Cast out of Heaven and now the king of Hell, Lucifer is a powerful fallen angel warrior with a heart as cold as ice and soul as black as the bottomless pit. For millennia, he has ruled his realm with an iron fist as he plots the demise of his ancient enemies. When one of those enemies dumps an unconscious mortal female in the courtyard of his fortress and leaves her there, Lucifer finds himself entranced by the beguiling beauty and tempted beyond all reason. But is the enchanting Nina an innocent pawn in the eternal game or part of a plot against him?
Nina groaned and rolled onto her back, tossing her right arm above her head. Rather than the expected soft pillow, it struck something firmly padded. She loosed another muffled moan and frowned, the urge to open her sore eyes and see what she had hit dampened by the riot in her head. Sweat trickled between her breasts and soaked her back where it pressed into the hard whatever it was she was lying on.
She couldn’t remember it being this uncomfortable.
But if it wasn’t her couch, what was it?
More than that, where was she?
Her frown deepened as she tried to recall whether she had gone out after work with her small group of friends, had possibly had a little too much to drink, and had ended up on one of their couches.
She couldn’t remember anything after leaving work for the evening.
A prickling sensation ran down her spine and over her limbs, and she pulled down a sharp breath. She had probably drunk a little too much. It had been a Friday night after all. It wouldn’t be the first time she had taken things too far when attempting to unwind and forget her worries.
A scuffing sound sent another bolt of panic through her bones and she cracked her eyes open, an apology to whichever friend had taken her in balanced on her lips.
Those words fled her when her gaze settled straight on a tall elegantly dressed black-haired man who stood a few feet from her, staring down at her with eyes the colour of pure gold.
But also terrifying.
She didn’t know this man.
Nina shoved herself up on the seat, her damp palms gripping the black velvet and giving her purchase. Every instinct she possessed said to flee, to make an excuse and run like hell, but her head turned violently and all she could do was bite out a moan from between clenched teeth and press her left hand to her forehead.
“You are unwell?” The deep lush male voice washed over her like a soothing balm, easing the pain in her skull and her fear at the same time.
He moved, the soft click of his heels alerting her that he was drawing closer. Her panic went into overdrive again and she scrambled backwards to place some distance between them, hit nothing where the rear of the couch should have been, and landed hard on a cold floor with her legs sticking up in the air.
She stared in surprise at her tights-clad feet and the dark ceiling beyond them, needing a moment to take in what had just happened.
The man appeared above her, his head canting and his golden eyes narrowing as he looked down at her. “Did you hurt yourself?”
Nina quickly shook her head and clutched at the hem of her black skirt, keeping it covering her thighs. She had already made a fool of herself. She didn’t need to go adding flashing her knickers at this man to that. Besides, she still wasn’t sure who he was, how she knew him, or where she was. A flash of panties might be seen as an invitation, and as handsome as this man was, she wasn’t about to invite him between her legs, no matter how long it had been since she had slept with a guy.
She rolled onto her side and scrambled back onto her feet, practically leaping onto them to evade the hand he offered. He stared at his outstretched hand as she smoothed her skirt down, his left eyebrow quirking in a manner that looked a heck of a lot like irritation to her.
When he moved, she expected him to advance towards her.
He retreated instead, backing towards an unlit black marble fireplace against an equally black wall behind him and lowering his hand to his side at the same time.
Nina looked around her as something dawned on her.
Everything in the damned room was black.
Where the hell was she? Some sort of goth retreat?
“There is no need to panic. I do not mean you any harm. You were left in the courtyard of this house and were brought in to keep you safe.”
Nina’s gaze whipped back to the handsome man.
And hell, he was handsome. The sort of man that could have a horde of women swooning with little more than a smile, their knees buckling beneath them. She wasn’t immune to his beauty. She wasn’t sure any woman would be able to say that she was. If they did, they would be a liar.
He oozed wicked sensuality as he stared across the room at her, his golden eyes fixed with hawk-like intensity on hers and his soft lips tilted at the corners into a hint of a smile.
Nina shook her head to rid it of the dangerous thoughts piling up in it and focused on what the man had said.
“Keep me safe?” She frowned at that, another ripple of panic running through her as she tried to guess the answer to that question and feared what he would say.
He toyed with the left cuff of his black shirt and then smoothed the fine sleeve of his black suit jacket over it, carefully adjusting it until it was perfect.
Just like him.
Nina shoved that little voice out of her head, determined to focus on the matter at hand and not the man at hand. She was in a strange place, in a stranger’s house, and he was saying that she was in danger.
