Midnight's Master Page 4


The door opened with a squeak, sending the chilled night air flooding the interior of the vehicle.


Holly pushed to her feet, flashing thigh, fucking gorgeous thigh, right at him.


Oh, he wanted a bite. A very, very big bite of her.


Growling, he nearly ripped open his door as he fought to get out of the SUV. By the time he rounded the front of the vehicle, Holly was hurrying up her sidewalk.


"Holly."


She froze. The wind lifted her hair.


"You came to me." A reminder she shouldn't need.


Her head turned. Her gaze met his. "Not for sex."


A damn disappointment.


Holly's chin lifted. Stubborn. "You know why I came to Paradise."


Niol's hands fisted. "You need to stay out of Other business." Before she got herself hurt.


Killed.


The rest of the demons out there wouldn't play as nicely with her as he had.


And the vamps wouldn't hesitate to bite.


Then he'd have to stake the bastards.


"I'm not the only killer in the darkness, love. You need to watch your step." A fair warning.


She swallowed. "Tell me, did you…know him?"


The kid. The fool demon who'd been too soft. Niol didn't answer. " You did," he said instead and wondered just how close Holly had come to her source.


Her shoulders squared. "Carl was a good man-"


"Demon."


"-he didn't deserve to die that way."


"Most folks don't deserve the way they die." Simple fact. He'd seen rapists die gently in their sleep. Seen kindly grandmothers get shot down in the streets. Life wasn't fair and neither was death.


"I'm not going to forget about him." Shadows were all around her. Darkness waiting.


"Then don't." Blunt. Hard. "Report his death. Talk about what a good man he was, remember him when you're curled up at night and trying not to think about just what is out there on the streets." He exhaled on sigh. "But don't, don't go digging into his murder."


Her head tilted to the left. The streetlight shot over her cheekbone, leaving a hollow of shadow.


"Sounds like an order."


Because it had been.


"But I'm not one of your little bar minions. I don't take orders from you."


That was going to be a problem.


"I could make you, you know." The words slipped out, but they were true. It would take only a minute's concentration. He could slip into her mind, force her compliance, and-


"Been there, done that." Rage shook her words, trembled her body. "If you want to try that method on me, then go ahead. But I think you'll find I'm not such easy prey– this time. "


The memory of her, the memory of the night an incubus had trapped her mind and tried to steal her life, flashed between them.


Niol knew he was a bastard. He'd never denied it. But for an instant, he almost felt…


Shame.


Fuck.


The woman was messing with his head.


"Don't make me force the issue." Because he wouldn't have her blood on his hands. Damn. Why did he even care? He should be shoving his way into her mind, blocking out the memory of the dead demon. But she made him hesitate.


She'd caught his attention months ago. Hell, he'd been drawn to her the first time he flipped on the television and seen her face staring back at him. Holly had been broadcasting about some pileup on Peachtree, and all he'd been able to think about was the fire of her hair.


Stupid.


Horny.


That was him.


He'd taken a redhead that night. Picked up one of the humans who wanted to play at his bar.


He'd taken her, closed his eyes, and imagined the reporter from News Flash Five.


Insanity. Yes, it ran in his family.


He hadn't been able to stop thinking about her, fantasizing about her. He'd even taken to watching the news-


And he hated the local news. Yet he liked to watch her.


"Don't make you?" She repeated and he saw her breasts-nice, firm breasts-heave as she sucked in a breath. "Why don't you just try to force me to-"


In an instant, he'd closed the distance between them. His fingers locked around her arms, tight.


Too strong. He jerked her up against him and glared down at her. "This is no game." Even after all that had happened, she still didn't understand how vulnerable she was.


She could die so easily.


Just as Gillian had died. His half sister had been a demon, with a demon's power, but even she hadn't been strong enough to fight the killers that hunted in the night.


"I'm not going to back off this story." Holly's lips tightened. No hint of the dimple showed now.


Pity. "I am going to find out who killed Carl. I came to Paradise, to you, because I thought you'd want to help me."


"You thought wrong." Then, because it might just be his last chance and because, well, he wanted to taste her again, with the lights of the stars shining above them, he kissed her.


Holly's lips were parted, her mouth open as she prepared to berate him, and, oh, but the sweet human tasted good.


His tongue stroked into her mouth. Taking, demanding a response from her.


And the lady sure gave him one.


Her mouth widened. Her tongue snaked out to meet his. The explosion of hunger hit him then, like a fighter's punch in his gut, and his already erect cock stiffened even more.


Her breasts pressed against him. He could feel her tight nipples nudging against his shirt. Her hands were on his arms, wrapping around his biceps, squeezing.


Not fighting. No, Holly wasn't pushing against him, not trying to break loose-


She was trying to get closer.


Just as he was.


Her mouth fit him. Her lips, soft, full, felt right against his. Her tongue…ah, the lady knew how to use her tongue. Knew how to stroke. How to torment.


How to drive him even wilder.


Maybe the human did want to play. Absolutely-damn-perfect-


Holly tore away from him, wrenching out of his arms and stumbling back. "No." Her wide eyes watched him.


With hunger.


With horror.


Ah, now that look wasn't anything new. He'd seen it more than his share of times.


Yet he still found himself stiffening.


He didn't like for her to look at him that way.


She lifted a hand to her lips, as if to wipe away his taste, and Niol's eyes narrowed.


"You think…" Holly began slowly, then stopped and swallowed. "You think you can threaten to fuck my mind…then try and fuck me ?"


He didn't speak. What would he have said?


"No. I'm not one of your demon-wannabe sluts, Niol. I don't want to jump you in the dark so that I can have the thrill of saying I screwed a monster."


