Dark Need
Page 14

 Lynn Viehl

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Permitting her refusal and allowing her to walk out had been a terrible waste.
If he'd had a shred of wit left in his skull, he'd go out, track down Samantha Brown, and drag her back here. Why had he let her go, when he could have her under him right now? She was nothing to him. No, he should have kept her, and laid her out on his desk, and fucked her until he had purged himself of this needling, infuriating desire.
"My lord."
Lucan strode out into the front room, where Rafael stood with yet another file. He had ordered his seneschal to discover everything he could about Detective Brown, and it had taken him a damnably long time. "What have you learned?"
He opened the file. "Lena Caprell was drowned in freshwater at an unknown location, and then transported and left on the bus stop bench across from the club. The cross was found around her neck, which bore ligature marks."
"He used it to kill her."
"It would seem so, my lord. I have also retrieved the information you requested on the detective. Samantha Brown is thirty-one years old, unmarried, childless, and dwells alone in an apartment two miles from here. She has worked for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department for twelve years." Rafael gave him a brief outline of Samantha's turbulent career.
Despite the lust maddening him, Lucan felt a twinge of pity for the human female. Small wonder her eyes look as if someone has been taking bites out of her soul. "What of her family?"
"At age three, Detective Brown was abandoned by her unmarried mother, now deceased, taken into state custody, and raised in a foster-care facility known as a group home until the age of eighteen." Rafael looked up. "There are no indications of contact with any other relatives. She lists her partner, Harold Quinn, as her beneficiary on her insurance policy."
He doubted the old man with the breathing problem was anything more than a colleague. "What of her current lovers?"
"Our man in the department says no," his seneschal said. "Popular opinion has it that Detective Brown is a lesbian."
Could that be the reason for her resistance to him? Lucan had never had a woman under the influence of l'attrait defy him as Samantha had. "I want to know who has bedded her. Everyone who has been between her legs."
Rafael inclined his head. "May I make a suggestion, my lord?"
"Why not?" Lucan rubbed the back of his neck.
"Retrieve the cross and terminate the detective."
He stared, thinking his seneschal was making a poor joke, but Rafael's expression appeared completely serious. "Now why would I wish to kill her?"
"Our man indicated that she is tenacious, defiant, and unrelenting. From what little you told me, I assume she demonstrated some resistance to l'attrait." The file closed, and Rafael set it on a side table. "If this woman has some immunity to the Darkyn, she may cause a great deal of trouble for us, my lord. For you especially if she manipulates your… attraction to her."
There were rare individual humans who did not respond to l'attrait, the Darkyn's primary means to lure and control humans. Resistant humans also tended to build up a tolerance to l'attrait with each successive exposure, so in time she would become immune to it. Often such tolerance was a genetic trait, passed from parent to child. The Kyn valued such humans, and recruited them and their families to serve as tresori.
Detective Brown could not be made his human servant, but that did not entirely exclude her from serving him. In centuries past, the Darkyn would take humans who proved resistant to l'attrait as kyryas, the household lovers.
There, that is how I will do it.
"She would be of more value as a kyrya than a corpse." Lucan didn't kill the innocent; nor would he waste such a woman on the fear of what she might discover about the Darkyn. "Forget about the cross; it is a counterfeit. Instruct Burke to conduct an extensive background investigation on the detective. Find something with which I can convince her to work for us."
"I will see to it at once." Rafael's black brows arched. "Do you really believe that you can bring a strong-willed woman like that under your control?"
"I foresee very little difficulty." Lucan remembered how, despite the fact that he had barely touched her, she had made his glove damp. "What is the address of her apartment?"
Chapter 7
Too impatient to endure Burke's careful driving or continual nasal evacuations, Lucan took one of his cars to Samantha Brown's apartment complex. Most Darkyn disliked operating vehicles of any sort, and a few still kept horses for their personal use where possible, but Lucan enjoyed the technology of this new era. No nag on the planet could cross two miles in less than a minute, but his black Ferrari devoured the road.
He parked the car in a shadowy section of the lot, and looked up at Samantha's building. Cheaply built, narrow, and joyless, it had neither aesthetic or practical appeal. There was no elevator; one had to traverse a narrow zigzag of stairs to access the upper-level apartments. He found it puzzling that so reticent a woman chose to live in a dormitory of humans rather than her own home.
