Hunting for the obscurest of talismans will bring one woman to the gates of her own salvation.
Angie Merrick is dying. Agony unlike any she’s known fills her body and steals a little more of her life every day. Not one doctor can help her, but when modern science has failed, a light of an extinct Native American people lures her back to her first love: research of the Jahehn. An ancient talisman was once one of her greatest searches, and becomes the perfect distraction when there is nothing left but waiting to die. With her life being ripped to shreds in more than one way, Angie seeks one last connection with a people she helped to reveal to the scientific world.
Except death is not stalking Angie. A timeless pact created through the spirit world is demanding her compliance and unknowingly fighting it is causing her seizures. The search for the talisman takes her to the one place where she could find answers and possibly not die from powers she doesn’t understand.
She could live if those who fear exposure hadn’t decreed Angie must die by the very spirit their pact was sworn to protect.
Her lips beckoned to him. Mark knew right before he touched them it was ludicrous, but the charge didn’t stop him. He caressed supple, pink lips. Heat ignited between them, spearing him straight to his groin. Everything he’d imagined and so much more was in her kiss. Lust, desire, longing. Sweetness and sin. She molded their bodies together, her mouth fitting his perfectly, and his world shifted. It happened so easily, so naturally, there was nothing else in that moment but Angie.
Mark cursed Neil once more for hurting her, for making her believe she was less of a woman because she didn’t become pregnant, or intimating she was somehow physically lacking. Mark didn’t want to think of all the times he’d secretly pictured her pert, rounded breasts, desiring her, craving to touch and caress, feeling guilty because they worked together. He was only male, but it had always felt wrong. Not even that admonishing truth stopped him. There wasn’t one thing that felt wrong about this now.
Blood rushed through his body as desire grabbed hold and shook him, the long-withheld desires breaking free of his iron control.
Everything about those desires bombarded him at once with her in his arms. The imagined way she would taste on his tongue. The silken smoothness of her skin. Gliding his mouth across the top of her breast, swirling around her full shape until he met her peak. Discovering the weight of her in his hand. Too many nights he’d fallen asleep aching for this woman and all the ways he wanted to please her, love her, adore her. And the man she’d been married to hadn’t even known she’d been ill. Instead, Neil had been a selfish bastard, tossing away the greatest gift Mark had ever known in another human being.
Now that Mark knew the truth about her illness, he wasn’t letting her out of his sight until something was done, and done right, to help her.
Angie was perfect to Mark. Beautiful. He tried to show her how perfect she was nestled flushed against his chest, his fingers loose but holding her face to his, directing her movements. Sips and nibbles escalated to a thrusting passion. He wanted to taste every nuance of her. A roaring, uninhibited need overtook his body, enflaming him, begging for fulfillment. The last tendril of common sense vanished when she pressed into him chest to chest, thigh to thigh, and what was in between became impossible to hide. She was better than perfect. Angie was heaven.
In those few seconds, he fell for her in a way he’d never dreamed, never envisioned. He’d carried feelings for years, but until that moment, he’d never known how much or how deep they went. With her lips pillowing his, her touch hotter than a livewire along every nerve, Mark’s life changed forever.
Angie gasped scant heartbeats into the sweet plunder of her mouth, breaking herself out of his arms. “Mark!” She lifted her shaking hand upward to cover quivering lips. “You— You can’t do that.”
Fearful, he froze. Had he gone too far? Been too forceful? Expected too much? He plowed a hand through his hair, bringing himself back to where they stood. He found himself standing in the basement once more, as much metaphorically as literally. His entire body felt ready to explode, and it had only been a kiss. He groaned a low sound, wary of meeting her eyes, anticipating the accusations and anger he’d find.
“I’m sorry, Angie.”
What he found when he met her gaze was not what he expected, and for a brief heartbeat, her hesitant expression gave Mark hope. He’d taken her by surprise. She wasn’t the only one caught off guard, he thought ruefully, but she liked it. She’d enjoyed his kiss. It was in the new sparkle in her eyes that matched the soft pink on her cheeks. He hadn’t lost his chance. Relief pounded as deep as lust. There was no doubt now that he’d tasted her, he was going to find a way to have more.
She swallowed, the rising beat of her pulse ticking at the curve of her throat. “Just…don’t do that.”
Mark lifted a hand, and she ducked out from underneath. She bit her lip, her eyes wide and uncertain now.
“Angie, don’t,” he pleaded. “I’d never hurt you.”
“I know,” she stammered but leaning away just the same. She slid one more step, then whirled and raced for the doors to the outer hallway of the lower floor.