The Vampires of Morgan Creek
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“A master of her craft.” —Maggie Shayne Gathered together for the first time, all three of New York Times bestselling author Amanda Ashley’s seductive tales of Morgan Creek and its unforgettable inhabitants . . . AS TWILIGHT FALLS Photographing ghost towns across the American West, Kadie Andrews takes a wrong turn and ends up in Morgan Creek, Wyoming—a spot that isn’t on the map. It’s a quaint little place, but when twilight falls, it takes on a sinister air. And when Kadie captures the attention of master vampire Rylan Saintcrow, she can feel his power. He may be the most compelling creature she’s ever imagined, but he is also a man—one who needs a woman to be his willing prisoner—for eternity . . . TWILIGHT DREAMS Holly Parrish has never met anyone like Micah Ravenwood: his dark eyes, his movie-star smile, the indefinable way he looks at her. Even when she thought he was simply another investment firm client, her lust overpowered her logic. But she never expected their attraction to lead her to an eerie ghost town in Wyoming. Only vampires call the deserted place home—and one of them is Micah . . . TWILIGHT DESIRES Sofia Ravenwood was once fascinated by vampires—their seductive power, their inhuman strength, their dark desires. Then one attacked her family, and she vowed to keep clear. Until she heard about Ethan Parrish: a sweet, sizzling-hot former college football player, turned into a vampire against his will. Wandering the deserted streets of Morgan Creek, Ethan’s sure he'll be alone forever—until Sofia agrees to meet him . . .
Release date: June 25, 2019
Print pages: 1040
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The Vampires of Morgan Creek
She had just decided to park the Durango on the side of the road and walk across the bridge when the storm clouds that had been following her for the last few miles decided to release their burden. There was a jagged flash of lightning, a deafening roar of thunder, followed by a sudden deluge.
Walking was out of the question.
With a sigh of resignation, Kadie turned on the windshield wipers, put the SUV in gear, and drove across the bridge as quickly as she dared, praying all the way that the bridge wouldn’t break and dump her in the shallow river below.
When she reached the other side, she headed straight toward the gas station, her sense of unease growing as she drove down what appeared to be the main street. Only there were no lights showing in any of the nearby buildings. No cars on the street. No people in evidence.
The place looked like a ghost town, and she knew all about ghost towns. As a freelance writer and photographer, she had visited ghost towns from Bumble Bee, Arizona, to Vader, Washington. Some were truly ghost towns, with little left but the spirits of those who had once lived there. Some, like Virginia City in Nevada and the city of the same name in Montana, were not really ghost towns. Saloons had been revived and buildings restored, giving people a glimpse of what life in the Old West had been like.
Her most recent adventure had been to Rambler, Wyoming. It had been a difficult trip and not worth the effort, since little remained. But Wyoming was a beautiful place.
Kadie glanced out the side windows of the Durango. If there were any ghosts lingering in this old Wyoming town, she was certain they weren’t the friendly kind.
Pulling into the gas station, Kadie stared in disbelief at the pump. Instead of the modern, automated kind she was used to, this one had to be pumped by hand. She had seen pictures of old pumps like this. They dated from the 1920s. She wasn’t surprised to see a CLOSED sign on the office window. The place looked as if it had been out of business for decades.
Grabbing her cell phone, she flipped it open and punched in the number for the auto club, only to receive the message that there was no service available.
Chewing on the inside of her lower lip, she drove slowly down the main street, hoping she might be able to get a signal at another location.
She passed a quaint two-story hotel built of faded red brick. The lights were out.
The lights were out in every store she passed.
She tried to use her phone several times in different locations with no luck.
Tossing the phone onto the passenger seat, she made a right turn at the next stop sign and found herself in a residential section. The houses were mostly made of wood, set on large lots, well back from the street. Most of them had large front porches and old-fashioned picture windows. A few had cars in the driveway, cars that came from the same era as the gas pump. Every house was dark inside and out.
Pulling up at a stop sign, she glanced down the street, then smacked her hand against her forehead. Of course! The lights were probably out due to the storm.
She made a quick U-turn and drove back to the hotel. The Durango sputtered and died several yards short of her goal. Taking her foot off the gas, she coasted to the curb.
Kadie sat there a moment, reluctant to leave the shelter of the SUV. Rain pounded on the roof and poured down the windshield. No doubt she’d be soaked clear through before she reached the entrance.
