RAVAGED – THE THIRD IN THE RETRIBUTION COLLECTION
Do you hunger like I do?
Do you crave what only I can give you?
Come…be with me forever…
Hiding in the shadows, he stood watching her. It would be impossible for her to detect his presence. He was always very careful. Cocking his head, he scrutinized every aspect of her appearance and nodded in approval. There was something beautiful about her and the way she handled herself. Of course he’d watched on more than one occasion, studying her every move and every aspect of her daily routine, but tonight was somehow more special. Every cell in his body ached to touch her but he was strong in his convictions. Never would he allow himself to interfere. Instead, he remained a voyeur simply indulging in a fantasy. Sniffing, he followed closely behind as she moved through the darkened streets toward her car.
Given the light breeze, he garnered a whiff of her perfume and the musky scent filled him with hunger. Licking his dry lips, he was forced to adjust his aching bulge. He longed to taste her, fuck her and then kill her. It was his way and she was interfering, but he wasn’t ready yet for the end to come — for forever. No, he wanted more time to play. Resisting a chuckle bubbling to the surface, he placed his hands in his pockets and glanced up at the star filled sky. After the bars and restaurants were closed for the night was the only time he was comfortable tempting his fantasies and stalking his prey. And here he was out before curfew. Smiling, he knew he was risking his entire plan but she was too desirable to resist. She’d called to him unknowingly and he had to see her. There was something so delicious about knowing her schedule.
Somehow the thought gave him a deep-seeded desire. If only he had the courage to reach out and take her here and now. No. It simply wasn’t time yet and he had to mask his true identity from her powers. They’d be growing soon enough and when they did he’d be forced to end the game completely. There was much to be done. The sounds of the city filtered into the dark area and while she was cautious, hugging her purse to her body, she was confident in her manners, her steps. Merely going about her business, she was unaware a monster lurked in the shadowed light.
As she turned what he knew to be the final corner, he heard the blipping sound as she unlocked her car door. He continued to watch her every move from the way she brushed her hair back from her face to the moment she scanned the perimeter of the parking lot before she climbed inside. She was perhaps the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid eyes on. Too bad she was going to die. At least in her death would be redemption.
He took a stride back further into a dark alcove as the engine roared to life. Headlights flashed in his direction and she took off, heading straight for his hidden location but he wasn’t afraid she’d see him. After all he was nothing more than a ghost. When the car roared past, he stepped out into the hazy light and emitted a strangled sigh. Standing still for several minutes, he cocked his head and attempted to calm his desires. He was in too much need. Perhaps it was time for a snack to squelch the growing rage.
As he moved up the street he kept his head down until a noise caught his attention. The scent of a woman was difficult for him to resist. Hearing feminine laughter coming in his direction, he could see what appeared to be a young woman talking on a cellphone. Perhaps this was karma. He kept his stride even as he walked toward her. There was no reason for her to be afraid. After all this was a fashionable part of the city near some of the most eloquent clubs in town, many of them catering to the darker side of sex for the wealthy and privileged. The closer he came to her the more he hungered. Not only was she a beautiful creature but she also reminded him of the one he really wanted. From the girl’s long hair and creamy white skin to her very sensual manner of dressing, she was almost breathtaking and very innocent. Or was she? Honing in on her call, he grew incensed.
“No, Kiki. Seriously. That’s not what he was talking about. I tried to tell you this before,” she said as she brushed her hand down her skirt. “I know. He’s an asshole. There’s no doubt about it. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt but he was just trying to get me into bed. Not that I would mind but on my terms period. He thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips. Hell, he just pretended to be rich but I Googled him and know better. The man’s almost broke. Can you believe the nerve of him?”
Clenching his fist, he emitted a low hiss. Why were they all the fucking same? He slowed his gait, allowing him to hear more of her conversation as he eyed the darkened storefronts. They were closed for the evening. Stepping into the shadows, he waited for the perfect moment. There was no doubt in his mind he was right in doing this, saving the bitch from herself.
“Like I said, I’m going home to slide into a tub with a glass of wine and then I’m going to read a romance novel about men in shining armor. You know, real men instead of these cheap bastards. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” The second she closed the phone shut she started walking faster, the clip of her heels echoing into the dense air.
When she passed he stepped out behind her, inhaling a scent of not only her perfume but sex. The woman had engaged in some manner of carnal activity only recently. Sighing, he pushed up his sleeves and closed the distance. All women were alike – bitches. Ridding the world of their kind was his good deed for mankind. Sighing, he smiled at the thought. If only the little people knew how much he was really helping them.
The second he wrapped his arm around her neck she issued a strangled gasp that was immediately cut short by the brut strength of his muscles. “Ooohhhh…” She struggled, kicking out and catching him in the shins only causing him to clamp down harder.
Squeezing with a practiced force, the sharp crack of her neck breaking was a delicious reward for all the hours he’d suffered. “So beautiful and so damn stupid.” Chuckling softly, he dragged her lifeless body into the shadows. As he turned her around to face him, her vacant eyes held the moment of shock and instant death. He shivered from the utter beauty of the kill. “My. You’ll be a perfect addition.” He grazed the tips of his fingers down the side of her face before lowering his head and brushing his lips across hers. Her body sagging in his arms, he pulled back and allowed a low growl to erupt from his lips. He dragged out the knife and gazed at the serrated edges, licking his lips. As he held the sharp point to her throat he thought about the love of his life.
