Indulgent: An Eternal Pleasure Novel (Book 3)
Eternal Pleasure, Book 3
Feelings too deep, dreams too dark, urges too dangerous not to be exciting.
Lily has always kept her magick hidden, even in a town like Serene, surrounded by others just like her. She fears exposing even a thread of her power, still haunted as she is by what she witnessed a century ago—the annihilation of her lineage, hunted, and burned at the stake. Hidden away in secret, she was the sole survivor.
When Lily is followed by strangers Jaret and Toby Darkland, she recognizes them as empaths—empowered with the ability to read minds. Only when she slips into their thoughts with her own powers does Lily realize they're the ones responsible for the destruction of her bloodline. But what do they want with her? And why are her dangerous desires toward the handsome cousins growing more uncontrollable with each dark day?
Jaret camouflaged his truck with tree branches, secured a silver bladed knife to his ankle, and hid the rest of his weaponry behind the brush, near the fence. From the inside, he could reach through the metal rungs and arm himself tonight, after nightfall, once he was sure no one was watching. Kane was smart enough that he'd do an ammunition check before he'd let them through that barrier, but knowing there was a pack of ferocious wolves inside, Jaret wasn't about to go in completely unarmed. It wasn't in his nature to go anywhere defenseless, and if he walked in completely weaponless, it would raise Kane's suspicions. By rights he should have called for backup, but he wasn't quite ready for his comrades to go in guns blazing, not before he figured out the spiritual shifter's identity and the spell she had over them.READ MORE
And then there was that nagging point that this little exercise carried out by him and his cousin hadn't been sanctioned, and could cost them their jobs. But he was sure once they cleansed the town, ridding the streets of an army of monsters, headquarters would overlook their covert actions and move them up a rung or two.
Toby stepped up beside him as he scanned the perimeter while trying to get a mental reading from inside. He shook his head. "Nothing."
"Let's move." As they walked toward the gate, Jaret lengthened his strides and worked to keep his heart rate level. Christ, it felt like he was walking into the lion's den and it was the pride's mealtime. He was pretty damn sure his comrades would question the intelligence of the two cousins going in alone, entering such a dangerous town practically unarmed, but he suspected Kane was smart enough to keep his pack at bay for the time being. Kane was trained by the PTF, so Jaret knew full well his first instinct would be to gather intel while he tried to control the situation. He'd work to assuage their suspicions and send them away none the wiser. But his second attempt to protect his community wouldn't be so pleasant. Jaret would count on it.
As they moved toward the booth, they studied the guy manning the station, and the out-of-place cowboy hat he had angled on his head. His yellow eyes narrowed and in a subtle move that hadn't gone unnoticed by either cousin, he sniffed the air upon their approach. Had he smelled the silver residue on their hands, their clothes? Jaret felt Toby flinch beside him.
"Easy," he warned when he too caught the rich amber gleam in the man's eyes.
"What the fuck..."
"A demon," Jaret responded, more to reinforce it for his own benefit than for Toby's, because, like him, Toby possessed the skills to instantly identify the beast inside that security booth.
Even though they were unable to probe its mind, with all their paranormal training it was easy for them to pick out a creature of the night. Any other unsuspecting human would think he'd stumbled across (a) a cowboy with strange eyes, or (b) one who was sporting fashionable contacts. But Jaret could hardly believe a demon was manning the gate and protecting both lycans and witches.
The man cocked his head, blocking the light with his Stetson and giving them both a good hard look before asking in a Southern drawl, "You two lost?"
Jaret pushed back his hood and tried to read him, but his attempts proved unsuccessful. He looked past the gate and cataloged the quaint town. He shifted his stance and marveled at the normalcy of it all—he'd never seen a pack so organized. But, he reminded himself, there was more than just a pack of wolves living behind that fence.
Toby spoke up first. "We're looking for Kane."
Jaret studied the demon and watched the exchange. The demon's lips tightened and he gave Toby a once-over. Suspicion grew in his amber eyes and he straightened his shoulders.
"You got business with Kane?"
"Not that it's any of yours, but yeah, we do."
The demon glanced down and seemed to check over some list he had pinned to a clipboard. He shot Toby a questioning glance. "He knows you're coming?"
Toby gave a derisive twist of his lips, and worked to keep his temper in check. "No, it's a surprise."
"Easy, Toby," Jaret warned, sensing Toby's rising anger and impatience with the situation. Jaret knew his cousin was itching to take the bastard out, and it was becoming harder and harder to leash his control. His cousin had little tolerance for anything that prowled the night, but had a special hatred for demons ever since he'd witnessed one feasting on a young teenage girl, the same highly motivated, brilliant high school girl who'd served them coffee and chatted easily with them every morning before she went off to class. She'd wanted to be president, she'd said. Toby had done all he could to save the innocent girl, but in the end simply couldn't. The demon had torn her to shreds and there was nothing Toby could do to put the pieces together again. Toby had a soft spot for the girl who wanted to change the world, and had never quite gotten over that night or forgiven himself for her death. But it wasn't Toby's fault. They couldn't save everyone. It was the nature of their business, the trial of the streets.
