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Wouldn't you rather stay with me?
She felt his hand touching her face, his mouth skimming down the side of her throat, and dragged in a quick breath. With the way you get your jollies? No, thanks.
Laughter vibrated against her skin. Such astonishing endurance. You simply won't give in. I find myself utterly dazzled by you. A mouth kissed her forehead. How long do you think it will be before you can't hold me off any longer?
Sam thought of Dwyer. How's never? Does never work for you ?
The laughter died away. No, Samantha. I am not like that worm who harassed you. Allow me to prove it.
Another explosion of images filled Sam's head, this time of her and Lucan. She was wearing one of the beautiful long gowns this time, and he held her in his arms and waltzed her around a room.
The movements of her feet bewildered her. I can't dance.
You can do anything that you've dreamed of with me, he promised.
The ballroom blurred into something darker, a bedroom filled with huge, ornate furniture. Sam fell back against an enormous bed. Lucan was on top of her, kissing her, pulling down the bodice of her gown to get at her breast.
It was the feel of velvet on her skin that broke the spell. She looked down at the burgundy velvet gloves he wore, and then everything dissolved into a frantic rush forward, hurtling her through days and nights and months and years, until she was back in the penthouse suite, pinned against the door, with him all over her.
She didn't know how he'd gotten her T-shirt pulled up or her bra undipped, but all the evidence was there, along with his mouth. Lucan lifted his head reluctantly, and Sam heard a phone somewhere ringing. "Put me down."
He lowered her to the carpet, where she shoved her foot back into her shoe. "Tell me about your talent."
"Tell me how you made me hallucinate like that," she countered.
"It's not important." He seized her hand, running his thumb along the scar on her palm. "This is. You use blood. You use it to see murders. Tell me, Samantha."
She didn't want to, until she heard the words coming out of her mouth. "After I was shot, I died for a few minutes on the operating table. It wasn't like it is in the movies. I don't remember anything, no tunnel, no bright light, no dead people welcoming me. It was just dark. A few months later, when I was back on the job, I accidentally put my hand in a puddle of blood from a victim. From the blood touching my scar, I saw some of the very last things that happened to him before he died."
"I see." He looked appalled, and released her hand.
"I've shared; now it's your turn," she told him. "How did you make me see those things in my head? Are you psychic?"
"No." Lucan opened the door and gestured toward the elevator. "You had better go and find your partner."
She wasn't moving a centimeter. "Lucan, if you want me to let you in, it has to go both ways."
"Master." Burke emerged from the elevator. "You're needed downstairs." He was so agitated that he completely ignored Samantha.
She arched a brow. "Master?"
Lucan didn't look at his assistant. "Tell him to wait."
"My lord Rafael said—" Burke halted as he finally noticed Sam. "Detective Brown. My goodness, I thought you had already left."
"Is my partner downstairs?" she asked.
"I'm sorry, but I'm afraid Detective Quinn never returned to the club."
She faced Lucan. "When Harry and I come back, I'd appreciate it if we could go over this one more time. Without the hypnosis."
He started to say something, and then went back to the table where he had left his wine and retrieved it. "I believe that you'll find something more material linking me to the place where you found Montgomery. Something old, like the cross left on Lena. But I tell you now, whatever evidence you find to the contrary, I didn't kill them, Samantha."
How did he know about the cross? "You believe you're being framed for the murders? By who?"
"I don't know." Lucan glanced at her. "But I'm the only one who can help you find out."
"I don't need another partner." Samantha turned on her heel and stalked out.
As tempted as Lucan was to follow her, he had to attend to the seigneur. Then, after Michael was reduced to a suitable state of ineffective rage, he would hunt down Samantha and finish converting the stubborn detective into his lover and willing kyrya.
"How many guards did Cyprien bring?" he asked Burke.
"Twenty, along with his sygkenis. She is as beautiful as they say." His tresora slipped a throat lozenge into his mouth. "The seigneur's seneschal is Phillipe of Navarre, isn't he? I've read about him in our history books. Did he really—"
"Yes. He really did." The odor of wild cherry from Burke's breath was too much like the Darkyn high lord's scent, and immediately put Lucan on edge. "Burke, I trust you know what I expect of you when other Kyn come to have audience with me?"