“Soon, my beloved. Soon.”
Do you hunger like I do?
Do you crave what only I can give you?
Come…be with me forever…
Carrington Winters snapped her head up and sighed before catching a glimpse of her notepad. She’d been doodling again. As she read the words twice she grimaced and looked down at the small trashcan nestled against the corner of her desk. She’d written the same passage at least six times in the last two nights. And every time in red ink. Hell, she didn’t even know she owned a red pen. “What’s wrong with me?” The answer was far too damning to think about. Push away the ugly thought. Yeah, that’ll do it. Growling, she shook her head. She was simply exhausted from her self-imposed brutal schedule. That’s all. Time to get back to business.
Brushing a damp strand of hair from her face, Carrington fingered her teacup and sighed. “It’s almost done. Almost?” Blurry eyed, she gazed at the screen and realized all the letters were starting to melt together. Groaning, she sat back in her chair and took a sip of the lukewarm tea. What she really wanted was a tall glass of merlot, but if she didn’t hit send on her manuscript tonight there would be hell to pay. After all, her editor had been patient. The wine could wait until she was absolutely done. The damn errand had cost her nearly two hours. She hated traffic and traffic jams and assholes that acted like the road belonged to them.
Chuckling, she knew she would probably kill off the bastards in her next book. Probably? She was in the business of killing creatively. The thought gave her a smile. Mixing erotic and mass murder was an interesting twist but one she loved. There was no doubt she was enjoying being able to murder some of her characters and not simply have them romp in bed over and over again. Brushing the tip of her finger back and forth across the seam of her mouth, she reread the last two pages and then read them again. Dear God she was bone tired but she had to finish. “You can do it.” Giving her computer the finger, she giggled. Sleep was highly overrated. Still, she loved the book and was thrilled with the outcome.
Her Hidden Desires, Carrington’s highly anticipated second in her gritty erotic crime thriller novels, was already pre-sold to the tune of thousands at every major e-book shelf Internet store and failure to deliver wasn’t an option. The brick and mortar stores had surprised her with the quantity of their orders – or shocked her editor anyway. The story was headline material. Centered around an incredible real-life event in her hometown of Portsmouth Ohio almost three years before, Carrington knew this one could be a best seller.
Climbing to her feet, she walked to the bulletin board nestled in the back corner of her office and fingered the copious newspaper clippings pinned across the four by six corkboard. She’d read every article, every Internet piece in an effort to garner the feel of the dark story. The murders had shut down the small town for two months and the killer had escaped. Shivering, she held her arms and wasn’t able to go down the road of wretched memories. She’d come too far to fall into the trap again. Her story was simply a way of giving a voice to the mutilated women and to give them retribution within the pages of her novel. While completely fictional, with every scenario totally different than the actual chain of events, the haunting piece was certain to ruffle a few feathers. Carrington only hoped the publication wouldn’t drag her into hell.
In truth, changing from being what some called a fluffy erotic romance author to an erotic crime storyteller was a calculated risk and one she welcomed with open arms — hence the name change to C.W. Wynters for the planned series. Exhausted, Carrington sauntered toward the bank of windows, allowing her a spectacular view of the great lakes, and sighed as she palmed the glass. There was no doubt she loved Chicago but every once in a while she was homesick for her small town nestled at the banks of the Ohio River. Shaking her head, she gazed out at the star filled sky and smiled.
Erotic Mystery Writer Carrington Winters finally finished the remaining changes to her highly anticipated second book, Her Hidden Desires. On a tight deadline and seriously sleep deprived, a frenzied late night email sent to her editor lands Carrington’s book and all her very secret, very personal desires in the hands of sexy widowed architect, Jackson Devereaux.
Haunted by the murder of his wife, Jackson finds Carrington’s manuscript and her very guarded needs too tempting to resist. How long had it been since he’d allowed himself to go? Finally throwing his inhibitions aside, he believes Carrington’s email is a sign and develops a plan to meet her. Inspired by the sinful scenarios played out in every chapter, he sets out to figure out why she hides behind a wall shrouded in mystery. As they learn to trust and explore their growing desires, they begin a cat and mouse game of guarded rendezvous’ until a shadowy murderer seeks revenge and targets their budding love. As heinous murders begin occurring, Carrington is forced to face a past she was determined to shelve in an ugly black box but secrets and lies refuse to be denied.
And as the police begin to suspect Jackson as his wife’s killer, a series of evil messages and late night sightings terrorize Carrington. The killer won’t take no for an answer and Carrington is threatened with not only her life but the truth behind Jackson’s mask. What secrets do they both hold that could tear them apart just as they unleash their wildest dreams and deepest hungers? When the killer is finally revealed, a shocking turn of events drags them both into a circle of danger one of them might not survive.
I hope you enjoyed…
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