Detective Kai Atlanta is not just a hard-working cop. He is Chiron, a shape-shifting centaur, whose beloved Akantha was killed by renegades desperate to uncover her secret to immortality. He believes they are now after another woman, a smart and sensual scientist whose boldness arouses him. Dr Ann Fallon is ready to accept her boyfriends proposal of marriage. That is, until his girlfriend turns up. Ann runs into the night, right into the arms of a dark brooding stranger and his flame-haired lover. Ann senses danger, but she craves erotic excitement even more, and she's determined to get exactly what she wants
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Kensington Publishing Corporation
July 01, 2009
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Excerpt from What She Wants by Lucinda Betts
Laughter and chatter filled the night, but Dr. Ann Fallon stood silently, the muscles in her neck as taut as a bowstring. She needed this job.
Speckled in silvery lights, geneticists from across the country drank champagne and ate canap�s in the moonlit courtyard. The spring breeze caught the banner welcoming the conference to San Diego's Hotel del Coronado, making the gold letters ripple.
If she landed the professorship, her life would improve a lot--but most importantly, her family would be safe. They could savor the sweet taste of freedom again.
She scanned the crowd, looking for gray hair and stooped shoulders. If she could find Dr. Stoller, charm him like she'd never charmed anyone, convince him she'd be the best biologist Harvard ever hired . . .
She walked toward the white-linened table covered in Camembert cheese and succulent blackberries. Lush strawberries and thin slices of Edam gleamed in the lantern light. Snippets of dialogue floated over her like flower petals at a wedding.
She allowed the conversations to register. Did anyone mention Dr. Carl Stoller? Two men argued about statistics at the far end of the patio. With hearing no human could match, she listened to an announcement of tenure from behind the open bar, and one woman told another something about panda SNPs by the waterfall. But was anyone talking about search committees? Was anyone gossiping about whom Harvard would hire?
And as she picked up a heavy china hotel plate, she watched her fingers tremble--because her dearest wishes might come true this weekend. Trying not to rely on hope, she ignored the melons and kiwi. She put several succulent blackberries on her plate instead. Turning away from the table, she picked a berry from her plate, anticipating its sweetness.
Before she could eat it, though, a half-forgotten scent assaulted her; if someone had come up and slapped her, the effect would have been the same. She froze, shock and horror icing her veins.
How could that scent be here? How could the predator have found her now, after fifteen years?
Despite her denial, the brooding fragrance inexorably swirled over her palate. Italian bergamot and jacaranda twined around cedar and a twist of vetiver root. It held something else, too, something unnatural. Its magic could ruin her, destroy her. With the slightest crook in his finger, the predator could command her body--and she would love every second of it. Then she would die.
The fragrance cast its thrall even now, even as she inhaled her second breath of it--but refusal made her choke. This couldn't be happening. Not here. Not now! She'd worked too hard.
The black scent relentlessly permeated her blood. Its magic crept across her skin like a spider's feet. The brooding feeling slithered over her nipples and made them hard as sure as her lover's tongue would have. It snaked between her thighs, over her wrists, behind her ears.
She couldn't deny the fact. A predator watched her. It watched her as its dark fragrance assaulted her, took her hostage for its own needs. The predator expected her to drop her plate and find his arms, his bed, his hands.