He’s not the only one who likes to bite.
Vampires and werewolves don’t date, but Brock doesn’t care. He’s done everything he can to ignore Arianna. She’s arrogant. Gorgeous. Bossy. Intelligent. Add in a deadly side and he’s smitten. Even a warning from Lord Augustus, the ruler of Vampires–and her father–can’t quell his hunger for her.
When a deadly threat forces Brock and Arianna into hiding, they give in to the simmering passion that’s been brewing since they met. Alas, danger catches up to them, and a kidnapping leads to a daring rescue that exposes their affair.
Can their love survive the prohibition between their kind?
More than a decade ago…
London’s weather matched Brock’s mood. Cold, wet, miserable, and gray.
Not usually one prone to melancholy, Brock hadn’t been his usual cheerful self since the military discharged him. Actually, that whole disaffected feeling started in the prison where he got turned into a werewolf.
It wasn’t as exciting as it sounded. For one, he couldn’t tell anyone. He knew how that would end. Either with him in a cage being poked and forced to run in mazes or with a bullet to the head.
Neither sounded like any fun.READ MORE
He’d been told by his creator—a man he and his buddies had nicknamed Scarecrow on account he was a shell of himself—to A) tell no one, B) find a Pack to join, and C) don’t knock up any chicks. He’d already mastered A. As for C, the first woman who winked at him when he got out of the military had him testing his equipment—with a condom, of course. To his relief, everything worked as expected, and as an added bonus, he saw an increase in stamina that the string of ladies after approved of.
Don’t judge. He’d almost died. A man was allowed to comfort himself. As to those who would say he should have been leery, Scarecrow had said not to impregnate, implying sex was okay.
Back to B, the whole “join a Pack” thing. That hadn’t gone so well.
Turned out it wasn’t that hard to sniff out a local pack. The first thing Brock did in a new city was go exploring until his nose found a werewolf. Given they didn’t seem to have as keen a sense of smell as Brock, he usually had to go up to them and introduce himself.
“Hey, can you help a brother out? I’m looking for a Pack to join.”
That statement led to him being taken to the leader, whom they called Alpha.
Said leader took one look at Brock and was like, “Not happening, buddy.” When asked why, they always said, “Ain’t room for two alphas in the pack.” Didn’t matter how many times Brock said he had no interest in leading a Pack, no one would take a chance on him.
He might have managed to beg a spot in Quinn’s—one of two military brothers changed with him—new Pack, but given his troubles, he didn’t want to fuck up his friend’s shot at a normal-ish life. Hence why Brock left North America, not ready to give up. Eventually he’d find a place that felt like home.
He doubted it would be London. A few days here, wandering in the crowds, and he’d not picked up a single Lycan scent. Not one. It was almost unheard of. Surely a place as big and old as London had a Pack?
He noticed he’d picked up a shadow about two blocks from the clock tower. A good one, too, since he couldn’t seem to catch a glimpse of them in any of the storefront windows. Probably a mugger. This time of night, a tourist-looking guy like him would make a ripe target.
He shoved his hands into his pockets and whistled. Might as well. The noise of London made it impossible to filter sound into anything worth identifying. The city never got fully quiet. He kind of liked it. The quiet was when his brain got too loud.
The mugger held off as Brock slid into an alley well before the clock tower situated on the corner of The Palace of Westminster. Restoration on the clock had just finished, and it had been opened to the public again. The UK public. Only residents could visit during the day.
The crafty went at night.
Brock waited for the shadow to enter the alley and uttered an annoyed, “Can you hurry up? I’ve got an appointment to keep.”
The person possessed a tall lanky grace, his pale skin appearing as if he never went out in the day. He had a slight beard on his square chin. Dressed in a suit, he didn’t resemble any muggers Brock had ever encountered.
And he smelled—
A sensitive sniffer, Brock grimaced. “Jeezus, man, did you bathe in a vat of cologne? You know you’re only supposed to dab.”
“Stop talking.” The voice tried to sound stern, and the eyes got an angry crinkle.
Brock sighed. “I thought London had some of the wiliest muggers in the world. You are really disappointing me.”
“Would you shut up and put your hands out to the side?”
“Like this?” he asked, spreading them, looking like a welcoming victim.
