Click on image to enlarge.
by Charlene Teglia
Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica
Description: He's waited centuries for her rebirth. Can he persuade her to love again? A Sirens story. Once, Valentine had everything: Position, wealth, love and happiness. Then tragedy struck. Over the centuries, he has clung to the prophecy that his love will be reborn, but when he meets Lisette, she's no longer his wife, no longer his love. She no longer remembers their life together. After a chance meeting with Valentine, Lisa can't shake the lingering impression he leaves behind--or the odd feelings he stirs. He gives her two gifts: A necklace, and a dream of passion that awakes her memory. But are these memories she can trust? After all, Lisa isn't the woman she once was. And Valentine is no longer human. Reprint: This book has been previously published and has been revised and expanded from its original release. Product Warnings Warning: Hot, explicit sex with fangs, timeless romance, reincarnation, graphic monogamy, and use of a pearl necklace in manners not intended by the manufacturer.
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2008
eBookwise Release Date: February 2011
4 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [80 KB]
Reading time: 47-66 min.
Lisa hummed under her breath while she rapped out a staccato beat with the handle of her hairbrush, temporarily distracted from the task of brushing by the complex rhythm she'd been practicing earlier that evening when Meghan called.
Lorelei's latest composition had a catchy beat and an even catchier melody with a rhythmic structure that challenged her abilities. Lisa wanted to run through it with Meghan on bass, just the two of them, but Meghan had moved in with her boyfriend. That would have to wait for the next scheduled practice session now.
She swiped the brush through her hair in an indifferent stroke, thinking of Meghan's surprise love life and the man who'd flirted so outrageously. Dressed in theatrical black with his long hair streaked gold and amber and silver and those arresting blue eyes, he'd looked like a man who'd be more at home with rock musicians than programmers. Especially with that name.
"Valentine." Lisa said the name out loud and ran the bristles through her hair again. Then she let the brush clatter to the bathroom counter, impatient with herself. Some guy who dresses like he's on his way to a Bauhaus tribute offers to braid your hair and you suddenly start fussing with it, imagining it longer. Imagining those hands of his winding through it, making intricate knots. Tugging at your scalp, making tingles run down your spine, and then fisting into the length of it to drag your mouth up to meet his...
Time to shake off this mood and do something constructive. Her hair was fine. Her life was fine. Okay, so her friends kept getting hooked up and settling down into the kind of domestic bliss that was probably illegal in certain southern states while she remained unattached, but that was her choice.
She was busy, that was all. She had a demanding career that required travel and crazy hours. Her schedule didn't leave her a lot of time to date. No big deal. She was young. There was plenty of time to meet the right man and maybe explore this hair-brushing fantasy a little. If she really wanted her scalp massaged or some erotic teasing with soft bristles in sensitive places, she could meet a guy who was into that.
Lisa found herself eyeing the brush speculatively and that's when she knew it was time to get out of the house again. Go somewhere, anywhere. Fast. Before she found herself on the internet searching for hairbrush fetish sites.
It was a good plan, but when she opened the door to find Valentine on the steps, it almost seemed inevitable.
"We have to stop meeting like this," she said.
"We could try naked," Valentine offered.
"Naked would be an improvement over that outfit, but I don't think so." Lisa stood in the doorway, hand on the knob, hesitating between going forward or stepping back.
"Are you going to invite me in?"
"I haven't decided." Lisa tamped down the unreasonable urge to ask him to come inside and brush her hair. She wasn't herself tonight. She studied his face for a minute, wondering what it was about him that got to her. Not his taste in clothes, although she had to admit they suited him.
She found herself staring too long and too intently at the masculine form underneath those clothes. His body distracted her so much that she didn't notice he was holding something at first. The impact he had on her made her impatient with both of them.
Stop staring at him. You'll give him ideas and he already has plenty. She fixed her attention on the box in his hands. The shape, size and velvet exterior told her it contained jewelry. "What's that?"
"A present for you." He smiled at her and Lisa felt her breath catch at the way it transformed his face from forbidding to so sexy it should come with a warning label. "I'm pursuing you. A man pursuing a woman brings gifts. It's traditional."
"Pursuing me." Lisa felt her fingers drumming on the door and forced herself to stop. "Why?"
"Because I want you." The sexual intent of his words made heat curl in her belly. He held up the box and gave it a gentle shake, enticing her. As if just standing in front of her wasn't enough. "Do you want this?"
"Yes." Her mouth curved up of its own accord in a smile to match his. If she wasn't careful, their mouths were going to get them into trouble. But she didn't want to be careful. He made her feel reckless. She held her hand out. "I'm mercenary."
"No, you're not. But you like beautiful things." Valentine placed the box in her hand and closed her fingers around it. His hand felt warm and the touch of his bare fingers against hers somehow felt more intimate than such innocent contact merited. "Will you invite me in now?"
"Not yet." Lisa drew her hand away from his with an effort. She brought it up to hold the box against her chest in a protective movement, as if the small box could keep the attraction swirling between them in check. "How did you get to the front door? There's a gate."
"Oh." She found herself looking into his eyes, and then she couldn't look away. Didn't want to look away. She liked looking at him, liked the warmth spreading through her body, liked the way everything around them faded into the distance. Her heartbeat seemed to reverberate, the rush of her own blood filling her ears.
"Open it." His voice slid over her skin like a caress and Lisa found herself obeying. Her fingers were clumsy as she opened the box. The light caught the glow of pearls.
"Oh," she said again. It was beautiful. And she wanted it so much an aching wrench of longing stole her breath. Was this what avarice felt like? Lisa touched the strand once, then lifted it out of the box to admire the length.
Valentine took it from her and let the tips of his fingers play along the hollows of her collarbone. "Let me."
She didn't object or resist. Instead, she bent her head forward while he wound the pearl necklace once around her throat and let the rest fall to her waist.
"It's very old, isn't it?" Lisa heard herself ask.
"Yes. The clasp has been repaired and it's been restrung. You won't need to worry about it breaking."
The necklace felt old. And something else. It felt as if it carried its history in the luster of the pearls, the memory of somebody who had worn them often against nothing but skin.
Would she wear it that way after he left? Would he think of her, picture her in his mind with the strand of pearls rolling down her naked breasts and caressing the dip of her bared belly?
"Why did you give this to me?"
"Because it's yours." Valentine bent his head and brushed his lips across her forehead. "Don't you think you should have it?"
Lisa closed her eyes and saw herself lying in a pool of ivory satin, wearing nothing but the necklace. A nice image, but her hair was too long. It reached her hips, and she'd always cut it when it started to brush the tops of her shoulders.
She opened her eyes and shook her head, trying to clear it. "Do I think I should accept jewelry from a strange man? No. Am I going to let you have it back? Again, no."
She should give it back, she knew that. The gift was too personal, too expensive. Too seductive. But she wanted to keep it. Wanted to wear it.
"Will you ask me in now, Lisa?" Valentine murmured the question against the curve of her cheek as he brushed another kiss there.
Unbelievably, she found she wanted to do just that. Invite him in. Model the necklace for him in privacy. The voice of caution she'd been ignoring reasserted itself in her mind. She didn't know this man. Maybe Meghan did, maybe she trusted him, but Lisa had no reason to.
"Invite me into your dreams, then." Valentine kissed the corner of her mouth, the tiniest contact, but it made her tremble.
"All right." That was safe enough to agree to. Dreams weren't real. "Consider yourself invited."