The Twisted Kiss
Doomsyear, Book 1
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Order ebook: Samhain Publishing
Order ebook at All Romance eBooks: ARE
Sometimes it takes just one kiss…
Kylie Mitchell lives in a world of monsters. Thanks to a military experiment gone viral, over half the population is gone and most of what remains has mutated into storybook werewolves and vampires. In this new Earth, only the tough survive, and Kylie has more than enough reason to want to be left alone.
When the Council of the Wise decrees that she must mate with a potent vampire and a powerful werewolf, Kylie resents their intrusion into her self-imposed exile. As one of the last humans on Earth, she always assumed she’d be safe from the super-psychics’ machinations, and she’s not ready to trust her heart to anyone.
Michael and Christian share no great love for each other, but they have one thing in common—their long-time desire for Kylie. Determined to ensure she doesn’t spend the rest of her lonely life wallowing in needless guilt, they choose to put aside their differences and work together, never allowing her time to think as they seduce her body and mind, hoping their love will tempt her heart to open to them.
Yet just as she begins to bloom under their fiercely protective attention, a twisted and monstrous figure from the past rises up, threatening to destroy everything…
Product Warnings: Features a sexy werewolf, a motorcycle-riding vamp, and one very lucky woman who is tough enough to take care of herself. Watch out for sizzling hot sex scenes, two alpha males, undeniable love, and a twisted monster that might end it all.
“Heard about the council’s proclamation.” Richard’s voice was deceptively soft.
Kylie stiffened. She’d been waiting for one of her patrons to bring it up. When she’d received the news that morning, she’d almost run home to hide under the covers, but she had too much pride for that. “Yeah, you and the rest of the town. Everyone’s talking about it.” She tossed a glass into the sink a little too forcefully and the rim cracked. Swearing under her breath, she fished the pieces out. “I reject it. I’m not a supe. These things don’t apply to me.”
Richard took a sip from his bottle. “You were born here, raised here, live here. You breathe our air and eat at tables alongside us. I guess that makes you one of us, at least enough for the council.”
She rested her hands on the counter and glanced over her shoulder at him. “I’m proud to be counted a member of this community, Richard, just as my father was, but I don’t want Michael or Christian, let alone both of them. I don’t want anyone and no one, especially not the Supe Council, can force me.”
The old vamp took a long pull from his bottle. “I wouldn’t be worried about the council as much as those two young bucks they’ve paired you with.”
Just then, the door to the Twisted Kiss opened. Kylie was busy staring down at the edge of the towel she used to wipe up spills, trying to ignore the fact she knew exactly who had entered the bar. All the hair on the nape of her neck rose and gooseflesh pebbled her skin.
“You mean like him?” she muttered under her breath.
The vamp let out a low laugh.
She picked up the towel, threw it to the counter and went to the back without looking at her new patron. He wasn’t there for a drink; he was there for her.
Of course, her retreat didn’t stop him.
Michael Sanborn walked partway up the hallway and watched her rummage around in the storage room for things she already had up front and didn’t need. She stopped with a hand on a shelf and drew a deep breath, refusing to look his way. This was the last thing she wanted right now. It wasn’t as if her life was complicated and this was adding to it. Far from it. In fact, her life was very simple. She had the bar, her artwork…and that was pretty much it.
More than anything, she wanted to keep it that way.
Hearing more patrons enter the building, she knew she couldn’t hide any longer. At least Emma and Becca would be in soon to wait tables, Alec would be in to bartend and she could retreat to her office. Be alone. Just the way she liked it.
“Hey, boss,” said Becca from the hallway, making Kylie jump. “Heard what the council said—”
“Yep, just like the rest of Sweet Rock.” Kylie brushed past her, clutching a bunch of coffee stirrers. Becca was dressed in green tonight. It matched her eyes and set off her deep-red hair. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“The whole town’s going to be in here tonight, you know,” Becca called after her.
Without turning around, Kylie waved a hand at her. “I know.” It was a small town in a small post-doomsyear world. Any bit of juicy news brought everyone out to gossip. That’s why she planned to hide in her office. “At least it will be good for business.”