“About time. I just wanted a snack before dealing with—” The mumbling man neared, and Brock’s hand shot out, grabbing him by the throat.
“I told you, I have an appointment to keep, so consider this a warning. Go back to mommy or daddy’s house. Get online and find a real job. Maybe one that will teach you to be less useless because mugging is not your thing.”
Wide eyes stared. The mouth gaped. The fellow didn’t struggle, but he did whisper, “You’re not supposed to be here.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Brock asked, trying not to sneeze at the strong perfume.
“I’m going to tell.”
“A tattletale too? Can’t say as I’m surprised.” Brock lost the battle and sneezed. While he did his best to cover his mouth with the crook of his free arm, the mugger still whined.
“Ew. That’s disgusting.”
“Blame your eau de what da fuck. Take some advice and ditch the cologne.” He thrust the mugger from him, who ogled him for only a second before running. Fast little fucker.
Brock went on his way, having studied maps beforehand so he knew where to go. The Palace holding Big Ben also doubled as the House of Commons, and it was through a utility door held open by a janitor— whom he’d bribed after discovering him online in a forum offering after-hour tours—that he entered and made his way from the Commons section to the clock tower.
To his surprise, the hairs on his nape lifted as he trod the empty halls, using the route recommended by the janitor, who knew where the cameras sat and which ones his buddy placed on a loop to facilitate their side trade. A glance over his shoulder showed no one shadowing, and yet he couldn’t rid himself of the nagging sense he wasn’t alone.
Wishful thinking? After all, Brock had felt isolated most of his life. His birth family, while well meaning, were highbrow scholars who didn’t understand a guy like Brock who preferred to work with hands. He didn’t mind getting dirty and dared to join the army, making his bum brother, the poet who lived in the basement, the better son. He’d not had contact with them in years. The military was his family once he left home. The men he served with became his true brothers. Alas, due to his captivity, he only had two brothers left: Quinn who’d joined a Pack in Canada, and Gunner, who was going through an existential crisis.
It took the keycard Brock borrowed, along with some actual keys, to get inside Big Ben and climb the three hundred some steps to the top. Once there, he marveled at the inner workings of the clock. Kind of cool.
As he was about to explore further, a soft but very feminine voice stopped him dead.
“You’re trespassing.” A glance showed a woman, her shapely figure wearing all black, which included a hood, sitting high up on a beam.
“As are you.” He offered her a smile.
Her leap had his eyes widening as she barely bent her knees as she landed and strode for him, a sashaying curvy figure that literally took his breath. A glance within her deep cowl showed she wore a fabric mask that covered her from the nose down.
“I have every right to be here. You don’t. Your kind are forbidden in London.”
“Since when are American tourists banned?” he asked in confusion, and not just because of her words. Her scent… He couldn’t place it beyond the light lily body mist she’d used.
“Stop playing dumb, puppy. You are breaking the treaty prohibiting unregistered Lycans in our territory.”
The word Lycan widened his eyes. “How do you know what I am? And what are you?” Because her unique aroma indicated something other than human or wolf. If he were to explain it to someone, her bouquet reminded him of a finely aged wine. Something to be savored.
“You don’t know?” She cocked her head. “Did no one warn you to stay away?”
“I’m kind of new to the wolf thing and having a hard time finding a place to settle in.”
“Have you not met any others of your kind?”
“Yes. That is, I’ve talked to a few dudes in charge of wolf Packs, and we weren’t a good fit. Which is annoying ‘cause I’m not looking for anything complicated. I just want a place I can work on cars in peace.” He babbled for no other reason than she kept staring.
The longest, thickest lashes blinked at him. “Who was your maker?”
“We called him Scarecrow. He’s dead,” Brock quickly added. “He didn’t manage to escape unscathed from the prison we were in. Which is where he was forced to bite us, by the way.”
Her turn to widen her eyes, the only thing visible given the hood also draped over most of her face. “Were you not chosen by a Pack alpha?”
“Nope, bitten in a filthy prison with terrible food. Do not recommend.” He grimaced.
“How long ago?”
“Coming up on two years.”
She strayed closer. “A lone wolf and you’ve survived this long. Fascinating.”
