Coming Soon: Insatiable Need (New Excerpt!)
An Excerpt From: INSATIABLE NEED
Copyright © ROSALIE STANTON, 2012
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
Raegan steeled herself, licking her lips and forcing her spiking nerves to calm. Her mind had wandered into dangerous territory a time too many already. The past couldn’t help her right now. Thinking of Natalie, Razor, and that night—the night where everything went to shit in what had since become a very familiar way—would do her no good. Tonight wasn’t about Natalie. Tonight was about O’Brien, Jezebel, and stopping whatever was about to happen before more people’s lives were ruined by things they didn’t want to know existed, never mind understand.
Her gaze landed on the mattress shoved against the far wall. It looked pristine in an otherwise filthy living space. Clean and unlived in, as though O’Brien hadn’t yet taken it out for a spin. In contrast to the mess at her feet, the mattress stood out like the proverbial sore thumb.
“There’s a mattress over there.”
Zeth pulled away from whatever he’d been doing and peered in the indicated direction. “And?”
“And look at it.”
“What? Is it gonna do a trick?”
Raegan rolled her eyes. “Stop being an asshole for five seconds. Doesn’t it seem strange to you?”
“Yeah. I can’t imagine any man needing a corner to catch some shut eye.”
“For fuck’s sake, Zeth, you’re the PI.” Raegan muttered a slew of swear words and stalked over to the mattress in question. “Look at this place, and then look at this. Dirty, clean, dirty, clean. Anything catching on in that thick skull of yours?”
At last, it looked as though the lights were on in Zeth’s head. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem as impressed. “So what?”
“He doesn’t sleep here.”
“Golly, Sherlock, another case solved.” Zeth snickered and tapped the side of his nose. “Couldatold you that when we first walked in. Place doesn’t smell lived in. Figure this is just where he keeps his…stuff.”
Raegan frowned and looked back to the mattress. “That doesn’t match what Harriet said.”
“Harriet doesn’t have all the answers. She sees things and interprets them. That doesn’t mean she’s always right.” Zeth shrugged. “I’d think the same thing if seeing this place was all I had to go on. But the smell doesn’t lie. He doesn’t sleep here.”
“So O’Brien doesn’t have a house and the only place remotely habitable, he uses like a junk drawer. But why make the mattress all clean-like if he’s going to be a slob everywhere else? It doesn’t make sense.”
“Pumpkin, if your theory’s correct, this is the same asshole who’s calling upon the services of a demon to make people come to church.”
She inclined her head. Point taken. Still, if what Zeth said held any water, and the room lodged within the tiny church was indeed used as a catch-all for O’Brien the Wonder Slob, it still begged the question as to why he’d keep one corner from seeing a speck of dust.
Then again, having spent every other weekend of her childhood with her father and very religious stepmother, Raegan could appreciate that some of the more fundamentalist types had hang-ups when it came to sex.
“Have you found anything?” she asked.
“I’m sure I would if I knew what the hell I’m looking for.”
“Anything on Jezebel. Or something like Jezebel. Or demons. Or demon summonings. Or how to cancel a demon summoning.”
“Gee. That really narrows it down.”
“Shut up and look.”
A long sigh sounded from Zeth’s lips. “Yeah, I’m looking. But I hate to tell you, Rae, I don’t think this is gonna have the ending you want. Like I said, this place doesn’t look lived in. Seems to me if O’Brien is planning something big and nasty, he’d keep his research material somewhere else. Somewhere he could, oh, I dunno, find it.”
Raegan cursed. Damn it. She hated it when he had a point. “But there has to be something here. If he’s doing this thing, there has to be evidence for it, right? And this is the only other place in the whole goddamn church.”
“Don’t know that for certain.”
“We’ve looked everywhere else!”
Zeth shrugged again. “Again, we don’t know that for certain. Have you ever snooped around here before?”
“No, you idiot, but Harriet said it’d be here.”
He looked at her, arching a brow. “Oh that’s right. Tell me again, what did Harriet say?”
“To come look in here.”
