Home > Kiss of Crimson (Midnight Breed, #2)(9)

Kiss of Crimson (Midnight Breed, #2)(9)
Author: Lara Adrian

No, not handsome, because even unconscious, his features held their stark angles and knife-edge planes. Straight black brows cut dark slashes over his closed eyes. His cheekbones were razor sharp, giving the slope of his face a lean, feral quality. His nose might have been perfect at one time, but the strong line of its bridge had a faint jag in it from an old break. Maybe more than one.

There was something strangely compelling about him, although she was certain she didn’t know him. He wasn’t exactly the kind of guy she’d associate with, and trying to picture him coming into the clinic for pet care seemed absurd.

No, she had never seen him before tonight. She could only pray that once she called the cops to come and collect him, she’d never see him again either.

Tess glanced down, and her gaze caught on the glint of metal concealed beneath his sodden jacket. She moved the leather aside and drew in her breath to see a curved blade of steel sheathed under his arm. An empty holster on the other side seemed to be missing a gun. Other hand-to-hand implements studded a wide black belt that wrapped around his slim hips.

This man was a menace, no doubt about that. Some kind of thug, who made the hard-asses down here on the riverfront look like rank poseurs. This man was hard and deadly, everything about him throwing off an air of violence.

His mouth was the only bit of softness on him. Wide and sensual, lips parted slightly in his drugged state, his mouth was profanely beautiful. The kind of mouth that could wreak havoc on a woman from about a hundred different angles.

Not that Tess was counting.

And she hadn’t forgotten about those wicked canines either.

Moving cautiously around him despite the heavy dosage of tranquilizer that was swimming through his system, Tess reached out and lifted his upper lip to get a better look at him.

No fangs.

Just a row of perfect pearly whites. If he’d been sporting costume teeth when he attacked her, they’d been pretty damn convincing. Now those huge fangs seemed to have vanished into thin air.

A fact that made no sense at all.

A quick visual scan of the area around her came up empty. He hadn’t spat them out somewhere. And she sure as hell hadn’t been imagining them.

How else would he have been able to pop her throat open like a soda can? Tess brought her hand up to the bite wound in her neck. The skin felt smooth beneath her fingertips. No blood or stickiness, no trace of the holes he’d chewed into her jugular. She probed the whole side of her neck with her fingers. The area wasn’t even tender.

“That’s impossible.”

Tess got up and hurried into the nearest exam room, flipping on all the lights. Smoothing her hair away from her neck, she walked up to a mounted paper-towel dispenser and peered at her reflection in the polished stainless steel. The skin on her neck was clear, intact.

Like the terrifying attack had never happened.

“No way,” she told her stricken expression. “How can that be?”

Tess stepped back from the makeshift mirror, astonished.

Thoroughly confused.

Not more than a half hour ago, she was fearing for her life, feeling her blood being drained from her neck by the heavily armed, black-clad stranger she’d found lying unconscious near the clinic’s back door.

It had happened.

So how on earth could her skin show zero trace of the assault?

Tess’s feet felt detached from her body as she walked back out of the examination room and toward the storeroom. Whatever he’d done to her, no matter how he managed to disguise the wounds he’d inflicted on her, Tess intended to see him arrested and charged.

She came around the open doorway of the back room and drew up short.

The puddle of river water and spilled blood her attacker had brought in with him swamped a large area of the linoleum floor. Tess’s stomach gave a little turn at the sight of it, but there was something else that put a knot of ice-cold terror in her gut.

The storeroom was empty.

Her attacker was gone.

A gorilla-size dose of anesthetic, yet he was somehow up and gone.

“Looking for me, angel?”

Tess spun around and screamed.






Adrenaline poured through her, putting her feet into motion. Tess dodged past him and tore up the hallway, her thoughts racing a thousand miles an hour.

She had to get out of there.

She had to get her purse and her money and her cell phone and get the hell out.

“We need to talk.”

There he was again—standing right in front of her, blocking her path into her office.

As though he’d simply vanished from where he’d been standing before and materialized in the doorway she needed to get through now.

With a yelp of alarm, Tess made a quick pivot and launched herself into the reception area. She grabbed the desk phone and punched one of the speed-dial numbers.

“This is not happening. This is not happening,” she whispered under her breath, repeating the mantra as if she could make it all go away if she hoped for it hard enough.

The call began to ring on the other end.

Come on, come on, answer.

“Put the phone down, female.”

Tess whirled around, shaking with fear. Her attacker moved slowly, with the deliberate grace of a skilled predator. He came closer. Bared his teeth in a harsh smile.

“Please. Put it down. Now.”

Tess shook her head. “Go to hell!”

The receiver flew out of her grasp of its own free will. As it clattered onto the desk beside her, Tess heard Ben’s voice come on the line. “Tess? Hello…that you, babe? Jesus, it’s after three o’clock in the morning. What are you still doing at the—”

There was a loud snap behind her, like the telephone wire had been yanked from the wall jack by invisible hands. Tess jumped at the noise, fear coiling in her stomach in the silence that followed.

“We have a serious problem. Tess.”

Oh, God.

Now he was pissed off, and he knew her name.

In the back of her mind, Tess registered the fact that aside from her attacker’s impossible state of consciousness, he had also experienced a miraculous recovery of his injuries. Beneath the grime and smudged ash that marred his skin, all of his sundry scrapes and lacerations were healed. His black fatigues were still torn and bloodstained from the wound in his leg, but he wasn’t bleeding anymore. Not from the likely gunshot wound in his abdomen either. Through the shredded fabric of his black shirt, Tess saw only smooth, bunching muscle and flawless olive skin.

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