“What are you?” he boldly asked, given she oozed danger. Yet he didn’t see a single weapon on her.
“I am none of your business, puppy.”
“A little bit old to be called pup, ma’am.” He inflected the latter.
“Actually, the title is lady.”
“In the presence of royalty. I am honored.” He sketched a mock bow.
She pursed her lips. “I’ve never tasted your kind before. Rumor has it werewolf are foul.”
Being a man in his sexual prime, the word “tasted” went right to his groin. It led to him being a little crass. “Feel free to give me a blowjob if you’re curious. If it helps, I bathed this afternoon.”
She recoiled. “You would insult me and call me a whore?”
“You’re the one talking about tasting. I’m just offering.”
“What if I wanted to bite you elsewhere?” she purred, coming closer.
“Sounds kinky. I like it. But I should warn you, I don’t know what will happen if I bite back.”
“Nothing because our species are not compatible.”
He eyed her. “Looks like we’d fit together just fine if you ask me.”
“I didn’t. Come here.” She crooked a finger, and he closed the gap between them, surprised to find he towered over her by several inches. She had such presence.
“Kiss me,” she ordered.
“Gonna take off your mask?” he asked.
“Why not? It’s not as if you’ll remember.” She tugged it down, revealing a beautiful face, pale and smooth but for the scar. The ridged rope of it snaked its way from her jawline across her nose.
“Well, hello there, beautiful,” he breathed.
“You only think that because you’re enthralled.”
“Fucking right I am.” The woman drew him on a level he’d never experienced.
She sighed. “Kiss me.”
He grabbed her and did as she commanded, pressing his lips to hers. They were cooler than expected, and yet that didn’t stop the sensual shiver that coursed through him.
She opened her mouth, and their tongues twined. Sharper-than-expected canines dragged over his tongue, and he shuddered. Those lips then dragged down his jaw to his neck, sucking the skin. He barely felt the pinch when she bit him, but he felt each sucking tug as if she had her lips on his dick.
He throbbed. Almost whimpered, and when she finally let go, he just about collapsed.
“Wow, that was fucking intense.” Being a man who believed in giving as much as receiving, he dropped to his knees, his hands on her hips.
She sounded surprised as she gasped, “What are you doing?”
“You tasted me. Now I’m tasting you.” His hands tugged down the leather that clung to her curves, revealing pale skin and only a thin patch of hair on her mound, dark like that on her head.
He kept tugging her pants until he could bend her knees enough to get his face between those alabaster thighs. At his first lick, she stiffened, only to soften as he teased her, tasted her, reveled in the flavor of this woman who was more than just a woman.
Who knew a lady would taste so… Not sweet, that was for the ordinary. The honey of this beauty was complex. Intoxicating.
When she came, hitching and crying out, her sex clenched the fingers fucking her, her honey a slick gush. He was completely ready to make her his.
He stood, a hand on his belt buckle to see her looking startled. Her full lips parted. “You should go now.”
“Or you could get over here and come a second time.” He crooked a finger as his other hand undid his pants and pulled free his hard cock.
She looked at it, then him, then shook her head. “This was a bad idea, puppy. You’ll forget we ever met. You will leave London tonight and never return.” She tugged up her pants and replaced her face mask while he stood there slightly dazed, her commands ringing in his head.
He struggled even after she left, a part of him demanding he go, but a bigger part of him wanted to stay. The lady—who never did give him a name—might not be a wolf, but she sure was interesting for a vampire.
Bite on his neck. Came out at night. Had his mind all messed up. She fit the bill. And he wanted to see her again.
Which was why when a request arrived out of the blue from somebody called Rick with the Cabal that governed Lycans, asking him if he’d like a job working for the Vampires led by Lord Augustus, he said yes. Came face to mask with the lady from the clock tower, name of Arianna, only she acted as if they’d never met.
Pretended she hadn’t come on his tongue.
And being a man with too much pride, he faked it right back.
Until he couldn’t do it anymore.
A decade later in a garage in London, a few days after Brock’s friend, Quinn, left for Romania…
It took hours of work and a full jug of cleanser to restore the leather seats in the sportster. An added expense Brock wouldn’t be paid for. Then again, the monster blood spilled all over Lady Arianna’s car kind of was his fault.