She glanced at the hotel again. If the storm had caused the power failure, it was odd that the hotel didn’t have a backup generator, or at least have some candles burning.
Leaning forward, she rested her forehead on the steering wheel and closed her eyes. Maybe she would just sleep in the Durango. She’d done it before.
She jumped a foot when someone tapped on the driver’s side window.
When she looked up, she saw a man peering at her through the glass. For the first time, she wished she had taken her father’s advice and bought a gun to keep in the car. “The way you go gallivantin’ around the country, you might need it someday,” he’d often said.
And now someday had arrived.
“Are you all right?” the stranger asked.
Kadie stared at him, surprised she could hear him so clearly in spite of the rain and the thunder.
“Fine, thank you,” she said. “Except I’m out of gas. Is there a station nearby?”
“Just the one, and it’s out of business.”
Kadie frowned. She’d seen cars in the driveways. Where did they buy gas?
“You’re gonna freeze to death in there,” he said. “There’s a tavern down the street that’s open late. You can warm up inside.”
Kadie shook her head. She wasn’t crazy enough to follow a stranger down a dark street in the middle of the night.
“You’ll be perfectly safe. Cross my heart,” he said, his finger copying his words.
Kadie took a deep breath as she weighed her options. If he meant to do her harm, there was nothing to stop him from breaking into the SUV. And she was cold, and getting colder by the minute. Lightning lanced the clouds. A rumble of thunder shook the car.
“They have hot coffee,” he added.
That did it. Grabbing her purse and the keys, she pulled the hood of her jacket up over her head and unlocked the door.
She was careful not to get too close to him as they walked down the street.
The bar was only half a block from the hotel. Kadie hesitated when the stranger opened the door; then, taking a deep breath, she stepped inside.
Warmth engulfed her. The light from a dozen flickering candles revealed a large room dominated by a bar that ran the length of the back wall. A number of booths lined one side of the room; a dozen small, round tables occupied the other side.
She felt suddenly self-conscious as five men and a woman turned to stare at her.
Ignoring them one and all, she followed her companion to an empty table.
“Here, let me take that,” he said as she shrugged out of her wet jacket.
Kadie murmured her thanks as he draped it over the back of an empty chair, then took the seat across from hers.
A tall, skinny woman who looked almost anorexic approached the table on silent feet.
“Do you want anything besides coffee?” Kadie’s companion asked.
When she shook her head, he ordered a glass of wine for himself and the skinny woman walked away as silently as she had appeared.
Kadie clasped her hands in her lap, looking everywhere but at the man across from her.
He had a faint English accent. Dark brown hair brushed the collar of his black shirt and his eyes were a shade lighter than his hair.
“Kadie,” she said.
“What brings you to Morgan Creek?”
“I took a wrong turn,” she admitted, and felt a faint flush of embarrassment warm her cheeks. She had always prided herself on being able to find her way around. “And ended up here.”
“Far off the beaten path, to be sure.”
The silent waitress returned with their drinks, and silently departed.
“Is there something wrong with her?” Kadie asked.
He lifted one brow. “With Frankie? She’s a mute.”
“Oh, how sad.” Kadie watched the waitress move from table to table. The woman never smiled at anyone.
“You’ll be needing a place to spend the night,” Darrick said, drawing Kadie’s attention once more.
“The hotel . . .”
“Out of business. The place is empty. Has been for years. But I’m sure we can find you a bed somewhere.”
She didn’t like the sound of that. “That’s all right. I’ll just sleep in my car. I’ve done it before.”
He shook his head. “Not a good idea.”
The look in his eyes, the underlying warning in his voice, sent a chill down her spine. “Do you have a better one?” She blew on her coffee, then took a sip. It was stronger than she liked and she added a packet of sugar.
“There’s an empty house over on Fifth Street. The people took off in a hurry and left all their furniture behind. You can stay there.”
“You mean, break in?”
“The people aren’t coming back, so the house is just sitting there. You might as well use it.”
Kadie fidgeted in her chair. What he was suggesting didn’t seem right, but it was a lot more appealing than sleeping in her car, especially with the rain falling steadily and no end in sight.
She looked up to find Darrick regarding her over the rim of his wineglass. It was hard to think clearly when he was looking at her like that, as if she was the last cookie in the jar and he was starving for sweets.
He sipped his wine, his gaze never leaving hers.
