Thief. Murderess. Sacrificial messenger. Netriet has faced death many times but she never consented to the transformation she endured the last time her life was pulled back from the edge of death. She's compelled to live a solitary life for fear the shadow inside her will terrify others. Lonely, Netriet longs for acceptance and friendship. Joining up with the Fair, a haven for misfits, she believes she's found home and love with Merick.
The ghosts of Merick's past haunt him. Helplessly attracted to Netriet, he's sworn to help her destroy the shadow within, but losing his heart to her cripples him with fear. Mistakes and misunderstanding push her away and Merick's forced to watch her flee into the arms of another man.
Torn between two men. Netriet's true nature is drawn to one, while the shadow yearns for the other. At war with the darkness, Netriet must chose, or let the shadow swallow her completely.
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Merick's kiss wasn't hard, hurried, or clumsy. It was perfect. It was perfect until he ran his tongue across one of his fangs and flooded her mouth with blood. If such things really are a battleground between men and women, in that one move, Merick won. Netriet hadn't tasted blood since the night she killed Philippe. Merick's blood tasted so good, full, and sweet, she wanted, needed more right now.
Oh yes, hell yes! Merick thought as he kissed her. He hadn't expected her to just yield to him and then give back like she did. He savored, in no hurry for anything else at all. She pushed against him until she'd backed him into a tree. Now captive, she climbed him and sank her fangs hard into his neck. He was frozen in shock for a moment. Whoa! That's not really what I had in mind but…alright.
Her mouth pulled so hard, Merick became dizzy. Her mouth found his again and she strained against him, desperate and begging to be touched. What had he done to make her so crazy? She was trying to eat him alive. Her passion excited him, but it also rattled. Being pinned against a tree by a woman was hardly his style. He switched their positions and sank his teeth into her neck.
She gave a little cry and put her feet back on the ground, digging her fingers into the back of his hair. The first taste of her blood was sweet, but the aftertaste came quick, inky toxic, almost burnt. He wouldn't have swallowed, but it was too late. Then came the laugh. Faint like a whisper, someone or something laughed mockingly from inside him. From her blood. Shocked and scared, Merick pulled away from her. She came after him, clinging.
"Stop, Nettie… stop…slow down." He held her back.
She panted and the dark in her strange eye moved and grew new tendrils. "What's wrong?" she asked.
"What's wrong? You tell me." He watched her eye, move and change.
Abruptly she shoved away from his hands, took a step to the side, and wrapped her arm around herself as though cold. She closed her eyes, her face pained. Inner turmoil played on her face before she snapped her gaze back on him, accusing and cold.
"Why did you come here tonight? Why did you kiss me like that if you didn't want me?"
Didn't want her? It had all been wonderful for one minute, now it was ruined beyond repair. What could he say? It was a mistake? Before she attacked him, she'd rocked him. Her sweetness sparked life into his atrophied heart. But now, he couldn't admit she scared him. He wouldn't. He needed to figure out what the hell was really going on with her and until he did, he was too scared to touch her again. Whatever possessed her might possess him. Safer to cover it. When in doubt, act like a bastard.
He shrugged and crossed his arms. "You said I had no bite."
Her look of shock turned to embarrassment, and then slowly shifted into cool rage. She took another step away from him. "Well, you sure showed me."