An erotic romance in a suspense vehicle on overdrive. . .sizzles! --Romantic Times
Blood Will Tell
When their adored foster mother is murdered, the D'Onofrio women come together to hunt for her killer. The law can only do so much and the three sisters are on their own--until three mysterious men get involved. . .
Startled to find a brawny stranger at her mother's house, Nancy is even more surprised at the heat of passion that flares between them. Liam is intense and instantly protective. But is it wise to trust him with every secret? Her sister Nell has turned to Duncan, her new boss, for help. An expert on the dark side of cyberspace, he's so sexy it's scary. All Nell has to do is say the hardest word of all: yes. What about the youngest of the D'Onofrios, wild and willful Vivi? She's on the verge of falling in love with Jack, who's all about fierce vigilance. . .
The sisters embrace the ultimate in passion as danger stalks them all. Unknown and unseen, the killer is very, very near. . .
"McKenna expertly stokes the fires of romantic tension." --Publishers Weekly
Praise for the novels of Shannon McKenna. . .
"Pulse-pounding suspense. . .searing sex and raw emotions." --Romantic Times
"McKenna blasts readers with a highly charged, action-adventure romance." --Booklist
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March 27, 2012
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Excerpt from Tasting Fear by Shannon McKenna
John was stoked. This job was going to be easy money. He parked in the shadow of a tree--not that his quarry could see him parked around the corner. The stupid old fuck was probably congratulating himself for being so crafty. Marco Barbieri's plane from Italy had landed five hours ago, and the old man had been riding taxis in big, useless circles around the boroughs of New York City ever since. He'd changed cabs five times, but he always took the traitorous RF blip with him, the one planted deep in the trolley of his carry-on suitcase.
And it had led John right to the small upstate town of Hempton.
Served the old fart right for trusting his domestic staff back at his crumbling palazzo in Castiglione Santangelo. All it took was money to get the device planted in Barbieri's suitcase. Not even that much money.
John slunk along the spiked wrought-iron fence that lined the street, staying in the shadows of overhanging shrubs. The taxi was pulling away, turning the corner. Barbieri climbed the steps slowly.
Triumph pumped through John. He'd found the elusive, long- lost Contessa. Marco Barbieri's runaway bride. She'd be a shriveled hag now. Too damn bad, but she was still the key to the treasure chest. Marco Barbieri himself knew jack-shit. He was played out, ripe for the coroner's slab, but the Contessa was another story. She would know what his boss needed to know. Why the fuck else would she have run?
John's hands twitched with eagerness.
The door opened. A square of light, a tall, thin silhouette of a woman. The two figures stared at each other, motionless. John squinted in the dark. Too far to be sure, but saliva still pumped into his mouth.
They were speaking. John wished he'd been able to plant a listening device. Fuck it, he'd just get the woman to repeat their conversation, word for word. A few minutes with John's talents, and the old bitch would walk on her hands and bark like a dog if he told her to.
He enjoyed that part of his work a bit more than he should, but whatever. No one ever knew how much he enjoyed himself on the job except for his victims. And they certainly weren't telling.
He pondered ways and means as he composed himself to wait. Killing Barbieri in front of the Contessa would put her in the right mind-set for his interrogation, but it might also make a mess. John could wait when the situation warranted it, but his employer had been waiting for decades already. Nothing could be served by more waiting.
He drifted like a big dark ghost up the stairs, pulling on the mask. Unnecessary, since the Contessa would not live out the night, but John had found that wearing the mask unleashed him in some obscure way. He became superhuman. The essence of Death. Just putting it on made his body buzz with unholy anticipation.
He heard voices behind the door, the click of locks being disengaged. John slunk to put his back to the wall, reining in the hungry blood-drinking beast inside him. No knives, no guns. Barbieri's blood spilled here would narrow John's options afterward.
The instant the old man stepped out the door, John was in motion; grab, wrench, a strangled grunt, a wet crunch of a spine snapping, like a chicken with its neck wrung for the pot.
