Her dead lover stood on the other side of the bar, rubbing his hand against the back of some long-legged redhead and looking very much alive.
Sadie Townsend drew in a deep breath. Caught the scent of smoke. Expensive perfume. Sweat.
I went to that jerk’s funeral. Cried over his grave.
A grave he didn’t seem to be occupying.
She’d even taken flowers to his graveside.
The redhead laughed. Tossed back her head. The man turned, braced his hand against the wall behind her head and leaned in even closer to her.
Rage had Sadie’s back teeth grinding together. She stalked across the bar, elbowing dancing men and women out of her way. Her fingers curled, and a hard fury tightened her body.
Two years. For two damn years she’d thought he was dead. While he was out there screwing redheads. Redheads who wore really trashy pink dresses.
He was bent over the woman, his mouth poised over her throat.
Sadie was going to rip the bastard apart.
The redhead laughed. A high, tipsy giggle.
Even though she was still at least ten feet away, and the music blaring from the band jumping on stage was earsplitting, Liam “Sully” Sullivan stiffened. His dark head snapped up. He spun around, and his gaze scanned the crowd. His eyes—too damn blue and bright for a dead man—locked on her. She saw his stare widen and his lips began to curve into a smile—
A smile she was going to knock off his still too-handsome face.
“Sullivan.” His name escaped her as a snarl.
The ghost of a smile vanished from his lips.
The redhead shifted beside him. “Uh, honey…”
Oh, no, she had not just called him—
He glanced back at the redhead. Touched her cheek. “Give me a minute, Sharon.” The Irish whispered beneath his words, softening the vowels, hardening the consonants. Cagey bastard. Usually, he could all but make the soft rolls of his native Ireland disappear from his speech. The Irish was strong, though, when he was either pissed off or turned on. His fingers curved under the redhead’s chin. “Why don’t you go dance?”
And the chick meekly nodded her head. Walked away without another word.
What the hell? Had the woman never heard of a backbone before? He just blew you off, sister. Tell him to screw himself!
Sadie stalked toward him. Jabbed one finger into his chest. “Hey, asshole. Long time no see.”
“Tell me, shouldn’t you be…oh, I don’t know, in a grave somewhere?” She’d put him in one. It would be her absolute pleasure to—
“You shouldn’t be here.” Weaker accent now, but the vowels were still soft. His gaze swept behind her. “You need to leave, love.”
Love. Her heart took the hit, and her entire body trembled. “I’m not going anywhere.” Not without one hell of an explanation. She’d cried over the jerk. She never cried over anything, but she’d cried for him. “If you wanted to break up with me, Sullivan, all you had to do was say so.”
The sex had been great between them. Better than great. Wild. And she was the kind of woman who really, really needed wild.
They’d been teamed up on an FBI assignment. He’d been a liaison from Ireland, working secretly with her team on a hunt for a global killer. She’d never slept with another agent before—she didn’t like mixing her business and her pleasure. But with Sully, she’d broken all the rules.
On their first date, they’d never even made it out of her place. She’d had him naked in less than five minutes. He’d taken her against the wall in her den and had her coming almost instantly.
That had just been the beginning.
He’d been the first human to match her stamina. Matching someone with her unique characteristics was exceedingly hard.
His nostrils flared as he stared down at her. “Sadie, you don’t—” He broke off, and his eyes widened in surprise. “Your scent…”
“Oh, great, you’ve been playing dead for two years and now you want to talk about the way I smell?” Her claws were out now. The fury was too strong for her control. Rage and betrayal burned through her.
She’d trusted him. The night she’d learned of his death…hell, they’d been planning to meet after his last op. She’d intended to tell him the truth about herself.
She’d never before told a human lover the truth.
But Sullivan had been different—or so she’d thought.
Liam Sullivan. Sullivan to most. Sully to friends. To lovers. To me.
The lighting in the bar was dim, but she’d never really needed much light to see. His face was just as she’d remembered. Strong, square jaw. Dimple in his chin. Eyes like the skies over his Ireland—so amazingly blue it almost hurt to look into them. Sexy lips, high brow, chiseled cheeks. A nose that had been broken a few times because her Sully hadn’t grown up easy. He’d lived on the streets of Dublin from the time he was eleven until he’d reached seventeen.
His skin looked a bit paler than before. His hair was a little longer. The black locks skimmed his broad shoulders. He wore a battered black, leather coat, a dark shirt, and loose jeans.