"A surprise, huh?" the demon said in that lazy drawl of his that pulled Jaret's focus back. The demon unfurled his fingers, folded his arms, and leaned back in his chair. "We don't much like surprises around here."
"Is that a fact? What exactly is it that you do like around here?" Toby questioned in a condescending voice meant to provoke the demon cowboy. The strangest damn persona Jaret had ever seen a monster take on. "Let me guess, horseback riding and rodeos more your speed?" Toby asked.
A long pause as the demon stared him down, then his eyes flared hot when he warned, "Be careful there, boy, or you'll be in for a few surprises of your own."
Toby widened his stance in a combative move. "How so?"
As if he'd said too much, the demon picked up his phone, and spoke in whispered words. A few moments later Kane came sauntering toward the gate, alone.
In a show of dominance, a pissing contest of sorts, they all stood their ground. Kane stepped up to the gate, and his dark eyes—camouflaged by contacts—met Jaret's straight on.
"You two are a far way from home," he said, and angled his body like any good hunter would. Clearly Kane was as uneasy about this meeting as he and Toby were.
With a nod, Jaret rooted his feet and gestured toward the town. "Could say the same about you."
"Like you two always said, I was getting too old for the hunt. Time to step down and let the younger guys handle it."
Jaret inhaled but couldn't decipher any lycan scents on their former colleague. Whoever was teaching him how to mask his appearance was doing a damn fine job.
"So what is it I can do for you two?" Kane asked. He always was one to get right to the point.
"You left the city rather quickly and the captain was worried about you." It was a flat-out lie, planted on purpose. Jaret wanted Kane to chew on that tidbit, to wrestle over it as he struggled to determine if this trip was sanctioned or not. "He put us on the case to track you down and make sure you hadn't gotten yourself into any trouble."
Kane gave a casual shrug meant to placate. "As you can see, there is no trouble here and I couldn't be better."
Jaret nodded. "You're looking good, Kane. Retirement's done you well." Jaret cast Toby a glance. "Maybe we should think about retiring too, cousin."
"I was well past my prime," Kane responded in an easy, laid-back voice. "You both even said so yourself. But you guys, well, you guys are still needed on the streets."
Jaret smirked and slanted his head. "Well, well, I never thought I'd see the day when the infamous Kane Reynolds would give us a compliment. Looks like retirement has softened you."
"Maybe. Maybe not. Either way I've grown fond of this place, and I'm not looking for trouble."
"Neither are we."
Kane stared at them, his expression dubious. "This is a nice quiet gated community, boys. Don't come here looking for trouble, because if you do, you just might find it."
Jaret tried to read him, but he had a mind shield in place that prohibited him from touching his thoughts. "I read you loud and clear," Jaret assured him, understanding the underlying threat. It was time to make nice. "I know we've had some troubled times, Kane. But it's time to move past that, don't you think?" Jaret held his hand out.
With that, Kane exchanged a look with the guard and a moment later the soft hum emanating off the electric fence vanished. After a long pause and a good hard warning glare, Kane reached through the gate and shook his hand, and in that instant the three of them appeared to forge an uneasy truce.
"Since we're here, we might as well stick around and soak up some of this fresh country air, seeing as how it's done a world of good for you," Toby added.
Cutting right to the chase, Kane asked. "You boys armed?"
Jaret resisted the urge to laugh. He held his arms out. "Check yourself."
Kane cast the demon a glance. "Check them, Jake."
Crowding them, Jake did a pat down and pulled the knife from Jaret's ankle. He tossed it to Kane and Kane secured it under his belt.
"No weapons are allowed inside. I'll give this back when you leave." He turned toward the demon and said, "Open the gate, Jake."
Jake gave a look that suggested Kane had gone insane, but then immediately followed orders, which, coupled with the way Kane had issued them, led Jaret to believe that Kane held a damn high ranking in this secluded community, the same way he did in the Chicago branch.
Sure, Jaret respected him for that, and sure, the cousins had razzed him about his age, because the truth was they were threatened by his intelligence and seniority, and coveted his superior position.
Jaret studied Kane's body language and action. He'd hazard a guess that the spiritual shifter had told the former PTF officer of their presence and he was fully expecting their company, and no doubt he had a plan of his own in place—not that anyone could easily sneak up on the cousins. At least they had that on their side, and that was something. But nonetheless, they'd have to be very careful once they were on the other side of that guarded fence.
The gate slowly opened and both Jaret and Toby stepped into the town. Off in the distance their presence was met with curious stares and disapproving scowls.
"Any hotels we can check into?" Toby asked.
"No hotels here. You might want to try Silver Springs. Not too far from here. Nice town. More amenities than Serene."
Was he trying to drive them out of town?
Jaret took in the rows of houses just beyond the main road. "Rental houses?"
Kane folded his arms and rocked back and forth on his feet. "I suppose I can arrange that. We have a nice two-bedroom near the running park that you both might like." Kane stopped to give them a once-over. "You both still run, don't you?"
"Good, then the house will suit you fine."
Or was he was trying to get them to stay?
Toby's stomach took that moment to grumble. "Can you point us to the best place to get some grub? I could use some good old-fashioned country cooking."
