When Samantha Black shares her sandwich with a dog, his owner, Jon—a homeless man living in the Las Vegas storm tunnels—gives her a poker chip worth a fortune from the exclusive casino, Buried Pleasures. All Sam has to do is cash it in. Sam is in Vegas for one reason only—to get her friend, Evie Holt, away from sinister magician, Darian Fox, who holds her prisoner in an effort to force Sam to perform at his club, Illusions. A neon circus tent of strange and mystical acts, Illusions is one of the biggest draws in Vegas, and he’s hell-bent on including Sam in his disturbing plans.
The shadowy Magda Gardener will do anything to keep Sam from cashing in that chip. She knows that Buried Pleasures is the gate to Hades and cashing in the chip is a one-way ticket across the River Styx, which runs beneath the storm tunnels of Vegas. Jon is really Jack Graves, owner of Buried Pleasures, and Graves is really the god of death, himself, and if things aren’t already confusing enough, he and Magda know what Sam doesn’t. Sam is the last siren. That her song can kill is only the beginning of her story. Jon wants her safe on his side of the River, protected from Fox’s hideous magic. But even Death fears Magda Gardener, who is none other than Medusa, and the gorgon has her own agenda. If Sam is to understand her heritage and win the battle against Darian Fox, not only will she have to trust her heart to Death, but they’ll both have to work for the gorgon, whose connection with Sam runs deeper than any of them could imagine.
She opened the piano and ran her fingers carefully over the cool ivory. The buzz of the long familiar, and yet ever mysterious, magic climbed her spine with the effervescing tingle that was always there in the presence of potential music. Jon, who had returned to her side, pulled the padded bench out for her, and she slipped onto it letting both hands arch delicately against the keys, barely making contact. The cloak she’d nearly forgotten she wore, slid down her arms to cover the backs of her hands, but before she could shrug it back, Jon moved behind her and undid the clasp at her throat, easing it off her shoulders to pool on the bench around her.
His touch was a different kind of magic. It sent a cascade of goose flesh over her clavicle down the tops of her breasts, and the tight gasp that escaped her lips was almost, but not quite a sob. Above the keys she flexed her fingers. Behind her, heat radiated off Jon’s body. His breath was warm against her nape. Then he leaned down and spoke close to her ear. “Sing for me, Samantha. I need you to sing for me.”
She withdrew her hands as though the keys were suddenly on fire and clenched them tightly in her lap. “I can’t. You saw what I did to those men, and when I sing I see things, things I shouldn’t know, things I don’t want to know. I … I invade peoples’ private space. I don’t mean to,” she added quickly, “but it happens, and I can’t help it, and the music takes over and I can’t stop until it’s finished no matter how badly I want to, and … I don’t want to do that to you.”
He stepped closer until the tense muscles of his thighs warmed her back, until the shape of him pressed against her almost as it had in his bed. But she was so much more conscious of it now, so much more conscious of the depth of what he desired from her, of her own desire to give it to him, to give him what she’d never been able to give anyone.
He slid strong fingers down across her neck, over her pulse point, which hammered and jerked beneath his touch. Then he cupped her cheek with a rough palm and pressed her back against his belly.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” she managed around a struggle to breathe. “I never wanted to hurt anyone. When it’s good, it’s the most amazing thing ever. Believe me, I would gladly share that with you, but when it all goes wrong …” Her eyes misted at the thought of all that she’d had to keep hidden to protect the people around her.
He leaned over her and took her clenched hands into his. “You won’t hurt me, and it will be good, I promise.” Then he brought her fists to his lips and kissed her knuckles, easing her fingers open one by one as he did so. “You’re a siren, Samantha. That’s why you can do what you can do. Your music is your power and you can control it.”