“You are safe now,” he said with silken persuasiveness that had her dumbly nodding in agreement even when she didn’t honestly feel safe. “The man who brought you here is gone.”
“A man?” Nina’s eyes widened as she tried to remember what had happened to her but her mind remained blank, refusing to supply anything beyond leaving work for the evening.
He nodded and smiled, and it hit her hard in the chest, knocking the wind from her and sending her head spinning.
Her panic returned full force. “I want to go home.”
The man’s smile held. “I am afraid that is not possible yet, but arrangements will be made for your return. If you tell me where you live, I will pass on the information and they will see to it.”
They? Pass on the information? Was he the master of this house or a servant?
“London… I live in London. Anywhere in London will do.” She figured it couldn’t hurt to tell him the city she was from, but she wasn’t about to hand out her address to him. She still wasn’t sure whether there was another man who had taken her, or whether it was an elaborate lie to throw her off his scent.
What if this man had been the one to take her?
She twisted her hand in her white blouse, tugging at the material, struggling to breathe as a weight pressed down on her chest and she fought the wave of panic that threatened to sweep her away. She had to focus.
Her gaze fell to his hands as he toyed with his cuff again, neatening it, and her eyebrows pinched together. He had black nails. Why did he have black nails? Everything about him screamed businessman or butler, but he had black painted nails. She stared at them, unable to drag her eyes away. They were a bit too polished and impeccable. Were they false nails?
They distracted her and she lost herself in pondering what they were made from and why he had black nails. It was only when the sensation of his piercing gaze on her faded and he moved his hands behind his back that she snapped back to the room. What was wrong with her today?
She was normally quite focused, but she felt foggy, her mind all over the place and easily lured into concentrating on the smallest things when the bigger picture was demanding her attention. She was starting to get the impression that it wasn’t purely panic altering her behaviour, and that only panicked her further.
“You should breathe.” Those three softly spoken words had her lifting her gaze back to the man’s sober face. The moment their eyes locked, her fear subsided again and the weight on her chest began to dissipate.
Nina breathed slowly but steadily, drawing each breath deep into her lungs.
“Can you recall what happened to you?” he said.
She lowered her eyes to her bare feet, her dark stockings not quite black enough to make them blend into the cool stone floor, and frowned as she searched for an answer to his question.
“I remember leaving work.” Nina looked down at her blouse, at the gash in the soft white material, and wondered for what felt like the hundredth time what had happened between leaving work and waking in this strange room.
Her head ached, throbbing deeply as she struggled to capture the barest sliver of a memory, just one moment that might help her understand what had happened to her. When the ache became a stabbing pain that felt as if someone was pushing a hot needle through her brain, she pressed her hand to her forehead, screwed her eyes shut and grimaced.
A flash of a shadowy figure blasted across her mind.
Nina raised her chin and opened her eyes, staring across the room at the black-haired man. “You were right. There was a man… but I can’t remember what he looked like.”
She tried but her head hurt so much that her stomach turned, sickness brewing there as the pain intensified. What had the man done to her? Was it drugs? Was that why her brain was so fuzzy?
“Do you know of any reason why someone might want to harm you?” The man took a step towards her and fear clashed with panic again, welling up to stir the sickness in her belly and bring bile up her throat.
She backed off a few steps, shaking her head in denial even though her heart and head screamed that there might be. It was entirely possible that someone was out to hurt her, and that meant that everything the man said had happened, had happened.
Someone had grabbed her, drugged her, and this man or someone from this house had saved her.
Nina’s back hit a wall and she gasped. The man’s eyes narrowed on her and she looked away, afraid he would see the truth in her eyes. She didn’t want him to get into trouble because of her, at least not any more than he already had.
Had he been the one to save her?
Her throat closed again as she thought about that, sure he must have fought the man off in order to help her. She squeezed her eyes shut and pressed her palms against the wall behind her, her fingertips clawing at the smooth surface as she tried to anchor herself in the swirling storm of her emotions.
“I want to leave.” She managed to get the words out but they were quiet, lacking the force and conviction she had wanted to convey in them.
Before he had crushed her.
The man’s gaze bore into her, commanding her to open her eyes and look at him, to find the strength to say those words with more conviction so he would let her leave.
She had to protect him.
He didn’t know what he had become involved in by helping her and she didn’t want him to pay for his kindness.
Not as she had paid for hers so many times and in so many ways.
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About the author:
Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you're a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.
If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Her Angel series.
If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:
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