Kane led them down the main street and gestured toward the café. "You two go ahead. I have some things to do and will catch up with you later with the rental paperwork and key."
With that, Kane disappeared around the corner, and Jaret and Toby entered the café. They shed their coats, took a booth in the corner, and pressed their backs to the wall, a defensive response when entering foreign territory. Before they flipped open their menus, they took note of the crowd and documented the way their presence had garnered so much attention.
Jaret attempted a smile, to see if he could pull a reaction from the lady with the pewter eyes in the booth beside him. She simply grunted and shifted her head.
"They don't take too kindly to outsiders."
"Not much wonder."
The bell above the café door sounded and Jaret looked up in time to see a group enter. Well, well, so it appeared that everyone in this peculiar town was stopping by to check out the strangers. The man at the tail end of the line, a man who was tall, well built, and athletic, cast them a quick glance, his green eyes raking over them with quiet concern; then with long, catlike strides, he sauntered up to the counter.
"You've got to be fucking kidding me." Toby shifted, clearly uncomfortable as he did a tally. "Witches, lycans, demons, and now panthers." Incredulous, Toby shook his head. "What next? Vampires?"
"I guess we won't know that until tonight," Jaret said, unease moving through him as his fingers itched to reach for his gun, but he knew it wasn't there.
"Well, I'm guessing we can count on it. What the hell is this place anyway?"
Jaret really didn't know, but the sight of all these monsters cohabiting in one town raised another question. Were there any other similar covert communities like this one set up around the globe? That was something he damn well planned to find out before he finished his business in Serene.
In answer to Toby's question he said, "Well, after we gather information, and obliterate it, it's our ticket to a huge fucking promotion, that's what it is."
"But the witch..."
"Yeah, the witch. First we need to find out what kind of spell she has over us."
Toby pressed against the wall harder, his dark brow furrowed with concern. "Maybe we should just get the fuck out of here, and come back with reinforcements. We're way too outnumbered."
"Kane's not going to react, Toby. Not yet. We've got time. If he kills us, he'll fear others will come looking. He's not going to discount the possibility that this trip was sanctioned, and as long as we have that on our side, we're safe. He doesn't want to bring that shit down on his town. He's simply going to want to send us away quietly."
Toby nodded, knowing he was right, but still not liking the odds.
Jaret turned his attention to the counter, and the second he set eyes on the beautiful violet-eyed woman who'd come from the back, his entire body reacted with primal need, and the odd tug of familiarity hadn't gone unnoticed by him.
Toby turned to identity the source of Jaret's sudden discomfort. He sucked in a breath and said, "She's fucking gorgeous."
Jaret thought gorgeous didn't even begin to describe her. She had long dark hair, pinned haphazardly on the top of her head, a few wayward tendrils falling across her creamy cheeks and dipping down into her cleavage, mostly obscured by an antique amulet. Knowledgeable yet guarded violet eyes, flawless skin, a full puckered mouth, and a body so full of want that it begged for their undivided attention filled him with undisguised lust. She wore a tight, sexy fifties-style uniform with a V-necked zip front, short sleeves, and a flared skirt that reached her midthighs. Jaret ached to slip his hand under that skirt to see if she was wearing any panties, or, better yet, pull the zipper from her ample cleavage to the juncture between her legs to discover all her little secrets.
Just thinking about her naked body had his cock throbbing and his mouth dying to take possession of those plump lips-both sets. She bent forward, affording him a view of her pert breasts and milky cleavage, and that was when her scent reached him. Warm sugary vanilla. That had to be the sweetest, sexiest scent on earth. His mouth watered. His fingers itched. And his cock grew another inch.
The mere sight of her filled him with passion and had him envisioning her sprawled across the bed, Toby and he stripping her bare and pleasuring her in the most decadent ways before spending the night buried inside her beautiful body. He ached to push inside her and ride her with reckless abandon for the remainder of the day, week. Year.
Everything from the way she moved, the way she smiled, to the way her body beckoned his rocked his world and shook him to his very core. Never in his life had he experienced such powerful emotions, and honestly he wasn't even sure how to handle it. From the strained looks on his cousin's face, he'd say Toby also felt the physical chemistry, and was just as confused by it as Jaret was.
Jaret concentrated and tried to forge a connection with her, but when he did, her head came up with a start and she sucked in a tight breath. She'd felt him. She'd felt him trying to prod around inside her mind. But her protective shield was too secure for him to work around. He'd have to find another way to get inside her head and gather information on this sexy spiritual shifter who had the ability to rattle him like no other.
"I know how," Toby announced.
So did Jaret, in fact. "We catch her with her guard down so we can read her."
Toby gave Jaret a crooked grin. "After her erotic show, we both know there's only one way for us to get her to drop her defenses."
Jaret gave a slow nod of his head, determined to get to the bottom of matters. "That's right, cousin. It's time to seduce our way into her thoughts."
He stole another glance at the waitress. She moved with a sensuality that nearly drove him to his knees. As he studied her, his cock throbbed in a way it had never throbbed before, and it begged the question-was he seducing his way into her bed purely for informational purposes, or for his own selfish ones?COLLAPSE