“And nothing. That was it.”
“She said the demon rites books would be in this room?”
“Yes.” Raegan paused, frowning. Trying to garner straight information from a Seer, one determined not to fuck with the natural order of the world, was difficult, putting it nicely. Putting it not-so-nicely, it was only slightly easier than trying to make a cat sit still for a sponge bath. “Well, no. Yes. Kinda.”
“Oh, that clears things right up.”
She balled her hands into fists, one of the last strands of her precious patience snapping in half. “She said what I was looking for was in this room.”
Zeth snickered. “Yeah. That’s Harriet for you.”
“So it has to be here.”
“Yeah. Unless there’s something else you’re looking for.”
He laughed again and shook his head, his gaze finding hers over the piles of clutter. “Harriet is a lot of things, but one thing she isn’t is Little Miss Upfront. So there’s something you need to find in here. Fantastic. Unless she said what it was, we’re wasting our time.”
Raegan swore. “Well, fuck.”
“There’s an option.”
“All you have to do is ask.”
Heat crashed over her. She felt dizzy but shoved it aside. Something was wrong. Aside from the obvious, Zeth had never spoken to her that way, except for the earlier “pants down” comment, but that was more a retort to her verbal fuckup than a pass. And it wasn’t as though he hadn’t had ample opportunity to come onto her before. In the brief period between meeting him and discovering what he was, she’d all but thrown her panties at his face—or rather, she would have if things had ever gotten that far. But for all his shortcomings, Zeth had never been so blatantly forward.
Maybe she was misreading him, but she didn’t think so. The look in his eyes was different. Hot. Molten.
“You know the…Jezebel thing?”
“Do you think she might have…uhhh…”
He didn’t seem to be listening to her, now coming toward her, his long, strong legs taking powerful strides.
“We should get out of here,” Raegan murmured. Her gaze had landed on his mouth. “Jezebel…she could trigger at any moment.”
“Mhmm.” That was a definite purr.
“Zeth?” God, her voice sounded so weak and heady. Her gut knotted and she pressed her thighs together, doing her best to ignore how slick and wet she felt. How very aware she was ofZeth’s proximity.
“Yeah?” he replied, his voice husky.
“We should go.”
“You’re about to do something. I’m about to do something. And I don’t like you so I really don’t want you to do this.”
He swallowed hard and nodded. “Lead the way.”
So she did. She totally did. Well, she did if leading the way consisted of leaping into Zeth’sarms, wrapping her legs around his waist, and tugging his mouth up to hers. If leading the way meant rubbing herself wantonly against the hardened strain of his denim-clad erection and sucking his tongue into her mouth. Zeth growled and seized her shoulders, pulling her flush against him and nipping at her lips.
And that was all it took. Zeth’s hands on her body, his tongue in her mouth, his scent in her nostrils—all it took to remind her what she was here to do, and specifically not here to do. All it took to remind her who she was, who she was with, and how very much she wasn’t the sort of girl to throw herself at werewolves.
“Stop,” she gasped, trying vainly to pull away from him. “Stop!” She tugged him up for another kiss and thrust her pelvis against his. “God, Zeth, let me go!”
“I’m trying,” he snarled, sounding miles away from the seductive purr of just a moment ago. She would have contemplated the swift change were she not so desperate to get as far from him as possible.
“Try harder!” Raegan snapped.
“It’d help if you could stop touching me!” He concluded by fisting the loose material of her blouse and ripping it clean off her body, his mouth breaking from hers to kiss a wet path down her throat.
“Zeth…” Her stomach tightened in ways that it should not tighten. God, she was wet. She was on fire. Every nerve blazed, and he couldn’t touch her enough. “Stop touching me!”
“Are you deaf?” Zeth growled, his teeth nipping at her breasts before ripping her bra away. “I’m trying.”
Raegan trembled. Every time she attempted to shove him off, she wound up foiled by treacherous hands that tugged him closer and a mouth that felt hexed to want nothing more than his kisses.
I can’t stop. Oh God, I can’t stop.