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~DARK MELODY: CHAPTER ONE~
Last Updated: March 06, 2015 11:14:48


Dark Melody by Christine Feehan
The need crawled through his body and pounded out a rhythm in his mind. Music seethed and roared, filling the large bar, an edgy, compelling melody as dark and driven as he was. The notes ripped from deep within his soul, moved through his fingers to the guitar cradled in his arms as he might cradle a woman. The music was one of the few things that reminded him he was alive and not the undead.

He could feel the stares, although he never looked up. He could hear the breathing of the crowd, the air moving through lungs like the rush of a freight train. He heard blood ebbing, flowing in veins, beckoning, a sweet seductress, teasing his senses until his cravings were an obsession as dark and relentless as the shadow across his soul.

They whispered. Hundreds of conversations. Secrets. Pick up lines. The things whispered in bars under the cover of music. He heard every word clearly as he sat on the stage with the young, rather enthusiastic band he was jamming with. He heard the whispers of women as they discussed him. Dayan. Lead guitarist for the Dark Troubadours. They wanted to bed him for all the wrong reasons, and he wanted them for reasons that would have terrified them.

The song ended, the crowd roared, stomping and clapping and yelling approval. Dayan glanced at the man waiting at the bar. Cullen Tucker raised a glass of water toward him, his eyebrow up. What are we doing here? Dayan read the expression clearly, read the man's mind. What were they doing there? What had compelled him to go into the bar, pick up his guitar and play for the crowd. It would only draw unwarranted attention to them. It wasn't safe. They were hunted, yet Dayan had no choice. He needed to be in the bar. He was waiting for something… for someone.

Dayan's fingers were already picking up another rhythm. Dark. Moody. The melody took hold of him, demanding to be released. His voice stilled the crowd, beckoned, seduced, tempted. He called to her. Commanded her. His lover. His lifemate. His other half. He called to her to complete him. To give him the emotions that had faded from his soul leaving him an empty shell of growing darkness. A creature living in the shadows, fodder for the crouching beast. Save me. Come to me. The words took the breath from the listening crowd, brought tears to the eyes of the women.

They pushed closer to the stage, unaware that they did so. Unaware of the power of his voice, his eyes. He mesmerized them. Seduced them. Compelled them. He cast his spell, a dangerous predator among easy prey. Save me. Please save me. His voice washed over them, seeped into pores, soaked into brains so that they stared up at him completely enthralled. Hunger rose, a response to his heightening senses. He kept his eyes closed, blocking out the sight of the crowd, losing himself in his song to her. His lifemate. The one woman who could save him. Where was she?

The door opened, allowing the night breeze to rush into the room dispelling the odor of too many bodies crushed together in a small space. It was the sound of a heartbeat that made him lift his head. The heart was weak and irregular, yet beating too fast, laboring too hard. Dayan looked up and literally lost his ability to breathe. There she was. Just like that. His lungs burned for air and his fingers lost their age-old rhythm. His heart began to match the strange rhythm of hers.

Dayan forced a breath into his body. First one, then a second. The band was staring at him uncertainly. His fingers began a melody he had never played before, but it was there, locked in his heart, a light he thought long gone. Dimly, he was aware the band had taken their cue from him, following his lead, but he was playing on automatic. He couldn't look away from her, watching as she paused while her light-haired companion spoke with several acquaintances.

What was wrong with her heart?

His black eyes moved over her possessively, marking her, claiming her. She was small, curvy, with lush dark hair and enormous eyes. He watched the way she moved, watched the sway of her hips. To Dayan, she was incredibly beautiful. And she was human. He knew it was possible for one of his kind, a Carpathian, to have a human lifemate, but it had seemed so improbable to him he had not really conceived of such a phenomenon.

She paused for a moment to stare up at him in shock, her wide gaze colliding with his for the briefest instant. Her perfect mouth formed a round O, as she recognized him. She swung her head toward the tall blond who accompanied her. The blond laughed and hugged her, led the way through the crowd to a booth in a dark corner of the club. He heard the soft murmur of her voice and at once his world changed. Where the club had been dark with shades of gray, it was now brilliantly alive with vivid dazzling color.

