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Sneak Peek: Immortally Cursed

Sneak Peek: Immortally Cursed

Immortally Cursed Series, Book 1

The papers made no sense to Justine. Well, they made sense, but they didn’t seem to have anything to do with her. “It’s a contract between Vic’s Pretzels and McDonald’s. Why would someone leave this for me?”

“Inside stock tip?” Xavier, her doorman, suggested. “Everyone around here knows you keep the Vic’s on the corner in business.”

“Maybe.” She slid the papers back into the envelope and looked at her doorman. Things were getting weirder by the minute. “Who left these papers?”

“I did.”

She spun around, her hand going to the dagger nestled at the small of her back. A man in a business suit was standing inside the lobby doors, a briefcase in one hand. He looked just over six feet, short dark hair and a stance that exuded readiness. He was absolutely gorgeous and made her mouth go dry, which meant the odds that she was going to have to kill him were quite high.

And he looked very, very familiar.

Xavier moved next to her. “Want me to get rid of him?”

“No. Not yet.” She eased away from the doorman so he didn’t cramp her movement. “Who are you?”

“Didn’t my brother say I’d be coming by? I asked him to stop by earlier.”

“Your brother?” This was the surfer dude’s brother? There was nothing similar between those two men, at all. “He wasn’t real chatty.”

The man sighed. “Yes, sometimes he’s a bit distracted.”

Her fingers closed around the handle of her knife. “Do I know you?” It was his chin, she decided. She knew that chin. Nice angle, strong. Masculine. “You look familiar.”

He lifted a brow. Nice eyebrows. Would he mind if she licked them? Yikes. No sex, remember? “My brother looks like me.”

“No, he doesn’t.” Not at all. “Not that I believe he was your brother. Paid assassin is more likely.”

The man raised an eyebrow. “Assassin?”

“Yes, and he wasn’t a very good one either. Next time you should check references.”

“If I ever hire an assassin, I’ll be sure to keep your advice in mind.” He took a few steps toward her, and she moved to her right, drifting toward the middle of the lobby so she’d have room to maneuver. “At the moment, however, I just want to ask you some questions.”

“Ask away.” Seeing as how his “brother” had tried to kill her earlier today, she knew she ought to take him out first and skip the questions. But unlike Theresa, she didn’t get a thrill out of killing people, and she was still hoping he’d turn out to be a vacuum cleaner salesman.

He moved opposite her, until they were both moving in a slow circle, like assailants looking for an opening.

Which she was.

Was he?

A spike of adrenaline washed over her. She hadn’t had a good battle in forever. How fun would it be to have one now? Maybe she couldn’t sleep with him, but she could knock him around a bit.

“You know any dragons?”

She stopped. “What?”

“Dragons. Know any?”

Who was this guy? “Xavier, I think you should leave.”

“I think he should leave. I think he’s tired and needs a nap,” Xavier replied.

“Shut up!” The man glared at Xavier. “You say one more thing, and I’m blowing your cover.”

Justine eyed her doorman, who nodded and closed his mouth. “Um, what cover?” she asked Xavier.

“Nothing. You asked me to leave, and I will.” Xavier scowled at their visitor. “You hurt her, and you’ll die.”

The man didn’t look impressed by the threat. “Go have some coffee.”

Xavier growled, but he walked out the door, muttering what sounded like orders to go to sleep immediately.

She directed her attention back to the man, catching the tail end of a yawn. “Who are you?”

He yawned again. “The Curse. I need to know how to stop it.”

“What curse?” That made no sense at all. Goblets, yes. Curses? Not so much. Curses weren’t her thing. Maybe he wasn’t really there for her?

He staggered slightly and slapped his cheek, even as he yawned again. “Bastard.” His epithet was mumbled, his eyes bleary.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“Xavier.” He blinked and stumbled over to the wall. He leaned against it, then slid down to the floor, his head collapsing back against the wall with a thud. “The dragon. The Goblet. Need answers.” His eyes closed for a moment, before he jerked them open again.

She let her fingers slide off the dagger. “What goblet?” Was he faking exhaustion? He didn’t look like it. He looked like he was about to pass out.

“Eternal youth.” His eyes closed and his head slumped forward.

Shit. He knew what he was talking about. At least he didn’t know Mona was an espresso machine…or did he? “What do you know about it?”

No answer.

She pulled her gun out and pointed it at him, then eased over to him, nudging him with her toe.

No response.

Was he dead?

Keeping her gun ready, she squatted next to him and felt his pulse. Strong.

He was alive.

And he smelled divine.

She took a quick glance around, then leaned forward and buried her nose in his neck. She even closed her eyes and inhaled him. He smelled like man, like woods and sophistication, all tangled up together. Surfer boy had smelled good, but this guy smelled incredible.

