Damn Gorgeous

Damn Gorgeous

Jaye Valentine

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 On assignment in the sleepy Massachusetts town of Fall River, home of the infamous Lizzie Borden axe murders, Spencer meets and falls for sexy Virgil Slade, lifelong resident and owner of a nearby bed-and-breakfast. Things are not as they seem. Virgil, with his hot body, sexy dreadlocks and unusual tattoos, harbors a tremendous secret that turns Spencer's world upside down.

 
PUBLISHED BY: Noble Romance Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60592-050-4
PUBLICATION DATE: 2009
WORD COUNT: 19700
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 5 5 5 5 5
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Romantic Fiction, ManLove, Paranormal, Shape-shifter
KEYWORDS: M/M, paranormal, shapeshifter
 

EBOOKS BY Noble Romance Publishing

EBOOKS BY Jaye Valentine

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Jaye Valentine/2009

 The ride back to the Copperhead Inn was pleasant. A beautiful, nearly full-mooned night held clear skies, and the unseasonably balmy weather allowed us to roll down the windows. The heavy scent of pine permeated the air and wafted into the car. Crickets chirped, and somewhere in the distance a fox screeched into the night. While we drove, Virgil asked additional questions about my lifelong fascination with things paranormal and how that interest was reflected in my work.

I answered him truthfully and laughed when he called me a frustrated romance novelist. In effect, I guess I was. I didn't write news articles for the magazine—I wrote stories about creatures I'd been in love with since grade school and passed them off under the guise of truth. Nothing I wrote contained a shred of fact.

As we pulled up to the house, Virgil told me that despite what I had said, he could see in my eyes I'd never really given up my innocent hope. Maybe he was right, and for some reason it made me extraordinarily happy that he so seemed eager to restore my lost faith. If only he could.

Virgil parked the car in the driveway and shut off the engine. He turned to face me, sliding one arm behind my shoulders along the back of the bucket seat.

"I live in the basement of the house. I converted it years ago into a private apartment." He stroked the back of my neck, played with my hair, and I found myself trembling. "I like you, Spencer. I like you a lot, and I'd love to get to know you better."

I shifted nervously in my seat. My face felt like it was on fire and all the fresh, pine-scented air seemed to have been sucked right out of the car. Somehow I managed to say, "I'd really like that, too."

Virgil leaned forward and kissed me, slow and soft with just the slightest tease of tongue. When I moaned, he kissed me harder, deeper, and one of his hands dropped to my thigh. What little breath I had in my lungs caught in my throat, and I made a small noise that sounded suspiciously like a whimper. Virgil's lips moved down my chin to my throat and he licked and nipped at my flesh. Jesus, if he kept it up, I was going to come in my pants. "Ah, Virgil, I—"

Abruptly, Virgil sat back in the seat, eyes straight ahead, his hands gripping the steering wheel so hard his knuckles turned white.

My heart pounded in my ears so loudly I could barely hear myself speak. "Did I do something wrong?"

Virgil's hands gripped and re-gripped the steering wheel repeatedly.

"No." His jaw tightened, the small muscles visibly working under suntanned skin. "God, I can't believe I'm going to do this." He scrubbed one hand down his face. When he turned to look at me, all I could do was shrug and shake my head.

"I don't understand," I said. Understatement; I couldn't have been any more confused. I couldn't have been any more scared, either.

Virgil sighed and opened his door. "Come with me," he said as he slid out of his seat. "We need to talk."

I watched his long-legged stride carry him up the walkway, and I followed dumbly behind. Once inside, he nodded at the young blonde-haired woman behind the desk, but passed by her without saying a word. She smiled at me, but it barely registered. I quickened my pace to catch up.

Virgil flung open a door near the rear of the house, gesturing down a narrow flight of stairs that disappeared into darkness.

"Be careful," he said. "You can light some candles while I put my contact lenses in, but don't light more than three or four."

"Virgil—"

He grabbed my shoulders, pulled me roughly onto my toes and crushed his mouth against mine. I whimpered again and wondered briefly why in the hell he had that effect on me. I had never whimpered before, ever, not for anyone, yet he seemed to be able to yank that helpless little sound from me with little effort. On top of that, my dick was now as stiff as a board. He had that effect on me, too. Considering how petrified I was regarding what he wanted to talk about, my mind and body didn't feel at all connected. I was scared, still half-drunk from the wine, and yet I felt more heat gathered between my legs than on summer sand at the Jersey Shore.

And then a horrible thought occurred to me.

Shit . . . maybe he was dying or something.

Maybe whatever made his eyes so sensitive to light was fatal. Maybe he wanted to have one more romantic fling before he kicked the bucket, and he wanted me to be part of his finale. Wouldn't that fucking figure? Jesus.
I wrested away from the kiss and pulled back from his grasp. "Virgil, you're really scaring me."

He took me in his arms and pulled me hard against his chest, embracing me, kissing my hair with soft, quick little pecks like a mother consoling an injured child.

"There's nothing to be scared of," Virgil whispered when he finished peppering my head with kisses. "I promise, no matter how it seems at first, there is nothing to be afraid of. Especially not me, I swear."

Dazed, numb, my mind whirled in directions I couldn't begin to fathom, and all I could do was nod against his chest.

"Okay," I whispered. "Okay. Whatever it is, I promise I'll try not to freak out too much."

Try being the operative word, there.

His breathy sigh danced across my hair. I stepped back, and after offering him my bravest smile, I headed down those steep, dark stairs. He’d promised me there was nothing to be scared of, least of all him. I wanted to believe that so badly, I think I’d have walked through a flaming door marked PERDITION if he had asked me to.

But it was just a basement apartment, he was just a man, and I was just being silly.

That was my mantra as the steps creaked under my weight and the door clicked shut behind me. When I felt Virgil touch my elbow, I nearly jumped out of my skin. I heard him chuckle, and then he put something made of cold metal in my hand—an extra-long butane lighter.

He kissed me on the forehead. "No more than three or four. I'll be right back. Please don't be afraid."

I heard a door close, and soft light crept out from under what was presumably the bathroom door. I entertained the notion of running for the hills for exactly a fraction of a second, but I had to know what this mystery would turn out to be. I took a deep breath, flicked the oversized Bic and squinted in search of the nearest candle.

 
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