His stare made her uncomfortable. He looked harmless enough. There was nothing threatening in his manner, and yet . . . She shook off her disquieting thoughts. She was probably just upset by the day’s events.
She finished her coffee and set the cup aside.
“Do you want another cup?” he asked.
“No,” she said, smothering a yawn. “I can hardly keep my eyes open.”
Putting his wineglass aside, he pushed away from the table. “Let’s go, then.”
“What about the check?”
“Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it later.”
That seemed odd, she thought, getting up from the table. But then, maybe he knew the owner or ran a tab.
He helped her into her jacket, then followed her toward the door.
Kadie pulled her hood up as she stepped outside. “Aren’t you cold?” For the first time, she noticed he wasn’t wearing a coat.
He shook his head.
“I need to get my things.”
Nodding, he fell into step beside her, waited on the sidewalk while she pulled her suitcase from the backseat. He took it from her, then reached for her hand.
Pretending not to notice, Kadie shoved her hands into her pockets.
“This way,” he said.
Filled with trepidation, she followed him down the street and around the corner. They didn’t pass anyone else, but then, who would be out on a night like this if they didn’t have to?
They went another block before they came to a neat, ranch-style house. Kadie hurried up the porch stairs, grateful to be out of the rain.
She hesitated when he opened the door, sent a quick prayer for protection to heaven, and stepped inside. She grunted with pain when she bumped her knee on a table.
“Stay here,” Darrick said, closing the door. “I’ll find a candle.”
Kadie bit down on her lower lip. What on earth was she doing in a strange town, in a strange house, with a strange man? She had always hated those silly heroines who were too stupid to live, but she had a feeling she was acting like one.
She was giving serious thought to running back to her car, but she wouldn’t be any safer there than she was here.
He returned carrying a hurricane lamp. The lamp’s light cast eerie shadows on the walls and ceiling.
“I think you’ll be comfortable here,” he said, handing her the lamp. “There’s some wood in the hearth, if you want to start a fire.”
Kadie nodded, her tension growing with every passing moment.
“The power should be back on in the morning,” he said.
She nodded. “Thank you for your help.”
He looked at her, his expression enigmatic. He took a step toward her. She took a hasty step backward when she saw his eyes.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Your eyes . . .” She blinked and looked again. “Nothing.” For a moment, she could have sworn his eyes looked red. Probably just a trick of the light, she told herself. She placed the lamp on the mantel. Turning around, she said, “Thank you for your . . .”
Kadie stared at the place where Darrick had been standing only moments before. How had he disappeared so quickly? And how had he gotten out of the house without opening the door?
The vampire sleeping deep within the earth stirred, aroused by the scent of fresh prey in town. Gathering his senses, he deduced that the newcomer was young, healthy, and female. But it was the rich, warm scent of her life’s blood that called to him, drawing him to full awareness.
Just a single whiff, and he knew he would not rest until she was his.
Anger stirred within him when he realized that Darrick Vaughan had already claimed her. The man had been looking after the town’s affairs for too long, but that was about to change. It was time to remind Vaughan and the others who was in charge here.
Burrowing up through yards of earth, he made his way home. He would need to clean up and feed before introducing himself to Miss Kadie Andrews.
He paused outside the gray stone house that held his lair, listening to the sounds of the night. Morgan Creek was a quiet place after dark. He didn’t know or care what the humans did during the daylight hours. The only people seen on the streets after dark were those who had been fed upon recently. Not that holing up inside their houses did the residents a lot of good. Out of sight, out of mind didn’t work on his kind. But he had little interest in the mortals who lived and died here.
After a quick shower, he donned a pair of jeans and a shirt. The hunger clawed at his vitals, yet he hesitated to leave the security of his lair. Though thirty years had passed since he had gone to ground, he remembered all too vividly his last foray outside Morgan Creek . . .
It had been a beautiful summer night and the city had been alive with people. Walking among them, their combined scents had aroused his thirst. A Fourth of July celebration was in full swing at the park. After the fireworks, there had been music and dancing.
Spying a beautiful young thing in shorts and a halter top heading away from the crowd, he had followed her. He had been closing in when he felt a sharp pain in his back. Too late, he realized he had walked into a trap. A dozen hunters swarmed over him, driving him to the ground. He fought back, breaking a neck here, a leg there, sinking his fangs into another, but they never let up. Fear had been like ice in his belly when they splashed him with gasoline. He fought with renewed energy when he caught the scent of sulphur, roared with pain as his clothes and his hair caught fire.