The guy was big—way over six feet. She had to tilt her head back a bit to stare up at him. No, to glare up at him. “I was told everyone on your team died on that last operation.” She should have been on that team. But someone, somewhere, had passed on the word about her relationship with Sully and she’d been yanked at the last minute. Reassigned to some bullshit security detail.
When she’d gotten the news about the slaughter—Sadie couldn’t stop the shudder that worked over her body. God, but she could still see those photos—it had been a bloody massacre. One look at those photos, and she’d almost fainted. Because Sully was one of the victims. Or so she’d thought.
Normally, Sadie wasn’t the fainting type. More the kick-ass, make-’em-sorry type, and that was just what she was about to do. Make the Irish devil very sorry that he’d ever been born.
He grabbed her. His hands locked around her shoulders, and he lifted her up onto her tiptoes. “I missed you.”
What? She was supposed to believe that BS line? Lying jerk—
He kissed her. His lips were firm against hers, slightly cool, and—oh, damn.
Her mouth opened. She gave a little moan when she felt the strong thrust of his tongue. The guy had always been one hell of a kisser. He knew just how to move his lips against hers. Knew exactly how to use his tongue. Sliding it against hers. Teasing her mouth. Tasting. Sampling. Taking.
A ball of heat in her belly had her rubbing against him. Pushing to get closer. She didn’t want soft and easy, she’d never wanted that. Hard. Wild—that was the only way she’d take a man.
And Sully, curse his black soul, knew it.
His hands smoothed down her body. Locked on her ass. Squeezed. His erection pushed against her belly. Long and hard. Thick. Oh, she remembered it well.
She remembered too much.
That was the problem.
She tried to pull back, but Sully’s hold didn’t weaken.
Sadie twisted, putting some of her enhanced strength into play. Oh, jeez, but the man’s tongue…
His hold tightened. It was a fierce, strong grip.
Too strong. She could feel the power in his touch. It was a power that hadn’t been there before. What the hell?
His mouth lifted, just an inch. “Fuckin’ missed you,” he rasped, then captured her lips again.
Ice blasted through her veins. Fuckin’ missed you. He hadn’t looked like he was missing her when he’d been all over the redhead.
Sadie purred, a low, rumbling sound. And she bit him.
The coppery taste of blood flooded her mouth.
Sully’s head jerked up. He stared down at her, and his eyes—the beautiful eyes she’d seen in her dreams for so long—flickered sickeningly from blue to black.
Oh, no. Shit. Shit.
Not playing anymore, she shoved against him and managed to break free of his hold. Stumbling back, she lifted her hand to her mouth and shook her head as she struggled to deny the truth that was staring her right in the face.
No, not Sully. Not him.
He licked away the drops of blood on his lips. “A ghrá, you do know what I like.” A ghrá. One of his Irish endearments. One that used to make her heart leap, but now had her tensing.
Sully smiled at her, but it wasn’t the boyish smile of the man she’d known.
It was a hard grin. One that showed the sharp points of his too-long canines.
Her nostrils flared. Scents assaulted her. The same smoke she’d smelled before. The alcohol.
Sully. The crisp scent of an ocean. The sweet fragrance of clovers. Ireland.
No, no, no. This was all wrong. Sully didn’t smell like decay or death. He smelled the way he’d always smelled to her. So good.
But his eyes were black and his canine teeth…they were too long.
Sadness filled Sadie. She knew his type. Knew what drove them. So much darkness. Bloodlust. Sully was lost to her. His kind lived for terror and pain.
Sadie had never thought she’d have to do it, but it looked like she might have to kill her ex-lover.
Hell. Could she do it? A tremble shook her body, and, for an instant, she didn’t see his face. No, she saw the pale face and shining eyes of Jasmine. Her friend smiled, and blood trickled down her neck.
Sadie blinked, and Jasmine was gone, but Sully—a new Sully, so different from the man she’d known—still stood before her.
“Somethin’ you should know, Sadie.” His brogue thickened, deliberately, she knew. “I didnae exactly survive that ambush…”
Her hand lifted. Traced the line of his cheek. “I know.” Soft. Sad. “And I hope you understand…”
A line appeared between his brows. “Understand?”
She knew her smile was broken. Her hand dropped. Do it. Don’t think. She reached for a nearby chair. Lifted it and shattered the wood in a blink.
“Sadie—” Sully began.
Her kind moved fast. Incredibly so. Always had. Her right hand locked around the broken chair leg. She raised her hand and prepared to plunge her makeshift weapon into his heart. “Understand that I’m not killing you—I’m killing what you’ve become.”
His black eyes widened.
What he’d become…
Sadie drove her stake straight toward his heart.
I’m sorry, Sully.