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Midnight Cravings -- Shari Nichols

Midnight Craving

Natalya left the cold, privileged world of the Upper East Side’s vampire elite for the Raven’s Hollow police force and has never looked back.

Now for the first time in her life, she’s doing things on her own terms, living in a coven full of witches, and developing her gift as a clairvoyant. When she’s assigned to a murder case, she’s forced to work alongside her nemesis, special agent Cayden Teague of the MBI—Magickal Bureau of Investigations. The icy-blue eyed demon has been a thorn in her side from day one, challenging her, igniting her anger and her passion at every turn.

Through the course of many lifetimes, Cayden has never gotten over the brutal murder of his family and his first love. Guilt and torment have become his constant companions and keep him on a razor’s edge. After a night of hard drinking, he wakes up disoriented and finds the woman he went home with covered in a pool of blood. All the evidence points to someone the victim met online.

To lure out the killer, Natalya must become the bait. But how can she do the one thing she dreads the most without revealing her deepest, blood-drenched secret? And how far is Cayden willing to go to protect her and get to the truth?

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Midnight Craving Excerpt


In a blur, Dubroskysprinted through the woods in the other direction while he tried to breathe through the pain. Sweat soaked through his shirt. Seconds later, she came back holding a first aid kit. “The ambulance is on its way.”

Uncontrollable shivers wracked his body.

“You’re so pale.” Dubrosky crouched next to him and fumbled around through the kit. Finally, she replaced the tie with a real tourniquet. “You’ve lost a lot of blood. It’s not stopping.”

“Yeah? Tell me something I don’t know,” Cayden mumbled, his heart skipping beats. He couldn’t seem to move from the spot. Excruciating pain exploded through his nerve endings. His muscles began to constrict. Delirium must have been setting in.

Dubrosky sat on her knees. “You need a transfusion. We could wait for the ambulance or I could carry you to the van, but you’ll bleed out before we get you to the hospital. There’s only one option, but you’re not going to like it.”

“The bite burns like Hades’s balls at a bonfire,” Cayden panted seeing black spots. “Do whatever it takes to make the pain go away.”

“You’ll have to drink from me.”

Except that. “Hold on, what are you talking about?”

“I refuse to let you die on my watch,” Dubrosky said, mimicking his earlier words. “This will keep me from saying, ‘I told you so.’ Trust me.” Before he could stop her, she sank two sharp fangs into her finger. When the blood began to flow, she held it under his nose. He recoiled. He might be inches from death but nothing—nothing in this world, could get him to drink from a vampire. “Drink,” she insisted, “Or you’ll die. Dammit, Teague, for once in your life stop being a stubborn ass.”

“H-hard habit to break…I’d rather die.” The last time he trusted a vampire, it ended in tragedy. All these years later his heart still hadn’t mended from it. He turned his head away, making peace with his fate.

“I promise this won’t turn you into a vampire.” Dubrosky turned his head to face her, and held it in place. He tried to pull away, but she held tight. Her strength as a vampire almost matched his own. She pushed her finger into his mouth. “Now drink.” The second her blood touched his lips, heat burned through his veins like hot lava. Her blood tasted sweet, with a tangy bite.

Heat shot through his limbs like fire. Cayden became aware of the scent of her hair—strawberries and rain. Another spicy scent lingered in the air—something that smelled like pheromones.

 “What have you done to me?” he whispered as his whole body surged to life. Her blood pulsed through his veins and the pain began to ebb like a bad memory. When he glanced at his arm and the cuts on his hands, they mended together and faded right before his eyes. He could regenerate over time, but nothing like this.

He gazed over at Dubrosky, and his breath caught. Her eyes had rolled back in her head. Her lips had turned pink and swollen like she’d been kissed. He’d heard the rumors of vampires experiencing a kind of intense sexual pleasure when drinking, but could the same be true when someone drank from them? A moan slipped from her lips and called to his beast. The sound made him crazy. He didn’t think he’d ever get it out of his head. As he stared at her flushed cheeks, a stray curl slipped out from her ponytail, he got a sudden urge to wrap the shiny strands around his fist. He wanted to bring those lips closer. The need became overwhelming.

But then what?

He’d been harboring an intense attraction to her for months now. This wouldn’t be the first time he took notice of her warm brown eyes and full lips. He never acted on his attraction because they worked together. How could he ever be with a vampire? But now, the more he drank, the more he felt inexplicably drawn to her like an invisible chord pulling him closer. Cayden continued to suck, hell, he couldn’t get enough. All the emotions he kept locked away flooded over him, lust and longing, along with an undeniable sexual hunger.

Her eyes widened. Could she sense the change? His gaze moved lower, to the pulse throbbing at her throat. He wanted to trail his tongue over the spot. Did she know drinking her blood would render this kind of connection?

“Your color is back,” she whispered looking relieved. “You’re going to make it.” She pulled her finger away and he wanted to groan. “Don’t sit up right away. Let me clean your cut so it doesn’t get infected.”

The soft lilt of her voice reminded him of fairy song. She dabbed at the wound with an alcohol wipe. He’d never been this close to her, never noticed the cluster of freckles across the bridge of her nose or the fullness of her upper lip.

“Our patient’s going to be okay,” she said into her mic. Every word she flung at him might be filled with vitriol, but she did have an amazing mouth with full, pouty lips.

She never wore a stitch of makeup and kept her dark hair in a ponytail. While she might be uptight and a royal pain in the ass, her natural sex appeal sent his imagination into overdrive. Her eyes held a certain mystery he found mesmerizing. His gaze trailed lower to the starched white shirt buttoned up to her neck. He’d never seen a female try so hard to conceal her natural assets. It made him wonder what she wore underneath. Did she favor white bras and panty sets that were as prim and proper as the rest of her, or did she have a penchant for black lace?