“You’re lucky, you know. Having two fine men like Michael and Christian. Hard enough to find one in this world.”
Shaking her head, Kylie rounded the corner of the short corridor that led out to the restaurant and ran smack-dab into a broad chest covered with black leather. She took a step back and looked up at Michael Sanborn. Dark, tousled hair framed a strong face that was just a shade too rough to be called handsome. His eyes were a deep brown—soulful, her father would have called them. His mouth was the kind that made a woman want to nibble.
“We have to talk, Kylie.”
She shook her head. “No, we really don’t. Look, Michael, I’m not a supe. This whole thing is ridiculous. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a bar to run.” She tried to push past him, but he grabbed her arm.
She went still, trying to calm her temper, which had skyrocketed through the ceiling the moment he’d laid a hand on her. She gave him a look and he removed it. Good thing, or she’d have hurt him. Every post-doomsyear woman, especially a human one, knew how to take care of herself. Not when there was such an overabundance of testosterone in the world, and a lot of it supe.
“Just give me a few moments of your time, Kylie.”
Bowing her head, she pinched the bridge of her nose between thumb and forefinger. She’d known Michael since childhood…well, known him as much as anyone could know such a secretive person. She couldn’t just stonewall him. “Fine, but not now. After the bar closes, okay?”
He nodded and she took off, practically running away. She did not want to deal with this. The restaurant and bar were filling up fast. Everyone stared at her as she melted behind the bar and started taking orders. Of course they were talking about her. It wasn’t every day the council announced a mating, and they were almost never as odd as this one—a human woman to a vampire and a werewolf.
It just didn’t happen.
First off, humans tended to stay away from the supe towns. Mostly they lived in little clusters, scattered across the United States in small, frightened communities. Post-doomsyear, the supe population was large and scary to the non-supes. With good reason. The supes were bigger, stronger…and sometimes had a temper. There were human-supe pairings, of course—more all the time—but rarely were they proclaimed by supe councils.
Secondly, the vamps and the weres didn’t get along. In most supernatural enclaves, Sweet Rock being no different, they tended to fight like cats and dogs—or maybe vamps and wolves. Three-way pairings by councils weren’t out of the ordinary since females had been hit so hard during the doomsyear and had yet to recover—there were more men than women these days—but three-way pairings with a vamp and a were? Nearly never.
Lucky her. All she needed was for Christian to show up and her day would be complete. Though that was unlikely in the Twisted Kiss, a vampire establishment.
The bar became really busy and she spent her time filling drink orders and helping the wait and cook staff instead of obsessing over her man problems. The werewolf to whom a council of freaky supe psychics had mated her was nowhere to be seen.
Michael took up residence in a back booth and watched her broodingly. Once Alec arrived to tend bar, she deemed the place under control enough to slip away and hide in her office.
After spending a few hours with accounting and paperwork, she closed the place up at dawn and slid out the back door with her weapon securely on her—a gun that shot bullets made of a mixture of silver and wood. They were twofer bullets, able to kill both wolves and vamps. They were expensive, but practical. Of course, one had to be a really good shot to have any hope of them being effective.
Kylie was a really good shot.
Michael hadn’t arrived to chat during close, so she figured he’d changed his mind. That was just fine by her. She wanted to get home and do a little sculpturing before she headed down for the day. Living in a supe community meant she kept supe hours.
She stood near her ten-speed, unlocking the chain. Once upon a time, oil had been plentiful. Man, she wished that were still the case. Those had been the glory days. She owned a car, but fuel came dear, so she rode her bike when she could. At least it kept her in shape. Footsteps sounded behind her. Pulling her revolver, she dropped her backpack and whirled, safety off and muzzle pointed vaguely at heart level.
Christian held up one big hand to ward her off. “Whoa.”
She sighed and holstered her gun. Stooping to scoop her backpack off the ground, she growled, “What do you want, Christian? It’s late.”
“What do I want?” He snorted. “What do you think I want?”