He's a centuries old vampire who doesn't do domestication. She's a single mother struggling to survive. Evil brings them together, but will their love be enough to keep them alive?
He doesn't have time for a fling, doesn't know anything about kids, and certainly doesn't do domestication.
Aiden Reed is a member of the elite Rogue Hunters, a band of vampires who hunt down and eliminate those of their kind who cross the line and kill indiscriminately. It's his job to keep the innocents safe and he's proud of what he does. Yet once he sees his sexy next door neighbor, he can't keep his mind, or his hands, off her.
She's been overworked, overstressed and overwhelmed since her husband left her for another woman.
It's all Amy Carmichael can do to make her mortgage payments and put food on the table for her three children. She definitely doesn't want another relationship, not when her last one was such a miserable mistake. So why do her thoughts keep straying to her new neighbor whose voice reminds her of melted butter rolling over hot pancakes?
They're definitely not suited, but that doesn't stop them from wanting each other. And when Aiden's dangerous life spills over into Amy's, threatening her son, Aiden will do anything to keep the family he didn't want, but now loves, safe.
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November 13, 2007
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Excerpt from Night Song by Sharon Cullen
Amy took the steps to her new neighbor's house, a plate of homemade cookies in her hand. When the beautifully restored Victorian had gone on the market a few weeks ago, her kids had hoped a family with children would move in but that hadn't happened. One day there was a for sale sign on the lawn, the next there wasn't. One day the house was empty, the next it wasn't. And there certainly weren't any kids.
She'd come home from work a few days later to find that the new owner had replaced all the windows with specially tinted ones, like the kind found on cars. Strange.
She raised her hand and knocked. Curious, she took a step to the side and tried to peer through the large picture window beside the door, but couldn't see anything in the dark glass other than her own reflection.
She cast a quick glance out to the street. The sun was sinking fast and she had to hurry or she'd be late picking Claire up from choir practice. Maybe she should just leave the cookies on the doorstep and come back later. She bent down to place them on the porch when the door swung open, nearly silent on its hinges. She craned her neck and looked up. Her neighbor stood in the shadows, well away from the door.
Unable to make out any of his facial features, just the tall silhouette she'd seen the night before, she straightened and peered through the shadows. He stared at her and a dark tremor shot up her spine, but she couldn't tell if it was apprehension or just an appreciation for his wonderful physique.
"Come in," he said, and she silently added, said the spider to the fly. But she took a step in anyway. The tinted windows made the inside darker than usual, but she could still see that he had one of those plush leather couches and matching chairs. A plasma screen TV sat in the corner, next to a beautiful stone fireplace. Modern art hung on the walls.
"Could you shut the door, please?"
She jumped and pulled her gaze from the expensive furnishings to him. He lurked in the shadows, his skin ghostly pale.
"Uh, sure." She reached out and pushed the door just enough for it to close slightly. She wasn't stupid enough to close off her only exit.
"I brought you cookies." She held the plate up. "To welcome you to the neighborhood."
His dark-eyed gaze dropped to the plate in her hand, then came back to her. He stepped closer and her breath caught in her throat, her mouth dried up, and the extended plate wobbled.
Oh. My. God. The man was just about as perfect as perfect could be. Her eyes began to water because she forgot to blink. She licked her lips and his almost-black eyes followed the movement. Geez Louise. Her knees knocked in sexual excitement and she almost groaned. Dark blond hair flowed well past his shoulders. Well-chiseled cheekbones and a strong jaw completed the look.
He took the plate without taking his eyes off her. Heat radiated from those black depths, warming her until she was so hot she thought she'd combust. His fingers brushed against hers, sending fiery tingles shooting through her arm straight to her stomach. Get a grip, Amy.
"Thank you," he said, his voice smooth as warm honey. Bedroom eyes. Bedroom voice. Her gaze lowered to the sweatpants riding low on lean hips that flared to muscular thighs. Bedroom body.
He placed the plate of cookies on a chrome and glass side table, his biceps bunching and flexing with the movement. He took another step forward and suddenly she felt as if she were the last endangered dodo bird being stalked. He kept staring at her, a strange mix of hunger and desperation burning in his eyes. His glance slid to her throat where she thought for sure he could see her pulse on overdrive. Her hands began to sweat and her back tingled.
He raised his hand and let it hover between them. She couldn't move, could barely breathe as she waited for him to do something. With one long finger, he hooked a stray lock of hair behind her ear. His hand skimmed her throat and stopped for a moment on her pounding pulse.
It was an intimate touch, too intimate for people who hadn't met, yet she found she couldn't step away.
The tip of his tongue shot out and caressed his lower lip. Amy was helpless to pull away, could only stare, her insides turning to mush. Never before had a man turned her on as much as this one. Never before had a man mesmerized her to the point that she lost all rational thought. His hand fell to his side where it curled into a fist as if he were hoarding the heat from her skin. The movement broke the spell he'd woven around them, jerking her back to reality.
"I, uh, should go. I need to pick Claire up from choir practice." She stared at him a moment longer, memorizing his muscular form, the mix of emotions in his eyes, the way his gaze caressed her as if he wanted her. Ridiculous, of course. She was an overworked single parent. No man looking like that would want her.
"Wait." His hand shot out and clutched her upper arm. She looked at him, attempting to ignore the spark of electricity that ran through her body. "You didn't tell me your name," he said, those dark eyes penetrating her.
"Amy. Amy Carmichael."
He held his hand out to her. "Aiden Reed. It's a pleasure to meet you." He drew the word pleasure out until it wrapped around her, silently promising things she could only dream about.
"Me too. A pleasure that is. To meet you." Sheesh, she sounded like she was in high school. "I have to go." For my peace of mind, for my sanity, and before my daughter pitches a fit that I'm late again.
She opened the door to a night that had fallen since she'd been inside. He--Aiden--walked her to the door, leaning a bare shoulder against it. The streetlight illuminated his skin and the mat of dark blond hair that sprinkled his chest, tapering down his torso and disappearing into his sweatpants. She jerked her eyes back up to his. Amusement twinkled in the black depths and a small smile hovered over his lips as if he knew the attraction she felt for him. Her face heated in a blush.
"See ya around." Her brain suddenly stalled for something more mature to say. She ran down the steps on wobbling knees, praying she would make it to her car before she melted into a puddle.
"Amy." His warmer than warm voice followed her, quiet yet commanding. Automatically she turned. His brows were drawn down in a frown. "Be careful out there."