Emotions were crowding in fast and hard, so many he couldn't sort them out, he could only sit very still with his fingers flashing over his beloved guitar. He felt that. His guitar. It amazed him so much he could feel tears burning behind his eyes. Dayan was almost paralyzed with so many emotions bombarding him. The music. Hunger. Colors. Lust. It was a volcano, molten hot, adding to his edgy feeling. And there was jealousy. Dark. Dangerous. He realized he didn't like to see the men crowding around her booth, leaning over to talk to her.

At once the thought triggered the rising of the beast in him and he forcibly had to crush it down. He was very dangerous in this state, an unexpected complication. The music poured out of him, through him, so much emotion he was choking with it, so many colors he was blinded by them. He took a deep calming breath, fought for control and won. What was wrong with her heart?

He kept his head bent over his guitar, but his empty black eyes were fixed on his prey, the only woman who mattered to him. He played to her, poured his heart out to her, allowed the beauty of his music to speak to her. He wanted her to see the poet in him, not the predator. Not the darkness. All the while he listened to their conversation, listened for the sound of her voice.

"I can't believe it's really him, Lisa. That's Dayan, of the Dark Troubadours. He's practically a god among musicians. I've never heard anyone play like him. What in the world is he doing with this band?" That was her voice, soft and feminine. She spoke in a reverent tone. Her fingers were tapping out a rhythm on the table, following the melody of his.

Lisa leaned across the booth to be heard over the noise in the bar. "I heard he was vacationing, he's just jamming here tonight, Corinne. I know how much you love music and I wanted to give you a surprise."

That was her name. Corinne. Even her name fit the music in Dayan's mind. He unashamedly eavesdropped to learn what he could. She was listening to his music, her body responding naturally, but she wasn't staring at him in rapt adoration the way the other women in the bar were staring. The way he would have liked.

"But how did you know? He's not just anyone, Lisa. He's a genius when he's playing. How did you know he'd be here tonight?"

"Bruce, you remember Bruce, Corinne, he works for my photographer. Bruce knows you're a huge music fan. He stopped in for a drink and called me to tell me a member of the Dark Troubadours was jamming here tonight. Bruce said that man at the bar is supposedly a friend of the lead guitarist's and that he travels with the Dark Troubadours." Lisa indicated Cullen. "Everyone's hoping it means The Troubadours are looking for new places to play."

"Well they do prefer the smaller, more intimate clubs, but who would have ever thought they would play here." Corinne said. Her gaze strayed to Dayan, their eyes met and she hastily looked away.

The impact shook him. His fingers nearly lost their rhythm, his stomach gave a funny lurch and his very breath slammed out of his lungs.

"Is he really that famous?" Lisa asked, grinning at Corinne.

"He's absolutely famous, you heathen." Corinne's laughter was affectionate, teasing. "His band doesn't have a contract with any label. Some people try to tape their music when they go to their concerts. Their tapes are worth a fortune."

"You have an old record and several tapes, don't you?" Lisa asked.

Color swept up Corinne's face. "Ssh! For heaven's sake, Lisa, those tapes are black-market. What if someone hears you?" Guilt was in her voice. "The band travels and plays mostly in small places like old-fashioned troubadours. That's probably how they came up with the name of their band."

Lisa leaned her chin into her hand. "He's looking this way, I swear it, Rina, I really think he noticed us."

"He's gorgeous. I had no idea." And Corinne meant it. She was never one to fall for any actor, musician or athlete. It wasn't her style, she was too down to earth. But Dayan resembled a sculpture of a Greek god. He was tall and sinewy, gave the impression of great strength and power without being obvious about it. His hair was very long, but well-kept, shining like a raven's wing, pulled back at the nape of his neck and secured with a leather thong. It was his face that caught and held Corinne's attention. It could have been chiseled from marble, a dark sensuous male, one with the ability to be very sensual, or very cruel. She couldn't get the impression of danger out of her mind when she looked at him.

