of flat rubies and held the design of a sword of diamonds surrounded by emerald laurel leaves and topped with a sapphire crown. She could tell it was a valuable antique.

Why would he entrust it to her?

Unsure of what to make of him, she placed it in her jeans pocket. "Any tree?" she asked.

"Any tree. Then say the words ‘Artemis, I summon you to human form.’ "

"Artemis-"

He put his hand over her mouth. "For the love of Zeus, only say it once I’m gone. After you utter the words, wait until a very tall, red-haired woman appears and tell her you need protection from Desiderius."

Amanda arched a brow. "You want me to summon a goddess to protect me?"

"If you don’t, he will get you and your sister."

"Why do you care?"

"It’s my job to protect the humans from the Daimons. That’s what a Dark-Hunter does." Though his face was harsh, there was a light in his eyes that told her there was much more to the story than that.

"What are Daimons?" she asked.

"They’re vampires on steroids with a God complex. Now, promise me you’ll do it."

Why not? It was a strange request, but then, considering the fact she was handcuffed to a vampire, who was she to say what was or wasn’t strange? "Okay."

"Good. Now, let’s run for it."

Before she could protest, he grabbed the handcuff over her wrist, and ran out the door to the right and down the hallway.

As they ran along the rusty floor, Amanda realized they were inside an abandoned factory of some sort.

At the end of the hallway were stairs that led down.

Hunter pulled her along after him until they reached the bottom of the stairs that opened into an enormous empty room with a cement floor. The old steel walls were cracked, with rays of the dawning sun streaming through.

The Dark-Hunter fell back into the shadows, away from the sunlight. His face looked a bit sunburned, but overall he didn’t appear too much the worse from their mad dash.

"Now what?" she asked as she tried to catch her breath.

The Dark-Hunter wasn’t even breathing hard. But his gaze was just a little too hot as he stared at her br**sts with interest.

Amanda crossed her arms over her chest.

For the first time, she saw a real smile from him as she realized his hand was dangerously close to her breast. So close, his fingertips brushed the nipple, making fire rip through her veins.

She immediately dropped her hands to her sides while his smile taunted her. Though tight-lipped and devilish, it was still devastating. The amused gleam in his eyes was breathtaking, and his features softened into a boyish charm that could melt the heart of anything female.

He glanced around the empty factory. "Now I wish we either had a cell phone or subway system. I knew I should have taken that open position in New York."

Confused, Amanda looked up at him. "Open position? What? Is hunting really a job?"

"Yes. They even pay me to do it."

"Who pays you?"

Instead of answering, he held up a hand for silence in a gesture that was starting to piss her off-the main reason being because it seemed to herald trouble. And she was tired of finding trouble meant for Tabitha.

Two seconds later, Amanda heard someone walking around outside. Hunter pulled her deeper into the shadows with him while they listened. He had his free arm draped over her shoulders, pinning her to his body.

Amanda went stock-still as her back connected fully with his chest and a wave of misplaced desire tore through her. The heat of him warmed her and that raw, masculine aura of power overwhelmed her. Even more disturbing, his welcoming scent of leather and sandalwood invaded her head.

She wanted this man.

What are you, nuts? The man’s a vampire!

Yeah, but he’s a really , really sexy one.

Kyrian couldn’t breathe with her so close to him. His heightened senses felt her all the way through his entire body. He heard her heartbeat speed up, felt the dryness of her throat, but even worse, he could taste her desire.