In his defense, when they decapitated the attacking creature, they had no idea it would choose to croak and spill its blood all over the buttery leather. He’d had no idea why it attacked, or even what the fuck it was supposed to be. Although he did have to wonder if it tied into Quinn’s secret mission. After all, the attack occurred during his old friend’s visit.
Worse, Lady Arianna arrived while the gore still gleamed fresh. In good news, she didn’t order his death. She was good at ignoring things. She still had yet to mention their moment in Big Ben. More than ten years and counting.
In the beginning, Brock thought it a reflection on his oral skills, only to realize she was just stuck up and arrogant. She thought Brock—whom she always called puppy—beneath her vampire, I’m-such-a-princess ass.
Her loss. He’d consoled himself with other women since. He really hated that none of them could compare. It might explain his dry spell. Five years, or was it going on six? He didn’t really remember.
His lack of interest in the opposite sex explained why he spent more time than was normal in his garage, fixing cars. The sportster in particular got an uneven share of his attention. If asked, he would have blamed it on the demanding Lady Arianna, constantly showing up to harass him. And when she didn’t, he would text and send her pics and questions until she did. He’d miss that now that the job was over. Or would she find him another car to restore? This was, after all, their fourth project together.
The monster blood had been painstakingly cleaned. The leather shone. The carpets were like new. Ready for the princess to sit her sexy, tight ass. Ten years, and he still got a flutter in the chest thinking of her.
Attraction should have been easy to fight. She showed him nothing but disdain. Tell that to his dick every time she came around. Must be some kind of vampy pheromone thing. Perhaps a drug in her nectar that made him moon over her, no better than a dog waiting for attention from its mistress. A mistress he was in tune with to an annoying degree.
Take now, for instance. He knew the moment she entered the building, although he always pretended he had no clue. He didn’t want her knowing the effect she had on him.
“Hello, puppy. Have you fixed my car yet? Or have you inconsiderately killed another beast inside it?”
He didn’t turn to look as he rubbed a rag on her hood to remove a single speck of dust. “Hey, princess, thought I smelled something spoiled.” He’d long ago stopped calling her lady. And while she had to know princess was a jab, she accepted it.
“Surprised you smell anything at all given you’ve been out in the rain. Wet dogs really shouldn’t be allowed inside.” The derision in her tone should have roused his annoyance, but her rapier wit oddly enthralled.
“Is this your way of saying you’re sorry you missed me showering?” He grinned at her over his shoulder as he slicked back his still damp hair.
“You just want someone to blame for the hair clogging the drain,” was her dry reply.
“Are you saying if I shaved, you’d change your mind?”
“Did you run out of batteries for your inflatable doll?” She hadn’t missed a beat when of late he’d been getting a little more risqué with his taunts.
He burst out laughing. “Damn it all. I knew I should have paid extra and gotten the rechargeable version.”
“It’s been a money saver with my vibrator.”
Too late she saw how she walked into it, and he dove. “Any time you need the real thing, just let me know.” He winked. With her mask, he couldn’t see her facial reply. Did she blush?
Doubtful. Lady Arianna was always cool and in control. Except for that one time in the clock tower…
“If you’re done being a male, I have a question for you.”
“I’m yours. Anytime. Anywhere. Although, if we have sex in your car, I might need an extra day to clean again. I get the feeling you’re a gusher.” He knew it for a fact.
“Thanks for confirming you’re a crotch-licking canine. Can we move on?”
No, because he wanted closure. Why did she continue to pretend nothing had happened? And why had he let her get away with it so long?
It didn’t used to bother him. But that was before he’d heard her name tied to that of Luis Garcia, a prominent Vampire Lord for another flock in Spain. Rumor had it they would be getting engaged before Christmas. It bothered him.
“So what did you want to ask me?” he asked, walking away from her to drop his cloth into a bucket for the wash.
“Can you keep your mouth shut?”
She couldn’t see the wry twist of his lips as he replied, “Tighter than a nun clamps her thighs.”
“I’ve known some nuns. They’re not all that pious.”
That had him chuckling. “Listen, princess, if you want my word, then you know it’s good.” After all, he’d been working for her father, Lord Augustus, a long time now. He liked to think he’d earned the flock’s trust.