The flames had driven the hunters back. It had taken every ounce of preternatural power remaining to will himself back to Morgan Creek and bury himself deep in the earth so the healing could begin.
The pain had been constant, relentless. Even trapped in the dark sleep of his kind, there had been no escape from the agony of blistered preternatural flesh. It was definitely an experience he didn’t want to repeat. Even now, it was hard to believe he had been so careless. It was a mistake he would not make again.
Shaking off his morbid thoughts, he willed himself to the nearest city. He needed blood to complete the healing before he approached the woman whose mere presence had called him from the arms of the earth.
Kadie woke with the sun shining in her face. A glance out the window showed a beautiful clear day.
Fighting down a surge of guilt for spending the night in a house that wasn’t hers, she went into the bathroom to take a shower.
With the water sluicing over her head and shoulders, her thoughts turned to the strange man she had met last night. Who was he, really? He had seemed ordinary enough, and yet there had been something strange about him. She recalled the odd red glow in his eyes, then shook her head. It had to have been a trick of the light. Nobody’s eyes turned red.
After drying off, she pulled on a pair of skinny jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt, and her favorite high-heeled, black boots. Glancing around to make sure she had everything, she shoved her dirty clothes inside her suitcase, grabbed it and her handbag, and left the house.
The houses she passed were all older homes, circa the thirties and forties, but they were all in good repair, the yards well tended. Now and then she saw people staring out their windows at her.
Mostly women. Mostly young and pretty.
They all seemed surprised to see her.
She passed a handsome young man mowing his yard.
An older woman rocking on her front porch.
A pretty young woman pulling weeds along the edge of the driveway.
They all watched her, their eyes filled with curiosity. No one smiled. No one spoke to her, not even when she offered a tentative hello.
Not a very friendly town, Kadie thought, wondering at their reticence.
When she reached the edge of town, she glanced left and right. The streets were deserted. No sign of people hurrying to work, no children walking to school. No cars on the road. Of course not, she thought glumly. There was no gas to be had. How was that even possible in this day and age?
Her SUV was where she had left it. Unlocking the car, she stowed her suitcase and her purse inside, locked the door, and shoved her keys into the pocket of her jeans.
The tavern Darrick had taken her to last night was closed.
Was nothing in this town open? And where was everyone?
“Hi, honey, you look lost. Can I help you?”
Kadie turned to find a woman walking toward her. She had short, curly, gray hair, brown eyes, and a friendly smile.
“What are you doing here?” the woman asked, frowning.
“I’m sorry, but we don’t get many new people in town. I mean, we’re not even on the map anymore. How did you get here?”
Kadie gestured at her car, parked a few yards away. “I ran out of gas.”
“That’s unfortunate,” the woman said, sighing. “We haven’t had any deliveries in ages. Where are my manners?” she exclaimed. “I’m Donna Stout.”
“Kadie Andrews. What do you do for transportation if there’s no gas?”
“We walk,” Donna said with a shrug. “Where are you staying?”
“Well, I’m not sure. Last night I . . .” Kadie broke off, wondering if she should admit to where she’d spent the night. She had a feeling Donna Stout was the town gossip. But she was leaving, so what did it matter? “I stayed at a friend’s house,” she said, stretching the truth a bit.
“You look like you could use a good hot cup of coffee. The restaurant should be open now if you’d like some breakfast.”
Inside the restaurant, Kadie followed Donna to a table near the front window.
After ordering coffee and a short stack of pancakes, Kadie folded her hands on the table. “Is the town always this quiet?” she asked, noting that the streets were still deserted. “I mean, where is everybody?”
Donna looked at her, cleared her throat, then glanced away. “We . . . that is . . . you see, it’s like this. Morgan Creek isn’t an ordinary town. We’re kind of . . . um, unique.”
“People move in from time to time but . . .” She looked over her shoulder, her expression troubled. “As long as I’ve been here, no one has ever moved out.”
Kadie stared at the woman. What was she trying to say? Or not say? “I don’t understand.”
“Of course you don’t.” She patted Kadie’s hand. “I wish I could explain it, but I can’t.”
“Because I can’t.”
Kadie pondered Donna Stout’s words while she ate. What was the woman hiding? It was almost as if she was afraid to tell Kadie what was going on. Was Morgan Creek the home of some kind of cult? Like Jonestown?
