Home > Kiss of Crimson (Midnight Breed, #2)(7)

Kiss of Crimson (Midnight Breed, #2)(7)
Author: Lara Adrian

“No!” He lurched from his slump on the floor, thrusting his hand out to her in alarm. “No hospitals! Can’t…can’t go there…. They won’t…can’t help me.”

Despite his protest, Tess started to run for the phone in the other room. But then she remembered the stolen tiger hanging out in one of her exam rooms. Hard to explain that to the EMTs or, God forbid, the police. The gun shop had probably already called in the theft of the animal, or would by the time the store opened that morning, just a few short hours away.

“Please,” gasped the huge man bleeding all over her clinic. “No doctors.”

Tess paused, regarding him in silence. He needed help in a big way, and he needed it now. Unfortunately, she looked like his best chance at the moment. She wasn’t sure what she could do for him here, but maybe she could patch him up temporarily, get him on his feet, and get him the hell out of there.

“Okay,” she said. “No ambulances for now. Listen, I’m, uh—I’m actually a doctor. Well, more or less. This is my veterinary clinic. Would it be all right if I come a little closer and have a look at you?”

She took the quirk of his mouth and ragged exhaled sigh as a yes.

Tess inched down beside him on the floor. He had seemed big from across the room, but crouched next to him, she realized that he was immense, easily six and a half feet and two hundred fifty-plus pounds of heavy bone and solid muscle. Was he some kind of bodybuilder? One of those macho meatheads who spent his life in the gym? Something about him didn’t quite fit that mold. With the grim cut of his face, he looked like the kind of guy who could tear a gym rat to pieces with his teeth.

She moved her hands lightly over his face, feeling for trauma. His skull was intact, but her touch told her that he’d suffered a mild concussion in some fashion. Probably was still in a state of shock.

“I’m just going to check your eyes,” she informed him gently, then lifted one of his lids.

Holy shit.

The slitted pupil cutting through the center of a large, bright amber iris took her aback. She recoiled, freaked out by the unexpected presentation.

“What the—”

Then the explanation hit her, and she instantly felt like an idiot for losing her cool.

Costume contacts.

Chill out, she told herself. She was getting jumpy for no good reason. The guy must have been at a Halloween party that got out of hand or something. Not much she could tell from his eyes so long as he was wearing those ridiculous lenses.

Maybe he’d been partying with a rough crowd; he certainly looked big and dangerous enough to be part of some kind of gang. If he’d been rolling with gangbangers tonight, she didn’t detect any evidence of drugs on him. She didn’t smell alcohol on him either. Just some heavy-duty smoke, and not from cigarettes.

He smelled like he’d walked through fire. Just before he took a dive into the Mystic River.

“Can you move your arms or legs?” she asked him, moving on to inspect his limbs. “Do you think you have any broken bones?”

She skimmed her hands over his thick arms, feeling no obvious fractures. His legs were solid too, no real damage beyond the bullet wound in his left calf. From the look of it, the round appeared to have passed clean through. Same with the one that hit him in the torso. Luckily for him.

“I’d like to move you to one of my exam rooms. Do you think you can walk if I help hold you up?”

“Blood,” he gasped, his voice thready. “Need it…now.”

“Well, I’m sorry, but I can’t help you there. You’ll need a hospital for that. Right now, we have to get you off this floor and out of those ruined clothes. God knows what kind of bacteria you picked up in that water out there.”

She put her hands under his armpits and started to lift, encouraging him to stand. He growled, something deep and animalistic. As the sound left his mouth, Tess caught a glimpse of his teeth behind his curled upper lip.

Whoa. That’s weird.

Were those monstrous canines actually…fangs?

His eyes came open as if he had sensed her awareness. Her unease. Tess was instantly blasted by piercing bright amber light, the glowing irises sending a bolt of panic straight into her chest. Those sure as hell weren’t contacts.

Good Lord. Something wasn’t right with this guy at all.

He grabbed her upper arms. Tess cried out in alarm. She tried to pull out of his grasp, but he was too strong. Hands as unyielding as iron bands clamped tighter around her and brought her closer. Tess shrieked, wide-eyed, frozen in fear as he drew her right up against him.

“Oh, God. No!”

He turned his bloodied, battered face toward her throat. Sucked in a sharp breath as he neared her, his lips brushing her skin.

“Shhh.” Warm air skated across her neck as he spoke in a low, pained rasp. “I won’t…not going to…hurt you. I promise….”

Tess heard the words.

She almost believed them.

Until that split second of terror, when he parted his lips and sank his teeth deep into her flesh.






Blood surged into Dante’s mouth from the twin punctures in the female’s neck. He drew from her with deep, urgent pulls, unable to curb the feral part of him that knew only need and desperation. It was life pulsing over his tongue and down his parched throat, silky, cinnamon-sweet, and so very warm.

Maybe it was the severity of his need that made her taste so incredible, so indescribably perfect to him. Whatever it was, he didn’t care. He drank more of her, needing her heat when he was chilled to his marrow.

“Oh, God. No!” The woman’s voice was thready with shock. “Please! Let me go!”

She clutched at his shoulders reflexively, fingers digging into his muscles. But the rest of her body was slowly going still in his arms, lulled to a boneless sort of trance by the hypnotic power of Dante’s bite. She sighed a long gasp of breath, sagging limply as he eased her down onto the floor beneath him and took the nourishment he so badly needed.

There was no pain for her now, not since the initial penetration of his fangs, which would have been sharp but fleeting. The only pain here was Dante’s own. His body shuddered from the depth of its trauma, his head splitting from a concussion, his torso and limbs laced open in too many places to count.

It’s okay. Don’t be afraid.

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