“You can’t tell anyone, not even my father.”
The latter caught his attention. “Is something wrong?”
“Maybe. I’m not sure yet, but I don’t want him going off on a rampage before I find out more.”
“It’s related to the monsters we’ve been seeing in the city.”
The monsters she spoke of were some hideous mishmash of bat, wolf, and dead things. They’d been killing baby vamps for months now. He’d encountered one recently in his garage even.
“You need a big strong man to protect you?” He ducked the moment he said it, expecting her to throw something to remove his head.
She sighed. “Can you be serious for just one moment?”
“Must be bad if you’re coming to me for help. I thought us dogs weren’t good for anything but sniffing assholes.”
“I’m glad you mentioned sniffing, because that’s exactly what I need from you.”
He clutched his chest. “At last, the princess admits I am good for something. It’s too much. I think I might die.”
She snapped, “I’m going into the sewer hunting monsters. You in?”
He stupidly said, “Hell yeah.” And then added a condition. “But only if you’ll go on a date with me after.”
She went still, the kind of stillness that made her such a good predator. If anyone but Brock closed their eyes, they’d never know she was there. Him? He had a sixth sense when it came to Arianna.
“This is a serious matter.”
“Yup, and it’s got a price. You. Me. Dinner and a movie.”
“I don’t eat in public.”
He was aware she never took off her mask with people around. “I know. Dinner will be at my place. The movie on my projector screen sitting on my couch.”
“Going all out.”
“I was thinking it was more about respecting the fact you might not want your friends to see you with a dog.” He winked.
“I’d rather skip the dinner part. I’m a vampire. I don’t need food.”
“But I know you enjoy it.” With Vampires, blood provided a different kind of digestion. And she did eat regular food; she just didn’t want to take off her mask. For a woman oozing confidence, she was awfully self-conscious about her scar. Then again, having been around Vampires for ten years now, he knew how judgmental they could be. It didn’t help that he couldn’t exactly tell her he didn’t mind and that he’d seen it before. As far as she knew, he remembered nothing of their first encounter.
Her lips pursed. “Why are insisting on this? You know I’m dating someone.”
“Dating, not married, making you fair game.”
“You don’t even like me,” she pointed out.
“If I didn’t like you, I wouldn’t be asking you on a date. So?”
She stared at him and took a long moment before replying, “Fine. You have a deal.”
What had possessed her to agree to a date? And with Brock of all people?
The man discomfited. Had from the day they’d met in that clock tower. A day she’d been taken off guard. Arianna had ignored all the warnings and drunk his blood. She’d been high with pleasure when he’d gone down on her. She, who thought herself cold and passionless, came on his tongue and fingers.
Almost fucked him like an animal then and there.
Was it any wonder she’d told him to forget? She’d whammied him, and yet there were moments when he looked at her… It was as if he remembered.
Impossible. Her mesmerizing skills were second only to her father’s. No man, woman, or Lycan could resist. Hell, even most vamps couldn’t prevail against her when she put her focus on them.
At times, she thought about repeating that moment. Reliving the ecstasy she’d not since been able to repeat. But the rules were clear. Vampires and Lycans could not mix. Whether for biological reasons or because of an old treaty, she didn’t know or care.
She had no interest in being with Brock. Why, she was practically engaged. Now if only she didn’t feel disappointed in the whole idea.
“When are we going hunting?” Brock didn’t ask questions like why. He went straight to the point.
“Is now too soon? Perhaps you have a defleaing appointment?” She couldn’t help but taunt. They’d been doing this since meeting. People assumed they hated each other. Good. It wouldn’t do for a royal in the family to be thought to be consorting with a wolf. Her father would have a fit. Although she had often wondered, why? The rumor about them tasting foul? False. His remained the tastiest blood she’d ever had.
“Don’t worry, princess. I’m up to date on all my shots. Just let me grab a few things and we can go.”
While he gathered those items, she ran her hand over the car she’d had him restore. Now that it was done, she’d have no reason to visit. A good thing the garage at the mansion was huge. Might be time to find another project she could harass him over.
He clattered down the stairs from his loft apartment, carrying a knapsack, a rifle, and goggles with a light.
She arched a brow. “I thought your kind had decent night vision.”
