Vampire Metta Blautsauger is known as the family airhead and she works hard to keep up the façade. It’s the perfect cover as she goes from dispensing her own brand of justice as a vigilante to an agent for Orcus, the Nosferatu shadow agency.
Captured, tortured, and left for dead, she is forced to leave both the agency and Lucas O’Cuinn, the mentor she’s grown to love.
For the last century she’s struggled with regret and boredom. Then her life is given new meaning when four mortal ministers ask her help in stopping a human trafficking ring. If Orcus discovers her unsanctioned involvement, they will brand her as a rogue. The penalty is death. It’s only a matter of time before Lucas arrives—stake in hand.
Lucas O’Cuinn has waited ninety-eight years for Metta’s return and he’s run out of patience. It’s time she remembers she belongs to him.
It was him. After a hiatus of ninety-eight years and giving up hope, he now stood a few feet behind her, having apparently appeared out of nowhere. Her heart stalled, she wheezed from shock, and stared into a face she’d never thought to see again.
The wretched witch had been right and her blast from the past had arrived.
The sight of her old field master set off a myriad of emotions, brutally ripping through her defenses. She stumbled through the mental minefield and each misstep sent more explosions surging through her. Hell, she’d rather face Mateo Osvaldo and his entire Toltec army than her former Orcus Master, Lucas O’Cuinn.
One errant thought kept circling back through the jumble. Why couldn’t this meeting have happened when she wasn’t looking like a drowned rat—make that a frozen, drowned rat.
“Metta,” he said her name softly, almost caressingly.
She refused to acknowledge the split second of elation the sight of him gave her. Instead she took refuge in anger as it chased at the heels of joy, clinging to the bitter resentment the long years had taught her. Of course, where he was concerned such conflicted feelings were nothing new. Their relationship had been a constant push-pull series of emotional knots.
In his larger-than-life way, he’d been both her hero and enemy.
Damn him. What was he doing there?
“Lucas O’Cuinn,” any effort to sound tough was ruined by her chattering teeth. She hoped he didn’t see the wave of hurt, guilt, and fear crushing in on her with all the raw energy and destructive force of a collapsing dam.
His eyes flashed when she’d said his name, and the sound of it hung in the air between them. When he finally spoke, however, he sounded maddeningly calm—his nod so genial they might have been nothing more than chance acquaintances passing in the park.
“I go by Luke Quinn now.” He shrugged off her questioning look, “it’s simpler. More in keeping with the times.”
Run, her mind shouted when his gaze narrowed, his expression shifting into one that didn’t bode well for her. But it was too late to flee. The little bit of good sense she had left was extinguished by emotional flood waters, and the rampaging waves ruthlessly obliterated each coherent thought in its path.
Maybe that’s why she suddenly dropped her hands to her sides in a defeated manner. Pure instinct took over when he got within striking range, and she drove her fist into his gut, surprising them both. He grunted as air shot out of his lungs, doubling his body over as he tried to catch his breath.
Her natural predisposition rushed into play, insisting she take advantage of his forward momentum and bent over posture. Almost by rote, she thrust her shoulder into his chest, at the same time grabbing his extended arm. Her knees bent forward as she seamlessly rolled him up and off her hip.
Much like that first time, his feet left the ground, and he went flying.
Her self-congratulatory sneer slackened into shock when he landed on his feet.