Summary When Raine Tallentyre made the mistake of revealing her paranormal abilities, her most recent romantic relationship came to a hasty end. Her Aunt Vella, a gifted but troubled soul, had told her years ago to keep her talents a secret. And now that poor Aunt Vella—her last blood relative—has died, Raine has resigned herself to a lonely life. The victim has survived, but the culprit is still on the loose. While Raine hears voices, Zack sees visions and within hours of their meeting, Raine experiences an intense, thrilling intimacy—mental, emotional, and physical—she never dared to expect. But as a killer makes her his target, and a cabal of psychic criminals known as Nightshade operates in the shadows surrounding them, Raine and Zack must rely not only on their powerful abilities but on each other.
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Wilder Jones had gone out the same way he lived, in a blaze of reckless glory. He succeeded in taking down the bad guys and rescuing a number of people but it cost him his life.
In a family studded with individuals who often got involved in high-risk ventures, Wilder had been frowned upon for his penchant for taking outrageous chances. He had been addicted to fast motorcycles, fast women and cigarettes.
There were those in the Jones clan who held that he had always been unstable. Others maintained that, while it was true that he was born addicted to adrenaline, he did not go over the edge until the last few months of his life. That faction claimed that something dramatic happened to Wilder before he left on what amounted to a suicide mission. Legend had it that he never looked back. Whatever the truth of the matter, Wilder took his secret with him to his grave.
There was no point. Twelve Burn the whole damn lab to the ground. Punish her. Then destroy her with fire. Got to be sure. Get those two out of here. Then destroy everything. She came awake gasping for air, pulse pounding. Her nightgown was stuck to her back with perspiration. She was suffocating under the quilt. She had to breathe. She sat up suddenly, shoved the covers aside, scrambled out of bed and leaped to her feet.
For a couple of minutes she just stood there, trembling, trying to regain control. She had known there would be nightmares. There always were when she came in contact with the sick psychic energy left by the freaks. She was used to living with the voices in her dreams for a few nights afterward. But tonight there had been another voice interwoven with that of the freak, a dark voice from the Night of Fire and Tears. She sank down on the side of the bed and looked at the clock.
She had stayed up until midnight, reading the file and learning just how notorious the Tallentyre name was within the highest circles of the Arcane Society. As far as the Master and the Council were concerned, she was the daughter of a man who had tried to create psychic vampires.
Screw them. She did not hear the footsteps in the hall. The quiet knock on the door, when it came, made her jump. Edgy energy flickered through her. Briefly she considered pretending she had not heard the soft sound. But she knew him well enough after only a few hours to realize that he would not go away.
She went to the closet and took out the dark blue silk travel robe she had packed. She put it on and tied the sash around her waist. On the way to the door she ran her fingers through her hair, pushing it back behind her ears. She checked the peephole first. Zack stood in the hall. He was wearing the black leather jacket again but this time he had on only a black T-shirt underneath.
The shadow of what would become his morning beard darkened his face. One hand was flattened against the doorjamb, just outside her narrow range of vision. The sight of him had a very strange effect on her senses. All the unpleasant, nervy tension that had accompanied the nightmare seemed to convert into another kind of energy. Adrenaline made her shiver.
Anticipation twisted inside her. She was aware of her pulse again but this time it was skittering with excitement. She opened the door. The first thing she noticed was that Zack was barefoot. For some reason the sight of him standing there without any shoes on struck her as incredibly erotic.
He had very nice, very strong feet. With an effort she raised her gaze to his face. Zack regarded her with a knowing expression.
No explanations were needed with him, she thought. A deep sense of longing swept through her. He understood as no one else ever could now that Vella was gone. The girl was alive, after all. What he did in the past. I did some consulting work, myself, earlier today. A two-thousand-year-old dagger that had been used in human sacrifice. Her pulse leaped. Energy crackled silently in the atmosphere. Out of nowhere, common sense reared its boring head. He knew she was attracted to him, knew she was vulnerable tonight.
He planned to use the sexual energy that flared between them to manipulate her. If he thought she was that easy, he could damn well think again. He took his hand off the doorjamb and showed her the deck of cards he was holding. She pulled herself together with an act of sheer willpower. Too passive. He knew what she was going through tonight.
Sizzle and Burn
Wilder Jones had gone out the same way he lived, in a blaze of reckless glory. He succeeded in taking down the bad guys and rescuing a number of people but it cost him his life. In a family studded with individuals who often got involved in high-risk ventures, Wilder had been frowned upon for his penchant for taking outrageous chances. He had been addicted to fast motorcycles, fast women and cigarettes. There were those in the Jones clan who held that he had always been unstable.