Constantly under the watchful eye of her Voodoo priestess aunt, Mirabella longs to break free during the events of Mardi Gras. Escapades draw her into the arms of Marguerite, a fiery redhead with a passion for life, and Nick, a familiar vampire who’s haunted by his transformation and past.
What starts as a new experience – a Mardi Gras Ménage – soon turns deadly, and none of their lives will ever be the same.
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“What are you doing living here?” she asked.
He’d asked himself that question many times over in the past few months. Nick had been used to living with others for all of his life. Being alone was quite different.
“After Silver and I broke up, it didn’t feel right to keep living with Lawrence, Trevor, and Lily,” he explained.
She nodded, her eyes clearing as more time passed. “I can understand that, but I’m surprised Lawrence let you go.”
“As my sire, he can pretty much watch me wherever I’m living. I’m sure if I were to go off the deep end, he’d get some type of psychic notice,” Nick explained. “It’s strange. It feels like I don’t have privacy at times, and at others I’m totally alone.”
She cocked her head to the side, studying him. Over the past two years of knowing Mirabella, Nick didn’t quite know what to think of her. She’d always been in the presence of her aunt, who was quite overpowering. Mentally, it was hard to separate memories of the two of them. The one time he had rescued her with Trevor, Mirabella had been totally passed out—under the influence of some other type of drug, or spell, or supernatural creature. In other words, she’d definitely not been herself.
“So how come we keep meeting this way?” Nick teased. “You always seem to be running into trouble.”
“Let’s just say I’m not very street smart,” she said. “Tante Teresa has kept me isolated a bit too much. Don’t know how to make it on my own in such large crowds, but I’m starting to feel like I need to escape the prison of her watchful eye.”
“Well, you picked a hell of a way to experience it,” Nick said. “It’s not full Mardi Gras yet, but these crowds building up to those events are almost as bad. You have to be careful on the streets.”
“I’m learning that. It’s a much different world to be out there than in the store.”
“I can’t believe Teresa let you out either. She’s gotta know what it’s like out there.”
A flush brightened Mirabella’s cheeks, and Nick thought about how gorgeous she looked in his bed, the contrast of her darker skin tone to the pale blue sheets. With all the mixed-breed genetics in New Orleans, both of them looked to be of Creole heritage. True, his coloring was a bit more pale now that he was dead and all. Mirabella’s skin shimmered in the moonlight.
“I might have slipped out while she slept,” she admitted. “The lure of the music drew me out, and I wanted to see what it was like.”
Nick was experiencing a lure all of his own. Her luscious lips drew him in. She caught him watching her, and she licked a droplet of water off her bottom lip. He sat on the edge of the bed, and she leaned toward him, her eyes half-mast.
Her breath smelled sweet, like fresh almonds mixed with vanilla. He shouldn’t kiss her. She was too young and too naïve. But while his head told him to step away, his desire took over, craving the physical connection.
At this moment, though, with her ensconced within his bed, the physical possibilities loomed endless. No one knew she was here. They could do whatever they desired.
Softly, his lips brushed against hers. He slipped his hand around the back of her neck, drawing her in closer and holding her steady. He probed her mouth with his tongue, requesting entrance, and she more than willingly opened beneath him.
She sighed against his mouth. Warmth. Vitality. Life.
All the traits a beautiful young woman possessed and a vampire like him lacked.
“I’d better take you home,” he said, giving one last effort to be a gentleman.
“What if I don’t want to go?”
“I’m trying to do what’s best here,” he said. He made a move to get off the bed, and she followed him, her body curling into his. Her warmth enveloping him.
“Best for whom? Not you or me,” she said. “I want more of your kisses.”
Louisa Bacio is the author of six erotic novels, including the paranormal series The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf, the 1Night Stand A Date with Death and numerous steamy short stories.
Bacio enjoys soaking up the sun in Southern California, and spending time with her family. In addition to writing and editing, Bacio teaches college courses in English, journalism, film studies and popular culture.
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