"Marco!" The old woman sprang out the door at him. "Stronzo!" she shrieked. "Assassino! Aiuto! Help!" She clawed at his face.
He lunged back, startled, dropping Barbieri's limp body to the floor. Her shrill cries choked off as he knocked her into her house, onto the floor. She scrambled back, crablike, and squeaked as he landed on top of her, knocking all the air out of her. He clapped his hand over her trembling mouth. Feeling her fragile rib cage hitch and jerk, seeking air. The fine, soft wrinkled skin beneath his palm. He pinned her flailing hands in the vise of his thighs. Her long white hair had come loose. Her shirt was torn. Her thin, frail body vibrated with stark terror.
He drank it in, grinning. Guzzling it. Terror. A heady liquor.
"Not as fresh as I like," he remarked, lightly. "You must've been good-looking a century ago. But I'm a professional. I'll manage." He yanked out the first implement that came to his hand, a hooked blade, and waved it in front of her eyes. "So, Contessa. Let's talk about the sketches. Where are they?"
Her eyes froze wide. "D-d-don't know wh-where."
He narrowed his eyes at her. "Oh, yes, you do," he said through clenched teeth. "And you'll tell, Contessa. Believe me. You'll tell."
Something like amusement flashed in her eyes, in spite of her fear. Something cynical, ironic. She gave him a little head shake. No.
As if she were laughing at him. The uppity dago bitch actually dared to laugh at him. Like she thought she was smarter. Better.
Killing rage flooded him like rocket fuel. He was going to know everything in her head. He would carve it out of the snotty old whore, chunk by chunk. He reared up, twirling the blade in his fingers--
And realized she was no longer looking at him at all. She looked at the ceiling, gasping. Her face was white, her lips purple. He rolled off her, dismayed. Sure enough. Her freed hand went to her chest. Clutching. Oh, Christ, no. A fucking heart attack. He leaned over and stared into her face. "You stupid, troublesome bitch," he said loudly.
She focused on him, and his heightened predator senses felt her, slipping away to where he couldn't follow. He saw a fleeting hint of triumph in her eyes before they rolled, went blank. Unconscious. He wanted to howl. Dying, to spite him. And now old Barbieri was dead, too. The boss was not going to be happy.
Searching Barbieri's suitcase and briefcase yielded no insights. They'd fucked him but good. He touched the Contessa's throat. Dead as a doornail. He suppressed the urge to mutilate their corpses.
The austere room was empty but for a writing table and some carefully lit art pieces. Three envelopes lay on the table.
He snatched one up. Stamped, but not yet sent. The one he held was addressed to a Nancy D'Onofrio. He ripped it open and squinted at the fine, delicate antique cursive script.
My dearest Nancy,
What I have to tell you will come as a shock, and I'm sorry to tell you in a letter. I wanted to tell you all in person, but after my cardiologist appointment last week, I see now that I do not dare to wait until I can get all three of my girls together in one room . . .
Girls? John's head lifted like an animal scenting new prey. His eyes lit on a shelf crowded with photographs.
He strode over. Sure enough. Three young women smiled out of the picture frames. Pretty girls. Each hot, in her own dick-prickling way. Too young to be the bitch's daughters. Granddaughters, more like.
Fresh meat. And their addresses, written right there. Handy.
He stared at the images, breathing hard. One buxom, curvy girl with curly dark hair was curled up in a window seat, reading. Another mahogany-haired sylph was holding up a calico cat beneath her chin, smiling. A slender redheaded waif sported a slinky evening gown, gesturing toward a huge abstract sculpture behind her. All had sparkling eyes, rosy lips, expanses of smooth, unmarked skin like untrodden snow. Hot blood, blushing beneath. Curves and hollows, for him to pinch and squeeze and bite. Those girls would walk on their hands and bark like dogs for him, too. He would find those sketches, make his pile of money, and have a fine, juicy old time doing it.
So much saliva exploded into his mouth he began to dribble. He licked his lips, wiped his chin absently. Wouldn't do to make it easy for the forensics techs, leaving a puddle of genetic material for them to test.
Finally, this job was starting to get interesting.