The waitress returned a few minutes later. “Can I get you anything else?” she asked.
“No,” Kadie said. “Just the check.”
The waitress looked at Donna, one brow raised.
“Kadie is new here,” Donna said as if that explained everything.
With a nod, the waitress moved away.
“What was that all about?” Kadie asked.
“Nothing,” Donna said brightly. “Don’t worry about the check. I’ll take care of it later.”
“I can’t ask you to do that.”
“You didn’t ask.”
“Well, thank you.” Kadie pushed away from the table. “It was nice meeting you.”
“Where are you going?” Donna asked, following her out of the restaurant.
“I don’t know.” Kadie chewed on the inside of her cheek. There were no other towns nearby. Unless she could find a ride or some gas, she wasn’t going anywhere. “Do you know a man named Darrick?” she asked, thinking maybe he could help her.
“You met Darrick?”
“Only in passing. I met him last night,” Kadie said, wondering at the woman’s shocked expression. “Do you know where he is?”
Donna shook her head, her curls bouncing. “No. No. I mean . . . no. It was nice to meet you, Kadie,” she said, and hurried down the street without looking back.
Kadie stared after her. What was that all about?
And what was she going to do now?
She would go for a walk, Kadie decided. Maybe it would help to clear her head. Returning to her car, she put on a pair of sturdy walking shoes, stashed her suitcase and handbag in the backseat of the Durango, locked the car, and tucked her keys into the pocket of her jeans. Standing on the curb, she played eeny-meeny-miney-mo, which way should I go, and struck off toward the west to keep the sun out of her eyes.
Maybe she was dreaming, she thought as she walked briskly down the sidewalk.
Maybe she had stumbled onto a movie set.
Maybe she had landed in an alternate universe when she’d crossed the bridge last night.
She walked for several blocks, passing a movie theater, a number of department stores, a drugstore, a barbershop, and a beauty salon. All were empty. A swimming pool was set in the middle of a large park edged with tall trees.
Kadie was about to turn back toward town when she saw the house. Located on a hill behind a tall, wrought-iron fence, it was three stories high. An old-fashioned veranda spanned the front of the house. There was a balcony on the third floor. The paint had faded to a weathered gray; there were iron bars on the windows, a wrought-iron security screen on the front entrance. There was no sign of life, yet the yard looked freshly mowed, the bushes recently trimmed.
She stared at it for a long time, wondering who lived there. A sudden chill had her wrapping her arms around her waist, and with the chill came the uneasy feeling that she was being watched.
Spooked, she turned on her heel and hurried back the way she’d come.
She hadn’t been able to get any cell reception in the town. Maybe if she crossed to the other side of the bridge, she could get a signal near the road.
The thought quickened her steps until she was practically running. The bridge. She had to get out of here. She had to get across the bridge.
Her steps slowed as she approached it. The uneasy feeling she had experienced earlier returned, sending a shiver down her spine.
Fighting a wave of panic, she ran across the wooden expanse, a startled cry erupting from her throat when she reached the other end and suddenly couldn’t go any farther. It was like trying to penetrate an invisible shield. Try as she might, she couldn’t get past the end of the bridge to the road beyond. Her feet moved, but it was as if she were on a treadmill, going nowhere.
She glanced around, only then noticing that the entire town was surrounded by mountains. There had to be another way out. A road, a deer trail, another bridge. There just had to be.
She spent the rest of the day looking for an exit, but if there was another way out, it remained elusive.
This had to be a dream, she thought. A nightmare. Soon, she would awaken in her own bed.
“Please,” she whispered as she turned and walked wearily back to town. “Please let it be a dream.”
Darrick woke with the setting of the sun. His first stop was the tavern, where he eased his thirst. From there, he headed to the house he’d given Kadie, curious to see how Morgan Creek’s newest resident was getting along.
She answered the door at his knock, a wary expression on her face.
“Good evening, Kadie.”
“What’s good about it?” She stood in the doorway, blocking his entrance.
“Mind if I come in?”
A shadow of doubt passed behind her eyes before she stepped back to allow him entrance.
“Something wrong?” he asked as he crossed the threshold.
“Everything.” Obviously distressed, she went into the living room and sat on the sofa.
“Want to tell me about it?” He sat in the rocker across from the couch. “Maybe I can help.”
“I tried to leave here today.”
“It’s a long walk to the next town.”
