Femme Fatale

February 5, 2016

PI Mick Swayne has seen it all—his clients have included liars, thieves, and even killers. He thinks he can handle anything and anyone. Then she walks into his office. Savannah Moreau is beautiful, seductive, and…a vampire? The gorgeous vamp hires Mick to help her track down a killer who is hunting in Chicago, but as Mick slips deeper into Savannah’s paranormal world, he wonders if he can really trust his new client…

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Cynthia Eden introduces readers to a vamp with real bite in her sexy paranormal tale FEMME FATALE.

Author’s Note: FEMME FATALE was originally published in the Dark Secrets anthology. The Dark Secrets anthology is no longer available.

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Chapter One

Trouble. He knew the sexy blonde was trouble the minute her high-heeled feet tapped across his office floor.

Mick Swayne jerked his gaze off those nicely arched feet—up the blonde’s long, long legs, and back to the mystery lady’s face.

The face of an angel. The body of a sinner. He cleared his throat and slowly rose from his position behind the desk. “I didn’t realize I had any other appointments scheduled for the day.” Not that it was actually day right then. He’d been working late—as usual—and the sun had long since set.

She smiled at him. Not such an angel. Because her red lips were lush and tempting. Her eyes were a dark and deep brown, heavy-lidded, and slightly up-turned at the corners. “Your assistant was leaving when I arrived. I hope you don’t mind, but he said it would be okay for me to come on in and see you.” Her voice was smooth and soft. No accent coated her words.

He stalked around the desk. “I don’t mind at all.” He wasn’t exactly in the position to turn away clients. But when he saw his assistant again, he’d let Adam know this shit wasn’t cool. You introduced a client first. You didn’t run away and leave a lady on her own.

She took a few more steps forward, her high heels clicking over the wooden floor once more. Her hand extended to him in greeting and, when they touched, a sudden, sharp heat seemed to blast right through Mick.

What. The. Hell?

Her smile deepened. “I think you’re just the man I’ve been looking for.”

And, baby, I’ve been dreaming about a woman like you for far too long.

He should let go of her hand. Step back. Say something business-like. But Mick couldn’t quite make his fingers work. He liked touching her. In his grasp, her hand was smooth, delicate. Silken. He could imagine that hand stroking him—too easily.

One blonde brow arched as she studied him. “I hope I didn’t say something wrong.”

The only thing wrong were his thoughts. He wasn’t supposed to be hot for clients. He was a professional, dammit. He helped people. He didn’t lust after ladies with problems.

Even if those ladies did smell like sweet cream.

He pulled away and motioned to the chair in front of his desk. “Why don’t you have a seat and tell me just what’s happening?”

She looked down at her hand, then back at him. There was a faint hint of curiosity on her face, as if she wanted to ask him a question, but then she headed toward the offered chair and lowered herself slowly. She crossed her legs, and that delectable little skirt she wore hiked up a few more inches.

Sweet Christ.

“Is everything all right?” His potential client asked with a frown of quick concern.

“Great,” he growled. Get your shit together, man. He propped his hips against the edge of his desk and exhaled slowly. As he did, his gaze swept over her face once more as he tried to get a sense of who she really was.

Her blonde hair skimmed her shoulders, perfectly framing her face. Her skin was flawless—no sign of any wrinkles at all. He had no clue how old the woman was. Maybe she was a socialite who enjoyed using Botox. Maybe she was younger than her air of confidence implied. Maybe she was—

“Is it true that you worked for the Chicago Police Department for over fifteen years before you took this position?”

He blinked. That certainly hadn’t been a question he’d anticipated. “Ah, yeah. It’s true. I was a detective on the Force.”

“A homicide detective.”

Was she interviewing him? “Yes.”

Her gaze slid down his body, and her eyes lingered on his right leg. “But you were injured on the job. You had to leave?”

He stiffened. Was she trying to see if he was up to handling her case? “I took five bullets on my last case. Three to the chest.” One of those had come damn close to his heart. “And two hit my right leg.”

“That’s why you limp.”

His teeth clenched. “My limp doesn’t slow me down, if that’s what worries you.” He’d been through two months of hellish physical therapy with that leg. He wouldn’t let the limp slow him or stop him from doing any job. Despite what the PD thinks.

She leaned forward. “I’m not worried. I am curious.”

This whole scene was just bizarre.

“Curious about you,” she added. Then she waved her hand around his office. “About how someone like you ended up in a place like this.”

He probably should’ve been insulted. Instead, Mick just laughed. “I get it’s not the Ritz, but I’m a PI, ma’am, not some crowned prince. I do the job. I solve cases for my clients. I get my hands dirty, and I discover the truth that they need to hear. Limp, no limp. Bullet scars and all…I handle business.” His captain had wanted to bench him after that last case had gone to hell and back. He’d had two options—take that permanent bench, or walk.

He’d walked.

And started his own business because being a detective was just who he was.

A faint smile tipped her lips. “I think you are going to do very nicely for me.”

“Great. Wonderful. Does that mean I just passed your interview session?”

Her lashes lowered. Were those fake? Because they were crazy long. “It means,” she said, “I’ve been looking for you, for quite some time.”