His mouth was beautiful, as was the shape of his jaw with its faint blue-black shadow, she had always liked that on a man, but it was his eyes that ensnared her. She made the mistake of looking directly at him. His eyes were beautiful, shaped like a cat's eyes, dark and mysterious, empty, yet filled with a thousand secrets. She felt almost pulled into his gaze, captured for all time. She couldn't look away from him. Mesmerized. The word came to her out of nowhere. She was definitely mesmerized by him. His head was bent toward his guitar, but his gaze seemed fixed on her face. Lisa, with her striking looks garnished attention easily and was comfortable with it. Corinne could barely breathe with his gaze locked on her.

Her fingers curled into a tight fist, her long nails digging deeply into her palm. Her heart was doing a crazy somersault, and her breath seemed stolen right from her lungs. "I've never heard anyone play so beautifully." Her mouth was so dry she could barely get the words out.

"He can just sit in my bedroom and play me to sleep every night," Lisa said.

Color crept up Corinne's neck to sweep into her face at the idea of this man in her bedroom. Playing his guitar would not be what she had in mind. The thought was immediately shocking to her. She had never thought of anyone like that. Not even John. Not only did it seem disloyal, but it was totally out of character for her. Suddenly she was very afraid. She wanted to run like a child and find a place to hide from his mesmerizing eyes and the strange effect he seemed to have on her. He frightened her, truly frightened her. Perhaps it was his music, so intense, so hungry, like his eyes.

"Corinne!" Lisa said her name sharply, breaking the spell. "Are you alright, do you need your medication? You brought it didn't you?" She had already grabbed Corinne's purse and was rummaging through it hastily. There was an edge of fear to her voice.

"I'm fine, Lisa," Corinne assured. "I think my hero took my breath away for a minute there. He's potent. I wish he'd sing again." She forced herself to laugh.

"Oh, yeah," Lisa said dreamily, "he has a sexy voice."

"Be still my heart," Corinne teased, clutching at her heart dramatically. It made Lisa laugh, wiping out the sudden fear in her eyes, just as Corinne knew it would.

With his superior hearing, Dayan could hear every word. He sorted through conversations easily, dismissing them from his mind, but not hers. Corinne. The other woman had called her Corinne. Although happy to know he had managed to steal her breath, he was busy assessing the situation. Medication. What medication? What was wrong with her heart? It was important to find out as soon as possible.

Dayan directed his attention toward Cullen. Go to the far booth and strike up a conversation with the two women. He pushed hard, making the compulsion a command. He didn't like using Cullen, it wasn't in Dayan to use someone he was fond of, and now that he could once again feel emotions, he could feel the friendship he had with the human male. He needed an emissary, someone to act quickly before Corinne bolted. It was in her mind, he could read her easily enough, and he could not allow her to flee from him.

Cullen turned his head and spotted the beautiful blond. To his astonishment he recognized her face. Lisa Wentworth. She was a model often seen on the cover of magazines. Ordinarily, he would never have the nerve to speak to her, but for some reason, he later could never fathom, he found himself covering the distance between them. He had been in love one time in his life and had lost his fiancée. Since then he had never really looked at another woman. He couldn't help but see Lisa Wentworth. It wasn't just the fact that she was beautiful, it was something shining from deep within her.

"It would be an honor to get you two whatever you're drinking," he greeted. "My name is Cullen Tucker." He wished he had a pick up line that would make him stand out among all the men staring at her, but he hadn't tried conversing with a woman in years.

"Lisa Wentworth." Lisa stuck out her hand and flashed a blazing smile while Corinne seemed to shrink back into the shadows, her face slightly averted, hair spilling down in a silken shield.

"This is Corinne, Corinne Wentworth."

Cullen raised his eyebrow in inquiry. They looked nothing alike, although he thought them both beautiful. "What would you like to drink?"

"We're both just drinking water," Lisa offered, a flirty smile curving her soft mouth. "I'll let you get it for us if you promise to sit with us."

"I'll be right back," Cullen commented, rather pleased that Lisa wasn't staring up at Dayan with that look he recognized in so many women. He had learned, in traveling with the band, that few of the women who pursued them, cared what the band members were like, only that they were famous and played in a band.

"What are you doing, Lisa," Corinne hissed. "Are you crazy? You never pick up men. What are you thinking? Tell me you aren't using him to meet the guitar player."

