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
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
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
"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
The impact shook him. His fingers nearly lost their rhythm, his
stomach gave a funny lurch and his very breath slammed out of
"Is he really that famous?" Lisa asked, grinning at
"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?"
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
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
"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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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."