"Where are you?" he murmured as he mounted the steps. Some helpful soul had posted numbers next to the doorways of each apartment; from the series it would seem his future kyrya lived on the third floor.
Lucan found apartment 303 at the very top of the stairs, but a number of strong locks prevented his entry. He looked out at the back of the building, and saw a ridiculously tiny balcony that promised easier access. He swung out over the short wall blocking the stairwell and jumped the eight feet to grab the wrought-iron balcony rails and hoist himself over.
Lucan turned to deal with the glass door to the apartment, but it had been left ajar. Just inside, not six feet away from him, lay Detective Brown, asleep in a reclining chair. Silently he stepped over the threshold and sniffed the air. Another female had been here recently, but at the moment Samantha was alone.
Alone, asleep, and all his.
It bothered him to see her like this. He turned and closed the glass door, perversely annoyed with her for leaving it open. Did she think herself invulnerable to intruders? Her weapon lay on the minuscule dining table; had a villain entered he would be on top of her before she could reach it.
"I am a villain," he murmured, amused by his own anger and protective feelings. He certainly wouldn't mind climbing on top of her, either.
With deliberate steps he walked past her to see the rest of this, her home. She seemed to favor strictly functional furnishings in drab colors and posters of mountains and waterfalls instead of inspired art. Her bedroom was hardly more than a nun's cell, with its too-small bed and walls of bookcases. Dust coated her television, and her kitchen appeared to be used for two things: making coffee and reheating it.
He turned around, taking in everything that was not there. "You live here as if you never live here."
It was perplexing. Samantha Brown was a female, and yet there was nothing feminine at all to be found in the surroundings. Not even a single flower—or the photo of a flower—anywhere. Frances, an avid gardener, would have loathed such a colorless place.
Lucan slipped into the bath, which was the most intimate and telling room in a woman's home. Samantha Brown's was almost empty. She possessed no cosmetics or perfumes, and her toiletries encompassed, like her furniture, only the necessities. A single scented candle sat on the edge of the tub, and when he lifted it to his nose he smelled cinnamon. Frances had despised strong and piquant scents, which she claimed were vulgar and assaulted the nose.
"Who are you?" Lucan murmured as he replaced the candle and looked around the stark room.
A search through her dresser revealed no silken lingerie or negligees; Samantha preferred simple, serviceable underthings. The thought of that magnificent body being clad in nothing more than plain white cotton and the scent of soap oddly stirred him, and he walked back out to where the human female slept.
She lived as if she might be forced to walk out and leave this all behind her with but a moment's notice—exactly as he did.
Lucan knelt down by the chair to have a better look at Samantha's face. Her straight, dark hair fanned one cheek, contrasting sharply with her fine skin. Nothing enhanced her curling lashes or delicate lips; her skin had a faint bloom of sun but smelled dusky, as if she bathed in the night. She was not beautiful or girlish or even pretty, and yet her features were more mysterious and enticing than Frances's open, guileless countenance had ever been.
He leaned over to breathe in her scent, which was as rich and unexpected as the cinnamon in her bath. Samantha might dress herself to avoid notice, and live like a nun, but she smelled of the green, earthy depths of the Amazon, where dangerous things roamed the dark hours.
The woman was a complete mystery.
Alone by choice, in this place that could barely be called a home. Was she more than she appeared to be? Did she long for a companion who understood that loneliness, as he did?
A pulse point ticked in the slim column of her throat, and he couldn't resist pressing his mouth there for a moment, touching his tongue to the strong throb. Her blood flow was strong, like her body. Despite having fed well not an hour past, he felt his fangs ache for her. He had not taken the pleasure of biting her when she had come to question him, and he wanted his teeth in her, to feel her flesh yield to him.
Lucan lifted his head and heard her soft sigh as she shifted in her chair, turning toward him, baring her throat like an invitation. It took most of his will not to climb atop her and have her right there.
"Are you like me?" he whispered. "Better to be lonely than unloved, reviled?"
"Lucan," she muttered.
He smiled. She slept, but on some level she was aware of his presence, and that gave him a certain amount of influence over her. He couldn't enter dreams, the way Thierry Durand did, but while she slumbered, she was more susceptible to l'attrait. He could begin the process of coaxing her away from this dismal life of hers.
He stroked his velvet-covered fingertips along the side of her neck. "You are young, and strong, and healthy. You belong in the arms of a lover who understands you. I think I may do, Samantha."