"Of course I'm not. I don't know, there's just something about him. He's cute. He isn't looking at me as if I'm something to drape on his arm and show off. It gets tiring. Do you mind so much if he just talks to us? You can stare some more at Dayan while he plays." There was a hopeful note in Lisa's voice.

Corinne took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She wasn't being fair to Lisa. Lisa needed to have fun. She had been taking care of Corinne for months now, and Lisa had lost John too. Carefully Corinne hid her trembling hand in her lap out of sight and forced herself to shrug causally. "I suppose I can do that. But I'm not looking at him anymore. Just hearing him play is overwhelming. He's almost too good."

Lisa's eyes were on the man at bar, signaling to the bartender. There was something about Cullen that drew her interest. His shoulders were square and he stood very straight. She liked the way he looked her right in the eye. There was something else, something that touched her heart, she couldn't define or explain to Corinne, but he looked like a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders and no one to ease his burden. The plain truth was, she liked the look of him.

"I'll take Cullen," Lisa was half serious, "you can go for the guitar player."

Corinne flashed a saucy smile. "He's too good to be true. Men like that break hearts everywhere they go. They have that element of danger because they really are bad boys. Women think they can change them, but the truth is, they're bad and there's nothing to be done about it. If you're a smart woman, which I am, you only stare at them and fantasize, you don't go near them or you get your fingers burned. I'll just listen to him play and be very happy."

Cullen made his way through the crowded club back to the booth where the two women were seated. He had no idea what he was going to say to them, the blond was striking terror in his heart. He couldn't possibly become interested in a woman, not with a pack of murderers hounding his footsteps. Very carefully he set the bottled water before each of them.

Lisa smiled up at him and scooted over, allowing Cullen to sit beside her to make it easier to talk. The room was crowded and it was very loud. She wanted to hear every word. Corinne shifted slightly to give Lisa a little more privacy to work her magic. Lisa deserved to find a nice man. Someone. She would need someone very soon.

The music continued but Corinne noticed the moment Dayan stopped playing. The beauty and clarity was gone from the music leaving an okay group making up for it with their enthusiasm. She couldn't help it, she stole a quick look at him from under her long lashes. He was standing up, a casual, almost lazy move that reminded her of a large jungle cat stretching. He was careful with his guitar, setting it against the far wall out of reach of any light-fingered fans or rowdies. For a brief moment he surveyed the crowd, most of who were staring up at him in rapt adoration. A flicker of what could have been impatience crossed his face and his hand moved, low, by his hip, a small gesture as if wiping out the sight of the crowd.

He turned his head and looked directly at her. Instantly she felt the weight of his stare. Intent. Hungry. Corinne's heart seemed to stop beating. He was looking at her, not at his friend and not at Lisa, but straight at her. Their eyes met across the room and immediately she could feel that mesmerizing pull. A spell of enchantment. Dayan leaned down and said something to the lead guitarist and then stepped off the stage. Over the crowd his black gaze held hers captive. Corinne couldn't look away, held a willing prisoner somewhere deep inside him.

Her heart was going crazy and her breath refused to come into her lungs. She could only stare helplessly at him, watching as he crossed the room to reach her side. Strangely, no one spoke to him, not a single woman in the crowd. Everyone moved quickly out of his way so that he approached her without interference. He stood at their booth, his black gaze seeing only her. Up close he was even more intimidating then he was across the room. Power clung to him like a second skin. And he was more than sexy, he was darkly sensual. Terrifyingly so.

The band swung into a slow, dreamy song and Dayan reached down and captured her small hand. "I need to dance with you." He said it like that, starkly, without embellishment, without worrying about his vulnerability. He needed to touch her, to hold her close in his arms. He needed to know she was real and not a figment of his imagination.

Corinne couldn't have resisted him for any reason. She let him take her over, pulling her with exquisite gentleness to her feet, drawing her into his arms, close to his body, holding the palm of her hand over his strong heart. At once she could feel his heat, feel his solid, muscular frame. Her heart was beating overtime and she felt strange. In another world. A dream world. Floating. He was taller than she was by quite a bit, yet she fit into him perfectly as if she were made for him.

He bent his dark head to hers. "Breathe." He whispered the word against her skin and her entire body came alive. Just like that. Every nerve ending. Every cell. His breath was warm and his arms were incredibly strong. He held her almost tenderly. It was a kind of magic, and she knew instinctively he was feeling it too.