For him?

“And I’m very glad that I found you.”

He was starting to wonder if the blonde was crazy. Such a pity. To be that gorgeous and insane. Waste. But he kept his expression blank and asked her, “Want to tell me just why you came to my office today?” Why you were looking for me?


His shoulders tensed.

“Murder is such a nasty business.” Her gaze seemed to turn distant, almost as if she were seeing right through him. “There is no need for the kills to go this way. Certainly not in my town.”

He was leaning more and more toward the insanity idea with her. Unfortunately. “Have you…committed murder?” Mick asked her carefully.

She gave a little laugh, one that slid right over his skin like a caress. “I’m not here about my crimes.”

Oh, shit. That hadn’t exactly been a reassuring answer.

She focused those dark, deep eyes on him. “Have you heard about the two bodies that were recently discovered? Both males. One was outside of a club called Intoxication. And the other body…it was found dumped at the Navy Pier.”

His guts were twisting. “Hard to miss the stories about those two. They’ve been splashed all over the news.”

She didn’t say anything else. Just waited. He finally realized she wanted him to say all he knew.

Clearing his throat, Mick added, “Two males, one in his late twenties, one in his early thirties. They were both found in the nude, and both men died due to severe blood loss.”

Her lashes lowered, then lifted as she pinned him with her stare. “You still have lots of connections at the PD. Surely you know more than just that.”

He did. He also didn’t want to get chatty with this woman he didn’t know about classified info—

“The blood was drained from their bodies,” she said, almost sadly. “But the only wounds either man had were two small puncture marks on their necks.”

She shouldn’t know that.

“There were no signs of struggle,” she continued. “As if the men never even thought about fighting back.”

She was speaking way too easily about these murders and sharing intel that had not been released to the general public. “How would you know that?” Mick asked her. Battle-ready tension filled his body.

“Information has a way of reaching me.”

“That’s a rather bullshit answer.”

Her lips quirked. “I suppose it is.”

He waited. The seconds ticked past. “I don’t think I got your name.”

“No. You didn’t.” Her hair slid over her cheek as she leaned forward a bit. “It’s Savannah. Savannah Moreau.”

“Savannah…” He liked the way her name felt on his tongue. He didn’t like the way every alarm in his body was going off. “Why don’t we just cut to the chase? Why don’t you tell me exactly why you’re in my office?”

“I want you to help me find the murderer. Those two men—I can’t let their killer get away.”

“You knew both victims?” Mick pounced on that.

“I knew them. They knew of me. If they’d come to me, I could have helped them but…” She shrugged. “Someone killed them. The police aren’t exactly equipped to handle this case, but I believe you can help me.”

The clock on his desk seemed incredibly loud. Tick. Tick. Tick. “Why the hell can’t the cops handle it? Why—”

“In my experience, human cops don’t do so well when they face off against monsters.”

Yeah, he’d been right. The gorgeous blonde was crazy. “Monsters.” Mick sighed, a truly long and mournful sound. “I see, they are—”

“Do you believe in monsters?” Savannah asked him as she rose to her feet. That sweet cream scent of hers drifted toward him as she closed the distance between them. Her hand rose and she put her fingers over his heart.

“I believe that humans are monsters. I don’t have to make up any crazy stories about creatures going bump in the night. Humans commit crimes. Humans hurt and humans kill, and it’s the humans who have to be stopped.”

She shook her head. “The humans have to be protected, this time.”

“Look, lady—”

“You should believe in monsters. You have a monster killing in this city. And the cops won’t understand. They won’t be able to catch him. But you and I—together, we can.”

Her touch singed him. His body was reacting way too strongly to her. Especially in light of the whole crazy vibe that she had going on. “A monster is hunting here, huh? What is he? A boogeyman?” Mick asked.

She shook her head. Her lips thinned in what sure looked like annoyance.

“A werewolf?” he pressed.

Her gaze hardened. “No.”

“Ah, right—the puncture wounds and the whole no blood thing.” Mick nodded. “I get it. Vampire, right? I’ve got a vampire loose in Chicago, killing at will.” He laughed.

She didn’t laugh. “That’s exactly what you’ve got.”

Pity stirred within him. “Is there someone you want me to call for you? Someone who might be looking for you?” A nurse. A doctor. A shrink?

“The killer is looking for me, but you and I are going to find him before it’s too late.”

His hand lifted and his fingers wrapped around her wrist. “You’re confused. I can’t help you.”

“I’m not confused.” She stared up at him. “I think you are.”

His index finger was stroking along her inner wrist. A movement that he totally hadn’t meant to make. “How about I go get you a cab?”

She shook her head. “Monsters are real. I know that with utter certainty.”

“Oh, really?” He wasn’t in the mood to humor her, but he was trying, somewhat. It had been a long day and his knee was aching like a bitch. “And how do you know that?”

She smiled at him—a full smile that showed off her white teeth. Incredibly sharp teeth. Her upper canine teeth—they were long and fang-like.

Screw being fang-like…they were fangs.

“I know,” she told him quietly, “because I am a monster. A vampire, to be exact.”