Hit. The reporter obviously understood more than she'd pretended about the human women who came to his bar.


"I don't want to play-"


"Yes, Holly, you do." Her heart still pounded too fast, her nipples were still pebbled, and her cheeks were flushed-all from hunger.


Need. For him.


"I'm not going to play." Her hand dropped. "I'm going to do my job-and find out what happened to Carl. With or without your help."


He stared at her. Such a shame. They would have been good together. The sex, well, it would have been pretty phe-nomenal. All that fire she had-oh, yeah, phe-nomenal .


Pity.


Niol shook his head. "Sorry, love, it's going to be 'without.'" Then he did the only thing he could do.


He turned around and walked away from her.


As he stalked toward the SUV, he felt her eyes on him.


His hand lifted, reached for the door.


"Niol."


Oh, but the woman's voice could get to him. It was the soft huskiness when she said his name.


Like a stroke right over his cock.


But he didn't look at her. Niol opened the door.


"You have to care." Her voice sharpened. "You play the bastard, but Carl was little more than a kid, and one of yours . You have to care-"


The laughter escaped then. He just couldn't help it. He stepped back and glanced over at her.


"Have you forgotten so soon, sweet? The incubus who took you that night, he was one of my kind, too-and I burned him," the fire had been so beautiful, "from the inside out."


She flinched.


His lips were twisted in a smile that he knew could chill. "I kill my kind." The incubus hadn't been the first, and he wouldn't be the last. "I don't go out on a crusade to save them…or any humans who are dumb enough to get involved in a world they can't understand."


"You're a cold bastard, Niol."


So he'd been told.


"I'm not going to walk away. I'll find out what happened-"


He climbed into the SUV. He couldn't spend any more time with her. Not out in the open.


You never knew who watched in this city.


He had spies, but so did the other powerful SBs who fought for control of Atlanta.


SBs…supernatural beings, or, as Holly would probably have said, supernatural bastards.


He didn't look at her as he cranked the engine and drove away. Didn't look back. Long ago, he'd learned not to look back.


Poor Holly Storm. He'd tried to warn her. Now, she was going to find death.


Or death would find her.


CHAPTER 3


So she'd struck out with the demon. Not the biggest surprise in the world.


The next day, Holly stood on a street corner in what was so not the best part of the city. She'd hoped to score big by forming a partnership with one of the most respected-okay, feared –demons in Atlanta. Sure would have helped out her investigation. But since Niol had made it abundantly clear he only wanted her for sex, he wasn't an option.


Although the thought of sex with Niol had been playing through her mind and her dreams for weeks.


Dammit. Sexy. Scary. She'd really never been attracted to bad boys. Not her type. Her ex-fiance was a professor at Mellrune University. She liked smart men. The sophisticated guys.


The guys who made her feel safe.


Or, they did until, like Zack, they started screwing around on her with students.


Asshole.


What a jerk he'd-


"You shouldn't be here."


The husky words, coming from right behind her, made Holly jump.


She turned and came face-to-face with a man, the top of his head and most of his body covered by a long cloak. His face, whiter than the snow she saw too rarely, was swollen, his lips blood red.


"Sam." She exhaled in relief. "Thanks for meeting me. I need to ask-"


But he shook his head. "You don't need to ask me a damn thing." His gaze jerked to the left, then to the right. "What you need to do is lose my number."


Her mouth dropped. "What? Sam, we have an arrangement-"


"Not anymore." He huffed out a breath and a plume of smoke appeared before him. The icy blast was continuing. The station weather guy had told her it would stay cold for at least the next five days. Having the inside scoop really didn't help her much, though.


Holly pulled her coat closer to her body.


"Forget me, Storm. Forget my name, forget anything I ever told you."


Not what she needed to hear right then. Anger began to warm her. "He got to you, didn't he?"


Sam's thick lips trembled. "Who? Who? "


She blinked. Okay, the guy had always been a little intense.


But she'd discovered that most demons were.


"Niol." Damn. If he wouldn't help her, the least he could do was stay out of her way. "He told you not to talk to me, didn't he?" Sam had been giving her info about the demon world for the last four weeks. Ever since she'd found him passed out against the wall of a basement when she'd been doing her meth lab investigation piece.


High as hell, he hadn't been able to control his glamour. His eyes had flashed night black at her, and she'd known the truth about him.


She'd been helping him to get straight. Helping him to kick his addiction because she knew just how dangerous such an addiction could be. She had the personal experience and the memory of her brother's screams to remind her.


" Niol's involved? Fuck, I'm out of here." He turned to go.


"No!" Holly grabbed his arm. "Wait! If Niol didn't tell you to stonewall me, then who-"


But he shook her off. "Watch your pretty ass, Storm. Hell's coming to town." Then he was gone, running across the street and disappearing into the cracks that passed for alleys.


Her shoulders slumped. Strike freaking two.


Now what?


She walked into the street, rubbing the back of her neck where she could feel the muscles tightening. This part of town was deserted-always was. One day, the city officials would take over, change things, and-


The roar of an engine reached her ears.


Her head shot up.


And she saw a white van flying straight toward her.


Aw, hell.


Holly scrambled back.


Too late.


The van's wheels turned-came straight for her. Aimed for her.


Christ!


She couldn't move fast enough. Her high heel slipped beneath her, twisting and cracking. She couldn't-


The van clipped her, catching her right hip and sending Holly hurtling back into the air. She hit the cement, hard, and exhaust burned her nostrils.


Her vision grayed. The last thing she saw before the full, sweet darkness swept over her was the back of the van, speeding away and leaving her broken in the street.


" Jesus, Holly, what the hell happened to you?"


Holly glanced up and grimaced at Ben as she dumped her purse on the station floor. "A van."

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