For just one moment she closed her eyes and let herself be carried away. Their bodies moved together in perfect rhythm as if they had been dancing together for all of their lives. As if they were making love. Corinne bit her lip. It was the most intimate thing she had ever done in her life, yet she had been married. He seemed to be everywhere, surrounding her, his body hard and his hands gentle. A curious thing was happening. Her heart, so erratic was struggling to match the more even beat of his. She noticed it because every detail was so important. She wanted to carry this moment with her for the rest of her life.

The music moved through Dayan so that he became the music. The woman in his arms was already a part of him. He knew it with his deepest soul. She was the one, the only one. He could feel the struggle of her heart just as he felt her small, very feminine body imprinted against his masculine frame. But the situation was even more complex. She was the only woman for him, yet there was a third heartbeat. He could clearly hear it racing as he held her to him. He could feel the life in her, the small mound beneath the loose clothing she wore.

He brought her palm under his chin and held her even closer as he examined that detail of information. She was carrying a child. Another man's child. A human child. For a moment his mind was in chaos, a wild mix of jealousy, rage, and fear, things he had never experienced. Breathing helped and he focused on what was most important. If he gave her his blood, he could possibly fix her heart problem, but what would it do to an unborn infant? He could read her fear and her sadness. He moved with her, his body a hard urgent ache, his mind a jumble of thoughts, his heart and soul truly at peace for the first time in his existence even while his brain worked on a solution for such a unique problem.

The song ended and he reluctantly allowed her to slipped out of his arms, retaining possession of her hand so she couldn't run. "

" My name is Dayan."

Corinne nodded her head, almost afraid to speak. He was leading her back to the safety of the booth. He moved easily through the crowd, keeping her safe beneath his broad shoulder. Dayan gave her such an illusion of safety, taking great care that no one bumped carelessly into her.

"Are you going to tell me your name?" He asked it softly, his voice a velvet seduction in itself.

Just the sound of his voice created a yearning to hear him sing again. "Corinne, Corinne Wentworth." She didn't look at him, it hurt he was so good-looking. And sexy. That dark dangerous sensuality she wanted no part of. They were close to the booth, to safety. She allowed herself to breathe again.

"When is your baby due, Corinne," he asked, his voice a gentle thread of sound. She had never heard a voice quite like his. Hypnotic, mesmerizing. A bedroom voice. It whispered over her skin until she burned.

His words stopped her short and she looked quickly, guiltily at Lisa, afraid she might have somehow overheard. For a moment she felt desperate. Lisa had her head close to Cullen Tucker's and was laughing at something he was telling her. Dayan leaned down, his larger body shielding hers protectively, effectively blocking her from any of the rowdy crowd smashing into her. It occurred to her that he was a celebrity of sorts and the crowd should have been clamoring to meet him, pushing forward at least for his autograph, yet somehow no one went near him. Not even the women.

"Corinne." He did something to her name, made it sound exotic with his strange accent, "You are very pale. Would you like me to get your friend for you and take you outside into the night air? There are far too many people in this building."

"She doesn't know." She blurted the truth out and then was horrified that she had done so. What was it about him? She had danced with a perfect stranger, merged with him so that they seemed as intimate as lovers. Normally private, Corinne had a strong, compelling urge to tell him the most personal details of her life.

Dayan changed direction immediately, gliding through the crowd once again toward the door, taking her with him with effortless ease. She wanted to go with him. Corinne wanted to be somewhere quiet and alone just to absorb that irrational impulse. The cold air should have cleared her head, but he moved his body very close to hers, shattering her good intentions. She couldn't think straight with him so close to her.

Dayan took her into the shadows. Everything in him rose up to claim her for his own. He wanted her, he needed her and his body was going up in flames. She stood there looking up at him with her enormous green eyes and he was lost. Knew he would be lost for all time. "Good, your color is coming back. Your friend seems to care very much for you, I cannot imagine that she would not be happy about the baby."

