Excerpt: Not Quite Dead

Excerpt: Not Quite Dead

Book 1: NightHunter

With a sigh, Jordyn spun her chair toward the dining tables, propped her elbows on the counter of the bar, and leaned back against the battered wood. Slowly, she examined every person in the room, going through the same process she’d used at every other bar she’d visited in the last three hours to see if the man she was looking for was present.

Even as she did it, she was aware of the low odds of success. Did she really think she’d find Tristan this way? No, but he’d lived here for at least six months, and he had to have had an impact, right? Somewhere in this town, he’d left a clue before he’d disappeared. According to Eric, this was the last place he’d been seen.

Her gaze wandered over to the Gaston brothers, and then the door to the bar swung open, drawing her attention. The screen door slammed against the wall, and a dark shadow filled the doorway. The man who stepped inside was tall and broad-shouldered, with dark hair. His presence was so powerful that the energy in the room actually shifted, rippling as it tried to accommodate the sheer force of his being. She sucked in her breath and sat up, chills racing down her spine.

Eric.

He was there.

She stared at him, her fingers clenching the seat of her stool. He was so much bigger than she remembered. Taller, wider shoulders, a more dominating presence. He seemed to loom over the entire bar, an unstoppable force of power. He scanned the room slowly, starting with the Gaston brothers.

A part of her wanted to leap up, race over to him, and throw herself into his arms. She was riveted by the raw strength of his body, and she knew exactly how much power radiated from him. He’d been wild and untamed in the jungle, but here, it was as if he were part predator, a feral beast constrained by no one and nothing, stalking through civilization in search of the prey that he would conquer. She recalled his claim that he wasn’t a man, and she suddenly believed him. Yes, a man, but there was something else as well. Something more visceral and dangerous. Something so graceful and lethal, physicality far beyond that of an ordinary man.

His hair was longer now, disheveled and ragged as it hung over his forehead. His eyes were blazing and dark, his jaw taut, his muscles flexed. The man standing in the doorway was nothing like the flirtatious, irreverent man she’d met a month ago. This man was moody, dark, and pulsing with an energy so intense that it slid down her spine and settled right in her lower belly. This man was a warrior, and he was pure, unfettered male.

Her heart started to hammer, thundering against her ribs, as she watched his gaze slide over the patrons, moving inexorably toward her. She knew then why she was still wearing her business suit. It hadn’t been to prove herself to the town that had once been her home. It had been for Eric.

The only time she’d met him, they’d been deep in the Brazilian jungle, and she’d been wearing boots, jeans, and a ponytail. He’d overpowered her with the sheer force of his person, and she’d wanted to reinforce her shields this time by putting on her work persona, the one that was about the power and strength of a woman.

It wasn’t working.

She felt sucked into the vortex of his power, every cell in her body tightening with each passing second as she waited for him to notice her. In the jungle, she’d been so worried about finding her friend that she’d had no emotional space to really let Eric affect her, but now it was different.

Now, she was so deeply aware of him that she couldn’t stop thinking about how it had felt during that brief moment when he’d kissed her in the jungle. Fast. Passionate. Intense.

His gaze penetrated the darkest corner of the bar, his brown eyes alert and vibrant. He’d looked rugged and athletic before, but now, he looked rougher, like he’d been spawned by the earth itself. His jeans sat low on his hips, dripping wet, as if he’d been submerged in the bayou for hours. His boots were thick with mud, and there was dirt streaked across his face. His dark hair was damp and tangled, shoved ruthlessly aside so it was spiked and messy. Droplets slid in a wet sheen across his forehead, the sweat of a man who’d been working hard at something, even though it was the middle of the night. Whiskers were heavy on his jaw, and she had a sudden ridiculous urge to run her fingers over them.

So much for thinking that four weeks in Boston was going to make her immune to the effect he had on her. It had gotten worse, exponentially more intense, since they’d parted ways.

She wasn’t ready for this.

She wasn’t ready for him.

She wasn’t ready for any of it.

Jordyn swallowed, her heart almost leaping out of her chest as he turned his head toward her. His eyes met hers, and she knew instantly that, unlike the town that had known her for the first sixteen years of her life, he didn’t have any trouble recognizing her. The flash of awareness was instant, and she felt like her skin was on fire. She swallowed, her mouth suddenly dry, and her fingers tightened around her stool, as if she could keep herself from tumbling off it and into his arms.

Instantly, he shoved away from the doorway and headed straight toward her. His jaw was tense, and his stride was long and purposeful, rippling with languid strength. His gaze was fixed on hers so intently that she wanted to look away…except she couldn’t take her eyes off him.

She tensed as he neared, sitting up straighter and trying to get a cool expression on her face. “Where have you been—?”

He gave her no time to finish her sentence. He just swung his arm behind her lower back, hauled her up against him, and kissed her.

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