Hot, sexy urban fantasy romance by a new author with talent to burn...
He Wants Her So Badly He Can Taste It...
Ever since their tempestuous fling years ago, incubus Lukas Sebastiani has known that siren Scarlett Fontaine was meant to be his. But when you're a sex demon with an insatiable desire, relationships are way more than complicated...
Her Siren Songs Bring Men to Their Knees...
Rock star Scarlett Fontaine desperately needs a break after a grueling tour. But with murder and mayhem surrounding her band, and the one man she never thought to see again put to the task of protecting her, life is going to be anything but peaceful...
Every encounter between them creates more turmoil--and heat--until Scarlett pushes Lukas to the boiling point, and unleashes forces that go way beyond anything she can hope to control......
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February 01, 2011
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Excerpt from Taste Me by Tamara Hogan
"Shit. Shit, shit, shit." Lukas Sebastiani pounded down the narrow stairs separating his warehouse living space from the business floors of Sebastiani Security, tucking his black T-shirt into yesterday's jeans on the run and trying not to trip on his boot laces.
He was late.
As he thundered down the hallway, several employees working the night shift craned their heads above cubicle walls then descended, like Whack-A-Mole gophers. Lukas shouldered into his office, dropped into the battered leather chair, elbowed a pile of case files out of the way, and quickly fired up the secure computer and one of the oversized monitors on his desk. "C'mon, c'mon," he muttered, his large hands twitching over the keyboard. The Council meeting had started over an hour ago--a 3:00 a.m. start time to accommodate the vamps--and Sebastiani Security's proposal to allow their newest employee unlimited access to the archives was first up on the agenda. Lukas looked at his watch. "Damn." Council meetings were run with unwavering efficiency. Thankfully Jack Kirkland, Sebastiani Security's managing partner, had authorization to issue the Security and Technology seat's vote.
He flexed his stiff shoulders, rolled his neck. What a shitty start to the night, and the long day to come.
He'd been rocked from sleep by waves of lust, pain, and lightning-hot adrenaline that he'd been forced to gulp like he was being water boarded. The tastes and smells had twisted on his tongue, filled his nasal cavities--pinecones, ashes, ozone--and, just in case he hadn't gotten the message the first time, he'd vomited it right back up.
Lukas closed his eyes and drew in a careful breath through his teeth. Someone had died. One more person he hadn't been able to save.
The sour aftertaste still sat on the back of his tongue, rolled in his stomach like a greasy stew, and he couldn't get the scent of ashes out of his nostrils. Reaching for the ever-present bottle of antacid on his desk, he cursed his hyperactive senses. Why couldn't he be more like his father, his brother and sisters? All incubi absorbed emotional energy for sustenance, could sense and interpret the emotions as they were absorbed, and take vicarious pleasure in them. But through some quirk of genetics, Lukas's interpretation abilities were snarled--he sometimes tasted emotions, sometimes smelled them--and however he experienced them, they were always heightened.
Some fucking gift. He pulled the wastebasket closer to his chair as his stomach lurched.
But his genetic quirk had a practical application.
Because he could taste and smell emotions, he could sometimes match an emotional energy signature to the person who'd experienced the emotion--like a glorified police dog. He took calls from their police force at all times of the day or night, visited grisly crime scenes, to gather that one additional piece of the puzzle before the taste or smell dissipated. It was just one more piece of data, like DNA, nothing magical about it. And not admissible in court. It took strong detective work to connect that taste to a specific person.
Lukas sighed and keyed his obscenely long password.
What had happened? To whom? He'd learned from experience that he'd just have to wait. But damn, it was frustrating. He wanted to do something physical, hit the street, make some calls. Anything but sit here and attend a fucking meeting.
Be careful what you wish for, you just might receive it. He'd asked for this. In the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the uptick in Homeland Security surveillance, he'd convinced the Council that a Security and Technology division with full voting rights was necessary to manage the risks to their people, to keep their species' existence under humanity's radar. And now attending meetings was part of his job, and took way too much time. What the hell had he been thinking?
He leaned in for the retina scan. His gritty eyes stung. The only reason he was awake now, sitting at his desk with shower-wet hair, burning eyes, and pillow creases on his face, was that Jack had sent a message to his mini-comp from the boardroom. Its vibrations against his bedside table had woken him up, annoying as a buzzing mosquito.
His eyes darted to another monitor, to where the Hot Sheet taunted him with its serene Code Green status indicator. There were a few yellow blips here and there, reflecting their police force responding to calls, but the overall status was green.
Bullshit. He did not have time for this PowerPoint rodeo. He needed to be out on the street, looking for... He dropped his head into his hands. He had no clue what to look for. But he'd be doing... something, instead of sitting in his office. If he looked long enough, he'd find someone doing something they shouldn't be doing.
The conferencing software finally engaged. It was officially too late to go to the break room and snag some coffee.
His hair was soaked. He considered blocking outgoing video, but then decided not to. It wouldn't be the first time that he'd attended a Council meeting looking less-than-professional, but with a couple days' worth of beard and dripping-wet hair, right now he probably looked like a wild man. His father was going to shit an elegant brick, ask to meet with him afterward to discuss appropriate protocol now that Lukas held his own Council seat.
As water dripped down his neck and saturated the soft cotton of his T-shirt, the conferencing software worked its magic. On his monitor, he watched a holographic version of himself, dripping hair and all, shimmer into his chair next to a suited-up Jack. The boardroom chairs were too damn small for someone their size to sit in all day long, but somehow Jack managed to look like he was ready to walk a fashion runway--and kick a few asses along the way. But him? Even his holograph looked uncomfortable, spilling over the arms of the seat.
He took a minute to blink away the cognitive dissonance this technology produced in him. But it was worth it, because another benefit of attending the meeting holographically was that the distance buffered the buffet of tastes which inescapably leached from the group. While most of the women on the Council had fruity essences that combined very pleasantly, he didn't think his stomach was up to Krispin Woolf's mothballs tonight.
"Good morning, thank you for joining us, Mr. Sebastiani," Willem Lund, the Chairman's executive assistant, greeted him, his fingers tapping as he efficiently took notes at his keyboard.
"Sorry I'm late, Willem," Lukas said, zooming his camera to the boardroom's windows to ensure the security screens were engaged. Even though it was still dark, and the Sebastiani Labs corporate campus was located way out in the boonies southwest of the Minneapolis metro, you could never be too careful.
He then pulled back so he could see the whole room.
The Sebastiani Labs boardroom looked like any large conference room found in corporate America--if that corporation had lifetimes of experience, proprietary technology, and obscene financial assets at its disposal. Against a side wall, a tableclothed credenza groaned with a selection of juices, water--fresh and saline--and synthetic blood. And coffee, damn it. A huge silver urn of coffee.
A pale maple table dominated the room, large enough to seat the council members, their seconds, and Willem.