“I wouldn’t know,” she said, her voice tight. “I couldn’t get past the end of the bridge.”
Damn. He hadn’t expected her to try to walk out. “Why couldn’t I leave?”
Unless he could come up with a plausible lie, he was going to have to tell her the truth, he thought. Although that really wasn’t a good idea.
“Answer me!” she demanded, her agitation growing. “Why can’t I leave? What’s going on here?”
He blew out a sigh. “It’s a little hard to explain.”
“Yeah? Well, give it your best shot.”
“I guess you could say Morgan Creek is like a gated community without the gates.”
“That doesn’t even make sense.” She frowned at him. “That’s why everyone looks so unhappy, isn’t it? Because they can’t leave.”
“Unhappy? Hmm, I never really thought about it.”
Kadie leaned forward, her hands gripping her knees. “Why can’t I leave town?”
“I really can’t tell you that.”
She stared at him, shock and fear chasing themselves across her face. “Who are you?”
“I guess you could say I’m the sheriff of Morgan Creek. I uphold the law.”
She swallowed hard, then cleared her throat. “That doesn’t explain why I can’t cross the bridge.”
“In a way, it does.”
“I didn’t have any trouble coming into town.”
“That’s right. We welcome everyone.”
“And everyone who comes here has to stay. Is that it?”
He nodded, his gaze lingering on the pulse throbbing in the hollow of her throat. “In one way or another.”
And with that cryptic remark, he took his leave.
Kadie followed Darrick to the door, stood on the porch watching him as he walked away. “Wait!”
He turned slowly to face her.
A wry smile twisted his lips. “Sorry. I should have thought of that. Come on, I’ll take you to dinner.”
Kadie grabbed her jacket, then followed him down the street. There were more people out tonight—a middle-aged woman walking her dog, a young couple strolling hand in hand, a tall, blond man who stood out from the others. Kadie stared at him, trying to decide why he looked different from everyone else. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but it occurred to her that Darrick had that same indefinable something.
She looked up at him, trying to decide what it was.
“Here we are,” Darrick said.
Drawing her gaze from his face, she saw that they were in front of the restaurant.
He went inside and she followed him, sliding into the booth he chose, reading the menu he handed her.
“Order whatever you like,” he said.
She glanced at the menu, then frowned. “There aren’t any prices.”
“I’ll take care of it.”
Feeling like she had fallen down the rabbit hole, Kadie stared at Darrick. Nothing in this place made sense. She was Alice and he was the Cheshire cat, speaking in riddles.
She ordered a Caesar salad, shrimp and rice, and a glass of lemonade. “Aren’t you eating?”
“Did you mean it when you said I couldn’t leave here?”
He nodded. “You’ll get used to it.”
“I don’t want to get used to it. I don’t want to stay here. I have a life, a job that I love, a family. . . .” She fought back tears of frustration as she thought of her little sister, anxiously waiting for her to return. “I have to go home.”
“You are home, Kadie. The house is yours.”
“What do you mean, it’s mine?”
“Just that. It’s yours for as long as you’re here.”
“How can you give it to me? You said it wasn’t yours. That the people who lived there left in a hurry.”
“So I did.”
“Why would you give me a house?”
He shrugged. “You need a place to stay. Do with it whatever you wish. Buy whatever you need. Groceries, clothing, furniture for the house. Just charge it all to me.”
“I have money of my own.”
“Your checks and credit cards are no good here.”
“I have some cash.”
“It’s no good here, either.”
She had to be dreaming, Kadie thought. Whoever heard of a town where your money was no good? And if they didn’t use checks, cash, or credit cards, what kind of currency did they use? And why was Darrick willing to buy her a house and pay her bills? She was certain it wasn’t out of the kindness of his heart.
Did he expect her to be his mistress? She took a deep breath, hoping to calm the sudden flutter of anxiety in the pit of her stomach. “What do you want in return for . . . for keeping me?”
“Only what you’re willing to give.” It wasn’t an out-and-out lie, but it was close.
Kadie glared at him, her eyes narrowed. “I’m not willing to give you anything.”
He didn’t reply, just sat there, watching her through hooded eyes. He didn’t move, didn’t blink. It was eerie, almost as if he wasn’t human, but a statue.
She felt a rush of hysteria rise inside her. Maybe she wasn’t dreaming. Maybe she was dead. Maybe he was the devil and this was hell.
When the waitress brought her dinner, Kadie pushed it away, her ap
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