Bryerly Keats just wants a fresh start. Instead she discovers a group of men who prey on women, devouring them to gain powers and immortality. When the men set their sights on Bry, she's rescued by Verum the Truth Keeper, an ancient being who sees all, knows all and bears the ugly truths of the world on his broad, lonely shoulders. He's willing to rescue Bry if she's willing to pay a price--not just hours of mind-blowing, orgasmic bliss, but a lifetime of sharing his burdens. Including the ability to read minds and see the past.
In a town where men do horrible, unspeakable things, being able to hear the darkness of their thoughts is more curse than gift, but Bry is willing to do anything if it means ending the carnage...and staying with Verum forever.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
April 19, 2012
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Excerpt from Sinful Truth by Regina Cole
"You can open your eyes now. You're safe."
I hadn't been aware my lids were closed. When they opened, I gasped.
Faint firelight flickered along the blood-dark walls of the room. Skulls of various sizes lined mahogany shelves above the huge fireplace, their grinning faces seeming to mock my fluttering pulse. A massive bed dominated an entire wall, the mattress draped in black and red silks. A large steamer trunk sat at the foot of the bed. But the thing that made me recoil against the stranger was the glowing purple globe at the center of the room. Its weird light bathed me, prickling like electricity where it illuminated my skin.
"Bryerly," the unfamiliar voice rumbled behind me, shooting a thrill of fear mixed with something else to the pit of my stomach. "It is time to pay my price."
He rubbed from my shoulders to my back then forward to pull my hips against a throbbing, hot erection.
"What the hell is going on?" I sprang away as if burned, trying like hell to ignore the lust that had pooled between my legs at his touch. I whirled to face the stranger who'd saved my life.
He was tall, easily close to seven feet. His face and body were covered in a dark robe, which almost shimmered in the firelight. I started to move away but stopped suddenly when the glowing purple globe hummed alarmingly behind me.
"You agreed to pay my price." He prowled closer, a smooth motion almost like floating.
"Hold on a minute." I skirted around the sphere to keep my distance from both it and him. "I don't know you. Thanks for saving me from Rafe but honestly, sleeping with you wasn't in the plans."
My body ached in passionate protest at my words. Shoving the desire down, I set my jaw and stood my ground.
He stopped and his shrouded head hung lower as his shoulders rounded. "Very well."
The edges of the room shimmered, wavered and turned into the cool midnight woods. Rafe's angry voice rocketed through my brain.
"That fucking cunt is as good as dead." The flashlight's beam swept across my bare calves.
In the space of two seconds, I reversed my decision. I launched myself at the blackness where my robed rescuer had stood only a breath before.
"Please," I begged as Rafe's fingers closed cruelly on my shoulder. "I'll pay your price, I promise!"
Rafe disappeared and I stood in the dark bedroom once more.
My knees collapsed and I fell into a nerveless heap on the icy stone floor. The cold cobbles felt good against my fevered skin. Content to stay, afraid to move, I'd have spent all night there if the stranger had not scooped me up and deposited me onto the bed.
"Who are you?" My voice trembled. Shame and desire gripped me in equal amounts.
"I am called Verum." He left the bedside to stand near the purple globe.
It glowed brighter when he came near. I sat up on the bed, watching, rapt, as he carefully pulled back the long sleeves of his robe. He had large hands, with skin the color of dark, rich caramel. A shiver that had nothing to do with the warm air in the room skittered along my spine.
I drew my legs up beside me, trying to preserve some level of modesty. "Well, Verum, thanks for saving me from Rafe. It was really incredible of you. I'd be dead if you hadn't been so wonderful as to help me."
He turned then, facing the bed. I strained to catch a glimpse of the face hidden behind the hooded robe but to no avail. How could I be this interested in a man I hadn't really seen?
"I am sorry, Bryerly, but I did not help you because I am a good person. You agreed to pay my price."
Blood rushed to my cheeks as I remembered the feel of his hardness pressing into my ass. My legs shifted restlessly, trying to dim the longing ache between them. "I did but you're not going to force me to have sex with you, are you?"
He came closer, his smooth movement unearthly as he closed the gap between us. "No, that is not part of my price. But we will lie together and I'll have no need for rape. You can hide nothing from me, Bryerly Robin Keats of Percee County, Virginia. Not the math test you cheated on in third grade, not the time you smoked pot in the girls' locker room, not the boy you sucked off in your dorm while your roommate slept. And most especially not..."
He paused as he reached out, a long finger raising my chin. I stared into the dark space of the hood where his eyes were hidden. "The way your body clamors for mine."
My heart thudded so hard it could have cracked my ribs. "How do you know all that? I've never told anyone about those things."
He raised his hands to the embroidered edge of his hood. I bit back a scream as he looked at me. His face was incredibly handsome, masculine, dark and strong, but his eyes were solid white--blank, empty and terrifying.
"Because I am the Truth Keeper."