Corinne lifted a hand to shove back the wild mass of hair. "I shouldn't have given you the wrong impression, Lisa will be happy about the baby for a lot of reasons. It's just that I'm…." she trailed off reluctant to reveal any details of her personal life to him. "It's complicated." She felt compelled to tell him everything about her. He was looking down at her and his eyes were so-hungry. Lonely. She didn't know what it was, but those eyes were impossible to resist.

He made her feel as if she was cornered by a great jungle cat. His eyes didn't blink, they simply watched her. Completely focused on her. At times she could have sworn there was a red flicker of flame in the very depths. "You have to stop looking at me like that." The words left her throat before she could censor them and she found herself laughing. She was a grown woman and ordinarily very logical. He was certainly getting a false impression of who she was.

His smile was slow and very sexy. It started her wayward heart pounding again. A slow burn was smoldering somewhere in the pit of her stomach. "Am I looking at you?" His voice brushed against her skin, heating, tantalizing.

Corinne tilted her head to one side and studied his perfect masculine features. "You know very well you are. You have that smug male look on your face. I can't think straight when you're looking at me like that." She answered honestly.

"How am I looking at you?" He asked it softly, gently, a note of tenderness creeping in to turn her heart over.

Like a hungry leopard about to pounce. The thought came unbidden. The smile climbed to his eyes as if he could read her thoughts, making her blush. "Never mind. Just stop." She put out her hand as if she might hold him away from her.

"You were going to tell me about the baby." And the baby's father. We do not want to leave him out of this conversation. You want to tell me. Shamelessly he 'pushed' her, needing to know. The man was dead. Dayan could feel that. He read it in the lingering sadness in her eyes. She had cared for another man enough to bring his child into the world. Who was the man?

He captured her outstretched hand, her left hand, found the circle of gold, the symbol of human marriage, the symbol proclaiming she belonged to another man.

The thought triggered the dangerous aggression of his species and Dayan fought down the rising beast. He would not chance frightening her. His thumb rubbed over the ring almost absently, back and forth, a gentle caress, persistent. Insistent. He brought her fingertips to his lips. All the while his black eyes focused completely on her, staring directly into her eyes.

It was hypnotic. Strangely exhilarating. Corinne's breath caught in her throat as his teeth scraped along her finger, his mouth warm and moist. Butterfly wings brushed at her stomach. His teeth tugged gently at her gold wedding band. The sensation was so erotic she shivered. She stared up at him for a long moment, completely fascinated before remembering to pull her hand free.

"Tell me about your baby, honey," he commanded, his voice low, almost purring.

He touched her mind very gently, with great care. She was fighting the compulsion to tell him what he wanted to know, but she was human and he was an ancient, one in a long line of dominating males. He was far too strong for her to resist.

Corinne pressed her palm protectively over the baby. The wind whipped down the street, gusted leaves and debris into whirling eddies. Unknowingly, she moved deeper into the shelter of his body. "I grew up with Lisa and her brother John." She stopped speaking abruptly, her throat closing on the name.

John. The name pierced him like a knife. Just the way she said it, the way her voice sounded, the pain reflected in her eyes. John. He had never liked that name. Men with that name were often the worst kind of lady's man. Dayan didn't want to hear anymore, he didn't want to hear the sound of her voice when she said that hated name.

Corinne twisted her wedding ring nervously. "We had a difficult childhood so I suppose we were closer than most. John and I were different." She stole a quick look up at him from under her heavy dark lashes. She didn't want to explain that word to him and what it meant. She didn't know him, didn't know why she seemed to trust him when he was a virtual stranger to her. She didn't know why her body seemed to know him. Crave him. Corinne shoved her wayward thoughts away, concentrating entirely on how much she could tell him….or not tell him.

Dayan examined her mind, wanting an explanation for that 'different'. He caught a hastily censored picture. Telekinesis. She could move objects with her mind! Of course she was psychic. She would have to be psychic, being human, if she were his true lifemate. Dayan had no way of explaining to her exactly what a lifemate was. How could he reveal to her he was of another species? That he had been on earth a thousand years? That he needed blood to survive?

Dayan watched her fingers turn that small gold band. With every touch, every stroke, his stomach knotted tighter and tighter. He tried to force his gaze back to her face, but that small betraying movement fascinated him.

