Flesh-fruit--priceless delicacy, forbidden fruit...
Rand has a secret. Bitten by one of the deadly shadow-snakes, he's changed and will go to any length to see that he remains in charge of his planet--and the flesh-fruit harvest--including using his alien abilities to convince Agent Niamh Sullivan to lie to her superiors. His plan is simple, but what he doesn't realize is that his venom is an aphrodisiac. With it, Rand has become irresistible.
Now Niamh must deny their overwhelming mutual attraction. But as their need for each other spirals out of control, the danger becomes apparent. Rand will take her humanity, take who and what she is. Niamh has to make the choice. Turn him in. Or succumb to his potent, forbidden temptation.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Flesh and Shadows by Kim Knox
"Are you listening to me?" Rand closed the short distance between them.
He stood over her and his scent threaded into her blood. Clean male skin with something under it, a potent heat that brought with it images of the hot, damp jungles, heavy air and predatory power.
"No," she said, glaring up at him. Light cut across his features and the sinuous line of his black scales glistened. It had to be the venom tearing through her body that kept her heart pounding and her mouth dry. "Mainly I'm stuck on how you poisoned me."
A smile tugged at this mouth. "We can easily change that. Forget to mention my...corruption," his lips parted and she could only stare at his teeth as his canines grew and sharpened, "and I'd be more than happy to share the antivenin with you."
"I know what the statistics are on the success of your cure."
"From a pure shadow-snake," he said, his tongue tip touching his sharpened fangs before they slid back into his upper jaw. "The antivenin you'll receive is synthesized from my venom."
Niamh pulled in a breath, but no air seemed to expand her lungs. He was too close and his poison had her brain spinning, because she wanted to lick the sharpened edge of his teeth. She crushed her eyes against her insane need and clung to her sense of duty. "I can't allow you to remain in charge."
Rand ran a calloused fingertip over her chin and she shivered. His dark eyes bore into her. Adrenalin surged through her system and she fought for calm. The more she panicked, the faster the venom coursed around her body. Niamh bit her lip and willed her blood to slow.
"I admire your strength," he murmured, the slow stroke of his finger over her jaw almost mesmeric. Niamh focused on his touch, using it to make her heart ease its fast pace. "I do." His gaze fixed on her mouth and her pulse spiked. She held down a curse. Why was she reacting to him? "Do you know how shadow-snakes mate?"
Niamh's breath hitched in her chest. Her thoughts shot back to her illicit dream, to Rand's mouth hot and moist against her abdomen. "I've no interest in it."
He leaned in, his breath warming her flushed cheek. "It's all about the bite."
His words had her skin prickling. She swallowed and tried not to feel the cool brush of his hair against her skin. Rand's lips moved so close to her ear she ached to tilt her head to his touch.
"The male sinks his teeth into the soft throat of the female," he murmured, his words falling against her skin as his lips eased over her throat, still not quite touching. "With a single bite, he penetrates and brings her to ecstasy."
"Over so soon?"
She felt his smile in the change of air against her skin. "That's the snake. Not me."
Niamh blew out a slow breath. His intoxicating scent wove through her senses, disorientating her further. She couldn't think, only feel the heat of his body pressing over hers, each breath prickling her skin and his lips so close to touching that everything in her ached. "What are you doing to me?"
She crushed her eyes. Stupid to admit that she was completely unnerved. She was a field service agent, the face of the central government in the quadrant. Now one man, with simply a dash of an alien reptile, had her thrown.
Rand's soft laughter pulled at her and his finger traced down her throat to the open neck of her blouse. He skirted above the swell of her breast. Niamh's pelvis tightened, wanting to deny the ache, the way Rand's calloused fingers excited her skin. "Unlike the snake that bit me, I like to play."