“What’s going on down there?” Theresa’s voice bellowed out from the intercom.

She jumped and sat up. “He passed out.”

“Who is he?”

“I don’t know.” She flipped open his suit jacket and felt for a wallet, trying not to notice he had a very nice chest. Her fingers closed a leather billfold. “I have his wallet.”

“Is he hot?”

Devastating sexy. “I didn’t notice.”

“Liar! Take advantage of him while he’s unconscious.”

“Don’t tempt me.” She opened his wallet and pulled out a driver’s license. She scanned it quickly, then her mouth dropped open as she read his name. “Holy shit.”

“What?”

She collapsed against the wall, staring at the words. How could this be?

What?”

“His name. It’s Derek LaValle.”

“LaValle?” Theresa sounded incredulous. “You think he’s related to Carl? The one who betrayed you and you had to behead? Like that kind of LaValle?”

Her heart thudding in her chest, Justine turned and studied Derek’s profile. He had Carl’s chin. “Yes.” No wonder he’d looked familiar.

“Well, shit and damn. Is he as good looking as Carl was?”

She scanned his face again, taking in the insanely sexy whiskers, his strong jaw, and the broadness of his shoulders. “Better.” She clenched the license in her hand.

“Better? Really? Wow. He must be gorgeous! Did he check out your breasts before he passed out?”

Justine’s nipples immediately tingled, and she decided she was going to shoot her roommate when she got back upstairs. “Theresa! I don’t know! Stop distracting me. What am I supposed to do with him?”

“Bring him upstairs. We’ll handcuff him to your bed and torture him sexually until he confesses all. If we blindfold him, do you think he’ll realize I’m a dragon?”

“I think I should kill him.” She stood up and pulled out her knife. “Carl betrayed me. This guy’s ‘brother’ already tried to kill me today. There’s no way this guy can be anything but a danger to us.” But she didn’t point the blade in Derek’s direction.

She just stood there, staring at him. He wasn’t moving at all, except for a deep, steady breathing. He was completely defenseless, and he hadn’t even tried to do anything yet. All he’d done was ask a couple questions. How could she kill him for that?

She really didn’t think killing in cold blood was the best approach, given her mom’s situation. Plus he was so good-looking and smelled really delicious, and, well, would it be so bad to take a couple minutes to inhale him? Not long. Just a brief moment. Or two.

“Justine? Did you kill him? I don’t hear any blood rushing around down there.”

She shoved the dagger back in its sheath. Killing sounded risky. Basking in his manliness while she interrogated him sounded like such a better idea. “I’m bringing him up.”

“Oh, goody. Can we torture him? Burn him up? Use him until we’re all heavily sated and exhausted?”

“No, to everything except burning him up, and that’s a maybe.”

“Sweet. This will be so fun!”

Justine eased behind Derek and wrapped her arms under his arms and around his chest…oh, wow. It felt so good to have him smashed up against her. Maybe Theresa was right. Maybe she should make him her love slave for the next few hundred years. She had completely forgotten what it felt like to be up close and personal with a man, and now she knew why. If she’d remembered, it would have made the last two centuries even more unbearable, knowing what she was missing.

But now she remembered. Which was bad. Except right in this moment, it felt oh-so-good.

Unable to suppress a sigh of deep contentment, she dragged him into the elevator. She wrestled his feet clear of the door so it could close, but as the doors slid shut, she couldn’t quite make herself let go of him.

Just a couple more seconds. That was all she wanted. Granted, he was passed out and limp against her, but she could feel his muscles. He was a man, for God’s sake, and he was in her arms. It had been so long. Was this why Theresa had turned to cybersex? But how could cybersex possibly make up for the feeling of a man’s body against hers, the heat from his skin pressing against her and—

He twitched, spun around in her arms and flipped her beneath him, trapping her instantly on the floor of the elevator before she’d had time to do anything more than register the fact that he was no longer asleep. Big enough for transporting couches, the elevator was apparently also large enough for two adults to stretch out in a very intimate fashion.

Once he had her pinned beneath him, Derek opened his eyes and peered down at her, the slightest hint of smugness in his expression. God, he had gorgeous eyes. She’d never seen that color blue before. And his whiskers…she wanted to rub her face against them, just for a moment. And his mouth, his smile…it was so delicious and so sexy…

The elevator dinged, snapping her out of her man-worshipping-haze.

Whoa. What had just happened?

His smile widened, and she narrowed her eyes.

Oh, so that’s how it was? Try to lull her into submission with his manly appeal and then take her out? Not so much. She was a Guardian first and a woman second, and he was so going down.

But damn, he smelled good. Maybe she could sniff him just one more time before she capped him…Or not.

Definitely not.

She had to kill him immediately.

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