The Scent of Blood Teaser
“Come out and face me like a man!” Bree O’Shea ordered.
Worn out could not even begin to describe how she felt at this moment. After the day she had just managed to live through, a man lurking in the bushes while she showered under the cooling waters of the waterfall, was nothing more than an irritant.
“I said come out of there and face me like a man!”
“What if I am not a man, my lady?”
Her body tensed. Her chest ached with the trapped air from her lungs. Her exposed breast suddenly felt heavy in their slight weight. Her heart pounded so hard she was sure it was visible even in the darkness.
He was the most spectacular thing she had ever seen. Black back laced boots right out of the renaissance rose almost to his knees. Black wool pants disappearing into his boots, held corded legs tightly within their seams. The black velvet shirt he wore, sported slit sleeves and loose laces, exposing the raw muscle beneath.
His hair was the color of a lion’s mane, gold glistening from dark to light under the cascading glow of the moon. Deep-set eyes shone like burgundy back at her in his quiet assessment.
“Do you like what you see?” She spat the words bitterly, turning on her heel, almost slipping on the slimy rocks beneath her feet, to relieve some of her exposure.
His rich chuckle deepened her uneasiness. The heat between her thighs rose uncomfortably. “Almost as much as you liked what you saw.”
“What just another arrogant man, who feels compelled to watch a woman bathe from behind the cover of the brush,” she fired the words over her shoulder.
“It was your scent that drew me here.”
Bree grabbed up her chemise style dress throwing it over her head. “So you are one of those men that are attracted by the scent of dirt and sweat?” She balked.
Amusing laughter filled the night. “I am no man, my lady.”
She looked him up and down again. “You look like a man.”
“Looks can be deceiving. It was not the dirt and sweat that reeked from your flesh that summoned me here.”
She gave him a doubtful glance. “I am in no mood to be teased by the male species this night. Say what you wish to say and be done with it.”
“So much fire, so much anger,” he tsked. “May I ask what it is that has riled such a beauty this night?”
She gathered up her remaining clothing clutching them to her chest. “I don’t have time for the likes of you. If you have nothing of value to say then please by all means take your leave and bother me no more.”
A large powerful hand closed over her waist. Fingers that radiated heat so intense it burnt the bare flesh of her shoulder as they closed over the naked skin. The solid chest at her back could have easily been mistaken for the rock wall of the mountainside. Seductively his fingers moved up her neck tilting her head to one side.
Breath so warm and sensual washed past her ear. “Do you not want to know what scent of yours summoned me?”
She tried to breathe, but the air would not leave her lungs. She called upon fear, a normal response to the situation she found herself in, but it would not come.
“I see you are speechless, my lady.” His lips brushed against her neck sending tremors of excitement coursing through her.
“There is only one scent that could bring about a monster such as I. Do you know what that is?”
Bree was fast losing her senses. In her twenty-nine years, she had allowed only one man to touch her in this manner. Now here she was, in the midst of her secret bathing spot, allowing a complete stranger to seduce her.
Moving from his touch would be the logical action. Yet moving away from something, she instinctively knew held more than she had ever dreamed, was making that option minuscule.
“I see you have lost your tongue. It is a shame. I was enjoying our banter. I haven’t experienced anything like it in…let’s just say years.”
Her eyes drifted closed as his hand across her stomach began to drift lazily to her breast. She gasped as his fingers closed over the material of her dress entrapping the flesh beneath it under his palm.
“What secrets do you hold, my lady? No innocent woman would allow another to touch her in such a manner.”
“No gentleman would touch a lady in such a manner.” She forced past the tightening in her throat.
“Ah, so your voice has not left you.” He ran his lips first down then back up her neck, letting his tongue outline her ear. “I believe I never claimed to be a gentleman either.”
“Then who are you and what brought you here?” Her body was rapidly turning against her. Every desire she had ever longed for screamed out its existence within his touches.
“I am called Dante Blaque.” His tongue slid down her neck grazing her bare shoulder. “And it was your scent that drew me from my sleep.”
Her body trembled with the increasing inner turmoil that threatened to be her undoing. “What scent might that be? I wear no scents to lure men.”
“For one like me, it would not be the finest colognes that would draw my attention.”
Bree froze as the sharp nip of teeth pinched her neck. “Do you need further hints, my lady?”
She should move from his touch, yet his seductive manner was even more than a woman such as herself could fight.
“The townspeople fear you almost as much as they do me, is this not true? Is this not how you received such injuries?”
His fingertips lightly brushed against her bruised cheek as his lips and tongue slid slowly over the scrap on her shoulder.
“How do you know about the townspeople?”
“An ignorant lot, they are.”
“It could have been a husband that inflicted me with such injuries. Did you ever think of that?” Gathering her composure, Bree moved from his embrace.
The night air swirled around her, chilling, relieving, but most of all bringing a sense of severe loss. A shiver ran down her spine. A sign that should alarm her, however, alarm was not in the cards this night.
“You could have, but my knowledge of your kind tells me you do not.”
“And just what about me brought about this conclusion? Have you witnessed me casting a spell? Maybe you have witnessed me flying through the sky on my broom?”
“You do love a good argument, don’t you, Bree?”
“How do you know my name? Who are you? Did the townspeople send you after me?”
“You’re nervous, my lady.” A satisfying smiled formed across lips so full and inviting she found herself dazed by their spectacular beauty. “Good you should be.”
“And why should I fear one simple man? I have lived through the attack of twenty men this day. I don’t see where you are going to do any further harm to me, especially if I am the witch you claim me to be.”
She clutched her clothing tighter to her chest as his finger came to her neck, brushing feather light across her collarbone. “No one sent me after you.”
Fangs of pearl white slid from their sheaths, glistening in the moonlight before her. “The scent of your injuries, the life’s blood of your body, called out to me.”