“Decent, yes, but in a sewer, I’d rather have a little something extra. Which reminds me.” He grabbed an ankle-length leather duster from a hook and swirled it on. “Now I’m ready.”
So was she. Any other man and she’d have taken him right then and there against the car.
Resist. She’d been doing it ten years already, but of late, it was getting more difficult. It didn’t help it had been years since she’d been intimate with anyone. It didn’t help no one could compare.
“I’m driving,” she announced.
Unlike most men, he didn’t argue. He just threw his things in the tight backseat and jumped into the passenger side.
The tight confines put her hand on the gear shifter close to his thick thigh. She almost licked her lips, remembering the taste of him. Maybe she should get it out of her system. Give him a good sucking, which would probably pale in comparison to the memory. She’d whammy him again and forget all about him.
What if he’s better than I remember? What if, this time, I don’t say no, and we have sex? What would happen if someone discovered she’d broken the rule against Lycans and Vampires?
He rumbled, “Waiting for something, princess?”
Did she have time to use his bathroom and rub one off? Even if she did, he’d smell it and know. It made her cranky as she growled, “Let’s do this.”
He pressed a button on a phone app, and the garage door clanked open. It shut behind the moment they exited.
The small roadster took to the road with a hum, handling the corners better than she’d imagined. Flowing easily as she drove them to the location she’d scouted out the night before.
Since he didn’t ask any questions, she gave him a summarized rundown. “I tracked one of the monsters I wounded to a sewer outside this cemetery.”
“I’m surprised you didn’t go in after it.”
“I had an event I couldn’t miss.” A ball hosted by her father, attended by her almost-fiancé, in front of the court.
“Do you think it’s the entrance to the monster lair?”
He shot her a surprised look. “Then why are we checking it out?”
“Because I’d swear it wanted me to follow it.”
“Those monsters aren’t smart. The one I fought showed no signs of intelligence.”
“Don’t be so sure of that. I’m fairly confident it’s lying in wait below, most likely with a few of its friends.”
He arched a brow. “Care to explain why we’d intentionally walk into an ambush?”
“We aren’t. The monster went in there.” She pointed to the grate. “That’s where it’s probably watching. As for us? We’ll enter the sewer a block away.”
“You want to sneak up behind them and reverse ambush. I like it.”
“No, the plan is to avoid them but to trace their scent back to where they entered the sewer.”
“You do realize the sewer will make it almost impossible to smell anything of value.”
“What happened to a dog’s nose being able to decipher numerous scents at once?”
“I’d rather not be sniffing shit to find monsters when we could just flush them out instead and follow them when they flee.”
She stared at him. “Flush them how?”
He grinned. “Easily. We just need to buy some skinny bottles of booze, a few rags, and a lighter.”
“You’re going to Molotov cocktail them.”
“Everyone hates fire, even our neighborhood monsters I’ll bet. Once they scatter, we pick one and follow.”
“We’ll pick two,” she corrected. “One for each of us and double our chances.”
“I don’t think we should split up.”
“Worried I won’t be there to save you?” she cajoled.
“More like aware your father will crucify me if anything happens to you.”
She patted his cheek. “Your concern is adorable and unnecessary. I can handle myself.”
“Such a cocky princess.” He shook his head.
“With reason. So stop slobbering over my magnificence and make me some alcohol bombs.”
It didn’t take long to assemble what they needed and set the plan in motion. While Brock heaved off the heavy grate, she lit and lobbed bottles down—four in total—before they bolted.
Flames exploded under the street, brightening the hole where they’d removed the grate. Squeals erupted, and the first hairy body came boiling out of the shaft.
“Moving north,” she said.
“On it,” Brock announced, taking off after it.
Another emerged and fled in the same direction.
That surprised, hence why she veered and jogged for the grate she’d been thinking of using. She arrived in time to see it being pushed aside and another creature emerging, smelling of singed fur.
She shadowed it, ignoring the buzzing at her hip from her phone. The mutant creature led her on a merry chase. When they reached a residential area, its limber limbs and strength let it climb walls and run across rooftops. She had no problem following it. When it leaped down, she didn’t hesitate.
She landed in a ring of monsters.
And they looked hungry.COLLAPSE