Corinne shrugged her shoulders. "To make a long story short, John and I were married and he was murdered a few months ago. I didn't even know I was pregnant. I haven't said anything to Lisa because, well," she hesitated searching for the right words.

That brought his dark gaze back to her face instantly. She felt the impact of that focused stare all the way to her bones. His hands covered hers, stilling the nervous play of her fingers over her ring. Her heart leapt, a curious sensation that alarmed her.

His black eyes never left her face. Not once. And he still hadn't blinked. She felt almost as if she was falling forward into those strange, hypnotic eyes. What difference did it make if he thought she was a basket case? She hadn't asked for his sympathy nor did she want it. She wasn't telling him the story for sympathy. Why was she telling him her story? Her chin lifted and she looked at him almost defiantly. "I have a heart condition." He could run like a rabbit and she'd be very happy. He was a complication, a fantasy, the worst sort of 'bad boy' and she wanted no part of him.

Dayan touched her mind very gently. He caught an image of hospitals, machines, endless tests. A quick flash of a memory of her asking about a waiting list for a heart. Doctor after doctor shaking their head. She had severe allergies. She bled easily, too much. The specialists were amazed she had lived as long as she had. Dayan rubbed the bridge of his nose thoughtfully, his eyes intent on her face. "And the baby is a danger then. Lisa would not like that."

Corinne let out her breath. It was almost a relief to tell someone. "No, Lisa won't like it all. She'll be so frightened." Corinne had waited until there was no possibility Lisa might try to talk her out of having the baby. She wanted a baby. Her little girl. Long after her death, after John's death, their daughter would live and breath, run and play and hopefully lead a perfectly normal life. Corinne had absolute faith that Lisa would cherish and love the baby. She pulled her hands away from his to place them protectively over the small mound where the baby rested.

"You are very small. How far along are you?" Even as the words left his mouth he marveled that he could say them. In all his imaginings he had never thought to be asking such a question. Heat blossomed and spread. A sense of belonging. Strangely, he felt as if he had a family already.

"The doctors are a little worried about that, but she looks good. She's growing fine. They've told me it's a girl. I'm six months along."
 
His breath hitched in concern. She was tiny to be six months. "Are the doctors concerned with your heart problem also? They view this pregnancy as risky? Perhaps very dangerous?" His voice was still as gentle as ever, yet it had an effect on her she couldn't seem to shake. He sounded almost as if he was reprimanding her in some way and assessing what he was going to do about it.

Corinne felt compelled to answer him although it wasn't what she wanted. "My heart has enough trouble working for just me let alone a child too," she conceded reluctantly. Her fingers once again found the circle of gold and began to twist, a nervous habit, betraying her inner turmoil.

Dayan nodded his head even as his entire body knotted in protest of that small action. "And your husband." He forced the words out despite the fact they wanted to stick in his throat. "Why was he murdered?" He couldn't help himself, he reached out and caught her hand, pulling her palm to his chest, right over his heart, effectively stopping her from touching the ring again.

Corinne's gaze flew to his, flustered by his touch. Electricity arced between them. The air sizzled with the charge. She found it difficult to think with his black eyes mesmerizing her and his touch scattering her senses. Discussing the murder of her husband with him should have been impossible yet she found the words tumbling out. "The police haven't come up with a motive. They didn't even take his wallet."

"But you have an idea." He made it a statement.

Corinne felt that same desire to confess every detail. Normally she confided in Lisa and no one else, yet Corinne hadn't said a single word to Lisa about the baby or her own suspicions of John's death. Why on earth was she telling a virtual stranger her every secret? "John could do things that weren't considered normal. About a year ago, he went to a University and told someone there about his talent. From there, he was directed to a center where psychic ability was tested. The Morrison Center for Psychic Research. John believed he might be able to help people in some way using his unique gift. Almost immediately after his appointment at the center, he told me he thought he was being followed." She withdrew her hand. "This is hardly something you would want to hear about."

"On the contrary, I'm extremely interested. Everything about you interests me."




CHRISTINE FEEHAN, #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR

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~JUST RELEASED~
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~2017 RELEASES ~
NEW BOOKS: Power Game, Bound Together, Shadow Reaper, Dark Legacy, Leopard's Blood
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