"I believe I do, master, but you have only to say," Burke said.
"Then shut up and don't speak again until I tell you to do so." He watched Burke open his mouth to reply, close it, and nod. "We make progress. Excellent. Continue in just such a vein, Herbert, and you should live long enough to retire to the old tresori's home."
Michael Cyprien watched a human female walk out of Lucan's private elevator. She did not appear to be one of the courtesans Lucan had provided for their entertainment, but she bore a striking resemblance to another woman whom until that moment he had quite forgotten.
"How much you want to bet Lucan made her that angry?" Alexandra murmured as she watched the woman stride past. She smiled, but all the other woman gave her was a terse nod in return before leaving the club. "And what's your arch-nemesis doing talking to a cop? Is he having trouble with the law now?"
"I wouldn't know." Her question intrigued Michael on several levels. "How do you know that she's a member of the police?"
"She was wearing a shoulder holster and a gun under that jacket, for one thing," Alex said. "For another, her picture was on the front page of the Sun-Sentinel. She's the detective investigating that woman who was murdered a few days ago."
Michael let his hand follow the curve of her spine. "You are a veritable font of interesting facts and observations, ma belle."
"Do not grab my ass in public, Lord of Eternity, or I'll assume that means I can do the same thing to your dick." As his hand stopped to rest against the small of her back, she gave him a guileless smile. "Also, if you're not going to watch television, at least pick up a newspaper once in a while. It'll open up a whole new world for you."
"Why must I, when I have you to do this for me?" He avoided her elbow before she could drive it into his side. "Yes, I know, like any other Frenchman, I am the lazy sexist chauvinist swine. I bow before your shining example, ma belle."
"I'm just going to start arbitrarily slapping your mouth once a day," Alex decided. "It'll save time and probably our future relationship."
"Why, when there are so many other, far more enjoyable things you can do with my mouth?" He enjoyed seeing that he could still fluster her on occasion. "This policewoman, do you recall her name?"
"Something Brown." His sygkenis thought for a moment, and then snapped her fingers. "Samantha, that's it. Samantha Brown."
Michael beckoned to his seneschal. When Phillipe joined them, he said in French, "That human female who just walked out of here is a police detective named Samantha Brown. Alex tells me her photo was in the newspaper today. I want to know what you can learn about her, especially in regard to her family background and her involvement with the suzerain."
"Of course, master." Phillipe nodded toward a dark man who had taken up point position among Lucan's personal guard. "With your permission, may I have a word with my counterpart? He will know why she was here."
Michael knew Rafael from the long and brutal years they had spent as Templars in the Holy Land; they had fought together once during the last of the battles to hold back the Saracens. Had circumstances been different, he would have greeted him directly, but that was not Kyn practice. "Yes. Give him my regards."
Phillipe nodded and went over to speak to the other seneschal.
"Do you want to play with me?" a sexy female voice asked.
Michael looked down to see one of Lucan's prostitutes posing before him. Her augmented breasts nearly spilled out of the low front of her bodice, and she exuded a strong odor of too-sweet perfume and other, less appealing chemicals. The taint of drugs on her breath and skin was echoed in the constricted pupils of her eyes. "No, thank you."
"We can go into Lucan's office." She put a hand on Michael's sleeve and made a caressing motion. "You can do whatever you want to me. Have me any way you like me." She reached up toward Michael's face.
"Uh-uh. Mine." A small, strong hand caught the prostitute's wrist. "That's right. You can look at him, dream about him, even proposition him, but that's all."
The woman's small, glassy eyes shifted to Alexandra. "I'll lick your pussy." She sounded desperate. "He can fuck me from behind while I do."
"What a trooper. You know, you just don't meet that many full-service hookers these days." Alex stepped between the woman and Michael. "Unfortunately, we're kind of old-fashioned when it comes to things like threesomes, so go find someone else to play with, honey."
The prostitute glanced at Michael before flouncing off.
"We're old-fashioned?" Michael murmured as he wrapped his arms around his sygkenis from behind.
"We are now." Alex scanned the room. "I'm getting a very creepy low-watt buzz, lover." Her brows drew together. "Nothing specific, but it's getting stronger. Someone here wants to kill something."